Team: HH, Yahiko, thursdays (1/10)
Kahn stepped back when something flashed by him.
At first, he thought it was an attack from enemies and moved his hand to his sword.
It was a Legendary Bird of red and black that looked like it was going to blaze up any second—a Mythical Beast you could only see on the 11th floor.
However, unlike its appearance, the tone it spoke in was young.
『I’m Nike. Nice to meet you! Master….. no no, Yeon, I mean. I have a message from Cain, wanna listen?』
Kahn’s eyes widened at the unexpected name.
* * *
“He says his closed training will last a bit longer.”
“Is that so?”
Creutz nodded in understanding at the reply from the first squad. He knew the Regiment Leader was going through an important time in his life.
Countless players cried tears of joy or felt despair and hopelessness from that difference. Some people climbed it easily while others died without ever being able to overcome it.
That was what a wall was. Creutz had tried to jump over his many times, but he hadn’t been able to in the end.
But the great “Nine Kings” jumped over it once, or three to four times.
That was what it meant to be “supernatural.”
The Regiment Leader took back what he said about his closed training being short and sent word that it would be a while.
It seemed he had finished refining the ends but not the actual body.
“Instead, he sent this.”
“I’ll be off, sir.”
The player from the first squad delivered the letter to Creutz and disappeared with a bow.
Creutz carefully opened the letter and read the paper inside of it.
As you wish.
It was too short of an answer, considering the time it took for him to receive it.
Creutz found himself laughing.
“He’s the same as ever.”
Thankfully, he was able to clear up his complicated mind.
The question Creutz had asked the Regiment Leader was this:
-Do I have to continue following the Hoarder?
From what Creutz saw, Yeon-woo was too dangerous a person.
He could understand his fight with Benteke. It was a battle of wits among the new rising players. Benteke and Triton had picked the fight first.
However, the real problem followed.
He had cleared the 30th hidden stage for some mysterious reason and reached Tartarus to meet Hades.
He had also met the Gluttony Emperor to promise to fight with them against White Dragon.
The same was going on now.
While he was absent for a while, Yeon-woo was causing commotion on the 20th floor.
They said the Hoarder was always to the action. It seemed the rumors were true.
Of course, he could understand up to that point.
New rising players would be threatened by forces around them, and players who wanted to become strong didn’t stay still and clashed with others.
The problem, though…..
‘The power he has.’
Creutz was able to observe a small part of Yeon-woo’s power while following him.
He used strange shadows and showed the potential of a Lord while moving his souls.
The potential of a supernaturalist with the sword technique he had learned from the Martial King’s Mugong.
Furthermore, the possibility of being an apostle from several gods.
Lord, supernaturalist, apostle. Out of the three conditions that had to be met to reach the “supernatural” state, he had all three at the same time.
Among those, there was the power of death that Creutz had never seen before. A power that wasn’t something a mortal player should be able to use.
He was too dangerous.
‘To keep him close…..’
Creutz’s eyes turned darker.
‘And even I haven’t seen all of it. The Hoarder is dangerous.’
The Regiment Leader said the Hoarder was his close friend and savior, so Creutz wanted to support what Yeon-woo did. He thought Yeon-woo would join the Fantasy Regiment or become their firm ally.
But from what he saw until now, if they began to work with Yeon-woo, the damage and pressure the Fantasy Regiment would receive would be detrimental.
That was the reason they hadn’t moved onto the higher floors and remained on the lower floors.
It was to avoid the attention of the Eight Large Clans and secretly grow their power. They couldn’t break their rule because of one person.
This was the reply that came back. As he wished.
It meant that the Regiment Leader wouldn’t impose his will on Creutz. In a way, it looked like he was respecting his comrades, and at the same time, it seemed irresponsible, like he was giving his duties to someone else. The Regiment Leader was the same as ever.
Creutz fell deep into contemplation while holding the letter.
