Chapter 227 - Witch Hunt (2)

Once a clan grew large enough, they needed a reliable base or a clan house. However, the incessant conflicts in the Tower made it difficult to protect a clan house. Only the Eight Large Clans had the resources to set up stations on different floors to recruit players, and most clans on the higher floors didn’t have this capability.

It was also difficult for smaller clans to set up their bases on the lower floors since they would begin to lose power once they climbed higher. The unique needs of the players in the Tower made it difficult to find a good spot to set up a clan house. The only outliers were Allforone, who dominated the seventy-seventh floor, and Red Dragon, whose headquarters was on the seventy-sixth floor.

This was where the mysterious merchants stepped in to sell areas in the Outer Spaces, which was what the subspaces outside of the Tower were called. The Outer Spaces were the only place where they could guarantee safety for clans. Since one could control access to a specific Outer Space, they were easy to defend. This meant that even though they were expensive, they sold like hotcakes.

This was why no one had found Arthia’s clan house to this day. The witches’ home, Endless World of Night, Brocken Castle, was also one of those Outer Spaces. Without the exact coordinates, it would be impossible to even dream of finding it. Just a few degrees off and you’d fall into an unknown area between Outer Spaces.

Boo confirmed the accuracy of his coordinates after checking several times. I will…open…the portal. The Teleport portal opened wide to reveal a glimmering space at the other end.

“We don’t know if there are any traps on the other side, so everyone, be careful.”

Brahm, Galliard, Phante, and Edora gravely nodded. Even if they were chasing after Red Dragon, this was the witches’ superior territory. Even dogs knew it was a bad idea to invade another dog’s territory, and so they braced themselves for what might come. Vieira Dune hadn’t told Yeon-woo’s brother anything about the Endless World of Night, even though they were lovers.

“And above all, we have to prioritize gathering information about Ananta. Don’t do anything that’ll draw attention.”

Phante had already heard about Sesha and Brahm’s backstory, and he sniffed and pounded his chest. “I might be a prodigal son who doesn’t listen to his father, but I know that much.”

Yeon-woo nodded. He pulled his Magic Bayonet out and took a step into the portal. At that moment, he suddenly had a memory of himself leading his subordinates into unknown areas in Africa. The memories seemed to overlap with the present. He calmed his boiling blood and said, “Let’s go in.”

***

Brocken Castle didn’t immediately appear when they emerged from the other end of the portal. The witches had clearly been concerned about being followed, so they’d created a path towards the castle that was full of twists and turns.

At each corner, there were different gruesome scenes.

“Wh-who are you people?”

“You’re from the Walpurgisnacht, right?”

“Wh-what are you…?”

“Looks like I’m right. You easy bitches, I could smell something disgusting all the way here. Sweep them all away!” Witches were considered easy because they’d given their bodies to demons.

People had already arrived ahead of Yeon-woo and his party. Red Dragon had been the first, and they’d already sniffed out the secret hideouts and labs of Walpurgisnacht. Some of them were torturing the witches to find out more information. 

“You dirty things! Why are you doing this to us? We don’t have anything to do with it!”

“Then why did you show up at the auction?”

“W-we wanted to see if it was the real Emerald Tablet. That’s all! It’s the truth!”

Red Dragon tortured the witches in order to confirm their suspicions around Walpurgisnacht—“Our c-clan…”—as well as to get more information about the exact location of Walpurgisnacht and their other bases, as well as how their subordinates were organized. 

“The Emerald Tablet was…!”

“What about the Emerald Tablet?”

“Found in F-Faust’s dungeon! It’s an item from another world that Faust made under instructions from Mephistopheles!”

“Explain.”

“I-I’ll tell you…so, please! Please k-kill me after!”

There was also information about the Emerald Tablet. 

“W-we don’t exactly know what that is either! All we know is that it’s something mysterious from unknown gods.”

