However, Shanon didn’t pity them.
His strengthened senses delivered an absurd amount of information to him.
Of them, he could see that the 92nd Squad was attempting to do something to Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo didn’t punish them or anything.
No matter what they did, they were all in his palm anyway. He thought that they wouldn’t be able to do anything once the Cannibal Monster King appeared.
Whatever happened, there didn’t seem to be any way for them to get out of the island safely.
Shanon shook thoughts about them away. He was more curious about the skills that the greatly anticipated Cannibal Monster King had.
* * *
“I don’t see Charon.”
“S***. He’s always around, so where is he now?”
Orant scratched the back of his head as he spoke with annoyance. He felt like he was going to lose it because Charon hadn’t shown himself on the island for several hours now.
They gathered all the materials they needed, so all they needed to do now was make the boat, but the Guardian in charge of it wasn’t showing himself, so they were extremely irritated.
Also, according to his subordinates, the Hoarder was gathering his supplies for the boat rapidly.
They had to find Charon before he finished and slow down the Hoarder as much as possible.
Charon was called a money-grubbing boatsman, so they had already calculated how much they could give him to make him listen to their orders. They had already forced out Karma from other players. However, you could only bribe someone if they were present. Since he wasn’t here, they were completely at a loss for what to do.
Normally, he followed people around like a lost puppy, but he wasn’t there when they actually needed him.
Also, Orant wanted to finish this cleanly.
With Hector dead, it was obvious that Ibrahimovic would become the squad captain. Orant wanted to become the co-captain.
“I’ve heard that Charon enjoys fishing in the lake opposite this island. Do you think he could’ve gone there?”
Orant tilted his head.
“Yes. My subordinate just heard about this from some player. They say they saw him go in that direction frequently during this time.”
“Dammit! You should tell me things like this in advance! We almost wasted time because of you!”
Orant kicked his subordinate in the shins, furious. His subordinate pitched forward, but he didn’t say anything. It was better to stay quiet until Orant’s anger was settled at times like this.
Orant calmed himself down as he stood there.
“So? Where’s this lake?”
“I heard you have to go inside the forest.”
“It’s not the Cannibal Monster Humans’ territory, is it?”
“I think…..it is.”
“S***. You want me to go in there again?”
Orant ground his teeth. It wasn’t that hard to collect materials on the island.
However, the problem was the Cannibal Monster Humans. They were a nuisance when they were hunting. They couldn’t just avoid them, either, because the Cannibal Monster Humans were so tenacious in hunting their prey.
The headquarters had said that the easiest way to clear the 27th floor was to gather materials without being noticed by the chief as much as possible.
As long as they controlled their pace, they could breeze through the 27th floor unlike how much they suffered on the 26th floor.
And after that…..
‘They said the Regiment would take care of things.’
The Fantasy Regiment couldn’t help them because the island was selected randomly. But past the River of Souls on the 28th floor, things were different. The Fantasy Regiment could interfere as much as they wanted.
The Fantasy Regiment was known for having all their clans be on equal footing, and the clans on the higher floors were in charge of helping the clans on the lower floors.
Obviously, the River of Souls, with all its boats, was large enough for several clans to float around.
Ibrahimovic knew this, and he believed that they could surround the Hoarder.
Anyways, that was why Orant was uncomfortable entering the forest that was bustling with Cannibal Monster Humans. Thinking of going back in there again was ridiculous. But it wasn’t like he had any other choice.
Eventually, Orant gritted his teeth and nodded at his subordinate who had stood up again.
“S***. Oh well. Gather a team. We’ll be entering the forest. And just in case, ask other clans for their cooperation.”
The expression of his subordinate became brighter.
* * *
Although it was supposed to be a ‘cooperation,’ it was more like an order for the other clans. The players from the other clans had stiff faces.
The leader of Team Trinity, Heidi, ground her teeth. Elves were known for being expressionless, but the anger on her face was clear to see.
Dylan and Jun, who had been with her from the Tutorial, didn’t look too happy either.
“They’re basically telling us to walk into our own graves.”
“F***. Should we just fight them?”
The orders that they continued to receive after they entered the island made them feel unpleasant.
With 500 people on the island, there were countless different groups. The 92nd Squad and Team Trinity were just a few among them.
However, the 92nd Squad had taken control under the name of the Fantasy Regiment.
They had about 200 of their people on the island, so they were able to oppress other clans, and they forced the other players to help them when they needed it.
They also sent others in their place when they had to enter the territory of the Cannibal Monster Humans.
The damage to the smaller clans was great. There were even a few teams that had been completely wiped out.
After barely gathering the materials, they thought it was over, but they received new orders to enter the territory of the Cannibal Monster Humans. Of course they would be frustrated.
