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Chapter 78 - Mythic Beasts (1)

Second Life Ranker
     Chapter 78. Mythic Beasts (1)

    “Ohyohyo. Not only did he awake the Despair of the Black King, but he was also rewarded with Aegis. He is such an unpredictable player!”

    Yvlke smiled cheerfully as he watched Yeon-woo disappear into the portal.

    From the tutorial to Beginner Zone, Yeon-woo’s feat of clearing everything as a solo player had been great entertainment for him, not to mention the fun of earning extra money.

    “It seems like The Tower’s system has begun to take notice of you, Yeon-woo Cha.”

    For a second, his voice was imbued with unusual seriousness.

    “By the way, who was the next part’s general Guardian… Laplace, wasn’t it?”

    Yvlke’s two large fangs could be seen over his thick lips as he broke into a wide grin.

    “I wonder how he’ll react. He acts quite annoying when he finds something interesting.”

    Yvlke’s eyes glowed as he stared into the gradually fading portal.

    *   *   *

    “The Hoarder?”

    Bahal paused and turned to look at the leader of Flame Beast. Flame Beat’s entire unit following behind him halted in unison.

    “Yes. From the first to the tenth floor, all the previous records in the Beginner Zone have been surpassed by him.”

    Bahal brought his hands to his front and tapped the air a couple of times.

    Then, a window suddenly popped up in front of him.

    [1st-floor ranking]

    1. Unknown (9,345 Points)

    2. Jeong-woo Cah (6,566 Points)

    2. Edora (6,556 Points)

    4. Phante (2,210 Points)

    ···

    [2nd-floor ranking]

    1. Unknown (31,008 Points)

    2. Phante (7,299 Points)

    3. Jeong-woo Cah (6,900 Points)

    ···

    [3rd-floor ranking]

    1. Unknown (18,115 Points)

    2. Jeong-woo Cah (11,331 Points)

    ···

    “Oh?”

    The moment he saw the word ‘Unknown’ on the list, he knew it was Yeon-woo.

    Among all the novices who had appeared recently, he was the only one who could pull off this kind of achievement.

    “What an interesting friend he is.”

    Bahal skimmed through the rest of the rankings with a huge smile.

    He knew that Yeon-woo was up to something big the moment he first saw him, but this was even bigger than he expected.

    Jeong-woo’s records were made possible because he had assistance from his team, Arthia.

    But Yeon-woo’s were different. His records were set all by himself.

    Thanks to this, more attention was going to be drawn to him now.

    Bahal thought to himself that it had been a good move to visit him before the other clans could snatch him.

    “But isn’t it frustrating?”

    The leader suddenly asked Bahal.

    Bahal tilted his head.

    “Hmm? What is?”

    “I’m talking about the records. Though they’re named after Jeong-woo, they also belong to you too.”

    Figuring out his intention, Bahal let out a chuckle.

    “I thought I had already passed your test, didn’t I?”

    “Oh, I’m sorry, but don’t get me wrong. This is just a personal question.”

    But Bahal only asked back with a snort.

    “Hmph! Our queen’s dearest henchman asking a personal question to me… You think I’d fall for that?”

    The leader silently lowered his head in answer.

    Bahal closed the ranking window and started answering as he stroked his chin.

    “Well, it’d be a lie to say it isn’t. Because no matter what I do, it is an undeniable truth that I was once part of Arthia, and that record is a remnant of my past. Who’d like having their remnants erased?”

    “….”

    Just then, the leader looked at Bahal questioningly but soon erased the doubt after hearing his next word.

    “But what’s past is past. I’ll have to let go of it in order to advance. What matters to me right now…”

    A sly grin crept over Bahal’s face.

    “Is how to make this novice ours.”

    “….”

    “I do think he’ll be ours eventually… But we can’t wait forever for him to decide, now can we? If he won’t join us, then we’ll have to destroy him, just like we did to them….”

    Though Bahal had put it vaguely, the leader understood who he was referring to.

    ‘Just like Arthia.’

