Chapter 177 - Shadow Dojo (2)

Greed and Yeon-woo both moved forward at the same time. Boom! Their blades clashed against each other, but instead of the sound of metal ringing against metal, they produced explosions.

‘As I expected, the simulation is just like the real thing. I shouldn’t let my guard down.’ Yeon-woo’s eyes shone as he felt the vibration along Carshina’s Dagger. ‘And his weapons look pretty nice.’

Greed had gotten his nickname from his obsession with treasure. He was evil enough to betray even his friends to get what he wanted. Each time Greed used a weapon, magic circles rose from the ground, and it was clear how much he had invested in them.

But Yeon-woo knew that his own inventory didn’t fall behind. He was wearing a masterpiece artifact like those of high rankers that made his movements smooth and agile. He also had the refurbished Carshina’s Dagger.

[+3 Carshina’s Dagger]
[Classification: One-handed weapon]
[Rank: A]
....
[*Black Blade
It has been specially crafted to connect to the Despair of the Black King, and it increases attack power by 15-20%.]
[**It has been adjusted to the skills of the current user.]

Yeon-woo had changed a lot of Carshina’s Dagger’s elements. The biggest change was placing jewels on it to make it stronger. The purer a jewel was, the more it could amplify effects since it was a basic ingredient of alchemy and even had a field of research dedicated to it.

Fortunately, Henova knew how to handle jewels, and Yeon-woo had learned a lot from him. During the day, he assisted Henova, and at night Henova taught him about the jewels. Yeon-woo had used Time Difference to learn, as well. He engraved the rune letters he’d learned from Victoria and set them with powdered jewels.

He’d used the best jewels that were at least ninety-percent pure. He had enough to bathe in, and if he needed more, Henova’s connections could get him whatever he wanted. After spending a lot of money and enduring a lot of nagging from Henova, Yeon-woo learned how to set jewels.

There were two lines of rune letters on the dagger. The first was “Make the dark even darker”, and the second was “Make the heat even hotter”. It had been perfectly adjusted for Yeon-woo.

Yeon-woo had absorbed everything that Henova taught him, and he even observed Henova with his Draconic Eyes and Extrasensory Perception. Although this was the first artifact that he had repaired, he was confident that Greed wouldn’t have a single weapon as outstanding as it was.

As though proving Yeon-woo’s theory, Greed was pushed far away by the power of Carshina’s Dagger. Although he was only a simulation, he seemed surprised.

Yeon-woo hit the ground again to maintain his advantage as Greed threw five daggers at him. Yeon-woo lashed them aside and rushed towards Greed. In the blink of an eye, two blades clashed again multiple times.

Suddenly, Greed wobbled. Yeon-woo injected Aura into his dagger as Holy Fire whirled over his head. The fire crackled and heated up the room, trapping Greed within. He looked like he was in grave danger.

***

“Why did that guy enter the last door?”

Yeon-woo was once more the subject of speculation. Now that the Hoarder was climbing the Tower again, the players were curious about his actions. But contrary to their expectations, Yeon-woo had chosen the last, and easiest, door.

Everyone thought it strange. Even though the first place in the Hall of Fame of each floor was marked ‘Unrevealed,’ everyone knew who had taken the spot. They thought he’d choose the first and most difficult door to take the first place once more, and his decision had shocked them all.

The unremarkable members of Trinity had received a particularly nasty surprise to see Yeon-woo on the twenty-first floor. Yeon-woo had no idea who they were, but they’d encountered each other throughout the different floors.

The Trinity members had endured the cave of snakes as Yeon-woo hoarded all the hidden pieces for his Mythical Beast egg, and they even served under him as mercenaries in Red Dragon. Every time they ran into Yeon-woo, they ended up with unpleasant memories, and they had no intention of getting involved with him once more. Unfortunately, fate was not kind to them, and they ran into him again on the twenty-first floor.

“What is the Hoarder thinking?”

“Did he really just waste his time on the twentieth floor like the rumors say?”

Because Yeon-woo had stopped clearing the floors for a while, rumors had spread that he’d fallen into a slump and lost all his abilities. If this were true, it made sense that he’d choose the last door.

“You experienced that horrid guy and you still believe those lies?’ Heidi looked at Dylan and Jun as though they were pathetic.

Dylan and Jun turned to look. Heidi was an Elf and possessed Fairy Eyes, so she could somewhat grasp the truth. It had got them out of trouble a few times, so they were interested in what she said.

“Do you see something?”

“Do I have to?”

“What are you talking about? Explain it so we can understand.”

“Can’t you see what the Hoarder is trying to do, you fools?”

“Hm?” Dylan and Jun tilted their heads, not understanding.

Heidi sighed in frustration. It was understandable that Dylan didn’t get it since he was pretty dull anyway, but why was Jun being like this too? Maybe their heads had emptied out after being stuck on the twenty-first floor for so long. “Obviously, he’s planning on clearing all the doors!”

Their expressions changed. They hadn’t thought of that possibility at all. Each shadow behind a door was a monster. Every player who had left a mark on the Tower was there, including the Nine Kings. Those were players that even high rankers wanted to avoid.

In fact, the Martial King had earned his fame after winning against the shadow of the high ranker, Ice King. And so no matter how incredible they thought Yeon-woo was, they never imagined that he would fight each monster one after the other.

However, Heidi lifted her head elegantly, confident that she was right. Finally, Dylan and Jun looked at the last door. It made sense, and besides, Heidi was usually right about these things.

“Just wait. You’ll probably see what happens in a day.” In fact, it didn’t even take that long for Heidi to be proved right.

Boom! Boom!

“Wh-what’s that?” The ground suddenly began to shake. Because the dungeons were all individual, the stage of the twenty-first floor didn’t usually shake, and so the players turned to see where the commotion was coming from. But even when they spread their senses, they couldn’t discover any source other than the fifth door.

However, it didn’t make sense that anything that happened there would cause an earthquake, and so they continued looking elsewhere. Only Dylan and Jun looked taken aback as they remembered Heidi’s words.

Boom! The gentle tremors grew violent, and all the players—from those searching for the source of the shaking to the ones who were still training—looked at the last door with shocked expressions. The door heaved up and down. Until this moment, nothing that happened behind the door had ever affected the outside, but now it felt as though a giant were running towards the door. The explosions grew louder, and tremors grew more violent. Everyone had to cover their ears, feeling as though thunder were crashing into their eardrums. 

Dylan and Jun shut their mouths. Heid narrowed her eyes, amplifying her Fairy Eyes to look at the wavelengths of magic power flowing out of the fifth door. ‘Six minutes and thirty-one seconds, six minutes and thirty-two seconds…’ She had been counting the time in her head, wondering how long it would take the monster with those wavelengths to pass through the door.

Boom! As though dozens of bombs were exploding at the same time, the door burst into pieces and black smoke poured out with the smell of burning objects. Yeon-woo sauntered out as though nothing had happened.  

The players all looked at Yeon-woo with their mouths open. He had gone through the sections behind the door without a single break, and all he’d needed was…‘Nine minutes and fifty-one seconds.’

He hadn’t even taken ten minutes.

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