[Please stay for at least 3 hours.]
[The trial of the gateway will begin in 30 seconds.]
My curiosity was growing.
I was able to quickly grasp the theme of the 1st floor boss room, however I couldn’t quite do that for the 2nd floor one.
‘I wonder what kind of trial will appear before me?’
‘Will it just be the poison, cold and heat of the second floor again?’
‘I couldn’t see the message telling me about the time.’
‘Is this just telling me to withstand this without knowing the time?’
As I was trying to figure this out in my head, I heard the voice of the message resonating:
[The trial of the gateway will commence.]
[Withstand your most painful times experienced.]
‘Painful memories, huh.’
‘Is it telling me to endure the pain of my past memories?’
‘I’m pretty sure most of my painful memories would be the experiences within the tutorial.’
I thought this was a tutorial that just fired arrows at you day in day out, but this was quite a sophisticated trap indeed.
Since I didn’t know what would come out, I lowered my stance and stayed right nearby to the waiting room portal.
Although I shouldn’t be even thinking of going back to the waiting room through the portal, my highest priority was my life.
It would be retarded to not grab the lifeline when you could clearly see it.
Hearing a ringing background noise, I assumed the trial was about to begin.
And for a moment I lost consciousness.
3 seconds? 5 seconds? It was short, but I just straight up fainted I guess.
‘What is this?’
My body was paralyzed by nervousness.
I couldn’t prepare for this type of attack.
A clear image was projected within my head which was once filled with complicated and jumbled thoughts.
It felt like I was seeing things in 2 perspectives.
The perspective of my actual body in the boss room and the perspective of the image in this holographic world it was suspended in.
I could feel both clearly.
‘What is this?’
‘Is this a type of psychological attack?’
I focused on the perspective of my body.
The waiting room portal was still in front of my eyes.
I could go back whenever I wanted.
With the confidence I gained from that certainty, I focused on the image in the world in my head.
Soon I was able to realise the situation my projection was in.
Tutorial 1sts floor, 1st trap.
It was just before I approached this trap,
It was my memory of that time.
As expected, this was my most painful memory.
I saw myself holding the sword and shield with such a grip and I could also see myself shaking with every centimetre of my body as I took baby steps forward.
Was I shaking that much back then?
I could feel the nervousness and anxiety I had felt.
It felt like I was possessed by myself from the past.
The sensation, the emotions of that time, very…too clearly…
Pook – Pook –
With those sounds, the arrows pierced the shield.
I couldn’t tell this at all.
I accidentally blocked the third arrow…and the last arrow pierced my ankle.
I felt an excruciating, truly excruciating pain in my ankle.
Then it clicked.
It was the pain without the pain resistance skill.
The pain of the arrow itself was added with the horror, the despair, the regret etc. all that emotion was mixed up as an effect of not having the pain resistance skill.
It was just as if I had just been hit by an arrow.
‘Hmm… It hurts a lot but…’
‘Well…if it hurts it hurts.’
‘When hasn’t it?’
Even without the pain resistance skill, I could endure this type of pain whenever.
It wasn’t like the pain resistance skill even lessened the pain at all.
‘Will it be just a constant repeat of this for 3 hours?’
I calmly endured the pain of my projection.
It was actually harder to see myself screaming and crying like a dying duck.
I looked at myself with a pitiful look as I saw my projection crying and crawling back to the waiting room.
Then the projection stopped.
‘What is it now?’
Soon, a new projection lied ahead of me.
This was the 2nd floor.
I had lit a fire in the corner of the waiting room.
Ah, this was the self-harm I inflicted a few days ago.
The sword I heated on top the fire was quite red
As soon as I poked the inside of my leg with it, with a ‘sizzle’ I felt an intense pain as my flesh cooked.
It was the most efficient way to level up my pain resistance, piercing resistance, haemorrhage resistance and burn resistance all at once.
My projection had a slight grin on its face.
‘Wow I do look like some mad man. Hahahaha.’
This time again, I felt a pain that was not diminished by the resistance skill.
This was quite a fresh pain.
Back then I had levelled up my resistance skill quite a bit, so I wouldn’t have felt this amount of pain through that kind of filter.
Well, this wasn’t too bad of an experience.
Like watching a movie I watched my projection pretty much doing cheap labour, but then the projection stopped again.
[The god of adventure feels embarrassment as he watches you.]
‘Why is that guy so interested in me?’
The message before told me to withstand my most painful times.
If it stays like this, I think I will be able to get through it quite easily.
Then the projections started again.
I looked pretty young in this.
‘Is this a memory from before the tutorial?’
I could see myself in a school uniform.
‘Was that my secondary school uniform? Or my high-school one?’
Soon, I was able to tell what kind of horrific event my projection was in.
I was facing a girl in the school hall where many hundreds of students gathered in.
It was my memory from my second year of secondary school.
‘Oh my god!’
‘Don’t do this.’
The surrounding students beamed of curiosity looking towards me.
A flustered girl.
A shaking me trying to say the words he had prepared.
In the middle of a hall of mumbling, my projection finally said what he had prepared:
[I like you. Let’s go on a date.]
The cheers and screams exploded from the crowd.
The girl exploded also, in tears and collapsed to the ground from the overwhelming crowd.
I turned pale white and just stood there watching her.
It was the worst part of my past.
It felt like my guts were turning inside out.
This was so much more painful than the first two memories I experienced.
‘Since the physically painful memories weren’t working, you guys are going to attack me psychologically now huh?’
‘Did you HAVE to choose this memory though? You bastards!’
I must had bitten my tongue or something due to the surprise, I tasted blood.
Bear in mind that one student in that hall had filmed that proposal on their phone and uploaded that when I debuted as a pro-gamer. It was quite widely known.
The projections stopped again for a brief moment and a new one appeared.
This one was… ‘Fuck, fuck!’
This was something I really didn’t want to remember.
I could feel my face going pale from the lack of blood.
‘…I have to withstand this for 3 hours?’
Myself in the projection was standing still in a room pouring with cries.
At my father’s funeral.
I emptied my insides but the rumbling wouldn’t stop.
I cleaned whatever it was running down my face with my sleeves.
I couldn’t avoid this projection by simply looking away or closing my eyes.
This was being played in my head.
These projections I couldn’t avoid were being constantly played with relation to my father.
It was as if they had found a weakness and just focus fired.
‘These fucking remorseless cunts.’
The memory of the day before my father died in hospital played within my head.
The rage over this dog-shit like trap had subsided and it was overrun by the emotions of regret, despair, shame and guilt.
[Isn’t it time you stopped playing that game?]
My father told me this out of the blue when I was called to the hospital.
That one lifeless sentence from my father fucked me up.
Had he never thought about how much I had endured, fought and all-ined for this?
Did he not know how I was earning the money for this hospital’s fees?
Did I still look like a child that was doing what he wanted?
I got angry at him as he talked like that to me in that tone.
He also retaliated.
In result, the conversation found no common ground like two separate parallel lines and the worst came to the worst, it ended.
The next day I got a phone call that my father had died during surgery.
Why did he say those things to me the day before his surgery?
Why didn’t he even tell me about the day of the surgery?
I couldn’t even pay attention to that back then.
My sister thought that since there was that large argument between my father and me the surgery went wrong.
I couldn’t justify myself at the funeral as she screamed and swore at me.
Because I thought the same way.
It was because of me.
I couldn’t leave this hole of guilt.
From that point onwards my life had slowly deteriorated.
My shaky hands grabbed the knife on the floor.
And with all my might, I stabbed my thigh.