Chapter 164. Jungle (1)


[Player ‘Nayunjajangman’ has sent you a friend request.]

I was taken aback.
How did he send me a friend request? Didn’t I block people from sending me friend requests through the public forum?
A sudden suspicion sank into my heart.

“Erm….”

I hesitated for a moment, but soon I accepted the request.
Ding—
As soon as I accepted the friend request, Nayunjajangman messaged me.

「Hyung-nim! What happened? I heard you made 20000TP!」

Looking at his message, I checked my system setting once again.

[Allow friend requests through the public forum (OFF)]

It was still the same. Knowing that things could get annoying after having my name spread in the third tutorial, I had the friend request option blocked. As a result, Players couldn’t send friend requests to me unless they were within a 20-meter range of me at some point.

「Hey, how did you add me as a friend?」

I messaged Nayunjajangman as a strange feeling began to rise up within me.

「ㅋㅋ I think we passed by each other in the third tutorial. I saw Hyung-nim’s name in my List of Encountered Players.」

「You’re also in the highest difficulty?」

「Yes ㅋㅋ」

“…Eh?”

I took my eyes off the chat window for a moment. My neck suddenly began to hurt.
I needed time to think.
Only 50 people had cleared the third tutorial, and of those 50, Nayunjajangman was one of them.
Nayunjajangman.
Even though he always said ‘hyung-nim’ and talked like a man, the first two characters of his name had always bugged me.
Was it just a coincidence?
Or was it part of the fate that I changed?

「Hyung-nim, how did you make so much TP? I have mad respect for you.」

I closed the chat window and typed ‘ImGosu’ in the public forum.

[There is no comment or post under that Player name.]

There was nothing.
Next, I typed ‘Nayunjajangman’.

—Anyone clear the highest difficulty tutorial?
—The highest difficulty tutorial is filled with scammers. Be careful, everyone. Pickpockets here can also steal money from your inventory.
—Yep, I got 150TP stolen from my inventory while walking in broad daylight.
—Also, there are thugs all over the dark alleyways. They’re clearly gunning to steal your money.
—I don’t know if the hardest difficulty tutorial has any benefit.
—ㅋㅋ I really am in the highest difficulty tutorial.
—Screw off if you don’t want to believe me.
—Fuck you too~

Reading through his comments and posts, cold sweat began to form on my forehead.
I pushed my hair back.
A chill went down my spine, and my head became hot.
With trembling hands, I tapped on the holographic keyboard.

「It just happened.」

「You just happened to make 20000TP…? Hyung-nim, are you really Vast Expanse? I’m a big fan of him. 」

After a bit of back and forth, I asked a seemingly random question.

「By the way, are you really a guy?」

「?? Why? That was kinda sudden.」

「Just asking. You know, your name is jajangman. Are you supposed to be a Chinese restaurant? How did a Chinese restaurant clear the highest difficulty tutorial? 」 [1]

「ㅋㅋㅋ I’ll tell you when we meet. Like I said before, I think we’re going to meet one day.」

Nayunjajangman avoided the question.
I didn’t dig into it too much. I was afraid that the suspicion I had was real.
He sent me a few more messages after that, but I told him I was busy and exited the conversation.
At that moment, Boss messaged me.

Boss: 「Newbie.」
「Yes? What’s up?」
Boss: 「Do you have anything to eat?」
「ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ Didn’t you say you had food? ㅋㅋㅋㅋ」

I was laughing in the chat, but in reality, my expression was stiff. I subconsciously touched my mouth. It was hard and cold.

Boss: 「W-Well, the Player Shop has bento boxes for sale.」
Boss: 「I just thought I shouldn’t waste TP on bento boxes.」
「Oh, okay, hold on a second. I’ll invite Boss to my place. We can eat together.」
Boss: 「Ok.」

I sent Boss an invitation. Then, I sat on the edge of my bed and sighed. It was nice that Boss was coming over since I didn’t want to be alone.
…But even after a long time, Boss didn’t come to my waiting room.
15 minutes later, a message arrived.

Boss: 「How do I use the invitation letter?」

“….”

「Just take it out of your inventory and rip it in half. If there’s anything else you don’t know, you can just ask the system.」
Boss: 「Ah ㅋ okay!」

Soon, a light flashed inside my waiting room and Boss appeared. She stood imposingly with her eyes closed, then slowly opened her eyes.

“…?”

Her eyes widened.

“W-Where is this?”

“It’s my waiting room.”

“…What?”

Marble tiles, a comfy couch and bed, a storage closet made using the wooden flooring I pulled out, a wooden table, tableware, etc…
It was probably very different from Boss’ empty waiting room.

“You know how it is, I like decorating things. Wait just a moment. I’ll cook something for you.”

**


[The final bid has been completed.]

