A mythological entity that appears frequently in many myths and can be found in Korea.
However, if one were to pick a representative one, everyone would say Yggdrasil of Norse mythology.
According to the story I heard, three huge roots stretch out to the springs that exist in each world, supporting its huge body, and extending its branches to reach the entire nine worlds.
Also, there are many mythical beings intertwined around it, such as Nidhogg, which chews on the roots, and Ratatosk, the squirrel, which is said to ride down the stems and tickle each other.
Actually, I didn't really remember any more than that.
There wasn't much of a reason why I suddenly remembered this story.
This was because the World Tree in ‘Clouds on the Horizon’ was inspired by the World Tree in this Norse mythology.
Maybe that's why I was able to find settings that reflect those elements in the middle of the game.
For example, beings under the protection of the World Tree receive additional damage by beings who receive the power of Surt, who burned the World Tree...
And there was an event monster named Nidhogg.
As they were event-like in nature, they wouldn't cause disadvantages just because you didn't meet them, so I had nothing to do with them but as the name of the event suggested, it went without saying that it was good to catch these guys as much as possible.
In addition, Nidhogg was a monster that was famous in many ways among these event monsters.
It was because anyone with a branch of the World Tree could catch it.
Originally, it would have been an event monster prepared only for Lee Ye-Eun, who would be awakened as a priest and incarnation of the World Tree, but due to the Easter Egg, most of the playable characters could catch it.
Ironically, however, there were also limited characters who could catch these nidhoggs because of their unique nature.
The reason for this was that the strength of Nidhogg itself changed according to the strength of the user.
In other words, the stronger the hunter, the stronger the Nidhogg would be.
Since the point at which each character could visit the World Tree was different, some characters could visit so late in the game that they couldn't even think about catching Nidhogg.
But paradoxically, it was just the right time for me.
Nidhogg's strength is determined by the strength of the opponent.
And I was no different from the general public except for the fact that I have the branch of the World Tree.
‘Was it exactly twice the total value of all things such as status, talent, art, and equipment No, was it three times’
And, in the case of consumption items in possession, it was not included in the calculation.
Therefore, among the methods for catching the Nidhogg, the method of carrying bombs or magic traps in large quantities and catching them in a so-called 'haggling' manner was considered to be an orthodox attack.
The problem is that I don't have access to such things now.
Unless you were an incumbent hero or at least an academy student, there was no way you could get those things.
Of course, I was scheduled to attend the academy, but I had to remember the fact that I was only a prospective student, not an academy student.
Because a prospective student could be canceled at any time if something unpleasant happened.
There was no way I was going to be allowed to handle the explosives and trap magic tools that only active heroes were allowed to use.
I meant that I had to prepare it somehow, as it was unfortunate.
I did the last check, laying out tools for hunting Nidhogg.
Of course, if I had prepared it in advance yesterday, I could have taken the challenge right away after getting the branch of the World Tree, but if I didn't get the branches of the World Tree after preparing them thoroughly, I would have become a duck egg on the Nakdong River.
So, I decided to think positively that I had enough time to rest and reorganize for the day.
After all, it wasn't like I had much time left.
‘I think this should be enough.’
I squatted for almost hours, carefully packing what I had prepared.
To be honest, I didn't know if it would work, but it was still better than nothing.
With those words, I grabbed my bag and got up from my seat.
It was the first monster raid in this world.
* * *
According to the original Norse mythology, Nidhogg clings to one of the three large branches of the World Tree Yggdrasil and chews the root to dry the World Tree to death.
And I don't know what the name of the root is or which world it is connected to.
But I knew exactly where it was in the clouds on the horizon world.
The World Tree and Bukhansan Mountain, where the general server of the Aegis system that protects the sky over Seoul, was hidden which was an hour from my house.
You could meet Nidhogg in the middle of the line drawn exactly between those two points.
The conditions for meeting Nidhogg were simple.
The first, of course, was to possess the branch of the World Tree.
And the second was to sleep in a designated location.
They appear in their dreams and fight each other, and if they lose, they lose the branch of the World Tree and are kicked out of the dream...
