Chapter 197 - Demons' Forest (12)

The vestige space started to shake, and Phante and Edora had to crouch down to steady themselves.

“I said to let us know before you do things like this!” Phante barely managed to stop himself from falling and shouted at Yeon-woo, upset. However, as he turned to look at Yeon-woo, his eyes filled with shock. The entire world shook as it bent towards Yeon-woo. Watching the space itself being collected in once place was frightening.

At the same time, there were still thousands of Demonic species running towards them. “Kieek!” They stretched like rubber as they were sucked into Yeon-woo’s left palm, Bathory’s Vampiric Sword absorbing all types of energy that came its way. Messages continued to pop up for Yeon-woo. 

[You have absorbed Demonic species 91.]

[You have absorbed Demonic species 1,021.]

[You are rapidly absorbing the Ceratopsian Dinosaur’s Consciousness.]

....

[Your strength has increased by 2 points.]

[Your dexterity has increased by 1 point.]

....

[Curse ‘Hypnosis’ has been attempted by the Ceratopsian Dinosaur of De Roy Lake.]

[Your trait, Cold-blooded, has helped you maintain composure.]  

 [Curse ‘Confusion’ has been attempted by the Ceratopsian Dinosaur of De Roy Lake.]

Previously, the Ceratopsian Dinosaur might have been thinking it had been a pleasant surprise when the three had entered its stomach. Since it wasn’t too accustomed to its physical body, yet, it was stronger in its vestige space, which was why it kept its hearts there. The Ceratopsian Dinosaur had been planning on using the Demonic species it had absorbed so far to consume the three, not realizing that it had made a grievous error.

With the Cold-Blooded trait, Yeon-woo had an incredible immunity to mental attacks, and he also had a skill that he could use to fight back. The Ceratopsian Dinosaur had basically revealed its own weakness. Even though it shook and continued to spew curses, Bathory’s Vampiric Sword didn’t let go, its teeth digging in deeper as it gobbled more quickly. Phante and Edora looked blank for a while. They felt that it was completely strange that an eighty-meter-long creature could be so easily defeated.

Since the cries of the Ceratopsian Dinosaur were so loud, Yeon-woo used Open Speaking to talk to them. Focus on what’s in front of you. This next task is very important.

Phante and Edora snapped to attention and looked to see two lights soaring in the twisted space.

Do you see those two points? That’s where the other hearts are, go retrieve them. There might be traps, so be careful.

Phante and Edora’s eyes sparkled. Yeon-woo had been doing everything, so they wondered if they were just excess baggage the entire time. But now it seemed that Yeon-woo’s plan had been to get them to retrieve the hearts while he held down the vestige space.

“Leave it to me! I’ll get all of them.” Phante pounded his chest with an excited expression and moved towards one point. Edora moved to the other one. A few Demonic species from the intact space ran towards them. 

“Hey, hey, hey! Move, you pieces of trash!” Rumble! Phante unleashed his lightning to its fullest power and shot forward. The Demonic species were all flicked to the side, and the smell of burning flesh rose in the air. Edora brought her sword down powerfully using Dancheon of the Eight Extreme Fists. She was a master since she’d been training since she was a child.

Shanon and Hanryeong appeared behind Yeon-woo. 

Why don’t you leave things like that to us? You didn’t have to bring those two in.

Hanryeong nodded, agreeing with Shanon. The Yeon-woo they knew wasn’t exactly the most generous person, and he hoarded all the hidden pieces to himself, not even sparing any for those close to him. Although he did sometimes give pieces to the spirits, it was all to his benefit in the end anyway since they were bound to him.

As he looked at Phante and Edora, who had managed to reach the points of light, Yeon-woo said, ‘Because I have something else to do.’

Something else?

Phante and Edora disappeared in the lights. The trap to protect the hearts had activated, and the two had likely been transported to another vestige space to undergo another trial. Now that there weren’t any witnesses, Yeon-woo turned to look at Shanon. ‘Yes, something very important.’

Shanon realized what Yeon-woo meant, and he was taken aback. Yeon-woo had left three hearts for the siblings to retrieve. Since he had already found one, there was only one left. The actual body?

‘Yeah, that’s the most important thing to focus on.’

The space that had wrapped itself around Yeon-woo ripped apart to reveal darkness. Yeon-woo, Shanon, and Hanryeong all instinctively looked down as a dark and depressing atmosphere floated up.

It was a vestige space that was even more intense than the previous one, and Yeon-woo forcibly pushed the curse trying to pierce his brain aside. A line appeared in the darkness and split open into a large eye that rolled to look at Yeon-woo, filled with fury. Yeon-woo could feel its hunger and desire to eat him.

It was the actual body of the Demonic being inside the shell of a Ceratopsian Dinosaur. The Ceratopsian Dinosaur of De Roy Lake was so famous that it was almost a tradition to hunt it, but no one realized that the same creature appeared each time.

It was only a physical manifestation of a Demonic species, and whenever it was caught, it only lost a single heart. Since its true body was left intact, it could regenerate easily. The players never took more than a tiny piece of it—except for his brother, who had learned its secret with Vieira Dune’s help and managed to grasp the Demonic Factors in his hand. 

It was now years after that, and the new true body was exuding an even fiercer energy than that of the one his brother had caught. ‘Is it because of the Demonic species who died from the explosion?’

Since this creature was a scavenger who ate the remains of Demonic species, it might’ve swallowed the ones who’d been killed when his Wave of Fire and the Holy Punishment of Light clashed. Or maybe it had grown because of Brahm’s influence. Either way, it was very strong.

