Chapter 192 - Demons' Forest (7)

What the hell?

I heard that he was half-insane, but I didn’t think it was this bad.

As he listened to Shanon’s and Hanryeong’s shocked comments, Yeon-woo turned to ask Galliard. “What is all of this?”

Galliard grinned to see the cold Yeon-woo shaken. He finally seemed human. But to be fair, Galliard had been shocked out of his wits by the sight the first time Brahm had shown it to him, too.

Devil Trees stretched from the cottage all throughout the hills, bursting with purple flowers. Galliard crossed his arms and snorted. “Can’t you see? It’s a farm.”

Yeon-woo was dumbfounded. “You can farm Devil Trees?” If that were the case, why hadn’t the Draconic species farmed them before? They would have avoided extinction. 

Galliard spoke with a grin, as though he understood what Yeon-woo was feeling. “According to Brahm, demons are just simple beings created from plants, so they’ll grow if you just give them water and fertilizer.”

[All demons show displeasure at Brahm’s statement.]

[An unknown Devil King is furious.]

[An unknown Devil Grand Duke curses Brahm.]

....

[It has been blocked by the god’s barrier.]

[It has been blocked by the god’s barrier.]

[Contact with the outside has been partially blocked by the strengthened barrier. Even the gods and demons of the 98th floor cannot do anything.]

Comparing demons to plants would obviously make them mad, but there wasn’t much they could do about it since Brahm was a being they couldn’t easily move against.

‘How did he do it? The purple flowers mean that he can not only create devils but also demons.’ What if he created demons powerful enough to challenge the gods? It was horrifying just thinking about it, and Yeon-woo felt like he had been hit in the head. 

He quickly opened his Draconic Eyes to examine the farm. As he expected, there was a large transmutation circle around it that had been created with Brahm’s most prized possession, the Book of Mercury.

“Galliard.”

“What?”

“Is Brahm planning on waging war against the Elohim…or maybe the entire Tower?”

“Why do you say that?”

Yeon-woo’s eyes were thoughtful. “If not…then why is he preparing to subjugate demons?”

Huh? Why would anyone do that?

Subjugate demons? That’s impossible.

Shanon and Hanryeong couldn’t count how many times they had been surprised ever since they entered the illusory world. Demons were beings like gods. While there were those who were so weak that they couldn’t reach the ninety-eighth floor, in general, they were so powerful that they’d even forced the Draconic species into extinction. 

Even if Brahm were the incarnation of the god Brahma, it was impossible to subjugate such powerful entities. 

Wouldn’t that be dangerous, Master? Rebecca, who had been quietly watching, came out to observe the Demons’ Forest. Even to her, it seemed strange. The transmutation circle was the result of different kinds of alchemy and black magic, but it functioned with five clear steps.

The first was to provide Devil Flowers with nutrients, the second was to stimulate the genes so that the Devil Flowers would mature faster, the third was to encourage the newborn Demonic species to eat each other, and the fourth was to use the stronger Demonic species as sacrifices to summon demons. As soon as the summoning circle appeared, the fifth step would take place and a sealing circle would appear to bind the summoned demons. Yeon-woo was slightly familiar with some of the magic involved.

‘There’s even divine iron in the magic form. Is that possible?’ Yeon-woo became curious about Brahm’s knowledge about alchemy. Was it so profound because he was a god? However, there were a lot of incomplete sections in the transmutation circle. 

Brahm had been strengthening and finishing the transmutation circle this entire time. ‘It seems like he’s still at the first two steps to create the Devil Flowers.’ The more he looked at it, the more complex the transmutation circle appeared. 

Galliard had been a bit surprised when Rebecca appeared, but he didn’t think too much of it since Elves were used to spirits. He just laughed as though he were amused. “Demon subjugation, you say? I understand, but he’s aiming for something slightly different.”

“Can I ask what the details are?”

“Well, it’s got something to do with Sesha.”

“Yes.”

“I don’t know if you felt it, but that child won’t live long.”

Yeon-woo shut his mouth. 

Galliard’s smile turned bitter. “I don’t know if it’s because she’s a Quarter-Dragon or something else. Sesha had been weak from birth. Even the most powerful medicines would only help her get better for a short time, and she’d be bedridden soon after.”

Yeon-woo nodded in understanding. When he first met Sesha, he’d sensed her weakness. Dragon Humans had always had difficulties with births since they were descendants of two completely different species. They had immense potential, but it was rare to find one that was healthy from birth. The ancient Kalatus had known this, which was why he’d divided his power into eight steps to lessen the burden.

“She got better once.”

“It must’ve been when she took the Demonic Factor.”

Galliard nodded. “Correct. Actually, it hasn’t been that long since Sesha’s been able to run around like that or eat food like the one you prepared.”

