Henova’s words were very direct, which was probably why the Large Clans had blacklisted him.
“It’s very important, and no one else can know about it.”
Henova realized that Yeon-woo was serious and put his pipe in his mouth. He nodded with a frown.
Yeon-woo began to explain what happened with the Philosopher’s Stone. He left out some parts about Red Dragon and the Cheonghwado and focused on the materials listed in the Emerald Tablet and the research he’d done with Brahm.
The truth was, Yeon-woo was a bit hesitant to get Henova involved. Although he didn’t reveal his background to Phante and Edora, it wasn’t for the same reason he kept it a secret from Henova. He kept worrying that he was pulling Henova into a thorny path. However, when he’d expressed this, Brahm had told him without mincing any words, “All I can help with is theories and experiments. The only person who can actually carry them out is Henova. We need his help.”
Something always went wrong in the process of invention and creation, and it was important to find and correct the mistakes. Henova was the best man for that job. However, Brahm’s next words made Yeon-woo’s heart feel heavy.
“I don’t know much about your relationship with Henova, but I know that he and Jeong-woo were like father and son, right? Are you planning on ruining that? I know Henova will feel pain, and he’ll suffer. But isn’t that better than living the rest of your life feeling guilt over your son?”
As soon as Yeon-woo heard that, he suddenly thought of the Magic Bayonet. It was the first artifact that Yeon-woo had received from Henova. In the description, it said that Henova had made it for someone he cherished, and that it was full of his regrets. Could it have been his brother? Henova was full of guilt over Jeong-woo: if only he had given him better weapons; if only he had stayed by his side; if only he had cared a bit more. Then, maybe things would have ended differently.
Henova had made Yeon-woo the Magic Armor Set with those thoughts in mind.
“You said your path will be filled with thorns, right? You say you don’t want to take Henova with you, but that’s not for you to decide. It’s up to Henova.” Brahm scolded Yeon-woo and told him not to hide anything. Ignorance wasn't bliss. Yeon-woo had no right to make someone else’s choice for him.
From that moment on, Yeon-woo began to consider telling Henova everything. However, he was worried about giving him too much of a shock, so he planned on finding the right moment. Besides, there was something he wanted to say in his brother’s stead: thank you. “And that’s what happened.”
“Hm.” Henova was deep in thought with the pipe still in his mouth. Only when the smithy was completely filled with smoke did Henova take the pipe out and stand up. Then, he started to pack his tools one by one as he said, “Where are we going?”
“Are you going to help?”
“Who’s helping who? I just wanted to see Brahm since it’s been a while. Also, the Philosopher’s Stone sounds interesting.” Henova was clearly embarrassed because his ears turned red even as he grumbled.
“Thank you.” Yeon-woo bowed earnestly. To both his brother and himself, Henova was truly someone who deserved their gratitude.
“Long time no see, Henova.”
“Tsk. How did you get caught up with this fool? Anyway, it’s been twenty years. Nice to see you.”
Henova and Brahm had hugged each other. After meeting twenty years ago, they’d grown close enough to send letters to each other and ask how the other was doing. They acknowledged the skills the other had—not because of their reputation as the top five artisans but because they genuinely understood how extraordinary each other’s knowledge was.
The two were nervous about making the treasure of the century, the Philosopher’s Stone, and Yeon-woo summoned Boo and Rebecca to help as well. Boo was showing rapid growth after Yeon-woo had given him the Lawless Book a while ago and would provide valuable assistance. Rebecca’s experiences with Cernunnos had given her immense knowledge as well. On top of this, the Head Elder of the One-horned tribe had joined the group too. “I just hope this oldie doesn’t hold you back.” The Head Elder adjusted his glasses and smiled warmly.
“If the Blood-Red Philosopher is saying that about himself, then the rest of us should just fuck off and die. Huhu!” Henova shook his head, but the Head Elder just smiled.
The Blood-Red Philosopher. There weren’t many in the Tower who remembered the nickname given to the Head Elder, but the Martial King had been able to lead the One-horned tribe to a new era only with the support of the Blood-Red Philosopher.
No one could match his knowledge and martial arts. Some even said that the former leader of the Devil Army, Black Dawn, could barely go toe to toe with him. But as time passed, a new Head Bishop rose from the Devil Army and killed Black Dawn, and the Martial King was born.
The Blood-Red Philosopher has stepped back and focused on helping the tribe as the Head Elder. But even then, he didn’t slack off with his studies, so the knowledge he had was probably equivalent to Brahm’s, and he obviously had all the accumulated knowledge of the One-horned tribe.
However, even though the other Elders would be interested to join, Yeon-woo wanted to keep the group’s numbers small. He was worried that something might leak out, and the current atmosphere of the One-horned tribe was extremely violent.
