Chapter 422 - Dragon Temple (9)
“Fuck…! There’s no end to these crazy objects even after destroying them over and over.” How did things go so wrong? Before crossing through the portal with Green Dragon, they had been hopeful. They would take all the legacies of the dragon king, and accomplish what their mother hadn’t been able to do.
However, their dreams were crushed as soon as they entered the labyrinth. Their subordinates were scattered to who-knew-where, and when he tried to look for them, the guards and the Spartoi violently attacked. Even after destroying them…clack! Clack!
[The ‘Dragon’s Curse’ has been strengthened.]
[2nd trial: Create your own path.]
Something like black fog swirled in the air, and the fallen corpses began to rise. They pointed their swords at Tom, their appearances exactly like the Spartoi that had already fallen. The Dragon’s Curse had the vicious quality of forcing the dead to block the intruders.
“Damn it!” Tom exploded with rage and ran forward. He transformed into his real body, an ornithopod, and began to push away everything in his way. 『I’ll kill you all!』 It was of utmost importance that he found his other siblings using the crystal bead their mother had left them.
Boom! Crash. After roaming around the labyrinth for a while, Tom had gathered a few of his subordinates and found his brothers in a stone room.
『You look fantastic.』 Tom smirked at his dirt-smeared brothers incredulously. Although he wasn’t doing too well himself, his tough hide torn and bleeding, Hyall, Leesoo, and Bahratan were even worse off.
Hyall was covered in blood and gasping for breath as he leaned against a wall, while Leesoo, in his wyvern form, had lost his left wing. Bahratan seemed to be doing relatively better. He healed the others with magic, one of his eyes wrapped in bandages.
Their subordinates lay on the ground. Those who hadn’t been ripped to shreds were on their last breaths. Not a single one had made it through unscathed.
Tom licked his lips as he looked at them. One method of recovering quickly from injury was to absorb dragon blood that contained Draconic Factors. He had already eaten Triger in the past, so he knew how delicious dragon blood was. Swallowing dragon blood didn’t just heal you, it also increased your level, so you could become even closer to the Draconic species.
“Don’t think of anything foolish, Tom.” Bahratan growled, as though he could read his mind. Hyall and Leesoo looked at him with alert expressions too.
He might have been able to deal with one of them, but he couldn’t handle all three at the same time, even though they were injured. Tom was forced to take a step back. 『I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I have no plans to hurt my brothers.』
“What a load of bullshit. We’re working together because of Kalatus’ legacy, but keep in mind that it doesn’t mean we trust you.”
『OK, OK. Pushing the youngest into a corner like this is too cruel.』
‘There will be another chance.’
Tom quickly changed the subject. 『How did you all end up in this state?』 Even though they were inferior to Waltz and Tom, the three leaders of Green Dragon were powerful enough to be candidates for the next open spot among the Nine Kings.
Tom couldn’t believe that even though the three of them were working together, they were still injured so badly. And even worse, it seemed like it had been done by one person. Who had managed to defeat his brothers on his own? Had they met one of the Nine Kings?
“It’s that guy.”
“Quiet. He’s coming this way.”
Tom turned to the direction that Bahratan was looking at. He could sense something approaching them from beyond the corner. Thud! Thud!
“Dragon meat, give me dragon meat…!” The half-crazed Gluttony Emperor was stalking towards them with saliva dripping out of his mouth.
* * *
“Crawling Chaos?” Yeon-woo murmured to himself. He remembered something from the depths of the diary.
Transcendent beings like gods, demons, dragons, and Giants have lived in the Tower since the origin of time. However, these transcendent beings don’t only reside in the Tower. Some of them live in other dimensions that most players can’t see, which are called otherworlds.
Sometimes, a few of the transcendents in the otherworlds take an interest in the Tower and occasionally approach it. However, their minds are so different that it’s impossible to tell what they’re thinking.
The Draconic species has watched and guessed their movements for a long period of time, and they call them otherworld gods.
The Draconic species hadn’t observed that many otherworld gods. They didn’t have a solid form or else they were too large to measure. At times, they were nested in multiple dimensions and subspaces, so it was tricky to view them. Even if they did manage to see one, it was uncommon to see the same being twice. Some were so sluggish, it was hard to tell if they were even alive.
Still, they had managed to observe a few that were active and were interested in the Tower. They named them according to the traits they possessed.
Crawling Chaos was one of the most active beings, and unlike the others who seemed indifferent to the outside world, it recognized the Tower and displayed a great deal of curiosity. However, it approached the Tower in such a simple and unreadable manner, It was like a cat interested in a ball of yarn without knowing why or what it wanted exactly.
The only thing that anyone knew about it was that it had an extensive knowledge. When his brother had still been active, he hadn’t taken much interest when he’d heard about otherworld gods. However, now that a being like that was threatening Laputa, it was no wonder that Kalatus had asked Yeon-woo to rush. “Why is that here?”
