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Chapter 43 - Two Hearts (1)

Second Life Ranker
     Chapter 43. Two Hearts (1)

    Yeon-woo tried to get up from the bed to thank Galliard.

    "You need to rest a little longer. It'll take some time for your senses to settle down."

    ‘Senses?'

    Yeon-woo realized that Galliard was the reason his senses had become much stronger.

    "I've done something to your body if you haven’t noticed."

    Galliard spoke as he placed the basket on the table.

    Yeon-woo narrowed his brow slightly.

    "What do you mean?"

    "Let me guess. You did something to make your body stronger, right? And you needed me to protect you while you were out."

    "Yes, I did."

    Galliard snorted at his answer with his arms folded.

    "But you did it wrong."

    Yeon-woo's eyes glistened.

    "Can you explain in detail?"

    "I saw Akasha’s Snake grow abnormally big. You took the Neidan, right? And I bet you consumed something similar to the Neidan before that.”

    That was the Snow Ginseng.

    Yeon-woo nodded his head.

    "You didn’t even know if your body could handle one elixir. And you dared to take two at the same time?"

    Galliard continued speaking as he clicked his tongue.

    "I don't know if you thought you could handle it or you had something prepared, but the energy in your body was either going to explode or go out of control."

    Yeon-woo understood why Galliard said he had done something to his body. He must have thought Yeon-woo would end up dying if he hadn’t settled the energy in his body.

    Apparently, Galliard was a well-known hunter within the Dark Elves tribes. Yeon-woo thought it wasn’t strange at all for someone like him to have one or two secret skills.

    "For now, I’ve got you covered. By the way, it was only possible because you had little mana in you, otherwise you would have been in big trouble. So, if you get your hands on several elixirs like today, don't you ever chug them down like you did this time. You’re really gonna die unless you’re something like a dragon."

    I did make a contract with a dragon

    Yeon-woo almost said that out loud.

    ‘You really didn’t have to do that though.’

    Yeon-woo desperately fought the urge to laugh.

    His body was fundamentally different from an ordinary player’s. He not only had Reinforced Physique, but also had the succession process already underway. His body should have been enough to accommodate all the energies by itself.

    But Galliard couldn’t have the slightest idea of what kind of body Yeon-woo had. Moreover, he was indebted to Yeon-woo for finding his long lost pendant. He couldn’t stand there and watch him die.

    ‘Is that how this thing in the Mana Circuit was made?’

    Yeon-woo then asked Galliard.

    "So you modified my Mana Circuit to stop the mana from deviating, right?”

    Galliard grumbled as if something bothered him.

    "It’s the same way I use to make Undine’s Goblet. Besides, I had to use the one you had to calm the deviation. Do you have any idea how much work that is?"

    "I appreciate it."

    "Whoa, you’re not getting off that easy, are you?"

    "I'll pay you back later when I get the chance."

    "Like hell you will! But looking at you running your mouth off like that, I guess you’re okay now."

    Galliard left the cottage leaving Yeon-woo to rest in the room. And just before closing the door, Galliard said in a small voice.

    "Oh and, thank you."

    *    *    *

    Galliard called his secret skill ‘Undine’s Divine Water(神水)’.

    And he said he had applied the skill on his body, just like when making Undine’s Goblet.

    ‘The human body can be used like Undine’s Goblet? I didn't know he could do that.’

    But just as Undine’s Goblet was used to contain Akasha, he figured the human body, which was a vessel that could hold mana, could also be used that way. Still, it would take a lot more effort to make that work. Galliard said because there was too much mana deviating inside his body, he had to use the Undine's Goblet Yeon-woo had. As a result, not only did he absorb mana much more easily during his sleep, but his body and senses had also been upgraded by more than one level. It was a stroke of good fortune.

    As soon as Yeon-woo got somewhat attuned to his senses, he came out of the cottage and started to stretch his body.

    Galliard came beside him and grumbled with an annoyed look.

    "I told you, you’ll need to rest at least three more days to heal up completely...!”

    "...Unless you have a great healing factor."

    Galliard ended up mumbling his words as he watched Yeon-woo freely running over the rocky mountains.

    He stared at Yeon-woo in bewilderment.

    How was that the movement of someone who just left his bed from a serious injury? Moreover, he was using Shunpo so well now. It looked like it was his skill from the very beginning.

    It wasn't just Galliard who was in for a shock.

    "Is this what it feels like to conduct mana?"’

    Yeon-woo had never used mana properly until now. Even if he did, he used the least possible amount for casting his skills only.

    However, it was different now that he could handle his mana at will. All he did was to wrap mana around his legs, which made Shunpo incomparably better than before. With it, he could jump higher and run faster.

    Unlike the time when he had to climb up the mountain to get to Galliard's house, he now could get there with just a few jumps.

    His body was so light to the point that he almost felt weightless. However, it wasn’t because there was a big growth in proficiency, after all he had only increased it by one percent.

    ‘Maybe all the skills and movements I've known so far have been inefficient.'

    From what he heard, most of the players in the tutorial knew how to handle mana. They said it’s the minimum requirement for players to be able to achieve something in the tutorial. And the criterion for joining the ranks of the strong was also Magic Power.

    However, Yeon-woo hadn’t been able to handle mana up until now. He did not know neither the concept nor the theory behind it. All he could do was walk the bumpy road, constantly working to build up his stats. And still, only relying on what he had, he advanced through the tutorial all the way to section E, killed several boss monsters and became a match for other top rankers. All of that was done with a sheer physical strength.

    And now, he had mana. The fuel that he had been lacking until now.

    It was time for him to soar.

    Yeon-woo soon landed on the ground after doing some flips in the air. He didn’t have to gasp for air even after that intense workout, with only tiny drops of sweat appearing on his forehead. He actually felt refreshed as if he had just gotten up and stretched. All the fatigue from lying on the bed seemed to have melted away.

    "If there’s this much improvement at 92%, how will my body change after completing the remaining 8%?'

    Yeon-woo wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand as he examined his Mana Circuit again.

    A smile appeared on Yeon-woo’s face.

    *   *   *

    After he finished checking up his body, Yeon-woo opened the quest window to claim his reward. It was obvious that the more items he had, the better.

    ‘I completed two quests before fainting, right?’

    Resurrection Ceremony, the Hidden Quest, and Monster Outbreak, the Sudden Quest. The rewards for both quests had all been granted to him, as both had been cleared by Yeon-woo.

    Fortunately, nothing was lost because the rewards required the player to confirm the completion of the quest for them to materialize.

    ‘Let’s check the Hidden Quest first.'

    The reward was covered with question marks in the quest window, so he had no idea what it was. The moment he pressed the ‘Receive’ button, a black bracelet fell on Yeon-woo's palm.

    [You have obtained ‘???’s Black Bracelet’ as a reward.]

    ‘What is this? Why can’t I see its name?’

    A frown formed on Yeon-woo’s brows.

    The artifact given as the reward was an old, simple-looking bracelet. Compared to good artifacts that usually had classy looks, this one was almost too crude. Besides, the aura radiating from the bracelet was that of a common ordinary artifact. Still, it was a reward from defeating Akasha's Snake.

    Not losing hope, he tried identifying the item.

    [???'s Black Bracelet]

    Classification: Wrist Guard

    Rating: ??

    Description: A bracelet cherished by ???, the owner of Akasha’s Snake. Akasha’s Snake always misses its great master, so it keeps the master's belonging in its stomach in hopes of his return.

    * Soul Bind

    Fixed chance of reaping the soul of the killed target. The reaped souls lose their memory and become corrupted, left with only deep resentment.

    * Black Blade

    Consumes the reaped souls and converts them into dark property energy. If imbued to a weapon, it will inflict curses upon hit.

    * ???

    Ability locked. (Sealed)

    * ???

    Ability locked. (Sealed)

    * ???

    Ability locked. (Sealed)

    ** This is a ‘Unique' artifact. no same artifact exists in The Tower, and it will be bound to its owner. It cannot be transferred or traded between players.

    ** Some of the abilities are sealed. You must meet the qualifications or conditions in order to lift the seals.

    ** Some information cannot be accessed. You must meet the qualifications or conditions in order to view the information.

    ‘If it’s a Unique artifact, it must have great abilities. Only if I can unlock them.’

    The options embedded in Black Bracelet were quite peculiar even among Unique artifacts.

    Soul Bind and Black Blade.

    ‘So it reaps the soul of the killed target... Seems like someone had a bad taste.'

    Even in death, the souls weren’t allowed to rest in peace. Souls bound by this bracelet could only wait to be used as disposable tools. This kind of options were rarely seen in The Tower.

    ‘The original owner, was he a Demon?'

    He needed to find information about the previous owner in order to make proper use of this Unique artifact, But the information was completely blocked.

    For now, it seemed impossible to bring out the whole power the artifact could offer.

    However,

    ‘It doesn’t matter.’

    There was no need to be in a rush to know about the owner. The only thing that mattered was whether the artifact was useful or not. And he thought this artifact would come in handy.

    Of course, it was true that its abilities were quite disappointing for a Unique artifact, compared to Bathory’s Vampiric Sword that can extract the target’s stats and skills.

    Yeon-woo, however, took note of the three sealed options.

    ‘The real power of the Black Bracelet must lie in there. It could be the power of its original owner.’

