Chapter 225 - Kelat Auction House (8)

“Your Majesty!”

“What…!”

The Summer Queen’s scream rang throughout Red Dragon’s territory. Those waiting outside burst into the room in panic. They were forbidden from entering without permission, but it wasn’t the time to think about rules.  

A horrifying sight awaited them. The Summer Queen’s body was full of cracks, like porcelain breaking into pieces or the earth during a drought. They spread like spiderwebs, and blood gushed out from them. Her bright silver hair was turning pitch-black.

They moved urgently, frightened that she might explode at any second.

***

The quick response of the top officials of Red Dragon meant that they managed to stop rumors from spreading, but all of the Eighty-One Oculus at the headquarters were tense. The Summer Queen wasn’t just the leader of the clan. She was the personification of Red Dragon. The Summer Queen was the reason why the Tower was so afraid of Red Dragon, and Red Dragon’s players were so strong because the Summer Queen shared her power with them. 

The Eight-One Oculus were practically her Apostles. They borrowed all kinds of powers from her, and their history was passed down from her. If something happened to her, the Eighty-One Oculus and the clan itself would collapse. Their lives would be destroyed, and they were desperate to stop that from happening.

Tom and Troy, the people who had found the tablet, were even more agonized. 

“It’s Devil Poison!”

“Nonsense!” Troy clenched his fist as he looked at Tom’s devastated face. Anger leaked from every pore. Only Devil Poison could seriously hurt the great Draconic species. “We managed to deal with the worst with the help of the priests. But that’s just a temporary solution. The antidote…” Troy swallowed the rest of his words.

Tom didn’t ask what he meant to say; it was obvious. It was impossible to easily treat Devil Poison. Furthermore, the Summer Queen’s nightmares prevented her from resting well, and so she would have difficulty healing herself. Things would only get worse. 

Tom felt like his head would explode, but he had to do something. He was worried that he not only would be torn apart by his brothers, who were also his rivals, but also that the clan itself would be destroyed. “What about the original owner of the tablet? Have you found the seller?”

Troy shook his head. They had searched through the records and prepared to stand against the Bureau, but they hadn’t found anything. They’d looked for witnesses, but no one remembered anything. “Someone planned it from the start.”

“That’s correct.” Tom ground his teeth. The more he thought about it, the more unbelievable it was that someone would dare play a trick like this on Red Dragon. If their enemy had discovered that the Summer Queen needed the Philosopher’s Stone, it meant they’d planned to injure her directly.

He was certain that a powerful group was behind it. Who was it? The Elohim? The Blood Land? The Sea of Time? The survivors of the Cheonghwado? Or the Sword God?

Whoever it was, one thing was certain: they wouldn’t be able to get away. Red Dragon would chase them to the ends of the world and destroy everything related to them.  

They had already turned the Bureau, the Magic Tower, and the Blood Land, who had been protecting the magnate, into enemies. However, Tom didn’t care. He was only concerned about the Summer Queen’s survival and his enemy’s destruction. “What about the place where the tablet was found? If someone has been targeting us, they might have left some clues behind?”

Troy nodded and pulled out some papers. “Do you remember the Faust Historic Site from six years ago?”

“Faust? Wasn’t the place ruled a fake?” Almost no one remembered Faust, the Despiser of Light who had stood as an equal to the Summer Queen. Today, he could be compared to the Martial King.

He’d been famous because, even though he wasn’t affiliated to anyone, he was the only contractor of the demon Mephistopheles. Mephistopheles collected all kinds of knowledge, and Faust had made many achievements with his influence. 

However, his accomplishments weren’t known to the world since he didn’t have any friends or comrades. As a result, when his old lab was discovered, the Tower had been thrown into an uproar.

However, everyone’s interest quickly faded when it was discovered that there were only strange things in the lab, and none of the miracles that people had been expecting. It was nothing more than the dungeon of a useless magician.

“That’s what I also believed. However, it looks like we were wrong.”

“What happened?”

“One year after the big commotion about the site, the Cheonghwado and Walpurgisnacht inspected the site together. At the time, the person in charge of the Cheonghwado was Leonte.”

Tom’s eyes flashed. Leonte had been the person creating the Philosopher’s Stone. “And?”

Troy nodded with a frown. “We don’t know for sure what they discovered there, but after Leonte and Walpurgisnacht entered the site, some witnesses say that they found something like a stone monument. Don’t you think this might be related?”

Tom clenched his fist. Blue veins bulged on his knuckles. Leonte was dead, which meant that there was only one suspect: Walpurgisnacht. He didn’t know why a bunch of witches would target the Summer Queen. It was possible they had nothing to do with this, since the discoveries they made at the site might not have anything to do with the tablet. However, it was obvious that they’d done something suspicious with Leonte.

The only option was for Red Dragon to storm them and force them to answer. And even if Walpurgisnacht weren’t responsible, Red Dragon would be able to trace the real culprit. It was important to follow the trail. 

“So those bitches dared to do something this horrible, hm?” Crunch! Tom ground his teeth and turned to look at Troy.

Troy nodded. Red Dragon would have to prepare themselves for bloodshed if they were to fight against the Walpurgisnacht. However, there was no time to weigh the pros and cons. Even if they had to fight the Tower itself, they would find the wrongdoer and a cure for the Summer Queen. 

