[Park Jung-ah, 44th Floor: Yes. Please tell him no.]
I sent him the reply and closed the messenger.
After that, I looked at the guest. He was still looking anxious.
His gaze ran met mine. He flinched.
I’m used to this kind of response, but it still hurts to see this.
Even before I entered the Tutorial, I’ve heard from people that my eyes look a little fierce. However, it was not this bad back then.
It is not like I shoot some kind of laser beam from my eyes. Why are they so surprised?
Does deadly aura get piled up every time I kill people?
Only until recently, I didn’t care if people were scared of me or if they cursed about me behind my back.
I actually liked that, thinking that such an impression of me would help me.
They were useless thoughts.
I should just focus on what’s happening in front of me.
“I’m sorry. I had to send a message real quick. Well then, may I hear the rest?”
The visitor was a Korean.
He was no ordinary Korean.
He was summoned to the tournament as a part of the Australian server.
His name was Jung Chan.
29 years old. He introduced himself as a student who went to Australia for his studies.
However, when I asked further, he said he also obtained the Australian citizenship.
I could not figure out if he was summoned as a part of the Australian server because of the citizenship or if because he was simply residing at the country.
I will have to inquire the manager after the tournament ends to learn about this.
Also, Jung Chan provided us with an interesting information.
It was information about the gangs that were dominating the Australian server.
“So, that is… Where was I… So…”
The man stuttered.
“You said that the atmosphere in the Australian server was different during the last tournament. That’s how far you were.”
According to him, the uneasy atmosphere in the Australian server was growing during the first tournament.
It had not been long.
Other than that particular gang group, there are many other groups. Also, even that gang is internally divided into several groups. There is no large faction that encompasses the entire server. I don’t find that surprising considering that the first tournament only happened a while ago.
“I think the first problem happened during the second day of the tournament.”
They had the group matches during the second day of the first tournament.
“When it begun, it was some of the challengers from the Hard Difficulty who sparked the issue. They attacked other challengers they met at the tournament. The attacks were one-sided and carried out as a group.”
It was plausible.
The people in Hard Difficulties who spent rounds after rounds at the lower floors would have had an easier time organizing themselves than people from other difficulties.
“They blocked people’s mouth in middle of the matches. They kept attacking to interfere with others when they tried to surrender. Like that, they struck down the other challengers. During the second day, even after the tournament was over, they continued their violence and attacked many challengers.”
Like that, with their power and through violence, they spread terror and committed acts of viciousness.
Also, as soon as the third day came, people all returned to waiting rooms to take shelter from the gang’s violence.
Meanwhile, at the place of the tournament, only the perpetrators remained to stay for another day.
We don’t know what they discussed there.
After that, time passed like that, and the second tournament was held.
He said that the Australian people greatly feared that the gangs will perpetrate acts of violence again, especially because this tournament was going to last longer than the past tournament.
Also, he said that some of the gangs left taunting notes on the community, saying that other challengers should look forward to the tournament.
However, when the tournament started, they ran into the Order of Vigilance. Instead of fighting the Order, the gang choose to hold their breath and stay quiet.
Jung Chan stuttered his way through the conversation. After he finished telling his story, I sent him back. Before I realized, it was already evening.
The story had so much unnecessary details, so more time had passed than I realized.
The details were mostly about the violence committed by the gang and the suffering of the victims.
The details spoiled my mood.
My insides were a ruckus.
I memorized the details of appearances of the gang’s main figures.
I was thinking about their faces, but also other faces were being superimposed on them.
Also, I saw another face superimposed on Jung Chan’s face.
My hand was shaking a little. I brought out the sphere shaped Transmutable Thousand Arms from the inventory.
I placed it on top of my hand and let it roll in the palm of my hands. I felt like my insides were feeling a little better.
I changed its form into a ring shape.
It was no ordinary ring. It had a needle spike the length of a forearm attached to its front.
It was a kind of a weapon. After all, this was Transmutable Thousand Arms.
Still, it is a ring.
I put the ring on my finger. I closed my eyes for a moment and calmed my breathing.
“Are you alright?”
Lee Yuu-jung brought me tea and asked.
“Yes, I’m all right. Thank you for the tea, Big Sis.”
I put up a peaceful face and responded to her.
However, she grabbed my hand and looked at me with moist eyes, like how she always was.
I wonder how long this trauma will follow me around.
It’s been a year, which is a long time. I think it is about time for it to disappear, yet…
I lifted the tea cup and took a sip from it.
The tea cup shook a lot because of the ring I had on my finger.
The ring is too heavy.
I put down the tea cup and opened the message window.
[Park Jung-ah, 44th Floor: I finished my conversation with him.]
[Kim Min-hyuk, 30th Floor: Please start with a brief summary.]
As he requested, I started with an explanation.
I suppressed my emotions as much as possible. I tried to describe it as objectively as possible.
I am not sure if I did well.
[Kim Min-hyuk, 30th Floor: I vote that we wait.]
[Park Jung-ah, 44th Floor: I second that. However, what if they do not show themselves until the tournament ends?]
