Chapter 17 - Day 5, 5th Floor False Evil
I could feel everyone’s gazes. I was that person-- The ‘1st’ place… They didn’t say anything but I could tell they were thinking it.
The other person was a man approximately my age. He had a solid body, stylishly shaved hair and had won eight consecutive victories. His expression showed that he was confident about his ninth victory.
He took out medicine from his inventory and drank it. "That meal looked delicious, but can you move properly with a full stomach?” Was he observing me? His taunt that was mixed with unease sounded pretty awkward.
“Yes.” I gave an inflexible, but sincere, reply. There was a funny expression on his face as I answered.
The other person immediately rushed at me. His technique was easy to identify-- it was a technique to make his body solid. He swung a fairly big hammer. Maybe it was to hide the punch coming from his other hand.
“Urat!” He made a fist with all his strength.
[Muscle strength has exceeded the limit.]
[Muscle strength: 13]
Thirteen. Although it was only an increase by one, I could see that any ability over 11 points was enormous when just looking at reflexes that had 12 points. The other person’s fist wasn’t slow. It was a fast punch reminiscent of an athlete, but I was able to easily avoid it.
"Uh, ut.” I grabbed at his waist, then used my strength to lift him up from the ground. Even though he had the ability to harden, his weight wasn’t that heavy.
I slammed the opponent onto the ground and climbed on top of him. Limiter Release was turned off, but it didn’t matter due to the huge difference in muscle strength.
[Talent has been acquired.]
[Talent - Grappling: The ability to throw the opponent. Damage will rise according to the level. Muscle strength and balance will slightly increase.]
I was thankful, but there was still a lot left to gain. I held one of the hands of the opponent behind his back. I took his left little finger and folded it hard.
There was the sound of metal breaking rather than bone, and it was quickly followed by a scream. "Ah, uwaaaack! Hey, what, what are you doing...?” I truly wanted to thank him, but it wouldn’t end with just this.
“Kuaaack! Stop, I surrender! Surrender! S...” It probably wouldn’t work. I looked at the statue. Of course, it didn’t interfere.
So far, no one had ‘surrendered.’ The assumption was that they wouldn’t die when the HP reached zero, so everyone hit with all their power. Fight until the HP was zero.
I grabbed the ring finger this time. It broke.
"Kuook!” There was a foaming sound. His HP was only decreased a tiny bit.
[Talent has been acquired.]
[Talent - Torture: The efficiency of dealing physical/mental distress to others. It will increase in proportion to the level. Emotional control has slightly increased.]
[Has a complementary effect with the Talent - Compulsion.]
"Stop, stop, stop. Please, what, what are you doing?” He had already provided enough: I had gained talent and experience. Now his screams would apply psychological pressure to the other people. There was a reason for inciting fear in the other humans.
It was difficult to win against 22 people. If so, my goal was to frighten them; to prevent them from challenging me at all. There was nothing to lose so why not try it once? That was my idea.
I broke the last finger of his left hand. It was the thumb.
[The level of a talent has risen.]
[Torture. Lv 2. 4/200]
"Ack!" It would be a lie to say that his screams didn’t hurt me. Torture couldn’t be justified even if the person wasn’t killed. “Stop... Please, please...”
I wanted to close my eyes and my ears. But I couldn’t. If I showed even the slightest sign of weakness then a few contestants might use that gap.
[Emotional control has exceeded the limit.]
[Emotional Control: 11]
Once I finished with the right hand, shouts began to be heard from the people watching. “Stop it, you bastard!”
"Are you even a human?” Crowd psychology was truly scary. Fear became secondary as they protested the ethics.
It was good enough. "I will stop it then...” I formed a fist and punched the poor man’s head.
The screaming stopped. “... I-Instantly...” Although it was painful, most of the man’s HP was intact. The remaining amount had disappeared instantly. When considering the punch contained 13 strength, the fact that his head was against the floor made it the perfect scene for directing.
I threw the unconscious body outside the stage. Then I beckoned. "You told me to stop, so I need someone to replace him.”
[Talent has been acquired.]
[Talent - False Evil: The ability to plant an evil impression on others. It will increase in proportion to the level. Charisma has slightly increased.]
[Talent has been acquired.]
[Talent - Induce Fear: The ability to plant fear in the minds of others. It will increase in proportion to the level. Charisma has slightly increased.]
[Benefits will open at Lv 5.]
[Charisma has exceeded the limit.]
Those who yelled avoided my gaze as I gestured. It took almost a minute for a challenger to emerge. "I-I’ll do it.” It was a woman in her early 30’s. She didn’t seem like someone who could hurt anyone. She was very passive as she headed up to the stage. It seemed like she thought I wasn’t going to torture a woman.
Or… She plunged forward as soon as the stone statue announced the start of the battle. She narrowed the distance with a light smile and took out a fist like cylinder.
It was some type of launch device as I felt a pain in my chest. Nine needles were lodged in my chest in a circular pattern. I fell to my knees. “Huhu. Thank you.” My smile became bigger.
The woman shook the cylinder as she approached. "Thanks to you, I received a very good idea.”
“...” My kneeling body shook as I didn’t say anything. Nine more needles entered my chest. The poison kept seeping inside me. The woman’s attitude completely changed as she pushed at me chest. I fell and the women climbed on top of me.
