Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 45
After exiting the workshop, YuWon turned around and looked back at the door.
There was no farewell. It was just the way Hephaestus did things. Before, YuWon thought he was just an unsentimental and cranky old man. However, he eventually found out that wasn’t the case.
‘Then or now, he really is the same.’
Hephaestus was a friend he hadn’t seen in a long time. And for YuWon, who had come to the past all alone, meeting a younger Hephaestus was a truly enjoyable time.
He was suddenly reminded of past encounters with Hephaestus.
“I lost my sword.”
“Really? Well I guess I have to make you a new one.”
When the fight with the Outer Gods was nearing its end, Hephaestus created a new weapon for YuWon when he had returned empty-handed.
Forget adamantium or mythril, the greatest metals, the world had become a place where even iron ore was hard to obtain. So YuWon wondered what weapon Hephaestus could possibly have made him.
“Ahjussi, this is…”
Hephaestus had made him a far better weapon than the one YuWon had previously owned.
He wondered where Hephaestus had gotten the materials from.
The sword Hephaestus handed him was made from adamantium, and from what YuWon knew, there was a very small, limited amount of adamantium left in the world nearing the Apocalypse. And this adamantium was…
“Did you melt your hammer?”
Hephaestus’s hand had been wrapped with thick bandages.
YuWon could immediately tell how he got injured. After melting down his hammer for materials, he had used his fist as a hammer to forge YuWon a new sword.
YuWon asked why he did that, and his response was as typical of him as ever.
“Don’t nag me and just take it already. I’m tired.”
It was a hammer he had spent his life with. After becoming a Ranker, he never put his hammer down, becoming a blacksmith recognized not just in Olympus, but in the whole Tower.
Hephaestus had melted down that hammer to make a new sword for YuWon.
That was how YuWon came to know Hephaestus’s true personality.
YuWon tightly grasped the handle of the sword at his waist.
Out of melancholy, he had a hard time leaving, but he quickly snapped out of it. YuWon bowed his head towards Hephaestus’s workshop.
“Thank you for everything.”
* * *
There were many types of tests inside the Tower. From individual tests where you had to complete a specific mission, to group tests where you had to complete a specific mission with others, and scenario tests where you had to find the answer within a specific story created by the Tower.
The test on the 1st Floor was always identical.
“Name, Kim YuWon. A new player that entered the 1st Floor twelve days ago.”
A beautiful Elf lady with straight black hair that reached her hips checked YuWon’s information on her player kit while biting a huge piece of chocolate.
“He set a historic new record in the Tutorial, and his potential is rated as S-rank…”
Shuri was a Ranker that was currently ranked in the top 10,000.
She smiled while looking at YuWon’s picture on her player kit.
“There’s quite a few good newbies this time around.”
Not too long ago, she had managed to meet a player that was a feast for the eyes, which was something she hadn’t experienced in a while.
It was a Pure-Blood from Olympus, a direct descendent of the Ruler of the Skies.
‘That Hargaan was only second place.’
Descendents of Olympus were the center of attention in every Tutorial. And the son of the Ruler of the Skies was rumored to be talented to the point that many Rankers had already set their eyes on him.
So Shuri couldn’t help but become interested in YuWon after she had presumed that Hargaan was going to be first in the Tutorial.
In the 1st Floor testing center, YuWon was the only one standing in the middle of the massive Colosseum.
‘For him to participate in the test alone…’ Shuri thought.
Most players didn’t participate in tests alone, but formed a ‘team’ with people of a similar skill level. The reason for this was simple. It came down to efficiency and the level of difficulty.
Ten players with a variety of skills had the power equivalent of twenty or even thirty people. So a team with a good composition would have a much easier time with the test than a player that was by themselves.
‘There’s only one reason why he would participate alone,’ Shuri thought while looking down at YuWon. She leaned on the arm of her chair, chin on her hand.
“So he thinks there’s no one who can rival him on this floor.”
It was a truly arrogant decision, but Shuri didn’t think it was a foolish decision. In fact, she thought it was very wise.
* * *
* * *
The stage that represented the 1st Floor, the Colosseum, was the stage where the 1st Floor’s test was held regularly. It was also famous for being unbreakable. The Colosseum’ structure was so durable that sometimes Rankers would come all the way down to the 1st Floor to duel.
‘I like that this test is pretty straightforward.’
YuWon unsheathed his new sword, 「Edge of Nightfall.」
The purpose of the 1st Floor’s test was to check if one had the power to take down chosen opponents.
For YuWon, it was already a certainty that he would pass this test.
So the crux was…
‘Was the highest record Son OhGong’s?’
[1st : Son OhGong – Round 19]
[2nd : Hercules – Round 18]
[2nd : Odin – Round 18]
[4th : Asura – Round 17]
[4th : …]
After checking the Colosseum rankings, YuWon shook his head, seeing Son OhGong’s ranking. It was far above his original one.
‘My previous record was round 12. I think it was a Dullahan that I faced?’
There was no end to the Colosseum test. Well, to be more accurate, no one had ever seen the end.
When you defeated an enemy, the next appeared, and when you defeated that one, a subsequent enemy appeared, and so on. It was an unending stream of enemies.
