Chapter 48 – The Day One of the Veils Fell Off (3)
Practice grabbed his sword even tighter.
Practice took a deep breath and tried to calm down.
He wanted to take it easy on his first match of the day, but that thought was blown away.
‘She’s called Ain…?’
It was his first time seeing her, but he felt very used to it.
It was as if she was his master, after all.
‘So there’s someone in Master who has won more than 20 consecutive times!’
On the other hand, Ain was also excited at the sight of Practice.
The yellow aura coming out from Practice’s body looked like delicious bonus coins to her.
If she beat an opponent who had achieved 20 consecutive victories, she would get a thousand coins.
On top of that, if she added all the extra bonuses, she would be able to earn 120000 coins at one time!
Anyone would get excited.
‘Practice? What a weird name.’
Ain’s eyes were different than usual.
Unlike the opponents she had fought against, Practice was standing in a weird position. His sword was pointing toward his feet.
Somehow, that looked sharper.
Ain was thinking that when Practice leaped toward her suddenly like a spring bouncing.
A sharp thrush split the air.
Ain dodged it diagonally.
But then, something amazing happened.
[You’ve received 23 damage!]
[You’ve been poisoned! Every 10 seconds, you’ll receive 5 extra damage! The effect lasts for 300 seconds!]
Ain could feel her shoulders throbbing.
Except for an ultimate attack, while maintaining 47 consecutive wins, she’d never received a hit.
Ain looked at Practice, surprised.
—Changing the direction twice just before stabbing an opponent with a long-range attack.
It was a movement she was used to.
Changing directions mixed with feints…
It was a technique she frequently used while fighting.
‘His fighting style is similar to mine?’
Should she test him?
Just in time, the opponent attacked again. Ain made a big movement to the side.
At that moment…
Whish-! The opponent also moved to the same side!
Practice was moving just as she’d thought.
[You’ve received 22 damage!]
[The poison increased! Every 10 seconds, you’ll receive 10 extra damage! The effect lasts for 300 seconds!]
In real life, it would probably be impossible to change the direction to a vertical blow while stabbing an opponent.
But thar place was Asrian—you could move in such ways that you wouldn’t be able to in real life.
‘I was right!’
Ain was sure about it.
He was using the same moves she’d been using since Asra.
The only difference was that he was using a sword, but the movement was the same.
“Did you play Asra?”
Ain asked him.
To use those movements freely, he had probably worked a lot.
It was a technique that required a lot of practice. You needed to move very fast, and if you didn’t have a delicate sense, you could suffer damage.
“Weird. I don’t remember that ID.”
Ain tried to remember, but she couldn’t. It was normal. After all, Practice had never played Asra Online.
“This is my first time…”
“Really? How strange.”
“Uhm… Could I register you as a friend?”
Ain’s smile deepened.
How he used her movements and wanted to register her as a friend… He was an interesting fellow.
But Ain had no intention of registering as a friend another man that wasn’t Hyun.
Ain used the same answer she’d used many times during Asra Online.
“I’ll let you if you beat me.”
The fight resumed immediately.
Practice tried to stab again, and Ain dodged diagonally.
It was the same situation as before.
Practice’s eyes shone.
Just as his body remembered, he tried to attack while changing the direction.
[Critical Hit! You’ve received 310 damage!]
Practice was about to change the direction of his attack toward the opponent when his sight shook.
He had moved exactly the same way, but the result was completely different.
He stood up after rolling up on the ground. Then he finally understood what had happened.
He wasn’t able to stab.
Before he could do it, the opponent had countered his attack.
Ain smiled at the dumbfounded Practice.
‘If I block the attack before you change direction, you won’t be able to do anything.’
The movements Practice was using were hers in the first place.
So finding the exact point when the direction was changing wasn’t hard.
Once she got the timing right, she could take advantage of his mental state to attack.
She could easily read his next movements.
However, from Practice’s point of view, before he understood Ain’s movements, he was just getting beaten up unilaterally.
Usually, Ain would end the match as soon as the opponent fell, but she waited for him to recover his balance and stand up.
