Chapter 63. The Tower (5)
"You look like you’re new to The Tower. What made you think you’d get away with ignoring our warnings?"
At first, Yeon-woo had a puzzled frown on his face, having no clue who they were. But when he realized who they were, he burst out laughing out of the absurdity of the situation.
“These must be them. The clan that has been bothering Henova."
He himself had been wondering why nobody had shown up.
Other shop keepers had even come to him and asked him if he was okay.
Yeon-woo was also well aware of the reason why none of the people in The Tower came Henova’s smithy, one of the five Master Blacksmiths.
It was because of the oppression from the Eight Clans.
Of course, the Eight Clans didn’t care about business outside of the higher floors.
But there were other clans under the protection of the Eight Clans, and they had to act ‘tactfully’ in order to not fall out of favor.
And it seemed like they chose to ruin Henova’s business in order to show their ‘tactful’ behaviour.
This was most likely also about ruining his business, not about Yeon-woo himself. Because the ones in front of Yeon-woo were certainly too weak to have come for him.
"Are you laughing, you crazy bastard?"
However, they didn't recognize who Yeon-woo was. Or more precisely speaking, they didn’t recognize how skilled Yeon-woo was, which was another indication that they weren’t from the Eight Clans.
Yeon-woo didn’t want to deal with such a trifling matter. It would be just a waste of his time.
"I don’t need more hassle, so buzz off."
But Yeon-woo’s attitude only succeeded in provoking them.
"You son of a bit...!”
One warning was enough.
Just when one of them was about to cuss at him, he had to flinch backwards as he noticed had Yeon-woo had disappeared right in front of his eyes.
And even before he could turn his gaze to find Yeon-woo, Yeon-woo was already stabbing his thigh with his Magic Bayonet.
One of the five men fell down on the floor with blood gushing out from this leg.
“You little fucker!"
The remaining four jumped at him all at once as they screamed in anger.
Yeon-woo, however, quickly fixed his grasp on the bayonet and twisted his body. One by one, he severed one’s ankle ligament, sliced one’s thigh, and stabbed one’s stomach and another one’s chest.
Blood sprayed onto the ground. All four of them collapsed on the floor with blood frothing in their mouths.
Yeon-woo tried to avoid resorting to violence unless he was forced to. But once he got into a fight, he would completely crush his enemies so that they couldn’t think of retaliating later on.
It was a habit that he had firmly established during his missions.
The five men rammed their heads into the pool of blood without being able to launch any attack.
"Crazy… bastard... Kuk"
Yeon-woo stuck his bayonet into the chest of a player who was still looking for a chance to strike back.
He fell on his back with his mouth foaming.
Yeon-woo wiped off the blood from the Magic Bayonet with the clothes the fallen man and put it back next to his waist.
"Go look for a healer or a priest now, you might be able to save your lives. Well, only if you can."
Yeon-woo threw those words to one of the players lying half-dead, then turned around to walk away.
But at that moment, a man clutching his abdomen with his hand made a wry face and screamed at him.
"You... How dare you touch us! You think you can get away with what you just did? Do you know who's behind us? You little rat, you’re gonna end up just like that old man once they f...!”
A spark shot out from Yeon-woo's eyes.
Before the man could finish his words, Yeon-woo ran up to him and stuck his bayonet into his chest in a flash.
The bayonet penetrated deep into his chest, and the tip of the blade hung right near the heart as the impact had crushed all of his ribs.
If he pushed a little deeper, the blade would definitely stab his heart.
The man gasped for air. He couldn’t say anything for a while due to the immense pain.
Now he knew. There was something scarier than even death itself.
The white mask came right before his face with its two eye holes blazing like a pair of Will-o-the-wisps.
"Say that again. What? Henova?"
The man tried to pretend he wasn’t panicking, even though his whole body was trembling in fear.
Then, a thought occurred to him that he might be able to live if he threatened him with Henova.
"Hey, if you just let us go, that old man can live...!”
