[What kind of items did Kirikiri recommend to you?]
[A handgun, some kind of spray type repellent, smoke bomb marbles, and rapid elixir.]
[… That’s quite a few. For now, follow her recommendations and purchase them.]
[If I do, I’ll end up using all of the points that you sent me.]
[I’ll send you more points.]
[All right. By the way, that… Mister… You told me before that I should not rely too much on items, so…]
[The thing is, the boss room on fifth floor is quite tough, so…]
* * *
I was at the fifth floor’s waiting room.
I was already at the fifth floor.
It had been a while since I thought about what happened in the waiting room at the first floor.
I was anxious and scared, but it was fun in a way.
‘The four people who were in the waiting room with me… What were their names?’
Compared to the waiting room at the first floor, the fifth floor’s waiting room was really wide.
If I was to describe the first floor’s waiting room as a large living room size, then the fifth floor’s waiting room was about the size of an indoor basketball court.
Maybe it was because the waiting room got bigger. This space felt even lonelier.
‘Now, what should I do? For now, I’ll definitely be going to the fifth floor. Before I do, I think I should organize my thoughts a little, but…
Perhaps it is not a bad idea to just go on with the Tutorial first without organizing my thoughts.
Um… I think I should organize my thoughts first. It is not good to leave it be when feeling leery.’
I thought about the questions that I had when I was in the fourth floor.
I wondered if the goblins were not illusions.
The goblins I faced were not smelly and savagery monsters usually portrayed in the media.
They had society, and they had family.
Not just that, they had emotions, morals, relationships, technology, and even hierarchy.
The only difference to humans was their hideous appearances.
‘If I think of them as intelligent beings instead of simple subject of hunting… and if they are not just illusions…’
That meant what I have done at the fourth floor could be defined as murder.
‘What should I do…’
For now, since this was Tutorial, I decided to set aside things like boss room.
Attacking them and murdering them were my own conscious decisions.
Even if I looked for the reason for my actions in the system, all that would come from trying was the fact that I’m living like someone’s puppet.
‘Let’s try and think about the reason why I hurt them.
Because they attacked me?
That wasn’t it.
Goblins were always primarily focused in defense.
They fought to chase me away.
It was like that starting with the goblin instructor that I met first after entering the Fourth Floor.
They did not attack me unless I got closer than a certain limit.
Even after that, the goblins that appeared had either trenches or raised wooden fences to focus on standing ground and defense.
In in the boss room, they just wanted to protect their city and the fortress.
I was the one that started, continued, and finished the fight.
I hurt them to clear the Tutorial.
They were like gated doors blocking my path.
So, I killed them and moved forward.
I could not afford to stop here, for them.
‘Let’s assume there is a goblin in front of me again.
If there is a path beyond that goblin that I need to go to, would I kill that goblin and move forward?’
The answer was… Yes.
I was not here and doing this grunt work to simply beat the Tutorial and win some prize.
I have heard that, in the outside world of Tutorial, there were countless people dying right at this moment because of monsters that appeared.
Clearing the Tutorial was going to help those people.
I was certain of it.
The hundredth floor of the Tutorial…
By the time I cleared the hundredth floor, I would be possessing the power that rivaled Superman.
I didn’t have some grandiose thoughts about needing to save the humanity. It was just that there were my family and friends in the outside world.
I was just worried about them.
Also, I could return only if I beat the Tutorial.
Both of my reasons were very clear.
As long as I had a reason to not stop and continue moving forward, I was not going to hesitate attacking them.
To start with, goblins and I were enemies.
It was just that I attacked first. There was no way for co-existence and cooperation with them.
This was no different from my days as a professional gamer.
The winner took everything.
It was just that this time, my life was also added and hanging on the balance of victory and defeat.
Whether it was the opponents or myself, whichever side that lost the fight was going to be killed. It was fair.
I could not afford to hesitate.
A moment of hesitation could become danger at a critical moment.
Not just for the sake of moving forward, but also for the sake of growing stronger faster, I could not afford to hesitate in killing them.
‘Talking about it like that sounds like an archetypical psychopath’s monologue. Saying I will not hesitate to attack anyone who gets in my way…’
I should not forget about them at least.
I should not give up agonizing about this.
I organized my thoughts… No. It did not feel like it was organized. Still…
I have decided.
I should continue to think hard about this.
Although Kirikiri said I should not agonize too much, that was because she was worried I might get buried under it beyond a certain extent.
This was not something that could be solved easily, and it was not a problem with a definite solution either.
It was not a light problem that could just pass by either.
Still, it was not the kind of problem that I should just give up and keep it buried.
