Chapter 49. Two Hearts (7)
Yeon-woo pulled Carshina's Dagger out of the neck of the last remaining player. Froth mixed with blood oozed out from his mouth until he collapsed onto the floor.
The surrounding area was filled with corpses of the players who were controlled to attack Yeon-woo.
With the annihilation of Arangdan in Section F, it was safe to say that Arangdan was practically destroyed. However, Arangdan still hasn’t reached true annihilation yet. There was one person left to be killed.
Yeon-woo gently shook off the blood from the dagger and bent his steps towards the direction where Bild had disappeared.
Within his enhanced sensory organs, Yeon-woo felt Bild rushing his way to a place that seemed like a basement warehouse.
Yeon-woo lightly kicked the ground.
* * *
Bild stopped in front of a shabby warehouse located just at the edge of their base.
Contrary to its dilapidated looks, the warehouse was locked under a combination of several magic circles and barriers, so only executives of Arangdan or higher positions were allowed to enter this secret place.
‘Quickly! I don’t have time for this!'
Bild knew his puppets wouldn’t hold Yeon-woo back for long, but at least they should be enough to buy him some time. If so, he had to get his hands on the ‘stone’ as quickly as possible.
Thankfully, he had faint recollections of Leonte talking about its uses.
However, there was something that Bild hadn’t realized.
While he was occupied getting the stone, Yeon-woo was already following right behind him.
* * *
‘They’re good at hiding places like these, aren’t they?'
Yeon-woo clicked his tongue as he looked at a spiral staircase he discovered inside the warehouse. The staircase was so well hidden that if he hadn't intentionally let Bild go, he would never have found it by himself.
The staircase was leading deep under the ground. Yeon-woo carefully descended the stairs as he kept a fair distance from Bild. Along his way down the stairs, he found a countless number of doors. Doors that he had no idea where they connected to.
One thing, however, was certain. Beyond those doors, there must be something absolutely formidable.
Then, Yeon-woo stood in front of an iron door. It looked unusually worn compared to the others.
‘I sense… people in here.'
He could feel the presence of people from the inside. The presence of two people.
Yeon-woo looked down the stairs towards where Bild was.
‘This is the only way leading up to the surface. I should be able to catch him at any time.'
After finishing thinking, Yeon-woo opened the door without further delay.
It seemed there wasn’t a magical lock or anything else. The hinges let out a creaking sound as if they hadn’t been oiled for a long time.
Inside was a long narrow corridor. Metal bars lined up on both sides along the corridor, looking very much like a prison of some sort.
The place stank of rotten bodies as if to prove there had been people locked up in there until recently. Bloodstains, nail scratches, and several other marks were seen at the place.
Also, quite a lot of ghosts were hovering around the corridor. Even at a rough guess, they were at least thousands in number.
‘Was this a human farm?
Yeon-woo gritted his teeth.
He did have the impression that it would be big, but its real size was way above his estimation.
And when thinking of the doors he saw as he walked down the stairs... He couldn’t even guess how many people had been caged up in this underground prison.
He tried expanding his senses to cover a wider area, but he felt no particular survivors other than the two people deep inside the corridor.
But what bothered him the most was that he was seeing signs of habitation inside several prisons. There must have been some kind of ‘event’ that took place here not long ago.
Yeon-woo’s eyes sank deeply. In his eyes, there was a mixture of irritation and resentment.
When he reached the deepest part of the corridor, Yeon-woo clearly saw it. The haggard look of Kahn and Doyle tightly bound with chains to the walls.
* * *
The only players locked up in the immense jail were Kahn and Doyle.
"Fucking hell, what the hell's going on up there?"
Kahn raised his head with an irritated face.
Bild and his minions had hurried away when they heard they had an intruder. Judging from their looks, something serious must have been happening outside. But since he couldn’t just go out and see the situation outside, it was getting more and more frustrating for him.
Still, there was one thing that he could guess. That the building they were in would soon collapse, because the whole building had been shaking wildly for some time now.
"I thought we were up to something very cool, but now, we’re here locked in a cage watching the building collapse and waiting for it to bury us alive. How come we’re so unlucky?"
Kahn smirked as he shook his head.
It was a sneer. A sneer toward himself.
"Hyung, you can’t just put it like that."
Then Doyle, who had been slouching next to him, slowly raised his head.
Despite being hurt all over his body, his eyes were still looking sleepy.
"You’re the one who's unlucky. But I'm not. I was just following you around and ended up like this."
"So what? Your luck is being stuck in here with me?"
"If it is, that’s just a rotten piece of luck.”
"You're being sassy today, you know that?"
"Well, there’s something I’ve been meaning to do. If I’m gonna die, I'll die after I talk back to you."
"You’re talking like you’ve always been an obedient brother."
The two were busy squabbling at each other even on the verge of death.
They were able to come all the way up to this point because they were so special to each other.
"Sigh... Let's just stop fighting. We aren’t getting anywhere anyway. By the way, what do you think Cain might be doing right now?"
Kahn suddenly recalled a friend, or maybe not a friend, who had gone and defeated Hargan with them.
Even though he was blunt, the three of them had really fit well together.
"Well, he was fine without us. I think he might be in Section G by now."
Kahn let out a smirk as he continued talking.
