After telling Yanu to wait for him where he was, Yeon-woo returned to the Phoenix's nest.
『Are you leaving now?』
Yeon-woo answered with a smile.
"I'll be back soon."
『I believe you will. But I do not think my child believes you.』
The Phoenix smiled.
As she said that, Chirpy came flying from inside the cave and landed on top of the egg.
She was asking where he was going.
Though he tried to put on a serious expression, Yeon-woo ended up laughing again.
"Don't worry, it won’t take long."
She asked him to leave her friend with her in the nest.
Yeon-woo found himself in an awkward situation.
『What are you going to do now?』
There was a hint of laughter in the Phoenix’s voice as if she found the whole situation to be funny.
Yeon-woo reached out his hand and petted Chirpy's head. He then began to explain his situation in a serious voice while keeping eye contact with her.
If there was something he realized about life, it was that he had to be as truthful as he could to avoid possible misunderstandings.
"I'm taking the egg with me in order to find a way to help your friend break out of its shell. You also want to meet your friend as soon as possible, don’t you? If so, I need you to let us go. But don’t worry, as I said, I will try to come back as soon as possible."
Though Chirpy was still pouty at the situation,
The Phoenix whispered to Chirpy in a soft voice. Only then Chirpy did finally decided to let go of the egg.
Instead, this time, Chirpy started jumping in place and continuously chirping out loud.
She was telling him to come back as soon as possible.
And only after giving reassuring her several times did he manage to take the egg from her.
The Phoenix watched the two of them with warm eyes.
『Now, I understand you will be heading to where the One-horned tribe is, but how will you carry your egg?』
Yeon-woo looked at his beast egg and shook his head at how big his egg was.
The previously three-meter-tall egg had grown even taller since the last time he checked it.
Fortunately enough, its growth speed had dropped at least.
But growth was still growth. The egg had been constantly getting both bigger and heavier, to the point that now it was impossible for the Phoenix to move the egg with her powers.
Regardless, if Yeon-woo wanted to visit the One-horned tribe, he had to somehow carry the egg to the Outer District.
Which meant that he also had to carry his egg to where Yanu was, all on his own.
And that was what Phoenix was worried about.
Yeon-woo solved that problem by simply ordering his Spirit Familiars.
At first, not knowing what to do, the spirits became a bit flustered. But after a few seconds, they turned their bodies into gray mist and enveloped the egg from the bottom.
Then, the egg started to slowly levitate from the ground.
‘This way there shouldn’t be any problem carrying the egg.'
『Oh, that is quite convenient. I remember their ability to exert physical power was not this great before. How did they become so powerful?』
"I noticed they could grow stronger by consuming other spirits. So I fed them with all sorts of spirits from beasts, monsters, and even players. Now, they’ve reached the limits of a Familiar Spirit."
『I see. I am quite surprised to see that you have already mastered that bracelet. What an interesting human. I wonder how much your spirits will have changed the next time we meet.』
"As I said earlier, I won’t be away for that long."
『And I believe you will. For you will need to prepare many things in order to pass the tests of the other Legendary Beasts.』
Yeon-woo's eyes widened underneath his mask.
‘I don’t remember telling her about that. How did she know?’
『Oh, I can already tell what you are thinking. And I also know that you did not tell me about this, worrying that you might hurt my feelings. But worry not. I do not mind.』
"Thank you for your understanding."
Yeon-woo thought perhaps the biggest reward he earned after leaving the Beginner Zone was meeting the Phoenix.
Although most players feared the Phoenix, to him, she was just a kind, generous and good-natured lady.
‘Come to think of it, the various fellows I’ve gotten involved with up until this point have all been good people.’
If it weren’t for them, he might have ruined himself while being driven solely by anger and revenge.
He had been able to remain sane thanks to all the people he had met in The Tower. And the Phoenix was definitely one of them.
However, more than a good friend...
‘She reminds me of… mom.’
