[You have dramatically increased your knowledge of the Demonic Factors.]
After Yeon-woo finished making false tracks and planting evidence near the lake, he ripped up the book in his hand. It was De Roy’s records, which Yeon-woo had received as a reward for killing the Ceratopsian Dinosaur.
[You have destroyed De Roy’s records (Part Two). Additional use of the artifact has become impossible.]
[The hidden piece is being revealed.]
De Roy’s records looked just like an old diary, and it only revealed its true appearance after it had been ripped apart. Yeon-woo’s right hand quickly absorbed the fragile paper, and a black insignia appeared on his palm. It looked like a mountain goat with a pair of horns.
[You have gained the skill ‘Demonic Studies’.]
[Description: The records of the demon hunter De Roy, who observed demons his entire life. You can borrow the power of a demon on the 98th floor through black magic. As your proficiency increases, you can make contracts with stronger demons.
Currently, parts of the studies are missing, and rank will increase when the other parts are found.]
After paying a price, you can create demonic energy needed for black magic. The condition is that you find a skill book to use black magic.]
You can create the pure poison that only Demonic species and demons use. The amount depends on your dark property or your understanding of the Demonic Factors.]
Since Yeon-woo’s rank was too low, he could only access these two options, but he wasn’t too concerned. Earning the skill was the most important thing because it was easy to buy black magic at auctions anyway. Since most people couldn’t use it easily, supply often outstripped demand. ‘Of course, Boo is going to get most of it since the Devil’s Incantation and Devil Poison are big accomplishments.’
All he needed were the hearts of the Ceratopsian Dinosaur and the purple Devil Flowers to increase the Demonic Factors that he had. The amount of demonic energy and the Devil Poison he gained would be of great help to him, not just for the Guai but also for various skills, and he already had a couple in mind.
However, he had to use the Demonic Studies carefully. Dealing with demonic energy meant that you would become that much closer to demons, and it wouldn’t do you good. Yeon-woo just needed power and wasn’t interested in anything else.
“Hyung-nim, where should I put this?” Phante and Edora brought the hearts out. Yeon-woo opened Intrenian and had them put the hearts inside. “For now, let’s keep them in there. After they are refined, I’ll give them to you.”
“Heeheehee. I wonder if the strength of demons will go well with this horn.” Phante had been warned several times that it was dangerous to touch the Demonic Studies, but he was just pleased to think that he could become stronger.
Yeon-woo grinned and shook his head like there was nothing he could do. The guy was always the same.
“Whew! Anyway, the fight was rough! Who did you fight with before it—” Phante’s eyes suddenly widened as he turned to look at something. Edora and Yeon-woo turned their heads in the same direction.
A tremendous shockwave came from the location of Brahm’s illusory world, and a tornado began to shoot up in the sky.
‘Boo!’ Yeon-woo quickly called Boo in his shadow and surrounded himself and the siblings with a protective barrier. Thinking that it might not be enough, he brought Aegis out as well. Even though they were far away, the strong winds of the tornado made the barrier shudder. Phante and Edora protected themselves within Yeon-woo’s barrier with their scrolls, flicking away the occasional rock or Devil Tree that came their way.
What was happening? Yeon-woo’s gaze didn’t move from the tornado. Brahm’s illusory world should have been enough to handle the Elohim. Did an unknown variable appear?
But Yeon-woo’s shock didn’t end there. The tornado suddenly vanished and was replaced by a heavy darkness. Pure magic energy drifted towards him, making him shiver. It was a power that automatically stimulated the senses of a dragon: demonic energy. Since Yeon-woo knew about the transmutation circle and the sealing circle, he wasn’t too surprised about its presence, but its familiarity startled him.
It belonged to the demon who had lent his power to Yeon-woo’s brother and even tried to tempt him into a contract, only to leave empty-handed. Why was someone like this on the lower floors? ‘Why is Agares…?’ He felt anxious, and he quickly spread his Fire Wings and took off. He could hear Phante and Edora frantically shouting at him, but he didn’t pay them any attention.
『Sooner or later, you will be mine.』 Around the time his brother was slowly dying and fighting off the poison in his body, Agares had appeared in a dream through their connection.
His brother just replied with a smile. “I’m sorry, Agares, but I can’t be yours.”
『Ha! How can someone who’s already dying still be so arrogant?』
“Even if I die, there are things I have to uphold.”
Agares’ was extremely obsessed with his brother, although it had started simply enough: he had just wanted to bind one of the few dragon’s successors to him. Jeong-woo had been trying to learn the magic of demons through Demonic Studies, and the being who had replied to him was Agares.
Because he was the Grand Demon Duke of L’Infernal’s Seventy-Two Demons, his brother and Vieira Dune, who had been helping him, were completely shocked. It was probably the moment when Vieira Dune had started to grow envious of his brother.
After Agares taught Jeong-woo his magic, he had suggested that Jeong-woo contract with him, and that he would share his power. He said that if Jeong-woo didn’t want to be his subordinate, he could be his disciple instead. He had promised that a great path would await him, and even after death, he would receive a high position. However, his brother had refused each time without any hesitation. He knew that Agares wanted his Draconic Factors and his Ten Thousand Immunity.
Agares was furious at being rejected by a half-blood who wasn’t even a dragon when he was an entity who was as powerful as the higher gods. At the time, Agares hadn’t been too interested in the lower floors, and he’d been focused on a goal he’d been trying to reach for thousands of years. It was rare for him to want something like this and being rejected made him feel anxious.
