Chapter 50. Two Hearts (8)
The floor at the very bottom of the staircase.
Bild hurriedly barged into a room locked behind an iron door. Inside, was a room containing hundreds of glass tubes installed along the ceiling and walls.
Bild ran past the glass tubes and stood in front of a purple stone lying at the back of the room.
Something was constantly being poured into the stone through the countless glass tubes. Something red, dark and very murky.
It was the energy collected at the expense of the lives of countless players. Bild and Leonte have been calling it ‘Quintessence’ for the past few years. And they’ve tried whatever means possible to produce more of this energy.
Now, however, things were different.
Bild tore out all the glass tubes. The Quintessence leaked out from the tubes and quickly evaporated, dyeing the air red. But none of that mattered to him.His mind was solely focused on the purple stone.
Bilde carefully picked up the purple stone with his trembling hand.
How many years had he wasted making this stone. During that time, his old teammates had grown much stronger and climbed up to much higher floors.
Bild also wanted to follow his teammates steps. But in the end, he had decided to put aside his desires and dedicate himself to his master. So that he could offer this power to his master and help him become the true ‘king’ of this world. So that he could stand by his side and reign over The Tower with absolute power.
But now, Bild changed his mind. He wanted to live. He wanted to survive from the demon that was chasing him. And to do so, he desperately needed this stone.
The thing that had only brought despair, was now here to bring him hope.
Bilde opened his mouth and swallowed the stone in one gulp.
The stone being the size of a fist made it hard to put in his mouth. But now was not the time to care about such things.
The stone was a pure concentration of Quintessence that had gone through multiple purification and compression processes. His master had once told him that just by swallowing the stone, it would produce a huge amount of mana inside his body. He said that the result would be either one of the two. His body would change, or it would explode.
But again, a ‘complete’ stone would have no risk of causing an explosion. However, Bild had no other choice but to hope that the stone would be close to its completion.
So he gulped down and waited for the changes to happen in his body.
"...Wh, what’s going on?"
A look of bewilderment was visible in his face.
He unmistakably felt the stone traveling down his throat and into his stomach, so something should have happened by now.
But that was it. Nothing happened.
"Why is it not working…!"
Bild shouted out loud at the incomprehensible situation.
Why isn’t it happening?
Did I miss anything?
Bild racked his brains over the problem. He wondered if he had made any mistakes, or if he had missed something when swallowing the stone. But nothing came to his mind. His mind went blank.
He started to panic thinking that the demon should be just around the corner by now.
Bild pushed his finger into the back of his throat in order to throw up the stone. He was going to try swallowing the stone again and again until it worked.
After a few gags, the stone came back out of his mouth. The stone was still emitting its capricious purple glow.
Bild drew his brows together and put the stone back into his mouth. But the stone did not give way this time. He had to vomit it back out to try swallowing it again.
Bild repeated the same process over and over again. The floor was completely soaked with his gastric juices.
Bild was on the verge of losing his mind.
"Why the fuck isn’t it working!"
Every time he vomited it out, the stone maintained its ominous purple hue. He could see the energy wriggling inside the stone.
Still, the stone hadn’t granted him the power. Like a rose that wouldn’t allow itself to be picked, acting so aloof as if he didn't deserve to be its owner.
And that’s what drove Bild more and more crazy. The thought that that demon could barge in from the door any minute now kept pushing him into a corner.
But nothing changed.
A dark shadow fell into the warehouse.
Bild’s face turned blue as he quickly turned towards the source of the sound.
There stood Yeon-woo, smiling coldly.
"So, this is the place you chose to run away from me."
Bild opened his mouth to scream out loud, however, no sound escaped from his mouth. His fear had become an invisible hand that was strangling him.
"Is that the ‘stone’ you were trying to make? It doesn’t look like anything. Something's not working out?"
Yeon-woo threw his gaze towards the purple stone Bild was hugging tightly.
Startled by his words, Bild pushed the stone back into his mouth.
But Yeon-woo didn't care about it.
‘So many people were sacrificed all for that failure?’
The stone was an item with no identifiable information.
It wasn’t clear if it was because the stone was incomplete, or if there was a problem with the making process. Whatever the case was, if the item was unidentifiable, it only meant one thing.
It was unusable.
Obviously, nothing would happen no matter how many times he put the stone into his mouth.
Even when looking at it with Draconic Eyes, the purple stone was covered with flaws all over its surface. There were so many of them, the stone itself was hidden under the flaws.
Usually, such items were classified as trash with F Rating.
A burst of hollow laughter escaped from his mouth. He couldn’t believe Leonte spent so much time and money on such a useless piece of trash.
Even if he held onto it to threaten him, it wouldn’t come close to being his weakness.
So Yeon-woo waited for Bild to finish swallowing and then slowly moved towards him.
