Valdebich was the first friend Jeong-woo had made after he stepped inside the Tutorial. He was also one of the founding members of Arthia, along with Vieira Dune. He was a pitiful person who was never certain of his identity as a half-Giant, but at the same time, he was a warrior who could decimate his enemies as they showed up, making everyone fear him.
Why would the person who had disappeared without a reason and hurt Jeong-woo take care of him in his final moments? Why? The pocket watch trembled. Kalatus’ casual answer was too shocking.
“What…happened?” Yeon-woo quieted his turbulent mind. However, the voice that escaped from between his tightened lips boiled with anger. Valdebich hadn’t been there when Jeong-woo needed him, but he had appeared at the end—for what reason? Was it out of pity? Or was he feeling guilty? Neither was acceptable to Yeon-woo.
『Of course, as expected, your first question is about Jeong-woo.』
“There’s no one more important to me. What happened?”
『Your brotherly love is really second to none. Until the end, that child Jeong-woo thought of you, as well.』
Yeon-woo’s eyes flashed. “I get it, so please stop changing the subject. Where is Jeong-woo’s soul?”
[5th Step Dragon Body Awakening]
Yeon-woo released the power of his Demonic Divine Draconic Body right away, operating his Dragon Heart and Philosopher’s Stone simultaneously. Scales rose along his skin, and when his tail sprang out, a fierce energy storm whirled around him. He pulled Vigrid out of subspace and raised it high. It was a silent demonstration that he wouldn’t stay quiet if Kalatus continued to avoid his questions.
『You’ve improved on what I gave you. In the past, I would’ve grimaced at this mutation, but…it’s not too bad.』 Kalatus nodded as he looked Yeon-woo up and down, satisfied. However, he also had a bittersweet feeling when he realized that no pure-blooded dragons were left in the Tower since Yeon-woo had other energies in him, too.
Yeon-woo’s eyebrows twitched. He was just about to swing Vigrid.
『I didn’t know that child named Valdebich knew about this labyrinth.』
Yeon-woo’s hand paused. Kalatus had never told Valebich about the labyrinth? That could only mean one thing.
『Jeong-woo probably told him about it a long time ago.』
Yeon-woo was silent.
『At the time, it hadn’t been that long since I’d awakened from my slumber. This body is a temporary fix created for emergencies.』 When the ancient dragon Kalatus had been alive, he had only wished for one thing: that the species that had gone extinct from his mistake would be revived. He wished for Draconic Factors to remain in the Tower for a long time.
However, that hope dimmed after Jeong-woo died, and Kalatus’ vestige had awakened in Laputa so that he could come up with another solution to find a new successor.
『In the middle of all that, the half-Giant child appeared and asked me if he could take Jeong-woo’s body. He said he wanted to send his body home.』
Yeon-woo still didn’t speak.
『So I opened the gate to Earth…and he disappeared again after the funeral.』
Yeon-woo ground his teeth. “Do you know where he went?”
『No. I can only stay in Laputa and my senses are restricted here too.』
Yeon-woo clenched his fists. What had Valdebich been up to for so long, and why did he appear as though he’d been expecting Jeong-woo’s end? The trembling pocket watch stilled. ‘Don’t worry. I’ll find him, no matter what.’ Yeon-woo muttered as he stroked the watch. He’d always intended on facing Valdebich, but it seemed like he would have to look for him immediately after resolving his business here.
Unfortunately, no one knew where he was, and even the Night Watch from the Outer District couldn’t find a single trace of him. Still, since he was now at Laputa, Yeon-woo thought he might be able to retrace Valdebich’s steps and perhaps uncover some clues. Yeon-woo looked up at Kalatus. Valdebich was important, but there was something of greater priority to him. “Where is Jeong-woo’s soul?”
『Where it’s supposed to be.』
Where it’s supposed to be? Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes. “What are you…!”
『In a deep abyss, an egg where darkness and confusion have merged. The place where countless beings come to life and die. That thing, that place. Anyway, there are many words to describe this, but we commonly call it...』 Kalatus’ eyes narrowed. 『Emptiness or darkness.』
Suddenly, the Cast of the Black King around Yeon-woo’s wrists, ankles, and neck, trembled. Urrrrng. They nearly fell off from a vibration that was so intense that it caused Yeon-woo pain. Yeon-woo was so shocked that he shouted without thinking, “Why would Jeong-woo…!”
『Just as salmon return home after they’re fully grown, your brother followed his instinct and returned to his origin.』
『Do you think it’s a coincidence that the Black King’s inheritance was passed down to you? Or that your brother had the talent of Perfect Adaptability and was chosen by me?』
Urrrrrng. The trembling grew even more intense.
『You and your brother are two sides of a mirror, and you cannot be divided..!』 Kalatus was forced to stop in the middle of his sentence by a long cry in the sky. The world seemed to ring and
Laputa shook as though it were about to collapse.
Crack. Cracks began to appear on the ceiling of the castle as though they were eggshells falling apart. Black tentacles began to squeeze through them—the Crawling Chaos, which had always wanted to swallow Laputa, was making its move.
Kalatus smiled ruefully as he looked at the ceiling and bowed to Yeon-woo. 『I asked for time, but it seems that it hasn’t been enough. I wish to speak with you further, but I really do not have much time left.』
“Where are you going?! We still have more to…!”
