Chapter 172. Skill (1)


Inside the limousine, after Kim Hajin left, Yoo Yeonha was looking outside leaning her head on the window. Han River, the Tower of Hero, guild buildings shining with their respective insignias.
Seoul’s sky was unusually grey. It seemed it was going to rain soon.

“…Haa.”

Yoo Yeonha let out a small sigh and pondered. Kim Hajin had asked her to investigate the truth behind his parents’ deaths. In that case, how much did he know?
That he was a victim of the Kwang-Oh Incident? Or even that Chae Joochul was behind it?

Feeling a headache, Yoo Yeonha pressed her temples.
This was why one-sided knowledge of information was unfair. Because she didn’t know how much he knew, she couldn’t decide how much to reveal.

“…And this.”

A plastic bag caught her attention. It was the homemade hamburger Kim Hajin made. Although it smelled good, Yoo Yeonha didn’t have the energy to eat.

“Um… driver?”

She called the driver to ask if he wanted it. But when she held the plastic bag up, the burger’s smell spread out even more. Its savory and fragrant scent made it clear that it wasn’t an ordinary hamburger.

“Yes, Miss? Do you need something?”

The driver asked.
In this short amount of time, countless thoughts flashed through her head.

“N-No, it’s nothing.”

In the end, she brought the plastic bag closer and took out its content. A hamburger that wasn’t too big or too small. Not only was it appetizing, it even looked beautiful.
Gulp.
Swallowing her saliva, Yoo Yeonha took a bite.
Nom, nom… Her mouth stopped moving.
She became surrounded by starlight.
It was a taste that temporarily isolated her from the rest of the world, a flavor of pure rapture that she had never tasted before.

“…Nyam.”

After staying in a daze, she took another bite. The flavor of the burger exploded in her mouth.
Mentally, she was depressed and troubled, but her body was honest.
Her mouth was talking. That it had to eat this burger no matter what.
Amidst this chaos, Yoo Yeonha slowly ate the burger, savoring every single bite.

**


I returned to Chameleon Troupe’s hideout. I didn’t have any time to waste. I sent my bed to Yoo Yeonha as soon as I came back, then touched my bracelet-shaped re-entrance ticket to go back into the Tower.

“Wait, Coal!”

Setryn suddenly shouted. For the record, ‘coal’ referred to the color black. Setryn liked to call me by different black objects. For example, she’s called me coal, petroleum, oil, blackie, and black cloud.

“Yeah?”

“Our magician wants to come live here too.”

“Magician… you mean Brown?”

“Yep.”

The seat of Brown, Hirano Arashi.
The master of destruction magic and stronghold creation.
That perverted woman wanted to come?
On one hand, I felt reassured, and on the other, I was worried.

“Then… tell her she can use my room for now. I don’t have time to make another one.”

“Sure, Blackie.”

That seemed to be her only business as she hopped back on the couch once again. Next to her, Yoo Kyunghwan smacked his lips as he glanced at me.

“Kuhum, then I’m going back.”

I immediately activated the re-entrance ticket.
This time, a portal wasn’t created. My vision blurred, and in the next moment, I found myself inside the Tower. I knelt and retched. Direct teleportation had taken a toll on me.

“Argh, my head…”

[Welcome back, Player Extra7.]
[Please get changed.]

“…Yes.”

I put on the clothes I had when I left the Tower.

[Confirmed.]
[The portal to the 3rd floor residential area will be created.]

Along with this system message, a portal shot up from the floor.
I stepped into it without hesitation.

[Welcome back to the 3rd floor – Prestige.]

The outer city of Prestige entered my sight. It was still infested with hunger and poverty.
I could easily spot Players walking around the streets. Since I was on Earth for four days, it wasn’t too surprising. More people must have climbed up to the 3rd floor.

Boss: 「You’re back, Newbie?」

Boss messaged me as soon as I returned.

「Yes. Have you been doing well, Boss?」

Boss: 「Yeah, I already earned 1600TP.」

「Ooh, that’s a lot.」

Boss: 「Hehe, fighting helps my stats grow quicker. Anyways, where are you??」

「I’m walking towards the inner wall right now…」

I replied as I walked forward. Then, I suddenly became curious how Henry and Kiri were doing.

