“Shit! Faster! Hurry, hurry!”
“I can’t go faster than this!”
It was a mess above deck. The ghost ship was moving faster than it had ever moved since entering the twenty-eighth floor. The wind spirits blew fiercely, and the elderly Cannibal Monster Humans rushed around.
Most ships didn’t have a chance of catching up to them, but Waltz was easily gaining on them. At first, she was only a small dot, but now they could see her body clearly. The players fired the cannons in warning, imbuing the cannonballs with magic power and their skills. However, Waltz just brushed them off like they were flies.
The cannonballs exploded in the air, spreading black smoke. Waltz passed through it all.
It was a scary sight for the players and the Cannibal Monster Humans. To them, Waltz appeared like an invincible doom. She scowled at them, exuding an immense aura that contained the arrogance of the One-horned tribe as well as Dragon Fear. There was a reason she had become one of the feared players of the Tower after the Summer Queen’s death.
They were sure that they would sink into the River of Souls and turn into ghosts. They didn’t know what to do, but Heidi didn’t give up. Blood streamed from her mouth, and her silver hair was turning white as she continued to move the ship.
Yeon-woo slowly got up and looked at her. He’d passed out in Duke Ardbad’s arms, but his body was healing. It was heavy, like cotton in water, as his energy was restoring itself.
“You shouldn’t stand yet!” Heidi tried to stop him from getting up, but Yeon-woo cut her off coldly.
“Why…did you save me?”
Heidi didn’t answer for a moment.
“You could’ve left me behind.” Yeon-woo truly didn’t understand Heidi’s decision. When Waltz’s Nascent Soul Body first appeared, he’d already begun planning his escape, and he’d never expected Heidi’s help. He’d believed that she had already fled while he fought Benteke. He could understand Phante or Edora staying to help, but not Heidi. He grew curious. Had she saved him to gain a favor from him or to repay his generosity? It wasn’t something he should be distracted with while Waltz was still pursuing them, but this was a sensitive issue for Yeon-woo: trusting strangers. It was like a difficult task that he couldn’t resolve.
“Because I don’t want to be like someone.”
Heidi nodded her head heavily and said, “That’s all I can say.”
Without meaning to, Yeon-woo grinned. Her response was unexpected, and it seemed like she had secrets of her own. ‘Silver hair and those eyes? I guess it might be related to that.’
The legendary Frey Family had once ruled over the High Elves. They were called the caretakers of the World Tree and had more divine blood than the One-horned tribe. However, the tragedy that befell their family not only led to their destruction but also made the World Tree wither away. Perhaps this was the reason why Heidi held such strong beliefs in companionship.
However, her answer satisfied Yeon-woo. Adversity pushed people into corners but could also motivate them to do something new. It was adversity that had made him into who he was today, after all. “I suppose I can trust you this once.”
Yeon-woo ignored Heidi and stood. His body screamed, but the pain cleared his mind. He knew that he’d been arrogant to think that most players would be easy to defeat. He was glad that he’d been given a challenge and the beast inside his heart had grown and was freer than before. However, he wasn’t going to let the beast swallow him up, keeping his head cool and logical.
He activated Draconic Eyes and Extrasensory Perception at the same time. As he activated Time Difference, he thought of how they could escape. Fortunately, he found a way. ‘The thing is, how do I make her follow us to that place? I’m also not too sure about the exact location, either.’ He felt like the way to his destination was blocked by fog. ‘I still have to try.’
Yeon-woo wasn’t planning on fighting Waltz in his condition. Even her Nascent Soul Body was still more powerful than he was. ‘I have to use that path…’ He could sense a large fleet approaching them beyond the range of his Extrasensory Perception. At first, he thought Triton had returned, but when he looked more closely, he realized that it was a different fleet altogether.
They looked more like the Ninety-Second Squad than Triton. Yeon-woo thought they might be from the Fantasy Regiment or whatever they were called. That would be good, but even if they were pirates, it would be a good idea to lure them into this situation.
「That personality…」 Shanon muttered to himself as he read Yeon-woo’s thoughts, but Yeon-woo pretended not to hear him and pulled Vigrid out from subspace. The Philosopher’s Stone spun with magic power. Thankfully, his overheated Cores were working normally now.
Soon, Waltz was almost on top of them. Yeon-woo gripped Vigrid tightly and swung.
[Wave of Fire]
[72 Bian – Nye, Byuk]
Lightning came from the sky as the three skills combined with the Eight Extreme Swords. The attack contained all of his remaining strength. Boom! Boom!
Waltz’s Nascent Soul Body snorted was she was hit with lightning. Since she had split off from the original Nascent Soul Body, her strength had decreased, but not so much that she’d be injured by such weak lightning. She was only annoyed.
Waltz moved her hands in the air, and lightning scattered around her. The broken shards landed in the river, sending columns of water and jets of steam up. However, even though his attack seemed futile, Yeon-woo continued to bring down Fire Lightning.
Waltz’s hands moved faster. Plum blossoms appeared in the air, and their strong scent wafted around.
〈Twenty Plum Blossom Arrow〉
With a single stroke of her hand, twenty shadows appeared. The lightning fell endlessly, cutting the space around Waltz. The intense light was enough to blind anyone who looked at it. However, not a single bolt injured Waltz, and a fragrance wafted around her.
