Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 17
Suruhtra stared at the tip of YuWon’s sword.
Maybe it was due to its fiery anger, but the Skulls that Suruhtra commanded stopped moving.
“ᐷ ‘You’ll defeat me,’ you say…”
The crimson skies shook from its anger. The ground became even hotter, scorching flames rising violently from the crevices.
Although it still had a ways to go until it was as powerful as it was during Ragnarök, Suruhtra was still a Demon and a descendant of a Giant. It was the power that Suruhtra—the one to lead the Annihilation of this world—possessed.
“ᐷ Such arrogant and impudent words.”
Despite overflowing with anger, Suruhtra did not descend from its throne. Instead, it continued to look down at YuWon while resting its chin on its hand.
“ᐷ Say that after you have managed to reach me, foolish human.”
The Skull Demons started to move again. Suruhtra managed to cool its anger and continue controlling its servants.
YuWon scratched his head, knowing that this would be the case. There was no way Suruhtra would move from such light provocation.
“It really doesn’t like getting off its ass, does it?”
Suruhtra was one of the rare Demons that knew how to control its anger.
It was the 176th child of Surtr. Surtr’s children were weaker the higher their number, so Suruhtra wasn’t all that strong. However, it still came to be known as a dangerous Demon because of one single reason. It had an extremely cautious personality. It only ever appeared in battles it knew it could win and never once picked a fight it might lose.
“ᐷ Let’s see how much longer you can last.”
And today, it was being just as cautious as ever. Maybe it was because of the 「Pyromancy Robe,」 but Suruhtra deemed YuWon to be tricky to handle.
YuWon had no choice now but to get close to Suruhtra itself.
“You’re all talk, aren’t you?”
YuWon started rotating his ankles while staring at the giant horde of Skulls.
YuWon jumped high into the center of the horde.
YuWon spun. Creating momentum at the end of his sword, he swung it around as if he was a Beyblade:trade_mark:.
In an instant, six Skulls were cut down.
A flurry of explosions followed, and a thick smoke once again enveloped YuWon.
From within the smoke, YuWon jumped out while holding a huge shield.
The 「Magic Nullification Shield.」 It had excellent magic resistance and cost a whopping 20,000 points. It was one of the items YuWon purchased specifically to protect himself in this fight.
Luckily, the Skulls’ explosions weren’t all that lethal. Or rather, they normally would have been, but the items that YuWon purchased were highly effective at protecting him.
However, just like how you can get drenched if you stand out in a drizzle long enough, damage will eventually rack up over an extended fight, which is why YuWon needed more than just the 「Pyromancy Robe」 to protect himself.
[You leveled up.]
[Dexterity increased by 1.]
[Constitution increased by 1.]
[Arcane Power increased by 1.]
YuWon thought that was always a delightful message to hear. After fighting for two hours, he had already leveled up three times, and the distribution of stats weren’t so bad either. Constitution, which was an essential stat at the moment, and Arcane Power, the hardest stat to raise, both increased.
Since Skulls were a much higher tier monster than anything you could normally encounter during the Tutorial, it was unsurprising that they gave a lot of EXP.
YuWon let out a deep sigh. Thanks to the increase in Constitution, it relieved a bit of the tension in his lungs, but he still felt a bit cooked from breathing in nothing but hot air for two hours.
Though Skulls didn’t have that strong of an attack, their post-death explosions were problematic, not because they dealt a lot of damage, but because they were unavoidable.
‘Without a ranged attack, I have no choice but to take their explosions head on.’
YuWon was the kind of guy that liked to jump in and fight in the center of the battle. He did have [Mana Blast] in his arsenal, but that skill required too much mana. It wasn’t a viable strategy for prolonged combat.
‘As for my shield…’
A chip started to form in the 「Magic Nullification Shield.」 It was at a point where it required maintenance.
‘It’s starting to reach its limit.’
YuWon had killed almost a thousand Skulls in the past two hours. It wasn’t surprising that the shield was reaching its breaking point after taking all those explosions.
While looking at the greatly thinned horde of Skulls, YuWon talked to Suruhtra for the first time in two hours.
“Why don’t you come on down already? And let these small fry go home.”
YuWon’s words made the red vein on Suruhtra’s forehead convulse. YuWon had gotten pretty close to Suruhtra, to the point that he could reach Suruhtra whenever he felt like it.
Suruhtra finally stopped resting its chin on its arm and got up.
“ᐷ They truly are… amazing items.”
Suruhtra suddenly jumped up. And in a flash, Suruhtra’s giant body landed directly in front of YuWon.
The ground shook. After descending from its throne, Suruhtra swung its gigantic sword up onto its shoulder.
“ᐷ I’m honestly quite curious how you were able to get ahold of such items in the Tutorial.”
Facing Suruhtra up close, YuWon felt a far greater pressure than he had been experiencing. Suruhtra broiled the already hot air, to the point that it penetrated the heat resistance of the「Pyromancy Robe.」 It was as expected of Surtr’s child.