「Keep hunting. I have something to do, so I’ll join you in three hours.」

After sending Boss this message, I changed course to the shop I bought.

—The items they sell here are too poor. Are you sure it’s a named shop?

It didn’t take long for me to find my shop. It was noticeable even from a distance as it had ten or so people wandering around it.

—It sells Lv.3 items and attribute-infused items. It’s the best place outside the inner city.

—Oh, by the way, I heard you can receive common quests without having to buy citizenship.

I pushed my hood down further and walked past the chattering Players.
There were six Players inside the shop. They were debating whether to buy a Lv.3 longsword. Henry and Kiri were staring at them from the counter.

“Henry? Kiri?”

Using this opportunity, I glanced at Henry and Kiri.
When they noticed me, their faces turned bright.

“Ah, everyone, it’s time for us to restock. Can you talk outside?”

“Oh? There are even more items coming in?”

“Yes, the shop is closing down for the day.”

“Ooh~ alright, I’ll come back tomorrow then.”

Kiri skillfully drove the customers away. The Players glanced at me on their way out, but they seemed to have thought I was an NPC as they didn’t show too much interest.

“You’re back!”

“Welcome back!”

Kiri and Henry bowed in a 90-degree angle.

“Yeah, I’m back.”

I took off my hood and smiled.
Thankfully, their complexions had gotten much better than before. They looked healthy and fed, and they seemed to be taking baths too as they were exceptionally clean.

“Are we getting many customers?”

“Yes, I don’t know why but more and more people have been visiting lately.”

“What about the items?”

“We sold two!”

“Two?”

“Yes!”

Kiri replied energetically. I looked around the shop. The two items sold were the cheapest items in the shop, the Bear Leather Jacket and the Gorilla Wrist Protector.
I wasn’t too surprised. Most people still couldn’t fill their bellies properly, so they would be hard-pressed to come up with money to find the Lv.3 Steel Sword.

“The jacket sold for 600TP and the wrist protector sold for 500TP!”

“Oh? That’s more than I expected!”

As I thought, they were talented. I would have been happy with just getting 300TP for each of them.

“Um, are there any other items for us to sell?”

Kiri asked enthusiastically.
I grinned. I told them I’d give them 5% of whatever they sold, so it wasn’t surprising to see them so zealous.

“Ah, um, it’s just that many customers are disappointed. They always say we don’t have enough variety.”

“Hold on a bit, I’ll go make some now.”

I said that and walked downstairs.
The basement was still empty. I took out the Goblin Tablet from the Black Pouch and infused Stigma’s magic power into it.
Shooong—
Three lumps of light shot out of the Goblin Tablet, becoming two normal goblins and one goblin shaman.

“Hello.”

—Kerek, kerek.
—Kurorok.

“Oh, we haven’t met before. Anyways, I have work for you guys…”

I commanded the goblins to make potions.
As goblins, potion recipes and brewing techniques were engraved in their DNA. As long as they had the ingredients, they should be able to make them on their own.
I opened the Player Shop and bought all the herbs that could be used as potion ingredients. Although it cost about 10000TP, I should be able to make five times that amount once I sold everything.

“…I hope they sell well.”

The reason I set up a shop was simple.
To prevent the 3rd floor from falling into ruin, a redistribution of wealth was necessary.
Ripping TP away from the Players and distributing it to NPCs, thereby letting them topple the wall preventing their growth on their own. My final goal was for NPCs to hold ‘desire to exist’ rather than ‘desire to disappear’.
Of course, I didn’t plan on doing this myself.
That was why I hired Henry and Kiri.

“Um… Boss?”

At that moment, Kiri peeked her head into the basement.

“Oh, come down.”

“Eh, eeh?”

Kiri was startled when she saw the goblins, but when I patted their heads, Kiri approached them with interest.

“Um, what are these strange creatures…?”

“Think of them as friends. They’re going to be making potions down here. You just need to take them up and sell them. You can order them to clean the shop if you want, and if it’s necessary, you can order them to fight.”

“Ah… okay…”

“Good, then go back up.”

