Yeon-woo stopped looking at the manacle and the fetter. He wouldn’t get any answers from them no matter how much he stared. He had to find the answers himself or leave it as a mystery forever. In a way, that wouldn’t be too bad. Borrowing powers made things convenient, but it also came with many annoyances.
The strengthened Channel made it easier to read his thoughts and intention, and he found the loss of privacy. Also, Azrael was the most unpredictable of the gods and demons. Agares was obsessive but simple-minded. Hermes and Athena had a lot of goodwill towards him. Hundun was just quiet.
However, Azreal’s intentions towards him had always been mysterious. He sometimes showed his covetousness, but he also acted as though he cared for Yeon-woo’s wellbeing. It was hard to figure out what was really on his mind, and it put Yeon-woo on edge because he wasn’t sure what Azrael would do.
Azrael was almost like the representative of the gods and demons of death, and he’d suddenly disappeared after leaving him with an even greater power and unlocking the seal. It wasn’t a bad thing for Yeon-woo at all, and in fact, he was grateful. ‘He’s the Giving Tree.’
Yeon-woo grinned and checked the last option. The options were all useful, but this was the one that stood out the most. Summon of the Dead could consume some of the souls in his collection to summon souls in the Beyond. He had to have met the soul when they were still alive or possess something related to them, and the length of time he could see a soul depended on its level. The summoned souls also had free will.
‘Forcefully summoning souls?’ He wouldn’t be able to make the souls do what he wanted, but many other things would become possible. ‘I can make a deal to learn skills or powers. Or I can ask for advice.’ Yeon-woo used up some of the souls in his collection and gathered Black Evil to activate Summon of the Dead.
[‘Summon of the Dead’ has been activated.]
[Who would you like to summon?]
Yeon-woo said the first name that came to his mind. “Benteke.” A black tornado blew around him and scattered.
[The summoning has failed.]
[The person you are trying to summon cannot be found.]
‘As I thought.’ Yeon-woo’s eyes narrowed. He had tried it to see if it would work, but if Benteke’s soul was gone, that meant only one thing. ‘Benteke’s soul hasn’t moved to the Beyond and has been swallowed by Poseidon.’ Benteke had been annihilated by Poseidon’s forced descent.
Yeon-woo had suspected his soul had been absorbed or destroyed, and he turned out to be correct. Also, he found a new condition for Summon of the Dead. ‘I can’t call a soul that’s not here or in the Beyond.’ It was a tiny but important detail. ‘All right. Now…’
Yeon-woo gathered Black Evil once more and activated the option.
[Who would you like to summon?]
This time, there was no message alerting him of failure. The black tornado began to take human form. Long limbs emerged and a head appeared with features that looked exactly like the ones Yeon-woo had seen in the diary.
Shanon, who was watching next to him, exclaimed in amazement. Hanryeong nodded. They had seen shamans summon souls into their bodies for a short while, but it was their first time to see souls as they had been when they were alive. It looked as if Yeon-woo had moved someone from the Beyond to the living world.
「Who are you?」 Lana glared at Yeon-woo with a wary face. The aura around her was intense. It was probably the anger she still had towards her old lover. Instead of answering her, Yeon-woo slowly took off his mask.
「Y-you…!」 Lana’s eyes widened. She walked towards him and knelt, stroking his face. Her hands were trembling. 「You were alive. You were alive!」 Tears were brimming in her eyes. 「Yes. So that’s why I couldn’t find you no matter how hard I tried. Ah, my precious child. My son…」 Lana stroked Yeon-woo’s face with both hands, grateful to see the disciple she’d only dreamed of meeting again. 「How scared you must have been. How lonely you must have felt…」
Lana’s tears continued to fall as she touched Yeon-woo’s face. Yeon-woo just stayed still and didn’t say anything. After a while, Lana took her hands off Yeon-woo’s face. Then, she stepped back and sighed. She seemed to have moved past her grudges and regrets. 「You’re…not that child.」 Only after Lana pulled herself together did she really look at Yeon-woo. He had the same face, but he wasn’t the person she was looking for.
Yeon-woo nodded and said, “Hello. I’m Jeong-woo’s older brother, Cha Yeon-woo.”
「Ahh!」 Lana covered her face with her hands. Tears dripped down again. However, the tears of her soul didn’t reach the ground and scattered in the air. Then, she slowly lifted her head. Her eyes were hard. 「So in the end, the revenge is currently underway.」
「There’s a lot to talk about.」 Lana crossed her legs. 「Do you have any alcohol?」
* * *
Every single person sometimes felt curious about useless things. Yeon-woo was no exception. And today, he managed to satisfy his curiosity about a trivial matter. ‘Souls drink alcohol too.’
His brother had described Lana as an alcoholic, and right now, she was drinking the wine that Yeon-woo pulled out of Intrenian from the bottle. He understood why his brother followed her. ‘Although, she spilled half of it on the ground.’
He didn’t enjoy alcohol, and he only kept it in the subspace for Brahm and Galliard, so he didn’t think it was a waste. A memory suddenly surfaced in his mind of Galliard saying it was expensive, but he just decided to ignore it.
