Of all the resistance skills, the one that was the easiest to raise was the burn resistance.
As for cold and heat, creating the environment for them itself was hard.
Moreover, cold and heat were most dangerous when they started to affect the nervous system and cause error in brain functions.
It seemed this was the reason why the demand for the resistance skill performance itself was a little high.
I was guessing that this was the reason why leveling it up was limited to four when I was at the second floor and doing repeated grinding.
Things like faint or paralysis resistance were also almost impossible to improve all by myself.
Grinding for resistance skills were done mostly at the waiting room or in front of the waiting room portal. Considering this fact, it really was impossible.
The only things left were pain, burn and frostbite.
My pain resistance level was already very high, so I was not expecting much on its growth.
As for the frostbite resistance, I could grow it easily by applying freezing water on my body. However, with the passage of time, the freezing effect disappeared as the freezing water hardened.
Because of the limit on points, I could not raise the frostbite resistance any more.
So, in the end, all that was left was the burn resistance.
I could raise it easily with heat stone. Also, before the heat stone’s heat withered, I could create fire on fabrics or woods. That way, I could continue the process with the fire.
As of result, my burn resistance became second highest level skill of all my resistance skills, second only to the pain resistance.
Even the burn resistance’s growth became slower, so I ended up quitting the grinding for it.
Recently, I had been working on not the resistance skills but the power skills gifted to me by the gods. I had been using power skills by myself to work on getting used to them.
However, when it came to just killing time mindlessly, there was no other grinding that was as efficient as resistance skills.
It had been a while since I raised my burn resistance. Sitting in front of the waiting room’s portal, I looked at the Community window as I fiddled with the heat stone.
Actually, I wanted to look at the Community window while I worked, so I decided to raise my resistance skill levels.
There were new messages coming up in almost every 10 seconds. This situation was…
It was pure chaos and destruction.
No, perhaps not exactly?
Regardless, there was a huge commotion.
It was not that something very bad in particular happened.
The Representative Federation, as usual, did not show up on the Community.
None of them did, not the members, not the victims.
In other words, the people causing ruckus in the Community right now were mostly people who were unrelated to the Representative Federation.
A few hours ago, one of the rankers leaked the information about the day of the great harmony on the Community.
There was not much time left before its commencement anyway.
Also, the opinion was that others should be informed with minimum knowledge about the event at least to minimize chaos. Because of this, the information leak was looked over without much complaints.
The excuse was that this was an accident.
However, from how I saw it, it seemed someone tossed the information to get attention.
Information about tutorial were mostly gathered from the managers.
Also, you could meet the managers after clearing a floor.
Because of these two conditions, knowing sweet information and telling people about it was a form of bragging.
Recently, people in the lower floor started to support rankers. As of result, fandoms and factions were starting to form.
Things like this happened occasionally.
It was similar to overdone fraternization and attention seeking in SNS.
‘Maybe the ranker that got turned to be the pawn of Representative Federation did it for the same reason? I am not sure.’
I could not get any more information about them.
Coming back to the topic of Community, with the information about the day of the great harmony released, the Community was in a state of festivity.
Round 3, Day 27…
There were many who already used up the 24 hour stay allowances at the waiting room.
The sense of security of being able to rest in a safe space, away from the stage and the constant danger…
In addition, with the rounds repeating, people could meet their comrades again at the waiting room, and you could even see the faceless people you had been chatting through the Community for the first time.
Finally, the day of the great harmony was a sort of peaceful event that happened for the first time since the Tutorial started.
While being thrown in the deadly and harsh environment of the Tutorial stages, people were either trying to clear the Tutorial or just survive 30 days and wait for the day they could go back to the waiting room. All of those people were overjoyed about the day of the great harmony.
Of course, I was not sure if the day would progress peacefully.
Regardless, looking at the excited Community, it was no different from kindergarteners causing ruckus the day before a fieldtrip out of anticipation, although they were liking it a little more than that.
I didn’t bother with joining them in the excitement.
I just continued my work on improving my skill levels.
However, I kept on reading the Community.
Although they were just texts, I got to see people being swept away and acting happy in the atmosphere of festivities. It somehow made me a little excited and happy.
* * *
[Round 3, Day 27, 00:00]
[The day of the great harmony will now commence.]
[The day of great harmony will continue for the next 24 hours. Remaining time: 23h, 59m]
[Please enter. Time left until forced summoning: 5h]
‘Oh, it is finally here.’
As the information obtained by some ranker indicated, the message appeared on the Round 3, Day 27, 00:00.
The forced summoning was also there as the information indicated.
‘Is 5 hours just in case someone is in middle of clearing a Tutorial floor and needs to get out of dangerous area or clear it? Um… It must be the case.
The clear condition for the second floor’s boss room was surviving it for 3 hours.’
[Round 3, Day 27, 00:00]
The timer did not move from Day 27, 00:00.
‘Is the timer not going to move for the duration of the day of the great harmony?’
It seemed that this was done after considering possible negative effect for losing time that could be spent on fighting.
‘Looks like the system thought things through. Although there are bastards that try to exploit the loopholes despite that.’
Before I realized, there was a new portal near my feet.
I walked around a little, and the portal followed me around.
‘Oh, I didn’t know a portal could move on its own like this. It is like having a puppy follow me around. This is fun.’
I felt the floating sensation that I was used to. I closed my eyes for a moment.
When I opened my eyes, I could see a familiar field in front of me.
[Welcome to the place of the great harmony.]
[Remaining time: 23:58]
[In this place, you are restricted from attacking another.]
[All of your injuries will be healed automatically.]
‘Um… This place is Kiri Kiri’s green plain.’
I looked around, and now, there were quite a lot of people. They were mumbling.
I ignored them for now. I kept on looking around.
‘Is Kiri Kiri going to be the MC for the day?’
Thinking like that, I kept looking around to find Kiri Kiri, but I could not find her.
For some reason, I was disappointed.
Many people were happy, saying it had been a while since they got to see a bright, open field like this.
It seemed this was the reason why this place was selected for the day.
I could hear laughter from here and there. I actually felt surprised by such noise.
Bright smiles and occasional faces with tears…
I could smell the scent of humanity here.
I could not recall how long it had been since I was in a place like this.
‘At least, at this very moment, as the title said, which read ‘the day of great harmony,’ people are all in harmony, crying and smiling.’
* * *
“Can I have your autograph?”
While I was looking around the field, I met a ranker who was among the upper group in the normal difficulty.
It was Kim Min-huk, the one I had chatted a few times in Community.
He abruptly grabbed my hand and asked for a hand shake. I panicked a little.
“When you were a professional gamer, I was totally a fan. Why didn’t you tell me? If you did, you would not have been accused of suffering from being a fool with overactive imagination and a pathological liar.”
“It’s been a while since I retired from being a professional gamer, so…”
In the Community, we had not been using honorary form of language. It was for the sake of convenience back then. He was speaking freely in non-honorary language although we met in person. He was acting friendly, and it was awkward and unpleasant.
“Anyway, what about the other people?”
‘To be precise, what about other rankers? That is my question.’
Fortunately, Kim Min-huk understood what I was trying to get at.
“They are getting hold of other people and asking names. They are trying to find and secure them if victims from that side entered here.”
Besides talking to me once in a while, it seemed he introduced himself to people as a part of his work routine.
“Did you find anything?”
“No. That side and victims… Nothing came in from either sides. I think they are going to come over all at once when it is almost time for the end of the limit.”
Um… I could understand that.
For the Round Three, the 24 hour stay duration for the waiting room was long gone before yesterday evening.
Victims were probably in the Tutorial stages, each of them alone somewhere.
‘Is it possible for the Representative Federation to exercise control of this magnitude to all of the victims, especially when they are all separated from each other?’
“That is… It seems the second floor is pretty wide. If you think about this from those people’s perspective, when the Round Three is over, they only have two choices. They can either go back to the first floor’s waiting room or move up to the second floor.”
“Even if they do not go back by clearing the Tutorial, they can run in to the Federation at the second floor, so I think they are just trying to survive through it. We also told them to just do that.”
‘Ugh, oh my… I am at a loss for words.’
I felt leery, so I was clicking my tongue. It was at that moment. A large group came in a swarm. It was the rankers.
“Did you guys find anything?”
“No. There wasn’t anyone. Not even one person.”
There were five rankers in total.
They made simple introduction with six people and started to chat.
They were mostly junks about the old days as professional gamers or hot topics since they entered Tutorial.
Talking about Representative Federation was consciously avoided.
‘I don’t know which one of these guys are the other side’s pawn. This is inconvenient in many ways. Not just among the rankers, but there must be pawns amongst the ordinary challengers as well.’
For now, I let them continue talking about useless things. I stepped away a bit and brought out a knife.
‘The system message clearly said it will be impossible to attack another person in here. In that case, what if I attacked myself?’
I thrusted the knife’s edge into my palm.
I did it with enough force to pierce through my palm, but the knife slipped away on the top of the palm as if it was just passing by.
‘I can’t attack myself either.
Um… How does this work?’
I tried placing the knife’s edge on my palm again, and I moved the knife as if I was sawing.
‘It feels like a very fine layer is surrounding my entire body. It is so fine that it is to the point of being difficult to notice. Perhaps I can think of it as an ultra performance super micro full body bullet-proof, sword-proof suit?’
