It took a while for me to get away from the scene of two fake dragons running wild.
Because their bodies were so huge, no matter how far I got from them, I could still see them clearly as if I was right next to them.
I was able to get away from the scene of violent battle after running for a long while through the bushes.
When I thought that I was finally and definitely out of danger, I sat while leaning on a tree.
What should I do now?
This really feels hopeless.
I wouldn’t be feeling this way if I could just open the inventory. No, if I had the basic sword and shield at least, I wouldn’t feel so hopeless right now.
First, since I can’t bring out food or water, I need to worry about food.
This place is a lush jungle.
Since there are grasses and trees everywhere, I think I’ll be able to find edible fruits or vegetables.
However, if I carelessly pick and eat fruits out of hunger and get poisoned, that would be a serious trouble.
I don’t know when or where unexpected danger might come at me. If I get poisoned by chance, I cannot even bring out antidote potion.
Since the situation came to this, it was really fortunate that I got the Great Poison Resistance Skill after clearing the 11th Floor.
I should gather fruits when I see them. After securing minimum safety, I should eat them only when I feel like I’m dying from hunger.
The food that seems the safest to eat are meat…
If I could find raw meat and roast it on fire to eat, I probably won’t need to worry about poison.
Poisonous animals usually have the venom gland at the mouth, so I just need to cut off their heads instead of going through the difficult process of eliminating poison from the meat.
It is not perfect, but I think that should be enough as the bare minimum safety against the poison.
I am not going to do further measures against poison since I don’t know anything else.
Thinking about procuring food made me think about the two fake dragons that I ran into earlier.
They had humongous bodies.
If I can get even just a part of their meat, I probably won’t have to worry about food for a while.
The fight is probably over by now?
No. Let’s not get distracted by the thought.
Even if one of them is dead, the other one must be still there.
If I approach it carelessly, and if it attacks me because I am bothering it while it is eating, that would be a big trouble for me.
Also, there are probably other scavengers who are thinking the same thing I am.
Would I be the only one who is interested in that giant dinosaur’s dead body?
Probably not all of the living beings in this jungle are as big as those dinosaurs.
There probably are ones that are a lot smaller.
Maybe there are also ones as small as me.
To me, the smaller-sized enemies could be more dangerous than the giant ones.
Enemies like that are going to be hanging around the dead body. I shouldn’t even try to put myself in danger by butting in there.
Actually, I should get further away before such bastards show up.
Let’s move again.
* * *
Having walked inside this tightly packed jungle for so long, and then for a little longer again, the sense of alertness I had initially had become dull. Instead, all I was left with was frustration.
It’s hot. Also, it’s too humid.
The grass that’s sticking to my skin… The grass that’s blocking my field of view… I hate them all.
I hate the bugs flying around near me even more.
After entering the 12th Floor, what I have seen so far are the two dinosaurs, ridiculous amount of trees, grass, and bugs. Those are all.
This environment is provoking extreme discomfort.
[Lee Hyung-jin, 3rd Floor: Big Bro, are you busy right now?]
It is a message.
… Since a message came, I might as well rest for a bit.
I’m pretty far from the starting point. Also, let alone any danger, I don’t see any organisms besides bugs around me.
[Lee Ho-jae, 12th Floor: No, not yet. I’ll get busy soon.]
[Lee Hyung-jin, 3rd Floor: You are at 12th Floor. How is it?]
I thought hard about how to tell him and then decided to just be honest.
Afterall, Lee Hyun-jin is also in Hell Difficulty.
[Lee Ho-jae, 12th Floor: It is a real bitch. The Inventory Window is closed.]
[Lee Hyung-jin, 3rd Floor: Inventory Window is?]
I explained my situation in detail to satisfy his curiosity.
Lee Hyung-jin didn’t send any response for a while.
[Lee Hyung-jin, 3rd Floor: … I think I shouldn’t get that far, Big Bro. Actually, I guess it is just that I cannot get that far.]
Actually, I was expecting a response like ‘As I thought, the difficulty is insane. Keep working hard, Big Bro.’ Because of that, I explained with exaggeration. However…
Lee Hyung-jin was also a challenger in the Hell Difficulty. It seemed I took this fact too lightly.
It looks like this kid’s mental game is about to develop a crack.
Let’s divert the topic.
[Lee Ho-jae, 12th Floor: How are the newbies?]
