Chapter 260 - Growth (10)

A player who mocked the gods had to be struck with divine punishment. Athena, who had eyes and ears all over Olympus, had heard that Poseidon had given this order to his subordinates, and it was obvious who the player in question was: Cha Yeon-woo.  

Athena had been following his exploits with great interest, and since Poseidon had commanded that he be punished, she’d looked for Hermes, filled with anger.

Hermes couldn’t help laughing when he saw his sister, annoying her. She raised an eyebrow and glared at him. “What’s so funny?’

“Nothing. It’s just that I’ve never seen you this flustered.”

Athena furrowed her eyebrows. She shut her mouth and didn’t say anything. Hermes found the entire thing hilarious. He’d met Yeon-woo a few times, but Athena had never contacted him other than the time that Yeon-woo had sacrificed Aegis. Still, she cherished Yeon-woo like her own child or her own Apostle. Since he knew why, he didn’t speak much about it, but it was still interesting to see the goddess of war who made demons tremble acting like this.

What kind of expressions would their siblings have? Or their father? Of course, he was still in a deep slumber, so he didn’t know what was going on outside. ‘Thanks to that, we can act.’ Hermes organized his thoughts and said, “Don’t be in too much of a hurry, sister. We know that child better than anyone.” The skin around Hermes’ eyes wrinkled. “He’s a child who had turned Agares into rags. He has a few sly allies inside him that are just like the boa constrictors I’ve raised. We can sit back and watch Uncle suffer. If he needs help, we can interfere then.”

“Must be nice to be so carefree.” Athena snorted as she left Hermes’s residence. Hermes smiled wryly as he watched his sister leave. “There’s nothing we can do, sister. We can’t do anything from here, and neither can uncle.” Hermes muttered to himself with a sigh, “Thanks to the damned system and Allforone, who deserves to suffer a horrible death or more.” He turned around and closed his eyes, locking into the consciousness of his true body. A view opened and he saw Yeon-woo on the move. Hermes suddenly grew curious how many gods and demons were using this method to observe Yeon-woo right now.

* * *

“I hope this is enough.” The Head Elder put his brush down on the inkstone. He had been looking at the book before him for such a long time that his eyes were tired. He rubbed them but the feeling of exhaustion didn’t go away. He could circulate energy around himself to relieve physical exhaustion but mental exhaustion was something totally different.

This was all because he was writing a book on Mugong that he’d never had any intentions of writing.

<Blood Lightning Martial Book>

It was a text of the divination that the Head Elder had learned during his younger days. Although he had spoken coldly to Phante, he was already organizing all of the information into a book for him.

However, it wasn’t an easy process. The Formless Strong Energy that the Head Elder used was based on concepts that he didn’t know how to begin describing. However, the challenge was partly the reason he wanted to do it.

In his youth, the Head Elder had been completely absorbed by Mugong, and he had even missed the chance to get married because of his studies. He didn’t have any successors because he didn’t have time for a disciple. However, since most people wanted to leave a trace of themselves behind after death, he had been thinking of searching for a successor lately, even before Phante had whined about learning Blood Lightning.

Still, the Head Elder couldn’t easily give it away, so he tested Phante’s pride. Now that Phante had entered secluded training and hadn’t left yet, it meant that he had the tenacity to match his potential. The Head Elder would have to confirm after Phante escaped the Myunbyeok Building, but he had pretty much decided that Phante was a deserving candidate.  

The Head Elder had begun writing with a light heart, but the work didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. It was difficult to write about the concepts in his head, but contemplating them made his understanding of Blood Lightning grow even more profound. Now, all he had to worry about was how he’d give the book to Phante. ‘I’m hesitant because I can already imagine his reaction.’

The entire tribe acknowledged that the person most like the young Martial King was Phante. Once he received the text, he would probably be so happy that he’d cause all kinds of commotion. The Head Elder had already suffered a lot from the Martial King, and he wondered how he could pass the book to Phante quietly.

“Phante will be happy when he sees this.”

The Head Elder snapped to his senses as the voice suddenly broke his concentration. Yeon-woo stood in front of him, and the Head Elder’s eyes widened at the realization that he hadn’t even noticed his approach. “Hm? How long have you been here?”

“I called for you several times outside. There wasn’t any answer, so I just came in. I apologize if I was rude.”

“It’s fine. We’re all one family. I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve seen you.” The Head Elder looked Yeon-woo up and down. After Yeon-woo had completed Galliard’s training, he almost never went outside, and none of the tribe members—not even the Martial King or the Head Elder—had gone to see him. They were used to training in seclusion or getting too busy to socialize.

In fact, they wondered why he’d emerged so soon after his training. Yeon-woo seemed different this time—sturdier and heavier. He had once exuded a sharp aura, as though he would explode at any moment, but now he seemed calm and settled.

‘It seems like he’s found his path. He’s done it so quickly! He won’t stumble even if he adds more things in the future.’ However, it also occurred to him that it would be hard for Yeon-woo to climb even higher. Still, he was proud that Yeon-woo was now at expert level and could use Strong Energy. “Why are you here? If you’re looking for the tribe leader, he’s probably in his office.”

“I already went to greet Seseung-nim.”

“Then?”

“Could I know where Edora is?” Edora had gone to climb the Tower and Yeon-woo had just heard that she already passed the thirtieth floor some time ago. Yeon-woo’s communication artifact was broken, and he hadn’t had a chance to fix it because he’d been too busy training.

“She visited some time ago. She’s probably on the thirty-sixth floor by now.”

Yeon-woo’s eyes flashed. “She’s making a lot of progress.”

“She’s also become quite skilled. The Yang Sword is settling in.”

