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Chapter 419 - Dragon Temple (6)
“h.o.a.rder!” Ivan was the first to react to Yeon-woo’s presence. The battlefield was filled with confusion from Balnanta’s sudden attack, and he was the only one who chased after Yeon-woo. However, Balnanta stretched its hand towards the door, as if it wouldn’t let anyone approach. It brought the blade of its palm down, dividing s.p.a.ce.
Ivan activated his signature skill, Lion Mobilization “Hup!” Ivan quickly turned from running to Yeon-woo and brought his sword down. There was a wild clang, and his body shook as it was pushed away. His sword trembled and it was nearly cracked into pieces.
Sweat dripped down his back. If he had moved just a fraction slower, his back would have broken. Balnanta was more proficient in Lion Mobilization than him. ‘How can a mere combat automaton…!’
From what he knew, combat automatons could only imitate movements and not their opponents’ proficiency and power. This was too much. Was this the secret weapon the h.o.a.rder had prepared when he’d gone missing for a year? Or was it part of Blood Land’s machinations?
If neither of them had anything to do with it, then was it related to the strange message that had appeared when he’d crossed the portal?
[You have entered the hidden stage ‘Dragon Labyrinth’.]
Dragon Labyrinth? What was that? There were many different areas on the fiftieth floor, but there was no section with that name. Since it was a hidden stage, it was clearly a secret area—could it be related to the ruins that everyone thought lay under the Dragon’s Temple?
Rumble! However, Ivan didn’t have a chance to consider this much longer. Balnanta had arrived in front of him and punched him in the stomach. Ivan’s sword exploded, and blood spurted up.
In the meantime, the Head Bishop and Waltz chased after Yeon-woo and the Gluttony Emperor at the speed of light.
“Your Majesty! We’ll take care of this place, so please open the door! Tarbing, escort His Majesty!”
Duke Tuan Tien, who had been attending to the emperor, fell back. Boom! He activated his magic power, skidding as his flesh ripped apart and bone blades popped through his skin like a porcupine’s quills.
Duke Tuan Tien’s signature skill, Skeleton Sword, turned his bones into swords. After being combined with Guai from the Gluttony Emperor, his bones had grown abnormally tough, and he was a walking weapon.
When Duke Tuan Tien gripped his shoulders and pushed magic power in, his sharp bones instantly multiplied until he looked like a bush. The Head Bishop and Waltz frowned in annoyance and waved their hands in front of them. As they did, s.p.a.ce trembled and the pieces of bones exploded futilely.
However, the broken pieces obscured their vision, and taking advantage of this, blazing Inferno Sight appeared. 「I…forbid…you to….approach.」 Magic fell from the magic squares in the air. As the ground cracked, columns of fire shot up. Now that Boo was an Elder Lich, he had grown more powerful.
Swoosh. Holes appeared in the fog of bone dust, and the cracks in the ground stopped the Head Bishop and Waltz from approaching.
“You b.a.s.t.a.r.ds!” Waltz destroyed the attacks with a scowl. However, it wasn’t easy to get past Duke Tuan Tien and Boo, whose main purpose was to stop them. She tried using a dispel-type magic her mother, the Summer Queen, had taught her, but Boo brushed it aside as if he were showing her how superior he was to her. Waltz couldn’t allow this to continue, and so she separated her Nascent Soul Bodies.
She wasn’t eager to do it because she might expose her weaknesses as she divided her power, but she had no choice. Dozens of Nascent Soul Bodies spread around her and chased after Yeon-woo.
“Oh dear!” Duke Tuan Tien tried to stop them, but it wasn’t easy. A few of them managed to successfully cross the cracks Boo had created.
Just then, unfamiliar faces appeared through the dust cloud.
“With the scale of this fight, I see that friend still brings trouble wherever he goes.”
“I’ll create a barrier first.”
“Demon Beauty! We’ll take care of this place!”
It was the Fantasy Regiment’s Regiment Leader, Creutz, Chatura, and Shanon. After realizing they were allies, they quickly entered the portal together. Edora, who was with Yeon-woo, greeted them, raising Divine Evil high in the air.
Boom! Balnanta, who had been busy with Ivan and Magnus, returned and began to attack Waltz and the Head Bishop from behind. In the midst of Aura explosions and collisions, Yeon-woo’s hand finally reached the iron door.
[A visitor has been recognized.]
[You have successfully opened the first gate of the Dragon Labyrinth.]
[You have successfully evaded the keeper of the door (Balnanta).]
[A hidden condition has been satisfied.]
