‘I’m too late.’ Yeon-woo instinctively knew that he wouldn’t make it to Victoria in time; he was too far away. Even with Shunpo, the stone statue was much faster than him.
Boom! A large explosion sent dust soaring to the ceiling. Yeon-woo used Carshina’s Dagger to slash out a gust of wind, and through his blurred Consciousness, he saw a bloody person being blasted away—but it wasn’t Victoria. It was Rebecca.
Rebecca had managed to push Victoria out of the way, but she couldn’t block the spear in time. It pierced through her body, breaking one of her swords. The combination of the suddenness of the attack, her exhaustion, and her inability to use all her skills was fatal for her.
『Rebecca!』 Victoria cried out. Meanwhile, Kahn gritted his teeth and dragged her away from the statue’s range of attack. Yeon-woo finally arrived and spun his Magic Circuit. He quickly swapped Carshina’s Dagger for the Magic Bayonet, and an Aura blade slashed out, clanging against the spear.
Gasp! Yeon-woo inhaled involuntarily. The statue’s force was incredible. His mind wavered and his arms felt as though they would be pulled out of their sockets. He staggered back. ‘It’s really strong!’
He’d expected the large statues to be stronger than the monkey statues, but now that he was actually facing one, he realized how dangerous they truly were. The large statue brought the spear down again.
Yeon-woo knew that if he faced it directly, he would die. He’d only managed to block it with the Magic Bayonet out of sheer luck.
His thinking abilities sped up, and he assessed his surroundings. Kahn had dragged Victoria to safety. Rebecca was still alive, but her breathing was very faint and in danger of stopping. There were eleven other statues who hadn’t moved—yet. Once all twelve of the statues activated, none of them would survive. What could they do? ‘I have to think of something.’
The only way to pass the second test was to learn the Seventy-Two Bian, but it wasn’t as if it were some kind of basic skill that could be picked up in a short amount of time. There had to be a reason why they’d only been given five minutes to prepare.
Suddenly, a thought crossed his mind. Maybe there was another way to stall for time. It was more important to show respect or fear of a king than prove you were qualified to be a successor. Time Difference ended just as the spear was nearing his head.
『Everyone, get down and kowtow!』 Yeon-woo shouted with Open Speaking. It was a huge gamble, but if his hunch was right, they would be able to buy more time. If it wasn’t—well, they’d be killed anyway, and he had to try something.
He sensed Kahn and Victoria crouching and putting their heads on the floor. A wave of nervousness flowed over him as he waited, his own forehead pressed on the floor. Then…nothing. It worked! The large statue that had been attacking them was now frozen.
『Is it…done?』 Kahn lifted his head slightly to look around, but the statue began to move once more, so he quickly bowed again. 『Is this like paying our respects to a king? Fuck.』 Kahn ground his teeth together, but he was relieved that he had a chance to catch his breath.
『Rebecca!』 Victoria called out Rebecca’s name several times, but Rebecca’s breathing continued to grow fainter. Victoria wanted to use her healing magic, but she didn’t have any magic power left. When Rebecca’s breathing completely stopped, Victoria began sobbing. Kahn bit his lower lip. Even Yeon-woo, who didn’t really know Rebecca that well, grew grim. They all clenched their teeth, and a heavy silence descended.
『Cain, have you figured out a plan?』 Kahn spoke first.
『What is it?』
Yeon-woo didn’t reply for a moment because he had some questions for Kahn. He wanted to know what Kahn knew about the Seventy-Two Bian, and he had a feeling that it was related to Doyle somehow. However, he wasn’t sure if Kahn would answer even though it was clear he’d risk his own life to gain the Seventy-Two Bian. Yeon-woo decided that survival was more important than questioning Kahn. ‘Since we’ve already gotten to this point, I’m just going to take the Monkey King’s legacy.’
He had no idea if it was the last test or if there were more, and he didn’t like the thought of having to struggle through each test. He knew what Kindred and the Devil Army wanted, and his anger would only be appeased if he stole the Monkey King’s legacy from under their noses. ‘Besides, it’s more than the Seventy-Two Bian.’
The Monkey King had possessed several treasures as he traveled around heaven, and Yeon-woo thought he might be able to get his hands on them, as well. He especially wanted the Ruyi Bang, and not only because it was a holy artifact. Since it was also made of divine iron, he might be able to use it to understand the Black Bracelet a bit more.
Yeon-woo wondered if he could take over the quest, and finally, he came to a decision. He couldn’t have any witnesses or risk anyone getting in the way. The harsh truth was that neither the weak Kahn or the runeless Victoria would be of any help. He had to let them escape first.
With his Extrasensory Perception and Draconic Eyes, he found a small door next to the iron door. They had passed through the king’s entrance, but the little door was for servants. Yeon-woo gathered his thoughts first, then he said through Open Speaking, 『I think the purpose of these tests is to find a successor to the Monkey King.』
Yeon-woo told Kahn about all the clues he’d pieced together.
