Chapter 8. Tutorial (6)
A bronze scarecrow suddenly came forward and moved at a rapid pace, blocking Yeon-woo's way. However, Yeon-woo twisted his body in order to avoid it.
The scarecrow then proceeded to narrow the gap between them by dashing towards Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo tripped the scarecrow’s leg as it ran towards him. His leg ached because of the scarecrow’s hardness, but the pain was tolerable thanks to Yeon-woo’s developed muscles.
Then, another scarecrow came from the front.
Yeon-woo bent his arm and smacked the scarecrow’s chest with his elbow. Taking advantage of the knockback, he moved below its arm and dashed right past him. Several traps also activated in tandem, but none of them could stop Yeon-woo.
[Your Dexterity has increased by 1 point.]
[Your Health has increased by 1 point.]
[‘Sense Strengthening’ skill proficiency has increased. 15.6%]
[‘Sense Strengthening’ skill proficiency has increased. 16.9%]
His attribute points increased as he broke through the traps.
Yeon-woo’s movements became more sophisticated as his attributes increased causing his skill proficiency to also increase alongside.
Then, with his keener senses, he passed through more traps which led yet to another rise in attribute points.
Increase in attribute points - increase in skill proficiency - increase in attribute points… Thanks to this loop, Yeon-woo was able to achieve remarkable growth in the blink of an eye.
‘It's a lot faster than when I ran through Section A.'
Yeon-woo had confidence in himself.
His feet were much lighter, and his hands were brimming with strength.
When there were only about ten scarecrows left ahead of him, one of the scarecrows, which until now had only been blocking the way, revealed its sharp teeth for the first time.
As if it were human, it firmly squared its shoulders and tackled Yeon-woo’s side.
A painful feeling struck him, as if he had bumped into a wall as hard as he could. The same pain he felt when he got hit by a steel arrow for the first time.
He fell several meters back as the suffocating pain caused him to frown.
On the other hand, the scarecrow didn’t budge an inch from where it had tackled Yeon-woo.
Unlike the scarecrows he saw earlier, this one’s surface flashed with a red tint as if it were made of copper.
Its strong shoulders gave off an overpowering feeling.
‘Is this the guy who imitates players?’
A scarecrow that mimics the movements and actions of the player. It is also capable of attacking within a certain range.
His brother had made a separate reference for this one.
‘To dominate them.’
Yeon-woo held tightly onto his dagger.
The copper puppets tested players with what they had developed and acquired throughout Section A.
When three players formed a team, three scarecrows would appear to block their way. If there were five players, likewise, there would be five scarecrows. The scarecrows copied the players' skills, forcing them to overcome themselves.
If they did, they could pass through the boss room, but if they didn’t, they would be tied here forever.
And if they couldn’t even do that, the only alternative was death.
However, Yeon-woo had been repeatedly surpassing his limits by breaking through Section A several times.
These copper puppets were annoying, but it didn’t feel like they would poise a problem.
What bothered him the most was that his plan to bust through the boss room in one go was hindered by a mere doll.
He opened his Draconic Eyes wide, and found the flaws scattered throughout the copper puppet.
And the minute he tried to stab the puppet,
"It operates with a sensor. Find the sensor and destroy it!"
He heard a voice coming from a corner.
Yeon-woo had already been aware of his presence thanks to his senses, but he had just ignored him because he didn't want to get involved.
The copper puppet raised its hand and aimed at Yeon-woo’s head.
Yeon-woo slightly bent over to the side, grabbed one of its joints and twisted it.
The puppet's forearm bent in a bizarre direction.
Yeon-woo then charged into its chest, held the dagger in a reverse grip and stabbed three times into its flaws.
In the end, he adjusted his grip and hit its abdomen as hard as he could.
The copper puppet exploded into dozens of fragments and splattered in all directions like a firework.
The pieces of the copper puppet crumpled, raising some dust.
Yeon-woo brushed the dust off his shoulders.
"Wha… What just happened…?”
A dazed voice was heard from behind.
* * *
Yeon-woo threw a glance to the back.
In one corner, where the lights hardly reached, there was a young man hiding, obscured by the shadows.
The young man got startled when their eyes met. But then, he put more strength into his eyes and stared at Yeon-woo as if refusing to lose.
Yeon-woo bluntly walked over to him.
The young man clenched his teeth. He glanced to the side to check his surroundings. When he noticed that Yeon-woo was walking towards him, he stared even more intently.
But contrary to his gutsy look, his legs were trembling a little.
Even though he was scared, he tried to look strong in case Yeon-woo was coming with the intention of harming him.
However, that only gave Yeon-woo the impression of a rain-soaked puppy with its tail erect in front of a tiger.
Yeon-woo stood before the young man and asked in a blunt tone.
"How did you know?"
The bridge of the young man’s nose wrinkled.
"The fact that the puppet was operating through a sensor. I'm asking how you knew this."
For a moment, the young man couldn't answer properly.
But Yeon-woo didn't rush him.
He stared patiently until the young man gave the right answer.
‘This player, he's one of those guys who had been raiding the boss room for a long time. Where did the others go?’
During the six days he spent on Section A, there was a team that got their feet bound by the scarecrows and was stuck in the boss room.
At that time, he wasn't interested, so he didn't really pay attention to them. But now, everyone else was gone except for this guy.