It was going to be a task that I was going to shoulder and go on for a very long time.
Just… I was not going to think about it for long or too deeply.
I was going to keep myself from struggling with the thoughts.
I’ll think and ponder about it frequently.
I had plenty of time.
‘However, this is it for now.
It is time for me to stop thinking and move.
First, I should check the status window and community.’
[Lee Ho-jae (human)]
Skill: Battle Focus Lv.11 Willpower Lv.5 Awakening Lv.1 Night Vision Lv.2 Bright Vision Lv.1 Charge Lv.2 Sneak Lv.4 Natural Regeneration Lv.2 Improved Senses Lv.7 Increased Field of Vision Lv.1 Toughened Skin Lv.3 Basic Swordsmanship Lv.6 Basic Shield Skill Lv.4 Basic Hand to Hand Skill Lv.3 Basic Throwing Skill Lv.1 Wind Spirit's Blessing Lv.2 Knowledge of the Time before Babel Lv.5 Mind Corruption Immunity Lv.1 Pain Resistance Lv.11 Bleed Resistance Lv.4 Faint Resistance Lv.3 Pierce Resistance Lv.2 Poison resistance Lv.4 Paralysis Resistance Lv.6 Heat Resistance Lv.4 Burn Resistance Lv.7 Cold Resistance Lv.4 Frostbite Resistance Lv.3 Blink Emblem Lv.Max Talaria's Wings Lv.Max
Extra: God of Slowness is watching you with a satisfied look.
After entering the fourth floor’s boss room, I gained two levels, which was incredible.
Thinking about how level ups had been going recently, this was an unbelievable growth.
If I intentionally failed to clear the boss room at the fourth floor and challenged it again, I might have been able to increase the level some more.
Besides the level, there were other things that changed in comparison to before I entered the fourth floor’s boss room. They were increases in my stats and combat skills.
Sadly, innate skills did not improve at all.
I remembered seeing the message about the God of Slowness being infuriated, but it was not shown here.
‘If that is not the case, then is she infuriated at someone else? That is possible.’
While I was looking around to see if there was any new information, a 1:1 invitation message arrived.
[Lee Ho-jae, Fifth Floor: What is it?]
[Kim Min-huk, Fourth Floor: … Hey, when did you get all the way to the fifth floor?]
[Lee Ho-jae, Fifth Floor: I just got here.]
[Kim Min-huk, Fourth Floor: You are really something. Other people cannot even reach the second floor in Hell difficulty, yet… Even in Hard difficulty, guys are complaining because they cannot break through the third floor.]
[Lee Ho-jae, fifth floor: Well, I was lucky.]
I really was lucky.
Gods have taken interest in me early, so I had plenty of points to spend.
‘Thanks to that, I was able to get past the second floor alive.’
After that, I obtained the authority skills.
Not just one, but two.
‘Without authority skills, I would not have gotten to the fifth floor already. I would have been busy grinding away at the third floor or the beginning of the fourth floor, trying to increase my skill levels.’
I looked at the information circulating in the community, and God’s authority skills were not mentioned at all.
It seemed Gods have taken interest in some of the rankers, but that information was also almost not released.
Of course, I didn’t release the information about the authority skills either.
Community was open to all challengers.
I had no competitors, and actually, I was the only one in the Hell difficulty. Still…
It was no good to release information indiscriminately.
‘Releasing the information may have no effect on me, but it could have a big effect on someone else.’
[Lee Ho-jae, Fifth Floor: By the way, why did you contact me?]
[Kim Min-huk, Fourth Floor: I think there is a pawn among the rankers.]
I suddenly had a blank look on my face.
Something happened that I never thought of.
[Lee Ho-jae, Fifth Floor: A ranker is? Why? For what?]
[Kim Min-huk, Fourth Floor: How should I know? I’m not sure about this anyway. For now, I’ll try to go find out more.]
[Lee Ho-jae, Fifth Floor: All right. Is there anything in particular that I need to do?]
[Kim Min-huk, Fourth Floor: At the moment, we don’t know who the pawn is. So, don’t tell others information about the day of harmony, although the information about that might have already been handed over to the other side.]
‘If someone among the rankers is exchanging messages with the other side, the information about the day of great harmony definitely went over to the other side. The most frequently talked about topic among the rankers recently was the day of the great harmony, so…’
Until now, we have obtained more information about the great harmony from the managers, things like its date, special attributes of the day, matter of forced participation, and more.
I had to assume that the entire information was handed over to the other side.
[Lee Ho-jae, Fifth Floor: I got it. Keep up the good work.]
I closed the message and community windows.
‘Is there a reason why a ranker would join hands with the Representative Union? Is there any?
Sigh came out of me on its own.
The Representative Union obtained information about the day of great harmony. Also, they turned one of the rankers.
‘What would change due to these facts? I am not sure? Unless the name of the turned ranker is Lee Ho-jae, I don’t think this changes anything.’
Actually, the timing was good.
Thanks to the boss room at the fourth floor, currently, I had my resolve firmed.
I already made up my mind to not hesitate attacking enemies blocking my way.
A monster or human, regardless of which, there probably was not going to be any exception, especially if it was going to be a human who was worse than goblins.
* * *
I used my shield to smack the smelly mouth of the lizardman and pierced its neck with my sword.
I haphazardly pushed aside the dying lizardman to the side and snatched the trident with my bare hand that was coming at me from beyond.
I tightened my grip on the hand that was holding the trident and confirmed the location of the lizardman that was charging toward me from the back.
The wing spread wide open from my back, and the lizardman was pierced by the wing and got thrown to the corner of the corridor wall.
I unhanded the trident I was holding on my right hand and used the Blink to get back.
These bastards occasionally used their tails as weapons, but they acted like they were in great pain when their tails were stepped on.
Actually, instead of being in pain, the response was more like their pride was stepped on.
The lizardman had a ‘Now I am totally mad!’ look on its face. It turned slowly. Looking at the lizardman, I drew the savage warrior’s single-edged sword.
‘I am still not used to using the sword. Even if it is just to reflect upon the awkwardness in my movements, I think it would be best for me to use the Battle Focus when I use the single-edged sword and fight.’
The lizardman’s trident came at me in a thrust motion across from lower left.
It looked like it was going to be hard to approach the lizardman while dodging this.
I took a step back and parried the trident using the sword.
With the tip of the trident shaking, lizardman’s defense was open. I used the Blink and approached its chest.
I just let go of the single-edged sword, drew the combat short sword and thrusted it into the lizardman’s chest.
It seemed it was struck right at the heart. Lizardman struggled for a moment and collapsed. It was not able to get up again.
‘I’m still more used to using the short small sword. With a long, heavy weapon at my hand all of sudden, I can’t quite get a feel for how to use it.’
I tried to mimick the movements of the goblin instructor that wielded an ax. However, that ax and this sword were different starting from the length.
There was also the difference in height between the goblin instructor and myself.
‘I wish I had a teacher that could teach me. Well, it is just how things always had been. I have no choice but to master it myself.’
[Round 3, Day 26, 18:20]
It had been two days since I entered the fifth floor.
It was the lizardman that showed up here as the blockade.
As the name suggested, it was a man lizard.
Over seven feet tall, it was a little taller than goblins. It was muscular as if it was trying to say it should obviously be muscular.
Lizardmen usually showed up with long tridents. They had flexible bodies, and they had large and sturdy tails, which was their most notable characteristic.
One thing different from the goblins was that the lizardmen were very violent.
They came charging at me as soon as they saw me.
They kept coming until their deaths.
They did not rely on defensive structures like trenches or wooden fences. However, they were very offense oriented, and they had superior combat abilities, so it was significantly more difficult to fight them.
With flexibility, quick reflexes, and bravery combined into one, their combat abilities were at a whole another dimension from goblins.
However, I was not feeling threatened much.
I too had substantial growth at the fourth floor.
In particular, while I conquered the fortress repeatedly, my experience points blew up, so I leveled up continuously. The growth from that was too big.
‘I think perhaps that boss room was not the route for conquering the fortress. The difficulty at that place was so high that it would have been impossible without the authority skills.
Could it be that, just like at the third floor’s boss room, I cleared it through an odd route?
Um… Well, nothing bad came of it, so…
Thanks to it, clearing the fifth floor is easier.
Although, if I feel that the difficulty is too easy, then it is not appropriate for long term growth. Still…
If I think of this time period as the training for getting used to properly utilizing the single-edged sword that I bought, it is not bad.
I’ll just make that as my goal at the Fifth Floor, and once I accumulate mastery in using single-edged sword, I’ll go up straight to the Sixth Floor.
I’ll stop the conquest here for the day.
I’m going to go back to the waiting room now.
I need to eat, and I need to look at the community as well.
Soon, it is going to be the time for the Day of Great Harmony to start.’
* * *
[Round 3, Day 27, 00:00]
[The day of great harmony is commencing.]
[The day of great harmony will continue for the next 24 hours. Remaining time: 23h, 59m]
[Please enter. Time left until forced summoning: 5h]