His offers grew even more tempting, but when Jeon-woo continued rejecting him, he finally cut off ties. Jeong-woo considered it a shame that he couldn’t learn from Agares anymore, but he’d already learned the black magic he needed to achieve the fifth step of the awakening. Also, at this time, Arthia’s enmity with the Eight Great Clans had grown worse, and problems were cropping up within the clan.
By the time Agares restored their Channel, several years had passed, and Jeong-woo was dying alone in the clan house. Agares had given him a final offer and a helping hand. If Jeong-woo accepted it, the illness that ate away at his body and soul would disappear, and Agares would lend Jeong-woo his power to get revenge. He had also provided a shocking offer to take care of all the limits of the laws of casuality on the contract.
These were the laws that forced gods and demons to stay on the ninety-eighth floor so they couldn’t do anything, and taking on the responsibility meant that Agares was willing to bear a huge damage to his level. Agares had never offered it to anyone else, and the dog-eat-dog nature of the demonic society meant that very few other demons had made similar offers.
For Jeong-woo, Agares had suppressed his pride, full of anxiety that if Jeong-woo died, he wouldn’t get his hands on something he wanted for the first time in 1,000 years. However, Jeong-woo had only rejected him for the last time with a smile. Furious, Agares left with the same words that he’d spoken when he arrived: 『Sooner or later, you will be mine.』
‘Was it because of me?’ While Yeon-woo was dashing through the forest that couldn’t even be called a forest anymore, he kept wondering if Agares had recognized him. It wouldn’t be completely strange since multiple gods and demons had begun to take an interest in him when he mastered the concept of Cores at the One-horned tribe’s village.
Since the beings on the ninety-eighth floor could only observe the lower floors, they kept an eye out for those who could demonstrate enough power to be their Apostles. If they’d been watching Yeon-woo this entire time, that meant they’d seen him take his mask off. And since Jeong-woo had received so much of Agares’ attention and love, the other gods and demons had also taken notice of him.
It would be fairly logical for Agares to consider Yeon-woo as Jeong-woo’s replacement if he realized who he was. Also, Yeon-woo had seen a particular message enough times: ‘A message saying that the demons are having a discussion after someone’s suggestion.’
The gods’ opinions of Yeon-woo were split according to their own preferences, but they had mostly shown interest and not much else. However, if a demon could gather all the other ones together to talk about him, it had to be someone in a high position. What if it was Agares? Then, it would make sense that he would use Brahm’s temporary connection to leave the ninety-eighth floor.
‘No, no way.’ However, the more Yeon-woo thought about it, the more he thought that there was no reason for Agares to personally appear. He would have sent a servant or a low-level demon. Furthermore, even if Yeon-woo were his brother’s twin, they were two completely different people. A demon who could see into the soul itself wouldn’t be interested in him even though he looked like his brother.
Also, if Agares were searching for him, he wouldn’t be scuffling with Brahm right now. He would have tried to look for Yeon-woo right away. The twenty-third stage was already under Agares’ control, and he would be able to catch Yeon-woo easily. No matter how much Yeon-woo thought about it, he couldn’t think of a logical explanation.
「What other explanation do you need aside from the fact that he’s a demon? Demons are always evil and crazy like that.」
「Since we don’t know what he’s planning, we should be prepared for all kinds of possibilities.」
‘All right.’ Yeon-woo was getting close to Brahm’s illusory world, and he awakened his Dragon’s Body. He felt scales growing on his skin and activated his Magic Equip several times to raise his power to its maximum. Although he wouldn’t even be a match for Agares’ toenail, he couldn’t just stand idly by.
It occurred to him that he could just leave the twenty-third floor and return when Agares’ descent had ended, and he was a little surprised that he was running straight into someone else’s fight without looking back.
At that point, he saw black clouds floating around in the air. Inside them, he could see something vanish and disappear—glimpses of Brahm and Kindred fighting violently. These were remnants of the illusory world. After the barrier had been torn apart, some pieces still remained like afterimages. They were becoming fainter and would soon disappear. Yeon-woo started to expand the range of his Extrasensory Perception to examine each remnant.
Each one would contain an intense vestige and he wanted to see what had transpired while he was gone. Multiple scenes flashed through his mind as he ran. ‘The Devil Army was backing Aether? And Kindred, too?’ Yeon-woo frowned. He didn’t understand.
Aether and his family had been excommunicated from the Elohim and his own species because of his father’s mistake, right before Aether was about to be crowned king. He had worked hard to overcome the stigma since then, and as a Superior species, he was more proud than anyone of the fact that he had divine blood.
It was impossible that a guy like that would become the subordinate of a player who hadn’t even become a demon yet. But in the end, it didn’t matter. Aether had sacrificed his twin sister and called Kindred and two other bishops to mess everything up. Yeon-woo had also made a mistake in assuming that only the Elohim would show up. However, it was another scene that shocked him the most.
“I was looking for Belial or Dantalion. Why did you come instead?”
『I don’t know. What do you think?』
Brahm had been shouting at a jeering Agares with surprise and anxiety. The remnant of the barrier with Brahm in it shook along with his emotions. He looked desperate, as though he were hoping that something wasn’t true.
『What are you talking about, Brahm? Do you think I don’t know the truth?』 Agares had only smirked. 『I want the Dragon Human. True, Dragon Humans are just lumps of dirt to me, if it’s Heaven Wing’s child, then I want it.』
Yeon-woo couldn’t hear anything else after that. Only one thing whirled through his mind: Heaven Wing’s child. Heaven Wing’s child! ‘Jeong-woo has a child?’Previous Chapter Next Chapter