Yeon-woo thought of how Sesha’s eyes had sparkled as she ate. 

“But her health is starting to show cracks. It seems like she’s gained an immunity.’

Yeon-woo realized the reason for the transmutation circle. “So you’re going to get a fully grown demon and…”

“Yes. When a stupid demon appears, we’re going to seal it and have Sesha absorb it.”

Yeon-woo couldn’t help laughing in disbelief. Just the thought of catching a demon to save a sick child was incredible enough, but Brahm was actually going to go through with it. ‘He’s a fool for his daughter.’

“What happened to Brahm? He’s nothing like the rumors.”

“He’s different, right?” Galliard grinned. “Actually, I don’t know what the deal is with Sesha either. He’s always kept his mouth shut about her background. However, I know one thing for sure,” Galliard smiled crookedly, “He’ll probably even try to seal a god if that’s what Sesha needs.”

***

Yeon-woo picked a bunch of purple Devil Flowers and returned to the cottage. Just as Brahm said, there were a lot of flowers with a high concentration, so he was able to get as much as he needed. Since it wasn’t time to use them yet, he put them inside Intrenian.

“You’re back already?” Brahm looked up from the book that he was reading and adjusted his glasses.

Yeon-woo looked around and asked, “Where’s Sesha?”

“She said she wanted to take a walk so she went outside. Looks like you got the flowers. You can put the subspace pocket there.”

Yeon-woo placed the subspace pocket on the table and couldn’t help laughing. Now that he thought about it, everything inside this world had been made for Sesha. The refreshing forest, the pretty interiors, and the farm for her medicine. How much time had Brahm spent on this? He really was the biggest fool for his daughter. This made Yeon-woo warm up to him.

“Why are you laughing like that?” Brahm frowned at Yeon-woo’s quiet laugh as though he sensed that Yeon-woo was laughing at him.

“It’s nothing. Anyway, what are you reading?”

Brahm looked at Yeon-woo with annoyance and answered, “The Book of Mercury. I was checking if I missed anything.”

Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. He’d never imagined that the ordinary-looking book contained all of Brahm’s knowledge. He couldn’t believe that it was a grimoire that had its own identity. 

“Did you understand what I taught you yesterday?”

“If you’re talking about the equivalency exchanges, I’m reviewing them.”

“Recite them for me.”

“Normal magic works under laws, but alchemy has an element that takes and receives…” As Yeon-woo’s recitation continued, Brahm’s expression changed. Yeon-woo seemed to have learned more than he’d expected from just the first lecture.

Even though Yeon-woo had the Dragon’s Knowledge, his progress was still astonishing. ‘Is it because he learned from Henova and Victoria first?’ Brahm had met them before, and they were among the few people he acknowledged.

The truth was that Yeon-woo had spent the entire night using Time Difference to understand what Brahm had taught him. While some would say that Yeon-woo was naturally gifted, he knew that he had to work for everything he got.  

‘He’s not lazy at all.’ Regardless of the deal, Yeon-woo was the kind of student Brahm liked to teach. He listened with attention and would likely understand everything soon. Brahm stroked his chin. It occurred to him that the completion of the transmutation circle might happen sooner than he’d planned. Tak! Brahm shut the Book of Mercury and stood. “Follow me. I’ll teach you the next part.”

***

Around two weeks later, Yeon-woo was writing on a piece of paper in the middle of the night, with only a small light to help him see. He rubbed his eyes in exhaustion. He didn’t rely on his senses as much as before, but he still felt tired mentally. “It’s definitely not easy.”

His brain sometimes felt like it was being twisted into different shapes, perhaps from his constant use of Time Difference as he’d studied alchemy over the past weeks. Although Brahm had said he’d only teach Yeon-woo the basics, their lessons had gone even further, and Yeon-woo felt his energy being drained from trying to comprehend everything. He hadn’t even studied this hard when he was in school. Normally, he would’ve tossed the information to Boo, but he couldn’t do that now. 

Thankfully, Time Difference proved to be a real help, and Boo and Rebecca also gave him some guidance. Five days ago, Brahm had begun taking Yeon-woo along as he worked on the transmutation circle. Although he was only responsible for small tasks and errands, Yeon-woo still managed to learn a lot. Brahm was likely aware of his progress, as well.

By this point, Yeon-woo could now attempt to interpret the Emerald Tablet. “The irrefutable fact is the truest one. What is below is also above, and what is above is also below. Everything originates from a single thought, everything is connected.”

....

He used Leonte’s interpretation as a starting point and began to correct the wrong sections. Then, with the knowledge he’d learned from Brahm, he began to attempt his own interpretation, writing down and erasing different formulas until he crumpled the paper in frustration and set it on a pile of other crumpled papers next to him.

 “This is so frustrating.” Was he still lacking enough knowledge to understand the Philosopher’s Stone? His head hurt so much but he still had no clue. 

