. Flame of Life (6)
With a blank look, Yeon-woo and the Phoenix stared at the egg for a long time to confirm whether it would hatch or not.
However, no matter how long they waited, nothing happened.
A slight furrow formed between Yeon-woo’s brows.
In contrast, stuck right next to the egg was Chirpy, chirping ever so merrily at the thought of not having to say goodbye to her friend just yet.
『Hmm... I have never witnessed such a strange phenomenon myself. I do not understand why your egg is not hatching.』
"What do you think the problem is?"
『Well, to be precise, there is no ‘problem’. I would know if there was any.』
The Phoenix’s voice sounded a little offended.
The Holy Flame the Phoenix had granted Yeon-woo was not just a random creation of hers, it also was part of the Phoenix's own soul. In other words, saying that there was a problem with the Holy Flame was practically saying there was a problem with the Phoenix’s soul.
Realizing his mistake, Yeon-woo quickly bowed down to apologize.
"Oh… I’m so sorry for my slip of tongue."
『It is alright. I understand that humans view things from a different perspective than us beasts.』
The Phoenix then focused back on the egg.
『However, I must admit, this surely is abnormal. I can see the beast inside the egg has already completely developed, but I am afraid I cannot put my wing on the reason why it is refusing to come out.』
And neither did Yeon-woo have any clue about this, as the diary didn’t mention anything similar.
『Let us take some time and observe the egg. It will come out soon, I believe.』
Yeon-woo had no choice but to comply with the Phoenix's suggestion.
* * *
After that, Yeon-woo once again started wandering around the Dream World in order to collect more materials.
It was because the Phoenix had suggested that the egg might require more of her Flame of Life to hatch.
『I cannot grant you another flame of high quality, but it is not particularly hard to create a flame of normal quality. So, let us give it one more try』
Complaints about the scarcity of the materials could be heard from other players everywhere, but Yeon-woo, who had no time to care about others, proceeded to once again sweep through the already hard-to-find ingredients.
After having gathered the required materials a second time, the egg absorbed the second Flame of Life, growing another meter and becoming three meters tall.
A three-meter-tall egg. While it didn’t sound too shocking when described with words, the egg was almost twice as big as Yeon-woo.
Knowing that the beast inside the egg was in a fetal position, Yeon-woo couldn’t imagine how big it would be once it broke out of its shell.
『This is just unbelievable.』
Yeon-woo couldn’t help but let out a hollow laugh at this endlessly growing egg.
『I have never seen an egg growing this big before hatching. It seems like my flame will run out before it stops growing.』
Of course, the Phoenix’s flame wouldn’t deplete even if she continued creating Flames of Life, but that showed how frustrated she was.
Only Chipy was still chattering joyously. It looked like a child bragging about her friend, ‘Mom, Mom! Look how big my friend is!’.
But Yeon-woo was so deep in thought that nothing reached his ears.
‘This is almost like shoveling sand against the tide.'
Despite this deadlock, he could feel without a doubt that his connection with the egg was growing stronger. He could clearly feel the egg’s happiness being transmitted to himself.
The problem was that he could only feel its emotions, but not its thoughts.
As if it was intentionally hiding from Yeon-woo. Not because it was afraid of him, but just to play pranks on him.
‘Can it really be doing this as a joke?’
But he knew the situation couldn’t be that simple. Because Mythical Beasts were beings so simple in nature, yet so profound at the same time.
‘I’ll be stuck on this floor for a long time if this continues.’
Though the bartender had said that the war’s first battle would most likely take place on the 11th floor, that wasn’t completely certain.
There were still a large number of variables that could upset his calculations.
‘Even if the war does take place on this floor, I have to finish the trial before it happens. .'
Meanwhile, the Phoenix carefully voiced her opinion about the egg after a long time of organizing her thoughts.
『Perhaps… This could be the reason....』
Yeon-woo’s head jerked up at the Phoenix’s murmuring.
"What is it?"
Yeon-woo put on a puzzled look.
『Yes. As you know, dreams are paramount to all Mythical Beasts. They feed off of dreams and are always in pursuit of them. And I have heard that in places where there are no dreams at all, they refuse to be born.』
Yeon-woo’s eyes started to shake slightly as he could already see where the Phoenix was going with this.
『And to my knowledge, most humans have dreams, whether they are big or small.』
And he felt as if the Phoenix’s two eyes were staring into his very soul.
『But human, do you have a dream?』
Yeon-woo was struck dumb at her question.
『It looks like you do not.』
He let out a bitter laugh.
Just as the Phoenix presumed, he didn’t have a dream.
If anything, it would be his revenge.
But that wasn’t exactly a dream. Rather, it was more like an objective, or a goal he had set for himself.
Players climbing up The Tower usually had dreams like gaining power or becoming a god, but that did not apply to Yeon-woo.