[Kim Min-hyuk, 30th Floor: If that happens, then we should go and hunt them down.]
[Park Jung-ah, 44th Floor: I also second that. Please ask other captains about their opinions.]
* * *
[Tournament, Day 3, 11:30]
“Ugh. Huk. Huk.”
Lee Hyoung-jin was gasping for air while sitting at a spectator seat. I clicked my tongue at him.
You totally lack endurance.
“Is it hard?”
“Ugh… Phuuuu… No.”
Oh, is that so?
“It is not hard. I think I’m going to die, Big Bro.”
Oh, is that so?
“Can you describe your current condition in detail?”
“Ugh… That is… I just… can’t breathe very well. I feel like my vision is spinning. I feel dizzy. The color of the ceiling is shifting. Uuuuaaaa. I feel like there is a mosquito that’s circling around at the tip of my nose. My ears. I cannot hear anything through my ears sometimes. I hear the high pitch noise sometimes too. My inside hurts as well. Big Bro. I feel like I’m experiencing motion sickness, and then it feels like I’m being pressed down all of the sudden. Also, I cannot feel very well through the tips of my fingers. I think it is just cold too… Also… From the back of my neck…”
Outside the arena building, he finished a special training that went on only for three hours. However, Lee Hyung-jin was already completely exhausted.
It could not be helped, so I carried him on my shoulders and brought him into the arena building.
Lee Hyung-jin finally regained his consciousness after 10 minutes of lying on the seats.
He needs to develop faint resistance.
“You only trained for three hours, and look at you. You are already exhausted. I see you had not been training when you were by yourself usually.”
“I… I did train! Big Bro, and how could you call that training!”
It seemed he felt wronged. He shouted in a loud voice. He closed his eyes again and gasped for air. His breathing was rough.
When one is trying to catch breath, it is not a good idea to talk so much like that.
That will make the head spin due to a lack of oxygen.
“Anyway, I really think you lack persistence. You only know to treat your body carefully. Um… How should I say this. Ah, right. You are too weak against pain. You need to be able to endure difficulties. Only then, you will be able to accomplish anything.”
“I think you will need to raise pain, paralysis and faint resistances first. From now on, continue to buy poison potions and diligently train with them. Ah, first, I’ll help you until the tournament ends. I have a skill called Poison Energy, you see? If I use this, then you won’t need to waste points buying poison potions.”
“B… Big Bro… Please let me live.”
“It’s all right. You won’t die. No, actually, you could die if you were exposed to Poison Energy skill for a long time, but I can adjust it so you won’t die. I’m an expert at this, you know? Just trust your Big Bro.”
Lee Hyung-jin’s face was full of sweat. Now, new drops started to form on his face. They were flowing down his face like a waterfall.
You, are you crying now? Crying?
I could not stand to watch this. I turned my face away from him.
Still, I had no intention of allowing him to skip the special training.
“Would you stop torturing the kid? Although I’m just watching, even I can feel the pain.”
I want to say I will stop this.
However, one day, Lee Hyung-jin will be challenging the 17th Floor. Thinking about this, I want to give him a harder training and grinding.
Also, Lee Hyung-jin was quite motivated.
He was complaining that he was so exhausted and on the verge of death. However, he saw the training to its end. As we saw at the individual tournament’s preliminary matches, he tried all sorts of things to focus on his growth.
However, it was just that his body was not able to catch up to the harshness of the training I gave him.
Still, the training I made for him is going to become his blood and flesh. No matter how much he suffers during the training, I have no choice but to make him go through it even if it is going to bring tears to my eyes.
Well, it is not like I’m a pervert who enjoy making another person suffer. Would I force someone into grinding when he doesn’t want to?
“By the way, aren’t you going to go do your work?”
I changed the topic from about Lee Hyung-jin.
This was a question that has been in my mind since yesterday.
Jung-ah never showed herself throughout the day, saying she was busy. However, this rascal was sucking honey while sitting around at the spectator seat.
“I’m working. Through the messenger.”
I really think this rascal is just goofing off and loafing around.
However, I have no way to confirm my suspicion.
I moved my gaze away from Kim Min-hyuk for a moment and looked down below into the arena.
The first place my gaze headed was the match where the Korean server’s Hell Difficulty challengers formed a party and entered.
Initially, Lee Hyung-jin was included in that party. However, he left the party momentarily for the special training.
With Lee Hyung-jin out, I thought the rest of the Hell Difficulty challengers would give up on the match, but it seemed they decided to try anyway.
They were not able to do so well.
After all, they were all from the First Floor.
Also, there weren’t many of them.
There were fewer of us Hell Difficulty challengers in the Korean server now.
Now, there were just six of us, including myself and Lee Hyung-jin.
I know I have to do something for them too.
Kim Min-hyuk said that perhaps I shouldn’t give them advice so soon.
He was concerned about people challenging traps with misplaced courage blown into them by encouragement, and that could only lead to more deaths instead.
Although it may look like he was being irresponsible, he was not wrong.
How am I going to get them to pass through the First Floor?
I feel so frustrated.
