Chapter 16 – Day 5, 5th Floor Hunger
The next moment, the stone statue melted down.
[Please step away from me.]
Just like an ice cream in summer, the stone statue became a puddle and started to form a shape on the floor. It was a large plate that was one metre in height. The square plate filled 1/5th of the entire floor.
The stone statue, which was no much smaller than before, stood on top of the ‘stage.’ Even so, the statue was still three metres tall.
[Originally, I wanted to do a tournament but there is a space constraint. Some people will also want to take a break. Those who are willing can come up at any time.]
As soon as the stone statue finished talking, dozens of people rushed towards the stage at once. There were the words ‘no risk’ so they thought there was nothing to lose. The man who was first on the stage was the one who had neared the statue to question it. The people behind him were pushed out.
[Then, we will now begin.]
The very next moment, a number came up in front of me. The man on the stage asked with a confused expression.
“Eh? What is this number three?”
The statue answered everyone, not just the man.
[The number in front of you is the number of competitors you will have to defeat in order to get the talent on top of this stage. With a minimum of two people, the number has been assigned as fairly as possible considering your abilities and grades.]
Some people were sulking.
[Now, please come up on stage to challenge this person.]
A man immediately jumped onto the stage. He had a confident expression. It wasn’t hard to guess the reason why.
“Does he have a higher number?”
“Yes.” It was like Yang Su-jin thought. The number was the same as a person’s strength. The man on stage had unintentionally said ‘three.’ Therefore, those with a higher number would feel confident.
[Even if your HP becomes zero, there is no out. Now. Start.]
The fight began. The man with the number three was pushed back. it was almost one-sided as his health fell to the bottom.
“Eek!” He swung a fist at the opponent’s chest.
“Heh!” The opponent snorted like it was ludicrous… Then his complexion gradually changed and he spat up blood. There was a needle in his chest where the number three man had punched. Even though it wasn’t deep, the opponent’s HP decreased in a very short amount of time.
[You have won the match. Who will be the next challenger? If a challenger doesn’t appear in less than a minute, then he will get half the talent!]
I took my eyes off the stage and moved further into a back corner.
“Aren’t you watching?” Yang Su-jin asked. There was no need to do so. The man only had a three. Rather, it was better to wait until the fervour had died down. Didn’t they know that the poison and needles were equipment that they were throwing away when it was needed for future dungeon progression?
[You have lost.]
It wasn’t surprising. The number three man had quickly received another challenger. He was showing signs of weariness. The opponent also knew his trick so he couldn’t use it again.
[Now! Do we have a next challenger? If your number is ‘two’ then you only have to win once!]
That was impossible. I pulled out the cloth bag. There were three thick books.
[Learn Programming Efficiently]
[The Basics of Mathematical Problem Solving]
[Advanced English: Reading]
“Ah…” Yang Su-jin’s face was filled with shock. The talents you could get inside a dungeon were limited. But… what if I took books from different fields and read them? Would I be able to gain different abilities?
“Check the situation on stage. Tell me immediately if it seems like someone is going to get the talent.”
I started with ‘Learn Programming Efficiently.’
[Talent has been acquired.]
[Talent – Reading Comprehension: The ability to read words faster. Understand the meaning of words will rise according to the level. Memory, thinking power and concentration have slightly increased.]
I continued reading.
[Reading Comprehension. Lv 1. 34/100]
I didn’t receive programming. I had expected it, but it was worth trying. In the previous dungeon floors, I had tried wrestling with the air or swinging a fist at the wall. If I could raise the level of Punching then I would stay in the dungeon until I could no longer hold out.
However, it was useless. The level didn’t increase because the experience rise was too slow. A condition was that the action needed to be valid.
In the case of programming, the talent didn’t appear because I was merely skimming a theoretical book. Then… What about the second book? The Basics of Mathematical Problem Solving. It was the easiest mathematics book for beginners.
Mathematics. It was an area I wasn’t particularly good at in middle or high school, but would there be some results since it was all in my head?
[Talent has been acquired.]
[Talent – Mathematics: The ability to clearly understand numbers, volume and space problems related to various objects and phenomena will rise according to the level. Thinking power, spatial perception and insight have slightly increased.]