… I remember that it was the setting.
Of course, in the original game, it was a game over.
I was pretty much seated.
Fortunately, it was a secluded place where no one came, so I thought that no one would disturb me even if I was sleeping.
When I tried to fall asleep, I couldn't sleep because of the tension.
So I leaned back on the bench and started thinking about Nidhogg.
A monster that looks like a mixture of an Eastern dragon and a Western dragon.
It can't fly in the air.
It is immune to all toxic substances, and although not often, it can spit fire.
Its eyes are dark.
Because of their unique scales, blunt weapons are more effective than swords or spears.
The strength of the character determines its abilities and physique.
When I came to my senses, I found myself in a dark place.
I thought about how I got here, but I couldn't figure it out.
It was a dream.
I felt like I was in Nidhogg's nest.
A fishy, disgusting smell with the smell of wet soil.
And in the distance, you can see a huge, old, and rusty iron door.
"I'm in the right place."
I opened my bag and took out the things I had brought one by one.
Most of them were heavy tools such as hammers, short crowbars, and monkey spanners.
Because of its unique structure, Nidhogg's scales cannot be pierced with a blade without some skill.
So I didn't bring anything like a knife or an awl.
It was because it was much more effective to hit it with a blunt item.
I wrapped the belt in several layers and put tools all over my body.
Then, I took out the object I had made while saving time to sleep and carefully held it in my hands.
With that thought, I approached the iron door that I had no idea when it was made.
When I put my ear to it, I thought I could hear something moving inside.
Catching my breath, I opened the door and stepped inside.
Inside was a darker place than where I first opened my eyes.
And when I saw the shape of something wriggling from the other side, I shuddered.
“… … .”
Something was twitching and making a crackling sound.
That's the Nidhogg.
With that in mind, I took a step forward.
‘It’s a lot smaller than I thought.’
The one I saw in the game was at least enough to fill this wide cavity.
The one in front of me now, far from filling the cavity, was only the size of a hippo, I had once seen in a zoo.
Of course, it's huge from my point of view.
Nidhogg turned its head away as if it had noticed that I had entered.
When several pairs of bright red eyes looked at me, I was somewhat horrified.
He turned slowly.
Let's check how fast it moves first.
I pulled my left hand, which was clenched in a fist, back, and with my right hand, I held a crowbar and pushed it forward as if to chase him.
It was a so-called crowbar.
It wasn't the kind used at construction sites, and it was lighter, so it didn't put any strain on my wrist, but it was shorter and relatively less powerful.
“… … .”
Nidhogg walked towards me, making an indescribable sound.
When he opened his mouth slightly, pieces of wood fell from it.
He must have been chewing on the roots of the World Tree.
As I watched him, I suddenly felt a sense of incompatibility in my arm.
When I looked down in surprise, the branch of the World Tree had come out of my arm.
The momentum was devastating, but the problem was that Nidhogg, who saw the branches of the World Tree, was also making a more ferocious sound.
As I wondered what the hell was going on, I heard an echoing voice from inside my head.
[The branch of the World Tree senses an unforgivable existence and begins to threaten it!]
[For the safety of the host and itself, the branch of the World Tree will unleash its power!]
[The protection of the World Tree permeates your body and soul temporarily!]
I didn't have time to ask myself what the hell had just happened.
It was because Nidhogg rushed right at me.
Fortunately, he wasn't at an unresponsive speed.
I managed to avoid it, and the fact that there was no scar on my body was the evidence.
And, thanks to the protection of the World Tree that I had heard earlier, my body felt much lighter.
I thought it might have gotten more agile because of its smaller body, but fortunately, it didn't seem like it.
As I turned, I continued to swing the crowbar.
As if to keep pace with it, the branches of the World Tree stretched out of their own accord, threatening Nidhogg.
Unlike in my memory, Nidhogg, who became so weak, shrugged, as if even such an action threatened him.
What the hell, it's no big deal.
I thought so and continued to swing the crowbar.
Seeing Nidhogg back and forth over and over again, I thought it was stupid to be nervous for nothing.
