Chapter 284 - Island (1)

Bayluk’s island was surrounded by many defenses which made it difficult to find its exact location. Yeon-woo had already given up on looking for it, but during his fight with Waltz, he’d realized that he had a means of finding the island.

The Sea Water Charm had lost most of its power due to its loss of holy power, but it still retained its basic functions. Yeon-woo selected the option “Song of the Sea” and looked for the memories related to Bayluk. He eventually found the approximate area where the island was located, and Yeon-woo decided that they could dock there temporarily. It was a fortress that Anti-Venom Bayluk had carefully built, and since outsiders didn’t know of its existence, neither Waltz nor Duke Ardbad would be able to track him. 

He gave the coordinates to the Cannibal Monster Humans and let them handle the navigation while he recuperated.

* * *

“He’s such a sound sleeper even in a situation like this.” Yeon-woo slowly opened his eyes when he heard the voice. Where was it coming from? He focused on the Philosopher’s Stone, but when he finally came to, he saw that he was in a dark world full of stars.

He couldn’t figure which way was up or down, and he felt like his soul would leave his body just looking at the vastness around him. In front of him, he could see an ashy human silhouette with no features except for a curve near the lower third of his face that looked like a mouth. It was the person who had invited Yeon-woo to this place: the Demonism, the beast that had been caged inside him for a while.

Yeon-woo looked at him and asked, “What is it this time?”

“What? Can’t I call you when I want to? I’m still a part of you. We’re like twins. Your little brother wanted to see his older brother, so what’s the matter?”

Yeon-woo frowned. An intense wind blew around him. “Don’t say things like that with your piehole.” He didn’t like hearing the Demonism use terms like “twins”, “little brother”, or “older brother”. They weren’t words that anyone could say lightly around him.

The Demonism only shrugged. “Hehehe, how can you be so angry because of a few words? How do you expect people to describe you as cold and logical? Cold-blooded? The trait would cry. Am I right?”

Yeon-woo was silent. 

“Fine. I got it. I won’t do it again. Keekeekeek!” Although the Demonism apologized, he couldn’t stop laughing. 

Yeon-woo debated punching him in the face, but he quietly retracted his Fire Wings. He was still exhausted from the fight with Benteke and Waltz. If he battled the Demonism now, it would be detrimental to his mental health, which in turn would prevent his body from healing quickly. Instead, he glared at the laughing Demonism. “Why did you call me here?”

“Oh yeah. I had something to say to you, so I called you. What was it again?”’

Yeon-woo’s face hardened as the Demonism suddenly burst out laughing once more, slapping his knees. “Oh, that’s what it was. Keekeekeek!” He covered his mouth as he giggled and spoke out of the corner of his mouth, which had split all the way to his ear. “Listen, aren’t you too weak?”

Yeon-woo didn’t say anything. 

The Demonism continued to criticize him. “I’ve said before that I would wait until you became ripe. But what are you doing? You have the Philosopher’s Stone, the Demonic Dragon Body, Vigrid…but you can barely do anything even with that nice stuff? How frustrating, ugh.” The Demonism shook his finger. “Stop doing that, OK? Work a little harder. Just a bit more. Only then,” he opened his mouth to reveal fangs like those of a starving monster, “can I fill my empty stomach.”  

* * *

‘What a crazy bastard.’ Rubbing his temples, Yeon-woo slowly stood. He felt like his head was going to burst. Was it an aftereffect of speaking with the Demonism? When his pain retreated, Yeon-woo realized that his body felt lighter than before he fainted. In fact, he was seventy-percent healed. Normally, he would be bedridden for days, even with Regeneration. The Demonism’s words echoed in his head. “I’ll give you another chance to work harder. You have to use it well.” 

The Demonism was asleep in the Philosopher’s Stone, but it had probably unlocked a hidden function of the stone to help him recover. 

“Don’t forget. This is the last time. Keekeekeek!”

The strange laughter was still ringing in Yeon-woo’s head, irritating him. ‘But where am I…?’ Yeon-woo circulated his magic power to drive away the traces of the Demonism as he looked around. He was on a bed in a familiar-looking room with bare, wooden walls. ‘It’s the captain’s quarters.’

Yeon-woo moved the blanket aside and stepped out. White fog swept past him, so thick that it was difficult to even take a step forward. However, he could hear people bustling around on the deck.

“Raise the sails! We have to move at full speed. We can’t be stuck in the fog!”

“Rope! Where’s the rope?!”

“I’m turning the ship northeast. Everyone, be careful not to lose your footing!”

Their voices rang through the thick fog, and when the ship changed direction, Yeon-woo gripped the railings and activated the Sea Water Charm. His astral body floated up so that he could see the activities from above. ‘Are we going the right way?’

