Chapter 168. Change (2)


After commanding the dwarven supercar to follow us, I walked with Boss.
We walked forward inside the snowstorm without a clear destination.
Ssk, ssk.
The sound of our feet touching the snow vividly resounded.
It was then.
Boss asked fleetingly.

“…What do you think?”

She sounded gloomy. I wasn’t so insensitive as to not know the meaning of her question and tone.

“Still the same.”

In the past, Boss asked me what I thought about murder. That to be with her, I would have to kill many innocent people.
My answer was still the same as it was back then.

“I’m a murderer too.”

Whether someone is beaten to death, shot to death, or cut up into bits and pieces, the result was the same.

“….”

Boss stopped.
Behind her small shoulders, I also stopped.
Perhaps she was afraid that I was disappointed. After all, she had never killed anyone so brutally in the three years we worked together.

“…I see.”

Boss left behind these two words and began walking again.

“They’ll be revived anyways. Though they’ll have to start over from the tutorial.”

In truth, being dismembered was a rather severe way of dying. Those thugs should have lost 2~3 lives from it. Also, with the pain they must have suffered, they wouldn’t be able to avoid mental trauma either.

But they were the ones who started it in the first place. Boss had given them a chance to back down before it was too late.

“They were probably Djinns anyways. I heard about 500 tickets were released in Pandemonium.”

“…Yeah.”

Boss muttered. She didn’t sound as dejected anymore.
This was probably the right time to show her my new artifact.
I called the dwarven supercar over.
Shoong—
Seeing the supercar slide towards us, Boss became startled and unleashed her magic power.

“What is it?!”

“It’s mine. It’s our transportation.”

I jumped in like I was getting in a sports car.

“Get in, Boss.”

“…What is this?”

“Like I said, there are lots of useful items on the 2nd floor.”

I smacked the back seat with a grin.

“Hoee…”

Before getting on the dwarven supercar, Boss examined the vehicle with curious eyes.

“Is it pure gold…?”

As expected, that was what caught her attention first.
Boss rubbed the golden symbols engraved on the vehicle before jumping in.

“Alright, it’s rather fast, so hold on tight…. Oh, also…”

Before setting off, I took out the Yggdrasil Leaf and casted a blessing on the dwarven supercar.

[Yggdrasil’s Blessing envelops the Dwarven Supercar.]
[All effects of the Dwarven Supercar increase by 1 level.]

“Hold tight.”

“Okay.”

I stepped on the accelerator.
Vroom— Driving the quick snowmobile, I sneaked a peek at Boss. She was leisurely watching the scenery.
She looked beautiful except for one thing.

“Boss, you should take off that bear head now.”

“…Ah?”

Boss’ eyes widened, and in the next moment, she quickly took off the helmet.

“…I, I forgot I was wearing it. I was thinking about other things.”

Her face turned slightly red.
It was the most meaningful change in expression I had seen from her.

**


Day two.
Like Rachel, we built an igloo to spend the night. By the time we woke up, the fiercely blowing blizzard was gone. A blinding sunlight reflected off the snowy field.

As soon as I came out of the igloo, I took out the dwarven supercar from my inventory. Since Cheok Jungyeong and Jain were starting to get bored, I had to quickly find the dwarven steles and go up to the 3rd floor.

“Let’s see…”

Murmuring, I took out the Book of Truth.
It was the first time I was using it in the Tower of Wish. Although the system warned me about using Stigma, I hoped Luke wouldn’t notice if I used less than a single streak. After all, the 2nd floor administrator, Luke, wasn’t a highly ranked NPC.

“…Hm.”

Speaking of NPCs’ ranks, the 3rd floor’s administrator should be the famous magician, Medea. Unfortunately, her personality wasn’t too good.
To think that the administrator of a trash-like residential area would be a mythical-rank NPC… what a shitty setting.
…Anyways, I asked Book of Truth the question I currently needed an answer to.

[Is there a dwarven stele within a 3km radius?]

The Book of Truth immediately sucked in 0.5 streaks of Stigma, and along with it came an intense pain.

“Argh.”

As I thought, using Stigma in the Tower came with a greater backlash.
However, the pain was worth enduring as the Book of Truth revealed the stele’s location to me.

“…It’s not far.”

Northwest, 1.3km.
I got on the dwarven supercar and stepped on the accelerator.
It took less than 3 minutes to get to the coordinate shown in the Book of Truth.
Inside a huge crevice at the edge of the glacier land near an ocean, a stele-like object was buried under the snow.

I slowly drove the dwarven supercar down the cliff. As this snowmobile could go down vertical paths, going down a cliff was no problem.

