Chapter 184 - Descendant of a Dragon (2)
The flame in front of the World Tree had grown.
It looked like a black flame. The color looked to be the manifestation of impure blood.
When one got closer, one could see the evil spirits swimming around it.
Within the black flame, one could see a white flame burning within.
There was a Dragon's Heart slowly melting away, and the white flame was using the Dragon's Heart as fuel.
Woojin had already sat in front of the burning fire for well over 10 days. He was focused solely on the evil spirits, so he didn't have the time to take stock of what was going on around him.
It was a private battle that drew the attention of the people around Woojin. However, when it continued on for over 10 days, the heroes of the Coalition started focusing on their assigned roles.
It would have been great if Woojin fixed the Colony using his god-like power, but he was too busy. So the Coalition had to fix the place themselves.
It took them 20 days to roughly secure the surrounding.
The corpses of tens of thousands of monsters were gathered in a single location, and an enormous mountain was transformed from it. One could see blood stained patches in various locations on the mountain.
The Immortal stayed steadfastly in place, but his Undead Army was razing the nearby regions as they slaughtered all the monsters.
Their activities allowed the people of the Coalition, who had been barely hanging on by a thread by hiding, to gather in droves around the Saurus mountain.
However, there were still a lot of suspicious people, who thought this was a trap made by some Dimensional lord. So they weren't rash in coming to the mountain. This was why the heroes of the Coalition had to expand their base of operation as they rescued the people. They were steadily growing their forces.
The Phantom Unit being led by Blanka and Che-haesol was also achieving great results in Alphen.
"It has been awhile, yet the rear troops haven't come through yet."
"....Hmmm. We might be the last one to cross."
Supporting troops had been sent in an effort to save Alphen.
Kahng-woojin, Hong-sunggoo and Do-jaemin had been the first wave, and the Phantom unit was the second wave to arrive. Everyone was a member of Alandal.
Whether it was to exploit or putting a prescence on Alphen, many guilds from various countries wanted to come to Alphen. However, none of them had show up yet.
Either they gave up on coming here themselves, or there was a reason why they weren't able to come here.
"It seems something grave may be happening on earth...."
Hong-sunggoo lay near death, and Do-jaemin quickly returned to earth using the Gate. Their king hadn't moved an inch after sitting in front of the flame, so they couldn't even ask him questions. Their curiosity was driving them nuts.
They had several suspicions, yet they had no choice, but to wait.
They decided to stick to the initial plan. The Phantom Unit trained as they helped the Coalition.
"I'm a little bit worried. What if we aren't able to go back home?"
"I'll be ok, Blanka. Do you doubt our king? If there is no roads, he'll pave one himself."
"Hoo-ooh. My mother sometimes appears in my dreams. I'm really worried."
Haesol calmly soothed Blanka, then she went to meet Tauric.
"Ah, Captain Haesol. What can I do for you?"
Tauric welcomed her. Even amongst the freaks that came over from earth with the Immortal, Haesol and the Phantom unit was a bit special. They worked very well together, and they were very good at carrying out missions.
They were a group that specialized in search and rescue.
"Have you found the Holy Maiden yet?"
"Hmm... We are trying our best, but we haven't found her yet."
Aside from the people from Alandal, the Phantom Unit was most familiar with Holy Maiden Melody in the Coalition. She had already been missing for several dozen days.
She had left with Kahng-woojin to find Aria's Temple, yet she hadn't returned yet.
Several cynics spread a false rumor that Melody had been murdered by the Immortal.
Since the accused couldn't defend himself, there was no way they could completely dismiss such a claim...
Latasha lightly ran down the road leading from the castle walls, and she came to a stop in front of them. There was an excited expression on her face as if she had met an old friend. Her face was flushed.
"The Holy Maiden of Aria is back!"
"Oh oh. Really?"
"She is coming up from the base of the mountain."
"It seems all the spirits within Alphen is trying to help us."
Since the Holy Maiden was back, she would be able to cure those, who weren't recovering from their wounds. She was basically like a savior sent by the gods.
There was no one, who could rival Melody in terms of Holy Power. Moreover, since she had acquired Aria's Holy Item, her power would have grown much stronger.
The gathered heroes ran down to greet the Holy Maiden of Aria. They went to greet her with a happy heart. A big crowd was gathered around her to celebrate her return, but when they caught sight of her, Melody didn't have a bright expression on her face.
"What happened, Voice of Aria?"
Melody's voice somehow sounded sorrowful.
"The Immortal was short on time, so he went ahead of me. I just followed behind..."
"Oh oh. Is that so? You went through a lot of hardship. You did very well."
Even as Tauric fiercely greeted Melody, he immediately ask her for a favor. Since he was the leader, he had to deliver the difficult messages. It was the right thing to do.
"I know you've just arrived, so I'm being shameless. However, there are people crying out from pain. Could you give them the Blessing of Aria?"
Melody let out a weak laugh as she followed after Tauric..
"I want to welcome you back."
"I am so happy that you came back safely."
"Thank you, Holy Maiden."
She was being congratulated by the people, but she barely smiled. Her smile indicated that she was uncomfortable with something.
It seemed as if Woojin would wake up in a short amount of time, but 20 days had passed. He wasn't showing any signs of waking up.
Many people wondered how a person could live without moving or eating. However, if one thought about the Immortal's past exploits, this was nothing.
Moreover, people were more worried about the state of the planet than him.
The political landscape of this continent had gone through a seismic change.
The Immortal had re-appeared, and the fractured Coalition was being rebuilt. Moreover, the Dimensional lords, who had taken over almost the entirety of Alphen, were being taken down.
