Chapter 41 - Akasha’s Snake (9)

"Just a little more…just a little…!" The monster outbreak had reduced the forest to ruins, and in this apocalyptic setting, a player with a mutilated body walked forward with unsteady steps. It was Bain. "Just a little more..." He clutched the stump of his shoulder with his remaining hand and struggled to keep moving, filled with a burning desire to complete his mission.

He had managed to survive the assault of the Goblin King by pretending to be dead and waiting until the monster outbreak passed. At first, he only thought of giving up the mission and heading back to the base. The monster outbreak had struck a devastating blow. Team 1, Arangdan’s most prized group of players, had evaporated in a single moment, leaving no trace behind. The aura of the Goblin King had been so ferocious that he couldn’t do anything but stay frozen on the spot.

However, in the end, he chose to continue the mission with only one thought in his mind: 'The monsters must be heading towards Cain. He must be up to something.’

As far as he knew, a monster outbreak had never happened in the entire history of the Tutorial, which meant that someone had deliberately triggered it. Bain’s gut told him that it had something to do with his target, Cain. Of course, he didn’t have any evidence, but since Cain was a player that Arangdan thought important enough to keep tabs on, it was a reasonable conjecture that he was the cause of the mess.

'It's definitely a hidden piece, the biggest one, unparalleled in the entire Tutorial!' It didn’t matter what Cain was planning, Bain was intent on ambushing him the moment he acquired the hidden piece. He speculated that he had a good chance of pulling it off. Once he added the rewards for completing his mission, he would be able to catch up to Phante and Edora. 'Just you wait, Cain!' Greed glittered in Bain’s eyes.

*   *   *

The war was reaching its climax when the Goblin King and the Orc King realized things were getting weird. Rumble! With their innate keen senses, both kings noticed right away that the ground was vibrating. However, since they both knew the other would perform a killing move if they looked away for just a moment, neither said anything. That decision would end up allowing a great disaster to befall them.   

Rumble! The battlefield started to sink, then something suddenly shot out from the ground. Boom! It was a giant snake, four monsters already in its jaws. The nearly ten-meter-tall beast towered over the monsters, sending out an enormous pressure.

"W-what kind of monster...! It’s horrible!"

"Chwik! Why is our god here?"

As the monsters looked at Akasha's Snake in confusion, it swallowed the monsters in its jaw with one gulp and, with a jerk of its head, eyed the monsters below. There was food everywhere. The battlefield was little more than an all-you-can-eat buffet.

“Kahh!” Akasha's Snake buried its head in the nearest group of Kobolds. None of them could react quickly enough, and before anyone knew it, the Kobold King who had been standing at the forefront leading his army disappeared down the snake’s gullet.

"Oh! The king!"

"Our king is dead! We have to avenge him!"

The army of Kobolds rushed towards Akasha's Snake, eyes burning with rage. They would not let the enemy who killed the king get away. However, their attacks didn’t even leave a scratch on its scales. Their axes bounced off and broke from the handle, and arrows only slipped against the scales. Akasha’s Snake lashed with its tail in annoyance, and dozens of Kobolds were blasted away, covered in blood.

Much to their dismay, their deaths only resulted in the snake filling its stomach with more life energy and expanding in size. By the time they realized what was going on, Akasha’s Snake had already grown much bigger and its ferocity had increased. Regardless what race they were, the monsters were overwhelmed by the snake’s aura, and they were paralyzed, their mouths agape.  

A monster that steals life from dead monsters? None of them had ever heard of such a thing. Throughout their lifetimes, no creature stood above them in the forest. They were at the top of the food chain, and it was a shock to face a predator for the first time. It was such an alien experience that they didn’t know what to do. In the end, everything descended into pandemonium.

"R-run!"

"This is the god’s retribution! Chwik! We have to run away, chwik!"

The monsters began to run from the battlefield and Akasha’s Snake while some of the braver ones gathered together to fight the snake. However, it didn’t matter what choice they made, they all met the same end.

The snake snatched up all the fleeing monsters and swallowed them, crushing those who fought back in its massive coils before eating them. It didn’t matter what the monsters did, they all ended up inside the snake’s belly. The more monsters it ate, the bigger Akasha's Snake grew. As time passed, Akasha's Snake's rampage became more overwhelming, and it seemed like the gates of hell had opened up in Section E. The monsters who were running away ended up bumping and tangling up with each other, making it impossible to leave the battlefield.

"Damn it!" Unable to continue holding back, the Goblin King pushed the Orc King away and turned to Akasha’s Snake.

"Kranum! Where are you going, chwik! This is a duel of warriors, you must finish it!"

"Shut up, Farak! I care about the safety of our race more than mere honor!" The Goblin King left the Orc King behind and darted towards the other monsters.

The Orc King frowned as he stared at the Goblin King’s back. He and the Goblin King were the top warriors who had respectively guarded the eastern and western sides of the forest. He’d always hoped for a chance to break their tie, and he’d hoped that today would be the day. But it turned out to be a false hope.

However, the Goblin King’s declaration that lives were more important than honor resonated deeply in the Orc King’s heart, even though it had come from an enemy. In the end, the Orc King shouted, "Orcs, listen! We will also fight our god! Chwik!" He couldn't bear to tell them to kill their god, but since it could be resurrected, he ordered them to attack.

Overflowing with fighting spirit, the monsters united under the two kings’ leadership. Their enemy was now Akasha's Snake, which had almost reached its true size. The snake spread its hood at the impudent little creatures who were launching puny attacks on it. They had to be punished.

