I touched the ground with a rough thud. However, I wasn’t hurt thanks to covering my back with Aether.
I quickly got up and looked around.
I was in an empty cave-like complex.
The only thing even remotely noteworthy were the rocks on the ground.
“…The Tower I know isn’t like this.”
In truth, there was only one Tower that I carefully designed.
Tower of Wish, the largest Tower in history that was on a league of its own compared to other Towers.
The place would be called an alternate world, and it was the place I would go in the future. In fact, I had to go.
But that was for a future time.
“What am I supposed to do now?”
While I was looking around, a scream rang out from above as someone else fell to the ground.
A familiar face and a familiar body.
It was Chae Nayun.
Was it a coincidence? Or were stupid people more likely to fall for the trap? Though, that would mean I was stupid too.
Chae Nayun rubbed her back, then widened her eyes when she saw me.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Kim-ssi.”
Then, she narrowed her eyes and said some strange words.
“…Is your head hurt?”
I put my hand forward. Chae Nayun seemed to hesitate for a moment, but she soon grabbed my hand and got up.
She dusted off the dirt on her butt and back, then asked.
“Where are we?”
“How would I know? Rather, how did you fall down?”
“Well, a crossbow shot an arrow at me. When I destroyed it, the floor suddenly collapsed.”
Crossbow… ah, come to think of it, the color of that crossbow was white.
One of the three commandments was [Cooperate with White].
But how the hell were we supposed to cooperate with a crossbow that tried to kill us?
“Wait a minute.”
I widened my eyes and looked forward. My Thousand-Mile vision quickly expanded out.
About a kilometer past the empty cave complex, I could see a group of dwarves at work. They were standing in front of a stone door, diligently pulling on a rope connected to it.
“I found the way. Follow me.”
I gestured at Chae Nayun and walked forward. Chae Nayun looked at me somewhat grumpily, then began to follow me.
“Where are we going?”
“There are NPCs up ahead.”
Tower NPCs, beings created by the Tower’s magic power that can only live inside the Tower.
These magic power existences were officially called ‘Tower residents’, but people liked to call them by the gaming language, NPC.
“There are even NPCs in this Tower?”
“I don’t see why not.”
Even an artificial Tower like this one was still a mystical space.
In any case, the two of us walked together in a running pace.
After about five minutes, we could see the dwarf NPCs.
“Wow, your eyes really are freak… amazing.”
“Just say freakish.”
It wasn’t like her to use more kid-friendly language.
“W-What do you mean? I’m always like this.”
Chae Nayun dodged my eyes as she flipped her hair over.
Ignoring her, I observed the NPCs up ahead. They were all wearing the same green clothes, but that was the only special thing about them.
“Ah! Who is it!?”
Once we walked a bit closer, one of the NPCs found us, causing the others to also look over.
“They must be here to help us!”
“O Venerable Giants! Please open this door for us!”
The dwarves ran up to us and pleaded.
“What do we do?”
One of the three commandments was [Have Faith].
I didn’t know what that meant exactly, but I couldn’t be too careless.
“…What are your names?”
I counted the dwarves.
One, two, three… seven.
I couldn’t tell if I was supposed to trust them.
“Is there anyone else?”
“We have other brothers!”
It was a stupid play on words, but that’s what made it more believable.
“Fine, I’ll help you.”
I looked at Chae Nayun, signaling to her that it was her turn.
Chae Nayun grabbed the rope hanging on the stone door.
“I just have to pull on this?”
“Yes! But it’ll be difficult to open alone!”
“You hear that?”
Without a choice, I also grabbed the rope.
When we pulled on the rope after a count of three, the stone door opened easily.
The problem was what was inside.
As soon as the door was opened, a giant praying mantis jumped out. From its black carapace, I could surmise that it was a fairly high-ranked insect-type monster.
Swinging its front legs, the praying mantis charged toward us.
However, Chae Nayun took out her sword before the praying mantis could get anywhere near us.
Moving faster than light, she slashed out in a clean motion.
The magic power extending from her sword cleanly cut the praying mantis’ shoulder.
Chae Nayun then kicked the shrieking mantis’ abdomen and slashed at it again as it flew backwards.
A crescent wave of magic power plowed through the ground, obliterating the mantis upon contact.
Chae Nayun closed her eyes and put her sword back in its scabbard, her short hair softly fluttering from the wind caused by the attack.
I blinked several times as I watched her display of power.
She was crazy strong.
“Thank you, thank you!”