“What about you? Shouldn’t you feel ashamed for going on a rampage in the Tutorial?”
“ᐷ It is simply a punishment for those who are not worthy. I do find it odd, though.”
Suruhtra pointed its gigantic sword at YuWon.
“ᐷ You are worthy. You have what it takes to climb the expansive Tower and become a Ranker. So why are you here? Did you perhaps sacrifice yourself for a comrade?”
“Didn’t I tell you already?” YuWon said while picking his ear, annoyed by how loud Suruhtra was. “I’m going to defeat you.”
“ᐷ You’ll defeat me?”
Suruhtra erupted into laughter.
“ᐷ Haha! Hahahaha! I see. Well then, it’s only right that I face you.”
Suruhtra raised its giant sword to the sky. YuWon looked up at the sword. The sword enveloped in Demon fire looked hot enough to burn everything in the world to ashes.
‘This will be it.’
YuWon clenched his teeth and held up his shield. He had already accumulated enough fiery aura inside his body and was ready for everything to be over.
As Suruhtra’s sword started descending, the 「Magic Nullification Shield」 started displaying more fractures.
The shield broke, and Suruhtra’s flaming sword landed directly on YuWon, crushing him into the ground. YuWon tensed his body to try and endure it, but the ground underneath him started to give. Unable to stand the pressure, the ground eventually caved in.
Rumble, crash, crumble—
In the middle of Hongdae, a giant hole was created.
* * *
YuWon and Son OhGong were never really all that close. As a battle maniac, Son OhGong constantly nagged YuWon to fight him. Son OhGong’s reason was quite simple—because it was fun.
YuWon found Son OhGong annoying because of that. He wouldn’t stop pestering YuWon for a fight when YuWon didn’t enjoy fighting all that much in the first place.
Still, Son OhGong was a great opponent for YuWon. He had a true talent for fighting, and he taught YuWon his knowledge and techniques. He was frankly more of a master than a friend. And among his teachings…
“Yeah. I can’t beat you because of ‘em.”
“Your Sensory Field is a cheat ability as well.”
“But it’s still nothing compared to your eyes.”
YuWon repeatedly lost against Son OhGong. After hundreds of fights, YuWon had only managed to beat Son OhGong a couple of times. There were a few reasons for that: 「Ruyi Jingu,」 the staff capable of extending infinitely; 「Flying Nimbus,」 the first cloud to ever come into existence, capable of raining down thunder and reaching the ends of space with its speed; and the infinite amount of Arcane Power he had gained by eating all the peaches of immortality in the Heavenly Peach Garden, a treasure of the Heavenly Realm.
However, none of them were the main reason why Son OhGong was so hard to fight against. It was his eyes, the [Golden Cinder Eyes.]
“How I got these?”
YuWon once asked Son OhGong. He had to know in case he ever needed to return to the past to escape from the war.
“It was quite unusual. Do you remember the Tutorial?”
“Yeah, I failed that one.”
That was a surprise. Son OhGong of all people failed the 3rd Tutorial? He had unparalleled talent for fighting. There’s no way he would have failed the Tutorial because he couldn’t gather a measly 50 essence.
“Well, there’s a reason why I failed, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is what came after.”
“Do you know what the ‘Annihilation’ that came to the Tutorial was?”
There was no way YuWon knew. Actually, almost no one knew. No one else around had failed the 3rd Tutorial, especially since failing the Tutorial signified death. So it was a very interesting story.
YuWon silently stared at Son OhGong, signaling him to go on.
Enjoying YuWon’s company, Son OhGong smirked as he continued talking, “Okay, listen closely. These eyes were…”
* * *
The ground caved in from the flames of the sword.
Suruhtra looked down into the hole created by the Flame Sword.
The hole was smoldering with crimson fire. This fire would never die, unless Suruhtra ran out of power. Suruhtra thought that no matter how great the items he possessed were, YuWon should have either died or at least been gravely injured.
“ᐷ … How odd.”
It appeared to Suruhtra that YuWon purposely took the attack instead of dodging it. But why did YuWon purposely take on the hellfire? Suruhtra pondered while looking down into the depth of the crater.
At that moment…
From within the fiery pit…
YuWon slowly walked out, his body scorched black.
“… I thought I’d die from how hot it was.”
While breathing out the fiery aura built up in his body, YuWon stared back at Suruhtra. And when their eyes locked, Suruhtra’s eyes widened.
“ᐷ You—your eyes…”
His irises had turned scarlet.
The eyes capable of observing and seeing through all of creation. The second stage of the [Golden Cinder Eyes.] The power of the Great God, “The Great Sage, Heaven’s Equal.”
[You have fulfilled the conditions for the hidden piece.*]
*TL/N: Hidden piece means a hidden part of the system. It’s a Korean video game term for hidden elements such as items and skills that actually affect the game. In this context, they are hidden secrets that affect the Tower’s system.
[Monkey’s Eyes will evolve.]
[You have obtained Cinder Eyes.]
The Great God’s power had now descended into YuWon’s eyes.
“Now… Why don’t we get started?”