『It is because of a vow made in the past.』
Uballa shut his mouth, as though he couldn’t speak about it any further.
Yeon-woo clucked his tongue. Actually, he had an idea of what the vow was. “Then what’s Allforone doing?” He was so fastidious about preventing the gods and demons from approaching the lower world, why would he leave such a being alone?
『This is dragon territory, Binah.』
Yeon-woo cursed when he heard Uballa’s response. “Well, damn it.” Just as Allforone couldn’t interfer in Hades’ territory Tartarus, Allforone had no way to enter the labyrinth and Laputa, which were Kalatus’ territory. Unless the Crawling Chaos took over Laputa and came out onto the stage, Allforone wouldn’t step in. The only thing he cared about was the safety of the lower world and the seventy-seventh floor. Was the Crawling Chaos aware of this and moving deliberately?
『Will you go up?』
『It may consume you. To a mortal, otherworld gods are...』
“Dangerous. I’ve heard that people have lost their minds just looking at one.” However, Yeon-woo had already killed gods and gained partial holiness, so he was confident he wouldn’t be too affected by the Crawling Chaos. He had to figure out what happened. ‘The legacy Jeong-woo left behind is there too.’ He needed to get inside Arthia’s clan house.
Yeon-woo flapped his Fire Wings and headed for Laputa. Uballa watched him in concern and soon followed with his own wings.
Laputa was higher than he thought, and as he approached the black tentacles loomed. It probably saw Yeon-woo as little more than a bug and didn’t even notice him. From what Yeon-woo could tell, it was at least as powerful as Mother Earth in Tartarus. ‘And this is only a part of it?’
It was shocking that it could already match Mother Earth without its full body. Of course, he also hadn’t experienced the full Mother Earth in Tartarus, but he could tell how mighty this cosmic being was. He felt dizzy just by looking at it. ‘I’ll be swept away if I don’t get a grip on myself.’
Just as a black hole sucked in everything, even dust, he felt that a single misstep would cause him to fall into the Crawling Chaos, too. The familiars in his Soul Collection were all screaming for him to move away. He was controlling them with the power of the Black King, but it wasn’t easy.
「Master.」 Just as he was about to turn back because of the danger, Boo suddenly spoke up. Boo had never addressed him first before since he thought it was disrespectful. Yeon-woo cocked his head.
「May I…take a look…at that?」
Why was he suddenly acting like this? Then, Yeon-woo remembered a part of Boo’s lost memories: as Faust, he had managed to contact an otherworld god and gained knowledge from him to complete the Emerald Tablet. Now that he thought about it, Crawling Chaos was the otherworld god most interested in the Tower. Perhaps Faust had reached this particular being.
「I’m definitely…seeing it…for the first time…but it’s also familiar.」 Boo’s blue eyes were focused on the Crawling Chaos. 「I want to…know more.」
“It’ll be dangerous.”
“Go with Boo.”
「Thank…you.」 Boo bowed and headed for the thermosphere where the black tentacles were. Yeon-woo thought Boo would be in less danger of being swept away by the Crawling Chaos’ influence if he had Cernunnos’ spirit, Rebecca, by his side. He watched them move away and slowly landed in Laputa.
Laputa was as elaborate and beautiful as he’d seen in the diary. There were dozens of soaring structures, and a sturdy fortress wrapped around them. A deep moat was sandwiched between the outer and inner castle, and magnificent trees stood tall in the garden.
Even after Kalatus closed his eyes and his brother, the administrator, disappeared, Laputa’s system continued to take care of it. The barrier that prevented the Crawling Chaos from getting closer recognized Yeon-woo and allowed him to land.
Yeon-woo walked on the neatly paved paths towards the center of the castle. As he passed, the closed doors burst open and the security systems cleared him. He reached the great hall, and found a stupendous figure hundreds of meters long sitting there quietly.
『You’ve finally arrived.』 He was as big as Yeon-woo had sensed through Edora. However, with his shadow gone, he looked frail, as if he would be destroyed any moment. Crackle. Kalatus’ vestige looked so weak that it seemed like he might collapse at any moment. His tough hide had shrunk over his bones, revealing how thin he was. 『I’ve been waiting for you.』 He was having a hard time seeing, and he narrowed his eyes. 『O new successor of the Black King.』
Yeon-woo asked him a question. “Were you the one who took care of Jeong-woo at the end?”
『No. I was not.』
Yeon-woo felt like he had been splashed with cold water. The pocket watch trembled too, probably because Jeong-woo was listening in through his subconscious. Kalatus’ words were too shocking. If he hadn’t been the one who’d taken Jeong-woo’s body from his enemies and sent it to Earth, who did?
『It was a half-Giant child who said he was Jeong-woo’s friend.』 Yeon-woo’s eyes widened in shock when Kalatus spoke the name. 『Valdebich. I think that’s his name.』