***

Just as the diary described, Marquis Caliburn was a fierce-looking, middle-aged man. The Gluttony Emperor treasured the Four Dukes and Eight Marquises the most among his swords, and Marquis Caliburn was one of the strongest, a high ranker with extraordinary abilities. 

Yeon-woo wondered whether he would be able to win if they fought. Since he hadn’t completely assimilated with the Philosopher’s Stone yet, it might be hard in single combat. However, if Shanon and the others helped, then: ‘I can do it. Easily.’

He was now powerful enough to target high rankers. Yeon-woo looked at Marquis Caliburn. “And if I am?” His tone was impassive. 

One of the Marquis Caliburn’s eyebrows twitched. Then, he nodded without showing his emotions. “I guess you are. Of course. Who else would be in the company of the Exile, the Snake Hunter, and the Cheongram siblings.” Marquis Caliburn narrowed his eyes. “I’ve been waiting for you to come out. A few months ago, we thought you visited a brothel, but when we went to look for you, you’d already disappeared.”

“Is this because of Baron Lao?”

“Yes! Do you know what happened to him?” Marquis Caliburn’s eyes flashed. “Lao is a cherished subordinate of mine. The emperor ordered him to visit you and the Exile and invite you to be our guests, but he never returned. I want to know what happened.”

“Don’t you already have an idea?”

The Blood Land knew that the Elohim were chasing after Brahm as well. The data that had been used to restore the twenty-third floor was from before Agares’ descent, and they would have been able to see the clues of the confrontation between the Elohim and the Blood Land. Yeon-woo had also set things up with Synchronization.

“I want to know in detail.”

“Lao said that he wanted to invite me and Brahm to the Blood Land. After that…” Yeon-woo lied without even blinking once. He described Lao’s invitation, his acceptance, and Lao’s offer to help them with the Ceratopsian Dinosaur. Then, he described how the Elohim had arrived and how they had barely managed to escape with Lao’s help. “I don’t know if you believe me, but Lao said that he couldn’t let his emperor’s guests be in danger, so he bought time for us. Fortunately, we survived, but…” Yeon-woo’s voice trailed off but it was enough.

Marquis Caliburn clenched his fists. His sharp, knife-like eyes trembled. There was nothing that affected the members of the Blood Land more than a story about loyalty. “What were…his last moments like?”

“He died a knight.”

“Is that so? Good.” Marquis Caliburn was silent and shut his eyes. He repeated the name of his loyal subordinate who had died for the emperor. Behind him, the players murmured angrily about the Elohim’s cowardice. None of them had noticed anything odd. After all, Yeon-woo’s acting was good enough to trick a mysterious merchant. Yeon-woo could barely hold in his laughter, thinking that he’d found another hidden talent. ‘With this, the Blood Land will be sufficiently enraged.’

Everything had been set in motion.  Red Dragon would be chasing after Walpurgisnacht any moment now. Yeon-woo was planning on interfering with Brahm and Ananta as his excuse. Then, the Elohim wouldn’t be able to resist showing their faces, and the Blood Land would follow to attack them. 

In one fell swoop, three of the Large Clans would be embroiled in war. Eventually, even the Magic Tower, the merchant unions of the magnate, and the Bureau would jump in to confirm the authenticity of the tablet. 

There had never been a fight like this since the beginning of the Tower. Yeon-woo was going to extract everything he needed from the fight, including Ananta. ‘Vieira Dune’s head will be a nice bonus, as well.’

Phante looked flabbergasted at how expertly Yeon-woo could lie, but he didn’t show Marquis Caliburn his face. Marquis Caliburn calmed himself and asked Yeon-woo another question. “What was your answer at the time?”

“I accepted the invitation.”

“Is that still your answer?”

“Of course. For the sake of our comrade.”

“Comrade...yes. You’re right. If you’re Lao’s comrade, you’re also my comrade and the Blood Land’s.” Marquis Caliburn’s eyes glowed. “I swear here that in accordance to Lao’s will, we will consider you our ally and protect you from danger as long as you don’t betray us. Wherever you are, the Blood Land’s emperor will be with you.” Magic power was infused in his voice. “And the Elohim will have to pay the price.”

Ding!

[Marquis Caliburn’s pledge has been declared.]

An invisible line connected Marquis Caliburn and Yeon-woo as the system applied the pledge of mana. It was also a declaration of war against the Elohim. 

Not even the closest of friends made this kind of pledge, but the Marquis Caliburn was too angered by Lao’s death. After confirming the pledge, he nodded and invited Yeon-woo to the Blood Land again. However, at that moment, a subordinate urgently said, “Sir.” He quickly whispered in the marquis’ ear.

When he saw the marquis’ face harden, Yeon-woo immediately understood what had happened. ‘It’s begun.’

Marquis Caliburn turned to look at Yeon-woo with an uncomfortable expression. “I think we’ll have to postpone your visit for now. The Summer Queen seems to have gotten into some trouble.”

Since Red Dragon was on the move, they would have to be on guard as well. Yeon-woo nodded in understanding. “There’s no need to rush. We can talk next time.”

Marquis Caliburn turned and left the stage with his subordinates. As he watched them leave, Brahm approached Yeon-woo. “Cain.”

Yeon-woo nodded. “Yes. We should go too.” They jumped into a portal. 

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