Team: HH, Yahiko, thursdays (4/10)
Yeon-woo looked shocked. All kinds of questions floated around in his head. He asked in a slightly trembling voice.
“Did you….. know?”
Henova put his pipe back in his mouth with a serene face, as if trying to tease Yeon-woo.
“I made you your armor and mask. If I still didn’t know after that, I’d be a fool.”
Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. Henova had indeed made him the two items.
Like what Henova said, the fact that Henova had made his armor and mask meant that he knew how Yeon-woo’s body was built. Yeon-woo had shared his information window with him, but it was impossible for Henova to make something for him without knowing the smallest details.
No. Even with that aside.
Looking back at it now, Henova had known him well. There was always warmth in his gaze and actions towards Yeon-woo.
“At first, I thought a dead child had returned. How happy I was….. I just thought that you were hiding your identity because nothing good would come from others knowing.”
White smoke steadily filled the room.
“But after talking more with you, I realized. You weren’t that child. You had his face, body, eyes, and voice. But you were someone completely different. Your tone and personality.”
Henova’s gaze was fixed on the furnace with only a spark left. Sounds of the fuel burning popped in the room.
“So I thought someone was trying to trick me. But that wasn’t it either. Then I understood. Hehe. There was something he said a long time ago in passing.”
-Old man. Old man.
It was like the voice of the dead was ringing his Henova’s voice.
He remembered how the guy had entered his smithy without any permission and talked up a storm while he was working on a piece of iron.
-What now? If you’re just gonna babble, go get a hammer and help!
-Do you have a family?
-What in the world are you going on about?
-Just answer my question.
-Hmph! I’m a black dwarf who strayed from his path as a blacksmith! Of course I wouldn’t have something so troublesome. This anvil is my son and this hammer is my wife…..
-What? You’re no fun.
-What? Then what about you?
-Mine’s better off than your boring life.
He pictured the child’s smile.
-I have a rude brother.
Henova’s gaze was fixed on Yeon-woo’s waist. He could see the Magic Bayonet exuding a cold aura.
The iron he had been working on at the time was now in his brother’s possession.
“Actually, I was waiting for you to bring it up sometime since nothing good would come from me asking about it. I thought you were just trying to collect your thoughts.”
“So you wanted to tell me now? No. You want me to do something, but your conscience won’t let you ask me without telling me. Is that it?”
Henova glared at Yeon-woo with narrowed eyes.
Yeon-woo shook his head firmly.
“That’s not it.”
“No? You’re in the palm of my hand. I can tell from your usual actions.”
「Seems like the old man knows your personality well. Guess it’s because he’s experienced too much.」
Shanon’s laughing voice rang in his head.
‘Please shut up.’
Henova took in another deep breath from his pipe. There was a brief period of silence between them.
Yeon-woo wondered what he should say. Did he need to apologize? Or…..
“What did he say about me?”
Yeon-woo asked with the same face as Cha Jeong-woo.
“He said you were rude.”
“Kelkelkel. Looking back at it now, he was right. Hm?”
Henova chuckled. All his annoyance seemed to be gone.
Yeon-woo laughed with him and slowly opened his mouth.
“You asked why I needed to make Kynee earlier.”
“It’s to find Jeong-woo.”
Henova’s smiling mouth hardened.
“What are you…..?!”
He widened his eyes at the unexpected statement.
Yeon-woo began to explain the situation he was in. The Cast of the Black King that he could only complete after creating Kynee. The promise with the three Cyclops brothers. And the pocket watch that contained a secret.
“Can you show me?”
He held out the pocket watch to Henova. Henova examined the pocket watch for a while. Then, he frowned.
“The seal is too strong. Metallurgy isn’t enough to repair it. And….. you said something about the Soulstone earlier, right?”
“If that’s in here, I’m even more sure. It’s too hard for me to do something with it. They might also find it too difficult.”
Henova didn’t clarify who “they” were, but Yeon-woo knew who he was referring to.
He was saying it could be hard for the three Cyclops brothers as well.
He avoided explicitly mentioning their names out of respect for the three Cyclops brothers, who were considered blacksmith gods.
That was how hard it was to deal with Soulstones.
“Yes. I thought it might be hard too.”
“Still, if three gods work on it along with Victoria and Brahm, wouldn’t there be some kind of result? And we have you, so why would I be concerned?”
“Hmph. Did you think flattering me would get you anywhere?”
Henova scoffed, but there was a smile on his face.
“And even if we fail, Hades agreed to give me Kynee after we help him…..”
“Ah, so you’re saying you can awaken the power of the Black King to find another solution?”
The power of death.
If he had the Authority that gods and demons respected and Poseidon was wary of…..
He thought a path would open.
Henova crossed his arms and nodded.
“So whatever ends up happening, you’re saying that making Kynee is at the top of the list.”
“And going to Tartarus is necessary?”
Yeon-woo smiled bitterly.
