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Chapter 99 - One-horned tribe (9)

Second Life Ranker
     Chapter 99. One-horned tribe (9)

    "You want to learn Mugong?"

    Edora’s eyes widened in reaction to the unexpected request.

    Yeon-woo nodded calmly.

    However, even as he asked, he knew that his chances were low. Mugong was a technique unique to the One-horned tribe.

    His brother also stated in the diary that the One-horned tribe was very reluctant to pass their skills to outsiders. Numerous rankers tried to acquire Mugong, but barely any of them succeeded.

    Of course, there have been players who were granted skill tomes as a form of appreciation, such as those with close connections with the One-horned tribe or those who spent a long time helping the tribe as guests, but even for them, it was strictly prohibited to hand over the tomes to other people.

    For that reason, Edora couldn’t easily answer his request.

    After some time, Edora finally opened her mouth.

    "I'll ask father first thing in the morning, but I can’t say for sure if he will allow it."

    "Don’t worry too much about it. It's okay if he doesn’t."

    It was only after Yeon-woo answered with a nod that Edora let out a sigh of relief.

    ‘Because if not, I can still try to learn Mugong by myself.'

    Yeon-woo recalled the Hoho’unmujin.

    Thanks to his previous experience of escaping the Hoho’unmujin, Yeon-woo already understood the basic mechanisms behind Jinbup.

    The only reason why he hadn’t tried to apply it to his Magic Circuit was simply that there was a big difference between ‘understanding’ and ‘implementing’. It would not only take a long time but would also be accompanied by a fair share of risks.

    But if the Martial King refused to teach him Mugong, he would have to start by reconstructing his Magic Circuit.

    ‘I’ve got lots of examples to take note from.'

    He could find people with Mugong everywhere in this village. Using theirs as examples, he would be able to create a Mugong of his own.

    With those thoughts in mind, Yeon-woo licked his lips in anticipation.

    *   *   *

    "Cain wants to learn Mugong?"

    The Martial King closed the book he was reading and raised his chin to look at Edora with his eyes narrowed.

    "Huhu. I see someone is trying to win a boy’s favor.”

    A slight furrow formed between Edora’s brows, but knowing that she was the one who was asking for a favor, she put on a feigned smile.

    "He’s a possible candidate for the ‘Yin Sword’."

    "Oh, you have such a favorable view of him?"

    "Don’t pretend you don’t understand, father. I know you’re thinking the same as me.”

    Edora's eyes emitted a mysterious glow. It was Insight.

    The Martial King raised his hands in defeat, knowing that his lies couldn’t escape her eyes.

    "I wonder who brought you up."

    "Yeah, I sometimes ask myself the same question, father."

    "Haha, okay, okay."

    The Martial King burst into laughter.

    "You're right. Cain, that kid has great potential. And he has some guts too. I can see how he could hoard everything in the tutorial.”

    Most of the rankers had yet to pay attention to the appearance of the Hoarder, they regarded him as just one of many outstanding novices that appears every now and then.

    But unlike them, the Martial King knew fully well about Yeon-woo’s accomplishments.

    At first, the Martial King had one of his men investigate Yeon-woo just to see what kind of player his children were following behind.

    But as he went through Yeon-woo’s records, he realized that not a single thing he did was trivial.

    He joined the tutorial a week after it began, sped through it in only three weeks, triumphed over several outstanding rookies including his children, Kahn, Doyle, and Vyram, becoming the final winner of that round and single-handedly destroying Arangdan during that period.

    In addition to consuming the Neidan of Akasha’s Snake and breaking every single record up till this point, he also managed to breach their Hoho’unmujin.

    He had skills, intelligence, perseverance, but above all, charisma.

    He had the ability to become stronger, to become something greater.

    A player with such great talent was hard to find even among the One-horned tribe, so the Martial King wanted to keep him by his side. He wanted to take him as his disciple and have him marry his daughter.

    But there was a reason why he couldn't do as he wished. It was because of Yeon-woo's eyes.

    ‘His eyes… They aren’t the eyes of someone who can be tied to one place.'

    By staring into his eyes, the Martial King remembered someone from his memory. The one who he had to let go because they had bigger ambitions. The one who was now lost forever.

    This time, he didn’t want to miss it.

    But bonding wasn’t something that could be forced. However, fortunately for him, the opportunity presented itself.

    If that was the case, then it was worth a try.

