Chapter 631 - Time (3)
“You…!” Stunned to encounter someone unexpected, Yeon-woo almost inadvertently spoke out loud, but he gathered himself and used Open Speaking to communicate with Leonhardt.
『Why are you here?』
『That’s what I want to ask you. Why are you here?』 Leonhard’s voice was filled with bewilderment and impatience. It was only then that Yeon-woo recalled what he’d read a long time ago in his brother’s diary: After I disappointed Leonhardt, he moved on to the Sea of Time.
Of course, Yeon-woo had not forgotten this; although he’d pushed it deep inside his subconscious to avoid dealing with it directly. In many ways, Yeon-woo felt both affection and hatred for Leonhardt.
He was aware that, like Valdebich, Leonhardt had tried to maintain his loyalty to Jeong-woo until the very end, only to leave from exhaustion. Later, Leonhardt even left the Sea of Time to create the Fantasy Regiment and avenge Jeong-woo.
However, when he thought of the fact that Leonhardt hadn’t been there to protect his younger brother, Yeon-woo could not forgive him. As a result, Yeon-woo had avoided mixing with Leonhardt. However, things had changed now that they were coincidentally meeting here. Had Leonhardt not cut ties with the Sea of Time yet? Then…
‘I should consider him an enemy.’ Yeon-woo felt that he could not leave Leonhardt alone.
Whoosh! Yeon-woo’s shadows stretched out like tentacles along the ground and pierced into Leonhard’s shadow.
“Ugh!” Leonhardt sharply inhaled as pain shot through his body. It was as though his very soul had been pierced by something invisible.
Yeon-woo’s awakened Yin Spirit Art was based on his shadow, borrowing the physical location of the shadow to invade the Idea within his opponent. The location of the shadow was a direct connection to one’s being. The Yin Spirit Art not only imprinted one’s will over the microcosmos of another person’s ego but also influenced the person’s Idea. This was the Yin Sword that Yeon-woo had learned and his new power.
Unless one was at least at Yeon-woo’s power level or possessed skills and talents that could counteract the effects of the Yin Sword, one could not avoid Yeon-woo’s Yin Sword attack.
Leonhardt was an outstanding high ranker who was a member of the new Nine Kings. If he honed his spirit power a little more, he would be able to seek exuviation even if transcendence was not possible. It was impossible for him not to sense the invisible hand that influenced his spirit. Leonhardt seemed bewildered that Yeon-woo possessed such a talent. It was something Leonhardt had never even thought of.
“What’s going on?” Sensing that things were strange, the attendee next to Leonhardt called out to him with an apprehensive gaze.
Since the meeting was a secret one, everyone gathered was on the lookout for any suspicious behavior. The person standing next to Leonhardt immediately put his hand to his waist, ready to draw his sword if he discovered anything unusual. However, he couldn’t do anything else because a branch extended from Yeon-woo’s shadow and pierced his shadow.
His body became as stiff as a log. The sound of his breathing faded, and his eyes grew unfocused. However, from outside, it was hard to tell the difference or even notice what was happening since everything was happening so discreetly and quickly.
It did not end there. Whoosh! Black branches protruded from Yeon-woo’s shadow and pierced the shadows of all the attendees.
“The end of days is coming soon, and he will come…!” The person who was passionately speaking on the podium froze in mid-sentence.
In fact, as if time had stopped flowing, everyone also stood still and unmoving.
[The ‘spring of death’ is operational!]
[All functions of those exposed to the area have stopped.]
“Wow!” Leonhardt involuntarily exclaimed in admiration when he saw this unimaginable sight. It was amazing to him that Yeon-woo could toy with the players so easily.
Though Leonhardt knew that Yeon-woo had defeated White Dragon without much difficulty and had taken over the Tower, he was still shocked to see Yeon-woo appear out of nowhere after two years of absence with such an overbearing presence.
Even though Leonhardt was a swordsman who possessed quite a bit of knowledge about the skills and powers within the Tower, he could not understand the method that Yeon-woo had just employed. The Yin Sword that Yeon-woo had learned was a mysterious art that completely subverted conventional wisdom. Moreover, the yin soul based on the Yin Sword had a different foundation from the Tower’s system. Yeon-woo had taken control of his own thoughts, which meant that his legend was rooted in a unique foundation.
“First, let me ask you why you’re here.” Ignoring Leonhardt’s shock, Yeon-woo asked coldly as he crossed his arms.
Leonhardt finally came to his senses and slowly took off the hood that was covering his face. Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. Leonhard’s face had been horribly injured and burned.
With crossed arms, Kahn silently looked at Yeon-woo and Leonhardt. He did not know what had happened between them, but he knew that he wasn’t supposed to intervene.
『It’s too hard for me to use my mouth to speak with my injuries. Let me continue communicating with you through Open Speaking. I hope you understand.』
From what Yeon-woo could tell, everything about Leonhardt was broken. His face was completely crushed. His skin was covered with burns, and his nose was smashed so flat that it almost connected to his mouth. One of his eyes was unfocused and blind, and his other eyelid was so torn that he could not close it properly. His vocal cords were also ruined, so with every breath, he made a screeching sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. Leonhardt’s hands and feet were also bound under his cloak.
It was clear he was a prisoner. What the hell had happened? Leonhardt did not look like this two years ago. For a moment, Yeon-woo felt his heart pounding in his chest. However, he did not show his surprise. He asked bluntly, “How did that happen?”
