Several staff members expected Snow Flower to win the contest. However, these peoples' faces began to stiffen.
"What are you doing!?"
"You can do it!"
The Doppelganger copied Snow Flower and was slowly pushing her back.
The reason she wasn't able to put up much of a fight was because of the Reaper of Souls. To be more specific, it was because there were two of them. Snow Flower had one, and the Doppelganger had another.
The Reaper of Souls was a wicked sword that bypassed everything and only cut the soul. However, Snow Flower learned something new today. The Reaper of Souls couldn't pass through another Reaper of Souls!
Thus, against the Doppelganger, the Reaper of Souls was just another sword. Moreover, the Doppelganger's special ability, Copy that Transcends the Original, allowed it to outstrip Snow Flower in virtually every ability. To make matters worse, Snow Flower had climbed the tower by herself, so no one could bail her out.
"To think that the Reaper of Souls was capable of blocking itself." Jin Cheol looked shocked.
If Snow Flower couldn't find a way out that didn't involve the Reaper of Souls, then she would probably lose. It would prove that she'd put her entire faith in the Reaper of Souls and that she didn't have a backup plan.
'But this is Snow Flower we're talking about. She has to have a backup plan, right?' Jin Cheol calmly watched Snow Flower.
She swung the Reaper of Souls a few more times, which only proved disastrous for her, so she accepted that she couldn't win this way. Snow Flower then tried a different method. She pulled a lightning resistance potion from her belt and drank it down!
The Doppelganger would always return to its original form when its opponent's abilities changed. Snow Flower had taken advantage of this trait; by drinking a lightning potion, she would force the Doppelganger into a defenseless state.
As she wanted, the Doppelganger returned to its original form. Then, she swung her sword with blistering speed, and hit the Doppelganger hard.
This was the first time she'd landed a strike on the Doppelganger.
"That's how you do it!"
Those who'd betted on her cheered and supported her. It was as if they were cheering for the horse they'd bet on in a race.
Once the Doppelganger transformed, Snow Flower clashed with it and bought time. She knew that the Doppelganger's copy ability had a cooldown of 2 minutes.
Two minutes later, Snow Flower pulled out a fire resistance potion. As soon as she drank the potion, the Doppelganger returned to its original form. Snow Flower seized the opportunity and attacked repeatedly.
If this sequence of events continued, then she should be able to beat it.
"You can do it!"
Her supporters looked on in anticipation. However, Jin Cheol shook his head, thinking 'That won't be enough.'.
At some point, Jin Cheol was proven right. Prolonging the battle had caused the Doppelganger to transform into something else!
If you fought the Doppelganger for a certain amount of time, then it would read its target's data and transform into the strongest being recorded.
It had transformed into...
"The Great Forest's Wukong!"
The staff members yelled.
The white-furred, giant monkey, Wukong, beat its chest with its fists and roared.
'I'm the Great Forest's mythical creature, Wukong!', it seemed to say.
All 5 of the great guilds had attempted the Wukong raid, and Snow Flower had been a part of the Breaker Guild's raid team.
Anyhow, Wukong was so powerful that none of the 5 great guilds could beat it! Even someone like Snow Flower couldn't beat it alone. No, winning wasn't the issue here. The bigger problem was whether she could even survive against it or not.
In exchange, the Doppelganger would disappear on its own if its target survived for a certain amount of time. After all, they saw firsthand how Kang Oh's Doppelganger had disappeared.
However, Snow Flower couldn't hold out.
The Doppelganger lasted more than 5 minutes. Kang Oh's Doppelganger had only lasted about a minute, if that; it was completely different!
'The Doppelganger has way too much HP left.'
Jin Cheol had heard about the Doppelganger from the Mercenary King, who'd killed it several times already.
When it transforms, it begins to gradually lose HP. And the stronger the person it transforms into is, the more HP it loses. Obviously, a Doppelganger without much HP left would die almost instantly.
However, Snow Flower hadn't damaged the Doppelganger much. Thus, the Doppelganger could remain in its Wukong form for more than 5 minutes.
'She must not have had enough info.'
Snow Flower must not have known about its special ability.
Anyhow, Snow Flower wasn't able to withstand Wukong's vicious punches for 5 minutes and died.
"A leading pick is out of the race," Jin Cheol said.
"Strong Punch is fighting the Doppelganger!"
At last, Strong Punch, Jin Cheol's pick, was attempting the Doppelganger.
* * *
The Mercenary King had told Jin Cheol about the Doppelganger. He was the leader of the Sword Mercenaries, and Strong Punch was the Sword Mercenaries' vice-captain. Thus, Strong Punch should know everything he does. No, he should know even more than he does.
'He should have the most info out of everyone here.'
That was why Jin Cheol had chosen him. He had the most information, so he could prepare the most.
Strong Punch didn't disappoint him.
Once he and the special-class mercenary entered the room, the Doppelganger split into two. Strong Punch took on the special-class mercenary Doppelganger, while his ally took on Strong Punch's Doppelganger.
Strong Punch and his companion knew each other's weaknesses. The Doppelgangers copied their strengths, but also their weaknesses. Thus, the two focused on these weaknesses, and were able to fight the Doppelgangers with relative ease.
Because it had split into two, the Doppelganger wasn't able to transform using their combat data.
"Wow, that was the cleanest method we've seen thus far," Yoon Mi said.
"Indeed," Jin Cheol replied.
"Fighting the Doppelganger with a group makes it a lot easier."