    Either they had to have it, or it had to be destroyed. No other result was allowed.

    “…So, did that answer satisfy you?”

    Bahal looked at the leader with a smile.

    The leader nodded calmly.

    “Seems like I got a passing mark.”

    “You did talk too much unnecessary stuff. You’d better be careful next time.”

    “Haha! I thought I had earned some trust, but it seems our queen still doubts me. By the way.”

    Bahal came to a sudden stop. They were in front of a steep cliff.

    “Are we in the right place?”

    “The coordinates say we are.”

    “So this Cheonghwado’s doghole. They’ve been pretending to be so high and noble, acting as if they have nothing to hide, but look what they have here. Haha!”

    Bahal slowly moved to the edge of the cliff.

    Below his feet, he could see a forest full of trees.

    The entire forest was serene and desolate, perhaps due to its location being far from the Outer District.

    Bahal began to circulate mana into his eyes, staring at a certain point inside the forest. Then, his eyes caught a strange structure covered in camouflage.

    There were five players patrolling around the altar-like structure. He also found a blue portal at the center of it.

    ‘That must be the portal that leads to Arangdan.’

    Bahal chuckled as he continued to check the portal.

    ‘I don’t know what were you trying to hide by opening a portal in such a remote place, but you really haven’t changed a bit, Leonte. It’s too sloppy.’

    Bahal turned to look at the leader.

    “It’s about time now. Let’s get ready.”

    “Roger.”

    The leader raised his hand. Flame Beast then scattered across the cliff and lowered their postures.

    Their plan was to ambush Leonte upon his appearance. According to the information they had acquired, Leonte was going to pass through this portal in an hour or two.

    And when the reported time drew near, the still surface of the portal suddenly started to ripple. It was a sign that someone was coming through the portal.

    With a gesture from their leader, all members of Flame Beast pulled out bamboo trunks from their pockets.

    Though they looked like mere bamboo shoots, they were actually powerful guns loaded with steel arrows, magics and gunpowders which could easily devastate a large area when triggered.

    Soon, a large group of players started to come out from the portal.

    Players dressed up in Cheonghwado’s uniform.

    Bahal was able to find Leonte without much difficulty.

    Flame Beast aimed their guns towards the group of players standing near the portal.

    Once the players stopped coming out of the portal, the leader once again gestured to his team.

    Then,

    Like thousands of thunder crashing all at once, a terrifying roar rang across the entire forest.

    A massive explosion swallowed the portal and the surrounding woods as a whole.

    Most of the players, including those who came through the portal and the guards, couldn’t even react to the sudden ambush and were swept away by the explosion.

    Even those who survived the explosion were soon pierced by the steel arrows raining from above.

    However, Leonte, as if proving himself worthy of being a high ranker, managed to avoid most of the explosions and arrows.

    However, not all of them.

    When the barrage of attacks was over, Leonte’s entire body was covered in soot and blood.

    Leonte clenched his teeth.

    He had just recently managed to calm himself down from the loss of Arangdan and the ‘stone’. But now he had lost another entire group of players along with three other direct subordinates because of the sudden ambush.

    Unable to contain his anger, Leonte let out a loud roar into the sky.

    Then he began to look around to find the cause of the disaster.

    Not long after, he was able to find a group of players standing at the edge of the cliff. Among them stood a player with a familiar face.

    A player who used to be his great friend back in the day, but was now a bitter enemy.

    “Bahal!”

    “Long time no see, my friend.”

    Though they were standing far from each other, Bahal could already tell what kind of expression Leonte had. So he jumped down the cliff with a smile on his face.

    As soon as Bahal’s foot touched the ground, Leonte kicked off the ground and propelled himself towards Bahal.

    Two swirls of wind spiraled around Leonte, following him like tails, and soon hurled forwards, becoming two massive hurricanes.

    Leonte’s nickname was Storm Bringer.

    As befits his name, the two hurricanes shot out towards Bahal with stupendous force.

