Chapter 165. Jungle (2)


Looking at the man in front of me, I fell in thought.
I didn’t know his ability. I couldn’t detect any change in setting either. Was it because he was too strong? Or was it because he wasn’t in the original story?
But regardless of what his Gift was, there was no reason for me to be scared inside the Tower.
Although I couldn’t guarantee victory, I had no confidence in losing like I said before.

“I guess you’re right.”

The man retorted. His expression was constantly changing. His glaring eyes were filled with killing intent, and his small smile was like that of a serpent.

“I shouldn’t do something if I’m going to feel sorry about it….”

Suddenly, the man’s body flickered.
Although it happened instantaneously, I could capture the change in his body.
His body had transformed into magic power.

“Yeah, it was my bad.”

The man murmured to himself, then suddenly burst out into laughter. The corners of his mouth were practically hanging on his ears.
I held up my gun.
At the same time, the man transformed into a current of magic power and flew back.

“What…”

I wasn’t mistaken. He definitely transformed into magic power. However, he was slow enough that I could trace his movements with my eyes.
I pulled the trigger.
One. Two.
Two bullets passed through his body.
On the third bullet, however, I utilized Stigma to infuse the bullet with an anti-magic attribute.

“Uup!”

The bullet struck his shoulder. His body materialized and fell on the ground.

“…That hurt.”

Sitting upright, the man rubbed his wounded shoulder.
I also remained calm and transformed the Desert Eagle into its assault rifle mode. After infusing more bullets with an anti-magic attribute, I approached him.

[The administrator of the second floor, ‘Luke’, is watching you.]

However, I could feel the administrator’s gaze falling on me.
I flinched slightly but still pointed my gun at the man.

“It’s not easy having my power restricted.”

The man got up and sighed.

“Ehew, fine, I’ll admit it. You’re the strongest person in here. My shoulder hurts so much, I can barely move.”

I could feel sincerity from his words.

“I should have brought a gun too. My weapon is so heavy that I can’t even hold it yet.”

The man grumbled and slowly moved.
Meanwhile, I thought about the system alert I got. It said Luke was ‘watching’. Since the alert wasn’t a warning, I judged that it was fine to fire another bullet.
While I was thinking, the man had walked over to his companion, the woman who threw a dagger at me. She seemed to be heavily wounded as she was clutching her chest and gasping for breath.

Lacors…”

The man murmured something, and ancient language began to be engraved on the ground below him.

“…?”

“Interesting, isn’t it? It’s the skill I chose with my black ticket.”

“Mass Teleport?”

“You know about it?”

The man grinned.

“You took the worst one.”

I shot back coldly and aimed my gun.

“Really? It sounded pretty useful to me.”

I had to kill him before he left.
Carefully infusing Stigma’s magic power into the bullet…
KWANG—!
I fired.
However, pillars of dirt shot up from the ground, forming a shield.
Tudududu—
My anti-magic bullet easily tore through the shields, which were created from a mixture of magic power and dirt, but the 12-layered shields halted the momentum of the bullet.

—Kuk!

With its power diminished, the man easily blocked it with his body.

—Huu… it’s been a while since I’ve felt this much pain…

An exhausted voice rang out from the other side of the shields. At the same time, a spiraling current of magic power signaled the activation of ‘Mass Teleport’.

[Warning! Luke, the administrator of the 2nd floor, is watching you carefully!]

A warning popped up.
It seemed I fought too close to the administrator.
If only we fought a bit farther away, I was confident I could have killed him once.
I should take this into account for when I kill Jin Sahyuk.

I put my gun down. Then, I put on airs and spoke as though I was being generous.

“…Alright, you’re free to go. I’ll let you live this one time.”

—Hm?

A flustered voice came back.
I retorted simply.

“I’m letting you go. I’m quite touched that you stopped to pick up your friend.”

The man didn’t reply.
I was acting to hide my weakness, to prevent him from finding out that I couldn’t freely use anti-magic bullets in front of an administrator.

—…Thanks.

I didn’t know whether he bought it or not, but that’s what he said.

—Then I’ll let you live once too later. My name is ‘Bell’. Remember it.

“Yeah, yeah.”

Shooong—
In the next moment, two clumps of magic power shot up into the air. I stood still and watched them fly away.

“…Ehew.”

I sighed.
I didn’t expect Jin Sahyuk to not be here, but this was actually to my advantage.
If she was entering the Tower two months later, that only meant that I had more time to display a more overwhelming difference in power.