Luckily, you could give up in the middle, or you could move onto the next floor as long as you defeated the first enemy.
But since you could obtain a better reward the more opponents you defeated, players that aimed to become Rankers pushed themselves, rechallenging the Colosseum until they hit their limit.
[12th: Hargaan – Round 16]
YuWon spotted a familiar name.
Hargaan probably sent his teammates up first while he continued to rechallenge the Colosseum.
‘That’s a pretty high record.’
Round 16 was a record that rivaled the top 100 rankers.
‘Did he manage to get a higher ranking thanks to the King’s Lightning Glove? He’ll end up making his way up much faster than I anticipated.’
YuWon already verified Hargaan’s skill during the Tutorial and in the fight against the Jackals. He actually possessed the qualities necessary to one day stand at the top of the Tower and become the King of Olympus. And on top of that, thanks to his encounter with YuWon, he even ended up obtaining the 「King’s Lightning Glove,」 an item worth tens of thousands of points.
It was like a tiger had been gifted wings. And this also applied to Hargaan’s teammates as well.
‘I guess I’ll be hearing news of him soon enough.’
Hargaan started climbing the Tower before YuWon. YuWon was curious what floor he might be on by now.
‘I’ll see you soon enough.’
[THE TEST WILL NOW START.]
[PLEASE DEFEAT YOUR OPPONENT.]
With the message, a door on the opposite end of the Colosseum opened up.
A tall Orc wearing heavy armor and wielding a glaive stepped out.
The first trial of the 1st Floor Colosseum was an Orc Warrior.
Over two meters tall, it was a beefy, shredded monster. It was completely different from ordinary Orcs that were mostly just fat. Not only was it much bigger in size, it’s body was like that of a well-trained soldier.
The 1st Floor Colosseum was a test designed to measure one’s capabilities as a warrior with the Orc Warrior.
The Orc Warrior spotted YuWon.
YuWon was already approaching the Orc Warrior, wielding 「Edge of Nightfall,」 which he had already prepared earlier.
Seeing the sword in YuWon’s hand, the Orc Warrior displayed its bloodthirst.
Around YuWon’s sword, mana that emitted a black light started gathering.
And in a flash, YuWon’s sword vertically passed through the Orc Warrior’s body.
A gentle cutting sound.
The Orc Warrior’s body was sliced in half, including its armor.
The Orc Warrior’s corpse dropped to the ground, and the glaive that it tried to swing at YuWon ended up getting buried in the dust.
[Heaven-Slaying Star’s completion rate increased by 0.008%.]
[You have passed the test of the 1st Floor.]
[Would you like to challenge the next trial?]
[Would you like to move onto the next floor?]
A message popped up for YuWon.
With that, the 1st Floor’s test was over. For any player with the skills to defeat an Orc Warrior, the 1st Floor’s test was merely a checkpoint that they had to go through. But the true value of the 1st Floor’s test was elsewhere.
[You have chosen to challenge the next trial.]
[STARTING THE 2ND TRIAL.]
The Orc Warrior’s corpse turned into black dust and disappeared.
Soon after, the door that the Orc Warrior came out of opened again.
The sound of heavy footsteps.
The second trial of the Colosseum consisted of two Warrior Orcs. The trial had become twice as hard.
However, YuWon was already at the door.
A black line was drawn across the Orc Warriors’ bodies.
The two Orcs’ heads were cut off, splattering blood everywhere.
[Heaven-Slaying Star’s completion rate increased by 0.016%.]
[You have passed the 2nd trial.]
[Would you like to challenge the next trial?]
[Would you like to move onto the next floor?]
While looking at the entrance of the Colosseum, YuWon replied to the message, “Challenge.”
* * *
At a certain point, Shuri, who was spectating the test, couldn’t keep her mouth closed.
When she first saw YuWon cut down the Orc Warrior, she wasn’t all that impressed. When YuWon cut down two more Orc Warriors, she thought that was plenty doable, since that was something that even Hargaan had done easily.
However, as he passed the third and fourth trials… With every round that YuWon completed, Shuri finally realized what she was seeing.
Her eyes had widened, and without even realizing, she had gotten up from her seat.
“… A historic moment?”
Within the Tower’s seemingly infinite history, Shuri had been the test examiner at the Colosseum for thousands of years. And in her memories, there was a single person she remembered as the greatest participant.
‘He’s even faster than Son OhGong.’
It was the one who went by the title of “The Great Sage, Heaven’s Equal,” also known as the “Victorious Fighting Buddha,” the High Ranker Son OhGong.
He was the man who had set the highest record in the 1st Floor test. And right now, YuWon was clearing the trials of the Colosseum at a faster rate than the great Son OhGong.
YuWon crashed into the center of the Colosseum.
The ninth trial, a horde of armored Skeletons fell over like bowling pins. And just like that, another trial was easily cleared.
YuWon had yet to even use a proper skill. Since he was fighting without rest, he was carefully managing his stamina and mana.
‘He’s not even cornered by the trial right in front of him.’
She was sure of it.
‘He’s looking much farther ahead.’
YuWon was fighting against the great beings of the Tower. He was trying to surpass the records set by the High Rankers.
And so, YuWon had reached the tenth trial.