Yeon-woo pushed the bayonet in and completely crushed his heart as if he was no longer worth listening to.
"What did you do to Henova?"
Another man looked at Yeon-woo while shivering.
"I, I can’t say...!"
Yeon-woo quickly sliced the neck of the one who was reluctant to answer.
At that moment, the rest of the men realized.
The moment they hesitated to answer, their head would fall.
"Let me ask you again. What did you do?"
"W, we didn’t... Kurk!"
The man was beheaded as he tried to lie his way out. Because of Draconic Eyes, it was easy to tell if they were lying or not.
There were two of them left now.
"One mouth is enough.”
Whoever spoke first, would get to live.
"Our boss said our clan would lose prestige if we left Henova like this, so he sent another group to destroy Henova’s smithy!"
Yeon-woo quickly got rid of the one who didn't answer.
The last remaining man drenched in his teammates’ blood trembled in fear.
But regardless of his current state, Yeon-woo said coldly.
"Lead the way."
* * *
Yeon-woo frowned after seeing what happened to Henova’s smithy.
The whole shop was already half destroyed.
The door was smashed to pieces, and the weapons and the armor pieces that were once displayed on the racks were all shattered, scattered on the floor. There were also quite a few artifacts that were missing.
People from nearby shops were only watching from afar as they were afraid of being targeted by the clan.
Inside the shop, there was only Henova sitting on the floor, looking devastated by the sudden disaster.
He was all covered in dust as if he had tried to resist the men who had destroyed the smithy.
Yeon-woo saw footprints and bruises all over his body.
Even though Henova was good at smithing, he was not as good at fighting. Which was the reason why he couldn’t climb up The Tower despite being close to Arthia.
"Oh… It’s you, kid."
Henova was staring into the air with vacant eyes until Yeon-woo called him.
With an air of indifference,
"I'm sorry. Everything you left behind, everything I was making for you, they stole all of it. I’ll try to make amends....”
"What about your body? Are you alright?"
But when Yeon-woo approached Henova, he first checked if Henova had any serious injuries.
Henova's eyes fluttered.
"It doesn’t seem like you have any severe injury. That’s a relief. But in case you have any internal damage, let’s get you to a doctor or a healer nearby. Do you have anyone you know of?"
"You can leave the rest to me. I’ll stay here and get things sorted. So don't worry about this place and please go take care of yourself."
Henova couldn’t continue speaking.
Gyges’ Eyes, the artifact ordered by Yeon-woo, was one of the best artifacts one could make in the whole Tower. And Henova was halfway done completing the order.
But it ended up getting it stolen by other players, and him losing all the necessary materials.
However, Yeon-woo made no mention of it at all. Especially after he had lost extremely rare materials such as the Venom Gland of Akasha’s Snake.
Instead, he was concerned about Henova’s wellbeing.
Yeon-woo gave a smile to reassure him that everything would be alright.
Then he turned to the door and spoke to the neighbour shopkeeper that was lurking outside the smithy.
"I need you to take Henova to a doctor."
He looked afraid of being targeted by the clans.
Yeon-woo's eyes sank coldly.
"Looks like you are not worried about me causing you trouble."
"O, okay okay."
The shopkeeper turned pale and hurried into the smithy and gave Henova a piggyback.
Henova looked at Yeon-woo with an uneasy look.
"What are you gonna do...?”
"I’ll go get the lost items. It won’t take long."
Henova realized what Yeon-woo was trying to do and tried to dissuade him, saying it would be dangerous.
The ones who did this to Henova had committed thievery several times before, not just in his smithy, but in several other places.
However, none of the shopkeepers were able to express any complaints because of their considerable influence over the Outer District.
They belonged to one of the most powerful clans that ruled over the underworld of the Outer District.
There was also a rumor that they had ‘Red Dragon’, one of the Eight Clans, watching their back. So no one could even think of stopping Night Watch’s wrongdoings.
And that was why Henova didn’t ask the nearby shopkeepers for help either.
Even if they helped him in good faith, they would get bad faith in return.
