Chapter 87 – Lords of the Tower (1)
Within the tower, a short path appeared with opaque windows on either side . It was an empty walkway, but ceaseless whispers could be heard from every direction . There stood another door on the opposite end of the path . Sungchul flung that door open .
As soon as the door opened, an overwhelming stench of perfume that could paralyze the senses flooded his nose . Sungchul held his breath and looked around at the surroundings . He had arrived at a crossroads this time . Every path contained windowed walls similar to the previous path in each cardinal direction . The previous whispers that blanketed the air like a fog were now clear enough to be discerned .
“Hey, Good-lookin’ Oppa . Come and play . ”
“Ten gold coins . Anything below ten gold coins could be worked out too!”
“It’s the same no matter where you go, so just come into our shop!”
It was a commotion that was commonly heard in any marketplace . Elijah’s face remained unchanged, but Sophia revealed her tension . Sungchul’s indifferent face looked towards the wall where the noises came from . Behind the cloudy window, there was a shadowy figure in the shape of a human whose eyes lit up in a reddish hue .
“Where’s the Altar of Ten Thousand Demons?”
Sungchul finally asked Elijah . Elijah opened the book and nodded as he arrived at the answer .
“At the top of the tower . ”
“Typical . ”
Sungchul pressed forward .
As he walked a few more steps, a scantily clad woman with a mask whose clothing barely covered only the most important parts appeared .
“Oh, my . How cute . It looks like we have a couple of new faces here . ”
Sophia who noticed the woman’s vulgar appearance paled .
“Orabuni! you can’t look!”
She hurriedly rushed towards Elijah and covered his eyes . Sungchul, on the other hand, looked at the new woman with particular interest .
‘Something that is not a devil nor a human . ’
The feet of the masked woman didn’t touch the floor . She appeared to float like a balloon through some magical force .
“State your purpose . ”
Sungchul demanded plainly . The woman’s rosy lips formed a curious smile beneath her mask .
“Oh, my . A young man that doesn’t even bat an eye at the sight of me? Maybe I’m not your type?”
“I said state your purpose . ”
A hint of annoyance mixed in Sungchul’s voice . The woman licked her lips in disappointment at Sungchul’s cold response and straightened her body once again .
“I don’t have any particular purpose . I just wanted to be the first to greet the new faces . ”
Then her eyes settled on Elijah . Elijah, whose eyes were still covered by Sophia’s hands, had the Tome of the High Devil in his embrace . The woman’s eyes revealed a strange light when she saw the book .
“My my . You’ve got the book . ”
The voice of the masked woman changed .
“Hey, Good looking Oppa . That book… could I have a look?”
She drifted towards Elijah’s direction and pushed her body towards him .
“Be gone! Perverse harlot!”
Sophia drew her blade in repulsion . When she did so, the woman retreated with a mischievous smile on her face .
“My my . A baby just weaned off of milk is trying to interfere? Do you want to die?”
She flew back but quickly raised both of her manicured hands . As she did so, Walls of flame formed around Sungchul . The woman’s coy voice could be heard beyond the flames .
“Hand over the book if you wish to preserve your life . Otherwise, you can burn with the book . ”
At that very moment, Sungchul jumped into the flames . He burst through the flames in an instant and stormed towards the masked woman standing behind it . The masked woman tried to recite another spell in the face of such unexpected behavior, but Sungchul’s hand was faster . His hand gripped her neck .
“Kk-kuuu… . ”
Her arms and legs supple with beautiful youth began to flail . When Sungchul began to assert a bit more strength, the woman’s appearance started to change . Sungchul firmly asked his question without releasing his grip .
“Who are you?”
“I-I am…! Cough! Cough! A resident… of this tower!”
“Why do you covet the book?”
“I-I can become… a real De… Devil with it…!!”
“I see . This is the final question . Where is this place?”
The masked woman answered Sungchul through great pain .
“This is… the Tower of Euphoria… It is the territory of the High Devil Miriadora…!”