Putting these thoughts aside, Yeon-woo finally decided to leave the nest.
"See you soon."
* * *
Yeon-woo soon walked out of the nest.
Standing just outside the nest, Yanu’s jaw once again dropped at the sight of the giant egg.
"Wow... I think this is even taller than 3 meters.”
While doing his own trial and watching other tribe members undergo theirs, Yanu had seen many different beast eggs, but never in his life had he seen one of this size.
"I’m ready to go. But before we leave, let me get this straight. Am I really allowed to visit your tribe? I heard outsiders are strictly prohibited from entering your village.”
Yeon-woo asked while thinking about the explanation he had read in the diary.
They’re a race blessed with overwhelming physical strength, and aided by their use of Mugong, their battle prowess is incomparable to that of humans.
In short, they were born to climb The Tower.
Lots of humans and other Demi-human races also envied their origin. But despite their popularity, not many things were known about the One-horned tribe.
It was because thanks to their arrogant nature, the One-horned tribe abhorred interacting with outsiders.
Some say that they’re loyal people that would go out on a limb for their friends without hesitation.
However, those who have met players from the One-horned tribe often deny such rumors, as it is nearly impossible to become friends with them.
If someone wanted to have a fair conversation with them, they had to first prove themselves ‘worthy’.
Naturally, the tribe became alienated in The Tower.
But the One-horned tribe did not care about this either. Rather, they chose solitude for themselves.
They built a village somewhere outside The Tower and covered it with a mysterious spell to keep others away from entering as well as to keep themselves away from the rest of the world.
Therefore, it seemed like his brother also hadn’t had any contact with the One-horned tribe.
He mentioned that the information he recorded in the diary was acquired by speaking with others.
And because of that, Yeon-woo’s knowledge regarding them was also limited.
But Yanu answered with a smile.
"Hehe. Those are just rumors. How would we run a village if we don’t let anyone in? We do get guests from the outside, like merchants for example."
"Is that so?"
"Sure. You'll see that the rumors are all rubbish once you enter our village."
Yanu continued as he shook his head.
"And about the rumors... I think part of it is because of some overly protective elders trying to keep people away from us, and part of it has to do with some players who want to take advantage of interacting with us. It's kind of... complicated."
Yeon-woo nodded as a gesture of understanding.
"But the village is indeed hidden under a spell, so you’ll have to follow me carefully. Now, take this."
Yanu took out two small pieces of paper from his pocket and handed one of them to Yeon-woo.
"What is this?"
"This is the answer to one of the questions you asked me earlier. It’s a ticket that allows you to exit The Tower for a certain amount of time."
Yanu tore the ticket in two as he explained to him.
Then a red portal appeared on the floor.
Yeon-woo also tore the ticket straight away.
[Would you like to exit The Tower?]
When Yeon-woo nodded at the message that appeared in front of him, he found himself being covered in a pool of light.
By the time the light had subsided, Yeon-woo was standing in a very familiar place.
It was the entrance to The Tower.
He heard the gate of The Tower shutting behind him.
Looking vacantly at the busy streets of the market area, Yeon-woo came back to his senses at Yanu’s calling.
"This way please."
After grabbing Yeon-woo’s attention, Yanu began to sprint through the street.
Yeon-woo also cast Shunpo and imbued more mana to his Spirit Familiars that were carrying his egg.
Though the spirits were still slow due to the weight of the egg, they were steadily catching up to the two of them.
Yanu was heading towards the southeast part of the Outer District.
The wasteland where no plants could grow due to the landscape composed of only of basalt rocks.
Because of the lack of life, neither people nor animals set foot on this land.
Yeon-woo was starting to wonder how people could be living in such a barren land.
"Okay. starting from now, I need you to follow every step I make. If you take any wrong step, it will mess up the whole route, and you might end up getting trapped here forever.”
Before Yeon-woo could even say anything, Yanu took a step forward.
