Chapter 650 - A Common Front (6)

  Sssss! Darkness bloomed around Yeon-woo and wrapped around him, creating a spine-chilling sight. Yeon-woo felt as if the concept of death around him was stronger. The spring was more controlled after being combined with the 666 cogwheels. This was probably the meaning of that message saying that he had gained more properties of darkness. However, there was another message that stood out to him—that the Black King had noticed his presence. This was no trifling matter. 

  ‘Does this mean…the Black King is slowly waking up? Or did he sense my presence in his subconscious?’ This was the first time Yeon-woo had received this kind of message. 

  According to the Heavenly Demon, the Black King was tightly sealed beneath the Tower, and he had fallen into a long slumber due to the shock. The world’s minus or negatives, concepts such as antimatter, disorder, dreams and death, and chaos were created at the time. And because the Black King was closer to a conceptual being, he didn’t have any particular consciousness or ego, which was why it was said he “fell into a deep slumber.” The fact that “sensed” was used in the message held many meanings. 

  Yeon-woo didn’t know if that would benefit or harm him. Since he was borrowing the Black King’s power, it would most likely be a source of greater power, but that meant that Yeon-woo would be more bound to the Black King. Moreover, as long as other successors like Harmonia existed, he couldn’t use the Black King’s power with ease. 

  It was possible the Black King was trying to have Yeon-woo and Harmonia compete against each other. Whatever his intent was, it resulted in Yeon-woo becoming warier. If the Black King was truly slowly waking up, as Harmonia and the Sea of Time proclaimed, it wasn’t something Yeon-woo could disregard. However, that was that, and the most important thing now was focusing on killing Allforone. 

  Yeon-woo looked down at Count Ferenc’s family, who had sworn to worship him as a god. ‘By having others worship me as a divine being, it’s the best way to collect lots of faith, and quality faith at that.’ The gods and demons of death had already pledged to serve him as their master. However, that was only the allegiance of subjects to their king, not as worshippers of a god. 

  Although kings and gods were similar because they were both obeyed as authority figures, they were completely different. Obeying a king meant the king had an aptitude to lead; it was almost an exchange since people obeyed kings hoping they’d rule in their favor. Meanwhile, obeying a god meant you sincerely submitted to the god and followed them unconditionally. There weren’t any calculations or exchanges that were involved, since their beliefs were unwavering. They purely gave their hearts and they didn’t resent the gods even if the gods didn’t care about them. 

  At times, the worship of a god became pure madness, or it became paranoia, and this caused harm to others. The Devil Army and the Sea of Time were prime examples. However, most people who followed a religion were able to fulfill the “want” that all humans had, so excluding a few rare cases, religion usually had positive effects. 

  The gods and demons served Yeon-woo; they didn’t worship him. Their worship was only for the Black King. If Yeon-woo gave up the position of the Black King’s successor, the gods and demons of death would turn their backs on him without looking back. They’d point their swords at him saying he was a traitor.

  ‘But they’re different.’ Yeon-woo smiled as he watched Count Ferenc’s family, who had all sought darkness and gained strength that was powerful enough to hold the mighty Allforone down. And they had all pledged their submission to him—not the Black King, but Yeon-woo himself. 

  Because Count Ferenc’s family were all pretty much divine gods, the faith they offered stacked up inside of Yeon-woo. He felt as if his soul, which didn’t have space to grow fuller, had filled up. He was already worshipped as the king of the Ghost Giants and controlled the dragons of death, but this was an entirely new feeling… It was what Yeon-woo had wanted all along—raising the amount of faith in him, and focusing all the faith below the seventy-seventh floor to him. Allforone’s raid would be an important key to opening that door, after all.

  Yeon-woo didn’t say anything to their oath of submission. From experience, he knew that silence could carry a weight that got his point across. Instead, he looked at the other beings in the prison. Part of the reason why Yeon-woo invaded the prison first was due to Kronos’ request to keep Count Ferenc’s promise, but he had another target in mind too. 

  “…eek!”


  “…”


  “…”


  The inmates, who were carefully peeking at Count Ferenc’s family, quickly looked away when they met Yeon-woo’s gaze. They looked like thieves who were caught in the job. Strangely, they all seemed discouraged. Yeon-woo could even feel their fear as they glanced at him. If they were beings who Allforone forced here, they must’ve been quite powerful… Now, it was like their souls were defeated. 

  “Count.”


  “Yes, sir.”


  “What happened?”


  Yeon-woo didn’t speak formally to the Count as Kronos did. Since they had chosen to worship him as a god, he needed to establish a suitable hierarchy. At times, speech was the prime factor that determined relationships. 

  Fortunately, Count Ferenc seemed to think it was only natural. Although Yeon-woo didn’t specify the nature of his question, the count understood him perfectly. Their invisible connection of faith allowed him to assume what Yeon-woo meant. “Restricted freedom and eons of time can dull even the sharpest minds.”


  “Are you saying they’re rusted?”


  “Yes.”


  Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes. It meant all the inmates in this prison had lost their determination to fight against Allforone. 

  They were once ambitious, skilled beings who represented players and rankers and even attempted to bring down Allforone’s fortress. They seemed the same as they were in Kronos’ memories. At the time, the only one who had shown interest in the captured Kronos was Count Ferenc. The others were disinterested or only curious in the slightest—they were lethargic. 

  Still, Yeon-woo couldn’t believe that all of these powerful beings could lose their resolve no matter how long it had been. ‘Maybe it was harder for them to recover after being defeated by an obstacle since they were always at the top. Or Allforone tried to pull something.’


