Chapter 14. Black Route (3)
Blood was continuously gushing out. Most of it was coming out from his mouth, but Yeon-woo tried his best to swallow it back.
His throat was burning with toxicity and the foul stench made him gag. Despite his disgust, Yeon-woo continued to drink the blood as he chewed on the heart that was much tougher than leather.
At that moment.
The energy that the White Moss contained was wriggling inside his body. It was the Pure Essence(精氣) formed by the energy of the moon. This would act as a catalyst to filter out the heat and dregs and to blend the energies together.
Yeon-woo's body began to change little by little.
The broken bones knitted together. The torn muscles closed up. The patches of peeled skin were replaced with new skin. But it didn’t end there. His bones became much denser, his muscles tougher and his skin smoother. His physique was improving little by little.
[The Red O-Gong has been successfully slain. You have killed an enemy that would normally be impossible for you. Additional Karma will be provided.]
[You have acquired 100 Karma.]
[Your Strength has increased by 7 points.]
[Your Dexterity has increased by 6 points.]
[Your Health has increased by 5 points.]
[Your body is experiencing slow changes]
[‘Physical Resistance' skill proficiency has increased significantly. 7.2%]
[The heart of Red O-Gong has been ingested. It has synergized with the White Moss, revealing its hidden effects.]
[You have obtained a piece of ‘Flame Heart and Frost Crest’.]
[Current progress: 1.5%]
[Number of monsters hunted: 1]
A long time passed before Yeon-woo came out of the Red O-Gong’s corpse. He was covered in blood, but he didn't look tired anymore.
Yeon-woo sat back against the wall and gathered his breath. His injuries were all healed up, but he was still mentally fatigued.
"Well, I made it somehow."
The feeling of a strange energy transforming his body little by little, even if it wasn’t his first time, it still felt foreign to him.
The feeling of freshness that came after the change made him think it was ironic.
Yeon-woo briefly looked at the Red O-Gong and spat out a piece of heart that was still left in his mouth.
‘The dungeon is full of monsters like this. What a dreadful place.’
Even if he was shaking his head in disbelief, his vision packed with messages made him feel better.
‘I managed to obtain ’Flame Heart and Frost Crest’.'
It was the effect caused by the simultaneous consumption of White Moss and the heart of a fire property beast. It was a hidden piece that strengthened one’s skeleton and muscles.
The progress was only at 1.5%, but he was already starting to feel reinvigorated.
"I heard that the stronger the body becomes, the faster it’ll recover from fatigue. Well, that’s a relief.”
Yeon-woo summoned the status window to check his improved body.
[Player: Yeon-woo Cha]
Strength: 60 Dexterity: 65 Health: 62 Magic Power: 21
Skills: Draconic Eyes(3.1%), Sense Strengthening(17.8%), Foresight(0.0%), Physical Resistance(7.2%), Combat Will(3.2%)
‘I didn’t expect I’d gain more stats from killing Red O-Gong than from beating the boss room.’
Yeon-woo was stupefied by this thought and let out a hollow laughter.
However, it was obvious that players would be given more stats according to the level of adversity they overcame, and the Black Route was remarkably dangerous.
But one thing was certain, his body was going through a steady change. Most of the stats were already over 60.
‘My low Magic Power is the only flaw, but what can I do about it?'
Yeon-woo frowned while looking at his Magic Power which was his highest attribute at first, but was now the lowest.
There was no way for him to put his Magic Power to use for now, so he had no choice but to sit on his hands.
Still, he couldn’t help but worry about the continuously increasing gap between Magic Power and his other attribute points.
‘I need to think of a way to feel mana as soon as possible.’
Thanks to Yul, he already had a firm understanding of the concept of mana. Therefore, the only thing he had to do now was to come up with a way to feel it.
‘The problem is how.'
In reality, unlike his younger brother who could be categorized as a natural genius, Yeon-woo’s achievements all came from being a hard worker. It had been like that since they were kids.
Yeon-woo was different from his younger brother who did everything effortlessly. He often had to try over and over again to solve a problem, but he tried not to show the efforts he made, pretending he was doing fine.
Even when he was dispatched to Africa, initially he was so weak that he often caused his unit to receive collective punishment, but later on he managed to become part of the special task force.
Yeon-woo was used to pushing himself to the limit. He would slam himself against the walls of limitation again and again until it would finally break down. And when he encountered another wall, he would continue to hit it until it broke once again.
Things weren’t much different this time. Yeon-woo was well aware of the fact that he was the one furthest behind among the many players participating in the tutorial. That was why he only walked the hardest path, and that was how he achieved his outstanding growth.
Since he wasn’t talented, he had to find ways that best fit him based on his own judgement. Mana seemed to require the same approach.
He knew he had to keep trying to find a clue to handling mana. The problem was that there was no way to get to the clue.
At this rate, his Magic Power would most likely end up being a big dud in his status window.
But he couldn't let that happen.
‘I can count on my skills for now, but there's going to be a lot of situations where mana will come in handy. That’s bound to happen as long as I keep climbing higher.'
