Team: HH, thursdays, Yahiko
Jang Wei first met him in Africa.
At the time, the UN had secretly gathered an elite squad of people from different countries to go against an enemy force, and skilled people from each country joined it.
‘He’ participated as the commander.
The squad members had laughed when they first saw him.
They were all from the special forces in their respective squads. They were already uncomfortable that he was Asian, but the fact that he was a youngster who wasn’t even 30 years old annoyed them.
Jang Wei wondered how the ‘commander’ would act in that situation. Would he squeak by, or would he break apart like those commanders who tried to rule with an iron fist? Or would he do what he was supposed to and make everyone shut up?
Jang Wei was a citizen of France, but because he was Asian, he had received a lot of bias and prejudice.
Now, his comrades greeted him as he walked by, but a lot of time had passed for that to happen.
However, the commander acted like he didn’t care about the fingers that were pointed at him.
He did just enough. All he did was give orders to train at the assigned times. If there was something special about him, it was only that he participated in the training as well despite being the commander. But that wasn’t too out of the ordinary.
The squad members didn’t open up to the commander because he seemed lacking. Rather, they even provoked him directly, but he didn’t seem to care.
As time passed, Jang Wei’s interest in the commander faded away.
Then, his sister, who had cut ties with him and moved to the US after saying that she would live happily with Yang Ki, suddenly visited the squad.
Hand-in-hand with a five-year-old little girl.
* * *
Jang Wei pulled himself together from reminiscing about the past.
This wasn’t the time to be thinking about the old days. Since he didn’t know when the One-horned tribe would come, he had to run away as far as possible and hatch new plans.
His goal wasn’t the Martial King anymore.
Just one person.
It was the person he didn’t think he would meet anymore.
‘Commander, commander, commander!’
Jang Wei remembered when he first became the Bow God in the Cheonghwado according to the contract with the Red Dragon.
Back then, he only did the bare minimum and showed only what was required of his skills. He only needed to wait for the Red Dragon to swallow the Cheonghwado. It was a boring and bland life.
There was only one thing that stimulated him during this time.
The war against Arthia.
He didn’t know why, but the Eight Clans that had all been growling at each other suddenly united to pressure the fall of Arthia. Jang Wei didn’t care about what the Cheonghwado did, so he didn’t pay much attention to it.
But when he participated in the war as one of the Martial Gods, he was shocked.
That face didn’t belong in the Tower. It was the same face as his commander.
After observing the man’s personality and actions, he saw that it was definitely someone else, but his interest was still piqued.
Heaven Wing Cha Jeong-woo.
He was from Earth, and his name was similar to his commander’s.
Family? Brothers? His commander didn’t talk about his private life, so Jang Wei had no idea about his family relations.
But then, Jang Wei had felt that it was a small world.
From then, Jang Wei was able to participate in the ‘hunt’ with a happy mind. The battlefield that he had only been watching became his hunting ground.
And now, his commander himself was here.
‘To avenge his brother…..yeah. That’s understandable.’
Of course, since he hadn’t taken his mask off yet, nothing was confirmed. However, Jang Wei thought that there was no way he could be mistaken. Those unique eyes, stance, dignity, and habits. Those were all things that couldn’t be thrown away.
The name of the Hoarder. Why didn’t he think of that when he first heard of it? It was the code name that symbolized his commander. It was a name that was fear-inducing both in his allies and enemies.
If he found out about the death of his brother, of course he would move.
‘I want to go right over there this instant but…..’
Regretfully, he couldn’t.
Jang Wei clicked his tongue in regret. Right now, he had to focus on running away from the One-horned tribe. He couldn’t fight them anyway. It was dangerous to touch beasts that were excited from the sight of blood.
‘First, I’ll hide completely.’
Until the chase of the One-horned tribe was completely stopped, he was planning on getting by like a dead person. 1 year? 2 years? That was probably enough. He already had experience with hiding.
He had hid himself from his inhumane commander and ran into the Tower to get away.
It was fine to start his official hunt then. When everyone was off guard, being relieved that everything was over, he had to move then.
‘Commander. What we couldn’t finish on Earth. Let’s end it here.’
What kind of face would his sister make if she knew he was here?
Jang Wei finished organizing his thoughts and melted into the darkness.
* * *
[You have earned the ‘Endless World of Night’ as your last reward.]
Yeon-woo grinned looking at the final message.
‘They’re giving me a lot.’
The Bureau must’ve been quite angry because of the Red Dragon.
Actually, the quest wasn’t completely over yet. The time given was 3 days, and though the Summer Queen was dead, the clan itself was fine.
‘Although I don’t know how long those fine bits can hold up during the time that’s left.’
There were still a lot of parts of the Red Dragon to rip apart, and it meant he could gain more even Karma.
But the Bureau was giving him all these rewards like they had been waiting for it.
Each reward was amazing.
There were so many that it was hard for him to even remember all of them.
‘Well. Since the Bureau is just giving away the wealth of the Red Dragon, they’re not losing anything.’
Anyhow, there were two things that caught his eyes from the rewards.
Intrenian and the Outer Space.
The subspace storage room that held the Red Dragon’s wealth, Intrenian. Yeon-woo received three more of what he had stolen from Bahal and used efficiently.
Each of their contents were different.
A treasure storage room with all kinds of gold and silver. A weapons storage room with precious artifacts. An archive filled with grimoires and magic books that the Summer Queen herself had collected. This was what the Bureau had given him.
『Haha! It’s really amazing here. Do you know what I just found?』
Of course, he opened the magic archive to Brahm and Boo. Brahm had sparkling puppy eyes, unlike his usual self.
‘Did you find something nice?’
『Of course. There’s a grimoire about Bloodlines. This is almost related to supernatural powers, so it must’ve been hard to organize this much. A Draconic species is a Draconic species.』
‘It must really be amazing if Brahm is surprised.’
『It is amazing. More than amazing! Also, do you know why this bloodline magic is important now? It’s because the genetic Blessings that are in the blood are what make the bloodline powerful. That means—』
Yeon-woo felt like he could see Brahm grinning from where he was standing.
『You can learn it easily. Aren’t you feeling the limits of the engraving these days?』
The engraving spells. He was talking about the rune magic Yeon-woo ordered Boo to engrave, the Magic Equip.
Yeon-woo nodded his head. Like what Brahm said, he felt a limit to rune magic when he used his powers.
『Make some time later. It’s hard the first time, but it’ll become easier after that. If you can use the Dragon and Demon’s Blessings, it’s obvious there’ll be clear results.』
Brahm smiled mischievously.
『And also, one more thing. You have to learn bloodline magic to easily move onto Dragon Language magic. Property-wise, bloodline is a lower tier of language magic.』
Yeon-woo widened his eyes. Dragon Language. The magic that was barely opened after the 6th step awakening and used during the 7th step. The path to it was being opened?
『Other than that, there seem to be books about the Tree of Sephiroth and the Akashic Records. Not only magic books, but there are different kinds of knowledge. They seem to be found from searching for the Truth. The Head Elder will be happy. And it’ll be nice to teach Sesha this.』
Gosh. It was like he had an illness that related Sesha to everything.
『This place might be…… the knowledge cache that the Draconic species tried to protect until the end. 』
Yeon-woo thought of somewhere at Brahm’s words.
The place that was known to contain all the knowledge of the Draconic species. Did the Summer Queen bring a part of Hochma with her? If so, it would be of great help to Yeon-woo.
『Anyways, I’ll tell you more after looking around. There’s probably more special things.』
And with that, the connection with Brahm was cut off.
Yeon-woo laughed in disbelief.
This was what he got for being second place, so how much did his teacher, the first place, receive? Yeon-woo was curious. But whatever the Martial King got, the result was obvious.
‘He’ll probably have it taken away by the Head Elder.’
He would probably tell the Martial King to give it away because they lacked the funds to run the village. Thinking of the wronged Martial King’s face, he felt satisfied. It definitely wasn’t because of the bump that was still throbbing on his head.
Along with this, the Outer Space, the Endless World of Night’s owner was now Yeon-woo. It seemed like the Walpurgisnacht didn’t satisfy the conditions to keep it with their fall.
‘An Outer Space. What should I do with this?’
This place was a complete mess from the war between the Red Dragon and the One-horned tribe. He needed to build it up again from scratch to use it. And there was only one way to use an Outer Space.
‘A clan house.’
Yeon-woo was deep in thought. A clan. He didn’t think he needed one, but with this war, Yeon-woo thought about the concept of ‘organizations’ again.
The Red Dragon and the One-horned tribe were both organizations. On the other hand, he was alone. He had survived up until this point alone, but now he needed a fence that could protect and help him.
Wouldn’t an Outer Space be a good foundation for that? Just when he was thinking about that—
“Why do you look like you have the world? Are you sleeping? Sleeping? What about the credit? Aren’t you paying it back? You’re sleeping after spending all that money?”
Atran glowered at Yeon-woo from opposite of him.
Yeon-woo woke up from his train of thought. They were currently moving to the outer sections of the Tower after leaving the Outer Space.
Right before they collapsed after the use of the Dragon Killers and their magic power was drained, Atran called for a carriage to transport them.
He felt like he had aged 10 years in a single day, so he wanted to be comfortable at least during the journey.
That was also why he was urging Yeon-woo to pay back the credit as soon as the quest was over.
It was because the cost of the credit was so immense, that the interest rate was astronomical. The cost was inflating by the minute.
But unlike the rushed Atran, Yeon-woo was grinning. Just a few hours ago, Atran was calling him Sir Customer, but now, he was speaking informally to him to his face. Yeon-woo thought his face changed according to money.
‘That’s why he’s whipped around like a pushover.’
If Atran knew what Yeon-woo was thinking, he would’ve fainted.
Normally, he had a perfect poker face like any outstanding merchant should, but it was hard for him to control his expression after being used by Yeon-woo several times now.
“Why are you smili…..!”
Atran was about to stand up furiously, but Yeon-woo suddenly opened the Outer Space and held something out.
“Is this enough?”
5 Yaltabao Safes.
Atran quickly bowed deeply, head touching the ground. With this, he could pay back the price and interest and have enough change for himself.
Yeon-woo grinned again. He was such a transparent guy.
“I love you, Mr. Customer!”
“I didn’t say I would give it to you yet…”
“F***! Are you kid…..?!”
“I’m not done speaking yet.”
Yeon-woo put 5 more Yaltabao Safes in front of Atran. There were 10 safes in total.
Atran’s eyes widened and calmly settled down again. He realized that Yeon-woo wanted an additional exchange.
“Take care of the credit with this, and you can have the remaining amount. This is enough for you to make a comeback, right?”
It was more than enough. But Atran wasn’t able to answer right away. He felt like Yeon-woo was a slithering snake that was wrapping around his neck.
“……You don’t seem to be doing this out of goodwill. What do you want in return?”
“I want you to connect me with ‘By the Tablet.’”
Atran blinked. He had been surprised enough already, but now, he wanted to scream.
By the Tablet. It was a union within their union. It was somewhere that only the greatest merchants out of the mysterious merchants could join.
And of course, each of their customers were the top of the top. Only a few within the Tower knew of them.
There, all kinds of items were exchanged. It was like a secret club in society.
It wasn’t something that a player on the lower floors could mention, but Yeon-woo was ever so calm.
“How do you…..know them?”
“Is that important?”
“Of course not. My bad. I apologize. Merchants should just be faithful to the exchange.”
“What I want is just a connection with them. I’ll take care of things after that.”
Atran was silent.
“That’s not something I can decide.”
“When can I expect a reply?”
“Five days. No, four days. No, two days. I’ll give you a reply in two days.”
Atran’s trembling voice became firm. He saw a new path for himself in Yeon-woo’s request.
This wasn’t just something that ended with him being a member of the union, but to become a Great Merchant. Yeon-woo had tossed the bait, and Atran bit it knowingly.
Even though they didn’t say it, it was a deal that was good for both of them.
* * *
Yeon-woo’s party split up from Atran’s near the One-horned tribe’s village.
“I’ll see you next time if we get the chance. It was fun, thanks to you.”
The Ice King and Yeon-woo lightly shook hands. Nocturn looked at Yeon-woo and the village with cryptic eyes and quietly turned away.
Only some of the tribe members were back at the One-horned tribe. They were the ones who were hurt in battle and the people that came to help them.
They said the rest of them went to chase after the Bow God.
‘The Bow God. Just what is his identity?’
Yeon-woo momentarily became curious who the Bow God was, to be playing with the One-horned tribe like this.
He knew how he looked through the diary, but according to the tribe members, his face changed frequently.
There was nothing that was known about his identity or goal. Becoming the Bow God in the Cheonghwado, stabbing the Sword God in the back, and becoming enemies with the One-horned tribe. There didn’t seem to be any pattern in his movements, and they were all considered things he did impulsively.
Even so, he was skilled enough to handle the Martial King, so it meant that he was on the level of the Nine Kings at the very least.
It was impossible that such a person of impulse had lived quietly in the Tower for all this time, even considering there were a lot of people in the Tower.
However, Yeon-woo took his attention off of the Bow God. Even if he tried to run away, he wouldn’t be able to get far with the heated Martial King on his trail.
Yeon-woo returned to his room.
His room. It was the first place of his after entering the Tower. Yeon-woo glanced around and leaned against the rocking chair. The tension from the battle released.
It was a short but sweet rest.
「Master. Every. Thing. Is. Ready」
Boo popped up from his shadow and bowed. His Interno Sight had become different after swallowing the last Philosopher’s Stone.
All kinds of emotions came off of him. Curiosity, expectation, joy, ecstasy. He was curious about what would happen now.
‘A rest like this is nice. But other kinds of rests are also nice.’
Yeon-woo stood up from the rocking chair with the same eyes as Boo.
The Summer Queen and Vieira Dune. It was time to squeeze their souls out.