“Finally…!” The Gluttony Emperor’s smile deepened. He knew that there was still a long way to go beyond this door, but he had the map. In contrast, their enemies would have to deal with countless guards the moment the labyrinth opened. Although it might not be a ma.s.sacre, they’d at least suffer great damage. In the meantime, he could take all the legacies of the Draconic species himself. His eyes were red, as though he were already seeing a mult.i.tude of treasures in front of him. He licked his lips.
[Hidden trials are beginning.]
[1st trial: survive the labyrinth.]
“What?” The Gluttony Emperor’s eyes widened at the unexpected message. He instinctively turned to Yeon-woo, whose eyes were curved in a cold smile behind his mask.
“Ca…!” Before the Gluttony Emperor could finish calling Yeon-woo, a light from the labyrinth brightened over everything in the common hall and swallowed them up.
* * *
After I received Kalatus’ summons, I immediately went to his lair. I didn’t experience it myself, but from what I heard from the protector Uballa, apparently there are various trials in the labyrinth.
The labyrinth is the last safe haven Kalatus made for many Draconic species. He explained that if someone dared to disturb their rest, they had to show that they were qualified to do so. The trials in the temple are part of the labyrinth’s trials, as well.
When I heard it all…I’ll just stop here. However, I became sure of one thing: from the start, rankers and ordinary players are f.u.c.ked. Scattering players along the complicated labyrinth at random locations and making them find their way on their own? And that’s not all. Just listening to the things they have to face…whew, it’s not humane!
Oh, I guess Kalatus isn’t human, so, wow, what a reptilian thing to do.
“Looks like things are going according to plan for now,” Yeon-woo muttered to himself, scanning his surroundings. All he could see was a cave covered in stalact.i.tes. Deep caverns yawned to his left and right, but it was so dark that he couldn’t see much of them. He seemed to be alone, which meant that things were going well, at least for now.
‘The players at the entrance have probably been scattered around, too.’ Fighting multiple forces would only be disadvantageous for him, but it was a different situation if their locations were designated randomly. With the soldiers split up, they’d be wary of each other at the same time, and with limited resources in such a large place, self-preservation would come first.
They’d break away from their groups and even attack each other. The Lion Alliance, the Elohim, the Devil Army, White Dragon, and Blood Land had all fallen in a trap.
Soon enough, news of this place would reach the floors above as well, and more people would jump in as rumors of the Dragon Labyrinth and Kalatus’ grave spread like wildfire. The more people entered the labyrinth, the larger the chaotic chessboard would become until it was a black hole that swallowed everything up. It was the ideal scenario for Yeon-woo.
However, labyrinth posed a problem for him: the Channels that always tailed him were now shut. ‘So, it doesn’t work.’
Dragon Temple. Dragon Labyrinth. Obviously, Kalatus considered it unpleasant to have other beings looking into their safe haven.
Many players that weren’t Apostles borrowed the strength of G.o.ds and demons as well. Now, all of those abilities had been taken away because of the trait of the Draconic species. Although they had remained in the lower world while the G.o.ds and demons ascended to the heavenly world, they were once their equals and also transcendent species. There was no way Kalatus would approve of those irritating gazes.
However, with all the Channels closed, Yeon-woo wouldn’t be able to open Sky Wings. ‘I wonder if the Black King’s power is working.’ Fortunately, he saw that the three Casts were trembling and nodded. Since the Cast of the Black King gave power through artifacts, it seemed unrelated to the Channels.
It was a shame he couldn’t use Sky Wings, but as long as he had the Black King’s power, he’d probably get through the labyrinth without too much trouble. He already knew of a shortcut to get to the lair. There was one other drawback.
[‘Dragon’s Curse’ has been applied.]
[Your attack and defensive powers are dropping.]
[Your elemental power and control are dropping.]
The debuffs of the hidden stages were being applied.
[The trait ‘Demonic Draconic Divine Body’ has partially released you from ‘Dragon’s Curse’.]
Thanks to his draconic body type, the curse was minimized, but his body still felt heavier than normal. ‘With this, even the kings will have trouble, since the Dragon’s Curse’s effectiveness rises in parallel to your power.’
No matter whether they were rankers, high rankers, or even the Nine Kings, would they be able to overcome the trials and attacks from the graveyard keepers with all the constraints? Yeon-woo smiled evilly, thinking of the players that were probably dealing with the guards at this moment.
He was worried about Edora, who wasn’t with him, but he believed she was smart enough to find the lair. He had told her about the formation of the labyrinth in advance. ‘That kid will be able to do it.’
[Survive the labyrinth.]
After reading the description of the first trial, Yeon-woo slowly extended his Extrasensory Perception around him. First, he needed to know where he was. ‘Oh, right.’ He suddenly remembered the face of the Regiment Leader, who had been next to Creutz before they entered the labyrinth. ‘It was him.’ Yeon-woo’s eyes darkened.