Kiri went back upstairs, and I sat down on the floor. Ignoring the goblins who were rummaging through the basket of herbs, I opened the Tower’s system.

===
[Special Dwarven Potion Recipe]
1. Sylaon Grass (5g)
2. Krumin (3g)
3. Ketelin (1g)

===

It was the recipe that was recorded in the dwarven stele.
There was a high chance that it was leagues above anything the goblins knew how to make.
But because there was a rather special ingredient – ketelin – in the recipe, I needed to borrow Random Dice’s power.

[Random Dice x5]

I already had the maximum amount.
I wasted three dice over the four days I was gone.
I quickly threw the dice.

**


For three hours, the goblins made 10 potions and I made 3.
The goblins took a long time to make potions because of the Goblin Tablet’s low level, and I didn’t have enough ingredients to make any more. Instead, I used the remaining time to make three Lv.2 equipment and one Lv.3 equipment, making it better for the overall variety of the shop.

“Come back soon!”

“We’ll do our best!”

“Yeah, make sure you eat properly.”

“Okay~!”

I left all the equipment with Henry and Kiri and went outside.

PhantomThief: 「Hajin, where are you? We’re walking to your shop right now.」

「I’ll wait then.」

I stood near the shop and waited.
Not long afterward, Jain arrived. She was wearing the robe I gifted Boss.

“Where are the others?”

“They’re coming soon~ anyways, Newbie, is making TP the only thing we need to do here~?”

“For now.”

The 3rd floor took a long time to finish because the demons we had to defeat formed a society of their own.

“By the way, did you get any skills?”

I asked Jain.

“Skills?”

Skills were one of the most important aspects of this Tower. Here, no matter how much you increased your stats, you could be countered by a single skill and have all your efforts wasted.

“You didn’t get any skillbooks as drops?”

“Ah~ I don’t really like hunting that much. You should ask Boss~”

“Oh, okay.

There was only one skill I wanted to obtain from this floor.
One of the best among skills that only took up one skill slot – [Permanent Materialization].

“Oh, here they come.”

At that moment, Jain pointed down the street.

“Where…”

In the distance, I caught sight of two very noticeable people walking towards us.

“…Wow.”

I muttered in shock.
Boss was that beautiful.
Her slender legs and elegant figure made her look like a goddess, and her delicate face looked like the perfect combination of all the good points of Westerners and Easterners. The leather jacket she was wearing gave her a cool look.
The Bear Leather Jacket… so Boss was the one who bought it. And that’s why Jain was wearing her robe.
She really started to take interest in fashion.

“Welcome back, Newbie.”

Boss walked up to me and said. She seemed to have found boots from somewhere as she was almost at my eye level. I pretended to be blinded by her beauty, and Boss smiled in satisfaction.

“Alright, that’s enough, what is it that you wanted to ask me?”

When I came back today, I had asked her for a favor.

“Ah, you see, I want to rob a mansion in the inner city.”

The Professor’s Mansion. It was the place where the skillbook I wanted was hiding.

“Stealing? Sounds fun.”

Cheok Jungyeong chuckled. Boss also nodded. Then, she suddenly held up her index finger as if she remembered something.

“But before that.”

Something appeared on her hand. It looked like a magnifying glass.
What item was this again?
Rather than looking through my settings book, I asked Boss first.

“What is it?”

“…Just a fun item.”

Boss gave a vague reply and pointed the magnifying glass at me. The convex side of the lens made my face distort unattractively.
…After about a minute, the magnifying glass turned into dust and scattered.

“Um, Boss?”

I couldn’t help but be curious about what just happened.

“…What’s wrong?”

“Uh…”

“Boss?”

A never before seen agitation and surprise was spreading out across her face.

**


‘Tower of Wish’.
This Tower of unprecedented scale had the entire world in an uproar. Television channels dedicated to the Tower of Wish appeared, relevant websites popped up, and the internal structure and overall progression of the Tower became something of an entertainment for even the ordinary people.

The same passion existed in Pandemonium. Without any federal authority restricting its residents and guests, ‘entrance tickets’ became the hottest item to be sold and traded. Multiple auctions were held every day, and both big and small fights broke out over attempts to take them with force.

“…Hm.”