“For now….”

I concentrated and peered at the direction that my companions took.

Kuoooo—

A large gorilla was roaring in the distance.

—Kuhahaha!

The man fighting the gorilla was Cheok Jungyeong who was perhaps more gorilla-like than a gorilla.

—Come, I’ll fight you—!

Cheok Jungyeong began to wrestle with the gorilla.
But no matter how powerful Cheok Jungyeong was, he was fighting a gorilla from the Tower of Wish. Naturally, he was on the losing end at first. He simply couldn’t surpass the gorilla in pure strength. Cheok Jungyeong’s hands interlocked with the gorilla’s, and the gorilla began to push him back.
It was then.

———!

Cheok Jungyeong roared like a beast and his muscles suddenly bulked up. The tide of battle turned, and Cheok Jungyeong was soon strangling the gorilla’s neck.
Despite the gorilla’s fierce struggle, Cheok Jungyeong strangled it to death.

—Little imp, don’t get so eager…

With those words, Cheok Jungyeong fell on the ground as though he passed out.
Jain looked down at him from a little distance away and shook her head.

—Do you think he knows this place isn’t a dueling arena, Boss?

Chuckling at Jain’s question, I began to run towards them.
I wasn’t sure if they were purposely walking slower for me or if they were delayed because of the gorilla, but I was able to catch up to them quickly.

“I’m back~”

“Oh? That was quick.”

Boss spotted me first.

“Hajin, what were you doing~?”

Jain dragged out the end of the sentence like we were close friends. In response, Boss gave Jain an odd look.

“….”

I looked around our surroundings without replying.
As the 2nd floor exploration had only just begun, there were many people within a 1~2km radius.
Chae Nayun was also among them. She seemed to be traveling with members of Essence of the Strait.
I purposely looked away from them.

“…Hajin?”

Boss asked again.

“Yes? Oh, it’s nothing. Have you run into anyone?”

“No, I don’t think other Players are looking to cooperate with people they don’t know.”

Jain replied.
It wasn’t too surprising as most Players tended to travel with the guild members.

“Mm… for now, let’s sit.”

“Sit?”

“Yes.”

“Why? Shouldn’t we walk?”

In response, I pointed at the gorilla Cheok Jungyeong hunted.

“I want to dismantle this first. Wait for me for just a bit.”

“…Do you need to?”

“Its leather is important, and we also need a source of food. We’ll be staying here for a long time.”

“Long time? Nah.”

Cheok Jungyeong, who was practically passed out until a moment ago, suddenly shot up and spoke. His recovery speed was quite frightening.

“Didn’t that white-haired guy say 50 people could go on each elevator? He said there are 10 of them… so two days should be enough. Can’t you do multiplication and subtraction?”

“No, it’s not a matter of math.”

It was a matter of efficiency, ethics, selfishness, and altruism.
Each elevator could fit 50 people. However, that was only the ‘maximum’ number they could hold. There was no condition that said an elevator needed to be full.

“The administrator said ‘at most 50’ people.”

“Yeah, so if 50 people get on each one…”

“Use your brain, you dimwit.”

Jain stepped in and made my job easier.

“If you don’t need all 50 people to get the elevator going, that means even a single person can leave with it.”

“Exactly.”

What Cheok Jungyeong said was only the best-case scenario. But considering the innate greed and selfishness of humans, it was likely that only 20 or so people would go up each day.
In other words, we could be stuck here for over a hundred days.

“Hm, I see… but doesn’t that mean we should try to find an elevator as quickly as possible?”

“Don’t worry, it’ll be fine if we’re a little late.”

The 3rd floor was a terrible place. As such, I needed at least 3~4 days of preparation before going up.

“Argh, fuck, then what do you want us to do?”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t explain things in detail.

“Rather than rushing into things, let’s take things slow.”

I sat down near the gorilla and began to dismantle it.
Skinning the gorilla with a knife, cutting out its flesh, pulling out its teeth… I had gotten used to this process while cutting up fish during the second tutorial. Although it was hard at first, I kept telling myself that I was cutting up clay and it became easier.
Of course, a huge gorilla was still more disgusting than a fish.

[Lv.1 System can use ‘Sanity Defense Mode’.]

While I was dismantling the gorilla, the Tower system suddenly messaged me.

“Ah, thank you for the suggestion, but I can take this.”

“Hm?”

“Why are you talking to yourself?”

Boss and Jain gave me a strange look.

“Oh right, don’t yell or get angry at the system messages you see.”

