-Lee Ho-jae’s perspective-
[Round 16, Day 0, 00:00]
[The Tournament will commence.]
[Time left until mandatory summoning: 4 minutes 59 seconds.]
It’s finally starting, isn’t it?
There isn’t much time left until the mandatory summoning.
Unlike the day of the great harmony which happened in middle of the round, the tournament is commencing while we are in the waiting room after the round ended. Perhaps this is why the remainder of time until the summoning is different.
Um… I want to go a little later…
I want to thoroughly check out Talaria’s Wings.
Besides, I have more to look at besides the Talaria’s Wings.
I still didn’t get to test the Fire Element Resistance that I obtained recently.
Using the Poison Energy Skill, I need to raise my Great Poison Resistance Skill as well. I also need to find ways to increase my Curse Resistance and Holy Power Resistance.
I need time for meditation to train Mana Circuit and Energy Sensory as well.
I have a mountain of things to do.
I actually had been looking forward to the tournament.
No matter how I fight in the tournament, I will be the winner of every match, and the one to take the first place. I’ll get to check out people from other difficulties, and I can spend the remaining time on raising my skills, so there is nothing bad about the tournament.
The problem is that I ended up with assigned work because of the tournament.
It’s all because of Kim Min-hyuk.
[Time left until mandatory summoning: 3 minutes 11 seconds.]
[Before the tournament starts, please decide if you would like to participate. You can decide at the arena’s entrance.]
[Tournament, Day 1, 00:02]
[You acquired Tournament: Rulebook (1). Please check the inventory.]
After a moment, the scenery of a village with two to three stories tall wooden buildings was in front of my eyes.
How should I describe this? Doesn’t it looks like a western movie set?
At a plaza that appeared to be the summoning spot, there were people gathered.
I didn’t want to be cramped in middle of the crowd, so I left the area.
“Ah, you there. Please don’t leave. Please wait for a moment.”
I passed by a man who seemed to be under crowd management. He had a megaphone at his mouth, repeating the same words over and over.
“Please don’t leave… Ah, excuse me.”
No, you don’t have to apologize.
“I didn’t recognize you. I am really sorry…”
I was just trying to pass by, yet the man grabbed on to me and continued to apologize. Watching the man vexed me.
If you are that sorry, then you just need to let me go…
“It’s all right. Please carry on.”
The man was still repeating his apologies. Leaving him behind, I continued to walk.
“Hey, I’m here. Doesn’t this place look similar to the residential area?”
Kim Min-hyuk was on the platform. Having heard what I just said, he crumpled his face and said,
“It is not similar. It is identical to the residential area at the 30th Floor. That place was also raised on an open field like this. You never saw it? Anyway, why are you so late?”
I am only two minutes late, you nitpicking rascal.
“Anyway, hold things for me for a moment. You just need to make sure people don’t go away from this place.”
“Didn’t you say you will put me in charge of the people from the Normal Difficulty?”
“No. I don’t think you have to do that anymore. The situation looks way better than I imagined. Right now, our guys are checking out the region, so just keep people here on standby for the next 30 minutes.”
“What about the tournament?”
“I’ll explain that later.”
With those last words, Kim Min-hyuk ran away in a hurry.
Ugh, I ended up with a job that’s even more bothersome.
Still, I won’t have to do this anymore after 30 minutes, so that’s still good.
I got onto the platform that Kim Min-hyuk was on only a moment ago.
“Now, everyone, please pay attention.”
It was loud here with everyone chatting away, so there was no way I was going to be heard if I spoke quietly. So, I used mana and amplified my voice.
The field was busy and loud like a traditional market, but the entire place immediately fell to heavy silence.
Everyone shut their mouths at once and looked at me.
This is a little creepy.
It’s like a scene from a horror movie.
“Now, I know you must feel frustrated. You are probably wondering why we need to wait here, right? I am too.”
On top of that, I am also frustrated for having had to deal with a task that I didn’t want to do.
“To clearly identify this tournament’s area and explain it to you, the friends of the Order are breaking sweats while running around the place. Please wait for just 30 minutes. If they don’t tell us anything in 30 minutes, I’ll go complain to them first, so please rest easy and wait.”
I thought people might ask questions or complain, but the people all still just kept their mouths firmly shut and stared at me.
In fact, some couldn’t even look me in the eyes?
Why is that woman shaking in fear immediately after glancing my eyes?
“Um… Let’s sit down and wait. Just think of it as a picnic. Let’s all eat snacks. Um… Does anyone have questions?”
I asked, but only terrifying silence filled the plaza.
Somebody ask me something. Please…
However, nobody opened their mouths.
“Well…. Then. Please rest.”
Afterwards, I sat down at the platform.
* * *
[Tournament, Day 1, 00:17]
This is incredible.
It’s been 15 minutes. There are so many people here, yet they are all keeping their mouths shut, not uttering a word.
Occasionally, people whispered to another right next to them, but nobody spoke loudly.
Are they doing silence training as a group?
I thought they would at least bring out snacks and eat them, but instead, they sat like monks and maintained the silence.
It’s probably because they are scared of me, the one sitting on top of the platform.
It hurts to see people being so afraid of me.
Just what kind of rumor spread about me?
I knew that people were afraid of me and uncomfortable about facing me, but I didn’t know it was to this extent.
I think it is worse, having so many people gathered at one place.
Because of the people who are extremely scared of me, others who had not given it much thought are getting swept in to the mood.
It was never this bad before.
Should I show them more relaxed side of me?
Should I eat something and talk to someone?
I looked around to see if there was anyone I could talk to.
There wasn’t any.
I saw Lee Hyung-jin in middle of the people, but I don’t think it would be right to call him to the platform and have a conversation with him.
Others will look at him and think he is being dragged to a slaughter house.
As for the members of the Order who were assigned here to manage the people, they thought I was looking around to supervise them.
They look petrified. I could see clearly even from a far.
Even a new recruit standing in front of the Commander in the army would not look this nervous.
This is going too far.
I suddenly came to realize that Kim Min-hyuk and Park Jong-shik had been treating me very comfortably in comparison.
Could it be that they are also a little afraid of me?
With the situation turning out this way, I am getting bored.
Still, if I do things to raise my skills, I think I’ll really be treated like a monster, although I think I’m already being regarded as if I’m a monster.
I opened the inventory.
Ah, I had this.
It was the magic textbook that I purchased after clearing the 12th Floor.
I flipped the first page.
‘To bring change to infinite time after death and finite time before life, what is the most important material that must be prepared? Find the answer.’
Recently, I had experienced the changing flow of time at the 13th Floor. What was the thing needed most?
The book didn’t show any response.
Do I need to write the answer on the book?
Um… First, let’s think of a different answer.
Mana, ability to think, Holy Power, Power Skill, Spirit, mind, life, death? Attitude, will power…
No, I don’t think those are the answers.
Actually, I think those are needed.
The most important part of this question is the ‘most important material that must be prepared.’
The condition that must be met first to change the flow of time.
The flow of time?
To change the time, the time needs to exist first, doesn’t it?
I don’t know if time could be considered as the preparatory material, but…
Um… I reread the question.
As I kept the possible answer ‘time’ in my head, the words ‘after death’ and ‘before life’ were bugging me.
It was talking about before life and after death. It must be indicating that this is about a lifeform at least.
Is ‘myself’ the answer?
I need to exist first to bring change to time before life and after death, so…
No, it does not have to be myself.
The Priests of Death that I met at the Sixth Floor…
They could change the time before life and after death of others at will.
In that case, as I thought, the answer is life… No, that’s not it.
The one possessing the time after death could not be alive.
Um… The one possessing… time? The main character?
The main entity of time?
At that moment, the book was engulfed in light.
After that, words were engraved on to the pages. The pages became full of words.
About a third of the book were decorated with words. It seemed the rest was going to appear once I read all of these.
I wanted to read the book right away, but I had no choice but to set it aside for later because of the commotion around me.
People near me were shaking in fear.