On the other hand, in Pandemonium’s eternally popular Thousand Demon Arena, Jin Sahyuk was sitting in her waiting room, not as a Demon-rank fighter but a Fiend-rank fighter. Naturally, her waiting room had gotten several times larger than before.

“This is the real thing?”

With her legs crossed arrogantly, she asked as she straightened out the ticket in her hand.

“Y-Yes, certainly.”

The man bowing in front of her replied. Jin Sahyuk looked down at him with a bored look. The man was curled up like the larva of a cicada and trembling in terror.

“What if it isn’t?”

“P-Pardon?”

Jin Sahyuk lit a cigarette and put it in her mouth.
Huuu… Thick smoke spread out across the room. As expected of a magic power circulation catalyst that cost millions of won, it tasted quite good.

“Are you deaf? I asked, what if it isn’t?”

“I, I’m certain. I swear that it isn’t fake.”

Jin Sahyuk grinned.
With Bell no longer around to restrain her, she went wherever she wanted and caused a huge mess. She forced herself into wherever entrance tickets were said to be and checked the tickets’ color.
However, she didn’t steal tickets that weren’t black. What she wanted was the best entrance ticket and nothing else.

“Yeah… I guess I have to trust you. What other choice do I have, right?”

Murmuring to herself, she stared at the black ticket given by the man.
The Tower of Wish was currently the focal point of the entire world. Things that happened in the Tower, how the world inside the Tower was like, everything of such nature became a newsworthy topic.
But this was precisely what was driving Jin Sahyuk mad.
A world where each person had seven lives. The fact that she wasn’t a part of such a world was driving her crazy. Likewise, she couldn’t restrain her killing intent for the person who stole her ticket.

“But I heard that the black ticket is a double-edged sword. You can only choose the hardest difficulty, but the benefit you get from it is less than the others…”

“Shut it.”

Jin Sahyuk flicked the ashes of her cigarette. Then, she infused her magic power into the ticket.
Until now, she had burned all fake entrance tickets to ashes. The fools who brought those tickets to her had likewise become ashes.
However, this entrance ticket was different.
Not only could it withstand her magic power, but it also had the ability to circulate it within itself.
This entrance ticket was… real.

Jin Sahyuk stared at the man who brought her this ticket.
He was kneeling respectfully, shaking in fear. Yet, he was still sneaking a peek at her every now and then. Jin Sahyuk decided to forgive his filthy look. She knew she dressed rather skimpily as well.

“You’re right, this looks like the real thing.”

With a grin, she got up and opened her safe. A countless number of jewels were shining beautifully inside it.
Jin Sahyuk took out the jewel she promised as a reward, a ‘blood diamond’. Then, she threw it as though it was a piece of trash.

“H-Huk!”

“Take it and scram.”

“Y-Yes, thank you!”

The man ran away as soon as he received the diamond. He was in such a hurry that he tripped and fell several times.

“Why run if you’re going to fall… fucking idiot.”

Jin Sahyuk watched the man leave, then sat down on her chair.
After putting her cigarette back in her mouth, she examined the ticket once again.
At first, a satisfied smile emerged on her face, but soon, her face distorted viciously. Her clenched teeth severed the cigarette in half.

“…Just you wait, you motherfucker. I’ll tear you into pieces…”

She spat out the pent-up rage in her heart.
She had already made full preparations to go into the Tower.
She wasn’t just playing around.
She hunted down people who left the Tower after the tutorial. Sometimes she tortured them and sometimes she asked kindly. With the information she got from them, she practiced necessary skills and techniques.

…For some reason, the rage boiling inside her suddenly subsided.
Jin Sahyuk tilted her head with a strange expression.
Just now, a strange sense of foreboding enveloped her.
Apprehension? Unease? Regardless of what it was, the ‘intuition’ she was born with told her it was something she couldn’t ignore.
Jin Sahyuk looked down at the entrance ticket seriously.

[Black Entrance Ticket]

“Pft.”

…However, she sneered and coldly shook off the uneasy feeling she got.
No matter what it was, I just had to do well.
No matter who it was, I just had to kill them.

“Just you wait….”

Jin Sahyuk trembled once again with excitement and rage.

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