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The World after the Fall 4

by Sing-Shong

Translated by Chochocobo | Edited by Yzrahc

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Episode 1. 10 Billion Thrusts (4)

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“…… What is it?”

Beastrain's lion eyebrows wriggled.

“Ah ha, that's right. You get to keep your memories as a reward for clearing the tutorial, but you want something more, right?”

With a 'tak', Beastrain tapped his forehead while putting on a pleasant smile.

“Good. Since it's you after all, you do indeed deserve it. What is it that you desire? A hidden item? A hidden skill? Or is it even a hidden class that you want?”

However, from Jae Hwan's mouth came something that he could never comprehend.

“I don't want anything.”

“Then why……"

For the first time, Beastrain's face was tinged with embarrassment.

“I'm going to kill you and head to the next floor.”

Hearing that, Beastrain had an awkward look on his face.

“The next floor…… did you say the next floor? There is no such thing. This is the end of the tower. What makes you think that there's another floor?”

“I've decided that I'm no longer going to believe anything you say.”

“Haa, you don't believe me anymore? Even after having shown you so much evidence……"

Beastrain made a tired face.

“I suppose there's no other way. You can never win against me. Between the you that had only just cleared the tutorial game and, well-- me, there's an insurmountable gap like the one between a human and a dragon.”

“That's not a very big gap."

Jae Hwan grasped the Suppression Dragon Sword that he obtained from the 85th floor in one hand and the Frost Dragon Sword he obtained from the 99th floor in the other.

72 times.

Jae Hwan challenged Beastrain 72 times in the span of two months and didn't manage to land a single blow. And whenever a battle ended, he would leave after a disgraceful defeat. Who knows why, but Beastrain did not kill him. Jae Hwan used everything at his disposal-- every skill, ability, and everything he had learned.
But he was not Beastrain's opponent.

He couldn't even touch Beastrain.

Jae Hwan took out the remaining potions he had obtained from〈Hairen Potion〉and rubbed his wounds with the potions. He also took out the remaining Holy Water he had and let his body soak in it. His fatigue quickly faded away. He even visited〈Jay's Workshop〉again.

“I've returned, Jay.”

Nobody answered.

The first time he lost to Beastrain, Jaehwan visited Atopos on the 50th floor and arrived at an empty〈Jay's Workshop〉. He had gradually learned the Blacksmithing skill just for this occasion. However, he felt numb to the fact that this day had come. His last remaining friend had left. He was truly alone now. Jae Hwan picked up the hammer that had been left behind by his friend.

The Tower, 100th floor.

While chewing his fingernails, Beastrain watched the hologram panels depicting Jae Hwan hammering away.

It was difficult.

It was the first time he had faced such an awkward situation.

The problem of「Cultivating」the goods so that they could be raised up and safely adapt to the《Great Lands》.

Ever since Beastrain had become a「Farmer」 assigned to oversee the process, this was the first time he had ever run into such problems.

‘I need to be patient. That guy is the「Product」I need to sell. And a very special product at that.’

He had set the《Nightmare Tower》in other worlds before, but this was the first time he had ever encountered this situation.

‘Just why does he not want to play the game? I've already told him that I'd give him anything he wanted.’

Because of one Walker, he was forced to deal with the only setback he's ever had since the start of his career. Whining, Beastrain grasped his head. The cultivation of the products would usually start to kick off during the second phase. The「1st Phase」was to weed out the undesirable until only the best products were left by making them go through the 'Tutorial Game'. In the 「2nd Phase」,  the best products are selected to play through 'The Game' and grow. The purpose of the ‘Tutorial Game’ and the「1st Phase」is to select the seeds while the purpose of 'The Game' and the 「2nd Phase」is to grow the selected seeds with water and fertilizer. So because of Jae Hwan, Beastrain hasn't been able to start the actual game and the 2nd phase for three months. With complete disregard for Beastrain’s feelings, Jae Hwan hammered away, the hologram panels ringing out with the sound banging.

Ggang - Ggang -

He was banging his sword with a hammer, the sound of hammering only growing louder.

‘I'm going to go crazy.’

Beastrain was constantly battling with his inner self, constantly quashing his desire to just end the game.

‘Should I just close my eyes and kill him? But if I just kill him, then the「Harvesters」will have a fit.’

The《Nightmare Towers》 were created by the「Producers」known as ‘Nightmares’, and by utilizing the energy from the 《Illusion Tree》roots and trunks, they are able to induce dreams in other people.
Simply speaking, all of the dreams and illusions in the tower were powered by the《Illusion Tree》.
In other words, dying inside the tower won't actually kill anyone unless some special means are utilized to destroy the soul.

However, who knew.

As a demon, Beastrain had already gone through three moltings and now possessed the power of a '3rd Stager', which meant that there would naturally be a big difference in strength between Beastrain and Jae Hwan who had only just completed the tutorial and was yet to become even a '1st Stager'.

Killing him before the beginning of the actual game could damage his soul and result in him becoming a vegetable.

‘That's also a difficulty.’

If that were to happen, his clients, the sovereigns known as the「Harvesters」from the 《Great Lands》, would become angry.

The sovereigns who were interested in Jae Hwan were not few. It was to the extent that there were even some who were willing to offer a ridiculously high price even before an auction would begin.

The Walker who cleared the 99th floor alone.

It was an unprecedented achievement not able to be found anywhere in the whole system.

‘Those Nightmare bastards tricked me into buying this trash tower. What the hell kind of control device is this?’

The《Nightmare Tower》that Beastrain was in possession of was a first generation creation.

‘You can't terminate the game without the Product's consent, truly a stupid system.’

This wouldn't have happened if he had used a 3rd Generation Tower. A 3rd Generation Tower had the capability to end the tutorial game without inflicting any damage to the products.

But there was nothing he could do now.

Poverty is sin.

He couldn't complain, this was the last Tower he could find at a reasonable price.

Having been told that it was the work of a「Virtuoso」class Nightmare, he was robbed blind.

They hadn't lied-- it was indeed the work of a master Nightmare, but not only was it a prototype, it was an older tower. For now, he could do nothing but deal with the tower. It was a tower that half worked and half didn't, but he used it because its performance when it did work was good.

‘When this is all over, I'm gonna go argue no matter what.’

Recalling the Nightmares that had sold him the tower, he couldn't help but grind his teeth.
And like that, another month passed.

“Look, are you not tired yet?”

Beastrain yawned as he lightly took on Jae Hwan's attack. Although Jae Hwan's attacked swarmed Beastrain, not a single hair on his body was touched.

“Look, if you just play the game, then you'll benefit, I'll benefit, your world will benefit, and everyone you know will benefit. Why do you insist on not playing?”

Jae Hwan didn't reply.

“I know that everything seems like an illusion after your experience with the Frost Dragon, but I'm telling you, there's no point in you doing this. I know a lot has happened, but based on your dealings with me so far, can you really say that I'm evil? If you really want to fight me, then you're still going to have to play the game and then go to the 《Great Lands》before waiting another ten years.”

Jae Hwan silently put down his sword.

“Ah, please, please just say something. Is there anything that you want? I've already said I'd give you hidden items and hidden skills!”

From how Beastrain saw it, this human known as Jae Hwan made no sense.

Why was he staging such a meaningless assault?

But contrary to what Beastrain thought, Jae Hwan's actions were not meaningless.

Jae Hwan hadn't just been sitting around doing nothing for these past 3 months.

There were several reasons why Jae Hwan still hadn't given up during this tutorial game.

First, completely outside of Beastrain's expectations, Jae Hwan's soul was undergoing a period of change.

Because Beastrain was linked to the Nightmare Tower through the 《Illusion Tree》 from the outside world, he couldn't quite sense that Jae Hwan's soul was metamorphosing.

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