I closed the library room’s door and came down to the lower floor.
At the lower floor’s living room, there were Yong Yong and the clone bastard. They were gathered at the table eating fruit pie.
Yong Yong had his mouth full of the pie and chewing. I picked him up and sat at the chair that he was sitting.
I had Yong Yong sit at my lap.
It seemed the fruit pie was delicious. Even as I was placing him on my lap, he only focused on chewing on the pie.
I was now certain that the method I had been trying so far does not stand any chance anymore.
The Tutorial’s stage was no different than individual dimensional isolation barriers.
The biggest characteristic of the stages was that the passage was only one way past.
One could move on to the next floor through the portal that opened by the system. Other than this, no other direction of movement was possible.
The tournament and the day of the great harmony were exceptions. However, I am not yet able to interfere with those.
Lately, there had not been any events, so I was also lacking in examples.
So, the method I had been trying lately was breaking open a path between the 60th Floor’s stage and other stages.
Even if I don’t make a connecting pathway out of the Tutorial, if I could just break open a path to the 90th Floor or 99th Floor, I can clear the floors right away.
After I tried my idea, I failed.
“How bad is it?”
“It is impenetrable even if a god came to try breaking it.”
“… This is worse than I thought. Could it be a product of joint efforts by many gods?”
“It could also be the work of a god who specializes in dimensions.”
Anyway, with my current abilities, I think it would be difficult to break open a new pathway inside the stage.
The project I had been pushing for turned out to be a dead end. I feel like I’m losing strength and enthusiasm.
I tossed a gigantic jawbreaker candy inside my mouth.
“Daddy, I want one too.”
Yong Yong saw me eating the candy. He opened his mouth and said ‘ah~’.
I also put in a jawbreaker in his mouth.
Yong Yong rolled the candy around in his mouth. He then picked up the pie again.
He held the candy on the edge of his rear teeth and continued to chew on the pie with his front teeth.
If he swallows the pie and the candy goes with it, then the candy will get stuck in his neck.
Well, it probably won’t matter.
“Um… I’m not sure.”
I had not thought about what I would do if this idea failed.
Actually, I had always been thinking about other possibilities, but nothing useful came to my mind.
I was running out of ideas.
“I have no leads. I don’t have anything that could work as a medium either. In the end, it means I need a completely unique idea that I never thought of. I need creativity. Creativity.”
I mumbled on by myself like that, and the clone bastard sighed and turned his gaze to a book.
Yong Yong was energetically eating the candy and pie. I brushed his head once and opened the newspaper.
Yong Yong was sitting on my lap. So, I had the paper floating above my head so I could read it.
What caught my eyes was…
The biggest topic in the newspaper was about Lee Yeun-hye clearing the 17th Floor.
I already knew about this very well, so I have no need to read it in detail.
As for items on the auction, nothing is catching my eyes…
As for stories about what’s happening in the outside world…
[Kim Min-hyuk, the former second in command of the Order of Vigilance, is in a conflict with Korean Government?]
What’s this about?
The headline really caught my eyes. I hurriedly checked the details in the article.
According to the article, Kim Min-hyuk established a new clan and had been gathering Korean Awakened warriors who were scattered across the globe. Having realized Kim Min-hyuk’s work, the Korean Government expressed their discomfort with his actions.
I sent a message to Park Jung-ah so I can learn a bit more about this article.
[Park Jung-ah, 90th Floor: That seems to be the case.]
[LHA, 60th Floor: Try explaining it further.]
[Park Jung-ah, 90th Floor: From what I’ve heard, the number of S rank and above Awakened warriors in the newly established clan exceed the number of such warriors who belong to the government. I’m sure the government feels uncomfortable about this. I heard Kim Min-hyuk is even planning on gathering up Awakened warriors who are foreign nationals.]
Korea has produced the most number of highest rated Awakened warriors. However, the Korean Government retained the least number of such warriors in comparison to all other nations.
I’m sure this is rubbing them the wrong way.
The Awakened warriors were no ordinary super humans.
They had financial power and connections. Not only that, each warrior was sometimes viewed as a symbol, a rallying point of the people.
Some became celebrities in the entertainment industry. Some became dealers who moved the prices of lands and houses.
