Chapter 67. The Tower (9)
For the past month, Yeon-woo had been quite busy.
During the time he was waiting for Henova to complete Gyges’ Eyes, he traced back to where his brother had been, trying to live the life his brother had lived. Not only that, he also practiced metallurgy in order to repair his brother’s pocket watch.
And he had one more reason to stay in Outer District.
To work out a strategy to speedrun through the lower floors.
‘Jeong-woo cleared the first ten floors within 10 days.’
The reason why Arthia had drawn the players’ attention from all over The Tower.
It was because they had passed through the so called ‘Beginner Zone’ floors 10 days after finishing the tutorial, which was equivalent to clearing one floor a day for ten days.
It was an unprecedented record which had become a turning point in the thousands of years of The Tower’s history.
Thanks to this, Jeong-woo and his team, Arthia, were able to prove themselves as one of the most influential clans in The Tower.
And the record they set left an indelible mark that has never been broken even after the dissolution of Arthia.
But of course, what Yeon-woo wanted to gain through breaking this record was neither honor nor glory.
‘Jeong-woo was given Hades’ Key after setting that record.'
Hades’ key, the second key to opening Olympus’ Treasury.
It was a hidden piece, given only to those who quickly passed through the Beginner Zone.
Just like how Zeus' Key was given only to the players who had topped the tutorial, The Tower was once again demanding players to accomplish an excruciatingly difficult task.
The only way to acquire Hades’ Key was to break the previous record, which meant he had to pass through those 10 floors in less than 10 days.
Though it would be challenging, he didn’t think it would be too difficult.
All the skills and experiences he had gained during the tutorial would serve of great help.
And above all, he would have Gyges’ Eye added to his power.
All of a sudden, a faint smile crossed Yeon-woo’s lips.
‘Come to think of it, isn’t this also a competition between me and Jeong-woo?'
The burning desire to beat his brother started to gather rapidly in his mind.
His pride as an older brother didn’t allow him to lose against Jeong-woo.
Yeon-woo raised his head and looked out the window.
Far away in the distance, there stood The Tower with its head poking through the cloudy sky.
* * *
"Haa... Those bastards! I haven’t had a single peaceful day after that idiot started coming here."
In the smithy, after Yeon-woo and the siblings had left, Henova was grumbling as he furiously puffed at his pipe.
His smithy had been a peaceful place for the past few years. But in a matter of a few days, too many things had happened all at once.
And then, there were those three kids.
No matter how many times he yelled at them to be quiet, they never listened.
How did he end up tangled with those kids?
This was all because of that kid with the white mask.
‘Hold on a second... what’s his name again?’
While trying to recall Yeon-woo's name, Henova soon realized that he had been calling him ‘kid’, ‘idiot’ or ‘bastard’, but he had never called him by his name, or even asked him his name.
Then he began to feel sorry for what he had done to him.
At the same time, he felt thankful to Yeon-woo.
"No. No. Look at how stressed I am because of that little rascal!"
As he mumbled to himself, Henova walked over to the place where Yeon-woo always sat.
In the place where the hammer had been making loud noises, the molten metal radiated intense heat, and the furnace spewed out scorching fire until just a few minutes ago. The images of Yeon-woo silently hammering a piece of metal, Phante’ noisy chattering next to him, and Edora quietly reading her book lingered there.
He felt as though the images were going to come alive at any moment.
Moreover, the images kept overlapping with another scene from his memory.
‘Hey pops! Come take a look at this! Isn’t this awesome?'
‘Wait a second, you used that skill, didn’t you? You promised not to use any skill!'
‘Nope. I didn't use it. You don’t even have proof.'
‘How can it come out like that without using your skill!'
‘You got proof? Huh?'
‘Hey, guys. Can you please stop yelling? I’m reading here.’
‘Go somewhere else if you want to read!’
‘Tsk. This is why people call you dumb.’
The noisy, messy, hectic, and chaotic scene that he remembered.
In the past, there were kids who had visited his smithy every so often like it was their hideout.
Henova tried shouting at them, kicking their butts, cursing at them and several other methods to kick them out of his smithy, but they didn’t care for what he said.
But it was a sight that was never going to happen ever again.
A wisp of white smoke spew out accompanied by a deep sigh, rising up to fill up the ceiling of the smithy.
‘I guess I did get old.'
Henova shook his head with a bitter smile.
"Hmph. Those bastards...."
It was probably better to call it a day here.
If he kept hammering like this, he could ruin the artifact
‘Let’s see here… Hmm, it seems like I’m almost done with this artifact. Has it been a month already? Haha, time flies so fast.’
Time seemed to have passed faster than usual .
The due date for when Henova had promised to complete the artifact was already reaching the end.
‘Well, even if I’m late, it’s all his fault.’
With that thought in mind, Henova was about to put out the fire of the furnace and stand up from his seat.
The door suddenly opened.
"Sorry, but the shop’s closed. Come back tomorrow if you....”
Henova first spoke to the sudden visitor without looking, and when he turned his head, his face stiffened.
Standing in front of the door, there was a man he had sworn to never see again.
