News of the battle between Yeon-woo and the mercenaries spread like fire to the players on the 20th floor.
“The Hoarder? Hoho. So the Hoarder is here?”
The monster covered in bandages, Faceless, laughed in a seductive voice. Faceless had an elegant posture, as if they were currently a noblewoman. When Faceless spoke again, a warrior’s voice came growling out.
“Yes. There’s no way that hyena wouldn’t be where these incidents happen.”
The voice changed again. It was the voice of a bright child looking forward to a delicious meal.
“Heeheehee! Why don’t we make that guy our friend? I’m curious about what kind of soul he has. I hope it tastes good.”
Then, Faceless whipped around to turn to the subordinates next to them.
The Chest of Souls. The group that followed Faceless. It was also a large-scale group that was considered one of the new emerging clans.
“We’ll pause searching for Blood Sword. Find the Hoarder now. It’s clear what kind of key he holds.”
The subordinates bowed and quietly left.
Faceless’s eyes shone through the bandages. They were as calm as a researcher observing their studies.
* * *
There were other groups moving quickly aside from them.
“Victoria is the only clue to Blood Sword’s location! Cast search magic! Quickly!”
On Doctor Doom’s orders, Necropolis quickly scattered around the stage, casting spells and…..
“Torca is dead. The Hoarder is now our enemy, so until you bring his head back on a platter, don’t think of returning here.”
The Iron Lion clan ground their teeth in fury.
“Yeah. There were rumors that he might have Bian Studies, too.”
“That means that he might have pieces of the Ruyi Bang as well.”
“We’ll see when we meet him.”
A few shadows began to move.
* * *
Yeon-woo’s party quickly left the battlefield and arrived at an isolated location. They were far enough from the stage where the restrictions wouldn’t affect them.
“Actually, the fight that just occurred was only a front for something else.”
The Ice King began to explain the happenings of the stage to Yeon-woo. He didn’t seem like he was concealing information.
As if he had nothing else to hide, the Ice King dug around in his breast pocket and pulled something else. It was a golden piece of metal, a Ruyi Bang piece.
The pieces of the Ruyi Bang Yeon-woo had shook and came floating out.
Yeon-woo’s eyes widened.
“You are a descendant of the Monkey King, too?”
“Yes. Only half, though.”
“Just by having a piece, I gained the title of ‘Descendant of the Monkey King,’ but….. I don’t have much to be proud of.”
The Ice King laughed bitterly.
Yeon-woo didn’t force the subject and turned to another topic.
“How was I able to hide it?”
Yeon-woo nodded. Pieces of the Ruyi Bang resonated with each other in proximity. It was how descendants of the Monkey King were able to recognize each other.
However, Yeon-woo hadn’t met any other descendants yet. He hadn’t felt anything from the Ice King during the attack on Walpurgisnacht.
The Ice King laughed with a slightly mischievous face.
“Do you remember what I said? About meeting again if fate led us.”
Yeon-woo was reminded when the Ice King glanced and smiled at him while the Martial King was talking to him.
At the time, Yeon-woo thought it was just an expression of goodbye, but what if that wasn’t it?
“Yes. Actually, I knew you were a descendant of the Monkey King like me. Because of this.”
The Ice King pointed at the shaking Ruyi Bang piece.
“Right. I knew, but you couldn’t feel it. Actually, I always keep this under binds so it can’t resonate with other pieces. Of course, I still can’t hide it completely.”
Yeon-woo clicked his tongue. He realized why he couldn’t find any descendants of the Monkey King all this time.
If there was a way to hide the resonance, there was no way he could find others.
However, that meant…..
‘A few others might’ve recognized me.’
It was a mistake.
“I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry. Actually, there aren’t any people with pieces on the lower floors.”
“Are they all gathered on the higher floors?”
“It’s already been a thousand years since the pieces of the Ruyi Bang scattered because Monkey King felt like it. Most of the pieces have been discovered by now, and they’re in the possession of rankers.”
Yeon-woo nodded in understanding. That meant things would be fine as long as he was careful about it from then on.
“Anyways, back to the subject at hand. The fight going on right now is…..”
“A scramble for pieces.”
The Ice King nodded heavily.
“It’s a scramble for pieces for the first time in a while. Descendants trying to take each other’s pieces….. and most of the players here are such descendants. Blood Sword called us here, and we came, even while knowing it would be hell. Like moths drawn to a flame.”
That was what the Ice King called everyone who came.
“Earlier, I said I was only ‘half,’ right?”
“In fact, most descendants are halves like me. Having a piece? So what? They don’t know how to control it and can’t use it as an artifact anyway. It’s just an expensive decoration.”
The Ice King rubbed his piece preciously.
“To use this, you have to have the 72 Bian. The thing that raised the Monkey King to his holy position.”
Yeon-woo felt the whole picture coming together.
“The one who spread the rumors that Bian Studies has been discovered was….. Kahn.”
Descendants with pieces needed more of them. However, it wasn’t just the pieces needed. To be a true descendant, they needed the other condition, the 72 Bian.
Kahn had known this well.
He spread rumors that he had Bian Studies on purpose, and he had the descendants of the Monkey King gather somewhere that restricted movement for other rankers but was extremely advantageous to him.