Other matches had consisted of Hard Difficulty challengers from the Korean server who formed their own groups.
Most of the people from the Hard Difficulty formed parties with people they like and entered the group matches.
Also, they were all overwhelming the opposing sides.
The difference is significant.
There was the difference in heights between Korean and foreign servers, but even within the Korean server, the power of the groups from the Hard Difficulty was overwhelming.
They were from the higher difficulty, so it could be said that this was an obvious outcome. However, even with that under the consideration, the gap was too big.
Since the early days of the Tutorial, the Hard Difficulty challengers had a exclusive club-like atmosphere amongst themselves. I think this had a big influence.
The challengers of the Hard Difficulty have been training and clearing stages together since the lower floors. So, their mastery level in party battle itself is different.
They show great synergy too.
However, it was not like the formation of such an atmosphere among the challengers never posed problems.
Because the Hard Difficulty challengers were sticking with one another too much, they had a tendency to alienate and patronize challengers from other difficulties.
In fact, something similar to the ideology of being superior, chosen people had rose among them, and we went through a tough time because of this.
It would had developed into a huge problem if it was not for the fact that Park Jong-shik was the leader of these people from the Hard Difficulty and the fact that I was standing above them.
In the world inside the Tutorial, the standard of anyone’s worth was based on strength. Considering this, it is difficult to retort against their ideology.
In fact, all of the challengers in the leadership roles in Japanese or Australian servers are from Hard Difficulties.
The Korean server is the only one with high participation rate from Easy and Normal difficulties.
It’s all because of the Order of the Vigilance.
Well, anyway, from the looks of things in the tournament’s group matches, I think Korean server’s victory is a certainty.
* * *
[Tournament, Day 3, 11:10]
“Ahah. I am no good at these.”
“No, you can do it, Gyoung-jin. I, your Big Sis, believe in you.”
“Believe in? Do dogs have horns?”
I hate stepping up and facing people like this.
I tried to voice my dissent. However, all I got in return was belittling laughter.
“Kim Gyoung-jin, you are the biggest attention addict in the community. What did you just say that you hate?”
The group was snickering around. I sent them a ‘fuck you’ to them all. I went to the friend who was standing on the far back.
“Anyway, I didn’t know you would come too, Jun-suk. What happened?”
“I was also… got beat up a lot yesterday. Should I say it is for revenge?”
“Oh, that makes some sense. It sure does.”
For some reason, the group was finding this amusing as well. Having heard Lee Jun-suk’s answer, they started to snicker and laugh again.
What a bunch of crazy bastards. Have you guys been drinking?
“Now that I think about it, other than Jun-suk and direct subordinates of Jong-shik, everyone is here?”
I know. They are all here.
Big Bro Jong-shik’s direct subordinates, in other words the Order’s Strike Division, are not here. All of the other Hard Difficulty’s rankers are here.
Every single one of them.
Ah, this feels strange.
“Hey, hey. Let’s get going. The patrol will be here soon.”
The Order’s patrol will come by here soon.
I told the group that we should get going now to avoid the patrol.
The group again found it entertaining. They said it was exciting and nervous. They snickered around.
Ugh, you crazy bastards.
Leading the group, I walked through the narrow street.
Before long, we were able to arrive at the building that we had an appointment at.
It was a rough looking wooden door. I beat on it.
“Say the password.”
Password? What the hell is he yapping around for.
I forced the locked door open and entered.
As soon as I opened the door, a dagger came up on my face. However, I leisurely twisted the wrist of the hand that held the dagger. I neutralized the opponent and entered the building.
Inside the building, there was a small hall with just a table.
There was the uncle from the Japanese server named Nakajima whatnot.
It seemed he was displeased with something. His arms were crossed and his mouth was firmly closed quietly.
Also, this other guy from the Australian server is… who was he?
“Welcome. If you entered more politely, then we would have given you a warmer welcome. You said your name is Kim, right? Mr. Kim.”
I thought about if I should tell him to call me Kim Gyoung-jin, but I decided to let him just call me Kim.
“That… what is it.”
Lee Jun-suk, who was standing next to me, whispered the name quietly in my ear.
“David, as promised, we got here without being tailed.”
“I see. Thank you for keeping the promise. Have a seat here.”
Ugh, man. I really hate this.
I glanced at my group, but they were all pushing me to go take the seat.
In the end, I am taking the role of both the head and the mouth.
I sat at the seat and said to David,
“I’ll get straight to the point.”
“Oh, wait. Please wait for a little longer. We still have one more guest who has not arrived yet.”
“You have another one coming? I didn’t hear about this?”
“He just joined recently. I am not saying you guys will not be enough, but we should make sure of our preparations.”
Having heard the man, I decided to sit quietly and wait.
The Japanese man, who was sitting on the opposite end, was also quiet as well. So, David also quietly closed his mouth, and like that, an uncomfortable silence lasted for a while.
Several minutes passed and another person entered the building.
He was most unexpected.
“Big Bro Chan-yong?”
He was known to be nearing his goal of clearing the entire Tutorial. He was the challenger who was at the highest floor.
It was Lee Chan-yong.