“I heard the Hoarder has appeared right under our noses. What are you planning to do now? I don’t think our defenses will hold up.” Elaine smiled faintly and looked at Jinrang.
As he looked at her, Jinrang thought, ‘Crazy bitch.’ Her younger twin brother had died and their enemy was coming, but she only looked amused and not even the slightest bit angry. He’d always thought she had a few screws loose.
Even when they had been Lana’s subordinates, he’d never known what she was thinking. It wasn’t as if she were profound or clever, but more like she was unpredictable and always chose the path that seemed more entertaining to her. She was really crazy for excitement.
When they had mutinied, she’d joined Triton because she thought it would be more fun. Her motives were just as nonsensical as Ted’s plans to steal Benteke’s position, and she was as crazy as ever. The logical Jinrang didn’t even try to understand her, and he didn’t want her close to him. But what could he do?
He had expected Ted to attack Yeon-woo and run away, but Ted had been killed in such an anticlimactic manner. ‘Has the Hoarder been hiding something?’
But it was impossible that he would have withheld some of his powers in a battle that involved Benteke, Waltz’s Nascent Soul Body, Duke Ardbad, and the Fantasy Regiment. Even though the Hoarder was a mysterious monster, this was difficult to understand. ‘Or did he manage to become stronger since the fight? No way.’
Jinrang thought that the first possibility made more sense. But if that were true, then they had no other choice. ‘We have to kill him through any means possible this time.’ The speed of the Hoarder’s growth was frightening enough to make observers shudder.
If he could grow so much stronger after just one fight, that meant that his talent was on a completely different level. The longer a dangerous variable like him was left alone, the more dangerous it would be to the clan. ‘However, it’s not easy to stop him.’
Jinrang pressed his throbbing temples and looked behind. The large iron door decorated with monsters and a storm-creating trident demonstrate Poseidon’s might. However, it had remained shut for several days. “When is the captain coming out?” Jinrang shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I thought his condition would return in a few days, but his recovery has been slower than I expected.”
“You mean you haven’t told him about what’s going on outside?”
Jinrang nodded silently.
A look of disbelief appeared on Elaine’s face, and she snorted. “It’s hard to find such a dedicated person like you. If you don’t want to bother him, I’ll tell him.” Elaine swept past Jinrang and approached the iron door. Jinrang didn’t stop her. He knew that it would be a futile attempt anyway.
As he expected, Elaine couldn’t even approach the iron door. There was a large, condensed power behind the door that was so great that it dominated its surroundings and made one feel like worshipping it. It was squirming and felt like a monster and the god they served at the same time.
The closer Elaine got to the iron door, the stronger the power grew until Elaine paused and looked at Jinrang. She felt anxious, as though something might steal everything from her. Her face was filled with shock for the first time.
‘So that crazy bitch knows how to make that expression, too.’ Jinrang snorted. “It’s clear tbat the captain is preparing something. He might be communicating with Poseidon right now.”
“Communicating? This is communicating…?”
“Anyway, until the captain comes out through his own volition, it’s forbidden to approach the door. I suggest that you don’t unless you want to be drained of all your holy power.”
Elaine moved away a few steps from the door and caught her breath. Although she looked shocked, her eyes hinted at an inner glee. Jinrang felt like crying at the sight.
“Hmm, so what then? What about the trespassers? Should we stop them ourselves? I don’t think it’s just the Hoarder that’s the problem.” She was talking about the rat-like bastards who were following Yeon-woo: Creutz, Faceless, and Doctor Doom. They were all bastards she wanted to get rid of at the same time. If they played their cards right, they could get rid of all the nuisances bothering Triton.
“You and I have to get rid of them no matter what.”
“Are you saying you need my help?”
“Right now, I’ll take anyone’s help.”
“Sheesh, you are too honest at times like this. The hand that you’re trying to hold isn’t just a random person’s hand, you know.” Dozens of eyes opened above Elaine’s eyes, creating a disgusting sight. Jinrang could see his face reflected in all of them.
* * *
Yeon-woo lifted his head. In the distance, he could see a gigantic castle next to the seashore. It looked like a pile of ruins, a fortress, and even a temple all at the same time. Yeon-woo could feel Benteke inside with something immense. ‘What is he doing?’ For some time now, he couldn’t connect with the Guai in his shadow.
It wasn’t that Benteke had gotten rid of them, but the connection had been cut off, as if something were blocking it. Yeon-woo had an idea what it was: ‘A god’s barrier.’
The land that gods and demons inhabited was called holy land or holy territory, and there was a barrier around it, similar to the one that he’d sensed on the sixteenth floor at the temples of the Three Norns. ‘Especially when the goddess Urd descended. Has Poseidon come down?’
Yeon-woo thought something was weird.
“Shut up, my lord! How is this my fault? You’re a god and you didn’t even see this coming!”
“I showed a bad side of myself because of my ill-tempered god. Let’s start again.”
Benteke was the type of person who would even curse the god he served if things didn’t go his way. That was how confident he was in himself, so it was strange that he would ask Poseidon to descend.
