Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 49

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Crunch, munch—

The feast was quick. 

The dozens of giant teeth easily pierced Orochi’s skin and scales. As if it was made of tofu, the body dissolved as soon as it touched the teeth.

Shuri stopped staring at the thing and asked YuWon, “Is this… another one of your abilities?”

She didn’t particularly feel any special mana or killing intent from the thing that was eating Orochi’s corpse. She wouldn’t have found it that much of a threat if not for the sight she was seeing. In fact, it made her even more on guard against the thing.

Shuri had become a Ranker through endless patience and hard work, eventually gaining the trust of the Administrator and becoming a test examiner. She was a being that had lived for almost ten thousand years now. 

In contrast to her beautiful, youthful appearance, she was one of the older beings among the Rankers. And in that extremely long time, she had never seen a creature like this.

“It’s something similar-like.”

“It either is or isn’t. Or it’s similar or not similar. What do you mean by ‘similar-like’?

“I’m honestly not sure.”

YuWon’s answer made Shuri furrow her brows as she stared at the slowly disappearing Orochi carcass. 

Anyway, now that YuWon had stopped her, she could no longer attack that thing. The one who defeated Orochi in the trial was YuWon, so the right for what to do with its corpse also laid with YuWon.

Nom, nom—

The meal was now over.

YuWon asked the eyes that had now grown ever so slightly larger, “Are you full now?”

[「?’s Egg」 nods its head.]

[「?’s Egg」 has started singing.]

Despite looking like a horrifying monstrosity, it replied like it was a child. 

The message relayed the Egg’s voice, which confirmed to Yuwon that this thing was indeed the very same Egg that he owned.

“… That’s all fine then.”

Fssss—

Ssk—

The darkness dissipated like a fading fog, and the eyes started disappearing. The final eyes to disappear had its eyes closed, as if it was content.

Yuwon checked the egg in his inventory. It was only by a little bit, but it had grown visibly larger. 

[?’s Egg]

 ᗌ It is ?’s egg. There is no way to know whose egg it is, what will come out of the egg, or how to make it hatch.

ᗌ Incubation rate : 13.58%

The frozen incubation rate had suddenly shot up. 

Since he hadn’t even known where to get started, YuWon had half-given up on it, but now he had obtained a clue.

“You have an idea as to what it is now?”

Now that the chaos was over, Shuri came closer and asked Yuwon. 

Yuwon nodded his head and answered, “Yes, a little bit.”

“‘A little bit,’ you say…”

He meant that he didn’t know everything.

Shuri looked around the once again peaceful Colosseum. It was now quiet, but it felt as if a storm had swept through.

She, a Ranker who had lived for almost ten thousand years, couldn’t comprehend a mere 1st Floor player.

Shuri’s head was full of thoughts. 

She looked back at YuWon.

“Honestly, I thought you were going to be the next Son OhGong.”

It was an incredible compliment to be compared to the High Ranker Son OhGong. On top of that, she had thought YuWon was his successor. But she had more to say… 

“But now… I’m honestly not sure.”

The Heavenly Realm and “The Great Sage, Heaven’s Equal.” 

The final ability that YuWon demonstrated made it hard for her to connect YuWon to the two. There was no way that the Heavenly Realm would be hiding such a sinister power.

“You seem to have a lot of secrets, so I promise not to share any of what went on here. Not that I have any intentions to do so, nor am I able to.”

“That’s good to hear.”

“I hope to hear news about you from a much higher place.”

Shuri reached out her hand to YuWon.

YuWon quietly looked at her hand. 

‘She’s still the same as always.’

Shuri long had a habit of saying farewell to all participants that passed the test. 

She was inflexible but just, as well as a beautiful and strong warrior. 

YuWon was reminded of the sight of her losing her life in the final fight.

He took her hand and responded to her properly.

“It was nice meeting you.”

* * *

Among the first ten floors, the Colosseum’s test was famous for being an accurate measure of a new player’s abilities. Divided into twenty trials, every trial increased significantly in difficulty. And according to how many rounds you completed, you got a ranking. 

Most average players that moved onto the 2nd Floor barely manage to clear the second trial. Players with some skill managed to clear up to around the fifth trial. And anyone who managed to clear beyond the tenth trial was considered to have the qualities fit for a Ranker.

And among this Colosseum’s rankings…

[1st : Son OhGong – Round 19]

Son OhGong’s record seemed unbreakable. 

The greatest being when it came to ‘fighting.’ A Ranker known to rule the heavens, wielding an infinitely extending staff and manipulating thunder and clouds. 

That Son OhGong’s record was finally broken after roughly a thousand years.

[1st : Kim YuWon – Round 20]

Kim YuWon. The new player that completely rewrote the Tutorial’s record. On top of having a flashy debut, he ended up inscribing another new record in the Tower. 

There were some who were surprised, but there were also those who weren’t. 

If one was capable of topping the records, of course they’d be capable of doing it again. 

However, one thing was for sure now.

“An incredible guy entered the Tower.”

YuWon’s Tutorial record wasn’t a coincidence or some special luck. 

“A new super rookie.”

“He might become a Ranker in only a few decades.”

“We got another monster like Son OhGong?”

“Is he a Pure-Blood? Where is he from?”

“Earth? Where’s that?”

“Is there anyone that knows?”

