Vol 2. Chapter 58: Global Levelling (3)

Sunday 7 p.m.,  Level 3 Low-difficulty; 

Monday 7 a.m., Level 3 Low-difficulty, second-round; 

Monday 7 p.m., Level 3 Intermediate-difficulty; 

Tuesday 7 a.m., Level 3 Intermediate-difficulty, second-round.

There were still no fatalities after two levels, and a total of four tests have been completed. However, that did not mean that the situation could be viewed optimistically. The Level 3 test, which began at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening, clearly alerted people of that fact. 

"Damn it... I died on the first-round test, so I can't even challenge the second-round test. Despite being a Level 6 and a member of the Hwarang group, I couldn't even clear the Level 3 stage 20 times and just died."

After the first-round challenge of the Level 3 Hard-difficulty ended on Tuesday evening, the atmosphere at Gyeongbokgung Palace was chaotic.

"It's different from the Low- and Intermediate-difficulty stages. High-difficulty is just too dangerous to get through just by fighting everything off. Unless you're a super-master on the level of a Compléter-class, you'll get hurt the moment you let your guard down. However, if you get hurt in the stage, it's difficult to recover." 

"The environment of the stage is malicious, even if the enemy is weak. It feels nothing like a dungeon in an ordinary game. It's like a horror game..."

Although it's an extremely obvious thing to say, the level of difficulty of a Level 3 High-difficulty was incomparable to that of an Intermediate-difficulty stage. It wasn't just the notion that the enemy became strong, but rather, the stage itself went through changes. 

Firstly, the enemies were more diverse as compared to the Intermediate-difficulty stage. There was one enemy which was of a relevant level in the Low-difficulty test, then five enemies in the Intermediate-difficulty test, and up to 10 enemies in the High-difficulty test. The problem was that they each had different characteristics. For instance, they could hide in the dark, were either fast or strong, and in the worst case scenario, some of them even had poisonous characteristics. If we were to let our guard down by chance and allow a single blow, it would be impossible to clear the stage any further.  

Secondly, the traps. At High-difficulty stages, traps with killing power were set up. Traps such as the ground suddenly dropping down, or blades shooting out the wall, or arrows firing… Of course, it was still level 3, so there were no instant death traps. However, once caught, one would inevitably get hurt and the injuries in the stage would lead to death.

Thirdly, the boss. At High-difficulty stages, besides zombie monsters of the corresponding level, there was also a zombie monster at a level higher than the rest. Fighting against enemies of the same level was already a difficult situation, so death was bound to occur when fighting against enemies of a higher level. Fortunately, the experts of the parallel world were actively moving in the stage and, among ordinary people, there were those who have acquired spiritual abilities and fought against the monsters, so we were somehow successful in achieving a perfect clear. 

"We're screwed. At this pace… We're going to fail to achieve a perfect clear sometime."

"It'll be too late upon reaching that point. There'll be no turning back if deaths start to take place." 

"This is insane. It's only Level 3. What about Level 4? Level 5 or Level 6? And if we go beyond that..."

"At least exclude those who can't proceed with the stage! Why are you also including newborn babies, old people, as well as weak women and men!"

"In addition, the injuries and fatigue aren't something that can be completely recovered from in a single day. The fatigue and injuries accumulate instead. We're in a situation where it's better to just die once."

For reference, this was the result of the Level 3 High-difficulty, first-round stage.

- Warning: 1,848,551,511 battles have not finished.

- 105,407,695 out of 6,155,662,984 examinees have passed. The remaining people have been dealt with Death Procession

There were only 100 million people who passed out of the 6.1 billion human beings. Of course, there were still 1.8 billion people who had avoided the test, so this couldn't be referred to as the final result. Still, what was the time limit for Level 3 High-difficulty tests? It was as long as 12 hours. Instead of trying to clear the stage, would those hiding under the desk, in the closet, and in the bathroom come to have the willpower to complete the stage in the short break time we were given after a stage ended? 

"There is." That was what I thought. "It's entirely possible." I cleared the Level 3 High-difficulty stage 300 times today. Even though I only finished at 5,891 placing, I got to know because of that. "This is not a game where all ordinary people die." I discovered that this game was one where strategy was possible.

"I'll have to get Jae-seok to advertise the video that will be uploaded on MyTube." While I was mumbling like that, I stopped walking to avoid the man running busily. Come to think of it, there were many ability users coming and going from Gwanghwamun Gate. It was a completely different atmosphere from when I first came.

"A wounded person! We have a wounded person here!"

"Chan-yeol! Damn it, you're overdoing it!!"

"Kuhaha! Even so, I'm Level 6 now!"

The healer dressed in a white robe nagged the warrior, who was laughing hard despite bleeding like a waterfall. "Phew, you idiot! If you use the Experience Potion, you can raise your level quickly, right?!"

"There's no way I would use the limited points to buy Experience Potions that I can obtain even in the parallel world. I heard you can buy a Daehwandan[1] at a point gacha machine for 25 million points."

"When will you be able to save up 25 million points? It's better to just buy a Secret Manual instead."

Upon listening to their conversation, I turned to look at Gwanghwamun Gate again. The door that was always closed when I first came to Gyeongbokgung Palace looked different now. The newly created Gwanghwamun Gate was wide open, with countless people coming and going.

Just as I did, it meant that all beings in the parallel world were actively leveling. Moreover, it also meant that the Lee Family, who controlled leveling or at least attached all sorts of conditions to it, was fully opened up to the public and encouraged hunting.

"But, at the very least, not everyone is in despair." I entered Gyeonghoeru Pavilion as I felt a sense of relief. Based on the time in reality, food was distributed at Gyeonghoeru Pavilion only an hour ago. However, it opened its doors again as there were many people who spent a long time in the stage. 

It's not rocket science. 

"...?" However, as I entered Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, I heard a familiar voice ringing in my ear.

"Just like that." Everyone was watching the TV with a serious look. "How did he clear it so easily just like that…?"

"He uses almost close to no stamina. The use of neigong is also at the minimum."

"So it's not all about fighting power, huh. It seems I've got the clear method of the stage all wrong."

"I've seen quite a few strategy methods on the web… This is on a different level."

There were a lot of people at Gyeonghoeru Pavilion. However, the unusual thing was that they were all looking at a large screen on one side of the cafeteria instead of focusing on their meal. On the screen stood a man wearing a steel helmet. He looked like a manhwa character or a club DJ, since he wore casual clothes to accompany that helmet on his head.

So far, I've shown you the speedrun method for those who have fighting power of Level 3 or higher. I've also shown you a stable method to progress with the stage if you have a fighting power of Level 2 or higher. And from now on.

The people of the Lee Family were stirring up a fuss after hearing that far. 

"What? This isn't the end?"

"No, don't tell me?"

"At this rate..."

Let's talk about the strategy for Level 1's clear method. Hmm, if I were to name it...

"No, wait, Bae Jae-seok, you crazy bastard." I let out a forced laugh while looking at the screen.

Clearing the stage with the body of an ordinary person. 

"I told you to upload it on MyTube, but why are you putting on airs..."

***

Let's look at the overall map again.

Along with his words, a map of the stage appeared on one side of the screen. Needless to say, it was the result of Genie's post-editing. 

The speedrun strategy for Level 3 and higher used only 7 percent of the space in the mansion. Using 19 percent of the space is enough for the Level 2 strategy. However...

The map became clear and brightened up.

If you are an ordinary person without superpowers, you have to use 97 percent of the map. All rooms must be farmed, all documents must be checked, and all devices must be activated. The time needed for this strategy takes from 3 to 11 hours. I thought it could be finished in 3 hours, but it's only possible because I'm a stagnant water[ref] This is a Korean slang that originated from the gaming community, and it refers to someone who has spent a lot of time playing a certain game and has perfected his or her skills.[ref], so don't rush it even if it takes too long. You only have one life. 

Upon saying so, he walked. The view was in third person perspective. 

Ah, I didn't mention it, but the one helping me with the filming is a Spirit I summoned. Aside from that, I'm not using any spiritual abilities, nor did I equip any skills. Well, even so, if I had to recommend one, awakening the 'Gunman' skill will be of help. That is because the damages dealt has to be done with a gun anyway.