Despite the attack, Waltz hadn’t paused at all, and she grew close enough to the ghost ship to reach them with one leap. She could already see Yeon-woo standing on the bow.
All of a sudden, as though all the lightning that had rained on her condensed, more Fire Lightning fell. Waltz realized this was the last of Yeon-woo’s strength, and she paused, catching her breath. She couldn’t easily cut the Fire Lightning apart, and it looked like she would have to strike it. She was about to move when the lightning suddenly changed direction. “What?”
Waltz didn’t know what Yeon-woo was doing and turned her head instinctively to look. At that moment, Waltz felt the connection with the other Nascent Soul Body cut off. The bolt of Fire Lightning had attacked the Nascent Soul Body battling with Duke Ardbad!
The Fire Lightning wasn’t enough to destroy the Nascent Soul Body, but it caught her by surprise. Duke Ardbad didn’t miss the chance that was given to him, and he quickly slit the Nascent Soul Body’s throat. As the Nascent Soul Body crumbled, the backlash reached the Nascent Soul Body near the ghost ship.
Waltz automatically vomited blood. Her form began to fade, and the surviving Nascent Soul Body was also in danger of being destroyed. She was trying to control it when a portal appeared over her head.
“You rat-like bitch!” Duke Ardbad fell through the portal, swinging his giant bastard sword down. He had used a teleport scroll to appear. Although he was bloody from head to toe, his eyes burned. She’d stepped on his pride when she tried to play games with him.
Waltz crossed her arms as the blade condensed with magic power fell on her. The collision shook the River of Souls once again. The fog around her suddenly disappeared, and her vision grew clear to see 100 ships circling her and Duke Ardbad.
Their flags had the Jerusalem cross and a sword on them—it was the Second Squad of the Fantasy Regiment, the Illusion Knightage led by Creutz.
The Fantasy Regiment looked surprised at the two combatants, but they quickly regained their senses and aimed all their cannons at Waltz and fired simultaneously. Boom! Boom!
“Hoarder!” Waltz looked for Yeon-woo in a fury as she was attacked on all sides.
* * *
Creutz nodded in reply to his subordinate. He had rushed to this location frantically after hearing that Triton, the Blood Land, and White Dragon were after Yeon-woo. But instead of Yeon-woo, he saw a bloodied Duke Ardbad and Waltz. Despite his surprise, he’d calmly aimed the cannons at them since it seemed like they were chasing after Yeon-woo. He thought it was strange that Triton had disappeared, but he had to stall for time to let Yeon-woo escape.
The secretary next to him shouted at their subordinates. “Shoot! Don’t leave any of them alive!”
The magic attack created by artisans who were qualified masters flew towards Waltz and Duke Ardbad.
* * *
“Are we safe?”
After escaping the battlefield with Waltz, Duke Ardbad, and the Fantasy Regiment, the passengers on the ghost ship sighed in relief. Plop. Dylan, Jun, and the rest of the players all sat down on the deck, weak-kneed.
During their escape, they couldn’t relax because they thought that Waltz might come after them. However, after an hour passed with no sight of her, they finally caught their breaths. Their legs felt wobbly. Their hands were still shaking.
Heidi felt the same. She exhaled, leaning against the mast. The use of magic power and her spirits had pushed her to her limit and forced her to reveal her silver hair and eyes. However, if she hadn’t acted, she would have become another ghost wandering the river and so she didn’t have any regrets.
Also, she was relieved that she had made a different choice from her father. Once she’d managed to calm herself down, she lifted her head. She could see Yeon-woo sitting on the bow, looking at the river. He’d been sitting there ever since they’d escaped from Waltz.
‘He’s probably the most exhausted person here. Is he OK?’ There was no way he was fine. His condition had been critical when she’d rescued him, but the fact that he continued to stay alert meant that his discipline was incredible. What kind of life had he led?
Heidi wanted to ask Yeon-woo if she could help him with anything, but she was worried about disturbing him. She was still hesitating when Yeon-woo suddenly looked around. Their gazes met.
“Are you feeling a bit better?”
“Yes. Enough to move around…” Was he about to order her to do something? Heidi nodded.
“Then I’ll leave the rest to you. I set the destination, so you don’t have to worry about anything.”
Before Heidi could ask, Yeon-woo suddenly pitched forward. She dashed forward to catch him. Thump. Yeon-woo’s face fell into her chest. She could feel his heavy and firm body.
“C-Cain?” Heidi carefully called his name, but there was no answer. When she looked at him carefully, she realized that he’d fainted. She could hear his light breathing. Ah, so he was human after all. She had thought he was a monster because that was the only side of him she’d seen so far, but it wasn’t the case. She felt a bit closer to him.
“Rest well.” Heidi put Yeon-woo’s head in her lap so he could rest more comfortably and stroked his hair. The spirits flew around to help him sleep. His hair fluttered in the soft breeze. They were headed to Bayluk’s island, which was somewhere close by.
* * *
Meanwhile, a Guai that had wandered away from Yeon-woo snatched something up from the river. Keekeekeekee! How happy his master would be when he saw this! The Guai already felt good imagining his master’s compliments. What he found was Benteke’s severed right arm.Previous Chapter Next Chapter