Chapter 32. Consume (7)
The numbers in their names represented their rank within the organization. The fact that the second strongest Zwei had been killed like this...!
"Neun! What the hell happened..."
"Stay away, idiots! You’re gonna get yourselves ki..."
Some of the scavengers were deeply shocked by the sight of their teammate’s decapitated heads. Eins tried to warn the other scavengers, but it was already too late.
A blade suddenly dropped down from the sky next to Eins. And there, he found Zehn with his hands grabbing tightly onto his throat.
But soon, he collapsed on the floor frothing at his mouth. And on that spot where Zehn had been standing, now stood Yeon-woo with a cold smile underneath his white mask.
Yeon-woo then swung his arm and scattered several daggers in a fan shape towards the other scavengers.
The daggers plucked into the scavengers necks. They firmly clutched their wounds in an effort to stop the bleeding, but soon they ended up collapsing as their blood sprayed all over the floor. The remaining scavengers finally came to their senses and stepped forward to kill Yeon-woo.
Kahn and Doyle, who had been looking for an opportunity, sprang forward.
In a situation where their formation had been broken, and with the two people’s offensive being added into the mix, the scavengers were literally being swept away.
"Stop those three! Do whatever you can to stop them!"
In his fright, Eins yelled at the top of his lungs. But from the moment their siege had turned into a melee, they had little chances of winning the battle. Yeon-woo was dashing from scavenger to scavenger just like a wolf killing a flock of sheep. Swords were swung from every direction, but none of them could deceive Yeon-woo’s senses.
Yeon-woo skillfully dodged the attacks as if he had eyes everywhere, he held his dagger backward while stabbing at his opponents’ muscles and arteries, and threw several daggers that penetrated their necks.
Kahn and Doyle were just as fierce as Yeon-woo. Doyle quickly slid to a side as he summoned a series of flamebugs. Then, he made them explode in the middle of a group of scavengers, wreaking chaos in the battlefield. Kahn, on the other hand, was fighting amid the enemy lines. Streams of blood splashed up whenever he wielded his sword, as if to show why he was called Blood Sword.
The scene they created felt like a city being engulfed by a tidal wave. Now, the scavengers position was reversed. From the predators, into the preys
"You sons of bitches…!"
Eins struggled as hard as he could in order to turn the situation around. But before he knew it, Kahn was already right in front of his face. He hurriedly swung his sword from the shock.
Without missing the chance, Kahn wielded his sword aiming for Eins’ neck
And his head fell on the floor.
* * *
The scavengers collapsed as quickly as the initial shock they had created with their appearance. Their awaited backup showed up dead, and their leader, Eins, also died a sudden death. Their morale hit rock bottom.
Eventually, the scavengers abandoned their weapons one by one and began to surrender, knowing that they had no chance of winning.
"I, I surrender! Please, d, don’t kill me!"
"We were just forced to do what Eins told us to do. Believe me!"
"Y, yeah he's right! We had no choice but to take part in order to survive! B, but I've never killed any player, so please, spare me...!"
They wanted to bet on Kahn’s and Doyle’s compassion. They had seen, how Kahn and Doyle had tried to take responsibility for the slaves even though they weren’t acquainted with them. Based on this, they thought that Kahn and Doyle might spare their lives if they put down their weapon and surrendered.
"What's the difference between you and Hargan?"
Kahn looked at the kneeling players and inquired coldly.
"I’m asking what makes you different from Hargan who consumed his own kind, shitheads!"
Kahn relentlessly stuck his sword into their throats.
The scavengers then realized who they had messed with. They had thought he was still green, but the player they were dealing with was the Blood Sword. A swordsman who was born as the son of a ranker in The Tower but had made his own name without riding on his father's coattail.
They should have known that such a person would not be swayed by mere compassion.
"Hargan at least cried when he saw his wife and his babies dead. But what about you? You must have been laughing all the while you sold other players to the monsters! And you even murdered the rest of the trapped players!"
In the end, seeing that it was dangerous to stay any longer, the scavengers began to run away one by one. There was a great risk of falling prey to the Lizardmen by escaping unarmed into the swamp area. But they couldn’t afford to think that far ahead.
However, escaping wasn’t going to be so easy.
Just like when Yeon-woo eliminated their reinforcement, he was now hunting them from the shadows. Eventually and for a long time, horrible screams echoed around the forest. By the time the heavy smell of blood drifted with the wind, all the scavengers had already disappeared.
Yeon-woo returned after getting rid of the last remaining scavenger, and there, he saw Kahn and Doyle sitting down deep in sorrow.
They had thought they had rescued the people who had been trapped by the Lizardman King. But the slaves were, in fact, all dead, and the only ones left were the scavengers trying to kill them. It must have been a tremendous shock.
Yeon-woo didn't say a word. Unlike himself, who had experienced this kind of things many times in Africa, this must have been the first time for them.
There will be apprehension towards humans, and there will be anger towards those who did this. In times like this, with all these kinds of emotions stirring their minds, no consolation would help them. The only thing he could do was to wait for them to organize their thoughts and stand on their own two feet.
‘After that, people usually fall into one of two cases. Either they go crazy or they let it go.'
In the meantime, Yeon-woo wiped the blood off of Carshina’s Dagger with a cloth and stuck it next to his waist.
Kahn then looked at Yeon-woo with an indifferent stare.
"How come you’re so calm after this?"
"I got used to it."
"I have no idea… what kind of life you might have lived. What about other people in your world, are they just like you?"
Yeon-woo shrugged his shoulders.
"If they were, the whole world would have gone mad."
