Chapter 83. Mythical Beast (6)
Edora nodded calmly.
Phante returned while rubbing his aching sides and answered,
"That's why we're here, dad. I mean, you didn't even bat an eye when Arthia was in trouble. Why is it so urgent this time?”
Keeping a neutral standpoint.
It was an ironclad principle of the One-horned Tribe that had been established since ancient times, and also the reason they could reign as the strongest clan.
"I wasn’t going to interfere at first, but... things have gotten complicated."
Phante and Edora frowned at the middle-aged man's words.
Their father was one of the ‘Nine Kings’ who held the highest status in The Tower. In terms of sheer strength, he was one of the top five experts.
But such a man found this to be a ‘complicated’ situation.
"To sum it up, we are going to join the war as mercenaries."
"Flann said he'd give up his horn. You know what that means. There was nothing I could do. The other elders also gave their consent."
Phante’s and Edora’s eyes widened.
For the members of the One-horned tribe, their horn symbolized their honor and pride
Flann was the middle-aged man’s younger brother, as well as one of the best warriors in the tribe. Giving up his horn was the same as renouncing everything he’d achieved so far.
If that’s why their father said it was ‘complicated’, they could understand why.
"It’ll be a long story, so let's go inside first."
* * *
"I’m sorry but I don’t know either."
『Hmm… Is that so?』
"Is there anything you can see from the bracelet?"
Yeon-woo asked, lifting his head, even though he knew the Phoenix wasn’t there.
『Do I see anything? No. I am also puzzled because I can normally see through most objects. But that item of yours... I cannot see anything from that bracelet. It is as if....』
The Phoenix paused for a moment to find the right words.
『Yes, it is as if the bracelet is shrouded in fog. That’s how it looks in my eyes.』
Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes.
‘An artifact that the Phoenix’s eyes can’t see through. Well, that’s frustrating.'
『But there is one thing I can tell you.』
"What is it?"
『That bracelet, it is an artifact that represents my antithesis, but at the same time, is in line with me. Think of it as a mirror.』
‘Antithesis? A mirror?'
It was such an abstruse analogy.
『I am a creature that represents life itself, even in death. But that item, it was made from death and represents death to the living. Life is but one step away from death. That artifact and I possess the power of circulation, regeneration, and resurrection.』
The Phoenix spoke in a heavy voice.
『Therefore, it can be said that the bracelet and I are the same, like two images reflected in a mirror, but also like two sides of the same coin.』
The Phoenix’s explanation was as clear as mud to Yeon-woo.
The Phoenix laughed mildly as if she had read Yeon-woo’s thoughts.
『Yes, I understand your confusion. Even I do not fully understand what that artifact is.』
Then she left a strange remark.
『But do keep one thing in mind. It will help you solve the mysteries behind that bracelet.』
"What is it?"
『Life and death, though they seem like two separate things, they are not different. They are one.』
"Life and death are one…?"
The Phoenix could come back to life even after death because she could control life itself.
The Black Bracelet, on the other hand, could control death. It collected souls of the dead and converted them into dark energy or Spirit Familiars.
If viewed from a different perspective, it could also be considered as a form of resurrection.
Perhaps this was what the Phoenix was talking about.
Though it sounded like some kind of riddle, it could be the very key to solving the questions he had about the artifact, maybe even about the Black King.
『And about that shield, I can certainly feel divine power from it. Hmm…. Was it blessed by the goddess of war? Or was it used by herself?』
Yeon-woo's eyes widened with surprise.
The Phoenix continued with a slightly elated voice.
『I see you don't want others to know about it. I understand. Then I will swear under a Soul Oath that I will keep it secret』
It was a contract that placed one's soul under bindings, destroying it in case one were to break the contract.
The Phoenix was practically saying she would never disclose his secret to others.
『You have saved my child. It is only right that I accommodate to you. But I do wish to examine your shield, so would you allow me to take a look? It has been a while since I have come across a godly artifact.』
Yeon-woo thought it would be okay to show her since she had made a promise under a Soul Oath.
‘She seems to have knowledge about godly artifacts. This could be my chance to ask her about Aegis.’
Yeon-woo gave a nod and brought the shield to his front.
Nine light-pink translucent layers shield. In appearance, it was just as beautiful as the artwork made by an artisan.
But embedded in the center of such masterpiece was the head of an ugly-looking monster.
『That is Medusa.』
Medusa, a Gorgon that petrifies those who gaze into her eyes.
『Yes, I have heard of it. About a brilliant and courageous goddess in Olympus. And that her power can defeat the wrongs in the world and bring only what is right. This is her artifact, is it not?』
Yeon-woo listened to the Phoenix's admiration and looked at Aegis with Draconic Eyes.
Description: The nine-layered shield used by Athena, the goddess of war and many others. The shield provides the owner with divine protection and a blessing that blocks most attacks.
However, as a godly artifact, it is known to choose its owner. If the owner comes to harbor malevolent thoughts or tarnishes Athena’s honor by committing a hideous crime, it will cause harm to the owner.
* Curse of Gorgon
Athena, in order to punish the three Gorgon sisters for rising in revolt against Olympus, ordered her Apostle, Perseus, to get rid of Medusa. After successfully killing her, Perseus beheaded Medusa and gave her head to Athena, who placed it on this shield.
Repels all wickedness and brings a strong curse of petrification to those who encounter her eyes.
* Goddess's Weapon
Grants the owner a strong blessing which will protect the owner from physical attacks and unleash overwhelming aura that can break the opponent's spirit.
Also grants blessings to those whom the owner recognize as allies within a certain range. The blessing boosts one’s stats and morale by 10% and increases resistance against all properties by 15%. The area of effect and the number of recipients increases in proportion to skill proficiency.