The Awakened warriors defeated monsters and influenced a nation’s defensive capability as well.
Their presence also directly affected the pride of a nation along with foreign affairs and even currency exchange rates.
The Awakened warriors were incredible strategic resources. Literally, they were beyond the norm.
The Korean government was facing the reality of not being able to keep their Awakened warriors from a foreign country’s capital power. Instead of forcing the warriors to stay, Korean Government chose to let them go overseas under a few conditions and maintaining their Korean nationality.
In that situation, the fact that the highest rated Awakened warriors who didn’t even have Korean citizenship were gathering inside the country was definitely an unstable movement for the country.
I have never been outside, so I don’t know the situation exactly, but…
[Park Jung-ah, 90th Floor: In middle of all this, saying bad stuff to the government or getting tangled up with reassignments… Well, I think there are lot going on. During the last round, there was a message from the government.]
[Lee Ho-jae, 60th Floor: To us? What did it say?]
[Park Jung-ah, 90th Floor: Well, you know. The message asked us to stop Kim Min-hyuk. I gave a rough response, saying how are we supposed to stop someone outside when we are inside the Tutorial.]
That was true.
We are trapped here. How are we supposed to stop Kim Min-hyuk?
Also, even if we were outside, we wouldn’t be stopping Kim Min-hyuk.
To the outside, Park Jung-ah and I are known to be the leaders of the Order. However, practically speaking, Kim Min-hyuk was the one who led most of the Order’s projects.
Park Jung-ah and I were closer to just being the faces of the Order for the purpose of public relations.
The conversation started with Kim Min-hyuk’s story. However, it soon led to useless banter.
The pointless chatter between Park Jung-ah and I continued on and on until the clone bastard next to me expressedly directed his discomfort towards me.
[Park Jung-ah, 90th Floor: How’s the newbie doing? I heard that she made it past the 17th Floor.]
[Lee Ho-jae, 60th Floor: She is continuing well. It would be great if she could keep up the current pace and get up here. I wish she could hurry, but…]
Now, the topic had moved to Lee Yeon-hye. She became the most popular person in the Tutorial lately.
The 17th Floor was my biggest concern, and she managed to get past it. Now, she was sailing through smoothly.
Even at the 18th Floor, thanks to the information I gave her beforehand, she was able to clear it without facing any danger.
Ah, that makes me think about the 18th Floor again.
I glanced at the clone bastard next to me and stopped thinking about it.
Our mental connection was off. However, even with that, we could still vaguely detect each other's’ thoughts.
I want to avoid the clone bastard finding about my thoughts regarding the 18th Floor.
The clone bastard was not someone who was completely different from me, although I couldn’t say he was exactly the same as me either.
To be specific, it wasn’t that the clone bastard and I shared everything together in identical ways. He was a collection of some parts of myself.
He was made based on the thoughts, experiences and memories I gained since entering the Tutorial.
He was not like myself who had memories of my life before the life inside the Tutorial. All memories he had were from inside the Tutorial, and his entire life was what he has lived so far at the 60th Floor. To him, the memories of the 18th Floor is a critical trauma.
He still had not overcome the memories. It looked like he just had been forgetful of it.
[Park Jung-ah, 90th Floor: How much longer would it take for the newbie to get to the 60th Floor?]
I am not sure? I really don’t know about that.
If I had the specs she had, I would be able to get here in a flash.
However, Lee Yeon-hye has been progressing so slowly.
Also, since the 20th Floor, I had been getting past the stages rather fast, so I don’t have much information about them.
Of course, I have information I obtained through the manager. However, they are not as good as the information I obtained through actual experiences.
As for how long it would take for Lee Yeon-hye to get to the 60th Floor, I really am not sure.
[Lee Ho-jae, 60th Floor: I’m sure she will do well on her own. What is important is not the time it takes. It is not dying.]
She made it past the 17th Floor, but it was not like all obstacles that posed threats to her life were gone.
There are numerous dangerous stages left.
I chattered away with Park Jung-ah for a while again and then concluded the conversation.
Even after the conversation ended, I thought about Lee Yeon-hye for a while.
Since the 17th Floor, the number of messages from Lee Yeon-hye have decreased noticeably.
As for letters, they didn’t come at all.
Lee Yeon-hye said she heard information about me from Kiri Kiri.
I’m sure this falls to the category of private information. I wonder how she heard it.
She mentioned gods, so I think she was given a proposal that was not related to me and heard about me in the process.
I can be certain about one thing. Kiri Kiri kept her promise with me.
However, apart from that issue, the information that Lee Yeon-hye heard from Kiri Kiri was dangerous.
She now knew that I had been trying all sorts of things to leave Tutorial. She also learned that I had been making small bits of progresses.
From Lee Yeon-hye’s perspective, if I am to clear the 60th Floor by myself, then she will be stuck there by herself. It could not be helped that she would be sensitive about this.
She could feel disappointed in me. She could feel upset.
“Km. Km. Uuuuhuuuum. Uhm!”
I was organizing my thoughts, but the clone bastard faked a cough next to me.
What is he up to?
His lungs and breathing won’t have any problem even if he hibernated in a chemical-infested, biologically dangerous and radioactive training room.
“Uuuhuuuhm! That…. Km! I have something to say…”
The intro was unnecessarily long.
“Km… that… How should I say this.”
Watching him like this, I am reminded that the clone bastard and I are completely different entities.
He was based on my past, but is it because the personality’s growth has been different since his birth?
He had completely different philosophies and personality.
“I also want a n… I want to have a name too!”
With the same face as mine, he was blushing and closing his eyes as he shouted that. Watching him do that overcame me with emotion inside somehow.
However, regardless of what I was feeling inside, the clone bastard’s little wish was very understandable.
“Why a name all of the sudden?”
“I can’t be called a clone forever. It is not like I’m an ordinary clone.”
To be precise, he was not a clone or mental formation.
He was closer to a new life form born from genetic engineering.
“It did not matter when I was just with you, but I don’t want to be called uncle clone by Yong Yong forever.”
It seemed he had been agonizing over this for some time.
Having heard his name, Yong Yong raised his head up. I looked at him.
Since Yong Yong was born, the clone had recognized the concept of another person. At the same time, he developed a desire to make a distinction of his own existence. I think that’s how it can be explained.
Also, I think the novels he had been reading lately influenced him as well.
I guess I will really have to make a name for him.
“Which name do you like?”
It is not like he is a newborn baby. I think it would be best to give him the name he wants.
The problem was the clone bastard’s answer…
What a sight to behold.
What nonsense is this?
“What! It’s a great name.”
“In that case, let’s go with Ho-chi. The Ho part is a tradition. Lee Ho-chi. That’s a great name.”
Having heard my suggestion, the clone bastard’s face turned red. Yong Yong started to laugh. It seemed Yong Yong found the sound of the name to be funny.
Yong Yong, is his name that funny?
It is similar to your daddy’s name?
The clone bastard huffed and puffed for a moment. He then took off.
Looks like he is angry.
Still, Hooch Nedval was just not right.
Yong Yong was still smiling. I hugged him tightly.
“Yong Yong, it seems your uncle wants to have a name too. What kind of name should we give him?”
“Yes. It looks like your uncle doesn’t know how to make one for himself. I think your daddy will have to help him.”
I feared that the clone might come up with a name like Frodo Baggins if we didn’t make one for him.
Yong Yong’s eyes suddenly sparkled. He grabbed my sleeve and said,
“Daddy! In that case, I want to make a name for my uncle!”
“Yong Yong, you will?”
“Yes! Yong Yong will!”
I think this idea is making me feel anxious in its own way.
I get the feeling that whatnot-etcetera the fourth or something like that will result from this.
Still, I think it will be better than leaving it to the clone bastard.
I wrapped it up that way and put my hand toward the fruit pie that was still left on the table.
When I almost finished the pie, I could feel the clone bastard’s movement.
His movement was not toward here. He was headed to the portal.
Soon, his presence disappeared near the portal.
I think this rascal must be really pissed.
All by himself, the clone bastard went to the 61th Floor stage.
Maybe he is thinking about asking the old man or the granny about names.
It probably won’t matter. Well…
It is not like he is a child.
* * *
“Daddy, why isn’t uncle coming back?”
The clone bastard had not returned for three weeks.