Mana allowed its users to do things that were physically impossible. It was the power that made so-called magic or unique skills possible.
The Tower was a place full of supernaturalities, so he couldn’t just give up such power.
Above all, Yeon-woo had not yet completed his awakening.
Mana was essential to fully accept this power which originated from the Ancient Dragon Kalatus.
The dragon race was a noble species that was known as the founder of all mana and magic.
‘Let's wait for a while and see. Just worrying about it won’t solve the problem.’
For now, he had to focus on what he could do and solve the mana problem later. And if no matter how hard he tried he still couldn’t find the answer, he could also resort to other unconventional methods.
"They say there are plenty of players who are really good with magic. If there's really no way, then I should abduct one of them and figure out how.’
Harming a person who had little to do with his matters was not the way he sought. But he also couldn’t keep waiting without doing anything.
Yeon-woo left the idea of mana and Magic Power behind, and this time he looked at his two newly acquired skills.
When active, resistance to physical attacks increases. In some cases, high resistance to a variety of status effects will be invoked.
Through perseverance and an indomitable will, you burn with fighting spirit no matter the circumstances. While focusing on combat, thought acceleration allows quick decision making.
When Yeon-woo first saw the newly added information, he made a surprised expression and slowly nodded.
As his abilities got stronger, he was now able to find things he originally couldn’t.
The rating reflected the value of a skill. A highly rated skill meant it was powerful, and required less mana or mental power consumption.
The ways to improve the rating of a skill were simple. One way was to gain enlightenment, apply it to the usage of a skill and gain the interface system’s recognition. The other way was to raise its proficiency.
The ratings his two skills had were not so bad.
No, Combat Will skill was actually great.
‘It’s really hard to get skills above D rating in the tutorial.’
Yeon-woo contently smiled and organized the information about the two skills.
‘Physical Resistance will be effective against external impact. It will minimize the impact from an attack and will also relieve pain.’
It was a must-have skill for Yeon-woo, who was heavily dependent on melee combat.
He had to endure terrible pain many times throughout his training.
He managed to maintain consciousness thanks to his cold-blooded trait, but if a person were to be continuously exposed to pain, it could have a devastating effect on their mental health.
However, if he could use this skill properly, he could avoid such situations.
‘I like its high resistance to status effects too.’
Poison, burn, frostbite, panic(stun), hallucination and curse were the biggest obstacles during raids. But if he could avoid all that, it would pose a big advantage.
Yeon-woo felt drawn to his Physical Resistance skill in many ways.
It wasn't an extravagant skill, but it would be of great support to his combat style.
But the skill that appealed the most to Yeon-woo’s taste was Combat Will.
‘Thought acceleration, this is the most important one.’
In tense situations, quick judgment was a double-edged sword. It could be an important key to survival, but could also be the worst card that might cause self-annihilation. So judgment had to be made with caution, and the thought process was bound to be complicated.
But this was a skill that made both quick judgement and deep thought possible at the same time. He had even experienced it for himself when he was killing the Red O-Gong.
The moment he felt time slowing down, when the Red O-Gong's mouth was about to reach his head, his quick judgement that resulted from thought acceleration had led Yeon-woo to victory.
‘It’s really a big merit to be able to make a calm judgement. Besides, this skill can be used in other ways too.’
The benefits of Combat Will did not end there.
Because it enabled extreme concentration, the skill also had a great effect on Sense Strengthening and on Draconic Eyes.
He should be able to control his senses more meticulously, so it should be easier to detect things that he hadn’t been able to detect before.
Using this as an opportunity, Yeon-woo closed his eyes thinking of casting Combat Will once more.
Sense Strengthening was already in action. Currently, Yeon-woo could scan areas up to 15 meters ahead.
But the moment he cast Combat Will,
Yeon-woo almost screamed due to the pressure of the enormous amount of information coming into his head.
Then it was accompanied with a sudden nausea and an urge to vomit.
"What is this?"
With extreme patience, Yeon-woo was able to stop himself from throwing up, but his mind was zoning out.
The effect was more potent than what he had imagined. He could see, hear, smell, feel and taste way too many things.
There should have been some sort of limit. But as if the limiter had been disabled, so much information poured down on him that he couldn't quite figure out what was what.
Lights were stirring in his vision, sounds were buzzing in his ears, and smells were pricking his nose. He felt like the information was igniting his brain on fire, so he quickly turned it off.
He highly doubted he would be able to filter out all the useless information from the enormous amount that flowed in.
‘Nothing ever goes my way.'
Yeon-woo wrinkled his brows and wiped the sweat flowing down his chin with his hands.
However, he couldn’t just quit here.
Although it just for a fleeting moment, Yeon-woo had clearly felt a sensation similar to as if his body was floating through the combined use of the two skills. And in the process, he was able to feel so many things.
There was no reason to refuse when he had found a way to grow.
‘Let's do this.'
He once again closed his eyes and cast Combat Will and Sense Strengthening at the same time. The burning pain in his brain made him frown.
Yeon-woo went down the passage of the dungeon, somehow enduring the throbbing headache by turning on Physical Resistance at the same time.