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Chapter 96 - One-horned tribe (6)

Second Life Ranker
     Chapter 96. One-horned tribe (6)

    In no time, the previously empty tournament hall was soon filled with people.

    The Martial King and the elders entered the hall and seated themselves next to the stage.

    Lots of people had come to see the battle between Jang, the highly-likely candidate to the throne, and the human favored by both Phante and Edora.

    Edora remained silent during her entrance to the tournament hall. Her dropped head was burning red and her lips were constantly and silently mumbling the words, ‘Big brother…?’

    Watching his sister sitting like a broken machine, Phante clicked his tongue, muttering, ‘This is seriously an illness. A very severe one too.’

    He then shifted his gaze towards the stage.

    On one side of the stage stood Jang, running his hand down over his sword. His two cold eyes were fixed on the other side of the stage where Yeon-woo was standing.

    ‘I’ll make him regret showing up.’

    Though the one in front of him might be a famous player within the lower floors of The Tower, he found him laughable for standing up against him.

    ‘I guess that’s to be expected from someone who travels with mongrels.’

    Jang felt great contempt for Phante and Edora. He thought they were children of a whore who stole his father away from his mother. There was nothing as filthy as dirty-blooded mutts.

    And as for the human who got along with such filthy creatures, he could already tell what levels of skills he might have.

    However, the human had been doing nothing ever since he entered the stage.

    He wasn’t checking his equipment, or even getting his body warmed up. Rather, he was giving Jang a menacing stare.

    Jang snorted at the human’s efforts at intimidating him.

    "As I said earlier, this is no more than a test. Killing is not allowed. If either of you kills the other one, the punishment will be severe. Understand?"

    The Martial King asked as he looked from side to side with his characteristic silly smile on his face.

    And after confirming the two of them nodded, the Martial King then exclaimed.

    "Alright then, let the battle begin!"

    As soon as the Martial King finished the last word, Jang held his sword in a unique manner.

    It was the first form of the Sunmu Swordsmanship(仙舞劍式).

    Jang was planning to destroy the human with a single blow. That way, he could show his other tribe members how stupid it was for the siblings to bring a human into their business.

    Jang began to gather as much mana as he could. He was preparing to cast the skill he once used to cut off the head of a Dragonian, the boss monster of the 30th floor.

    But the moment he was about to swing his sword,

    Suddenly, Yeon-woo disappeared into thin air.

    ‘Where is...?’

    Jang tried to locate Yeon-woo with his senses. But before he could even turn his head, he noticed something grabbing the back of his head, and...

    Before he knew it, his head was already stuck deep into the ground.

    Grabbing the back of his head was Yeon-woo with an indifferent look in his eyes.

    “…!”

    “…!”

    It was a crushing defeat, not for Yeon-woo but Jang.

    The spectators’ jaws dropped at the scene that unfolded in front of their eyes.

    Even those who knew the strength of the Hoarder did not expect the result to be this devastating.

    Edora sprang up from her seat shrieking with fright and Phante sat there shaking his head left to right, muttering to himself that ‘the monster has gotten even more terrifying.’

    And then,

    "Puhaha!"

    The Martial King burst into a fit of laughter while slapping his laps.

    Although Jang was one of his most precious children, neither did he worry about his son, nor did he look disturbed. He was rather enjoying this situation.

    Meanwhile, Yeon-woo shoved Jang’s head deeper into the ground.

    The crack on the marble floor became larger and larger as he put more strength into his arm.

    "Kuk..."

    Lying flat on the ground, Jang was shivering while groaning in pain.

    He tried to move his body in an effort to get up, but the pressure Yeon-woo was applying on him made it impossible for him to move even an inch.

    "To be honest, I don’t care whether you want to test me or not. Because I knew I would have to prove myself if I wanted to join the war with your tribe."

    Yeon-woo whispered to Jang’s ear while supporting his own body on one knee.

    Underneath his black mask, his two eyes let out an eerie glow.

    "But do not try to use me or try to take advantage of me. Did you think I didn’t notice what you were trying to do with this battle? And also,”

    "Argh!"

    “Leave Phante and Edora alone.”

    Jang thought something had gone terribly wrong.

    He couldn’t possibly lose to a novice who had barely finished the Beginner Zone.

    But in reality, he was lying flat beneath the novice’s feet in front of all of his tribespeople.

    He was so frustrated at the situation, and even more ashamed.

    "Do you understand?"

    "Uuk…”

    "I’ll take that as a yes."

    Only then did Yeon-woo remove his hand from Jang’s head.

    He turned towards the Martial King as he stood up from his kneeling position.

    "Am I still not qualified?”

    The elders shook their heads.

    Jang was a very promising warrior even among the One-horned tribe. Defeating such a person was more than enough to prove his skills.

    Yeon-woo turned to the Martial King asking for his opinion.

    The Martial King also nodded a few times as a sign of approval.

