Victoria shut her eyes, holding a letter in her hands.
Are you doing well, granny….. I mean, my lovable lady?
The letter began playfully. On the Five Mountains of Penances, she had hated this tone, but now, she missed it. It was a letter that Kahn had sent through By the Table.
Over the last year, she had suffered from depression as she thought of Rebecca and Kahn, who had sacrificed themselves for her.
However, with the help of her teacher, she was barely able to pull herself together to return to her usual self. But then, Kahn’s letter had arrived.
At first, she was glad. He said he was doing well and preparing to climb the floors again.
But the more she read, the more something felt off. It was definitely Kahn who wrote the letter. However, something was strange.
She couldn’t put it into words. It was like…..
‘Like he’s saying goodbye…….’
In the letter, he sounded like he was saying goodbye to her. When she looked over the letter again, there was nothing about him coming to meet her when he had the time.
Victoria touched the edges of the paper, thinking something would be hidden within it. She couldn’t feel anything. Even when she cast magic on it, there was no reaction.
She created an orb of fire in her hands and began to burn the letter. As the black ashes blew around, the phenomenon that came to be was…..
Victoria’s eyes widened. Her eyelashes fluttered with shock.
Anastasia must’ve come because Victoria could feel from the magical wavelengths that the space was opening.
Victoria quickly waved her hand to clean up the ashes and opened the door. The bright smile on her face returned.
“Master, you’ve come…..!”
However, Victoria couldn’t finish. There were visitors following Anastasia, and they weren’t the beautiful children she usually moved with. Rather, they were faces Victoria knew well. Although, technically, she didn’t know their faces because of their masks.
One of them was Freesia.
And the other…..
Victoria ran to Yeon-woo and hugged him.
“Have you been well, ma’am?”
“It’s a relief you look more comfortable now.”
Yeon-woo hugged Victoria back and patted her back.
Victoria burst into tears. She felt sorry for turning Yeon-woo away when he had come the previous time.
She did send her studies, but she wanted to apologize for her actions that day because they had continued to weigh on her.
But he had come here himself, so she was grateful and apologetic.
“Bad girl. Your master came, but you don’t see that I’m hurt? You go crazy for guys.”
Victoria forced down the urge to say it wasn’t something Anastasia should’ve been saying and turned to look at her.
She belatedly realized that the robe her master enjoyed wearing was burnt and torn and that her naked body was visible.
“Did something happen?”
“You noticed so quickly. What are you doing? Bring a new one from my room. And a pipe with some tobacco. Bring it to the guest room.”
Victoria slightly bowed and spoke to Yeon-woo.
“Let’s talk later. I have something to ask you.”
Something to ask him? Yeon-woo had a curious face, but he just nodded.
“What are you doing? Stop dilly-dallying!”
Seeing Victoria quickly run into another room, Anastasia huffed. She seemed displeased with Freesia and Yeon-woo’s arrival.
“You two follow me, too.”
* * *
After Freesia appeared, Anastasia recalled her monstrous energy and led Yeon-woo and Freesia to her residence.
Her residence was different from the commonplace architecture in the Tower.
Most buildings were built high into the sky like castles, but here, there was a cluster of all kinds of buildings. It was like a manor.
Anastasia changed into the robe that Victoria brought and crossed her legs, sitting at the head of the table.
Her robe was very revealing, but she didn’t seem to care.
Of course, Yeon-woo didn’t look at her body. There was steaming tea sitting atop the table, but he didn’t touch it either.
“I don’t like you.”
Just then, Anastasia suddenly spoke up.
Yeon-woo cast Anastasia a questioning look.
“I don’t like that gaze of yours.”
“Does the thing on your lower body work well?”
Yeon-woo realized what Anastasia was saying and snorted.
“You’re not my type.”
“Your type? All men…..!”
“You’re quite arrogant.”
Anastasia’s eyebrows twitched, and Freesia clicked her tongue.
“Why don’t we stop talking about strange things?”
“Both of you are so annoying.”
Anastasia frowned and put the pipe in her mouth. When she exhaled, white smoke filled the room.
Freesia turned to speak to Yeon-woo.
“Even though she acts like that, she’ll explain things to you properly, so don’t worry.”
“Thank you for your help.”
“It’s nothing. I received something in return for it, and since I know Anastasia well, I thought it would be better for me to come and interpret what she says for you.”
