Benteke’s eyes shot open.
“Captain! Are you up…urk!” The servant who eagerly greeted him gasped as Benteke wrapped his hand around his neck. The servant couldn’t say anything, feeling as though his throat would be crushed as he looked into Benteke’s eyes.
“Jinrang. Where is he?”
“Th-that’s…!” The servant wanted to say something but was so stricken with fear that he couldn’t speak. It only angered Benteke, and he was on the point of crushing the servant’s neck when Jinrang opened the door and entered.
“Stop scolding that innocent child.” He held a bowl of porridge, but Benteke didn’t even notice.
“Jinrang!” He ground his teeth at the guy who had interfered with his fight. Benteke considered himself a beast and hated it when others stepped into his fights. He saw this as an insult to his competence.
However, Jinrang was calm even in the face of Benteke’s murderous aura. The servant who had barely squirmed out of Benteke’s grip fainted. They stayed like that for a while until Benteke closed his eyes with a scowl, exhaling out a long breath. When he opened his eyes again, they still blazed, but the madness in them was gone. “Fine. Since it’s you…it must be right.”
“Thank you for understanding.” Jinrang bowed.
Benteke knew what happened when you were destroyed by inflexibility like his former lover, Lana. He couldn’t follow in her steps. He tried to hold back his anger. He trusted Jinrang’s loyalty and decisiveness more than anyone else’s. “However.” Benteke bared his teeth at Jinrang. “That can’t happen again.”
“Of course.” Jinrang acted as though that were a natural outcome.
Benteke snorted. “Slick bastard.” He wanted to make Jinrang suffer by being petty, but Jinrang took it in stride. Benteke laughed emptily, feeling like Jinrang was superior to him, but that only lasted for a moment. Benteke looked at his shoulder with a hard expression. The sleeve that should have contained his right arm was empty. “My arm isn’t healing.”
“Yes.” Jinrang also had a hard expression. Holy power was bestowed by the gods, and it was a power of creation. It could create things that hadn’t existed before and return things to their original states. The reason why Benteke always recovered quickly even if his body were destroyed was the ample amount of holy power he possessed. His strong Channel with Poseidon would have restored his severed arm in the past, but now, his cells didn’t even move. Benteke knew what that meant. “Kehalhalhalhal! Seems like he’s enjoying my arm.” Benteke let out a loud chuckle. He actually found the situation amusing. That guy took a lot of his stuff, from his holy artifact to his arm. The Hoarder really lived up to his name. It was fun, and Benteke was looking forward to the feeling of twisting the guy’s neck.
“He’ll probably come back here. I hope he comes quickly.” Benteke’s eyes glowed with madness. At that moment, his shadow wavered. A long, narrow eye blinked for a split second before settling back into the shadow again.
* * *
[You have gained a Divine Factor.]
[You have gained a Divine Factor.]
[You have gained a large number of Divine Factors.]
[The hidden Divine Factors are reacting.]
Yeon-woo could feel strength flooding into his body. For the first time, the Divine Factors that had always been overwhelmed by the Demonic Factors and the Draconic Factors awakened. It was behaving like a school outcast who had suddenly discovered that a new student was an old childhood friend. Yeon-woo could feel how delighted it was.
[Poseidon descends from his throne and yells. He is shouting at you to stop.]
[Poseidon is suggesting that his underlings punish you.]
[The underlings are scared.]
[Poseidon suggests that <Olympus> lay a heavy punishment on you.]
[Athena and Hermes have opposed the suggestion.]
[Poseidon protests vehemently to Athena and Hermes.]
[Agares looks at you with frustrated eyes.]
[Agares urges you to accept the Demonic Factors.]
Because these were the Factors of a greater god like Poseidon, Yeon-woo could feel the power surging through his body. Crack, crack! His cells were changing, and his body type was also improving. Although it wasn’t enough to affect his trait, the Demonic Dragon Body, it was a great reward. His understanding of the gods grew deeper, and he managed to take Poseidon’s strength.
[Your affinity for the water property has increased by 30 points.]
[Your control of the water property has increased by 25 points.]
Yeon-woo, who had a deep affinity only with fire and darkness properties, finally gained a significant amount of affinity and control over the water property for the first time. The River of Souls, which had been a huge challenge for Yeon-woo, became a piece of cake. “Whew.” Yeon-woo slowly moved as he caught his breath.
