Chapter 7. Tutorial (5)
Steel arrows were flying at Yeon-woo. 15 in total, it was more than usual.
It was the result of Yeon-woo deliberately activating more traps by running in zigzag.
Each one of them came from different angles and in varying speeds.
Before, it would have been impossible for Yeon-woo to dodge them by relying only on his senses.
Yeon-woo swung his dagger to strike an arrow that came from the front and spinned his body. At the same time, he stretched out his empty hand.
One of the steel arrows which was passing right by his chest was caught in his hand and, as he was spinning, he quickly swung the arrow to deflect another one coming from the back.
Then he raised his left foot and kicked another arrow that was coming towards his ankle.
It may have been a long explanation, but everything took place in a split second.
It was something beyond human capabilities.
Nevertheless, Yeon-woo showed no sign of exhaustion.
Rather, he was driving himself into more dangerous situations out of sheer frustration.
He had now risen to a point where he didn't have to consciously search for the the arrows. He intuitively captured the position of the projectiles with his developed senses, and unconsciously dodged them thanks to his reflexes.
He also didn’t feel pain anymore when blocking the steel arrows.
Yeon-woo stopped running as he reached the arrival point.
He could hear some noises coming from the boss room up ahead. The same scene that had been going on for days.
However, Yeon-woo didn’t pay much attention to the boss room and checked the time.
“Hoo! This time it took me around 4 hours?”
It was the time it took him to get through Section A.
It was an astonishing improvement considering that it had taken him more than 34 hours on his first try.
After spending ten reset tickets, Yeon-woo had been able to make tremendous advancement by going through Section A several times.
Every time he reset Section A, the position, timing and potency of the traps changed.
Therefore, during his first attempts, Yeon-woo had to be on high alert to identify the directions from where the steel arrows were coming.
Moreover, under such circumstances he also put restrictions on himself to reduce the time spent traveling back and forth.
He had been in near-death situations several times.
There was a moment when he miscounted the number of steel arrows and one had almost hit his head, and another moment when an arrow skewered through his right hand, causing him to nearly lose his entire arm.
He had to go through all sorts of things, however, every single time, Yeon-woo had somehow managed to escape death and achieve his goal.
It's been six days ever since.
[Player: Yeon-woo Cha]
Strength: 51 Dexterity: 56 Health: 55 Magic Power: 21
Skills: Draconic Eyes(2.1%), Sense Strengthening(15.1%), Foresight(0.0%)
‘They’ve gone up by a lot.”
Yeon-woo had a gratified smile on his face as he looked at his attribute points. They had increased by an average of nearly 40 points in comparison to when he arrived.
Although his Magic Power was still the same, his other attributes could not be compared to what they used to be.
"It's a shame that the growth speed of my attributes has decreased after the eighth attempt."
His training method that took advantage of the colored arrows had resulted in a steep increase of his attributes. The change in his body was so drastic that Yeon-woo almost couldn’t get used to it.
However, after certain point, his attribute points didn’t improve much anymore.
It seemed that there was a limit to the amount of points that could be gained from the hidden piece. And the fact that the arrows were no longer a threat to Yeon-woo also contributed to slowing down his improvement.
‘But now I should be able to hold my own against most players. Though it’ll still be hard to catch up with the frontrunners.'
He was already getting accustomed to his skills.
Now he could control not only his auditory and haptic senses, but also his visual, olfactory and gustatory senses quite freely.
He had also learned a unique way to improve his ability in a short period of time by amplifying all of his senses at the same time whenever he had the chance to.
He was able to acquire ‘Synesthesia(共感覺)’, which was something he had only heard about before.
‘Same with the Draconic Eyes.’
Draconic Eyes, a skill that allowed the caster to borrow, to a certain extent, the Ancient Dragon Kalatus’ Eyes of Truth.
When Yeon-woo used the Draconic Eyes for the first time, he was shocked by what he saw.
In the vision that Draconic Eyes granted him, everything lost its color.