Heidi was thinking of contacting the other clans to organize a rebellion.
The search would probably be over soon since they just had to find Charon. However, the problem came after that. They were being used for minor work like this, so it was obvious who would do the trivial work like rowing the boat or steering it.
They needed to have control.
Since she was an Elf, it was hard for her to make a violent choice, but the countless things she suffered since entering the Tower changed her personality.
Dylan and Jun looked tempted. Since they would just suffer if this went on, they thought it wasn’t a bad idea to attack them first.
‘If we can ask the Hoarder…..!’
Heidi suddenly remembered someone. It was a masked person she had seen from far away. The Hoarder. He probably couldn’t remember her, but she remembered him clearly.
They had met shortly, but if she pleaded for it, wouldn’t he help them a little?
“It’s fine, ma’am.”
“You don’t have to overwork yourself for us.”
Her team members shook their heads. They could feel her determination to do whatever was necessary.
Heidi smiled bitterly when she looked at them. The team of less than 10. They were now her family, like Dylan and Jun.
During the war between the Red Dragon and the Cheonghwado on the 11th floor, Heidi and the others had joined as mercenaries for the money and were placed in the 2nd legion. At the time, the Hoarder was the leader of their legion.
Her current team members were people she met back then. The war ended faster than she thought, and their leader had suddenly disappeared.
They were worried their legion would be split apart after not even doing anything, and she had ended up creating a team of people who had the same goals as her.
Heidi naturally became the leader, having already been the leader of her former group.
At first, she had rejected the position, saying it wasn’t her place, but after she took the position, she led their team smoothly.
She was also the reason why their scattered team members joined the team again after the difficult trial of the 26th floor.
Heidi felt a great responsibility. It was the reason why she had thought of rebelling after holding it in all this time. She couldn’t let anyone get hurt anymore. She had already lost three team members.
However, the team members shook their heads, reading Heidi’s mind. If they rebelled here, the subjugation would just fail. They decided that it was better to bear it for a bit longer.
Her team members had a point. Even if they defeated the 92nd Squad somehow, how would they deal with the Fantasy Regiment? They were between a rock and a hard place.
“……How about contacting the Hoarder?”
Dylan raised his hand, but Jun firmly shook his head.
“No. That’ll be hard. You saw him. He only focuses on what he’ll get, and he doesn’t care about others. It’ll be a relief if he doesn’t hand us over to the 92nd Squad.”
“D, Do you really think he’d do that?”
Dylan thought he would take it easy on them since they had met him before, but he wasn’t sure.
Heidi stood up when she was done organizing her thoughts.
“Let’s move now that we’ve made our decision. We can’t be scolded for being late.”
They nodded their heads. Each of them looked pale.
* * *
“Oh! Our beautiful Heidi! Did you come because you missed me? It’s cold here, hm?”
Heidi slightly scrunched her forehead at the sexual harassment as soon as Orant saw her. However, she didn’t show it and just answered apathetically.
“Since everyone’s here, let’s move.”
She used to have quite a temper, but she had recently learned that it was best to control your emotions as much as possible. She moved to where her team members were.
Orant clicked his tongue as he watched her.
“Ha. Fine. Let’s see how long you’ll act that high and mighty.”
Orant’s goal was to see Heidi’s always cold face crumple.
Thinking of humiliating her in front of her comrades made him smile. He was confident that it wouldn’t be long before that happened.
Soon, the subjugation team of 30 people began to move towards the forest.
The forest was humid and heavy like always. However, there was something noticeably different than before.
No, to be exact, it was a shivering chill.
Orant moved relatively comfortably surrounded by the subjugation team, but the deeper he went inside of the forest, the bigger his frown became.
“Hey, pathfinder. Is this the right way?”
“Pardon? Yes! I, It’s correct.”
“…..What is this…”
Orant’s face crumpled like paper.
“What is this? Why did it become so different in the span of a day?”
Orant had a trait that could sense change, so he would know immediately if the air was different.
The smell on the tip of his nose was different. It was a humid smell. There was the tingling smell of blood mixed in it.
‘I didn’t hear about there being a battle here…..?’
Orant paused. It was best not to move when something was off.
They all had nervous faces. They had realized that something was off.
But regardless of that, Orant nodded at his subordinate. He was ordering a few of them ahead to investigate.
“You! You! You! Go check if anything’s wrong.”
The players who were called out paled. In cases like this, it was almost guaranteed that you would die, but if they didn’t go, they would die by the sword of the 92nd Squad.
They were forced forward. They didn’t return even after a while.
Orant and everyone else had stiff faces. They were all thinking the same thing. Something was in there.
“Captain Heidi, I think you’ll have to go.”