If he did what he wanted, he would no longer support Yeon-woo.
The times he had spent with him flashed before his eyes while he tried to make a decision. From the River of Souls to Tartarus. The journey was dangerous but made his heart beat faster.
More than anything, there was something about Yeon-woo that drew people towards him. Like a “king.”
Still, seeing how he desperately pleaded for Kynee in front of Hades, it seemed as if he had a long backstory.
It was natural to want to follow such a person and see how he ended up, like a moth drawn to a flame.
He was too fearsome to be kept close but too interesting to watch from far away.
‘He’s like the Regiment Leader in this way.’
No, these thoughts might’ve been what the Regiment Leader was aiming for.
Making a decision, Creutz folded the letter into his breast pocket and called for a subordinate outside.
“Yes, sir. Did you call for me?”
A subordinate waiting outside came in and bowed his head.
“Is the Hoarder still on the 20th floor?”
“Call the knightage. We’re going to the 20th floor.”
And like that, the Fantasy Regiment began to make its move.
* * *
On the bloodied mountain.
Corpses lying all over the ground indicated there had been a rough battle.
“…..What a monster.”
The person the players were looking at didn’t seem like a human.
Everyone nodded in agreement that he seemed like a monster. There was fear in their eyes.
Yeon-woo panted, drenched in blood. His health and magic power were nearly drained because he had fought against so many players.
But the aura around him was still fierce.
It felt as if one would immediately die if one went into his attack range. And because the players knew that really would happen, none of them could easily approach Yeon-woo.
No, even with that aside, the martial arts Yeon-woo had shown them was replaying in their heads.
How many clans had suffered losses, and how many people had fallen?
Horrifying monsters came from the shadows and led them deep into despair.
The rumors that the Hoarder might already be a “Lord” were proving to be true.
A Lord who created a one-man army and easily defeated most clans.
Moreover, the Hoarder was showing potential as a “supernaturalist” as the Martial King’s disciple.
Whether they tried to fight one-on one or work with each other against Yeon-woo, he couldn’t be defeated.
‘There’s still something left…..!’
They could feel it in their bones. Yeon-woo wasn’t using his full strength.
If he had hidden 30% of his power despite the fight becoming this rough, it would only be disadvantageous to them.
Additionally, the people who were helping Yeon-woo were Red Deodara and Ice King, famous, skilled players. There wasn’t a way to get past them.
They stayed in that condition, not able to attack or fall back.
“If you don’t come.”
Yeon-woo’s eyes shined violently.
He was breathing in a more comfortable voice after having rested enough.
The players who were creating a net around him stepped back instinctively.
Seeing them, the Ice King laughed lightly. It was a laughter closer to pity than amusement.
The players standing in the front turned red. They were about to shout, wanting to redeem themselves.
Fireworks exploded in the sky. Red fireworks. The players’ faces turned stiff. It was the command to retreat.
The leaders had hesitant faces, wondering whether to leave or not, but they gave the order to fall back upon deeming that they couldn’t continue to fight like this.
While the players stepped back, they moved quickly in case Yeon-woo and the others attacked them as they ran.
After the Ice King confirmed that everyone was gone, he tilted his head in confusion.
“Mm? Why is everyone going back? Well, whatever, I can rest now.”
The Ice King looked down at his bloody, shaking hand. He couldn’t remember the last time he had fought this roughly.
He smiled bitterly. He had joined Yeon-woo’s side because there wasn’t anything he could do, but he felt refreshed. It seemed a martial artist was still a martial artist even if one was old.
But it was true that he was tired more easily. If the fight continued from here, he might’ve fallen first.
Victoria’s face didn’t look too good either.
Using the Adamantine Nova with an injured body wasn’t easy on her.
She was also relieved that they retreated, but she felt curious as to why they did. If the fight went on longer, Yeon-woo’s party would’ve been the ones in danger.
