Chapter 3. Tutorial (1)
Whoever desires to become a god, climb up The Tower!
* * *
[You have now arrived at floor 0, The Tutorial Hall.]
Yeon-woo frowned due to the bright light that pierced his eyes.
His eyes were tingling and his vision was shaking violently. He felt dizzy as if he was going through a high-altitude flight.
[Your trait ‘Cold-blooded’ has helped you maintain composure]
He felt something wriggling inside his body, holding the previously spinning world straight. The motion sickness soon subsided.
Yeon-woo was able to look around more comfortably.
He found himself in a passage that ran all the way in a straight line.
The walls were made of hard stone, and the ceiling was studded with stones emitting light at regular intervals.
But overall, the light was too dim, so he could only see things two meters ahead.
Beyond that was all darkness.
‘I’m really in’
Yeon-woo clenched his fists. It was the same scenery he saw from the diary.
The Tower serves both as a gateway and as a trial to test the participants that wish to become a god. Naturally, The Tower refuses to accept anybody and everybody, so the trial takers have to prove themselves worthy.
The place to test such qualifications is the tutorial, often called ‘floor 0’.
‘Beyond this place, are the people who hurt Jeong-woo.’
Yeon-woo that, just by closing his eyes, he could recall the numerous scenes he had seen in the diary, the ones who had betrayed his brother and drove him to death.
But he didn’t get agitated. He kept his head as cool as he could.
‘Just wait a little. I’ll be there soon.’
To enter the tower, the first thing he had to do was to pass the tutorial with a high score.
It couldn’t just be a high score.
‘An overwhelmingly high score. I have to take the first place.’
Of course, it wasn’t going to be easy.
The Tower is connected to numerous dimensions, spaces and worlds, and among them, only those who are highly capable have the chance to participate as players.
Yeon-woo could also be considered strong if only looking at his planet Earth.
But the universe was infinitely wide, and so were the strong.
Yeon-woo, who had focused only on physical abilities and instinctive senses, had many weak points compared to the already existing players. If he tried to get through the tutorial like this, he would be dead without even being able to take a few steps.
‘The tutorial, at the same time, is a place where I can obtain that kind of qualification.’
His brother have had a very weak body before climbing the tower. Nevertheless, he proved himself by passing the tutorial, and ended up achieving the incredible feat of reaching sixth place in the rankings within the shortest amount of time ever.
The tutorial isn’t just a test for physical abilities. It tests various aspects such as players’ talent, judgement, agility, resourcefulness, and decisiveness. It summed up the results, and rated the players.
Naturally, there’s always have been a number of deaths in the process.
No, most of them had been overconfident in the little capabilities they had and rushed into the tutorial, only to end up dead.
Fortunately, Yeon-woo was aware of the dangers of the tutorial. And he was also aware of the value this place had.
‘Hidden pieces can be found everywhere. I have to gather as many of these as possible to finalize the incomplete succession.’
At present, Incomplete Dragon Body (5%) was displayed on Yeon-woo’s status window.
His brother’s achievements(業) had not been completely passed onto him yet. Yeon-woo intended to refine his vessel as much as possible in order to replace the word ‘incomplete’ with ‘complete’.
‘To make my vessel as complete as possible. Let’s focus on that for now.’
After organizing his thoughts, Yeon-woo then quietly took out a white mask from his bag and put it on his face.
He would have to face a lot of people, so he covered his face in advance. Yeon-woo then slowly walked forward along the passage.
* * *
Who knew for how long had he been walking.
In that moment,
“Ohyohyohyo. A guest at a time like this. I almost missed you and let you go.”
Suddenly, as a blue glow flashed in the air, a portal opened up, and someone dropped down from it.
In an instant, Yeon-woo instinctively stepped back and took a combat stance with two daggers held crossed in front of him.
It was because the appearance of the sudden intruder was too strange.
