I offered the short sword to the kid.
The kid's hand reached out towards the short sword's handle.
With an unusually quick speed.
It didn't look like the movements of a kid who was weak and couldn't even walk right.
Even so, it was still the movements of a little kid.
With this, I think I've given him several chances.
If it were possible, I'd like to roughly turn him in.
Still, isn't this too much of a dead end?
[I don't know what you mean by a 'dead end', but I also think that way. Warrior.]
The holy sword chattered.
Why would you agree on something when you don't know what it is?
It doesn't matter.
Whether the holy sword agrees with my opinion or not, won’t affect my decision.
When the kid's hand touched the short sword's hilt, he touched the edges with his fingers, and rotated it.
As I saw the embarrassed kid's expression, the reverse grip short sword stabbed into his chest.
[TL Note: Changed Korean groaning/moaning sounds. They make no sense in English because they’re sounds made in Korean.]
After he cried out briefly, he fell flat on his face.
He didn't die.
No matter how bad his motor skills are, it wasn't to the point that he would mishandle the short sword.
The kid couldn't respond to my words and just groaned in agony.
"Hey, kid. Say something."
[I would just kill him discreetly, and find a new guide.]
The holy sword chattered again.
I wonder what kind of ego this guy has to call himself a holy sword?
"Hey, kid, you'll die from excessive bleeding like that. Say something."
The kid couldn't respond.
It seemed like the kid couldn't think out of fear and confusion, rather than the pain.
He wasn't in the kind of condition where I could bully him into speaking.
"Don't worry so much. You won't immediately die from getting stabbed. You see, I haven't just been stabbed only once or twice."
It hadn't reached his inner organs and blood wasn't gushing out of the wound.
Of course, if the bleeding continued on like this, he would die from the bleeding. And there had been the possibility that he would've died from shock when he first stabbed his chest with the short sword.
I took out a potion bottle from my subspace bag, dangling it from my hand.
It wasn't an elixir, but it would be able to heal that kind of injury with ease.
"Here, I even have a potion. You don't have to be concerned about dying."
The kid's look changed.
That's probably the look of a traveler in the desert when they discover an oasis.
When this kid had seen my short sword, when he had seen my subspace bag, when he had seen my gems, when he had first seen my clothes, and when he saw the swords at my waist, he had shown the same expression throughout.
I have no intention of blaming this kid.
I could understand him, and I could even sympathize with him.
I just have to tell him.
I slapped the kid's outstretched hand away with my hand holding the potion bottle before swinging back my hand holding the potion bottle.
The bottle shattered against the kid's head with a loud kish!, splashing the potion onto him.
In the midst of the sharply breaking glass shards, the kid briefly clutched his head and groaned.
Then, he soon realized that the pain coming from his head wasn't important.
The kid tried to gather the scattered potion on the earthen floor into his hands, but the thin potion instantly soaked into the ground.
For the first time, the kid's eyes bore at mine.
It was a gaze of extreme desperation and confusion.
Only when he was in this position did he look into my eyes for the first time.
Because it seemed like he had only looked into my eyes for the first time due to the position he was in, it felt a little pitiful.
I took out another potion from my subspace bag.
The kid attempted to reflexively raise his body, but when I moved my hand and gripped the potion upside down, his body waned.
And he begged.
"Please… Please. Please give me the potion… I'll do whatever you ask. Please, I beg of you."
As I looked at the kid begging with watery eyes and a runny nose, I realized that he wasn't that dumb.
If you sink into a state of panic in this kind of a situation, your head doesn't work; people who repeatedly make stupid decisions are not uncommon.
However, the kid read my reaction and quickly realized that he was powerless.
"You don't need to do anything."
The child's eyes became more and more haggard.
"I only want one thing from you."
I decided to only go this far for now.
If we waste more time, this feeble kid might just die on the ground.
"Here, I'll just give you the potion."
And I put the potion bottle into the kid's hand.
The kid hesitated momentarily before he removed the lid of the bottle and started drinking the potion.
Since his hands were shaking so much, most of the potion dripped down his chin.
I had to take out another potion.
I fed him the potion myself because he couldn't properly drink the potion. I even separately rubbed some onto the surface of his wounds.
[TL Note: It doesn’t specify what Ho Jae rubbed onto his wounds, but it’s assumed to be either the potion or a separate ointment/medicine.]
It took about 15 minutes for the kid to calm down.
He was still in light shock, but he had stabilized enough for him to listen to me talk.
Fear over gratitude.
You shouldn't have been so greedy, kid.
"Here, take it."
I threw the subspace bag onto his chest.
And I said to the quizzical child.
"Now I'll add this to my down payment of gems. I'll give you this bag."
"And if my work ends well, I'll add the short sword to that, and I'll give you more gems too."
It seemed like the kid didn't understand the situation very well, because he gazed at me with a vacant expression.
I asked the kid.
"Now, let's go back to the previous conversation. I said that I only wanted one thing from you, right? What do you think that one thing is?"
Even while he was flustered, he quickly found the right answer.
"G-Guiding you to the lowest floor."
I grabbed the back of the kid's neck and propped him up.
I hit his back hard enough to make a clapping sound, and said.
"Then let's go. Towards the dungeon’s lowest floor."
I followed behind the kid who clambered on his feet, holding the subspace bag at his chest.
The kid was soon able to walk without much problem.
He had a hole in his shirt, but he was actually walking faster than before.
It was to the point where it would be quite an unmanageable speed for a normal person.
