Chapter 188. Sign (2)


[Lv.11 Medea’s Palace]

Standing in the heart of Prestige was a lofty palace that served as the symbol of the city.
The Gothic spires and stained glass decorating the walls gave it an antique charm, and the mana crystals adorning the ceilings and walls shone even in Prestige’s eternal darkness.

This mystical palace was built and sustained with only the power of magic. It was a symbol of sovereignty of the ‘abandoned princess’, Medea.

The halls of the palace were a maze that one could only enter with Medea’s permission, and the palace’s walls had magic cannons that could shoot down any outside enemy.
The fact that she even added eight legs to the palace so she could escape with it if it was necessary showed how much she loved the place.

“Hnn…”

Currently, Medea was surrounded by her faithful servants, who followed her every wish, and was looking at a table filled with delicacies that came from the upper floors of the Tower. Despite all these, she was in a bad mood.

There was just one thing that was bothering her.

‘…There shouldn’t be anyone in Prestige with the skills to craft such an item.’

Medea thought back to the event she held four days ago.
The robe that the first ranked man who introduced himself as Buyong was wearing.
The surface of the robe was soft like flowing water and its beautiful engravings exuded a faint aura.

‘Aura’.

It was a flow of magic power and art that could only be seen by those who possessed the Aesthetic Eye.
Medea could see the aura being emitted from his robe. The aura was very natural as if it had been that way ever since it was first created.

‘…Who could have made such a robe?’

Medea was simply curious. To her knowledge, there wasn’t anyone in Prestige with such skills. If there was, she would’ve brought them to the palace a long time ago.
It wasn’t something that could be found outside the 3rd floor either. A civilization that could produce such luxuries would be on a much higher floor than Prestige.

“Could it be…?”

Suddenly, she thought of Hephaestus who should be hiding somewhere.
But she quickly shook her head.
That ignorant man wouldn’t be able to make something so delicate. It was that blacksmith’s fault that dwarfs, who possessed far more dexterity than elves, avoided cloth and weaving and focused only on gold and iron.

“…Tsk.”

It all seemed so pitiful to Medea after a while.
Everything in Prestige was cheap anyway.
She was a bit curious about the robe but that was all. It wasn’t something she was dying to get her hands on. Only items like the ‘Blue Wave’ and the ‘Song of Sorrow’ were worthy of holding her attention.

“Reiley.”

Medea stopped thinking about the robe and called in the old butler who had been working for her for a long time.
Suddenly, a part of the room trembled and the old butler appeared out of the blue.
It was a simple teleportation that only worked inside the palace.

“Yes, Your Highness.”

“When is the next Administrator Conference?”

The Tower’s administrators, who were in charge of a floor or a sub-floor, frequently held meetings.

Of the many administrators, some were apathetic to the whole thing, some were kind enough to help Players go higher up, and some tried their best to disturb them..

Medea was the self-indulgent type, an apathetic administrator.

She couldn’t care less about who died. She only wanted to focus on gathering performance points and TP, so she could manifest herself in the phenomenon realm.
After all, being stuck inside this damn Tower for the rest of her life would be very boring and sad.

“The meeting is scheduled… 10 days from now.”

“Is that so?”

Medea smiled oddily and licked her lips.

“Then, let’s get one more thing done before then.”

There was still one thing left to do.
Although it was a bit of a difficult and impertinent task, she knew it wouldn’t be her that would shoulder the burdens.

“Isn’t it about time that Prestige gets a sun?”

Medea’s enchanting voice filled the spacious palace.

**

[Lv.6 Strange Valley of Darkness]

I entered the valley to escape Jin Seyeon’s sight.

“It should be around here somewhere….”

It was hard to see through all the dirt and ores, but I finally managed to find [Krakoon’s Vault] using my Thousand-Mile Eyes.
It was a tightly-sealed, cubic safe.
Again I opened it easily using the Mystic Key.

“…?”

But there were only documents inside.
I looked at them carefully and found they were land documents and slave contracts.

===
[Magic Land Document]
—A land document made from magic power.
—Upon the death of the original owner, ownership can be transferred to another person.
===
[Magic Slave Contract]
—Slave contract made from magic power.
—Upon the death of the original owner, ownership can be transferred to another person.
===

First, I infused my magic power into the land document.

