Chapter 414 - Dragon Temple (1)

“The Regiment Leader is out?” Creutz brightened at the news the First Squad’s vice commander, Lil, brought. As soon as he had ascended from Tartarus, he requested to meet the Regiment Leader upon his return to the Fantasy Regiment.

However, Lil had told him not to expect too much because the Regiment Leader was focusing on enlightenment and it had been a while since they had heard from him, too. Still, Creutz said that he’d wait until he received a response.

Yeon-woo seemed to have no inclination to visit the Fantasy Regiment. If people needed him, they could go find him. In the meantime, it was time for the Fantasy Regiment to decide on their stance when it came to Yeon-woo.

From what Creutz had seen during the time he’d stayed by Yeon-woo’s side, the Tower would be centered on Yeon-woo in the future. Whether they wanted to become his enemy or his ally, they had to take an unambiguous position. Personally, he thought it would be better to become Yeon-woo’s ally, even if it could have dangerous consequences.  

He had waited patiently for a response until he heard news about trouble erupting on the fiftieth floor. Then, a sense of urgency overcame him. Fortunately, Lil had shown up with her response just in time.  

However, Lil seemed displeased. She knew how important this time was to the Regiment Leader, and she thought of Creutz as a pest. “Yes. Since you’ve been so insistent, he said that he would make time for you and come out of the training area for a while. You have to use the time you have with him wisely. You fully understand how important this time is for the Regiment Leader, right?”

Creutz nodded solemnly. He had seen himself how much the Regiment Leader had prepared to go into secluded training.

“Then follow me. I’ll take you there now.”

Creutz followed Lili to a cave which had multiple security systems in place. You could only reach the center after passing through several complicated procedures.

“As much as possible, refrain from speaking impolitely to the Regiment Leader. Our leader seems significantly exhausted already.” When they reached the last checkpoint, Lil activated the equipment on the wall as she warned him. The wall of the cave moved to reveal a man sitting quietly in lotus position with his eyes closed. He seemed frail, like a scholar, but the aura he emanated was out of the ordinary. The man slowly opened his eyes, which flashed through the darkness.

* * *

[All restoration is finished.]

[Mother Earth has been designated as a virus, and all remaining energy belonging to her has disappeared. The stage can now function properly again.]

The trembling stage of the thirty-sixth floor quietly settled down, almost completely normal after the mess caused by the clash of two great beings.

“Ugh. It had to be a guy like him.”

The Guardians looked fatigued. They had run around busily restoring the stage without any sleep because the impact of the descent of Allforone’s true body had been so great. The thought of it happening again left them even more exhausted. Now that Yeon-woo had accepted the Black King’s powers, Allforone’s wariness of him meant that their conflict would continue to affect the Tower’s fate.  

“Where has Yvlke gone?”

“Where else do you think? He probably went to chat.”

“Ugh. He’s bold.”

Yvlke walked somewhere, ignoring the other Guardians’ words as his “ohyohyo” laugh boomed. Up ahead, a shadow with a vaguely human form was getting ready. It was difficult to see it clearly because a fog obscured most of it.

“It’s quite a shame you can’t die even though you wish to.”

Allforone turned around at Yvlke’s words, pausing his preparation of Shukuchi. A brief moment of silence passed between the two of them. Yvlke could feel Allforone’s sharp gaze, but he didn’t show anything and maintained a smiling expression. However, that smile didn’t reach his eyes.

What are you saying?

“Ohyo ohyo. What else would it be? I’m wondering if the time you have been longing for has finally come. Isn’t the Black King good enough?”

I don’t know what you’re talking about. With those words, Allforone disappeared. He had sensed the pressure coming from the creator gods and progenitor gods growing stronger on the seventy-seventh floor now that the wall was weaker.

Yvlke smirked as he pushed his monocle up. He’d noticed the quaver in Allforone’s voice.

