Chapter 62. The Tower (3)
In the tutorial stage, while waiting for the reset timer, some visitors showed up.
“This is one hell of a mess.”
A man in a blue robe spoke in an irritated tone as he looked down at the ruined buildings.
The retinue following behind also stood with their face stiff.
This was much more serious than what they had heard from the report.
Not to mention any survivors, everything they had built up, collected and achieved while hiding it from the Isle had turned to dust overnight. Even the ‘heart’ they had spent years making disappeared without a trace.
In this situation, it was virtually impossible to conduct a proper investigation.
‘Bild you dumbass.’
‘I should have known when he acted so greedily. I mean, what the fuck did he do for it to end up like this?’
‘And here I was thinking Lord Leonte was only a step away from becoming the Wushen... God damn it!'
The retinue clenched their teeth, cussing at the now missing Bild. But at the same time, they had to be extremely cautious when doing so.
"Find it at all costs, even if it means digging up the ruins or searching the whole tutorial stage!"
The attendants bowed down their heads and quickly dispersed.
The man then looked back at the ruins with blazing eyes.
"At a crucial time like this....”
The man in the robe, his name was Leonte. One of the five leaders of Cheonghwado, and once a member of Arthia.
* * *
"So can you really teach me metallurgy?"
Yeon-woo quietly opened his mouth after Henova had recovered
Henova’s eyebrows wriggled once again.
"It’s not a joke this time. I really want to learn the basics of metallurgy."
Yeon-woo was speaking in a serious tone
Henova gently put down the hammer he was holding after realizing Yeon-woo was sincere. Then he picked up a smoking pipe he had put at his feet and placed it in his mouth.
‘Oh, right. He was a heavy smoker.'
When Yeon-woo stared calmly at Henova.
Henova puffed a cloud of white smoke into the air.
"What are you going to do with it?"
"There's something I want to repair."
"Repair? Repair what?"
"I'm sorry, but I can't show you."
Yeon-woo fiddled with the watch in his pocket.
When it came back to his possession, the watch was already in bad shape.
Yeon-woo wanted to open up the inside and, if possible, fix it to check if there was something else he missed, or if there was another clue hidden inside.
No, apart from that, it was an item that holds precious memories of him and his brother. He wanted to restore it to its original state.
However, being a magic artifact, it had various magical devices built inside that he didn’t dare to touch.
Henova might be able to repair it. Not only he was good at metallurgy but also alchemy and magic engineering. But Yeon-woo didn't want to show the pocket watch to Henova.
He couldn’t trust Henova just yet.
Considering he was the closest person to his brother, he'd figure out whose this watch was as soon as he saw it.
Yeon-woo could tell Henova was a good man, but that didn't mean he could be trusted yet.
And above all....
‘I want to fix it myself.'
This was the item his younger brother had left behind.
He wanted to take care of it by himself.
It may be useless stubbornness, but for Yeon-woo, it was a promise he made with himself.
Henova puffed out smoke and nodded nonchalantly.
An answer different than Yeon-woo had expected.
"I thought you would get angry at me."
"Why would I?"
"Because I’m asking you to teach me skills without even giving a proper explanation. I know I’m being unreasonable."
Henova raised the corner of his lips. It was as if he had found something interesting.
"So you do know you’re being an asshole?"
"Don’t say it if you don't want to. I don't care either. Players leaving their home world trying to climb up The Tower, who wouldn’t have a story? Just grab anyone passing by and tell them to talk about their lives. You could probably write a full book with it."
Henova finished his words with a laugh. An emotion flickered in his wrinkled eyes.
Yeon-woo realized it was a remorse.
"I bet you're no different. Especially by wearing a mask like that, you’re just advertising you have lots of secrets to hide. "
Henova inhaled one last time from the pipe and put it back down on the floor.
It was Henova’s first genuine laughter since meeting Yeon-woo
His eyes when looking at Yeon-woo now contained new emotions different from the previous of irritation and vigilance.
Henova picked up the hammer again.
"I don't have time to give you a proper lesson because of your order. I'll teach you the basics, and the rest, you’ll have to watch and learn."
"Hmph! You think I care about you? I’m doing this because I’ve got nothing else to do."
Yeon-woo pretended he didn’t see Hanova's slightly red ears.
Cold as he appeared to be, Henova was one shy Dwarf.
* * *
Contrary to his earlier ‘watch and learn’, as soon as Yeon-woo held the hammer, Henova started to nag at him
He kicked him in his foot when Yeon-woo didn’t blow the bellows correctly, and he threatened him with the hammer he was holding when Yeon-woo lost his posture.
Thanks to that, Yeon-woo hadn’t much hammering done yet even after some hours.
But in a way, it was surely the right course of action.
Everything in the smithy was dangerous. Some of the items were hot, some were pointy, and some were both.
Being around such hazardous things, one single mistake could lead to serious injuries. Even for a player who wouldn’t bat an eye from most injuries like himself, he had to build a sturdy foundation in order to prevent accidents from happening. Even more so when considering all the appliances here were dwarven.
That was why Henova couldn’t leave Yeon-woo alone.
However, thanks to this, Yeon-woo was acquiring the basics at a rapid pace.
Henova was able to return to his work after Yeon-woo had started hammering with quite a balanced posture.
‘Guess he’s not stupid.’
Henova inhaled from his pipe to calm down his excited mind. But his two wrinkled eyes still fixed on Yeon-woo were drawing peculiar curves.