“Yes!”

Rachel clenched her fists.
After three hours of fierce battle, she managed to obtain the [Lv.3 Gargoyle Leather Armor (J – White Order)]. Happiness rose up from the depths of her heart.
She considered this a strategic victory. She had raised the bid by 500TP 30 seconds before the end of the auction, causing other Players to be too shocked to bid any higher.

“Huu, huu.”

Rachel collected her thoughts and calmed herself down. The coldness that made her shiver had disappeared a long time ago.

[‘Lv.3 Gargoyle Leather Armor (J – White Order)’ will be transferred to Player CaptainBritain’s personal waiting room.]

Shoong—

Soon, a cluster of light descended from the ceiling of her waiting room and changed into the Gargoyle Leather Armor.
Rachel quickly ran up to it and held it up.
The black leather armor was incredibly light and elegant. She especially liked the white symbols engraved on the leather.

“Hehe…”

‘Good purchase, good purchase.’
Rachel stared at the armor joyfully, then carefully put it on.

[To facilitate the trading of equipment, the size of equipment will be adjusted to fit your body.]

The slightly big armor shrunk to fit Rachel tightly. It was so light that it felt like she wasn’t wearing anything.
Plus, she didn’t need to tie the strings together in the front of the leather armor.
As though they were polarized, they came together like magnets and tied themselves together automatically.

“Oho~”

Rachel hummed happily as she looked at herself through the mirror in the waiting room. Then, she entered the Community, looking to brag.

[Whoa ㅋㅋ the Lv.3 armor got sold for 3000TP]
—Isn’t that too much?
—Much be someone who’s rich. I’d pay that for a Lv.4 armor, but not Lv.3.

“…You’re just jealous.”

Rachel pouted and commented.

—It’s actually very cheap considering the tutorial just ended.
ㄴ Are you the one who bought it?
ㄴ No.
ㄴDon’t you remember what you had to go through to earn 1000TP? 3000TP is a lot.

“Ehew.”

Rachel shook her head. As far as she was concerned, she actually bought the armor cheap. Unwilling to comment any further, she moved on to the next post.

[What is everyone using their TP for?]
—I bought some furniture for my waiting room, a bed and a blanket. Oh, and some bento boxes.
ㄴIt’s the same for me. It’s too hard sleeping on a wooden board. I think it was money well spent.
—How’s the Player Shop’s bento box?
ㄴThe 5TP one is trash, but the 10TP is actually pretty good.

Seeing the comments, Rachel felt a bit proud. She was able to buy the Lv.3 armor precisely because she gave up on having comfort in her waiting room.

[In 10 minutes, you will be moved to the Tower’s 2nd floor.]
[From the 2nd floor, the system’s help will decrease.]

“Sunshine.”

A system window popped up.
Rachel called her wind elemental, Sunshine, who became a lot smaller after entering the Tower.

—Yeeeah?

“Get ready.”

—Okay~

Sunshine entered Rachel’s leather armor. As expected, the combination of wind and leather was good.
Feeling her body becoming lighter, Rachel prepared to enter the second floor.

**


[Lv.3 Gargoyle’s Leather Armor has been sold for 3000TP.]
[You will receive 2700TP after a 10% deduction.]
[You obtained 3 auction house trust points. Your trust level will increase to grade-9 with 7 more trust points.]

“Oh? That much?”

I was shocked when I saw the amount. I even double checked to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. My inventory really had an extra 2700TP.

“I guess people don’t know the market price because it’s still so early.”

Of course, there were NPCs that bought Lv.3 armor for 3000TP. But that was only because I was selling in the highest difficulty level Tutorial Town. Naturally, NPCs in Tutorial Towns possessed more TP with higher level difficulty.

However, Lv.3 items were common outside the tutorial. It might not be the case now, but it would become common soon. In fact, they were easily acquirable starting from the 3rd floor. That said, the armor I made was most likely the best Lv.3 armor around.

“Was it Jain?”

In the auction house, the buyer’s name and the seller’s name both remained anonymous.
I promptly messaged Jain to ask, and she immediately replied, ‘I’m not interested in such a thing’.

“Then who was it?”

Was there someone else who could use 3000TP so easily?
While I was pondering, a system alert popped up.

[In 10 minutes, you will be moved to the Tower’s 2nd floor.]
[From the 2nd floor, the system’s help will decrease.]

“Ah, it’s starting soon. Boss, wake up!”

I shook Boss who was sleeping on my bed. However, she grabbed the blanket tightly and refused to get up.

“It’s time to leave, Boss.”

“…Uaaauu.”

“What?”

“Auuuii…”

“What?”

I yanked the blanket out.
Koong.
Boss fell on the ground with the blanket. Only after slamming her head on the ground did she open her eyes and scratch her head.