    The Martial King smiled broadly.

    "Uhm… So, is that a yes?"

    "Nope."

    "Then..."

    "But under some conditions, yes"

    Then, the Martial King suddenly threw away his playful smile and began to speak in a serious tone.

    "Now, Edora."

    "...Yes."

    "You know the restrictions the successor of the Psychic Medium is under, right?”

    "Yes, father."

    "You are the only one who has achieved the long-cherished wish of our tribe, attaining Insight. And soon, you will be taking the seat of our tribe’s Psychic Medium. Once you do, every word you say and every decision you make will not be taken lightly, and there will be people who will want to challenge you. So now, I am going to put your decision to test. If you want Cain to learn Mugong, he will have to prove whether he is worthy of it or not."

    "I understand, father, and I am sure he will be able to pass with ease."

    Edora nodded gravely. Her eyes were filled with determination.

    The Martial King looked at his daughter with a sorrowful face.

    The Martial King felt sorry for his daughter. She, who had to learn how to be mature and responsible from a very early age because of her position, knowing that she would later have to bear a heavy responsibility on her shoulders and tread on a thorny path.

    *   *   *

    When the ceremony ended, Yeonwoo slowly walked along the path that Edora had signaled him.

    ‘I hope it works out.'

    He didn't have high hopes, but something about Martial King told him he wouldn’t refuse his request.

    ‘There’s something he wants from me.’

    Yeon-woo didn't know what exactly it was that the Martial King wanted. He just had a vague feeling that the Martial King would grant him what he wanted in return for it.

    ‘By the way.'

    Yeon-woo ran his hand down the chain and bracelet with his left hand. The metal felt surprisingly cold against the tips of his fingers.

    ‘Is this really made out of Divine Iron?'

    The words he heard Edora murmuring when she was examining the bracelet stuck in his mind ever since.

    Divine Iron.

    It was the material of the very sword that had hurt his brother in the past.

    Just by having a minimal amount of that material in it, the sword had been powerful enough to inflict his brother a mortal wound with a single stab of it.

    But if what Edora said was true, the bracelet he was wearing—no, the whole artifact was composed of that same Divine Iron.

    ‘This means that the Black King’s bindings were entirely made out of Divine Iron. But… If he was that strong, how come no one knows about him?'

    Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes as he brought the Black Bracelet close to his eyes. The light reflected against the surface of the chain shifted from different angles.

    I guess the only way to know who the Black King is is by collecting all the other parts.'

    Yeon-woo lowered his arm.

    For now, there was no point in agonizing over it.

    And just as Yeon-woo stopped thinking about the bracelet, he arrived at the annex located on the outskirts of the village.

    The room assigned to him was the second room on the third floor. He was going to unpack his baggage and get some rest and call it a day.

    However, when he opened the door to his room, a man was sitting on his bed with his legs crossed.

    It was the guy that had picked a fight with him back at the ceremony.

    ‘Brock, was it?’

    "Hey, new guy. What are you doing wandering around so late at night?”

    The concept of ‘guest’ of the One-horned tribe was a bit unique. Although the One-horned tribe was notorious for being very reserved, their village wasn’t completely closed off to outsiders. Once in a while, they would let ‘guests’ into their village.

    But of course, there was a certain standard to become a guest. It was whether or not they would be beneficial to the development of the One-horned tribe.

    If an outsider had something their tribe could learn from, they rather welcomed them into the village.

    In other words, if someone was staying as a guest inside this village, it meant that the player had at least one area in which they had considerable expertise.

    In that sense, Brock must be an expert too.

    But in Yeon-woo’s eyes, Brock was just a pretentious, unremarkable, and incompetent idiot.

    Of course, it might be different when it came to his area of expertise, but Yeon-woo just did not care.

    ‘I don’t want to bother with his antics anymore.’

    Yeon-woo slowly walked up to Brock without saying a word.

    "Wh, what are you...?”

    Brock hurriedly brought his hand to his halberd’s shaft.

    Yeon-woo raised his fist high and,

    *   *   *

    In one corner of the room, Brock was kneeling with his two arms raised in the air.

    He had bruises on both sides of his eyes like a panda, and his face was covered in tears and snot.

    "I, I’m… sorry….”

    It seemed like he couldn’t speak properly with his two front teeth broken.

    After having Brock kneel for another minute, Yeon-woo ordered him to explain why he’d been trying to get on his nerves.