[The owner of ‘Valley of Darkness’ has been changed to the Player ‘Extra7’.]
[Currently, there are about 480kg of dark ore buried within ‘Valley of Darkness’.]

“…Oh?”

So, there was something like this.
But even if I become the land owner, how was I supposed to dig up all this dark ore?

[TIP! Lv.1 Player Shop sells an ‘automatic miner’ for 800TP.]

“Ah, thank you.”

So there was something like that.
There was a lot I didn’t know.
I purchased an ‘automatic miner’ from the Player Shop. It was a machine that looked like a drone.

===
[Lv. 1 Automatic Miner]
—A cute machine that searches for ores buried in a mine and automatically digs them out.
○Lv.1 Ore Mining
—Digs up to 1kg of ores per hour.
○Lv.1 Ore Searching
===

I bought three automatic miners and released them. Then, I began to search the Valley of Darkness for enslaved human NPCs.

“Aah!”

“W-Who are you?”

The sudden incident threw them into confusion. I approached them gently so they wouldn't be surprised, asked for their hometown, and released the shackles around their necks.

There were 16 of them in total.
They were all formal Prestige residents.

I tore up their slave contracts, collected the ores they had dug, and sent them back to Prestige. I also sent a message to Henry and Kiri, asking them to introduce the freed slaves to Kedrick. Since Kedrick went through tough times with them, he was likely to take care of them somehow.

“Thank you! Thank you!”

“I won't forget your kindness!”

We were standing in front of the crystal stele that let one travel between the 3rd and the 4th floor.
The moment the 16 NPCs shed tears, a system window popped up.

[You defeated Krakoon, the administrator of the Valley of Darkness, and rescued the NPCs.]
[Subquest complete. “The Wishes of the NPCs at the Prison Camp - Murder of the Valley Executive”]
[All of your stats increase by 0.3 points.]

“…Mmm.”

All stats by 0.3.
I nodded my head in satisfaction and wondered what to do next. I didn’t want to act hastily with Jin Seyeon so close by.
Should I go check out the 5th floor for a bit?

With my Master Sharpshooter Gift, scouting was extremely easy.
I climbed up a mountain, which was very commonly found in the Demon Realm, focused Stigma’s magic power in my eyes, and looked around. I was able to see the entire land with my eyes.

Among the many Players struggling on the fifth floor, I studied the alliance team that was moving together.
A group of about 50 people were busy discussing a ‘castle attack’.
The two best guilds ‘Essence of the Strait’ and ‘Frost Sanctuary’ were getting ready to attack [Lv.7 Demon’s Castle No.1] along with the English Royal Court guild.

—Inside the No.1 Castle are about 150 demons and 800 undead.

Those were Rachel’s words. She appeared delighted to be with the upper guilds and couldn’t hide her excitement.

—Are you sure?

Kim Youngjin, Essence of the Strait’s team leader, asked.

“Yes. My wind elemental personally investigated the area.”

Rachel nodded with a needlessly solemn expression.
In response, Kim Youngjin smiled.

—An elementalist has a great tactical value for sure.

—…No, I'm still just a beginner.

Rachel seemed happy at Kim Youngjin’s praise but still kept a humble attitude. She was probably jumping with joy on the inside.

—There are only 50 of us. Maybe the difference is too much.

—What do you think about asking Aileen-nim for help?

Kim Youngjin’s concerns were answered by Jung Hosun, the team leader of Frost Sanctuary.

“…Aileen.”

Hearing this, I wondered where Aileen was. I took my eyes off of them and started looking for Aileen.
She was easy to spot.
After all, she was the only white-haired shorty in the world.

—Yongha, I have 1030TP on me right now. Remember that.

—Huh? Why are you telling me that?

Aileen and Yi Yongha were surrounded by at least 100 undead and 5 demons.

“Well, I just thought we should check them beforehand. I can’t lose them again.”

Even with so many enemies before them, Aileen’s only concern is how much money she had in her pocket. She was probably thinking that she lost the TP that Jain had stolen from her by mistake.

—Okay. 1030TP. I’ll remember that.

—Good.

Aileen nodded and looked ahead.
Not daunted by the ghastly undead and the demons, Aileen smiled.

—Hey kids. Hail is falling from the sky right now.

The demons were confused. The sky above was as dark as ever, without any sign of precipitation.
However, to them, her words were equivalent to a death sentence.

—You see, those hailstones will… split your heads!

Anything a Spirit Speech Master said became true.
Hailstones filled with magic power poured down from the sky at that instant.
Kugwagwagwagwang!

It was hard to tell whether it was hail or a meteor shower. The enormous magic completely wiped out the demons. The armors they had on were crushed as soon as they came into contact with the masses of ice; the skin and flesh of the undead monsters cracked and pulverized before they walked even one step.

“….”

I scratched the back of my neck as I watched the massacre.
For the past month I was Lu Bu or the “Hegemon-King” Xiang Yu. Was that all just a midsummer night’s dream?

“Ehew.”
I should try harder from now on.
Now that I could get more dark ore, I shouldn’t lose to them. Every time I obtain a dark ore, I could use [Synthesis] to compress them into my arrows.

In any case, that was it for my surveillance.
I took out the Dwarven Supercar from my inventory and returned to Prestige.

[Lv.5 Chameleon Troupe’s Hideout]

“I’m back.”

—Is that you, Hajin?

As soon as I stepped inside I heard Boss’ voice coming from the bedroom. I smiled and headed towards her room.
Boss was lying on the bed with my [Orb of Regeneration] in one hand and patting Spartan with the other.

“How do you feel?”

“Much better. I think I’ll recover by tomorrow. This orb is effective.”

“That’s good to hear.”

I sat next to Boss’ bed and made a comb out of Stigma’s magic power. With it I brushed Boss’s messy hair and began thinking.

Chameleon Troupe was the product of my ideas. I didn’t write much about it in the settings book, and everything was just in my head.
That was because I was agonizing over what kind of background to set.
To be more specific, I purposely left it blank to fill it with more attractive settings.

But all that agonizing was in vain, since I stopped writing the novel before Chameleon Troupe and Kim Suho became equal. In terms of time, it should be about 2 or 3 years in the future.

I regretted it.
Now, there were too many things I didn’t know.
Jin Sahyuk’s relationship with Bell.
Bell’s relationship with Boss.
Boss’ relationship with the former boss.
Had I known this would happen, I would have written more.
Well, that was probably why I was a failed writer.
Kim Hajin, the pitiful writer who couldn’t even finish his own novel.

“Hmmm….”

A low humming came from under my hand. I glanced and saw Boss enjoying my combing with her eyes closed.
I looked at her calmly. There was only one way for me to know what I don’t know.
I had to ask Boss directly.

“Hey, Boss.”

—Oh? Looks like Hajin is here.

A noise came from the entrance.
I tilted my head and stood up.

“Wait just a moment.”

I stopped brushing her hair and stepped outside. At the entrance was Jain and one other person.

“When did you get back, Hajin~? Right, so this time we’ve got two more members in the Tower. You know him, right?”

Jain spoke first.
Then, the gentle-looking man next to Jain smiled at me.

“Hey, Newbie.”

It was Jin Yohan, the Seat of Green.
I smiled back at him.

“Yes, hello.”

I sounded composed but my mouth twitched with tension.
Chameleon Troupe’s vital members had started to gather.
Silver should be the next color to arrive.
What that meant was that there wasn’t much time left until we met Kim Suho.

**


“Auu, I’m exhausted~”

On the other hand, Kim Suho had returned to [Lv.1 Creator’s Sacred Grace’s Hideout] after grinding his stats and skill levels on the 4th floor.

Today, he had more guests than usual. On top of his usual companions, Chae Nayun and Shin Jonghak had also followed him back.
The small 55-square-meter Lv.1 hideout thus became crowded with people.

“You didn’t have to follow me all the way back… Anyways, come in.”

Kim Suho scratched his neck as he guided them in.

“Pft, what a tiny place.”

Shin Jonghak’s sneer came out naturally. However, he was clearly different from before. Although he was still a little rude, he wasn’t going out of line like he did in the past.
Did he become an adult?
Kim Suho grinned and nudged Shin Jonghak’s shoulder like they were close friends.

“…Are you crazy? Did you just shove me?”

Shin Jonghak immediately turned serious.
Startled, Kim Suho let out a dry cough.

“Stop being so noisy. Here, it’s a housewarming gift.”

At that moment, Chae Nayun gave a bundle of potions to Kim Suho.

“Oh, what’s this?”

“A potion set from Riry Shop. It’s worth 1000TP, so you better be thankful.”

“1000TP? Wow, thanks. Call me if you ever need help. I’ll be there right away.”

Kim Suho took the potions gratefully. Seeing Kim Suho’s child-like excitement, Chae Nayun smiled.

“Take a seat everyone~ I’ll make dinner~”

Venessa Fermun went into the kitchen and the rest sat down near the kitchen table.

“Hey, doesn’t this remind you of the good old days?”

Yi Yeonghan began to chatter the moment he sat down. He was reminiscing about the past. Looking around the familiar faces at the table, he spoke.

“We’re only missing those two. Yoo Yeonha and Kim Ha— huuk!”

Before Yi Yeonghan could finish saying ‘his’ name, Kim Suho pinched his side. However, it was too late. Chae Nayun’s expression turned sour, and Kim Suho glared at Yi Yeonghan.

“Uuuu, my side….”

Yi Yeonghan was too busy enduring his pain to feel anything amiss.
Kim Suho quickly changed the subject.

“So Nayun, how have you been doing? I heard you got inflicted with a curse.”

“…Oh, that? How did you know? I guess rumors travel fast.”

It seemed Chae Nayun didn’t want to think about such things as she smiled bitterly and shook off what Yi Yeonghan said.

“I heard from Yi Jiyoon.”

“Yi Jiyoon? That girl is too light-mouthed….”

Chae Nayun sighed hearing what Kim Suho said. She once again reaffirmed her belief that Yi Jiyoon shouldn’t be told any secrets. She was just too bad at keeping secrets. Now, everyone knew about how she was embarrassingly cursed…

“It’s fine now. Someone I know treated me.”

“Oh? Who?”

Yi Yeonghan asked.

“I’m not going to tell you, but he’s really famous in the Tower.”

Chae Nayun made a smug face.
Because of her background, Chae Nayun naturally knew many people. However, she only had a few acquaintances she really trusted.
With this incident, Extra7 had become an acquaintance she could really trust. His status had risen at least two levels in her heart.

“What’s his nickname?”

“Extra7.”

The Player who made a name for himself in the tutorial, Extra7.
His achievement became a legend that was still being told in the Community.

“…Ah~ that’s the person who made 20000TP in the tutorial!”

Chae Nayun widened her eyes at Yi Yeonghan’s sentence.

“Eh? You knew? How?”

“He got famous outside the Tower too. You don’t know what’s going on outside, right? The world is only talking about the Tower of Wish. I’m not even exaggerating. Every news station is reporting on the internal structure of the Tower and analyzing the tutorial, 2nd floor, 3rd floor, and so on.”

“Oh? Interesting… Ah, then keep it a secret that I know him. You guys aren’t like Yi Jiyoon, right?”

In case Extra7 Hyung-nim would be bothered, Chae Nayun asked the others to keep their relationship a secret.

“Sure, but how do you know Extra7?”

Hearing Kim Suho’s question, Chae Nayun replied with a confident smile.

“I’ve known him for a long time. I first met him when I was a cadet.”

Although she had never met him in person, she had interacted with him like a normal friend. Back in the day, they had played a match together at least once a day.

“…Oho. Hey, can you ask him to lend me some money? There’s an item I want to buy.”

Yi Yeonghan asked with a smile.

“Shut it.”

Chae Nayun looked at him with disgust.
At that moment, system windows suddenly popped up around them.

[Hello, everyone. This is Medea.]

“Uwoah!”

Startled, Yi Yeonghan jumped out of his seat and fell backwards. This was the first time he was encountering Medea’s quest.

“Be quiet. This is really important.”

On the other hand, Chae Nayun quickly became focused. Last time, she had failed to participate in Medea’s quest because she was sick. This time, she was determined to do well and rank in the top 100.

[I hope you’re having a nice day, Players. I believe you know what I will say.]

Medea’s breath-taking beauty quickly attracted the attention of Yi Yeonghan who had run away from her just a moment ago.

[It is time for another quest.]

Medea made a dazzling smile.

[The name of the quest is ‘Sunlight’. This is a very important quest.]

It was the kind of smile that gave off a creepy feeling because it was too perfect.

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