The world was composed of only black lines in a white background.
Objects consisted of only a black line illustrating their outline. If there was a separate structure inside something, it was also shown on a smaller scale.
It looked like a croquis on a white canvas.
‘No. It’s more like an X-Ray picture. Almost like clairvoyance.'
The eyes that erases outer appearance and projects both form and interior.
It seemed to reflect the ‘real' image that things originally had. The lines that formed the basis of things.
His brother had referred to them as ‘flaws(缺)'.
Yeon-woo had tried an experiment before. He experimented by cutting a small rock.
He observed and stabbed a flat rock that was originally designed for players to rest on at the arrival point.
Normally, the dagger shouldn’t have been able to penetrate the rock, but contrary to expectations, the rock was easily cut apart. Like cutting a tofu with a knife.
He knocked on the rock to see if it was soft to begin with, but it was as hard as the stone that formed the walls of Section A. The cross section was smooth as if it had been sanded down.
Since then, Yeon-woo had steadily been using his Draconic Eyes to train himself to distinguish flaws that were easy to attack.
It was a level of growth worth to be proud of.
It was all thanks to the fact that he had pushed himself to the point of not even sleeping.
Yeon-woo, however, was still not satisfied.
‘If I had started along with the frontrunners I would have already reached Section E by now. If I stay behind any further, I will never catch up to them.’
It was natural that the gap would continue to widen as they advance to higher sections.
Yeon-woo could not delay any longer.
He turned his eyes towards the boss room.
He presumed it was time for a full-out race.
* * *
Before leaving, Yeon-woo took a brief moment to meditate and put his thoughts in order.
It was a habit to do so before stepping into the battlefield.
He had learned it from an Indian soldier when he was in Africa, and afterwards it had become a routine.
The advantage of doing so was that he could get rid of distracting thoughts and be completely focused on combat.
Just like right now.
Yeon-woo organized in his head everything he had been practicing.
Things mainly related to the changes in his body caused by the improvement of his stats, and adapting his skills and senses to his newfound body.
Yeon-woo wanted to analyze the movement of his muscles and skeleton in response to each different action he took.
Before, he had set his senses to only feel his surroundings.
He did not know when or from where an arrow would fly in, so he had to pay close attention to the outside in order to survive.
However, now that he had some leeway, he decided to focus part of his senses on his own body.
He tried to observe as many physical changes as he could.
The motion of his muscles when stimulated from the outside, the reaction of his nervous system, the sound produced by his skeleton, the changes in body in accordance to different movements, and the differences generated from using a skill.
He tried memorizing one by one every minute detail of his body.
In case he found himself in an extreme situation, in order to escape danger and survive, he had to make sure to control his every movement down to a cellular level.
And of course, in order to do so, he first had to have complete control over his body.
And that’s probably why.
At one point, Yeon-woo was able to sense something very faint flowing through his body.
It was easy to figure out what it was.
It was mana.
Although very feeble, mana was definitely present in his body. And as it cycled through it over time, it was slowly affecting his body.
When a skill was activated, mana moved along with it.
When he used sense strengthening, mana gathered around the specific part of the body he was focusing on. And when he used draconic eyes, mana seeped into his eyes.
Yeon-woo tried to trace the mana back to the path it took in order to imitate its movement as closely as possible.
But at some point, mana disappeared as if toying with him.
He had fully focused his senses inside his body and followed after the mana, but it disappeared without leaving a trace.
Yeon-woo felt a little heavy, but he decided not to push himself.
He discovered the fact the that mana constitutes the basis of skills, and was somehow present in his body, but in a dormant state.
If so, he only needed to take things step by step. Then one day, he might be able to handle mana freely.
* * *
Yeon-woo opened his eyes after finishing his meditation. He felt refreshed as if he had a good night’s sleep. His body felt lighter than ever.
And after finishing his preparations, he opened the iron gate carrying his backpack on one shoulder.