Okay. Although it was slow, experience was definitely rising as I read the book. Now I was down to the last book. Advanced English: Reading. If I could get Mathematics then of course this should work.
The question was, what would the result show up as?
[Talent has been acquired.]
[Talent – Language Acquisition: The ability to learn languages other than your native language. Language acquisition will become faster and more accurate. Thinking power has slightly increased.]
[Talent has been acquired.]
[Talent – English (Reading, Writing): The ability to read and write English will rise according to the level. Thinking power, reading comprehension and planning have slightly increased.]
[English (Conversation) will be corrected according to the level.]
There was also this. I read the book without hesitation.
[Reading Comprehension Lv 2. 177/200]
[Language Acquisition Lv 2. 4/200]
[English (Reading, Writing) Lv 2. 99/200]
[Concentration has exceeded its limit.]
Suddenly, a small water bottle was pushed in front of my face. It was Yang Su-jin;s doing. “Your lips, they are dry.”
I became aware that I had a really sore throat. I opened the lid and asked, “How much time has passed?”
“Well. Two or three hours?” So quickly?
“It is the first time I’ve seen someone concentrate like this. Not even the best student in my class…”
I ignored the burdensome gaze and looked towards the stage. “Ah, that’s right!” There was a clap as Yang Su-jin started looking through her bag. I had given one of the two bags to Yang Su-jin so she would be able to bring what she needed in with her.
Her brain was young and quick so she might bring something that I would never think about. I was half filled with expectation. Yang Su-jin pulled out something that I never imagined from her bag.
There were two very big thermos. No, it wasn’t a thermos… They were heated lunch box tins. Although I accepted it unconsciously, the water bottle was also strange. As soon as Yang Su-jin opened the lid, the scent of hot steaming food wafted out.
“What is this smell?”
“Soy sauce stew…’ As the smell of food spread, gazes moved from the stage towards this area. They looked dumbfounded. I was also the same.
“What? What is with that look? I brought this.” Yang Su-jin clearly wasn’t a normal schoolgirl in many ways.
“Well. I would have brought a book like Oppa if I had thought about it. Honestly, I came up with this the moment I received the bag.”
“It isn’t instant food nor does it have MSG. Everything is homemade. Except the meatball! They are the three minute ones.”
I… I picked up the box. In fact, I was hungry. Two or three hours had passed, and it was a lot more time then I had spend on the 1-4th floors. As long as it filled me up…
“Eh?” A sound emerged from my mouth.
“How is it? Delicious. Is it delicious?” It wasn’t because of the flavour. Letters had appeared the moment I took a bite.
[Hunger has recovered by two.
[Current hunger: 58/100]
I looked at the water bottle. I had forgotten to drink it after opening the lid due to the appearance of the lunchbox, but if I drank it now…
[Thirst has recovered by 20.]
[Current thirst level: 91/100]
“Is it that delicious?”
Seeing was believing I picked up a meatball and held it out to Yang Su-jin.
“Why are you paying attention to the surroundings? Eat it quickly.”
She blushed, sweeping her hair behind her ears as she opened her mouth… Something was strange but I kept holding it.
Yang Su-jin made a shocked expression. I was conscious of all the people looking at us. Anyway, it was nice that she brought some food. This discovery was quite meaningful.
So far, clearing the dungeon floors had only taken one or two hours at most. If there were no problems on the fourth floor then it would have only been one or two hours.
But what if the space kept expanding? Or there might be a time consuming event like this one.
“Eat as much as you can now. As long as you can still move.”
“Yes.” I looked over at the stage.
“Excuse me, but is it delicious?”
There was a policy that people couldn’t challenge the ring a second time, but this was still taking an unexpectedly long time. The reason for the constant fighting was that the number of opponents couldn’t be precisely known. If I remained idle then there was a chance the game might be over.
In fact, I didn’t think it was a good idea to jump in at the beginning. I had seen the first fight. I would jump in once the number of competitors decreased. I also wanted some time to read the books since I didn’t know what would happen in the future. But now I was decided.
“What is your number?”
“Me? Well… Seven. I don’t have many capabilities other than my regeneration ability.”
I nodded and waited. Once everyone was hungry…
I wasn’t confident about fulfilling this nonsense number. I wasn’t a martial arts hero.
The time had come. I climbed up to the stage.