As I continued the sawing motion, eventually, the skin was cut a little, and there was blood.
Also, the injury was healed.
‘It looks like getting injured from a sharp edge is going to be difficult. There is the full recovery effect like the one from the waiting room, and it is like the protective effect is also added to it.’
I put the knife away. Instead, I tried smacking the palm with my fist.
‘… I don’t feel much pain.’
This was separate from my pain resistance.
I really could feel almost no pain from it.
I just felt that something was smashed to my palm with a great force.
Again, I smacked my palm with my fist hard.
Despite that, I could only feel slight pain, the kind felt from tightly massaging my hand.
One thing fortunate about this was that the minimum momentum from the impact was still in effect.
Striking something hard resulted in that something being pushed.
‘I think joint-based attacks would still work.’
I slowly raised my hand and tried slowly choking my neck.
My breathing was blocked, and I slowly felt light headed.
My hand was bounced off from my neck.
It felt like something invisible struck it away by force.
My brain, which was struggling due to lack of oxygen, came back to normal at an instant.
Although choking worked, something restrained me from continuing when it went far enough to endanger my life.
It looked like twisting joints would have the same results.
All of sudden, the move would be bounced off, and twisted muscles and joints would be recovered back to normal.
I was getting frustrated from the reality not quite cooperating with my expectations. At that moment, someone came to me.
“Let’s talk for a bit.”
“Who are you again?”
“Kim Min-huk! We just talked.”
One thing special about Kim Min-huk was that he had an ordinary looking face that did not look special or stand out.
Along with a few other rankers, he was one of the rankers who were actively standing up against the Representative Federation.
I personally had been thinking highly of them for being good people.
What they were doing was not going to benefit them or hurt them in any way.
They were working hard for the sake of the others. People like that were rare.
So, although I didn’t remember his name, it was not because I didn’t care about him or thought little of him.
It was just that he looked too ordinary, to the point of making me unable to recall his name when I saw his face.
There was also the fact that I was introduced to many people at once, so I was confused.
“What did you say your name was again just now?”
“I said it is Kim Min-huk!”
* * *
“If I knew this was going to happen, I would have spread the word on the Community and made it an issue.”
The idea was considering that, among the victims, the people who reported would be in danger. Also, this idea was something that Kim Min-huk, the one who just said the above, strongly objected before.
Obtaining information about the day of the great harmony ended up being a poison. A sense of complacency, thinking things could be simply handled when the day came, occurred as of result.
Actually, I was thinking the same.
“So, a dirty conflict among certain factions are packaged as fight about pride.”
‘They sure do all sorts of things.’
“Clearing the Tutorial will continue. While some people continue to move up, it could not be helped that some people will be lagging behind. There are talks about social system that connects waiting rooms on the lower floors for the people like that.”
“Does that make any sense? That? That side is doing stuff right now.”
“Of course not. It is just a cover story that those bastards are putting up. They are trying to make it so that a third party would have a hard time butting in to this. Also…”
“There are too many people who are connected to that side. There are more of them than I thought. I was determined and worked hard on digging around… I think there are over ten people among the challengers at the third floor. I’m talking about just in the normal difficulty. I don’t know much about the hard difficulty, but there probably are some.”
… This was slowly making my head ache.
“At the moment, anyone at even third or fourth floor are called upper group challengers or rankers. However, if you consider the entire 100 floors, these are lower floors. Those bastards’ plan is to expand their organization to tenth floor at least. That guy named Lee Chang-suk… He must have a way with words. There are too many people who had been turned.”
“… To summarize, the work got fucking tangled up.”
“Yeah. I’m asking because of that. You… How strong are you?”
The first thing I had been checking since entering this place was other people’s equipment and abilities.
It was easy to observe their equipment.
If they didn’t have much of the clothing or items from the real world and had many of the weapons and armors purchased from the Tutorial, I could assume that they were relatively strong.
As for the abilities, there was not much to see.
‘I can’t tell how strong that person is, but I can certainly tell how weak that person is.’
Things like the way a person walk, body pose, distance maintained from other people…
I never knew things like these could be used to judge people’s strength, but it did work.
Also, the information about other difficulties that I obtained from the Community…
As the last thing, I based it off by listening in to their conversations.
‘It won’t be possible to determine everyone’s strength precisely. It is not like I’m the Terminator.’
However, looking at the people who were usually called rankers, I could see the overall standard of the challengers inside the Tutorial.
So, my conclusion was…
“Me? I am not sure. I don’t know what I should compare myself to.”
“If you compared yourself to rankers in the normal difficulty or the ones at the third floor in the hard difficulty? How strong are you then?”
‘If I compared myself to those runts?’
“I’m fucking strong.”
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