  If anyone was exposed to the Ataraxia that took effect upon entering the seventy-seventh floor, they’d continue to lose both strength and willpower. Count Ferenc was probably not as defeated because he’d entered the prison relatively recently. 

  ‘This won’t do.’ Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes. He had planned on encouraging the inmates and using them to fight against Allforone, as well as having them worship him like Count Ferenc’s family to raise the amount of his faith. But he was met with an unexpected obstacle. However, that didn’t mean he could just leave them be. 

  ‘It’ll be a pain in the side if they become Allforone’s subordinates like the dead dragon race.’ Yeon-woo hardened his resolve and decided to be harsh. Even though Allforone was busy handling the other divine beings, he’d soon realize Yeon-woo had invaded deep into his territory. Yeon-woo needed to finish everything before that.

  Swish! Yeon-woo released as much darkness as he could. Then, shadows began to spread along the untainted ground like ink stains. 

  [Shadow Domain]

  “H-Huh?”


  “W-What’s this? Aaack!”


  The inmates retreated to escape the unfamiliar shadows, but they couldn’t get away from it. The shadows instantly turned the prison to black. Clatter, clatter! The chains that soared from the shadows tightly bound the inmates’ limbs. The inmates struggled to escape, but there was no way they could overcome the chains that even Mother Earth couldn’t. 

  [‘Summon of the Dead’ has been activated.]

  [Who would you like to summon?]

  “Laplace.”


  Ssss!

  「You’ve called for me again! Hohoho! What can I do for you, master?」


  “…block it.” Yeon-woo felt like he heard something he shouldn’t have, but his brain automatically filtered the words and allowed him to speak.

  Fortunately, Laplace immediately understood Yeon-woo’s orders. He returned to his large true body and stretched his hand forward. At the same time, the inner light rays that the shadow wasn’t able to reach extended toward Yeon-woo. Laplace touched those rays and they scattered into different directions. 

  Looking at Laplace’s half-broken hand, the inmates all felt chills running down their backs. What would have happened if they had been exposed to that light? They’d have died without leaving any trace behind. ‘Allforone is returning.’


  「As a High Guardian, there was something I was curious about.」Laplace was looking at where the rays scattered in an attempt to form a human shape. 

  [The player ‘Vivasvat’ is descending!]

  「There are already beings, the High Guardians, to restore and manage the system to ensure it works fine, but there’s also a separate incarnation who even has an ego. And it’s not like he works with us… I don’t know why the Bureau is required. So the result I came to was simple.」Laplace was larger than the Titans Yeon-woo had seen in Tartarus, so he couldn’t see his face. However, Yeon-woo felt like Laplace was smiling as he said this.「I can learn the answer if I beat that incarnation up. Then, I’ll see how the system responds. And right now, my master has created a nice opportunity for me!」


  Laplace was a magical creature who had climbed up to the Tower for amusement because he was bored in the Demonic Sea. Then, when the magical creature found another source of amusement, he swung his regenerated arm at Allforone with a flushed face. Crash… Although Laplace only swung his arm, the space in the swing’s trajectory was crushed. 

  [Part of the holy territory has permanently been damaged!]

  [Part of the holy territory has permanently been damaged!]

  …


  [A new substance that has not been observed in the Tower is contaminating the holy territory!]

  Even if Laplace had gained the title of “player,” he was made of chaos and disorder. If he left for an otherworld, he’d easily be classified as an Outer God. On the other hand, Allforone was born from the Heavenly Demon, who had created the Tower and had the properties of light, which represented balance and order. 

  Of course Laplace would be a pain in Allforone’s side—since they had polar opposite properties. Laplace wasn’t bound to the Tower’s system like the players or transcendence that gave faith to Allforone. He was one of the few who wasn’t bound to Allforone. Naturally, Laplace’s attacks were critical to Allforone. 

  Crash! The clash between the two heavily influenced the stage. Cracks began to appear throughout the light-filled stage. Darkness stained the light like ink on clothes, and the prison that bound the countless inmates collapsed to pieces.

  Laplace burst out laughing. His maniacal laughter spread through the stage. All the gods and demons were looking at him. 

  Clatter!

  Yeon-woo tightened the chains and asked the scared inmates a question, “I’ll give you one last chance. What will you choose between freedom and captivity?”


  If they wanted freedom, they’d have to fight a painful battle, but death would follow if they wanted to be comfortable in captivity. Of course, if they chose the latter, Yeon-woo planned on forcing them into being his subordinates. If they had no will to fight, he could put reins on them and work them like cows. If they chose the former, he’d give them an opportunity to regain their willpower. 

  Fight and death were both of his divine powers, so it didn’t matter to Yeon-woo what choice they made. He just asked them out of courtesy what they wanted. 

  “W-We will…”


  “…fight.”


  The answers that returned were the last of their passion to fight. 

  “Please…allow us to help.” The inmates had seen a small glimpse of hope upon seeing Count Ferenc and the rest of the divine beings that surrounded the prison. 

  A smile spread across Yeon-woo’s face. “I’ll help you so you can.”


  [A new follower has pledged their allegiance!]

  [A new follower has pledged their allegiance!]

  …


  [The amount of your faith is increasing rapidly!]

  …


  [The amount of faith in you has exceeded the limit.]

  …


  [You have gained more properties of darkness.]

  [You have gained more properties of darkness.]

  …


  Yeon-woo baptized the inmates with darkness, making them new followers. Suddenly, a halo floated above the followers. The sight of tens of light rays gathering as one was radiant but fearsome at the same time. Hidden within them were the energies of death and fighting. 

  Crash!

  [The divine ability of ‘Fight’ has been strengthened!]

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