Chapter 223: The Reunion
Haines' building boasted such grandeur that it could easily be called a palace. As the people from Moore and Lex's group carefully scoured the premises, they discovered a hidden annex where they found a slave.
"She is here! We found her!"
The room was quite organized, with everything in its place. The Moore’s employees broke down the door, entered the place, and saw Seyna crouching on the bed, frozen in shock.
"W-who are you?" Seyna asked in a frightened voice.
"Are you Ms. Seyna?" the employee asked softly.
"Yes, that’s me,” Seyna replied.
Seyna had likely suffered a lot because she refused to let her guard down in front of them. Her hands tightly grasped the blanket covering her as she looked at them.
"Are you Mr. Sevrino's daughter?" the employee asked.
Upon hearing a familiar yet unexpected name from the stranger, tears welled in Seyna's eyes, which soon trickled down her cheeks.
"Huh?" Seyna muttered in surprise.
The sensation on her cheek confused her. It was the first time she had shed tears since coming here, despite her promise never to cry. She could not understand what was happening.
‘How do they know my father's name?’
Seyna had not told anyone her father's name since coming here.
"Who... who are you guys? How do you know my father's name...?" Seyna asked.
"So, you are the one,” said the employee.
The employee nodded and called someone using his walkie-talkie.
"Confirmation received. She is Ms. Seyna. She's in the third room at the end of the corridor on the 5th floor of the annex," said the employee over the walkie-talkie.
"Who are you guys! What are you up to!” Seyna shouted.
"Your father is looking for you," one of the employees replied.
The warmth in the employee’s voice made Seyna fall silent for a few seconds before she started to tremble.
"M-my father? He's looking for me?" Seyna asked.
"Yes. He is on his way here," the employee replied.
"Don't lie to me like that," Seyna replied.
"Just wait. You’ll see,” the employee replied.
The employee lowered his goggles to his eyes and vigilantly scanned the surroundings with a gun in hand. Seyna, meanwhile, stood there in a daze, her mind filled with hope and fear of potential disappointment. And then, ten minutes passed, but it felt like ten years to her.
The doorknob turned, and someone with white hair opened the door and walked in. The newcomer’s face was wrinkled, but his sharp eyes and warm smile were exactly how Seyna remembered. She recognized that the newcomer was her father.
"..." Seyna stared at Sevrino for a while, and tears welled in her eyes again.
"Seyna!" Sevrino shouted in relief, looking at his daughter.
Sevrino rushed forward, his eyes also reddening with tears, and embraced Seyna. She started to tremble, seemingly having difficulty believing this was real. The hug lasted a few minutes. Seyna finally regained her composure and gently clutched her father’s clothes with trembling hands.
"Dad..." Seyna muttered.
"Yes, my daughter. I'm so sorry I came so late," Sevrino replied.
"Dad, heuh..." Seyna started to cry again.
Lee Shin and Alice had come with Sevrino and silently watched the two momentarily before leaving the room with the other employees. Lee Shin cast a soundproofing spell that enveloped the entire space. He finally exited while carefully using his mana to detect any potential threats.
"Heug..." Alice wiped away the moisture from the corners of her eyes.
Derrick and Bednyur stood nearby with satisfied looks.
"What a reunion..."
"They said it had been several years, right? Tsk... it must have been very tough for them."
"My daughter is only ten. If I lost her, I'd probably go insane."
"My daughter is quite strong-willed, so she would probably manage to live somehow, even on her own."
Sevrino and Seyna soon entered the reception room where Lee Shin, Alice, Derrick, Bednyur, and Haines had been waiting. Seyna suddenly saw Haines, bound and restrained, and immediately grabbed the ax hanging on the wall.
"We have to kill him right now!" Seyna shouted in anger.
"Ugh... ugh!" Haines’ mouth was gagged, but he still tried to scream. And those standing near Seyna tried to stop her.
"H-hey, calm down for a moment."
"Yeah, Seyna, dear. You shouldn't act so emotionally."
"Seyna, please calm down," said Sevrino.
Seyna listened to her father and stopped. She let out a deep sigh.
"Can we at least cut off one of his arms?" Seyna asked.
"Well... I think that might be possible."
"Yes, I think we can agree on that.”
"Neee! Uheee! Ahhh! Uwee!” Haines shouted in fear.