『It’s the price of betrayal.』
『The Sea of Time never forgives betrayal.』
‘Is this because he left the Sea of Time? But when he created the Fantasy Regiment two years ago, he didn’t look like this.’ Questions ran through Yeon-woo’s mind for a moment, then he reached a conclusion. “Were you a double agent?”
『Something like that.』 Leonhard smiled bitterly and nodded. Leonhardt’s voice was filled with regret that he couldn’t even express with his face.
“I never expected that the Fantasy Regiment would be a secret arm of the Sea of Time.”
After Leonhardt had left the Sea of Time and formed the Fantasy Regiment, they not only became one of the largest new clans, they also quickly rose up the ranks to join the top eight clans.
Yeon-woo had made a similar achievement, but someone starting from the bottom like Leonhardt would find it difficult to accomplish such a feat in a short period of time. However, if someone was supporting Leonhardt, it was a different story. If the Sea of Time was backing him, it would have been possible.
『Many of the various organizations that make up the Fantasy Regiment are related to the Sea of Time. Many of the attendees here are Sea of Time members.』
Yeon-woo did not know how Leonhardt managed to convince the Sea of Time to support him in establishing a separate clan. At the time, Leonhardt still believed that Yeon-woo was Cha Jeong-woo, but the Sea of Time had probably already guessed Yeon-woo’s true identity. If they helped Leonhardt, the Sea of Time would only benefit. Furthermore, the Sea of Time would have asked Leonhardt for a few favors and bits of information from time to time.
The requests probably were to contact Yeon-woo, collude with him, and other actions like that. However, Leonhardt failed to carry out the Sea of Time’s orders; he didn’t even try. Otherwise, he would have tried to form an alliance with Arthia while Yeon-woo was away. However, Leonhardt had only focused on driving White Dragon to extinction.
After some thought, Yeon-woo understood why Leonhardt had ended up in this condition. “Did you deliberately mislead the Sea of Time about me and investigate the Sea of Time instead?”
Leonhardt had been toying with the Sea of Time. When he realized that they were strongly interested in Yeon-woo, Leonhardt had made sure that they could not obtain any information regarding Yeon-woo.
“I thought you joined the Sea of Time?”
“I did. But I got out not too long after joining. That place wasn’t my home… Everything was going wrong. Traitors roamed free, trying to show that they were better than anyone else, large clans were hostile towards each other, and those who praised your name quickly forgot about you. I wanted to fix these things. I went undercover and gathered comrades one by one. Thanks to that…I realized too late how much you suffered.”
When Leonhardt had first revealed his identity as the leader of the Fantasy Regiment in front of Yeon-woo, he had happily conversed about different topics with Yeon-woo, as though he wanted to convey information to Yeon-woo. However, although normally, Yeon-woo would have read the signs and understood Leonhardt’s message, at the time, he had been so overwhelmed with anger that he didn’t read Leonhardt’s intent. Now, they had arrived at this situation.
Those in the Sea of Time weren’t fools, they realized that Leonhardt was doing his best to block their efforts, which was why Leonhardt looked as he did now. Yeon-woo felt his heart breaking at the thought that he was responsible for this. He had despised Leonhardt without knowing his true intentions. All the while, Leonhardt remained steadfast in protecting Yeon-woo despite such punishment and humiliation.
『I tried to find out some information, but I wasn’t successful at all.』 However, rather than feeling entitled or sorry for himself, Leonhard apologized to Yeon-woo that he couldn’t find anything about the Sea of Time.
I hadn’t been climbing the Tower very long when I met Leonhardt. The Tower was still unfamiliar and full of people tense with nervousness, but I saw him crouching in a corner watching ants march by. He couldn’t have made a stranger first impression.
Yeon-woo wanted to apologize to Leonhardt. However, the words didn’t leave his mouth easily. Yeon-woo wondered if he was even in a position to apologize. “Then, you’re here because…?”
『My leadership position in the Fantasy Regiment was stripped from me, so I can only live as a prisoner. The Sea of Time ordered me to manage the meetings…and then I saw you.』
It was a coincidence that they’d found each other here, which meant that Leonhardt was speaking the truth. Yeon-woo’s Draconic Eyes and the shadow that came into contact with Leonhardt were telling Yeon-woo that there wasn’t a single falsehood in Leonhardt’s words.
Sss. Yeon-woo quietly removed the part of his shadow connected to Leonhardt’s shadow. Soon, Leonhardt realized that the invisible presence had disappeared, so his eyes grew wide as he wondered why. He’d never seen Yeon-woo retreat from a path that he’d chosen.
It grew more difficult for Yeon-woo to say something. What if he and Leonhardt hadn’t met? Would Leonhardt continue living this way? Yeon-woo had no idea.
“What is the point of the meeting?” So, Yeon-woo changed the topic.
Leonhardt was still unsure of Yeon-woo’s sudden change of attitude, but he settled himself when the conversation moved onto a more important point. 『They’re preparing to replace Allforone.』
Leonhardt’s response was so unexpected that Yeon-woo’s eyes widened.
『We’re preparing to make a new incarnation for the Tower’s system to take over Allforone’s position.』
Something flashed through Yeon-woo’s mind: the event that had shaken the heavenly world two years ago. “Are you going to choose that new incarnation from among the gods who are suffering from Heavenly Demon Disease?”