Chapter 19. Black Route (8)
Not to mention their sudden appearance, they were now telling Yeon-woo to join their team.
Yeon-woo’s eyes scrutinized Kahn with an expression that asked what kind of man he was.
Doyle nudged Kahn in the ribs with his elbow.
"Stop doing that. Don’t you ever feel ashamed?"
Kahn had a puzzled look, not knowing what he had done.
As Doyle let out a deep sigh, Yeon-woo considered they were no longer worth talking to, so he just walked past Kahn and Doyle while fixing his backpack’s position.
"Hey, dude! Where are you going! We’re not done talking yet!"
Kahn held Yeon-woo in a hurry.
Yeon-woo stopped and looked back.
"What? Did you have anything left to say?"
"You haven't given an answer. I want you to join my team!"
Yeon-woo gave a little snort. He didn’t want to speak with this fool anymore, but he still replied indifferently.
"I have no idea what you guys are up to, and I don’t see any advantages in teaming up with you."
Kahn looked genuinely surprised.
"Wait, you don’t know me?"
He was talking as if it was something very obvious.
"But... How? You really don't know me? I mean, it’s me! How can you not recognize me? I’m, like, the biggest star in the tutorial!"
Kahn was making a fuss over Yeon-woo’s reaction as if he had gone through something incomprehensible.
By this time, Yeon-woo's indifferent expression was slowly being replaced with anger. Doyle watched Yeon-woo’s reaction and thought that, at this rate, they might actually end up with nothing.
So he decided to come forward and spoke to Yeon-woo in a polite tone.
"I apologize if we have offended you. My brother is very passionate about himself, so he tends to be self-absorbed and act a little foolish, and it sometimes becomes really exhausting to talk with him. But he’s not a bad person, so I hope you understand."
Kahn had a look on his face asking what he’d done wrong, but as Doyle glowered at him, he shut his mouth tight.
The younger one sounded much smarter than his brother.
Yeon-woo nodded as he looked at Doyle, thinking they could now carry on with the conversation.
"I’m listening, but make it short."
"We’ll introduce ourselves. I'm Doyle, and this foolish one over here is my brother, Kahn."
Their names were familiar to Yeon-woo.
"Tutorial ranking 11th and 3rd?"
Doyle smiled timidly.
"It’s a little embarrassing if you put it like that."
Under the mask, Yeon-woo looked a little surprised.
Kahn was in third place and Doyle was in eleventh place. They were among the top-ranked players.
But why were the rankers, who should be way ahead of him, in a place like this? For a minute, he thought about the possibility of them being frauds.
"Well, I understand your doubt upon our presence here. You may be thinking we should be around Section E or F...."
"No. I believe you're the Doyle and Kahn."
Yeon-woo nodded his head in silence. Going by his earlier thought, they didn’t have a reason to lie to him.
If anything, Yeon-woo had a way to tell that they weren't lying. It was his Draconic Eyes
He examined them through his skill.
It had recently come to his attention that when he examined living organisms with Draconic Eyes, those with negative or hostile thoughts seemed to have darker and more flaws compared to those with positive thoughts.
Based on this fact, Yeon-woo was able to make a rough guess in regards to people’s thoughts and emotions. It was also very helpful during monster hunts.
The flaws Kahn and Doyle had were relatively lighter in color. This meant they were telling the truth.
Yeon-woo asked with his arms crossed.
"So, why would players like you two, who should be busy clearing the tutorial and stacking up Karma, bother to return all the way back to this section and recruit a player like me?"
Doyle scratched his cheek with his finger.
He wanted to keep it secret, but after realizing that it would be hard to persuade Yeon-woo without sharing information, he decided to provide information to a certain extent.
He was prepared to subdue Yeon-woo if he were to pull any kind of nonsense.
"Before we get into this, I must ask you something."
"What is it?"
"Do you belong to any team or clan?"
Doyle's face lit up at Yeon-woo’s response. Kahn also let out an ‘Oh' in amazement.
"That's great. In fact, there's an artifact that we have to get from Section E, but we must have at least three or four members in our team."
"You could have recruited someone from Section E.”
"By the time players reach the latter sections, they are usually already part of other teams or clans.”
Yeon-woo was starting to get a rough idea of their story.
These were two of the top rankers in the tutorial. In order to prevent the information about the hidden piece from spreading, every move they made had to be done with caution.
But players with great skills usually belonged to other teams, so they couldn’t hire those players because they were afraid their plans might leak out. Therefore, they must have thought they would have a greater chance of finding solo players in Section B.
‘Did they use tickets to travel back to former sections?’
Yeon-woo presumed it wasn’t the reset ticket he had used before. It must have been some kind of pass ticket that allowed them to travel freely. Of course, they must have just bought a one-time use ticket since that was also costly.
‘It’s hard to check players’ skill in Section A. They must have found me during their search in Section B.'
Perhaps his performance of passing through Section A solo and smashing Kaen’s party must have caught their eyes. Yeon-woo didn’t know he would draw others attention in this way, so he chuckled a little bit.
