Chapter 37 - Akasha’s Snake (5)

Yeon-woo knew that Akasha's Snake grew by feeding on Akasha. But he never thought that feeding would also help it resurrect. Yeon-woo finally saw a ray of hope. In fact, depending on how he handled the situation, the outcome might even be better than what he had originally envisioned. The longer the snake spent on growing, the larger it would become, and along with that, the bigger its Neidan would be. He would then have a chance to absorb its full power. 

Yeon-woo’s eye glistened with anticipation. ‘Plus, this doesn’t go against the quest’s directive.’ 

The quest told him to stop the resurrection ceremony, but it didn’t set a deadline. In other words, he could complete the quest as long as he killed Akasha’s Snake before the ceremony ended. 'As long as the ceremony continues, I can keep making Akasha's Snake bigger and bigger. It won’t be too late to kill it once it reaches its full size.' 

Besides, there might be other secrets hidden inside Akasha’s Snake’s tunnel, and he didn’t even know what kind of reward he’d receive after completing the quest. 'Considering the risk, the reward will likely be significant.’ He might be able to acquire even more statistics and karma than he would have with his original plan. The mere thought of it made him almost burst out laughing, but he held himself back. 'It’s too early to celebrate.’ 

He had to strike while the iron was hot, and Yeon-woo quickly began to work out a plan. 'The main variable in Akasha’s Snake’s resurrection is none other than Akasha, the spiritual energy. The more energy the snake absorbs, the bigger it will grow. It’s just like Bathory’s Vampiric Sword. If so, I have to bring more food here to fatten up the snake.” 

Yeon-woo presumed Akasha's Snake was hungry after its resurrection, and he had to think of a way to keep a constant stream of food entering the tunnel. Undine's Goblet? 'No. Just one won’t be enough. And Galliard probably doesn’t have that many to spare.' He immediately shrugged off the idea of asking Galliard for help. Yeon-woo didn’t want to share the rewards with anyone else. 'Then the only option is…’ Yeon-woo watched the last corpse vaporize into smoke. 'To bring more sacrifices here.’ 

Fortunately, there were many monsters that would make a good meal for Akasha’s Snake wandering outside the tunnel. ‘If I disturb the Orcs, the ceremony might be interrupted. I need to hunt somewhere farther away. Or maybe…’ A sly grin crept over Yeon-woo’s face. ‘I could raise the stakes.’ If he could lure the monsters guarding each area to the eastern desert area, how much would Akasha's Snake grow with so much food? 

Yeon-woo cast Shunpo and left the cavern after going over his plan and organizing his thoughts. The ritual continued as he walked away. “Oh, our god, I beg you!" 

“Kahh!” The snake’s cry shook the whole tunnel. 

*   *   * 

[150:43:11_56] 

There was less than a week left until the Tutorial’s conclusion, and the sixth-ranked player in the Tutorial, Bain, was wondering whether it was time to stop collecting Tokens and move onto Section F. 'I have to enter the top five. That’s the only way I can be acknowledged by the Isle.’ 

The Isle was how the players of Arangdan referred to the Cheonghwado. The Isle worked through meritocracy, which meant that he had to stand out and perform brilliantly to be reborn as a ranker. Someone with Bain's level of skill would usually reach the fifth rank, or even the third one if he was lucky. But there were too many abnormally strong players in this round: Phante, Edora, Kahn, and even the Marcusian swordsman. He was getting a little impatient wondering how he could overtake those players and enter the top five. 

Just then, Bain received an order. "An assassination mission? For me?" 

"Yes. Bild has given the order for the members of Team 1 to assemble." 

Bain's face crinkled up. His hands were already full with his own problems, and now he also had to participate in an assassination mission. Moreover, the target wasn’t even in the top ten. That alone was enough to hurt his pride and to make matters worse, Bild was even ordering them to operate as a team. 

Bain waved his hand in annoyance. "Send the others. I have my hands full trying to keep my rank. Tell Bild, I’m sure he’ll understand." 

But as he turned away, the messenger continued. "This is a special order. The ones who disobey will be cut off from the clan on the spot." 

Bain gazed at the messenger with a completely twisted face, and a chilly aura spread through the air. Nevertheless, the messenger remained calm. 

"Special?" 

"Yes, so you have to move together as a team. He also offered all the Tokens in Arangdan’s possession to the one who brings back his head." 

Bain's eyes suddenly shone with greed. There had to be at least a thousand Tokens collected by Arangdan as a clan, and Bild was willing to give them all away just for one head. It was finally his opportunity to crack the top five. Not only that, Bild would also be watching his back. 

