[Member(s) available for party recruitment (1/1)]
- Lee Ho Jae
[Current Party Member (1/6)]
1. Lee Ho Jae
[Would you like to enter?]
Before entering the 20th stage which requires a 6 man party, a message popped up to confirm my decision once again.
Why do they even bother to ask? It’s just me anyways.
Actually, the decision confirmation message pops up before entering any stage.
However, I feel strangely chagrined when I see a confirmation message before entering a stage that requires a party play.
Oh well, but I guess it’s okay since it’s been awhile anyways.
[Welcome to the 20th floor stage.]
[Trial number 19, Date 16th, Time 15:00]
I entered the 20th stage right at 3 o’ clock.
The 20th stage is located at the top of the castle fortress, which was built on top of the mountain.
Recently, stages have been located in areas with fantastic views of natural landscapes.
First of all, this fortress is magnificent.
This fortress contains very firm and tall walls.
And this fortress reminds me of those unrealistic fortresses which are likely to appear in fantasy movies like Lord of the Rings, rather than any actual existing fortresses built on Earth.
Actually, never mind, there wouldn’t be any giant fortress built on top of the mountain like this, even in Lord of the Rings.
Who are they kidding? Logically speaking, how can anybody be able to build any castle on top of such high mountain like this?
However, that sort of nonsensical building exists right here.
I don’t have any knowledge regarding war strategies or sieges. However, I am able to assume that this fortress was built in order to fight against larger number of enemies easily, even with smaller number of allied forces.
The enemies could easily die climbing the steep mountain, they could die from getting hit by weapons flying around, or they could easily die from stumbling and falling down.
Even if you somehow successfully make your way up until you reach a castle wall, the wall is too high to climb up.
Unless you have the ability to fly, it seems impossible to be able to conquer this fortress with only ground forces.
Second of all, my location is very important.
If I were summoned anywhere near the fortress, then the 20th floor clear objective might have been conquering the fortress.
But I was summoned on top of the fortress wall.
A message popped up.
[The 20th floor gateway begins.]
Explanation: The red mountain where the great Go-Ryoung had lived for a long, long time, no longer has a master.
All that is left in this red mountain is the dwarfs protecting the great Go-Ryoung’s only inheritance.
The Trilogy alliance wants to take possession of the great Go-Ryoung’s inheritance, in order to gain an advantage over the empire in the war.
However, all thanks to a long-lasting ill-fated relationship between the dwarfs and the Trilogy alliance, the Trilogy alliance decided to attack the fortress and plunder great Go-Ryoung’s inheritance instead of convincing the dwarfs to hand it over.
Help the dwarfs and protect Go-Ryoung’s inheritance.
The Trilogy alliance’s attack will start on the day 2.
[Condition of Stage Clear]
1. Defend Trilogy alliance’s attack for 11 days.
2. Protect Go-Ryoung’s inheritance from Trilogy alliance.
It’s a simple stage.
I like it very much.
Yes, this is it.
This is what every tutorial stage should be.
I activated my magic power to skim through the fortress and its surroundings.
There are no enemies approaching toward the fortress yet.
There are none that could get away without me noticing it, at least.
Then first I shall begin to chat at ease.
I turn my head to the sound of footsteps coming from behind.
It’s one of the dwarfs who have been watching me for a while now.
Other dwarfs have been looking at me from far away, yet only one among them walk toward me.
When I first heard the name ‘dwarf’, I was somewhat imagining a species like hobbits or halflings that appear in fantasy novels.
However, the dwarfs in front of my eyes had something different compared to that of my imagination.
First of all, they are a bit strange.
…If I put together all those slowly mumbled words, it becomes ‘Hello’.
The fact that they have successfully spoken a word, even when they only obtain language skill from before the Babel time was truly impressive, more so than the fact that such species that speaks like this exists.
“Yes, me what.”
God damn it. They are weirder than I thought.
It’s not only that they speak in such weird manner.
It’s also that, the dwarf who was speaking in front of me, and all the other dwarfs in my sight share one trait.
They all look exactly the same.
As if they were all identical twins.
And there are more than hundreds of dwarfs in front of my eyes right now.
They can’t possibly be all identical twins.
I figured it would be at least twenty times more efficient to zone out than to listen carefully to each word they speak slowly.
