Chapter 232 - Witch Hunt (7)

“What’s this? You look like a dried-up kernel of corn.”

From the first time we met, it was impossible to forget Ananta. My comrades all laughed at her words, and Vieira Dune shook her head. I suddenly had the desire to look at my reflection. I didn’t think I was ugly--did I really look that bad?

Ananta was always on the verge of crossing lines. She often said mean things like they were no big deal, and she had a sharp air that made it hard to approach her. Although the team members laughed at the things she said, they often asked me over and over why we had to keep her close.

However…why did she seem like a dog that was all bark and no bite to me? I wanted to get closer to her, even though that wasn’t part of the conditions Brahm gave me.

His brother’s first impression of Ananta had been that she was venomous…and lonely. Her loneliness underneath her mean exterior pulled his brother to her. ‘He always did like sticking his nose into others’ businesses.’ Although he used to be holed up in his room most of the time on Earth, he often caught onto things quickly and couldn’t resist interfering.

At first, Ananta had been annoyed that his brother followed her around, and she continued to insult him. At one point, she even attacked him with a sword. Eventually, she relented and asked him a question.

“Are you in love with me?”

“No. I have a girlfriend.” 

“Then why are you bothering me? If you’re going to tell me to meet that geezer, I’ll cut your tongue out.”

“So you’re saying that you won’t use your sword if I don’t tell you to meet Brahm, right?”

“We’ll see.”

“Hehehe. OK, let’s play.”

“What?”

“You’ve got a fierce bark but your eyes are sparkling like a puppy’s. I’m ready to play with you, doesn’t that make you grateful? You won’t ever find a friend like—!”

“Seriously, this bastard!”

“Ack! You said you wouldn’t use your sword!”

No one knew what she was thinking when they bantered like that. The only thing certain was that the conversations marked the start of Ananta opening up to Jeong-woo. The rest of Arthia was sick of Ananta’s insults and didn’t go near her anymore. However, Ananta’s friendship with Jeong-woo ended when she reunited with Brahm, fell in love with Jeong-woo, and rescued Sesha.

Now, Ananta was in front of Yeon-woo. ‘Why are you like this, Ananta?’ The person that he saw in the diary and Brahm’s memories was finally here. She had loved his brother passionately, but he never returned her affections. She had raised Sesha like her own child, but she couldn’t even hug her anymore.

She had been pushed to the edge of the world and captured by witches in the end. After Boo investigated the souls of the witches, he found some information about Ananta that he delivered to Yeon-woo. Thanks to this, Yeon-woo saw what Ananta had gone through.

“What about the test subject? Where is BX-71?”

“Test subject? Why are you asking me about that?”

“Do you think anything will change just because you’re pretending not to know? I’m talking about the Dragon Human you took! The vessel that we need for our Mother!”

“Hahaha!”

“Why are you laughing?”

“You guys are crazy.”

“What?”

“Tell this to Vieira Dune, the bitch that’s referring to her daughter as a test subject and a vessel: I’m going to rip her apart one day.”

Test subject BX-71 was what Walpurgisnacht called Sesha; Ananta had been the one to give her the name “Sesha”. They did many experiments to bring their Great Mother to this plane, which was the reason they’d also found Faust’s knowledge. They had experimented with all kinds of beings and decided that Sesha would be the best option. All the unfortunate beings stuck in the glass coffins had been their test subjects as well, ranging from an ordinary human male and old people to baby goblins and spirits. They all now lay motionless in the glass coffins.

“You can be sure of it. I won’t forget about this, and I’ll kill every last one of you by ripping your limbs from your bodies.” Despite the horrible torture, Ananta never gave in, and her glares made the witches feel shivers down their spines even though she was bound up.

Once they realized they couldn’t learn anything from her, they labeled her “PA-12” and sent her to the lab. Ananta was also a Dragon Human. Since her identity was completely set, it was hard to use her as a vessel. However, she was great to experiment with. 

‘They even tried to sell her to the Elohim at a high price.’ This was also another piece of information he learned from the witches’ souls. Walpurgisnacht had heard that the Elohim were trying to stem their looming decline and contacted them. ‘Restoring the Superior species? How useless.’ The Elohim’s obsession with lineage was really amazing.

However, the truth was that it wasn’t that hard to understand. Divine blood grew more diluted as time went on, and so would the powers that came with it. A few power-hungry families were even turning to incest. However, even that had its limits, so they needed Ananta.

They were going to use her to take their seed and use her as a test subject afterwards. Even if they acted like they were better, the Elohim was no different from Walpurgisnacht. They were all trash that had to be discarded. ‘I should save Ananta first.’

Yeon-woo found the source code of the magic circle through the connection with Boo, and connected his magic power to the magic circle. One of the advantages of the Philosopher’s Stone was that it could be changed to any type of magic power, and with the addition of his title, Blessed by Mana, the hacking process went smoothly. 

All the pumps and pipes that led to Ananta’s glass coffin fell off.  Purple liquid poured onto to the ground, and with a click, the glass coffin slowly opened. 

Yeon-woo quickly examined Ananta’s condition. Even though the experiments had been stopped, she didn’t show any signs of waking. Her face was very pale. ‘She’s too exhausted, and her mind has been overwhelmed. She needs to be treated quickly.’ Her mind was nearly gone, as though they had been trying to make her into a doll. 

Yeon-woo relieved her exhaustion with temporary healing magic and laid Ananta down in a healing capsule he pulled out from Intrenian.

“The next time you open your eyes, you’ll see your family. Just hang on and wait a little longer.” Yeon-woo stroked Ananta’s forehead. Her rigid eyelids became less tense. Had she heard him? Or was it just a coincidence? He didn’t know for sure, but Yeon-woo thought she seemed relieved. He put her inside Intrenian. 