‘Unknown gods?’ The witch was saying that the Emerald Tablet had nothing to do with the gods and demons on the ninety-eighth floor. Yeon-woo suddenly felt cold. The Tower was a place with many different dimensions and worlds. It was already growing with the different cultures contained inside it, but even with that, the Philosopher’s Stone was knowledge that most people didn’t have access to.

However, Faust had used Mephistopheles to receive a part of the knowledge that belonged to the gods of other worlds and make the Emerald Tablet. It was only a part, and not even everything, which made him wonder how far this knowledge actually reached.

The gods and demons kept quiet. They usually sent him messages even if they were bored, but now, they were suspiciously silent. Yeon-woo wanted to hear more details, but the witches didn’t seem to know much. Since Vieira Dune was in charge of the Emerald Tablet, they would only get satisfactory answers once she was caught.

Red Dragon wasn’t the only clan after Walpurgisnacht. 

“I didn’t think I would see you here.” 

“How dare you?!”

The other clans that Red Dragon had humiliated at the Kelat Auction house showed up to bother them. As well, many rankers and clans formed temporary alliances after hearing that the Emerald Tablet was originally from Walpurgisnacht. As a result, every place Yeon-woo’s party passed had been turned into ruins, and corpses littered the ground. Some souls still hadn’t left yet, and so Yeon-woo said, ‘Eat.’

Hey, you make us sound like pets when you say it like that! Well, I guess I’ll dig in. Hehehe!

I’m going to be full for the first time in a long while.

Shanon and Hanryeong could consume as many souls as much as they wanted. 

With Red Dragon’s attack, the witches’ flight, and the other players chasing after them, Yeon-woo’s scheme was growing bigger and more complex. Soon, they arrived at their destination.

[You have entered the Endless World of Night.]

[Warning! This is private property. Without permission from the owner of this territory, you will suffer a penalty for trespassing.]

[What happens here is not recorded by the Tower.]

An ashy world appeared along with messages. Cliffs soared into a star-filled sky, and the canyons between the cliffs looked like a labyrinth that was shrouded in fog.

I guess witches are predictable. This place is so creepy. Humans aren’t creative at all.

Yeon-woo agreed with Shanon, and he opened his Draconic Eyes to observe the canyons. There were imperfections everywhere, but security was extra tight because even the Draconic Eyes couldn’t see how the canyons had been made. 

“Ugh. Why is it so gloomy? This is why people say witches are creepy.”

“It’s Ghost World Formation.” Everyone turned to Brahm, and he further explained, “It’s a ghostly fog that creates hallucinations and a feeling of fear. It also decreases lifespans. It’s very difficult to deal with.”

‘Isn’t that Fog of Blood?’ Yeon-woo was reminded of a skill that Boo had that decreased the lifespans of enemies and buffed allies. He suddenly remembered what Brahm had said about Boo having once been an outstanding black magician.  

 “Can you get rid of it?” Yeon-woo asked.

Brahm shook his head with a sour smile. “Maybe if I had the Book of Mercury. But the only thing I can do right now is lessen its effects.”

Galliard spoke up. “Then I’ll help look for the path.” The skill that Galliard had, Fairy Eyes, helped him find the truth, and since he already had the best eyesight among them, with him and Brahm in the lead, they wouldn’t have to worry too much. As Brahm recited a spell, a blue light wrapped around them. 

[Brahm has cast ‘Blessing: Curse Defense’ on his allies.]

[Brahm has cast ‘Blessing: Immunity Increase’ on his allies.]

…..

[The party has been confirmed.]

[Current members (4/4)]
[###
Galliard Fin Blackelven
Phante Cheongram
Edora Cheongram]

Yeon-woo felt a little awkward about the party that the system had assigned. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but he’d never imagined he’d be part of one. However, his name was still redacted and Brahm wasn’t counted as one of the party since he wasn’t a player anymore.

Yeon-woo could sense the locations of the others, so he would still be able to find them even if they were split up.

[Two sudden quests have been created.]