This formula gets more fun the more I look at it. I never imagined a Philosopher’s Stone would ever be possible.

This…section…I think…is wrong.

If Rebecca and Boo hadn’t been there to guide him, he would’ve let go of his pen already. “Haa… let’s do this again.” Yeon-woo took a deep breath and steadied the pen. However, at that moment, the door opened with a creak. 

Yeon-woo turned his head and saw Sesha poke her small head through the crack. “Cain, are you sleeping?” Tak, tak. Her tail wagged slightly, bumping against the floor. It meant that she wanted to ask something. Yeon-woo had long discovered that he could read her emotions through her tail’s movements. He put his pen down. “I’m awake. Are you hungry?’

“Hehehe.” Sesha laughed in embarrassment.

Yeon-woo laughed as well and stood up. She had been playing and roaming all day without stopping to rest, and it wasn’t a surprise she’d feel hungry again so late at night. “OK. I’ll make you a pancake. Just wait here. We’ll keep it a secret from Brahm.”

“OK!” Sesha put her hand on her mouth. Yeon-woo ruffled her hair and headed to the kitchen. He had recently visited the Outer District of the Tower to stock up on ingredients. As they watched Yeon-woo begin cooking, Shanon and Hanryeong talked to each other in strange voices. 

Damn, this guy gets more interesting every moment. I never thought he had a soft spot for kids.

I agree.

Yeon-woo was a bit flabbergasted. ‘How did you guys see me all this time?’

A tough bastard.

I never said anything.

Rebecca appeared next to him and nodded. It looks good. Give me some, too.

Yeon-woo thought that they would only have him at a bigger disadvantage if he kept talking, so he shut his mouth. However, since even Hanryeong was making jokes now, it felt like proof that they’d all grown closer.

Yeon-woo put Sesha’s pancake on a plate and took it to his room. The two Death Knights were partially right. Yeon-woo liked kids, but it didn’t mean he liked all of them. When he entered his room, he saw Sesha sitting on his chair, busy with something. She jumped as though she’d done something bad and quickly got off. “Uh…I was…”

“I’m not mad, don’t worry. Eat before it gets cold.”

“OK!” Sesha beamed and took the plate from him, her tail wagging. 

Yeon-woo smiled as he looked at Sesha and took up his pen again. Sesha had made some childish scribbles on his paper, but when he looked closer, he realized that she’d written down formulas that created the golden ratio. “Sesha, did you…?”

“Hm? Hehe. I tried copying your drawing.” Sesha took a big bite of her pancake as though it were no big deal. She was learning things from Brahm as well, so she had a lot of knowledge that most children didn’t. Even a Quarter-Dragon still had access to a dragon’s intelligence, it seemed. 

Yeon-woo felt like he had been smacked in the face. It felt like a new path had just opened for him.

***

After Yeon-woo made sure Sesha had gone to bed, he spent the entire night focused on formulas. He tried to keep his inspiration in mind and work through it. ‘Up until this moment, I only thought of the Philosopher’s Stone as something that would provide unlimited magic power.’

He began to write faster as he worked through his ideas, and he was no longer stuck on anything. ‘But what if that isn’t the point, and it’s actually something that amplifies magic power…’ When he reached the last part, the sun was already coming up. Yeon-woo’s eyes glittered. “Yeah. This is it.”

The Philosopher’s Stone was not something that provided an endless amount of magic power, but it did increase it exponentially. “So that’s why Nemesis and Nike think it’s a comfortable place to rest.” Simply being inside it strengthened magic power, which was why their growth had been so rapid.

“This tablet has information about the sun’s path.” The last sentence on the Emerald Tablet provided the answer. The path of the sun was actually the circulation of magic power. Yeon-woo clucked his tongue. He understood why Leonte and Bild hadn’t been able to finish the Philosopher’s Stone; they only thought of it as a tool for magic power. If it hadn’t been for Sesha’s help, Yeon-woo would have probably spent years working on it. “So the stone lacks the source?”

The sunlight poured in through the window on the paper filled with shapes and numbers. Yeon-woo’s eyes also grew brighter. He only had to find a magic source to complete the stone. Although it wouldn’t be easy, he thought of what Galliard and Brahm were planning to do. If he could get something like a demon and seal it inside the Philosopher’s Stone, it would be more than adequate, and he might really get a limitless amount of magic power. 

‘I might be able to make a magic source that’s equivalent to the Dragon Heart.’ Yeon-woo licked his lips. To make a real Dragon Heart, he had to reach the fifth step of the awakening, but if he managed to get a magic organ that functioned like the Dragon Heart… ‘I will have two organs for magic power.’

This time, he had to research the transmutation circle that Brahm had set up. Yeon-woo gripped the pen in his hand even more tightly. 

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