    But with a burst of laughter, Bahal raised a pillar of fire in front of him.

    With a loud explosion, the hurricanes and the pillar of fire collided in the middle of the sky. Waves of scorching wind radiated from the collision point, burning everything around.

    A scenery that would only appear in myths.

    Flame Beast had to retreat a fair distance so as not to be swept away by the aftermath of their clash. However, the injured players of Cheonghwado were unable to escape and turned into ashes.

    “You! How dare you do this to me! Don’t you realize there’ll be consequences to your actions?”

    Leonte grimaced at Bahal. There was a distinct edge to Leonte’s voice.

    But Bahal answered with a smile.

    “I’m afraid I do.”

    Because he knew Leonte would react like this.

    Leonte fancies himself as a good schemer, but whatever came out from his head had always been so boring and predictable.

    “Because I am going to start a war.”

    Leonte’s face stiffened at Bahal’s remark.

    It was clearly a declaration of war.

    Red Dragon declaring war against Cheonghwado!

    “If I can bring the head of one of the Wushen…Wouldn’t that be a nice event to start a war?”

    “…!”

    “You know, we used to be friends back then. I just couldn’t stand the idea of you being killed by someone else, so I came here to finish you off with my own hands.”

    Bahal then lifted his hand with a broad smile.

    And with the swing of his hand, Bahal’s signature skill, Volcanic Hammer, was cast.

    From the sky, a red hammer made up of pure flames slammed down on Leonte’s hurricanes, tearing them down without leaving a trace.

    Only then did Leonte realize that Bahal had become much stronger than he used to be.

    “So just hand it over to me.”

    “Hand over what?”

    “The Mana Organ you created. If you give it to me now, I’ll finish you as painlessly as I can..”

    Leonte’s expression hardened, he didn’t know that Bahal had known about the ‘stone’.

    But Bahal, taking his stiff expression as a sign of rejection, clicked his tongue lightly.

    “You and your damn pride. Well, you leave me no choice, Leonte. I’ll have to take it by force”

    As soon as Bahal finished speaking, he jumped straight towards Leonte.

    Dozens of Volcanic Hammer lashed down onto the ground, spreading flames everywhere.

    There was nowhere Leonte could run to. All possible escape routes were blocked by Flame Beast, and he was surrounded by a sea of fire.

    Bahal’s nickname was Flame Fist. No one could be a match against him in the sea of fire. Not even the head of Red Dragon, the Summer Queen!

    Hammers of fire pounded down on Leonte several times, but Leonte managed to block them with his hurricane.

    The explosions created by their fight once again swept over the entire surrounding area.

    *   *   *

    [This is the 11th floor, the stage of dream world.]

    Yeon-woo opened his eyes to a now-familiar message.

    And then, a whole new world came into his view.

    Before his eyes, there was a world full of fields and hills stretching out as far as his eye could see.

    He could hear the flowers and grass soughing in the soft breeze and feel the warm sunlight shining down on him.

    It was so different from the rest of the floors he had experienced before.

    Yeon-woo took a look around, but he found no one.

    ‘I guess they’re still on the 10th floor.’

    It seemed that it would take Phante and Edora longer to reach this floor.

    It was understandable since Yeon-woo, too, would not have passed the 10th floor so easily without Gyges’ Eyes.

    ‘Then, I’ll have to wait.’

    Yeon-woo thought it was rather good that he arrived here earlier than them. He was both physically and mentally tired from passing through ten floors without a single break.

    Besides, he needed some time to check the items he acquired on the 10th floor.

    But at that moment,

    A blue portal began to form in the sky, and someone dropped down from it.

    Judging by the tuxedo it was wearing, Yeon-woo could already tell it was also a Guardian.

    But when he looked up, he found that the Guardian had the face of a rabbit, just like the one he saw in the storybook of a famous novel, ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

    “It is so nice to finally meet you in person. My name is Laplace and as you can see, I am the Guardian of the 11th floor.”

    Laplace’s red eyes looking at Yeon-woo were glistening with curiosity.