Please refrain from making such nauseating sounds. I feel like I'm going to vomit again.
I endured it without saying anything out loud, and instead muttered inwardly.
The holy sword was sufficiently tormented in the process of extracting the dragon's heart.
The holy sword, retching a few more times, said.
[I'll go inside and rest a little bit.]
"Where are you going?"
The holy sword turned silent towards the end of his reply.
There's a room inside of the sword?
Is there by any chance a bathroom inside as well?
It wasn't just the holy sword, Seregia was also grumbling and making sounds.
"Were you really that nauseous?"
[No, it's not that. I'm just... I’m feeling a bit strange. I think it's because of the battle before. I feel as though my feelings and eccentricities have been enhanced after becoming a sword.]
The feeling of becoming a sword.
Seregia's already a sword.
Seregia probably calmed down as she returned to her calm voice and said.
[Warrior, is that it?]
After she said that, I looked directly at the dragon's heart.
It was a red shade overall, but I could see numerous black spots on the heart.
The heart seemed to be as big as an armful, had an intense foul stench, and radiated with an ominous energy.
The cause of the dragon corpse’s foul smell seemed to be this heart.
Just being close to the heart would give you a feeling of disgust.
That's why I was standing pretty far away from the heart right now.
However, the clear condition definitely stated that I had to acquire the earth dragon's treasure.
If that heart is the earth dragon's treasure, I have to obtain it.
However, what's the criteria for acquiring it?
Do I have to put that dirty, unpleasant, and foul-smelling heart into my arms?
I really don't want to.
At that time, a message appeared.
[Tutorial, Hell Difficulty, 27th floor, cleared.]
[All status effects and injuries are healed.]
[You have received 5000 points for clearing the floor.]
[You have received 5000 points for being the first to clear the floor.]
[Many gods react positively to you. You have received 6000 points.]
[Many gods react negatively to you. 3300 points have been deducted.]
[All the gods of the Temple of a Hundred Gods are watching you.]
[You have received an additional 2200 points.]
What a relief.
If that dragon heart wasn't the earth dragon's treasure, I would've had to search every nook and cranny of the dungeon.
"It seems like that's the right one."
[Then what do we do now?]
"We've done everything we needed to do. We just need to take this and return," I said, as I looked at the magic circle beneath my feet.
Seregia summed up this phenomenon simply.
I was glad she accepted it so easily so I wouldn't have to explain the tutorial system to her.
If she became curious, this would've become much more troublesome.
I can't truthfully explain it to her due to the system’s restraints, so I would've had to make something up.
And I would've had to continue to play along with my lie.
[Warrior, then what are you going to do with that?]
Seregia spoke without hands or even a face, but I could easily tell what she was referring to.
She was referring to the female kid guide who was crawling through the hole in the stone gate.
I had cleaned up all the monsters on the way here from the middle floor, opening a safe path for that kid.
[Let's kill her before going.]
"Do we really need to?"
[I don't feel like that child will trouble us in the future. However, you don't really have a reason not to kill her. She can also be a stain on your reputation in the future. Please finish this up and then go.]
"It's fine. Let's just go."
I cleaned the bloodstains on the holy sword and stood atop the portal.
I was about to transport, but then I heard Seregia.
[That child is lucky.]
[There's the dragon's corpse. If she takes just a few of those scales, she'll be able to make a fortune. If she somehow gets out, she'll be able to live without ever worrying about money ever again.]
Or on the contrary, she may be met with disaster because of those scales.
Whether that kid leads a wealthy life from now on.
Or dies without being able to escape the dungeon.
Or is killed by other people outside.
Regardless of what this kid's story is henceforth.
It didn't matter.
I reaffirmed my indifference towards that kid once more, and teleported through the portal.
* * * * * *
"Blech. The smell."
I was transported to the field, and Kiri Kiri covered her nose as soon as I encountered her.
Kiri Kiri had been scribbling something on the floor, and stretched her hand in front of me.
A cozy warm wind blew from her palm.
I felt the lingering foul stench and the ominous energy vanish.
"Thanks. It if it had remained any longer, I was going to vomit again."
"Heng. I hate this stage. It's always like this," Kiri Kiri said, pouting.
It seems like I had cleared the stage through a tried and true method.
The words "it's always like this" meant that the other challengers had also extracted the dead dragon's heart.
"But it's actually not like that."
"Could you explain it to me in more detail?"
"In how much detail?" Kiri Kiri said, sitting down in her spot.
I followed suit and sat down as well.
As I sat down, I felt a certain emptiness at my waist; the holy sword and the soul sword which were strapped to my belt had disappeared.
They should be inside my inventory.
The holy sword is probably going to complain about something again.
I responded to Kiri Kiri's question.