“…Why?”

Jain tilted her head in bewilderment.

“Well, if you think about it, we should be grateful to it. It’s helping us climb without receiving any compensation.”

“….”

When I said that, Jain and Cheok Jungyeong gave me strange looks and took a step back. They were treating me as though I’d gone mad. Only Boss was nodding fervently.
Soon, I finished dismantling the ‘Jungle Gorilla’.

[You acquired the technique, Lv.1 Dismantling.]
—You can instantly dismantle low-level monsters.

[Lv.2 Jungle Gorilla’s Leather]
[Jungle Gorilla’s Meat]
[Lv.2 Jungle Gorilla’s Teeth]

I put everything into my inventory and got up.

“Now let’s get going again.”

**


3 hours later.
Rachel and six other members of the Royal Court guild were walking through a fierce snowstorm.

“…Vice-leader! The snowstorm is too harsh!”
“How did a jungle suddenly change into Antarctica? Auu, I’m freezing.”

Rachel’s Royal Court guild chose the northwest jungle.
However, this floor’s terrain was too fickle. After toiling through a dense jungle for three hours, a large snowfield appeared.

“Let’s stop and rest!”

Rachel shouted. Her companions stopped and huddled together.
They didn’t need to build an igloo. Rachel faced the blizzard and took a deep breath. Then, two elementals that were visible only to her formed a circular barrier around them.

“Huu… there’s just no end to this. We don’t know where the elevators are, and we don’t really know what’s in this place.”

Inside the warmth created by Rachel’s barrier, a guild member initiated a conversation.

“Vice-leader, I think we should split into two teams. The Tower’s messenger is still functional.”

As members began to drop different ideas, a system window suddenly popped up.

[The first elevator has departed with 9 people.]

“…Hah?!”

Everyone yelled in shock.
Nine people.
50 people could have taken the elevator, but only 9 people had departed with it.

“Nine?! Dammit!”

“These fools blinded by greed…!”

“Let’s split up.”

Rachel immediately decided after seeing this message.

“We’ll split into the teams we discussed before and locate an elevator as quickly as possible. The first one to find an elevator can send everyone else its coordinates.”

With that, Rachel took off her armor. Then, she gave the 3000TP ‘Gargoyle Leather Armor’ to the second team’s captain, Davin.

“Um, vice-leader, what is this?”

“Wear it, Davin-ssi. My team can deal with the cold with my elementals, but that’s not the case for you. This armor has a temperature control function, so you can rotate it amongst yourselves if needed.”

“…Yes, thank you.”

Davin received the armor with a moved expression.

“Now let’s go. We need to hurry!”

Just like that, the seven members of the Royal Court guild split into two teams.

“Don’t forget to send periodic reports. Good luck.”

“…Yes, Your Majesty.”

“Thank you.”

As the leader of the first team, Rachel went east with two other guild members.
Just like that, they paved through the fierce blizzard for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes…
After walking for a long time…

“…Wait, what, what is that?”

One member pointed at the distance. A sharp, golden object was shining in the snow.

“It kind of looks like a… snowmobile.”

“Let’s go. It might be a hidden piece.”

With bright expressions, the two male guild members walked up to the golden object. Rachel had an eerie feeling, but she soon followed after them.

“It is a snowmobile!”

“Hurry, vice-leader!”

The male guild members stood in front of the mysterious object and called Rachel.

“A snowmobile?”

Rachel felt excited hearing that the object was a snowmobile. In this place, a snowmobile was undoubtedly one of the best methods of transportation.

“Yes, I’m certain!”

“Wait, how do we use this?”

“I got it, I’ve driven this befo—”

Unable to hold back their excitement, the two male guild members touched the golden snowmobile. Immediately…

“Uk!”

“Huup!”

Pzzt—!
A powerful spark shot out. There was no way for them to react to the instantaneous mind-numbing current of magic power, and the two men fainted on the spot.

“Re… Refel! David—!”

**


“…Dwarven Supercar?”

On the other hand, in a jungle cave serving as a temporary base, Jain tilted her head and asked.

“Yes, there’s apparently an artifact by that name that you can’t normally touch.”

“And how do you know that?”

“Ah, well, you’ve seen it too, right? The administrator was reading a book.”

“…Huh?”

The administrator of the 2nd floor sat down under a tree and began to read a book the moment he finished giving an explanation.
That was meant to be a hint.
Being kind and social, Kim Suho would provide Luke company before setting off. He would then spot the book in Luke’s hands and ask what it was about.
Luke would then smile meaningfully and give the book to Kim Suho.

