Jang Wei had first met that guy in Africa. The UN had secretly gathered an elite squad of people from different countries to battle an enemy force, that guy was their commander.
When they first saw him, the squad members had laughed. They were all special forces and already uncomfortable being led by an Asian. The fact that he wasn’t even thirty years old made them feel even more annoyed.
At the time, Jang Wei had wondered how the commander would react. Would he somehow manage to squeak through it or would he be broken like the other commanders who had tried to rule with iron fists? Or would he someone impress everyone and make them shut up? Jang Wei was from France, but because he was of Asian descent, he’d also been on the receiving end of prejudice.
His comrades greeted him now when he walked past, but a lot of time had passed before that happened. However, the commander didn’t seem to care about the fingers pointed at him. He carried out his responsibilities, like setting up the training schedule, and the only thing that distinguished him from the other commanders was that he joined them as they trained as well.
The squad members didn’t open up to the commander because he seemed lacking, and they even provoked him directly. However, he didn’t seem to care. As time passed, Jang Wei’s interest in the commander began to fade. Then, his sister, who had moved to the United States with someone named Yang Ki and cut ties with him, suddenly came to visit him, holding the hand of a five-year-old girl.
* * *
Jang Wei pulled himself together and stopped reminiscing about the past. This wasn’t the time. He didn’t know when the One-horned tribe would show up, so he had to run as far away as possible and hatch new plans.
His target wasn’t the Martial King anymore. It had shifted to the person he didn’t think he would ever meet again. ‘Commander, Commander, Commander!’ Jang Wei remembered when he first became the Bow God in the Cheonghwado to infiltrate them at Red Dragon’s behest.
He had done the bare minimum and demonstrated only what was required of his skills. Mostly, he waited for Red Dragon to swallow the Cheonghwado. It was a boring and bland life until the war against Arthia came. He didn’t know what had happened exactly, but the Eight Clans, who had been snapping at each other's throats, suddenly came together to take down Arthia. Jang Wei didn’t care what the Cheonghwado did, so he didn’t pay much attention to the situation, but when he joined the war as one of the Martial Gods, he was shocked to see a face that didn’t belong in the Tower.
It was the same face that his commander had. But after observing this person’s actions and character, he realized that it was someone else. However, his interest was still piqued. Heaven Wing Cha Jeong-woo was from Earth, and his name was similar to his commander’s. Were they relatives, even brothers? His commander hadn’t even spoken about his private life, so Jang Wei couldn’t confirm. However, he realized keenly how small the world was, and from that point on, Jang Wei had been able to participate in the attack with a happy attitude. The battlefield that he had only been observing in a detached manner became his hunting ground. And now, his commander had also shown up.
‘To avenge his brother…yeah. That’s understandable.’ Of course, since the Hoarder hadn’t taken his mask off, Jang Wei couldn’t confirm his identity. He was quite confident that he wasn’t mistaken, though—those eyes, stance, attitude, and manners. They weren’t things that could be easily picked up.
The Hoarder called himself “Cain”. Why hadn’t it rung a bell? It was the same code name that his commander had used, one that induced fear in both enemy and ally alike. If his commander had found out about his brother’s death, of course he would have come to the Tower.
‘I want to go over there this instant but…’ Jang Wei clucked his tongue in regret. Right now, he had to escape from the One-horned tribe. It was too dangerous to fight beasts that had grown excited at the sight of blood.
‘First, I’ll hide myself completely.’ Until the One-horned tribe had given up the chase, he was planning on disappearing. How long would it take? A year or two? That was probably enough time, and he had plenty of experience hiding. In fact, he’d hidden himself from his inhumane commander and ran off to the Tower. He could start his official hunt when everyone thought that the turmoil was over, and he would catch them off guard.
‘Commander. Let’s end what we left unfinished on Earth.’ What kind of expression would his sister have if she knew he was here? Jang Wei finished organizing his thoughts and melted into the darkness. Swish!
* * *
[You have earned the ‘Endless World of Night’ as your final reward.]
Yeon-woo grinned as he looked at the final message. ‘They’re giving me a lot.’ The Bureau must have been quite angry at Red Dragon. In fact, the quest wasn’t even completely over yet. The players had been given three days, and even though the Summer Queen was dead, Red Dragon was still around.
‘However, I don’t know how long they can hold together.’ It was still possible to rip apart Red Dragon even further and gain more karma. The Bureau was already giving him all these amazing rewards as though they had been waiting for the chance. There were so many that he couldn’t even remember them all.
