Chapter 306 - Tartarus (6)

Second Life Ranker

‘I wasn’t expecting this.’ Yeon-woo's laugh was one of disbelief. The hidden stage where rankers trained had not only given him all these buffs, it even gave him a title. However, in a way, it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

A place that was like the Beyond inevitably amplified the power of death. It was the perfect place for Yeon-woo now that he’d gained a strong affinity for the darkness property through the Grief of the Black King. Also, his affinity for fire had almost reached its maximum limit.

Creutz looked at him like he was a monster, but Yeon-woo ignored his gaze. Creutz had chosen to follow him around, and it wasn’t something Yeon-woo should concern himself with. ‘Or should I just get rid of him because he’s so annoying?’

Tartarus was just beyond the ten gates. Creutz was an outstanding player, but this hidden stage didn’t suit his strengths. This place of death was a cruel location for someone who dealt with holy power.

“What’s wrong?” Creutz must’ve felt uncomfortable at Yeon-woo’s stare because he looked a little dissatisfied. It seemed like he had understood what Yeon-woo was thinking.

Instead of answering, Yeon-woo pointed to something behind Creutz. “I think that sword is crying.”

Creutz moved his hand to his back and smiled bitterly, understanding what Yeon-woo was talking about. The holy sword Zulfikar had started crying ever since they entered the hidden stage. “This sword is a source of holy power. A place like this is too difficult for it to endure. I’ve been wondering how to calm it because it keeps complaining about how much it’s suffering.”

Yeon-woo’s eyes glittered. “Does it speak?”

Creutz chuckled. “Of course not. It’s not an Ego Sword with an awakened soul. It’s just…”

“I guess you can hear the sword’s feelings?”

“Indeed. They call it Sword Call. I wasn’t sure if you knew about it but I can see that you do. Whenever I talk about this, my subordinates look at me like I’m weird.”

Yeon-woo nodded. Sword Call. He learned from the One-horned tribe that those at the master level of swordsmanship could hear the voice of the sword. You could check the condition of the sword and how synchronized you were.

No matter how fine the sword was, if your body couldn’t merge with it, the sword would break. Conversely, no matter how bad the sword was, if you used it well, you could easily split a rock. Yeon-woo was barely on the path towards the pinnacle of swordsmanship but it seemed like Creutz was already far along it.

‘Amazing.’ It was hard to find players apart from the One-horned tribe who reached the master level, and Yeon-woo understood what Creutz had accomplished. 

“Ah, the Regiment Leader understands me though.”

“The Regiment Leader knows?”


‘Then the Fantasy Regiment Leader must also be a master. I wonder who it is?’ He couldn’t think of anyone. “Are you planning on following me in your condition?”

Creutz smiled wryly. “I know what you’re worried about. You’re concerned I’ll hold you back, no?”

“What do you think?”

“I think you’ll kick out any suspicious nuisances without any mercy or kill them depending on the situation.”

Yeon-woo didn’t reply. It was clear that Creutz had learned a lot about Yeon-woo in the last few days. 

“You do what you have to do. I don’t know the specifics, but didn’t Goddess Persephone assign you a personal quest? I won’t get in your way. I won’t even ask what it is. I pledge this on the honor of my name and knightage.” Creutz thumped his chest with his fist and spoke firmly. 

Yeon-woo nodded and turned around. That was good enough for him. Creutz was a true knight. He wouldn’t break his oath. ‘Even if he does, it won’t matter. He won’t be able to avoid the Draconic Eyes.’ If that were the case, Yeon-woo would just kill him. He spread his Fire Wings open and kicked off.

[You have entered the first gate, ‘Hell of Knives’.]

* * *

Creutz whistled to summon his wyvern to catch up to Yeon-woo, who was becoming a small dot in the horizon. 

Flying Dragon Summoning

It would be crazy to carry his holy sword and heavy armor and run after Yeon-woo. However, messages began popping up.

[The summoning has failed.]

[The summoning has failed.]


[Due to an unspecified reason, you cannot summon your creature (Flying Dragon). Please move to another location.]


Creutz looked at the direction Yeon-woo had disappeared in with a scowl. Water was already boiling on the ground. What would happen if he ran on it wearing his armor? He’d be cooked like a hard-boiled egg. His face turned pale. 

