After I moved to Kiri Kiri's field, it wasn't that surprising to me that Seregia disappeared.
Something like this had happened before.
The same thing happened when Idy, who had been summoned through the Summon Dead skill, had visited here.
Kiri Kiri said that only I, the challenger, would be invited into this field, and Idy was temporarily unsummoned.
If I go back to the waiting room, I should be able to summon Seregia again.
Rather, not seeing Kiri Kiri was more surprising.
I think that this has never happened before.
Kiri Kiri had other things to do besides sunbathe in this field.
She definitely had work to do.
Also, she felt that that work was quite important.
Kiri Kiri didn't seem to be the type that would shirk her responsibilities without a reason.
I can think of two reasons.
The first possibility is this.
Kiri Kiri ran into a problem.
It was a problem big enough that she shied away from her responsibilities.
The second possibility was this.
Kiri Kiri is here.
It's just that she's hiding.
If it's the second possibility, it's not hard to get Kiri Kiri to show herself.
Without pondering further, I decided to test it.
I didn't need to draw the Seal of Solomon and bought a few cakes from the store window.
[TL and PR Note: Literally translates as the Star of David, but we thought Seal of Solomon made more sense. The Star of David has nothing to do with summoning. He doesn’t need an elaborate pattern to summon her, he just needs cake.]
I spread out a mat on the floor and laid out the cakes I bought.
And I briefly waited.
If Kiri Kiri is hiding, she should be right in front of me.
I heard a voice in the air.
As I expected, she's easy to read.
Like usual, I couldn't see her or detect her presence.
"Do you want to eat some cake?"
"Can I? But I lost the bet..."
[TL Note: I have no idea how to translate her “cutesy” speech. It has no real English equivalent and it makes the words sound weird. Besides stretching Ho Jae’s name, she also tends to speak in a cute way, kind of like how some Koreans write their cell phone messages.]
"You can eat it. If not, then well… If you don't then that's fine. You don't want any?"
"I want some!"
I heard a sonorous voice in the air and a slice of cake flew into the air.
After the cake shot up into the air, the number of cakes I laid out started to decrease.
It seemed that the pieces of cake that disappeared by the moment were going into Kiri Kiri's mouth.
"Kiri Kiri. I can't see you."
As soon as I finished speaking, I began to be able to make out Kiri Kiri's form.
As I had thought, Kiri Kiri was picking up a cake and ferociously stuffing the cake into her mouth.
You'll have an upset stomach if you keep eating like that.
What reason would I have for bullying Kiri Kiri by not buying her cakes?
The bet was just a way to kill time and there was no reason to make her sulk.
The cakes are a bit expensive, but Kiri Kiri always more than makes up for their price.
With information, that is.
It was also cute seeing her eat.
What do you mean by 'yeah' all of a sudden?
"It's great to eat!"
What are you talking about out of the blue.
That doesn't add up at all.
"Yeah, go ahead and eat a lot."
I watched as Kiri Kiri gobbled up the cakes and waited for her to finish.
Contrary to the other floors where I didn't really have any pending questions to ask, I was full of questions about the recent developments.
I reviewed the list of questions in my head and organized my thoughts.
* * * * * *
"Now you'll answer my questions sincerely, right?"
Kiri Kiri vigorously nodded her head.
She took out a handkerchief and with a beaming smile, wiped her mouth and said, "Ask anything!"
Kiri Kiri folded her arms and responded confidently.
Before the buff effect of the cakes wore off, it'd be best to ask her my questions quickly.
"For the last few days, my exhaustion won't go away."
"Heng. That's natural."
"It's natural? I also drank an elixir, leveled up, drank a health potion, and recovered via the clear reward, but my fatigue isn't going away, even in this field."
"That's because it's not simply fatigue. It can't be helped."
"Can you explain it in detail?"
"Yeah. Strictly speaking, what you're feeling right now, Hooooujae, isn't physical exhaustion."
"It's closer to mental fatigue."
"Are you talking about stress?"
Kiri Kiri fiddled with her long ears and said, "You're not wrong, but it's more correct to say that excessive concentration has strained your brain."
"My brain? Due to my concentration?"
That's a surprise.
Honestly, I was really confident in my ability to concentrate.
I didn't think I'd lack focus and have these kinds of side effects.