He thought for a moment that they might have died while dealing with the copper puppet, but it didn’t seem like it. There wasn’t any trace of corpses, only those of someone eating by himself.
‘I see, he’s been abandoned.’
Occasionally, there had been cases like this.
Cases of team members being ruthlessly discarded throughout the tutorial due to their uselessness. On Earth, people would point their fingers at this irrational behavior, but it didn’t matter here.
Within the tutorial, where players were focused on making achievements, it only natural to party up out of necessity rather than being acquainted.
That's exactly what happened to this young man.
The young man was on guard against Yeon-woo, but Yeon-woo could see just by looking at him that he was too weak.
His eyes were filled with embarrassment while looking at Yeon-woo. He wanted to run away from this situation, but he couldn’t because there were too many scarecrows around.
Yeon-woo began to wonder how did the young man think he would be able to enter The Tower and how did he get his qualifications to participate in the tutorial.
Consequently, Yeon-woo was just going to ignore him and leave him be.
In the first place, he didn't care about anything except advancing through the tutorial and catching up with the frontrunners.
There was no reason to go out of his way and do something troublesome.
But the words the young man had shouted while he was dealing with the copper puppet grabbed his attention.
That the copper puppets were operating via sensors.
Yeon-woo was barely aware of it thanks to his enhanced senses, and he thought it was something the average players would never notice.
So Yeon-woo was wondering how he knew about it.
For someone who appeared to be so weak.
Usually, the truth was very simple.
He could have noticed a pattern in the copper puppet’s movements after being trapped in the boss room for a long time, and made a guess out of it.
‘He could have read the flow of mana inside the copper puppet when it operated.’
It was Mana.
It was an unsolved problem that haunted Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo stared at the young man for some time.
After mumbling for a while, he finally spat some words out.
"I… I saw it."
"You saw it?"
“Yeah... the threads of mana… surrounding the copper puppet....”
In the middle of the conversation, an idea crossed Yeon-woo’s mind. So he immediately activated his Draconic Eyes.
The pupils of his eyes sank deeply, and eyes resembling those of reptiles were revealed.
The young man gasped in surprise.
Vertical slit pupils rose under the white mask. It wasn’t strange to be scared.
Ignoring his reaction, Yeon-woo examined him from head to toes.
Then he chuckled.
“Why did you put on this look?”
For a second, the young man flinched.
“The look you have right now. It’s a disguise.”
The young man's face stiffened.
Yeon-woo put more power into his draconic eyes.
Then, a very small presence was revealed inside the dozens of flaws surrounding the young man.
“Are you around 10 years old? You’re really young. Very small too. But it's too blurry to recognize your face. You're not a normal human, are you?”
The young man clenched his teeth and moved his hand towards the sword he had left on the floor. He was ready to pick it up if necessary.
"What are you planning to do with me?"
It was a sudden question.
Yeon-woo tilted his head as he could not understand the situation.
"What do you mean?"
"I said, what are you planning on doing with me?"
“That’s because I….”
The young man was going to say something, but he managed to bite his tongue and shut his mouth. He was reluctant to say any more.
Yeon-woo snorted at him.
"I know what you mean, but I don't care who you are or what you look like."
“What I'm interested in is how you can "see" and handle mana. I’m just curious about the how. So, can you tell me?"
The young man opened his eyes widely.
Yeon-woo nodded toward the exit.
"Of course I wouldn't ask you to tell me for free. I see you've been stuck here for quite some time. Then, I'll help you out. You can't get any food or attend to any business in here. How does that sound? It's not bad for you either, is it?"
The young man's eyes were filled with confusion. Everything he had said was just unbelievable.
"If there are other reasons you can’t tell, or if you think it’s not a fair trade, well, I can't help it."
Yeon-woo thought it would be a great opportunity if he could learn how to handle mana from this young man.
The ability to see mana.
That meant that he had an extreme affinity to mana even amongst those who knew how to handle it.
If Yeon-woo could acquire such ability, it would be very helpful for him in order to learn how to handle mana.
Above of all, even if it was a secret that he wasn’t allowed to randomly pass onto others, it would be easy to dig it out from him since he was dealing with a child.
As for the rest, it wasn’t of his concern.
Of course, if the young man used this as an opportunity to ask for something preposterous, he was going to immediately decline. Even if not now, he should still be able find a way to handle mana later on.
Seeing as no answer came from the young man, Yeon-woo took his attention off of him and turned around.
"It seems like you don’t want to.”
"Wa,wait! Hold on for a second."
Yeon-woo looked back at the young man.
"What's the matter?”
"About what you were saying, is it true? You really don't know how to handle mana?"
"I don’t have any reason to lie, do I?”
"N...no way! Are you saying you did that without mana?"
The young man looked around Yeon-woo with an incredulous look. Chunks of the broken copper puppet could be seen.
A monster he had tried so hard to defeat with his teammates, but wouldn’t even budge an inch.
It was a puppet that survived through tons of skills and attacks without even a scratch.
But Yeon-woo, with only a few attacks, had just destroyed the puppet and was now saying he didn’t know how to handle mana.
It was simply incomprehensible, it was beyond common sense.
On the other hand, Yeon-woo also could not understand the young man.
"Well, I just did."
The young man recalled a man from his hometown who once painted a wonderful landscape and said, ‘It’s that easy'.