"You’re saying, there is an artifact in Section E which is hard to acquire even for the 3rd and 11th rankers, and you need someone to help you with it. Is this correct?"
"Yes, I can't tell you the details, though.”
Yeon-woo nodded and thought to himself.
‘It looks like they need Hargan's Crown.’
There were also several hidden pieces in Section E. Fortunately, the one they wanted was different from what Yeon-woo was after.
It was a hidden piece his brother and his team Arthia had also stumbled upon.
His brother mentioned that as the chief of the Lizardman tribe that often appeared in Section E, Hargan was very difficult to deal with.
In particular, the huge amount of Lizardmen Warriors guarding their chief added to the difficulty.
Furthermore, compared to the efforts his team had poured into it, the rewards were too small. So his brother had been so angry at it that he made a comment in his diary.
Thus, Yeon-woo was thinking of avoiding Hargan's lair. He was very short on time. There was no need to waste his time on such a worthless area. He would rather spend his time on another hidden piece and gain more Karma and rewards.
But more importantly, the item Hargan dropped, ‘Hargan’s Crown’, was an artifact worth too little to Yeon-woo.
‘Hargan's Crown has an option that increases Dignity and Leadership. I don't really need those.'
Yeon-woo's style of combat was that of a ‘one man army’. No matter how many enemies he faced, he overwhelmed his enemies all by himself.
Conducting an army? Or having a lot of teammates? Although it seemed convenient, it didn't suit Yeon-woo's taste.
Even when running a mission, he only brought a few subordinates as his companions and had never directed large-scale operations.
What’s more, his younger brother had been betrayed by his trusted teammates.
The law of the jungle prevailed in The Tower. If one were to show their back to the enemy, they might get eaten alive. He could easily let his guard down and expose his weaknesses in such a fierce jungle if he had teammates.
Even if he had teammates, it would be only one or two. It was a number he thought that wouldn’t be much of a burden, also easy to dispose of.
So Yeon-woo had no interest in Hargan's Crown, which seemed to be helpful only for the commander types.
"You won’t be disappointed with the compensation. We can also adjust the conditions if you need anything else. How does this sound? I'm sure it's not a bad deal, even for you.”
Kahn and Doyle should be desperate to move on to section E as soon as possible, so they would try to help Yeon-woo by any means necessary. He could quickly raise his ranking and he could even find a hidden piece if he should team up with them.
Most importantly, he couldn’t ignore the advantage of being acquaintanced to these two who would become super-rookies once they finished the tutorial.
He could possibly join the team these two organized and form an influential clan inside The Tower.
‘Certainly, I would have liked the sound of that, only if I were one of those regular players.'
Yeon-woo didn’t really need the help from Kahn and Doyle and definitely didn’t need a team. Rather, they would get in his way.
He had to keep looking for the other hidden pieces in the future, and he couldn’t afford to have any distractions. So Yeon-woo was going to turn down their offer.
However, a sudden idea occurred to his mind.
‘It wouldn’t hurt to help them just for a little bit, would it?’
After all, he had planned to skip Section C and D straight away. He had his own business in Section E, but what if he could help these two before that?
Hunting Hargan wasn’t going to be easy, but if he could cooperate with rank number 3 and rank number 11, a quick raid didn’t sound impossible.
No matter how worthless it was, a hidden piece was still a hidden piece. He should be able to collect a large amount of Karma with this raid.
If he could gain all that just by exerting a bit of effort, it wouldn’t be a bad exchange.
"Okay. I’ll help you, but on one condition."
Doyle made a broad smile as if he was saying he made the right decision.
"What is it?"
"Apart from the artifact you need, I'd like to take all the other rewards."
It wasn’t an easy matter.
Of course, Hargan's Crown was the most important item for them, but he did not know what other rewards were awaiting at Hargan's Lair, so Doyle didn’t want to make any rash judgement. He looked back at Kahn.
Kahn gave a silent nod.
Whatever the conditions may be, what mattered to them was that it would be a quick raid. They didn’t need anything else other than the crown.
Eventually, Doyle gave him a knowing look and gave Yeon-woo a positive answer.
"Okay, it’s all yours. However, you must show us what you have."
“To be honest, I know you are going to recruit someone else or even abandon me if I’m below your standard."
Doyle let out an awkward laugh as if he had hit the bull’s eye.
"Hehe, we're not that cruel, you know."
Kahn suddenly came up front, as if he couldn’t wait any longer to talk with him. He then cracked a smile and held out his hand.
"Uhaha! Anyway, it’s so good to see you. So, tell me your name, bro."
Yeon-woo clearly saw what kind of personality Kahn had.
He was a typical snobby, talkative man who was just tiring to deal with. But for the time being, he was stuck with this guy, so he bit his lips and grabbed his hand.
And as he realized he hadn’t said his name, he was going to say his name but soon paused.
He reminded himself that this was another battlefield.
He didn’t have to reveal his real name. Instead, he gave them his code name, his second identity for when he was on the battlefield.
Yeon-woo’s eyes were looking resolute.