“Mm, mmm… your bed is very nice….”

“Get ready.”

I began to do exactly that.
I wore the [Lv.4 Black Messiah’s Horrible Suit], put the [Lv.3 Temperature Control Robe] over my body, equipped the [Lv.2 Protection Mask] on my face, wore [Lv.3 Utility Footwear] on each foot, and put a [Lv.3 Ice-attribute Dagger] made with frozentium on the holster around my thigh.

“Now this is what you call overgeared.”

Using materials from Random Dice, Stigma’s magic power, and Dexterity, I was fully loaded with various equipment.

[Desert Eagle (firepower restriction: 60%)]
—A portion of the restriction (10%) will be lifted when you reach the 3rd floor.
—A portion of the restriction (20%) will be lifted when you reach the 5th floor.
—A portion of the restriction (30%) will be lifted when you reach the 7th floor.

Even with restricted firepower, I had great confidence in my Desert Eagle.

“Ooh…”

Feeling a gaze on me, I turned around and saw Boss staring at me with envious eyes.

“Oh right, there’s something for you too, Boss.”

“Oh?!”

Boss shot up in surprise.

“Really?!”

“Yes.”

“Hahaha, I see that you treat your boss with respect. So, what is it?”

Boss walked up to me with a hearty laugh. I took out a black robe from my inventory. Thanks to Aether, it was quite beautifully designed.

“How is it?”

“Mm, I like it. It’s very good.”

Boss put it on with a satisfied smile. She even pulled the hood over her head.
A system message popped up at the perfect timing.

[You will now be moved to the 2nd floor.]
[Please prepare yourself.]

**


Whoosh—

With the feeling of being carried away by wind, my feet touched the 2nd floor’s land.
It was the start of the Tower of Wish’s real stages.
I opened my eyes. Boss was standing next to me. Us and 2000 others were gathered in a huge field. They stared at each other in surprise and soon began to look for their companions.

“Where are Jain and Gyeong?”

“Let me see… oh, they’re there.”

I pointed behind us. Jain and Cheok Jungyeong were together, and it wasn’t hard to spot Cheok Jungyeong in a crowd.

“Let’s go.”

“Yes.”

We walked up to them.

“Oh~ Boss and Newbie~ Hi~”

“Hey.”

Just like how we gathered, hundreds of groups began to form.

“Hello—”

At that moment, a man appeared on the other side of the field. His wide hair, unique clothes, and ringing voice distinguished him from other Players.

“My name is Luke. I am the administrator of the 2nd floor.”

He only gave a simple self-introduction. However, his voice echoed out across the entire field.

“Nice to meet you.”

Luke bowed lightly. His respectful tone, formality, and mystical voice captured the attention of all Players.

“I’d love to talk to each and every one of you, but unfortunately, we don’t have time. I will cut straight to the main topic.”

Luke received the gazes of countless Players and pointed into the distance.

“As you can see… the 2nd floor of the Tower is chaotic. It is filled with all sorts of frightening aspects of nature.”

As the administrator said, the 2nd floor’s scenery was chaos itself. There was no way to tell if a region was supposed to be a jungle or a forest, a volcano or a glacier, or a swamp or a marshland.
I widened my eyes and peered into the distance.
In an instant, my Thousand-Mile Eyes pierced through dense leaves and traveled forward. However, this floor’s strange mixture of land wasn’t something a grade-7 Thousand-Mile Eyes could comprehend.

—Interesting.
—An impossible terrain…

Other Players didn’t seem all too surprised. In fact, they might be thinking that it was average for a Tower of this magnitude.

“Your goal is simple. Pave through this chaotic nature filled with traps and monsters and find the elevator to the 3rd floor.”

As Luke continued his speech, I looked around my surroundings.
I was looking for one person – Jin Sahyuk.
However, I couldn’t find her and instead, I found someone else I was familiar with.
A girl with blonde hair that shines like gold and beautiful facial features.
But rather than her appearance, the armor that she had caught my attention.

“Vice-leader, where did you get that armor?”

“Oh… it’s nothing.”

“It’s so pretty.”

“Huhu, it’s really nothing special.”

Contrary to what Rachel was saying, she stood proudly and imposingly.
So Rachel was the pushover who bought my armor…
I wanted to go say hi to her, but I couldn’t because members of the Chameleon Troupe were next to me.

“There are 10 elevators hidden in the 2nd floor.”

Meanwhile, Luke’s explanation continued.

“Each elevator can hold 50 people, which is quite a lot. Unfortunately, they are very slow. Each elevator takes 8 hours to travel back and forth. In other words, once the elevator departs, it will not come down for the next 8 hours.”

In other words, many Players would be staying on this floor for a long time.
In reality, it didn’t matter all that much. Entering the 3rd floor early didn’t have any benefits. In fact, it was better to go there later.