    He thought the inability to identify the rating must mean that the artifact was not yet fully open to him. An artifact like this was never easy to come by.

    Yeon-woo opened the clasp of the bracelet and wore it on his right wrist. With a pleasant locking sound, Black Bracelet shrank down to just about the size of his wrist.

    And then,

    A pitch black aura rose from the bracelet and began to seep into his right arm.

    Yeon-woo was startled by the sudden effect, but soon realized it was the process of recognizing the wearer. If something were to happen, he was confident he could force it to stop with mana.

    He felt the black aura flowing through his veins, permeating into the Mana Circuit and spreading across his entire body. At the same time, a black substance slowly smeared the white of his eyes. Then suddenly, previously unseen things began to appear in his sight.

    [Under the influence of ‘???’s Black Bracelet’, you have gained an ability to observe the world of the dead.]

    [The ability has merged with your skill ‘Draconic Eyes’. ‘Draconic Eyes’ skill proficiency has increased. 13.5%]

    Yeon-woo saw hazy figures floating in the air. The appearance of a rag doll with three holes cut out in place of their eyes and mouth. There were thousands of such things swirling around Yeon-woo.

    Then suddenly, they stopped moving and turned their heads towards Yeon-woo. It seemed that they noticed that he was ‘seeing' them.

    They started to growl and glare at Yeon-woo. It was an obvious display of hostility.

    He felt their deep resentment lying beneath the belching aura, thought it didn’t pose much of a threat.

    Yeon-woo had a pretty good idea of who they were.

    ‘They're the monsters I killed or those who were eaten by Akasha’s Snake.’

    These monsters were all those who fell prey to Yeon-woo’s scheme. It wasn’t surprising at all that they would hold a grudge against him and followed him even after death.

    Still, he didn’t expect that so many ghosts were following him around.

    ‘Have they been wandering around me all this time? I was lucky I didn’t get cursed.’

    But that didn’t make Yeon-woo flinch even a bit. Rather, he thought of it as a good opportunity.

    He obtained a new piece of equipment, and conveniently enough there were targets everywhere to test out his newly acquired ability.

    Yeon-woo grabbed Carshina's Dagger backward and fiercely swung at one of the souls.

    Feeling some sort of danger, it tried to move away from the dagger's trajectory. But it wasn't fast enough to avoid Yeon-woo's slash, and ended up being cut down.

    The white soul soon scattered into a murky haze and got sucked into the Black Bracelet.

    [Number of bound souls: 1]

    Then a small message window popped up on one side of his retina.

    ‘Then.’

    Yeon-woo pumped mana into the Black Bracelet.

    And this time, he held Carshina’s Dagger pointing forward.

    It was to use Black Blade.

    [Number of the bound souls: 0]

    The count went back down.

    Dark energy rimmed along the blade.

    ‘Dark element mana.'

    Yeon-woo’s eyes gleamed at the sight.

    Along with the light element, the dark element was one of the rarest. Moreover, it was also a kind of buff that many players were looking for.

    Dark element could be used both as a buff to increase one’s attack power or as a debuff to curse one’s enemies. It was the element most specialized in offensive uses.

    To test its power, Yeon-woo poured a lot more mana into the dagger and made a full swing to his right.

    As soon as the dagger made a scratch on the rock,

    Not only did it split the rock in half, but the tree that was far behind the rock also blew up.

    ‘This is more than I imagined.’

    Yeon-woo felt delighted.

    It seemed that the dark energy was much stronger than he originally thought, as expected of an artifact used by Akasha’s Snake’s master.

    To top it off, the rock and the tree started to decay from where the blade cut through. That was the curse followed by the attack.

    While Yeon-woo caressed the black bracelet, his eyes sparkled with a sudden idea.

    What would happen if he mixed the dark energy with other skills?

    ‘Maybe.'

    To try out his idea, Yeon-woo captured five more souls, and this time, he drew the dark energy to his hand instead of his weapon.

    The black haze converged and formed an orb.

    Then, Yeon-woo added another skill to the collected energy.

    [Flame Infusion]

    The moment the dark energy was combined with Flame Infusion,

    A wild explosion occurred right in front of his eyes. An explosion that would easily blow up the head of an Orc or a Lizardman.

    Yeon-woo quickly cast Shunpo and retreated far from the blast range.

    When the explosion ended, a big scorch mark of 3 meters in radius was left on the ground, and a burnt smell tainted the air around it.

    The second Yeon-woo saw this, the corners of his mouth started to roll up.

    If only five souls could create an explosion this big,

    ‘What if I turn all the souls into dark energy at once?'

    Yeon-woo took a gulp while watching the thousands of souls surrounding him.