He was trying to yell, “Why are you so eager to cut off my arm?” But, of course, the others could not understand him.
"Wait a second," Sevrino said, stopping Seyna again as she had already picked up the ax.
Her father’s calm voice reminded Seyna that she had made a mistake; she quickly put down the ax.
"I'm sorry! I should have thanked him first," said Seyna.
Seyna bowed to Lee Shin in gratitude.
"I’ve heard that you were a great help in finding me. Thank you very much," Seyna said to Lee Shin.
Lee Shin nodded in acknowledgment.
"All right. Can you tell me a little bit about how you've been all this time?" Lee Shin asked.
"Yes, I will tell you everything," Seyna replied.
When Seyna and Sevrino had been conducting dimensional research, they were separated due to an abrupt dimensional collapse. Seyna had ended up on Oscar and befriended the inhabitants there. She tried to research dimensions more there to find Sevrino; compared to her father, she was sorely lacking. The infrastructure of the planet was also a problem.
Therefore, Seyna had no choice but to spend several years there, trying to find a way. During this time, Haines kidnapped people of different races living on the planet, including Seyna, and she eventually became a slave.
“So that's why I'm here," said Seyna, concluding her story.
After listening to her story, Sevrino's expression was far from good. He could feel how much she had suffered all this time.
"Did Haines lay a hand on you?" Sevrino asked Seyna.
"You damn scum!"
Derrick abruptly jumped from his seat and started kicking Haines, interrupting Seyna.
"Keugh!" Haines groaned in pain.
Bednyur also stood up and began to stomp on Haines' head.
"You dare do such nonsense at your old age?!" Bednyur shouted and kicked him.
Thump! Thump! Thump!
"Keugh! I— I'm..." Haines struggled to speak.
Thump! Thump! Thump! Thump!
Haines' face had ballooned to twice its size from the vicious beating. Even Seyna, for a brief moment, felt a twinge of sympathy for him. His swollen mouth rendered him unable to defend himself.
"Phew..." Derrick sighed.
"We need to deal with these scumbags properly," Bednyur said.
"Agreed," Derrick replied.
Derrick and Bednyur exchanged glances and looked at Lee Shin. Fortunately, Lee Shin did not appear to be angry.
‘Did it work?’
Bednyur gestured to Derrick.
‘Yes, it seemed to have worked.’
‘It was a good plan.’
‘See? What did I say? I told you it would work, didn't I?’
The two communicated without uttering a word, but they could understand each other through their eyes.
"He didn’t touch my body, though. He said he had to tame me first,” Seyna added.
"You son of a—” Derrick shouted.
"Enough. Let's hear his side of the story," Lee Shin said, stopping Derrick from getting up again.
Derrick, with a slightly embarrassed look, sat back down.
"I got angry because my fellow people were severely abused," Seyna said.
"Don't worry. We will rescue them all."
"That's right. There won't be any more slaves under Haines."
"I have something I'd like to say." Bednyur intervened, looking at Haines. "Killing Haines won't abolish slavery here. Balkan is a free city, and crimes happen constantly. So, even if Haines disappears, someone else will take his place."
"Yes, that's true.” Derrick nodded in agreement.
"So, instead of killing Haines, how about we let Moore and Lex manage him? Rather than eliminating slavery, we can operate it more transparently and cleanly," Bednyur suggested.
"Would that be possible?" Lee Shin asked.
"What else can we do? We can at least try," Bednyur replied.
"That's right. If we run it this way, Moore and Lex will have more work to do, and it won't necessarily be more efficient. But looking at the future, it might not be bad," Derrick explained.
Derrick was the head of one of the Five Great Families, and Bednyur was the Chairman of a major corporation. Therefore, Lee Shin knew that they would only engage in business ventures if tangible benefits were involved.
"What do you think about this Seyna? What’s your opinion?" Lee Shin asked.
And after some contemplation, Seyna nodded.
"I'm satisfied with just this. I can't help but consider the practical aspects," Seyna replied.
"All right then. Let's wrap it up here." Lee Shin closed the case.
After the reunion, Lee Shin and the group spent approximately two more days on Oscar, reviewing the events that had transpired. Lee Shin’s group then returned to the archaeological site and reopened the closed gate.
