Chapter 73. The first floor (5)
Clouds of dust soared up from the broken part of the cliff. Shattered pieces of rocks poured down like falling snow.
Phante’s jaw dropped to the ground as he watched what happened before his eyes.
It was the same ability he had seen in the tutorial, but much stronger.
‘I thought he just spent his time hammering in that smithy. Was he training in secret?’
Edora, on the other hand, was nodding with a broad smile on her face, as if she had been expecting that much.
The players on the Blue Team were trembling in fear. They didn’t expect to meet a player with such disastrous power on the first floor.
In the previous round, Phante’s strength had been overwhelming enough to beat down two teams by himself.
But Yeon-woo's power was far beyond that.
However, the ones who were the most frightened by this disaster were the Red Team.
On the three bridges, the players of the Red Team had already been crossing over the canyon.
After realizing Phante’s presence on the Blue Team, they had decided to press the attack first.
Because in warfare like this, whoever took action first usually earned the victory.
Their plan was to quickly cross through all three bridges while Blue Team was having problems with Phante and destroy their crystals as soon as possible.
For that, each group crossing through the different bridges also had different missions.
One group was in charge of keeping Phante busy, another of blocking the rest of Blue Team’s players, and the other of searching for the blue crystals.
But their missions ended in failure before they could even cross the bridges, as the blades of wind tore apart the three bridges they were standing on.
The players fell helplessly down the bottom of the canyon. The screams of players filled the air.
Several skills burst out from within the thick fog beneath the chasm.
They were flying abilities or artifacts being activated.
But not all novices were equipped with such high tier skills.
As a result, over half of the Red Team players disappeared into the abyss.
‘Their escape route is now cut off.’
But as always, Yeon-woo was indifferent to those who were not related to him.
Because they were in a world where the law of the jungle prevailed.
It was survival of the fittest.
They should expect to be killed if they intend to kill someone else.
And as Yeon-woo desired, all the bridges connecting the two cliffs were now severed.
Now that the Red Team was stuck in one side of the cliff, it was time to rampage.
Before the debris of the bridges completely disappeared, Yeon-woo drew out mana from his Mana Circuit and jumped down the cliff as he wrapped his feet in mana.
It was Shunpo.
Yeon-woo’s body approached a wooden board that was quickly falling down the cliff.
He jumped landed on the board and jumped off it in midair, using it as a foothold as if he were weightless.
And using the rest of the falling debris as footing, he jumped his way towards the opposite side.
"What... the fuck?"
"How’s this possible!"
While Yeon-woo was on the move, the remaining players of Red Team were still busy processing what had happened before their eyes.
It was only after Yeon-woo was already close to their cliff when they noticed a strong presence quickly approaching from beneath.
The players hurriedly drew their weapons and got ready to cast their skills.
They had to buy some time for their teammates to hide their crystals.
However, their hostility only succeeded in helping Vigrid unleash an even stronger demonic energy.
Just before landing on the edge of the cliff, Yeon-woo swung Vigrid horizontally.
The whirlwind mixed with strong demonic energy spread widely and shot out directly towards the players.
A massive tidal wave of wind swallowed the players.
The players in the very front who faced his attack were torn asunder.
Those in the back also fell down like dominoes.
The skills they had prepared beforehand were canceled, leaving only the effects glimmering in the air.
And as soon as Yeon-woo landed on the cliff,
Once again, he swung his sword in front of him, but this time, vertically.
Being concentrated on a single point, the demonic energy unleashed from Vigrid created a giant pillar of light that erased everything that stood in front of Yeon-woo.
Ahead of him, there was now a clear passageway to the forest area.
There, he found the group of players he had sensed earlier running deeper into the forest.
They were the group in charge of hiding the red crystals inside the forest.
Yeon-woo then gently shook his right hand.
The Black Bracelet on his right wrist gave off an eerie glow.
The souls of the dead players were bound into the bracelet and were immediately transformed into dark elemental energy for Black Blade. Yeon-woo added Flame Infusion on it.
The players who had been running in the woods were thrown to the ground by the sudden explosion.
The more skilled ones ended up with only their ribs broken, but the others were killed instantly by the strong impact.
Yeon-woo quickly ran through the passage as he infused his armor with mana.
Solid lines drawn on the surface of the armor opened up, revealing dozens of pupils from inside.
Though it looked very grotesque, it didn’t bother Yeon-woo one bit.
Yeon-woo scanned through the whole forest with his enhanced senses.
Just like a dog guided by its sense of smell, all he had to do was to look for the unique mana that the crystals possessed.
And nobody could stand in Yeon-woo’s way.
Or to be exact, there was no one left to stand in his way, as the remaining players were infected with the ‘blessing’ Vigrid brought upon them, not to mention being injured.
A team of a hundred players had failed to stop a single player, Yeon-woo.
Watching the entire situation unfold from the opposite side, the Blue Team players were left in tremendous shock.
