Chapter 541 - Another Successor (6)
[This is the 66th Floor, the gate of the ‘Abandoned City’.]
[Trial: This city once enjoyed dazzling prosperity due to its advanced magic engineering knowledge and achievements. However, the city has since collapsed into ruins.
A plague whose origins could not be identified took the lives of more than a third of the population during the imperial era, and the poor crop yields caused by abnormal climate changes plunged the survivors into poverty and starvation. Most perished.
During these dire times, instead of saving the people, the imperial court locked up its storerooms of resources, indulged in a luxurious, hedonistic lifestyle, and collected heavier taxes from the struggling public.
However, it was the invasion of a foreign race who had long hated the empire for enslaving them that sealed the empire’s fate. As a result, the city, which once had a population of over 1,000,000, collapsed.
However, during the ma.s.s evacuation, the imperial family and the city’s general residents left many valuable objects behind, and treasure hunters sometimes visit the ancient city to obtain a piece of its legacy.
You are part of this treasure-hunting crowd. From this point forward, collect the necessary materials in this abandoned city to complete an artifact. The completed artifact and its legacy will be very useful for you when climbing the Tower.]
“This description makes the trial look so easy.” Doyle shook his head as he looked at the window, sighing deeply. While Yeon-woo was gone, Arthia continued to steadily advance up the floors, reaching the latter half of the sixties.
Currently, there was virtually no force in the Tower that could oppose Arthia. Once White Dragon’s leader, Waltz, suffered a defeat to Doyle, White Dragon’s momentum was greatly weakened, and they remained relatively silent and dormant. Indeed, Arthia had acquired a nearly hegemonic rule over most of the Tower.
However, they faced an obstacle in an unexpected place: the sixty-sixth floor. The members of other large clans were high rankers who had already cleared up to the seventieth floor as players. As a result, they could move easily from floor to floor. However, despite the strength of Arthia’s leaders, they hadn’t cleared as many floors as they could have since they were pulling the rest of the clan along. Even the members recognized that the clan’s rise through the floors depended too much on their leaders’ achievement. That meant if Arthia’s leaders encountered a serious obstacle, the clan’s forward progress would come to a halt.
The trial on the sixty-sixth floor was very simple on the surface. They had to combine hidden pieces located throughout the abandoned city to complete a useful artifact. However, it was taking up too much time.
Their first hards.h.i.+p came in the form of various diseases and curses prevalent throughout the ruined city. Since the empire had succ.u.mbed to a plague, the disease remained in corners of the city, and they had to be on their guard. They also didn’t know what type of traps would be activated in the process of obtaining the hidden pieces, and so often, they would end up with a variety of small quests.
The ongoing attacks by the foreign race were also a problem. A number of high-ranking, intelligent monsters roamed everywhere. Whenever Arthia ran into a group of them, they were sometimes forced to retreat.
However, the biggest problem was that it was not easy to create a useful artifact even after collecting many hidden pieces. One had to know how to use the hidden pieces properly, which required extensive knowledge in magic engineering. Combining the pieces together also required advanced engineering knowledge.
It also did not make sense to go through all this trouble to make a shoddy artifact since it was an opportunity to obtain something beyond one’s level. For this reason, the sixty-sixth floor was considered the most time-consuming floor among the floors in the sixties.
Of course, the situation varied from person to person. In fact, Doyle had already finished the trial on the sixty-sixth floor. He had a different problem. ‘Kahn and Phante…they’re wild cards. I can’t believe I’m being p.i.s.sed on by my own clan members.’
Kahn was good at enchantments and thought he could quickly master magic engineering, but he soon found that he was actually weak in this field. Bian could directly be applied to martial arts, but Kahn always mentioned that it wasn’t the same for magic engineering. His convoluted explanations were completely incomprehensible to Doyle, but since Kahn was obsessed with creating an overly complicated artifact, they were forced to spend an exorbitant amount of time on the floor.
Phante was even worse. ‘In all my time alive, I’ve never come across such a nutcase…no, wait. Phante is Cain’s brother so maybe I shouldn’t be so rude?’ As soon as Doyle thought about Phante, tears started forming in his eyes, and he forced his rising anger down. It was impossible for anyone leading Arthia on Yeon-woo’s behalf not to grow furious, especially when Doyle considered how much he had suffered in Phante’s hands.
Phante ran as wild as he pleased, tossing away any orders and ruining several clan strategies and plans in the process. Whenever he encountered a strong guy, he had to stop to fight and win. If he lost his temper over something, he wouldn’t let go of his grudge until he felt it was resolved—which usually resulted in a s.h.i.+tshow.
Thanks to this, many of Arthia’s clan members were reluctant to move around with Phante. At least, his sister, Edora, was better. Although she wasn’t that way with Yeon-woo, she was always cold and arrogant around the other clan members, which was why she’d received the nickname Demon Beauty. Even during the days of the Tutorial, as was the case now, the Cheongram siblings had been known for shocking people.
They had managed to obtain good results, and the clan had progressed relatively smoothly through the floors. Otherwise, there would have already been a lot of arguments and distress. Then, Phante had hit a wall on the sixty-sixth floor.
Of course, Phante wasn’t as much of a nutcase as Doyle grumbled; he wouldn’t have been able to achieve so much if it were true. However, he was too picky. Other than martial arts, which Phante liked, he was hopeless in other matters. No matter how much effort he put into learning and mastering magic, he would never be able to achieve the standards he’d set. Also, creation wasn’t his strong suit, considering that his hobby was smas.h.i.+ng things into smithereens.