* * *

While the Gluttony Emperor was clashing with the Head Bishop and Yeon-woo was escaping with Edora, Duke Tuan Tien and Prince Domo led his bodyguards out of the battlefield.

‘Things seem to be going according to plan for now.’ Duke Tuan Tien nodded with satisfaction. The first step of the plan to find Kalatus’ grave he had set up with Yeon-woo was now completed. The Lion Alliance, the Elohim, and the Devil Army had moved to catch Yeon-woo, but the tides had turned when Blood Land jumped in.

With the involvement of the Gluttony Emperor, White Dragon would be pulled in one direction, Black Dragon’s focus would turn back to them. On top of that, it was apparent that the Fantasy Regiment and One-horned tribe were ready to act, as well. With all these groups involved, it was certain that other groups would also begin to take interest, and chaos would spread in an instant.

‘The flames are being ignited in different directions. If news of Kalatus’ grave is added as a fuel to the fire…’ Duke Tuan Tien’s eyes flashed. ‘Everything will explode.’

The plan Yeon-woo had proposed was very simple: to bring as many competing groups to the fiftieth floor as possible and push them towards Kalatus’ grave. It was only a matter of time before the grave would be found. Their strategy was to create a confusing situation before that happened. ‘There’s no better place to confuse one’s judgment than in muddy waters.’

They could take items for their gain and cause internal strife in other groups. Blood Land may have been cornered, but now, they would not only turn the tables, but also find the legacy that Kalatus had left behind.

Duke Tuan Tien calculated that they had a sixty-percent chance of success. However, there was one thing he was concerned about.

“Haha! Master, did you see that? I never imagined a guy like that would ever exist! He didn’t just clear through the floors in the forties but is toying with all these different forces! Father’s insight is amazing!” Prince Domo had turned from Yeon-woo’s hater to his fan in the span of a day, and he wouldn’t stop singing praises of Yeon-woo. Seeing someone close to his age with such abilities didn’t make him jealous. Instead, he considered Yeon-woo his role model.

‘His Highness is someone who will lead Blood Land in the future. He should be envied by others, and the fact that he envies someone else…’ Duke Tuan Tien thought of Yeon-woo as someone who needed to be brought in as Blood Land’s subordinate. If that wasn’t possible, he needed to be removed. Right now, he was still weak, but he was too dangerous to simply keep as an ally. ‘We just need to squeeze out what we can get.’ Thinking that he needed to scold Prince Domo soon, he quietly stood. With a light breeze, Rebecca appeared faintly above him and silently scattered again.

* * *

“Oraboni…” Edora hugged Yeon-woo tightly. Normally, she would have reined in her emotions and only smiled in happiness, but the past few days had shaken her composure. Why hadn’t she noticed that the Lion Alliance was following her? Getting injured was one thing, but the fact that she was a burden to Yeon-woo bothered her.

Yeon-woo wordlessly patted her and hugged her back. He wanted her to know that everything was fine now that he was there. Yeon-woo had missed Edora and Phante, too. He was grateful that they had agreed to become his wings at once without any hesitation.

He felt grateful that he’d managed to catch up to her and apologetic because it seemed like she had gone through this horrible incident because of him.

But technically, King Temper is the reason why our pretty Edora got hurt, mm? Our master is definitely second to none in causing trouble for... As Shanon blabbered on again, the players of Demon Beauty Castle all looked surprised. They had only ever seen Edora’s cold expression, so it was their first time seeing this side of her.

Edora had received her nickname, Demon Beauty because she was merciless against enemies and always seemed as distant as a flower growing on the side of a cliff. It was a strange experience to see Edora acting like a woman in love.

“Demon Beauty Castle, am I right?”

They jumped to attention as Yeon-woo said their name.

“Y-yes.” Chatura nodded on everyone’s behalf. She was tense with nerves. Yeon-woo’s appearance on the battlefield flashed through her mind—he had toyed with the Head Bishop, who was like a natural disaster and used his familiars to stand against the Elohim’s Seven Member Squad.