A small stature that looked like only reached his waistline. Its skin was full of bumps and looked scabrous, its eyes were long and slanted. In particular, the glistening fangs that came out over its thick lips, piercing all the way through his mouth, stood out.
The mere sight of it filled him with disgust.
It was a creature called goblin.
However, it gave Yeon-woo a very different impression from the normal goblins he saw in the diary.
Unlike the normal goblin which usually has low intelligence and is only faithful to its instinct, the goblin in front of his eyes was wearing a strange monocle on one eye and a smart looking tuxedo.
His well mannered behavior gave off a dignified atmosphere.
“No matter how broad-minded I am, if you act like that, it does hurt my feelings. So why don’t you put down your daggers?”
Contrary to his words, the goblin was smiling delightedly and winking one eye.
Only then did Yeon-woo seem to realize what the goblin before his eyes was.
Those who manage and oversee each floor and trial in The Tower.
“Greetings. I am the guardian of the floor 0, Yvlke. Meeting like this is also destiny, why don’t you give ourselves a round of applause? Ohyohyohyo.”
Yeon-woo lowered the two daggers.
The guardians belong to The Tower and lead the players throughout the trials. There was no reason to keep his guard up against him.
“Ho, you believe me?”
“That’s because it’s good to keep the guardian’s advice in mind even if it sounds like a trivial thing.”
“Oh my. I guess you know about us a little. Since you were wearing a mask, I thought you were just shy. Anyway, it should be much easier to talk now.”
Yvlke began explaining with some light jokes.
“The tutorial is divided into seven sections, from A to F. Each section has a different environment, and a different challenge. You will be given scores depending on how you perform these challenges over a given period of time. At the end of the tutorial, all the scores will be added up and the results will be announced.”
Yeon-woo was already roughly aware of the rules thanks to the diary.
However, in order to avoid attracting too much attention from the guardian, and to confirm the rules he knew, he asked some questions.
“Do I have to pass all 7 sections?”
“Not exactly. The tutorial is a place where you simply need to prove you possess the minimum qualifications. If you think your score is already high enough, you can simply stop there, but it’ll be good to pass every trial to get a higher score.”
“What are the benefits of getting a higher score?”
“Players are given better rewards in proportion to their score. Shouldn’t there be some motivation for players to get better results? The Tower and us guardians are very thorough in regard to that. Ohyohyohyo.”
“How long does the tutorial last?”
“Players are given 30 days, one month. How you divide the time you spend in each section depends solely on the player. However,”
Yvlke smiled as he adjusted his monocle.
“It’s been around a week since this round started. There’s only about three weeks left of it. What do you want to do? Will you join in from the next round?”
It’s only been a week may sound like something simple. However, a week in the tutorial was by no means a short time.
A period of time equal to one-fourth of the whole tutorial.
‘During that first week, the front runners must have already run far ahead. To a point where latecomers could never catch up.’
The higher the score, the better the reward. It also increases the probability of passing the tutorial.
For Yeonwoo, who was planning to achieve a lot within the tutorial, this was a very unfavorable start.
‘That’s what I expected anyway.’
A slight smile rose from Yeon-woo’s lips.
Not caring about his reaction, Yvlke went on explaining.
“Although this place is called the tutorial, it’s still quite difficult. Normally, when passing through a section, we advise players to organize a party with at least three to five people. That way, players can proceed smoothly.”
“That means I get a higher score if I pass a section alone, right?”
“Yes, but it will be much harder.”
“If a late solo player catches up with the leading parties, do they get any benefit from that?”
Yvlke’s eyes shone behind his monocle.
He realized what Yeon-woo was thinking.
He gave off a broad smile, which made his fangs stand out even more.
“The Tower grows based on players’ achievements(業). The score calculation will be adjusted accordingly to the player’s individual achievements, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
After he finished confirming, Yeon-woo started to lightly warm up.
‘No matter what, I must kill ‘that guy’. If I miss him, it will mess up the whole plan.”