"However, since the target is also the same player behind the annihilation of Team 2, Bild advises being as careful as possible." 

Bain eyes widened. Although Team 2 was inferior to Team 1, they were still tough opponents because of their unruly tempers. Even Bain’s life would be at risk if he fought them all at the same time. 'It now makes sense why he wants us to work together as a team.’ As much as possible, Bild liked to have guaranteed outcomes. 

“Wait a minute. If the target eliminated Team 2 completely, that means he has all their Tokens too, doesn’t it?” That meant he would end up with the Tokens from both Arangdan and Team 2. ‘That will undoubtedly boost me up to the top five.’ Bain's eyes glittered coldly and the corners of his lips twisted up. "All right. Tell him I’m heading to the meeting location immediately." 

The messenger disappeared with a farewell. Without further delay, Bain headed towards the designated meeting location, anxious that someone else might take the Tokens if he acted too slowly. 

In Section E, fifteen other players with similar thoughts were doing the same. Little did they know, they were heading straight to their doom. 

*    *    * 

Yeon-woo’s first destination was not far from the eastern desert area, near the border of the northern swamp. He was surreptitiously following a Lizardman Scout to its village.

[‘Shunpo’ skill proficiency has increased. 7.1%] 

Shunpo was a skill that suited Yeon-woo very well. He had tried out various complex moves he envisioned in his head, which made his skill proficiency increase at a quick pace. Thanks to the skill, Yeon-woo managed to slip into the village’s main barracks, where a Lizardman who was slightly bigger than the others was giving orders. He seemed to be the chief of the village. "Our king is dead, but no one must find out, especially the Orcs. If they do, they’ll try to take advantage of the situation to battle us, and so we have to be careful." 

"Roger!" 

"Roger!" 

The Lizardman Warriors nodded their heads and left the room in an orderly manner. 

“This is tiresome." The big Lizardman sat down on his chair and muttered to himself in a cold voice. 

'They must be having a lot of trouble after Hargan's death.” Yeon-woo quickly checked the name of the troubled Lizardman. 

[Kurarak, chief of the 21st tribe] 

It seemed he had come at just the right time. Now that the Lizardmen had lost both Hargan, the Lizardman King, and Taragan, the strongest warrior of their species, there was no unifying force holding them together. The entire species was suffering all sorts of problems, and if a war broke out at this time, they would be pushed out of their territory. They had to stay on guard and keep their mouths shut. 

‘It's better this way.’ However, this was a great opportunity for Yeon-woo to create chaos between the monsters and drive a wedge between them. Without any further ado, he jumped at Kurarak. 

"What! An assassin? Urk!" Kurarak sensed Yeon-woo’s presence and reached out for his scimitar, but it was too late. Puck! He fell back, Carshina’s dagger already stuck in his forehead. It was a pitiful end for one of the twenty-five tribal chiefs of the Lizardmen. 

Yeon-woo threw the corpse of an Orc he had killed along the way next to Kurarak's body. Then he smashed a couple of pieces of furniture. 'When the Lizardmen see this, they will think that Kurarak died fighting an Orc assassin. And the bigger the damage, the better the effect will be.’ Yeon-woo spread out his hand and cast Flame Infusion. 

Whoosh! A flame shot out of his palm. It was relatively small due to his lack of proficiency, but it was sufficient to set things on fire. Yeon-woo threw the flame a small distance away from the corpses. Since it was a fire created by a skill, it spread and engulfed the barracks in seconds. 

"Fire! Fire!" 

"Chief! Something’s wrong with our chief!" 

Soon, the whole tribe fell into great turmoil. After watching the chaos unfold, Yeon-woo leisurely walked away and moved onto his next target. He had several places to visit that evening. 

*        *    * 

Overnight, the whole swamp was plunged into confusion. The Lizardmen were already on high alert after the death of their king and queen. The tension reached its peak when the chiefs and some other warriors were found murdered. When they discovered that Orcs were related to the assassinations, they all flew into a rage. 

"The Orcs have killed our king and queen! Orcs are about to invade our territory! Orcs will be coming here soon!" There was a shout from the crowd, and it stirred up the whole tribe. 

"We shall strike before they do! This is war! We will have our revenge!" 

The northern swamp quaked the next morning as armies composed of thousands of Lizardmen began to move towards the eastern desert area. In the meantime, Yeon-woo was headed towards the jungle in the west.

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