『That makes sense.』 Kahn nodded. Yeon-woo’s theory was plausible. Victoria, who had calmed down, also agreed. If they hadn’t been so flustered by the relentless attacks, they would have come to the same conclusion. Yeon-woo’s ability to think things through despite the pressure and stress was amazing to them.
『In my opinion, it’s hard for us to prove our qualification.』Kahn and Victoria nodded in agreement at his words again, thinking that it would be impossible for them to learn the Seventy-Two Bian. While they could read and memorize the stone monument with their Consciousness despite crouching on the ground, they still needed time to learn what it meant. It was too difficult to comprehend it right away.
『This place is probably meant for people who’ve reached a different stage.』
『A different stage?』
『I doubt this is the only place that has to do with the Monkey King. There are probably others.』
『Ah.』 Victoria understood. Kahn kept silent.
Important quests usually involved a series of tasks or tests. The Monkey King’s quest had probably begun elsewhere, and this was already the last step. At this point, they were supposed to have learned the basics of Bian already. However, they’d been thrown into the quest without any preparation. And if this was the case, then…Victoria bit her lower lip. 『Then…Kindred?』
『I think we were set up. He probably couldn’t figure out how to finish the quest and wanted to use us as guinea pigs to see if he could discover another way.』
『Fuck! That damn geezer!』 Victoria was infuriated again. She’d already been angry when she discovered Kindred’s fake body, and her anger only grew at the realization that he’d used her. Rebecca had died because of him.
Another thing occurred to her: how had he managed to interfere with her magic? However, she pushed that aside for now, and wondered if there was anything she could do in the meantime.
『We should escape first. Our lives are more important than getting revenge on Kindred.』
『There’s a way to escape?』
Kahn and Victoria were both shocked.
『There’s a small door near the entrance. I think we can leave through there.』
They sent their Consciousness to the spot Yeon-woo pointed out and found the small door. Kahn frowned. 『There are twelve statues in the way, and it’ll be hard to avoid them all.』
『That’s OK. We have bait.』
『Leave it up to me. I’ll stall for time while you and Victoria run to the door at my signal.』
Kahn shut his mouth. He couldn’t tell what Yeon-woo was thinking, but he’d seen Yeon-woo come up with unexpected solutions to problems in the Tutorial. He believed that Yeon-woo would pull off the impossible again. He wondered if he should have told Yeon-woo about Doyle earlier and decided he could still do it now. However, before he could speak, Yeon-woo was already counting down. 『On the count of three, start running. One, two…』
Kahn set his thoughts aside. He needed to escape first. Since he’d already memorized the information on the stone monument, he could still ask Yeon-woo for help after they’d gotten out of the dungeon.
Kahn and Victoria started to run towards the door, gathering the remnants of their magic power to help them move as fast as possible. Victoria used Blink.
The eyes of the twelve statues turned to them, but Yeon-woo made his move first. ‘Shanon.’
「Hehehe, I’ve been waiting.」
Yeon-woo reached out for something in his shadow and caught something. He didn’t even check to see what it was before he threw it into the air.
『Argh! Let me go! You, let me go!』 Sol Luna’s blurry form rose up, attracting the gazes of the statues. It was too late by the time she realized the danger she was in. Spears pierced through her, and her body began to fade away. 『I don’t want to die!』 Before she breathed her last, Shanon darted from the shadows to take her soul.
‘Magic Equip.’ The runes carved into Yeon-woo’s bones activated. His strengthened magic power circulated in the 360 Cores of the Magic Circuit. Six types of magic strengthened his body as he thrust his Magic Bayonet forward. The spears flew at him, clashing with the Magic Bayonet like before, but this time Yeon-woo wasn’t blown back. He staggered back a few meters, the Magic Bayonet quivering, but his eyes sparkled. ‘It’s working.’
His arm should have broken from the impact, but with Magic Equip, he’d managed to block the attack. Even though he was trembling, it was fine as long as Magic Equip was working. He began to push against the spears with the Magic Bayonet, but it was exactly like an immovable object meeting an unstoppable force.
All of a sudden, Yeon-woo used Blink to disappear. Boom! The spears suddenly thrust into the empty space where he’d been, and he reappeared behind them. Blink consumed a great deal of power to teleport short distances, but since Yeon-woo had the Neidan of the Four Legendary Beasts, he wasn’t too concerned.
The Fire Wings spread open, and infused with Holy Fire, the Magic Bayonet slashed across a statue’s neck, causing an explosion. The statue stumbled, but it regained its balance quickly and attacked again. Yeon-woo sensed that Kahn and Victoria had finally left the hall. ‘Finally.’
He didn’t have to hide his power anymore, he used Blink to quickly escape from the statues. He reappeared in front of the small door, and Kahn and Victoria urged him to exit. 『You guys go ahead first.』 Yeon-woo closed the door. Click. The door locked. Kahn and Victoria were asking him what he was doing, but Yeon-woo ignored them and turned back to the large statues, who were running to him and making the ground quake. ‘Domain Declaration.’
Dragon’s Blood circulated in his body and the Draconic Factors awakened.Previous Chapter Next Chapter