"Ha, if I knew we would end up like this, I should have told him about that hidden piece. At least it wouldn’t have gone to waste."
Kahn shook his head as he thought of the hidden piece he and Doyle had been wanting to get. The secret weapon that would let them catch up to the siblings.
He couldn't help feel a little regret.
But just then,
"You can tell me now."
A familiar voice rang from above.
Kahn and Doyle raised their heads with looks filled with surprise.
From the corridor shrouded in darkness, a white mask stood in a spot where light barely reached.
It was Yeon-woo.
"How did you...!"
Kahn shouted in disbelief as he looked at Yeon-woo. Doyle's eyes grew big along with it.
But without caring about their reactions,
Yeon-woo easily sliced away the metal bars by slashing at their flaws and entered the prison.
"You guys look like crap."
Yeon-woo grinned as he looked at them up and down.
Kahn had a complex mix of expressions on his face. Pleasure, confusion, remorse, and gratitude. But then, he quickly turned his head to the side. Last time they were together, he had been very harsh on Yeon-woo.
He didn’t want to show his weak side like this. Instead, Doyle spoke with teary eyes.
"How did you get here?"
Yeon-woo swung Carshina's Dagger and severed the chains that had been restraining Kahn and Doyle.
Then he answered as he shattered the remaining mana shackles on their wrists.
"The scavengers kept bothering me. It turns out they were actually part of Arangdan."
Yeon-woo said it as if he had just been passing by.
Doyle opened his eyes wide but soon smiled timidly. He didn't ask about how he had found this place. Because he didn't need to.
Kahn broke his silence after watching Yeon-woo freeing them from the rest of the restraints.
"Thank you. Really."
"If you really want to thank me, you can give me the hidden piece you mentioned earlier.”
"God dammit, did you really have to make it into a deal?"
‘But I guess that’s how you got to rip off the mysterious merchant.’
Despite his grumbling, there was a distinct smile on Kahn’s face. He knew it was only a joke to put them at ease. He was so blunt he would die before he could say nice words.
Once all the restraints were gone, Kahn tried to circulate mana.
Every nerve of his body was screaming in pain, to the point that he started to wonder if he could make an escape in his current condition. He could tell for sure how messed up was his body, so he began to feel stuck and hopeless. After getting out of this prison, he would be nothing more than a burden to Yeon-woo.
Doyle was slightly frowning as if he was thinking the same.
So Kahn made up his mind. He was going to tell Yeon-woo to leave them there. That he was already very grateful that he came to release them from the prison, and that they alone would find a mean to escape the place.
However, as if Yeon-woo had read his mind, he gave out a slight snort.
"You don’t have to worry about Arangdan. They’re all gone now."
Kahn and Doyle were startled at Yeon-woo’s remark.
"Arangdan is gone? What do you mean?"
For these two who didn't know about the Monster Outbreak and Yeon-woo’s rampage, it was obvious to be bewildered.
However, Yeon-woo only waved his hands at Kahn’s question as if he was too lazy to answer.
Kahn narrowed his eyes for a moment and soon let out a deep sigh. Once he showed that attitude, he wouldn’t tell him easily.
Only, Doyle was still smiling.
"You got them all, didn’t you?"
Yeon-woo nodded calmly.
But his answer ticked off Kahn.
"Hey! You just answered his question, why did you ignore mine?"
Yeon-woo stared back at Kahn, but once again, he answered with a snort.
Yeon-woo’s cheeky attitude made him clench his trembling fists.
How sad was to be powerless at times like this.
But as he heard Yeon-woo's following words, startled, he quickly looked up.
"Although, Bild is still alive."
"Wait, Bild is alive?"
Flames shot from Kahn's two eyes.
Doyle's face also stiffened.
"Hold on a second... He didn't go down the stairs, did he?
Yeon-woo’s eyes sparkled with interest. As expected, it seemed like Bild was hiding something below this building.
"You know what’s down here?"
"I don't know what exactly it is. But those bastards, they’re making something out of lives of other players."
Of all things that could be used to craft an artifact, the flesh and soul of players were said to be the most valuable materials that existed in The Tower. Even in alchemy, transmuting with human bodies was one of the highest level of skills that existed.
However, such acts were taboo even in The Tower. It wasn't just because it was inhumane. It was because it was too dangerous. The whole tower could be placed in danger.
But whatever was the artifact they were making, the cost had already reached the tens of thousands of lives.
‘From start to finish, all they do is to cause trouble.‘
Yeon-woo pulled Carshina's Dagger back out as his clicked his tongue.
Bild was nothing more than a trapped rat.
Now that he had saved Kahn and Doyle, the only task left to do was to follow him downstairs and cut his throat. And he also wanted to see what they’d been trying to make so far. So Yeon-woo was going to tell the two of them to wait here.
Yeon-woo realized that the ghosts had followed him. They kept circling around him.
It seemed like they knew Yeon-woo was going to kill Bild. They wanted to be part of it.
Just when he was about to shoo them away, a great idea flashed across his mind.
"So, you guys want to be of help, am I correct?"
The ghosts cried out loud as if they were expressing agreement. One side of Yeon-woo's lips slightly curled upward.
"If so, you can help me on one condition. Care to hear?"