‘They’ve combined?’ Yeon-woo was speechless as he looked at the chains around his left ankle. It had happened so suddenly and unexpectedly that he was frozen. Something similar had happened with Zeus’ artifact, Astrape. Back then, Yeon-woo had felt upset when the holy artifacts he’d earned were destroyed right in front of his eyes, but after he learned how to use the Black Bracelet, he realized that it was at least a match for Astrape. However, it would be understandable if the Black Bracelet were a holy artifact that absorbed the traits of other artifacts, but all it seemed to do was eat them up.
Zeus and Poseidon were brothers—was there a connection between this and the original owner of the Black Bracelet? ‘Who is the Black King?’
[Grief of the Black King]
[** This is a unique artifact. No other artifact like this exists in the Tower, and it will be bound to its owner. It cannot be transferred or traded between players.
** Some information cannot be accessed. You must meet the qualifications or conditions in order to view the information.]
He could only see the name of the artifact but nothing else. Yeon-woo was full of disbelief—and so was the ninety-eighth floor.
[Athena covers her mouth. She is surprised at the sudden turn of events.]
[Hermes has a mysterious smile on his face.]
[Azrael nods with his arms crossed. He bursts out laughing.]
[Azrael sends you a message.]
[The godly society <Olympus> is shocked.]
[The gods of <Olympus> are in a confused state.]
[The gods of <Olympus> look at Hermes. Hermes is indifferent.]
[The godly society <Asgard> keeps their silence.]
[The godly society <Malak> observes you.]
[The godly society <Chan Sect> sighs. They begin to read the signs of the heavens, saying that something is coming.]
[The demonic society <L’Infernal> is gleeful.]
[The demonic society <Jie Sect> smirks at <Olympus>.]
[Poseidon jumps up from his throne and shouts something. He shouts at Hermes and Athena.]
[Hermes ignores him.]
[Poseidon makes a decision.]
[Poseidon calls the gods who follow him, and they discuss something.]
[Poseidon glares at you furiously. He is preparing a response to this.]
Messages continued to fill Yeon-woo’s sight.
[Three messages have been delivered to you. Would you like to read them?]
‘Messages?’ They were from Hermes, Azrael, and Agares. Gods and demons were penalized heavily if they sent messages to players who weren’t their Apostles, and it could even affect the recipient. To make up for the laws of causality, they had to use a significant amount of holy power and demonic energy. The fact that they still sent him messages meant that they found this shocking as well.
The messages popped open.
[Hermes’s message: It’s no big deal, so you don’t have to be concerned about it.]
[Azrael’s message: It’s you! You’re that being’s…!]
[Agares’s message: Accept me! Me!]
Hermes was cheering him on as always, and Agares was being dramatic about something. However, Azrael’s message was a bit strange. ‘Being? Is he talking about the Black King?’
Did Azrael know something? His reaction was a bit suspicious. Yeon-woo wanted to reply to Azrael asking him what he knew since he was incredibly curious about the Black King. However, at least he confirmed that the Black King wasn’t a former hero or a player. He had been a holy being. ‘Maybe like the Monkey King.’
The Black King’s Despair and Grief didn’t worry Yeon-woo. In fact, it made him happy. However, Benteke had the opposite reaction.
“What…!” Most things didn’t affect him but his shock was so great this time that his fingers shook. He looked at the sky with bloodshot eyes, his face twisted in rage as he roared, “Shut up, my lord! How is this my fault? You’re a god and you didn’t even see this coming! Blame your own skills! Or go to Apollo since he didn’t warn you about this!”
Who was he shouting at? The sky trembled for a moment as if angered by Benteke’s words, but Benteke just snorted and looked away. His fingers twitched and he returned to his regular self. When he stretched out his hand, the river water floated up and became a spear. “I showed a bad side of myself because of my ill-tempered god. Let’s start again.”
Had he been shouting at Poseidon? The more Yeon-woo looked at him, the more he thought Benteke strange. He’d never heard of an Apostle openly expressing his anger to a god, and it was even stranger that Poseidon hadn’t punished him at all.
Benteke looked focused on the battle once more. “All right. Let’s begin again. It’s a bit annoying now that the mood is ruined, but it’ll come back once we cross swords once or twice, eh?” Benteke smiled as he held the spear he’d made from the River of Souls.