Yeonwoo recalled the biggest of the hidden pieces that could only be obtained within the tutorial.
The guy who only appears during certain period of time.
Only by killing him, would the succession process become much easier.
His muscles began to tighten, his blood began to circulate faster, and his mind became lucid.
Yvlke took a step back.
He had already noticed that Yeon-woo wouldn’t listen any more to his advice.
There had been players like him before, and in the end they were one of two kinds.
The ones that were too confident in their abilities, rushed forward and got fucked, or the ones that were truly a sight to behold.
Whatever it was, Yvlke thought it would be fun to watch, so he did not stop Yeon-woo.
“If that’s what you want.”
Yvlke lightly flicked his fingers, creating a huge panel in the air.
[Beginning the trial of floor 0.]
[Trial: You, a participant who aims to become a god, must prove yourself worthy of climbing The Tower. During the given time, pass through 7 gates and 7 challenges.]
[Requirements: achieve a high score within the time limit.]
“Let the trial begin.”
Yvlke said goodbye with a dignified look as he disappeared like the wind.
Then, a timer appeared in his place.
‘There’s about 22 days and 21 hours remaining?’
Yeon-woo clenched his dagger and stepped forward.
‘Let’s do this.’
A new message popped up as he crossed the line that seemed to divide the starting zone from Section A.
[You have entered Section A]
[Either break through or deactivate all the traps in this section]
A straight passage.
He felt like the darkness was beckoning him to go that way.
Yeonwoo carefully took a step forward, keeping his nerves on edge.
But although he kept his guard up, nothing happened even after a considerable amount of time.
As if nothing ever existed.
An ordinary person would have relaxed a bit by now, but the further in Yeon-woo went, the more alert he became.
Yvlke said it would be easy to pass through as long as players formed a party of 3~5 people.
If that was correct, he shouldn’t underestimate this place.
Above all, danger comes without any notice. And when it comes, it always wipes out everything like a raging storm.
Like right now.
Out of nowhere, an arrow shot across the darkness.
Yeon-woo instinctively turned his body aside.
The arrow brushed past his left forearm. He could feel a scorching pain. Blood splashed as his clothes were torn.
‘A steel arrow!’
He came back to his senses. Yeon-woo frowned while looking at the arrow that was deeply embedded into the wall.
The arrow was not made out of wood, but steel.
His arm would have been torn off if he had allowed that arrow to hit him. If it had hit his head or abdomen it would have been deadly.
The diary had warned him about the various traps in Section A.
However, the location of each trap was different each time and they were randomly activated, so his brother’s experience wasn’t of much help.
All he could do was staying alert and dodge his way through.
*Swish* *Swish* *Swish*
Steel arrows flew towards him in succession, all from different directions.
It was impossible to track them with the naked eye.
Yeon-woo crouched low and rolled forward. At the same time, he grabbed onto the backpack he was carrying on his back.
Because it was thick, filled with clothes and various tools inside, it was useful as a cover.
He had brought it for this purpose in the first place.
*Puck* *Puck* *Puck*
Three steel arrows stuck into his backpack.
The impact was so strong that he felt as if his arm was coming off each time an arrow hit his backpack. Two of them even pierced through the backpack and poked out as if shyly showing their faces.
He somehow managed to straighten himself up and stuck closely to a wall.
In a situation where he didn’t know where he was being sniped from, he had to reduce his physical exposure as much as possible. It was a rule he had learned the hard way.
Some traps seemed to have been installed not only at the front, but also at the back and at the very bottom.
Before he knew it, there was an arrow stuck deep into his left thigh.
At that moment, Yeon-woo felt like he saw a spark right in front of his eyes.
In spite of the terrible pain, he gritted his teeth and tried turning his body around, but
*Puck* *Puck* *Puck*
Once again, arrows came flying in, they ripped through his backpack and penetrated his left shoulder, forearm and ribs.