「That red definitely suits the fire element.」
Yeon-woo looked at the Aura blade on Carshina’s Dagger, then glanced at Shanon and Hanryeong. ‘Does the Aura color mean anything?’
Shanon grinned and shook his head. 「Not really. The color doesn’t have any effect on the power since Aura is just a matter of training.」
「It’s just that you can glimpse the user’s mind a little.」
「Since your Aura is red, it’s probably because of the Holy Fire and the fire element you have.」
「But when I look at it more, it makes me think of things burning up or maybe even blood.」
Yeon-woo thought that it made sense. Red was the color he’d seen most on Earth and in the Tower—explosions, fire, blood. Yeon-woo thought he’d never escape from that color. Yeon-woo used Extrasensory Perception to examine his Aura blade.
「All right, let’s continue. Congratulations on making an Aura blade, but this is only the first step. It’ll probably fall apart if you lose your concentration even just a little. You have to keep practicing until you’ve become completely accustomed to it.」
「However, this time, let’s change things up a bit.」
‘What do you mean?’
「You don’t understand? Let’s see you use Aura in a more realistic situation.」
Shanon glanced at Hanryeong, and both of them suddenly pulled out their weapons as though they’d already planned everything. Shanon took out his Sword Breaker, and Hanryeong chose a sword from his collection. Even though Shanon didn’t have a face, Yeon-woo could feel him smirking. 「Let’s spar.」
Clang! Yeon-woo might be a master now, but he still had a long way to go. Ordinary players would think he was quite skilled, but those with true expertise would see that he was actually lacking. He didn’t have any skills and weapons directly related to sword technique skills, and so the only way he could improve was through hard work.
Since he didn’t have a lot of time, he tried to make the most of every single minute. He went through years of time in his mind on his own to battle with himself. It was already an impossible feat for ordinary people, but Yeon-woo added even more things to do.
He sparred with Shanon and Hanryeong using only a sword to learn how to use the Writings of Divination and Aura properly. Shanon had said before that he only knew the basics, and Yeon-woo tried to make up for his lack with his thinking abilities and his sword.
As metal clashed with metal, sparks flew everywhere.
「Nice! This is as fun as I thought it would be! This is great!」 Shanon’s happy voice rang out. Behind him, Hanryeong struck his sword on the ground as if telling Shanon to hurry up.
『Mmm, this isn’t it, either.』 Victoria swept her hair back with a look of frustration. Since she couldn’t sense anything, she hadn’t felt the need to shower, but she couldn’t help feeling grungy. However, she didn’t have the time to worry about that. There were problems in her system.
She had checked for errors over and over, but no matter what, her magic didn’t work. She didn’t know how many years it had been. She’d entered the Five Mountains because she didn’t want any distractions, and she hoped to build her magic to take her to a new level. However, that goal seemed as far away as ever.
『The calculations are right, I’m sure of that.』 Victoria repeated the calculations starting with the problematic area, but she found nothing. There could only be one reason for it. 『It’s the number of possibilities.』 It was too annoying, and Victoria cursed for the first time in a while.
This was the problem with rune magic. One could use this without too many consequences, and its purity made it powerful. It was the reason why so many people who wanted to become war mages like her studied it. However, it had one big disadvantage: letters.
Simple commands were easy and usually failproof. However, the more complicated they grew, the chances of failure increased exponentially. It was easy to command “freeze”, but “freeze and crack” was almost impossible because the rune letters clashed with each other.
Victoria had tried to mitigate this disadvantage with artifacts, and she drew runes in her special bracelet, erasing one every time she needed it. However, that limited the number of times it could be used, and she needed a large amount of jewels each time the rune letters were inscribed. Also, the bracelet could only last a week.
Victoria had been trying to find a solution to the problem, and she was researching a combination of runes that could repair the bracelet once it had been used up. She had already formulated the theory, but although her calculations appeared flawless on paper, each time she tried it, it ended in failure.
She was growing frantic, terrified that she’d never reach her goal. The limits of rune magic had prevented her from climbing higher in the Tower, and she was worried that she’d be trapped on the same floor until her death.
However, she was starting to understand why her combination failed each time. It was the number of possibilities. There were infinite ways the artifact could be damaged and infinite combinations of runes. It was impossible to create a formula that would cover each possibility. The only method left was to create a special combination that could solve any possibility that arose.
In order to do that: ‘I need to model it after someone who’s good at solving things.’ Theories flashed in her head. If she could find something like that and mimic their thought patterns in an artifact, it would be able to handle any potential situation.
She had to find someone who was a quick learner and very adaptable. How fortunate it was that she knew just the right person. ‘Cain.’
At first, she’d considered Kahn since he was young and motivated. However, he spent more time meditating than training, like he was researching something, too. Yeon-woo was different. After spending the first month in meditation, he’d begun physical training to the point that it seemed he would ruin his body. However, he only progressed, and even someone who didn’t know much about martial arts like her could see the improvements he’d made.
