Chapter 216 - Philosopher's Stone (9)

The Philosopher’s Stone was a large bundle of energy made from thousands of souls, which made it difficult to control. It was no wonder that Bild hadn’t been able to use it. There were three steps to complete the process. The first was to settle the energy source into the stone. The second was to combine the Philosopher’s Stone and the energy source to complete the stone. And the last step was to adjust the body to the stone. 

Yeon-woo believed that the last step would be the easiest since the Philosopher’s Stone was a type of magical organ. Yeon-woo’s Magic Circuit could hold all the mana in the world, and the Philosopher’s Stone was nothing more than a fraction of that power. He had no doubt that his body would be able to accept it, and his calculations supported his confidence.

However, the problem was the process of adding the contents to the vessel. It wasn’t easy to combine the Devil Cores and the stones. Yeon-woo understood the formula perfectly, and he was sure that following it to the letter would help him succeed. ‘There’s only one chance to do this. If I fail, I die.’

While he was in his Time Difference, Yeon-woo focused all of his Consciousness onto the stone. He had to make the most of this one opportunity; if he didn’t, the Devil Cores and the stone that he gained with so much difficulty would be ruined. Fortunately, since he had visualized the process in his mind several times already, the process went smoothly. Click! Click! The stone next to his heart began to take form bit by bit like a puzzle being put together.

With Nemesis and Nike temporarily gone to let him complete the stone, nothing distracted him. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed when the stone began to look complete. It was about the size of a fist and trembled as though it would break at any second. Only one last thing was left to add: the energy source, Agares’ Devil Cores. 

Yeon-woo finished the path connecting the stone to the Devil Cores, and the energy from the Devil Cores slowly began to move towards the stone. Yeon-woo thought his brain would burst. It was the first time he’d felt anything like this ever since he learned the Seventy-Two Bian in the Monkey King’s Palace. 

His touch was light and careful, not wishing to mess anything up with even the slightest mistake. Most demons couldn’t make this type of demonic energy, and it was even powerful enough to create a new demon. Fortunately, Yeon-woo had increased his knowledge of alchemy and magic over the past four months, and he was now on par with most magicians.

On top of that, Time Difference ensured that he wouldn’t make any mistakes. Click! Click! Carefully, he put the last of his magic power into the Philosopher’s Stone and finally closed off the path between the stone and the energy source. 

Agares’ magic power swirled around the stone, creating sparks as it tried to escape, but the stone didn’t budge at all. Then, magic power finally synchronized with the stone, and it turned back into the Devil Cores again as though it were returning home. Click! A clear sound echoed inside his head. ‘It worked!’ Yeon-woo shouted to himself. 

Ding!

[Additional information about the hidden functions is being revealed.]

[The Corrupted Philosopher’s Stone]
[Category: ???]
[Rank: ???]
[Description: The soul is the purest form of energy in the world. This stone was created in the room indicated in the Emerald Tablet. It has been filled with fear, and caution is advised. The emotions in the stone are absorbing the energy of the demon Agares and expanding.]
[*Report of Deep-Seated Grudge
After absorbing the demonic energy of Agares’ Devil Core, the grudges inside the Philosopher’s Stone can be amplified with magic power. However, the user of this power pays a price with each use.] 
[** This is a unique artifact. No other artifact like this exists in the Tower, and it will be bound to its owner. It cannot be transferred or traded between players.
** Warning! This artifact contains a powerful curse. Frequent use may afflict the user with a curse, and caution is advised.]

[The artifact is complete but not available for use. It must be connected to an existing magic organ.]

[There is a powerful curse attached to the artifact. When connected with an existing magical organ, caution is advised.]

The phrase “caution is advised” appeared not only in the description but also in the messages as well which showed how dangerous the completed Philosopher’s Stone was. 

Yeon-woo figured that made sense since he knew how many players’ lives had been sacrificed to make it. It wasn’t surprising that it was filled with thousands of grudges that had been amplified by the demonic energy of a Grand Duke.

There was nothing else to do but continue with the process. If he were to stop now, he shouldn’t have started in the first place. He activated his Magic Circuit and connected the circuit to the stone, treating the Philosopher’s Stone as another Core. As soon as he released the stone’s path—thwack! The Magic Circuit sent his magic power throughout his body. 

At first, the two magic powers clashed like water and oil. However, before long, a message arrived.

[The two magic powers are being synchronized with the ‘Demonic Dragon Body’ trait.]

The purification began. It was an abundant and pure magic power, and Yeon-woo tried using his Philosopher’s Stone to see how much he’d grown. As he did, the magic power began to burst with such power that he almost shivered.

His Draconic Factors and Demonic Factors awakened on their own. Dragon scales grew on his skin even though he hadn’t awakened his Dragon Body. His power lashed around him accidentally. Whoosh!

The room began to shake with a magic power storm, and everyone was swept away. The Head Elder quickly set up a barrier so Yeon-woo’s energy wouldn’t leak out, and Brahm’s eyes widened at the white smoke around Yeon-woo. The Philosopher’s Stone, the goal of all alchemists, was there. 