"Just what's necessary for the person behind me to tackle the stage."
"Honestly, you can just leave that kind of thing to me. Because that's my role. Hooooujae, you don't really need the advice. I'm not giving you much information, but I'll give the person after you, Hooooujae, as much advice as I can."
That's true. Giving people advice about the stages is Kiri Kiri's role.
She was also happy to do her job.
But she may have thought of it as me overstepping my authority here.
"Nope. It's nothing like that."
"It's because I want to prepare for my growth in the stages ahead. Also, the more advice, the better.”
After Kiri Kiri listened to me, she placed her finger at her cheek with a thoughtful look..
"First, you have to pick the right guide. There are several guides in the town. In order to request a guide, you have to improve your reputation within the town by doing this and that in order to gain the guide's trust."
"But there wasn't anything like that for me?"
"That's because you frightened the first guide, Hooooujae."
I think I understand what she's talking about.
The old lady that I met in the town said that I was a monster and she had no interest in taking a stroll with me before running away.
"The guide that accompanied you was honestly the worst, Hooooujae."
She was the worst?
I had thought that she was lacking in various ways.
"Then… The other guides won't threaten you in the dungeon or be covetous of the challenger's possessions?"
Then they're no different from the worst.
"The degree at which they do is different though. They're a bit smarter and you can talk to them. When you've passed the upper floor and upper-middle floor, they're also more useful. You have to win over the guide in the town that way. In the middle floor, you have to convince the guide once more. The guide is quite finicky so they won't go down to the lowest floor. You have to offer them the right price, or threaten them with force."
So it wasn't easy after all.
If the challenger doesn't figure out how to find the right path in the dungeon, then the guide obtains the position of power.
It shouldn't be easy to convince them.
As the kid guide was fine with us both dying together if she were in a pinch.
"Then what about when you're in the lowest floor?"
"If you go all the way there with your guide, everything's pretty much been taken care of, so I don't think I really need to explain that."
That's because you can just progress the same way I did if you reached the lowest floor on your own without a guide.
"In return, if you progress without a guide like you did, Hooooujae, you'd have to find the right path yourself, defeat the dragon, have a high poison resistance and paralysis resistance, as well as a fear resistance skill."
If it's possible, you should go together with a guide.
I could advise the next challenger, Lee Hyung Jin to raise his resistance skills, but I don't think he'd actually be able to raise his resistances.
It’s hard for people to raise their resistance skills.
Even more than I had thought.
I had roughly sated my curiosity for the 27th floor.
Now it was time to ask about other things.
"Heng. You can't, though."
I ignored Kiri Kiri and asked my question.
"Tell me a method of increasing the difficulty of progression in the next floor stage."
I want an even higher difficulty.
I want an even more dangerous and more difficult trial.
I want more death and more danger.
I had felt that danger from encountering the dragon and it may have been because the fight had ended so hollowly, but I felt a greater sense of yearning than before.
In order to run up against difficulty like that, I needed specific conditions.
For example, like how I had provoked the summoned Demon King on the 26th floor, inducing him into using his full strength.
Kiri Kiri sighed rather than reply.
"You can't. There'll be an accident that way. You're not supposed to recklessly use those methods. For example, if you made a mistake on the 27th floor, the dungeon could end up collapsing on top of you. If that happens, even you would be helplessly crushed to death, Hooooujae."
"The stage's setting, the dungeon, can also collapse?"
"It can. Don't think about randomly raising the difficulty level. If you go up the floors, clearing will naturally become tougher. Be patient."
It was disappointing, but I decided to accept it.
Aside from the difficulty, there could actually be an accident that I can't avoid.
More importantly, this was the first time that Kiri Kiri refused to give me any information.
I didn't have to endure danger to the point that I ignored her advice.
"Don't worry. The next stage will be difficult even for you, Hooooujae."
That's because I've heard that more than once or twice and I've been disappointed with the stage's difficulty.
* * * * * *
After I had listened to all her advice regarding the stage, I decided to take a nap in the field; it was something I hadn't done in a long time.
Kiri Kiri had continuously advised me to rest and it had been a really long time since I'd had proper sleep.
I laid a mat onto the floor and laid down.
The instant I was about to close my eyes, messages appeared.
[Kim Min Hyuk, 30th floor: What are up to? Are you busy?]
I was about to sleep.
Though I wasn't busy.
[Lee Ho Jae, 28th floor: I'm not busy.]
[Kim Min Hyuk, 30th floor: So you've already gotten to the 28th floor. I remember a few days ago that you were on the 25th floor, though.]
[Lee Ho Jae, 28th floor: Yeah. What? Is something wrong?]
I responded curtly.
