There's no way to go back to the past?
“What are you saying? There should be an item in this tower that allows you to go back in time……”
At that moment, Jae Hwan's chest went cold.
Beastrain had said.
There was no way to go back into the past from the present.
But Beastrain had also said something else.
He had said that it was possible for Jae Hwan to redo everything all over again.
It was a contradiction.
Jae Hwan could only think of one way to reconcile that contradiction.
The Tower, 66th floor.
Jae Hwan had fought against「Nightmare」, a lesser succubus.
The advance team had wasted a lot of time trying to be get through the 66th floor. Not even the Ice Demon on the 85th floor was as difficult.
The Succubus created an illusionary world. Those with weaker minds would fall prey to the Succubus' tricks.
The 66th floor became an orgy.
Walkers who succumbed to the Succubus' fantasy committed sins after sin against their fellow Walkers.
Jae Hwan was well aware of the terror of the Nightmare's ability.
He had once nearly killed a female Walker while under the effects of the Succubus.
Hearing what Jae Hwan said, Beastrain's eyes widened.
“How do you know about that item? That's not information you can get from within the tower.”
“The Frost Dragon told me.”
“Oh dear, I'm in trouble, really. That's not information you should know of just yet.”
Beastrain silently mumbled.
…… that's why the AI algorithms need to be worked on a bit more. This is what happens when you blindly let out whatever monster you feel like. Damn these 「Producer」guys.
Seeing Beastrain mumble to himself, Jae Hwan spoke up.
“Those who used the Stone of Regression did not go back to the past.”
Thinking for a bit, Beastrain looked at Jae Hwan with a resolute expression on his face.
“What, you're the first Walker to clear the tower alone, if it's that much, you should qualify. That's right. What you're thinking about is correct.”
Clicking his tongue, Beastrain clacked away with his fingers again before the hologram panels changed once more.
“The item you found on the 77th floor is not the「Stone of Regression」，but instead the「Nightmare's Stone」. It's an item that traps the user in an inescapable dream, it's a very unique item."
The holographic panels displayed the figures of many Walkers suspended in the air.
Sword Panic's Hwang Inchan, Science Teacher Sakamoto……
All of the Walkers who were thought to have gone back to the past were there.
They were all ensnared in the Nightmare's dream living out their fantasies.
Beastrain looked as though he were enjoying himself.
“However, I haven't lied. ‘In a way’ they have gone back to the past.”
Jae Hwan was speechless.
Looking at it from another perspective, he was right.
They were those who had given up on the present and gone back.
Those who gave up the relationships they had forged without batting an eye. Those that ignored ‘the world that others see’ and deemed ‘the world that I see’ as the most important thing in the world.
For those people, being trapped in the Nightmare's Dream was no different from what they saw anyways.
“Huhu, now that I think about it, you people of the 294th world are a strange race. You guys were absolutely amazing up until the 77th floor. Many worlds have challenged the tower, but no world has ever been able to break through the various levels of the tower with such great results like you and your people. Considering how long this game has been going on, you guys were incredible.”
That was what it was like. Up until the 77th floor.
“Considering how long the tutorial game was going on, I was beginning to think that it was getting stale. I thought it was a past crisis or something that this 《Nightmare Tower》had made, but I really couldn't tell since I hadn't really been following along.”
The hologram panels displayed all those who had used the [Stone of Regression]. They were people who had turned into lights and flown up into the sky. Those that had become slaves to time.
“You humans have been the only race so obsessed with time.”
Watching the lights disappear, Jae Hwan muttered.
“Yup, who knows.”
Beastrain nodded towards him.
“Ja, it was to the point that I was very curious about……."
Jae Hwan cut off Beastrain.
“So are you going to make me play again?”
“Haha, have I finally grabbed your attention?"
“Regardless, it would be without sending me back into the past.”
“Well, yes. The solution is……"
Jae Hwan nodded his head.
“That's right, because of you asshole, I've finally figured out what this tower is.”
Jae Hwan had been wondering for a long time.
Why had a sky-piercing tower suddenly appeared one day?
And what was up with that message?
[Congratulations! You have been designated as a 《Tower Walker》 to challenge the 《Nightmare Tower》 and save the human race. Do you choose to be summoned?]
[Yes / No]
He had chosen to be summoned then.
That was why he was here.
He moved his hand across the interior wall of the tower. He felt the cold, stoney texture of the wall.
He had spent more time in the tower than on Earth. But over the years, he had never once seen any [item] as large as this object. Now it was time to change the way he perceived things. Jae Hwan stood still and focused on the tower. He thought of the tower. He thought of everything he had tread upon and set eyes upon inside the tower.
How long had it been.
Jae Hwan started to feel sick, his head was pounding and he felt as though there were something breaking inside of him. It wasn't long before the name of an item appeared before him.
Name : Nightmare Tower - Tutorial Mode
Effect : Temporary ‘Fortress of Regret’. The second creation of the nightmare maker Nightmare「Myullock」. The summoned people are put into the dream produced by the Nightmare.
“This tower, is a giant「Nightmare's Stone」.”
Jae Hwan spoke.
“I've been in 'Nightmare's Dream' produced by this tower the whole time. From the very start, ever since I've been summoned to this tower.”
Silence pervaded the room for a brief moment.
Beastrain's neck was down so that his face could not be seen. After a moment, Beastrain's body began to tremble before he threw his head backwards.
“ Haha, hahahahat! Ahahahahahat!”
Beastrain let out an unrestrained laughter that shook the tower. But laced inside his laughter was undisguised anger.
“Looks like this is a genius, really. How many times have you surprised me now?”
Beastrain's fingers became a flurry, prompting the holographic panels to change once more. Having only displayed the interior of the tower, the panels began to show the outside.
Jae Hwan was stupefied.
Jae Hwan let go of everything on his mind and solely stared at the screen. The outside world was still in tact.
The cities and the people. The world that he thought had been destroyed due to the Tower Impact was still fine.
Nobody had died.
“As you can see, nobody has died yet. I haven't even started the 'real game' yet, so if everyone died, wouldn't it be too difficult?”
“Huhu, nobody has died, are you not surprised? Of course, it's good news for those who have such peculiar things as 'friends' or 'family'.”
All of those who had been summoned as Walkers were being taken care of in medical institutions. It seemed like the government had stepped in and had settled things. Amidst all of those patients on screen, he saw himself.
It was unbelievable to see his peaceful face.
Though decades had passed, his face had stayed the same.
“It may have been decades here in the tower, but only a month had passed in the real world.”
Jae Hwan nodded.
'Is that so. This is inside the Nightmare's dream. Compared to the decades spent in here, only moments have passed outside.
Of course, this would only be true if the holographic panels that Beastrain had displayed to Jae Hwan were true.
Jae Hwan lacked the ability to distinguish between the truth and the illusion.
Of the words Beastrain had spoken, he couldn't tell what was true and what was false.
In addition, the other side had already deceived humans more than once.
All of the panels turned off at the same time.
“Oh boy, you've taken up more of time that I thought you would. Anyways, now that you know everything, I believe you have nothing to lose by taking my proposal. You will not go back to the past. I'm just going to start the game all over again.”
With a refreshed look on his face, Beastrain entered something into the air.
“Phew, it's been fun.”
Something entered Jae Hwan's vision.
[The game master will momentarily end the tutorial game. You will be returned back to your homeworld, the 294th world, and will be allowed to rejoin the game with your memories intact. Do you accept this proposal?]
[Yes / No]
Jae Hwan looked at the screen and made his choice.
—He rejected the proposal.