Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 53
A month ago…
The world of the 2nd Floor wasn’t all that nice of a place to live. The weather was hot and humid. It lacked food. And you never knew when monsters might attack the village.
Because of that, civilization had barely advanced, and every lodging was cramped and moldy.
The only silver lining was the low prices.
YuWon was used to filthy environments from experiencing war for such a long time, so he paid and entered the inn without hesitation.
As soon as he laid down on the bed, he could feel the bed frame creak. However, YuWon wasn’t concerned with stuff like that. His head right now was so full of thoughts, it felt like it was about to explode.
The nameless egg that was slumbering inside his inventory. YuWon had originally thought that it was a pathetic reward for having cleared the long Tutorial while breaking every single record.
There were only two types of eggs that YuWon knew. The first were eggs that mythical or magical beasts hatched from. The second were edible eggs for consumption.
Though he had assumed that this egg probably fell in the first category, it was clearly different.
The incubation rate was stuck at 0%.
YuWon had even been contemplating boiling it and eating it for nutrition if he couldn’t find a use for it.
‘Is it actually an Outer God’s egg?’
He knew that it was no ordinary egg. That’s why he came up with a few hypotheses.
One of them was that it might be an egg of some great Dragon or Demon, the ruling races of the Tower. But after confirming the pattern of an Outer God on it, as well as watching it eat the entirety of Orochi’s corpse, YuWon was certain.
Inside this egg was a ‘God’ that existed from outside of the Tower.
YuWon put his hand inside his inventory and pulled out the Egg, which had grown multiple times in size compared to when he had first obtained it.
The system was silent, and the Egg did not respond.
This was the first time he had attempted to talk to it. He couldn’t figure out if either it had heard him and was ignoring him or if it was still in slumber.
“Are you sleeping?”
He tried talking to it a few more times, but there was still no response. YuWon gave up on talking to it and put the Egg back into the inventory.
Aftering giving up on calling it out, he ended up thinking back to the Egg’s form that had feasted on Orochi’s corpse. A large, black something. The dozens of eyes and sharp teeth within it…
‘There’s no way it’s a monster that actually looks like that.’
YuWon had fought against quite a few Outer Gods.
Their appearances varied greatly. Some looked like animals while others looked human. One of them was so large you couldn’t properly perceive it’s form, and it possessed multiple tentacles.
However, guys like him weren’t the truly terrifying ones. Most of the scariest ones actually looked fairly normal. There was a simple reason for this. It was because they didn’t have a predetermined form. They acted like a mirror for their opponents’ emotions like fear. And by using those emotions, they revealed themselves.
Unknown and incomprehensible beings. Even YuWon, who had been fighting against them for so long, didn’t know everything about the Outer Gods.
‘If those guys were with me, I could at least talk it out with them.’
YuWon laid his head down on his bed.
Son OhGong, Hercules, Odin, Chronos, Asura…
YuWon thought back to the many comrades that fought together with him in the war.
Returning to the past from the destroyed Tower was a decision they’d made together, and the path he was on right now was the product of their discussion and research.
However, at this point in time, not a single person knew about the existence of Outer Gods. And of course, none of them would remember YuWon.
“Do I keep this alive or not?”
[「?’s Egg」 shakes its head.]
YuWon furrowed his brow.
He put his hand back inside his inventory.
Until just a moment ago, it wasn’t responding, but as soon as he started contemplating killing it or not, it answered.
That meant that it had heard YuWon and ignored him.
YuWon shook his head from the sudden outburst of annoyance. He wanted to stir-fry or boil it and eat it, but he couldn’t just do that.
The day was spent contemplating about the Egg.
Nervous, the Egg trembled. It knew that YuWon could toss it into a flaming hot fire at any moment.
After a whole day…
YuWon drew his sword.
[「?’s Egg」 is in shock.]
Was it due to the higher incubation rate? The Egg was communicating more of its feelings. It was only borrowing the system’s messages, but it was clear that the Egg was alive and breathing.
YuWon swung his sword down towards the Egg.
“It’s quite regretful.”
[「?’s Egg」 screams.]
A desperate message.
YuWon’s sword stopped right above the Egg.
The Egg wasn’t the only one that was nervous. YuWon, who didn’t know anything about it, was in the same boat.
After stopping the sword right over the Egg, YuWon took a second to look around.
It was tranquil. Nothing had happened.
Aftering putting the sword back in its scabbard, YuWon stared at it.
Thinking back to what happened with Orochi’s corpse, the Egg was clearly more than capable of exerting physical force. Yet, the thing didn’t bite its owner when he tried to harm it.
YuWon wasn’t certain if it didn’t or if it couldn’t, but this had demonstrated that it was likely not dangerous.
“Well… I guess I have no choice but to see what happens.”
* * *
[「?’s Egg」 twitches.]
[「?’s Egg」 feels cozy.]
From within the inventory, the Egg had been sending a message every once in a while since entering the territory of the Heavenly Demonic Cult.
The Egg had been silent since the 2nd Floor, yet here it was saying it was cozy.
YuWon took it out of his inventory. Seeing as how the incubation rate was still the same, it hadn’t grown at all in the past month.
“You like this?”
[「?’s Egg」 responds.]
“You need to tell me what your response is.”
[「?’s Egg」 nods its head.]
“So you do like this, huh.”
It hadn’t changed at all even after some time had passed, staying asleep most of the time.
YuWon guessed that in order to increase the incubation rate, he’d need some sort of power related to Outer Gods, like with 《Yamata no Orochi.》
[「?’s Egg」 falls asleep.]
