Chapter 4 - Tutorial (2)

[A fierce pain is overwhelming you. You have been afflicted with 'Stun'.]  

[Your trait, Cold-blooded, has helped you maintain composure.]  

[The status 'Stun' has been removed. You have developed resistance to pain.]  

He felt as if his arm had been torn off, and he couldn’t breathe. However, Yeon-woo was familiar with this sensation, and he gritted his teeth and held tightly onto consciousness. He had suffered this kind of pain many times in Africa. He’d been shot, and his life had been in danger many times. This pain was nothing in comparison. 

He quickly checked his condition. ‘My left shoulder and forearm have gotten direct hits, but the arrow only grazed my ribs. The wounds look bad, but I can still move.’ 

He made a decision and lifted his ragged backpack, stepping back as quickly as he could. ‘It looks like the traps were activated at the same time when I passed through a certain point.’ 

That meant the traps were concentrated in one area. He had to run until he passed it. Even as he retreated, the steel arrows kept flying towards him. At first, there were only one or two arrows, but after a certain point, four or five started to fly out at the same time. He tried to avoid exposing himself as much as possible as he moved. A trail of blood spread from his wounds and stained the wall. Two more steel arrows struck his calf.   

Soon, he reached a certain zone and the steel arrows no longer rained down on him. Yeon-woo leaned against the wall as he threw the backpack bristling with steel arrows on the floor. Everything was spinning around him, and an unpleasant, stuffy taste lingered in his mouth.   

[Your wounds are bleeding severely. You have been afflicted with 'Stun'.]  

[Your trait, Cold-blooded, has helped you maintain composure.]  

[The status 'Stun' has been removed. You have developed resistance to bleeding.]  

Yeon-woo barely managed to hold onto consciousness. It was almost by instinct that he managed to reach the safe zone, but if he lost consciousness here, he would die instantly. Yeon-woo plunged his hand into the torn backpack. Its contents had spilled onto the floor, and items rolled around.   

Fortunately, he hadn’t lost his first-aid kit, and he quickly found it. Yeon-woo opened the kit and took out disinfectant, bandages, a threaded needle, an oil-soaked cotton ball, and a lighter. Because he could hardly move his left arm, it took him a long time to find them all. 

As soon as he finished his preparations, Yeon-woo put his hand on the steel arrow stuck in his left shoulder and pulled it out. “Ugh!” As expected, he felt a fierce pain as though his arm were about to fall off.   

The hand holding the steel arrow trembled, and blood gushed out from his wound. With bloodshot eyes, Yeon-woo set the cotton ball on fire and pressed it against his wound. Hiss! The smell of burned flesh filled the air.  

[Your skin has been set on fire. You have been afflicted with 'Stun'.]  

[Your trait, Cold-blooded, has helped you maintain composure.]  

[The status 'Stun' has been removed. You have developed resistance to burning.]  

The wound healed quickly, and soon, it was only a scar. Yeon-woo repeated the process with the arrow in his leg. Then, he applied disinfectant. Thankfully, none of his bones were broken thanks to his quick reflexes. However, he could barely catch his breath after treating all of his wounds. “Ha...ha...ha!”  

His strength drained from his body, and his left arm and leg felt particularly weak. ‘Such a rough start. This is nuts.’ Yeon-woo was so dumbfounded that he wanted to curse himself. He knew it would be dangerous, but he hadn’t thought it would be this bad. There was such a big difference between knowing a fact and experiencing it for real. 

‘I’m glad I have this trait.’ Yeon-woo felt grateful that he could stay rational in any situation. He’d always been mentally strong, but now, he felt even stronger since he could make snap decisions even in dangerous situations like this.   

In addition, the resistance he was building up helped relieve his pain little by little. He wasn’t sure how the system worked and didn’t know whether his trait was being enhanced or his body was slowly adapting. The only thing he knew for sure was that the developments were helpful. 

He quickly composed himself and looked at the passage still shadowed in darkness. It gaped like the ferocious jaws of a beast—but even beasts had weaknesses. ‘There’s a specific timing for each arrow. There is also a subtle signal.’ Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes. ‘I have to figure out the timing.’  

The traps had to be a combination of multiple devices. Sensors captured someone approaching, cogwheels spun to measure direction, and finally, the loaded steel arrows were shot out. ‘Because of the darkness, it is impossible to see the steel arrows coming. But since the cogwheels activate before they’re let loose, I need to listen to the sound of the cogwheels spinning. It’s the only way I can find the location and direction of the steel arrows.’ However, it likely only took a few seconds for the cogwheels to spin and then the steel arrows to be fired. The sound it made was also very soft. However, that brief moment was all he had to find the trap’s location.   