Yeon-woo smiled faintly. The other side of the Yang Sword was the Yin Sword, and he didn’t know when he’d be able to unlock it.

“But why are you suddenly looking for Edora? I can contact her if you want.”

Yeon-woo shook his head. “It’s fine. There’s no rush. I can meet her up there.”

“Ah. Then are you…?” The Head Elder’s eyes widened as he realized what Yeon-woo’s plans were.

Yeon-woo nodded firmly. “Yes. I’m going to start climbing again.”

* * *

Yeon-woo completed his goodbyes to the One-horned tribe after speaking with the Head Elder. Now that he’d made a contract with By the Table, he had finished everything he needed to set up a clan. Now there was only one thing left: ‘The Summer Queen.’

Yeon-woo left the Head Elder’s residence and headed to Boo’s dungeon. The dungeon had changed a lot since the last time he was there, and the difference was visible even from the entrance.

Skeletal warriors in armor knelt as they paid their respects to their master’s master. As he walked along the path, the undead stopped what they were doing to bow to him like citizens greeting their king. 

Clip-clop! Boo arrived with skeletal knights wearing shiny armor from the Summer Queen’s armory trailing after him on horseback. The change from the low-level ghosts that had filled the dungeon was astounding. Everything was surprising to Yeon-woo, who hadn’t paid any attention to the dungeon after leaving everything up to Boo.

You have…arrived. As Boo bowed to Yeon-woo, the skeletal knights dismounted to kneel to Yeon-woo. When he looked closely, he could see mages, shamans, lancers, and other undead behind the knights. There were also zombies, ghouls, banshees, and specters. It looked like Boo had brought everyone out to greet him. However, Yeon-woo felt it was a little bit too theatrical. “What’s all this?”

Our…master…has…come. We are…here to…greet…him…properly.

“Stop it. It’s too much. Just go back to how you were.”

We…follow…your orders. Boo nodded and waved his hand in the air. As he did, the undead stood back up and returned to what they were doing.  

Yeon-woo sighed. It was nice that Boo was growing more independent as he became stronger, but on the other hand, it was embarrassing how much Boo overdid things sometimes. Still, it wasn’t a bad thing, and it was kind of fun being greeted like that sometimes. Yeon-woo just didn’t want him to go overboard. “How’s the project coming along?” 

“We’re halfway through.”

“Let’s go.” The project that Yeon-woo was referring to was their plan to create a Bone Dragon. Yeon-woo went to the center of the dungeon with Boo. They had split Intrenian into a core surrounded by two rings. The closer Yeon-woo got to the core, the higher the level of the undead were. He occasionally saw a Demonic Beast or a Ghost Beast flying around. 

The dungeon was a complex maze, and one wrong turn would cause one to get lost completely. It was also filled with magic circles and defensive traps, and Yeon-woo could see how much effort Boo had placed into making it.  

When he arrived at the core and exited the maze, he saw the Summer Queen’s corpse lying on top of a large magic circle. Her hide had gone from ruby-red to pitch-black from the amount of Devil King Poison they had injected to tan the corpse.

Click-clack! The skeletal subordinates were slicing the corpse apart with sharp knives. The Summer Queen’s scales were so tough that they had to be extra-careful. Fortunately, the skeletal subordinates didn’t have any thoughts of their own and so couldn’t make any mistakes since they were only following orders.

Be careful. It must not be damaged at all. Separate the pieces that you’ve already cut off. Rebecca ran around the skeletal subordinates energetically. Shanon and Hanryeong stepped up to do what the skeletal subordinates couldn’t handle.  

Henova was also leading a skeletal squad to perform tasks that Yeon-woo had ordered, lending his experienced touch, as well. Brahm stood next to him, helping as much as he could. Ananta wasn’t completely healed yet even though she was improving, and so he did a few things whenever he could spare the time.

Yeon-woo walked past them towards the Summer Queen, who sat bound in divine iron with a dark expression on her face as she watched her body being cut up. She was completely powerless and had fallen from her lofty pedestal.

“Ismenios.” Yeon-woo reached the Summer Queen’s side. She slowly looked up at Yeon-woo. She hadn’t completely lost herself yet. I guess it’s time now? The Summer Queen smiled coldly, realizing what her last moments would be.

Yeon-woo slowly took his mask off. He didn’t deny it. “Yes.”

Are you satisfied?

“Of course.” Yeon-woo smiled faintly, then his eyes turned cold. His pupils turned into vertical slits that glowed like those of a snake hunting its prey.  

Hahaha! Of course. Revenge…If that’s what you were after, you did well. Very well. Only Allforone has ever reduced me to this state, but that’s Allforone. It’s amazing that you’ve managed to do this to me. The Summer Queen burst out laughing. She’d always been a predator, but now she was Yeon-woo’s helpless prey. So this was what it felt like.

Most people she’d hunted had cried and begged in their last moments, but she didn’t know how to express any of those feelings. She could only laugh and think that the last dragon would now completely vanish. She closed her eyes. She had given up a long time ago, and she didn’t want to show any fear.

At that moment, the Summer Queen realized that this was the way of thinking that Cha Jeong-woo had spoken about. ‘Ah.’ She’d always had the ambition to be the best, and now the curse of loneliness was being lifted.

“But if you can let go of that curse, you’ll be able to see from a new perspective. I can help you then, Ismenios. Look for me any time.”

This was what Cha Jeong-woo had been speaking about.

Yeon-woo put his hand on top of the Summer Queen’s head and activated Bathory’s Vampiric Sword. The Summer Queen’s weak soul began to flow into Yeon-woo. Whoosh! Flames began to blaze over Yeon-woo’s body.

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