Ted had always been confident in his skills. The god he served, Antaeus, ruled over power and battle. He was a king who had never been defeated by anyone other than Heracles. Ted was no different: he had only lost twice in his life.
The first was when he’d been captured by Lana, who was his former captain. The second was when he’d fought Benteke right before they mutinied in order to establish their pecking order.
But whenever he looked back at those losses, Ted felt wronged. ‘Back then, I wasn’t in my best condition. Lana and Benteke’s skills were pretty dynamic. Also, I was so young. If I fight them now, the outcome would be totally different. I’ve changed a lot since then.’
Ted had been thinking of defeating Benteke and even becoming the leader of Triton. Why couldn’t he do what Benteke did? However, he didn’t have a reason to overthrow Benteke like he’d had with Lana. Ted decided it was better to show their subordinates which of them was more qualified to lead Triton.
He saw his chance when Benteke fought the Hoarder with all his power and still lost. Benteke had also lost possession of Triaina, the symbol of Triton. If Ted brought back the Hoarder’s head, the situation would change very quickly. The gazes of their subordinates would shift, and he would also kill Jinrang, who looked down on him.
If Benteke made a few more mistakes without his right arm, Ted would have the world handed to him on a platter. He’d dreamt of such great plans. ‘But how…!’
He never even had a chance to use his skills. He was defeated just like that, with Boo’s Inferno Sight striking fear in his very soul.
* * *
Ted’s head collapsed. Brains and flesh flew out as everything was quickly absorbed by Bathory’s Vampiric Sword. The last of Ted’s vestige floated into Yeon-woo’s head. He snorted at Ted’s greed and overconfidence. He really didn’t know his place. Ted thought he could win against Benteke? ‘That’s an insult to Benteke.’
Benteke was an outstanding player that Yeon-woo would have liked to be friends with if they weren’t enemies. He was only as confident as his skills warranted, and moreover, he didn’t hesitate to walk his own path.
He was someone to learn from. Benteke probably thought the same of him. They had this in common, but Ted thought he was one of them, too? Bullshit.
He didn’t even know the power of his enemies and died because he ran without thinking into danger. And he wanted to do what? Yeon-woo almost felt bad for Antaeus, who was about to have some of his holy power stolen. “No. Didn’t Antaeus die because he was arrogant and ended up being killed by Heracles? I guess the Apostle was just following in the footsteps of the god he served.”
[Poseidon is furious!]
Yeon-woo laughed at Poseidon’s response. He was used to it now and completed his absorption. Antaeus’s holy power flowed into his body. Divine Factors spun inside of him as they were amplified. His cells changed once more, and he could feel his body growing tougher. ‘But compared to the arm of Poseidon’s Apostle…it’s not the same.’
The amount of holy power was just as much as the holy power of Benteke’s right arm. It wasn’t that Antaeus lacked holy power; it was that Poseidon had so much.
[You have completed 20% of the sudden quest (Ceto’s Resentment).]
A message informing him of his progress popped up, and the Sea Water Charm around his neck emitted a blue light. A small amount of holy power had been restored.
‘Is it telling me to work harder?’ His thoughts shifted to Boo, who had managed to dominate an Apostle. Even though he had the help of Shanon, Hanryeong, and the other Guai, Yeon-woo had killed Ted without too much trouble because of Boo’s abilities.
‘Boo is definitely that person.’ Yeon-woo grinned and looked below the cliff again. The docks were on fire, and the pale faces of the players shocked by Ted’s death stood out against the red flames. “Take care of the rest.”
The Guai moved again.
* * *
The news that Triton’s docks on the thirtieth floor had been destroyed spread throughout the Tower like wildfire. When the confirmation that Ted, one of the commanders of Triton, had died without even making a single move, everyone was shocked. The Hoarder was up to his old tricks once more and repeating the things he’d done on the twenty-eighth floor. He was better known by his nickname than by the name “Cain” by now, and he was considered as someone who had the potential to become a king.
Everyone was abuzz with the stories since Triton was one of the new emerging clans who had a chance to take a spot among the Eight Large Clans. The Ruler, Benteke, Apostle of Poseidon, was also their leader. People thought this was a chance to see the Hoarder’s real skills, which had mostly been rumors, and confirm Triton’s hidden forces.
The clans who were competing with Triton considered it a good opportunity to take advantage and attack them at a weakened moment.
* * *
[All trials have ended.]
[Will you register your name in the Hall of Fame?]
The trial ended when he finally absorbed the small amount of the poison of souls left in his body. However, he didn’t plan on heading to the thirty-first floor yet. He moved the message window aside and silently continued walking.
He was in a desert that lay bare in the hot sun and where sharp winds blew at night. Yeon-woo extended his Magic Armor into a cloak, covering his head with the hood. He was tracking Benteke’s location. There wasn’t that much distance between them anymore. ‘Why hasn’t he shown up yet?’