『Before I leave, I’ll tell you this: if you want to find Jeong-woo’s soul—although I don’t know if his soul is still at the place that swallows everything—but if you want to find it…』 Kalatus looked at Yeon-woo sadly. 『Return to darkness. Your path will be there!』
Crack. Clang! The ceiling broke, and the tentacles almost reached Kalatus. 『But the darkness may swallow you since you don’t have divinity yet. Simply getting there will be an arduous journey.』
Crackle. As the tentacles dug into Kalatus’ vestige, it began to create static. Believing Kalatus would truly disappear at this rate, Yeon-woo brandished Vigrid. There were still so many things he wanted Kalatus to tell him. Why was Jeong-woo’s soul in that emptiness or darkness, and what did he mean about looking for the path there? Was it related to the Black King or the Demonism? If so, how much did he know? Why didn’t Kalatus explain what it was? Yeon-woo couldn’t allow him to vanish after leaving behind all those riddles.
[The hidden true name of ‘Vigrid-???,’ ‘Durendal,’ is released.]
[Folklore: Cutting in two with one strike of the sword]
Swish. When Wave of Fire and Heaven Bracket mixed with the extreme pressure from Vigrid, a storm of flames swept through half of the castle and lashed at the black tentacles. Whoosh. The flames tried to rise along the black tentacles and climb up, but as soon as they touched the tentacles, they disappeared.
More tentacles slid out, tightening around Kalatus. No matter how many times Yeon-woo swung Vigrid, the tentacles didn’t disappear but only grew larger. Before the darkness overwhelmed him, Kalatus shouted at Yeon-woo with a pitying gaze. 『Please, fulfill the goal that Jeong-woo and I couldn’t…o new speaker. The clan house, search that…!』
Fizz. Kalatus’ vestige scattered like a sandcastle hit by a wave, and the tentacles began to suck it up.
Satisfied, the Crawling Chaos retracted its tentacles and returned to the sky. The cosmic being that stained the entire thermosphere black was attempting to return to where it came from.
“Where do you think you’re going?!”
[The Channel with Nergal has been restored.]
[The Channel with Halphas has been restored.]
[The Channel with Vimalacitra has been restored.]
[The reconnected gods quickly confirm the situation.]
[The reconnected demons are taken aback by the being you’re facing.]
[A message from Agares has arrived.]
[Message: No! I don’t know what’s going on, but you mustn’t touch that!
[A message from Agares has arrived.]
[Message: Listen to m…!]
[Messages have been blocked with the user’s authorization.]
Since the owner of the curse that covered the labyrinth had disappeared, the Channels were being restored. Yeon-woo gathered the channels together and spread his wings.
[All powers have been released.]
The Fire Wings on Yeon-woo’s back combined with his dragon wings and transformed into three layers of black wings: Sky Wings. With them, he soared up to the sky and blasted out with all of the skills and powers he had, attempting to make the being let go of Kalatus.
However, he only left a few holes in the quavering darkness. Most of the Crawling Chaos had already moved past the gate and was fading away.
“Damn it!” Pushing his Dragon Heart and Philosopher’s Stone to their limits, Yeon-woo raised Vigird. A column of fire skyrocketed up and set all of Laputa aflame, splitting the sky in two. The sparks that bounced out of it exploded as well and filled the stage.
Through the dark clouds, tiny eyes watched Yeon-woo. In an instant, languages and information that couldn’t be put into words poured into him, his dragon-like thinking helping him make sense of it all.
The Crawling Chaos eventually disappeared through the gate, leaving Laputa in flames at the center of the labyrinth. The sky was now a gloomy color.
Yeon-woo ground his teeth. He had been defeated by another transcendent being after Mother Earth and Allforone. The more he tried to uncover information about his brother, the less he understood. It seemed like his path was blocked by transcendent beings and he couldn’t find more clues. Did it have to end like this?
No. He knew he still had one last hope: the thing squirming inside of the Philosopher’s Stone. “Demonism.”
There was no answer.
“I know you’re watching. Help me. Please.”
It was still quiet.
The Demonism didn’t even budge, as though it had nothing to do with him. Yeon-woo punched the ground helplessly. Was his only option to gain transcendence first?
At that moment, the space in front of him opened and Boo appeared. He was severely injured, and even his magic power had been damaged by his investigation of the Crawling Chaos. However, he held a glowing golden eye in his large hand.
「I…pulled out…Kalatus’ eye…from…the Crawling Chaos….」
When had he done it? “You?”
「You must…open the path…to darkness.」 At those words, Boo departed for the dungeons to heal his grave injuries.
Yeon-woo tightened his hold on Kalutus’ eye and activated the power of the Black King. The three Casts were still shaking.
[‘Summon of the Dead’ has activated.]
[Who would you like to summon?]
Kalatus’ golden eye scattered into the air and floated up.
[The designated item has been infected.]
[The being you are attempting to summon cannot be found.]
[The being you have summoned has been affected for some unknown reason, and a search for a similar being is being undertaken.]
[The ‘Demonic Dragon of Chaos’ infected by ‘Crawling Chaos’ is being summoned forcibly.]
Swoosh. The curse that protected Laputa and the center of the labyrinth exploded.Previous Chapter Next Chapter