Chapter 33 - Day 7, 7th Floor Favour
My eyes opened. “Ah...” Except for a little headache, my body felt strangely refreshed. It felt like I had a shower after waking up. I confirmed that I was alive. Where was this place?
It was the dungeon. Perhaps it was still the seventh floor, but I was laid on a stone bed in a clean room. The blanket on the bed and clothes laid out looked like they came from the store on the fifth floor.
Yoon Ji-hee and Yang Su-jin?
The answers to my questions were soon revealed. Footsteps were heard on the other side of the door and Yang Su-jin entered with a plate of food.
“Oppa!” Yang Su-jin was so surprised that she almost dropped the plate.
I asked a question. “How long was I out?”
“Oh, a week or so.” It was a time frame I hadn’t imagined, so I was surprised.
“And is it right to express it as ‘sleep’? Oppa wasn’t a real person until a few hours ago.”
Yang Su-jin sighed. “You were constantly bleeding and a strange liquid kept flowing from you... There were also many sounds. In fact, I almost sent Oppa rolling down the stairs.”
Immediately after I collapsed, Yang Su-jin tried to open the door to the next floor before the sun was fully up. But she had to wait a few hours because the locusts had already emerged.
“At first, Oppa’s condition was really bad. Your ribs were even exposed. But as I watched, something strange happened. Your body collapsed but was recovering at the same time.” Yang Su-jin made a decision at this point. She could drag him down the stairs at any time, so she just watched his status.
“Oppa, were you attacked or something? But that doesn’t make sense does it? You don’t have a recovery ability like me. After examining everything, there was nothing related to poison.”
“You tested for ingredients?”
Yang Su-jin hesitated for a moment before shyly poking out her tongue. “That... I tasted some of Oppa’s blood as well as the liquid.”
“It was really very sharp.” She was an abnormal person.
“Uh, anyway. So after taking a disinfectant potion, I took turns taking care of Oppa with Ji-hee unni. After the third day, your skin wasn’t so bad and food passed down your throat.” Yang Su-jin spoke while handing me the plate.
It contained a bowl of something that seemed like steaming hot porridge. It was bread sold on the fifth floor that was covered in hot water. From the fifth day onwards, I was moved to this room for better hygiene.
“Once every six hours, I would wipe your body with some vinegar water in order to calm down the sores... I-I learnt it while caring for my grandmother, so don’t look at me with that expression.”
“...” As Yang Su-jin said, my body smelt faintly of vinegar, but it was really clean.
One week. If Yang Su-jin had sent me down the stairs, then wouldn’t my body be collapsed even outside the dungeon? Even if I survived, one week would have passed in reality. Although the stairs would appear in my room, I would be unconscious and unable to enter.
“Thank you. If you weren’t there then I might have died.” The success rate of 42% might have risen due to her actions. I beckoned to Yang Su-jin. After she came over, I stroked her head with my hand.
“Ah!” Yang Su-jin reacted like a cat having water poured on it. “Why do that all of a sudden? Don’t do that! Do you think I am Ji-hee unni? I won’t be twisted by praise.”
“Ji-hee unni?” Speaking of which, the suffix had changed.
“While taking care of you, Unni was the only one I could speak with for a week. She isn’t as stupid as I thought.” I sat up on the bed.
[Muscle strength: 20] [Health: 18] [Reflexes: 18]
[Agility: 17] [Charisma: 15] [Concentration: 15]
[Willpower: 15] [Memory: 14] [Endurance: 14]
[Sense of Balance: 14] [Planning: 13] [Insight: 13]
[Emotional Control: 13] [Spatial perception: 13]
[Eloquence: 13] [Thinking Power: 13] [Karma: 13]
[Descriptive Ability: 12] [Logic: 12] [Charm: 12]
My physical abilities were significantly higher, probably due to the Atlas talent. To be honest, I didn’t get the feeling that I had changed just by the numbers alone. The first change I felt was my nose.
Allergic Rhinitis*. It was a chronic illness that I had been living with since I was a child. It wasn’t really severe, but it was sometimes hard during dusty days.
(*Editor’s note: Seasonal Allergies)
I closed my eyes and my mouth, then breathed in. Originally, it would feel very uncomfortable if I didn’t breath with my mouth… Now there was the exhilarating feeling of something cool entering my nose! It was different from the air I had been breathing all this time.
The second change could be felt in my mouth. I had a molar removed. Due to my home life, I was too late to get the nerve treatment to stop the rotting. Due to the rotten root, the tooth had to be pulled out. I didn’t get an implant, but the empty space now had a very strong tooth. It wasn’t just that. As I ran my tongue around my mouth, I could feel a smooth texture.
“It seems like... many things.” It felt like my eye level with Yang Su-jin had changed. Was I taller? It didn’t seem like I grew that much. At most, three centimetres?
“Maybe it is more than Oppa thinks.”
Yang Su-jin was staring blankly at my face. “Well, there is no mirror here... Come. You should eat.” I accepted the bowl that Yang Su-jin handed me. The bowl containing the bread porridge was warm.
“How did you boil this?”
“Look out the window.” I took a few steps. I almost spat the moment I looked out the window. The city had changed so much in just one week. Locusts couldn’t be seen anywhere. The ruined buildings and most of the broken roads were neatly repaired. The golems could be seen working hard on the streets.
Rather than holding weapons, their hands were carrying various materials from the ruin.
“According to Ji-hee unni, they’re not just guards. From the maintenance of the city, to the purification of the environment, they seemed to have done everything for the people living here.” Yang Su-jin explained.
"The generator also supplies power to the whole city, not just the door. There is heating at night, a pump that pulls up water from underground, and even something similar to gas stoves. That’s how I boiled this.”
I left the building. Yoon Ji-hee was sitting on a street bench and reading a book. She looked up as my shadow moved over her. Her face stiffened for a moment, before tears formed in her eyes. Both hands covered her nose and mouth as she sniffled.
“I heard from Su-jin. It was really hard work.” Unlike with Yang Su-jin, I felt a bit awkward. I hurriedly changed to another topic. “Before I collapsed, I asked the golem something...”
At the sound of something heavy falling, Yoon Ji-hee and I stared down the street with surprise. The golems were all laying their materials on the ground. Then their heads turned this way. Were they looking at me?
Soon, the golems headed this way. It wasn’t just the golems near here. In an instant, more than 100 golems were flocking to my side. The confused Yoon Ji-hee shouted something to the golems but they didn’t even pretend to listen.
“Go inside the building.”
“There is no need to be scared. If I’m right, they won’t stop Ji-hee from moving. Go on.” I was right. The golems showed no reaction to Yoon Ji-hee who moved past them. As more and more golems came from the streets in every direction, the wave of golems was the only thing that could be seen.
“If you want to check something, then do it quickly. Don’t just stand there.” At my words, all the golems simultaneously raised their right hand.
It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t afraid for a moment. I reflexively raised both fists to my chin, but their hands didn’t move towards me. Their palms were touching their chests. It was like a salute. The following actions were in the same vein.
They went down on one knee and bowed their heads towards me. It was a grand sight.
[The Small Sun Knights are paying their respects to the new monarch.]
It wasn’t something I hadn’t thought of. I could roughly guess this ‘story.’ This city was now mine because I had cleaned it up. It was like this. But was the dungeon system so flexible? After all, it was Yoon Ji-hee that had saved the city instead of me. It wasn’t a complaint but...
“It was my judgement.” Someone spoke. I turned around. A stone statue was standing before me. “It is a bit off from the principle, but it seemed right.”
I had seen it before. The statue that sold the item to me on the fifth floor.
“Isn’t this a beautiful city?” The statue spoke bluntly, but its voice was full of emotions. “Isaiah loved the followers here.” I listened carefully to the words of the stone statue. “They were expelled from the empire, and every place above ground turned against them, forcing them down here. They didn’t care about the danger of going down, since they had a god.”
“... Is that the sun?”
“That's right.” The artificial sun warmed up the large underground space and powered the golems and entire city. I didn’t know the details, but it was something that modern science couldn’t do.
“They were a proud people to Isaiah. Although they were dependent on the sun, they didn’t settle for reality. Dozens of seeds were grown in suitable soil and they created sophisticated devices powered by the sun.”
I once again looked at the golems.
“The gods are those who live off of the dreams of their believers. The citizens here were always dreaming as they continued to make progress. Thanks to them, Isaiah was able to become a god strong enough that he wasn’t ashamed in front of other gods.”
