Chapter 15. Black Route (4)
“What’s going on here?”
Bild stood scowling at the sight of Kaen’s party.
It happened while he was on a mission to pick an important item. So now he was extremely irked.
He thought he had found some good prospects for his clan. But everything had turned into nothing. It was already too late to get their injuries treated.
Apparently, they were able to stay alive thanks to some generous players who had been sharing their food with them.
Among the four, the person who was faring relatively better had his entire lower body paralyzed, and in Kaen’s case, his body was completely paralyzed from neck down.
Bild asked Kaen’s party what had happened to them. But none of the four could give a proper answer, they just vacantly gazed into space. Some of them gave out dejected laughter as if they had lost their minds.
Bild realized that it was meaningless to keep trying to get information from Kaen’s party, so instead he started looking for witnesses.
It was a conflict between players, so he could just ignore it and let it go.
‘But you dare to mess up with us, don't you? So annoying! He must have known they were under Arangdan’s protection, but he just didn’t care... That means he's looking down on us.’
Bild was very proud of Arangdan. To be exact, His loyalty was directed towards Cheonghwado, which encompasses Arangdan.
Still, Arangdan was a product of his hard work. He had established it along with the man he served. He couldn’t stand the thought of it to being looked down upon.
"It was a guy wearing a white mask?"
Every single witness had said the same thing. White mask, short dagger, fast movements.
"Huh? Ye- yes, it was."
"A mask, was it?"
Bild raised his eyebrows.
A man with a white mask on, he had never heard of someone with such a weird appearance in this tutorial round.
"I guess I’ll have to start searching first."
Bild then proceeded to run off to somewhere.
He didn’t have to worry about traveling between each section.
Players who had cleared the tutorial were given a pass ticket to go anywhere within the tutorial.
‘Too bad I can’t gain any additional stats or Karma here.'
Because of his haste, Bild had overlooked something.
Just before the fight with the masked man, there had been a young man who had had a conversation with Kaen’s party.
* * *
Taking advantage of the darkness, three bats launched their attacks.
Every time they opened their mouth and shot out ultrasonic waves, the whole cave reverberated, confusing his senses.
Amid such turmoil, Yeon-woo accurately detected the position of each bat by solely listening to the sound of the wind, and flung three daggers in each direction.
Along with the sound of heads shattering and wings ripping, the bats fell down onto the floor. Then, he threw himself between the bats and finished them off.
[You have successfully slain 5 Sonic Bats]
[Number of monsters hunted: 147]
"Hoo. I'm starting to get used to it.”
Yeon-woo gently warmed up his shoulders and approached the bats’ carcasses.
After entering the dungeon and getting rid of the Red O-Gong, Yeon-woo kept descending through it and killed any monster he encountered.
The monsters that appeared here closely resembled insects and beasts that were commonly seen in aquatic caverns. Things like centipedes, salamanders, hogfish, crickets and bats. They looked just the same but bigger. They looked disgusting.
Moreover, just like the Red O-Gong was hard to defeat, other monsters were quite difficult to deal with as well.
However, as the number of monster he hunted increased, he was getting more and more used to it, and after the number reached 100, hunting had gotten much easier.
Once he familiarized himself with their unique patterns, it became a piece of cake.
"The effect of Flame Heart and Frost Crest also played its role."
Yeon-woo drew a dagger hanging on the edge of his waist and began dissecting the carcass of one of the bats. He peeled off its skin, separated the bones from the flesh, and slowly pulled out the intestines. It was something he had done in Africa several times.
Thanks to his former experiences, Yeon-woo was able to extract whatever he needed without much difficulty.
‘He said the eyeballs and vocal cords of the Sonic Bats will become valuable later on, right?’
These items could all be used as materials.
His brother had specified a number of items in his diary, saying that they were hard to find in The Tower so he had to get them while he was in the tutorial.
‘If I can make a good artifact out of these little things, I will profit greatly.’
Yeon-woo only extracted the parts that could be used as materials and organized them in his backpack, then began to carefully remove the hearts.
He had been so worn out when he killed the Red O-Gong that he had no choice but to bite its heart off with his teeth. But to properly absorb the essence of flame monsters required considerable skill.
He gouged the hearts out of the bats with a clean cut.
Yeon-woo tore off a handful of White Moss and pushed it into his mouth, then ate the hearts one by one.
He could hear the sound produced by the changes occurring inside his body. At the same time, his body felt refreshed, and he once again felt something flowing rapidly through an unknown path inside of him.
The flow was something he would have never been able to feel if he hadn’t increased his concentration using Combat Will.
It was a familiar flow and a familiar feeling.
Bodily waste excreted out from his pores.
[You have obtained a piece of ‘Flame Heart and Frost Crest']
[Current progress: 16.2%]
As soon as the message popped up, the mana that had been drifting inside his body disappeared as if it had never existed.
Yeon-woo only licked his lips.
As the progress of Flame Heart and Frost Crest increased, the feeling of mana flowing inside his body was becoming more clear.
Yeon-woo realized that mana was also involved in the changes of his body, so he tried finding clues from it.
However, as usual, mana only gave him a little taste and disappeared as if it was toying with him.
‘There’s nothing I can do.'
But that didn't mean there was no payoff at all.
As Flame Heart and Frost Crest progressed, the amount of mana in his body was growing little by little, and he could sense mana more and more clearly.
Yeon-woo could only guess that he should be able to handle the mana when the progress reached 100%, so there was no need to be in a hurry.
‘What’s urgent is this right here’
From what was left of the bat’s carcass, Yeon-woo chose only hard parts such as the teeth, claws and bones.