The dwarf NPCs bowed and walked through the door.
We probably had to go in as well.
“Take the lead, Kim-ssi.”
We quickly walked through the stone door.
However, what lied past the stone door was completely different than what it looked like from the outside.
In the blink of an eye, we found ourselves in a forest, with the dwarves waddling forward. Following the dwarves, we reached a town.
“Are Towers normally like this?”
“…Towers have intelligence, so I’m sure they can change their structures however they want.”
According to my settings, Towers had intelligence exceeding that of humans. The only problem was that the goal of their intelligence wasn’t survival, but another reason.
“Let’s follow those NPCs. It looks like there are other cadets in the town.”
We followed the NPCs into the town.
The town had all sorts of facilities, such as inns, restaurants, and weapon shops. Like I mentioned, there were other cadets here as well.
“Oh, it’s Nayun!”
One of the cadets shouted after seeing Chae Nayun.
It was a high-ranking supporter, Yi Jiyoon.
“Yi Jiyoon? What is this place? How do you climb up?”
Hearing Chae Nayun’s barrage of questions, Yi Jiyoon pointed at the noticeboard in front of the town’s community hall.
“Take a look at that first.”
I began to read the noticeboard.
Chae Nayun also joined in, standing right beside me.
[Stage – Dwarven Town]
[Dwarves are being terrorized by enemies and are seeking outside help.]
[If you would like to join the war effort, please leave a thumbprint here.]
[You will be awarded 25 points for every enemy invasion you stop.]
[You require 100 points to get to the next stage.]
[You will be given bonus points based on your contribution.]
Once we finished reading, Yi Jiyoon spoke.
“Hurry up and sign up. It’s the only way you can get points.”
We promptly left our thumbprints on the noticeboard.
It was then.
A dwarf standing on the watchtower shouted at the top of his lungs.
I turned to the direction the dwarf pointed.
Goblin warriors in the front, goblin archers in the middle, and goblin magicians in the back.
A group of about 300 goblins was marching forward.
“Hey! Gather up!”
Adapting quickly to the situation, Chae Nayun shouted loudly. Soon, all the cadets in the town gathered around her. There were 27 in total 17 warriors, 8 supporters, and 2 sharpshooters including me.
After calling everyone over, Chae Nayun seemed to be at a loss for words. I nudged her shoulder.
“Everyone’s here, Chae-ssi. What should we do?”
“Um… argh, who cares? They’re just goblins, just fight.”
A brief silence descended.
“Then I’ll snipe the goblin magicians.”
“Huh? Oh, sure.”
I looked around.
Sharpshooters wanted to fight from a high ground. Although the town had a watch tower, I wanted somewhere higher. Thankfully, there was a tall 40-meter tree nearby.
I ran to the tree and using Parkour, I jumped up and sat down on a large branch.
Looking at the goblin magicians in the distance, I took out the cadet handgun.
40%. It wasn’t too bad.
The attack power of the cadet handgun was incomparable to the Desert Eagle, but we were fighting goblins, and goblin magicians had especially weak defense.
I should be able to instakill them by hitting their heads.
One goblin raised its staff and howled.
Was that the leader of the group?
I fired at the howling goblin. The bullet drew a clear arc and pierced through the goblin’s head. As soon as I confirmed the goblin leader’s death, I fired at the goblin magicians.
Each bullet killed one goblin magician, and soon, there were none left on the field.
“Nice, Kim-ssi! Let’s go, guys!”
Along with Chae Nayun’s command, the warrior cadets charged forward.
Once the easy fight ended, the sun set, making this place even more realistic.
Chae Nayun and I walked into the town’s restaurant, wondering if we really were in a Tower.
“So, Chae-ssi, what are you going to eat?”
“Just fruit juice. By the way, why are you calling me Chae-ssi. It’s kind of annoying.”
“You started it.”
“But that doesn’t mean you can do it too.”
I had no clue what she was saying, so I ignored her.
I looked around the restaurant, then turned back to Chae Nayun.
She was admiring the sunset with a smile of joy.
I let out a bitter sigh with a heavy heart. Then, I called Chae Nayun’s name.
“Hey, Chae Nayun.”
Chae Nayun turned around and faced me.
“Eh? What’s up, Kim-ssi?”
“…How’s your oppa doing?”
Immediately, Chae Nayun made an obscure expression.
“What, you’re finally worried about him?”
“No, I’m just wondering. It’s probably the same for everyone else.”
