Volume 2, Chapter 8)
Chapter 33. Akasha’s Snake (1)
Bild’s brows trembled.
"Team 2 was... annihilated?"
"I’m afraid so."
Team 2 was in charge of supporting Arangdan from ‘behind the scenes’ by supplying them with ‘materials’.
"It must be them again."
The subordinate lowered his head without replying, but that was enough for an answer.
Bild continued with a seemingly irritated voice.
"You said they were enough for this task so I gave you the chance, but you failed me. Ha! It’s as if we just let them take Hargan’s Crown for free."
The subordinate kept his head low while bowing. He knew that making excuses in this situation would just make his problems worse.
It was only two days ago when Bild had ordered Team 2, the scavenger troop, to get rid of Yeon-woo’s team.
Arangdan had brought a piece of information saying that the three of them had immediately headed towards Hargan's Lair as soon as they entered Section E. For that reason, he had set up a trap.
However, contrary to expectations, they managed to exterminate every last one of the scavengers that participated on the mission. Including both the baits and the backups.
Not only that, but they had also taken Hargan’s Crown, which Bild was saving for the end of the tutorial.It was quite gut-wrenching for Bild.
"You fools. Do I have to step up for a task like this?"
"I, I’m terribly sorry."
He had put a lot of work into preparing Team 2, but now his efforts had ended up being in vain. He couldn’t let them get away with this.
If he left this matter unsettled, it was clear that there would be a punishment coming from ‘the Isle’.
"Put Team 1 on standby."
"Y, you mean the ‘Team 1’?"
The subordinate opened his eyes in surprise.
Team 1. The players in this team were known as the elite players in Arangdan, and were being specially trained for Cheonghwado. Each one of them was among the top rankers in the tutorial.
But what surprised him the most was that this was the first time Bild had ordered to assemble the whole team. And all of that just to deal with three people? To him, it seemed like a waste.
"They're the ones who destroyed Team 2 with only three of them. Blood Sword, Foxy Tail, and the masked one. Their level is higher than I expected.”
Bild leaned back on the chair.
"It’s not that bad. This will serve as a good combat experience for them."
The subordinate bowed his head in agreement. Even from his point of view, the players in Team 1 were all full of conceit. Their belief in that they would be the next leading players of Cheonghwado was so strong that even Bild's words were often ignored.
Bild was planning to make use of this opportunity for both getting rid of the eyesores, and throwing a damper on their pride.
"And, I will be moving along with them."
The subordinate’s eyes widened, but he soon lowered his head again.
Prior to becoming an executive in Arangdan, he was also a player who had climbed some floors in The Tower.
No matter how good players were in the tutorial, there was a huge gap between them and players already in The Tower.
‘Those high rankers are dead now.’
He clicked his tongue in pity.
Players from The Tower would receive a severe penalty from the guardian if they intervened in the tutorial. But Bild decided to step up even at the risk of receiving such penalty. That's how much of an obstacle they posed to him.
"Or... are you considering the possibility of them having noticed the identity of Team 2?”
Bild slowly nodded his head.
"There’s no reason to leave a potential risk behind. Besides, we can't let them get away with what they have done to us, can we?"
Bild then gave him an order as he bent his brows.
"Immediately assemble all members of Team 1. And also, warn them that those who fail to comply will be cut off from the clan on the spot."
Bild clicked his tongue as he watched the subordinate leave.
"We were almost done collecting the sacrifices. I didn’t expect a setback in our plan."
When he had first heard of what happened to Kaen, Bild had thought he could easily run Yeon-woo off the road. But now, he couldn't just stand by after all the trouble Yeon-woo had caused.
‘Still, Blood Sword and Foxy Tail, their backgrounds are too big. There’s also the possibility of the masked guy being secretly raised by other clans. He must have someone’s backing.'
Bild had already excluded the possibility of Yeon-woo being alone. As far as he knew, no player with that level of ability could have been raised without any support.
Bild couldn’t look down on his ability to clear the ‘Inner Area’ as a solo player, even going as far as speedrunning it. So he had to get rid of them as secretly as possible, leaving no evidence behind.
Of course, it wasn't because he was afraid of their background. The power Cheonghwado had in The Tower was really unmatched. It was only because he didn't want to arouse any suspicion from other clans or rankers.
‘After the downfall of Arthia, the forced peace in The Tower is now gradually being chiseled away. Now, it’s just like a ticking time bomb. You never know when it’s going to explode. But at least before it explodes, we have to gather up as much strength as we can.’
Secretly, and without anyone noticing, Arangdan was in charge of supplying the necessary materials to gather up their strength.
On that account, Bild couldn’t forgive Yeon-woo’s party for destroying Team 2.
Bild thought for a moment about how to eliminate them.
However, his thoughts did not last long.
"We’re under attack!"
"Damn it! What the hell is going on!"
An explosion shook the whole command post violently.
The noise came from the entrance.
Then the subordinate, who had been ordered to gather up Team 1, rushed back into his room.
Bild asked with a frown on his face.
"What just happened outside?"
"Th, they're here!"
"Blood Sword and Foxy Tail...!"
Bild rose from his seat with an irritated look.
Before the subordinate could continue, Bild spoke with a curl on his lips
"They’ve saved me some trouble now that they came here on their own."
Suddenly, the wall to his left was blasted off and Kahn appeared along with Doyle. As if they had clove their way straight across, they were covered in dust and blood.
Kahn burst into a rage with a distorted expression while looking at the man who had turned the tutorial into hell,
Murderous aura raved through the room like a windstorm.
