Chapter 27. Consume (2)
[The proficiency of Bathory's Vampiric Sword is too low. Adjusting the grade of obtained the skill.]
[The skill ‘Heat Wave' has been modified to ‘Flame Infusion']
Description: Downgraded form of Hargan’s (Lizardman King) innate skill, Heat Wave. Imbues the desired tool with fire. Fire of higher temperature can be created depending on the skill proficiency.
"Innate skill? And it’s a buff skill?"
Yeon-woo clenched his fists as he checked the skill description. He felt as if the after effects of combining skills was being washed away.
Even if it had been downgraded to a lower rating, it was still an innate skill from a boss monster.
It was similar to a Unique skill, but slightly different.
They were both exclusive to specific beings ‘only’. Normally, no one except for the original owner could acquire such skill. Not only were they powerful, but they were also rare.
However, unlike Unique skills which were limited to players, innate skills belonged to boss monsters. This meant that, even if the boss monster with an innate skill died, it would appear once again as the monster respawned in every round. This was also the reason for Hargan’s appearance in this tutorial round, even though he had already been slain by his brother long time ago.
So even though Heat Wave was Hargan’s innate skill, it was also possible for other players to obtain it. But this was only in theory.
Being present only in high-tier skills, the ability to extract skills wasn’t commonly found in The Tower, much less in the tutorial. In particular, Bathory’s Vampiric Sword was at the top of such skills, so it was safe to assume that Yeon-woo was the only one capable of stealing Hargan’s skill at this stage.
Because of the lack of skill proficiency, he didn’t obtain Heat Wave as it was, but this was still a great achievement. He got his hands on a buff skill that can even infuse a tool with the fire property.
‘An artifact’s power will increase when imbued with certain properties. That’s why artifacts with elemental buffs are usually traded at high prices.’
Now, Yeon-woo didn't need to find an artifact with elemental buffs. Furthermore, Flame Infusion could be used for various other purposes. Fire was a very offensively-oriented and versatile element.
‘I'll have to test it later.'
Yeon-woo slowly closed the skill window in a satisfied mood. While he was focused on his newly acquired skill, the after effects he was suffering from also ameliorated to a certain degree.
He rose slowly from his seated position while trying to maintain balance. Seeing this, Kahn and Doyle came to support him.
“Dude, your body..."
It wasn’t easy for Kahn to speak, as he was too worried about Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo had directly faced Hargan’s last Heat Wave. Several burn marks could be seen through his half burnt clothes. His white mask was also distorted from the intense heat.
"Don't worry, I’m all right. It's just hard to move, but it will get better over time."
If he hadn't been able to heal his injuries with the energy drained by Bathory’s Vampiric Sword, it would have been the end for him. But Yeon-woo waved his hand to express that he was fine.
"Let me check, man."
"Yeah Hyung. Sit down for a moment in case you’re hurt anywhere else."
However, Kahn and Doyle didn’t take their worried looks off of him. They couldn’t just leave him alone.
Yeon-woo thought for a moment of how to get them off of him, and as he realized that there were still people locked up in the cages, he pointed towards the lair with his chin.
"I'm okay, I really don’t need your help. But there are still people over there, is it okay to leave them like that? They might be in danger because of the fire.”
Only then did Doyle remember the people still trapped in the human farm. He took Kahn with him and hurried over to the cages.
Yeon-woo was finally able to rest with his back against a half-burnt tree stump. Then he closed his eyes and immersed himself into meditation in order to completely alleviate the aftereffects.
* * *
The slaves were successfully rescued.
Fortunately, Hargan's Heat Wave did not reach the human farm. Perhaps because it was a place assigned to preserve food for the hatchlings, it seemed they had designed this space to suffer less damage from outside impact.
"Thank you, thank you very much!"
People burst into tears as their shackles and chains were being unlocked.
And after recovering, some of them even started to brazenly kick Hargan's dead body over and over again. Other players even vented their anger on some of the remaining Lizardmen.
They had been brought back from the brink of death, but their teammates who they had been laughing and chatting with just a few days ago had been eaten alive by the Lizardmen hatchlings right in front of their eyes. It was natural for their blood to boil just from looking at the monsters.