Yeon-woo gave him a perplexed look. Benteke cocked his head as if asking why, then smirked as he read Yeon-woo’s thoughts from his eyes.
“What’s wrong? Do I seem I a little weird?”
“More than a little.”
“Kahalhalhal! I suppose I’m pretty strange.” Benteke roared in laughter. Then, he continued, “I’ve spoken against the god I serve and am calm despite losing a holy artifact. If I were in your shoes, I’d think I was weird, too. But…” Benteke smirked. “So what?” His smile was cold. “But how does being like any other person change anything? I’m also curious about a lot of things. Where’s that necklace from? What is that chain that used to be my holy artifact? However, I can only find the answers to these questions if I capture you. The most important thing right now is our fight.”
Benteke smiled again, baring his teeth as his eyes flashed like a wild animal’s. “Don’t you feel the same?”
Yeon-woo looked down at his hand. Vigrid was still trembling. The sudden events had also put his mood off the fight, but his body was still fired up. However, Benteke was right: those things weren’t important. Fighting each other and gaining victory over the other was more important. He thrust Vigrid, the basics of the Eight Extreme Swords were ready. The beast outside of the cage roared.
Boom! The two threw themselves at each other again. The waves churned.
* * *
Yeon-woo had thought of one thing when he saw Benteke: a question mark. He had no idea what kind of person Benteke was. He was someone who’d killed his brother’s teacher, but aside from that, there didn’t seem to be any reason not to keep him close. He stood up to his god, and he was decisive. However, his cruelty put Yeon-woo off. He didn’t really like people like that; they were likely to cause chaos for their own teams.
Still, Yeon-woo liked Benteke. ‘He’s amusing.’ He made Yeon-woo feel enjoyment in fighting. Clang! Yeon-woo and Benteke attacked each other. As the sword and the spear clashed, they made metallic sounds ring, along with the sound of metal tearing through skin and flesh.
As their injuries increased, the river water turned red. However, neither of them paid any attention. The spear pierced through Yeon-woo's stomach, and the pain of his spine and internal organs being penetrated made him freeze. However, he pressed the spear deeper into his body. Crunch!
Yeon-woo depended on these two skills more than anything else. He used the Demonic Factors to create demonic energy inside his cells and regenerate himself.
[You have received a message from Agares.]
[Message: Instead of weak Factors like that, I’ll give you mine. How’s that?]
[You have received a message from Agares.]
[Message: You already have mine anyway. Use it. It’ll be good. Hm? Use it. Nothing bad will come from it.]
Yeon-woo wanted to scream at Agares for being annoying. How could nothing bad come from it? He thought of the annoying things his brother had dealt with after making a contract with Agares. Fortunately, the messages soon ceased coming. It seemed like the law of causality had finally limited him. Relieved, Yeon-woo dug the blade deeper into Benteke’s neck.
Blood spouted out of the severed veins, but the blade couldn’t go in any deeper. Its progress was blocked by something hard. Benteke turned with blazing eyes. More blood spurted out, and the spear flew in a large circle around him. He was trying to create Vortexes around Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo stepped on Wind Path and moved through the Vortexes. He couldn’t avoid them all and sustained some injuries to his left arm and right leg, but Vigrid moved quickly to cut Benteke. Blood splattered, and Yeon-woo could see Benteke’s bones as he was nearly cut in half.
However, the two continued to fight without showing any signs of pain. Both Yeon-woo and Benteke laughed as they fought. Their laughter was so bestial that it sounded like wild animals growling or roaring.
Yeon-woo and Benteke dug their weapons into each other’s vital points at the same time. They both felt something pierce their hearts as they pushed in their weapons as much as possible. Blood poured from their mouths, and they were so close to each other that they could hear each other’s breathing. They looked each other in the eye. Benteke was still smiling with all of his teeth bared even though he was dying. He was having the time of his life. Benteke knew that Yeon-woo was feeling the same thing even though his face was obscured by the mask. After all, beasts recognized each other.
Just then, Yeon-woo’s eyes suddenly made Benteke think that they were familiar. He thought of a person who had the same eyes, a person who used to spar with him.
“You…!” Just as a wide-eyed Benteke was about to say something, one of the pocket watch’s hands began to spin clockwise.Previous Chapter Next Chapter