The Hoarder and Demon Beauty were both part of the New Stars, but from what they’d seen, the Hoarder had already surpassed that level. He could stand shoulder to shoulder with high rankers.

Although most of them were rankers too, they were definitely not high rankers.

“Thank you for helping Edora all this time.”

“We only did what…”

“Now, go back.”

Chatura frowned slightly. “What…”

“From now on, I’ll protect Edora, so your help isn’t needed.”

The expressions of Chatura and the other Demon Beauty Castle players stiffened. “What are you talking about?! We’ve sworn our loyalty to Demon Beauty during…!”

“From what I heard, Edora didn’t pay too much attention to you. You followed her and created an organization on your own. Didn’t you do it for your own convenience?”

They were speechless.

“From now on, I’ll accompany Edora, so you should go back.”

Chatura ground her teeth. In other words, he was telling them to get out of his sight because they were useless. The problem was that he was telling the truth. Demon Beauty Castle was an organization that formed without Edora’s permission. And after the attack by the Lion Alliance, their organization was destroyed and couldn’t be rebuilt. They were nearly worthless now, but Chatura didn’t want to be pushed away like this.

She and her comrades followed Edora for different reasons, but they all shared the same passion to be with her. For a moment, she looked at Edora. Edora’s eyes had darkened, and Chatura couldn’t read what Edora was thinking. They’d seen that expression many times, but what did it mean?

“If Demon Beauty tells us to disappear, then we will do it, since we followed her even though she didn’t give us permission. However…” Chatura paused, then continued speaking again after glaring at Yeon-woo. “Even you cannot ignore what we’ve done to protect Demon Beauty. We risked our lives to get here, so I think we have the right to that.”

Chatura made clear she would only follow Edora’s commands. The others seemed to agree, and they glared at Yeon-woo with hard eyes. Yeon-woo’s eyes gleamed behind his mask, but they didn’t budge. After a while, Yeon-woo’s eyes curved, and he chuckled. Psh.

Chatura and the others frowned, not understanding what was going on.

“Shanon.” At Yeon-woo’s call, black shadows next to Demon Beauty Castle popped up. The players moved for their weapons, immediately on guard. They thought Yeon-woo was trying to chase them away with force.

However, Yeon-woo only said to Shanon, “Follow them.”

Chatura said, “What are you doing?”

“You still fall short, but I’ll give you a chance.”

“What…!”

“Take him with you and gather your scattered members. I’ll make my evaluation of you after.”

Chatura belatedly understood what he meant. He was planning to reorganize Demon Beauty Castle into a proper one. “Under…stood.”

Although their eyes blazed with determination, Shanon grumbled. But why do I have to go? You have Hanryeong and Boo, so…!

“It’s your punishment for talking nonsense. You said I’m King Temper, hm? I should live up to my title, then.”

Dammit. What are you doing, morons? Move faster. You’re slow as snails! Shanon released his anger on the blameless Demon Beauty Castle as they moved to look for survivors.

Yeon-woo pushed his hair back as he watched. ‘With this, the new game board is set. It’ll be complete if those guys come…’

Just then, a breeze fluttered and Rebecca quietly murmured something to him. After becoming a complete spirit, she only expressed her thoughts and didn’t speak. Yeon-woo raised a corner of his mouth. She’d brought simple news: “The Spring Queen has appeared.”

White Dragon and Waltz had come to the fiftieth floor. The stage was set.

“Oraboni.”

“Yes.”

“Do you know Kalatus?”

When Edora said the unexpected name, Yeon-woo quickly turned to her. “How do you know…?”

As soon as their eyes met, Yeon-woo discovered something asleep inside of him. A nameless Channel suddenly strengthened and took over his consciousness in an instant.  

Swoosh.

When he opened his eyes again, a colossal dragon’s shadow that stretched hundreds of meters looked down at him. Nice to meet you, dear speaker.

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