Chapter 13 - Black Route (2)

Maybe because it was annoyed that Yeon-woo had managed to dodge it, the Red O-Gong let out a sharp cry.

‘Weak point. Where is its weak point?’ As he circled the Red O-Gong, the dexterity and health points Yeon-woo had accumulated in Section A meant that he didn’t have to worry about slowing down or getting exhausted anymore. Occasionally, he caught the Red O-Gong off guard and stabbed the spots where its segments connected with each other, slicing its joints before he jumped away.

The Red O-Gong’s body and bodily fluids began to spread over the floor, but it didn’t grow weaker. Instead, it grew more furious and ferocious.

‘There is a tremendous disparity between clearing traps and slaying monsters. I have to figure out the correct tactic.’ Unlike traps that could be avoided, monsters had to be dealt with directly, and he had to grapple with a predator intent on eating him. To a certain degree, it wasn’t much different from what he’d experienced in Africa. ‘After all, a life is just a life, and that applies to monsters, too. It should have a weakness somewhere. Wait, weakness?’

An idea appeared in Yeon-woo’s mind. 'Draconic Eyes!' As the black pupils in his eyes sank and expanded, his new vision focused on the Red O-Gong’s black outline. He saw a few fine lines of imperfections mixed among the black lines. He followed them until he saw the spot where they converged. ‘There it is.’

It was a spot right between its head and neck, the equivalent of a human’s cervical spine. ‘Why didn’t I think of using the Draconic Eyes right away?’ He had gotten used to using it on inanimate objects. But now that he remembered, things were improving as he tracked the Red O-Gong’s movements with his Draconic Eyes.

Of course, finding its weakness did not mean killing it would be easy as he still had to deal with the Red O-Gong’s speed, ferocity, and strength. Also, the Red O-Gong was moving quickly, making it difficult to find the tiny spot and stab it. The short duration of Draconic Eyes also added to the problem.

Yeon-woo strengthened all his senses as he tried to keep his distance from the dust produced by the debris. He wanted to continue examining the movements of the Red O-Gong.

Krik! Krik! The Red O-Gong made a big turn and rushed down the concave wall. Yeon-woo ran to its left, aiming for the moment the Red O-Gong would raise its mouth and roar. 

‘Now!’ Yeon-woo kicked off the ground as he darted out. The Red O-Gong clattered its forcipules, believing that his irritating meal had finally gone mad. Its feet moved as it charged towards Yeon-Woo. 

Yeon-woo avoided its head and slapped its exoskeleton with his left hand, propelling himself high into the air and climbing onto its neck. Holding the dagger with its tip down, he stabbed its weak spot. Puck!

['Draconic Eyes' skill proficiency has increased. 2.4%]

[You have learned to strike your opponent’s imperfections.]

Blood gushed like a fountain, and from the amount spilling out, the spot was probably an artery. However, the dagger was stuck partway through and could not go any deeper. Just before the dagger reached the weak point, it had been blocked by something hard. ‘An inner shell?’

Yeon-woo's expression turned stern. He hadn’t realized there was another shell protecting the Red O-Gong’s weak spot. His Draconic Eyes hadn’t caught it. Sensing danger, Yeon-woo tried to get away from the Red O-Gong.

Swish!
 Before he knew it, the tail of the Red O-Gong whipped towards him. Yeon-woo crossed his arms to protect his upper body as much as possible. He bounced backward and crashed hard against the wall.

"Ugh!" Yeon-woo spat out a mouthful of blood. His body felt like it was going to shatter into pieces, and he was too dizzy to think straight.

[Horrendous pain overcomes your body. You have been afflicted with 'Stun'.]

[You have severe internal injuries. You have been afflicted with 'Shock'.]

[The Red O-Gong’s bodily fluids have seeped into your body. You have been afflicted with ‘Poison’.]

Yeon-woo gritted his teeth and quickly checked his physical condition using his strengthened senses. ‘Four broken ribs, two fractures in the spine. A vein in my left thigh has ruptured. The Achilles tendon in my right ankle is torn.’ There was no doubt that he wouldn’t be able to move an inch due to the seriousness of his injuries.

The Red O-Gong took the opportunity to charge towards him with the speed of an arrow. Its forcipules reached out to him. But even in this situation, Yeon-woo managed to assess the best course of action.

[Your trait, Cold-blooded, has helped you maintain composure.]

