Chapter 99: On a Different Level (4)
Anytime, anywhere, Muyoung always thought of the worst-case scenario before he acted.
And if he was to bump into the Sword Bone Trio?
He couldn't win.
Due to the fight with Dark Dragon Barca, Muyoung lost most of his undead.
Not just that. At that time, he had a chance to fight and work through it because he had over 20,000 dwarves, a huge castle wall, and 50 magical barriers.
However, it was hard to get that assistance now.
If it's the Sword Bone Trio, they were strong enough to easily hunt a dragon.
Muyoung's current fighting power was definitely not weak. You could even say he was strong enough to be included in the top 1% of humanity.
However, among them, the oldest brother Sword One was one of the top 10 humans.
Not a 0.01% but a 0.001% being!
And they were famous for not letting go of an opponent they targeted.
"Sword One, Sword Two, and Sword Three. And in the past, I assassinated Sword Three."
They weren't brothers who shared the same blood. However, they were closer than blood.
They were crazy about swords but their bond was tighter than anything else.
When Muyoung lived as an assassin of the Forest of Death, he had assassinated Sword Three.
It was the request of Alexandro Quintart of the Sun Guild and it was to keep the Lawless clan in check.
After the Great Calamity, with the head of the Lawless Clan as the center, they united, managed their crisis well and continued a steep growth which made the Sun Guild feel endangered.
Because of this Sword One and Sword Two went violent.
After a long 3 years of relentless persistence, they destroyed five chapters of the Forest of Death.
In the end, the Sun Guild proclaimed an all-out war against the Lawless Clan and in the turmoil of it the two also died but, if that didn't happen, the foundation of the Forest of Death could have faltered.
'The Sword Bone Trio is after the world tree?'
He needed to found out why.
However, no matter how much he thought about it, he had no idea why the Sword Bone Trio was here at this time.
The land of God-King Oris would have become known after a long while later.
It was all thanks to humans facing elves and hearing about the legend.
'To know about the land of God-King Oris, you need to meet a spirit and then an elf.'
To do this you need to do something before and after.
To elves, the land of God-King Oris was like a legend.
Only a very few elves knew of its existence and lived in large cities where normal elves gathered.
And to enter those cities, it was required to make contact with spirits.
Friends of spirits weren't easily approachable even by elves.
If they weren't elves, humans would never be able to enter their city.
To enter, the only way was to crush them through a war.
'If the future had changed, it was probably due to my actions.'
Muyoung rubbed his chin.
If there weren't any more people who returned from the future, all of it would have been the results of Muyoung's actions.
However, Muyoung has not spent much time among humans.
Muyoung also only influenced a small number of people.
So, who would have found out about the land of God-King Oris and told the Lawless Clan?
By looking at how they were after the world tree, it seemed like they also knew about it.
Tacan who stood by him spoke.
"Muyoung, there are humans who are quite strong."
As he looked at the frozen wall the Sword Bone Trio climbed, Tacan placed his sword back in.
Muyoung erased distracting thoughts and replied seriously.
"There are lots. More than what you think."
"Is that true? I didn't expect you to say so. I thought humans were an easily frightened and weak species. To see that there are humans who stimulate my fighting spirit, it seems like it isn't completely true."
As if Tacan realized something, he nodded his head.
It was so. Humans weren't weak.
Just, all the strengths were scattered and were used to fight each other that they weren't used properly.
If they were to unite, they wouldn't have fallen behind in vain.
However, it was also impossible for them to unite as one.
Muyoung calculated as so.
"Besides that, Muyoung. Is a world tree really at a place like this? I don't know what God-King Oris is but if it's the world trees, I know a bit. Like the word implies, isn't it a tree that supports the world? The place where everything gets conceived first."
It was incomparable to the 'Poom Tree' the fire tars enshrined.
The world trees were trees that supported the world.
That was why the world trees were not visible by normal eyes.
It was a 'spiritual existence'.
Only the gatekeeper who protects the place knew how to see the world trees.
To be honest, Muyoung also didn't know much about the world trees.
It was because he had never seen it before.
He had only heard that it existed.
In the Underworld, there were six world trees, and it was told that among them 3 were managed by the Demon Gods, one by the elves, and one by an ancient dragon.
