Chapter 51. End (1)
On a tree far from Arangdan’s base, Yeon-woo was calmly looking down at the base..
Patches of fog rose up all around the ruins, just like paint spreading in water. Over the dead bodies. Above the collapsed ground. Between the rubble of the destroyed buildings. It was proof that the evil spirits were returning back to the abyss.
Yeon-woo stretched out his hand and cast Flame Infusion, kindling a small fire on one corner.
The fog started to explode as it caught on fire. Waves of inferno covered the whole area that was once Arangdan’s base. The surface of the ground turned inside out, and pillars of flame shot up from the ground. It was blowing up everything related to Arangdan.
The explosions finally died down after a long time. Embers of cursed fire sparkled small flames here and there.
Now, only traces of buildings among the charred land and barren ruins were there to tell that, once, the ruler of the tutorial was here, Arangdan.
-We c… rest now….
Faint voices sounded from somewhere around him.
Yeon-woo looked up at the sky as he swept his head up with his hands.
In a night sky shrouded in black ashes and white smoke.
The moon was shining ever so brightly.
* * *
Yeon-woo went back to the ruins. It was to check if there was anything he missed from the last time he was there.
The first thing that came into Yeon-woo’s view was a burnt corpse among the rubble of the buildings. There were traces of him trying to crawl out of the building. Although the corpse was burnt to the point that it was almost unrecognizable, he knew at first glance that this was Bild.
‘Last time I saw you, you begged me to end your life. But in the end, you still tried to escape in order to survive, didn’t you?’
Yeon-woo laughed at how ironic the situation sounded. After all, humans were just erratic beings who could frequently change their minds, even several times a day.
Yeon-woo expanded his senses to their fullest extent and scanned every corner of the ruins. He meticulously searched to see if there were any survivors left underneath.
To his relief, he sensed no sign of living things. It was hard to even find a rat because of the fire storm.
‘It would be weird if anything survived such fierce explosions.’
This was the complete destruction of Arangdan.
But just when Yeon-woo turned away,
He heard something shift between the ashes.
Burnt ashes of Bild’s corpse were crumbling apart in the breeze. And in that spot, there was a purple stone.
The stone was still emitting a capricious glow. No, it was shining more brightly than when he saw it in the basement.
‘Didn’t the explosion blow it up?’
It was quite sturdy for a stone.
He thought it would blow up with the explosion, and he came back just to check. But for a complete failure, the stone seemed to have been made much harder and more elaborate than what he thought.
Whatever the case was, he couldn’t let the stone just sit there, so he decided to pick it up and dispose of it once he figured out a way.
A stone containing hundreds of thousands of souls and flesh. Maybe it wasn’t a failure but was just incomplete.There might be a way to make it complete.
For a moment, Yeon-woo thought about taking the stone for himself. But no matter how much he craved for power, he didn’t want to borrow powers from such a sick item.
‘At least I should never do things that would embarrass Jeong-woo.’
But the moment he reached out his hands,
The purple stone burst into a blaze of blinding light,
And soon, it melted into Yeon-woo’s hands.
He felt something he had never felt before.
Yeon-woo tried to retract his hand in surprise, but strangely, his body seemed to be disobeying his orders.
The purple liquid seeped into his skin through his pores. He felt the liquid squirm through his body’s blood vessels, and flow into his heart. It was like a swarm of ants crawling around his body.
Yeon-woo wanted to push out the liquid with mana, but his Mana Circuit didn’t budge an inch. He could only stand still and watch until the purple liquid fully settled down inside his body.
The liquid coiled itself spinning next to his heart. Then it came together forming an orb, and it became smaller, the size of a small bead.
Yeon-woo was freed from the invisible bondage only after the stone was completed. He then scrutinized the ‘stone’ seated next to his heart with a stern look.
‘What is this?’
The stone was beating like a normal heart. But the feeling was totally foreign to him.
He tried to steer mana to push away the stone, however, mana just circled around the stone protecting it from being pushed away.
The stone was working so naturally as if it had always been part of his Mana Circuit.
Yeon-woo knitted his brows.
He usually got stressed out by psychological pressure from situations he could not control. The same was true this time.