‘How did she read my movements?’
Practice began wondering while trying to recover his balance.
He tried but failed at finding an answer.
Then, there was only one thing he could do.
He had to move in a more polished way!
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
But the moment he tried to stab, Ain’s fingers shone.
The only thing Practice could see was a system message.
[Critical Hit! You’ve received 289 damage!]
He was lying on the ground.
Claws made of fire had scratched him.
Practice stood there dumbfounded for a while.
He just couldn’t understand how he was being countered.
‘He can’t deal with this, huh…?’
Ain turned off the flames while making a wry smile.
From a certain point, the battles became psychological more than anything.
That was because the movements were too fast for the human eye.
Ain had tried to analyze Practice’s current status.
He had just learned how to move, but it seemed like he didn’t understand very well how to fight in Asrian.
If he knew that she was waiting for him to change directions and counter it, he could’ve induced her to do it and then countered her attack.
The reason why he couldn’t do that was probably because of his lack of experience.
‘It seems like he has learned it by chance. Or maybe… did he study it alone?’
Ain’s guess was right.
It hadn’t been a week since Practice had started to analyze her movements after seeing the video.
Also, he had never received the feedback of another person, so he had reached the Master category thanks to his own analysis.
That had been enough up until then, but those movements that weren’t polished enough were instantly destroyed by Ain.
[Critical Hit! You’ve received 301 damage!]
Ain kept countering Practice’s attacks the same way.
Just like a deja vu, the same scene kept repeating over and over again.
[Critical Hit! You’ve received 299 damage!]
The moment his sword changed direction, his chest became covered with fire.
Practice clenched his teeth and swallowed a groan.
Except for the first two times, he hadn’t been able to land a proper attack on her.
All his attacks were being blocked before he could even make them.
‘There’s nothing I can do…!’
As his only attack had been completely sealed, he became powerless.
He couldn’t even do a simple stab, so there really was nothing he could do.
What did he have to do in order to avoid being countered?
Yes, the problem is with the timing.
‘If only my attack isn’t blocked…!’
“Do you think you’ll succeed if your attack isn’t cut off at the middle?”
Practice raised his head after hearing Ain’s voice.
“Try to attack me once more,” Ain said while moving her fingers.
Practice nodded and lowered his sword again.
He knew that there was a huge difference between their abilities, so he didn’t insist on his pride.
He tried to stab her once more.
He changed direction twice.
Ain didn’t move from her place.
‘Did it reach her?’
He was targetting her left shoulder.
But the moment when he thought that his attack had been a success…
[Critical Hit! You’ve received 329 damage!]
He couldn’t believe it, but he had missed the attack.
In just an instant, she had backed off one meter and then returned.
It was as if he was looking at something that only appeared in martial arts movies.
Practice was thrilled.
That kind of amazing gameplay was why he had dreamed about becoming a professional gamer.
“You can’t win, see?”
She just remained still in her place.
It was as if she was inviting him to attack as much as he wanted.
Practice nodded and then leaped toward her.
But the result didn’t change.
As soon as he tried to stab, Practice felt like he was being sucked into the counterattack.
The short movement of backing off and then a brief dash was so perfect that it could be mistaken for a skill.
[Critical Hit! You’ve received 291 damage!]
He knew she wasn’t continuing her attack on purpose.
Yes, she was going easy on him.
Despite all that, there was nothing he could do.
He felt as if there was a great wall between them.
It was his first time feeling this since he began playing Asrian.
He never thought that he’d be so overwhelmed by the controlling abilities of an opponent rather than the specs.
It felt as if it didn’t matter what he did, he would never be able to touch her.
What was even more amazing was that every attack ended up being a critical hit, even while moving so fast.
‘Were her skills above what she’d shown on the video…?’
Now that he’d fought her, he became sure about something.
—He wouldn’t be able to beat her.
Practice was confident that he wouldn’t lose easily against anyone with similar specs, but it was the first time that he didn’t think that.
He had no chance of beating her.
‘I need to learn more…!’
After realizing the difference between them, most people would just give up, but Practice wasn’t like that.
