Chapter 180. The Story Inside the Box (1)


“…!”

Jin Sahyuk’s eyes shot open. Like someone who almost drowned to death, she began to hyperventilate. She was breathing, but she felt like she couldn’t breathe because of the overwhelming pressure pressing down on her.

“Huu… huu….”

Only after taking a few more breaths did she snap out of her daze.
She touched her forehead, which was dripping with sweat.
She finally came to the realization that she died.

“….”

She pulled her hair back and looked around her surroundings. The floor and walls were made of wooden boards, and the ceiling was white. She was in her personal waiting room.
When she realized this, a system alert popped up in front of her.

[You died. You must stay inside your waiting room until the start of the next tutorial.]
[The next tutorial will begin next month on November 1st.]

She was at a loss for words even at the damned system. She began to boil with rage. She seethed with unbearable hatred and killing intent. Her arms, legs, and the rest of her body trembled.
—See you later.
His final words echoed in her ears.
Fine, if that’s what you want, I’ll accept it. I will kill you. No, I will make it so that you cannot live or die. 

…However, her heated rage was only short-lived.

After experiencing death, a powerful listlessness and exhaustion struck her. The rage boiling inside her quickly subsided like the tide beginning to recede. But while her body was feeling increasingly enervated, her mind became clearer. Emotions she normally wouldn’t have been able to feel rose up within her.

“Haa….”

She closed her eyes and let out a deep sigh.
She had lost without any room for excuses.
No, thinking about it rationally, there were many excuses that could be made. Her stats were restricted, and her opponent had started two months in advance…
However, Jin Sahyuk didn’t continue such thoughts.
She had already died, and there was no use making excuses.
She simply sat still in a daze.

‘I lost again. Was it twice now? Did I really lose to the same guy twice?’

Strength left her body, like her bones had liquified. She laughed at herself.

‘Is this it? Will you be able to fulfill your life-long wish like this?’

She opened her eyes within swirling skepticism. The white ceiling of her waiting room seemed to be shining brightly.

“…Is there anything I can do before starting over?”

She asked the empty air.

“Something to kill time with.”

[Time is a concept. Therefore, it cannot be killed. I recommend studying to get smarter.]

However, the system seemed to be happy that she died.

“…Are you fucking with me?”

[I recommend reading.]

“Hm, reading…”

Now that she thought about it, she had never read a book since coming to Earth. The last time she read a book was in her hometown, when she was forced to read a few books as part of compulsory education.

“Then give me something to read.”

[History of Losers]

In an instant, a comic book appeared in the air.
Jin Sahyuk stared at the book’s cover, then frowned.

“You piece of shit… give me something else.”

[How to Overcome Illiteracy]

This time it was a proper book, but the title wasn’t appealing in the slightest.

“…Fucker, give me a proper book.”

[How to Overcome Anger-management Issues]
[How to Talk Positively]
[Friendly Way of Talking]

Suddenly, several books began to fall from the sky.

[Anne of Green Gables]
[100 Facts Every Idiot Should Know]
[How to Maintain One’s Composure]

“Are you messing me, you piece of— aak!”

A book falling from the sky struck her head. It was a particularly heavy book, and she was hit by its edge. Jin Sahyuk clutched her head and groaned.

“Uuu, you son of a bitch…”

However, the attack(?) wasn’t over.
Tudududu—
Countless number of books fell from the sky like hail.

[The Bird That Drinks Tears]
[The Little Prince]
[The Prince]
[Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty]
[On the Origin of Species]
[Anatomy]

Soon, Jin Sahyuk found herself buried under books.
Inside this tomb of books, Jin Sahyuk clenched her teeth and mumbled.

“…If only it had a body.”

Jin Sahyuk felt a strong urge to beat up the system, but she knew it was formless.
She shook off her frustration with a sigh, then looked through the books around her. There was one book that caught her attention.

[The Prince]

“…Hm.”

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli.

Jin Sahyuk smiled. There was something about the book’s title and author that she liked. She saw herself as someone who would one day become a ruler, so she picked up the book without hesitation.

**


[You won a duel with a Target!]
[Target ‘Kim Hajin’ acquires the following victory reward!]
[…As the Target is a ‘sworn enemy’, all stats increase by 1. (Only 35% of it will be applied in this place)]
[You obtained 2 ‘Special Consolidation Ticket’.]
[You stole 1479TP from Player ‘StrongestWill’.]

“….”

I sat on the ground and stared at the system alert.
Unable to remember anything no matter how much I thought about it, I even looked through the entire system log. Then, I looked at my laptop’s system log with my smartwatch. 2029, 2028, 2027… Going back three years, I finally found my answer.

[Magic power of rage and obsession has formed a spell in a distant place. You have been selected as a ‘target’.]
[However, a miraculous luck strikes!]
[A mysterious power reverses the spell!]
[An unknown person’s Gift, ‘Targeting’, has been changed to benefit Kim Hajin!]
[Narrow Escape from Death (4/9) – a special stat, accumulation of luck, becomes partly unlocked.]

“…Hm.”