Not only were their facial appearances identical, but their physical frames were also identical, as if they were some sort of artificial life forms that have been cloned.
To be honest I feel uncomfortable.
I activated my magical power, and observe dwarfs’ bodies more carefully.
It was a huge discourtesy; however they don’t seem to be offended by it at all.
After a while, I drew a conclusion.
They are all the same person.
Whether they are all one’s alter ego, or an artificial robot, or some sort of doll or I don’t know what exactly.
Maybe it has something to do with that great Go-Ryoung.
When my train of thought reached that point, the dwarf standing in front of me had spoken quite a lot of words.
When I put all those words together, it becomes the following sentence.
‘I am fine. You are fine as well. You speak. Speak about your relationship with Trilogy.’
I couldn’t be sure if whether the simplicity of the sentence structure was due to their lack of intellectual capacity, or if it was in order to save some time since they spoke terribly badly.
“I am… Trilogy’s….”
I was speaking in the same manner as the dwarfs, slowly but obviously faster than them, but one dwarf cut me off.
I stopped speaking to listen to him in order to see what sort of important message he was trying to tell me.
…They are telling me to speak faster.
Sigh. I will let this one go.
There may be some valid reason behind why they speak so slowly like that anyways.
I decided to speak faster as they’ve wished.
“I am not connected to Trilogy alli-.”
“…I am not connected to Trilogy alliance, and I am their enemy.”
God damn it.
They not only have problems in speaking but also in hearing.
Either that or they had some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder about completing the sentence that has already begun.
I feel like something is burning inside of me.
Wow, my mental contamination immunity skill level might advance if I continue to listen to this.
Okay my ass.
“I am irreverent to Trilogy alliance, and I am their enemy. I will help defend against their attack, and I will protect the inheritance of the great Go-Ryoung.”
I was planning to furtively ask about the inheritance of Go-Ryoung after establishing a deeper friendship with the dwarfs.
If the dwarfs were planning on hiding the existence of the inheritance or something, then there is a chance of my relationship with them going awry.
But because I felt awfully cramped in having this conversation with the dwarfs, I ended up spilling everything I had to say at once.
The dwarf began to reply.
I zoned out again, while listening to his reply that will obviously take a long, long time again.
Yet I have no problem understanding his reply at all.
The objective of the 20th floor stage is to protect the Go-Ryoung’s inheritance that the dwarves have been protecting against the Trilogy alliance.
I considered the 20th floor stage to be perfectly doable when I learned about the existence of the allies and when I looked at the tall fortress build on top of the mountain.
Of course I still have no idea what the Trilogy alliance is like, not yet.
Therefore I thought it would be okay to engage in this stage without having to drink any potions.
That was my hasty judgment.
I would be much better off drinking potions to carry this whole thing alone by myself, rather than trusting these little things as my allies.
When my thought process reached until this point, the dwarf had made quite some progress.
‘Trilogy’s enemy, our frien”
It must mean that the Trilogy’s enemy is their friend.
Since the dwarf didn’t finish his sentence yet, I continued to think about other things.
I will ask them to show me the inheritance of Go-Ryoung as soon as this conversation is over.
After knowing the location of the inheritance and structure of the fortress I shall make a basic defensive plan.
Fortunately the dwarfs don’t seem to have any problems in moving, even though they had some obvious deficiency in communication.
It would be possible to defend to some extent even if they only roll down several stones and rocks from the top of the wall while I fight the Trilogy alliance at the front lines.
In the meantime I really have to drink and absorb the potions.
The plan was neat.
However I had doubts about the feasibility of the plan.
They said that the Trilogy alliance’s attack will begin on the day 2.
I was wondering why their attack would begin on the 2nd day, rather than on the first day of stage entrance, but now I know why.
There was no guarantee that I would be able to completely finish conversing with the dwarfs and drink the potions before today is over.
It will take up an entire evening just to talk about Go-Ryoung’s inheritance and to have a look around the fortress.
A sigh slipped out of my mouth.
If I combine the words that dwarf said up to this point, it becomes a sentence like this.
‘Trilogy’s enemy, is our friend. Let’s protect the great Go-Ryoung’s inheritance together. We welcome your vi.”
They must mean that they welcome my visit.
Convincing the dwarfs was way easier than I thought it would be.
Honestly speaking, I have no clue about why the dwarfs got convinced so easily.