The Undead army had swept through the battlefield, and they had already cleared a wide area. They had cleared about one third of the planet.
In other words, even as this large area was being pacified, the Immortal hadn't woken up.
He stayed in place to protect the waning flame of a life.
A woman was watching the Immortal.
Melody looked at the nearly melted Dragon's Heart, the small flame, the black evil spirits, and Kahng-woojin. He was sitting in front of these elements, and she monitored the situation.
'Oh goddess. How could you give me such a tribulation.'
She felt resentment.
After giving everything of herself to her goddess, this was the first time Melody felt resentment towards her goddess.
Melody couldn't understand the latest oracle.
-You have to burn the World Tree for Alphen.
They were barely able to bloom this Symbol, which had become the hope of the Coalition. Yet she had to burn it with her own hands? Moreover, this was the last gate leading to Kahng-woojin's Dimensional Domain.
If the gate was destroyed, he'll be trapped in Alphen. He'll be trapped here until he could gain another Dungeon.
It wasn't as if she didn't know what her goddess was aiming for. However, she questioned whether such an action was just.
She felt tormented.
The feelings inside her heart fought each other to fill her with anguish and suffering. It was a big burden for her.
"What are you doing here?"
Melody was so surprised that her heart almost jumped out of her chest.
Kahng-woojin smirked when he saw the hiccuping Melody.
"Are you a pervert? Why are you spying on me?"
"I...I'm not a pervert. Hic."
Melody's face was red for no reason, and she couldn't look straight into Woojin eyes. She was feeling embarrassment, guilt and sorriness. Moreover, her heart was pounding....
"What made you move right now..."
Melody took a glance behind him, and she couldn't locate the evil spirits nor the Dragon's Heart. The only thing left behind was a small red and white flame. It was lighting up the surrounding like a candle.
"Well, I pretty much did all I can."
"How's Sunggoo-nim doing?"
"It is all up to him now. Ah. I hope he comes out ok."
Melody's eyes turned round.
"What do you mean..?"
"He's being reborn without experiencing death. He'll probably come out after remolding himself a little bit."
Melody was still confused by his words, so her puzzled expression refused to leave her face. Woojin changed the topic.
"Give me your Holy Item."
Melody hesitated. As soon as he got up, he was asking for her Holy Item....
"Hurry up and give it to me."
"I...I lost it."
Woojin suddenly pushed his face towards Melody, and he looked straight into her eyes.
She didn't have the courage to look into the fathomless depth of his eyes, so she lowered her head.
"Well, all right."
Woojin backed off without making much of a fuss.
"I want it found before I get back."
He still had one more Holy Item to acquire besides Aria's Holy Item.
"W...where are you going?"
Is he going back to earth? What if he never returned to Alphen?
She looked at him with worried eyes, but Woojin spoke in an offhand manner.
"Where else? I need to go catch Heres' follower."
The five Holy Items were sub-ingredients for the Thrash's Set Items.
He just needed the ingredient for the belt. Afterwards, his task would be complete once he received Aria's Circlet. The other Ingredient Items were co across different Dimensions, so he could just use his Points to purchase it.
"Ah. I want you to protect the Colony until I get back."
"Why aren't you answering me?"
"Then I'll be putting my trust in you."
When Woojin walked away, Melody was alone. The strength in her legs drained out of her, and she sat on the ground as if she was collapsing.
Her anguish deepened.
The Wyvern's screech stabbed at her ears.
She would have preferred a Dragon's roar. She was used to the sound of the wind brushing by her ears, so the sound of the Wyverns was painful to the Elf.
"W...why do I have to go with you?"
The headwind was making her skin scrunch up. The poor elf complained about her unfair situation.
"You were the only one, who looked completely free."
The Immortal spoke in an off hand manner as if her troubles were over nothing. Latasha's clenched fists shook.
"...of course, I have things to do!"
"The one that has least to do has to become my guide."
"....why do you keep insisting I was doing nothing?"
"Am I on the right path?"
The surface of the ground was passing by quickly. When Woojin indirectly asked her a question, she looked around in a disgruntled fashion before she spoke.
"Over there. You have to go past the rock mountain."
"The one with the best eyesight has to be my guide."
She couldn't refute the Immortal's argument, so she kept biting at her blameless lips.
"God of time..."
Five gods had the Master Codes of Alphen.
He'll have the last Holy Item in couple days.
The meat was spitting out fat as it cooked deliciously over the campfire.
"Wow. It looks incredibly delicious."
Six children were gathered in a small group.
They were sitting around the fire with meat skewers in their hands. When the meat was done, one of the children started chewing on it.
"Oh wow. It is really tasty!"
"Wow. You're right."
All the children started taking a bite out of the meat, and they had a happy expression on their faces. Up until now, the children had been busy trying to follow the adults as they fled for safety.
However, they were very quick to adjust to anything thrown at them. The very first change that happened when they arrived at the Saurus mountain was the fact that smiles returned to their faces. Laughters of children erupted from within the mountain.
One child spoke in a boastful manner.
"I heard it from my mom."
"What did she say?"
"I heard the Flame Spirit King died here."
"Yeah. She said it is the reason why this flame never goes out."
It was the first time they heard this story, so the children's eyes shone brightly. The Fire Spirit King from earth had performed a lot of weird shows at the square, so he was very popular amongst the children.
A flame remained where he had died....
"So that's why our meat is cooking so deliciously!"
"Let's cook here again tomorrow."
"Yeah. Let's do that."
The children were in a world where deaths and goodbyes were too familiar. The innocent children made a promise as they swore to meet again tomorrow as they locked their dirty pinkies.
The flame continued to get smaller and larger. It was breathing.