Those who had participated in the same round of the tutorial as Yeon-woo could only gulp at the sight.
And those who were witnessing the power of the Hoarder for the first time despaired from the hopelessly huge gap between them.
However, Yeon-woo stayed absolutely unmoved by their reactions.
No matter how difficult The Tower was, this was still a Beginner Zone.
For Yeon-woo who had ranked number one in the tutorial round that was said to be the hardest, this kind of trial was still too easy for him.
Moreover, his head was focused on obtaining Hera’s Key.
Yeon-woo grabbed all the crystals with one hand.
Five blue crystals and five red crystals. Though there were some scratches, all of them were still intact.
With a bright light, the crystals melted in his hand, merging into one single ball of light.
And before he knew it, there was a key lying on his hand.
A transparent key glittering with white sparkles on the surface.
[You have acquired ‘Hera’s Key’.]
Unlike Zeus’ Key that emitted yellowish glow like a topaz, Hera’s Key had a clear, transparent surface as if it were made out of diamonds.
Description: A key used to open the treasury of Hera, the goddess of marriage. Nothing is known about its use.
Yeon-woo clenched his fists after confirming his acquisition of the second key.
[The trial has ended.]
A message appeared in the sky.
Only half an hour since the trial had begun.
It was the shortest round ever in The Tower’s history.
* * *
[You have made an achievement that is not easily accomplished. Additional Karma will be provided.]
[You have acquired 5,000 Karma.]
[You have acquired 3,000 additional Karma.]
[Your health and mana will be restored]
[All status effects will be removed]
[All remaining players will be teleported to the waiting area. Beware of impact.]
[Calculating total Karma attained in this round...]
[Karma Ranking of current round]
1. Unknown (50,000 Points)
[You have set the greatest record on this floor. Will you register your name in the Hall of Fame?]
[You have refused to register your name.]
[Your record has been deeply engraved in The Tower. You can register your name later on whenever you wish to.]
"That was amazing. Though it’s only the first floor, I’ve never seen anyone clearing the trial this fast. Indeed, you are the Hoarder… So, yes. You’ve just set a new record."
After all the players arrived once again at the waiting area, Aaron made his appearance and expressed his astonishment.
It had been only a few minutes ago that he made a bet with Yvlke.
He didn’t expect it to end so quickly.
The fact that he lost the bet worried him a little, but he was more excited to see what else this player had to offer.
And now he knew that what he did back in the tutorial, the record he made, was not because of luck,
‘He even knows about the hidden pieces.’
And that he was trying to complete the key to Olympus’ Treasury.
‘Maybe I should bet together with Yvlke if there’s a next time.’
"And now, I will give you the rewards for the....”
Yeon-woo stopped Aaron mid-sentence.
"What's the matter?"
"I'd like to receive my rewards after I clear the whole Beginner Zone."
Aaron eyes slightly widened, but soon chuckled as if he knew he was going to say that.
It seemed to Aaron that he even knew he could receive better rewards if he postponed accepting them.
‘If he can keep on breaking records up to the 10th floor, what rewards will he get?’
Aaron imagined Bedlam breaking loose in the Guardians’ chambers.
No, not just the Guardian’s chambers. The whole Tower would be in an uproar.
He couldn’t imagine what kind of insane plan he was up to.
Aaron couldn’t help smiling.
And he had a vague feeling as to why Yvlke was so interested in this guy.
"Why, of course. You can do that."
Aaron nodded as he put his hand back down.
“Well, then. It’s time to say goodbye.”
Aaron gave a graceful bow towards the players.
A curtain of light fell down and covered the entire area.
[The trial has ended. Will you continue to the next floor?]
The same message appeared in front of the Blue Team players.
But none of the players were happy to see this message.
Because no one had been able to acquire Karma except for Yeon-woo.
If things had progressed like usual, the winners of this trial should have been rewarded with some items and Karma, those they could trade with other items they needed to proceed to the next floor.
But in this round, Yeon-woo had hoarded all the Karma by himself.
As a result, the other members of the Blue Team received nothing.
Even though they won, they didn’t make any contribution to their victory.
In The Tower where players were rewarded for their achievements, it was a matter of course that they got nothing.
If they moved on to the next floor, there would only be a miserable future waiting ahead.
In the end, the majority of players gave up going to the next floor and chose to replay the trial.
One by one, the players disappeared into red portals.
Soon, only Yeon-woo, Phante, Edora and Aaron were left in the area.
"What about you? Would you like to go up?"
Aaron asked with a smile on his face.
Phante pondered for a while and also said yes with a snort.
Edora smiled mildly in answer.
"Very well. Here’s the portal to the next floor."
A portal opened in front of each person.
Unlike the ones that the other players entered into, the portals were glowing with a blue hue.
Without any delay, the three of them entered the portals.
There were still nine floors left to clear.