「I can’t get drunk in this condition. What a shame.」 Lana put the bottle down as she clucked her tongue. She could only taste the wine with her deadened senses, and it was impossible for her to be intoxicated, even though she craved the feeling.
Yeon-woo and Lana spoke for a long time, sharing stories about his brother.
‘All those people threw you away, but there are still many people who long for you and cherish you.’ Yeon-woo thought it was a relief. Brahm, Galliard, and Lana. He was relieved that his brother’s life hadn’t been for nothing.
「There’s not much time. I want to stay longer, though.」 Lana looked down at her fading hands. It was hard to say how long a soul could stay since it was influenced by the soul’s level and will. If they wanted to return to the Beyond, they only had a short amount of time in the living world. If they wanted to stay, they could extend the time. But at the moment, Lana had no choice but to return.
“I’ll call you again next time.”
「I’d be grateful if you do. I enjoyed breathing the air of the living world for the first time in a while. And I’ve met the brother of my disciple. But use the skill carefully. If you use up all the times I can visit, I’ll be bored after.」
“Yes, ma’am. Understood.”
「All right. I’ll give you a present before I leave. Our god keeps on rushing me to give it to you.」 Lana grinned and held her hands out. 「Can you give me the necklace you have for a moment?」
Yeon-woo handed over the Sea Water Charm around his neck. Lana accepted it and stroked it as though she were reminiscing about old times as she touched the present that his brother had given to her on Teacher’s Day. The Sea Water Charm flashed. The worn sections became new again, and it turned into a beautiful holy artifact.
[You have completed the sudden quest (Ceto’s Resentment).]
[You have made an achievement that is not easily accomplished. Additional karma will be provided.]
[You have earned 10,000 Karma.]
[You have earned 15,000 additional karma.]
[As a reward, you have earned ‘Ceto’s Holy Artifact (Sea Water Charm)’, ‘Ceto’s Factors (Sea King Chronicles)’, and ‘Ceto’s power (Sea King Stone)’.]
Yeon-woo took the Sea Water Charm Lana held out and draped it around his neck. As he did, the holy power entered his body. The Divine Factors began to move more actively than before.
「Long story short, I picked what you need the most. Since you have the Divine Factors, you’ll have to use holy power too. It won’t be easy if you’re not an Apostle, but this holy artifact will help you, so use it well.」
「There’s also affinity for the water property and things like that…but you can check those later. The most important thing is that Ceto likes you. She’ll probably lend you power that is equivalent to an Apostle’s.」 Ceto had lost most of her power to Poseidon when Lana died. Yeon-woo’s revenge had probably allowed Ceto to regain some of her lost power, and it was natural that she would look on Yeon-woo with favor.
It was a good thing for Yeon-woo. With Azrael’s spot empty, it was better to have the Factors of a god who had goodwill towards him than a god full of schemes.
Lana’s body started to grow transparent. 「I guess it’s almost over now. What a shame. There are things I want to eat and drink. Next time, I hope you call me during a feast.」
「Good. And be careful of those around you. The Tower is filled with evil people.」 Lana knew everything that Yeon-woo had done in the name of revenge, but she didn’t stop nagging him. She wanted to give him everything she could. She knew that Yeon-woo wasn’t powerless, but she still felt worried and concerned. They had only been acquainted for a short while, but she felt close to him.
‘I see why Jeong-woo called her his teacher.’
「And…」 Right before she disappeared, Lana asked in a trembling voice that was out of character for her. 「I want to ask you one more thing.」
「How was…Benteke’s end?」
Was it longing for her lover, or was it resentment? He couldn’t tell. When Lana pulled herself together, she understood why Benteke had made his choice. She was half-crazy back then.
“He…” Yeon-woo couldn’t forget the look in Benteke’s eyes before Poseidon descended.
There had been exhaustion in his eyes, but there was also a spark that couldn’t be extinguished. He didn’t crumble at the pressure the god he served placed on him. And in the end…“He was laughing..”
Kehalhal. Yeon-woo remembered the strange laughter that was rambunctious and confident.
「I see. He was himself until the end. Unlike me.」 Lana chuckled and quietly disappeared. She looked like she had moved on from her regrets and resentment.
* * *
A heavy silence fell. Yeon-woo rubbed the necklace Lana gave him for a while and pulled out the pocket watch to look at the faint ‘J. W. CAH’ engraved on the back. Click.
When he opened the case, he saw that the hands of the clocks were trembling. It didn’t matter how much he learned about alchemy or magic, the pocket watch was still a mystery to him. ‘How much longer will it take for me to reach where you were?’ Muttering to himself, he blew Black Evil into the pocket watch.
The condition of Summon of the Dead was to know the soul or have something from when they were alive. He had his brother’s pocket watch in his hand and their shared memories in his head. Yeon-woo closed his eyes and activated the option.
[‘Summon of the Dead’ has been activated.]
[Who would you like to summon?]
Yeon-woo spoke in a trembling voice, “Cha Jeong-woo.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter