"Is the work going well?"
I opened the laboratory door and said.
"No. I feel like I'm dying. Save me."
My clone bastard was making a fuss over nothing.
"It's not nothing, you know. You damn main body bastard."
While watching the grumbling clone bastard, I clicked my tongue and sat down.
The analysis of the authorities that the clone bastard gained on the 61st floor was at its peak.
Though it was something I’d done several times before, analyzing authorities always brought new challenges.
An authority is the implementation of one’s will through divinity, which is the essence of one’s identity, by a being who acquired godhood with their own power.
It honestly wasn't much different from magic.
Perhaps the gods don't think that there's a difference between magic and authorities.
They would use the ‘power of miracles’ known as mana, and unleash their will onto the world.
Their divine power is used as a medium to invoke their authorities, which produces miracles; said authorities are determined by their divinity.
While magic is limited by its power, scale, perception, and range, gods’ power is limited by their identity.
There are gods that probably use their power without even thinking about it very much, but I couldn’t use it as comfortably as them.
I had to thoroughly analyze it, study it, and pass through countless trials and errors before I could barely imitate it.
That's why all the authorities that I use, that were gifted to me by the gods, are all imitations.
Though I could say that they're improved products.
As I continuously used their authorities, I realized the principles behind them.
I realized how my suspicions, the god’s divine power, as well as their personal identities were connected.
In this artificially restricted space where time would be repeated and stopped, I watched as the authorities were 'cast' instantaneously and analyzed what kind of process they go through as they're cast.
And I would use that data as a basis to fabricate those authorities.
I was the disciple of several gods, used those authority skills so much that I got sick of them, become sensitive to divine power, had a great understanding of the divine, realized the height of magic, and lastly, had the seed of the divine within me.
If not for those, I wouldn’t have been able to attempt it.
But in any case, I'm doing it now.
I had enhanced Blink Orb* on a previous evening, as well as familiar authorities like Soul Siphon. Now, I was succeeding in improving the authorities that my clone bastard had brought this time, one by one.
[TL Note: Previously translated as Blink Emblem by other translators but should have been translated as Blink Orb.]
But because there were so many authorities that the clone bastard stole, it would take a long time before I could make all of them mine.
But ultimately, it was just a matter of time.
No matter how obscure or complicated the principle was, there weren't any authorities that seemed impossible to analyze and remodel.
"No. About half of them are impossible. I said that it's impossible. You crazy main body bastard."
"Why are you saying it's impossible without even trying? It seems like it'll work."
"If something goes wrong, there are dozens of things that could cause my head to blow up. You call something like that impossible."
"But we can succeed if you overcome the risk of your head blowing up. That's what you call possible."
"You crazy bastard."
While my clone bastard muttered some curses, I halted the activation of the magic circle.
The giant magic circle that had been spread all across the laboratory disappeared.
Considering the scale of the laboratory, how it took a quarter of a day just to walk from one end to the other, the magic circle that my clone bastard had been maintaining was truly huge.
Of course, it wasn't to cast something, but for analysis.
Still, my clone bastard should be feeling extremely exhausted.
"Then let's rest a bit."
"Oh, really? What's the matter?"
"Since you need sufficient rest to be more efficient."
"So you're saying you'll give me a task that requires high efficiency again, aren't you. You damn main body bastard."
Even while my clone bastard was complaining, he sprawled out onto the floor and prepared to rest.
I saw him take a novel out of the subspace and I too reclined on my chair.
And I opened my message window.
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: Contact me when you have the time.]
It was such a dry and brief message that I felt as if the existing moisture evaporated.
It seems like she sent me a message like that in order to minimize the interference in my authority analysis.
It's not much of a disturbance, so you can send me a long message if you want.
Is it because of what happened before?
Since I've made some mistakes, I nagged at myself as well.
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: I'm resting a bit right now. What's the matter?]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: There's new information from the outside. How's your work going?]
That's what I had asked my clone bastard before.
My work is going well.
"No, it's not. It's not going well."
I ignored my clone bastard's voice and continued to send messages.
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: Of course it's going well. And send longer messages. What do you mean by 'contact me when you have the time'. That’s too dry.]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: I did it that way because I thought I might get in the way of your work.]
It was the reason that I had anticipated.
I felt bitter for no special reason.
And I felt apologetic.
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: You're not getting in the way at all. In fact, I'd appreciate if it you sent me messages more often.]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: Are you sure? You said you were busy doing something lately.]
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: It's ok. And am I busy? You're the one who's busy. Is your work going alright? You're not pushing yourself too hard?]
While I could analyze as much as I want, when I want to, as well as rest and play whenever I wanted to, Park Jung Ah was finishing her work on schedule.
Aside from that, she was focused on counseling, coordinating opinions, and even trivial matters, so she was really busy.
Rather, it's to the point where I'm the one who's waiting for her messages more.
After Kim Min Hyuk went outside, it looked like she didn't even have a few hours of spare time a week.
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: What’s this? Why are you so nice all of a sudden? It's not like you.]
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: You don't like it?]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: No, I like it.]
My clone bastard cursed at me.
I ignored him.
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: I wonder why you're doing this all of a sudden. You wouldn’t have contracted a terminal illness; are you having an affair?]
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: What do you mean by an affair; there are only the three of us here: Yong Yong, my clone bastard, and me.]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: If a man becomes kind all of a sudden, they say that it's evidence of cheating.]
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: Says who?]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: The community.]
She's like that because she learned about dating from books too.
Though I'm no different.
For a short while, I talked to Park Jung Ah about trivial matters.
The conversation had no value to it, but it was a joyous talk nonetheless.
My clone bastard, who was listening beside me, twisted his body around, and when he started to look tormented, Park Jung Ah brought up the main point.
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: Lee Joon Seok failed to defeat a G-rank monster. To be exact, the information states that before he attacked, Lee Joon Seok declared that the attack was inadvisable and ran away.]
That was unexpected.
"That's a surprise."
My clone bastard thought the same as me.
Right before Lee Joon Seok cleared the Tutorial, he had told me that he was level 201.
Level 100 had been the maximum value in the early phases, and if you compare him to the other Awakened on Earth, there really was a overwhelming gap that existed.
That's why I had been optimistic.
That Lee Joon Seok would be able to defeat it, since Earth's Awakened had already successfully hunted a G-rank monster before.
So he should've prepared for the attack.
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: Was it by chance an attack initiated by Lee Joon Seok alone?]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: No. Korea, China, and Japan temporarily transferred a considerable amount of Awakened, and the ASEAN and the U.S. became the key members; it was an attack they had prepared for.]
It doesn't seem as though they lacked anything for the attack.
Then what could've been the problem?
They had succeeded in safely subjugating the G-rank monster on the U.S.'s eastern shore.
Back then, the force of rallied Awakened, and the American Navy had taken considerable damage, but had, in any case, successfully taken care of the monster.
Under the assumption that they prepared a similar force, Lee Joon Seok joining them should’ve raised their chances of success by more than 50%.
And I relayed my thoughts to Park Jung Ah.
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: Then it makes sense that he cancelled it. A 50% chance of victory isn't very high. And the casualty count wouldn't be low. Wouldn’t they consider cancelling the attack and look for the next opportunity with a success rate like that?]
Is that so?
Is it because I think too lightly of danger and sacrifice?
"Obviously, you crazy main body bastard. In that sense, isn't continuously pressuring me into doing a job that doesn't even have a 10% chance of success too much?"
"You wouldn't die from it anyway."
After I had ignored my clone bastard's complaint, I sent a message.
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: Do you by any chance have any detailed information regarding the attack on the monster at the eastern part of the U.S.?]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: Nope. The only things we know are in the data that was officially published by the press. It didn't convey any detailed information regarding the G-rank monster.]
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: What about the Academy Line?]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: They had the same information that the press had revealed.]
The Korean government, after the Tutorial had been disclosed, required the entire nation's citizens to train their physical fitness, as well as undergo battle training; at the same time, they had established facilities to train special elites.
The government would sort out the individuals with extraordinary physical abilities and decision-making abilities, and started to train them in preparation for the Tutorial.
Of course, there was no guarantee that the Academy trainees would enter the Tutorial at the right time.
It was much better than standing still and gawking.
Honestly, there are occasionally a few trainees that enter the Tutorial.
These trainees had more information than what was revealed by the press, and they remembered messages that they had to transmit to the challengers within the Tutorial.
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: Firstly, we'll use the people who have cleared in this round to relay a message to the outside that we want information regarding the G-rank monster.]
Lee Joon Seok's failure was a really serious issue.
The other people probably thought 'a G-rank Awakened has appeared, so let's try it out once. If not, we can just cancel it.' and had prepared accordingly, but Lee Joon Seok should've been different.
Through the conversations we had before he went outside, Lee Joon Seok had assured me that he'd be able to take on a G-rank monster on his own.
I thought the same.
If we go by the data we've been given regarding the G-rank monster, it was certainly possible.
That Lee Joon Seok had given up on the attack.
I wonder why?
If the data we have isn't true.
If there are far more casualties than we're aware of.
Or perhaps the success of the attack in its entirety is a lie.
How should I determine the danger of the G-rank monster?
There's no standard.
So long as we can't trust our reference point, the last attack, we can't blindly assume the G-rank monster's strength.
I sorted out all my thoughts.
In conclusion, I could only wait until new information came in.
The evidence that Lee Joon Seok had given up on the attack.
Precise data on the G-rank monster.
The information was lacking.
After I had finished thinking, I suddenly had a weird feeling.
That Lee Joon Seok, after clearing the Tutorial, had went outside.
And for the news of Lee Joon Seok on the outside to be relayed.
It was truly a strange feeling.
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: Jung Ah, how old are we again?]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: 29.]
[Lee Ho Jae, 60th floor: What? Haven't you also passed thirty now?]
[Park Jung Ah, 90th floor: Since I haven't counted my age after 29, I'm 29.]
What's with that unbelievable stubbornness?
* * * * * *
For a while, I chattered with Park Jung Ah through my messages, and eventually closed my message window.
I had finished resting, and looked at my clone bastard.
He was still lying prone on the floor, reading a novel.
"Aren't you going to work?"
"Let's just rest a little more. No, can't we just rest for the entire day?"
So you really don't want to work.
"It's not that I don't want to work, I really feel like I'm going to die."
He was laying on the floor, and spoke while swinging his legs around.
I clicked my tongue, seeing him lie on the floor and speak while swinging his legs around.
"I told you to do some magic training. At this rate, Yong Yong will catch up to you."
"I don't really care if he catches up to me, you know. Yong Yong isn't as cold-hearted as you, so even if he becomes stronger than me, he'll take care of me well."
I didn't believe a single word of what my clone just said.
The phrase, 'desire to improve myself' was always extremely important to me.
I fundamentally liked to improve myself through my own efforts.
And I can't stand falling behind others.
Along with that, I really, really hated passing the boring and tedious time without doing any work.
I always had to be doing something or I wouldn't feel satisfied.
My clone bastard's personality was created using mine as the base.
To be exact, it was a personality formed by using my memories inside of the Tutorial.
He should obviously be doing his utmost to train, as he doesn’t know much about the world outside the Tutorial, and only holds intense memories from within the Tutorial.
Despite that, the reason he doesn’t want to improve is clear.
He must think it’ll have an adverse reaction to his development.
Regardless of how important you regard the desire to improve, or how your personality develops, if someone else coerces you and pressures you to do so...
As soon as you’re born at that.
You'd have no choice but to have an adverse reaction to it.
"I'll go call Yong Yong. Since it's already dinnertime. Let's eat together."
My clone bastard said, and as I watched his back, I once again had mixed feelings.
With an apology.
I don't know why I'm remembering so many memories that I feel sorry about today.
My clone bastard who had been walking along paused, and turned his head towards me.
"Why. What. You got something to say?"
I’d thought after closing the link, but it seems like my emotions had leaked out.
"If not, then whatever."
He once again turned his back on me and started walking; I spoke to his back.
If I don't say it now, I felt like I wouldn't be able to say it in the future.
"I was sorry about what happened before."
He had been walking, yet stopped.
His back was still, yet he couldn't help but turn his attention towards me.
I felt embarrassed so I touched my chin or my nose for no special reason.
The brief silence continued on, and soon I heard his responding voice.
"As long as you know, it's fine."
As he opened the lab door and walked out, he added one more thing.
"Your apology’s way too late. You damn bastard, Ho Jae."
And he left, closing the door with a thud.
My embarrassment wouldn't end.
I hadn’t felt anything like displeasure or fury from him before he’d closed the door and left.
Rather, his feelings were warmer and brighter.
My embarrassment really wouldn't fade.
I pondered briefly and I sent this through telepathy.
He was my younger sibling, something that the protagonist of a fantasy novel yearned for.
Lee Ho Chi quickly sent a message back.
[I'm really feeling goosebumps here, so stop it.]