Chapter 35. Akasha’s Snake (3)
He was seriously the worst player I’ve ever seen.
* * *
AllForOne was the the unchallenged first place in the rankings both as a player and as a clan, but little was known about his identity. For decades, hundreds or maybe even thousands of years, he no longer climbed up The Tower, only staying on the 77th floor.
Since he was rarely seen outside, it was hard to even find a player who had met him in person. Only the nine top rankers, the ‘Nine Kings’ had ever seen him from afar. That's how much AllForOne disliked the company of others.
He thought by himself, judged by himself, and he moved by himself. But every time he made a move... it always brought about tectonic changes within The Tower.
In spite of being alone, the power he wielded was more than enough to overwhelm the other giant clans. So players started to call him with several titles.
‘The Strongest’, ‘The Highest’,
Or ‘The Ultimate’.
No matter who entered or left The Tower, he would still be the first ranker. Many players had challenged him for his position. But none of them was ever successful.
However, the challengers’ effort did not end in vain. They studied AllForOne and accumulated information about him. In the end, they were able to analyze some of his skills.
And one of them was.
Yeon-woo’s two eyes sank deeply.
"No matter how far the distance, AllForOne could traverse it with one leap. He didn’t even need tickets to move from floor to floor.'
At first, other players had speculated that AllForOne might have a magical skill like Teleport or Blink. However, those space transfer magics required a considerable amount mana and a long casting time.
But AllForOne seemed to be free from those constraints neither requiring a casting time nor circulation of mana, by just taking one step he could go wherever he wanted to go.
Therefore, many rankers and clans had exerted tremendous effort to block him from using this skill. But no matter how strong the barrier they used was, AllForOne could go in and out too easily.
If he wanted to, he could easily assassinate someone without anyone noticing.
Later on players figured out the skill he used was called Shukuchi. However, at that point, people met yet another obstacle. Even if they wanted to analyze the skill, they had no idea how to get it.
Players ended up guessing that it was a Unique skill that only AllForOne had.
The moment I saw AllForOne in the distance, my instincts told me something. What he had wasn't a Unique skill. Rather, it was something achieved by steadily honing his skills to the limit until he reached the peak.
And I found out one more thing.
I don't know how he did it but,
The Shunpo that Galliard had showed during the tutorial, the same skill that Isaac had begged him to bestow, was actually the key to getting Shukuchi.
But I bet Isaac won't know this until the end.
When his brother found that out, he did not share this information with his teammates.
At that time, the rift within Arthia had already deepened. He didn’t know who he could trust.
Instead, his brother concentrated on studying Galliard and his Shunpo, and he recorded the results in his diary.
Yeon-woo, therefore, had to acquire Shunpo no matter the cost. Then, and only then, he could finish his brother's study. And also, he would be able to unlock Shukuchi.
* * *
“The rules are very simple. I’ll be hiding around here and all you have to do is to tag me. I’ll give you 15 minutes for each round.”
Galliard came out of the cottage and explained the rules of the test.
“I know that there’s a big gap between you and me, so I’ll place a handicap on myself. I won't use my hands, and I won't use skills other than movement related ones."
Galliard raised his hands high and folded them behind his back.
Yeon-woo nodded his head in silence. After all, Galliard's main skills were focused around his footwork and body techniques, not his fighting techniques.
‘But he can't attack or defend, that’ll be a great advantage.’
Instead of Carshina’s Dagger, Yeon-woo drew out his old daggers and held them in reverse grip. Then he lowered his upper body slightly. He was ready to dash out at any time.
Galliard accepted it as his consent and nodded his head.
"Then let's get started."
Galliard suddenly vanished into a thin air. His movements were indeed like the wind. He couldn't be caught with the naked eye.
‘I should be able to find him.'
Yeon-woo activated both Sense Strengthening and Draconic Eyes at the same time.
Clearly, Galliard had left almost no trace behind. But there was a strand of flaw flowing along the wind. Yeon-woo concentrated all his senses on that flaw and tried to chase after the source.
There was one thing I realized while studying the skill Shunpo.
Shunpo had a very critical weakness.