“I sneaked a peek. Apparently, the elevators and the supercar are both artifacts left behind by dwarves.”

“Ah~ so that’s why you’re late? What does this supercar look like?”

“It should look like a snowmobile.”

There were several hidden pieces considered ‘dwarven artifacts’. My goal in the 2nd floor was to find the hidden ‘steles’ along with the supercar.

“So things will get easier if we find it?”

“Yes, it’ll be helpful on other floors as well.”

Inside the Tower of Wish, horses were the main method of transportation.
However, even horses had levels in this place, and low-level horses couldn’t be used in areas of battle.
Of course, there were famous steeds like the ‘Red Hare’, ‘Bucephalus’, and the slightly lesser ‘Reckless’, but it wasn’t easy to obtain such horses.

“Do you know where to look?”

“No, but I’m confident in being able to find it with my eyes.”

There should be three Dwarven Supercars on the 2nd floor. Since I planned to give Kim Suho a map of the 2nd floor, there should be no problem with me taking one.

Koong. Koong.

Outside, the sound of huge footsteps rang out.
Glancing sideways, I saw Cheok Jungyeong who just came back from hunting.
As always, his body was full of injuries. However, his injuries were even worse today. There was a huge cut on his side that revealed his ribs, and something seemed to have bitten off a part of his calf.

“…Off doing weird things again?”

Jain remarked as she shook her head.
Cheok Jungyeong received it with a big grin.

“I tasted ecstasy inside the boundary between life and death.”

“So… where’s the corpse?”

“….”

However, he didn’t reply to my question.

“…You didn’t bring it again? You should have brought it back if you could.”

I grumbled as I handed him a potion. It was a healing potion I made using herbs I bought from the Player Shop. Because I didn’t have a proper recipe, it was only a Lv.0 item, but it was better than nothing.

“…Kuhum.”

Cheok Jungyeong took the potion as he scratched the back of his neck.

“Where is it? I’ll go bring it back.”

“It’s not that far. Keep going straight and you’ll see it.”

With that explanation, he gulped down the potion. Then, he immediately fell asleep on the ground.

“Eat, fight, sleep, eat, fight, sleep… if he isn’t a beast, then what is he?”

“Jain-ssi, take care of the food. You just have to cook it.”

“Huh? Oh, okay~”

I left the cooking to Jain and went outside.

“Hm? Where are you going?”

I ran into Boss who also just came back.

“Cheok Jungyeong left a monster corpse behind so I’m going to fetch it.”

“Then let’s go together. You’ll need someone to guard you.”

“Thanks.”

Boss and I began to walk forward.
After about 15 minutes, we discovered the traces of a fierce battle.
A huge area in the middle of the jungle was caved in, with trees and grass both crushed. In the middle, there was a huge monster lying lifelessly.

“…He killed a Lv.3 Grizzly Bear?”

The monster Cheok Jungyeong defeated was a ‘Grizzly Bear’.
Was that even possible bare-handed?
I was once again awed by Cheok Jungyeong’s strength.
KOONG!
I chopped off the bear’s head and began to dismantle it.

“Hm?”

===
[Lv.3 Grizzly Bear’s Head]
○Lv.3 Durability
○Lv.1 Air Purifier
○Lv.3 Face Protection
○Lv.-1 Hygiene
===

Even without any refinement, the bear’s head was usable as a helmet. If treated right, it had the potential to become a valuable equipment.
Using Stigma’s magic power, I cleaned the inside of the head and made it wearable like a helmet.
As a result, the Lv.-1 Hygiene disappeared.
With just this, it was good enough to be a helmet.
I put the head aside.

‘I guess I could make a helmet and gift it to Cheok Jungyeong.’

I went back to dismantling the bear.

“…Mm.”

At some point, a satisfied murmur struck my ears. I glanced to the side for a moment then went back to focusing on the bear. However, I immediately glanced to the side once more.

“…Um, Boss?”

“It looks a bit weird, but it’s fantastic otherwise.”

Boss was wearing the bear head.
With her face peeking out from inside the bear’s mouth, Boss had a childlike, happy expression.

“Look, Newbie. If I close the mouth, it defends my entire face.”

“….”

Boss closed the bear’s mouth.
A girl wearing a bear mask was in front of me.
I stared at Boss silently.

—Isn’t it cool? Huhu.

From the bear’s mouth, a satisfied voice rang out.

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