Kahn and Doyle just stood there watching until they finally settled down.
After the people had somewhat alleviated their anger, a middle-aged man with bald head approached them to express his gratitude.
"I'd like to thank you one more time. Thanks to you, we've been able to avenge our teammates... With the monsters dead, they'll be able to rest peacefully."
Kahn and Doyle waved their hands.
"No need to thank us, we only did what we were supposed to do."
Kahn calmly shook his head. With his character, he would have answered proudly, but right now he contained himself because he had noticed the heavy atmosphere. Still, his eyes were filled with pride.
Then the middle-aged man asked him.
"Oh, by the way, may I ask you a question?"
"Yes. Say it."
"I was wondering if you’re Kahn, the Blood Sword. Are you him?”
"Oh, wow. I tried to keep it a secret. Haha!"
Kahn pretended to be embarrassed by scratching the back of his head, but he couldn't stop his lips from curling upward.
People's eyes grew wider.
"Is, is he really Kahn, the Blood Sword?"
"No wonder! I can’t think of anyone else capable of slaying the Lizardman King."
"I've only heard rumors about him, but he really is great. I can't hold a candle to him."
"Then, the person next to him... isn't he Foxy Tail?"
"Yeah, I think you're right."
The more the people praised him, the broader his grin became.
Doyle shook his head as he looked at Kahn. He wondered how could Kahn love being shone under the spotlight that much.
Even though Kahn was smirking, he did not forget to give his teammates due credit.
"Haha! Thank you all for your compliment. But I must say, I’m not the only one who participated in Hargan’s raid. In fact, I was only there helping our teammate. If we didn’t have our friend over there, hmm... I don’t even want to imagine what could have happened."
Kahn shook his head as he spoke in a humorous manner.
Thanks to his efforts in making a pleasant atmosphere, people were slowly making themselves at ease. However, as soon as they turned their heads towards the direction Kahn had pointed, their faces became stiff again.
Yeon-woo was sitting there.
Unlike Kahn and Doyle, he was sitting far away from the crowd, lost in meditation.
People immediately looked away from Yeon-woo. Some of them even frowned or spat on the floor as if they had seen something disgusting.
Kahn noticed the change in atmosphere, so he cautiously inquired the man.
"Is there something wrong?"
"That person over there, is he your teammate?"
"Yes, he is."
"Then I must warn you, please be careful going around with that man."
Kahn's face also darkened.
"I'd like to ask you for the reason."
"When Doyle first found us in the cages, it was him who told him to abandon us.”
The middle-aged man glared at Yeon-woo with an angry frown.
Other players also recalled the conflict between Yeon-woo and Doyle at the time. Eventually, Doyle had also turned his back towards them, but the only thing left in their heads was the callous look of Yeon-woo who had tried to ditch them first.
Kahn looked at Doyle with a gloomy expression asking for the truth.
Doyle wanted to explain why Yeon-woo had to say such a thing, but there were too many people watching them, so he couldn’t help but sigh and nod.
The middle-aged man took it as a ‘yes’, and went on talking with great excitement.
"I may be crossing the line by saying this, but he is simply not a human being..."
"Yes. You’ve just crossed the line."
At that moment, Kahn looked back at the middle-aged man as he stopped him in mid-sentence.
The middle-aged man was taken aback by the unexpected response.
"I said, you’re way out of the line."
Kahn approached the middle-aged man, pinching his lips.
The middle-aged man froze in perplexity of Kahn’s cold attitude. Even other players were nervous about this situation.
But without caring about their embarrassment, Kahn stood right in front on the middle-aged man with his sneer, and he poked the man in the chest with his finger.
"No matter what he said before, he is one of the people who just saved your asses. And if you haven’t noticed, he's also the teammate of me and Doyle and he's the one who got hurt the most in our raid."
Kahn no longer spoke in a polite tone.
Respect should only be paid to those who deserved it. But look at these ungrateful douchebags. They could get mad for all he cared.
"But what did you idiots do? One thing for sure is that you were stupid enough to get yourselves stuck in this lair. Now you made it out of the cages alive, and that’s all thanks to him. And what did you just say? Be careful around him? Well, why don’t you be careful with what you say?"