    However,

    "It’s not… over...!"

    A shaky voice was heard from behind.

    When Yeon-woo turned to look at Jang, he was already back on his feet holding his sword just like before.

    Jang exclaimed after spitting out a mouthful of blood mixed with dirt.

    "You cheater! You thought you could get away after using your nasty tricks, huh?”

    Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes.

    "You think I used some tricks?"

    "Oh, yeah! A novice like you should never be able to defeat someone as great as me! Now that I know of your deceits, I won’t fall for it again. So come fight me! I will show you what you get for using dirty tricks against me!"

    Yeon-woo couldn’t help but laugh at his stupidity.

    After all, he was one of those people.

    People who don't realize what they’re getting themselves into until they get beaten up.

    Yeon-woo beckoned at Jang with his finger.

    "Try all you want."

    "Urgh…!"

    Infuriated by Yeon-woo’s taunt, Jang darted towards Yeon-woo with eyes filled with madness. With his mind consumed by anger, he was somehow concentrating his mana onto his sword.

    A swirl of energy gathered around the blade of his sword.

    "Energy Blade(劍氣)…? No, stop him!"

    "Father!"

    Edora jumped up from her seat. Phante also alarmed his father.

    Energy Blade, better known as Aura Blade throughout The Tower, was a skill that enhanced the sharpness of a sword by dispensing concentrated mana through the sword.

    It was also a skill that could only be used either by the best warriors of the One-horned tribe or by players almost reaching the level of rankers.

    In other words, it was a powerful skill used when the caster was trying to kill their opponents.

    Jang was definitely defying the rule the Martial King had set.

    In addition, Jang was preparing to cast a skill named Sword Tempest, an ultimate skill which once activated would not stop until the opponent was dead.

    The people in the hall began to worry since they knew what skill Jang was preparing.

    However, the Martial King just watched the whole scene with a smile on his face as if he wasn’t the slightest bit worried.

    And the same went for Yeon-woo.

    He just waited until Jang had approached his side, and only then he began to make his move.

    Yeon-woo avoided the first swing of Jang’s sword by simply slightly crouching.

    And when he noticed the next swing coming from below, Yeon-woo dashed towards him until they were only an inch apart.

    Surprised by his sudden movement, Jang tried to back away, but Yeon-woo was quicker.

    Yeon-woo used one of his arms to grab Jang’s arm and twisted it, and his other arm to smack right into the center of his chest with his elbow.

    "Ook!"

    Jang’s arm broke with a snap, losing its grip on the sword. The impact on his chest shattered the centerpiece of his armor, causing his clothes to slowly become smudged with blood.

    But Yeon-woo did not stop there. Without a second of pause, he began to throw a series of punches at Jang’s face.

    Heavy thudding noises filled up the tournament hall.

    A mouthful of blood and a gurgling groan came out of Jang’s mouth each time he was hit.

    “Krrrk… Krrrrr….”

    And once Yeon-woo threw his last punch, Jang collapsed helplessly onto the ground.

    With blood dripping from every orifice of his face, he still tried to move his twitching muscles to get back up and fight Yeon-woo.

    He could not afford to collapse, at least not this futilely.

    He was a proud warrior of the One-horned tribe who was soon to be crowned king of his tribe. He couldn’t allow himself to submit to someone of a lowly race, and even from a lower floor.

    So Jang slowly raised his upper body and started to crawl towards his sword.

    But before he could touch his sword,

    Yeon-woo appeared in front of him, kicking his head one last time.

    Jang rolled across the ground several times before fainting.

    And just like that, the fight was finally over.

    Yeon-woo shook the dust off of his hands.

    People from the Baekseon family came running from the audience seats and quickly carried Jang out of the hall. They didn’t forget to throw a menacing glare at Yeon-woo before leaving.

    And then...

    The people in the tournament hall began to express their admiration.

    "He’s even better than I thought he’d be!"

    “Yeah, I gotta admit it, he’s pretty good.”

    "Did you see his moves? They were so restrained but very powerful. "

    "I think his skills were designed for practical use. I also want to learn those moves if I can.”

    "Now, no one can complain about his skills since we know he’s strong enough to overwhelm prince Jang."

    “I really want to spar with him now. Do you think he’ll accept my challenge?”

    Except for the people from the Baekseon family, none of the tribespeople seemed to care about Jang’s defeat.

    Rather, they were busy admiring Yeon-woo’s skills which allowed him to take down Jang without receiving a single injury.

    Yeon-woo once again turned towards the Martial King. He looked at him with his eyes asking if he was done.

    The Martial King answered with a satisfied nod.

    *   *   *

    When the people started to leave the tournament hall, Phante and Edora approached Yeon-woo.

    Edora thoroughly examined Yeon-woo to see if he wasn’t hurt, while Phante grumbled with pouting lips.

    "How did you get stronger again, you monster?”

