Chapter 229 - Witch Hunt (4)

Boom! Boom! Boom!

“Fuck!” Tom cursed as he saw the meteorites crash on the ground. Each time he screamed, his scales, which had gone red from fury, trembled. “How dare these rat-like bitches…!” He had barely recovered from the hallucinations and the chimeras in Ghost World Formation, when witches on broomsticks suddenly appeared in the sky. Although they were common trash that was easy to deal with, they blocked Red Dragon from the safety of the sky. 

He couldn’t touch any of them because of the first witch, Margaret, who poured out all kinds of magic as she was enveloped in purple light. She prevented Red Dragon from moving by changing the laws of gravity, and she protected the other witches by throwing up barriers around them.

Meteorites fell from the sky like rain, and the ground was doing impossible things like shrinking and expanding. Was the witch’s power limitless? Even if she had more than the usual amount, she ought to have run dry by now, but Margaret didn’t even seem tired. Her cheeks grew rosier the longer she battled, and even her magic level seemed to rise.

An ominous purple light glowed around Margaret again. At first, it had been a faint shimmer, but now it was as bright as a full moon. Mere witches couldn’t perform these sorts of miracles, which left only one possibility: ‘That bitch is using the Philosopher’s Stone!’

He was certain that a Philosopher’s Stone had been assimilated in her body since she had a similar aura to that of the Summer Queen. It was all the proof he needed that the Emerald Tablet had something to do with Walpurgisnacht. The Summer Queen’s medicine was right in front of him and not being able to approach the witches made him feel like going crazy.

“Beginning, Danghee is dead. There’s no way we can go on like this.” Troy approached him with a frown. Danghee was one of the Eighty-One Oculus who usually accompanied Tom and Troy. She was the weakest of them, but she was still a high ranker. The situation was looking really grim for them.

Tom gritted his teeth. If only they could get that bitch, the path would open! But no matter how many times he activated his signature skill, it didn’t affect Margaret. She’d only turned her hand over and made the ground ripple, and Red Dragon lost one-third of their forces.

They couldn’t retreat since they’d come such a long way and the Summer Queen was dying at a rapid pace. They had to find the Philosopher’s Stone as soon as possible since it was unlikely they would get another chance. He was also anxious because the Elohim had moved before they did. If they got the real tablet, everything would go down the drain.

Worry and the fear that time was running out pressed down on him, and he wasn’t sure they would succeed in their mission. With that in mind, Tom decided to ask for more help. Only a fraction of Red Dragon’s forces were in the Endless World of Night—the rest were protecting their base and the others were on standby in case any news about the Emerald Tablet or Philosopher’s Stone arrived. However, since he was sure that the witches had a Philosopher’s Stone, he didn’t have to worry about calling for backup. ‘I’ll have to see those bastards.’

He didn’t want to see his brothers, but he had no choice but to turn to them. He was about to contact them when something exploded in the sky. Boom! The blast shook the ground and the entire Outer Space.

Along with the rest of Red Dragon, Tom and Troy looked up automatically. A pitch-black fire was spreading among the witches. Although Tom had seen his mother control several types of fires before, he’d never seen one with this color. It was hotter than most fires and seemed like hell fire itself.

The explosion impacted Margaret first before spreading to the other witches. The atmosphere boiled. Objects began to fall from the sky. Plop! Plop! Plop! Margaret’s charred head fell to the ground with the rest of the debris.

“What is this?” Tom was flustered. He’d never expected anything like that to happen. Where did the explosion come from? How did it kill Margaret? Did the Philosopher’s Stone explode because she didn’t use its magic properly? Whatever the reason was, one thing was clear: it was their chance. “Run! We have to get there before the Elohim does!”

With Tom and Troy at the lead, hundreds of Red Dragon players began to run towards a sharp mountain that stabbed into the sky beyond the twisted canyons.

* * *

The strange phenomenon was occurring all throughout the Endless World of Night. “Huh?”

“What’s going on?”

The first witches had pushed the intruders into a corner, only to suddenly explode and burn to death without even having a chance to scream. The players who had been caught up in Ghost World Formation were freed. 

“These bitches are keeping something important for sure.”

“Let’s take it. Finders keepers!”

They began to move faster through the Endless World of Night.

* * *

“The enemies are near! We have to stop them!”

“Everyone, be prepared for death!”

“Great Mother is with us. Even if we die, we can live forever in her arms, so don’t worry about your lives!”

Brocken Castle was at the peak of the sharp mountain beyond the maze-like canyons. Since it was close to the moon, it amplified the witches’ powers, but for added protection, it was also surrounded by sturdy walls. As they flew back to the castle, the witches looked ominous in their pointy hats and broomsticks.

All the witches in the Tower moved busily, from the first witches birthed from the Great Mother to the young witches who were just beginning to learn the laws of witches and the ones who had never left the castle.

A few years ago, Heaven Wing Cha Jeong-woo had attacked the castle, it hadn’t been anything like this invasion. The outcome of this battle would determine whether or not the clan would survive.

However, even though the witches were using the power of the Great Mother, the Large Clans and high rankers were backing them into a corner, and the canyons were in danger of crumbling.

“Monster World Formation has been bypassed!”