Kahn, as if he was exhausted, lightly rubbed his eyes with his index finger and thumb. Then, he swept his face with his hands and looked at Yeon-woo with a serious look.
"Can I be honest?"
Yeon-woo nodded calmly. He had a rough idea about what he was going to say.
"These crazy bastards who had been pretending to be victims got us shocked but... Truth be told, both of us are a little scared of you too."
"I don’t understand how you can remain cool in a situation like this. I can’t help but think that you were suspicious of them from the beginning.”
Kahn's expression was sunken.
"You’ve never trusted anyone from the start, have you?”
‘And that includes us too.’
Kahn only kept the latter words in his mind, but Yeon-woo knew where Kahn was going with his words.
‘I guess it’s time to leave.’
Yeon-woo thought now was the time to part with them.
Yeon-woo never trusted anyone from this world, Kahn and Doyle wanted to establish their team's relationship based on trust. Their relationship was bound to break apart. Especially Kahn and Doyle, who wanted to open up their minds to Yeon-woo, would be hurt to find out that Yeon-woo only considered them as mere business partners.
Yeon-woo felt a little bitter aftertaste. Even being how he is, he didn’t consider them as complete strangers.
The cheerful Kahn and the warm-hearted Doyle. They both had such a big charm to them. However, they had their own perspective, and Yeon-woo had his own. If things didn’t match, they had to break up.
"Then I'll be on my way."
And with a short farewell, Yeon-woo left on his own.
Doyle stepped forward as if he wanted to say something, but Kahn reached out and blocked him.
And just like that, they parted ways.
* * *
“Hyung! What have you done!”
With a sad look, Doyle watched as Yeon-woo disappeared, then looked back at Kahn and shouted.
Doyle usually didn't show much emotion, but right now, he was showing genuine anger. Behind Yeon-woo’s back, Doyle had seen ‘something’ indescribable.
"Tell me! Why did you do that? Even if we had to part, you know how much Cain..."
"I told you, sit down."
Kahn said in a low, serious voice.
Doyle then came to his senses. He noticed something strange about Kahn's voice. His deep set eyes were looking serious.
"It’s for the best."
"Did you not see this?"
Kahn pointed to one of the swords dropped by a dead scavenger. It was just a normal sword one could easily purchase from a mysterious merchant with two Strength points.
When Doyle was about to ask what was he talking about, he then found out a thread hanging from the tip of the sword. White and green threads were tied in a unique pattern.
Doyle's voice trembled slightly.
"Wait, is that...?"
"Yes, it's Arangdan’s mark."
Doyle's face was getting stiff.
"Actually, I thought it was a little strange. Why would Arangdan or Cheonghwado go out of their way and try to keep the tutorial in order? "
"They mades excuses saying it was to procure an influx of new players, but people like us know that’s a load of crap.”
The ones behind Arlandan's back, Cheonghwado, was one of the ten biggest clans within The Tower. Their clan valued chivalry and worshiped swordsmanship and gallantry. Naturally, they always had plenty of applicants without having to put any effort into attracting newbies, and they could admit whoever they needed.
When Cheonghwado had announced the establishment of Arangdan in order to watch over the tutorial, other clans and rankers had doubted their intentions. But without any solid proof, they could do nothing but let them be.
What if it was, in fact, a cover to secretly take over the scavengers?
"The tutorial runs via a series of complex systems that differ from those present in The Tower. I don't know exactly what they're after, but if they are trying to take advantage of the system....”
Kahn had to pause as he clenched his teeth. He was holding back the burning anger welling up inside him.
"Then, their story finally adds up. Right?"
Doyle nodded his head in silence.
"Come to think of it... The foundation of Arangdan came suddenly right after Arthia had wiped out all of the scavengers in the tutorial.”
"They probably needed a more solid management system."
Doyle gritted his teeth. He finally understood why Kahn had to send Yeon-woo away with a ridiculous excuse. He didn't want to drag Yeon-woo into the risk that was about to follow as he seemed to have important businesses to attend to. Kahn must not have wanted to disturb him.
"Hyung, then are you...."
Kahn nodded gravely.
"Yes. I’m gonna have to go see that idiot Bild before I can carry on. You should go ahead and head to where ‘Vigridr' is.”
It was the other hidden piece that required Kahn and Doyle to obtain Hargan’s Crown beforehand. It was the ultimate goal they hoped to achieve in the tutorial. It was also the only way Kahn and Doyle could catch up with the Edora and Phante siblings who had been stacking up Karma points with incredible speed.
"Don’t be silly, hyung."
Doyle had a big smile on his face.
"You’re not the only one who wants to see those bastards’ faces. I'm dying to know what he’s going to say about this."
He had also decided to abandon their chance.
Kahn shook his head as if knowing that would be his answer.
"You know, I think you’re the dumbest one there is. I mean, you pretend to be smart and all, but in the end, you end up making the dumbest decision."
“Look at who's talking.”
Just as always, Kahn and Doyle giggled as they joked with each other.
And now, they set their feet towards the opposite direction of Yeon-woo's. The direction that lead towards the western territory where Arangdan was known to be stationed.
* * *
Yeon-woo stopped for a moment and shifted his gaze towards the west.
Yeon-woo had a vague notion as to where the two were heading to. And their thoughts behind such a sudden farewell. But he had to go east. The was something he had to do. If it wasn't now, there would never be a second chance.
If they had asked him to come with them before he left, if they had asked him for help. Could he still have refused them?
Without having a proper answer, Yeon-woo continued to move eastward.
To the place where the hidden piece, Akasha's Snake, was.