[Lee Hyung-jin, 3rd Floor: They are doing okay. They seem frustrated because they are not able to get past the First Floor, but what could they do. If they carelessly rush the stage, they will die.]
This guy is not usually gloomy like this. Usually, he has a bright personality. He laughs even at the smallest things.
[Lee Ho-jae, 12th Floor: What about you?]
[Lee Hyung-jin, 3rd Floor: I am thinking about postponing challenging the Third Floor boss room until the next round. Unlike you, it will be hard for me to not fall on the cloud bridge. Also, I don’t have any information about what’s below it, so I don’t want to challenge it when I don’t feel comfortable.]
Could it be that he lost confidence when he gave up the Third Floor boss room?
[Lee Hyung-jin, 3rd Floor: For now, I am going to wait until I grow strong enough to have the confidence in getting through the floor.]
[Lee Ho-jae, 12th Floor: All right. That’s safe. Well then, keep up the good work.]
[Lee Hyung-jin, 3rd Floor: Okay, Big Bro.]
Lee Hyung-jin had bubbly personality when it came to dealing with people. However, when it came to the stages, he was very calm and safety-oriented.
His play style was very meticulous and calm.
He thinks about a lot of things and makes the move after checking them.
To base it off of video games, I guess I could explain him as a thief or assassin class.
He was still at the Third Floor, so he had not had a real combat yet, but his tendency was like that.
He was the first challenger besides myself that got past the Second Floor in the Hell Difficulty, so that proved his abilities.
I asked why he entered the Hell Difficulty when he is so careful like that. He also said he was drunk at the moment and selected the Hell Difficulty out of whim under influence of the alcohol.
As I thought, alcohol is the cause of all evil and wrong.
Still, because he has a warm personality, he likes talking to people. Other people also likes talking to him.
Also, because he is very thorough and careful, he is taking care of all lower floor challengers, who were all at the First Floor, giving them advices and counsel.
Most of the advices he is giving are coming from me, but it is far better for them to come through Lee Hyung-jin than from me directly.
People are more comfortable with that, and Lee Hyung-jin is good at leveling the eyes with others when explaining things to them.
When it comes to psychological counseling, he is far better than me.
He is a friend I am thinking highly of in many ways.
He is a few years younger than me, but there are a lot I could learn from him as well.
Seeing a guy like that getting depressed is bugging me.
Now that I think about it, I’ve heard that there is going to be the day of the great harmony at the end of this round.
I should meet Lee Hyung-jin and talk to him for a bit.
If possible, I should ask Kim Min-huk to join us in the conversation.
Honestly, I am not confident at all about making someone feel better through a conversation.
With Kim Min-huk tagging along, he should be able to console Lee Hyung-jin by himself.
I realized Kim Min-huk was busy lately. Although the thought zapped through my mind, I ignored it.
Now, let’s focus on my own situation.
First, I need to find a place that could be used as my camp.
Since the clear condition is surviving here for a long time, I desperately need a camp site where I could rest and be safe.
I should gradually expand my territory with my camp as the main site.
The camp site candidates I can think of right now are…
Next to the river.
Above a giant tree.
Are they all?
The area near the river has high likelihood of already being the predators’ territories. As for a cave, it would be hard to find.
That leaves above a giant tree as a camp site.
I should look for a tree that is significantly bigger and taller than others, one that’s big enough for me to make a tent above it and reside.
How do I find it?
… Do I need to walk around aimlessly until I find it?
Through this jungle?
If possible, I wish I could look around the area.
My field of view is too limited because of tightly packed trees growing everywhere.
The stage…. No, even if it is just the landscape nearby, I would like to confirm it with my own eyes.
To see my current position and the landscape around me, the easiest thing I can do is just flying up.
However, if I do, I’ll be exposed in midair.
If there are enemies who include the sky as the attack range, I’ll be attacked right away.
When I was concerned about my visual range, I could hear steps nearby.
It was a really, really quiet sound.
However, it was not the kind made by small bugs causing the leaves to swing.
They were footsteps.
They were sounds of intentionally cautious and quiet steps.
The feline predators at the Eighth Floor had this kind of footstep sounds.
I kept my pose steady and moved only my eyes to look around.
There is nothing.
I looked around at the direction where the footstep sounds came from, but I don’t see the cause.
Did I get the wrong direction?
Although I am at the jungle with the sounds of leaves waving in the air and chirping of birds and bugs chaotically mixed in, there is no way my senses could be wrong.