‘Well, since the Bureau is just giving away Red Dragon’s wealth, they’re actually not losing anything.’ Two of the rewards especially caught his eye: Intrenian and the Outer Space.
Yeon-woo had received three more of Intrenian was the subspace storage room that held Red Dragon’s treasure to add to the one that he’d taken from Bahal. Each Intrenian had different contents. There was a treasure room filled with gold and silver, a weapons room with precious artifacts, and an archive filled with grimoires and magic books that the Summer Queen herself had collected.
『Haha! It’s really amazing here. Guess what I just found?』 Of course, he’d opened the arvhice to Brahm and Boo. Brahm’s eyes were sparkling like those of a frolicking puppy.
‘Did you find something good?’
『Of course. There’s a grimoire about bloodlines. This is almost related to supernatural powers, so it must’ve been hard to put it together. The Draconic species is truly something else.』
‘It must really be amazing if you’re surprised.’
『It is amazing. More than amazing! Also, do you know why this bloodline magic is important? It’s because genetic powers are what make bloodlines strong. That means—』 Yeon-woo felt like he could practically see Brahm grinning. 『You can learn it easily. Aren’t you feeling the limits of the bone carvings these days?』 He was talking about the rune magic, Magic Equip, that Yeon-woo had ordered Boo to carve into his bones.
Yeon-woo nodded. He had been feeling the limit.
『Make some time later to study it. It’s tough going the first time, but it’ll become easier once you get the hang of it. If you can use the Draconic and Demonic Factors, there will definitely be clear results.』 Brahm smiled mischievously. 『And also, one more thing: you have to learn bloodline magic so you can transition into Draconic, dragon language, magic more easily. Bloodline magic is a lower tier of language magic, after all.』
Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. Draconic was something that could barely be accessed after the sixth step of the awakening and used only once one reached the seventh step. However, a path to it was being opened now.
『Other than that, there seem to be books about the Tree of Sephiroth and the Akashic Records too. It’s not just magic books here but all kinds of knowledge gained from searching for the truth. The Head Elder will be happy, and it’ll be nice to teach Sesha these things.』 As though he had an illness, Brahm thought of Sesha no matter what he encountered. 『This place might be the store of knowledge that the Draconic species was protecting until the end. 』
Something occurred to Yeon-woo. ‘Hochma.’ It was the repository of the knowledge of the Draconic species. Had the Summer Queen brought a part of Hochma with her? If so, it was a huge help to him.
『Anyway, I’ll tell you more after looking around. There are plenty more special items.』 And with that, Brahm cut the connection off, leaving Yeon-woo laughing in disbelief.
However, he was curious. If he’d gotten so much just by being in second place, how much did the Martial King, who had taken the first place, receive? However, no matter what the Martial King received, the outcome was clear. ‘The Head Elder will probably take it away.’
The Head Elder would probably tell the Martial King to find a way to sell the rewards off to raise funds to run the village. As he thought of the Martial King’s expression, Yeon-woo felt that justice was served. Of course, this had nothing to do with the throbbing bump on his head.
Along with this, he now owned the Outer Space called the Endless World of Night. It seemed like Walpurgisnacht lost their rights over it when they fell. ‘What should I do with this?’
It was in a complete mess from the war between Red Dragon and the One-horned tribe. He had to build it up again from scratch to use it, and there was only one way to use an Outer Space. ‘A clan house.’
Yeon-woo considered it. He didn’t think he needed one, but the war had made him think hard about organizations once more. Red Dragon and the One-horned tribe were both organizations. He was on his own. He had managed to survive so far, but now he needed a fence that could protect and help him. Wouldn’t an Outer Space be a good foundation for that? However, just as he was thinking of how he could put this in action, Atran glowered at him.
“Why do you look like you have the world in the palm of your hand? Are you sleeping? Hey, are you really sleeping? What about what you owe me? Aren’t you going to pay it? Are you sleeping after spending all that money?”
Yeon-woo snapped out of his reverie. They were currently on their way to the Outer District of the Tower after leaving the Outer Space. Right before Yeon-woo collapsed after the Dragon Killers had drained his magic power, Atran called for a carriage to transport them.
Atran felt like he had aged ten years in a single day, and he wanted to at least be comfortable during the journey. He also made use of the time to nag Yeon-woo about paying him back now that he’d received his rewards.