Perhaps it was a simple process, but it was impossible to execute without very fine senses and reflexes. Luckily, Yeon-woo had something to rely on. ‘I have Sense Strengthening skills.’ With his new control over his five senses, he would be able to track the sound. The players had all been given basic skills that suited them so that they could overcome the challenges, after all. The trick was to use the skills well.   

Yeon-woo closed his eyes and focused on the sounds around him. It wasn’t too hard to concentrate since he was used to it.   

['Sense Strengthening' has been activated. Your auditory sense has been enhanced.]  

['Sense Strengthening' skill level has risen. 0.8%]  

Yeon-woo tried to concentrate on all the tiny sounds, but it was difficult to isolate and identify one sound among the different noises. 

Plop. Plop. He heard water dripping from the ceiling. 

Rattle. Clink. He heard the soft sound of steel arrows being loaded into the traps. He also heard a lot of other noises in the passage, picking through each one slowly. 

A long time passed, then he heard a squeaky sound that seemed to come from a rusty object. Creak. ‘That’s it!’ 

It was definitely a cogwheel. Yeon-woo opened his eyes and threw one of his daggers to the side.  Puck! Crunch. The dagger struck deep into the ceiling, and soon, a broken mechanical device and steel arrows fell.  

‘Yes! I can find them.’ Yeon-woo’s eyes sparkled. Although, there were downsides to reducing his other senses and only focusing on hearing, the important thing was that he now had a way to go through the passage. Yeon-woo forced his creaking body up. His body still screamed in pain. He could barely move his left arm, and he limped as he walked. It was crazy to move in such a state. However, despite his slow steps, Yeon-woo managed to get to the place where the next trap had been set up.  

Swish! Steel arrows shot out once again. ‘Right shoulder!’ Yeon-woo had already heard the sound of a cogwheel and turned his body sideways, measuring the direction of the trap and the trajectory of the arrow. 

Puck! The steel arrow narrowly missed his shoulder and embedded into the wall. “Yes!” Yeon-woo clenched his fists.  

['Sense Strengthening' skill proficiency has increased. 1.5%]  

Certain that his plan would work, Yeon-woo did not delay any further and moved onto the next spot. 

Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! 

‘Four.’ Each arrow was aiming for a different body part: his temple, heart, abdomen, and knee.   

Yeon-woo dodged, turning his head to the side and taking a step forward at the same time. The arrow aiming for his thigh flew past his leg and struck the floor. At the same time, he used the flat of his dagger blade to block the arrow streaking towards his abdomen.  

Clang! The dagger trembled, producing a melodious sound. His hand was hurting from the impact, but the thrill filled him with adrenaline.  

['Sense Strengthening' skill proficiency has increased. 2.1%]  

[Your strength has increased by 1 point.]  

[Your dexterity has increased by 1 point.]  

The messages notifying him of the increase of his skill level and attribute points filled his vision. “If my strength and dexterity have increased, then...Status window.”  

[Player: Yeon-woo Cha]
[Trait: Cold-blooded]
[Strength: 11]
[Dexterity: 16]
[Health: 12]
[Magic Power: 21]
 [Skills: Draconic Eyes (0%), Sense Strengthening (2.1%), Precognition (0%)] 

‘Just as I thought.’ Yeon-woo had a satisfied smile on his face. It took a considerable amount of time and training to boost one’s ability in the real world, but it was different in this place. ‘I can gain achievements as long as I exert myself. There can’t be any other place like this.’ The interface system had enabled his brother’s fast growth, and Yeon-woo closed the status window to calmly judge the situation.  

‘It should be possible to dodge the arrows, but my reflexes are still too slow.’ His dagger was half a beat too slow to block the arrows, and so it didn’t matter even if he noticed them coming. Yeon-woo sent part of his consciousness, which had been solely focused on hearing, into his right hand.  

['Sense Strengthening' has been activated. Your haptic sense has been enhanced.]  

['Sense Strengthening' skill proficiency has increased. 2.3%]  

Yeon-woo took another step forward.  

Swish! An arrow shot towards his forehead, and he quickly struck it aside at a comfortable speed. ‘I only need to focus on my hearing and right arm, but it's hard to split my senses in two at the same time.’ He gazed at the darkness. ‘I need to move slowly, but not by too much.’

Yeon-woo began to proceed slowly once again.  

Swish! Swish! Swish! 

With each step, steel arrows rained down on him. Yeon-woo avoided them with minimal movements or cut their trajectories short with his dagger if he couldn’t dodge them. Next, he refined his blocking technique a little more, deflecting arrows with the flat of his dagger or ducking to avoid them. He also twisted sideways or walked forward to block them.    

Puck! He missed an arrow, which struck his back, but he pulled it indifferently out without a single groan. After staunching the blood, he limped forward like an unstoppable machine.   

['Sense Strengthening' skill proficiency has increased. 3.1%]  

[Your strength has increased by 1 point.]  

[Your health has increased by 1 point.]  

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