The scorching piece of metal was drawn and folded repeatedly under Yeon-woo’s constant hammering.
Usually, the works of beginners were subject to a variety of mistakes such as failing to hammer with appropriate strength or metal being welded incorrectly.
Yeon-woo, however, found the exact spots to hammer and hit the parts with just the right amount of power while adequately adjusting it.
A process which in a way could be described as mechanical.
In another way, however, they were motions that only a skilled blacksmith could do.
It was just incredible how he could pull this off.
Henova had lived for more than 300 years with only a hammer in his hand. The last 100 years of which had been spent in The Tower where people from various universes and dimensions gathered.
So as a matter of course, he had met all kinds of people with different levels of skill. Ranging from Master Blacksmiths to complete amateurs.
There had been ones who had a great sense but lacked the basics.
He also had a trainee who had confidently come to him in order to learn his skill but ended up turning back in frustration from the required hard work and laboriousness.
However, out of all those people, none of them came close to learning as fast as this kid.
He seemed to have literally zero knowledge about smithing at first. But he gradually changed whenever Henova pointed out at his mistakes, and now he looked like any ordinary blacksmith.
It was his first time seeing anyone learning this quickly.
"Or, was it the second time?’
‘Hey, pops! Can you teach me how to use this hammer? I’ve always wanted to learn how to make weapons and armor! Please teach me, please!'
A wistful memory with the voice of a person that did not belong to this world anymore.
But oddly enough, the image of the kid hammering fiercely in front of the furnace seemed to overlap with the one currently in front of him.
Henova shook his head.
"I’m getting old, thinking about such nonsense."
After shaking away his old memories,
Henova threw his pipe at Yeon-woo, who had made a mistake just in time.
"You idiot! I told you that’s not the right angle!"
Once again, Henova began to nag at Yeon-woo.
* * *
On a serene night street.
Yeon-woo was on his way back to the inn along the path illuminated by the moon.
‘It’s been about half a month since I arrived here.'
The path that used to be so foreign to him, the one he had only seen in the diary had already become a part of Yeon-woo’s routine.
‘He is a fun Dwarf.’
The Inn, the cafe, and Henova’s smithy. Yeon-woo had only been to those three places in the past few days.
He was learning metallurgy not just to fix the pocket watch, but also to get used to the life his brother had in the past.
Everything was interesting and enjoyable. Especially the time he spent with Henova.
Henova was a very simple-minded Dwarf. Whenever Yeon-woo pulled off any stupid trick, he would always fall for it.
But at the same time, he was so soft-hearted that he would frequently check on him to see if he encountered any problem when practicing his smithing skills. It even made Yeon-woo feel a little guilty for making fun of him.
Yeon-woo was beginning to understand why his brother had called him ‘father’. Because he also felt the warmth during his time spent with Henova.
‘I thought you had lost everything, but I'm happy to know you still had someone left by your side.'
Yeon-woo learned to never fully trust in anyone. Even if he believed someone, he always kept a shadow of doubt in the corner of his mind.
But even with his cold eyes, he could see that Henova would never be able to stab a dagger into someone’s back.
At the very least, he couldn’t have betrayed his brother.
And that was the exact reason as to why Yeon-woo had decided to not reveal his identity.
He didn’t want to drag Henova into his revenge.
It was enough to know who the man named Henova was.
And then, Yeon-woo was relieved. Because his brother’s life in The Tower didn’t end in vain.
‘As soon as Gyges’ Eyes is complete, I will completely disappear from the smithy.'
He had almost finished learning the basics of metallurgy. He had also memorized some of the forging processes by looking over Henova's shoulder. So even if he had to practice the rest somewhere else, it should be fine.
A chilly night breeze blew on the street.
Yeon-woo looked up at the moon hanging in the night sky as he ran his hand through his hair.
Just like he had hoped, he was now inside The Tower.
He had achieved several things he planned to do once he entered The Tower.
He had had a peek at Jeong-woo’s past life in here, and had also met the person whom his brother had a close relationship with.
Now, he had only one goal left.
‘Climb up The Tower and face the enemy.’
Of course, that would require a long time preparation.
No matter how strong Yeon-woo had been in the tutorial, his enemies were still far ahead in the distance.
High rankers. The enemies he had to slay.
They only stayed up on the higher floors because the Outer District or lower levels of The Tower, where all the ‘dregs’ lived, were just too shabby and lowly to set their feet in.
It was most likely that they hadn’t heard of Yeon-woo’s rumours.
So Yeon-woo had to get stronger as quickly as possible.
He thought he should at least stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in order to be able to hold them to account for his brother’s death. But he still had a long way to go until he could reach that point.
‘That’s why I need Gyges’ Eyes.’
The artifact which Henova should be crafting by now came back to his mind.
But of course, just having Gyges’ Eyes wasn’t enough.
Above all, his own skills were the most important part.
‘In the tutorial, I was lucky enough to gain more things than I had expected. I need to focus on mastering them and making them my own.'
Yeon-woo was already practicing using his skills and items he earned in the tutorial during his spare time, just like right now.
But while he was on his way and checking on his skills,
"What is this?"
Five men appeared around the corner, standing in his way.
Yeon-woo frowned as he watched the five men circling around him.
He wondered if they were the same people he lost when he first entered the Outer District but,
"White mask. Red leather armor. It’s him. The stupid idiot who ignored our warnings and keeps going to Henova’s smithy."
The one in front of Yeon-woo spoke in an annoyed tone.