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사도연 - Sadoyeon

Chapter 435 - Arthia (5)

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Chapter 435 - Arthia (5)

The letter began: What I write here is little more than excuses and cannot be of any comfort to the reader of this letter. I know I can’t repent for what I’ve done, but still…I wanted to write these words. I’m sorry, Jeong-woo.

* * *

It all began with Bayluk’s words.

“Bayluk?” Yeon-woo hadn’t expected to hear that name, and the pocket watch began to tremble uncontrollably. Yeon-woo put his hand around it to comfort it. Along with Vieira Dune, Bayluk was the one who benefited most from Arthia’s fall and Jeong-woo’s death. He was the one who had secretly fed Jeong-woo the poison that eventually killed him: Red Lotus Eye.

The pain of the poison had been cruel, and Bayluk had even taken his time to poison Jeong-woo so that it would be undetectable. By the time Jeong-woo realized that something was wrong, the poison had already invaded his marrows, and it was too late. It was around that time that Jeong-woo’s condition worsened, causing him to become erratic and moody.

Bayluk was essentially the culprit who caused the disbandment of Arthia. ‘But the problem is that no one knows where he is now.’ Bayluk had hidden himself at the same time Jeong-woo collapsed. There was no way to find him.

Bayluk suddenly asked me, “Don’t you want to find your family?” It was the morning that we were preparing for the war against the alliance of clans, no different from any other morning, but I’ve never been able to forget it since.

The word triggered a desperation in me, someone who has never known my ident.i.ty. However, when I asked him what he meant, he only smiled strangely like always and said, “I’ve found the ruins of the Giant species.” Those words were enough to drive me mad.

Valdeb.i.+.c.h had always struggled with his ident.i.ty since he was someone who was neither human nor Giant. Being a mixed breed in the Tower wasn’t anything special since so many players from different planets and dimensions were there. However, Valdeb.i.+.c.h’s struggle was different.

He wasn’t as smart as humans, and he didn’t have the outstanding fighting spirit of Giants. He was neither a mortal or an immortal, and he possessed an uncertain position. Because he was the descendant of an extinct species, he drew a lot of attention, but it was always a source of trauma for him.

Valdeb.i.+.c.h also didn’t know anything about his birth. He had faint memories of his childhood, of a house with a large backyard, of siblings and friends who played jokes on each other, parents who smiled at him and told him that they loved him.

However, those memories were foggy, and his parents’ faces seemed obscured by shadow. The clearest memory he had was from when he was around five years old. He remembered his grandfather, who called himself the family butler, forcing him to learn the basic techniques of the Giant species.

His grandfather was different from his affectionate parents, and he always scolded Valdeb.i.+.c.h cruelly and called him “loser” and “idiot”. He said that Valdeb.i.+.c.h wasn’t good enough and was an embarra.s.sment to the Giant species.

Because of this, Valdeb.i.+.c.h became a timid child who truly believed that he was a useless being. This trauma persisted even after he gained the nickname Sword Yaksha and caused a ruckus in the Tower. It was also the reason he’d become obsessed with the idea of family.

Who was he? Why did he have to leave the family that loved him? Did they abandon him? Or had there been some kind of incident?

If he hadn’t been raised by the strange grandfather and stayed with his family, he would have grown up normally, right? Valdeb.i.+.c.h did everything he could to find his roots, but he failed every time.

The Draconic species still had one last member, the Summer Queen, but the Giant species had gone extinct much earlier and had left hardly anything behind. There were even questions around the existence of a half-Giant like him, and whether he was truly one. If so, were there still Giants living to this day?

Bayluk had used Valdeb.i.+.c.h’s insecurities about his family as bait, and Valdeb.i.+.c.h had eagerly swallowed it, not realizing it was poisoned. He’d headed out to look for the ruins according to Bayluk’s instructions, but he hadn’t been able to let Jeong-woo and the others know.

Valdeb.i.+.c.h found it hard to tell them about his departure since they were all preparing for war. In the past, his friends had excitedly helped him search for ruins, only for the endeavor to end in failure.

I had overcome my trauma by then, and the location wasn’t that far, so I thought I’d be able to return quickly. I didn’t think it would be a problem if I checked quickly and returned. However, this was exactly what Bayluk had been planning.