And the next moment.
The next thing I knew, the right hand that had been holding the crowbar had disappeared.
Startled, I fell backward, and Nidhogg's mouth swooped right above him.
What hit me first was the panic and fear that my wrist had been cut off, and the pain I had never felt before in my life, rather than the thought that my head might have been blown off if I had remained still.
In the movies, they scream like crazy, but I couldn't even do that.
It was too painful to even scream.
“Argh, **, grrr, hufff..
There was no blood.
Perhaps because of Nidhogg's poison, the section of the cut wrist was blocked as it was melting down.
Seeing the red, pink, white, black, and countless other colors mixed together just made me choke up.
In the midst of all this, I heard the breathing of a beast with a completely different atmosphere than before.
With the fear that I might die, I reflexively struggled to move backward.
And unlike the previous scene, I saw for the first time, the branches of the world tree that had grown bigger were constantly being called out in size as if to keep Nidhogg in check.
“Whoa, whoa… … .”
When I pressed as hard as I could under the severed wrist, the pain seemed to have eased a little.
I somehow managed to get up by urging my trembling legs.
If I stay still like this, the branches of the World Tree may not be the problem, but I may die.
I stuttered and muttered something.
“… … .”
As I whispered quietly, the branches of the World Tree stretched out some of them towards me as if they understood.
I quickly handed over what was in my left hand.
Then the branches of the World Tree took it as if it understood.
I looked at Nidhogg, who looked at me as if searching this way.
As soon as I let go of my left hand, a scream burst from me and I gagged one of the things that were tied to my belt in my mouth.
I clenched my jaw and glared at Nidhogg as if to kill him.
Son of a Bitch.
You're not gonna get away with this, you bastard.
I was able to somehow able to mumble that and managed to get to my feet.
It's almost blind, so it can only detect opponents by movement and sound.
I stretched out my left hand and picked up the hammer.
When I threw the hammer as hard as I could and dropped it next to him, his head turned straight to it.
At the same time, I ran to him and threw my tools again.
He quickly pulled himself together and roared at me and opened his mouth.
It was trying to spit fire.
Then, before I could do anything, the branches of the World Tree were swung wildly.
And the barrel I was carrying flew right into Nidhogg's mouth and...
Nidhogg twisted in pain as the explosion erupted in his mouth.
Fortunately, it worked the way I thought it would.
I've heard that if you grind the head of a match clean, it resembles gunpowder, but to see it in action was even more powerful than I had imagined.
In addition to that, there were nails and small pieces of metal inside, so his mouth would have literally become a mess.
Because the outside of the body is hard, the inside is fragile.
Besides, his strength is at most two to three times mine.
There was no way it could not be fatal.
I had made two just in case, but there was no time to take out the other one.
I immediately twisted my back and put my weight on him and stamped him in his eye with the crowbar.
He screamed again with an eerie sensation.
I was thrown away by his struggle, but I quickly got up.
Perhaps because of the crowbar in his eye, he was twisting his body, with a painful roaring sound.
I took out another tool.
I had a feeling that my anger would subside only if I at least smashed his head.
* * *
I let out a rough breath and wiped my wet forehead.
It was because I had been swinging the tool for almost hours to the point of tearing the palm of my hand.
He was now almost gnarled and in a hideous form.
Originally, it wouldn't have worked, but it was possible because Nidhogg weakened beyond my imagination.
I kicked and kicked Nidhogg's corpse, which was now motionless, with all my might.
It was so hard that my feet have been hurting from kicking, but I didn't care.
I didn't even feel the pain of riding up from my right arm, perhaps because of excitement.
"Ha… … Ha… … .”
When I came to my senses, I noticed that the branch of the World Tree, which had been protruding almost as if it had swallowed up one of my arms, had disappeared into my body.
I looked around for a moment, and at some point, Nidhogg's body had disappeared, and there was a large door in front of me.
“Whew… … .”
I opened the door.
It was time to wake up from my sleep.
* * *
And when I woke up, in my right hand, there was a dagger that I had never seen before.