Chapter 234 - Witch Hunt (9)

Just as the Magic Bayonet was about to land on Vieira Dune’s neck—clang! It bounced off an invisible barrier, and a murderous aura suddenly descended. Yeon-woo quickly considered whether he should finish Vieira Dune off or leave. In the end, he decided to leave and put his mask back on.

Boom! At that moment, something descended with great force, making the ground shake so much that it cracked. “Oho. You’ve gotten pretty good. You sensed that? Your senses have become a lot sharper than when you were on the Five Mountains, kiddo.”

Most rankers would’ve run away when the attacker stood up with a soft laugh. He was so small that his robe dragged on the ground, and his face, partially obscured by his hood, had a mischievous smile. However, Yeon-woo also noticed the viciousness on his face. It was the Plague Ghost, the beast of the Devil Army that dared to tear everyone apart except for his Lord. 

“Kindred.”

“Yeah. It’s been a while. It doesn’t seem like you’re surprised.” Kindred flipped his hood back and chuckled. It was their first time meeting after the Monkey King’s Palace, although it didn’t feel as though a long time had passed. “I guess it would be weird if you didn’t notice, huh? Our paths have overlapped so many times. Our fates must be intertwined.”

From the Monkey King’s Palace, the Demons’ Forest, and now Walpurgisnacht. For the past few months, wherever Kindred went, he found traces of Yeon-woo. Was there such a thing as coincidence? Kindred didn’t think so. He believed that the Heavenly Demon controlled every aspect of the world, and meeting Yeon-woo like this was the Heavenly Demon’s will. Kindred greeted Yeon-woo with a sincere smile. “How’s Brahm?”

“Brahm’s dead.”

“Haha. Nope! Even though we aren’t friends, we shouldn’t lie to each other. Did you think I asked because I didn’t know? I know he died, and I also know he’s still walking around on his own two feet despite that.”

Behind the mask, Yeon-woo’s eyes hardened. How did Kindred know so much? Yeon-woo had been careful to keep anything related to the Despair of the Black King a secret. Hardly any of his comrades even knew its secret. How did Kindred—and by extension, the Devil Army—know?

Kindred curved his lips in amusement. “There’s nothing we don’t know about the places where the Heavenly Demon will descend. To be honest, we don’t know too much about your secret, but once the Heavenly Demon finds out, we’ll find out, too. After all, what is this if not for the grace of the Heavenly Demon?”

Yeon-woo realized that it was true that only half of what zealots said made sense. However, he did learn that as he’d watched the Devil Army from the darkness, so they had been spying on him, too. He had wondered why they hadn’t followed him ever since the Monkey King’s Palace, but it was clear that he simply hadn’t discovered them. ‘I’ll have to be more careful from now.’ Yeon-woo clucked his tongue.

He couldn’t let himself be caught by the Devil Army. ‘It’s a relief that they don’t seem to know too much, though.’ If they knew who he was, they would have tried to kill him already. After all, the Devil Army had taken the lead to get rid of Arthia, and Jeong-woo had had a bad relationship with the Head Bishop.

However, Kindred wasn’t showing him any hostility, which meant that he had another goal in mind. Yeon-woo’s guess was proved right when Kindred spoke again. “So, kiddo. As the Heavenly Demon proclaimed, you need to join us. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Yeon-woo asked with wide eyes. “Is it because of Sesha?”

“Partly. If we have you, Brahm will follow, and naturally, that child will come too. But that’s not everything. Aren’t you a successor to the Monkey King? Then that means you’re our brother. We’ll make sure you’re satisfied.”

Yeon-woo didn’t know what the Monkey King and the Devil Army had to do with each other, but what Kindred said about Sesha concerned him. It was clear as day why the Elohim was interested in her, but he didn’t have a clue why the Devil Army was. “What are you planning to do with Sesha?”

“I don’t know either.”

Yeon-woo furrowed his eyebrows. “What?”

“Haha. Didn’t I just say it? We follow the will of the Heavenly Demon. The Heavenly Demon gives me his orders, and I do it. Does there have to be another reason?”

These people were definitely crazy bastards who were hard to understand. Why would the Heavenly Demon need Sesha? It was likely that it wasn’t the will of the Heavenly Demon, but of the Head Bishop instead. ‘It’s been a while since the Heavenly Demon gave orders himself.’ This meant that to protect Sesha, he would have to stand against the Devil Army. It was no different from the Blood Land or the Elohim.

Boom! The castle shook as the intruders entered. Kindred grabbed the back of the gasping Vieira Dune’s neck and extended his hand towards Yeon-woo. “That’s enough small talk. The annoying heretics are here, so come with me.”

“What if I don’t want to?”