[Hidden Quest / Field Arrest (1) ]
[Description: The Bureau has decided on disciplinary action in response to Red Dragon’s attack on the Kelat Auction House. However, because of the restrictions placed on the Bureau, they are requesting assistance to capture or kill Red Dragon’s players within the set time. You can take a percentage of the skills or artifacts of the ones you kill.]
[Time limit: 3 days]
[Conditions of Success:
1. Red Dragon members killed 
2. Red Dragon buildings destroyed] 
[Reward: The artifacts or skills of those you kill. Additional rewards may be acquired depending on karma.] 

[Hidden Quest / Field Arrest (2) ]
[Description: Red Dragon has demanded an explanation from Walpurgisnacht after what has happened. At Walpurgisnacht’s denial, the Summer Queen Ismenios has created a quest to destroy and take everything related to Walpurgisnacht. Only players and clans who contribute will receive rewards. The top 3 players will be given ‘Dragon’s Blood’.]
[Time limit: None]
[Condition of Success: Destruction of the Walpurgisnacht]
[Rewards:1. Opening of Intrenian
2. If the conditions are met, Dragon’s Blood]

“Hyung-nim!”

“Yeah. I saw.”

Phante shouted in excitement, but Yeon-woo shook his head as he looked at the quest window. ‘Looks like the Bureau has made their stance clear, and Red Dragon has defied them.’

As the quest explained, it was difficult for the Bureau to do anything to Red Dragon. That was how powerful Red Dragon was. Instead, the Bureau decided to give all players a quest to attack Red Dragon. Although they only had three days, it was enough to cause some damage to Red Dragon.

However, the Summer Queen had cleverly deflected the attention onto another group, and set up the Walpurgisnacht to draw players away from the Red Dragon. ‘Of course, most players will attempt both quests.’ Just as Yeon-woo had planned, the entire Tower was in pandemonium. Multiple variables could pop up at any time, but one thing was for sure: ‘The Walpurgisnacht is properly fucked. They already had a lot of eyes on them, but with Red Dragon added to the mix…’

Brahm was clearly thinking the same thing since the smile didn’t disappear from his face. He met Yeon-woo's eyes, and looked away, coughing. “Let’s go. There’s no time to waste.”

***

They walked with Galliard in the lead, Brahm in the center flanked by Phante and Edora, and Yeon-woo bringing up the rear in case of an attack. The canyons were truly creepy. The fog didn’t disappear even when Brahm and Galliard used magic and spirits, and they couldn’t see clearly. Yeon-woo sent his Consciousness forward, hoping that he might sense something, but he couldn’t feel anything at all, as though he were trying to grab air. 

Keeee! When the wind sounded like it was screaming as it rushed through the rough cliffs, but it spread the fog thinly enough that the party could see more clearly. 

“This…”

“Is a bloody mess.”

There was evidence of battles and corpses everywhere. The things they’d seen before suddenly looked like child’s play. At this point, the allies had begun to fight among themselves, almost as though they didn’t care who they were attacking as long as they could shed blood.

Brahm had said that the Ghost World Formation made people hallucinate and decreased their lifespans, and these players had clearly fallen victim to it. Yeon-woo was about to tell the others to be careful, but when he turned to look at them, they’d vanished. He only saw fog in their place.

‘What is this? When did this happen?’ Yeon-woo’s eyes hardened. They had been swept up in the fog and caught off guard, but he found it difficult to believe that Brahm’s buff would be broken so easily. He checked his body and realized that the buff was still there. Somehow, the fog managed to fool even a buff. Yeon-woo attempted to open his Draconic Eyes and Extrasensory Perception before it was too late. 

At that moment, he heard Edora’s voice through the fog. “Oraboni? Oraboni!” A dark shadow approached him. “There you are!” Edora appeared through the fog. The expression in her eyes turned from concern to relief, just as Yeon-woo swung his Magic Bayonet without any hesitation. Slash! Edora’s head cleanly parted from her body.  

Previous Chapter Next Chapter