Sungchul’s interrogation ended here . He threw the masked woman towards a wall . Her body broke through one of the opaque windows and dispersed the shadowy figure behind it before she turned into smoke herself . A massive maggot with the head of a human wriggled in her place when the smoke dissipated . It was a disgusting lifeform that conjured repulsion at the mere sight of it .
“It looks like this was the true form of that harlot . ”
Sophia held her blade as she headed towards the direction of the wall . Fearsome hostility poured out of her eyes . Sungchul held her back .
“Leave it . Life itself is a punishment for their kind . ”
There were many different forms of immortality . The ideal form of immortality was to live eternally while retaining their original appearance, but that was a special privilege available only to beings who were naturally immortal . An inferior being, therefore, had no choice but to resort to repulsive and wretched dark magic which often resulted in grotesque and freakish appearance . Sungchul immediately understood that this maggot-like creature was one such pitiful result of their experiments with immortality .
When he gained some more distance from the paths filled with opaque windows, he was able to see more residents of this tower . They each had overwhelmingly charismatic appearances . They were either were handsome youths or voluptuous women, and they all attempted to entice Sungchul’s party .
“Hey, miss . Do you want to play with me? We can just swap stories for a bit?”
“Little boy with the red book . You’re totally my type! Do you want to have a meal together? Or maybe something else…?”
When Sungchul’s group ignored them completely and pushed on, the crowd of beauties and handsome men continued their vulgar jokes and suggestive tirade . A set of stairs heading upwards could be seen as the group moved forward .
A space filled with the sensuous aroma of food appeared as the group entered the next floor . Sounds of wine glasses clinking, food being chewed, and meat being grilled could be heard behind each opaque window . There were chefs holding ladles and wearing comically tall chef hats .
“Now now! You’ll be missing out if you don’t have a taste! These are the greatest delicacies that can’t be found anywhere in the human world!”
“Hey, there is a single empty table just waiting for you! It’ll be perfect if you guys come over here!”
All the people here were fighting to attract Sungchul’s group towards their shop . Sophia, who had a completely hostile attitude towards the masked pervert, now appeared to have lowered her guard . More than anything, the Breggas siblings hadn’t had a decent meal since they entered the Demon Realm .
Their tension began to wear down as the tempting aroma of food enticed them in their already hungry state .
“Let’s go and have a little taste . ”
Sungchul pointed towards the barbecue of an entire baby pig on a spinning rotisserie .
The chef with a comically tall hat of about 2 meters laughed as he held out a leg of the baby pig . Sungchul inserted the food into his mouth with a serious expression .
‘Gulp . ’
The Breggas siblings could only swallow their drool, but Sungchul’s face was not pleasant .[The Score of this dish is… . 0 points . ] [It might not be a good idea to put another dish of this caliber before me unless you intend to insult me . ]
The abysmal score and the threatening message that appeared before him weren’t the only problems . As expected, there was a serious conundrum behind this dish .
‘This is human meat . They also flavored it with sorcery and narcotics . ’
Sungchul immediately spat out the meat from his mouth .
“Hey! You dare spit out my top dish made with my heart and soul?! You lowly peasant with no discerning taste!”
The chef roared in anger and pulled out something from his possession . It was a large kitchen knife caked with blood and dried maggots .
“I’ll cook you up!”
Sungchul easily evaded the knife of the rushing chef and held his collar before shoving his face onto the spinning grill .
The chef began to struggle along with the sound of burning flesh and his tortured scream, but Sungchul’s powerful grip did not allow for the chef to escape .
The Breggas siblings watched on as the chef let out a howling scream and turned into a grotesque maggot . The mouth-watering baby pig on the rotisserie also transformed into a human thigh before their eyes .
“Claiming to be a chef after declaring such garbage as a ‘dish’… Your arrogance knows no bounds . ”
Sungchul threw the maggot chef onto a wall and let something peek out from beneath his coat . The chef discovered the brilliant light of the golden broach underneath . The other chefs that had been spectating the scene were blinded by the sight of it .
“Oh… . !!”