[You have entered the boss room of Section A]
[There are 88 scarecrows along with several traps that will try to stop you from advancing. Cut through the scarecrows and beat the boss room]
As soon as the message popped up,
A steel arrow flew in as if it had been waiting for this moment.
Yeonwoo instinctively turned the dagger sideways and struck the steel arrow.
The steel arrow bounced upwards, and flew back in the direction it came from, and got itself stuck in the trap.
Broken pieces of the trap fell down from the ceiling.
It was a movement he had practiced in his ninth attempt through Section A.
He liked this method because he could train both accuracy and technique at the same time.
Yeon-woo observed the scarecrows that filled the passage.
They looked like ordinary scarecrows, commonly seen in the countryside.
But the scarecrows in the boss room were moving little by little.
Their two feet and two arms were unrestrained so they could move around on their own, and they could hinder the players trying to pass by their side.
‘They seem pretty solid, too.’
There had been a team trying to beat the boss room for a week.
Every time Yeon-woo reached the end of Section A, he could see them being blocked by the scarecrows without making any progress.
The scarecrow did not attack the players, but only blocked their way forward.
But even that was enough to hold them back.
Every time the players tried to break through the scarecrows, it didn't work. They didn’t fall down when attacked, and they didn’t move an inch when pushed.
The only traces left on the scarecrows were mere scratches and soot. This meant that hitting them with neither physical strength nor skills would do any good.
Plus, there were a lot of traps all over the place.
The traps in the boss room were different from those in Section A.
In addition to steel arrows, a variety of other traps were also added, including poison arrows, fire arrows, pitfalls, spear traps and so on.
If players were too busy avoiding the scarecrows, they might get caught in the traps.
But Yeon-woo was confident.
‘I have to get to Section B immediately.’
Yeon-woo held the dagger in his right hand and sprang forward.
Then five steel arrows poured down on him.
However, Yeon-woo did not even lay his eyes on the arrows and lightly swung the dagger to the side.
‘I have to go faster. Never slow down.’
Yeon-woo put more power into his legs.
Then the ground sank down in front of Yeon-woo.
But Yeon-woo was also familiar with this kind of trap.
And he had already ‘read' through it with his strengthened sense.
Yeon-woo leaped high into the air right above the sunken ground.
Right beneath him, there was a bottomless abyss opening its jaw.
‘If I fall, I would be instantly dead. Then.'
Yeon-woo softly somersaulted over the gap, as if he were performing acrobatics.
Drawing a long arc in the air, Yeon-woo tried to land beyond the hole, but two arrows came flying from both sides.
It should have been hard to avoid them in midair, but Yeon-woo twisted his body like a spinning top and easily bounced off the arrows that came at him.
The arrows that were aimed at him fell down helplessly into the hole.
Yeon-woo was able to land safely across the hole.
And this time, he felt heat from the ceiling.
As the fire descended along a hidden wick, it fluttered its red tongue to devour Yeon-woo.
But Yeon-woo has already gained some resistance against burning through his trait.
He quickly covered his mouth with a handkerchief and ran through the fire.
Even if some cinders got onto his clothes, he only shook them off and kept running without much concern.
He slanted the dagger to its side and swung it, creating a gust of wind that pierced a path through the flames for a short time.
He ran through the path wasting no time.
Besides the steel arrows, various other arrows also poured out.
Arrows lit on fire, arrows coated with poison, arrows with a hooked tip, etc.
Whenever the arrows flew at hi, Yeon-woo either avoided them, parried them, or blocked them.
Despite pouring in from all sides, the arrows could not even touch Yeon-woo’s hair.
It was as if he had eyes all over the place.
Despite the obstacles, Yeon-woo did not slow down at all.
On the contrary, his clearing speed was gradually increasing as his Health attribute rose.
The other traps also made no difference.
Pitfalls, fire traps, spear traps, rolling rocks, all of them failed to stop Yeon-woo.
At that moment, the scarecrows started taking action.