“Found it.”

A dwarven stele was buried under the snow.
I dusted my hands off in front of it. At the same time, a system alert popped up.

[You discovered a dwarven stele.]
[The contents of the dwarven stele have been stored in your database.]
[Ecorld Qowemr FcmoE Roalz….]

Although I couldn’t understand it at all, I could leave the translation to the Book of Truth.
I immediately asked the Book of Truth for the translation of the stele’s content. Was it because the dwarven language was easy to translate? It didn’t take too much Stigma.

[Young Dwarf’s Diary of Enlightenment]
[Today, Old Man Hairy Nostrils taught me the most important mindset as a descendant of Hephaestus…]

“The heck is this?”

I frowned in the middle of reading the translation. A diary? What happened to the potion recipes?
After continuing to read the diary, I walked up to the stele to check if there was something else to it.
But when I touched the stele, a burst of light erupted from the stele.
It was a brilliant golden light that I had experienced a few times before.
Right, it was the light from the activation of accumulation of luck.

Chwaaa—
The golden light emanating from the dwarven stele poured into my eyes.
I stood still and received it fully.

[‘Young Dwarf’s Enlightenment’ resonates with your Trait ‘Dexterity’.]
[Trait ‘Dexterity’ disappears.]
[It has been replaced by ‘Young Dwarf’s Dexterity’. Its rank has been increased.]

“…Ha.”

I trembled in excitement from the series of system alerts.
Dwarves, the descendants of Hephaestus. The innate dexterity possessed by this mystical race.
I clutched my beating heart and took a deep breath.
There was only one thing I could say in my current level of excitement.

“Jackpot.”

**


After the blissful activation of ‘accumulation of luck’, we stayed on the 2nd floor for another 36 hours.
Meanwhile, the landscape changed from Antarctica to a volcanic zone, and I found two more dwarven steles. One had a recipe for brewing ‘Special Dwarven Potion’ and the other had a recipe for crafting ‘Special Dwarven Shoes’.
Both of these recipes resonated with Young Dwarf’s Dexterity and entered my head. Now, I was able to make them as long as I had the ingredients.

“Now, everyone, let’s go up to the 3rd floor~”

“I almost died from boredom. We’re finally going up?”

Cheok Jungyeong grumbled.
I smiled in response.

“Didn’t you have fun fighting the Flame Octopus? You said it lasted 12 hours.”

“…I’m tired of it now. I want to fight with humans.”

Judging by Jain and Boss’ expressions, they were probably thinking the same thing. Of course, I didn’t blame them since there wasn’t anything fun to do in this place.
Cheok Jungyeong shot up.

“Alright, we’re really going up now, right?”

“Yes.”

“You better not be lying. Otherwise, I’ll squash your head.”

Cheok Jungyeong sounded impatient, but in truth, none of us were too worried. It was because I had already found an elevator.

We left our temporary base and walked towards the elevator.
We arrived not too long afterwards. As it was covered in granite from the magma we poured on it before, it didn’t look like an elevator at all.

“I’m breaking it.”

“Yes.”

Cheok Jungyeong immediately punched the granite mound.
KWANG!
The granite covering the elevator shattered, revealing the elevator within.

“Alright, let’s get on~”

“By the way, Hajin, is everyone going to be able to come up? There were about 2000 people, and only four of us are taking a single elevator right now.”

Jain asked.

“I’m not too sure, but I’m guessing about 80% will be able to make it up.”

In truth, the speed of the elevator would double after a week from something called the ‘acceleration phenomenon’.

“Really? Hm, I can’t see more than 50% going up though.”

“Well, we’ll see… anyways, hop on. We don’t have time.”

“Oh, right, okay.”

With that, we got on the elevator, which only had three buttons: floor 3, open, and close.
After pressing the 3rd floor button and the close button without hesitation, I sat down on the floor.
Wooong—
Along with a huge roar, the elevator began to float up.

“…Ah~ I’m hungry. Hajin, let’s eat some deer meat.”

“Oh, I gave all of it away to my friend.”

“What? All of it?”

Jain was shocked. It was understandable since it was enough to feed all four of us for a week even if Cheok Jungyeong ate three people’s worth every meal.

“Yes, but you know the dwarven supercar, right? You could say I traded it for the meat. We also have lots of boar meat left.”

“…Ah, I see. If that’s the case, then I guess it’s fine… though I don’t know what kind of an idiot would trade that artifact for food.”

Knowing the versatility and usefulness of the dwarven supercar, Jain quickly accepted it.

“By the way, is this thing going up?”

“Probably? Haam.”

