After telling Yanu to wait for him and not to move from his spot, Yeon-woo returned to the Phoenix's nest.
『Are you leaving now?』
Yeon-woo answered with a smile. "I'll be back."
『I believe you, but I do not think my child does.』 The Phoenix smiled as Chirpy flew out of the cave and landed on top of the egg. “Tweet!” He was asking where Yeon-woo was going.
Although he tried to put on a serious expression, Yeon-woo ended up laughing again. "Don't worry, I won’t take long."
“Tweet! Tweet!” He asked Yeon-woo to leave his friend in the nest, and Yeon-woo found himself in an awkward situation.
『What are you going to do now?』 There was a hint of laughter in the Phoenix’s voice as if she found the whole situation funny.
Yeon-woo reached and petted Chirpy's head. He began to explain the situation in a serious voice while keeping eye contact. If there was anything he’d learned from his experiences, it was that he had to be as truthful as possible to avoid any misunderstandings. "I'm taking the egg so I can find a way to help your friend break out of its shell. You also want to meet your friend as soon as possible, don’t you? If so, I need you to let us go. But don’t worry, as I said, I will try to come back as soon as possible."
“Tweet.” Chirpy pouted but the Phoenix whispered to him in a soft voice. 『My child.』 Finally, Chirpy decided to let go of the egg. He began jumping up and down, chirping out loud. “Tweet! Tweet!” He was telling Yeon-woo to come back as soon as possible, and after several reassurances, Yeon-woo finally managed to take the egg from him.
The Phoenix watched the two of them with a warm expression. 『Now, I understand you will be heading to the One-horned tribe. How are you planning to carry your egg?』
Yeon-woo looked at his beast egg and shook his head at its size. It had grown even taller since the last time he checked it, but fortunately, it had finally slowed its growth rate. Still, it was already so big and heavy that even the Phoenix could not move the egg with her powers.
Yeon-woo had to figure out a way to carry the egg to the Outer District on his own, which worried the Phoenix. However, Yeon-woo figured out a simple solution. "Come out," he said to his Spirit Familiars.
At first, the spirits were a bit flustered, unsure how to perform the task. But after a few seconds, they turned into grey mist and enveloped the egg. It began to levitate. 'This way, there shouldn’t be any problems carrying the egg.'
『Oh, that’s a good idea. I remember their ability to exert physical power wasn’t this great before. How did they become so powerful?』
"I noticed they could grow stronger by consuming other spirits, so I fed them with all sorts of spirits from beasts, monsters, and even players. They’ve already reached the limits of a Spirit Familiar."
『I see. I am quite surprised to see how much you’ve mastered that bracelet. What an interesting human you are. I wonder how much your spirits will have changed the next time we meet.』
"I won’t be away that long."
『Ah, but I believe you will. You still need to prepare many things in order to pass the tests of the other Legendary Beasts.』
Yeon-woo's eyes widened behind his mask. ‘I don’t remember telling her about that. How did she find out?’
『Oh, I can tell what you are thinking. I know you didn’t tell me about your plans because you were worried about hurting my feelings. But don’t worry, I do not mind.』
"Thank you for your understanding." Yeon-woo thought perhaps the biggest reward he’d received after leaving the Beginner Zone was meeting the Phoenix. Although most players feared her, she was just a kind, generous, and good-natured lady to him. ‘In fact, the various people I’ve gotten involved with up so far have all been good people.’
If it hadn’t been for them, he might have ruined himself being driven solely by anger and revenge. He had been able to stay sane thanks to all the generous people he had met in the Tower, just like the Phoenix.
However, she didn’t just make him feel like he’d found a good friend. ‘She reminds me of…Mom.’
Yeon-woo brushed these thoughts aside and decided to leave the nest. "See you soon."
* * *
As Yeon-woo walked out of the nest, Yanu’s jaw dropped once again at the sight of the giant egg that followed him. "Wow! I think that’s even taller than three meters.”
Yanu had seen many different beast eggs during his own trial and while watching other tribe members undergo theirs. However, he had never in his life seen one this size.
"I’m ready to go. But before we leave, let me get this straight. Am I really allowed to visit your tribe? I heard outsiders are strictly prohibited from entering your village.” Yeon-woo thought of what the diary said.
The One-horned tribe is said to have been brought to the Tower by one of the three creators, the Trinity Wonder. The members of the tribe are demi-humans, and they share common features such as purple hair and a single horn sticking out of their heads. Most of them are born with an innate talent for martial arts, and many are great experts.
They are also known as the founders of Mugong, a series of skills devised to control mana.
With their natural physical strength and use of Mugong, the battle prowess of the members of the One-horned tribe was unmatched by humans. They were practically born to climb the Tower, and even other demi-human races envied them.
However, even though they enjoyed a great reputation, not many things were known about the One-horned tribe since their arrogant natures made them abhor interacting with outsiders. Some said that they were fanatically loyal and would do anything for their friends without hesitation, but many who had met members of the One-horned tribe said that it was nearly impossible to even become friends with them. People had to prove themselves worthy to even speak to a member of the One-horned tribe.
The tribe eventually became alienated in the Tower, but the One-horned tribe did not care and even seemed to prefer solitude. They built a village somewhere outside the Tower and placed a mysterious spell on it that would not only isolate them from the world but also prevent any outsiders from entering.
It was evident that Yeon-woo’s brother hadn’t had any contact with the One-horned tribe, and all the information in his diary had been acquired through hearsay. This was why Yeon-woo himself didn’t know much about the tribe.