Then he applied a mixture of White Moss and the Red O-Gong’s toxic blood on them.
Then the parts that were covered in the mixture began to melt while producing smoke.
Arthia was a clan that had once ranked sixth in The Tower.
If they were to determine who was the best player in their clan, his brother and also another player would come to mind.
No, even his brother had to admit that that person was a notch above himself when fighting against a large force.
Bayluk, the anti-venom.
Ignoring the fact that he was one of the enemies who deserved a slow, miserable death , Yeon-woo could still learn a thing or two from him.
"Bayluk used to be a scholar who originally studied alchemy in his world. Based on this, he made a great achievement by analyzing the toxins that were found in monsters’ blood.'
In view of this, his brother had picked up some of Bayluk’s studies behind his back, and that had all been passed down to Yeon-woo.
The concoction Yeon-woo had applied to the parts of the Sonic Bats was also one of Bayluk's products.
[Liquefying Acid Solution (溶酸溶液)]
A solution that weakens the structure of hard materials. If the solution is high in concentration, it will dissolve the material.
‘There’s no reason to be ashamed of stealing his research If it is stealable and can be used effectively.’
Even if he was an enemy, if Yeon-woo could borrow something from him, he should do his best.
No, he was almost too happy from stealing the information, since Bayluk was his enemy.
As the claws and teeth softened up, Yeon-woo began to crush them into fine dust using the pommel of his dagger. It didn’t require much effort since his Strength stat was already approaching 70.
Next, he gathered up the powder and wrapped it up inside the bat wings that he had cut into squares beforehand. Then he tied them together using the tendons.
They were now fist-sized pouches full of powder.
From the entrance of the dungeon up until now, he had collected large amounts of powder through this method. And this one was his fifteenth pouch.
On the surface, it could be seen as a meaningless task, however it was crucial in order to pass through the next point.
‘There it is, the ant tunnel. He said this is the most troublesome part.'
Yeon-woo looked at the cave beyond the passage, and frowned a little.
Monsters that appeared in Room of Frost and Flame varied depending on the area and environment. The same applied to this cave. There was only one kind of monster that dwelled in this place.
The cave in front of Yeon-woo was incomparably larger than the passage he had come through.
His eyes caught sight of a countless amount of white eggs laid along the walls and ceiling.
It was a colony of Blue Army Ants.
[Blue Army Ant]
The size of an ant ranges from 30 centimeters to 1 meter. Hundreds of ants form a society around the ant queen.
Due to the nature of ant societies, every ant, including worker ants, are willing to sacrifice their lives defending their habitat if it comes under attack.
Engaging in battle with all of them at once?
The reason why he had been able to hunt more than 100 monsters was because the monsters only appeared one or two at a time, five at most.
If he fought hundreds of them at the same time,
‘That’s just nuts.’
Before he could take any action, he would be torn into pieces and end up being fed to baby ants.
The problem was that Yeon-woo had to pass through this cave.
‘In the room beyond this cave, lays Bathory's Vampiric Sword.’
In The Tower, there are dozens of classes a player can choose from in order to ensure smooth growth. And those who show outstanding qualities are given the title of ‘Lord’.
Each and every one of them is a master in their domain as well as an absolute being with hundreds and thousands of followers.
The Lord of Vampires was one of the Lords who perished a long time ago.
Legend has it, that she was a bringer of death and destruction. She could drain the vitality out of others to strengthen herself, and if allowed to continue, she could also rob them of their skills.
He had heard that there were still quite a few players and clans who would grind their teeth in frustration whenever they recalled the damage they had suffered from her.
Its artifact number was very low, as it was the legacy left by such a powerful being.
‘The smaller the number, the better. Artifacts with a three digit number, in the 300’s are among the best. What’s more, it’s a Unique Item. It’s one of a kind in the whole Tower and tutorial. I cannot miss this.'
But hundreds of Blue Army Ants were camping outside the entrance.
‘Even if the path looks like its blocked, there’s always a way around.’
Yeon-woo tied the tendons of the pouches into a single knot and slung them over his shoulder. The knot was made so that if he pulled the other side of the string, it would be undone right away.
Yeon-woo gently took a breath and,
He quickly ran towards the entrance of the ant tunnel.
One by one, the ants noticed his presence and turned their heads towards Yeon-woo.
The one guarding the entrance let out a horrible shriek, showing its big mandibles.
"I'm really sorry, but you need to get out of the way."
With an agile movement, Yeon-woo grabbed the pouches on his shoulder and threw them in between the guard ants and into the tunnel.
His throw was quite accurate since he had practiced his throwing skills whenever he was bored in Africa.
Then he tugged at the string. The pouches opened up one after another in midair.
the powder was scattered over the cave, covering it like a thick red fog.
The ants shrieked at his actions.
To finish it off, Yeon-woo lit up the zippo that he had originally crammed inside his backpack and threw it towards the powder mist. At the same time, he quickly crouched down against the wall against next to the entrance.
A destructive explosion swept through the whole cave.
A huge storm of flame tore off the walls.
The Blue Army Ants were set ablaze, and screamed out loud as they burst into bits.
The powder that caused the explosion wasn’t just a normal powder. It was a powder made of monsters with fire property. Moreover, It was scattered all over a closed space and was set on fire with a lighter.
The power of the explosion was incomparable to any dust explosion produced by a phenomenon.
The explosion nearly shook the cavity upside down.
[You have successfully blown up the ant tunnel. 217 of the Blue Army Ants were blasted, 89 of the Blue Army Ants were burned, and 92 of the Blue Army Ants were suffocated.]
[Additional Karma will be provided.]
[You have acquired 300 Karma.]