Crack, crack! His body felt stiff because of the changes to his body type. The Philosopher’s Stone circulated to assimilate the changes quickly. Most of his injuries from his fight with Benteke had healed, and his abilities had even increased. He focused his power to his eyes. A bright light flashed in his eyes before disappearing. ‘Benteke, I must catch you.’
Besides tha fact that he wanted to avenge Lana, Yeon-woo strongly felt that he needed to capture Benteke. Just swallowing his arm already brought so many benefits—what would happen if he consumed Benteke completely? He might be able to awaken his Demonic Dragon Body by one more step.
‘What should I call it then? Divine Demonic Dragon Body? Demonic Divine Dragon Body?’ Yeon-woo was grinning at his odd thoughts when he felt Poseidon’s sharp gaze.
[Poseidon is glaring at you.]
Yeon-woo lightly punched the air in his direction and slowly stood. Just then, a blue fire flared next to him, and a bird the size of a human torso appeared. Swoosh!
『Master, are you OK?』 Nike looked at him in concern. It seemed that Nike had felt his emotions through their connection after he’d been awakened by the changes in Yeon-woo’s body.
“I’m OK.” Yeon-woo stroked Nike’s head, proud of his thoughtfulness. Nike purred under his hand like a cat, but he continued to look concerned.
This time, Nemesis’s voice rang out. 『You were too relaxed this time.』
Yeon-woo lifted his head. Nemesis was looking down at him from the air. His words were dripping with frustration. 『Why didn’t you call us?』
Yeon-woo knew why Nemesis was so angry. He hadn’t summoned any of the Guai or the Legendary Beasts when he was being chased by Waltz’s Nascent Soul Body or battling Benteke.
『You weren’t like that before. You focused on the things that could help you seek revenge. You were never drunk on the battle before. What changed?』 Nemesis narrowed his eyes. 『What were you thinking?』
Yeon-woo shut his eyes. All kinds of thoughts flitting through his head. Nemesis’ description was accurate. He had been drunk on the fight. He’d enjoyed battling Benteke too much. It was a pleasure that he’d never felt before, and it was also a way for him to release the beast inside him and let it run free for the first time. He’d lost his head, which he’d never done before. He was so taken by the fun that he didn’t even want the Guai or Legendary Beasts interrupting.
Considering his personality and the path he’d taken so far, it was completely out of character. He should have summoned Shanon, Hanryeong, and Rebecca when he was fighting Benteke. He should have also sunk Triton’s entire fleet. And even if he was drunk on the fight with Benteke, he should have regained his senses when Waltz appeared.
However, he didn’t do that, and he was even pleased to see her. He had been foolish enough to think her presence would add to the enjoyment. “I was wrong.” Opening his eyes again, he acknowledged his mistake. “I’ll be more careful in the future.”
Even if he let out the beast out of its cage, he needed to keep a tight leash on it. Yeon-woo felt this keenly now.
『Grr! Don’t bother Yeon-woo so much! He is also reflecting!』 Nike flapped his wings at Nemesis and shouted. Nemesis grunted. He was easily influenced by Nike, whom he considered his little brother.
『Anyway, next time, don’t struggle with these things on your own and ask for our help. Didn’t you say you were going to establish a clan? That means we’re also part of it.』
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Yeon-woo nodded. He knew that Nemesis was genuinely worried about him.
Nemesis didn’t speak about his worries further, and instead, he asked, 『Aside from that, what are you going to do now? You haven’t recovered yet. You’ll need to do something about that daughter of the Summer Queen.』 Nemesis had already fought with the Summer Queen with Jeong-woo, so he knew how powerful Waltz was. 『She already seems like a monster. She grew so much while I wasn’t around.』
Nemesis was worried about the dangers facing Yeon-woo, now that he’d been marked as Waltz’s target. Yeon-woo still had many floors to climb. However, Yeon-woo shook his head like he was fine. “No. She won’t be able to find me that easily.”
Nemesis narrowed his eyes. 『Are you…!』
“I’m being foolish anymore. I managed to get a grip near the end.”
『What are you saying?』
“Look at this.” Grinning, Yeon-woo opened his hand. Nike and Nemesis looked at his palm. Swoosh! A black fire spread out to show them a scene.