Using this log, I tried to figure out what exactly happened.
First, Jin Sahyuk selected me as a ‘target’. My luck ended up reversing her spell, and she became the ‘target’ instead. By killing the ‘target’ today, I’d gained the above rewards.

It seemed this ‘target’ ‘thing was Jin Sahyuk’s second Gift.
…How complicated.
First, I looked at the reward I got.

===
[Special Consolidation Ticket]
—A consolidation ticket formed from a special Gift.
—By using this ticket, you can strengthen a Gift, equipment, Physique, or Art.
===

“Oh…?”

It was amazing item that didn’t exist in the original story. Of course, I would have to use it to know what ‘strengthening’ meant.
Should I use one on Master Sharpshooter?
While I was considering my options, a series of system alerts popped up.

[Two days later at 8 p.m., a merit conference will be held in Prestige’s [Lv.11 Medea’s Castle]!]
[As an influential candidate, you must participate in this event.]
[If you don’t, you will earn the ill-will of Medea, and you will not be able to receive any rewards.]

Rewards for completing Medea’s quest.
There should be a few special skillbooks and a Trait Recovery Coupon.
Since I should be first place, I should be able to recover a Trait with it.

“Hm.”

I got up. It could think about what Trait to choose later.

“Ah, I should pick up Jin Sahyuk’s mana crystals.”

[Lv.1 Jin Sahyuk’s Mana Crystal x22]
[Lv.2 Jin Sahyuk’s Mana Crystal x4]

I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but since Jin Sahyuk’s magic power was obviously high-ranked, I was sure it would come in handy one day.

After putting the crystals in my inventory, I checked the current time.
3 p.m.
Since the conference was two days away, I felt like I could do more ‘hunting’, taking care of Djinns that would become problematic in the future. Who would have thought I would become a Newbie Hunter?

In any case, I climbed up another tree. Then, I expanded my vision and looked across the horizon. Among the people paving through the harsh conditions of the 2nd floor, I found someone who was on my hit list.

—It’s so hot~ fan me properly~

Cecilia, a Djinn who had the ability of a succubus. She was currently ordering around some men she enslaved with her ability.
I transformed the Desert Eagle into an assault rifle.
Using a sniper rifle bullet was too wasteful. The assault rifle was enough for anyone other than Jin Sahyuk.

Of course, to increase the power of the bullet, I had to shorten the distance.
I jumped from tree to tree until I was about 400 meters away.
When I could see Cecilia with the naked eyes, I raised my assault rifle.
Aiming it at Cecilia, I pulled the trigger.

Shooong—

The rifle bullet shot through the air and pierced Cecilia’s forehead. She immediately scattered into particles of light.

[You stole 3568TP from Player ‘CharmCharmCharm’.]

—W-What?
—H…Huh?

With the succubus’ enchantment lifted, the freed men looked around the forest in a daze.

**

In 24 hours, I killed seven Djinns and procured enough food to feed 100 people for three days. I also found another dwarven stele.
Satisfied with what I achieved, I was thinking about going back, when I suddenly got curious what Kim Suho was doing. After finding Kim Suho and observing him for a while, I returned to the elevator. As expected, Suho was doing well on his own.

“…?”

When I was about to get on the elevator I found with the Book of Truth, something in my pocket suddenly vibrated. It was Muninn’s egg, which was sitting in the large pocket of my robe.

I quickly took the egg out.
On its surface, cracks began to form. The cracks got bigger as the egg continued to shake.

“Oooh.”

I was slightly taken aback.
The descendant of the king of the Norse gods’ beloved pet was being born. What was I supposed to do in this situation?
For now, I unleashed Stigma’s magic power, wrapping the egg so that it could be born comfortably.
The egg stopped shaking inside the soft membrane of magic power.
Soon, the eggshell broke and a small bird peeked its head out.
Its feathers were wet, and it couldn’t open its eyes yet.
For a descendant of the bird loved by a god, it looked incredibly ordinary.
However, the information displayed on the membrane was nothing but ordinary.

===
[Lv.5 Descendant of Muninn]
[Strength 0.2]
[Bite Force 0.2]
[Stamina 0.2]
[Speed 0.2]
[Perception 6]
[Vitality 0.2]
[Magic Power 6]
===

A Lv.5 newborn with perception and magic power stats at 6 points.
My jaws dropped.
I held the newborn baby in my arms. It must have felt the warmth of my body, as it slowly opened its adorable eyes and looked up at me.

“…Hi.”

I didn’t know whether it could understand human language, but I smiled and greeted it anyways.
Then, it tilted its head to the side as birds often did. It was trying to get a better look at me.

—…chirp.

Then it cried.
At the same time, a system alert popped up.

[‘Lv.5 Descendant of Muninn’ recognizes you as its master.]
[Make a name for ‘Lv.5 Descendant of Muninn’!]

“A name….”

I pondered. I never thought about what name to give to this sacred bird.
After a moment of thought, I came up with a name.

“Ah! How about Ppomi?”

Ppomi frowned.

—Chirp, chirp chirp!

It didn’t sound happy at all. Did it sound bad?

