ATD: Chapter 45 – Day 12, Flame

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Chapter 45 –  Day 12, Flame


“…” A groan emerged from Kim Tae-hyun’s mouth instead of words. I understood enough. It seemed like he was still making calculations.

Seuk.

I felt the suited man’s arm stiffen from where I was holding it by the elbow. It was very light, but the weight of the arm had changed. He had taken something out from his inventory and was holding it in his hand.

I put strength into both arms and pushed. The suited man wobbled and I used the gap to kick him in the abdomen.

Kung.

The suited man was thrown backwards and the dagger in his hand fell down. I looked at Kim Tae-hyun again.

“…72.”

“72?” It was a pretty vague and small number.

Kim Tae-hyun held a machine in his trembling hands. It was like a smartphone PDA device. “This machine keeps me from giving out points too recklessly… No. There is a clear quota for every point…”

“Kuok!” A moan came from the suited man. There was pain and anger on his face. I hadn’t controlled my strength when kicking him. He was definitely a worthy opponent.

I didn’t think that 72 points were all I could get, but I shouldn’t be too greedy here. The suited man stretched out his palm again.

Tang!

There was a noise like a cannon being fired. As fire emerged from the palm of his hand, I turned my body to the side. The source of the explosion swept past my chest. The shape of the ball was one metre in diametre. As it crossed the distance, it became thinner and longer.

It seemed like he could freely change its shape and size. The suited man extended his other hand. A second flame emerged and I barely managed to avoid it. At the same time, he pulled out a spear.

Syuok!

Peng!

There was a third explosion. Then the tip of the spear crossed the gap between us, but it failed to hit its target. The only thing I felt was a pain in my left side as I backed up. It wasn’t a direct hit, but the explosion had slightly struck me.

“…!” I realized that I had failed to avoid the fourth explosion. The suited person stepped backwards. He was trying to run away, but he was at a disadvantage. My reaction speed was higher. In addition, the narrow corridor and difficulty in firing ranged weapons meant I could easily catch up with him.

I closed in on him. I didn’t want to expose all my secrets to the guy behind me. Still, it couldn’t be helped. I triggered Darkness Cloud.

“What the!?” The suited man cried out with confusion. He randomly fired his explosions. Although the length and thickness of the explosive balls were smaller, a large number of them crossed the darkness.

Face. Torso. Arm. Legs. I ignored the explosions hitting my body and ran forward.

“Eek!”

I was only a few steps away. The man gathered his two palms together. I moved forward even faster than before. Some hits were expected due to the close proximity, but I took advantage of the width and length of the corridor as much as possible.

I would see how long he could sustain that firepower. I took a deep breath.

My vision was filled with flames.

 

&

 

‘Dammit.’ Kim Tae-hyun was able to take out a potion just before Hee-chul spread out the darkness.

It was a potion that temporarily maximized the regeneration power and immunity of the whole body. He didn’t know how he could consume such a valuable bottle that was the size of a milk bottle here, but it couldn’t be helped.

The medicine was amazing. It would take a considerable amount of time for his wounds to be healed, but that was better. Otherwise, he might become involved in the explosions.

Peeng!

“Ack!” Flames filled the narrow corridor. He guarded his body with his arms, but he couldn’t stop his hair and skin from screaming silently.

Swaahh.

The sprinklers turned on and the fire alarms sounded loudly. The explosions disappeared but smoke filled the entire corridor. The smell of burned flesh hung thickly in the air. Kim Tae-hyun clearly smelt it. It wasn’t simply the smell of hair or skin burning. It was the gross smell of fat burning.

‘They’ve both died.’ It wasn’t the worst thing he faced, but it was right up there near the top. For Kim Tae-hyun, explorers were resources. Killing them to gain their abilities wasn’t the only solution. He had the benefit of being a spokesperson for the country, as well as acquiring talents as an explorer. His plan was to climb to the top using these two things.

This could become a reality through the dungeon.

In the history of mankind, the leaders had never been a flawless ironman. A sole willpower that reigned over the ignorant majority. Still, his perspective was different after the dungeon. While some people dismissed the dungeon as nonsense, he was quick to understand.

‘I have no interest in being king of the world.’ He would be the hand behind the world’s king. Kim Tae-hyun took a step into the smoke.

“…!” There was a shape inside the smoke. The person turned towards him. It was Hee-chul.

“You’re alive.” As he moved further and the smoke cleared, Kim Tae-hyun involuntarily cried out. Hee-chul had no clothes left on his body. No, to be precise, he had no skin or anything else. It was more appropriate to call it the charcoal silhouette of a person.

Red muscles were exposed between the blue and dark area. The suited man was lying collapsed at Hee-chul’s feet. Tae-hyun assumed that he was caught up in the power of the explosion that he himself created.

“Hey.” Hee-chul didn’t answer. There was no movement. “Hey.” Kim Tae-hyun pulled out a gun. Keeping Hee-chul alive wasn’t bad, but an opportunity like this was rare. There were explosions so he had pretty sound justifications for the deaths.

Although he didn’t design this situation, he had caught the perfect prey on his fishing line. If the suited person hadn’t blown up the hallway, then Kim Tae-hyun wouldn’t have received this chance.

“…”

… It was really for that reason. It absolutely wasn’t because of the fear that he couldn’t control this person. Kim Tae-hyun whispered to himself.

The moment he lifted his gun,

Chobeok.

Hee-chul turned around.

“…” He had confidence in his skills. He was an excellent shooter. Since he was always carrying a gun, Tae-hyun was able to bring the gun with him from the first floor. Of course, his shooting and firearms talent had a high level. There was probably no one better at shooting in Korea than him. But he couldn’t pull the trigger.

“That thing in your hand…” The distance between him and Hee-chul was enough. It was obvious that Hee-chul couldn’t move properly with his burnt muscles. “I’m not sure how to interpret it.” A steady voice came out as the mouth of the charred human body opened.

‘Pull.’ The voice in his head said. But his body didn’t listen. Was it because he was overwhelmed by Hee-chul’s grotesque appearance? Those eyes? The nonchalant voice that seemed to see through him?

“If you don’t answer, then it can’t be helped.” Hee-chul declared. There was only one thing that Kim Tae-hyun could do. “I’ll be forced to defend myself.”

“No, I wasn’t aiming at you.” The muzzle went down. With a calm expression, Kim Tae-hyun raised his hand and pointed to the body of the suited person. “I thought he might have survived. Sorry. Your visual was so severe that…”

“…”

Kim Tae-hyun trembled. ‘You can’t kill me.’ Kim Tae-hyun had the means to legally cover up this incident. Kim Tae-hyun guessed that Hee-chul wasn’t crazy enough to dismiss society’s rules. He was the type to handle things reasonably.

Chobeok.

Hee-chul approached him. No. Was his guess right? Those eyes. Why was he looking at Kim Tae-hyun with those eyes? “If you come too close…” Ignoring Kim Tae-hyun’s words, Hee-chul reached towards him.

“Ack!” Kim Tae-hyun reflexively raised his gun.

Teob.

Hee-chul read it perfectly. The palm of his hand completely covered the muzzle of the gun and stopped its movement. Despite the charred hand, Tae-hyun felt a strength that he couldn’t cope with through the barrel of the gun.

Hee-chul extended his other hand. Kim Tae-hyun unconsciously gritted his teeth. “… I would appreciate it if you gave that to me.”

What? Kim Tae-hyun stared at the hand that stopped right in front of his face. The palm of his hand was facing up. “It looks like you have good medicine. Your wound is completely healed. If there is anything left then I would appreciate it.” Hee-chul seized the gun from Kim Tae-hyun’s left hand. “Please.”

Tell him that there was no medicine. Instead, Tae-hyun would give him the best first aid possible. While Kim Tae-hyun’s head was talking, his hand was taking out a bottle. He couldn’t pass this bottle over just like that. Just open the lid and give him a few drops. Kim Tae-hyun made this decision when…

Kung!

There was the sound of banging on one door in the corridor. Tae-hyun paused briefly. Hee-chul’s hand eased the bottle away. “Ah…”

“Thank you.” Tae-hyuk involuntarily let go.

“Deputy Manager-nim!” A door on the other side of the corridor opened and a group of people in black suits poured out. Among them were the remaining seven explorers, not including Hee-chul and the suited man. They happened to hear the sound of the explosions and came running.

“Okay… You…” The people in suits swallowed as they saw Hee-chul.

“Can you bring me something to wear?” Hee-chul said in a polite voice. Of course, the rest of his things had disappeared into his inventory. The men in suits looked at Kim Tae-hyun, who nodded. Some people quickly left to get clothes for Hee-chul.

“A lot… have gathered.” Hee-chul looked at the rest of the people after putting on his clothes.

“Sorry if I scared you… Instead of saying anything… I have something to tell all of you. For those who were aiming at me because I am a king…” New skin was covering the burn skin. Hee-chul’s appearance was really grotesque. “If you encounter me on the next floor then you should look elsewhere.”

Just like a demon from manhwa, Hee-chul spoke with a face that was half healed. “I will recommend you to go straight down the nearest stairs instead of giving into your vain greed.” The sharks didn’t panic at his words. Hee-chul didn’t mean to scare them.

Hee-chul said one more thing. “Of course, at the end of the day, I will also be the one going down the stairs.”

Most of the larger sharks took it as a declaration of interest. “If you keep repeating this step and going straight down the stairs, then you’ll be able to stay safe until the end.”

Hee-chul took the initiative.


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