[Lee Ho-jae, Third Floor: … I wonder why there is no response. Hey you bastards. You are all going to die at this rate, don’t you get it?]
‘I bet they died like that.
Why won’t they listen?
Honestly, I knew those guys were going to die.’
I brought out a chocolate bar from the inventory. I held it in my mouth and read the Community.
This posting was from eight years ago.
‘I feel like an archeologist who is excavating ancient ruins.’
I started reading the Community just to pass the time.
The life in the waiting room at Hell Difficulty was too boring because I was always alone.
I felt I would rather be out in the stage. I wished the waiting would come to end sooner.
I learned I should work on passive skills or other skills. However, honestly, I didn’t want to do it.
Moreover, skill levels simply refused to rise.
It rose even slower in the waiting room.
Honestly, I didn’t want to work on passive skills grinding even if they increased faster than other skills.
I would have done it reluctantly if I was supposed to do it no matter what.
However, now that I gave up on increasing skill levels, I suddenly had nothing to do.
I realized why mister didn’t force me to do skill grinding.
He probably knew that there was nothing to do in the waiting room besides skill grinding.
I read all postings and comments on the Community.
I had read all new posts as they came up, so there was nothing left to do.
In the end, unable to beat the boredom, I looked for old posts.
I managed to get a rough idea about the history of the Korean server just from checking out old posts in the Community board.
Before I entered the Tutorial, I watched a documentary about it, so I had a rough idea about what the Tutorial was about. However, reading the past conversations by the actual past participants of the Tutorial was fun in a different way.
Like that, I found texts from the past and slowly worked my way back. Before long, I was able to find writings from the days when the Tutorial was first created.
As I thought, mister was active since the start of the Tutorial.
At first, people treated him as a liar. However, he soon became the strongest among the rankers, the people who represented the Tutorial.
Mister’s work continued even after that. Just reading about it was incredibly interesting.
Actually, I knew about him even before I entered the Tutorial.
It was not surprising because he was very famous.
He was the challenger at the highest floor in the Hell Difficulty. He was the only survivor in the Hell Difficulty in Korea.
As soon as his existence was made known, the media never stopped yapping about him.
The media found his childhood friends and interviewed them. The media also analyzed his school records.
The media pasted his professional gamer experiences on the front and again yapped away that the knowledge on the games he played might help clearing the Hell Difficulty.
As an actual challenger of the Hell Difficulty, I could say that they were not helping at all.
Documentary about him poured out in bucket loads. Also, there were all sorts of petty gossips about his personal life from the past.
However, I actually got to know about him before all those.
One time, my little sibling was watching television. I glanced at it, and I noticed a handsome face.
I asked who that was. My big brother said he was a professional gamer.
Back then, I thought he was pretty good looking for a professional gamer. I wondered why he was doing professional gaming instead of being an actor. I glanced over the face as I thought those.
He was a man I noticed a few times on the television like that. Now, that man was like my Daddy Long Legs. It felt strange just thinking about it.
He really was like Daddy Long Legs.
When I entered the Hell Difficulty by a mistake and was confused and scared, he gave me hope and faith.
The hope I had back then turned mostly into pain and screams now.
However, I was still carrying the hope for survival.
He became my support. He became my sponsor.
Without him, let alone getting all the way to this floor, I would have had difficulty just surviving in the First Floor.
My life in the Tutorial was harsh and painful. I was suffering a lot. Like in here continued like that. However, I was able to endure my life in here thanks to him.
I suddenly thought perhaps I want to be a similar existence to him.
He was my Daddy Long Leg. In that case, perhaps I was a prince riding on a white horse?
A prince who is going on a thousand mile journey through hardship and danger to save a princess trapped in a witch’s castle…
I thought that I switched the positions somehow.
Still, that made me laugh in some way..
My eyes narrowed from smiling. A smile formed on my lips as well.
Nobody was watching, but I was embarrassed.
‘What am I thinking?
“Puhup. I think I must have gone insane. Aaaaaak.”
I screamed by myself and rolled around on the bed.
[Park Jung-ah, 90th Floor: Are you all ready?]
I felt so light. I was flying. However, a heavy weight came crashing down on me.
[Lee Yeon-hye, Sixth Floor: Yes. What is it?]
[Park Jung-ah, 90th Floor: Big Bro told me to check up on you. He went up to the 61st Floor.]
‘Now she called him Big Bro. Huh!
I looked all of the chats and posts in the Community from the start of the very first round but I have never saw any record of her ever calling him by that.
Not even once.
Usually, they called each other as commander, captain, or etc. Later, they addressed each other casually.
Sometimes, they went beyond and even cursed at each other.
