Chapter 230 - Witch Hunt (5)
The Red Dragon and the other clans moved along the path Yeon-woo had opened.
The Elohim were at the very front, reaching the end of the canyons.
Suddenly, Ione, who was in the lead, paused.
“Mm? Is it cleared? Those witches. There’s nothing they can do.”
Ione grimaced at the presences he could feel behind him.
His eyes were shining a gold color.
Not a lot of people knew this, but Ione was blind. No, to be exact, he was born blind.
But he was able to become one of the most skilled people in his family, the Protogenoi family, because of one thing.
<Omniscient Viewpoint.> It was the ability that was passed down in his family.
Omniscient Viewpoint was similar to Allforone’s Thousand Li Eyes in many ways. [TN: Thousand Eyes changed to Thousand Li Eyes for accuracy. Li is a unit of measurement.] However, unlike the Thousand Li Eyes that allowed the user to see wherever they wanted, Omniscient Viewpoint only allowed the user to look through the eyes of things called wards.
Ione had placed his wards throughout Brocken Castle, and he was able to quickly pass through the 5 barriers and watch the movements of those behind him.
He could see that the Red Dragon and the others were quickly catching up.
They had put some distance between them, but the others might reach where they were.
Ione was extremely dissatisfied that someone was following them. The Elohim, with the blood of the gods, had to be in the lead at all times. They couldn’t allow others to catch up.
And only the Elohim deserved a holy item like the Philosopher’s Stone.
Ione picked out one of the many subordinates following him.
Aether flinched. He had realized what Ione was going to say. His face turned frantic.
“Stop the people behind us from advancing. As for why you have to do that, I’m sure I don’t have to say.”
Ione gave Aether a sharp look.
Aether bit his lower lip. The reason why Ione was being like that was simple.
He was telling him to make up for not catching the baby Dragon Human. Since the incident had also resulted in the death of Hemera, a promising clan member, Ione’s attitude was to be expected.
“…..Yes, sir. Understood.”
Eventually, Aether had to listen to Ione. It wasn’t just Ione who was glaring at him. The Senate, Consul, and even the heads of some families were looking at him with all kinds of emotions.
Discomfort. Contempt. Hate. Dissatisfaction. Pessimism.
There wasn’t a single positive gaze among them.
Their arrogant eyes were always the problem. They treated him like this just because he was his father’s child, although he had worked so hard to assimilate with them.
He backstabbed Arthia and did other disgusting things. He worked like a dog, like a dog that always wagged its tail for its owner.
‘But you…..you still! You still…..!’
But he was always alone. The Senate membership was just a nominal position . He had nothing else to his name.
So Aether had reached out to the Devil Army. What he needed was ‘acknowledgement,’ and he thought that he could properly prove himself here.
‘If only he comes down. Then…..I’ll make you lick my feet! You disgusting sons of bitches.’
And like that, Aether watched the 70 of them continue to climb up with Ione at the lead. His clenched fists shook.
Aether swallowed his anger as he turned to his subordinate. His eyes were coldly calm.
“What about Ione’s wards? They’re not here, right?”
“Yes. It’s been confirmed.”
“Those bastards. They think we’ll die here.”
The fact that they hadn’t set up any wards here meant that they were being used as a throwaway card. They probably thought he was only useful enough to tie the Red Dragon down.
But Aether didn’t plan on suffering like Ione thought.
“Everyone, release the Demon Eyes (魔眼).”
With those orders, an intense demonic energy began to whirl around Aether and the others.
A thin line of blood was drawn on their foreheads, and a signia appeared.
It was a signia with three circles that looked like eyes inside of a triangle.
Demon Eyes. It was a brand that was only allowed to servants of the demons.
And the demonic energy that Aether, a potential candidate to replace Yevich, the 9th bishop, was exuding, wasn’t normal.
Black fog was glittering behind him like light. It was a symptom of borrowing the demons’ strength.
[What is it, Aether?]
Just then, Kindred reached out to Aether with telepathy after reading the change. Kindred and the other Devil Army were following after the Elohim through the path that Aether taught them.
Aether explained the situation he was in, about having to stop the Red Dragon and the others. When he was done, he spoke about why he contacted them.
“…..So if you help….”
It was a cold voice. Aether shut his lips. His fists shook.
This tone. Emotion. The scoff. It was all too familiar to him.
[You can’t even do that? Useless.. Tsk!]
Kindred continued after clicking his tongue.
[No. It might be for the better. You said you wanted to be the 9th bishop?]
“…..Yes. I dared to.”
[Then, that test will be administered here.]
Aether squeezed his eyes, trying to focus.
[Where you’re standing right now is a place that has to be passed to arrive at the castle. Like Ione said, protect that place as best as you can.]
Kindred’s voice was cold as ice, but Aether clenched his fists with determination. This was a chance. The last one.
And he laughed at himself.
Arthia, the Elohim, and the Devil Army. He had sought after a place for him, but there wasn’t anywhere for him. Same as in the past, he was struggling by himself.