Akasha’s Snake opened its jaws and sprayed its venom all over the monsters, which melted all the monsters in the front. The other monsters who were merely sprinkled with venom screamed in pain.

Just then, the Goblin King jumped over the snake’s head. "Die!" The Goblin King raised his halberd and swung it down onto the head.

“Kahh!” Akasha's Snake cried out in pain as it tossed around, trying to dislodge the Goblin King, but the Goblin King only pushed his halberd in deeper. At the same time, on the ground, the Orc King slashed the snake’s body with his sword.

Splash! Blood splattered out of the wound. Akasha’s Snake opened its mouth once more to shoot out venom, getting ready to aim at the two kings.

*        *        *

'What a mess.’ Yeon-woo clucked his tongue as he looked at the chaotic battlefield. He’d expected some turmoil after provoking the monsters in Section E. ‘But this is worse than I anticipated.’

Only a tenth of the monster army was left alive to fight Akasha’s Snake. As a result, Akasha's snake was almost double its true size. Its body was as huge as a great mountain and stretched out like a river. It seemed almost impossible to kill such a horrifying monster.

There were still two monster kings attacking Akasha's Snake, and some other monsters were trying to damage the snake with what little power they had. 'They won’t last long.' It was clear that even though the Goblin King and the Orc King were as strong as Taragan, they were already running out of energy. They were doing their best for the sake of their races, but they weren’t invulnerable. The Goblin King had already lost an arm, and venom had melted half of his face, making Yeon-woo wonder if he could even see properly.

The Orc King was in much worse shape. The snake had lashed him with its tail, and he was bruised all over. Several parts of his body had swollen up, and he sustained fractures from his ribs to his spine. They were holding out because they were the kings of their races, but they were on the verge of collapse.  

However, the same could be said about Akasha's Snake. ‘It’s eaten too much food. It should have known that overeating is bad.’

It hadn’t been too long since Akasha’s Snake resurrection ceremony, and its body was still unstable. However, the snake had managed to swallow so many monsters that it had grown to a size larger than it had been prior to its death. Yeon-woo doubted that it could handle its body.

Although Akasha's Snake was made partly of spiritual energy, the other half was in the material world. This meant that it needed some time to digest and absorb the nutrients of the food it had eaten. But Akasha's Snake had taken too much life energy, and it was natural that it would get sick. Nevertheless, its instincts drove it to continue eating the monsters as the two monster kings continued to chip away at the snake’s health.

In the end, the monsters and Akasha’s Snake were all dancing in the palm of Yeon-woo’s hand. It was time to wrap up the show. Yeon-woo activated the Magic Circuit and brought it down to his feet.

[Magic Circuit skill proficiency has increased. 0.7%]

[Shunpo skill proficiency has increased. 12.4%]

Clang! Swish! As the ground underneath his feet began to cave in, Yeon-woo sprang up in the air over Akasha Snake’s head. He found the place where the Orcs had previously smashed to get its brains and the wound left by the Goblin King’s halberd. "Devour." He spread out his left hand and put it on the wound. Jaws full of serrated teeth appeared from his hand and embedded themselves into the snake’s head.

“Kahh!” Akasha’s Snake struggled in pain, feeling like its whole head was being pulled out. It lashed its tail, sweeping away the nearby monsters as its cries echoed around the forest. The monsters began backing away.

Even though the snake was struggling to dislodge him, Yeon-woo clung to its head and pushed his hand deeper into the snake's head. 'Bathory’s Vampiric Sword isn’t enough to kill it. I’ll have to do something else!’ Fortunately, Yeon-woo was already aware of Akasha Snake’s biggest weakness—its brain. It was where its soul was.

“Kahh!” The serrated teeth sucked up the brain, and Yeon-woo didn’t let go until the brain had completely disappeared.

[Bathory’s Vampiric Sword skill proficiency has increased. 6.4%]

[Bathory’s Vampiric Sword skill proficiency has increased. 8.2%]

···

[Your strength has increased by 3 points.]

[Your health has increased by 2 points.]

[Your magic power has increased by 5 points.]

···

After killing such a big monster, messages began to pop up one after the other, filling his retina. At some point, he felt something weighty being absorbed through his hand. It was the soul or the essence of Akasha’s Snake. At that moment, the light died in the snake’s eyes. Boom! Its head collapsed lifelessly onto the ground.

[You have slain the boss monster, Akasha’s Snake. Additional karma will be provided.]

[You have acquired 5,000 karma.]

[You have acquired 3,000 additional karma.]

···

[Hidden quest (Resurrection Ceremony) completed.]

[You have made an achievement that is not easily accomplished. Additional karma will be provided.]

[You have acquired 3,000 karma.]

[You have acquired 2,000 additional karma.]

[Rewards…]

[Sudden quest (Monster Outbreak)...]

···

Killing Akasha’s Snake counted as clearing the sudden quest, and since it was one of the hardest quests in the Tutorial, it provided the largest amount of karma for a quest, enough to make Yeon-woo rise a few ranks.

Akasha’s Snake had been Yeon-woo’s ultimate goal even before entering the Tutorial, and now, despite so many complications, he’d finally achieved it. However, instead of pausing to celebrate, Yeon-woo drew Carshina's Dagger with an impassive expression. He’d wait until the end of the Tutorial to soak in the victory. In the meantime, he sliced at an area below the snake’s head, and a golden orb the size of a human head tumbled out. It was Akasha’s Snake's Neidan. It was supposed to be the size of a fist, but it seemed to have expanded thanks to the snake’s overindulgence.

Yeon-woo smiled in satisfaction. “Devour." He pushed the orb into Bathory’s Vampiric Sword, which was still screaming from hunger.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter