Chapter 54 - End (4)

Even though Kahn told Yeon-woo everything he knew about Vigrid, he was coy about the source of the information. However, it didn’t really matter to Yeon-woo. Unlike Kahn, who didn’t want a power that would ultimately weaken him, Yeon-woo wasn’t afraid to take the risk. 

"That one?" 

"If only I could get him." 

"First place! I might even take the first place in the ranking! No, I don't even want it. Look how much karma he has. Even if we split it up—" 

"His weapon looks good, too. Where could he possibly have gotten that?" 

The players started to look at Yeon-woo with covetous eyes. He had overwhelmingly high karma and what looked like a highly rated artifact on top of being a solo player who didn’t have a team or a clan backing him up. There wouldn’t be any future trouble even if they killed him. The number of Tokens he had collected was a strong indication that Yeon-woo was a skilled player, but it didn’t worry them too much. Unless he was a freak of nature like Phante, he wouldn’t be able to handle so many players at the same time. 

If he could, his name would have spread in the Tutorial by now but none of them had heard of anyone fitting his description, and they were convinced that he was just a nobody. One by one, the players in Section G began to reveal their hostility towards Yeon-woo. Even those in the safe zone stepped into the battle zone and surrounded Yeon-woo, ready to gang up on him as soon as he took a step outside the safe zone. They were so intent on breaking through the whirlwind and attacking him that they didn’t realize Yeon-woo’s sword was slowly reacting to their hostility. 

[Factor of the Sword] 

The first option engraved on Vigrid began to respond, and the whirlwind around Yeon-woo intensified as demonic energy started to flow into it. 

“Ahh!” Bloodcurdling shrieks echoed throughout the whole area, startling the players surrounding Yeon-woo. A horrible chill ran down their spines, and an ominous feeling slowly crept into their hearts. 

In the meantime, the sword started to emit a much stronger demonic energy that was growing proportionally according to the number of enemies Yeon-woo was facing. This was exactly what Yeon-woo had planned from the start. He had intentionally shown his Tokens and pulled Vigrid out in front of everyone to trigger their hostility and amplify Vigrid’s ability to its fullest. 

‘I bet none of you ever thought that your arrogance would bring about a disaster.’ When the demonic energy finally reached its peak, Yeon-woo consumed all of the souls he had collected in the previous sections and used them to bolster the demonic energy and expand his whirlwind. Whoosh! 

"Whoa!" 

"What the—” 

The small whirlwind had grown into a massive windstorm that covered the entirety of Section G. The demonic energy inside the storm spread, forming wind blades that began to affect the players inside. Several of the players turned blue as they staggered to their feet, and some even collapsed on the ground, vomiting blood. It was at that point they realized that something was wrong. 

Boom! But before any of them could do anything, Yeon-woo jumped forward, kicking off the ground, which caved in from the impact. His plan was to dash into the center of the battle zone. Swish! The windstorm moved with Yeon-woo, sweeping away anyone who stood in its path. 

"He’s going towards the center!" 

"S-stop him!" 

With their trembling legs barely supporting them, the players jumped in front of Yeon-woo. No matter how afraid they were of Yeon-woo's power, their fear couldn’t extinguish the fire of greed. On the contrary, it was adding more fuel to the fire. If only they could snatch the weapon from him, that power would be theirs to wield. 

"Die!" A player approached Yeon-woo, swinging his sword belligerently, but Yeon-woo responded with a swing of his own without batting an eye. Boom! The player’s upper body exploded into pieces along with his sword. Vigrid had left a rough slash mark as it swept past. The player had died in one strike, but the effects of the attack didn’t end there. 

Waves of greenish air suddenly burst out of the dead body and spread out in a radius of fifteen meters. The players who were exposed to this air were immobilized. They sank to the ground with their hands clutching on their necks. 

"Wh-what the fuck?" 

“What kind…of curse…urk!”

Their faces turned pale as they gasped for air as though they were on the verge of death. 

[Contagious Factor]

The second option of Vigrid had sprung into action. While Kahn and Doyle were focused on the Factor of the Sword, it was the option to spread the curse inside the sword that caught Yeon-woo's eye. Since it was a curse fueled by the vengeful spirits of various heroes, there was no doubt that the curse would be powerful. If he added the amplified demonic energy to the mix, it would become even more horrifyingly effective. 

The option only activated after the final blow, but no players would be able to block Yeon-woo’s attack after being weakened by the curse. 

Clang! Clang! With every swing, players flew off like leaves in the autumn wind. 

"Ahh!"

"Urk!" 

The whole stage fell into chaos in just a moment’s time as shrieks and screamed rose endlessly, and the bodies of collapsed players scattered all over the stage. Yeon-woo ran through the piles of bodies like a wild beast. His target was Edora. It was time to cement his place in the Tutorial ranking. 

*   *   * 

Vyram stood with a frown in the midst of the huge windstorm sweeping through the stage like a tidal wave. “What the hell is going on?” It was the first time Vyram had seen his rank after entering Section G, and anger rose inside him. He was in the fifth place of the Tutorial ranking. A player like him? He had always walked on the path of triumph, and he had gotten rid of anything in his way. Things had always been that simple to him. 

He was a swordsman of Marcusian origin, which was the reason he’d drawn attention from the other players along with the One-horned tribe siblings and the dumbass duo. Placing fifth was as embarrassing as being marked as a loser. It was completely unacceptable. 'This can’t be happening. I have to be the first, no matter what it takes. Otherwise…’ 

Marcus, the planet where Vyram was born and raised, had a barren environment that normal humans couldn’t live off. It was covered in deserts, and rivers of lava flowed along its surface. Its inhabitants had no choice but to grow strong in order to survive, and power was the only means of survival. 