Of course, the one that was left was at this place, the land of God-King Oris.
"Tacan, we need to find the gatekeeper before they do."
But, there was something that the current Muyoung was better at than the Sword Bone Trio.
Muyoung was a master at finding things.
One move, or as much as two moves ahead of them.
The Sword Bone Trio was good at but they weren't better than Muyoung.
Muyoung took a deep breath and started to move.
He didn't have time.
All the 'gatekeepers' were required to have a knack at protecting but if a gatekeeper was supposed to protect something that wasn't visible like the world tree, he would require more private security.
It would probably be hard to find by a normal method.
"How about you release a flying type undead? If I release specters, we could probably search every inch of this place."
He certainly did have a point.
But, it didn't seem like the gatekeeper of the world tree would be found by a simple search.
Muyoung decided to start searching from the lower parts.
"He might feel endangered and hide in the deeper parts. If he ever decided to hide, it would be much harder to find him."
"There is no use in hiding…"
Muyoung interrupted Tacan.
"Tacan, I heard that the world trees were managed by elves. Is that right?"
"Ummm, you're half correct and half wrong."
It was sort of common sense to believe that the world trees were owned by elves. However, Tacan said he was only half correct.
He asked because Tacan said it was the 'place where the first conception takes place' but it was quite unexpected.
"The world trees that support the world were originally managed by the elves and the ancient dragons. Since the world trees bore new species in eggs, they needed strong species to protect it. And since they could also stay at the sacred ground, it was good for both parties."
"The world trees make new species?"
"You didn't know?"
It was the first time he had heard of this.
Well, there wasn't much that humans knew about the world trees.
Tacan was one of the sovereigns of the Asura's Path.
He was a predator who managed a numerous number of specters.
It wasn't strange for him to know something that no one else knew of.
After looking at Muyoung's expression, Tacan scratched his cheek before he continued to talk.
"It might be misleading to say new species are created. Since there is another theory that says that they 'recreate' things that existed in different worlds. Only the high elves or the ancient dragons would know the truth but…"
High elves and ancient dragons.
They were both very small in number and very powerful.
Transcendental species that surpassed normal elves and dragons.
They were monsters that lived for more than a few thousand years.
"For a gatekeeper here in this ice land, which species do you think he is?"
Tacan was well-informed compared to Muyoung, at least regarding the world trees.
Muyoung humbly accepted the truth and asked.
Tacan shrugged his shoulders as he talked.
"Not an elf. Even if he was a high elf, he couldn't live in a place like this. Although their magical powers are absolutely pure, their bodies are too weak. On the other hand, ancient dragons could live here but there is no good reason for them to stay here. It's because dragons are naturally born with hot energy."
"You think he might be a third species?"
"You don't even need to go as far as a third species. If he settled in a place like this to protect the world tree, it is highly likely for him to be a half dragon type. A mix with the blood of a high elf, or a devil."
Tacan seemed quite certain.
"Not a devil."
Muyoung was also certain that he wasn't a devil.
This place was part of the Demon God's Territory but it was in a more remote area than where devils lived.
Indeed, at the edge of the world, a few hundred thousand devils lived together.
"Then he must be a half dragon type species."
Muyoung sat for a moment.
More haste, less speed.
If he acted rashly, there was a chance that he might get further from his goal.
So, Muyoung checked from the bottom.
What should he do to find a half dragon type species that has blood from an ancient dragon and a high elf?
If the gatekeeper inherited both characteristics, his strength should be close to a transcendental species.
If he decided to hide, there was a possibility that even Muyoung wouldn't be able to find him.
Muyoung thought of the details of finding 'God-King Oris's Throne'1.
In the past, the owner of the ring was a completely different person.
'The Monster Scholar Kim Ahin.'
A woman who studied monsters.
She would be in the top 10 most eccentric people.
However, how she earned the God-King Oris's Throne and information about it wasn't written in detail in her history.
Just that, 'Found the gatekeeper. Through a bet with him, I found God-King Oris's Throne,' was written.
Naturally, histories were like that but it was necessary to think about what Monster Scholar Kim Ahin might have been doing when she found the gatekeeper.
'She had learned about this land and gained curiosity about how the monsters lived in such extreme land.'
This was the coldest land compared to any other place.
In this land where an abominable snowman couldn't even live in, there were other monsters that lived in this place.
As a scholar, she probably gained curiosity.
As she started her research, she probably found the gatekeeper.
Muyoung looked at a long-haired bear from afar.
It was a grizzly type but it was much bigger and had a thick hide.
As he carefully followed the path the bear went, he was able to find it eating a blue mushroom that was buried under the snow.
Name - Blue Mushroom
Description: Mushrooms born from the snow spirits. Constant use of this mushroom will purify magical powers and allow you to gain strong resistance against cold.
'This is it.'
Just to be certain, he watched other animals and monsters but they all ate the same Blue Mushrooms that were buried under the snow.
Resistance to snow.
However, Muyoung paid more attention to the first part of the sentence.
Purification of magical powers!
'Half type species have chronic problems with magical powers.'
Half. It meant mixed.
Since it became one with another species, there was no way it didn't have any side effects.
Usually, from birth, there were lots of cases where their magical powers were tangled up.
If it was severe, it might make them go crazy and lead them to self-destruction.
And Tacan said the gatekeeper of the world tree would most likely be a half dragon type species.
You could say that the characteristics of an elf and a dragon were completely the opposite.
Compared to his strength, the side effects would have worsened… To purify it, he might have settled at a place like this.
The Monster Scholar Kim Ahin also would have researched about the Blue Mushrooms and coincidently found the place where the gatekeeper was located.
There is a chance that Oris might also not be a pure elf.
If he was a normal high elf, there would be no reason for him to plant the world tree at a place like this.
"The place where most of the Blue Mushrooms are located. That's where the gatekeeper is."
Muyoung's eyes sparkled.
He found a clue.
The Blue Mushrooms were mushrooms born by the snow spirits.
Of course, there was a high chance that he would be located at a place with lots of snow spirits.
And Muyoung could feel the spirits.
Since he possessed a completely different strength than the good-natured strength of the spirits, he could clearly know it better than others.
A smile crossed Muyoung's lips.
After passed through a complicated cave, he was able to find a house made out of ice.
Muyoung was certain that this was the gatekeeper's house.
Although the sky was completely visible, it seemed like there was something magically done to keep it from being visible from the outside.
And since Muyoung was barely able to notice any difference, it was an incredible skill.
"It's been a long time since a visitor has come here."
As he opened the door and went in, a blue skinned, long-eared man was in a chair and welcomed Muyoung.
At least there was no hostility.
Muyoung could feel a distinct relaxation that only strong individuals could have.
"Hmm, it truly has been a while. There must be a reason why you looked for me, right?"
"I came to make a bet with you."
Then, the man widened his eyes.
"It seems like you heard it from a high elf. Who was it? There shouldn't be many high elves who know I'm here. Even more, there should be far fewer people who know about the bet."
"The source isn't important."
"That is true. Now, let's introduce ourselves. I'm 'Swell'."
He concealed the fact that he was a gatekeeper.
Since it currently wasn't important, Muyoung didn't think much of it and replied.
"Good, Muyoung. And beside you is your pet?"
"Do you have a death wish or something?"
As Tacan acted up and backlashed at the man, Muyoung stopped him.
"Swell, I want a different fight."
"That's right, you mean a bet? If you lose, you become a frozen statue. Do you also know about this?"
Swell clapped his hands once.
Then, in the snowfield outside, hundreds of frozen statues popped out from the snow.
Muyoung looked outside for a moment before he nodded his head.
"I am aware. But if I win, I heard you will give out a treasure."
"What kind of treasure do you want?"
"God-King Oris's Throne."
"Oh ho… that? It seems like you truly are well aware of me. Then, there is a reasonable bet for it."
He wasn't really suspicious about Muyoung.
For him, the bet was all that was important.
Swell took out a fist-sized Blue Mushroom from Swell's pocket.
"Let's say the person who finds the biggest Blue Mushroom wins. The time limit will be by sunset. You move first. I will move after 6 hours."
For a moment, Muyoung blankly looked at Swell.
He felt like he had a similar conversation before.
It was so.
How similar was it to the conversation he had with Merlin at the Blue Temple?
Even the fact that he likes bets and that prideful tone made out an absolutely spitting image of him.
1 - Editor's Note: Throne = Ring