Yeon-woo had clashed with Triton’s forces multiple times as he’d passed through the stages. He’d destroyed entire docks and fleets, and it was obvious that they’d suffered enormous financial damage. Also, Ted’s death was a huge loss to them. Both Triton and Yeon-woo had gone past the point of no return, and it was now a life-or-death conflict between them.
However, Benteke hadn’t shown himself at all, which wasn’t what Yeon-woo expected. ‘Hasn’t he recovered yet? His holy power should be fine by now.’
Yeon-woo had been more injured than Benteke. He had healed himself with Regeneration, but Benteke had the same ability. Recuperation aside, from what Yeon-woo knew of Benteke’s personality, he would have been raring to continue the fight. He wasn’t someone who would avoid a challenge just because he was injured.
Triton clearly thought that they were in real danger because the frequency of their attacks decreased, and they hadn’t appeared since the day before. ‘Did something happen?’ Yeon-woo was considering invading Triton’s base when Shanon suddenly called out, 「Look, Master.」 He seemed strangely excited.
“What is it?”
「You know.」 Shanon was speaking in a sing-song voice that was uncomfortable to listen to.
Yeon-woo’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
「Nah. Not between us.」
Yeon-woo frowned even more.
「Master, a servant must read their master’s intentions even if it’s not spelled out. If you feel uncomfortable, what about giving it to me?」 This time, Hanryeong whispered to Yeon-woo.
Shanon shouted in reply, and he and Hanryeong had an argument over Ted’ soul, which was still in the Soul Collection. Yeon-woo clucked his tongue. The level of an Apostle’s soul was bound to be high.
「Hey! It’s mine!」
「That’s for Master to decide.」
Yeon-woo glanced up at the sky. He could see Rebecca floating around in her spirit form. It had been a while since Rebecca had said anything about recovering a human body. She changed to her spirit form occasionally and whirled around Yeon-woo. Whenever Yeon-woo spoke to her, she only gave brief answers. They didn’t have to communicate this way because they were connected, and he didn’t care too much. Rebecca usually didn’t even look at him, like it didn’t matter to her. She wasn’t like Boo at all, who followed Yeon-woo faithfully.
“After we get all of Triton. Not now.”
「If you say so, Master.」
Shanon and Hanryeong didn’t speak about the soul any further. They knew that Yeon-woo never changed his mind. Also, they needed to have an extra soul in case of emergency.
‘I should talk to Rebecca later.’ When Yeon-woo looked away from Rebecca, he suddenly sensed a small army of soldiers at an oasis with his Extrasensory Perception. At first, Yeon-woo thought they were from Triton and put his hand on the Magic Bayonet, but he realized that it wasn’t them. These soldiers were more powerful, and there was something familiar about them. ‘The Fantasy Regiment?’
It was the Second Squad, the Illusion Knightage, who had helped him put some distance between himself and Waltz’s Nascent Soul Body. Yeon-woo’s shadow wavered. The Guai were ready to move. The only reason they hadn’t done anything yet was that the Fantasy Regiment didn’t have any murderous intent. In fact, they seemed to be welcoming Yeon-woo.
When Yeon-woo reached the oasis, they all got to their feet. They all wore shiny silver armor that was likely uncomfortable in the searing heat and long capes.
“Nice to meet you, Cain. I’m Creutz of the Illusion Knightage.” Creutz stepped up and held his hand out. He looked happy to see Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo silently looked at the hand and replied without holding his own out. “What are you guys doing here?’
Creutz must’ve felt awkward because he rubbed his right hand with his left hand, but the smile didn’t leave his sculpted face. He said with a bright expression, “We’ve been waiting for you.”
“Indeed. I wanted to speak with you at the River of Souls, but the timing wasn’t right. It was such a shame. I looked everywhere for you again, and after much difficulty, we found out where you were. It’s such a relief that we’ve finally met.”
Yeon-woo frowned. Another set of pupils opened within his eyes. It was Draconic Eyes. ‘It’s the truth.’ Still, he didn’t let his guard down. “Why were you looking for me? For revenge?”
“Ah, I apologize on behalf of the Fantasy Regiment for what the Ninety-Second Squad did.” Creutz bowed his head in an elegant manner to apologize. The other players behind him also bowed their heads. They didn’t seem to have any tricks up their sleeves.
‘It’s the truth.’ Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes even more. Creutz definitely wasn’t lying, nor were the other players. He couldn’t sense any enmity, and they were truly sincere and well-intentioned.
However, Yeon-woo was suspicious of their goodwill because he didn’t think there was any reason for it. “Why were you looking for me?”
Creutz raised his head and said, “Our Regiment Leader longs to meet you. Also, we have orders to help you if you’re in danger.”
What was he talking about? “Who is your Regiment Leader?”
“He said that you’re his dear, old friend.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter