Going past the bonfire room, I entered the stage where long message opened in front of my eyes as soon as I entered.
[The 13th Floor’s trial will start.]
Explanation: At the west of the Akan Continent, at a nameless volcanic island in middle of the ocean, there is a hidden temple of the monks who worship the God of Duel.
This temple is a secret place where monks trained to perfect their arts since ancient times.
Challenger, the one who belittles their life long dreams and talents and proclaims yourself as the true master of combat, achieve victory against the monks and prove your words.
Achieve victory from at least 15 rooms.
It looks like the 13th Floor is not that complicated.
The theme seemed to revolve around a main character of the story pissing the hell out of the monks and fighting the duels against the monks to prove his words.
The setting about the main character belittling the monks could be the result of the God of Duel’s negative impression about me.
It also means the challengers who had been receiving positive responses from the God of Duel would receive a large welcome here.
I think that’s very plausible.
This is the first time for the theme of the Stage to have a story related to a god from the Tutorial.
From this Stage, I think I might be able to get some information about the gods of the Tutorial.
In this Stage, I need to achieve victories from at least 15 rooms.
I wonder how many rooms there are in total.
Let’s go find out.
I looked around dark stone room.
There was nothing.
It was a dark space. There wasn’t even a single candle light.
It feels strange to not even hear the slight whistle of wind.
My senses already had surpassed that of human being. Still, I don’t hear anything.
Does this room have sound proofing?
Towards the front, I can only see a small wooden door.
Besides that door, there was nothing here; it was as if the room was a prison cell.
The door had ‘0’ written on it.
Does it mean it is the room number 0?
I opened the door and got out of the room number 0.
Like the stone room, a dark corridor continued.
I walked for about five minutes, until I reached a wooden door at the end of the corridor.
The door had the number ‘1’ written on it.
It is the room number 1.
The setup’s theme seemed to be the stone room and corridor repeated with the difficulty of the trial increasing with the number.
I opened the room number 1’s door and entered it. A monk who was sitting in meditating position greeted me.
As if it was supposed to be obvious, the room was dark without a single candle light. However, the monk glared into my eyes.
[So, it is you, the arrogant one that the temple master spoke of.]
The monk got up as he said those words to me.
His hospitality to the guest is terrible.
I brought out a small lantern from the inventory and held it on my hand.
Although I had the effects from the night vision and eye light skills enabling me to maintain vision inside darkness, this was our first meeting. I found the lack of proper lighting to be unacceptable.
I slowly observed the monk’s appearance.
He was about two meters in height.
He was a hardened muscular man. He did not appear to be armed.
His clothes reminded me about monks from Tibet.
He didn’t have any armors either.
One thing unique about him was that his fangs were reaching below his chin.
He is not human.
He had protruding facial features and red skin.
He looked like a demon from Japanese legends.
“I don’t know who the arrogant one is. Anyway, don’t you need weapons or armors?”
[As I thought, you are arrogant. Just what are you asking to a monk who is seeking the ultimate height in art of fighting. Relying on such petty tools will only get in the way of the training. They will not help in true growth.]
This one sure likes to spew out nonsense.
I can understand the idea of not using weapons for a while for the sake of development.
However, weapons and armors should never be regarded petty tools.
Weapons were created and improved upon by humans to emerge victorious in wars and battles. They were the pinnacle of technology.
In this Tutorial, there were many things besides weapons made by humans. However, their purposes were all same.
Weapons were developed to attack and kill opponents.
How is anyone supposed to challenge the ultimate height in the art of fighting by excluding such weapons?
The ultimate height in the art of fighting; the meaning of the words is clear.
In the end, the only purpose of conflict is victory.
Achieving victory, one after the other… The destiny of certain victory could be said as the ultimate goal of any art of fighting.
[You are unenlightened. Victory is just one of the effects of the art.]
He is really stuck up. I don’t think we can communicate.
Victory is everything.
Developing one’s fighting ability is just a method towards victory.
Do you not understand why the name of the god that the monks, the ones who wishes to complete their art of fighting worship, is called the God of Duel?
[… How unpleasant. I won’t listen to your ridiculous words no more. Wield the weapon that you think is so great. I shall start the test.]
“Why don’t you just tell me the content of the test?”
I put the lantern back inside the inventory as I spoke.
[You just need to either defeat or kill me and go to the next room.]
I had a knife on my waist. I threw the knife toward the monk’s face.
I quickly threw it. Because the knife was thrown so suddenly, the monk was not able to respond properly.
He managed to quickly swing his arm and sweep away the knife. However, the timing was too late.
The center of his weight was moving toward his back.
His back was further behind his knees. His shoulder was even further back.
As soon as I threw the knife, I charged forward and brought out the spear from the inventory.
Because of the spear’s length, the monk quickly came within the striking distance.
As soon as the monk came inside the striking distance, I succinctly stabbed him with the spear.
The spear tip precisely pierced the monk’s heart.
That was the end.
The monk bled from the hole in his chest and perished.
Monk, it looks like you won’t be able to obtain things like the ultimate height in art of fighting.
I know this is the first room, but I am a little disappointed.
Hoping the second room would be able to satisfy me better, I opened the door and left the room number 1.
* * *
At the next room, and at the one after that, I was able to defeat monks with ease.
They were not able to catch up to my speed, so the results were obvious outcomes.
Finally, when I arrived at the fifth room, I was able to meet a monk that could somewhat catch up to my speed.
However, it was not enough to endanger my life.
Bleeding ferociously from his neck, the monk quickly fell back.
Was the cut a little shallow?
No, it wasn’t.
I thrusted my spear after considering the monk’s movement.
Hm… If I didn’t make a mistake, then…
Let’s just go and check.
I approached the monk again and stabbed him.
This time, the tip of the spear definitely pierced the monk’s neck.
I tried pressing hard on the monk’s body that collapsed on the floor.
As I thought, the skin is tough.
Actually, I don’t think calling it tough describes it well enough.
The skin is solid.
They’re like iron plates.
Not just the skin, but the muscles underneath the skin and the bones were not like organic bodies. They felt like sheets of iron.
It was not like his body was really made of metallic parts, rather his body was simply as hard as metals.
Even his intestines had a surprising sturdiness.
It didn’t seem like his body was made this way through training.
He was probably born with such a body.
This is intriguing.
I had been killing each of them with a single blow wrapped in mana by striking them at the critical points. Because of this, I had not noticed until now.
It is a great advantage to be born with such a sturdy body.
It can be overcome with skills, abilities and magic.
However, that’s only when I am at a greater level than the opponent.
Against an opponent with similar levels in combat abilities, the one with superior basic stats will always win.
If two boxers of same skill levels fought, but one was a heavy weight and the other was a panther weight, it was obvious who would be the victor.
These bastards are born with such ridiculous bodies, yet they are ignoring the effectiveness of weapons as they are talking about completing their art?
It was completely illogical.
[God of Duel is doing a fake cough.]
It looks like that god is agreeing to some extent.
I sat there and observed the monk’s corpse.
I don’t know what the name of their kind is, but I should learn about their special characteristics.
As I pass each room, the monks’ skill level increase noticeably.
The minimum clear condition is achieving victory from 15 rooms.
Around 15th room, a monk who is my equal in combat prowess might appear.
These are opponents I should be cautious against. I should collect more information to ensure my victory.
I performed an autopsy in detail and observed to determine if they had critical points on locations different from human’s body or it they had different joint structures.
[God of Duel finds this unpleasant.]
[God of Slowness is sending wrath to someone.]
Even without the message telling me who it is, I think I know who the God of Slowness is angry at.
I don’t care if you find it unpleasant or not. Just don’t get in the way of someone’s work.
[Kim Min-hyuk, 30th Floor: Are you busy?]
[Lee Ho-jae, 13th Floor: I was until a moment ago.]
[Kim Min-hyuk, 30th Floor: When did you get to the 13th Floor? Do you have a moment to talk?]
[Kim Min-hyuk, 30th Floor: Yes. What’s up?]
Lately, Kim Min-hyuk really had no time, not even to catch a breath. So, he didn’t have the time to have a proper conversation.