It seemed more like she was trying to finish the deal with Yeon-woo and appease Anastasia, but whatever her purpose, it was true that Yeon-woo had received Freesia’s help, so he thanked her.
“You seem to have known Anastasia for a long time.”
“We passed by each other when we were younger.”
According to what Nemesis said, Anastasia was a thousand-year-old Gumiho. But if Freesia knew her well—
‘Is Freesia also…..?’
“Wouldn’t it be impolite to ask that of a woman?”
Freesia spoke with a twinkling laugh. She had a wooden mask on, so it was hard to see what she was thinking, but Yeon-woo felt chills run down his spine when he saw her.
Just then, Anastasia put her pipe down and changed the subject.
“Enough with the small talk. Like I already said, I cannot give you that, no matter what you give me. If you want to take it, you’ll have to do it over my dead body.”
Anastasia glared at Yeon-woo. It was like the Fox Fire was igniting on her tails again.
“I would like to know the reason why.”
“I don’t know why you have to know the reason when the owner says they don’t want to sell it….. but fine. Since you’re so curious, I’ll show you.”
Anastasia stood up and moved a folding screen aside. A plain, white wall was revealed. But when she put her hand to it, the wall began to creak open.
There was a flight of stairs that led underground.
Anastasia didn’t wait for Yeon-woo and Freesia’s response and headed down first.
There were multiple large iron doors in the path, and Anastasia used her monstrous energy every time to open the doors.
There were magic equipment, traps, and even some sleeping monsters and creatures Victoria had set up.
If an invader entered, they would probably attack. There were so many of them.
‘If I had to fight these….. it would’ve been really dangerous.’
It occurred to Yeon-woo that he might’ve been foolish in fighting her.
The monsters here were probably all a part of Anastasia, and if she recalled her power, he couldn’t imagine how much more powerful she’d be.
The Summer Queen popped into his head. If the two fought, it would probably be an even match.
Anastasia was hiding even though she had this power. What was her goal?
“This is where it gets real. Don’t be swept away. I’ll kill you without any hesitation then.”
She warned Yeon-woo coldly and opened the last door.
Demonic energy blew over to where they were. Yeon-woo clenched his teeth. His souls blocked the energy in front of him while the Despair and Grief of the Black King trembled.
Anastasia judged Yeon-woo with the pipe still in her mouth. She had seen all kinds of skills throughout her life, but Yeon-woo’s skill of working with souls was interesting to her.
However, Yeon-woo didn’t have the mind to read her gaze.
“What is….. this?”
Yeon-woo turned to Anastasia.
“The vestiges of the ones who used to live in this damned Tower.”
The space that he followed Anastasia into was filled with all kinds of weapons.
Swords, sabers, spears, armor, helms, gauntlets….. They were all hung up on the wall.
The black energy that wafted up from them took the form of a person and disappeared again.
“Weapons with strong vestiges are bound to have souls of their own. These things are traded at a high price in the Tower.”
He nodded. The same went for Vigrid and maybe even his Magic Bayonet.
“But do you know what happens when the vestige keeps growing?”
“They become monsters.”
Yeon-woo thought of what he had heard from Earth a long time ago. Old items became monsters with time.
“These monsters want to swallow their masters and have their freedom. But what do you think will happen when monsters who can’t think rationally are given freedom?”
“Blood will be spilled.”
“Correct. Everything would become chaotic.”
Anastasia went in even further. There, even stronger weapons and armor were exuding Spite.
“I didn’t want to see that. So I kept everything I saw under lock and stuffed it all in here.”
White smoke spread around them again. The smoke turned into a dark grey when it combined with the Spite.
“But these things are always trying to escape, so there are limits to locking them up. That’s why they have to be tied up. And the center of that is…..”
She paused. The underground wasn’t as big as he thought.
He could see a black bead on the wall. It shined like a star.
Adamantine Nova. He looked at it blankly because of the powerful aura that was coming from it.
“The Adamantine Nova is the pillar of this weapons storage room. And giving that to you? Nonsense. Then everything here will go crazy. They have a lot of grudges against me, so they’ll want me to pay for it first.”
She had a bitter smile.
“You won’t tell me to give it to you now, right? That’s basically my life. If you get it now, f*** off.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter