Volume 2, Chapter 25)
Chapter 50 . Two Hearts (8)
The floor at the very bottom of the staircase .
Bild hurriedly barged into a room locked behind an iron door . Inside, was a room containing hundreds of gla.s.s tubes installed along the ceiling and walls .
Bild ran past the gla.s.s tubes and stood in front of a purple stone lying at the back of the room .
Something was constantly being poured into the stone through the countless gla.s.s tubes . Something red, dark and very murky .
It was the energy collected at the expense of the lives of countless players . Bild and Leonte have been calling it ‘Quintessence’ for the past few years . And they’ve tried whatever means possible to produce more of this energy .
Now, however, things were different .
Bild tore out all the gla.s.s tubes . The Quintessence leaked out from the tubes and quickly evaporated, dyeing the air red . But none of that mattered to him . His mind was solely focused on the purple stone .
Bilde carefully picked up the purple stone with his trembling hand .
How many years had he wasted making this stone . During that time, his old teammates had grown much stronger and climbed up to much higher floors .
Bild also wanted to follow his teammates steps . But in the end, he had decided to put aside his desires and dedicate himself to his master . So that he could offer this power to his master and help him become the true ‘king’ of this world . So that he could stand by his side and reign over The Tower with absolute power .
But now, Bild changed his mind . He wanted to live . He wanted to survive from the demon that was chasing him . And to do so, he desperately needed this stone .
The thing that had only brought despair, was now here to bring him hope .
Bilde opened his mouth and swallowed the stone in one gulp .
The stone being the size of a fist made it hard to put in his mouth . But now was not the time to care about such things .
The stone was a pure concentration of Quintessence that had gone through multiple purification and compression processes . His master had once told him that just by swallowing the stone, it would produce a huge amount of mana inside his body . He said that the result would be either one of the two . His body would change, or it would explode .
But again, a ‘complete’ stone would have no risk of causing an explosion . However, Bild had no other choice but to hope that the stone would be close to its completion .
So he gulped down and waited for the changes to happen in his body .
" . . . Wh, what’s going on?"
A look of bewilderment was visible in his face .
He unmistakably felt the stone traveling down his throat and into his stomach, so something should have happened by now .
But that was it . Nothing happened .
"Why is it not working…!"
Bild shouted out loud at the incomprehensible situation .
Why isn’t it happening?
Did I miss anything?
Bild racked his brains over the problem . He wondered if he had made any mistakes, or if he had missed something when swallowing the stone . But nothing came to his mind . His mind went blank .
He started to panic thinking that the demon should be just around the corner by now .
Bild pushed his finger into the back of his throat in order to throw up the stone . He was going to try swallowing the stone again and again until it worked .
After a few gags, the stone came back out of his mouth . The stone was still emitting its capricious purple glow .
Bild drew his brows together and put the stone back into his mouth . But the stone did not give way this time . He had to vomit it back out to try swallowing it again .
Bild repeated the same process over and over again . The floor was completely soaked with his gastric juices .
"Why . . . "
Bild was on the verge of losing his mind .
"Why the f.u.c.k isn’t it working!"
Every time he vomited it out, the stone maintained its ominous purple hue . He could see the energy wriggling inside the stone .
Still, the stone hadn’t granted him the power . Like a rose that wouldn’t allow itself to be picked, acting so aloof as if he didn't deserve to be its owner .
And that’s what drove Bild more and more crazy . The thought that that demon could barge in from the door any minute now kept pushing him into a corner .
But nothing changed .
A dark shadow fell into the warehouse .
Bild’s face turned blue as he quickly turned towards the source of the sound .
There stood Yeon-woo, smiling coldly .
"So, this is the place you chose to run away from me . "
Bild opened his mouth to scream out loud, however, no sound escaped from his mouth . His fear had become an invisible hand that was strangling him .
"Is that the ‘stone’ you were trying to make? It doesn’t look like anything . Something's not working out?"
Yeon-woo threw his gaze towards the purple stone Bild was hugging tightly .
Startled by his words, Bild pushed the stone back into his mouth .
But Yeon-woo didn't care about it .
'So many people were sacrificed all for that failure?’
Information unavailable .
The stone was an item with no identifiable information .
It wasn’t clear if it was because the stone was incomplete, or if there was a problem with the making process . Whatever the case was, if the item was unidentifiable, it only meant one thing .
It was unusable .
Obviously, nothing would happen no matter how many times he put the stone into his mouth .
Even when looking at it with Draconic Eyes, the purple stone was covered with flaws all over its surface . There were so many of them, the stone itself was hidden under the flaws .
Usually, such items were cla.s.sified as trash with F Rating .
A burst of hollow laughter escaped from his mouth . He couldn’t believe Leonte spent so much time and money on such a useless piece of trash .
Even if he held onto it to threaten him, it wouldn’t come close to being his weakness .
So Yeon-woo waited for Bild to finish swallowing and then slowly moved towards him .
"Are you done eating?"
"Urgh . . . !"
Bild began to cry . The stone still hadn’t shown its effect . All his hopes were shattered to pieces .
He stepped back away from Yeon-woo . He then tripped and fell on his behind, so he crawled away .
In his mind, Bild was screaming at Yeon-woo to stay away from him, but Yeon-woo gradually made his way towards him with cold eyes .
"Why . . . "
The demon's shadow hung over his throat . His stuffy throat barely let out a cracked voice .
"Why the h.e.l.l!"
Once he managed to speak out some words, a flurry of them came out from his mouth .
"Why! Are you putting me through this torment? What did we even do to you! What is it that you hold against us, trying to sabotage us!"
Bild hated Yeon-woo from the bottom of his heart .
If it weren’t for him, everything would have worked out smoothly . His master would have gotten the stone, and Bild would have had the authority he wanted . Only success would have been waiting ahead of him .
If only he went on his way without intervening into their business .
If only he were like other players…!
But Bild didn’t give the slightest thought to the fact that he himself had also tried to kill Yeon-woo many times . After all, humans tend to only recall what they had suffered, not what they had committed .
"Why, you ask?"
A faint sneer was heard from beneath the mask .
"You asked me ‘why’? What kind of grudge I hold against you?"
Yeon-woo took his hand towards his mask .
"Well, I hope this suffices . "
Yeon-woo took off his mask . And his face was revealed .
At that moment, Bild's face turned deathly pale . An emotion beyond fear, an indescribable emotion overcame his whole body .
It was a face that should no longer exist in this world .
Yeon-woo spoke to Bild with Jeong-woo's face, with Jeong-woo's eyes, and with Jeong-woo's voice .
"You have no idea how much I've missed you guys . "
Bild wanted to say something, but the fear choked him up and his voice didn’t come out .
He tried running away, but soon came to a dead end .
Yeon-woo approached him holding Carshina’s Dagger in reverse .
Its blade was shining as coldly as his smile .
* * *
Soon, a shrill scream echoed along the staircase and throughout the building .
* * *
For the first time, Bild begged Yeon-woo to end his life .
His body had fallen into a state where it was hard to call it ‘human' . The only things left unhurt were his head that served to recall memories and his mouth to utter words .
Even if he was living, it didn’t feel like it . He would rather die than to live like this . That’s how much pain he was in .
Yeon-woo asked a lot of questions ‘through his body’ .
Bild’s mind was already devastated .
Someone who should be lying dead had returned back to life . Such a traumatic experience left him aphasic .
But the body was different . Except for his severed left arm, there were still many places left intact . When he kept ‘poking around’ such places, his lost mind occasionally returned back to his body . And thanks to that, Yeon-woo was able to figure out a lot of things regarding the time after Jeong-woo’s death and after Arthia’s disbandment .
The Tower had undergone a great change . There had been a transition of power, and the old members of Arthia had sought their own way to survive in various places . Each of them was able to get their hands on the things they wanted .
As all the a.s.sailants do, they continued to live their usual lives even after what they did to Jeong-woo . Even after they had destroyed someone’s life .
'I see . This is just who you are . It was all in a day’s work for you . '
He once thought that there could be someone, at least one of them, who might be feeling guilty for what they’d done . But it turned out none of them were .
So Yeon-woo laughed with relief . Because he could go on a rampage without any worries .
"Pl . . . ease . "
A sudden voice from Bild brought Yeon-woo back to his senses .
Yeon-woo asked, looking at the lump of meat he was sitting on .
"So, do you want to die?"
"Pl . . . ease . "
"Ooh, what should I do? You know a tale about a green frog? A frog that does the opposite of what people ask for . I’m starting to see why he did that . "
"Pl . . . ease!"
"Oh, by the way, I’ve got a lot of friends who are just so desperate to see your face . "
Yeon-woo gently waved his hands in the air .
A cloud of black mist formed from thin air and white ghosts began to appear one by one . Once they stopped appearing, there were already thousands of them .
Originally bound to a human farm in the warehouse, the ghosts had been set free with Yeon-woo’s Black Bracelet . And all the ghosts were emitting dark auras like Yeon-woo’s Black Blade .
Evil Spirits . Through Yeon-woo’s Black Bracelet, they could be infused with dark energy and exert power onto the physical world .
Those who met a tragic end as the material for the stone wanted to take revenge against their murderer, Bild . And for that purpose, they willingly became servants of Yeon-woo . And here, they could make their appearance in front of Bild .
Bild let out a loud shriek . It was his last effort pleading to be put out of his misery .
But his bitter cries were completely drowned out by the giggles of the ghosts .
Yeon-woo shut the iron gate as he walked out of the room, expecting it never to be opened again .
Then, he began to climb up the spiral staircase .