“Until they left here.” I said. The stone statue gazed at me. If it had a facial expression, then I think it would look surprised. How did I know? “The city was simply ruined. If it was destroyed by an invasion, then the golems would be smashed and the damage would be worse.”
“So why did they leave here?” I asked the question that I had previously asked the golem.
“They didn't need it anymore. The city they built, the sun, their temples, their desires... Since the day that the gods were abandoned by their followers, they weren’t called gods anymore.”
Desires... Something was a little strange. It was like all desire had been wiped from the group. Still, I knew one thing. There was a god called Isaiah.
“I spoke for too long. Anyway, the important thing is that you are the new owner of this place.”
[The territories and facilities of Talia belong to you.]
[You can amend the laws in Talia and have obtained citizenship rights.]
[The Small Sun Knights will place your commands as the top priority. You can modify the behavioural rules of the Small Sun Knights.]
[The spatial coordinates of City - Talia has been marked.]
“... I wanted to ask, this is the seventh floor right? If I go down the stairs, then I won’t be able to come back here.”
“That’s right. It is usually the case.” If so, what was the use? Of course, I didn’t intend to say that to the statue. Still, it could read my mind.
“Just think of it as an example of my sincerity. It has been a really long time since I’ve seen the city look like this. I’d like to do much more, but this much is the extent of it...”
“I don’t want to lose it... Actually, I was a bit thrilled when I became a monarch.” The statue laughed.
[Isaiah the Sun God acknowledges you as the monarch of Talia.]
[Isiah the Sun God thanks you.]
“Is this really helpful?”
“Unfortunately, yes.” Isaiah laughed at me.
The stone statue felt like a threat, but in that moment, I felt no nervousness at all.
I wanted to stay on the seventh floor for a longer time. I wanted to stay as long as possible to read books and raise my talents. But the unexpected obstacle was money.
I had consumed all my money when I visited the fifth floor. It was the same with Yoon Sang-min. He bought only enough food for a few days. Then he spent the rest of his silver on return tickets.
Yoon Ji-hee and Yang Su-jin spent the week living on what little money was remaining and bought supplies to help me.
"Originally, I wasn’t planning to convey it directly, but it will be a few days before you enter the eight floor.” Isaiah said before I went down the stairs. “It is a type of motivation. It is to take away the burden of going to this place everyday at midnight, and to give you time to realize the abilities you have obtained.”
“Can’t you tell me more?” I selfishly asked. In fact, he told a story but left the questions I wanted to ask without any explanations. Isaiah laughed once again.
“That's right.” Then he disappeared from sight.
“What is that?” I grumbled while Yang Su-jin headed towards the stairs first. In fact, she and Yoon Ji-hee had ran out of food two days ago. The little bit of food was left for me, and I had eaten the last piece of bread.
“By the way Oppa, be sure to look in the mirror when you get back. Understand?”
“What?” Yang Su-jin had already disappeared down the stairs by the time I asked. Yoon Ji-hee nodded shyly towards me before also disappearing.
I didn’t go down right away. Until I became hungry and thirsty, I checked how much my body had changed and practiced controlling my strength.
[7th floor cleared.]
I drank a glass of water as soon as I got up. I wanted a shower with hot water. I quickly took off my clothes and entered the bathroom. I was just about to walk through the door of the shower.
Something gently hit one side of my thigh. I looked down.
It was the culprit. What? You know… The male companion... I guess. Every male has that one friend below. It was swaying and hitting my thigh. There was nothing wrong with this itself. The problem was that it was in a non-combat state. No, in the first place... This was my friend, right?
“...? ...? ...?”
I checked my friend with trembling hands. No. However I looked, this wasn’t my friend. It was a friend I was intimate with, so naturally I knew the dimensions better than anyone else. In a battle state... Even though it was this much larger… No, just the colour alone...
I couldn’t keep my gaze from wandering below as I entered the shower. I was so busy worrying that I forgot about the boiler and cold water gushed out. I jumped forward with surprise.
Until then, I had no idea. Why had Yang Su-jin asked me to look in the mirror?
“...” I was so surprised that I forgot about the coolness of the cold water. I thought I had finished the investigation of my changed body on the seventh floor. That wasn’t all of it.
I stared at the person in the mirror and muttered grimly. “Who are you?!”
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