“Then how about Phoenix?”

Phoenix pouted. Wasn’t it a cool name?

“Hm… then how about Lionel Ronaldo.”

—Chirp!

“Son Heungmin?”

—Chirp!

“Vermillion Bird?”

I suggested every name I could think of, but Muninn’s descendant wasn’t easily pleased.
After about 30 minutes of back and forth….

“…Is this really okay?”

—Chirp chirp.

The little bird finally smiled, its eyes forming a cute crescent moon.
I didn’t understand it, but it seemed like the name just sounded good in its ears.

“…Alright, then from now, you’re Mr. Spartan Keyser Söze Macbeth Junior.”

—Chirp, chirp!

[Muninn’s descendant loves the name you gave.]
[The naming ceremony has been completed.]
[‘Mr. Spartan Keyser Söze Macbeth Junior’ activates its first Trait, Ring of Perception.]
[From now, you can share your vision and thoughts with ‘Mr. Spartan Keyser Söze Macbeth Junior’!]

“Hm?”

[Second Trait – Information and Shop]
[‘Mr. Spartan Keyser Söze Macbeth Junior’ allows you to use the Tower Re-entrance Ticket and Earth Return Ticket for free.]
[Furthermore, it will gift you 2~3 items per day.]
[‘Mr. Spartan Keyser Söze Macbeth Junior’ will awaken more Traits as it grows up.]

A chick that was only just born had this much potential.
Investing 20000TP was undoubtedly the correct choice. As expected of the descendant of a divine bird, Spartan was amazing.

“Alright, Spartan, let’s go up.”

—Chirp.

I put down Spartan (short for Mr. Spartan Keyser Söze Macbeth Junior) on the ground. Spartan waddled into the elevator, and I followed suit. Also, since I gave Spartan a male name, I decided that it was a he.

[Going up.]

I pressed the 3rd floor button. The door closed, and the elevator began to fly up. Meanwhile, Spartan continued to chirp as he explored the elevator.
I opened the messenger to kill time.

Nayunjajangman: 「Hyung-nim, you don’t happen to have a curse antidote, do you?」
Nayunjajangman: 「Ah, not that I was inflicted with a curse, haha. It’s actually my friend.」
Nayunjajangman: 「It looks like the curse is getting stronger as time goes by. I think it’s still bearable… but anyways, if you have one, I can pay up to 2000TP for it.」

A message that I received two days ago caught my attention.

“A curse…?”

The only curse that one could get on the 3rd floor was the banshee’s curse.
Although the ingredients were expensive, I knew the recipe for making the ‘curse counteragent’. I still had several Random Dice in case I needed them too.
However, I was afraid to meet Nayunjajangman. I was afraid to find out whether he… or she… was the Nayun I knew.

“Mm….”

But I also couldn’t let Nayunjajangman’s friend die.
I leaned against the elevator wall and fell in thought.

—Chirp, chirp!

Then, hearing Spartan’s loud chirp, I glanced over.

—Chirp! Chirp!

Spartan was flapping its wings. Was he already trying to fly? He was only born 30 minutes ago!

—Chirp…

Spartan’s eyes were closed, and he was clearly trying to focus his strength on his wings.

—Chirp…! Chirp!

Unfortunately, he couldn’t fly just yet.
He seemed to be dissatisfied that he couldn’t, as he opened his eyes and glared at his wings.

—Chirp, chirp!

After letting out a disgruntled cry, he put his wings back.
I couldn’t help but smile at how adorable he was.

**


On the other hand, Boss returned to the Chameleon Troupe’s hideout on Earth. Because the Tower’s stat restriction was lifted, she felt a bit sore. However, she didn’t waste any time to stretch, and headed straight into the hideout’s lobby.

“Boss, you’re back.”

Setryn discovered her first. Setryn ran over and tried to hug her, but Boss pushed Setryn back with a light emission of magic power.

“…Meanie. Why can’t you love me as much as Newbie?”

“Where’s Droon.”

“Droon?”

Setryn tilted her head and pointed at ‘Droon’s Playroom’.

“He’s been inside his room recently. What do you need him for?”

“….”

Boss didn’t say anything and walked over to Droon’s room.
Knock, knock—
Droon reacted to Boss’ harsh knocking.
The door opened, and Boss’ gaze fell down.

“Droon.”

“Boss?”

A small child that only came up to her chest was looking up at her, blinking in surprise.

“Why’d you call me?”

“Tell me where Yoo Jinhyuk is hiding.”

“…Eh? S-So suddenly?”

“…Didn’t I tell you to investigate his whereabouts? That was a long time ago too.”

Droon flinched at Boss’ unusually irritable manner. It was a side of her he had not seen for a long time thanks to Hajin Hyung. Did something happen inside the Tower?

“I, I found out where he lives. B-But why are you looking for him…?”

“There’s something I want to ask him. I don’t think he’s going to respond to my messages on Violet Banquet, so I’ll have to go find him instead.”

Boss was sure that Yoo Jinhyuk knew something.
Watching Boss’ determination, Droon swallowed his saliva.

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