『This…』 Nemesis muttered in surprise. In the scene, Waltz’s Nascent Soul Body was fighting Duke Ardbad and two other players. Waltz’s Nascent Soul Body seemed to be in critical condition, as though she would fall any second to her opponents, who fought her in perfect sync.
However, she still hung on, as if proving to them why she was the true successor of the Summer Queen. The three dukes looked increasingly shocked as they continued their attacks.
“Yes. They’re all dukes from the Blood Land. It looks like they came at Duke Ardbad’s request.”
The other two dukes were familiar to Nemesis; they were among the list of people he wanted to swallow up, along with Duke Ardbad. However, it was hilarious seeing his enemies fight each other, with one side even thinking that Yeon-woo was their ally.
Nemesis knew that it was a Guai hidden inside Duke Ardbad’s shadow that was showing them the scene. In fact, it wasn’t an ordinary Guai.
『Hanryeong! It’s Hanryeong! When did you plant him?』 Nemesis exclaimed. Even though he was connected to Yeon-woo, he couldn’t read all of Yeon-woo’s thoughts and actions. Yeon-woo had left Hanryeong in Duke Ardbad’s shadow so discreetly that Nemesis hadn’t even noticed it. If Yeon-woo’s own allies didn’t know about it, there was no way Duke Ardbad would.
Nemesis understood why Yeon-woo said that he had regained his reason, and he clucked his tongue to himself. His master’s personality was really different from Jeong-woo’s. He was starting to feel bad for scolding him.
『Whoa!』 Nike watched the scene, impressed.
Nemesis asked, 『Does it make a difference putting Hanryeong there? That’s not the real Waltz, anyway. She can always send another Nascent Soul Body over if the three dukes destroy this one.』
“No. It will be hard to do that again. White Dragon isn’t in a position to pull that off. She probably only showed up because she wanted to get a look at me.” Yeon-woo knew White Dragon’s situation. The seventy-sixth floor was in chaos, and even though Waltz was acknowledged as the successor of the Summer Queen, the fight for supremacy between White Dragon, Green Dragon, and Black Dragon still raged. He was sure that she’d only sent a Nascent Soul Body to investigate the Summer Queen’s enemy.
Waltz wasn’t a stupid person who didn’t have her priorities straight. ‘If she were short-sighted, she wouldn’t have been able to gather the forces that she has now.” She was probably fighting the Blood Land to decrease their numbers.
『Hmm. Makes sense. Are you going to leave them alone, then?』
“No. I’m only making a guess, and if Waltz decides to chase us, then we’ll be put in a tough spot too. We don’t have the time to become trapped in a battlefield either.”
『Then what are you going to do?』
“I’ve set off a nice spark, so there’s no need to leave it alone, hm?”
Nemesis wondered what Yeon-woo was going to do. Yeon-woo was scariest when he was putting together his schemes.
“They say something on Earth.” Yeon-woo bared his teeth in a cold smile. “Fights and fires are more fun to watch the bigger they are.” As soon as he finished speaking, Duke Ardbad’s shadow wavered, and something popped out to cut off Duke Ardbad’s head.
Duke Ardbad’s head rolled on the ground, his expression still full of concentration, shocking the other dukes. They shouted, not noticing Hanryeong pick up Duke Ardbad’s soul. Then, he hid in the shadows again.
Waltz didn’t lose this chance and blasted out her martial attack again. One of the dukes was blown away, messing up the Blood Land’s formation.
That was the last scene Hanryreong shared before he left. Nemesis and Nike didn’t say anything for a while, their mouths agape. As he felt a soul return to his collection, Yeon-woo smiled coldly. “Since a Duke has died, the Blood Land will probably be after White Dragon’s blood.”
At Yeon-woo’s relaxed tone, Nemesis sighed. 『What Shanon says all the time is true.』
“What is it?”
『Your personality is…』 Duke Ardbad had saved Yeon-woo’s life. Nemesis never expected that Yeon-woo would have his head sliced off like that.
『You and Jeong-woo are twins, I don’t know why you’re so different. Goodness.』 Nemesis sighed deeply. Deep inside the collection, Shanon was nodding furiously in agreement.Previous Chapter Next Chapter