Henova grimaced and took the pipe back in his mouth.
“I’m going through all kinds of things after meeting you brothers at the end of my life. I don’t know what kind of sin I committed in my previous life to deserve this.”
Even while grumbling, Henova’s eyes were blazing like the fire in the furnace from the hope of being able to meet the person he once considered his son.
* * *
The head bishop slowly woke up, opening his eyes. He saw a familiar sight in front of him.
A room with a solemn atmosphere. He knew at once that everything had gone wrong.
Still, he looked down at his hand with hope that it wasn’t true.
It was a wrinkled, dry hand with bones and veins popping out. There were many age spots all over it, and it looked powerless.
In fact, he had no strength.
His magic power organ was dried up, and his muscles couldn’t recover anymore. The only reason he had been able to last this long was because of his outstanding soul power.
But even that would be useless if his body was destroyed. No, before that, if the curse took over his soul, it was the end.
This was why he desired a new body.
He was planning on awakening as a new being to overcome all his troubles, but…..
“…..Did I fail again?”
Things didn’t go his way.
“I thought I was closer to success this time.”
The damned curse.
The damned Heavenly Demon.
The head bishop muttered words that were unimaginable for a head bishop to say.
But the skies were silent, like they didn’t care.
He would’ve preferred for the skies to punish him instead, but nothing followed.
Were they saying he didn’t even deserve to be punished? Or could they just not be bothered to do so?
Whatever it was, the head bishop was frustrated.
If he knew it was going to end up like this…..
‘Should I not have stood up back then?’
The previous head bishop, Black Dawn, once ruled at the top of the Tower with his abilities, as powerful as the Bloodlight Philosopher from the One-horned tribe. The bishops who followed him were called the strongest in history.
But the problem was that they were as tyrannical as they were strong.
The Devil Army under Black Dawn’s rule was hell.
Demon. With the proclamation that this was the true identity of the clan, followers of the Heavenly Demon died everyday.
There were all kinds of reasons for it.
Because the god wasn’t satisfied, because the god wanted it, because the god was hungry. The god, the god, the god…..!
Every act of tyranny was excused by the words “The Heavenly Demon wanted it,” and followers died happily, thinking it really was what their god wanted.
From what he saw, they were all crazy.
The Devil Army might’ve been called a lunatic cult by outsiders, but its members were bound together by warmth and affection.
The teaching of the Heavenly Demon was the brightness of love and peace.
Because he didn’t want to see the clan become stained with darkness, he had flipped everything over.
During the ceremony for the Heavenly Demon that happened every ten years, while everyone was on their knees, he alone stood up and killed Black Dawn and the other bishops, who were saying he was disrespectful.
Wearing the bloodied crown, he announced that he was the new bishop.
Everyone was shocked, but they couldn’t reject him as he had killed Black Dawn.
The ceremony ended like that, and a curse was engraved on his soul.
It was back then when the Authority of the Heavenly Demon was closed off from them.
Many bishops and diocesans were killed off easily because of this.
Because they weren’t allowed the Authority of the Heavenly Demon, there were limits to what power they could have.
Compared to those who came before them, their power was near nothing.
The reason none of this was known to the public was that the strength of the head bishop was outstanding, and Kindred, the second bishop, had accomplished a lot.
But even this was in danger.
The curse had violently spasmed and was eating at his body.
From then, he had no choice but to become evil.
Even with the curse, he had never resented the Heavenly Demon.
Rather, he spent every day and night correcting Black Dawn’s teachings. Although their power was less than before, the lives of the followers had improved.
Also, he prayed everyday to the Heavenly Demon to change his mind. But back then, and even now, there was no reply.
‘I’m not scared of dying. I’ve already lived a long life. But….. what will happen to the clan after I disappear?’
What would happen if the Devil Army’s situation was revealed to the rest of the Tower after its head bishop disappeared?
The peace they barely managed to create would crumble. After all, peace was only a house constructed with the building blocks of power.
The head bishop decided that he needed to force the Heavenly Demon to answer.
If he became another face of the Heavenly Demon, wouldn’t the Devil Army be able to run strong again?
So he progressed with his plans, but everything had gone wrong.
Of course, there could be other faces other than the Monkey King’s shedding, such as the Ruyi Bang pieces that were scattered throughout the Tower.
But even then, there wasn’t much time left for the head bishop.
With all the bishops and diocesans gone, there was nothing he could do.
‘I guess there’s only one thing left to do.’
He judged it was time to pull out the last card that he didn’t want to use.
‘We’ll….. abandon our god.’
If their god rejected them, they had no other option but to find another.
The head bishop’s eyes flashed.
The door opened, and Kindred entered. He bowed with shame.
“Kindred, get ready to leave immediately.”
He widened his eyes, looking at the head bishop in bad health, but he nodded his head.
“Where should I escort you?”
“The temple of the Seven Demon Kings.”
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