“Is that the symbol of a High-Grade Chef?!”
“It’s real…! A real one has appeared!!”
The other chefs on the floor immediately recognized the broach with a single glance, unlike the Breggas siblings . They looked at Sungchul as though they were looking at some monster and continued pouring out praises .
“You must be feeling good . Real~ good . ”
Bertelgia bluntly spoke her feelings which Sungchul completely ignored as he said in a firm voice,
“Let’s go . ”
Following this floor, several different areas appeared . There were some floors filled with comfortable beds, and Sungchul’s group could see people lying on the beds with euphoric smiles on their faces . It was a space that made one’s eyelids heavy .
Another floor was filled with people on racks being whipped and tortured through various instruments . The atmosphere felt like both the torturer and the tortured were enjoying their roles .
The final floor was one giant gambling hall . It was filled with men and women of unparalleled beauty boasting about their appearances, but on closer inspection, every one of them was missing parts of their body or face . Sungchul could see the reason why as he crossed through the floor . It was because they would gamble their body parts to win over the coveted parts of others . There was no other form of currency that would instill these immortal maggots with a similar thrill of gambling such as this .
‘Is this the world sought so dearly by these Devil Worshippers? . ’
At the very least, the faces of those reflected in Sungchul’s eyes looked happy . It wasn’t discernible whether all of this was a facade, but it also wasn’t Sungchul’s place to discern it .
“It looks like the Altar is beyond this door . ”
The final set of stairs awaited Sungchul, and when he climbed it, a massive space opened up before him . There was something similar to a gigantic blob of flesh occupying the space .
“Hm? That is…?!”
Sungchul looked at the massive piece of meat with disinterest . There was a faint trace of what appeared to be a face on this grotesquely swinging piece of meat .
“Welcome, guests . I don’t think I’ve met any of you before?”
The slab of meat spoke in a soft voice . It was a low voice, but it held enough weight to fill the surroundings .
“I am the owner of this tower . I am Miriadora . ”
The eyes embedded into the flesh of this meat discovered the red book in Elijah’s grasp .
“So you’ve brought the book . If you understood the hidden meaning buried within the book and still wish to undertake it, open the book before me . ”
The Altar of Ten Thousand Demons that the book was referring to was this massive slab of meat that looked to weigh dozens of tons .
“I will warn you before you open the book before me . My quest does not reward like other quests and will give you more than an ordinary compensation, and by that, I mean the punishment for failure will be proportionate to the rewards . ”
The massive blob shook as his arms moved to raise his stomach folds . A single maggot with a human head was revealed to be pressed within the folds of his stomach . The maggot worked hard to crawl out of the folds of the stomach after which he smiled toward Sungchul’s party .
“The Tome of the High Devils that you’ve brought is the entrance ticket to receive this quest! You all will have a single attempt at this opportunity, and for additional attempts, you’ll have to bring another Tome of the High Devils here again . ”
The maggot blabbed on excitedly . Sungchul silently focused on the maggot’s explanation .
“Lord Miriadora has a total of 10 quests, and one of them is a mission . Upon completion of the mission, you all will receive the privilege to become a High Devil like Lord Miriadora . This does not mean that the other quests can be overlooked! The authority within the tower will vary depending on how much of the 10 quests you are able to complete!”
The maggot then began to laugh hysterically while rolling on the floor for some mysterious reason . Sungchul brought up a question .
“What happens if none of the quests are completed?”
The maggot formed an eerie smile as he answered .
“You’ll be turned into livestock without even achieving immortality . ”
“However, do not fret! You’ll earn the privilege to become a resident of the Tower of Euphoria upon the completion of even a single quest!”
Sungchul had another question .
“Will we receive the quests together?”
The maggot nodded his head .
“It’s fine if you want to do it together . If you’re ok with having the others turned into livestock that is . ”
As he heard this, he couldn’t help but think .
‘It has been a while since I did a quest as a group . ’
They weren’t really reliable companions, but he turned toward Elijah and spoke in a composed voice .
“Open the book . ”