Orant looked back at Heidi. He still wanted to make her bend to him somehow, but his life was more important. Heidi was skilled, so he believed that she would be able to discover if something was wrong.
Heidi had already experienced this before, so she took Dylan, Jun, and a few more members with her.
Heidi could also feel that the air was slightly different with her sharp senses like Orant had.
Not too long after, they found 3 corpses. They were the players that had gone out before them.
“T, That can’t be.”
The condition of the corpses was awful. Dylan looked back at Heidi with a hard expression.
Heidi stopped him with a complicated face, and she tiptoed to the closest corpse with the quiet footsteps of a cat.
‘Something’s not right.’
The corpses were different from how the Cannibal Monster Humans usually hunted. Their heads were half-crushed, and their bodies were chewed by something, so it was hard to recognize them.
However, the hunting methods of the Cannibal Monster Humans weren’t like this. They were cannibals, so they kept the players intact when they hunted them.
But this was…..
‘Like they played with them as if they were toys…..’
The problem was that they hadn’t sensed anything while these players were being violently hurt like this.
What had happened? The nature of their hunting was different than normal.
The hunting cries of the Cannibal Monster Humans rang out in the forest. It was a method they used to make their prey nervous.
Within them, Heidi could feel something else. Excitement. Anxiety. Nervousness. They were running around high from something. They had lost all sense of logic.
“Everyone get into formation!”
Heidi shouted when she felt the Cannibal Monster Humans move. They had to be on their guards.
Just then, an additional message popped up.
[A great number of Cannibal Monster Humans have died somewhere on this island.]
[The chief is furious after discovering this. The lower-ranked priests have begun to mutter prayers on his orders.]
[The difficulty of the trial is increasing.]
[The ‘Cannibal Demonic Humans’ are arriving on the island more frequently.]
[‘Cannibal Demonic Creatures’ are arriving!]
[‘Cannibal Demonic Monsters’ are arriving!]
The members all had shocked faces.
Heidi’s face was also pale.
‘This was it!’
The reason why the air had become different. A great number of Cannibal Monster Humans had been killed somewhere, and the strength of the other Cannibal Monster Humans had become more powerful.
The forest shook, and lunatic Cannibal Monster Humans began to appear. They came from the trees and from the grass endlessly.
The members were about to use their skills when—
『Don’t touch them! Get down.』
Heidi suddenly shouted with message magic. The members all got down on the ground.
The trees shook like they were doing to break, and they all held their breaths as they waited for the ruckus to stop.
Amidst all that, Heidi saw a large shadow passing by in the crowd of Cannibal Monster Humans. It was about 5 meters long. The murderous aura coming from it was so strong that it bent the atmosphere.
A Cannibal Demonic Creature. It was surrounded by Cannibal Monster Humans, like they were protecting it. Heidi met the eyes of the Cannibal Demonic Creature when it turned its head.
Heidi swallowed in nervousness.
〈Fairy Eyes〉. She was able to read information about it with her specialty Elf skill.
The Cannibal Demonic Creature had a stronger wavelength of magic power than what she had heard.
It was strong while it looked like it wouldn’t be strong. Orant and Ibrahimovic, who were being arrogant saying they were the strongest on the island right now, would probably be ripped to shreds by its bare hands.
It could probably step on Heidi and her members without much effort, but it just turned away and continued on its way.
After the ruckus was over, Heidi and the members couldn’t stand up because they were too shocked.
“What is that monster…..?!”
Only after a long time had passed, Dylan broke the silence, panting.
Heidi suddenly burst up. The members looked at her with questioning faces. Heidi’s face was stiff.
“The place that the Cannibal Monster Humans are going—it’s where the team is. The members are in danger!”
They realized the severity of the situation. They had left some of their own members behind in the base of the subjugation team. They needed to go save them.
Also, Heidi wasn’t able to read the aura of the Cannibal Demonic Creature. It meant that they were completely different from the Cannibal Monster Humans and Cannibal Demonic Humans that they had seen so far. It wasn’t a being that should be on a lower floor like this.
The subjugation team would never be able to defeat them. If Ibrahimovic joined, they might have a chance.
‘I have to be quick!’
Heidi put the worried shouts of the team members behind her and called a Wind Spirit to run to where the subjugation team was.
There, it was a complete madhouse like she had expected. Everything was in ruins because of the battle between players and the Cannibal Monster Humans.
Orant was rolling on the ground, his upper body crushed.
However, there was something that Heidi hadn’t expected.
‘What is that…..?’’
She had been expecting for everyone to be dead, and the Cannibal Demonic Creature to be roaring, but the heads of the Cannibal Monster Humans were piled on the ground.
Instead, monsters that looked like shadows were roaming around above them.
Monster Portents cried out in the sky.