“Heh, don’t lie. I know you were the first one to be at the hospital. Yeonha told me.”
I stared at Chae Nayun.
To be honest… I wanted to ask.
I wanted to ask how she would feel if someone killed Chae Jinyoon.
But that was a question that shouldn’t be asked, so long as you were human.
“By the way, Kim-ssi…”
Seeing me just staring at her, Chae Nayun changed the subject, wriggling her fingers.
“Was it, um, last week?”
She stuttered, looking down on the ground.
“What were you, um, doing with Rachel? At night.”
Was she calling me Kim-ssi because she was sulking about that? Well, it was true that Rachel and Chae Nayun were rivals.
I replied shortly.
“Oh…. Why are you training so late?”
Grumbling, she stuck out her lips.
But I was more curious about Chae Jinyoon’s condition.
Also, I was curious about Boss’ decision.
Would Boss help me?
“…Also, I heard you’re going on a drive with Kim Suho.”
Chae Nayun sure had a lot to say.
“I like motorcycles more than Kim Suho.”
“Let’s go on a trip. I’ll pay for all the expenses.”
“No, I can’t.”
“Why? Just tell me why you don’t have time. I’ll fit my schedule for when you’re free.”
Seeing her throwing a tantrum, I just laughed silently.
Two nights passed by since the start of the final exam.
The first day was spent killing goblins, and the second day was spent killing trolls and yetis.
Over these two days, there were three attacks on the Dwarven Town.
We successfully blocked them all and obtained 75 points. Apparently, the bonus points would be given out once all four invasions were blocked.
“…Wow, I guess they saved the best for last.”
Today was the third day.
As expected of the last day, a monster on the level of a middle boss appeared.
“Uaaak! It’s the Black Ogre!”
The dwarf on the watchtower ran away screaming.
Seeing the appearance of this mountain-sized ogre, a few cadets turned pale.
“This has to be a prank, right?”
I watched the Black Ogre carefully.
Even the weakest Black Ogre was at the level of an intermediate-rank grade-3 monster. One thing to note was that its endurance was especially strong.
In other words, it was the perfect target to test my strength.
Now that I had 3 streaks of Stigma, I could add quite a bit of power to my attacks.
I tapped Chae Nayun, who was looking up at the giant ogre.
“Let’s do it like usual. I’ll support from the back, so you guys can kill it.”
“But against a Black Ogre, a bullet wouldn’t… Eh? You’re using a bow?”
Chae Nayun tilted her head, seeing the bow in my hand.
I bought one from Cube just in case I needed it. The cadet handgun was just too weak. I also wanted to raise my rank until it was around rank 100.
…And who knew, maybe that ogre was sent by Djinns.
“You’re going to use magic arrows?”
“Yeah, I can’t keep using a gun forever. Alright, I’m going ahead.”
“Ah, hey, wait!”
I climbed up the usual tree and looked down at the Black Ogre.
Now that I was up high, I could see that the Black Ogre wasn’t as big as I originally thought.
Glaring at it calmly, I pulled the bowstring. Then, I imagined the arrow that would sit on the bowstring.
It couldn’t be a normal arrow. The tip had to be jagged to increase its attack power, and the entire arrow had to be perfectly balanced like a spear. I should be able to use the arrow as a weapon itself.
Sucking in the surrounding air, Stigma’s magic power gathered around the bowstring.
Repeating back and forth between compression and condensation, Stigma’s magic power formed the image of an arrow.
It was exactly the same as the arrow I imagined.
The attribute I infused was ‘light’.
As a result, the arrow shone with a brilliant light.
However, I let out a sigh.
…This single arrow was all I could make using almost all 3 streaks of Stigma.
Of course, that meant its destructive power was unimaginable.
I pulled the bowstring using all the power I could muster.
The light shining from the arrow swirled like a tornado, and the light only grew brighter.
After a short breath, I let go of the bowstring.
The arrow shot forward like a beam of light. The Black Ogre seemed to have noticed its intense light as it raised its hand to block it.
However, the moment the arrow touched its hand… a silent explosion erupted.
With no flames or thunderous quakes, only a blinding light blazed, burning the Black Ogre’s flesh.
The Black Ogre’s arm burned white. Its bloodcurdling scream rang out.
Although it only lost an arm, it simply couldn’t fight against Chae Nayun and over a dozen other warriors with one arm.
Not to mention, Yi Jiyoon had several buffs on Chae Nayun….
However, Chae Nayun was only blankly looking at the Black Ogre and not trying to charge in.