Chapter 100. One-horned tribe (10)
A quest window appeared in front of Yeon-woo's eyes.
‘Eight Extremes Fist? Yin Sword?'
Although he didn't know what those two rewards were, the fact that he would be able to study Mugong under the Martial King already made the quest very appealing. But just as how attractive it appeared, the difficulty of the quest was also downright outrageous.
'Create a Mugong within four days? How the h.e.l.l…?'
Teaching himself a Mugong—though he had already considered it as plan B—was a task impossible to accomplish within just a few days. But despite this, Yeon-woo just clenched his fists,
‘Well, I'm going to have to make the impossible possible.'
Because anyone in The Tower would kill for a quest like this.
Besides, Yeon-woo could tell that this quest was the Martial King's way of showing favor. He couldn't just ignore it.
Yeon-woo accepted the quest with a nod.
Edora looked at him with a look of concern, but Yeon-woo's determined eyes were burning brighter than ever.
“Now, where do I go?”
* * *
“This is the Skill Archive.”
Yeon-woo was guided to a group of buildings located at the far end of the village.
The Skill Archive was undeniably the largest of all the structures in the village. Four gigantic buildings were standing in a row, and the entrance was guarded by powerful warriors.
Despite being escorted by Edora, Yeon-woo still had to go through a thorough inspection before being allowed to enter the archive.
“We're standing in front of the iron-tier Skill Archive. The one behind is the bronze-tier archive. You may freely read any book contained inside these two, but whatever you do, do not enter the other two archives.”
Edora sincerely requested of him not to stray from those two buildings, adding that even the royal family members could be executed for entering a prohibited area.
Paying heed to Edora's explanation, Yeon-woo walked through the entrance of the archive. And as soon as he stepped inside the archive,
An exclamation of astonishment escaped Yeon-woo's lips.
In front of him was the main hall connected to several endlessly long isles filled with bookshelves. And above him, he could see at least four more stories, which without a doubt had a similar structure to the first floor, all connected through a spiral staircase.
Yeon-woo was overwhelmed by the immense amount of books. It was proof of the long history of the One-horned tribe in The Tower.
“According to our history, the Skill Archive was built when Soho, the founder of the One-horned tribe, brought our ancestors to the world of The Tower. In this archive, we have all sorts of doc.u.ments ranging from the skill tomes of all the Mugongs that our kind has created, to some magic scrolls, alchemy manuals, and many other ancient books.
Throughout her explanation of the Skill Archive, Edora's voice was filled with a sense of pride.
Although Yeon-woo was nodding along as she explained, he couldn't help but feel devastated.
'How many books are there in here?'
Even at a rough estimate, this place contained millions of books.
Undeniably, some of these books were worth reading, but the overall majority of them were just miscellaneous books.
Even if he somehow managed to filter out all the worthless books, he would still have to waste a copious amount of time selecting books that would help him create his Mugong. And to top it all, this was just one out of two archives that he had access to.
Noticing Yeon-woo's agony, Edora spoke in a worried tone.
“Don't be sorry. I know you can't help me. I'm already grateful for what you've done for me. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be able to even enter this archive.”
Yeon-woo rolled up his sleeves.
Even now, time was ticking fast. He had to get started as soon as possible.
Yeon-woo first cast two skills before scouring through the books.
Just then, time around him started to slow down, and the world was soon filled with flaws.
‘I won't be able to go through all these books in just four days. No, even if I had a lot of time, looking into every single one of them would take me a lifetime.'
Thankfully, Yeon-woo had an expedient he could resort to.
‘The ones that are invaluable must have been used by lots of people.'
Objects that have gone through several hands had lingering wills acc.u.mulated inside.
'Which means, there will be lots of flaws concentrated on the important ones.'
And just as he expected, a few of the books on the shelves appeared to have considerably large amounts of flaws compared to the others.
Yeon-woo swiftly picked the good books out of the lot.
While most of the books he grabbed looked very old and badly thumbed, some of them were surprisingly new or had been well preserved.
Despite having only wandered around one section of the archive, Yeon-woo had already drawn over three thousand books. After laying them all out on the floor, Yeon-woo began to skim through the t.i.tles and pick the books that he required.
'The ones I need are Inner Cultivation manuals. That leaves the ones about Weapon Mastery and Footwork out of the equation.'
After discarding those, the pile had been reduced to around a hundred books.
Yeon-woo then plumped down onto the floor and began reading the books in earnest.
The first one he picked was the one that revealed the most amount of flaws.
'Naegong? Hyul? And what are these Gimaek and Danjeon all about?'
Yeon-woo couldn't understand a single thing due to the use of terms he had never heard before.
It seemed like the One-horned tribe's closed society lead them to utilize terms that were different from those commonly used in The Tower.
‘If I can't understand it, I'll just have to memorize it.'
Yeon-woo decided to s.h.i.+ft his focus and memorize the whole book. Even if he couldn't comprehend some of the words and concepts described in the book, he still had several books left to read. If he kept encountering the same words in different sentences, he'd soon be able to guess their meanings.
Fortunately, Yeon-woo's ability to memorize things had been greatly enhanced due to Combat Will.
Realizing that Yeon-woo was completely absorbed, Edora slowly moved up to Yeon-woo's side to see what kind of book he was reading.
When she skimmed through the t.i.tles of the books piled up next to him, she was so surprised she almost let out a gasp.
'How did he only pick out those things?
All of them were books recommended for children to establish a foundation for Mugong.
What made her even more surprised was the book that Yeon-woo was currently reading.
