Chapter 431 - Arthia (1)

Second Life Ranker

I hadn’t been climbing the Tower very long when I met Leonhardt. The Tower was still unfamiliar and full of people tense with nervousness, but I saw him crouching in a corner watching ants march by. He couldn’t have made a stranger first impression.

He was Arthia’s tactician and greatest swordsman, which had gotten him the nickname “Sword Strategist”. Many said that it was thanks to him that Arthia had grown at such a fast pace. Jeong-woo agreed with them.

His brother’s reputation as Heaven Wing had begun to spread by then, but gaining fame as a ranker and leading a clan were two different things. Jeong-woo had only been able to march forward without looking back thanks to Leonhardt’s management of the clan’s internal affairs. On his part, Leonhardt was grateful that Jeong-woo trusted him and did his best in any task he was assigned to do.

However, the relationship between Jeong-woo and Leonhardt began to grow strained when Arthia became unstable. By the end, when Jeong-woo had become oversensitive to everything, Leonhardt gave up trying to appease him and left. That was when Arthia’s descent into destruction truly began. Without one of the main pillars of the clan, the clan could no longer pull itself together. This was why Yeon-woo had complicated feelings about Leonhardt.

Urrng, urrng, urrng! He could feel the pocket watch that contained his brother’s vestige trembling, which probably meant that he felt the same. Unlike Bahal and Leonte, who had betrayed Jeong-woo, Leonhardt had just left because he was exhausted from dealing with him. It was a stretch to call it a betrayal and begrudge him for leaving.  

Leonhardt had done his best to support Arthia even up to the moment he left. Afterwards, he didn’t do anything to harm Arthia. ‘But he also didn’t stay by Jeong-woo’s side when he was alone.’ Yeon-woo didn’t bear any grudges, but that didn’t mean his feelings of resentment had disappeared either. He couldn’t say it was a pleasure to see Leonhardt.

“You’ve grown cold.” Leonhardt held out his hand, then took it back with a rueful smile when Yeon-woo didn’t grab it. “I missed you a lot.”

Yeon-woo said in an indifferent voice, “I thought you joined the Sea of Time?”

“I did. But I got out not too long after joining.” He added in a quiet voice, “Right after I learned that you’d died.”

Yeon-woo didn’t speak.

“That place wasn’t my home…Everything was going wrong. Traitor roamed free, trying to show that they were better than anyone else, large clans were hostile towards each other, and those who praised your name quickly forgot about you.” His face began to fill with rage. “I wanted to fix these things. I went undercover and gathered comrades one by one. Thanks to that…I realized too late how much you suffered.”

Yeon-woo was still quiet.

“Then, the Hoarder appeared.” The heat returned to Leonhardt’s eyes. “I looked for you, thinking you were a super rookie…but when I saw you from far away, I knew: you had returned.”

“Even though I wear a mask?”

“There’s no way I wouldn’t be able to recognize you. I could tell from your physique and eyes…although they’re sharper than before…but that’s to be expected.”

Yeon-woo was silent.

“I still remember that moment. I contemplated whether or not I should go to you, but…I didn’t have the right, and I felt like I understood why you were hiding your identity.” Leonhardt sighed while explaining. Then, he slowly said his next words, “I waited for you to climb higher so that once you made your presence known, I would have forces ready to support you.”

Yeon-woo was wordless for a moment. He scanned Creutz, and the other clan members of the Fantasy Regiment behind Leonhardt. They seemed exhausted but still exuded fierce auras. The Fantasy Regiment was a sword-that Leonhardt had sharpened to help him with his revenge. He’d been filled with joy thinking that Jeong-woo had returned, and he’d made his sword even tougher and keen-edged.  

‘What do you think?’ After Leonhardt began his explanation, the pocket watch stopped trembling. It was clear that Jeong-woo’s feelings were muddled. Yeon-woo looked at Leonhardt’s blazing eyes, which flickered with joy and sorrow. He was someone that Yeon-woo resented but couldn’t hate. Leonhardt had left his brother’s side but continued to uphold his memory.

“But how did you recover? How did you heal from Bayluk’s poison? Can you…tell me what happened?” The Draconic Divine Eyes told Yeon-woo that Leonhardt was sincere. However, Yeon-woo felt a sudden urge to shatter both his misconception and hope. In the end, Leonhardt hadn’t stayed by his brother’s side. Jeong-woo had never wanted understanding or revenge; he just wanted someone to be with him.

“I heard Jeong-woo never talked about his family or Earth in the Tower.” Yeon-woo’s tone was stiff.

“What are you…?” Leonhardt cocked his head to the side when he heard Yeon-woo talking about Jeong-woo in the third person. Then, he realized its significance. “You…”

“Jeong-woo is dead.”

Leonhardt’s eyes widened.

“It seems there’s a misunderstanding, so let me introduce myself properly.” He looked into Leonhardt’s trembling eyes. “My name is Cha Yeon-woo.” His voice was cold as could be. “Jeong-woo’s twin brother.”

* * *

News of the unbelievable events on the fiftieth floor spread like fire throughout the Tower. The one rumor that caused the most commotion was: “The dead Heaven Wing has returned!”