Because of their strength, Marcusian warriors began to work as mercenaries, and eventually, they became the top mercenaries in many worlds and dimensions. Marcusian warriors gained the trust of their clients as they always carried out any commission in a strong and honest manner. 

With the money they earned as mercenaries, they bought food and water and sent them to their families on their home planet. Vyram was also a mercenary who was earning a living for his family, wielding his sword on the battlefield to help them survive. For a long time, he had wandered around several battlefields and completed several missions, and before he even knew it, he had become the greatest mercenary of all Marcusians. 

When he first received the invitation to the Tower, Vyram finally had the time to look back on his past and see how strong he had become. He also realized that he’d found an opportunity. The Tower was a place where all kinds of warriors assembled. If he could become the ruler of such a place, he would show that his valor was greater than anyone else’s. If he could get to the top of the Tower, he would become a god! He’d finally be able to help his family, his friends, and his own kind, perhaps even restore Marcus back to its fertile and abundant past, before it had been ruined by their despicable king. 

Fortunately, Vyram was given another talent apart from swordsmanship: the Lord Candidate. He had the power to command other players and establish his own group, which meant that he had the qualities to become a king. This was the reason he had proudly participated in the Tutorial. 

However, he soon faced a huge obstacle called the One-horned tribe siblings, and it was the first time Vyram had ever encountered such a barrier. He had overcome numerous hardships as a mercenary, but Phante and Edora were just too far beyond his reach. 

When he’d first heard of them being referred to as top players, along with people like Kahn the Blood Sword, he hadn’t really cared too much. However, he belatedly learned that this was a mistake. ‘Is this what’s waiting in the Tower? Or are those two just exceptions to the rule?’ 

Whatever the answer was, Vyram suffered his first major setback. The gap between him and the siblings was too wide, but he didn't give up until the end. If he couldn't compete with them in terms of skills, he could do so through other methods. Vyram used his ability as a Lord Candidate and persuaded other players in Section G to form a temporary alliance. Even if he couldn’t win with quality, he still had a chance with quantity. 

After he knocked down the siblings, he even planned to form his own legion by strengthening the skill he had placed on the players:〈Forced Contract〉. It was a contract formed between a Lord and his minions, and Vyram had already placed the players in the alliance under the effect of his skill. 

After they got rid of Phante and Edora, the skill's binding force would strengthen, and he could force them to be loyal to him. He would become a Lord who entered the Tower with the top fifty players of the Tutorial under his command!

It would be a great title, and he had high hopes for it, but Phante turned out to be much stronger than he ever expected. "What the hell is this?" The fifty players under his command were nothing in the face of an overwhelming force like Phante. It didn’t matter how many buffs he cast on them, none of them could defeat Phante. 

And now, another problem in the form of an unknown man in a grotesque white mask had appeared. He’d taken the first place in just moments and pulled out an otherworldly artifact that bewitched the other players. 

Vyram felt the links connecting him to the fifty players fading once the masked man made his move. The players had turned their attention away from Phante and were now focused solely on the guy with the white mask. However, that was just the beginning of a new disaster. 

"Urk!" 

"Help…argh!" 

A windstorm swept across the stage, and greenish energy spread the curse among the players, accompanied by Yeon-woo’s powerful attacks that killed players with a single swing of his sword. None of the players could block a single attack, and they could only leave flesh and blood on the stage as they were torn apart by the windstorm. 

"Take cover, you stupid bastards!" Although Vyram tried to stop the players, he was already too late. In the end, he had to make a decision to use the only weapons he had left—his three swords. The question was whom he ought to be pointing them at, but the answer soon grew clear. 'They are the precious materials for my plan to create my own legion! I’ve got to make them stop!' 

His plan to take first place had already vanished like smoke, and the only thing left was to use the players to form his own legion in the Tower. However, if things continued like this, all his links would be destroyed. He had to save the players and make them stop. Vyram put his hands on his swords. 

Just then, Phante roared with laughter. “Hahaha!” His laughter was so loud it even echoed inside the windstorm. He jerked his head towards Yeon-woo, his eyes burning with intensity. Boom! Boom! Phante laughed wildly again as he bumped his fists together. "Yes, this is it! This is what I've been waiting for! No more child’s play, but a real fight!" His face was filled with joy so intense it looked like madness. 

As he watched Yeon-woo running towards him, he suddenly turned around to look at Edora’s calm smile. "Can I go?" 

"Since when have you ever needed my permission?" 

"I know, but…you know what I mean." He gave her a meaningful look. 

Edora giggled. "OK, I won't tell our father." 

Phante finally relaxed and laughed easily, "Hehehe. Well then." 

"But before you go, leave that with me, will you?" 

"Oh, right. I almost forgot." 

Phante scratched the back of his head and handed over all of his golden crystals to Edora. The message window floating in the air changed once again. 

[The Tutorial ranking has been updated.] 

[Tutorial Ranking]
[1. Edora (120,230 Points)
2. Unknown (109,984 Points)] 

··· 

"What the fuck?" Vyram spat out a curse as he watched the rankings change once more. The other players were also stunned by what had just occurred. Phante had given up over 60,000 karma points so that his sister could take the first place again. It seemed foolish and unthinkable to them. 

The players had painstakingly scraped together karma after overcoming life-or-death situations in the Tutorial. They wouldn’t give it up easily, even for a sibling. However, Phante snorted at the players who were looking at him in awe. "Don't assume we're anything like you. We’re different from you dumb beasts."

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