'Is that… the Tendon Transformation Scripture? Has that book always been here? How did he even pick that one out? Did he have knowledge of Mugong beforehand?'
A series of questions popped inside Edora's head. Yeon-woo's choice of books was just unbelievable.
The Tendon Transformation Scripture was a Mugong known as the most basic of basics, the foundation for all Mugongs including Inner Cultivation, Weapon Mastery, and Footwork.
By learning this Mugong one could train both the 'outside' and 'inside' of the body. It first transformed one's body by expelling the body's impurities, strengthening the muscles, and hardening the bones and joints. And then, it opened up the channels for mana to flow, bringing about a natural harmony between the body(身) and mind(心).
Therefore, the Tendon Transformation Scripture would become one's most solid foundation for learning different Mugongs, if and only if one could master it.
However, Edora thought that it could also become a drawback, for it would take too much time to master. And that was also the reason why many young warriors were reluctant to learn this Mugong. They'd rather read other skill tomes that were easy to learn and would make them stronger in a shorter period.
Since most Mugongs were created based on the Tendon Transformation Scripture, the basic teachings of it were also included in other Mugongs which were more efficient and powerful. So nowadays, the Tendon Transformation Scripture was considered to be a relic of a by-gone era.
But Edora knew something that others didn't know. Even though it would take a lot of time to establish one's foundation, a body that was honed with the Tendon Transformation Scripture could take in other Mugongs very quickly and naturally.
‘The problem is… he's too short on time. It could become poison for him right now. But then again, he's only referring to it to create his own Mugong, so it might not be a big of a problem.'
Edora only watched Yeon-woo with concerned eyes.
* * *
After Yeon-woo finished reading the Tendon Transformation Scripture, he quickly brought his hand to another skill tome.
In the meantime, he quickly organized the Mugong he had just read inside his head.
The words that he didn't know the meaning of kept hovering in his mind, but he still only had a rough comprehension of them.
‘Having more content is not necessarily better. Creating a large and robust vessel is a must before filling it in. In my case, the content would be mana, and the vessel would be my Magic Circuit.'
For Yeon-woo, who had only been thinking solely about the amount of mana, the teachings written in the Tendon Transformation Scripture were eye-opening.
'It makes sense. After all, I've only been trying to increase the amount of mana I have, and I didn't think of enlarging my Magic Circuit. I've been relying only on my Dragon Body which I believed would be completed soon.'
Yeon-woo clasped tightly on the skill tome he was holding.
'But now that it's progress has stopped, I need to focus on strengthening my Mana Circuit first.'
[You have acquired new knowledge regarding your Mana Circuit. You will now be able to control mana more easily.]
[Magic Power has increased by 2 points.]
[Magic Power has increased by 1 point.]
['Mana Circuit' skill proficiency skill has increased. 19.3%]
'Let's focus on Magic Circuit for now. The rest will follow naturally.'
Of course, there wasn't anything he could do about it right now. Magic Circuit was a special power that was originally granted to Draconic species only. Strengthening such power was something that had never been done throughout The Tower's history. From here on, Yeon-woo was treading on an untrodden path.
With that thought in mind, Yeon-woo continued reading the books.
Once he finished the next book, he quickly started reading another one, and after finis.h.i.+ng that one, he once again grabbed a new book… Yeon-woo kept on reading endlessly.
At first, reading one book required quite a lot of time for him, but the more books he finished reading, the faster his reading speed became. Not only the speed but his understanding regarding the difficult terminologies also showed improvement.
'Danjeon is the Dantian, Naegong is mana, Gimaek is mana channel, and Won'gi is mana stream.'
'Inner Cultivation focuses on drawing mana from Won'gi, the stream of mana flowing in the atmosphere, through breathing and storing it inside one's body.'
‘There are various channels spread throughout the body in which mana can move through, and the way that mana flows can differ based on the Inner Cultivation method that one utilizes.'
'The parts that control the flow of mana are called Hyul, acupoints. They are located at different points of the mana channels, and they can open and close the channels like a dam.'
Yeon-woo began to apply the knowledge he had acquired to his Magic Circuit.
'In a Magic Circuit, there is no such thing as an acupoint. Mana just flows like a river. It should have been obvious since the Draconic species can wield mana at will. But I'm different. I need something like acupoints in my Magic Circuit. Let's call them Cores. If I can create these Cores in every corner of my mana channels and control them at will…'
Yeon-woo's eyes emitted a hopeful glow.
He seemed to have found a new path. A path to create his own Mugong.
'I will also be able to control mana at will…!'
[You have established a new concept of Magic Circuit. You have pioneered a new field that the Draconic species have yet to explore.]
[You have made an achievement that is not easily accomplished. Additional Karma will be provided.]
[You have acquired 15,000 Karma.]
[You have acquired 10,000 additional Karma.]
[You have acquired a new trait ‘Manfriendly'.]
[Magic Power has increased by 10 points.]
[Magic Power has increased by 15 points.]
[You have acquired a new t.i.tle ‘Pioneer'.]
[Strength has increased by 10 points]
[Dexterity has increased by 15 points.]
[You have acquired a new t.i.tle ‘Blessed by Mana'.]
[A new skill ‘Mana Control' has been created.]
Several waves of messages filled Yeon-woo's view.
[The G.o.ds and Demons of the 98th floor have started to look at you with curiosity.]
 literally translates as “Cinnabar Field” or “Elixir Field”. Refers to the region in the body where a person's Qi is concentrated. There are technically three dantians, but these novels simplify the concept and only use the lower dantian (located three finger widths below and two finger widths behind the navel).
 qi = mana in this novel.