Yeon-woo turned his body to the right and quickly threw a dagger towards a gap between some rocks.
At that moment, Galliard jumped out from that direction with a stiff look on his face.
Shunpo is a skill specialized in stealth and speed. However, because it is too focused on its function, it does not erase the ‘trace’ left behind.
Yeon-woo quickly dashed towards Galliard.
‘The biggest characteristic of Shunpo is that it maximizes efficiency. It reduces useless movements and sticks to that purpose only.'
Shortly before being caught by Yeon-woo, Galliard twisted his body in midair and managed to land on the ground.
But Yeon-woo wasn't worried about finding him.
‘And that means only one thing.'
This time it was to his west, on a dry tree.
‘He is stepping on the flaws to move around.'
When Galliard was found for the second time, he had a surprised look on his face.
Yeon-woo stretched out his hand but Galliard turned his body.
‘I’m not sure if the creator of Shunpo knew about the flaws. Maybe he did it instinctively. But one thing is for sure, as long as Shunpo uses the flaws...'
Again, Galliard avoided Yeon-woo’s hand by an inch. But by now, Yeon-woo was starting to read into Galliard’s pattern.
‘You will never escape my sight.'
Yeon-woo noticed the path of flaws Galliard was stepping on, so he threw his dagger to cut off the path.
Galliard was so startled he had to deviate from the path. But when he jumped away, Yeon-woo was already in that place.
"First try. Success."
Yeon-woo had already grabbed onto Galliard's sleeve.
Galliard's face crumpled in disbelief. As long as he wasn’t an idiot, he should have figured out that his weakness had been exposed.
It was only after seeing Yeon-woo's eyes drawing a slight arc beneath his white mask that he realized Yeon-woo had gotten him. But it was Galliard himself who restricted him from using hands and other skills.
He couldn't help but laugh at himself.
No matter how hard he tried to run away, with those restraints, there was nothing he could do when Yeon-woo blocked his path in advance.
In the end, Yeon-woo succeeded in tagging Galliard several times.
[You have managed to tag Galliard seven times. The maximum requirements for your quest have been fulfilled.]
[You have made an achievement that is not easily accomplished. Additional Karma will be provided.]
[You have acquired 2,000 Karma.]
[You have acquired 1,000 additional Karma.]
[You are now qualified to obtain Undine's Goblet as your reward. You can claim an additional reward. Find the Dark Elf, Galliard, for your reward.]
"My goodness, I can't believe you got me so easily!"
Galliard laughed in dejection as he watched Yeon-woo put his hand on the right side of his chest."
He was confident that he wouldn’t lose even to the rankers in The Tower. But he never expected his weakness to be discovered this fast.
"So, how on earth did you figure it out? This isn’t something that can be broken so easily."
"It's my secret weapon."
Yeon-woo’s response was simple.
Galliard had his eyes fixed on Yeon-woo, but soon shook his head.
A promise was a promise. Dark Elves must not make false promises.
And on a second thought, maybe this mysterious young man could be the person he had been waiting for all this time.
"Okay then. Follow me."
Galliard went back into his cottage and Yeon-woo followed right behind.
* * *
"Take it. This is it."
As soon as Galliard entered his house, he brought out a bag from the corner of the room and held it out to Yeon-woo.
Yeon-woo couldn’t understand how could he store something so valuable without any locks or protection.
‘What’s he gonna do if someone comes to steal it?’
Yeon-woo was a bit appalled, but he opened the bag thinking all was good as long as he got it.
Inside the bag, there was a round crystal orb shining like a sapphire. Blue water was swaying from side to side inside the orb.
‘So this is the Undine’s Goblet.'
Description: Spiritual substance, a crystal orb filled with a dense concentration of Akasha. It is a priceless treasure for those who can handle Akasha, but a disaster for those who cannot.
* Undine’s Bless
The orb contains the source of Spirit of Water, Undine.
"You'll have to be careful when handling it. If the liquid leaks out, it'll cause a disaster."
Yeon-woo nodded as he closed the bag.
Akasha was a substance that could not be produced in the material world. The leak of such a material would result in a major explosion. It could easily blow up Yeon-woo to smithereens. But as long as he kept it in its bag, there shouldn’t be any problem, because the bag itself was a specially designed artifact.
"And this too."
Galliard offered an additional reward to Yeon-woo. A book covered in blue leather.
The title was written in mysterious letters, but thanks to The Tower’s system, he didn’t have any difficulty in deciphering the letters.
It was a skill book.
A skill that used to be acquired only by select soldiers within the Dark Elves. Allows users employ light movements and quicker attacks. The speed increases in proportion to its proficiency.
* Nimble Movement
Attack speed is temporarily increased during activation. Attack speed is doubled for five seconds after killing an enemy, and the chance to inflict critical damage increases by 7%.
Yeon-woo wanted to shout out with joy at the thought of having finally acquired what he wanted.
Then he quickly put his hand on the surface of the book.
It was very easy to learn a skill through skill books. Because of this fact, skill books were very expensive, and that made them hard for common players obtain.
With that command, the skill book scattered with a blue aura and was absorbed into his hand.
[The skill ‘Shunpo' has been created.]
[You will now be able to move swiftly. Your senses will also be improved, enhancing your physical abilities.]
Yeon-woo felt that something was coming out of his body.
‘It feels like my body is much lighter.'
So far, Yeon-woo had been working hard to perfect his body. He had made his senses keener, and his body stronger. But with the addition of Shunpo, he had now laid a foundation that could handle the agility of his enhanced body.
His physical abilities must have grown considerably compared to before visiting Galliard.
Of course, he had to train his usage of Shunpo to be fully proficient.
‘I'm almost done with the vessel, so it's time to fill in the content.'
The content of the vessel was simple. His most scarce stat, Magic Power.
‘That can only be filled by killing Akasha's Snake.'
Its essence was beyond one’s imagination.
The energy that had been accumulated from the absorption of Akasha over a long period of time was immense enough to make it impossible to find similar items within The Tower. It was one of the greatest treasures one could find in the tutorial.
That was the reason why Yeon-woo had come straight to kill Akasha's Snake.
‘With Reinforced Physique, my body should be able to embrace the essence of Akasha’s Snake. And then... that's when the succession process will be over.’
And now he could finally go and face Akasha's Snake.
Yeon-woo licked his lips in anticipation. His heart had already started pounding.
Meanwhile, Galliard was looking at Yeon-woo as he leaned himself against a chair. There was a hollow smile on his lips.
"By the way, you got me thinking, the rookies in this round are quite amazing. I’d never seen so many players in a single round who can read my movements, but including you…. Ha! Or am I just too old now?"
At the moment, Yeon-woo's eyes grew a little bigger.
"Were there people here ahead of me?”
"There were. Two players, they said they were siblings. And they both took Undine's Goblet and Shunpo, just like you did."
Yeon-woo could vaguely grasp who the two players were.
The first and second places of the tutorial ranking.
‘Was it Edora and Phante? Well, judging by the Karma they have, it’s obvious they’d been here.’
Galliard and Undine’s Goblet wasn't necessarily a big secret. It wasn't particularly famous, but it had been around for a long time.
Yeon-woo got up from his seat and picked up the bag containing Undine’s Goblet.
"Well, I should get going now."
"Oh, by the way, what are you planning to do with that? You don’t seem like an alchemist or a spiritualist. I can’t tell why you would need Undine's Goblet.”
Yeon-woo wondered if he needed to tell his destination. However, considering his relationship with his brother, he decided to keep courtesy for their last meeting.
‘It’s not like he’ll stop me.’
Galliard had only been chasing down Akasha's Snake, and never killed it himself. But of course, no one knew why.
"I'm thinking of going after Akasha's Snake."
So he said blandly.
But at that moment, Galliard's face stiffened.
"You're going after Akasha's Snake?"
All of a sudden, Yeon-woo got an ominous hunch.
"Is there something wrong?"
Galliard uttered a short groan and said with a pitying look.
"I'm sorry to say this, but Akasha's Snake has already been killed. By the siblings I just told you about."