Chapter 226 - Witch Hunt (1)

Shrak! Marquis Caliburn emerged from a portal into a new location at the Outer District. Unlike the twenty-third floor, it was hot, and the thick scent of blood wafted around him. His face hardened at the sight that met his eyes. 

Everything was in ruins. Buildings had collapsed and bore traces of violent battles. For a moment, Marquis Caliburn wondered if he’d opened the wrong portal by mistake because he’d intended to go to the Kelat Auction House. He’d never expected that the flourishing marketplace would be reduced to this state.

However, as soon as he saw the Blood Land subordinates sitting on the ruins, he realized he was at the right place. 

“What happ—!”

“You’re here?”

Marquis Caliburn was about to shout at the subordinates, but a familiar voice spoke behind him. The marquis turned and couldn’t help gasping when he saw Duke Ardbad. “Sir!”

“Don’t make a big deal out of it. The underlings will become uneasy.” Duke Ardbad’s right sleeve was empty, but he waved his remaining hand like it wasn’t a big deal and plopped down next to his subordinates.

“What…happened?” Marquis Calirbun pushed his anger down. As the Blood Land had risen throughout the years, he’d fought in countless battlefields, but he’d never seen anything like this. Because he had been on the twenty-third floor after the Demons’ Forest was destroyed, he had no idea what had gone on. 

Duke Ardbad took a big bite from a piece of bread he was holding and said nonchalantly, “Red Dragon went crazy.”

“You mean…?”

“You’ve heard about that thing called the Trigmegistus’ tablet, right?”

“Yes.”

“Red Dragon made a fuss during the auction. I guess they weren’t satisfied with just making enemies of the Magic Tower, the magnate’s people, and the Bureau. Hmph!”

Marquis Caliburn could guess what happened. Red Dragon had probably turned on all the other clans who were at the auction. They’d probably tried to stop Red Dragon and failed.

To be honest, it wasn’t too surprising. Although it was a bit humiliating to admit it, even the Blood Land was no match for the Red Dragon. Those guys were so strong that they could fight the entire Tower without even blinking an eye. However, he couldn’t believe that they had managed to take one of Duke Ardbad’s arms. 

The Duke Ardbad he knew wouldn’t easily lose to anyone, unless it was the Gluttony Emperor. No, even the Gluttony Emperor would have difficulty completely overwhelming him like this. Ardbad didn’t embody power for nothing. However, he waved his hand indifferently as though he didn’t want to talk about it. “Aside from that, how did it go with the Hoarder?”

“He promised to visit the capital. Also, Baron Lao…” Marquis Caliburn repeated what he’d learned. Duke Ardbad nodded, since it was something he’d already guessed. “I see. At least, the emperor’s worries will be eased a little. Anyway, those bastard Elohim must have gone crazy too.” Duke Ardbad’s eyes were burning. He didn’t know why so many people were after them, from the Elohim to Red Dragon. “Everyone in this Tower is a worthless parasite. I don’t know why it’s so hard to regain our promised land,” Duke Ardbad muttered in annoyance before calling for the marquis. “Caliburn.”

“Yes, Your Grace.” Marquis Caliburn quickly knelt and bowed his head. In a battlefield, the commander’s orders were equivalent to the emperor’s. The marquis’ eyes glittered at Duke Arban’s words. 

“We’re going to prepare the military. Get ready.” It meant that the parasites who challenged the emperor’s will would be swept away. They were going to declare war. 

Marquis Caliburn trembled. The peace that Arthia had created through their collapse was finally about to crack. “Yes, at once!”

***

Long after Duke Ardbad and Marquis Caliburn left with their subordinates, a red portal opened, and Yeon-woo and his party appeared. 

“What a mess.” Brahm looked at the Kelat Auction House, or what was left of it, shaking his head in disbelief. Even though it was understandable that Red Dragon would turn against the other clans, what about the Bureau? Destroying the auction house also meant that several mysterious merchant unions would become their enemies as well. 

Although it was hard for players to gauge the exact power of the Guardians, it was clear that even gods and demons couldn’t touch the Twelve Zodiacs. If they made a move, Red Dragon wouldn’t be able to avoid destruction. 

The mysterious merchants couldn’t fight Red Dragon like other clans or the Bureau, but Red Dragon’s large size meant that they would need plenty of supplies. If the unions cut them off, it would be hard for them to fight. 

There was no way Red Dragon wouldn’t expect something like this. Even a child would know the consequences. Did they have something to back them up? It seemed that they were leading everyone on the road to destruction because of sheer arrogance alone. “That’s how desperate they are right now.”

“If their queen dies, everything’s over for them.”

Brahm calmly nodded. Without the Summer Queen, their power would cave in like a wet sandcastle. They were practically dangling off the edge of a cliff at the moment. “If they’re kicked a couple more times, they’ll fall straight into the abyss.”

“It’ll be fun to watch if something that big falls.” Yeon-woo smirked and looked into his shadow. “Boo.”

As the shadow stretched out, a robed Lich appeared. Please…give me your…orders.

“Find where Red Dragon has gone.”

