Chapter 193 - Demons' Forest (8)

“Ugh, the air here is so heavy. Even the twelfth floor wasn’t this bad.” Phante complained as he walked through the Demons’ Forest. It was fun beating up the occasional ghost and Demonic species that appeared, but the environment put him in a dark mood. However, Edora ignored Phante’s complaints and continued to look for the path. The coordinates that Yeon-woo had sent them meant that they were close. 

Phante sulked. “Sheesh. You don’t even hear your brother speaking because you’re thinking of finding your hubby, right?”

Edora coldly replied, “If you’re jealous, look for someone to like, too. Although you probably won’t even be able to do that.”

“Hey! It’s just because I’m busy, but I’m actually pretty pop—”

“I think it’s here.”

“Hey!”

Edora turned away from Phante and approached a spot that looked no different from the rest of the forest, but with her Insight, she could see that it was a section of a honeycomb-like dome—Brahm’s barrier.

Edora put her hand inside the barrier. The barrier was meant to repel people, but her hand passed through, and she slowly entered. Phante followed after her, his eyes widening as soon as the sight of the beautiful illusory world that they’d only heard about appeared.

***

“You made it,” Yeon-woo welcomed them. There was dirt on his clothes and his hands, as though he’d been busy with something.  

“Is something the matter, Oraboni? You seem tired.”

“I’ve been occupied with a few things. It’s nothing to worry about.” Yeon-woo waved his hand to reassure Edora as he gave the two a tour of the illusory world.

Brahm looked displeased. “Bringing outsiders in like that…”

“What’s wrong? I think it’s nice. And Sesha seems to like it as well,” Galliard scolded Brahm with a grin. 

Sesha was usually wary of strangers, but she seemed to like the siblings right away since Yeon-woo said they were his friends. Also, Phante liked kids, and Sesha had fun with Edora because they were both girls.

“If it wasn’t for that, I would’ve chased them out already.” Brahm crossed his arms and grumbled, but his eyes were soft as he looked at Sesha. The night before, Yeon-woo said that his friends had entered the twenty-third floor and asked permission to let them enter the illusory world. Brahm refused at first since the Elohim were still after him, but Galliard managed to persuade him to change his mind by saying they were from the One-horned tribe. Brahm ended up agreeing to let them in with several conditions. They couldn’t make too much noise, and they were not allowed to go near the farm. If the Elohim found them, they had to help. Most players would have run away at the final condition, but the siblings agreed without any hesitation. The One-horned tribe, who fought even Red Dragon, had nothing to fear from the Elohim.

“You know, Sesha has probably been lonely here. Don’t you think she’s spent too much time hidden away from the world?”

Brahm couldn’t reply.

“Just keep that in mind.”

Brahm pursed his lips, thinking that Galliard might be right. Sesha was laughing a lot more than she usually did. She didn’t laugh that often around Brahm, and the first time she’d ever laughed so much was when Galliard had first visited. It occurred to him that even as he tried to protect her, he’d only made Sesha lonelier.

***

“Cain, come here. I have something to tell you.”

Yeon-woo was watching Sesha, Edora, and Phante play hide and seek together. It was extremely amusing since Sesha could always find Phante since he was so big. He turned to look at Brahm and stood, brushing his bottom.

He told Edora that he would be gone for a moment and followed Brahm behind the cottage. Edora couldn’t take her eyes off of Yeon-woo as he walked away. She narrowed her eyes as though she were unhappy about something and sighed deeply.

Every time she saw Yeon-woo, she felt the same thing. It would be nice if he said he was glad to see or or that he’d missed them, but as always, he never said anything like it. As Edora shook her head and turned to look for Phante and Sesha, the little girl suddenly jumped out and surprised her. Edora smiled and pushed away her gloomy thoughts. “What’s up?”

“Edora, do you like Cain?”

Edora’s eyes widened at the sudden question, and she smiled. “Why do you think that?”

“Your eyes are always following him.”

Edora couldn’t help coughing at the thought that her emotions were so obvious that even a little girl could see them. However, she still had her pride as a woman and just as she was telling herself to be more discreet in the future, Sesha said, “Heehee, do you want me to help you?”

***

While Sesha and Edora had their discussion, Yeon-woo spoke with Brahm and Galliard. They seemed quite serious when they called Yeon-woo over, so he thought it would be something important, and he wasn’t mistaken.

“You know that the transmutation circle and the barrier are almost finished, right?”

“Yes.” Yeon-woo nodded. Of course he was aware of it since he was the only one who had been helping Brahm for the past month. Galliard only knew spirit magic, and Sesha found the work too boring. Only Yeon-woo had any interest in it.

After he found the way to complete the Philosopher’s Stone, Yeon-woo spent his nights trying to understand the Emerald Tablet and used those results to set up a transmutation circle. His knowledge about magic had grown more profound. ‘The biggest advantage of alchemy is how it is made, since runes can be created with it, too.’

With Boo and Rebecca’s help, he had engraved more runes on his bones, and he even improved the proficiency of his Magic Equip. However, his biggest achievement remained his discovery of how to finish the Philosopher’s Stone. Since the materials he needed were already in Intrenian, he could try things one by one as he planned for the most important material: the source of magic.

“Thankfully, there’s no news of Aether or the Elohim. They’re probably still looking for us, but when the barrier’s finished, they won’t be able to get to us easily.”

Once the barrier was completed, the location would completely become Brahm’s territory, and he would be able to set up his holy territory, and as the god Brahma, he would be able to use his godly powers. Even though his powers were limited, the Elohim wouldn’t be able to beat him, unless their leader, one of the Nine Kings, accompanied them. “So leave this place to us for now, and come back after you’ve completed everything you need to handle. When the transmutation circle is finished, we’ll be busy again.”