I satisfyingly followed behind the kid as I sorted out the characteristics of those guys called “guides.”
Firstly, they have acute senses.
I'm sure that they have more sensitive hearing and eyesight than normal humans.
Even among their senses, their hearing is really outstanding.
They don't simply hear the smallest sounds; even when it's noisy, they can precisely discern what they’re looking for.
To add to that, their leg and arm muscles are superb.
With that kid's poor amount of muscle, he wouldn't ever be able to display such speed or endurance.
That was one of the reasons that the kid planned to attack me.
If he acted like a lanky kid and suddenly attacked in a burst of speed, most people wouldn’t be able to deal with it.
If it was a normal human, you would think that they would have mana to make up for their lack of muscular strength, but that kid was different.
That kid has no connection to mana.
It just looked like a problem with his blood.
I thought that he may be a different species similar to humans.
Next, the guides are good at acting.
It's not just at the level of spewing a few good lies, but they would be able to create a separate persona for their employer.
It could be a common point that was linked to either blood or a tribal tradition, or it could also be nothing more than a professional characteristic.
Lastly, if we're also talking about that kid's characteristics, it'd just be that he's really talentless.
If you had a body that was blessed with those muscles, it'd be really hard to be talentless.
It's still the same regardless of how little he eats or how lanky he is, or even if you consider that he hasn't received any training or education.
This should be enough, right?
Assuming that the kid will deliver me to the lowest floor well, his guidance would be useless information after.
There really isn't any reason to delve more deeply into my thoughts here.
[Warrior.] Seregia said.
She must be asking for the reason.
[Could you please explain?]
Seregia interrogated me regarding my previous behavior.
She doesn't want to affect my decision, but she wants me to justify my past behavior.
[Let's summarize that kid's two problems.]
[Though it's not just one or two problems.]
[Still, there are two things that are problematic. First is his greed. Everyone has greed. And you can be swung around by your own greed here and there. It's just that that kid was excessively greedy. When he had received the gems, that kid, rather than being satisfied with them, wanted more. The reason that this could become an issue is that I don't know where his greed ends.]
One might say that the kid’s payment was overboard, but even so, the kid's greed hadn't been sated.
If I could guess where his greed would end, I would have solved the matter by just giving him the treasure that he wanted.
Inside this tutorial, whether it be gems or anything else, all the items I possess are just points.
Also, I had no intention of treasuring those gems that were nothing more than points.
If it allowed me to clear a stage easily, I would give that kid enough gems to buy the entire town that we had passed.
However, even after receiving that many gems, I wasn't sure that the kid would be satisfied.
[That's why I gave them to him so easily. I also gave him the subspace bag that drew his attention, and even added more gems and the magic short sword on top of that.]
[However, that wouldn't solve the problem. Even after receiving those, you don't know if that child would want even more.]
[That's why I gave them to him so easily. Whether it be gems or magical tools, I needed to show him that all of those held no meaning to me. I don't know how much time I'll spend with that kid in the future, but I'll imply it.]
[What are you talking about?]
[That if he asks me directly, I can give him as much as he wants.]
Seregia was momentarily silent.
Seregia assented with my reasoning and I walked through the forest, listening to the birds call.
After a little time passed like that, Seregia spoke.
[That must be your solution to the second problem.]
[Yeah. The kid's second problem was that he was going to attack me in order to satiate his greed. That's why I let him know. That there was a better method.]
[However, Warrior. I think that there are still two problems remaining.]
Two problems, you say.
Rather than pondering, I just asked Seregia.
[First, it's if the child's greed still isn't fulfilled until the end.]
[That's why I used a slightly violent method. I want to give him the impression that I can give him as much as he wants, but he could die if he makes the wrong choice.]
[Yes. The child will attempt to walk on a tightrope. However, the idea that that child will be moved by his greed until the end still remains.]
I don’t think so.
Fear will overshadow his greed.
Fear would stimulate a human's most basic desire: the will to live.
The faint Seregia probably won't be able to understand that.
At least right now, the kid that's walking in front of me isn't guiding me to satisfy his greed.
He's just doing as he's told because he's scared.
For the time being, I should be able to control him with fear.
And as time passes, when that fear fades, I can inversely take advantage of the kid's greed.
Finally, that fear would fade, but would still remain; that fear will curb that kid's excessive greed.
[What about the second problem?]
[There's a possibility that this kid may bear a grudge because of this.]
* * * * * *
I followed the kid's lead and arrived at the dungeon; the dungeon's entrance looked a bit different than what I had expected.
I had expected the cave entrance to be dreary and ominous, but this was just a marketplace.
I wasn't saying that it was as noisy as a marketplace, but that it was a literal marketplace.
There were stalls here and there, surrounded by people soliciting those passing by.
Whether it was the surroundings of the dungeon's entrance, or a passage beyond the entrance, it was all the same.
It was noisy and boisterous and there were too many people.
There were seriously too many people.
I grabbed the wrist of a man who bumped into my shoulder before trying to pass by.
And I gripped it and twisted it.
They either tried to rummage through my pockets or tried to steal the swords at my waist; the number of pickpockets who had their wrists and elbows shattered already numbered over ten.
The pickpocket's agonized scream had been buried by the bustling market; the collapsed, screaming pickpocket was drowned in the crowd and left my sight.
"Is this place normally like this?"
"Yes, Swordsman. It's always like this because there's only one entrance. If you go inside, it'll be a bit better. Until then, be careful of pickpockets."
Hey kid, there already aren't any pickpockets remaining that can continue their business in my vicinity.