Kindred’s kind eyes narrowed. His genial attitude grew hostile, and he bared his teeth, flashing his canines. “You dare resist the Heavenly Demon’s orders? How disrespectful. Do you think you have a choice?”

“I can make choices of my own.”

“What are you talking—!” Just as the growling Kindred was about to take a step forward—boom! The castle quaked once more. The impact that Kindred had produced wasn’t even as powerful as the force that shook the castle now. The entire building began to tilt to one side. “What?”

Everything fell out, and cracks appeared in the ceiling and the walls. Parts of the building began to crumble into dust. Brocken Castle of Walpurgisnacht, which had stood for thousands of years, was collapsing. Rumble!

“What are you doing?!” Kindred shouted in a frantic voice. For the first time after becoming the Second Bishop, he felt a bone-chilling fear. 

However, Yeon-woo just smiled behind the mask. He spoke to his comrades through the connection link. ‘Begin.’

* * *

“He wants us to begin.” Brahm smiled coldly when he heard Yeon-woo’s voice. 

Next to him, Galliard nodded and aimed his bow at a large blue crystal in the sky. “That’s it, right? That’s the center of those strange barriers?”

Although the intruders had managed to penetrate the five barriers around Brocken Castle, the barriers hadn’t fallen yet and were still protecting the castle. Their strongest walls were in the sky, preventing players from entering through that route. Brahm and Galliard wanted to get rid of the barriers completely, and they figured that each barrier had to have a vulnerable core. Walpurgisnacht had gone to great lengths to hide this, but they never anticipated that someone like Yeon-woo, who could control death, would ever appear.

[The 3rd Spirit]

[Lawless Book]

With the two powers, Yeon-woo got Boo to search through the witches’ souls to find the locations of the centers. They were hidden in the canyons around Brocken Castle, and Yeon-woo told his comrades to wait at each location to break each center one at a time. 

There was a core in each of the cardinal directions, as well as one in the middle of the canyons. Brahm and Galliard were in the east. Shanon and Phante in the west, Hanryeong and Edora in the north, and Rebecca in the south. Boo had said that he was prepared to destroy the core in the middle at any time. 

They knew that the witches wouldn’t be able to respond right away once the barriers fell, so they would be able to use this chance to launch fresh onslaughts. Boo and Brahm were already prepared for it. 

‘There are so many.’ Brahm looked below at the battles taking place before he broke the core. The Sea of Time was in the east, and the mercenaries of the West Wind Union were in the west. In the north, the Devil Army and rankers were waiting, and in the south, Elohim had just been attacked, but they were reorganizing their forces again. The mercenaries and assassin guilds looked like starving ghosts to him. 

Although they had set up this trap, he felt pity for the players, who didn’t realize that they were about to step into hell. They had to be wise enough to reach their high positions, so what blinded them like this? Greed? Desire? Not many of them would survive to have regrets.

“It’s a shame I can’t see Kindred’s expression.” Brahm tsked as he thought of Kindred, who had likely found Yeon-woo by now. Would he realize that Yeon-woo was the hunter, not the hunted—that Yeon-woo had laid a trap for him? ‘He made a mistake thinking he’s the only smart one.’

Brahm made a note to ask Yeon-woo about Kindred’s expression. As he did, a thought suddenly occurred to him. ‘Boo found the cores of the barriers so quickly. Why was it so easy for him? The witches built those barriers after long and painstaking experiments. I heard some of his old memories have returned. Does it have anything to do with that?’ However, he paused his speculation since he had an urgent task to complete. Brahm looked at his friend. “Galliard.”

“Got it.” Galliard nodded and released the bowstring. Explosive Arrow was a skill that Dark Elves could gain along with Shunpo if they earned the “Hunter” title. Bang! Bang! Bang! The arrow landed deep inside the blue crystal. Its explosion set off a chain of smaller explosions until the crystal shattered completely.

The first center had been destroyed, and Ghost World Formation faded away. Brahm pulled out a book and began to recite a spell. The Book of Mars wasn’t as nice as the Book of Mercury, but it was also a grimoire that contained his knowledge of alchemy. 

“Come out.” Brahm activated his summoning magic to draw a large magic circle in the air. He was planning to bring a large object into this Outer Space, and the price of this magic spell was astronomical. Fortunately the witches had planted plenty of Philosopher’s Stones into the cores to strengthen them, and he could use these as payment. The witches probably never imagined that the core they’d created for protection would help kill them. 

The sky vibrated, and a large rock wrapped in flames appeared in the magic circle. Brahm smiled coldly when he saw it. “Meteor Strike.”

Boom!

* * *

At that moment, everything suddenly stopped as Demonic World Formation and Underworld Formation disappeared. Finally, Calamity World Formation scattered. There was nothing left to protect the castle, and the flaming rock smashed into it.

It was a calamity.

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