Chapter 47. Two Hearts (5)
The sound of an emergency alarm echoed through Arangdan's base because of a single intruder that had dropped from the skies.
Waves of mana swept through the surface, leaving only destruction behind. A series of piercing winds created by the explosions tossed the players hither and thither. A fire of unknown origin spread across the whole base and grew into a fiery inferno. Black ashes and white smoke surged every time the flaming tongues flicked. In an instant, Arangdan’s base had turned into a madhouse.
"S, stop him!"
"Damn it! Where the hell did he come from?"
The players of Arandan struggled very hard to stop the intruder. They stood in formation, enhanced themselves with numerous buffs, and surrounded the intruder in an effort to subdue him.
But the intruder was too strong. With every swing of his dagger, he produced a burst of mana, and with every stamp of his foot, the ground blew up and the explosions shattered their formations.
He was a wolf, or more precisely, a lion slaughtering a flock of sheep.
A sword was approaching his neck.
‘Feet of Goblin.’
With the intruder’s, or Yeon-woo’s command, The Monsters’ Five Colored Jewel glowed red. At the same time, Yeon-woo's legs emitted a red glimmer and his feet grew lighter.
He lightly lifted his body and skillfully avoided the attack. Yeon-woo then grabbed his foe’s forearm and spun inwards, narrowing the gap.
‘Hands of Orc.’
This time, the jewel and his arms shone with a blue glimmer. His whole body was brimming with power.
The opponent’s arm snapped in an abnormal angle.
Then he drew Carshina's Dagger and stabbed his head, heart, and stomach in that order.
A mixture of froth and blood came out from his mouth as he fell onto the ground.
Yeon-woo found it a little bothersome to have to change the Monster’s Five Colored Jewel’s function manually whenever he wanted to enhance different parts of his body during combat.
Focusing one’s attention onto such little things in the middle of brawl where everything happens so fast and nobody knows what kind of unexpected variable will appear? For others, it would be just throwing their lives away. But Yeon-woo had a special skill called Combat Will.
With his accelerated thought process, he could quickly make the right decision in regard to the function needed for each circumstance he was in. And once he was well versed in this cumbersome task, his combat style became something completely different.
He activated Hands of Orc right when he struck an enemy, and quickly shifted back to Feet of Goblin to dodge the enemy’s counterattack. Not just that, but he also mixed Ears of Kobold, Nose of Gnoll, and Eyes of Lizardman into his combat. And thanks to that, his attacks were more skillful and diverse.
Among the several artifacts he had, nothing was as convenient as this jewel for combat situations like this brawl.
However, the benefits of his artifacts did not just end there.
[Goblin King's Eyes has detected danger around you.]
Hanging from a chain on his neck, Kranum’s eye suddenly rolled around and spotted three presences approaching from his blind spot.
As soon as he checked the message, Yeon-woo quickly cast Feet of Goblin and jumped away from the spot.
Right in the place where he stood, three swords pierced the now empty space.
Thinking it would be the end of the intruder, the three players were seized with bewilderment.
At that moment, Yeon-woo once again activated Hands of Orc and swung Carshina’s Dagger.
[Number of bound souls: 115]
At the same time, the number of souls bound in the Black Bracelet decreased.
Black Blade infused into Carshina’s Dagger released its energy with a burst upon contact.
Two had their heads flying off in the air, and one rolled on the floor clutching tightly onto his neck.
The skill Black Blade had a sharpness that could easily cut through most armor. And those who were wounded by this attack were inflicted with curses that ate away at their bodies.
The player who had collapsed while holding onto his neck tried to cure his wound with various skills, but he was unable to stop the bleeding. Soon, he dropped dead.
All of this happened in the blink of an eye.
The players standing at the back started to back away with their faces pale. But Yeon-woo didn’t pay any attention to their actions. Rather, his attention was solely focused on the souls floating over the dead bodies.
When he reached for the souls, they scattered like a drop of paint dissolving into water and soon seeped into the Black Bracelet.
[Number of bound souls: 118]
He made sure to replenish the souls that were consumed with the use of Black Blade. It was a decision made to prevent the depletion of the souls bound in the bracelet.
Of course, the replenishment speed wasn’t as fast as the consumption speed. Still, it was enough for him to keep Black Blade going, and thanks to that, the enemies were so horrified by the effect that they would think twice before jumping in.
They saw their friends being beheaded by some kind of black sword right in front of them. Nobody wanted to die like them.
"He, he’s not human!"
Yeon-woo lightly flicked his finger towards the players running away from him.
Then an explosion occurred right next to their temples, blowing their heads off.
It was a combination of skills he had tried when he first got the Black Bracelet. Black Blade and Flame Infusion.
The soul count went down by two, but he had killed five players with that attack. It was quite a profitable exchange.
The players of Arangdan felt like they were ants caught in the death trap of an antlion. They could do nothing but to shudder in fear.
Yeon-woo, on the other hand, was on a rampage. Each time he swung his dagger, several players fell down one after another.
There were some who rushed towards him with faces full of tears, and some who grouped up with others to outnumber him. In spite of their efforts, they were all killed by Yeon-woo
"I’m not leaving anyone alive.’
It was something he had resolved himself to do when he decided to fight Arangdan. Not simply because he wanted to erase all traces of him that could be used to link him to this case, but also because they were players who belonged to a clan that had a close relation to his brother’s death.
So wherever they ran off to, Yeon-woo quickly caught up to them. Relying on his instincts, he dashed to the places where he felt their presences and wielded his dagger.
From the outer part to the central part, Yeon-woo was able to penetrate without any hindrance. Wherever he passed through, only rubble of collapsed buildings, burning infernos, and corpses of players drenched in blood were left.