He turned to the rest of the guinea pigs. They were breathing but he didn’t feel any life in them. Their souls were gone. He thought it would be best if he just sent them away so that they wouldn’t be in pain anymore. Yeon-woo gathered Aura in his fingertips. Just when he was about to let it burst out, there were voices.

“What’s this? What happened here?”

“Why is the storage room empty?”

“All the treasures have disappeared! The treasure chest of ghouls isn’t here!”

“The weapons storage room is empty too!”

“Same with the archives! F-from the magic books to the Emerald Tablet—they’re all gone!”

“Which bastard…”

“The labs! Run to the labs! Now! The lab is in danger!”

With his Extrasensory Perception, he sensed the witches running around, panicking at the empty storage rooms and archives. ‘I didn’t think there would be enough time. Boo did better than I hoped.’ Yeon-woo smirked as he thought of what Vieira Dune’s expression must be like.

Mas…ter. Just then, Boo’s skull popped out from his shadow. The…enemies.

“I know. Good job.”

Your…happiness…is a…great honor…to me. Boo bowed, his body trembling as though he didn’t know what to do with the compliment. Inferno Sight burned with joy in his eye sockets. 

Yeon-woo flicked his fingers and shot out Aura. Snap was a skill he had recently learned after researching Aura. Ping! Ping! Ping! Dozens of Snaps pierced the glass coffins and penetrated the heads of the test subjects.

The coffins fell to the ground, leaking blood and purple liquid. Boo absorbed the liquid on the floor quickly since they were also materials used to make the Philosopher’s Stone. He needed it to become stronger, and he had made sure to collect the other Philosopher’s Stones that were in the underground complex. 

Vieira Dune and the witches entered the lab after Yeon-woo and Boo already hid themselves. 

“H-how did something like this happen?”

“The test subjects!”

“Where is PA-12? Find PA-12 first!”

“PA-12 is the only one missing!”

“Damn it!”

“It hasn’t been that long since those bastards were here! They can’t have gone far, go look for them, quickly!”

The witches searched for Ananta in the destroyed lab and quickly realized that she was missing. The other witches tried to calm the trembling Vieira Dune down. “The materials for the vessel…the vessel to call forth our Mother…!” The Great Mother had told Vieira Dune to prepare a temporary vessel for her, saying that she would punish those who ruined her deep slumber, and Vieira Dune had immediately thought of Ananta.

They had been planning on selling her to the Elohim and allying with them, but the situation was too urgent now, especially since Ione had backstabbed them. However, without Ananta, their plans would result in nothing.

She looked to see if she could use anyone else as a vessel, but all the test subjects had holes in their heads the size of a fist. At this rate, Walpurgisnacht was truly on the brink of disaster. 

“Dune, calm down!”

“Calm down? How can I calm down? What’s everyone doing? What have you been doing to let things get this far?!” Vieira Dune slapped away the hand patting her shoulder as she spat out those words. Her pupil-less eyes were scarier than normal, and the witches all stepped back in surprise.

It was their first time to witness their cool and collected leader, who had never made a single misstep, raise her voice. At that moment, they were forcefully reminded of the fact that Vieira Dune was the most witchlike of them all. She’d entered the clan without any background but managed to step on her rivals to become the leader.

All of her rivals had died mysteriously from poison, assassination, brainwashing—there was no solid evidence, but it was clear that Vieira Dune was responsible. This was why even the first witches were intimidated by her. She was the kind of person who could stab her lover in the heart without blinking. She was also talented enough to be favored by the Great Mother. No one could touch her. Even though the past few years had been quiet, she hadn’t changed at all.

In fact, her spite was greater after she’d held it in so long. The hair under her hat began to twist and turned into snakes. It was her signature skill, Medusa. The snakes that ate their parents and turned people into stone wrapped around the necks of the witches, who turned pale, not even daring to breathe. “Everyone, listen well. Before the intruders come, find PA-12, that bitch Ananta. Even at the risk of your lives.”

The witches were too frightened to respond.

“Do you understand?”

“Yes!”

“Yes, understood!”

“Run.” Vieira Dune’s voice calmed down again, but a tense feeling continued to close around the witches’ necks. They ran, fearful that they would end up as Medusa’s food.

Vieira Dune activated magic to chase after the enemy, as well. She’d noticed that the security system had been hacked, and she planned to investigate to see how the source code had been stolen. That way, she might be able to trace the culprit. However, as she examined it, she unexpectedly found traces of a familiar magic power from a Draconic species. It was just like the one her former lover had possessed.

Since she had killed him, Vieira Dune felt a hair-raising fear. She turned her head to look at the other witches when something exploded from the ceiling. Boom! Black fire spread out, swallowing everything in its path. It incinerated the witches around her and even chased after the ones that had left.

The entire underground complex shook, from the labs and archives to the storage rooms, and then collapsed. Everything that Walpurgisnacht had tried so hard to attain was destroyed in one fell swoop. 

Yeon-woo appeared through the black fire and broke the barrier protecting Vieira Dune. 

“You!” As soon as she saw the eyes behind the black mask, Vieira Dune’s eyes widened. They were the eyes of the person with whom she’d held hands, kissed, and spent nights with for over five years. It was the person who smiled at her first thing in the morning. It was impossible for her not to recognize him.

Her dead lover was right in front of her.

Yeon-woo swung Vigrid, and Vieira Dune’s head flew into the air. Before the black fire consumed it, her eyes stared at him, filled with shock and fear.

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