‘More than anything…Kahn and Phante don’t get along very well.’ Kahn and Phante were always busy growling at each other whenever they were together. Kahn was wary of Phante because of the rivalry they had during the Tutorial, and Phante was annoyed when Kahn, whom Phante had never paid much attention to, kept nipping at his heels whenever they met.
Doyle could only let out a long sigh. If it were up to him, he would just leave them both. However, Doyle could not afford to abandon two of the most powerful members of the clan. Right now, they were probably off on their own harebrained adventures somewhere on the floor, and it was clear that their efforts would largely be in vain. Doyle wondered if they were partic.i.p.ating in another strange compet.i.tion with each other.
Rumble! “Huh?”Doyle’s eyes widened at the sudden earthquake that shook the stage. When he looked outside, a huge dust storm that was dozens meters in height was blowing towards his direction and devouring the abandoned city.“What…!”
Doyle wondered if Kahn and Phante had had another fight.
『Argh! What the h.e.l.l’s going on!』
『My puzzle! I spent a h.e.l.lish week putting together my puzzle…! Who is it! f.u.c.k! Who the h.e.l.l did this!』
Through the connection of the Clan Pairing, Doyle heard Kahn and Phante’s screams of frustration. The two were aware of how much their actions affected others, and they wouldn’t have ruined the stage like this for everyone else. At that point, Doyle felt his Channel with Yeon-woo strengthening.
Swoos.h.!.+ When the sandy tidal wave had almost completely covered the abandoned city and Laputa swept through, Doyle covered his mouth with his sleeve and coughed. The storm calmed down as if nothing ever happened. After removing the remaining clouds of dust with magic, Doyle saw Yeon-woo appear. “Cough! Cough! Of course…it’s you, hyung.”
“Hmm? Did I say I was coming?” Yeon-woo c.o.c.ked his head as Doyle greeted him without much surprise.
Doyle nodded as though the answer were obvious. “There’s always nothing left when hyung pa.s.ses by, right?”
Yeon-woo wondered how he should take Doyle’s words. Was it good or bad? Yeon-woo decided that it was probably better not to know either way, so he coughed and changed the topic, pretending he didn’t understand. “Ahem! Anyway, what’s the progress of my request?”
“Are you talking about the Sea of Time?”
Doyle shook his head. “We’ve been doing our best to look for them ever since we received your instructions, but nothing substantial has come up. I don’t understand why they’re so hard to find. Even if we get a clue, it’s usually a small one. It’s taking us a lot of time to dig deeper.”
Yeon-woo nodded. If it had been easy to find the Sea of Time, the mysterious clan wouldn’t have managed to hide themselves so well in the Tower. Above all, a dragon was leading them. Before Arthia’s rise, Red Dragon had dominated the Tower, and it was clear that the Sea of Time had the potential to equal or even surpa.s.s Red Dragon.
“Still, we were able to confirm that some of them infiltrated our clan by joining in our ranks.”
“They’re among us?”
*** You are reading on https://webnovelonline.com ***
“Yes. I don’t know for sure, but I think they’ve entered quite deep into our ranks.”
Sss! Crackle! Crackle!
Their momentum and aura clashed and collided in the air. Doyle quickly shouted out, fearing that Laputa would be damaged if they fought. “If you’re looking for Cain hyung, he said he was going to see Brahm.”
As soon as Doyle finished speaking, Kahn and Phante disappeared through their portals, still huffing and puffing. Flas.h.!.+ Flas.h.!.+
“When are they going to grow up? Phew.” Doyle shook his head as he sighed.
“Stabbing in the back, stabbing in the back, what a fun song~♬!” Sesha leaned her back against the bed where Ananta lay as she hummed a song and drew a picture of a house, a garden and the sun on a piece of paper. She added Brahm, Ananta, Yeon-woo, and herself. Everyone was smiling.
In a rocking chair across from Sesha, Brahm set his book down and looked at Sesha. He had never heard her hum the song before. “That’s such a weird song. Where did you learn that song?”
“From Uncle Shanon!”
The other day, when Yeon-woo visited the village, Sesha asked to see his Spirit Guai. She must have learned the weird song while hanging out with Shanon.
‘Why did she have to learn a song like that…’ Brahm was just about to return to the book, thinking that he would have to give Shanon a piece of his mind later on, when…
“Really? You’re telling the truth, right?”
“I can’t miss my turn! If you’re late, you’ll be screwed, so hurry!"
Suddenly, there was a loud commotion outside. Outside of designated areas, the One-horned tribe’s village was a relatively quiet place, so Brahm looked out the window to see what was going on. Above a ridge in the distance, a column of sand rose with a loud noise. A small aftershock soon followed.
Suddenly, Sesha sprinted to the window and burst into laughter. “Uncle! I think Uncle is here! The One-horned tribe’s men are running towards that direction!”
For the members of the tribe, Yeon-woo was like a popular restaurant that they liked to try whenever they had the opportunity. Sesha also knew that special events and uproar always followed her uncle.
“Hmm, oh dear.” Brahm did not know whether to laugh or cry as a wry smile formed across his lips.
*** You are reading on https://webnovelonline.com ***