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The World after the Fall 1

by Sing-Shong


Translated by Chochocobo | Edited by Yzrahc

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Episode 1. 10 Billion Thrusts (1)


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Ten years had passed since then.

It was a long period of time.

Jae Hwan had spent that decade alone on the 99th floor.

He had brushed close with death nearly a thousand times.

There were many times where he had almost died climbing from the 1st floor to the 99th floor, but even if he were to add up all of those close encounters with death, the number still wouldn't exceed the amount of times he had almost died while on the 99th floor.

The 99th floor's boss, Frost Dragon Velkisas.

The breath attack from this dragon that had come from the 'Forgotten Land' pushed Jae Hwan to the limit and was very difficult to bear.

But that was just one factor.

Because of the dragon's hard scales, his sword had broken and his armor had been mangled. If it weren't for the gear he had obtained from other Walkers, he would have given up.

In particular, the Suppression Dragon Sword from the 85th floor, the Ice Demon Armor that Yunhwan had left behind, and the deceased Seoyul's Fire King's Bracelet were of great help.

Han Seoyul.

Her name suddenly appeared in Jae Hwan's mind.

Seoyul had died before reaching the 77th floor.

*

“Mr. Jae Hwan, are you planning to challenge it again?”

Asked Jay, Atopos' blacksmith.

Atopos, a pioneer town destroyed by the Harbinger Dragon Alteminus who was the boss of the 50th floor.

Even after Atopos was destroyed, humanity was still fine.

Although Walkers died or were injured and rushed down to the first floor on a daily basis, the humans did not give up hope.

Priests were arranged into rescue teams that were sent into various battlefields to rescue those who were no longer able to fight while the blacksmiths repaired equipments free of charge.

In such a town like that, old man Jay’s <Jay's Workshop> still boasted the best service of all the smithies.

Jay was the last remaining blacksmith in Atopos.

“Mr. Jae Hwan?”

“Ah, yes. Sorry.”

Thinking of something else, Jae Hwan snapped to attention again.

"I have to go again. I really feel like I'll get it this time.”

“Is that right?”

Jae Hwan replied while laughing.

“Yes, without a doubt.”

It was a lie. He was out of his league.

It was unclear how long it would take, or if he would ever be able to clear it at all.

But he had no choice to at least say something. It's because it didn't matter if he felt that he was out of his league.

Jay laughed.

Jay was a foreigner.

After having been brought to the tower, native languages became meaningless as everyone began to speak the official language of the tower, but the sense of cultural incongruence still remained despite the unification of language. 

But Jae Hwan sensed that something had changed about Jay.

Handing Jae Hwan his Fire Dragon Sword, Jay said something in a passing voice.

“There aren't any more materials coming up from the lower floors nowadays. Although scarce, there was a stream of materials up until a few months ago.”

Jae Hwan nodded his head.

One week ago.

Jae Hwan had searched through every floor from the 1st floor all the way up to the 99th floor.

There were no living humans.

He had waited in the summoning area on the first floor for a week, but not a single human was summoned.

Maybe it was a sign that the human race had gone extinct.

All signs pointed to that fact.

Jae Hwan had lost count of how many years it had been. The Tower Impact had occurred well over ten times. 

There was no one who could have survived the Tower Impact more than ten times.

However, Jae Hwan found a clue to what could very well be a hidden piece.

In the passage that the giant [Stone of Regression] had once blocked, the same passage that led from the 77th to the 78th floor, was a message on the walls.

一Tower within the tower, nightmare within the nightmare.

It's just that he had no idea what that meant.

But to be fair, it's just one more thing about the tower that he had no clue about.

“<Hairen's Potions> disappeared the day before yesterday.”

“Ah, Hairen…..."

Hairen of <Hairen's Potions> and Jay of <Jay's Workshop> were the last two remaining support workers in Atopos.

Those who enter the tower do not age.

If either of them disappeared, it was one of two causes.

They either went to the past, or jumped off the tower.

Jae Hwan wanted to ask Hairen which of the two he chose.

But it was the same either way.

Jae Hwan sensed old man Jay's eye's withdrawing. Perhaps there weren't many days left where he could see Jay again.

“Jay, can you give me your Blacksmith skill?”

The sound of hammering stopped. The two exchanged stares for a moment.

An unknown amount of time passed. Jay nodded very slightly. Jae Hwan also nodded his head.

After a while, Jay began to hammer again.

 

 

 

 

At the 99th floor again.

Frost Dragon Velkisas spoke in an admiring tone when he saw the man come again.

一You are an amazing human. There hasn't been a single human to have challenged 99 floors alone.
A laugh escaped from Jae Hwan's mouth.

It was funny. The last thing to acknowledge and praise him wasn't a human like himself, but a monster.

“How do you feel knowing that your time has come?’’

一Unfortunately for you, human, that's impossible.

“You never know. The scales you are so proud of have slowly cracked over time.”

Geureureu, the frost dragon let out a loud roar.

Jae Hwan's sword struck out towards the dragon's body.