Fortunately, the ship seemed to be arriving at the coordinates much faster than he’d expected. They were close to Bayluk’s island now, and the fog was part of the island’s defenses.

The fog was probably safe and meant to discourage ships from continuing forward. Most ships avoided sailing into areas with poor visibility, and Anti-Venom was using the fog to force them to turn away from the island. It seemed ridiculous, but then it made sense considering how much he wanted to hide the island.

Someone with his personality would have mixed poison in the fog to kill any intruder or disable them enough that he could take them to use as guinea pigs. However, if he did that, rumors about this area would spread, and people would speculate that such extreme defenses meant that something valuable was hidden on the island.

However, it was likely that Bayluk had prepared more dangerous defenses closer to the island. ‘I should get rid of them ahead of time.’

He could find most of the defenses with his Draconic Eyes, and as he walked slowly on the deck, people turned to look at him as they sensed his presence. They all stepped back in surprise and the loud deck grew quieter. Yeon-woo was still a fearsome person to them. 

“Are you feeling all right?” Heidi was the only one who ran to him. Her face looked tired like she hadn’t been able to rest properly. However, she didn’t say anything about it and looked at Yeon-woo with concerned eyes. 

Yeon-woo nodded and drew his Magic Bayonet out from subspace. There were gasps from every corner of the ship, and a few players covered their mouths and ran away.

Heidi sighed as she looked at them. Even though they knew that Yeon-woo wouldn’t hurt them, they were still acting that way. Despite everything they’d been through, they were still terrified of Yeon-woo. However, Yeon-woo didn’t care as he emitted black Aura from the sword towards the fog past the bow.

Heidi thought he was just aiming at nothing, but then, from afar, she heard the sound of an explosion. Something had been hit. Yeon-woo looked around again as he put the Magic Bayonet back. He walked towards Heidi. “Call me when we reach land.”

“OK.”

Yeon-woo went back to the captain’s quarters to rest a little more. 

* * *

The deeper they moved into the fog, the worse the visibility grew. The players were anxious, worrying that they might be trapped in the fog forever. Then, all of a sudden, the fog disappeared to reveal an island on the horizon.

“It’s an island!”

“Land ho! Get ready to anchor!”

They all looked happy to see the island. They’d endured Triton, Benteke, and Waltz in a short time, and they were desperate for rest.

Although the island wasn’t the twenty-ninth floor, which was said to have a new continent, they were still grateful. It looked welcoming enough, with a bright atmosphere and wildflowers and plants.

They could also see traces of people, and they grew hopeful that it might be an island of players who lived on the twenty-eighth floor. There was even a dock and as the ghost ship approached, the players got ready to step on firm ground.

At Heidi’s orders, they disembarked in groups of three. Even though they were glad to see land, they had to be on their guards because they didn’t know what dangers might be lurking on the island. There might even be Cannibal Monster Humans.

The players all received orders to investigate different sections of the land and scattered. They needed to know the layout and terrain first. Yeon-woo got off the boat last and looked around. ‘Looks like it’s changed a lot from how it looks in the diary.’

Bayluk’s island was an island that Team Arthia had found together. The memories in the diary looked nothing like the island now. Bayluk had made many significant changes.

Yeon-woo walked on the island with grim eyes. The interior was even more transformed. The lush forest had disappeared and there were buildings set up along well-made paths. There were even laboratories. It looked more like a small city than a village. 

The players looked surprised. It definitely wasn’t an island where pirates lived. They wouldn’t be able to make an organized city like this, with arsenals, labs, parks, and meandering paths for walks. 

It was clear that a clan had cleaned the island up, and it could accommodate about 1,000 people. However, they couldn’t sense any living presence, even though it was clear that people had been using the place just a few months ago.

It also seemed like everyone had left in a rush. There was food that was partially cooked inside the houses, as well as books left open on tales. If the residents had moved, they would have packed their possessions and taken them, but all the weapons were still in the arsenal and documents and books were left behind in the labs for anyone to read.

There was no evidence that the island had been invaded, either. It was as though everyone had simply evaporated. The empty city was beginning to look like a ghost town, and they shivered.

“What happened here?”

The players, who at first had been happy to find land, quivered. Then, they saw a tall spire at the northern section of the city with a symbol that was slowly being forgotten by the Tower carved on it.

“Huh? That…?”

“Isn’t that Arthia’s symbol?”

Yeon-woo, who had been following them, saw the symbol as well of a Jerusalem cross with a winged sword below it.  

“This island was Arthia’s territory?”

Yeon-woo heard someone mutter. Behind his mask, his eyes hardened. 

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