Various Rankers, players, and guilds that weren’t interested in him till now finally learned his name. 

Kim YuWon. A star candidate to decorate the sky of the Tower had appeared. 

* * *

A month had passed. 

Hephaestus turned his head after noticing the presence that entered his workshop.

“So, you’re here.”

YuWon had come to pay a visit. 

Nodding his head, YuWon spoke in a manner as if Hephaestus owed him money.

“I came to grab the thing I left with you.”

“Watch your tone. You’re not even paying me a single point. Wait right there. It’s almost finished.”

YuWon sat next to the hot furnace, waiting for Hephaestus to finish crafting. As usual, Hephaestus was repeating the process of hammering and quenching. 

The workshop was hot. Like, really, really hot. So much so that normal players wouldn’t have been able to stand it. This place wasn’t the previous old, shabby workshop with a weak furnace. 

Tshhh—

After hammering the armor that had been heated up, Hephaestus dipped it in cold water. 

There were beads of sweat raining down his forehead from swinging his heavy hammer nonstop.

He turned around to look at YuWon. 

‘Huh?’ wondered Hephaestus.

Something was off. YuWon wasn’t sweating. He may not have been inside the workshop for long, but this was still highly unusual.

“What’s up with you?”

“Excuse me?”

“Aren’t you hot?”

YuWon shrugged his shoulders.

“I am hot.”

Contrary to his reply, YuWon wasn’t sweating at all.

There were some people who naturally didn’t sweat regardless of the temperature, but with this much heat, he should at least have found it discomforting.

Hephaestus looked at YuWon with fascination. He wondered how high YuWon’s fire resistance must have been. 

After observing him for a bit, Hephaestus asked YuWon a question while wiping his sweat with a towel he had hanging by his side. 

“So is the 10th Floor next?”

“Yes. I just came down after clearing the test.”

“This one took you quite a bit of time. What was it, ten days?”

Ten days. It was time it took for YuWon to clear the 9th Floor’s test.

In twenty days, YuWon had cleared all the way up to the 8th Floor’s test, and he had finally reached the 9th Floor. 

For how quickly he’d ascended, the 9th Floor’s test had taken him a good amount of time.

“You know what the 9th Floor’s test is like.”

“It’s been a while, so I’m a bit fuzzy on it, but I think it was finding your way through a labyrinth?”

The Labyrinth. That was the test given by the Tower on the 9th Floor. It was a test where you had to find your way through an endless maze with hundreds of paths, using a wide variety of methods. 

“Still, isn’t ten days too long?”

For most skilled players, making it through the Labyrinth usually only took four to five days max. So ten days was actually quite a bit of time. Any player other than YuWon would have been rated as unskilled if they had taken that long.

“Did something happen?”

YuWon rolled his eyes at Hephaestus’s curiosity-filled question. 

Seeing his reaction, Hephaestus smirked, having already known that something must have happened. 

“Tell me already, if you want to receive the thing you commissioned.”

“Are you holding an item hostage?”

“Now.” Hephaestus egged him on. 

Since he hadn’t actually intended on keeping it a secret, YuWon opened up.

“I established a new path. It took me a bit of time to find them.”

A new path. Hearing that made Hephaestus narrow his eyes.

“… In the Labyrinth?”

“Yes.”

“It’s not like it had a predetermined path. So what do you mean by ‘a new path’?”

Hephaestus didn’t understand what YuWon was going on about. The Labyrinth was called a labyrinth because there wasn’t a set path. Not only was it extremely large, but some people ended up getting lost for a long time and even giving up on the test. 

So to claim that he established a path in that Labyrinth… 

Also…

“Did you just say ‘them’?”

YuWon spoke as if the new path wasn’t singular, but plural. This intensified Hephaestus’s curiosity.

“There’s no reason there had to only be a single exit. There could be one path, but there could also be a myriad.” 

“Are you saying you created them?”

“Yes. They were just never actually treaded on. None of them were ever the wrong paths.”

“What kind of nonsense are you spouting here…?”

Hephaestus ended up speechless from how baffled he was. There was nothing he could learn by continuing to ask questions. He may not know how YuWon created the exits, but this was completely unrelated to him.

Hephaestus was a Ranker. He had long ago escaped the Labyrinth, cleared that test, and climbed the Tower already. Nothing good could come from intervening anymore with the matters of a lower floor.

“So you just made things easy for the following guys.”

He said it like that because he was bad at compliments, but Hephaestus knew what establishing a new path meant.

The Tower not only calculated the reward based on ‘first’ and ‘perfect,’ but a number of other factors as well were involved in the test. That meant that if you went through a predetermined path, you could easily clear the test, but it would net you a lesser reward. 

On the other hand, YuWon had just cleared the test by establishing a never-before pioneered path. So naturally, his reward had to be better than a standard reward. 

“I’m now dying to know how you’ll clear the other tests.”

“I’ll come back again and tell you.”

“So is this thing something you need for the next test?”

Hephaestus grabbed the sword he had hung up haphazardly on one side. 

“I’ve made a lot of weapons, but I’ve never made anything like this before. A weapon that, instead of having excellent mana conductivity…”

Shing—

The sword was pulled out of its scabbard. 

Hephaestus’s eyes sparkled while staring at the crappy weapon made from various impure materials.

“… Has the worst mana conductivity possible.”

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