In response, Kim Min Hyuk said that there were no problems, but there were things he wanted to talk to me about.
Honestly, what would Kim Min Hyuk have to talk to me about?
He would just tell me about this and that and how they're progressing.
In any case, it's because I also hold a key position in the Order of Vigilance.
Kim Min Hyuk told me about how they were communicating with the Korean government.
Whatever the Order of Vigilance or challengers wanted to say could be communicated through the challengers that had cleared the tutorial and gotten outside.
However, relaying what the outside wanted to say to the inside was extremely difficult.
The sole method was relaying messages to the newly entering challengers, but these new challengers would be selected randomly.
Ultimately, they would have to broadcast those messages nationwide.
In order for all the people in Korea to know.
However, in this scenario, there's no way to relay the type of information that the public cannot know.
[Kim Min Hyuk, 30th floor: Therefore, we're making secret codes. But we also can't have someone who doesn't know the secret codes figuring them out. It's quite tricky.]
Even so, it wasn't an area I could help them with.
I just continued to listen to Kim Min Hyuk's complaints.
[Kim Min Hyuk, 30th floor: We also thought of a way to send messages to a small amount of people.]
[Lee Ho Jae, 28th floor: How? You never know who or when they'll be summoned.]
[Kim Min Hyuk, 30th floor: We'll send the message to a few people, and pray that they'll be summoned.]
You should really pray diligently then.
Amongst the population of 50 million Koreans, only 100 people are summoned per round.
Even if you roughly think about it, the chances of the designated individual being summoned are 500,000:1.
Adding a few more people won't change the odds much.
I yawned while thinking that.
Since I had suffered insomnia on the stage, I hadn't been able to sleep properly, but I could get a good night's sleep for at least a few hours on this field.
Right when I closed my eyes, I felt tired.
As soon as I felt drowsy, I couldn't see the messages properly.
No, even though I saw them with my eyes, I couldn't comprehend the contents of the messages.
[Kim Min Hyuk, 30th floor: ... This round is almost over too. First, if we gather more information from the next round newbies, we should be able to hear about the supermen that appeared in China...]
I suppressed my sleepiness, and saw the messages, but then I had a thought.
That this had become a conversation that didn't really concern me.
The latest in the community were noisy regarding this subject.
They wanted to know about their lives following their clear and going outside.
They predicted that they'd be used as test subjects in labs, or be used as human weapons in the army, or that they'd become heroes in a world where monsters were causing chaos, or that they'd become the hope of humanity, or they even thought that they'd become a new race of mankind.
There were truly countless stories.
That's because whenever the challengers had time to spare, they would talk about that subject.
However, I had felt like it had nothing to do with me.
I had secretly wanted the Tutorial to go on forever.
Even if I did go outside, I didn't want to be labeled a monster and live in solitude.
I wouldn't have any goals or any stimulation, and I didn't want to live a dry life until the day I died of old age.
Of course, my thoughts had changed now and I had a goal I wanted to achieve once I got out of the Tutorial.
However, that goal wasn't limited to just outside the Tutorial, Korea, or even the Earth.
I thought I was a little strange when I thought that.
I called Kiri Kiri, who was sitting atop the mat.
It seemed as though Kiri Kiri was thinking of something else, as she responded a bit late to my voice.
"Kiri Kiri, you can press the message window, right?"
"Yeah. I can, why?"
"Then could you talk to him a little bit for me?"
"Just say 'I see'. Yeah. Oh. Right. I understand. Do as you please. It's fine if you just respond like that."
"... Is that ok?"
Kiri Kiri's round eyes rolled around here and there, speaking with a anxious expression.
"It's fine. I usually respond like that anyway. Then, I'm counting on you."
Towards the end, I closed my eyes.
As soon as I closed my eyes, I quickly fell asleep from the surging deluge of exhaustion.
* * * * * *
Whenever I woke up from a nap in Kiri Kiri's field, I would usually awaken due to her head; she would be sleeping with her head on my stomach, using it as a pillow.
However, it was a little different today.
I heard a strange laughter and woke up.
It felt strange and as soon as I opened my eyes, I saw Kiri Kiri.
My hand had been raised in the air, and Kiri Kiri was about to press the "confirm" button on the message in the air.
And the message window, no. I also saw the reason for the cake set floating in the auction window.
The beaming Kiri Kiri stopped immediately.
Kiri Kiri briefly stiffened like a stone statue, quietly closed the auction window, and put my hand down to the floor.
And she sat down like nothing had happened.
She briefly stayed still like that.
Then she scampered away and started to run away somewhere.
I sighed as I saw Kiri Kiri quickly get far away and stood up.
I had at least rested for a bit, so it was now time for me to get a move on.
[22nd round, 26th day. 2:20]