Humiliation hit the man hard. His face turned red and his clenched fists started to quiver.
However, Kahn laughed at his reaction.
"What’s wrong? You want to punch me in the face? Go ahead. Hit me. You were too scared to do anything in front of the Lizardman King, but now you’re suddenly so brave ‘cuz we’re players, right? Well, hurry up and punch me."
Kahn even stuck out his cheek outright.
The middle-aged man's eyelids trembled. Then, he turned around to look for someone to help him.
The people who had been trapped in the farm and had promised to die together were now looking away from him in fear of getting involved. No one tried to help the man.
The middle-aged man finally realized his situation.
"I, I'm sorry."
"What? I can't hear you."
Kahn creased his brows, putting his ears close to the middle-aged man's mouth.
The middle-aged man's voice was shaking.
Kahn then laughed a little and backed off.
"You need to apologize someone else too, don’t you think?"
It was obvious whom he was talking about.
The middle-aged man bit his lower lip and looked at Yeon-woo. He was still meditating in his seated position, without paying any attention to that side.
Kahn pointed at Yeon-woo and hurried the man.
The middle-aged man slowly approached Yeon-woo with trembling steps. He apologized with his back bent in 90 degrees.
"I'm sorry, sir. Please forgive me for my slip of tongue."
Yeon-woo didn’t respond for a long time. As such, the middle-aged man couldn't straighten his back.
Yeon-woo opened his eyes with irritation and gave him a little nod. Then he closed his eyes again. It was only then that the middle-aged man could raise his body.
The players watching the scene kept their mouth closed.
The strong and the weak. Such relationship was already showing here as well.
* * *
The middle-aged man, Brend, returned to the crowd with his mouth shut. People began to shuffle away, afraid that he would talk to them. Soon, there was no one left around him.
Brend bit his lips and searched for a place to sit down.
‘Dirty traitors.’ Brend gritted his teeth.
They used to cling to him when they were locked up by the Lizardmen. Whenever they needed anything, he would risk his life to get it from them. But now that he was in need, they all avoided him.
He was feeling dirty and miserable. He resented Kahn and Doyle for humiliating him simply because they had saved him. Also, he cursed the one who brought this problem onto him.
Just then, a skinny man approached Brend and carefully stood next to him. His name was Ethan. He had been following Brand the most since he had been trapped in the human farm.
When he had first met Ethan, he was one of those ordinary players who were brought to the farm with their teammates. One day, Brend found him on the verge of dying, so he stepped up and helped him. Since then Ethan had started to follow him around, saying he’d serve him as a ‘Hyung-nim’.
Brend also found him very smart and witty, so he decided to keep him company. But today, he was the first to avoid his gaze when he asked for help.
"What is it?"
Therefore, no good response came out of Brend’s mouth.
Noticing Brend’s cold attitude, Ethan carefully opened his mouth.
"I'm terribly sorry."
"That I wasn’t there to support you. I, I hope you understand. You know about us… About how we s, survived through here."
Brend glared at Ethan, but soon gave out a deep sigh.
Ethan and his teammates were just like mayflies. They had been surviving from section to section by following behind the back of other skilled players. So, even if he wanted to blame Ethan, it would just be waste of his breath. He couldn't believe how they had even reached Section E with their trifling skills. But he was too fed up with him, he didn’t want to talk to him anymore.
"I don't know what you're trying to pull off right now but, just leave me alone."
"Well, I don’t mean you any harm, so please hear me out."
Brend gave a fierce scowl at Ethan. He was already boiling with anger, and Ethan just had to come to get on his nerves. He felt an impulse to throw a rock at him, but Eden's sudden remark stopped Brend from taking action.
"Hyung-nim, don't you need Tokens or artifacts?"
"Why do you c…!"
"We’ve got a treasure trove over there, just waiting for us to crack it open. So, why don't we go and make a fortune?"
In the direction where Ethan was pointing at,
Brend saw Kahn and Doyle walking up to Yeon-woo.
 A more formal way of saying hyung. Something like "boss".