Many players had once looked up to Heaven Wing and seen him as a savior who could withstand the tyranny of the Eight Clans and high ranker. However, even though he’d failed to defeat them in the end and gotten his wings clipped, he’d managed to find a way to return. When people learned that he was the super rookie called the Hoarder, they were all speechless from shock.

Smart players predicted dark clouds on the horizon and trembled, knowing that a colossal war would soon take place. As if in support of their theories, a second set of rumors spread through the Tower. The Gluttony Emperor, Roman Dictator Magnus, and Autumn Lord Tom were dead. In the past, despite being the sixth-ranked player, Heaven Wing had never killed any kings on his own, but the deaths of three of the Nine Kings at his hands were proof that he had been resurrected.

When people learned that the Spring Queen Waltz had lost a wing and the Head Bishop an arm despite their escape, no one could find the words to speak. A few grew terrified. In the past, Heaven Wing had been as radiant as the sun, but the current Heaven Wing was as intense as the moon. His sword had grown unpredictable.

Finally, the last wave of news about the destruction of the Dragon Temple was also unbelievable, but the shock over Heaven Wing was so great that it rendered the Tower silent for a while. Then, players began to predict where Heaven Wing’s blade would point next.

* * *

“So, that’s what happened.” After Yeon-woo and his companions left, Leonhardt stood unmoving with his eyes closed. Yeon-woo had left him with no doubt that Cha Jeong-woo was gone, and the hopes that had been supporting him all this time had been crushed. However, a small part of him was unsurprised. How could a logical person believe in resurrection?  

Considering the circumstances back then, it was inevitable that Jeong-woo would die. The Hoarder had climbed the Tower with new records. The rules of the Tower stated that you could return to the stages you’d climbed before, but you couldn’t change what was recorded.

It was impossible for the Hoarder to be Jeong-woo, but Leonhardt had still hoped it was true. He thought that it was possible for a miracle to happen. After all, the Tower was filled with mysteries and marvels, perhaps resurrection was one of them.

It was the reason he’d gone into secluded training and why he’d hidden himself after discovering that Creutz had met the Hoarder. He was afraid that his hopes would be crushed. And now, they really were.

Yeon-woo, who said he was Jeong-woo’s twin brother, left after saying, “I can’t say that I’m thankful to you. Even if Jeong-woo was wrong, you left his side when he needed you. You can’t take back spilled water.”

Leonhardt covered his face with his hands, his thoughts whirling in his head. He had no idea what he was supposed to do now.

“Where will you go now?” The captains read Leonhardt’s mood and spoke carefully. They’d tried to offer Yeon-woo their assistance only to be rejected.

Leonhardt seemed regretful. “I don’t know. Where should I go?”


“I don’t know the path either.” It would be nice if someone could tell him. This was why it was hard to lead others. It was much easier when all he’d had to do was focus on managing internal affairs.

“Don’t try to help me. I might end up attacking you.”  

Even if he wanted to follow Yeon-woo, he didn’t dare try. Yeon-woo’s face looked exactly like Jeong-woo’s but oozed a coldness that Jeong-woo never had.

‘Nothing can be done.’ Leonhardt rubbed his face, sighing. He had only hesitated for a while. Now that he was outside and the wheels had begun to turn, he had no choice. ‘I have to see it to the end.’

Blood Land would fall into confusion now that the Gluttony Emperor, the four dukes, and many of their members were gone. Half of the Lion Alliance had been killed, and they were significantly weakened. Even with Magnus and the Seven Member Squad gone, the Elohim could avoid breaking apart since they had a solid system in place, but they would lose their status.

The Fantasy Regiment needed to take advantage and grow into a large clan. Even if Yeon-woo rejected them, it didn’t mean the sword in Leonhardt’s heart dulled. He was about to move with his subordinates when he saw Creutz hanging back.

“Captain. I apologize, but…my journey with you stops here.”

“Vice Leader! What are you talking about?!”

“What do you mean, sir?!”

The members of the First Squad and the other captains turned to Creutz in surprise. The Illusion Knightage following him was shocked as well, but they stepped back and kept their silence.

Leonhardt looked at Creutz closely. Although he was apologetic, he stood in his shiny silver armor firmly without regret. Leonhardt couldn’t help smiling. “After a year at his side, it looks like you’ve fallen for him.”

“I apologize.”

“No. Although we only conversed for a short while, I felt his charisma, too.” If Yeon-woo had invited him to work together, he would have jumped at the chance. Yeon-woo’s charisma and ability to attract allies was possibly even greater than his little brother’s. “Still, it’s a shame to lose you after all the time we spent together.” Leonhardt smiled again and held his hand out to Creutz. “The position of Vice Leader will always be open. Come back anytime.”

“Thank you for understanding.” Creutz grabbed Leonhardt’s hand and bowed.

“Do you know where to go?”

“Yes, sir.” Creutz thought of what Brahm had told him before Yeon-woo left: “Come to the floating Laputa. You’ll find it easily. Arthia’s old clan house is there.

“That’s a relief. I wish you success.”

“I hope what you wish for comes true as well. Let’s go.” At Creutz’s command, the Illusion Knightage summoned their wyverns and mounted them. Slowly, they disappeared in the same direction that Yeon-woo had gone.

Leonhardt watched his friend leave and turned in the opposite direction. “Let’s return as well. But there’s no hurry.” Leonhardt’s eyes darkened. “It’s going to be a long night.”

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