Chapter 183 - Shadow Dojo (8)

Chapter 183 – Shadow Dojo (8)

Just as the simulation had reached a new step, Yeon-woo opened the second step after learning the concept of Demarcation. His understanding of Holy Fire increased, and he was able to reach a higher level of the second step than the shadow. 

Yeon-woo swung Vigrid, this time intent on really defeating the shadow. The shadow flew up to the sky with Sky Wings and blasted his Wave of Light. Lightning bolts rained down to fight Yeon-woo’s fire. 

***

The ground rumbled, and dust blew up into the air from the fury of the attacks. Boom! Something flew out of the explosion. The shadow fell powerlessly to the ground with his broken Sky Wings. Yeon-woo pressed down on him from above, impaling his right shoulder with Vigrid.

“Haa…Haa…” Yeon-woo and the shadow were so close to each other that they could hear each other’s breath. It had been such an intense battle that if one of them had passed out, it wouldn’t have surprised the other. 1

However, victory belonged to Yeon-woo for a simple reason—although the shadow was more talented and possessed more skills, Yeon-woo was more proficient in the skills that he did possess, plus he had the Neidan of the Four Legendary Beasts. Also, he’d gained a lot of advantage from the explosion, which he used to train his Mugong.

As Yeon-woo’s control increased throughout the battle, he managed to use Swe to get used to his skill.

[You have completed the trial of the 30th section.]

[During the trial, you gained knowledge and made several feats. You have made an achievement that is not easily accomplished. Additional karma and rewards will be provided.]

[You have acquired 5,000 karma.]

[You have acquired an additional 3,000 karma.]

[You have earned the unique skill ‘Wave of Fire.’]

[The skill ‘Fire Rain’ and ‘Wave of Fire’ have been bound to each other. ‘Wave of Fire’ skill proficiency has increased. 3.2%]

The Wave of Fire was inspired by the Wave of Light, and it had the ability to burn continuously. He still needed to practice it a bit, but it was still more powerful than the Wave of Light because it was combined with other skills that Yeon-woo had. With this, he had barely won.

It was a close battle, and Yeon-woo couldn’t shake the feeling that his brother had given him this present so that Yeon-woo wouldn’t be embarrassed by losing to him. As the messages popped up, the arena started to settle, and his brother’s shadow began to fade away. Yeon-woo wanted to look at the disappearing shadow for as long as possible. He wouldn’t be able to see his brother again after this, even though the shadow had no idea what he was feeling.

All of a sudden, the corner of the expressionless shadow’s lips rose. Yeon-woo’s eyes widened; he wasn’t seeing things, there really was a faint smile on his brother’s face, just like the one he’d seen five years ago. ‘It was fun, hyung.’ And with those words, the shadow disappeared with the arena.

Since simulations were created from real players, it wouldn’t be too unusual for them to retain some of their memories. For some reason, Yeon-woo felt like he had just had a nice conversation with his brother—not the voice of Jeong-woo in the diary, but a Jeong-woo who was still alive. He closed his eyes, repeating his brother’s words over and over in his mind until the next section began.

***

Ding. 

A new message popped up, and Yeon-woo slowly opened his eyes. The darkness was gone.

[The fight with Hughl, 3rd place, will begin soon. Prepare for the fight during the countdown.]

[Considering your current condition, you are being given more time to prepare.]

[03:00:00]

....

Preparation times were usually based on the length of the previous battle, which meant that it had taken him a long time to battle Jeong-woo. However, it wasn’t unexpected since Yeon-woo had put everything he had into it and barely even scraped by. If it weren’t for the Wave of Fire, he wouldn’t have won.

He hadn’t struggled as much even when he battled the Summer Queen, and he could finally see how his brother had become a threat to the Nine Kings. Considering his brother’s abilities, he wondered what the final three opponents would be like.

If they already had such skills when they reached the twenty-first floor, it was mind-boggling to think of how powerful they would be now. ‘Well, Seseung-nim is pretty amazing now.’ Yeon-woo smiled wryly as he thought of the second-place Martial King.

Even he was surprised with his victory in the thirtieth section, and he could still remember how the Martial King had blown away half of the eleventh floor. Yeon-woo was a distance away from this destructive ability since he still struggled to control the Wave of Fire, and he imagined that the Martial King had already been a monster in his younger days.

He wondered whether he ought to leave the arena to rest for a while but decided, ‘Let’s just do it.’ He filled his empty Magic Circuit with magic power from the outside, and awakened his Draconic Blood to quickly heal himself. ‘I have to keep going.’

He’d managed to earn the skill Wave of Fire from fighting with his brother’s shadow, and it was the first time Yeon-woo had ever created a skill.

[Wave of Fire]
[Number ??? (Calculating)]
[Proficiency: 3.2%]
[Description: A skill that player ### has derived and expanded from ‘Fire Rain’. The intensity of the explosion depends on the amount of magic power within the body. It shares similarities with the skill ‘Wave of Light’ but has more potential and complexity.]
[*Fire Lightning
The intensity of the fire lightning increases according to the amount of magic power. It will confuse opponents.]
[*Boiling Spark
An explosion will spread thunderbolts within an area, and any sparks generated will not be easily extinguished.]
[**This is a unique skill. No other skill like this exists in the Tower. If it is successfully passed on to another player, it will lose its uniqueness. Instead, additional options will be provided.
**This is still an incomplete skill. Complete the skill to raise its rank or gain a number.]