[The status 'Stun' has been removed. You have developed resistance to pain.]

[The status 'Shock' has been removed. You have developed resistance to impact.]

[The status ‘Poison’ has been removed. You have developed resistance to poison.]

······

[The skill ‘Physical Resistance’ has been created.]

[You have shown great presence of mind in dangerous situations. You have attained deep enlightenment with your perseverance and an indomitable will.]

[The skill ‘Combat Will’ has been created.]

Despite the messages, Yeon-woo couldn't afford to check his new skills just yet. Still, he had an idea what the skills were just from their names. The terrible pain subsided, and his mind grew clearer. He was even more capable of thinking and making decisions now. He felt as if time had slowed down for a brief moment. Thanks to his Thought Acceleration, Yeon-woo could assess different possible actions before the Red O-Gong reached him. He made a decision just as the forcipules were almost right in front of his face. Yeon-woo pointed his dagger towards them. Clang!

“Hup!” Yeon-woo was lifted up by the impact. His upper body dug into the wall. His spine suffered yet another fracture and both of his arms shook from the pain. Still, he forced himself to tighten his grip on the dagger. Blood dripped from his torn hands, but he clenched his teeth. His eyes were bloodshot.

Krik! Krik! Krik! The dagger blocked the Red O-Gong’s forcipules, which opened and closed in front of Yeon-woo's face. He could see into its throat, which was covered with countless fangs. The Red O-Gong writhed, trying to bite off Yeon-woo’s head. Whenever its forcipules clattered, his dagger trembled as if it would break any time soon.

In the end, Yeon-woo couldn’t hold it back any longer, and the Red O-Gong’s forcipules almost reached his face. Hiss! A rock melted as the monster’s saliva dropped on it.

Yeon-woo suddenly slid down, and the Red O-Gong rammed its head into the wall. Yeon-woo was now underneath it. Other than its joints, it was the only part that wasn’t covered by the hard exoskeleton. ‘This is its belly.’ He stabbed it with the badly chipped dagger.

The monster raised its head and screamed in pain. Yeon-woo held onto the dagger stuck in its stomach. The centipede twisted its body around and went on a rampage, trying to shake him off. Unfortunately for it, Yeon-woo shoved the dagger even deeper into its stomach. Crunch! As he dangled from the monster's abdomen, Yeon-woo clenched his teeth and forced his arm to push into it. The dagger was almost at the point where the imperfections converged.

Snap!
 He heard something breaking inside. He didn't know what it was, but he was sure it was critical to this centipede. "I’ve won." Yeon-woo smiled coldly as he sliced its belly open. Shlick!

A long wound appeared along the monster’s stomach. Its entrails poured out, and blood splattered, painting the cave red. The Red O-Gong shrieked once more, struggling with the pain. Then as its strength started to drain, the centipede's head finally fell onto a puddle of its own blood, making a wheezing sound.

Yeon-woo also fell to the floor. His body was a total wreck. He was so worn out that he couldn’t even lift a finger. The Red O-Gong glared at Yeon-woo, its eyes filled with resentment. After a lifetime inside the cave, it couldn’t see very well, but in the end, it still wanted to look at him. Soon, it stopped breathing.

‘This is ridiculous.’ Yeon-woo breathed heavily and frowned. He thought he had gained strength from his time in Section A and after dealing with the four players. But the stupid Tutorial didn’t give him any chance to relax. ‘It wasn’t lying when it said this had a high level of difficulty.’

However, he concluded that his training hadn't let him down at all. If he hadn't done any of it, he’d be the one lying dead on the ground instead of the Red O-Gong. He already knew what to do after the battle. With all the strength he could muster, Yeon-woo forced himself to move.

He had spilled too much blood, and he was only staying conscious by relying on his skills. He felt like he would pass out at any moment, like a candle in the wind. He had to get everything done before that happened. Although he moved like a marionette without strings, he managed to crawl forward.

He tore some white moss from the ground and pushed it into his mouth. He had no strength to chew, but fortunately, the moss melted like water and flowed down his throat. Swoosh. He felt something cold slipping inside his body. Before the feeling disappeared, Yeon-woo grabbed onto the hard exoskeleton of the Red O-Gong, raised his upper body and pushed his face into the sliced belly. It was filled with a disgusting, rotten stench, but in the end, he managed to find what he was looking for. The centipede’s heart was still beating, but Yeon-woo opened his mouth wide and bit into it.

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