"What?" Yeon-woo’s eyes widened at the unexpected remark, but Kahn shrugged as if he were wondering what was so surprising.
"While you were out there wreaking havoc, Doyle and I had a serious conversation. We can't go to Section G like this. We’ll be eaten alive by those who’ve been waiting for a chance to get us."
Doyle added, "We’ve decided to give up on this round and aim for the next one. Besides, there’s no point if we can’t take the first and second positions."
Yeon-woo nodded at their answer. Those who cleared the Tutorial at the top rank were given a handsome amount of rewards. It was the reason why Yeon-woo tried so hard to acquire as much karma as possible, and it seemed like Kahn and Doyle had also been after the same thing. However, a thought suddenly occurred to Yeon-woo. "You mean, we get a chance to retry the Tutorial?"
"Huh? You didn’t know that? There are quite a few players who try over and over until they finally qualify to enter the Tower," Doyle said innocently, as if he were stating the obvious.
Yeon-woo was lost for words. His brother hadn’t mentioned anything about this, and all this time, Yeon-woo had believed that players only got one chance to pass the Tutorial. 'You asshole.’ Yeon-woo’s troubles had been unnecessary after all.
However, he smirked, not feeling an ounce of regret. ‘It was fun, though.’ The Tutorial didn’t open at scheduled times, which made people say that it only opened whenever it wanted to, so no one could be certain how long they'd have to wait if they gave up the Tutorial. ‘I've met some nice guys, and I also got Bild.’ Yeon-woo’s eyes curved into crescents. "You really want me to take this?"
"It’s better to give them to someone. Otherwise, we’d have to throw it away. Besides…" The corners of Kahn’s lips turned up in a smile. “I think you can slap Phante and Edora on their faces. Hahaha!"
Doyle clucked his tongue. "You know, hyung?"
"You looked really pathetic just now."
"Shut up, you idiot."
"You’re making him do it just because you can’t do it for yourself. You seriously have issues."
"Come on, man. It wrenches my gut to think about them.”
Yeon-woo’s eyes glimmered as he watched the two of them squabbling. Phante’s and Edora’s names had appeared regularly throughout the Tutorial ever since he first checked the Tutorial ranking. ‘These are the players I must defeat in Section G.’ They were so strong that they managed to kill Akasha’s Snake on their own. “What kind of people are Phante and Edora?"
"Them?" Kahn thought it over for a moment and replied with one word: "Monsters." The playful Kahn had a serious expression on his face. “I tried so hard to surpass them, but I couldn’t do it.”
Yeon-woo could see a feeling of inferiority in Kahn’s eyes. He couldn’t get a good idea of how strong Phante and Edora were just based on description, but hearing a skilled player like Kahn, who didn’t even seem like he belonged in the Tutorial, describe them as monsters gave him a better understanding. ‘How skilled are they?’
The corner of Kahn’s lips turned up as he said, “So take this, and take the top rank. Then, we can at least say we helped you win the first place, you know? How good does that sound? Damn!"
Yeon-woo couldn’t hold back his laughter as he watched Kahn patting himself on the back. "All right. I’ll do my best on behalf of you two."
"Yes! This is what I’ve always wanted: the loyalty of men sprouting in the middle of a competition, the warmth of friendship, and the glory of sportsmanship! This is exactly what I was hoping for!"
"You’ve gotta be kidding me."
Kahn raised his middle finger at Doyle, who was still picking a fight with him, and said to Yeon-woo. "Give it your all, bro."
Yeon-woo stood as he nodded. He took Hargan's Crown from the pouch and put it on his head. Kahn and Doyle burst out at the silly sight of a white mask with a crown. Yeon-woo laughed along with them. Although it might look funny, he felt more encouraged than ever. After a good laugh, Yeon-woo turned to leave.
One last section and only two days remaining. The end was near. He needed to rush because the timer was counting down.
* * *
The hidden piece requiring Hargan’s Crown was deep underground in the lair of the Spiny Moles. Yeon-woo descended as Kahn instructed and fought every single Spiny Mole inside. Finally, he faced the boss monster in the last room.
The monster was almost as strong as Akasha’s Snake, and if it hadn't been for Hargan’s Crown, Yeon-woo might have been buried under the lair or eaten by the boss monster. Instead, Yeon-woo managed to defeat him after a long fight and get his hands on the hidden piece in Section F.
Yeon-woo pulled out the sword stuck in a large rock. It was called Vigrid, and it was the hidden piece that Kahn and Doyle planned to use in order to surpass Phante and Edora. Yeon-woo walked across the border leading to the final section, carrying the sword on his back.
There was only half a day left before the Tutorial ended.
* * *
"Ohyhyohyohyo. Aren’t you a greedy one? Akasha's Snake, Arangdan, and now you have your hands on Vigrid." Yvlke clapped as he watched the player onscreen who had collected almost all of the hidden pieces as though he’d known about them all along and blown Arangdan away.