Yeon-woo’s eyes widened slightly. Although Brahm hadn’t said it directly, he was implying that Yeon-woo should take a break. Galliard smirked and told Brahm off. “You can just say you’re giving him a vacation. Why are you making it so complicated?”

Brahm crossed his arms and didn’t say anything.

“Aw, you’re shy.”

“Shut up.”

Yeon-woo laughed as he watched the two bicker. Brahm stood as though he no longer wanted to be a part of the conversation. Galliard shook his head at his mendacious friend and said to Yeon-woo. “He has a hard time expressing his feelings, so be understanding. Like he said, we’ll focus on summoning demons when the transmutation circle is ready. Go take care of whatever you’ve postponed. Have fun with your friends.”

Yeon-woo nodded. He had been thinking about going to De Roy Lake, and this worked out well for him. However, he was concerned that it would be dangerous if the Elohim suddenly showed up while he wasn’t around and the barrier was unfinished. ‘What should I do?’ He contemplated for a moment, and an idea came to him. “Brahm, Galliard.”

“What is it?”

“Do you have more to say?”

As the two cocked their heads curiously, Yeon-woo grinned behind his mask. “Since we’re summoning a demon, why don’t we take care of the Elohim too while we’re at it? I have an idea.”

***

“Hm? Are you saying you want to go on a raid together?”

“It’s fine if you don’t want to.”

“Heehee! No way! I was starting to get bored, so it’s awesome!” Phante responded excitedly and stood. It was fun playing with Sesha but a bloody battle was more his style. Usually, Yeon-woo took care of everything whenever they were together, so having an opportunity to fight now made him even more excited. He’d sometimes felt envious of Yeon-woo’s growth, but it did motivate him to work harder. Besides, he wanted to see how much more Yeon-woo had progressed.

When Yeon-woo tied with Allforone at first place on the twenty-first floor, the One-horned tribe was in an uproar. Yeon-woo had done something that even the Martial King hadn’t been able to do in his younger days. The Martial King didn’t say too much in front of Phante and Edora, but he probably felt wronged. 

When Phante heard the news of Yeon-woo’s achievement, he felt relieved and also a growing desire to fight. The goal that he wanted to reach and the person he wanted to defeat one day was Yeon-woo. He was inspired to train constantly.

Yeon-woo laughed at Phante’s competitiveness. Then, seeing Edora’s upset expression, he took Phante aside and asked, “Why is Edora being like that?”

Phante giggled. “She was unexpectedly hit by something.”

Yeon-woo had no idea what to say.

“Some things happened. Anyway, you must be happy you’re so popular! Heeheehee!”

Yeon-woo looked at Sesha sleeping on a bench and sighed when he realized what probably happened. Sometimes, Sesha said things that were a little grown-up for her age, and she’d probably said something to Edora. However, for his peace of mind, he pretended that he didn’t understand.

He took Sesha to her room and told Edora that he was going to leave. Edora quickly brightened up again and said that she would go with him. Yeon-woo let Brahm and Galliard know that they were leaving and stepped out of the barrier. Since he had been breathing in fresh air under a clear blue sky, it felt awkward to reenter the heavy atmosphere under the red sky. 

Yeon-woo circulated his Magic Circuit to adjust his condition and transformed his Magic Armor into plate armor. He moved Vigrid to his belt and put a shield on his back instead. A helmet wrapped around his entire face. Since everything was black, it seemed to suit the atmosphere of the twenty-third floor. 

“Huh? Why are you doing that?”

“I don’t want to get involved in annoying situations.”

“Hm? Oh, it’s because you don’t want people attacking you. Hehe. Are you saying you’re famous now?” Phante snickered.

However, he was partially right. Yeon-woo could ignore his fame and push others away with his strength, but he had to watch out for the Elohim. He was planning on getting Aether before he left the twenty-third floor, but it wasn’t time yet. Also, it was strange that there hadn’t been any sightings of him. Yeon-woo wanted to hide his identity as much as possible, and the Ceratopsian Dinosaur didn’t even deserve to be called a hidden piece because it was so well known. It was likely that there would be a lot of players hunting it. ‘Or maybe, since Aether’s been defeated, there might be less people.’ Yeon-woo organized his thoughts and the three headed towards the lake. 

***

“Let’s finish cleaning up.” After they sent Yeon-woo off, Galliard twisted his neck slightly to stretch. He noticed that Brahm was deep in thought. “What are you thinking about?”

“I just think that he’s more interesting the more you get to know him.”

“That makes sense. I felt the same way when I first met him.”

Brahm was thinking of Yeon-woo’s suggestion. He’d asked Yeon-woo: “Take care of the Elohim? How?”

Yeon-woo had answered, “They’re probably getting a trap ready for us. We have to turn the tables and use them as food for the demons.” 

The plan was simple and efficient, and Brahm especially liked that Aether would be used as a dessert for the demons. 

People in the Elohim usually had divine blood. Because of that, they had holy power, even if it was a tiny bit. Brahm had been wondering how to lure demons, and this was perfect. He considered how Yeon-woo managed to come up with surprising solutions, even when they’d been working on the transmutation circle.  

Yeon-woo had also become shy Sesha’s friend, which made Brahm grateful. Although Yeon-woo seemed impassive, he turned out to be warm-hearted after all, just like someone Brahm had known in the past. 

“Their personalities are completely different, but he reminds of someone.” Galliard’s eyes were filled with regret and bitterness. He gazed at Sesha, who was looking in the direction Yeon-woo had headed. “If he were still around, he would be so happy to see that child.”

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