I’ve been stabbed in the heart with a dagger five times in my life. Three of those times were by the Lords, once was by my former lover, and once by a person I’d believed was my friend.
* * *
Although Kahn and Doyle were the biggest reason Yeon-woo decided to destroy Arangdan, they weren’t the only one. Yeon-woo thought this might also be an opportunity to drain the Cheonghwado’s power. ‘the Cheonghwado has set up several human farms throughout the rounds of the Tutorial, but why?’
It couldn’t be for reasons of efficiency since the human farms weren’t a good method of robbing players. If their goal was to take the artifacts and Tokens from the players, they could have simply relied on robbery and plunder. Why did they bother to set up something as difficult to manage as a human farm network? And why did they rebuild even after they were wiped out by Arthia? 'There must be something more going on.' Yeon-woo was sure that there was an unseen hand involved. 'Something that they don’t want to expose to the outside world. Something that can be used against them.'
Thinking about uncovering the secret and snatching it away made the corners of Yeon-woo’s lips turn up slowly. 'It might be a weapon that can shake the Cheonghwado.’ The top eight clans were the ones who had torn Arthia down and driven his brother to his death.
Moreover, the friend who had betrayed his brother and stabbed him in the heart had turned to the Cheonghwado. The opportunity had arrived a little sooner than he expected, but he was finally embarking on the path of revenge. He had made his decision, and his goal was clear. Now, he had to make his preparations before starting the fight. ‘I don’t have a way to accurately judge Arangdan’s combat power, but it’s certain is that they are stronger than those who once fought against Arthia.'
Arthia had escaped from several near-death situations when subjugating the scavenger syndicate, which was evidence of how persistent, strong, and huge the scavenger syndicate was. Arangdan was at least the same size, if not even bigger. 'Also, the Cheonghwado usually sends up to five players to manage Arangdan.' These weren’t ordinary players but ones who had proven their excellence in the Cheonghwado.
The key was to find out how skilled they were. ‘It would be stupid to launch a frontal attack. I have to think about this. What advantages do I have that I can use against them?’ Yeon-woo racked his brain for ideas. 'Since they have no information about my skills, they don't know how good I am. Also, they could only make a rough estimate of my location. If I make sure to leave no traces, they will no longer be able to locate me. And…’
Arangdan was focused on him, but they wouldn’t have any idea that they’d already been exposed. He could launch an ambush while the enemy’s guard was down. He was quick on his feet, after all, and there was hardly anyone in the Tutorial who could match the speed of his Shunpo or see through his stealth. His senses were also useful for pinpointing the enemy's position. And most importantly, Yeon-woo had new weapons now: Diamond Physique and Magic Circuit. With these two things, he was already well above the average player in the Tutorial. He was certain that he was already stronger than Arthia had been during their days in the Tutorial. But that didn’t mean he could let his guard down. 'That leaves me with hit-and-run tactics then.'
It was a tactic his troops had frequently used back in the military. They would launch guerilla attacks to wear their enemies down, and as soon as their enemies revealed a weakness, they would strike and destroy them. Yeon-woo’s thoughts spun fast. ‘How much time do I have left?’
‘That’s about three and a half days.’ It was enough time to rescue Kahn and Doyle, but if he let Arangdan off the hook, they would most likely try to interfere with him until the Tutorial ended. 'If I pick a fight with them, I’ve got to completely finish them off and make sure to leave no survivors behind. That will prevent the Cheonghwado from knowing who attacked them.'
He was about to start a war, and in war, one had to completely annihilate one’s enemies so that they couldn’t make a comeback. In addition to this, Yeon-woo still planned to take the first place in the rankings, which meant he had around three days to destroy Arangdan and pass through the sections he hadn’t yet completed.
Yeon-woo mapped out his plan step by step, and images began to form in his mind. 'I’ll have to dart in and out of their base camps and swamp them with unrelenting attacks. And when they show signs of exhaustion, I’ll destroy their base and everything else until they no longer exist.' Yeon-woo’s eyes blazed coldly for a moment. ‘I will do this all in just one day.’
* * *
That night, after Yeon-woo finished all of his preparations, he paid a visit to Galliard to say farewell. Galliard stared at Yeon-woo and asked in a serious tone, “Are you planning to go to war?”
Since there was no need to hide his plans from Galliard, Yeon-woo nodded. “How did you know?"
"I was once a warrior who fought for his people. I was a fool who believed fighting was everything. And in you, my friend..." A corner of Galliard’s lips turned up. “I see a great deal of myself.” He couldn’t stop himself from smiling. “Your looks, your actions, and even your air, it’s clear that you’re about to go to war. Well, to be honest, you’ve been like that ever since you came to visit me here. Seems to me like you are a fighter in a battle against the world itself.”