In addition, Henova considered it as a sin that he had to atone for. The sin of being a bystander when his friend was in peril. It was the punishment he had laid upon himself.
So Henova wanted to stop Yeon-woo before he was hurt.
But the moment he looked into Yeon-woo’s eyes, he was left speechless.
A strong look of determination.
That look reminded him of someone he used to know.
The owner of those eyes in his head was a playful and humorous young boy, and the one in front of him right now had the exact opposite personality.
But for some reason, he couldn’t shake the idea that they were the same person.
Leaving Henova behind, Yeon-woo kicked off the ground.
Henova blankly watched Yeon-woo disappear into the distance.
* * *
Yeon-woo was planning to have the captured player reveal the location of their base.
The clans of the underworld usually kept their location secret in order to protect themselves from hostile forces.
So if he disclosed the location, he would be branded as a traitor and might have to run away from his own clan for the rest of his life.
But a nearby fist was scarier than a far-off sword.
Willett, in his desire to survive the current predicament, revealed the location right away, and even led him all the way to their base.
When they arrived, they stopped in front of a two-story inn named "Where Wind Dwells."
"If this is the wrong place, you're dead."
"I, I know."
Willett took a big gulp.
Even on their way here, he had reconsidered several times.
‘Shouldn't I take him somewhere else? But if I do, he’ll definitely kill me, right? But if I led him to our base, the clan master will kill me….’
But whenever he did, the memory of his teammates being defeated so easily came back to him, making him hesitant.
He at least didn't want to die like that.
‘Those eyes, what the fuck are they…?’
Two eyes shining beneath a white mask.
They were as dark as dusk and as deep as the abyss.
They provoked absolute fear in him just by looking into them.
Eventually, Willett couldn’t help but to lead him to their secret base.
"Th, this is it."
Yeon-woo silently directed his gaze towards the building Willett pointed at.
Judging by its appearance, it was nothing but a dilapidated inn where only poor players would stay.
‘This is the right place. I can sense some things here and there.'
When he scanned the inn, he could feel several devices like traps installed all over the inn, not to mention players hiding inside hidden compartments.
"Let’s get in."
"But…! O, okay."
Willett didn’t wanted to go inside, but seeing Yeon-woo's two eyes, he eventually closed his eyes and opened the door.
He looked like a cow being dragged into a slaughterhouse.
"Hmm? Willett, why are you....”
Inside, the inn was very dark and full of tobacco smoke.
When Willett walked in, the man behind the counter tilted his head.
But soon, he was startled when Yeon-woo leaped out from behind Willett.
"Wh, who... Kuak!"
Yeon-woo snatched the man's arm and snapped it with a twist.
Only then did they realize their target had broken into their base.
"Willett! You filthy traitor! How dare you betray us?"
Custodial staff cleaning the inn, customers eating in the dining area, and even the guests sleeping in their room. All of them came out to fight the intruder.
"I was forced to do it...."
Willett made excuses in trembling voice, but no one listened to his words.
Yeon-woo threw the man he held in his grasp towards the wall and kicked off the ground.
‘I need to knock them all out as soon as possible.'
Through his keen senses, their attack patterns were being drawn inside his head.
Yeon-woo didn’t draw out much mana for this fight. But it would be enough to subdue the players.
For the one aiming for his side with a dagger, Yeon-woo pulled his arm, twisting it outwards. And for the one aiming for his legs, he kicked up his chin, smashing his jawbone.
"Holy shit! How’s he doing all that?"
"He's just one person! Attack him all at once!"
The clan members kept pouring out almost endlessly, making him wonder could so many of them have been hiding in such a confined space.
But regardless of their numbers, Yeon-woo swiftly knocked them out one by one.
He kicked away their weapons, smashed their armor, sliced their flesh and broke their bones.
On his path, there were several bodies of players lying down wounded.
"Ahh! My arm! My arm!"
"This is mad...! Aaaaargh!"
Yeon-woo twisted the shoulder of the man he grabbed and kicked him into his stomach.