It felt too icky that such an unexpected, unpleasant power had settled in his body. Besides, he had zero information about what effect it had.
Still, he tried to focus all his senses on the stone.
Thankfully, he had access to more information than he did before.
[Stone of ???]
Ability locked. (Sealed)
** This is a ‘Unique’ artifact. No same artifact exists in The Tower. However, everything about this artifact is under wraps.
** This artifact is yet to be completed. Complete the artifact to have access to the locked information.
‘Is this all I can find out?’
Yeon-woo clicked his tongue as he read down the item information window.
Most of its information was unavailable. But still, it was enough to clear some things up for him.
That the stone wasn’t defective but was actually incomplete, that it would take more materials to complete it, and that it would only be sitting next to his heart without any ability or effect before its completion.
Yeon-woo shook his head.
Even if he kept thinking about the stone, there was nothing else he could find out for now. Plus, it wasn’t like he was going to complete the stone either.
‘I guess I’ll have to let it be.’
He could leave it until he found a way to take it out. It was okay as long as it didn’t harm him.
‘So, was that all?’
Yeon-woo gave a final look around the ruins and then took off from the place.
Everything there was already taken care of.
And that’s how the longest and the fiercest day he had ever had in the tutorial, had come to a close.
* * *
With his mask back on, Yeon-woo headed to a place not too far away from the ruins.
It was the place where Kahn and Doyle had evacuated.
“You can come on out now.“
Kahn and Doyle walked out from behind the mound of rocks.
Kahn broke into a broad smile.
“I feel this all the time, but everything you do is just on a different scale.”
“What do you mean?”
“It means you’ve created one hell of a mess, dude. I’m starting to wonder, what did they do to you to bust up a whole clan?”
Yeon-woo lightly shrugged without an answer.
The same attitude he showed when he saved them. Kahn griped at his behavior.
“Great. You and your mysteriousness again.”
Then, Doyle asked.
“Oh, then what about Bild?”
“That’s good to hear.”
Doyle looked at him with a timid smile of relief. But unlike the smiling mouth, his eyes were as cold as ice.
He wanted to get rid of such villain with his own hands. It was a little regretful he couldn’t do so. But he still kept the ember burning in his heart. The ember of revenge against Cheonghwado.
Unlike last time in Hargan’s Lair, however, Doyle tried to keep calm. Therefore, he engraved his anger deep in his heart.
Courage without power is nothing more than mere temerity. It was a lesson he learned from this incident.
If he wanted to dispense justice, he must grow even more powerful. Powerful enough that no one would ever think of touching him.
As if having seen inside Doyle’s head, Kahn sat down plump on the ground and said out loud.
“Well? All the bastards are gone, and the end is right around the corner. But fuck, my body is like shit now. I just walked a little and I’m already feeling all dizzy.”
The sudden voice brought Doyle back from his maze of deep thoughts.
In fact, their bodies were at the brink of collapse because they both hadn’t eaten properly for days, and had injuries all over their bodies that were yet to be treated. It was quite surprising that they could walk around like this.
“I guess we’re done here, don’t you think?”
Doyle realized Kahn’s intention and replied with a nod.
“Yeah. I think you’re right.”
“Urgh. It’s so frustrating to admit after all we’ve been through.”
And as the tension disappeared, they felt a sudden rush of fatigue.
Kahn frowned as he scratched the back of his head, and soon swiveled around to look at Yeon-woo with a seemingly determined face.
“Cain, where’s your next destination? Section G, right?
Yeon-woo nodded lightly.
“Yes, if possible.”
“Then take this.”
Yeon-woo unintentionally caught a sack Kahn suddenly threw. And his eyes grew bigger when he opened up the sack.
Inside were Hargan’s Crown and a countless number of Tokens.
“That’s all we’ve scraped up in the tutorial.”
Doyle nodded next to him.
Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes.
“If you’re trying to pay the price, take it back because I don’t need it.”
Yeon-woo did like rewards. But he didn’t want to take it away from others, at least not from them and not like this.
But Kahn shook his head.
“I think you got us wrong.”
“Then what is this?”
“We’re giving up on the tutorial.”