When their eyes met mine, some immediately screamed in low voices.
Some were slowly moving away from me to the back of the crowd.
It looks like they thought some magic spell was going to be shot at them because the book I was holding suddenly shined.
Wow… They are taking it way too far.
* * *
“Hey. Don’t make me do something like this ever again. People are too scared of me.”
Kim Min-hyuk ignored me and just kept on walking.
“Hey. Be honest. You spread bad rumors about me behind my back, didn’t you?”
“No. I never have.”
“In that case, why are people so afraid of me? Some were almost having seizures.”
That’s too much.
I’ve only made appearances in front of everyone a few times.
The rumors had become excessively exaggerated in the wrong way.
While I was complaining to Kim Min-hyuk, we arrived at the tournament arena.
The place was based on the 30th Floor’s residential area’s design. The place had residential structures, plaza and special arena.
To explain the arena, it was a grandiose structure.
The place looked like a western movie, yet there was a colosseum in there, which looked out of place. It was totally breaking the setting. I approached the colosseum’s entrance, and a message appeared.
[Please decide if you would like to participate.]
[Individuals] [Day 1]
[Group] [Day 2]
[Would you like to participate in the individual tournament?]
“Are you going to?”
“What about the group tournament?”
“I should do that too, obviously. There is a reward on the line.”
“What about the team members?”
“I should enter the group tournament alone. I gotta have conscience.”
“Um… I don’t want you to enter the group tournament alone too and win. That would be a problem.”
Why? Why is that a problem?
“In that case, who could I team up with?”
“Actually, it would be best if you didn’t enter at all, but if you are going to enter, have me, Park Jung-ah and a few others on the team.”
“What about Big Bro Jong-shik?”
“If he joins too, then that will be too much.”
Um… This rascal wouldn’t be doing this because he wants the prize…
“Is it for publicity?”
“Well, yes, something like that. If you are going to enter and win, then instead of you entering the group tournament alone, we should take advantage of the situation.”
“I got it. Let’s do it that way.”
“You need to hold back a little. Don’t destroy others’ fighting spirit.”
“I got it.”
“Well then, keep up the good work. I’m going to the stands.”
Kim Min-hyuk disappeared afterwards.
It seemed he was teleported to the stands.
[Would you like to enter the arena?]
I was teleported to a wide ring. It was about 10 meters wide.
The place appeared to be the inside of the colosseum. There were over 20 rings just like the one I was standing on.
There were quite a few people who entered the arena before me.
The rings were not far apart, so I could easy check other challengers.
In the distance, I can see the stands.
They were the people who chose not to participate and decided to watch instead. There were more of them than I thought.
Ooohhh…. For some reason, I’m getting excited?
The situation is making me think about the World’s Greatest Martial Art Tournament from the Dragon Ball.
It’s reminding me of my days in the professional gaming too.
I think this will be fun.
[Two minutes from now, the preliminary matches for the tournament’s individual rounds will begin.]
[Condition of victory.]
[Condition of defeat.]
As usual, death was not included in the condition of defeat.
The opponents for the preliminary matches were summoned to stand on of the rings.
It’s been a really long time since I saw those faces.
Other rings’ challengers had clearly panicked expressions after seeing their opponents.
“What is this? Aren’t we supposed to be fighting people?”
“Dumbass. Didn’t you read the rulebook? You will be fighting other challengers in the real matches.”
“I think that one looks bigger than an orc. Is that a troll?”
“It probably isn’t a troll. Hey, be careful. If it is dangerous, surrender immediately!”
“These guys are armed to the teeth! How come their armors look better than mine?”
The colosseum became busy with peoples’ chatter about what showed up on the rings.
As for the challengers from lower floors, the opponents that entered the rings appeared to be stronger than what they expected, so they panicked.
Some challengers surrendered immediately and disappeared from the ring right after confirming their opponents.
[One minute from now, the preliminary matches, the first event of the tournament’s individual round, will begin.]
Anyway, I could not hide my disappointment.
The preliminary matches’ opponents were seven of Hell Difficulty’s mountain goblins.