* * *

The ten gates were based on the ten hells that King Yeomra and the hell kings ruled over. Each of them ruled over a single hell, and they decided between sending souls to the next hell or allowing them to reincarnate. The first gate, ‘Hell of Knives’, was a gruesome forest filled with blades.

‘I need to get through it as quickly as possible.’ Yeon-woo scanned the gate with his Draconic Eyes as he stood on a cliff. There was a dark abyss below him, and even though he’d shot his Consciousness into it, he couldn’t sense the bottom. If he fell into it, it would be the end for him.

The cliff had small ledges only a few meters long. Below them were sharp knives, and a wrong step would mean being shredded. ‘If I stand on the ledges, I’ll fall right away if I lose my balance. It’s tough from the start.’

He could see multiple players moving through the gates. They were all rankers or those who had the strength of rankers. He couldn’t see any players who had just passed the thirtieth floor. ‘I’ll have to use a shortcut.’

Yeon-woo found where the ledges’ shadows were and leapt without any hesitation, his Draconic Eyes showing him different routes.

[Wind Path – Gale]

Gales blew where Yeon-woo saw imperfections, and he quickly stepped on each ledge. Each time his neared a blade, Guai popped up from the shadows and supported him while Wind Path moved him smoothly to the next location. He moved weightlessly like a feather. 

No matter how difficult the first gate was, Galliard would scold him if Yeon-woo didn’t clear it, and Yeon-woo wouldn’t have the right to make an excuse.

“Huh? Did something just move past us?”

“The H-Hoarder?”

“Why is he so fast? The fuck?”

The players focusing on the ledges were shocked as they enviously watched Yeon-woo moving smoothly through the air. 

“So that’s one of the New Stars, huh?”

Humiliation filled their faces when they realized they were being defeated by a player who hadn’t even fully cleared the thirtieth floor yet. Behind them, Creutz jumped around with much difficulty.

* * *

[You have arrived at the second gate, ‘Hell of the Boiling Pot’.]

‘This is much easier than the last one.’ The second gate was extremely comfortable for Yeon-woo. A river of boiling water ran across the ground, and the air was heavy and damp. There were two ways to clear the gate. 

The first was to create a boat using the limited resources near the gate’s entrance. ‘Or just swim across.’

There was a cap on how many boats could be built, and in most cases, the boats burned even before they touched the water. It was easiest to swim across, but you risked drowning from exhaustion halfway or from being cooked by the heat.  Even those resistant to the heat might die if their health ran out before they reached the other side.

Most people didn’t have these attributes, so they turned back at the second gate. Yeon-woo’s specialty was the fire property. Even though he could swim across the boiling river, it was too wide. He also couldn’t fly across with his Fire Wings because there weren’t any places he could step on. ‘I’m not planning to do either method.’

He had something else he could use. ‘Ceto.’ It was the holy artifact from Lana. He lifted his hand to the necklace around his neck. 

[Ceto’s power (Sea King Stone) is activating.]

[Sea King Stone]
[Rank: Power]
[Proficiency: 0.0%]
[Description: The power that a goddess of <Olympus>, Ceto, has given you. She has designated you as the successor of her deceased Apostle, Lana. She has given you the power that Lana possessed.]
[*Sixth Sense
Ceto is the mother of all sea monsters and sea king monsters. While you are using the stone, all senses and physical strength will exceed their limits. Also, your instinct will become as sensitive as a sea king monster’s, and your intuition will increase dramatically. You can move with dexterity in unexpected situations.] 
[*Tannin Fear
You cause intense fear, and you can control the instincts of monsters. This debuffs your opponents and drains them of their vitality. Afterwards, you can control them.] 
[*Guide of Water
If there is a great body of water around you, you can control a part of it.] 

Ceto’s power had taken the place of Azrael’s Third Spirit. It worked smoothly with his Dragon Body Awakening and had a buff effect. The Sixth Sense helped his Extrasensory Perception, and his Dragon Fear’s effectiveness also increased. However, the most beneficial option at the moment was the Guide of Water. Fighting near water had once been disadvantageous for Yeon-woo, but it now gave him an advantage.

