Chapter 333. Snow Flower

The Spider family possessed a unique ability. If one of the three (the Spider Queen or the two Spider Brothers) was severely weakened, then the other two would become much, much stronger. Thus, Snow Flower wasn't swinging the Reaper of Souls with her full strength.

If she'd used the Reaper of Soul's full power, then Benolov's HP would drop rapidly, empowering the two Spider Brothers. This would only put her teammates in danger.

Due to her efforts, the Spider Queen and the Spider Brothers' HP had dropped below 30%. None of them had become empowered. Not only that, but only about half the floor was covered in spider webs.

Contrary to Strong Punch's slow and steady approach, Snow Flower's approach was both safe and quick. 

At that moment...

Kuhaahk!

A roar rang out, and out came the Spider Consort, Adalaxion.

"I'll take care of Adalaxion. Everyone else, keep fighting the Spider Queen and the Spider Brothers." Snow Flower gave her orders and then rushed at Adalaxion.

She finally began to use her full strength against him.

Bam! Bam! Bam!

She put everything she had into her attacks. Whenever she swung her sword, Adalaxion would grimace in pain and stagger.

Since he'd been hit by it before, Jae Woo knew what'd happen when that sword hit you. It was an unpleasant feeling, as if all the strength in your body was drained away. It wasn't called the Reaper of Souls for nothing.

It had its downsides though. While its offensive capabilities were unmatched, it left the wielder completely open to attacks. Although the sword bypassed everything, it allowed everything to go through it too.

Snow Flower's shield covered the sword's weakness, and her class, Knight, allowed her to proficiently wield shields.

'As expected of her. She's not called one of the best female players for nothing.'

Snow Flower wasn't much different from the Numbers in terms of her sense, her swordsmanship, and her explosive attack power. Then again, she was pretty high up there. She was ranked 12th.

She had the potential to enter the Numbers if she was given the opportunity.

Anyhow, Snow Flower rapidly lowered Adalaxion's HP with her sword.

Jae Woo clasped his hands again. 'Please fail!'

Were his prayers answered?

The Spider Queen, Benolov, consecutively used her most annoying skill, Reaper's Rain. This skill unleashed dozens of arrows into the air.

The arrows, which were shaped like a spider's leg, flew into the air, and then rapidly plummeted to the ground via gravity. 

Their power was absolute! They could pierce right through steel shields. Thus, Reaper's Rain had to be avoided at all costs. 

But because Benolov didn't have much HP left, she used the skill consecutively as a last-ditch effort.

A shower of arrows filled the screen.

Since the Spider Brothers didn't have much HP either, they also used their most powerful attacks: Whirlwind Slash and Earth Smash.

Fortunately, the Spider Queen and Spider Brothers were so busy using their most powerful attacks that they hadn't had the chance to spread more spider webs on the floor. Plus, Adalaxion didn't possess any particularly destructive skills.

Anyhow, it was chaos; the word 'intense' definitely fit here. Jae Woo wasn't sure who would win. He watched the screen while clasping his hands, hoping that Snow Flower would fail.

At that moment...

"Use our secret weapon!" Snow Flower yelled.

Despite how grim things seemed, her team all pulled out a hand mirror from their inventories.

'What are those?'

"Oh light, give our strength to our companion!" The three players pointed their hand mirrors at Snow Flower and yelled. Then, the mirrors radiated yellow light and shined on Snow Flower.

Once the light dissipated, the mirrors began to crack. At the same time, the three players fell flat on their faces.

In an instant, Snow Flower had lost all three of her teammates. Whereas the severely weakened Benolov, Adalaxion, and Spider Brothers were still alive.

It looked absolutely hopeless for her! However, Jae Woo felt like she'd win regardless. Her teammates hadn't sacrificed themselves for nothing.

It went as Jae Woo had anticipated. The light had increased her strength significantly. It was as if she'd used Gluttony!

Whenever she swung her sword, a pillar of light would be unleashed from her sword, sweeping through the Spider family. She unleashed the same attack consecutively, killing the weakened Spider Brothers.

"Guaahk!"

"Kuhahk!"

After that, Adalaxion fell to his knees. Thud!

The Spider Queen, Benolov, shot her spider webbed arrows at Snow Flower in a desperate attempt to kill her. However, Snow Flower didn't let her teammates' deaths be in vain.

Honorable Sword of Victory!

She used the Knight class's secret skill.

The Reaper of Souls changed shape into a legendary blade that showered her allies in the joy of victory, and brought defeat and despair to her enemies!

Whoosh!

Bam!

She slashed the center of Benolov's body.

Guaaahk!

At that moment, Benolov, known as the Grim Reaper's Sniper and the Spider Queen, had finally been killed.

Jae Woo looked on in despair. "No!"