"Rather than lacking focus, it's better to say that you focused too much. If you're human, you would never maintain even a moment of such an extremely tense state throughout your entire life; however, you maintained that extremely tense state for several days, and for several hours at a time."
"It's that bad? Is this by any chance really severe? Or uncurable?"
"It's not to that point. It'd be simpler to think of it as muscle pain."
Muscle pain, huh.
I overtaxed my brain cells.
"You really overworked them. Even if you drive out the exhaustion through a healing effect, your brain will remember it. That overload is because you’re overtaxing your brain. No healing method has a memory-erasing effect."
"Can this be healed?"
"Nope. The best solution is to just empty your head for a few days and rest completely."
"And after I rest, the exhaustion will disappear?"
I'll rest for a few days and practice swordsmanship with Seregia.
"Heng. You'll have to figure out for yourself if you can really call that resting. It doesn't seem like you'll listen to me, either."
Let's move on to the next question.
"About the level up rewards…"
"Like I said before, don't worry about those anymore."
"No, aside from the stats and skills rewards, even the level up recovery effect is gone. What's going on here?"
Usually when you level up, your overall condition is restored to perfect health.
However, when I was covered in wounds in the aftermath of the Light Sword, I didn’t realize that I had leveled up until after I drank the elixirs and recovered from my wounds.
Basically, I didn't get the healing effect from my level ups.
Kiri Kiri didn't immediately respond to my question.
That’s a big deal.
In most cases, Kiri Kiri immediately answers me.
"We're in the middle of voting."
"Yeah. I'll tell you about it later. Even if I were to tell you about it, it really wouldn't be all that useful to you and it's just expensive information. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that you shouldn't be worried about level ups from now on."
* * * * * *
I briefly paused my questioning and thought about it, but nothing came to mind.
I didn't know anything about it, so there's no point in making blind guesses.
As Kiri Kiri said, it'd be better to hear it from her next time.
"I got it. Next, I have a question about disciples. I don't know if my allowance is enough for information though."
"The God of Light?"
"I recommend saving up some more. Since you still haven't heard about the God of Death yet."
"Yeah. Then let's move on the next question."
Unconcerned, I moved to a new subject.
From the start, I hadn't expected to hear information regarding the gods or disciples this time.
I had also thought about accepting the God of Death's and the God of Light's offers blindly.
However, I didn't really need to do that.
What I need right now isn't a skill from a god.
I was already struggling with developing my current abilities.
The difficulty was far easier than I expected.
The Demon King that appeared on the 26th floor was quite strong.
No, he honestly was much stronger than me.
His appearance was like rain after a drought.
However, I couldn't be sure that a formidable opponent like the Demon King would appear on the upcoming stages.
Of course, it would be nice if they did.
What's worse, even that Demon King was in the category of opponents that I was confident I could definitely beat.
From here, if I gain a few more god skills, my growth may stagnate for a while.
Perhaps I would delay accepting their offer to become their disciple even after receiving advice from Kiri Kiri regarding the gods.
[The God of Adventure is happy.]
[The God of Light hates someone.]
[The God of Death is bored.]
"Next is the holy sword. About the holy sword that the God of the Sky gifted to me. If I had used that, I think the stage would've been too easy. Did they give me the wrong item?"
"You're right. That's true."
"What? They gave me the wrong item?"
"No. Not that. Honestly, even now the stage is easy for you."
"That's probably why they gave it to you. They thought that they'd never see you struggle in a stage, so instead they probably wanted to see how you would act if they gave you a weapon. That's probably what the gods who voted for it were thinking. Honestly, most gods aren't concerned about the difficulty setup or how fair it is for the challengers. There's something else that's important."
I brooded on Kiri Kiri's words and thought about them.
When I had acquired the holy sword, I saw this kind of explanation.
It was a punishment sent by the God of the Sky, in order to punish the arrogant humans.
Would it have been given to me for a similar reason?
"Then why would the gods have been against it?"
"Eh. They probably all had their separate reasons. They might've not wanted you to attain the holy sword, Hooooujae, or they didn't want you to get influenced by it, or they didn't want you to accept the God of the Sky's present, or they might've just hated the God of the Sky."
If we exclude the gods that have a bad relationship with the God of the Sky, all of them have reasons to oppose the present based on the influence of the holy sword or a connection to it.
It's certainly a demonic sword that could influence me.