A yawn came out.
It took eight hours for the elevator to travel back and forth. In other words, we would be in here for the next four hours…

“This is the perfect time to sleep~”

We decided to sleep until the elevator arrived. I took out four pieces of monster leather from my inventory for each of us.

“Good night, Boss~”

“Yes.”

“You too, Newbie~”

“You too, Jain-ssi.”

I checked my messenger before going to sleep.
I had a few new messages.

[Nayunjajangman.]
「Hyung-nim, did you clear the 2nd floor?」
「If not, you can join the elevator we found. We decided to wait for about three hours before leaving. I’ll give you the coordinates if you want to come.」

“….”

The message was sent 30 minutes ago. At first, I turned the messenger off without replying.
But if Nayunjajangman was really that girl…

「I’m on the 3rd floor now.」

I felt like Nayunjajangman would wait for more than three hours if I didn’t reply. So, I sent a brief reply.

Nayunjajangman: 「Oh ㅋㅋ as expected of Hyung-nim.」
「Oh right, before you go, make sure you stock up on food.」
Nayunjajangman: 「Food?」
「Yep. Deer or wild boar. If you’ve never dismantled wild animal before, now is the time.」
Nayunjajangman: 「Got it. Is there nothing to eat on the 3rd floor?」

I didn’t say anything more than that. Of course, I wasn’t sure whether Nayunjajangman was Chae Nayun yet. But because my heart felt heavy, I cast the thought away with a deep sigh.
Zzz—
Zzzz—
Zzzzzz—

“Pft.”

My depression didn’t last long hearing the unique snoring length of each member.

“I should sleep too.”

I closed my eyes and began to breathe regularly.
One, two, three…
…DING!

In my blurred consciousness, a clear ringing noise echoed out.
I opened my eyes and got up. The elevator door was slowly opening.

“Haam~”

“Kuhu, I like this leather. It’s from the bear I defeated, right?”

“…Yes.”

I put the bear blankets back in my inventory and stood in front of the door.

[3rd floor. You are now on the 3rd floor.]

Along with the system alert, the elevator door fully opened.
I looked out.
3rd floor.
The first residential area which Players would soon come to label the ‘worst’ without hesitation.
Its name was ‘Prestige’.

[Welcome to the 3rd floor’s residential area, 「Prestige」]
[Inside residential areas, you can freely use the messenger, personal waiting room, and Community.]
[However, please be careful of sudden attacks by hordes of undead monsters.]
[Prestige Boost – stat increase rate is increased by 5% (7% for magic power).]

“…What is this place?”

Jain frowned as she looked out at the outskirts of the city.
That was how poor the city looked. Even I thought it looked poor and I knew how bad it would be beforehand.
Even at first glance, the city was filled with run-down shacks, with homeless drunks sleeping by the road. There was a mysterious knee-depth fog blanketing the city, and the air had a thick smell of coal.

“…It’s a city.”

“This is a city?”

“Yes, the system called it a city, so it’s a city.”

Roads filled with life and death.
Lifeless NPCs.
As the 3rd floor didn’t have a sun, the entire world was black and dark blue.

“Now, let’s enter.”

But since it was a place where people lived, it surely had things like shops. This part of the city was a bit more hopeless only because it was on the outskirts.

“Wait, wait, let me rest in my waiting room first. This place smells too bad… uwek—”

“Be patient. We have to figure out what kind of a place this is first.’

Going to the waiting room right away wasn’t such a good choice. Not only would you be unaware of anything happening outside, but you also wouldn’t receive Prestige’s stat increase buff.

“Right, don’t overreact and just endure it, Jain.”

“…Okay.’

Jain had no choice but to nod with Boss chiming in.
And with that, we walked through the city.
The way NPCs looked at us were similar yet different from the tutorial city. Some were aiming for our pockets, while some were innocently begging for help.

“…Oh right, where did the Players go?”

“They’re probably working. You know, to make TP.”

“Auuu, this smell!”

Jain seemed to hate the nasty smell of the city more than anything else. It was the same for the other two. Cheok Jungyeong had a harsh frown on his face, and Boss had put on her Lv.3 Bear Head Helmet.

“…Wait just a little longer. I’ll make a gas mask for you soon.”

I consoled Jain.
For now, the group quest Prestige City Hall gave out came first.
Although it was a little annoying that I had to deal with that damned Medea, I had no other choice since there was no way to live in Prestige if we got on Medea’s wrong side.

**


Same time, 2nd floor.
Rachel was energetically walking towards the coordinates sent by the second team. The two guild members who fainted after touching the dwarven supercar were also with her.

“Vice-leader~!”

“Over here~!”

She could see two members waving their hands in the distance. Rachel wanted to quickly run up to them, but she purposely walked slower to match the two members who weren’t fully recovered yet.

“Geez, look at those two. They’re nothing but burdens.”

“I heard you two fainted… Why didn’t you just die!? You’re going to revive anyways, right!?”

“…Sorry, vice-leader.”[1]

“…Sorry.”

The two guild members dropped their head in shame. However, Rachel only smiled kindly.

“It’s fine. No one expected such a thing to happen.”

Just like that, the seven members of the Royal Court guild reunited in front of an elevator.
There was just one worry.

“…Should we wait? 50 people can ride the elevator.”

Davin, who was the leader of the second team, asked.
Rachel also thought for a moment. She recalled the ‘Empire of Glory’ guild, which she met not too long ago. Rachel didn’t want to be like them.
As a vice-leader, however, she knew there were times when she had to make cold-hearted decisions. In this place, kindness would only be a burden.

“Let’s go up.”

Rachel came to a decision and got into the elevator with her guild members.

“You can do the honors, Vice-leader.”

“Yes.”

Rachel pressed the 3rd floor button.
Then, as the elevator door was closing…

“Waaaaaait—!”

A loud voice rang out.
Startled, Rachel pressed the open button instinctively.

“Let me go with youuuu—!”

The elevator door opened once again, and Rachel could see a white-haired kid and her supposed guardian. They looked dirty and tired, but their running speed was extraordinary.

“Uwak!”

The child stumbled on a stone and fell forward. Then the man following her quickly snatched her up and entered the elevator.

“Ah, thank you so much!”

The man bowed and expressed his gratitude.

“No problem…”

Rachel responded aloofly. For some reason, she felt like she had seen the man’s face before.

“Thank god, thank god….”

She was also familiar with the white-haired child’s face. She felt like she could remember it if her unmade hair was properly combed.
Tap, tap.
At that moment, one of her guild members tapped on her shoulder and whispered.

—Vice-leader… I think they’re Aileen and Yi Yongha. They’re Heroes of the Temple of Justice.

Immediately, Rachel’s hair stood on end.
After hearing their names, she easily matched their faces with the faces in her memory. In fact, white hair was almost a symbol of Aileen.

—But what do you think is wrong with them?

Rachel whispered back. Why was Aileen, who reigned as one of the strongest Heroes in the world, in such a state?

—It must be because they both heavily rely on magic power. As you know, magicians are heavily disadvantaged in this place.

He was right. In this Tower, one had to know how to ‘use their body’ to easily get through it. Even the greatest magician couldn’t do anything if he was hungry.

“Ah, thank you, thank you~! Really, you guys are the only ones who opened the door.”

Even so, Rachel was still curious. Aileen’s Gift, Spirit Speech, was well-known for being able to control people’s actions. Was her magic power restricted that much?

“No, it’s only obvious. Nice to meet you, Aileen-ssi, Yi Yongha-ssi.”

Rachel reached out to Aileen who was about 20cm shorter than her. Aileen looked at Rachel’s hand then grabbed it with a grin. It seemed she had not washed it for a while as it was dirty and sticky.

“You know us?”

“I don’t think there are many who don’t.”

“There were. No, actually, they just pretended not to know. They must have been scared of me.”

Meanwhile, the elevator door closed on its own.
Its destination was obviously the 3rd floor.
Ssss— The elevator began to move.

“Anyways, thank you so much~!”

Relieved, Aileen smiled like a child and plopped down on the ground.

“Ah~ but I’m hungry. No, I’m starving. Yongha, do you have anything to eat?”

“No, we already ate everything we had.”

“What do you have? Hmm…”

Afterwards, Aileen naturally turned to Rachel. She was too ashamed to directly ask for food, but she seemed to be asking with her eyes.

“We don’t have any either.”

Rachel shook her head. Of course, it was a lie. Her inventory still had a lot of the deer meat Kim Hajin gifted her.

“Mm? Ah~ no, I wasn’t asking for food or anything. I’m thankful for the ride alone~”

“Ah, yes.”

===
[Lv.2 Kim Hajin’s Special Sauce Deer Meat]
○Lv.2 Satiety
○Lv.3 Taste
===

Letting them in the elevator was one thing, but Rachel couldn’t share this Lv.2 food with them. It was an extreme~ly delicious food that she planned to share with her guildmates.


1. The vice-leader here refers to the vice-leader of the team. The members call Rachel vice-leader since she’s the vice-leader of the entire guild. The RAW uses the exact same word, so I kept it the same as well.

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