‘So why is she doing that now?’
I could sense the weariness clearly.
At first, I wondered why she was so rude to me. I wondered if she was always like that to everyone.
However, I knew the reason very well.
Besides this, there was one other thing that felt off.
[Lee Yeon-hye, Sixth Floor: Why did he go to the 61st Foor?]
[Park Jung-ah, 90th Floor: He went there to earn points. He used quite a bit this time, so…]
‘It looks like he is not looking for a way to clear the floor. I guess I don’t need to talk to her for long then.
I just don’t like every word coming from her.’
I haphazardly responded to her and ended the conversation.
[Park Jung-ah, 90th Floor: Did you memorize what you need to tell the manager?]
[Lee Yeon-hye, Sixth Floor: Yes.]
‘I don’t want to talk to you any longer.
Now you are treating me like a kid.
What. Are you trying to tell me that a kid should not butt in? Is it something like that?’
[Round 95 is starting.]
[Lee Yeon-hye, Sixth Floor: Well then, I’ll be heading to the stage now.]
I gave a simple good bye and then stepped on to the portal.
Another message came from her. However, I ignored it and turned off the messenger.
It was the time for me to get rid of unncessary thoughts and focus on clearing the stage.
[Welcome to the Sixth Floor’s stage.]
As soon as I entered the bonfire room, I opened the inventory and checked the items to use.
After that, I checked my skill list.
As the last thing, I verified the information about the stage and the strategy for clearing it.
Mister never told me every fine details about each trials. He didn’t this time as well.
Other than the information about growth, skill utilization and development, he was very stingy about information on the trials.
He only told me about the kind that would definitely get me killed if I walked past it without knowing about it.
For the First and the Second Floors, he told me everything in fine detail, all patterns and strategies. However, he said it was time for me to learn to gather information myself and utilize them on my own.
He was right.
Honestly, I wish he just told me everything. Still…
The core of the Sixth Stage’s trial was the 16 priests.
They pumped out skeleton soldiers as if they were making canned foods from a factory.
All skeleton soldiers appearing on the stage were going to be generated by the priests. I had to do something before they make too many of the skeleton soldiers for me to handle.
The description said I could just hold out until the holy knights came. However, that was a trap.
If I just held out and waited, I could never be able to handle the ever growing number of skeleton soldiers, which was growing like crazy.
I ran a simulation of my plan in my brain.
‘All right. Let’s try it.’
[Would you like to challenge the trial?]
Through the portal next to the bonfire, I teleported to the Stage.
[The Sixth Floor’s trial is starting.]
Explanation: It already has been over 50 years since the cursed priests of the Bahare Sect had been pursued by the Pantheon. As you already know, The Bahare Sect is an evil organization that seeks to reap more death by reviving the dead people and turning their souls into evil spirits.
Including Khezas, their leader, there are 16 priests. They managed to lose the Pantheon’s pursuit and successfully arrive at the heart of the white mountain range.
The place is also called the land of the god, a place where a god resided in the past.
The Bahare Sect priests are trying to cover the world in nightmare using the remains of holy artifacts.
Brave warriors, stop them until the holy knights of the Pantheon arrives. You are our only hope.
[Condition of success.]
1. Stop the death army from entering the white mountain range until the holy knights arrive.
2. Destroy the death army and 16 priests.
I had seen the message many times already. I just turned it off and opened the inventory.
The most critical thing in this battle was the speed.
I brought out high level magic stone and concentrated mana potion.
I put some of the concentrated mana potion on my hand and drew a magic circle with my hand on the floor.
I placed the magic stone on the center of the magic circle and recited the activation word.
As soon as those words left my mouth, I directed my gaze away from the magic circle that was generating steady light. I charged forward.
Before long, the acceleration from the wind spirit’s blessing was activated.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
‘I guess this place will do.’
While I was running, I opened the inventory and brought out an alarm trap. I tossed it to the ground.
I really started to accelerate.
This spirit magic had the low altitude flight ability. A shouted out the activation word, and my body floated up in the air.
I still had far to go.
Instead of losing the stamina from running, it was going to be more comfortable to use a bit of mana to get there.
Thanks to the magic’s effects, I was going to be able to maintain current speed. Also, the corridor was going to be a straight path for a while, so I had no need to worry about colliding with anything.
Even while I was carrying myself through the flight magic, occasionally, I brought out magic traps from the inventory and tossed them on the corridor.
Like that, I flew through the corridor for a while, and the straight path came to an end.
There were two pathways, left and right.
I canceled the flight magic. This time, I used the detection magic.
‘Good, the skeleton soldiers are not nearby yet.’