Yeon-woo kept his mouth shut tightly.
"But your intensity has gotten even more pronounced. If I can’t see that, I might as well dig out my eyes.” Then, Galliard narrowed his eyes. "Do you need my help?"
If Galliard helped him, everything would proceed much more easily since his skills were equal to those of rankers in the Tower. He might even be able to annihilate Arangdan all by himself. However, Yeon-woo shook his head. "No, it's OK."
Galliard looked at him with interest. "Why not?"
"This is my war." Saving Kahn and Doyle wasn’t the only goal he was trying to achieve; he also wanted to shake the Cheonghwado, one of the groups who had hurt his brother. Yeon-woo could never outsource this task to someone else. He had to settle matters with his own hands, and he had even sworn to this before crossing through the gate into this world.
"It’s gonna be hard."
"Nothing is easy in this world."
"Well, I guess you’re right.” Galliard nodded in understanding. One had to fight one’s own battles. "OK then, I wish you good luck."
Yeon-woo nodded in response as he slung his backpack over his shoulder. After checking that his daggers were fastened to his belt, Yeon-woo left Galliard’s cottage.
It was the beginning of a new war.
* * *
"Did you find him?"
The subordinate in front of Bild bowed his head at the question. "We still haven’t found him. Section E has been razed to the ground.”
"What a disaster.” Bild had to swallow his boiling anger. The unexpected monster outbreak had annihilated around seventy percent of Arangdan’s main combatants, and he had lost contact with Team 1, which he had been guiding to become the leading force in the Cheonghwado. Furthermore, the scavenger syndicate which he had reorganized so laboriously after its demise had completely fallen apart.
To make matters worse, the loss of Arangdan’s members meant that Arangdan’s entire network in the Tutorial had evaporated. Apart from some hidden bases in Section F and in the Inner Area, Arangdan was done for, and years of Bild’s hard work had been blown away in just a few days.
This failure was also a death sentence for Bild. ‘I must rebuild Arangdan by any means possible before the Isle hears about it.’ Bild tried to calm down his pounding heart. He’d always planned to rise to the top of the Cheonghwado through his success with Arangdan. His master had recently said that there had been discussions about filling in the vacant position of owner for either Yeonhwagak or Cheonmujeon and that his master’s name had been mentioned.
His master had repeatedly asked Bild to complete it. Once it was done, his master would soar into the higher ranks of the Cheonghwado, and he would become one of the five heads of the Cheonghwado thanks to Bild’s work.
However, everything had somehow taken a turn, and with only three days left until the end of the Tutorial, it would be virtually impossible to rebuild Arangdan. Once the Tutorial was over, the Isle would find out, and Bild would have to take responsibility for his mismanagement. However, there was still a way he could pull himself out of this crisis. He could complete it.
'Is it possible?' Bild licked his lips several times, tension boiling inside him. It wasn’t going to be easy. Otherwise, the progress level wouldn’t be stuck at sixty percent even though he’d already poured in large sums of money and organized several scavenger organizations and human farms over the past few years.
He had to finish the remaining forty percent in just three days, which risked breaking it or sending it out of control. However, despite his nervousness, Bild was feeling optimistic. He believed that the percentage level hadn’t risen not only because the process was difficult, but also because of the poor quality of materials—players and monsters—that he used.
Bild grew thoughtful. ‘If I want to complete it in three days, I will have to push all the top rankers into it!' Bild hadn’t used a method like that before since most of the top rankers had big clans supporting them. He couldn’t let even the Isle know about it, which was why he’d been picking players whose disappearance wouldn’t raise too many questions.
But now that things had reached this point, Bild was in no position to be choosy. The first person he thought of sacrificing was the one he presumed was responsible for the whole situation in the first place—Cain. He wanted to make him pay for what he’d done.
"Judging by his route, we can only speculate he's in Section F."
"Then get your ass in gear, search every single corner of Section F, and bring him here. Now!"
The subordinate wanted to ask how he expected them to find one person in a section that was as wide as the sea, but the sparks shooting out of Bild’s eyes made him hold his tongue. If he said that it was an impossible task, he’d be killed on the spot. "R-roger." The subordinate bowed his head and left the room.
Bild gritted his teeth as he stood from his seat. "For now, I'm gonna have to push in everything we’ve got." Bild made his way to the human farm located in Arangdan’s base, and a sly grin appeared on his face as he thought of the two captives he’d just put in there: Blood Sword and Foxy Tail.Previous Chapter Next Chapter