"Or they might just hate you, Hooooujae."
"…That can happen?"
"Yeah. There are gods that continue to hate you. Hehe."
When Kiri Kiri was finished talking, she was laughing contently to the side.
What's so funny?
I'm being hated by gods.
Some of the gods definitely hate me all the time.
For example, the God of Nature.
The God of Life and the God of the Sky among them too, but it seems like after what happened, the God of the Sky changed his mind.
No, seeing as how he gave me the holy sword, he might actually harbor a malevolent attitude towards me.
Apart from them, there were a few gods that didn't respond much but occasionally appeared and would exhibit a negative reaction.
I'm hated by gods.
How should I think about this?
"Yeah, they can't."
"You tried asking me this on the 4th floor, right? To what extent the gods can meddle with you."
"They can't interfere with you. Unless all the gods of the Temple of the Hundred Gods agree to that interference. However, that probably won't happen."
[TL and PR Note: Just a reminder. White Holy Temple was incorrect and will now be translated as “Temple of the Hundred Gods” (100 God Temple), denoting that there are one hundred gods watching over Hojae.]
"Are you sure?" I asked again, after hearing Kiri Kiri's confident tone.
"I'm sure. Also, if that happens, nothing bad will happen to you, Hooooujae. The god's interference is limited to just that."
[TL and PR Note: The author is really ambiguous about a lot of things. “That” refers to their interference and seems to be limited to things like giving items, skills, etc.]
So that's how it is.
It's good information.
It's valuable information.
However, as I heard this information, my level of anxiety actually heightened.
I had asked about this information a few times in the past.
The response back then was that the information was too expensive and she couldn't tell me.
This was especially precious information.
"Kiri Kiri. How much more until I meet my quota?"
"You've pretty much used it all up."
I had mostly spent my quota that I had saved up to ask about the God of Death.
I had been saving it since the 21st floor too.
I wanted to wring the nose of the jubilantly-laughing Kiri Kiri but I did my best to hold back.
There was definitely a reason that Kiri Kiri had explained this information to me at this time, even if I had to spend most of my saved quota.
Even if I had to wait on listening to an explanation about the God of Death and the God of Light; there was a reason why I had to hear it.
That's what I thought as I passed onto the next subject.
"Kiri Kiri. Then, can you tell me about the abilities of the holy sword with the rest of my allowance?"
"I can. But are you going to use that holy sword?"
"No. For now, I'm thinking of just stashing it in my inventory."
However, I needed to know the holy sword's powers, so I can use it if need be.
"I got it. You just need to check your inventory when you go back to the waiting room."
Now I had asked roughly everything I had wanted to ask.
I thought for a moment if there was something I missed.
The Thousand Arms.
I forgot to ask her about the Thousand Arms that smashed into the Warrior's armor and split into two.
I asked Kiri Kiri why the Thousand Arms was suddenly destroyed upon impact.
"It broke because of the excessive concentration of mana."
"The concentration of mana?"
Is she talking about the Light Sword?
I'd definitely thought back then that the amount of mana I'd gathered was outrageous.
"Yeah. That. Since the Thousand Arms is closer to a magical tool than a weapon, it's weak to the concentration of mana. Also."
"Before the collision, the deciding factor was the holy sword's Dispel, which cancelled the built-in durability magic. Moreover, its durability had already declined and the built-in support magic disappeared, so it immediately broke."
…The holy sword cast Dispel on the Thousand Arms?
If by any chance, the Thousand Arms was destroyed, did the holy sword think that I'd use it instead?
It was really a demonic sword that I wanted to throw into lava.
"You probably won't be able to use the Thousand Arms that's in pieces. The waiting room's effect won't restore it. It also won't change into other shapes. You have another one, so you can just use that."
I didn't think that one of my Thousand Arms would be damaged this quickly.
The crucial problem was that my Light Sword had greatly diminished the durability of the Thousand Arms, irregardless of the holy sword casting Dispel.
If I use my Light Sword often with such a high concentration of mana…
I probably won't be able to use my Thousand Arms anymore.
The Thousand Arms isn't just a weapon since it can be used as a shield, gear, props, or a magical tool.
Rather than use the last remaining Thousand Arms as a sword, I thought it'd be better to obtain a new weapon.
"Kiri Kiri. I'm thinking of buying a new sword. What do you think?"