Chapter 94. One-horned tribe (4)
Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes wondering if he heard correctly.
‘Take his daughter? Is he talking about marriage? But why would he say that all of a sudden?’
Yeon-woo stood in place contemplating if there was any hidden meaning to the sentence.
Struck by her father’s sudden question, Edora yelled at him.
Edora, who usually did not raise an eyebrow at most things, became so embarra.s.sed that her entire face was flushed red.
But the Martial King laughed it away with his characteristic cheekiness and spoke to Edora.
“Edora, did you forget our tribe’s custom already? You have to s.n.a.t.c.h a good guy when you have the chance. I’d say he’s good enough to join our family. You see, your dad also married your mom when I was around your age….”
“I’ll deal with my marriage by my own, so stay out of my private life!”
“Huhu. You don’t need to be shy.”
“…If you keep making fun of me, I might really make a scene right now.”
Edora gave her father a look as she took her hand to s.h.i.+nmado.
She began to exude aura as if saying she would really draw her sword if he kept provoking her.
But the Martial King didn’t stop laughing at her, which made her even angrier.
By the time Edora had pulled half of her sword out, the Martial King stopped teasing his daughter and made a loud clap to grab everyone’s attention.
“Anyway, it’s been a long time since our village had a guest. We can’t have our guests standing outside like this, can we? Come on in. Let us continue our conversation with some tea.”
* * *
Yeon-woo was ushered into the large cottage by the Martial King.
Edora walked next to Yeon-woo and told him that this was the ‘palace’ her family lived in. She called it the Palace of Martialism.
Yeon-woo tried to act calm and composed, nodding at Edora’s explanation, but couldn’t help being surprised at how simple and practical the palace was.
The palace was decorated with wooden furniture, exuding a rustic charm, and its garden was laid out with crops like yams and potatoes instead of flowers and bushes.
Who would have thought this was the residence of a royal family?
When Yeon-woo entered the drawing room, he saw there was already a steaming teapot with a set of teacups and a plate of a.s.sorted whole-grain cookies prepared on the table.
Yeon-woo sat down on a chair and brought a cookie to his mouth.
Though it wasn’t very flavorful, the crunchiness and the subtle nuttiness of the roasted seeds made it very appetizing.
‘Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Phante and Edora eating meat.’
It occurred to Yeon-woo that perhaps these grains were their staple.
While Yeon-woo indulged himself in idle thoughts, the Martial King entered the room.
Yeon-woo noticed that he was in a different outfit.
A majestic black attire decorated with exquisite golden embroidery.
“I apologize for being late. It took me a little while to change into these clothes. It’s been a long time since I last wore this and I just couldn’t get the order right.”
The Martial King spoke, pinching the attire he was in.
“You look good on them, sir.”
“Huhu. I know I do. Back in the days, I used to make a lot of girls cry…”
The Martial King then began to brag about how great he was in his youth.
Edora let out a deep sigh and Phante shook his head, covering his face with his hand.
The elders and the bodyguards looked apathetic as if they were already used to this situation.
But Yeon-woo only took him as a slightly talkative person.
“Okay, shall we get back to our talk now?”
After about a quarter of an hour, the Martial King finally ended his yapping.
Yeon-woo rose from his seat and got ready to make a formal greeting.
This was where the important part began.
“Allow me to introduce myself. I am Cain, currently….”
“Oh, let me stop you there. I’ve already heard more than enough about you from my son and daughter. Besides, I believe anybody who pays attention to the lower floors knows who you are.”
Yeon-woo slowly sat back down at the Martial King’s gesture.
The Martial King continued talking with his arms crossed.
“The h.o.a.rder, the best novice who has broken every single record from the tutorial to the Beginner Zone, the partner of Blood Sword and Foxy Tail, the monster who makes a clean sweep of all the rewards in each floor he visits,”
All of them were nicknames which other players have given to Yeon-woo.
The Martial King paused for a second.
His broad smile, which revealed his two canine teeth made Yeon-woo s.h.i.+ver a bit.
『The player who defeated Arangdan completely by himself, am I right?』
Yeon-woo sprang up from his seat without realizing it.
The collapse of Arangdan might have been the event that started the war between Red Dragon and Cheonghwado.
As for Yeon-woo, who had to keep himself undercover, he had to be sure that no one knew that he was the culprit of the event.
But much to his surprise, other than himself, Kahn, and Doyle, there was already someone aware of it.
He had to ask him how he had figured it out. No, he had to make him tell him no matter how.
The bodyguards reacted to Yeon-woo’s sudden movement and, before Yeon-woo could do anything, took their hands to their swords.
The rest of the people in the room looked puzzled at the unexpected turn of events.
All of a sudden, a menacing atmosphere hung over the drawing room.
The Martial King then spoke with a commanding voice.
Though it was just a single word,
‘I can’t… move.’
Yeon-woo found himself unable to move as if he was bound by an invisible chain.
The aura of the Martial King was restraining him from making any movement.
Cold sweat ran down his back.
‘He’s a real monster.’
Yeon-woo realized he had been mistaken about something regarding the Martial King.
The ‘beast’ wasn’t lying dormant inside him.
It was already outside. Only, It had been hiding behind his smile.
Yeon-woo then vaguely understood why his brother had described him as a beast.
Because he was the beast itself.
A savage beast that was playing with its prey knowing that it could always subdue it.
At that point, there was nothing that Yeon-woo could do but to sit back down.
However, Yeon-woo’s eyes gave off a rather keener glow beneath the mask.
He was backing off for now, but only to prepare for another action. Like a tiger crouching low before taking a big leap.