I think it’s only logical to be on guard when you see a stranger who appeared in fortress out of nowhere all of a sudden in a sensitive time like this.
Or maybe they are letting it pass without thinking much, simply because they are too dumb.
A man appeared in fortress in the right timing because of the Tutorial’s stage. Maybe they are programmed to maintain an amicable relationship with the challengers.
If that’s not the case, maybe they have discovered something in me that was trustworthy enough, or they have a substantial clue to be assured that I am not part of Trilogy’s alliance.
And if that’s not the case either, maybe they’re pretending to accept it while planning on stabbing me in the back afterwards.
There are several possibilities.
But for now I lack information regarding the relationship between dwarfs and Trilogy alliance.
Let’s come back to this later.
* * * * * *
Things went smoother than I thought it would.
By things, I meant the conversation with the dwarfs.
The dwarfs who welcomed me had stopped talking.
That was a very positive piece of news.
They handed me a bundle of paper instead.
The bundle of paper consisted of a map of surrounding areas and an operational plan in preparation for siege warfare.
The map contained a detailed presentation of the geographic features of the fortress itself and its surrounding areas.
It even contained the location of the Trinity Alliance’s camp.
The operational plan explained their organization of forces and structure of the fortress and how to utilize its defensive facilities.
I would have to analyze how they’d be able to defend themselves against the enemy’s attack based on this operational plan, and then I would have to assign myself an appropriate role.
They ushered me into a small room inside the fortress after checking those bundles of paper.
The dwarfs led me into the room and told me to use it as my lodging, then disappeared after telling me that they would come pick me up before the dinner time.
Thankfully the dwarfs weren’t dumb in the head.
There is a great barrier in communication, but they were acknowledging it themselves, and they were even trying to make up for their defect with other methods.
I must say, it is a very positive thing.
My task from now on is to read the map and operational plan once again very carefully, and to obtain any necessary information, in addition to organizing all the questions I want to ask the dwarfs before the dinner time, and to assign myself an appropriate role for the war that will begin tomorrow.
And last but not least, I need to drink some potions.
That’s about it for now.
The first thing for me to do is to drink some potions.
I activated my magical power and activated detection skill.
I sensed a few existences around me, but they weren’t close enough to be threatening.
[Collection of Soul]
[Number of Soul Collected : 211659]
I summon thirty souls.
Even though one’s scream was only as noisy as a kitten’s purring, when thirty of them begin to scream at the same time it becomes very tumultuous.
“Sorry to ask, but could you possibly protect the environs of this room? Guard against anyone coming inside.”
Of course they didn’t even bother to listen to my words.
“Alright, then how about just protecting the front door?”
Rather than listening to me, the souls were trying to find something while roaming around me.
I know what that behavior indicates.
They are looking for Myong Myong, who is supposed to be nearby me.
Unfortunately, they won’t get to meet Myong Myong around me anymore.
I even pulled out a candle, sundae (pig’s gut), liver and etc. from the inventory and tried praying to them, but they still refused to follow my words at all.
In the end, I gave up and sent the souls back.
I wanted to have more definite security, even though my surroundings were pretty safe, and there is no reason for the dwarfs to be hostile at me.
Because it becomes awfully troublesome if someone were to attack me while I am absorbing potions.
Potion that can force the enhancement of the stat is not a simple nutritional supplement.
Outstanding magic circulation skills and intense concentration is required in order to wholly absorb its entire efficacy.
Even if a marauder were to appear, I can still stop absorbing the potion and deal with them, but that would decrease the efficacy of the potion.
But rather than any attack, the dwarfs’ simple visit to say hello would be more unbearable, because I would have to forcefully stop the absorption and stand up.
Even if I don’t stand up, I need to open my mouth at least in order to turn the visitor away.
There is only one thing that can secure my safety at this point.
An uncomfortable magical spell swirled up in the room, and a healthy lizard over 2 meters tall was summoned into this tiny room.
With a long spear on its back and a tail that was thicker than my thighs, it made this small room feel even smaller than it already is.
However I was delighted rather than discomforted by it.
Honestly speaking, I was waiting for the right moment to use my soul summoning skill.
For the pretext for using the skill, to be exact.
“Long time no see, Iddy.”
“Kerk. To be honest I have no idea how much time has passed since the last time we saw each other. But hey, long time no see, hubby.”