‘The Bow God.’ Yeon-woo quietly mumbled. Then, he looked at the people around him. “Let’s begin.”
He had to lead Henova, Brahm, Boo, Rebecca, and the Head Elder, and he was aware that he was lacking in many ways compared to these incredibly skilled players. However, since he had the deepest understanding of the Emerald Tablet, he was the one who laid out the plans, and he needed to make sure that no one made any mistakes or got lost along the way. Behind the mask, Yeon-woo’s eyes flashed.
The research progressed at a quick pace. Yeon-woo already had a general idea of what they had to do and that meant they had a clear path. Of course, there were plenty of setbacks. Even though he had gone over the formula several times, there were still problems that Yeon-woo couldn’t figure out. Often, he had to start his calculations all over again and repeat the experiments.
Brahm, the Head Elder, and Rebecca repeatedly ripped apart and pieced the formula together. Boo was able to visualize it to check to see whether it was possible or not. If he was satisfied, Henova would create it.
If that still didn’t work, Henova would use his practical experience to point them in the right direction. With all the most skilled people in the Tower working together, they often found solutions quickly.
However, this used up a lot of money. Although they didn’t need much for their living expenses, the materials for the experiments were expensive. Yeon-woo used the gold and silver in Intrenian, but he was beginning to run out. However, thanks to the Martial King’s orders to help, they could see the end in the distance, and Yeon-woo managed to catch a breather.
Just when they were almost finished, they were confronted with another unexpected blockage. “It’s tiring.” Brahm rubbed his eyes with his thumb. Even though he had the Homunculus body, it didn’t mean he couldn’t be emotionally tired.
The Head Elder also took off his glasses and lay down to cool his head. Numbers and symbols were running around in his head. Rebecca was also deep in thought as she looked at the calculations on the wall. Yeon-woo joined her, continuing to do the calculations with his Time Difference, but he couldn’t find a solution. ‘We’ve found a way to steady the vessel and its contents. But there’s no way to pour the contents into the vessel. I’m going to go crazy.’
The stone was the vessel, and the contents were the energy source. Yeon-woo still had the energy source of Agares’ Devil Cores, but they couldn’t figure out a way to put the Devil Cores into the Philosopher’s Stone.
Most Devil Cores had an incredible amount of demonic energy and to force them inside something would be to risk having them explode. Now that Yeon-woo didn’t have any karma and he wasn’t sure if the Guardians would step in again. If the Devil Cores were ruined once more, his body would come apart. He might even turn into a demon.
Also, even if they managed to place the Devil Cores into the Philosopher’s Stone, they couldn’t guarantee that they would stay.
A month passed while they worked on this issue. They had been progressing so well without any bumps, and now they were slogging through the days without any progress at all. Everyone became frustrated.
“Ridiculous.” Even Brahm began to feel anxious. They could only cure Sesha and save Ananta after the formula was finished. Although he had a god’s knowledge, he couldn’t see the path. Most people said that gods were omnipotent, but gods weren’t perfect beings. Rather, they were pitiful creatures trapped in their position.
「What the hell is all that gibberish? It’s like an alien language. Is it even from the same world as us?」 When there was no reply, Shanon said, 「Hanryeong, you’ve been pretty quiet these past few days.」
「Because I’m also thinking.」
「Wait, you mean you understand this? Why aren’t you helping, then?」
「Of course not. Why would I help when I don’t understand it? I’ve just been researching the Seventy-Two Bian.」
Shannon and Hanryeong bickered from boredom. However, Rebecca slowly lifted her head and her thoughtful eyes landed on Yeon-woo. 「Master.」
「If you can’t solve this problem, why not ask someone who is an expert in another field? We might find a solution from a fresh perspective.」
Everyone had already reached the limits of their knowledge, and a new angle might solve the problem. In fact, there were people who specialized in this field—the guild of the magicians called the Magic Tower; the homeland of the witches, Walpurgisnacht; and even the Elohim had all kinds of knowledge.
They would probably be able to find some kind of solution, but Yeon-woo shook his head. Everyone here was someone that he could trust, and he didn’t want to bring in someone he didn’t feel the same level of trust for. There were too many people with competing interests in Yeon-woo after the twenty-third floor, and he couldn’t add any unknown variables.
「What if it’s someone who’s not tied to a specific group and maybe was even rejected from society? And what if they’re also smart and care as little about worldly affairs as we do?」
Yeon-woo’s eyes flashed. Someone like that would be a lot less risky, and if necessary, it would be easier to close their mouths. “Do you have someone in mind?”
「Yes, you know that person well, too.」
“Who is it?”
Rebecca spoke with a nod. 「Victoria.」Previous Chapter Next Chapter