Looking at Yeon-woo’s eyes filled with unyielding spirit, the Martial King broke into a bigger smile.
『Don’t worry. There are only three people currently aware of this fact.』
Despite his shut lips, Yeon-woo could hear his voice clearly as if he was whispering directly into his ear.
Judging by what he said, it didn’t seem like the Martial King would disclose this secret to anyone else.
Clenching his teeth, Yeon-woo stared back at him with a now calm look.
There were so many questions he wanted to ask. How had he figured it out? Who were the other two people aware of this fact? and also, what was the reason he had brought this up now?
But he knew too well that this was not the right timing.
While the two of them were busy exchanging looks,
“You must have said something rude again, you old geezer. I gotta say, you really have to stop taunting people.”
Phante retorted as he gave his father a sour look.
The guards then removed their hands from their swords. The elders also shook their heads. Some even said, ‘How can he be so bad-mannered at his age?’
Edora called her father with her teeth clenched.
But the Martial King only laughed mischievously, so Edora apologized to Yeon-woo with a deep sigh.
“I’m sorry, Oraboni. My father, he is a mean… and a cranky old man. Whenever he finds anyone interesting, he starts provoking them right away. So please, forgive him for his misbehavior.”
“Come on. Don’t you think you went a little too far calling your father a ‘cranky old man’?”
The Martial King grumbled.
“And you say that after what you’ve done to him?”
“Hmph! You don’t care about your dad anymore now that you got your husband, eh? Looks like I raised my daughter for nothing.”
“Would you mind shutting your mouth?”
The Martial King and Edora went on bickering for another minute, then stopped after realizing their guest was still in front of him.
“Ahem. Anyway, you must have a lot of questions right now. Don’t worry, I will give you some time to ask afterward.”
Yeon-woo had to swallow his questions for now.
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Certainly, it was not a conversation to be shared with all these people in the drawing room.
It suddenly occurred to him that the absence of a dream might have triggered a certain ‘reaction’ and caused some sort of mutation to his egg.
But just when Yeon-woo was starting to blaming himself for this problem, the Martial King suddenly opened his mouth.
“Okay, let’s get this problem straight. There had once been a giant egg, the beast of which refused to hatch out of, but it turned out it was the egg of the Void Dragon, and you are thinking that the same is happening to his egg, correct?
“That is true.”
“Then why worry? He even said there’s a solution to this.”
The elder once again glared at their king’s complete lack of seriousness, but the king was only humming a song to himself.
The elder clicked his tongue and continued explaining to Yeon-woo.
“This is what we suggest. Your egg has grown abnormally large due to unknown reasons, and to get it treated, it will require a Lunar Seed.”
Yeon-woo tilted his head to hear a foreign name,
“Oh, right! There was the Lunar Seed.”
“Yeah, that should do.”
But the rest of the people nodded as if it was something very obvious.
Yeon-woo was bewildered by the situation.
He had never heard of an item named ‘Lunar Seed’ in spite of the vast knowledge of artifacts and elixirs he acquired from his brother’s diary.
Edora seemed to have noticed Yeon-woo’s confusion and gave him a brief explanation of what a Lunar Seed was.
“A Lunar Seed is one of the rare herbs pa.s.sed down within our tribe from generation to generation. It is not a commonly-known herb because races other than us do not know its use.”
Yeon-woo could now understand why the name of the item was alien to him. If it was a secret herb only consumed within the tribe, there was no way his brother could have known about it.
Yeon-woo clenched his fist at the thrill of finding a solution to his problem.
His desperate struggle to hatch the egg was finally coming to an end.
“How can I get the Lunar Seed?”
Yeon-woo asked the Martial King.
But the Martial King suddenly broke into a mysterious smile.
“So, you require an item that only us, the One-horned tribe, have, is that correct?”
“But as you have heard from Edora, a Lunar Seed is a very rare item that we cannot just give away for free. You see, it takes a full 15 years to grow just one root.”
Yeon-woo understood the meaning behind the Martial King’s words.
It was a deal.
If he wanted the item, he had to give him something reasonable in return.
Edora seemed like she had something to say, but the elders next to her stopped her.
There was a rule stating that no member is allowed to interfere with their king when he is acting on behalf of their tribe.
Edora had no choice but to stay silent.
Phante constantly gazed at the two of them left and right.
An awkward silence hung between them.
After about a minute, Yeon-woo carefully opened his mouth.
“As you can see, I don’t have anything I can offer you in return. I neither belong to any clan nor do I receive any patronage. If you can give me some time….”
“We won’t sell it on credit.”
It was a flat rejection.
Yeon-woo closed his mouth tightly. He had to come up with something else.
Several artifacts that he possessed crossed his mind.
But none of them would satisfy the Martial King’s eyes except for Vigrid and Aegis.
But he couldn’t just trade them for the herb either.
If he had to give up one of them, it would be Vigrid. But he didn’t want to give up something that held fond memories of Kahn and Doyle.
When Yeon-woo was agonizing over the issue, the Martial King suddenly let out a sneer.
“You don’t have to actually trade an item for it, don’t you think? Instead, you can do some ‘physical labor’ for us.”
Yeon-woo quickly came to his senses. If he could acquire a Lunar Seed in exchange for something as simple as physical labor, he was more than willing to give his time.
But the question was,
‘What does he need my help for?’
Yeon-woo didn’t know what the Martial King would order him to do.
However, the Martial King’s next remark came as a shock to Yeon-woo.
“You’ve heard of the war between Red Dragon and Cheonghwado, right? We’ll be joining the war as mercenaries. I need you to help us in that war. What do you think?”
Yeon-woo’s eyes grew as big as saucers.
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