“It’s the Hoarder!”
“The Hoarder is here! Get him!”
As soon as Yeon-woo appeared, Triton immediately let the captains of each boat know. The captains quickly got ready for Yeon-woo’s imminent attack. Unlike the Ninety-Second Squad of the Fantasy Regiment, who had underestimated Yeon-woo, Triton had already gathered information on Yeon-woo. They knew all about his contribution at the Endless World of Night, how he’d dealt with the Nine Dragon Sons, and how he dealt the fatal blow to the Summer Queen, and the powers he had after the twenty-sixth floor.
They considered him to be at least at the level of a ranker or perhaps even a high ranker. Although it was impossible for a player on the lower floors who hadn’t even cleared the thirtieth floor to have that kind of power, the Nine Kings had managed it—most recently Heaven Wing.
The people in Triton who judged Yeon-woo highly had also heard that he was taking the first place on every floor, and they thought he might be someone who could resist Allforone. This meant that they were all on their guard.
High rankers didn’t care how many enemies they faced. They had at least a couple of extremely powerful skills, and they could only be stopped by those who were equally powerful or by a powerful barrier.
Fortunately, Triton had one such barrier.
Poseidon had generously given his powers to his cult. The greater their courage, the more buffs and defensive power they received. Also, Poseidon ruled water. Although the River of Souls was connected to the gods who ruled over death, Poseidon’s influence will still be the greatest.
Even though Yeon-woo had activated the incredible Wave of Fire, they were confident that they could stop him until they found something attacking the bottoms of their ships. Boom! Boom!
“Wh-what was that?”
“Sea king monsters! It’s sea king monsters! Predators are attacking the ship from below!”
“Shit! Why are they suddenly…!”
Boom! The river crashed up in great waves as a huge number of sea king monsters like the Predators appeared and attacked the Triton ships. Predators chewed on their ships with their teeth, and those with snake-like bodies wrapped themselves around the boats to squeeze them to bits. The Triton players were stunned by the sudden attack and were forced to deal with them.
[King of the Sea]
Ceto’s holy artifact of Ceto, the Sea Water Charm, glowed around his neck as he activated the option to control the sea monsters. After he discovered Triton’s fleet, he gathered the sea king monsters nearby first before emerging.
He was aware that since he was in Poseidon’s territory, he was at a disadvantage. Also, despite his abilities, the huge number of enemies would be difficult to. Handle. If Triton captured the ghost ship while he was dealing with Benteke, Yeon-woo would be in deep trouble.
This was why Yeon-woo decided to use the sea king monsters to distract and frighten Triton. Although he used up a great deal of the holy power inside the Sea Water Charm, his ploy was effective.
It was already difficult for even Triton to deal with the sea king monsters, and if dozens of them converged to cause chaos, it would cause a huge problem for them, especially since most of the sea king monsters were intelligent.
They quickly submerged whenever Triton fought back, only to reappear and attack the players on the decks of the ships whenever they saw a chance. Triton couldn’t focus on Yeon-woo at all, and this what Yeon-woo had been waiting for. He used Blink and appeared on a ship surrounded by Predators.
“Watch…!” The captain tried to shout out in warning. Boom! Yeon-woo was already swinging Vigrid, which surged with black Aura. Wave of Fire flamed up, and the deck collapsed with a large explosion. Black smoke soared into the air as fire gobbled the deck. River water flowed through the cracks of the boat, and the ship split in half and began to sin.
The flames forced the pirates to jump into the river with screams. They were swept away by the angry waves or eaten up by the sea king monsters. It was pandemonium.
Yeon-woo nonchalantly activated Blink again and moved to his next target: the twelfth ship, which was closest to him.
“Hey!” The captain, Carht, had been waiting for him. With a scowl, he swung his halberd, nearly crushing Yeon-woo’s head with strong winds. However, Yeon-woo blocked the attack with Vigrid and wrapped his Fire Wings around himself, activating Blink again.
He appeared in front of Carht, his strike landing right on Carht’s solar plexus. Boom!
“Urk!” Carht’s armor was dented, and he was blown away by the impact, crashing against the mast. His internal injuries were so severe that he died on the spot. The mast cracked from the impact and toppled. The ship tilted until the bow was perpendicular to the water.
Yeon-woo gathered magic power in his feet and crushed the deck, completely destroying the ship. Black fire soared up around Yeon-woo. It seemed as though hell had appeared. The fire was so hot and unquenchable that it didn’t even disappear when it reached the river. In fact, it flamed up even more. The black fire was created from Holy Fire, Aura, and Consciousness, and as a magical creation, it wouldn’t disappear unless Yeon-woo willed it to.
Yeon-woo’s attacks didn’t stop there. Sparks flew around him, and columns of black fire soared up to threaten and destroy the other ships. From the shadows, Guai poured out. The strengthened Third Spirit meant that the Guai with higher stats could move through the fire and the river easily, killing off Triton’s players.