"Are you done eating?"
Bild began to cry. The stone still hadn’t shown its effect. All his hopes were shattered to pieces.
He stepped back away from Yeon-woo. He then tripped and fell on his behind, so he crawled away.
In his mind, Bild was screaming at Yeon-woo to stay away from him, but Yeon-woo gradually made his way towards him with cold eyes.
The demon's shadow hung over his throat. His stuffy throat barely let out a cracked voice.
"Why the hell!"
Once he managed to speak out some words, a flurry of them came out from his mouth.
"Why! Are you putting me through this torment? What did we even do to you! What is it that you hold against us, trying to sabotage us!"
Bild hated Yeon-woo from the bottom of his heart.
If it weren’t for him, everything would have worked out smoothly. His master would have gotten the stone, and Bild would have had the authority he wanted. Only success would have been waiting ahead of him.
If only he went on his way without intervening into their business.
If only he were like other players…!
But Bild didn’t give the slightest thought to the fact that he himself had also tried to kill Yeon-woo many times. After all, humans tend to only recall what they had suffered, not what they had committed.
"Why, you ask?"
A faint sneer was heard from beneath the mask.
"You asked me ‘why’? What kind of grudge I hold against you?"
Yeon-woo took his hand towards his mask.
"Well, I hope this suffices."
Yeon-woo took off his mask. And his face was revealed.
At that moment, Bild's face turned deathly pale. An emotion beyond fear, an indescribable emotion overcame his whole body.
It was a face that should no longer exist in this world.
Yeon-woo spoke to Bild with Jeong-woo's face, with Jeong-woo's eyes, and with Jeong-woo's voice.
"You have no idea how much I've missed you guys."
Bild wanted to say something, but the fear choked him up and his voice didn’t come out.
He tried running away, but soon came to a dead end.
Yeon-woo approached him holding Carshina’s Dagger in reverse.
Its blade was shining as coldly as his smile.
* * *
Soon, a shrill scream echoed along the staircase and throughout the building.
* * *
For the first time, Bild begged Yeon-woo to end his life.
His body had fallen into a state where it was hard to call it ‘human'. The only things left unhurt were his head that served to recall memories and his mouth to utter words.
Even if he was living, it didn’t feel like it. He would rather die than to live like this. That’s how much pain he was in.
Yeon-woo asked a lot of questions ‘through his body’.
Bild’s mind was already devastated.
Someone who should be lying dead had returned back to life. Such a traumatic experience left him aphasic.
But the body was different. Except for his severed left arm, there were still many places left intact. When he kept ‘poking around’ such places, his lost mind occasionally returned back to his body. And thanks to that, Yeon-woo was able to figure out a lot of things regarding the time after Jeong-woo’s death and after Arthia’s disbandment.
The Tower had undergone a great change. There had been a transition of power, and the old members of Arthia had sought their own way to survive in various places. Each of them was able to get their hands on the things they wanted.
As all the assailants do, they continued to live their usual lives even after what they did to Jeong-woo. Even after they had destroyed someone’s life.
‘I see. This is just who you are. It was all in a day’s work for you.'
He once thought that there could be someone, at least one of them, who might be feeling guilty for what they’d done. But it turned out none of them were.
So Yeon-woo laughed with relief. Because he could go on a rampage without any worries.
A sudden voice from Bild brought Yeon-woo back to his senses.
Yeon-woo asked, looking at the lump of meat he was sitting on.
"So, do you want to die?"
"Ooh, what should I do? You know a tale about a green frog? A frog that does the opposite of what people ask for. I’m starting to see why he did that."
"Oh, by the way, I’ve got a lot of friends who are just so desperate to see your face."
Yeon-woo gently waved his hands in the air.
A cloud of black mist formed from thin air and white ghosts began to appear one by one. Once they stopped appearing, there were already thousands of them.
Originally bound to a human farm in the warehouse, the ghosts had been set free with Yeon-woo’s Black Bracelet. And all the ghosts were emitting dark auras like Yeon-woo’s Black Blade.
Evil Spirits. Through Yeon-woo’s Black Bracelet, they could be infused with dark energy and exert power onto the physical world.
Those who met a tragic end as the material for the stone wanted to take revenge against their murderer, Bild. And for that purpose, they willingly became servants of Yeon-woo. And here, they could make their appearance in front of Bild.
Bild let out a loud shriek. It was his last effort pleading to be put out of his misery.
But his bitter cries were completely drowned out by the giggles of the ghosts.
Yeon-woo shut the iron gate as he walked out of the room, expecting it never to be opened again.
Then, he began to climb up the spiral staircase.
End of Volume 2! Thanks for reading!
Jeez, it's hard to get stuff done when your VPN doesn't want to work properly.