"In exchange, the 51st to 60th floors becomes a lot harder," Jin Cheol said.
"Look at that." Jin Cheol pointed at Marco's screen.
Blue Sky had just entered the 51st floor after resting and preparing themselves. However, they were greeted by the sight of a giant maze. It was even larger than the tower itself.
Whereas Kang Oh, who'd entered a little bit earlier, had a much easier time; the floor was completely normal like all the rest.
"If you beat the Doppelganger by yourself, then the maze doesn't appear. But if there are two of you, then a maze appears on the 51st floor. If there are three of you, then the maze becomes even larger and more complex. There are six members of Blue Sky. With six... It'll be hard for them to even clear the 51st floor in a day."
That was why Jin Cheol had said that Blue Sky would be able to defeat the Doppelganger without much difficulty, but wouldn't be able to go much further.
"Mm, then Kang Oh has the advantage right now. After all, Mr. Strong Punch will have to deal with the maze too," Yoon Mi said.
"The Mercenary King told me that the maze isn't hard to navigate with two people. So ascending the tower with just two people is best."
With two people, defeating the Doppelganger becomes easy; plus, the two members can help each other out, and it minimizes the difficulty of the mazes.
"How does the Mercenary King know all this? Is it because he's the Mercenary King?"
"He knows because he was a Towergoer for a while."
A Towergoer was any player that climbed the tower day in and day out.
"How far did the Mercenary King get? He didn't get to the 60th floor, did he? No, did he go even farther than that?"
"The 55th floor."
"Then it'll be a fight between Kang Oh and Strong Punch to see who can get past the 55th floor. Who do you think will be the final victor?"
* * *
Starting at the 51st floor, Lizardmen appeared. Most Lizardmen were between level 200 and 300, but the ones that appeared on the 51st floor were on a completely different level.
They were much larger than normal Lizardmen, and looked like they were a mix between a dinosaur and a human, not a lizard and a human. They were fully equipped with armor, and their weapons were all made of metal.
These Lizardmen were around level 400.
"Prey!" A large-chinned Lizardman pointed at Kang Oh. In total, there were five Lizardmen.
"Out of my way!" Kang Oh forcefully swung Ubist. He was overflowing with power, as he had more than 20 minutes left on Gluttony.
Kang Oh used Crescent Moon Slash. He only charged it for 1 second, but it was still incredibly powerful.
The crescent moon shaped aura flew at the group of Lizardmen. The forefront Lizardman was the first hit, and staggered as a result.
Meanwhile, Kang Oh pushed in and swung his sword downwards. The Lizardman quickly responded by swinging its axe.
Upon contact, the axe cracked. That's just how powerful Ubist was.
"We have to weaken him first!"
"Attack him one after another!"
The Lizardmen swung their tails or weapons at him. Some of them even threw hooks and javelins at him.
'First things first, take one down quickly.' Kang Oh quickly moved to the left and right, avoiding the Lizardmen's attacks, and then bounced forward like a spring.
His target: the Lizardman Warrior that'd broken its axe!
"Get away!" The Lizardman Warrior fiercely swung its chipped axe.
However, Kang Oh's blade made contact first.
Black shards of light burst from its body. Fang Bearing Blade, which nullified his target's defense, had activated!
"Kuhahk!" The Lizardman screamed in agony.
The other Lizardmen yelled.
'Would you do that if our positions were switched?'
Kang Oh swung his sword four more times. However, Darkness Strike activated on his fourth swing.
The Lizardman Warrior, engulfed in the jet-black wave, staggered and then fell to the floor. Kang Oh turned around and swung his sword horizontally.
The jet-black aura flew right at the Lizardmen. They used various skills in response.
Fury of the Wilds!
Komor's Axe Strike!
Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!
Sharp javelins flew through the air. It was the work of their javelin thrower.
'Its Throw Projectile skill is at least intermediate-rank.' Kang Oh blocked the javelins with Ubist and then retreated.
He reappeared beside the injured Lizardman, who was barely clinging onto life.
"Die!" Kang Oh mercilessly thrust his sword.
[You have defeated a Komor Lizardman.]
[Gluttony is active.]
[Stats have been stolen.]
"How dare you!"
Once he killed their companion, the rest of the Lizardmen went berserk. Their eyes glowed red, and they fiercely rushed at him.
However, that wouldn't work against Kang Oh.
A golden tiger burst out of his jet-black blade, sweeping through all of them.
Kang Oh pointed his hand at the javelin thrower.
The chain flew towards the javelin thrower like a snake seeking its prey.
"Get over here!" Kang Oh forcefully pulled on the chain, causing the Lizardman to fall onto the floor. Then, he kicked off the floor, closing the distance, and stabbed it with his blade.
It sounded as though its mouth was filled with phlegm. Despite that, the Lizardman threw hooks and javelins at him. The hooks were coated in purple liquid; it was definitely poison.
Kang Oh threw his body to the side, avoiding the attack, and quickly got back into position.
Despite being hit by a Tempest Tiger, the Lizardman Warriors quickly got up and swung their weapons at him.
Kang Oh raised his sword and a crescent moon shaped aura followed.
Once the Crescent Moon Slash swept through them, the Lizardman Warriors' bodies exploded with shards of light.
Kang Oh suddenly stood up.
"I don't have all day. Die already!"
Kang Oh rampaged about even more violently than before.
It was a sight befitting his title as Predator. The Lizardmen were all taken care of soon enough.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Apologies for the delay. Afternoon shift is really kicking my behind. Take care!