Yanu answered with a smile, "Hehe. Those are just rumors. How can we run a village if we don’t let anyone in? We do get guests from the outside, like merchants, for example."
"Is that so?"
"Sure. You'll see that the rumors are all rubbish once you enter our village." Yanu continued as he shook his head. "And about the rumors, I think part of the reason for them is that some overprotective elders want to keep outsiders away. Another part is that some players want to take advantage of having connections with us, and…it’s kind of complicated.”
Yeon-woo nodded in understanding.
"But the village is indeed hidden under a spell, so you’ll have to follow me carefully. Here, take this." Yanu brought out two small pieces of paper from his pocket and handed one of them to Yeon-woo.
"What is this?"
"This is the answer to one of the questions you asked me earlier. It’s a ticket that allows you to exit the Tower for a certain amount of time." Yanu tore the ticket in two as he explained, and a red portal appeared on the floor.
Yeon-woo also tore his ticket. Whoom!
[Would you like to exit the Tower?]
When Yeon-woo nodded, he found himself being surrounded by a pool of light. By the time it faded away, Yeon-woo found himself standing in a very familiar place. It was the entrance to the Tower.
Creak! Thud! He heard the gate of the Tower shutting behind him as he looked bemusedly at the busy streets and market. Yanu called out to him, and Yeon-woo snapped back to reality. "This way please." Yanu began to sprint through the streets.
Yeon-woo cast Shunpo and imbued more mana to the Spirit Familiars that were carrying his egg. Although the spirits were still slow due to the weight of the egg, they managed to catch up to the two of them.
Yanu was heading towards the southeastern section of the Outer District, which was a wasteland composed only of basalt rocks. Because of the lack of life, neither people nor animals set foot on this land. Yeon-woo wondered how people could live in such a barren land.
"OK. From this point onwards, I need you to follow every step I make. If you make any wrong moves, it will mess up the whole route, and you might end up getting trapped here forever.” Before Yeon-woo could even say anything, Yanu took a step forward and he suddenly began to fade away, leaving behind footprints on the ground.
Yeon-woo's eyes glowed with excitement. ‘So this is Jinbup.’ Using Mugong as a foundation, the One-horned tribe had created a type of skill called Jinbup.
According to the records I found, Jinbup allows the user to distort the surrounding environment by stimulating the energy flowing in nature. The best-known example of Jinbup is Hwanjin, a spell that can hide certain objects or places. One can even make a mountain appear flat and a lake seem dry if they are skilled enough.
Jinbup had a similar effect as magic circles, but they were different types of skills. Magic circles required a new formation of mana while Jinbup simply diverted the natural flow of mana. Since Yeon-woo was a layperson when it came to magic, he couldn’t understand the details, but he had a vague idea of it. 'Draconic Eyes.' Yeon-woo cast Draconic Eyes to get a better look at Yanu’s footprints.
When the reptilian pupils replaced Yeon-woo’s, a vast expanse of grassland suddenly appeared in front of him, filled with grass, flowers, and streams. But before he could take a good look, his view was covered by a thick fog. Yeon-woo realized that he had arrived at the entrance of the village, and it was the forest surrounding the village.
Although the fog was blocking his vision, he could still see the footprints Yanu had left. He only had to carefully step on them to enter the village. But as Yeon-woo was obediently following Yanu’s footsteps, a thought suddenly crossed his mind. ‘I wonder if I can pass through this Jinbup without Yanu’s help?' Yeon-woo put more mana into his eyes to focus on the Jinbup.
[Draconic Eyes have discovered Hoho’unmujin. The basic components of Hoho’unmujin will be revealed.]
[You have unlocked a new category, ‘Jinbup’. All phenomena you observe caused by Jinbup will automatically be filled in the window.]
[You have acquired a hint regarding Jinbup, but you lack the knowledge to fully comprehend it. Improve your knowledge in order to gain access to the information.]
[‘Draconic Eyes’ skill proficiency has increased. 28.1%]
The fog wriggled, as though it didn’t want to reveal what was hidden behind it, but when Yeon-woo adjusted the focus of his Draconic Eyes, he could see the imperfections in Jinbup as though it were any other object. They tangled all over themselves, spreading around the entire area under the fog. Yeon-woo examined the shape of the imperfections as he followed Yanu's footsteps. He was able to figure out some information.
'The imperfections look like multiple strings tangled together, but it’s actually just one string.' The string was flowing in one direction and creating a flow of energy, like small streams gathering together to form a large river. Some imperfections concentrated in one place, others detached themselves from the flow and covered the entire foggy area.
Yeon-woo realized that this was the centerpiece of Jinbup. ‘I guess the huge flow of imperfections is the mana stream that should be flowing naturally in the landscape. It seems like the spellcaster changed the flow of the stream to create this Jinbup.' The main stream looked very familiar to him. 'This is like my Magic Circuit.'
The energy flowing around a certain area took a similar shape and path as the movement of mana inside his body.
[You have understood part of the Jinbup. Draconic Eyes has penetrated Hoho’unmujin.]
[‘Draconic Eyes’ skill proficiency has increased. 31.9%]
Ideas popped up one after another in Yeon-woo’s mind. "If it is possible to hide a whole village and spread out the fog depending on how one manipulates mana, maybe I can also put my Magic Circuit to use instead of letting it only circulate in my body.'
[You have acquired a clue regarding the use of Magic Circuit, but you lack the knowledge to fully comprehend it. Improve your knowledge to gain access to the information.]Previous Chapter Next Chapter