Chapter 453 - Great War (3)

Yeon-woo suddenly felt an intense pressure. When he’d first met Hades and Poseidon, his soul had shrunk from their overpowering intensity, and he’d felt a fear that made his body contract. What he was feeling now was even worse than that. It was like he was facing a massive world.

Yeon-woo could release the Throne of Death and had strength that equaled that of a divine being whenever he used the Black King’s power, but he still wondered how there could be an existence like this. Was this the immensity of a cosmic being who could escape the eyes of gods and demons?

‘But this is only a part of it.’ The being in front of him was only one side of the Crawling Chaos. The being was pausing time, which was on a different level from precognition or making prophecies. It meant that its strength resided in the third or fourth dimension, where time flowed.

However, he couldn’t sense the being using any holy power or strength. It was twisting the laws of the universe with only its will. Its true form was likely something that he could never imagine. He was only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

I. Asked.

Who. You. Are.

When Yeon-woo glowered without any response, the Crawling Chaos projected his thoughts again. It spoke clearly and slowly, in case Yeon-woo hadn’t heard it, and there was even a slight annoyance in its tone. It was understandable that focusing on an insect-like existence was stressing it out.

Yeon-woo turned his head and glared at the spot where he thought its eyes were. He raised his Sky Wings higher than ever because his soul was shaking from the being’s thoughts. “That’s my question. Crawling Chaos, what are you? Why are you in every direction I turn?”

Boo/Faust, the Emerald Tablet, Kalatus, Bayluk, Mother Earth, Valdebich, the ruins of the Giant species—was it mere coincidence that these were all related to the Crawling Chaos? Yeon-woo didn’t believe in coincidences, which was why he was looking for a chance to contact the Crawling Chaos. There were just so many things he wanted to ask.

Why.

Can. You. Use. Abyss.

But the Crawling Chaos projected his thoughts as if he wouldn’t allow a mere microbe to ask questions.

Abyss.

Is. Where. He. Is. Trapped.

And. Also. It. Belongs. To. Him.

Not. Something. For.

A. Microbe. To. Use.

Yeon-woo could read the curiosity and rage in the Crawling Chaos’ thoughts. He understood something right away. ‘His?’ Yeon-woo’s eyes darkened. ‘This being knows who the Black King is, as well.’

He knew the Black King was the god of gods and the origin of all gods and demons of death, but Yeon-woo had thought of him as a conceptual god like Mother Earth, someone who was only relevant to the godly and demonic societies that he knew.

But the Crawling Chaos, who had no contact with the gods and demons of the Tower, also knew who the Black King was? And it didn’t simply just know, it seemed to respect and admire the Black King.

‘Who…is the Black King?’

We.

Are. Searching. For. Him.

The Crawling Chaos’ thoughts continued.

‘We?’

It continued to speak mysterious words.  

But.

We. Cannot. Find. Him.

In. The. Abyss.

And. In. Your. Nest.

In that instant, Yeon-woo sensed the being’s eyes narrow and focus on him despite the darkness that surrounded them. It was the gaze of someone who had discovered something they couldn’t understand and wished to examine it closely.

But. You’re. Here. It seemed like it wanted to say, “You were here.”

You. Shouldn’t. Be.

But.

Thoughts poured from the Crawling Chaos, and Yeon-woo felt like he was going to be swept away even with his Sky Wings raised. He felt like his existence would be taken apart as soon as he slipped in the storm of thoughts.

Who. Are. You.

But because Yeon-woo was within the flow of thoughts, he could better grasp the Crawling Chaos’ meaning. ‘The Crawling Chaos, no, multiple otherworld gods are searching for traces of the Black King.’ They were looking here, in the Tower. ‘They attempted to approach the Tower, which they find difficult to recognize. However, they failed every time because of the various defenses.’

There was no way the gods and demons in the heavenly world would be pleased to see the otherworld gods enter their territory. Neither would Allforone, who protected the Tower. ‘Instead, it turned to mortals to find another method and met me…is that what this is?’

At first, it seemed like an easy thing to understand, but Yeon-woo’s thoughts became muddled. Who was the Black King? Everything he’d learned had been shattered. It seemed that the Black King was behind all of this, but there was something more fundamental: his brother, Cha Jeong-woo and his missing soul.

Before Kalatus had fallen, he said, “Where it’s supposed to be.”

“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...emptiness or darkness.”

“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?”

“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…return to darkness. Your path will be there.”

Instinct? His brother’s return to darkness, the Crawling Chaos’ search for traces, and the powers Yeon-woo possessed—all these things were intertwined, but where did they come from?