“That is all.”

The 3rd floor was the first ‘residential area’ Players had access to. However, it was in extremely poor conditions, so much so that staying in this floor’s nature could be a better choice.

“Oh, I’m sure you all know this by now, but I will explain it once again. When your vitality falls below zero on the 2nd floor, you will have to start over from the tutorial.”

After finishing his explanation with a small smile, Luke sat down under the shade of a tree and began to read a book.

—What are you going to do?
—We don’t have much of a choice.
—Shouldn’t we hold a meeting first?
—I don’t see the need for it. Looks like we only have to find the elevators.

Players quickly left. They clearly didn’t want to stay in this strange place for too long.

“How interesting. We should hurry up too.”

Cheok Jungyeong spoke. However, I didn’t follow them.

“You guys can go ahead.”

“Eh?”

“What are you going to do?”

I gave a simple reply.

“I have something to do.”

“…I see.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll chase after you soon.”

“Mm… if it’s you, I’m sure it’ll be fine. Alright, we’ll go ahead.”

Boss, Jain, and Cheok Jungyeong went on ahead. They’d chosen to go north.
After watching other Players leave one by one, I climbed a zelkova tree. It was to locate Jin Sahyuk from a higher vantage point.

“Hu, I should be able to see everyone from here.”

By the time I arrived at the peak of the tree…

“Yeah, you should.”

“…?”

Someone replied to my murmuring.
A chill ran down my back immediately.
With shock and surprise, I turned to the right side where the voice came from.
Amidst the leaves, a man I had met once before was staring at me.

“Hello~”

“….”

A handsome man resembling Legolas.
Jin Sahyuk’s acquaintance.
He appeared out of nowhere and placed his hand on my shoulder.

“Are you looking for someone?”

I quickly jumped down from the tree.
Legolas also followed suit.
Tak.
Both of us landed lightly.

“Good landing~”

The man applauded.
I took a deep breath. I was tense to the point my tongue was freezing, but I knew I didn’t need to be scared. Inside the Tower of Wish, I shouldn’t lose to anyone.
I walked forward silently.

“Oi, you should answer when someone asks you a question. I’ll ask again. Are you looking for someone?”

He chased after me.
Huu.
After a brief sigh, I stopped walking. Then, I turned around.

“Yeah.”

“Who?”

I didn’t know if he was really expecting me to tell him, but I did so anyway.

“Your companion.”

“My companion… oh, the girl who fought you before in Busan?”

The man asked with a voice full of interest.

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“…Do you really need to ask?”

I took down my hood. By the looks of it, he already knew who I was.

“I’m looking for her so I can kill her.”

“…”

In an instant, the man’s expression turned stiff.
I took out my gun from my holster. The Legolas look-a-like, a man who didn’t exist in my setting, glared at me.
But soon, he regained his smile.

“Iya~ so cool. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to put that off for a bit.”

I furrowed my brows without replying.
The man grinned.

“You see, I stole her ticket. I used it instead of her.”

“…What?”

“Her black ticket, I used it. I even got something called a bonus skill because of it. Want me to show you?”

I was completely taken aback. Considering that he mentioned getting a bonus skill, it didn’t seem like he was lying.

“Oh… well, I see.”

I quickly regained my composure.
It didn’t matter all that much. Although it might have been delayed a bit, Jin Sahyuk would undoubtedly enter the Tower of Wish, and I could always kill her then.

“In that case—”

Right when I was about to say something…
Chweeek—
Puuk.

Something sharp or blunt struck me from the back. Was it a dagger? An arrow? Or a club?
I couldn’t tell because I didn’t feel anything, not even pain.
Was this the power of a Lv.4 armor?

“…What’s this?”

I found a dagger lying on the ground.

[Lv.1 Well-sharpened Dagger]

A blade without a handle.
Seeing this dagger, I realized that I was attacked.

“Oh~ sorry, sorry. My companion must have gotten angry. She likes Sahyuk a lot, you see.”

“…That’s good to know.”

“Sorry, I only told her to stand by and watch.”

“You don’t have to feel sorry.”

I raised my gun. It was extremely easy for me to pinpoint the location of the attacker using the trajectory of the dagger.
Above a needleleaf tree in the north.
I fired my gun in that direction.

—Uk!

Soon, a short scream rang out along with the sound of something heavy falling on the ground.

“If you’re going to feel sorry about something, you shouldn’t do it in the first place, right?”

I muttered.
I even added a confident smile.
Inside the Tower of Wish, especially at the earlier stages, I simply had no confidence in losing no matter who I fought.



1. Jajang noodle (i.e. black bean noodle) is a Korean-Chinese fusion dish that’s very popular in Korea.

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