The more he watched, the more amazed he was, and he was starting to wonder how a player like Yeon-woo could exist. Yvlke was dying to know what kind of show he’d see with only twelve hours remaining. He felt his heart beating like crazy. "This performance will become even more interesting if I’m the only one who knows about it."
Yvlke tapped the air and quickly placed Yeon-woo’s dossier under first-class restrictions. Only the top officers, even among the Guardians, would be able to access information with such a high level of security.
Yvlke had been told recently that some Guardians had abandoned their neutrality and were engaging in private deals with players. He had to seal information about players like Yeon-woo tightly to prevent any problems.
He put his chin on his clasped hands, his eyes still fixed on the screen.
* * *
[You have successfully cleared Section F as a solo player.]
[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.]
[Your health and mana will be restored.]
[All statuses will be removed.]
[You have entered Section G, the last section of the Tutorial.]
Whoosh! Yeon-woo was enveloped by light as soon as he stepped into Section G. When the light faded, Yeon-woo realized he was standing on a marble structure that hung in midair. Floating steps led from the structure into the clouds, where a vast amount of aura raged over a stage set on a large cloud. Clang!
He didn't know what was going on, but it was clear that several strong players were fighting each other. It was the last stage of Section G. 'I’m finally here.'
Yeon-woo began to climb the steps, and a new message popped up in front of him.
[The challenge of Section G will begin.]
[You have successfully passed 6 sections and did your best to meet the qualifications to enter the Tower. However, the Tower still requires you to gain more achievements and karma. In Section G, you will have to fight other players on the stage provided. You will be allowed to take others’ karma points once they are defeated. Face as many players as you can and build up your karma points to prove your qualifications. The final rewards will be given according to your rank and the karma points you have collected.]
The task of Section G was very simple. Just as the messages said, players who made it this far had already proven their abilities. However, for participants who wished to become a god, they had to be superior to their peers and couldn’t allow their growth to stall. If fighting was optional in Sections E and F, in Section G, it was mandatory.
It was the place where top rankers fought each other for dominance, and it was natural that tension would spring up among them.
Section G is a battle royal with a winner-takes-all system. Because of this, the competition among the players gets really fierce, and it’s not unusual for lower-ranking players to join forces and bring down higher-ranking players.
If one gets exhausted from fighting other players, they will get ambushed and end up losing their karma. Section G is an arena where players have to fight others to gain more karma and remain extremely alert to avoid losing it.
Yeon-woo thought over how his brother had described Section G: a battle royal and an arena where only the highest-ranking players battled each other. ‘But the rankings change so frequently in this section that players can try to gain an upset.’
As he climbed the last step, a large open stage emerged in front of his eyes. The players at the edges of the stage turned their heads towards Yeon-woo.
"What? Who the hell is he?"
"I thought it would be Blood Sword or Foxy Tail. I didn’t expect a weirdo to show up."
"Someone said they’d given up on the Tutorial. Maybe it’s true."
"Well, that’s gonna clear up sooner or later, so there’s no point in talking about it. Anyway, it doesn't look like he's anything special if he’s showing up so late."
There were approximately seventy players on the stage. There were around fifty in the middle of a fight, and the remaining twenty stood in the safety zones at the edges of the stage as if they were abstaining.
Section G can be roughly divided into two parts: the outer safety zone where players can take a rest and organize their thoughts and the inner battle zone where players fight for karma.
Players outside the battle zone were content with their current rank, and so their interest and words were beneath Yeon-woo's notice. He turned his eyes to the battles on the stage instead to assess the situation.
Boom! "Oh. You’ve got time to look away, do you? Was I that boring? I’m sorry if that’s the case. Hahaha!"
It was a strange scene. It seemed like one male and one female player were fighting the rest of the fifty players. The woman stood in the back with her arms crossed, and the man was using only his aura to crush the players in front of them, as though he were protecting her.
"What the hell? How can he be a player in the Tutorial? It doesn’t make sense!"
Even though the two players were vastly outnumbered, their opponents could barely stand in the face of the aura that raged like a typhoon. They clenched their teeth and gathered strength in their lower bodies, trying desperately not to fall down.
The man found them ridiculous and broke out into laughter. His laughter was so loud that it seemed to resonate over the whole stage. His hair was violet, and his eyes had a golden glow. His canine teeth protruded slightly out of his upper lip, and he had a very sturdy physique and was more than 2 meters in height. His clothes were also quite unusual. Players often wore armor as protection, but the man wore uncomfortable-looking ancient martial robes. However, the most noticeable thing about his appearance was the horn on his right temple which made it evident that he was a member of the One-horned tribe.
Among the various demi-human races present in the Tower, they were considered the embodiment of martial arts itself. The man had already sent the entire stage reeling just by releasing his aura.
Yeon-woo knew who he was. "Phante." The player who had taken the second place in the Tutorial rankings, the wall, that Kahn and Doyle had tried so hard to jump over.
Phante took a step forward. Boom!Previous Chapter Next Chapter