‘Why did this come to me?’ Yeon-woo looked at the object that started it all: the chains wrapped around his right arm that connected to a manacle: the Despair of the Black King.

At first, he’d thought it was a random reward for making a significant accomplishment in the Tutorial, but when Despair absorbed Zeus’ Astrape at the Olympus Treasury, he realized that something was off. And now, he was here after collecting the entire set.

Yeon-woo realized that the Despair coming to him hadn’t been a coincidence, just as Kalatus said. The Tower’s system was created to reward players based on a careful analysis of the player’s accomplishments and contributions. It wouldn’t only consider past but also potential future accomplishments.

This meant the Despair of the Black King had always been fated to go to him. It just happened faster than expected. ‘I need to find Akasha’s Snake.’ The magical creature slept in the depths of the Tutorial, waiting for its owner to return. It was the creature that had gotten him the Despair of the Black King.

Since the Tutorial reset with every round, Akasha’s snake would return for each round. He needed to capture and question it. After the war was over, he’d planned to track the Crawling Chaos’ traces to the ruins of the Giants on the sixtieth floor or help Boo/Faust regain his memories with other clues about the Emerald Tablet. It seemed like he’d have to postpone those plans.

Yeon-woo internally apologized to Boo and shouted in response to the Crawling Chaos, who was staring at him for a reply. It was still asking who he was. “Someone said I’m the Black King’s successor.”

Nonsense.

The Crawling Chaos’ thoughts intensified, as if it had heard something unpleasant. It was more than annoyed; it was furious, as though it had just heard something impossible.

That.

Is. Not. A. Position.

Permitted.

To. A. Microbe.

But Yeon-woo didn’t have any plans to be defeated, even if his opponent was a cosmic being. He had no reason to surrender to the Crawling Chaos. He’d been chasing after him with questions and still wanted to know more, but that was only because it might be related to his brother’s soul.

Now that he knew the being had nothing to do with Jeong-woo, all he needed was the identity of the Black King.

Since he knew they had the same goal, he didn’t need to step back. They might even become enemies in the future. ‘I have to make this being consider me its equal and not some microbe or a bug.’

Yeon-woo showed him the Cast of the black King he was wearing, hoping to aggravate him. “What if this is proof?”

If. So.

Yeon-woo’s plan worked. The Crawling Chaos was infuriated that Yeon-woo was calling himself the successor of the one it admired. It was already annoyed that Yeon-woo possessed the Black King’s aura, and now, it was ready to destroy him.

Die.

The Crawling Chaos sent out a thought, and the darkness around Yeon-woo was ripped apart. Fog covered him like a great tsunami. Previously, the Crawling Chaos had only been expressing it’s thoughts, but now, it was full of a murderous intent that Yeon-woo couldn’t even measure.

The tsunami wasn’t something that he could block or escape, but Yeon-woo pulled the chains around his body.

Clatter. Vigrid struck the space in front of him and revealed the emptiness within it. Chhhh. The emptiness spread over Crawling Chaos’ inky darkness and began to take form around Yeon-woo to protect him.

The Crawling Chaos’ torrent crashed into the emptiness and created a soundless turbulence. Right now, Yeon-woo could still push the thoughts back, but even that would probably be swept away soon. Space would crack, time would break, and his existence would disappear without any trace. That was how incredible the Crawling Chaos was. There was no way that Yeon-woo could defeat it.

But even within the dangerous torrents, Yeon-woo was calm. ‘It’s enough to be focused.’ He felt all the Crawling Chaos’ furious thoughts focused on him. He shouted, “I want to make a contract, Crawling Chaos!”

The being didn’t respond, as though the question wasn’t worthy of answering.

Yeon-woo didn’t care and said the words that he knew would get a reaction. “I’ll open the path for you to return to the Tower!”

At that moment, the tsunami of thoughts stopped. The emptiness, which had been reduced by ninety percent, trembled. Yeon-woo felt the Crawling Chaos’ gaze. New emotions had appeared alongside its fury. Suspicion, doubt—but also curiosity.

The presence of the great cosmic being beyond the darkness disappeared. Instead, someone quietly descended in front of him. He was about three meters tall and still large, but he was nothing compared to the great existence.

However, Yeon-woo could sense the suppressed chaos and disorder inside him. Just facing the creature made his skin sting.

“Explain what you mean. If you were only speaking nonsense to save yourself, you won’t keep your life, human.” The Crawling Chaos’ manifestation growled at Yeon-woo. The darkness around them shook, but Yeon-woo managed to speak when he saw the manifestation’s familiar face. ‘Valdebich?’

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