The thing that had been sleeping for an entire month fell back asleep after saying just a few words. YuWon wasn’t sure why it had suddenly woken back up, but he guessed that it had something to do with the Cult.
“The Outer Gods and the Heavenly Demonic Cult…”
For there to be some sort of connection between the two… YuWon couldn’t be certain yet, but he had a feeling that this test wasn’t going to be easy.
“I hope I didn’t enter a tiger’s den.”
That was something he’d have to figure out first-hand from now on.
A guest had arrived at the Heavenly Demonic Cult. Within a day, the news broke out within the entire Cult.
“What interesting news.”
Someone who desired to take the Cult’s test.
The Heavenly Demonic Cult’s test wasn’t just infamous within the Cult, but it was like a ghost story within the Martial Realm.
The Cult was located in a place where you had to specifically seek it out, and even among the people who sought them out, many ended up leaving empty-handed.
That was why players no longer challenged the Cult’s test. It was an unspoken rule of sorts. Attempting the test would be a waste of your time at best, and at worst, you might even lose your life.
“A challenger, huh…”
“It’s the first one since Cheon JaRyong.”
“How many years has it been?”
“I think it’s been about 30 years.”
“It’s been 34 years.”
The four leaders that made up the Heavenly Demonic Cult had gathered together.
The Sword Lord, the Dao* Lord, the Spear Lord, and the Fist Lord.
*TL/N: In Murim/Wuxia, swords and daos are commonly differentiated. A sword is a double-bladed weapon, while a dao is a single-bladed weapon.
Each of them had reached the top of the Heavenly Demonic Cult within their respective fields, and they were the central figures that managed the cult.
The Cult Council was a meeting held between the Four Lords where they discussed matters regarding the Cult. Normally, they’d simply be talking about trading with the outside as well as small- and large-scale problems within Mt. Heaven, but today, a different matter was the central subject.
There was a new challenger attempting the Heavenly Demonic Cult’s test for the first time in decades.
“Cheon JaRyong has been loyal to the Cult since long ago, so that wasn’t a surprise. But who is this new fellow?”
“Apparently his name is Kim YuWon.”
“You haven’t heard of him? How can you know so little about how the world is going? I get that you’ve taken root inside Mt. Heaven, but I’ve constantly reminded you that you can’t ignore what’s going on in the Tower…”
“Stop the useless nagging. Just tell me who he is,” said the Sword Lord, the oldest among the Four Lords.
The Dao Lord, the one who was ‘uselessly nagging,’ cleared his throat before continuing, “So the thing is…”
His explanation of YuWon wasn’t all that long. To begin with, there wasn’t much known other than that he was a rookie that climbed up while rewriting the rankings of each floor.
“A new record… So his goal isn’t all that different from the previous challengers.”
“If there is one thing that’s different, it would be his skills. They say that he managed to clear up to the twentieth trial of the 1st Floor’s test…”
“We can’t be certain until we see him for ourselves. Rumors are easy things to get blown out of proportion.”
“That might be the case with rumors, but the records inscribed into the Tower do not lie. Don’t be such a pessimist.”
The Four Lords extensively debated regarding YuWon, and in the end, they came to a single conclusion.
“Let’s just call him over and see for ourselves.”
“… Hmm. You have a fair point. We could talk here all day, but that’ll be nothing compared to meeting him in person.”
The Spear Lord nodded his head. He raised his hands, and the countless martial artists that were kneeling within the hall raised their heads, responding to his call.
The stomping of hundreds of martial artists rang throughout the hall. And at the same time, a large door opened up, and a single person walked inside.
The person’s footsteps were light with not even a hint of nervousness.
It was hard to believe someone could be so composed in front of hundreds of martial artists and the Four Great Lords of the Heavenly Demonic Cult.
This kind of brazenness was rare to see from anyone that wasn’t a Ranker, the ruling class of the Tower, or a ruling race, such as Dragons, Giants, or Demons.
“He seems to have quite the guts.”
The Sword Lord and the Dao Lord nodded their heads, seeing the sword that was fastened around the man’s waist.
The sword and the dao. As the two Lords wielded weapons of similar nature, they found him more favorable than the other two Lords did because he was a man that carried a weapon similar to them.
YuWon looked at the Four Lords as he walked down the hall.
The four each wore a different colored dragon robe. It was as if there were four emperors. However, among them, the one known as the God of the Heavenly Demonic Cult, the Heavenly Demon, was not present.
‘So the Heavenly Demon didn’t come.’
They were the next best thing.
YuWon looked at the four martial gods that symbolized the Heavenly Demonic Cult.
Sword, Dao, Spear, and Fist.
They were beings that had reached the pinnacle of their art within the Demonic Cult. And they were also the people that ruled over the Cult in the place of the reclusive Heavenly Demon.
“So it is you, the one that passed the first test of our leader.”
“Indeed. He truly is different.”
“Still, I wonder if he’ll be able to pass all the tests…”
“I have quite the expectations. It seems it wasn’t just an exaggerated rumor.”
The Four Lords whispered amongst themselves while looking at YuWon.
They each had different personalities and ideals, but on this matter, they were on the same page. There was no more need to think or debate.
They exchanged looks and nodded their heads.
“Then, the second test shall…”
“Please wait for me!”
One of the martial artists in the hall, a man who donned a black martial arts uniform, stepped out.
“Vice-captain of the Black Tempest.”
“I apologize for interrupting, but I have a request for the Lords.”
The vice-captain of the Black Tempest Squad, Cheon JaRyong. The man who was the last player to take the Heavenly Demonic Cult’s test 30 years ago looked at YuWon.
“May I please test this man first?”