Chapter 570

Ryan’s red sword bounced off Lee Hoon’s blue sword. Ryan’s sophisticated magic power control allowed him to generate pure energy quickly, but this alone couldn’t solve the crisis.

Lee Hoon’s attacks continued; he didn’t stop with just one. He wielded his sword in succession and pushed Ryan fiercely. Lee Hoon’s sword moved ceaselessly from left to right, right to left, top to bottom, and bottom to top. Every time Ryan’s and Lee Hoon’s swords collided, red and blue flames exploded. 

In the momentary skirmish, they poured out magic power without hesitation. The scale of the spectacle was increasing in proportion to the magic power consumed. The battle was breathtaking. Glamor meant complexity, and complexity in a battle meant that the hands and feet of the players would move in a dizzying manner.

As the battle continued, Lee Hoon looked more and more flustered. Obviously, the battle was advantageous for Lee Hoon as he was still holding onto his first advantage. So there shouldn’t be a reason for him to look like this.

‘The limbs... I don’t seem to be able to see any signs of entanglements...?’

The problem was something else. Unlike what Hyeonu said, Ryan’s ability to sustain combat wasn’t lacking. In fact, he fought well enough. No matter what attacks Lee Hoon made, Ryan might have struggled, but he always avoided fatal attacks somehow.

‘Do I have to fight until I run out of magic power?’ Lee Hoon’s intuition told him that he had only a bit of magic power left. Now was the time for him to compete purely with strength and technique. ‘Then I’ll do it as fast as I can.’

Running out of magic power wasn’t such bad news. If they both ran out of magic power, he would be able to see the true Ryan.

‘If Hyeonu hyung is right... I’ll see a gap there.’

Lee Hoon put more magic power into his sword, and the blue flames flowing through the sword instantly increased in size. He then stretched out his flaming sword toward Ryan. Ryan also injected a lot of magic power into his sword. Pure energy was the only thing that would be able to block it.

Lee Hoon’s blue flames and Ryan’s red flames collided fiercely. The battle sounds were quite different from before, but there was just one thing that didn’t change—the frequency with which the sounds occurred was the same. The two men wielded their swords as if to kill each other, holding onto their swords despite the repulsion from the collisions. Nonetheless, it was only for a moment. The pure energy soon disappeared from the two men’s swords. There was no magic power left because they had fought with all of their remaining magic power.

‘Now, this is the real start.’ Lee Hoon closed his mouth tightly and gave strength to his sword-wielding hand. This was the real beginning of the duel. Before, it had just been like a behind-the-scenes task. Lee Hoon’s movements became much faster than before. Unlike when he focused simply on putting magic power on his sword earlier, he now started to pay attention to controlling even the movement of his toes.

Ryan sensed the change in Lee Hoon’s attitude and breathed deeply, awakening his mind. This time, Ryan started attacking first. It was an expression of his willingness to not be as helpless as before. 

A white sword cut sharply through the air. Lee Hoon swung his black sword at the white sword, deflecting it lightly. Then he kicked off from the ground and rushed to Ryan.

‘Let’s do half.’

As Lee Hoon clung to Ryan, he recalled his spars with Hyeonu. He had many experiences with Hyeonu in similar situations. Lee Hoon’s sword left a silver trajectory in the air. It was a neat blow without anything extra. The swords collided, and sparks flew. The collisions sounded heavier and duller than before. Now the sound of the distinct sound of clanging metal could be heard.

‘I have to cling to him!’ Lee Hoon wielded his sword while gradually clinging to Ryan. He narrowed the distance so finely that Ryan didn’t realize it. The fact that Lee Hoon’s sword was shorter than Ryan’s sword helped make this possible. It was natural that Lee Hoon’s sword was shorter as he used both a shield and a sword. A long sword made it very inconvenient to use a shield at the same time.

‘That’s it.’

Finally, Lee Hoon was in the position he had hoped for. He got two steps closer than the usual gap they normally had in the confrontation. Lee Hoon’s sword moved more splendidly than before. No, it was more concise and faster, so it looked fancy. Ryan blocked Lee Hoon’s sword calmly. There was no sense of incongruity at all, and it just felt like an ordinary battle.

‘Still?’ Lee Hoon kept his mouth shut as he swung his sword. He poured out all of the skills he’d gained through Hyeonu’s hell-like training. Yet… Ryan blocked all of Lee Hoon’s attacks. Eventually, Lee Hoon’s sword missed, and the game ended.

“The first game between Crescent Moon and Manchester ended with a victory for Manchester’s Ryan. Please give a big round of applause for the players who worked hard. In a moment, Xuanhua and Red Bull America will play.”

Lee Hoon left the audience’s applause behind and returned to the waiting room. Crescent Moon’s waiting room was as lively as usual. It was as if Lee Hoon’s defeat had no effect.

“You’ve worked hard.”

“Well done.”

“As expected, Ryan is Ryan. Even so, you weren’t pushed.”

The Crescent Moon players welcomed Lee Hoon like they had done with Dwayne. They showed no special reaction to the defeat; they regretted the defeat but praised Lee Hoon’s skill.

“Good work. You did well.” Hyeonu stood at the door and pulled over Lee Hoon, who seemed unable to enter the waiting room.