"I am just doing what I learnt from observing you. So please scream a little more.” Was this her original preference? It seemed like she didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t screaming. She thought I was trying really hard to endure it.
“Eh?” The body spasms and stupid moaning stopped. I grabbed the woman’s throat like I was going to crush it.
[Pain Tolerance. Lv 6. 2339/3200]
I had the various antidote drugs received from Yang Su-jin on the fourth floor, so I had received the woman’s needles without worrying. I flipped the upset woman over and put her down on the floor. The woman’s eyes were filled with astonishment and questions as she looked up at me.
I just said, “A dramatic production.”
The woman’s voice trembled as she begged. “Do... Don’t... Please.” Wasn’t this her preference?
"Then you have to pay for it.”
"I want all the items you have, including that launcher.” Once ejected, the items dropped to the floor with a loud sound.
[Yabsel Manufactured Homemade Dart Gun. Equipment item. Rank D.]
[A launcher used by the nomadic people of the Yabsel Desert. It mimics the structure of the archer scorpions that inhabit the desert and is made from the curled stem of a cactus. It can launch up to nine needles at once and there is no restriction on the size of the needles.]
[The poison won’t disappear even if the fired dart hits the ground.]
"I-I gave it. Now let me go."
I started. The bones that didn’t have the capability of being hardened were easy to break. The sound was more playful and above all, there was no guilt. Pain Tolerance made the pain of the nine needles more ‘tolerable’, but it didn’t remove it.
[Torture. Lv 3. 4/400]
Once the woman’s HP became zero… I wouldn’t describe it. Honestly, I was a little bit nauseous seeing it. I instead picked up the items that fell to the ground.
Except for the dart launcher, they were all cosmetics and coins. When the torture of the woman had been in full swing, her shaking had dropped additional things.
[Are there no more challengers?]
No one answered. In other words, it was a yes.
[Good! The owner of the talent has been decided.]
The stone statue walked over to me with the light. The letters didn’t appear immediately.
[The additional talent will be applied on the 6th floor. Now, please go back to your place.]
I nodded and descended the stage. “...Uhh.”
The people surrounding the stage parted like the Red Sea. It had been approximately 20 minutes since I first got on the stage. Certainly, I wouldn’t want an encounter with me after watching me torture someone for 20 minutes. There was only one exception.
“Thank you for your efforts!” Honestly, I had been wondering if there was a possibility of betrayal but Yang Su-jin just greeted me with bright eyes. She whispered in a low voice. "It was very cool."
Cool? "You, did you see what I did?”
"Of course. I watched it all.” It wasn’t just laughter but worry on her face. My lips were white. Sweat was dripping down my forehead.
"It isn’t like you wanted to do it. That wasn’t an easy task. So you were cool.”
“... You also aren’t normal.” Just like me. I placed the dart launcher in my inventory, and looked at the unknown bottles I’d also picked up from the woman.
"Can you look at this for me?”
"Of course. I will identify the bottles and hand them over again." I leaned against the wall and breathed deeply. It was mental rather than physical fatigue. Yes. What was next? Everyone's gaze had already moved towards the stone statue.
[As I told you, the dungeon you are exploring is a nurturing course. It is a place for your growth. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how many people reach the ‘end.’ Those who reach the end of the dungeon are qualified in his eyes.]
Once we cleared this dungeon, which was a practice course, we would encounter why ‘he’ wanted us. I asked myself a question: Was it mandatory to attend the game?
[I'm afraid so. It can’t be helped since we brought you for that purpose in the first place. If you don’t participate then it will be treated the same as an ‘out’ in the dungeon.]
Completely losing all desires.
[But don't think about it too much. You have gained strength through his power, and can gain recognition even if you don’t succeed in attaining his purpose.]
Is that... so? The stone statue was clearly looking at me. I felt like it was laughing.
[Then, please receive this prior to going to the 6th floor.]
[‘Return Ticket: 5th Floor’ has entered your inventory.]
[If you tear the ticket, you will be sent to the 5th floor for 12 hours of rest. It isn’t present now, but there will be shop and various facilities. After the 12 hours, you will return right back to where you tore the ticket so be careful.]
Finally, the stage started to shake.
It wasn’t turning back into the huge statue again. The height reached a certain size and several small square plates were formed.
[I will send you in groups of ‘seven.’ Relax and wait. Once seven people are selected, stand on the platform in order to go to the sixth floor. Let me know and I will send you immediately.]
Seven people. It didn’t say whether the seven people would fight or cooperate on the sixth floor. It was rather abrupt to join up with five other people who I had never shared a word with.
[Oh, I will write this as reference.]
One whole wall was filled with large letters.
- Kim Hee-chul.
It was a list of 244 names. This was the leaderboard.
[Please note that the last seven players will automatically be on the same team.]
The silent space instantly became filled with conversation. People were checking each other’s names and ranks while planning out combinations.
"They aren’t coming towards us.”
"To be exact, they aren’t coming towards me.” ‘Number one’ was a number they couldn’t reach. A little while ago, they had seen my brutal actions. All the people were thinking hard to try and avoid becoming part of my group.
As such, there was nothing I could do. I sat on the floor and opened my book, pouring all my focus onto the pages.
How much time had passed? The surroundings were quiet.
I raised my head.
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