Some clan members had ran into the room chasing after the two players, but most of them were blown away by his aura, and those who weren’t still spilt blood and fainted.
The floor was quaking up and down, and the room was reeking of blood.
Kahn drenched in blood and with his blood-soaked Dragon Slayer gave the impression of a demon straight out of hell. This was the ‘true' form of Blood Sword that had drawn the attention from various clans and rankers in The Tower.
Bild slowly drew his sword, unveiling his murderous aura. He felt a tingling sensation all over his body. But even so, the sneer on Bild’s face grew bigger and bigger.
"I was getting bored stuck in the tutorial. Let's enjoy ourselves, son of the Iron Lion."
At the end of his words,
Bild and Kahn flung themselves at each other.
Once again, another explosion erupted inside the room.
* * *
While Bild and Kahn were fighting each other, Yeon-woo was reaching the eastern area of Section E.
The lush forest soon came to an end, and the black rocky mountains started to show their spiky heads.
A wide and barren desert. It was the Orcs’ territory.
Orcs are monsters that possess a solid physique and muscles with a grimly twisted pig face. They are two meters in size, which is bigger than a Lizardman. Orcs show aggressive behavior towards players, they will run to attack a player as soon as they spot one. This kind of behavior makes it harder for players to hunt them down.
But of course, that did not matter to Yeon-woo even a bit. As he ventured around the eastern desert, four Orcs suddenly jumped at him during their patrol.
But Yeon-woo easily sliced off the gullets of three of the Orcs, and severed the arm and leg muscles of the remaining one and laid him on the floor.
Then he climbed on his body and held a dagger against his neck.
"Chwik! H, human! Strong! S, spare me!"
Players and monsters were alike, they all begged for their lives when facing imminent death.
Yeon-woo asked the Orc with a cold smile on his face.
"I kept you alive because you seemed the smartest of all."
"R, right! Chwik! I, am the smartest, in the tribe! Chwik!"
Orc intensely nodded his head with a pale look.
But the truth was, Yeon-woo randomly picked one out of the four Orcs.
"Let me ask you a question. Have you seen any cottage nearby? It should be somewhere on the rocky mountain or on the branches of a tree.”
"W, what? Chwik."
"You better think hard. There are lots of other Orcs around that I can ask.”
The Orc then quickly put his brain to work. To survive, he had to remember things in great detail, like what he had eaten five days ago.
The cold blade of the dagger started to slice into the skin on his neck. Blood was dripping out of the wound, but the Orc was too terrified to feel the pain on his throat.
Soon enough, the Orc managed to conjure up a memory he had regarding a house.
"Th, there is one! Chwik! I have never seen it! But my friends were scouting, and they saw a strange house, hanging on the Baotri! But they said, it was too high, so they just came back!"
Beneath the mask, Yeon-woo's eyes shone brightly.
‘This must be it.'
It was the place where the helper who would lead him to the hidden piece, Akasha’s Snake, lived.
"And where is that?"
The Orc realized that the dagger had stopped digging into his throat, so he quickly answered.
"You have to walk, a little bit left to the sunrise, takes two meals of time."
‘Northeast, about half a day from here.’
The Orc then shouted urgently.
"L, let me g... Kuk!"
But he couldn't finish his words.
The dagger penetrated deeply into his neck and cut off his artery.
With his life fading away, the Orc spat out one last word with the intention to ask why had he killed him despite having answered his question.
"I was only asking you a question, and I didn't say I was going to let you live.”
Hearing Yeon-woo's cold reply, the Orc was left in shock as he wheezed out his last breath.
Yeon-woo immediately took out a dagger and began to cut the dead orcs' stomachs open. It was to take their ribs.
Orcs' bones were very high in density. They were perfect materials for crafting various artifacts.
As he dissected the carcasses, Yeon-woo meticulously mapped out his future plans.
‘Akasha's Snake is a tricky monster. It only shows up at certain times, under certain conditions and circumstances. Without his help, I’ll never be able to find it.’
His brother had left various records about Akasha's Snake in his diary. Not just because that was how shocked he had been when he had first faced Akasha's Snake, but also because it was the experience that had helped Arthia become who they were. Yeon-woo was thinking of killing such monster ‘on his own'.
The person who saved his brother and Arthia during their battle with the snake.
‘Snake hunter, Galliard."
Yeon-woo muttered the name of the person he should be meeting soon.
Galliard had a rather unique history.
He was a player.
However he had never stepped into The Tower. For decades, he had only stayed in the tutorial that resets every round.
But it wasn’t because he wasn’t weak. Later on, when his brother looked back after becoming the sixth top ranker in The Tower, Gilliard had never been weaker than the other rankers. He even presumed he could be among the top rankers. If he had left the tutorial and tried to climb the tower... Perhaps Galliard could have climbed higher than his brother.
His brother felt it was a waste to have a player with such great skill stuck in the tutorial.
Galliard just didn’t have any reputation in The Tower, but he knew what Galliard would be capable of. So he used pass tickets to try to convince him over and over again, but Galliar refused everytime. When his brother asked for the reason, he never gave him a proper answer. He could only guess that Galliard was trapped by a regretful memory that involved Akasha’s Snake, and that the memory was holding him from leaving the tutorial.
‘Jeong-woo was able to find Akasha's Snake with the help of his teammates. But I don't have the time to make such preparations, so I’ll have to meet up with Galliard and get his help.'
It may have been a precious bond for his brother, but Yeon-woo didn't pay much attention to the fact.
He was going to take whatever he could take from Gilliard.
‘Even his skills, if possible.'
The white mask turned to northeast.
‘If not, I’ll have to force him.'