After being seated on the sofa by Hyeonu, Lee Hoon looked up at Hyeonu and asked, “Why did I lose, Hyung?” 

Lee Hoon’s eyes were filled with feelings of aggrievance. There was also some resentment toward Hyeonu mixed in. He thought Hyeonu’s advice had been wrong. When Hyeonu heard Lee Hoon’s question, he smiled and answered, “Why did you lose? You started losing from the beginning. Don’t you know that?”

In Hyeonu’s eyes, Lee Hoon’s question was really ridiculous.

Hyeonu prompted, “What did you fight with when you practiced against me or Seokjung hyung-nim?”

Lee Hoon searched through his memories and replied, “The sword and shield.”

“Yet today, you only fought with the sword. And now you’re asking me why you lost? You idiot,” Hyeonu remarked.

No matter what anyone said, Lee Hoon’s weapons were a sword and a shield. His usual combat style was to fight with two weapons, so his established skills were naturally mixed evenly with skills that used a sword and a shield. On the other hand, Ryan’s weapon was just a sword. Therefore, all his skills were related to using a sword. Lee Hoon had lost right from the start when he threw the shield. He gave up one of his attack methods and sealed half his skills.

Hyeonu explained, “There are also so many professional gamers who use a sword as a weapon. Nine out of ten of them do. Meanwhile, few people use the sword and shield. There are only three or four people, including you. You gave up that rarity, so you lost.” 

Lee Hoon felt relieved upon hearing Hyeonu’s severe criticism. It was a type of self-rationalization for Lee Hoon that his defeat wasn’t due to a lack of skills but a matter of a moment’s choice. This meant he could still win next time. Such hope had arisen inside him.

Lee Hoon said, “Thank you, Hyung. I will work harder in the next match.”

The moment Lee Hoon’s expression relaxed, Hyeonu also smiled. “Yes, this is all experience.”

He then withdrew his gaze from Lee Hoon, and his eyes moved elsewhere. “Now, the two of you will go out in order.”

Between Yuri and Dwayne, Hyeonu fixed his gaze on Yuri. The only person in their lineup who had never competed in PvP was Yuri. Yuri nodded. “I understand, Oppa. I will go out.”

She had already finished preparing her mind. When Lee Hoon went out first, Yuri had a hunch that she would be the next player.


***


“Thank you for the hard work.” Hyeonu handed a bottle of water to Dwayne, who returned in a sweaty manner.

Yuri and Dwayne both lost to Ryan. Ryan’s skills had shone through. Yuri and Dwayne had worked hard, but there was a clear difference in skill. Now there was only Hyeonu left.

“It’s Hyung’s turn now.”

“We’ve lost three games in a row.”

“He isn’t the pride of Britain for nothing.” 

Lee Hoon and Yuri, who were both defeated by Ryan, stepped forward with Mason and chatted by Hyeonu’s side. They were like baby birds staring at the mother bird.

‘They are asking me to get revenge.’ Hyeonu couldn’t help laughing. Then he became lost in thought. How should he beat Ryan?

‘There are still many games left...’

He had to end it using as little effort as possible. Health and magic power recovered at the end of every PvP game but not the fatigue in reality.

‘I have to fight six times here...’

Crescent Moon still had five more teams to face in PvP. Apart from the match against Manchester, there were up to 30 more games remaining.

‘I should use the easiest and most comfortable way.’

There was no reason for Hyeonu to show everything. He just had to show the most confident and efficient battle. It didn’t matter what happened to the opponent in the process.


***


“This could be Crescent Moon and Manchester’s last game of the match. Ryan has won three consecutive games and will be facing the guardian of Crescent Moon, Gang Hyeonu.”

Hyeonu reached out to Ryan. “You are very good, Ryan.” 

Ryan shook Hyeonu’s hand as he answered, “I tried hard to soothe my disappointment from the last time. Now, there is this opportunity.”

Ryan had been waiting a long time for this—Arena Week, as well as a place to fight Hyeonu.

“So let’s do our best.” Hyeonu shook Ryan’s hand and entered a cube. Ryan also entered a cube, and the game started without any delay. The moment the two people appeared on the field, the timer immediately decreased, and they aimed their weapons at each other.

Ryan focused his eyes on Hyeonu’s sword. He tried not to miss a single moment. Just then, Ryan’s eyes moved quickly. It was because Hyeonu’s sword started to move. However, his eyes were soon forced to stop as Hyeonu’s movements were really absurd.

‘It is too far away.’ Hyeonu took one leisurely step and swung his sword.

At one glance, it was clear the distance between Hyeonu and Ryan spanned over 10 meters. It might be different if it were the original character with all types of skills, but for PvP characters equipped with only the basic skills, there were no skills that allowed Hyeonu to approach quickly enough that Ryan couldn’t respond.

Yet it happened at this very moment. Ryan felt a stabbing pain in his chest. He lowered his head.

‘Blood?’

Blood was dripping from his chest.

“It was a bit short. It’s been a while since I’ve done this, so I don’t feel good about it.” Hyeonu was smiling dispiritedly in the distance. The fear that swept over Ryan gave him goosebumps.

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