Ah!

Is this…the power of the Philosopher’s Stone?

Shanon and Hanryeong exclaimed in astonishment. Hanryeong even trembled, recalling the feeling of invincibility that he’d felt upon becoming a high ranker. It was the same feeling that was now swirling around Yeon-woo!

Rebecca was also astonished. Cernnunos’ holiness around her grew brighter than ever. She was excited at the thought that she might become a godly spirit. Inside the storm, Yeon-woo struggled to get a grip on himself. 

If he hadn’t activated Time Difference, he would have already lost consciousness a long time ago. He now seemed to have an intense, unlimited power in the palm of his hand.

The fifth step of the awakening was the Dragon Heart, and he wondered whether it was anything like this. He couldn’t express what he felt, but as the exhilaration swept through his body, the grudges in the stone slowly began to wake up and spread around his power like ink in water.

It happened so quickly that Yeon-woo didn’t have a chance to stop them before they poured into his subconsciousness. Without Time Difference, Yeon-woo would have become a bundle of grudges already. He tried to focus. The exhilaration still bloomed in his body, but he didn’t have the luxury to enjoy it at the moment.

The grudges growled as though they would eat Yeon-woo up any second, and Yeon-woo did everything he could push them away. If he allowed the grudges to take over it would be the same as a new demon—even a new Agares—being born. ‘That damned bastard!’ Yeon-woo wondered whether Agares had done this deliberately.

Yeon-woo didn’t have the ability to handle the Devil Cores or the stone on his own, but things were different now that they had merged and the grudges swallowed up the demonic energy. It was still hard for Yeon-woo to bear, but he gritted his teeth and continued pushing away the grudges and forcing his Consciousness into the Philosopher’s Stone.

It was like a fight over territory, and he trembled. As the Demonic Factors and Draconic Factors amplified each other, Yeon-woo’s body broke apart and recovered over and over. 

***

Yeon-woo opened his eyes to see a world of darkness. He was in his Consciousness, the stage that he’d prepared for this battle, and his Consciousness had accepted.

[Hidden Quest / Wish of the Corrupted Fallen]
[Description: The demonic energy left behind by Agares is targeting you. After mingling with the grudges inside the Philosopher’s Stone, it is attempting to demonize you and take over our body. Protect your body from demonization and absorb the leftover magic power from the fight.] 
[Conditions of Success:
1.Defeat the demonization within the set time. 
2.Completely absorb the remnants of the demonization to control the Philosopher’s Stone.]
[Time Limit: Unknown]
[Rewards:
1.Completed Philosopher’s Stone
2.Strengthening of demonic energy property]

After the quest window popped up in front of Yeon-woo, the dark environment began to change. The sky turned red, just like the one on the twenty-third floor. In the distance, a grey shadow floated up and began to take a humanoid form. It didn’t have a face, but Yeon-woo still had the feeling that it was looking at him. Then, he noticed thousands of souls looming behind it.

It was the demonization, the form the souls that swallowed Agares’ demonic energy had taken. The face of the demonization shifted and its shoulders moved up and down as though it were laughing.

Yeon-woo sensed a great danger. The demonization was imitating him--from his looks, gestures, thoughts, and even his traits and skills. However, its personality was like that of a violent beast and its smile reminded Yeon-woo of someone. ‘Agares.’

He was filled with annoyance. The demon’s obsession gave him a migraine. However, although the demonization resembled him, it was more like a simulation, like Jeong-woo’s shadow on the twenty-first floor. ‘It’s like me, but at the same time, not.’

However, Yeon-woo shook his head. He didn’t have to be concerned about it. All he had to do was get rid of that thing he didn’t even like looking at. As Yeon-woo moved the quest window to the side, his powers started waking up one by one. 

His dragon scales grew, and behind him, Fire Wings flamed on his back. Just as he was about to rush forward, the demonization licked its lips. Yeon-woo’s face hardened. Bang! The world of his Consciousness suddenly crumbled.

***

[You have completed the hidden quest (Wish of the Corrupted Fallen).]

[You have made an achievement that is not easily accomplished. Additional karma will be provided.]

[You have received 5,000 karma.]

[You have received an additional 3,000 karma.]

[You have received the ‘Completed Philosopher’s Stone’ as a reward.]

[Your evil and demonic properties have been strengthened.]

[You have succeeded in reaching the goal of all alchemists and magicians, the Philosopher’s Stone. You have made a great achievement.]

[The gods and demons of the 98th floor are watching you.]

…..

Messages appeared one after the other, but even after Yeon-woo was flicked out into the real world, his face was still stiff. 

“Cain, are you all right?” Brahm, the Head Elder, and Henova woke him up, full of concern. 

Although Yeon-woo nodded, it was hard for him to calm down after what happened inside his Consciousness. The demonization suddenly disappeared before he could fight it, but not without first saying, ”It’s not time yet. Just a little bit longer. After you’re riper, I’ll come back to eat you.” 

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