A man from his old memories.
"It's been a long time, master."
The man gave a slight grin at Henova.
* * *
Under the night sky covered by a bright moon and twinkling stars, Yeon-woo once again went to the cafe his brother used to often visit and drank his hazelnut coffee at the terrace.
Over the fence, laid a magnificent night view brimming with sparkles of colorful lights.
It was such an exuberant view that one could never grow tired of, but right now, Yeon-woo’s attention was engaged in something other than the view.
[The information cannot be accessed.]
[The information cannot be accessed.]
[???’s ??? Pocket Watch]
Yeon-woo nodded after examining his pocket watch with Draconic Eyes.
It seemed like the attainment of metallurgy-related skills had finally allowed him to view its information.
But of course, even if it was open, there was not much he could read.
‘I still have a long way to go.’
But just as the idiom ‘Well begun is half done’ said, now that he had it open, the only thing remaining was to gain more knowledge and skills to enhance Draconic Eyes.
The moment he was smiling at his achievement,
"What are you doing here alone...?"
Yeon-woo heard a voice from behind.
He quickly put his pocket watch back into his pocket.
In the meantime, Phante and Edora came and sat next to Yeon-woo.
As if he still wasn't used to using honorifics, Phante’s end of the sentence was spoken unclearly.
Edora smiled and spoke after a sip of her coffee.
"Cain ‘Oraboni’ isn’t like you, Phante ‘Oppa’. He was probably mapping out the strategy to climb up The Tower. Isn't that right?"
(TN: Oppa is a Korean term used by females when referring to males older than them. Oraboni is a more polite way of saying Oppa.)
She said with a broad smile.
But unlike her smile,
Yeon-woo was showing a puzzled face as if he had heard something wrong.
And Phante looked disgusted at the sound of his sister’s kittenish voice he had never heard in his life.
But Edora kept her smile on her face and continued.
"If you are hyung to my brother Phante, you are also oraboni to me. Or is there any other term you want me to call you?"
Phante blew his top at Edora’s response.
"Not fair! Then call me oraboni too!"
"Why would I?"
Edora lightly snorted at Phante.
It was a distinctly different attitude compared to the one she had when talking to Yeon-woo.
Phante was struck dumb and stared at Edora in bewilderment, but Edora simply ignored his look.
Yeon-woo also burst out laughing at their conversation.
These two were players he had only come across by chance.
Yeon-woo thought they would leave him after Phante had fought with him, but the two still remained in the Outer District and followed him around.
At first, he just ignored them. But as he spent more time with them, he started to find them cute, just like having little brother and sister.
Especially whenever they start bickering, he also saw someone else in them.
Yeon-woo and his brother.
Kahn and Doyle.
"Siblings are just the same no matter where."
And the moment Yeon-woo broke into a pleased smile,
"By the way, hyung."
Yeon-woo came to his senses at Phante’s calling.
He had a strange look on his face.
"I've been feeling this since this morning,"
He then glanced down the terrace.
His eyes turned ferocious just like the ones he showed when they first met in the tutorial.
"Why are you leaving these tails alone? They really tick me off."
The ‘tails’ that Phante was talking about. It was the players that were spying on Yeon-woo.
They themselves might believe nobody had noticed them, but what they didn’t know was that they were being watched from the moment they started following him.
However, Yeon-woo didn't bother chasing them away. Rather, he roamed more freely around the street trying to let them know where he was.
But Phante couldn’t understand the meaning of Yeon-woo’s actions.
If he were in his shoes, he would have definitely taken measures.
Yeon-woo also took a look down the building.
"Let them be."
"All right, all right. Geez, you don’t have to give me that look."
Phante griped with a pout.
Yeon-woo ignored him and lifted his coffee cup to his lips.
He also found it quite annoying to be followed by those players. So he also tried to shake them off the first time he noticed their pursuit.
But even if he got away for a moment, they soon kept up with him and started to follow him again, just like leeches.
If so, it was better to just let them be.
‘I don’t want to cause any disturbance here either.'
Yeon-woo had no desire to shed blood in the place full of his brother’s memories.
At that moment, Yeon-woo noticed people starting to flock in front of the cafe building they were in.
The players that had been spying on Yeon-woo also began to move busily, as if they had found something.
"Huh? What's going on?"
Phante, too, had noticed a presence coming up the stairs, and turned his gaze to the entrance of the terrace.
At the door, there was a neatly dressed man with a smile.
Phante, on the other hand, creased his brows. He was displeased at the sight of someone approaching them without authorization.
That was why he deliberately spread rumors saying that the siblings of the One-horned Tribe had rented the cafe building for a while in an effort to prevent people from entering the cafe.
But as if the man didn't care about the rumors at all, he walked past Phante and Edora and stood in front of Yeon-woo.
Then, he asked in a polite manner.
"Excuse me sir, but are you the Cain?"
"Yes, but who are you?"
Yeon-woo asked, and the man cracked a broad smile.
"Nice to see you, Cain. I'm Rahaam from the clan Red Zephyr. I’d like to invite you to our clan Red Zephyr."