As soon as Yeon-woo activated his power, he stepped on the river. When his feet touched the surface of the water, a gentle wave rippled out. The heat from the boiling water didn’t affect him and gave him a pleasant feeling instead.

‘It works.’ Yeon-woo smiled as he stood on the water. All of a sudden, a large monster jumped out. It was as large and ferocious as a sea king monster from the River of Souls. The monster widened its mouth to swallow Yeon-woo, but it froze when it looked Yeon-woo in the eye. The Fear that flowed from Yeon-woo was twisting around its heart. 

Two eyes opened over Yeon-woo’s head. Blue Inferno Sight glared at the frozen monster. 

A…mere…magical…creature…has…the nerve.

The monster was a predator that could easily rip a sea king monster apart, and it was known to swallow players in one bite. However, it was intimidated by the aura of Inferno Sight.


The monster’s head exploded like fireworks. Pieces of flesh rained down, and the river was stained red. 

‘I guess I don’t need to expend too much effort.’ Technically, he could easily fly over the water using Boo’s flight magic. However, if he used that method, his karma wouldn’t increase because he was relying on someone else’s ability.  

As the monster sank under the water, a thought occurred to him. ‘This is nice too.’ Yeon-woo closed his eyes and spread his Consciousness through the river. He could see countless monsters swimming underneath, and he sent Fear to them.

. The monsters froze then began thrashing as they tried to escape. Yeon-woo was unexpectedly amused. Holding the monsters back helped him learn how to better use Fear. In the past, he had used something similar fighting Benteke, but he had been depending on the holy artifact then.

When Boo’s vestige combined with the Fear, the monsters were easily overpowered. He could feel the life fading from their eyes little by little as he made them surface through the senses connected to him. 

“Huh? What is this?”

“Why are the monsters suddenly coming out?”

The players who were trying to cross the river were taken aback. Yeon-woo ignored them and began to dash across the river, using the monsters’ heads as stepping stones. He crushed their heads under his feet, and the river turned red.

The players who were trying to swim across were almost swept away, and they tried to stay afloat. Yeon-woo also stepped on a few people by accident, and they ended up sinking below the surface, drinking the water. 

‘This reminds me of Super Mario.’ Thinking of the arcade game he used to play on Earth, Yeon-woo quickly passed through the second gate . 

That personality… Of course, he ignored Shanon. 

“Ahhhhhh! Nooooo!” Creutz let out a shout of despair, his face ashen.

* * *

[You have arrived at the third gate, ‘Hell of Icy Glaciers’.]

[You have arrived at the fourth gate, ‘Hell of Blade Trees’.]


[You have arrived at the sixth gate, ‘Hell of Venomous Serpents’.]

After blazing through the other trials, Yeon-woo finally arrived at the location where the Apostles of the three Cyclops brothers had disappeared. There were humid swamps everywhere, and when he took a squelching step forward, blood gurgled up from the ground. How many people had died for this horrifying thing to happen?

The blood was acidic and poisonous, and it could melt artifacts. It was also difficult to breathe. ‘It won’t be easy even with Disabling Poison Blood.’ Things were beginning to grow more difficult even for Yeon-woo. Although he had resistance to poison, he was still being affected. ‘I have to clear this as quickly as possible.’

Yeon-woo bit the detox bead that he’d bought from Atran and took a quick glance around. ‘But how can I look for the Apostles of the Cyclopes here?’ No one knew if they’d managed to cross into Tartarus. It was entirely possible that they hadn’t managed to clear the gates and their flesh had joined the one quivering on the ground. 

Since it had been almost 200 years since they’d disappeared, it would be difficult to find any clues. ‘It’s annoying, but there’s still a way.’ Yeon-woo looked up. “Boo.” A portal opened, and a Lich with a monstrous aura appeared. Boo raised the black bead in his hand and began to mutter incomprehensible words. 

The longer the spell went on, the more the flesh under Yeon-woo’s feet shook. White smoke rose, and a horrifying scream rang out. Innumerable ghosts began to float around, although they couldn’t do anything other than scream after waking up from their slumber. 

He had woken up the vestiges of all the players who had died in the sixth gate within the last 200 years. There were a lot of them, but if he examined each of them, he would learn something.


The waves of vestiges flooded Yeon-woo’s head. 

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