I drew a magic circle in middle of the fork.
It was an explosive magic circle.
It was like an explosive mine.
‘Ordinary skeleton soldiers on the front probably won’t notice this explosive magic circle. They will just step on it and activate it.’
Considering the huge number of skeleton soldiers, this was not going to do much damage to the overall force. However, I was going to be able to tell their location based on the explosion sound.
I completed the magic circle and entered the left pathway.
There were going to be 13 more forks ahead. I learned the pathways prior to this.
Left, left, left, right, left, right, left, left, left, right, left, right, right, right.
I went through a lot just to figure that out.
I walked quietly.
From the distance, I could hear the steps of the skeleton soldiers.
To confirm it again, I used the detection skill. As I thought, I could detect many skeleton soldiers.
“Amataru Deta Spilkeon.”
I recited the spell, and the wind curtain spirit appeared.
It was a useful spirit that possessed both flight and invisibility abilities.
It looked like a curtain flapping in the air.
It was said that the spirit had the head somewhere in the body. However, no matter how I looked at it, I could not see anything that resembled a head.
“Let’s stick to the ceiling and move.”
The wind spirit wrapped my body and rose up to the ceiling.
The corridor’s ceiling was very low. If I was to avoid colliding with the skeleton soldiers, I had to stick close to the ceiling and fly through.
I didn’t have to worry about being found out.
Considering the wind curtain spirit’s invisibility effect and my stealth skill’s level, there was no way I was going to be detected by the skeleton soldiers.
‘The skeleton commanders probably will look up the ceiling once in a while, but that would be it.
The seven death knights are the only ones that might be able to detect me. Also, as long as I follow the path I have, I won’t run into the death knights.”
* * *
Like that, sticking close to the ceiling, I flew for a while. I was able to reach a gigantic cave.
In the cave, there were the 16 priests. They were making skeleton soldiers by several dozens at a time.
I hid behind a pillar and unsummoned the wind curtain spirit.
It would have been bad if it got hit blind by a magic and destroyed.
‘I don’t have very long for attacking those priests. They will stop the summoning and attack me as soon as they notice me. Even if I manage to stop their attacks, the death knights will be summoned to this place immediately afterwards. I cannot handle them all at once.’
I had the edge on the pre-emptive strike. With that in mind, I had about six seconds. That was all.
‘I shouldn’t attack Khezas, their leader. That one turns into a bizarre looking squid when attacked. The magic attacks it shoots out in that form is incredibly deadly. Also, the production rate of the skeleton soldiers will increase significantly.
I need to keep it from using its power. Since the enemies’ boss is saving its strength at the moment, I should be courteous and let it be.’
I quietly picked up the bow I had on my back. I placed an arrow on it and drew the string.
The arrow was launched as I said the activation word. The arrow struck right on a priest’s neck and exploded immediately.
For now, one of them died at an instant.
The explosion caused a powerful flash of light.
‘I am not sure about skeleton soldiers that do not have eyes. However, the priests appear to be human. They probably have no choice but to close their eyes for a moment.’
It would have been nice if they got blinded temporarily. However, these guys were not that shabby.
While the priests were stunned from the flash, I shot another arrow and killed another priest.
[Kuuuuaaaaa! Come! Knights of death!]
‘They are summoning the death knights sooner than I expected.’
I dodged the fire magic attack that was coming at me while I placed another arrow on the bow.
[Maiden who are blessed by the spirits! Maiden who had been swindled by the false gods! You shall experience death!]
I shot the arrow as I activated the battle focus skill.
The world was slowing down. I calmly organized the situation.
The arrow was shot toward the third priest. Judging from the path, it was going to hit right on.
I killed total of three priests.
It was not bad.
As for my side…
I saw two fire magic attacks coming at me.
There was a death knight that came close to where I was.
The priests were reciting curse spells.
Considering their experience, I figured their spells were almost complete.
‘This is the limit.’
Immediately after I yelled out the activation words, I was standing at the entrance of the Sixth Floor’s Stage. To be precise, I was standing on top of the magic circle I drew there.
This time, I had some results.
I killed three priests. The ten other priests were all busy with casting attack and curse spells so they stopped the summoning magic.
It was going to take quite some time before they could restart the summoning magic for the skeleton soldiers.
I sounded like wind was coming out of me. I plummeted to the ground.
I used too many magic spells in a too short of a time frame.
Not to mention they were all pretty high level magic spells.
I was at my limits on mana, mental strength, and stamina. I was barely holding on.
There was only one course of action, to use potions to replenish my mana and stamina.
I brought out mana potion as I listened to the explosion sound of the explosive trap echoing from a far distance.