And in that instant, Yanu’s whole body started to fade, leaving behind only a footprint on the ground.
Yeon-woo's eyes emitted a curious glow of excitement.
‘So this is Jinbup.’
Using ‘Mugong’ as their basis, the One-horned tribe also created a type of skill they called ‘Jinbup’.
According to the records I found, Jinbup are skills that allow the user to distort the surrounding environment by stimulating the energy flowing in nature.
The best-known example of Jinbup is ‘Hwanjin’, a spell used to hide certain objects or places. One can even make a mountain flat and a lake dry if they become skilled enough.
Jinbup and Magic Circles, though the two looked similar in terms of effect, they were two very different skills.
Magic Circles required one to ‘create’ a whole new formation of mana, while Jinbup required one to ‘distort’ the natural flow of mana.
Yeon-woo, a layperson in terms of magic, couldn’t understand the details behind it, but he still got a glimmer of what it meant.
Yeon-woo cast Draconic Eyes to get a better look at Yanu’s footprint.
But when the reptilian pupils replaced Yeon-woo’s, a vast expanse of grassland suddenly appeared in front of him.
A prairie where grass, flowers and water streams existed.
But before he could take a good look, the whole world got covered by a thick fog.
Yeon-woo realized that he had arrived at the entrance of the village, and this was the forest surrounding the village.
Though the fog was blocking his view, he was able to see the footprint Yanu had left.
He just had to carefully step on them to get into the village.
But as Yeon-woo obediently made his way to the village, a sudden thought crossed his mind.
‘Can I cross through this Jinbup without Yanu’s help?'
Yeon-woo then put more mana into his eyes to focus on the Jinbup.
[‘Draconic Eyes’ have discovered ‘Hoho’unmujin’. The basic components of ‘Hoho’unmujin’ will be revealed.]
[You have unlocked a new category ‘Jinbup’. All phenomena you observe caused by Jinbup will automatically be filled in the window.]
[You have acquired a hint regarding ‘Jinbup’, but you lack the knowledge to fully comprehend it. Improve your knowledge in order to gain access to the information.]
[‘Draconic Eyes’ skill proficiency has increased. 28.1%]
The fog was wriggling as if it was trying to avoid revealing what was hidden beneath it.
But as Yeon-woo adjusted the focus of Draconic Eyes, he was able to see the flaws of Jinbup in the same way as other objects.
They repetitively tangled and untangled over and over again.
The only difference was that they spread throughout the whole area covered by the fog.
Yeon-woo examined the shape of the flaws as he traced Yanu's footsteps.
And thanks to that, he was able to figure out some facts.
‘The shape of the flaws makes it look like there are multiple strings tangled together, but it’s actually one single string.'
And that string was flowing towards one direction, creating a flow of energy.
Just like hundreds of small streams that gather to form a large river.
Some flaws were gathering in one place, some detached themselves from the flow, covering up the entire foggy area.
Yeon-woo realized that this was the centerpiece of Jinbup.
‘I guess that huge flow of flaws is the mana stream that is supposed to be flowing naturally in the landscape. And it seems like the caster artificially changed the flow of the stream to create this Jinbup.'
And the mainstream looked very familiar to him.
‘This is like... my Magic Circuit.'
The energy flowing around a certain area and the stream of mana circulating inside his body.
Except for a few details, the approximate shape and path were very similar to the movement of the mana inside his body.
[You have understood part of the Jinbup. ‘Draconic Eyes’ has penetrated ‘Hoho’unmujin’.]
[‘Draconic Eyes’ skill proficiency has increased. 31.9%]
And then, thoughts began to occur to him one after another, giving birth to new thoughts….
"If it is possible to hide a whole village and spread out the fog depending on how one manipulates the mana... Maybe I can put my Magic Circuit to use instead of having it just circulating.'
[You have acquired a hint regarding the use of ‘Magic Circuit', but you lack the knowledge to fully comprehend it. Improve your knowledge to gain access to the information.]