A simple basic attack.

It was 'Thrust'.

Jae Hwan had started attacking the tower later than others. Because of that, he had missed out on the majority of hidden classes and hidden skills.

Because of that, Jaehwan devoted himself solely to one thing, and that was thrusting.

Thrust. Thrust and thrust again.

Perhaps people would have called him 'Jaehwan of the Thrust' since he had stabbed at the enemy more than 50 million times.

Jaehwan felt that his 'Thrusts' were changing.

Faster and more accurate.

His thrusts had gotten stronger.

Sixty million times, seventy million times…… and one hundred million times.

As a result, Jae Hwan's 'Basic Ability' of Thrust ended up exercising the same amount of power as a hidden skill.

Additionally, since it wasn't actually a 'Skill', he didn't need to expend anything to use it.

However, it wasn't enough to deal with the Frost Dragon on the 99th floor. Thrusting out with tens or hundreds of times was only enough to merely scratch a scale.

Sometimes, however, one stab was enough to deliver a fatal injury.

‘Ah, I can see it again.’

Jae Hwan's eyes clouded over, and his thrusts started to bear a strange momentum. It was neither fast nor slow一 but it could not be dodged.

Puuk!

Kaaaaah!

The Frost Dragon cried out in pain.

Since when did it start.

The amount of times this exact situation had arisen was very frequent.

One million times, or perhaps once every ten million times.

But every once in awhile, a faint line would appear before Jae Hwan.

Jae Hwan would follow the line subconsciously.

If he successfully followed the line, he would be able to land hundreds, if not thousands of his usual thrust.

'Damn it, it's still not enough this time either.’

The Breath that the Frost Dragon was gathering up in its snout was enough to completely fill this level of the tower. To the Jae Hwan whose body was already in rags, this attack was a fatal move. His stamina was quickly dropping toward zero.

Jae Hwan desperately tried to avoid the Breath with all he had.

一I'm sorry, human. If there were only just ten more people like you, the tables could have been flipped this day.

“Shut up,"

一If the people of such an incredible person such as yourself had not lost sight in front of the「Nightmare's Stone」, the fate of your race could have been changed.

“Nightmare's Stone? What do you mean?”

The Frost Dragon did not reply.

A giant claw flew towards him.

“…… It's coming again."

Jae Hwan reflexively took a backstep, avoiding the attack before he fled.

The Frost Dragon failed to kill him.

 


*

 


Another five years passed.


[Return of the Legend! You have succeeded in hunting 'The King of the Frost Dragons Velkisas' alone!]

[You have achieved an impossible deed by your power alone!]

[New Title! You have received the title 'Nightmare of the 99th Floor'.]

[You have received the item 'Ice Dragon Sword'.]

[Your level has reached the limit.]

[Your level has reached the limit.]

[Your level has reached the limit.]

[Your level has reached the limit.]

The giant body of the Frost Dragon was disappearing.


一I admit, you're quite the amazing guy.

“Speak. What exactly is the「Nightmare's Stone」?"

一You already know the answer.

Jae Hwan, he want to know more. The information he had right now wasn't enough to formulate a substantial answer.

一You'll come to know everything on the final floor.

The Frost Dragon spoke no more.

Jae Hwan waited until the Frost Dragon's body completely disappeared into a silvery powder before he got up.

Jae Hwan looked at the entrance to the final floor.

It was already incredibly difficult to kill the Frost Dragon, he couldn't begin to imagine how much more difficult it would be to fight the boss on the final floor.

Still, Jae Hwan did not stop.


《100》


Jae Hwan looked at the number on the door.

He swept his hand across the dust that had accumulated on the number.

Memories of the tens of years he had spent in the tower began to flit through his mind.

‘If Jay knew he definitely would have been happy.’

Jay's bright smile appeared before his eyes.

Jae Hwan opened the door leading up to the 100th floor.

 

 

 

 

Stepping onto the 100th floor, Jae Hwan felt like he had arrived inside a state-of-the-art situation room in an apocalyptic film.

To be more precise, it was on the scale of tens or even hundreds of times as big as one you would see in a movie. There were hundreds of thousands of holographic panels switching through the various places of the tower. There was even a screen that displayed Jae Hwan.

He was currently making a dazed expression.

“Oh gosh, you've already arrived. Of course I already knew you would arrive.”

Jae Hwan nervously looked around.

However, he couldn't figure out where the voice was coming from.

“Ah ah, Please don't be so nervous. I forgot to tell you an important message, please wait right there for a bit.  Although these things looks really nice on the outside, it's actually just an antique, so it's a pain in the neck to try and finagle with.’’

After waiting for a bit, a screen popped up in front of Jae Hwan.

[Congratulations. You have cleared the 294th world's tutorial level from the very beginning.]

[Your incredible achievement will be permanently recorded in the immortal library known as the《Akashic Records》, and will be preserved for viewing by the sovereigns of the 《Great Lands》.]

Jae Hwan's head was clouded in confusion.

‘What is this saying?

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