The new Tutorial ranking left the players flabbergasted. The score was too crazy and impossible. Had any other player ever collected that much karma in the Tutorial? As soon as Yeon-woo defeated Phante and Vyram and made all the other players kneel, the results had already been decided. In the eyes of the players, Yeon-woo was nothing but an insatiable beast, a predator. Even if Yeon-woo hadn’t taken away Edora's golden crystals, the top spot would still be his.
Yeon-woo’s body started to fade away as he used Shunpo to leave quickly.
"Wait!” Edora tried to grab Yeon-woo, but just as she reached out, Yeon-woo already vanished from the spot. "Ah!" Edora stood frozen for a little while. The shock Yeon-woo had given her was too great and his image lingered in her mind as an indescribable feeling rose in her heart.
It was the first time she and Phante had been defeated since joining the Tutorial. To make it worse, it was a complete defeat. Edora trembled, but she soon mumbled to herself with a slightly flushed face. "He was…incredible."
* * *
Yeon-woo sat in an empty place lost in meditation. He was slowly recovering from the severe side effects caused by his skills. He only opened his eyes when the Tutorial timer reached zero.
[The Tutorial has ended.]
[All remaining players will be teleported to the waiting area. Beware of impact.]
The area surrounding Yeon-woo and the other players started to shake and fade as if they were inside a television screen that was turning into staticky white snow. When things cleared, they were standing in a vast open space along with thousands of other players who had participated in this round of the Tutorial.
Some of them looked startled to find themselves in a place full of players, but when they realized that the Tutorial had ended, they breathed a sigh of relief. When the players noticed that Yeon-woo, they began to whisper among themselves.
"Is that him?"
"Yup. That’s him. The number one in the rankings, the Hoarder."
"I heard he beat the One-horned tribe siblings and the Marcusian swordsman. That's ridiculous."
"I wonder who he is."
The Hoarder was what people had begun calling Yeon-woo ever since the rumors about what happened in Section G began to spread. No one knew anything about his name or identity, and yet he’d made a spectacular appearance.
All they knew was that he wore a white mask and was acquainted with Kahn and Doyle. And even that information was known only because a player happened to see Yeon-woo heading to Hargan’s Lair with Kahn and Doyle.
Many players were very curious about Yeon-woo’s identity, but no one had the guts to approach him and strike up a conversation. The only thing they could do was to watch him from afar. This was something that Yeon-woo preferred as well, since no one bothered him. Still, the attention made him uneasy. ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have gone to Section G. If I didn’t, I wouldn't have received this much attention.’ Of course, this was complete bull. If he had to do it all over again, he would make the same choices because he needed the hidden reward given only to the first ranker in the Tutorial. 'This is the only way to get Zeus’s Key.'
Yeon-woo planned to visit two places as soon as he entered the Tower. The first was Arthia’s clan house, and the other was the place where the gods of the past kept their sacred relics, Olympus’s Treasury.
Zeus' Key was one of the twelve keys of the door to the treasury, and Yeon-woo had to be the first to get his hands on the key, regardless of the cost. However, he was concerned that other players in the Tower would get in his way if he were the first. ‘It’s already too late to covertly see through my plans for revenge. I will have to use my identity as Cain to hide my identity as Yeon-woo as much as possible.'
He was beginning to think that perhaps the path he would walk in the future would not be much different from the one Arthia had walked. If so, he had to get used to this kind of attention, even if he didn't like it. 'By the way…’ Yeon-woo glanced around. 'Are Kahn and Doyle really gone?'
They did say they were going to give up, but not seeing them around made him feel like something was missing. However, at that moment, a familiar young man appeared among the other players. “Hyung! It was really you!" It was Yul.
"Yul?" Yeon-woo’s eyes widened in surprise. He had thought that Yul had given up on this Tutorial round, just like Kahn and Doyle did.
Yul panted as if he had rushed his way there but his face was wreathed in bright smiles. "I heard that a masked rookie was making waves in the Tutorial. I immediately thought of you. And...it really is you."
Yeon-woo looked at Yul and saw that the worry and resentment was gone from his eyes, and his downbeat attitude had changed. "So, it seems you found the Freesia Garden."
"Yes. I found it hidden in Section B’s waiting room. I got really lucky though."