    But Phante couldn’t stop the side of his lips from occasionally twitching. Watching Jang being beaten up had been so refreshing.

    At the same time, a heartwarming sensation filled his chest from the unfamiliar sense of brotherhood he felt.

    Phante wanted to thank Yeon-woo but he didn’t know how to.

    But Yeon-woo just patted him on the shoulder without saying a word.

    After spending about a minute with the two of them, Yeon-woo noticed the Martial King leaving the hall with the elders.

    "Give me a minute."

    Yeon-woo ran up to the Martial King and caught up to him before he could leave.

    The Martial King, noticing Yeon-woo approach, told the elders to head out first.

    "Anything I can help you with?."

    "I need your answer."

    "Of what?"

    The Martial King asked back with the smile of an old fox.

    Yeon-woo slightly creased his brows.

    He definitely knew what Yeon-woo was asking about. Only, Yeon-woo couldn’t tell whether he was joking or not willing to tell him.

    For a second, Yeon-woo thought of pretending he wasn’t responsible for Arangdan’s annihilation. But he soon shook off the idea knowing that his reaction had already blown his cover away.

    Seeing Yeon-woo lost in thoughts, the Martial King soon burst out laughing.

    "Okay, okay. Gee, you really don’t like jokes, do you?”

    The Martial King continued with a smile on his face.

    『So, you’re asking how I figured out about the incident between you and Arangdan, right?』

    Just like last time, the Martial King began to transmit his thoughts directly to Yeon-woo instead of speaking them out loud.

    "Yes, sir."

    『To tell you the truth, I didn’t figure it out by myself. Someone told me about it.』

    "And who could that be?"

    The Martial King answered with a broad smile.

    『Our Psychic Medium.』

    “…!”

    『Our Psychic Medium told me they received a divination sign, telling them there would be a new visitor in our village who had caused big trouble in The Tower.』

    “….”

    『So that got me thinking, what kind of ‘big trouble’ could they be talking about? Recently, there has been a couple of major incidents in The Tower. One was the annihilation of Arangdan, and the other one is obviously the war. Now, we know who caused the war, but we didn’t know who had destroyed Arangdan. So, I was able to conclude that whoever the new visitor was, it would be the culprit of that incident.』

    “….”

    Yeon-woo felt a terrible chill running down his spine.

    ‘I knew the Psychic Medium was great and all, but they can even do this?’

    Though he knew all sorts of mysterious things could happen in The Tower, the power of a Psychic Medium was something beyond his imagination.

    『Don't worry. I'm not telling anyone about this. Even if we're siding with Cheonghwado, it is only out of necessity. Above all else,'

    The Martial King continued with a sneer.

    『I’m not one those weaklings that sell information about others for their own safety, am I?』

    From that statement, Yeon-woo was able to catch a glimpse at the enormity of his ego.

    The pride that only an absolute being such as him could have.

    To him, Yeon-woo’s issue must have been no bigger than a novice killing a Kobold.

    In addition to knowing the reason, Yeon-woo was able to figure out another fact from this conversation.

    ‘He doesn’t know who I really am.'

    It didn’t seem like he knew about Yeon-woo’s revenge. If he knew, his reaction would have been different.

    ‘If he doesn’t figure out the relation between me and Jeong-woo, it doesn’t matter how much he finds out about me.’

    The Martial King then continued speaking.

    『The reason I brought this up was to see what kind of a person you are.』

    ‘And the Draconic Eyes say... he’s telling the truth.'

    But Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes discontentedly.

    ‘There's no lies. But is this really everything?'

    There were still many things he wanted to know, but it didn’t seem like he would get any more information out of him.

    But still, there was something that he could tell for certain.

    It was that the Martial King is expecting to see something from him. However, he would have to wait and see to figure out what it was.

    So he decided to ask a different question he had in mind.

    "...Okay, I understand. By the way, who's the third one out of the three you mentioned?”

    『All For One.』

    A name that was completely out of Yeon-woo’s expectations came out of the Martial King’s mouth.

    『As you might know, he's just sitting on his bum waiting at the highest floor any player has ever reached, looking down at every incident that takes place in The Tower as if he’s a god or something. But sadly, Neither I nor our Psychic Medium can come close to that lazy ass.』

    Yeon-woo nodded as he recalled the name of the skill he had read in the diary.

    ‘Clairvoyance.’

    His brother had mentioned in the diary that All For One could watch everything that was happening in The Tower with this skill. Because it allowed the user to take a peek at the very laws of causality of the physical world, or that was what his brother said.

    ‘Well, if the last one is AllforOne, there’s nothing I can ask.’

    Yeon-woo, thus threw one last question.

    "When are you planning to join Cheonghwado for the war?"

    Now that he had decided to enter the war, he had to be fully prepared.

    But the Martial King’s answer left Yeon-woo stunned in place.

    “In five days."