"Thank you so much for what you’ve done, Mr. Lee Shin," Derrick said, shaking hands with Lee Shin.
"Our first encounter may not have been the best, but our end doesn't seem too bad," Lee Shin replied.
"Take care," Derrick said to Bednyur.
He also shook hands with Bednyur. There had been unexpected troubles between the two, but everything had been neatly resolved. They had rescued Seyna; that was enough.
When Sevrino activated a small device, a large gate appeared in the air.
"Fascinating. Does passing through this gate take you to your world?" Bednyur asked with a look of surprise.
"Yes, that's right. Would you like to come with us?" Sevrino offered it to Bednyur.
After some contemplation, Bednyur shook his head. Derrick wanted to go, but much had to be sorted out here.
"But, if you need our help, don't hesitate to call us. We'll drop everything and come," Derrick replied.
"All right," Lee Shin replied.
After bidding farewell to them, Lee Shin’s group crossed the gate. Despite the short duration of their absence, returning to Earth felt like returning to their hometown after a long time. Earth had remained uneventful during their absence. Seyna, filled with wonder, enjoyed a few days of exploration with Sevrino. Meanwhile, Lee Shin resumed his focus on conquering the Tower, which he had temporarily set aside.
[You have cleared the 89th floor.]
[Your achievements will be...]
Finally, the world of the ninetieth floor unfolded before Lee Shin. It was nothing but a blank, white space.
‘It's been a while.’
This place was designed with a progressive increase in difficulty, particularly from the ninetieth floor onwards. Here, one could manifest anything they could imagine.
‘I guess even something like this would be possible.’
Lee Shin recalled memories of his past life and started to materialize them. The white, blank background suddenly darkened, and the sky turned red. Giant buildings rose from the ground, and countless devils emerged from within.
"I finally meet you again! I've sharpened the blades of revenge to kill you," said a Great Devil with golden hair riding a silver horse.
There was Sayr, the Nobleman of Origins.
"Hehehe... Thinking about the torture I suffered at your hands still makes me shake in anger,” said another Great Devil with multiple heads holding the Book of Truth.
There was Dantalion.
Astaroth, Berith, and Naberius were here too. All the Great Devils Lee Shin had encountered were present in one place.
Lee Shin injected black mana into the shadows. The shadows stretched out, and thousands of undead rose from the ground.
"Let's fight properly before climbing to the ninetieth floor,” said Lee Shin.
Lee Shin understood that attempting the ninetieth floor would be impossible if he couldn't overcome this challenge. Moreover, this world was his creation, a realm where he could continuously challenge and engage in battles.
‘I’m pretty sure that guy will appear on the ninetieth floor, so…’
Thinking of that boss, Lee Shin decided to prepare as best as he could.
"Haah... Phew!" Lee Shin sighed.
The corpses of the devils surrounding him vanished in an instant. He had summoned the Great Devils and the Apostles, yet he wanted more. His exhausted mana reserves were soon repleted.
‘I could not defeat the Apostle of the God of Destruction.’
Having not witnessed the Apostle's full powers, Lee Shin couldn't have a proper fight. Even so, based on what the Apostle had shown back then, Lee Shin knew he would be outmatched. Also, regardless of how much he trained, he wouldn’t get stronger quickly.
"I will challenge the 19th floor,” Lee Shin muttered.
[You have entered the ninetieth floor.]
As soon as he declared, a message appeared in front of him.
[Re-clear one of the stages from the first to the eighty-ninth floors.]
[Please select a stage from the first to the eighty-ninth floors.]
Re-clearing a previous level was the challenge on the ninetieth floor, but the difficulty would far surpass the original. Additionally, each lower floor was exponentially more difficult than the last.
‘It took me a long time to get here.’
The ninetieth floor was unique in that one could uncover something hidden within the stage. After recovering his memories, Lee Shin focused on reaching the ninetieth floor and finding that secret.
"I’ll go to the first floor,” Lee Shin said.
[You have selected the first floor.]
[You will be transported to the stage on the first floor.]
The background changed next. A very familiar sight appeared before Lee Shin. He saw the buildings constructed by the challengers of Undermost and the castle wall encircling them.
[The boss of the first floor has awakened.]
[Defeat "Gene Ebrium."]
"I finally meet you again, Gene," Lee Shin muttered with a smirk.