Boo nodded and floated up to the sky, holding his black bead up. A spotlight fell from the bead and began to pour magic out. Boo had grown at a fast pace, and he now exceeded the powers of most other Lichs with rune magic, Victoria’s research, the knowledge that had been gained from studying the Philosopher’s Stone, the power Lawless Book, and Demonism.

Brahm looked at Boo with interest. “That guy grows even more amazing each time I see him. Where did you find him?”

“What do you mean?” Yeon-woo had found Boo through an earring he’d earned as a reward. As far as he knew, Boo was a player who’d lived a long time ago.

“Hm? You haven’t noticed? I don’t think he realizes it yet either, but that guy was probably pretty famous when he was alive. Even if he’s a Lich, that kind of growth is impossible. His new powers are probably more like him getting his original powers back.” Brahm stroked his chin. “That guy was probably more powerful than the three friends you got there. If I had to compare him to anyone contemporary, I’d say he was probably on the same level as the Nine Kings.”

Yeon-woo felt Shanon, Hanryeong, and Rebecca’s stunned reactions through his connection with them. They had considered Boo beneath them since he still couldn’t speak properly, and it was a shock to learn this.

Yeon-woo also had a strange expression on his face. ‘Boo used to be on the same level as the Nine Kings?’ Yeon-woo had only met two of the Nine Kings so far—the Martial King and the Summer Queen. However, he had seen a bit of the others through their simulations on the twenty-first floor, so he had an idea what kind of beings they were. 

He couldn’t imagine Boo being anything like them. Also, if he were that powerful, what happened to make him fall so much that he’d be bound to an artifact that was merely a Tutorial reward?

Also, Boo had been inside an artifact that was only ranked D. It wasn’t something that such a person would have used, and he’d given Boo his name because he was a witch doctor. However, Boo hadn’t reacted to it, perhaps because he was oblivious to the situation. As Yeon-woo contemplated this, Boo said, Let me…show you.

The black bead glowed, and several images flashed through Yeon-woo’s mind. They were scenes of what had taken place.

“Has the Red Dragon finally gone crazy?”

“The treasure is just going back its rightful owner. Isn’t that right? If you have to power to take something, then it belongs to you. Isn’t that something you guys do, too?” With a sneer from Tom the Beginning, the clash between the Red Dragon and the others destroyed the Kelat Auction House instantaneously. Like a ghost, Yeon-woo watched everything from above.

<Eye of Consternation>

This was the power that Boo had created using the Lawless Book as a reference. It recreated past events using the vestiges left behind in objects. Red Dragon’s power was overwhelming. It was shocking enough that Tom, the youngest of the Nine Dragon Sons, had appeared, but they even managed to push all the other clans back. 

The Old Sword, Hanan, sliced off Duke Ardbad’s right arm with his cane, and the two bishops from the Devil Army failed to overpower the Twin Murderers, Jack and Ripper. Hawk Eye Troy extended his fingernails to massacre the rebelling scholars of the Magic Tower. Gruesome scenes like that happened all throughout the auction house. 

‘It’s a mess.’ Yeon-woo was so taken aback that he laughed in disbelief. He’d been aiming for something like this, but the scale was larger than he’d anticipated. ‘All the better for me.’ The muddier the water grew and the more they fought, the more he would benefit from it.

Tom took the tablet and moved to the seventy-sixth floor through a portal. The commotion in the Kelat Auction house ended there, but the confusion left behind lasted for a long time. As he searched through the different clans and players, Yeon-woo found the witches he had been looking for, and he moved closer to them. Their faces were familiar to Yeon-woo: ‘D’arc and Margaret.’

For some time already, people who seem to be protecting Vieira Dune have been following her. I don’t know why. However, the first witches who were born from the mother of witches, Night, usually protect Vieira Dune and have become her teachers or her family. 

Vieira Dune was the clan leader of Walpurgisnacht, but she couldn’t lead them on her own. As a result, some of the witches became her godmothers. They were the first witches and no one knew where they’d come from. All people knew was that they were old monsters that had been alive since the beginning of the Tower. D’arc and Margaret were among the first witches, and they had taught Vieira Dune Seduction and Occult Power. 

“What happened? Why was the Emerald Tablet here? There are traces of something else on it, but it’s definitely the Emerald Tablet.”

“Who leaked it? It’s likely Leonte’s copy, but who would do such a thing?” The witches had arrived for one reason: to confirm the authenticity of the tablet. As soon as they found out that it was real, they were clever enough to realize that they might be held responsible for whatever happened. However, they had to hide their association with the tablet for now. “Let’s get out of here first.”

They planned to return to Brocken Castle to discuss their next steps. D’arc and Margaret took the young witches under their command and recited magic to activate Teleport. They left the commotion and returned to their headquarters.

‘Boo!’ Yeon-woo immediately alerted Boo. Brocken Castle wasn’t a physical location. The Endless World of Night that witches spoke about was in subspace, and there weren’t any paths or coordinates to get to it. Yeon-woo wanted Boo to find the coordinates from the traces they left behind.

I have…found it.

Bingo. 

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