Ability locked. (Sealed)
** This is a ‘Unique' artifact. no same artifact exists in The Tower, and it will be bound to its owner. It cannot be transferred or traded between players.
** Some of the abilities are sealed. You must meet the qualifications or conditions in order to lift the seals.
** Some information cannot be accessed. You must meet the qualifications or conditions in order to view the information.
It seemed like the description provided by the Phoenix helped him discover further information about Aegis.
『It must be quite different from the bracelet, perhaps better, is it not?』
"Yes, it is."
Yeon-woo nodded, trembling with excitement.
The shield was even better than his initial expectation.
Yeon-woo had so far acquired numerous hidden pieces based on the records his brother left him in the diary, thus hoarding most of the fine artifacts and skills he could acquire below the 11th floor.
But Aegis was incomparably better compared to even all of those combined.
An artifact that assumes both defensive and offensive roles.
The first option of Aegis, Curse of Gorgon, not only protected him from dark spells but also served as an offensive means by placing the curse of petrification.
However, Yeon-woo’s focus was on the other option.
‘A crowd control skill.'
An option that buffs one’s allies and applies a debuff to enemies.
Normally, this kind of skill was exclusive to Lord classes.
But even Lords usually had limitations to their skills, such as only being able to target their minions. On the other hand, Aegis provided buffs to anyone Yeon-woo considered an ally.
This meant that Yeon-woo could grant the buff to his Spirit Familiars, his future Mythical Beast and whoever would come to ally with him, all at the same time.
‘There are more options to Aegis than those that Jeong-woo mentioned in his diary. With this, at least you don't have to worry about getting hit by a blind knife.’
There were currently only a few known wielders of godly artifacts spread across The Tower.
And most of them, if not all, were Apostles of gods. As far as he knew, no one possessed a godly weapon without any restrictions.
『But due to the original owner’s personality, it seems like the shield has very strict requirements.』
Yeon-woo nodded at the Phoenix's words.
Just like she said, it wasn't that there weren’t any restrictions at all.
‘Harboring malevolent thoughts and tarnishing Athena’s honor.’
According to mythology, Athena was described as one of the few generous and reasonable gods. And because of that, she was held in high esteem by a lot of people.
And this could pose a problem to Yeon-woo who had sworn vengeance on his brother’s murderers.
‘This ‘repelling wickedness’ ability could also be an obstacle.’
Yeon-woo looked at his Spirit Familiars that had been keeping their distance from him.
[Your Spirit Familiars are watching one of your belongings fearfully.]
[Familiar Affinity of your Spirit Familiars has decreased.]
The spirits already had their heads turned away to avoid making eye contact with the Gorgon’s head. The weaker ones were even trembling in fear.
Realizing the effect of the shield, Yeon-woo then tried to extract dark element mana but,
The energy that had been forming on his hand suddenly vanished into thin air accompanied by the sound of glass shattering.
Yeon-woo lightly kicked his tongue.
‘Aegis doesn’t go well with Black Bracelet.’
Black Bracelet utilized dark mana and curses, and Aegis repelled them. It was obvious that the two didn’t match well.
‘Then what about Vigrid?
Yeon-woo pulled out Vigrid from his back and held it in his right hand.
What would happen if the once-divine demonic sword met the godly artifact?
Vigrid started to shake under the holy energy of Aegis.
[The demonic curse that corrupts Vigrid is being dispelled by Aigis.]
[The divine aspect of Vigrid will begin to resurface. But the sword's curse is too intense, more holy energy will be required in order to lift its curse completely.]
‘And that’s what happens.’
Yeon-woo couldn’t help but marvel at the change Aegis brought about.
He had been looking for ways to remove the curse from Vigrid in order to restore the dormant forces within the sword.
But little did he expect that Aegis would be the answer to that.
『The shield rejects the deathly bracelet but accepts the cursed sword. This is very interesting!』
It seemed the Phoenix was greatly amused by these events.
Yeon-woo quickly put his brain to work.
‘There are two weapon combinations I can employ in combat.’
One was his original combat style, utilizing his Magic Bayonet and Carshina’s Dagger as his main weapons and using Black Bracelet as a secondary.
And the other was Vigrid and Aegis. Vigrid’s destructive abilities and Aegis’ crowd control would come in handy in larger-scale battles.
Yeon-woo burst into laughter as he planned his future combats.
* * *
An ominous item and a sacred item.
They were the Phoenix’s assessment of Despair of the Black King and Aegis.
At the same time, she said that the bracelet was closer to her, whereas the shield was far from her.
『As I mentioned earlier, there is only a thin line between me and the bracelet of yours. But the shield is quite the opposite, for I, a legendary beast, do not live by the rules of the deities.』
Looking at Yeon-woo’s puzzled reaction, Phoenix let out a peal of laughter before she continued her explanation.
『One thing is for certain, it is not common for The Tower to grant someone with such distinctly different artifacts at the same time. You may want to find out why The Tower has rewarded you with those items.』
Though her explanation still sounded like a riddle, Yeon-woo still thanked the Phoenix for giving him great advice.
『Oh, before you go, I have one favor to ask of you.』
Yeon-woo tilted his head to one side.
『All of my three children have just hatched out of their shells, as well as my youngest child you saved.』
Surprised by how early it was, Yeon-woo thought it would have been a big problem if he had returned her egg even a bit later.
Beneath his black mask, Yeon-woo gave a big smile.
『Thank you. So, about the favor,』
Phoenix continued after a short pause.
『Will you kindly name my youngest child?』