The players could only retreat as they couldn’t stop Yeon-woo.
"Th, that’s a monster…!”
"Why hasn’t anybody come here? At this rate, we’re all gonna die!"
Standing amid their destroyed base, Arangdan’s players froze in fear. The ones who ran away ended up dying first.
Looking at those players, Yeon-woo laughed indifferently.
‘I’m full of energy.'
Far from being tired, Yeon-woo felt his body gradually growing more powerful. A big smile spread across his face. He thought he had been imagining it, but it was true. The more he fought, the more energetic he became.
His body, enhanced by Diamond Physique, felt no thing such as fatigue. On the contrary, as if it was telling him that there were many things he hadn't experienced yet, his body was constantly showing off its new abilities.
The same was true for Mana Circuit. The constant supply of mana was converted into the energy driving his body along with Diamond Physique. And when necessary, he could both amplify and reduce the mana input at will. With such, he didn’t have to worry about an overload or a breakdown. Yeon-woo felt like he could do this all day long without a break.
And the artifacts such as Black Bracelet, Monsters’ Five Colored Jewel, and Goblin King's Eye did their job as auxiliary equipment.
The wind blew around Yeon-woo. The air waved with intense heat.
Yeon-woo was aware that he had gotten stronger. But it was well above his expectations.
‘With this power,'
With skills as powerful as these,
‘I can do anything.'
Yeon-woo took one step forward.
Thanks to his skills, he could revise his plan altogether.
‘There’s no need to stick with the hit-and-run strategy. I can just keep going like this and face them head-on. Then, I can devour them all.’
An intense light shot out from his eyes.
Startled by his look, the other players took a few steps backwards. In their eyes, it was no different from a predator’s eyes gleaming at the sight of its prey.
"How can he still be unfatigued?"
None of them had the guts to jump at Yeon-woo.
When they had first heard there was only one intruder, they had regarded it as a trifling matter. But over 80 players had already died, and a lot of them had died without even leaving a corpse.
They finally realized that they had walked into the depths of hell on their own feet.
Yeon-woo took another step closer.
"If you’re not coming to me,"
Unable to withstand Yeon-woo’s aura, the players stepped farther back.
"Then I’ll come to you now."
Yeon-woo smiled coldly and bent his knees to get ready to dart forward.
The players' faces turned even paler in horror.
Yeon-woo’s feet kicked the ground and stormed his way into the crowd of players.
It was then.
When suddenly, a voice echoed like a thunderbolt across the sky.
Yeon-woo stopped halfway and raised his head.
A group of ten players dropped down from the building across from Yeon-woo.
Every single one of them seemed stronger than those he had fought so far. Especially the one at the front, he gave off dangerous aura undeniably stronger than that of all the other players present combined. The two swords hanging crossed on his back gave a very strong impression.
It was Bild.
And the nine players behind him were the players from The Tower sent by Cheonghwado.
"Ah, finally, he’s here!"
"We, we’re saved!"
Hope appeared on their faces for the first time.
Bild's eyes, however, were filled with only anger.
"So you’re the white mask? All this time, you’ve been hiding like a pesky little rat, and now you’ve finally decided to show your face. But do you have any idea where you are?"
Bild saw the players’ dead bodies and the debris of the collapsed buildings lying everywhere around him. The last bit of Arangdan's barely-remaining power had been destroyed. There were only about 30 survivors left after the incident.
Considering that there had been more than a hundred people just before he left, more than 80 players had died in his brief absence.
This was all done by only one player.
From the beginning to the end.
This was the culprit who had screwed up everything for Arangdan.
A rush of intense aura blew around Bild. It was an aura as hot and intense as the resentment he was feeling.
And on the other side,
Yeon-woo was looking at Bild with a frown on his face.
‘What is this familiarity I’m feeling?‘
Clearly, he was a player dispatched to the tutorial by Cheonghwado, a player Yeon-woo couldn't have met before in the tutorial. Therefore, he had been dealing with small fries up until now in order to draw a big fish like him out of their base.
But even after achieving his goal, Yeon-woo couldn't make even a small smile. Because he experienced a strange deja vu the moment he saw Bild.
He had memories of him, but Yeon-woo couldn’t point out from when or where. His head tickled trying to search his memories. The energy he radiated, it was too familiar.
‘I'd never forget someone with such a strong aura, but have I really seen him somewhere?'
At that moment.
A phrase in his brother’s diary flashed across his mind.
His brother had a friend he believed was the only person he could lean on when he was in danger.
And his friend had a few players he called ‘brothers’ that he took along.
Then, Yeon-woo finally recalled the face of one of those brothers.
He remembered the scene where this guy was standing next to his brother laughing at him as his brother collapsed with a dagger stuck in his heart.
And Yeon-woo soon recalled his name.
Yeon-woo’s eyes blazed with anger.
‘How could he be here?‘
Players rarely returned back to the tutorial once they started to climb up The Tower.
They had 99 floors ahead of them to climb, why would they go back to the place where they had suffered for a whole month?
And as far as Yeon-woo knew, Bild was one of the players who focused on climbing The Tower.
‘Why is a player like him in the tutorial, and even in Arangdan?‘
Just then, all the questions that had been lingering in his head became so clear. Arangdan. The scavengers. Cheonghwado. Human farm. The ‘real’ purpose they had been hiding.
And then, the identity of the guy behind Bild.
It wasn’t perfect, but he could sketch the barest outline of their plan in his head.
‘This place wasn't just another hideout of Cheonghwado.'
Fire spewed out from Yeon-woo’s eyes.
‘Leonte. He made this place in order to hide something from Chenghwado...!’