Atran had borrowed so much on Yeon-woo’s behalf that the interest was astronomical and was inflating with each minute that passed. However, unlike the anxious Atran, Yeon-woo only grinned. Just a few hours ago, Atran was flattering him and calling him his beloved customer. Now, he was talking rudely to his face. Yeon-woo thought that Atran would change his face according to the flow of money. ‘That’s why it’s so easy to push him around.’
If Atran knew what Yeon-woo was thinking, he would have fainted. Like any outstanding merchant, he prided himself on his poker face, but now that Yeon-woo had taken advantage of him several times by now, he found it difficult to control his expressions. “Why are you smi—?”
Atran was about to stand up in fury, but Yeon-woo suddenly opened the Outer Space and held something out. “Is this enough?” There were five Yaltabao Safes in his hand. In a flash, Atran was already touching his forehead to the ground as he bowed deeply. With the safes, he could pay the costs and interest and still have enough for himself.
Yeon-woo grinned again. He was such a transparent guy.
“I love you, beloved customer!”
“I didn’t say I would give it to you yet…”
“Fuck! Are you kid—?!”
“I’m not done speaking yet.” Yeon-woo put five more Yaltabao Safes in front of Atran. Atran’s eyes widened and he calmed down after realizing that Yeon-woo simply wanted to do more business.
“Take care of the credit with this, and you can have the rest. This is enough for you to make a comeback, right?”
It was more than enough, but Atran wasn’t able to answer right away. He felt like Yeon-woo was a snake wrapped around his neck. “I doubt you’re doing this out of goodwill. What do you want in return?”
“I want you to connect me with By the Table.”
Atran blinked. Yeon-woo had surprised him many times, but this made him want to scream. By the Table was a union within their union. Only the greatest of the mysterious merchants could join it, and the customers were the cream of the crop. Not many in the Tower knew about it, especially not players on the lower floors. However, Yeon-woo spoke of the secret club so casually.
“How do you know about it?”
“Is that important?”
“Of course not. I apologize. Merchants should only be faithful to the exchange.”
Yeon-woo nodded. “I just want a connection. I’ll take care of things after that.”
Atran was silent. “That’s not something I can decide on my own.”
“When can I expect a reply?”
“Five days. No, four days. Wait, two days. I’ll give you a reply in two days.” Atran’s trembling voice grew firm as he envisioned Yeon-woo’s request creating a new path for himself. This was his opportunity to become a great merchant. Yeon-woo had tossed him the bait, but Atran was happy to bite it.
Neither of them had to say out loud that the deal benefited them both.
* * *
Yeon-woo’s party and Atran’s party split up near the One-horned tribe’s village.
“I’ll see you next time if we get the chance. It was fun, thanks to you.” The Ice King and Yeon-woo shook hands lightly. Nocturne looked at Yeon-woo and the village with enigmatic eyes and quietly turned away.
Only some of the tribe members had returned. They were the ones who had been injured, and the rest of the tribe came out to assist them. The others had gone off to chase after the Bow God.
‘I wonder who the Bow God is.’ Yeon-woo momentarily wondered what kind of person would dare to play with the One-horned tribe like this. He’d seen his features in the diary, but the tribe members said that his face changed frequently.
No one knew anything about his background or motivations. He’d become the Bow God of the Cheonghwado, then stabbed the Sword God in the back, and became enemies with the One-horned tribe. There didn’t seem to be any pattern in his actions, as though he were only acting on impulse. Even so, he was skilled enough to handle the Martial King, so it meant that he was at the level of the Nine Kings, at the very least.
It was impossible for a person with no self-control to live quietly in the Tower for such a long time. However, Yeon-woo decided that it wasn’t worth thinking further about. The Bow God wouldn’t be able to run too far with the Martial King on his trail.
Yeon-woo returned to his room. It was his first place since entering the Tower. He glanced around and flopped into the rocking chair, releasing all the pent-up tension from the battle. However, he didn’t have long to rest.
「Master…everything…is…ready」 Boo popped up from his shadow and bowed. His Interno Sight was now different after he’d swallowed the last Philosopher’s Stone. He now brimmed with emotions: curiosity, anticipation, and joy. He seemed to be excited about what would happen next.
‘A rest like this is nice. But other types of relaxation are also nice.’ Yeon-woo stood, his eyes mirroring Boo’s expressions. It was time to squeeze out the souls of the Summer Queen and Vieira Dune.Previous Chapter Next Chapter