‘Is this a curse? Jeong-woo. Your soul is still binding me.’
Aether felt Kindred and the other bishops moving away, and he kicked off the ground with his subordinates.
They looked like a pack of starved wolves spilling demonic energy behind them. Just then, familiar people appeared. It was the Red Dragon.
“The Elohim? The Devil Army? What are they?”
Tom scowled at the appearance of a disruptor, since they were already behind the Elohim. But regardless of that, Aether jumped off the ground and landed on Tom. In his right hand was the power of the Devil Army, and in his left hand was the power he stole from his little sister.
<White Light – Thousand Lights>
A white light covered the Red Dragon.
“Move, you mongrel!”
Tom was planning on using the dragons’ power of elemental contact to twist the space around Aether, but then—
Tens of lightning bolts felt from the sky.
* * *
‘I barely lost them.’
The Bow God Jang Wei pressed his left arm to stop the bleeding and tied it up with a bandage.
But his entire body was already wrapped in bandages, so this new one didn’t really stand out.
The chase of the One-horned tribe had made Jang Wei’s mind lose hope.
They continued to follow Jang Wei as if they knew exactly where he was, and even pushed him to the brink of death several times.
Jang Wei had barely escaped, but he couldn’t stop the injuries he was receiving day by day.
And when the Martial King himself appeared, he struck terror into Jang Wei’s heart.
Jang Wei had been confident in his martial arts. He was Hou Yi’s apostle [TN: Yi Ye changed to Hou Yi for accuracy.], and he hadn’t forgotten his training either.
But meeting the Martial King was like meeting a wall.
It was a wall that you couldn’t break down or crack.
‘A monster even amongst the Nine Kings.’
He felt like he knew why the arrogant Summer Queen avoided confrontations with the Martial King.
The feeling of being chased without being able to rest was…
It was the best.
It was like living on Earth, the feeling of being able to die anytime.
Being a high ranker, he had moved further away from the concept of death, but he felt like that feeling was coming back now. His heart beat faster.
‘Sister. I think there’s still a long time to go until I see you. Right?’
Jang Wei was busy giggling. But even so, he couldn’t continue this dangerous lifestyle. He needed somewhere to rest for a while. Only then would he be able to properly fight against the One-horned tribe.
Jang Wei wanted to land an arrow in the Martial King’s head at least once.
‘Somewhere to hide. Somewhere to hide. Where would be a good place?’
He needed somewhere to hide his presence. It might have been better to hide amongst many.
While he was busy contemplating, a ripped piece of paper suddenly came at him. Jang Wei read it out of boredness and his eyes changed.
‘They’re recruiting mercenaries?’
[Mercenary Recruitment Notice]
The West Wind Union is scouting mercenaries. The objective of this recruitment is for the fight against the Walpurgisnacht. The price can be dealt with separately from the quest’s rewards.
Now that he thought about it, he heard about something like this while he was on the run. The Bureau was furious at the Red Dragon for attacking the Kelat Auction House, probably.
He didn’t look too much into it because he was busy with the Martial King, but…..
He became interested. If it was the West Wind Union, it was the largest scale union out of all the unions. It was perfect to hide himself. And he had run out of money right now.
‘Since the other Large Clans are involved in it too, it might be a good chance to dip the One-horned tribe in the mud if needed.’
When it was hard to catch your prey, it was best to pull it into a busy environment.
Jang Wei wet his lips. Prey. He liked that word. He wanted to catch the Martial King.
‘The Hoarder. It would be nice if he was here too.’
* * *
“This is the list of mercenaries who participated.”
Atran’s eyes shined looking at the list his subordinate brought.
After the auction became messed up because of the Red Dragon, his reputation also came crumbling down, just like the auction house.
The union avoided him, and the VVIPs turned their backs on him. He hadn’t done anything wrong in particular, but it was an unspoken rule that a merchant who failed to oversee an auction couldn’t survive on this floor.
He had basically lost everything.
But there was still one thing he had.
He had the wealth that he collected when he distributed the VVIP invitations. Atran gathered all his wealth to use mercenaries for revenge.
There were S-Class mercenaries like Black Skull and Twice, solo players like the Ice King, and others.
Like that, he had gathered about 500 mercenaries. They were all rankers.
That wasn’t all.
He made contacts with three different assassin guilds – Blade Assassin, Moon Shadow, and Black Hand. They were all famous in this field.
However, he hadn’t explicitly said that he was after the Red Dragon when he recruited them. It wasn’t because he was scared of the Red Dragon. It was because plainly taking revenge like that wasn’t Atran’s taste.
‘Getting in their way and making a mess. That’s what I should do.’
Taking what the Red Dragon wanted from right in front of them would be the sweetest revenge.
And this was also a new chance for Atran.
If he could have the real tablet, he would be able to move on from this. Of course, it was a gamble, but he had always gone all-in since he was young.
“The Red Dragon. I’ll rip you apart.”
The paper crumpled in Atran’s hand.
And that night, another large portal was opened to the Brocken Castle.