Power was merely a means to achieve his mission, and he didn’t even wish to become a god.
In fact, Yeon-woo thought that dreams were nothing but trivial and rather cumbersome things to have.
‘That's what’s causing this?'
Yeon-woo was running into difficulties he had never expected to encounter.
He had no idea how to solve such a problem.
‘I guess a trial’s still a trial.’
A trial that brought him physical adversities as well as mental anguish.
Yeon-woo glanced at his egg with a slight frown on his face.
But the egg’s pleased emotion was still being conveyed through the connection.
Yeon-woo raised his head to see the Phoenix.
Although he hadn’t said anything yet, the Phoenix had seen his desperation through his eyes.
『For now, take your time and make sure to clear up your situation. Hasty decisions will only delay the progress of your work.』
Yeon-woo answered with a grave nod.
* * *
Yeon-woo sat quietly at the edge of the cliff and started to organize his thoughts.
‘It’s a tough problem. It’s not something I can just make up.'
He had never thought about a purpose other than carrying out his revenge.
Moreover, he had a mountain of work to do now.
Not to mention the trial, the war between the two giant clans was imminent. Wasting his time stuck in there was not an option.
After breathing some fresh air, he felt his head clearing up a bit at least.
Chirpy came flying and sat on his lap.
The way she flapped her small wings, trying so hard to keep herself floating in the air was adorable.
Chirpy stared at Yeon-woo with her twinkly eyes and started jumping around his lap while wagging her beak as if trying to tell him something.
"You came here to cheer me up?"
"You’re saying that your friend is just sleeping so I don’t have to worry too much?"
Yeon-woo couldn’t hold back his laughter anymore and ended up letting out a hearty laugh.
"Okay, I’ll stop laughing."
Thanks to the contract he made with Chirpy, Yeon-woo was able to read her thoughts to a certain extent.
She was trying to defend her friend, saying that the beast inside the egg did not mean any ill with this.
But the way she was trying to persuade him was just too cute, Yeon-woo started petting and fidgeting with the little bird.
While feeling Yeon-woo’s touch, Chirpy looked up with anxious eyes.
But he continued to pet her without giving any answer.
There was, in fact, something that Chirpy misunderstood.
She thought Yeon-woo was depressed because of the egg, but he had different thoughts in mind.
‘You want me to have a dream? What if I make you so full that you won’t even need my dreams?'
Yeon-woo's eyes shone with a strange glow.
If there was anything he had learned as he climbed The Tower, it was that there was never a set answer for a problem in a trial.
‘Do you think you can keep on being stubborn and stay like that even if I give you tons of energy to feed on?’
Yeon-woo was planning to continue feeding the egg with the Flame of Life until it hatched.
And if, even after that, it still refused to hatch,
‘I’ll bring you the energy of the other three Legendary Beasts.'
The Abyss Turtle, The Void Dragon, and The Sabretooth Tiger.
As far as he knew, the three other Legendary Beasts also gave their energy as a reward for players who completed their quests.
The reason why Yeon-woo insisted on the Phoenix’s Flame of Life was that he needed a Mythical Beast with the fire and wind property.
Now that the situation had changed, he couldn’t stick to his original plan anymore.
‘Maybe this will be even better.’
No egg in The Tower’s history had ever hatched while possessing the energy all four Legendary Beasts.
His egg would be the first one to ever make it.
Not just that, he would be able to collect tons of Karma points during the process.
‘If that still doesn’t work, I'll bring you every kind of feed I can find on this floor. Let’s see how much you can eat.'
Yeon-woo’s lips began to curl upward.
At the same time,
The egg that was sleeping back at the nest suddenly flinched and started to shake crazily.
But Chirpy, who was ignorant of either of the situations, tilted her head and let out a puzzled chirp.
* * *
That night, Yeon-woo prepared a new plan.
‘Before I feed my egg, I want to know its current status.'
He had to make sure if it was okay to provide his egg with such overwhelming amounts of nutrients.
If the egg shattered before it could hatch, it would be a big problem.
But his Draconic Eyes didn’t show him any detailed information about the egg.
What he needed right now was Edora's Insight.
‘Where the hell are they?'
He was certain that Phante and Edora hadn’t entered this floor yet. Because the mark he had left back in the starting point had not been destroyed yet.
‘Maybe it has something to do with this war.’
While Yeon-woo was lost in his thoughts,
『Excuse me, but you have a visitor.』
As per habit, Yeon-woo raised his head at the Phoenix's remark.
Then, some images were suddenly transmitted to his head.
Yeon-woo was startled at first, but he soon got used to it.
In the images, there was a long, bushy-haired man confronting two beasts that were blocking the road.
Though he didn’t know who the man was, he could easily guess his origin thanks to his purple pupils and the horn sticking out of his temple.