A satisfied smile grew on Yeon-woo’s face. The creature was clearly furious at being disturbed, and it said in an enraged tone as it glared at Yeon-woo, Who are you? It growled as though it were ready to eat him.

But to Yeon-woo, it was just a beast having a tantrum. “Domain Declaration.” He attempted the second step of the awakening. The Dragon’s Energy pressed on the creature’s head, and as Yeon-woo’s shadow stretched out, the Guai, Rebecca, and Boo came out. 

The creature exploded with intense fury as it realized it was facing its mortal enemy, the Draconic species. However, Yeon-woo brought Vigrid down, and the Wave of Fire burst around him. 

The raid began. 

***

There were three things Yeon-woo was aiming for: the Demonic Factors, De Roy’s Demonic Studies, and fighting experience with the Ceratopsian Dinosaur, as it was similar to a demon. Of course, it couldn’t be compared to a real one, since it had a long way to go in terms of evolution.  

However, fighting it would still be a huge benefit to Yeon-woo. If he wanted to complete the Philosopher’s Stone, he had to have some experience battling a demon, even a minor one. Black tentacles shot towards Yeon-woo. They were sturdier than the Kraken’s since they’d been around for hundreds of years, and with his Draconic Eyes, Yeon-woo could clearly see what they contained. He shivered. ‘Devil Poison! I didn’t think it had the ability to produce something like that.’

Devil Poison was a venom that demons possessed, and a fistful was potent enough to kill an ogre. Even if someone managed to endure it, it would still cause paralysis and drive them insane.

Because it was so difficult to acquire, it was sold for astronomical prices. The Ceratopsian Dinosaur was releasing massive amounts even though it likely hadn’t been a dinosaur for very long.

‘Its strength isn’t because of Brahm or the fight I had with the Elohim. It’s like someone intentionally raised it to…!’ Devil Poison was especially fatal to the Draconic species since the demons had created it specifically to aid them in hunting the Draconic species.

As a result, Yeon-woo found it difficult to fight the creature. He quickly spread his Fire Wings, moving more smoothly than ever through the air, thanks to three more types of magic that Yeon-woo had engraved for his Magic Equip: Levitation, Fly, and Lift and Drag Control. 

He had carved in a lot of magic related to flight, and he’d even created a formula to help him control his speed and air resistance. He’d had to use up a lot of bone surfaces, but the results were magnificent. Yeon-woo avoided the attacks, swooping into areas where the tentacles couldn’t reach him and spewing out Wave of Fire from there. 

Boom! Clang! Clang! He swung Vigrid and cut off the tentacles one by one. The creature regenerated its tentacles, but Yeon-woo avoided them again.  Shanon, Hanryeong, Boo, and the Guai also did their part, hiding in the shadows and jumping out to slice up the creature.

Rebecca was also fighting to the best of her abilities. Cernunnos, light! Her arrows shot out with the holy power of Cernunnos. As an Apostle of the god of hunting, she was skilled with multiple weapons. Every time she shot out an arrow, light poured down like rain and pierced the creature’s body.  

The only thing that slightly constrained her was that they were in the creature’s vestige space, which prevented her from using her holy power to its fullest. However, her efforts were still powerful enough to injure the Ceratopsian Dinosaur. 

Boom! The creature moved again, shaking in pain. A small hole opened in its skin, revealing a humanoid figure with coppery skin. It didn’t have a face, but Yeon-woo got the impression that it was glaring at him. 

There were imperfections all over the creature’s body. It was the Magic Core. However, it suddenly grew a pair of wings and a longsword appeared in its hands. Shields that looked like Aegis popped up in the air around it.

Hm, looks like it’s copying you.

It had probably realized that it wouldn’t win unless it tried something drastically different, and so it made a decision to imitate Yeon-woo. Shanon laughed, feeling as though they were on the twenty-first floor dealing with Yeon-woo’s simulation.

However, his laughter was cut short when the tentacles gathered and created copies of him, Hanryeong, Rebecca, Boo, and even the Guai. It’s copying even us!

I don’t like that.

It was creating multiple and endless copies as though it were a production line in a factory. Shanon’s amusement turned into annoyance. Both Hanryeong and Rebecca looked displeased, as well, reminded that they were in a vestige space. The more copies the creature generated, the more difficult their situation would be.

However, Yeon-woo didn’t mind. He thought things were actually going well. Since the creature had revealed its heart, it was prepared to die. It was only fighting so desperately because it knew that it was the end.

[Sword Purification]

[Goddess’ Spearsword]

The air filled with murderous intent against Vigrid’s enemies, and with the blessing of Athena, he began to overpower the Ceratopsian Dinosaur’s vestige space. 

[An attempt to seize the vestige space is in process.]

[Resistance is extreme.]

[Resistance is extreme.]

....

The Ceratopsian Dinosaur realized its mistake too late and tried to resist as much as it could. However, the more vestige it poured out, the more Vigrid’s fighting spirit intensified. Finally, it was overwhelmed. “Kwooo!” The creature cried out. 

[You have overcome the resistance and made a successful seizure.]

[You have become the new owner of the vestige space.]

Yeon-woo could feel the Ceratopsian Dinosaur’s shock. He smirked before licking his lips. The creature was difficult to deal with in its vestige space, but since the ownership had shifted to him, it was like shooting fish in a barrel now.

Yeon-woo’s eyes glittered, and his sharp canines flashed. It was time to enjoy the buffet spread so enticingly before him. 

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