Ships sank one by one. Fifteen ships had already disappeared when Triton realized how dangerous the situation was. The flow sea king monsters seemed endless, and the black fire was moving around through the river. The shadow monsters that no one could see made them even more nervous. And finally, whenever Yeon-woo used Blink, ships were immediately destroyed without a single warning. The trap they’d set for Yeon-woo and the ghost ship had ensnared them instead.
“Split up! Get as far away as you can!”
Fearing that they would be crushed at this rate, the captains began to leave in earnest. The ships turned around to depart Yeon-woo’s territory. It was a total loss for Triton, ruler of the sea.
* * *
Although the situation was growing worse, the flagship carrying Benteke didn’t budge. “Kehalhalhalhal! What a fun game. The fireworks are burning well. Everything is on fire!” Benteke’s laughter was so loud that it rang out all over the deck.
However, his subordinates all looked worried. They could see Yeon-woo moving through the air with his Fire Wings, chasing after the fleeing ships. The sea king monsters also didn’t stop their attacks. The ghost ship was no longer on the defensive, and it seemed like their fleet would be destroyed instead. Benteke continued to laugh on his throne, making his crew feel frustrated.
“Captain, we’ll sustain a lot of damage if this keeps up. You need to…”
“What do you think is the most important thing when building up a clan?”
Jinrang’s eyes widened at the sudden question. He’d served Benteke ever since the Blue Rose days, but he never understood Benteke well. Even though he looked brutish and violent, he was very sly.
“Do you think it’s more important to have money or people?”
Jinrang cocked his head. Then what was it, and why was Benteke bringing this up in such an urgent situation?
Jinrang’s eyes widened.
“We can get people easily. We can buy slaves or use the Cannibal Monster Humans. If we need money, we can just steal it. But honor is something else.” Fire blazed in Benteke’s eyes. “It’s difficult to build up honor, and it’s just as hard to spread it. So many things get in the way. It doesn’t matter how much you build it up; if you make a single mistake, it can all disappear. You’ll need even more time to build it up again.”
The Eight Large Clans had built up their honor in the way Benteke said.
“My ex-lover, Lana, lost that honor. She used to win all the time, but eventually she knelt to the Eight Large Clans. That was why the Blue Rose collapsed. She struggled to recreate it, but to me, it was all a waste. How could she rebuild it if she didn’t even know that the people around her were planning on stabbing her in the back?”
Jinrang thought of the mutiny he and Benteke had engineered. At that time, Lana did seem possessed. She was no longer wise nor sly. She was only filled with rage and the desire for revenge, and her disillusionment made her seem like she was on drugs. Other pirates had promised to ally with her, but the truth was that they only wanted to steal from her.
It was clear to Benteke and his subordinates that the crew would be destroyed if Lana couldn’t pull herself together, and so they mutinied. He destroyed the Quartz Palace and killed his own lover. Poseidon had wanted to steal some of Ceto’s holy power during that process, but Benteke was the one who initiated everything.
After Benteke took control of the Blue Rose, he and the other pirates created Triton. “Honor comes from victory. If you continue to be victorious, people will gather like flies and even give you money they don’t have. Didn’t we build Triton like that? Isn’t that how the Eight Large Clans began? We can’t lose any battles until we reach that point.”
Jinrang realized what Benteke meant. He’d only been worried about the damage, but they didn’t matter to Benteke. He was only concerned about the ultimate victory, and the losses they sustained would make it an even greater accomplishment.
Benteke had used his subordinates as bait to test the Hoarder’s power. He wanted to see it with his own eyes even though he’d already gathered information. Also, it meant that Benteke acknowledged Yeon-woo as an equal.
Jinrang trembled. He always felt that his master was violent, cruel, and cold-blooded at times. Benteke was called “the Ruler” because no one who could withstand him.
“Give me the spear.” Benteke stretched out his hand. Five of his maids knelt to offer up the spear, their hands shaking from the weight. Triaina was Poseidon’s holy artifact, and it had the ability to cause tidal waves, earthquakes, and storms. This artifact was even greater than the one Yeon-woo had seen at the Olympus Treasury.
Thump! Benteke slowly stood with Triaina in his land. He banged it on the deck as he watched Yeon-woo flying towards him after reading his energy. Black fire trailed after him.
Benteke accepted Yeon-woo’s challenge enthusiastically, raising Triaina high with a laugh. “Come, storm!”
Dark clouds began to crowd over him, flashing with lightning. The River of Souls churned violently.
With Poseidon’s holy power, waves dozens of meters tall swarmed towards Yeon-woo. The storm whirled as dozens of bolts fell from the sky.Previous Chapter Next Chapter