The starting point for the Level 3 High-difficulty stage was a small room that appeared to be a storehouse, and not the main hall. I strode to the table leaning against the wall. 

For starters, the first thing you need to do is procure a blunt weapon. Of course, it's not for combat purposes, but for you to work around things. 

Kwaaaangggg! I stepped on the table leg and broke it. That alone created a blunt weapon with a large heavy head part.  

The gun that can be farmed at Level 3 is a Glock. As you all know, the most meticulously hidden item on the stage is a gun, so people who can't find it would either spend more than 3 hours looking for it, or give up, but...

Kwakkkkk! I got rid of the frame, broke the cracked wall behind it with the wooden blunt weapon, and found a gun. 

Luckily, I found it in one try. The place where the gun spawns is random, but it's usually near the entrance. I'll guide you through about 20 points I found with the subtitles, so please use it as reference.

After saying so, I approached the furniture in the corner this time. 

Ah! For your information, if you stay at the starting point 30 minutes after the play starts, the enemy will come for you. Well, most of the people who didn't know that fact are dead, so those who are hiding already know about it, right? If you're uneasy about it, put a chair up in front of the door across and then hide in this shoe rack if you hear a pushing sound. It's safe to sleep in here because they don't really search the furniture, but you naturally shouldn't make any sounds. 

Derereukkk. Kwaaarrrr! I opened the drawer. Then, I opened the locker and flinged open the closet.

Next, just go all the way around the room on your left and farm. The points for farming are drawers, under the bed, above the broken ceiling, or under the cracked floorboard, so on and so forth. For the points where you have to break past, you can do so with the blunt weapon you prepared earlier. If you farm five rooms like that, you'll get more than 3 bullets as long as you're not unlucky. If you're equipped with the skill 'Energy of Luck', you'll be able to procure at least 6 bullets, but in that case, you'll have to give up hiding. If you have the shooting ability to hit a 100 won coin thrown at you by someone, then you'll be fine. If that's possible, you can reduce the playtime to less than 3 hours. 

"..."

"..."

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, which had always been noisy, turned quiet. Everyone was looking at the screen as if they were possessed. One of them groaned as if it was ridiculous, "No, how many times has he cleared the stage to know all that? Was there that many farming points?"

"Wow, I've never even thought about the cracked floor. It wasn't just a crack, but a destroyable point?"

"Hey, you there, please be quiet."

"Ah, yes."

There were whispers going around before the whole place fell quiet again. Only sounds of chewing meat or slurping noodles could be heard once in a while. I looked around and thought, 'In the midst of all that, there are also people who continue eating, huh.'

Fortunately, other people didn't say anything about the sound of eating. Since this was a cafeteria, plus meals were an essential issue for those recovering from the injuries they received at the stage, nobody really minded.

Now then, can you see the groove on the floor? It's a sign of a trap, so please go back. The location of the trap is also random, but the points are fixed, so memorize the location and...

The man in an iron mask passed through the screen and approached one room. Unlike other places, the door was stained with blood. 

The key here is hidden in the clock that can be found in the next-next room, but if you reached here within an hour, opting to just destroy this door and go in is also fine too. 

Bang! I smashed the door with the wooden blunt weapon. In the blood-stained room, there was a collapsed zombie, and in front of it was a blood-soaked note.

Oh, for your information, this zombie is just a corpse, so you don't have to be wary about it. Think of it as a prop for the scary atmosphere. Soon, we'll go defeat the first enemy. Please load the gun with a bullet.

The people of the Lee Family, who were looking at the screen without saying a word, began to chatter upon hearing the announcement. 

"Is it really possible? I also found a gun, but it didn't work on those zombie bastards though."

"I'm sure it's difficult to do so. It might be possible with a rifle, but if you're holding a pistol like that, it'll probably be impossible to defeat enemies regardless of whether they're Level 1, Level 3, or Level 4."

"It's basically no different from an ordinary person trying to kill a lion or an elephant just by holding a pistol."

"You can defeat it if you hit the eye with a bullet."

At the words of the man who seemed to be a warrior, the man who seemed to be a magician had a baffled expression on his face. "No, what kind of ordinary person can shoot a zombie that's running madly in the eye?"


1. This probably refers to some sort of pill that gives the user a disaster-like power boost.

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