The last time we had a long conversation was when we met during the day of the great harmony.
[Kim Min-hyuk, 30th Floor: I found out some rough details about the mystery event.]
[Lee Ho-jae, 13th Floor: I also found out a little about the event.]
I was talking about the information I got from Kiri Kiri.
I gave him the clues, the foreigner and second.
[Kim Min-hyuk, 30th Floor: Why are the clues so short? You… You got all other information first and used your leftover allowances to get them, didn’t you?]
Tsk. This is why I hate bastards who are quick to notice things.
[Kim Min-hyuk, 30th Floor: Still, they are new clues. I’ll keep finding more about the event. Ah, I posted what I found about the event on the community, so check there.]
You already released it?
I think it might have been better if you released it after gathering more information.
I brought out a towel from the inventory and haphazardly wiped off the blood from my hands and arms. I left the fifth room.
I sat the corridor between the room number 5 and 6 and read the community forum while quenching my hunger.
First, I brought out a wide heat stone and a mug.
I poured milk into the mug and spread chocolate powder inside.
When I was in elementary school, they gave us milk in which I would put chocolate powder in it and drank it. I am not sure if it would taste similar.
I placed the mug on the heat stone and warmed up the milk.
Finally, I brought out a pack of dry bread crackers.
Until recently, I was fine with eating just meat jerkies. However, perhaps because of the memories from the 12th Floor, I want to eat something tasty.
Of course, it was not like I could recreate the delicious meals that Idy made.
To make something like that, I’ll need skills related to cooking in addition to the ingredients.
Still, I don’t want to keep on eating tasteless nutrients either.
In the end, this was what I came up with.
I decided to cook as much as I can within the bounds of being able to cook successfully.
I am not sure if I could call what I am doing right now as cooking, but…
I can at least pour the chocolate powder into milk and heat it on the heat stone.
Next time, when I summon Idy, I should really learn how to cook from her.
I sipped on the milk as I thought that.
It is not as sweet as I wanted it to be, but it is all right.
I tore opened the bag of crackers and opened the community forum.
[Notification. This is the information regarding the new comprehensive event, the ‘competition.’]
It seemed the name of the event was competition.
The notification contained all the information obtained by the Order, neatly organized.
It will be held before the Round Five ends.
All challengers can enter the competition.
It is possible to not enter the event.
It is possible to forfeit during the event.
There is a prize for the winner of the competition.
The reward is estimated to be some kind of a skill.
We have not yet obtained any information about the competition’s rules.
The information were the ones that were obtained by the members of the Order by asking the Managers.
Because of the problem with the allowances in information, the information had constraints or were summarized.
Still, they collected almost all of the information they needed.
They just need to find the rules about the competition.
It should be possible to obtain information about the rules before this round ends.
There are quite a few members left who should be able to clear their stages before the round ends, so…
The community was busy with people talking about the competition.
Many were worried. However, because it was possible to not attend or forfeit, and because they believed the Order of Vigilance will handle things no matter what happens, there were quite a number of positive responses.
The mood was similar to the responses before the very first day of the great harmony.
Everyone was excited like children on the eve of a picnic.
It was at that moment that a new piece of information came up at the community.
It was not from a member of the Order. It was from some other challenger.
[Lee Chun-hye: Regarding the competition’s rule, I’ve heard that it will be in the format of individual or team battles. I just heard it from a Manager.]
The community lit up in flames again.
No, it was already up in flames, but now it was burning with even greater intensity.
Soon, people’s interest turned to the prize of the competition before the topic shifted to people’s prediction on who would be the winner.
Of course, the name that attracted the most attention from others was mine.
Other rankers of the Hard Difficulty were mentioned often as well.
Even though I was at the Hell Difficulty, since I was only at the 12th Floor, there were quite a lot of people who theorized that I would be weaker than the players at higher floors of the Hard Difficulty.
There were people fighting over who was right. Watching them made my head complicated.
Seriously, why are they fighting like that? Some were praising me, and some were even severely dissing me in the process.
In the end, these people have nothing to do with me, yet they are going at it.
Of course I will win the competition.
Buy us some coffee!