    As expected, he confessed that he got a request from the Baekseon family to avenge Jang. Not just that, but he said that he was planning to put Yeon-woo under him and order him around like a servant. Other than that, he didn’t have anything in mind.

    Feeling tired, Yeon-woo kicked him out of his room and went to bed right away.

    The next morning, Yeon-woo got up from his bed and walked out of the room as soon as the sun rose.

    On the first floor, Brock was mopping the floor of the lobby area.

    He looked rather miserable trying to wipe a smudge off of the floor with his eyes still black and blue from the last night’s incident.

    It seemed like he had been doing this kind of chores for some time. He must have thought he could be free of those chores now that a new guy was here, but it didn’t go as planned.

    A little further down, there was a dining room directly connected to the lobby area.

    The first thing he saw was a variety of breakfast dishes laid on top of a large table.

    And as he shifted his gaze to the inner side of the room, Yeon-woo was able to find a few of the guests sitting on a stool at the bar counter.

    There was one busy having breakfast, another enjoying a cup of coffee, and the other two chatting with each other.

    Interestingly, the guests in the dining room were all from different races.

    ‘An Elf, an Anthromorph... and is that a Halfling?'

    Yeon-woo even recognized a couple of them from his brother’s diary. The coffee-drinking sorcerer and the endlessly-chattering Halfling.

    ‘Those are Travia and Sylon.'

    They were famous rankers known as the ‘Electro Master’ and the ‘Chanting Hammer’. Both of them had disappeared back when Arthia was still thriving.

    People had been wondering where they had gone, and it seemed like they had been in this village all along.

    When Yeon-woo began to walk down the stairs, all of those in the dining room paused and looked towards Yeon-woo. All sorts of emotions seemed to cross their eyes.

    But Yeon-woo ignored their gazes and walked down to the lobby. He wasn’t going to make friends with them anyway.

    "Oh, h, hello. D, did you have a good sleep last night?"

    Brock stammered out a greeting as he moved out of Yeon-woo’s way.

    Yeon-woo, ignoring him, grabbed a piece of bread from the dining room and left the building right away.

    "Good morning, Oraboni.”

    Edora was waiting for him outside.

    "So, how did it go?"

    "Hmph, is that the first thing that comes to your mind when you see me?”

    Edora pouted with a disappointed look but soon broke into a pretty smile.

    "It went pretty well. He even gave you permission to enter the bronze-tier Skill Archive."

    "Skill Archive?"

    "Basically, it’s a library where we keep the tomes of all Mugongs we have ever created."

    “…!”

    Yeon-woo unknowingly clenched his fist.

    He could see that King Mu cared much more for him than I had thought.

    "The Skill Archive is divided into four categories based on the power of the Mugong they contain, and they are rated as iron, bronze, silver, and gold. We don’t usually allow outsiders into the bronze-tier archive and above, but…”

    A grin spread across her face.

    "Our father seems to care a lot about you, Oraboni. Even our elders unanimously approved that decision. They said they were glad that they could finally give you something in return.“

    The image of the Martial King came into Yeon-woo’s mind.

    ‘I really want to know what he’s planning.’

    "But..."

    “But?”

    "He attached a condition.”

    "Condition?"

    Edora nodded with a distressed look.

    ‘Father ordered you to study the skill tomes and find enlightenment by yourself, without the help of other people. And he said there will be a test after four days....”

    Edora’s voice got lower as she finished her sentence.

    Mugong was not a skill that could be easily taught. It was a skill created to suit the people of the One-horned tribe. Moreover, the way Mugong used mana was different from the typical way of using mana in The Tower. Therefore, Mugong was not something that one could learn by oneself. However, the Martial King specifically prohibited him from getting other people’s help.

    "But if you pass the test, father has promised that he will teach you Mugong during the period of war."

    “…!”

    [Sudden Quest / Martial King's Test]

    Description: The king of the One-horned tribe, Nayu, sees great potential in you and wishes to test you. Teach yourself a new way to use your Mana Circuit by ‘creating’ your own Mugong.

    Time limit: 4 days

    Rewards:

    1. Lessons from the Martial King

    2. ‘Eight Extremes Fist’ Skill Tome [1]

    3. The right to inherit ‘Yin Sword’ + ???

    [1] Palgukkwon / Baji Quan / Rake Fist / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bajiquan