Victoria and the Ice King turned to Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo was also tired, so he plopped down on the floor and caught his breath. His overheated Philosopher’s Stone supplied him with magic power. What he said after surprised the other two greatly.
“They’re probably stepping back because they found Kahn.”
“They found Kahn?!”
Victoria burst up in surprise. Thump. Thump. Her heart started to beat faster. The face that she had seen for a short while. The hope that she could see that face again grew in her heart.
“Yes. For now.”
“Where is he?”
“You know it well.”
Victoria tilted his head. The mountains were indeed familiar to her. But for Yeon-woo to pick it out?
“Could it be?”
Her face slightly became pale.
Yeon-woo nodded heavily.
“Yes. It’s the Monkey King’s palace.”
Victoria’s grip tightened on the Adamantine Nova.
Memories of back then suddenly popped into her head.
The dangerous movements of the stone statue. Rebecca’s death. Yeon-woo’s sacrifice. The escape with Kahn. And running away, alone.
It was the place that gave her nightmares.
She was still scared to go there, but if she could save Kahn, she had to go.
Yeon-woo nodded in relief.
Actually, if he saw her trembling, he had planned to take the Adamantine Nova from her and force her to go back.
But she had done everything she needed to while they were in battle.
The Ice King tilted his head, not following.
“The Monkey King’s Palace? What’s that?”
Yeon-woo began to explain the Monkey King’s Palace. The Ice King’s eyes deepened after hearing everything.
“Where the 72 Bian are from?”
“Yes. It’s where I got my Ruyi Bang piece.”
“So it’s similar to the Monkey King’s Temple.”
Monkey King’s Temple. Yeon-woo became curious at the Ice King’s muttering.
“There’s a place. It’s outside of the Tower. To be exact, it’s the temple of the Seven Demon Kings, but it’s called the Monkey King’s Temple among the apostles. It’s surrounded with barriers to prevent outsiders from entering.”
Yeon-woo thought of the place where he had first looked for traces of Kahn.
“Are you talking about where the statues of the Seven Demon Kings are?”
“Yes. Do you know it?”
“Yes. But I couldn’t feel anything…..”
“That place is already looted. It’s well-known, too. There’s probably almost nothing left.”
Yeon-woo thought the Ice King seemed a bit sad. It was probably from the shame of being only a “half” descendant.
And also, a thought occurred to him.
‘So the Monkey King didn’t leave his traces in just one or two places.’
He had thought the same thing when he had left the Monkey King’s Palace.
The shedding had also said that the Monkey King had left several places for his descendants. Yeon-woo made a note to go back to the temple and look around closely. When he first went, he had pretty much been chased out, so he might’ve missed something.
“Anyways. Why would the Blood Sword go there?”
“The reason is simple.”
“It’ll be the base of the Devil Army, the people behind all this.”
There was one reason why Kahn had shown himself. Because it was his final destination.
And. In that place.
Yeon-woo’s eyes flashed.
* * *
After their short break, they headed towards the fifth mountain immediately.
It was to prevent the alliance from getting there first. Thankfully, it seemed there was no trap set up when they got there. People probably couldn’t set a trap because it was hard for rankers to approach here in the first place.
All senses were closed, and only Consciousness could be opened.
Yeon-woo unleashed all his Consciousness and began to search for the entrance to the Monkey King’s Palace.
Yeon-woo had destroyed the entrance when he left with the inheritance so others couldn’t approach it, so he had to find a new entrance.
「Your temper led to this. Yup, what a shame.」
While he was scolding the mocking Shanon, Yeon-woo was able to find the entrance with Nike’s help. Nike had been following Kahn all this time.
[You have entered the hidden stage, the ‘Monkey King’s Palace.’]
A hidden stage, not a dungeon.
Yeon-woo’s eyes became bigger at the changed name.
As if they were expected, someone quietly walked out from the entrance and greeted Yeon-woo’s party.
『Long time no see, Cain.』
Kahn greeted them happily.
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