Bayluk hadn’t lied. The ruins really did have traces of the Gian species, even more than the ones Valdeb.i.+.c.h had investigated before. There were traces of villages, ma.s.s graves, and even a hidden quest related to the fall of the Giant species. Valdeb.i.+.c.h had become wrapped up in it and his obsession with his family and ident.i.ty led him to forget about Arthia.

The only thoughts in his head were related to the quest and his search for his family, who might be in danger somewhere. Time pa.s.sed, and by the time his reason returned, everything was already over.

It was only then that I heard news about Jeong-woo, and I realized that I was a failure. My family had abandoned me, and in turn, I abandoned my only friend when he needed me the most…still, perhaps the heavens wanted to give me another chance.

I remembered that Jeong-woo had once mentioned to me that my family might still be alive somewhere since he’d managed to meet a dragon, whose species was already a.s.sumed to be extinct. He said perhaps I’d been separated from my family by some accident.

Dragon. I had to find the lair of the last dragons. I don’t know if it was because they shared the same traits as the Giant species, due to their immortality and arrogance at once being the equals of G.o.ds and demons, but it wasn’t too hard to find the place. All I had to do was go to the places where only superior beings would be able to approach.

I found Jeong-woo already gone. I had hurried so much, but in the end, I was too late. Then, I remembered the reward I’d received from the ruins, and I used to to send Jeong-woo back to his homeland. Although I had ended up in my current situation, I wanted him to have a chance to return to his family’s arms.

Valdeb.i.+.c.h had a ticket that allowed someone to travel to any dimension regardless of the time and location without any restrictions from the laws of nature. Valdeb.i.+.c.h had thought of using it to return to his species’ home dimension after finis.h.i.+ng the hidden quest, but instead, he opened the gate to Earth without any hesitation.

I was foolish until the end. I only realized what I had after I lost it. Jeong-woo was more like my brother than the ones in my memories and more special to me than my parents.

Valdeb.i.+.c.h would never be able to return to his home dimension, but it didn’t matter. He wanted Jeong-woo, his friend and brother, to return to his peaceful home world.

He remembered that when he’d first entered the Tower a long time ago, everyone had thought about taking advantage of him except for Jeong-woo. Jeong-woo had simply held out his hand and said, “Do you wanna be friends?”

Yeon-woo read the letter again and again before returning it to the envelope. Valdeb.i.+.c.h had searched for his family, only to lose both family and friends in the process. Yeon-woo could imagine Valdeb.i.+.c.h’s despondent face as he’d sent Jeong-woo back to Earth before leaving Laputa with heavy footsteps, perhaps thinking of his memories.

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There was a small container next to the spot where the envelope had been. Yeon-woo opened it silently to find a blue gla.s.s bottle on a faded cus.h.i.+on. It was the elixir—the medicine his brother had tried so desperately to find but hadn’t even been able to return with in the end.

“Nothing? What do you mean?” Brahm c.o.c.ked his head, not quite understanding.

「It was…darkness.」

Brahm’s forehead wrinkled.

「False darkness… trying to imitate the Darkness…it was…an empty void.」

Brahm’s face stiffened. Darkness and void were familiar words.

「That’s…all…I remember…if…I want…to remember more…I must…regain…my…former…life.」

The being was stopping Boo from remembering even though he was already an Elder Lich.

“Then if you regain your former life, the Darkness…!” Brahm was about to ask something when someone hurtled towards them with the sound of cracking gla.s.s.

Crunch! Crash.

Brahm barely managed to catch him. Pieces of broken armor showered on the floor.

“What happened, Hanryeong?!”

Hanryeong, who had been sent to deal with the Elohim, was heavily injured. Was there even anyone in Elohim who could hurt Hanryeong? With the Roman Dictator and the heads of the Proteogenoi family dead, the Elohim was now defanged.

Moreover, Hanryeong’s body was melting. Since he’d been born out of death and created from shadows, he could be injured, but he would never die. And yet, that was exactly what was happening to him. Brahm and Boo had never seen this strange phenomenon before.

「Anti-Venom…has appeared…at the Elohim!」 He was referring to Anti-Venom Bayluk.

At those words, Hanryeong’s arm fell to the ground and scattered into particles. Whoosh.

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