‘No. It’s not from Poseidon descending. It’s something similar…’ Yeon-woo shook his head. If it was a simple descent, he would’ve felt Poseidon’s holy power, but the storm inside that castle was different. ‘I’m already here, so there’s nothing I can do but face it.’
Yeon-woo organized his thoughts and slowly began to climb up the slope. He could feel the presences following him also move. It seemed like they were prepared to swoop in after Yeon-woo officially faced off against Triton. However, it didn’t matter to him.
As long as he finished the fight with Benteke and took Poseidon’s holy power as a reward, he didn’t care what the others did. In fact, if they caused further chaos, it might even help. Even if they tried to attack him, he’d already shaken off Waltz’s Nascent Soul Body, and there was no way he wouldn’t be able to get away from them, too.
Also, just like Creutz and the Illusion Knightage, they were following him from a distance. Creutz was the closest one to him, but as he’d promised, he wasn’t interfering. Yeon-woo activated his Magic Circuit as he approached the castle. His 360 Cores circulated, and the Philosopher’s Stone supplied magic power to him continuously. His senses activated, and his muscles tensed. Draconic Eyes and Extrasensory Perception opened, and he read the flow around the castle.
He was ready to begin the attack right away if something happened. Triton could attack at any moment, and since they hadn’t shown themselves for some time, he guessed that they were all inside the castle.
However, Yeon-woo couldn’t sense anything when he approached the castle. ‘What?’ There was nothing inside the castle. None of the attacks he was expecting materialized, and there weren’t even any soldiers along the walls. He looked everywhere with his Draconic Eyes and Extrasensory Perception, but he couldn’t feel anything.
Even when he finally reached the castle, he still couldn’t sense anything. Was it really just ruins? An ominous feeling exuded from the open doors, as if tempting him to enter. He had been expecting an intense fight, and he was flabbergasted. It was anticlimactic, but he didn’t let his guard down.
Not too long after he passed through the castle doors, he saw a man on a rock waiting for him. Yeon-woo had seen his face before; he was the player who’d saved Benteke from Duke Ardbad. ‘Jinrang.’
He was Benteke’s subordinate and had served him even when they were still following Lana. Orion’s Apostle slowly stood up from the rock as soon as he saw Yeon-woo. “So you came all the way here. I desperately hoped you would just pass by.”
Jinrang looked tired. While Benteke had been recovering from the fight, he had been busy taking care of Benteke’s work in addition to his own. Yeon-woo wasn’t the only thing occupying his mind. The three clans following Yeon-woo—the Fantasy Regiment, Necropolis, and Faceless’ Chest of Souls—were also nibbling away at Triton’s territory.
All of them were targeting Triton and allied together, putting pressure on Triton. This was part of the reason that Yeon-woo hadn’t faced any attacks. Triton had focused all their strength in one location since they were being attacked on multiple fronts.
“I’m requesting this favor from you. Do you have any inclination to stop the fight here?” Jinrang was being genuine. He wanted to prevent any fighting from happening if he could. With Yeon-woo gone, there were so many things that Triton could do. That was how tough of an opponent Yeon-woo was.
Yeon-woo was full of disbelief. “You’re the ones who started it.”
“I’ll apologize however many times you want. We’ll also compensate you. Just name the price.” Jinrang’s eyes glittered. Yeon-woo could read the desperation in them and he laughed incredulously.
“And if I want Benteke’s head?”
Jinrang’s face hardened. “So, you don’t plan on backing off until the end.”
“I can’t take your offer. Even if I end it here, do you think Benteke will simply agree to it?”
Jinrang couldn’t say anything.
“He’ll be after me in the future, regardless of what we agree on. It’s not Benteke aiming for me, but Poseidon himself. As his servants, I don’t think you can ignore his orders.”
Jinrang glared at Yeon-woo and sighed. “That’s correct. We are the ones chosen by Poseidon. Technically, we’re like his priests. We will inevitably clash with you one day.”
“I don’t like to leave things unfinished like this.”
“Then I suppose it can’t be helped.” Jinrang raised his hands behind his back and pulled out a pair of swords. Kashing. His aura began to whirl as the clash of metal on metal rang out. It was beyond what Ted had managed. “We have to grit our teeth and fight, too.” The ground shook, and it became noisy behind him. Boom!
“Shit! Things have turned bad for us!”
Dozens of monsters carrying Triton’s members popped out near the players following Yeon-woo and attacked.
It was the power of Charybdis, the god that Elaine served. Charybdis was the child of Poseidon and Gaia. She had the power of both sea and land, and as a horrible monster herself, she ruled all monsters.
Necropolis and the Chest of Souls had only planned to observe and never expected to be attacked. They scrambled to get into position, but those who were too slow to react were instantly crushed.
At the same time, the air around Yeon-woo swirled and moved him to a completely different location. Instead of Jinrang, a monstrous snake dozens of meters long slithered towards him with its mouth wide open.Previous Chapter Next Chapter