The Freesia Garden was a hidden piece, but Yeon-woo didn’t care to look for it because it didn't mean much to him. It was possible to make a contract with elemental spirits in the Freesia Garden, and since Yul had an outstanding aptitude as an Enchanter, he could learn elemental spells and achieve remarkable growth. Yeon-woo’s assumption seemed to have been proven correct.
Yeon-woo cast Draconic Eyes and examined Yul. There was only an empty space under the complex, intertwined lines of imperfections. The person in front of him was Yul but also not Yul. "You’ve made quite a big achievement. Did you find another hidden piece?"
Yul had created a thought entity using an elemental spell. "Something like that. I met a great teacher."
"Yes. Oh, you don't have to worry about me. He's not like Kaen. He's taught me a lot of things."
Yeon-woo had a vague idea of who his teacher might be. If it were him, he definitely wouldn't let a talent like Yul go to waste. 'Well, I did intend for that to happen.'
Yul thanked Yeon-woo with a bow. "I wanted to come here and say thank you before you leave the Tutorial. I owe you a lot, you know? Thank you very, very much. It’s all because of you that I found something I’m good at and even met a great teacher." Yul’s eyes filled with determination. "And one day, I'll look for you in the Tower."
Yeon-woo nodded in silence, and Yul's face grew brighter than ever. The imperfections that composed the thought entity dispersed into thin air, and as Yeon-woo watched Yul disappear, he wondered if he was getting more involved with the Tower than he expected.
The Tower is the kind of place where the laws of causality entwine and bind themselves around your existence like chains, but then, that’s what makes you who you are. Maybe being a god means breaking free of those chains and from your very being.
For a moment, Yeon-woo remembered an idea his brother had left in his diary, but soon shook his head and disregarded it. Just then, a portal appeared in the air and a familiar figure dropped down. "Ohyohyohyohyo. It makes me so emotional to have you all back after a whole month." A small-statured Goblin wearing a tuxedo and a monocle bowed politely. "Hello again, my dearest players. I, Yvlke, the Guardian of the Tutorial, greet you with all the love in my heart."
Yvlke looked around at the players as he straightened his back, his eyes curved in delight. "Thank you all for your hard work. Unlike other rounds of the Tutorial, many of you have shown wonderful cleverness and skills as you passed through the trials of the seven sections. I sincerely hope you will be able to keep up the great work even after you enter the Tower. Now, then..." Yvlke smiled as he adjusted his monocle. "Shall we check the results?"
[1. Unknown (510,590 Points)
2. Edora (60,000 Points)
3. Phante (20,200 Points)
4. Vyram (11,000 Points)]
Yeon-woo heard several gasps from the crowd.
"Wait a second, is that 500,000?"
"What the fuck? How is that even possible?"
"I've heard the high rankers in the Tower scored no more than 100,000 points when they were in the Tutorial."
"What the hell happened in Section G…?"
The waiting room started to buzz as the players saw the ranking board. It was how shocking the number in the first place was. Yeon-woo was also surprised when he saw the scores. 'Phante and Vyram must have gone hunting after I left.’ It was quite amazing that they were able to amass so many points in such little time.
Yeon-woo felt a strong presence looking his way, so he turned to look. It was Edora. She was still holding her sword tightly in her arms as she stared at him. They met each other’s eyes for a silent moment, Edora suddenly smiled faintly. She mouthed a word to him.
“‘Congratulations’?” Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes because he had no idea what Edora was thinking. When he looked at her with Draconic Eyes, he saw that she wasn’t lying and was truly delighted by his victory. 'But why?' He couldn’t think of any reason why Edora would have such a friendly attitude towards him. If anything, it ought to be hostility. At first, he wondered if he’d mistaken someone else for her, but no, there was Phante next to her, staring at him with blazing eyes.
However, Yeon-woo's thoughts were distracted by Yvlke, who turned towards him with a pleasant smile. "Ohyhyohyohyo. #### has ranked number one with 510,590 points. These are the most points ever reached by a player not just in this round but also in the history of the Tutorial. Therefore, he will be given rewards according to this achievement."
Thankfully, some kind of noise obscured Yeon-woo's name and no one could hear it clearly. Just then, a message popped up in front of Yeon-woo.
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