“Disaster World Formation and Underworld Formation have both been activated!”

There were five World Formations that defended them—Ghost World Formation, Monster World Formation, Disaster World Formation, Underworld Formation, and Calamity World Formation. The Emerald Tablet from the Faust dungeon wasn’t their only treasure; their magic knowledge was enough to create an entire archive, and Walpurgisnacht utilized it well to protect themselves.

Their accomplishments had recently improved, but no matter how outstanding their barrier was, they were being attacked by the most skilled players in the Tower, and the castle was like a toppling sandcastle.

‘Did we only get this far because of the five barriers?’ D’arc clenched her teeth. The invasion had sprung out of the blue to her. Where did things start to go wrong? When Ananta stole test subject BX_71? Or when they stole the Emerald Tablet from Leonte? Or when the Great Mother went silent?

It didn’t matter, they had done what was necessary, and they were already at the brink of the Great Mother’s descent.

Things had taken a turn when the tablet pieces had gone up for auction, and Walpurgisnacht had immediately recognized that they might be blamed for the consequences. Unfortunately, they too had no idea who the culprit was, although they were sure that it had to be a well-known player who was powerful enough to push Red Dragon and shake the Tower up.

‘Could it be Brahm? He might’ve done this to rescue Ananta. No, it can’t be him. It’s true the Exile is smart, but he couldn’t have done this by himself. It takes a bunch of sly people, but who?’ D’arc racked her brain until her head hurt, but she couldn’t find the answer. ‘I need to focus on stopping the invaders first. It won’t be too late to look for the culprit after that.’

Usually, Walpurgisnacht wouldn’t have the resources to stop the invaders, but D’arc was confident because they had a secret weapon other than the magic and barriers from the Faust dungeon: ‘The Philosopher’s Stone.’

Although it was a weak prototype that didn’t even deserve to be called the Philosopher’s Stone, it was effective enough. The first witches each had a Philosopher’s Stone that they could use to support the young witches and fight using guerilla tactics, which was why Red Dragon and the other invaders hadn’t been able to pass Ghost World Formation.

Now, D’arc was trying to stop the Sea of Time. Although their powers were equal to those of Red Dragon, they had relatively low numbers.

Ding! A warning sound alerted her that enemies were coming. D’arc put the Philosopher’s Stone in her mouth. “Everyone prepare for—!” D’arc’s eyes widened. ‘The smell of blood?’

Just then, a dark shadow loomed, and D’arc turned to see two will-o’-wisps right in front of her. “Aah!” D’arc quickly turned to get off of her broom but a sword passed through her left shoulder, severing her arm from her body. ‘It’s the culprit!’

D’arc realized this as soon as she saw the masked player with Fire Wings. She didn’t know if he was the leader or an underling, but it was clear that he wasn’t from the Sea of Time. ‘I have to tell Vieira!’

The young witches with D’arc were all dead now. The player was so quick that even a first witch like her couldn’t see him properly. The others had stood no chance at all. It was her fault for not sensing him in time, and she needed to deal with this mistake.

She had to alert Vieira that a dangerous person had arrived, and until she received an answer, she had to occupy the new invader. D’arc channeled her magic power to the Philosopher’s Stone in her mouth. With it, all kinds of things were possible. To the witches, the Philosopher’s Stone performed miracles. She would be able to stop the player who had arrived either out of courage or foolishness.

However, D’arc’s eyes widened. ‘What?’ The Philosopher’s Stone didn’t move. It was lifeless like an ordinary stone. She’d checked that it was working properly before she left the Tower, how could it have suddenly broken?

The masked figure approached her, and she shivered at the creepy will-o’-wisps behind his mask. She blinked when he said, “It won’t work.”

‘What?’

“It didn’t work for the others.” He made it sound as though he were responsible for the failure of the Philosopher’s Stones.

‘What kind of—’ The masked player stabbed his sword into her chest. The magic organ was completely cut off and D’arc’s eyes grew bloodshot. 

Yeon-woo grabbed D’arc’s head. He could see her eyes fill with terror as he ignited the black flames from his fingertips. They spread all over D’arc’s head, and the witch screamed in fear but she was soon burned to a crisp.

“Forty two.” Yeon-woo tallied up the number of witches he’d killed and tossed D’arc’s corpse to the ground. Her head broke apart, revealing a purple stone inside. Yeon-woo’s shadow stretched out, and Boo absorbed the Philosopher’s Stone. Purple fire glimmered in his eye sockets. 

“Good job.”

I’m honored…to obey…your orders. Boo bowed. He had been responsible for controlling the witches’ Philosopher’s Stones. Thanks to their research, Boo learned the weakness of the witches’ prototype stones--a weakness that Yeon-woo’s completed Philosopher’s Stone didn’t have.  

Boo had blocked the flow of magic power to turn the witches’ Philosopher’s Stones into ordinary ones, and they fell like autumn leaves. Although it was important to save Ananta, they had to deal with Walpurgisnacht’s defenses as well. Everyone had to continue attacking each other and eat away at each other’s forces. 

It’s…done.

Yeon-woo smiled coldly when Boo was done absorbing the Philosopher’s Stone. Boo was probably the person who’d gained most from the attack.

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