Yeon-woo accomplished in a day what others took a month to do, and he had a deep understanding that surpassed those of others. 『I hope he does me this favor.』
The problem was that people didn’t like having their thought patterns analyzed since it would reveal too much, including their weaknesses. That was why she didn’t even think about asking the other high rankers like Kindred. The moment she brought it up, her head would be blown off.
However, when it came to Yeon-woo—what harm could asking do? Victoria organized her thoughts and slowly stood. Then, using her senses, she found Yeon-woo somewhere close to his residence. As she erased the rune for Blink, she was quickly transported to his location.
When she arrived, she was surprised. ‘What’s this?’ The entire forest around Yeon-woo’s little house had become a wasteland, as though one of Hermes’ gigantic boa constrictors had crushed it. However, she couldn’t feel any traces of magic power. ‘He must have done this with his strength alone.’
She had thought him impressive when he released his magic power against Kindred, but this was something beyond that. Victoria guessed Yeon-woo’s location based on some clues she found, and she soon arrived at a small stream at the end of the forest.
Yeon-woo was bathing. She could see firm, perfectly-shaped muscles all over his body that could only come from training. Victoria was about to smile, but her expression froze when she saw all the scars on his skin. What had he been through?
『What brings you here?』 Yeon-woo turned to Victoria. He didn’t seem surprised at all.
Victoria felt the color return to her face, and she slowly smiled. 『You don’t seem very shocked that a lady is peeping at you.』
『You can’t see, anyway. Can you wait a moment so that I can get dressed?』
『Why don’t you just stay like that?』
Yeon-woo ignored her and entered the forest to get his clothes.
『Boring.』 Victoria grinned, narrowing her eyes. 『I can feel the remnants of magic. It seems like the energy of darkness, but there aren’t any undead on the twentieth floor. Or is this one of Cain’s powers?』 Did he have more than physical strength? She was curious, but she couldn’t ask since that was the unspoken rule of the fifth mountain.
There was a rustling sound, and Yeon-woo returned, fully clothed. 『You can speak now.』
『You want to turn my thought patterns into an artifact?』 Yeon-woo asked thoughtfully. He’d been relaxing and bathing after sparring with Shanon and Hanryeong when Victoria arrived.
『Right.』 Victoria nodded.
『That’s a very presumptuous thing to ask of a martial artist.』
『I know, that’s why I’m offering a trade.』
『A trade?』 Yeon-woo had become friendlier with Victoria during the time he spent on the Five Mountains since they spoke whenever they ran into each other. However, they were hardly close enough for him to agree to something like this. However, Yeon-woo didn’t think it was such a bad offer. ‘Whatever she tries, she won’t be able to imitate my way of thinking, anyway.’
Yeon-woo was confident in his mind blocking ability. His Cold-blooded skill was already a great neutralizer of mental magic, and after awakening his Dragon Body, his subconscious was no different from a dragon’s now. Interpreting his mind would be as hard as interpreting a dragon’s mind. It was clear she would fail.
On the other hand, Yeon-woo had a lot of things that he wanted from her. Rune magic didn’t seem too difficult to use, and he had certain attack magic that he wanted to learn. ‘I want to learn at least these three types of rune magic: Blink, Haste, and Magic Power Strengthening. It would be great if I could learn other types, as well.’
Blink would help him quickly change his location; Haste would boost fast movement; and Magic Power Strengthening would increase his magic power. More than anything, rune magic would greatly help Boo.
『If you want, I’ll even throw in a demon’s contract.』 A demon’s contract entailed summoning a high demon to grant a wish. It was incredibly expensive, but that was how serious Victoria was.
Yeon-woo pretended to think about it carefully. Then, he nodded. 『All right. However, I want to learn the language of runes. Does that work for you?』
『Rune language?』 Victoria’s eyes widened. That seemed like a rather easy condition to ask of her. It was hard to learn rune magic quickly, and even after learning it, it wasn’t that easy to use the magic of the gods. She couldn’t help a bright smile from appearing on her lips as she thought that she’d found a sucker, not knowing that Yeon-woo had Dragon’s Knowledge. 『That’s fine. I’ll tutor you. I’ll leave this in your hands, then.』
『Thank you.』 The smile on Yeon-woo’s face was one that he reserved for suckers.
They both shook hands with extra strength.
In the meantime, Kindred entered a cave at the summit of the fifth mountain.
[You are the first person to enter the dungeon King Mifune’s Palace.]
It was a cave that no one had ever found before, the reason he’d spent ten years on the twentieth floor. There was a golden door at the other end, past a lake that was lit up by the brightness of the door.
“Found you, Ruyi Bang.” Kindred smiled wide enough to show his canines.Previous Chapter Next Chapter