He wanted to reach her level. That ambition was what allowed him to become a professional gamer.
A professional gamer with more experience he knew had said something like this:
“Your life as a professional gamer is over the moment you lose confidence in yourself.”
“You need to think that you’ll eventually be able to beat anyone.”
Ain looked at Practice, whose HP was about to reach the bottom.
Winning was impossible.
‘I should wrap things up, right?’
It had been a long time since he found someone fun, but she didn’t have time to lose in order to earn more coins.
Ain approached Practice to smash him with her fire claws.
It was to finish him off.
Ain’s eyes widened.
Practice backed off a few centimeters and then moved forward—it was as if he was trying to copy her move.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t copy it perfectly.
He had leaped forward before the trajectory of her attack had ended.
Practice trying out a new attack was like a fire moth jumping right into the fire.
[48th consecutive victory!]
[You’ve earned 62 x 120 Battle Coins!]
[You’ve won against ‘Practice,’ who won 21 consecutive times. You’ve earned 1000 x 120 Battle Coins as extra!]
Even after returning to the lobby, Ain couldn’t brush off the uncomfortable feeling.
Rather than her winning the match, it was as if he had committed suicide.
“Well, since I’ve won, I guess it really doesn’t matter.”
For some reason, she thought that she would remember his ID.
* * *
A few hours before…
Ain was rapidly going through the Diamond category.
Tarr Tarr was also dueling in the same category.
He was the middle school student who had uploaded Hyun and Ain’s footage of killing the hidden named Leopard to Youtube.
The number of views that the video gained had stopped at 8 million.
From the moment he learned that the people who appeared on that video were users, he had deleted the footage.
After that, he’d been looking for the people that appeared in them for a while.
People around him had said that it would be better to find the two that appeared in that video. That way, he would be able to explain the situation to them.
But meeting both of them was harder than he initially thought.
‘Am I going to be able to meet them again?’
Tarr Tarr had just filmed the footage. He didn’t even know their names.
He was wondering about that when suddenly…!
The first clue was the Count’s Quest.
That incident had become very famous in Korea. That’s why even he had heard about it.
The moment he saw the Dark Priest who had appeared as the gates guardian, he knew it was her.
‘It’s that person!’
But by the time he noticed that, it was already too late.
When he reached the place where the battle was taking place, it had already ended. Not only that, but there weren’t any spectators left.
He’d blown up a lot of money in teleporting in vain. That made him sad for a few weeks.
But who would’ve guessed it?
He never thought he’d be able to meet her like this!
[vs. Ain (Diamond. 4)]
[The opponent has won 16 consecutive times!]
She appeared on a duel map that was set on a deserted island.
—A small girl with a black robe.
Her hair reached her shoulders.
The moment he saw her characteristics, he knew it was her.
Tarr Tarr came to his senses.
He’d finally found one of the protagonists of the video.
He was so moved that he remained still for a moment.
[Three, Two, One, fight!]
But unfortunately, Ain’s mind at that moment was only focused on earning as many Battle Coins as possible.
The moment the countdown ended, Ain reduced the distance between them. Her hands were covered with fire.
Tarr Tarr, who noticed something was wrong, tried to say something, but her hands were faster.
The fire on Ain’s hands began burning Tarr Tarr.
As he began feeling his body was being burned with a very hot dryer, he thought his soul was about to disappear.
Even during that situation, he tried to say something.
[You’ve received more than 33% of your HP as damage in the same body part! Your left chest melted down!]
Just a few seconds after the battle began, Tarr Tarr was already back in the lobby of the Duel Arena.
Ain tilted her head at the last minute.
‘Hmm? It seems like he wanted to say something.’
But that thought soon faded away.
She was sure that the only thing he could say in that situation was to beg for his life.
If you were going to beg for your life in the Duel Arena, you shouldn’t be dueling at all…!
Ain was cool-headed.
She soon forgot that had happened and kept dueling.
At the same time…
Far away in the lobby of the Duel Arena, Tarr Tarr was agonizing while grabbing his hair.