The footstep sounds definitely came from my left.
That means I just cannot see the opponent.
Everything was slowed down because of the Battle Focus. In that slowed down world, I patiently waited until the opponent showed up.
This is the first time for me to fight an assassin type.
Against an assassin, it’s probably the surprise attack that I should be cautious about.
However, if I know where it is before it happens, I will be the one who will deal the surprise attack.
There it is.
With the invisible enemy coming closer, I can feel its presence more clearly.
The sounds of quiet footsteps are coming toward me too.
Little by little...
I used the Mana Circuit to circulate the mana inside my body and focused a part of it on my left hand.
I swung my hand to the left side as soon as I became certain the invisible enemy was within my range.
The mana was focused on the tip of my hand like a sharp edge. I felt something was cut with it.
“Now I can see you. Hello?”
The enemy in front of me was a monster that resembled the appearance of a long armed orangutan.
I thought this environment was like the Jurassic period, but this place even has mammals.
I called that bastard a monster instead of just orangutan because it had gigantic scythes below its shoulders instead of arms.
They were like arms of a mantis.
Also, its mouth was a playful mix of a bird’s beak and sabretooth’s dental structure.
For the sake of convenience, let’s just call it an orangutan monster.
The orangutan monster was bleeding around its neck.
As I thought, my attack was dealt correctly.
I felt a little bit of satisfaction from having confirmed that.
It seemed the orangutan monster panicked from realizing it could understand my words. Perhaps it panicked because I attacked it when it knew it was invisible. Although I could not be certain why, it was hesitating to do anything.
“I’m so glad I met you. I wish we could chat for a while. I have a lot of things I would like to hear, you see?”
[Ki…. Kiiiaaaaack! Kiiiiack!]
“Why are you acting like you cannot understand me. I know you can understand me just fine.”
The knowledge before the time of Babel was merciless.
Nobody can escape its effect, not the one possesses the skill nor the opponent in the front.
Anyway, this bastard is too incorporative.
It seems there are plants that mesmerize other animals and eat them.
Is it like the ultimate evolution version of the venus fly trap?
“Why don’t you calm down a little instead? If the conversation goes well, I might let you live, you get it?”
I don’t think this will work. Hostility is only deepening after each time I try to talk to him.
It cannot be helped.
They said the best medicine for those that don’t understand words is a good beating.
Let’s try talking to it a bit later.
I took a step in, and the orangutan monster charged in after another beastly roar.
It has invisibility cloaking, which is a cheat-like ability. However, its abilities are so-so besides that one thing.
Although it is completely visible now, it is just charging at me without any plan. I don’t feel so threatened by it.
It does have many violent looking things attached to it, but it is only on par with ordinary wild animals.
I blocked the swung scythe with the hand covered in mana. I swung my other hand and cut its shoulder.
The mana-covered hand could be shield or sword.
Of course, mana-covered shield and sword are far more powerful.
The difference in reach is substantial, and they are safer too.
The orangutan monster screamed in pain. I kicked its lower body to knock it over. I stepped on its chest so it could not move.
However, even in that state, the monster continued to struggle and resist.
To stop the scythe being swung at me, I cut off its other shoulder. Also, to stop it from struggling, I struck its stomach a few times.
Finally, the monster stopped for a moment.
I think I can finally interrogate it.
“Does it hurt? See? Wouldn’t it have been better if you acted like a gentleman from the beginning? If you answer my questions from now on, I will…”
Ah… I don’t have any potions.
In that case, I think this bastard is going to die before long.
I was going to ask the monster before it stopped breathing so I could get some information even if it was going to be only a little bit. However, the monster opened its mouth first.
It roared loudly.
This is not good.
It spoke a simple language of wild beasts, so the meaning was not as detailed as beings of higher intelligence.
However, the beastly roar that it just screamed had one clear meaning.
I can hear similar kinds of roars from the distance.
They are not coming from just a few.
Ones I can hear are in order of several dozens.
I turned my head and looked at the monster crushed below me.
The monster already had stopped breathing. It was dead.
The situation is getting twisted in a really annoying way.
I thought about things as I listened violent sounds of footsteps from the distance.
I don’t know the enemies’ strength.
I don’t know their number either.
I don’t know the situation in this place either.
I don’t know the landscape.
I’m at a disadvantage on everything.
I should run for now