The system acknowledged abilities through their skills and special patterns. Since Yeon-woo had just made the Wave of Light, it wasn’t yet fully confirmed and might disappear. Yeon-woo wanted to have it confirmed as quickly as possible. He didn’t want to lose the potential that it contained. He couldn’t put it in words, but he had a feeling that he would be able to grow this skill into something amazing.

Yeon-woo knew that the three remaining shadows he had to fight on the twenty-first were strong, but he didn’t think he would lose to them. He could awaken the second step, and he had his Wave of Fire. He’d learned a lot from his fight with Jeong-woo’s shadow, like using the Dragon Body efficiently and controlling his powers. Jeong-woo’s Dragon Body and powers were at a higher level than his, and Yeon-woo’s eyes had been opened.

Previously, he’d only tried to match his Dragon Body to his Mugong and engrave rune magic into his bones. But now, he felt like if he got some rest, he would definitely be able to deal with the rest of the shadows. 

In the meantime, a new shadow appeared behind an invisible barrier. He was thin and barely two meters tall. He was sickly looking, with dark circles under his eyes. ‘That person is the Head Bishop of the Devil Army.’

Hughl occupied the highest position among the nine bishops who ruled the Devil Army, and he was famous for having the Lord trait. Since he had two abilities that were difficult to acquire, he’d caused a commotion as soon as he’d taken his position. He’d defeated four bishops, including the Head Bishop at the time, Black Dusk, and took the position for himself.

Even though he hadn’t yet entered the Devil Army when he reached the twenty-first floor, his simulation was extremely strong. ‘I heard that Kindred became the Second Bishop after Hughl became the Head Bishop.’

Yeon-woo looked at Hughl calmly. No one knew much about him. However, Yeon-woo knew that he had a Lord trait, which would help him find a way to defeat him. Also, he had the information in his brother’s diary. ‘There’s something I want to check as well.’

He narrowed his eyes, staring at the Head Bishop’s shadow even as he focused on healing.

***

[You have completed the trial of the 31st section.]

The spot where Yeon-woo had stabbed Vigrid still burned with the Wave of Fire. After some practice, Yeon-woo managed to change its direction as he desired, and he’d seen its destructive power in action against the shadow.

He had decreased the amount of magic power he used to the smallest amount possible and managed to use up a lot less energy. Still, the effects were the same: there were craters and fissures all over the ground, as well as tracks that made it look like a large snake had slithered past.

When the shadow disappeared, something yellow floated above it and approached Yeon-woo. Intrenian suddenly opened without Yeon-woo’s command, and the piece of the Ruyi Bang he owned floated up to combine with the yellow object.  

Click. 

They joined together and then fell into Yeon-woo’s palm, now the size of a finger. Although it was unexpected, Yeon-woo calmly checked the piece with his Draconic Eyes. 

[Pieces of Ruyi Bang (5/???)]
[You have found 4 more pieces of the Ruyi Bang. Find all the pieces to complete the Ruyi Bang.]

‘The pieces are attracting each other. It doesn’t seem like it’ll be too hard to find the rest of the pieces after all.’ Yeon-woo gripped his piece of the Ruyi Bang and laughed. ‘Other than that, what just happened?’

The Devil Army was also gathering pieces of the Ruyi Bang, and Yeon-woo thought of what he would do in their shoes. ‘I’d take the pieces from the challengers of the shadow.’ They probably thought it was a good idea to store the pieces here since it was nigh impossible to defeat Hughl. They never thought that someone who also had a piece of the Ruyi Bang would be strong enough to defeat him.

The piece in Yeon-woo’s hand didn’t react. It was probably too strong. Yeon-woo laughed again and put it away in Intrenian before moving to the next section.

The thirty-second section opened to reveal a younger version of the Martial King sitting in a lotus position. Although most of the shadows were expressionless, this one still seemed to be influenced by the Martial King and had a very mischievous vibe. 

However, Yeon-woo could still see the beast inside him—although young, it already had sharp fangs and claws. The Martial King said he caused a lot of trouble when he was younger, and it was pretty obvious why. 

Yeon-woo raised Vigrid into position. Before he’d left the One-horned tribe, the Martial King had asked if he thought Yeon-woo would manage to defeat his simulation. Yeon-woo retorted that he had to find a way so that he could pay the Martial King back for all the suffering he’d put Yeon-woo through.

Any disciple with an outstanding teacher dreamed of defeating and surpassing them. Yeon-woo felt the same way. He wondered how much of a genius the Martial King had been, and he felt his competitiveness being triggered. He’d defeated his brother and even the Head Bishop of the Devil Army. Since he was already here, he wanted to see it to the end. The Martial King was just someone he had to go through to get there.

[The trial of the 33rd section is beginning.]

When the barrier disappeared, the Martial King suddenly raised his arms. He moved his lips as though he were speaking. ‘I surrender.’ How was it possible for a shadow to have free will? The diary hadn’t mentioned anything about this at all.

Yeon-woo couldn’t move forward. For the first time since he entered the twenty-first floor, something felt off. 

***

“Is this it?” Jang Wei checked the smithy before entering. Creak. “Excuse me.”

“We’re closed, you have to leave.” The sun was still high up in the sky, but the voice was annoyed. The rumors that said he only worked whenever he felt like it were true, after all.  

Jang Wei ignored his words and continued inside, following the sound of hammering.  

“Shit! We’re not open right now, what’s wrong with you?” Henova turned around, frowning. 

Jang Wei looked at him indifferently. “Are you Henova?” As he waited for a reply, he reached for a dagger at his back. Its blade glinted in the light.

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