150 million won ($150,000 USD) had just gone down the drain.

* * *

First Hunter continued three days after Snow Flower's successful hunt. GBS needed to give Snow Flower her reward, and also reveal the next monster. 

"Yes! Hello, viewers. I'm GBS's MC, Jeon Seong Gook." As always, Seong Gook started the show enthusiastically. "They did it again! Benolov, known as the Grim Reaper's Sniper, the Death Bringing Spider, and the Spider Queen, as well as her family, have been killed! At the hands of one of our great hunters no less! Now then, who performed such a great feat? They are none other than..."

Seong Gook turned around and pointed at Snow Flower. The studio's cameras all focused on her.

"She's an executive of the Breaker Guild, and just recently went up to rank 11. She's also considered the most skilled swordswoman in Arth, and is also compared to the Witch of Annihilation, Helena! Give it up for Snow Flower!" Seong Gook yelled at the top of his lungs.

Clap, clap, clap.

The competitors began applauding her.

However, Marco and Strong Punch looked bitter. It was only natural. They had failed, and were forced to applaud the victor. Failure was indeed a bitter pill to swallow.

On the other hand, Jae Woo's face was covered by a helmet, so it wasn't shown. However, he was grimacing with disappointment.

Snow Flower smiled brightly and waved her hand.

Once the applause died down, Seong Gook approached her. "Congratulations on killing the Spider Queen, Benolov."

"Thank you." Snow Flower slightly bowed her head.

"It's time to give you your prize. We'll ask you how you prepared for the battle, and your feelings about it a little later."

Jin Cheol brought out a 007 bag, the same one that Jae Woo had been given before.

"Here you go. 150 million won is inside."

"I'll use it well."

"Our bodyguards will keep it safe for you. We've also prepared a car for you," Jin Cheol said.

"Alright." Snow Flower beamed, and passed the bag to a bodyguard.

Once they were finished, Seong Gook approached her. "I have so many questions for you, Ms. Snow Flower. I hope you answer them sincerely, unlike someone I know." Seong Gook stared at Jae Woo. 

"Go ahead."

"How do you feel about defeating a monster that no one has ever beaten before?"

"Mm, I obviously felt great. I was worried that I'd fail. However..."

Seong Gook kept asking her question after question, and Snow Flower kept answering them with a smile on her face.

"Even till the very end, we weren't sure who'd win. But all of a sudden, your teammates pulled out mirrors and shot light at you. Could you tell us what those mirrors were, and what effect they had?" Seong Gook asked.

Jae Woo, who'd been listening inattentively thus far, now paid serious attention. He wanted to know what the hand mirrors were too.

"They are items that can be bought from the Church of Light using contribution points."

"Hoh, what kind of effect do they have?"

"They contain a sacrificial spell inside. It's a one-time use item."

"A sacrificial spell?"

"One that sacrifices your life to transfer a portion of your power into another. You can also sacrifice your life to create a miracle. I used the former effect."

"Aha, so that's why you became several times stronger."

"Yes."

The other contestants' eyes gleamed. If used properly, then the hand mirror could explosively increase their power like it did with Snow Flower.

"However, this buff only lasts for 5 minutes. And it also comes at a huge cost, so I'd rather use it sparingly."

"What kind of cost?"

"It costs stats. It takes 10 points."

"10 points? The same points that you only get 3 of from each level up?"

"Yes."

"It only lasts 5 minutes, so it comes at a heavy price."

"Nothing in the world is free, right?"

"Indeed."

After that, Seong Gook asked her a few more questions, and Snow Flower sincerely answered them all. 

"Now then, let's give Ms. Snow Flower another round of applause!"

Clap, clap, clap!

"It's time to reveal the next monster. Everyone, please take a look at the giant screen." Seong Gook pointed at the monitor. 

Drum roll!

The video played with a strong beat.

There was a giant, soaring tower. It was so tall that the top couldn't be seen; it was completely obscured by the clouds.

'The Tower of Trials!' Jae Woo recognized it immediately. The other contestants did too. After all, it was incredibly famous.

The video continued.

Those entering the tower went up floor after floor. But different monsters appeared on every floor, and they gradually became stronger too.

The players began dying one or two at a time, and at some point, no one was left. 

No one knew how many floors this tower had! Why, you ask? Because no one had ever made it to the top floor!

Someone had once said that a dragon probably lives at the top. Another had said that the top was a gateway to another world.

But these were all assumptions. They weren't founded in reality at all.

Despite that, people still tried to get up to the top. Like mountain climbers, who climbed mountains just because they could.

This was the Tower of Trials!

"The Tower of Trials is next!" Seong Gook declared.

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Boko's Thoughts

Happy Thanksgiving! Stay safe, and I hope you all get a well deserved break.