‘And….. the 20th floor was the perfect place for that.’
Since Kahn had lived here as a Sadhu for a long time, there was no better place than here.
In the end.
‘So Kahn isn’t the prey but the predator instead?’
He wasn’t in danger.
He had brought it upon himself.
The difference between these situations was vast.
“The problem is that it’s not just the descendants who have come but also those interested in the 72 Bian.”
From different Magic Towers who needed new fields of magic to learn to clans of alchemists.
The Iron Lion clan, who was trying to force their runaway young master back home.
Faceless and the Chest of Souls, who joined with something up their sleeves.
“Mercenaries like Twice and Nocturn, who you’ve seen before, and bounty hunters after a quick buck….. everyone’s jumped in. It’s pandemonium.”
It wouldn’t be strange for something to happen in this pandemonium.
“Here, we’re not the hunters.”
The Ice King’s eyes darkened.
“It’s Blood Sword.”
* * *
『Son of a …… b……!』
The ranker Sardia glared at his enemy with bloodshot eyes. The archenemy who had killed the comrades he considered his brothers. Even if he died, he didn’t want to show a weak side of himself.
『If you wanted to harm someone, you should’ve known that you could be the one getting hurt.』
Sardia’s head fell to the ground with a stroke of the blade.
Kahn wiped his bloodied face with the back of his hand. They were all motions he was too familiar with recently. Fighting and killing were now common occurrences to him.
And collecting it in the end.
When Kahn stretched his hand out, pieces of the Ruyi Bang came floating up from the corpses.
They combined with the pieces that Kahn had and began to take shape.
The combined pieces became a bead. It was quite large now—about the size of his palm.
One would expect that he would be proud of collecting so many, but his eyes were cold.
『I guess I’ve gathered enough for it to be useful now.』
Just then, a shadow popped up from behind Kahn and took the form of a mischievous-looking child.
Kindred. The second bishop of the Devil Army smiled greedily and rubbed his hands on the pieces.
『I’ve gathered over 200 pieces now.』
Kahn spoke to Kindred’s back. However, Kindred didn’t turn around.
He bit his lower lip.
『That should be enough for him to descend……!』
Kindred cut Kahn off without mercy.
『Do you think descending is that easy? Do you think the great Heavenly Demon is the same as the other mere minor gods on the 98th floor?』
Minor gods. Many gods and demons would be horrified to hear that.
However, the Devil Army that followed the Heavenly Demon didn’t seem to care.
In fact, Kindred spoke like there was no other way to describe the other gods.
Except for the Heavenly Demon, the rest of the beings were just birds trapped in cages, and they were only prey for the Heavenly Demon when he woke up.
The minor gods could manifest in the lower world through apostles or Primeval Bodies.
Why? Because that was all their vessels amounted to.
However, the Heavenly Demon was different.
He needed a large vessel to descend, and one of the great artifacts required for it was the Ruyi Bang.
The more pieces, the better.
It was the reason why Kindred was making Kahn gather them.
Looking at Kindred rubbing the pieces greedily, Kahn’s fingers shook.
He lost count of how many times he wanted to stab Kindred in the back.
However, Doyle’s safety was in their hands, and he didn’t have any power to save Doyle at the moment.
There was only one choice he could make in the end.
Becoming the Devil Army’s marionette.
『Why don’t you attack me? I’m sure you want to.』
Kindred smiled coldly as if he could read Kahn’s mind.
『I never had any disrespectful intentions. I gravely apologize if you felt that way, sir.』
『You’re no fun. Back when we were Sadhu, you were pretty amusing.』
『Anyways, as you said, we’ve gathered quite a bit now. If we gather just a little more, I expect it will be able to function as a sacrificial vessel.』
Kahn clenched his fist. The moment he had been waiting for had come.
The sacrificial vessel. The vessel they were trying to create with pieces of the Ruyi Bang.
『With this much, the Heavenly Demon’s other face and the Heavenly Demon’s friend will be satisfied.』
Kindred had searched for the Monkey King’s shedding for ten years with all his senses blocked.
If he could serve the one who was somewhere in the Monkey King’s Palace here…..
With the Heavenly Demon in a deep slumber, they could serve another being who would lead the Devil Army instead of him.
This was the Devil Army’s eternal mission.
Because they were a religious cult, the fact that their god was in a deep slumber affected them greatly.
However, even after meeting the shedding of the Monkey King after all that time, he couldn’t serve him as their king.
The shedding had already become one with the palace. There was no way to bring him out.
After thinking of a solution with the other bishops, they were able to find a loophole.
If they couldn’t bring the shedding out, they could use a vessel to move it.
That was how he had thought of using the Ruyi Bang.
However, the pieces that the Devil Army had already collected were being used. They had to gather other pieces.
It was then that Kahn had begun to move.
Doyle was bound to the Devil Army for a particular reason.
Kahn had made a deal with the Devil Army to save Doyle. He would become their faithful dog, and they would give Doyle over after he finished what he needed to do.
『So work harder.』
Kindred took all the pieces and disappeared. It was obvious where he was going—back to the palace to appease the shedding.
Footprints of blood were left behind where he left. Corpses were piled up on the ground.
The quiet words Kahn muttered to himself blew away in the wind.Previous Chapter Next Chapter