Chapter 194. Hierarchy (2)


The situation quickly fell into chaos.
Aileen and her party weren’t intending on fighting. At first, they just wanted to register themselves on the crystal stele’s checkpoint. If the mysterious people surrounding the crystal stele refused to let them, she planned to try to persuade them before using brute force.

However, the crystal stele wasn’t a checkpoint.

===
[Quest discovered!]
[Summary – you discovered a group of people trying to steal an ownerless crystal stele.]
[Goal – steal the crystal stele from that group.]
[Reward – Special Skill Acquisition Book – Lv.3 Secret March, Lv.5 Crystal Stele]
===

A quest suddenly started, and the opposing group labeled her as an enemy.
Aileen was slightly taken aback. A giant from the opposing group smiled at her. Aileen was familiar with him just as he was familiar with her.

“…You.”

The moment she muttered that one word, the fight began. The giant man took off his robe and shot forward like the wind. He was clearly asking for a fight. However, Aileen stopped his charge with a single word.

“Stop.”

Just one word froze the man who arrived in front of her. His feet dug into the ground as he tried to resist the power of Spirit Speech.
However, Cheok Jungyeong was still stopped.
And that was the start of the true fight.
Another man shot up from behind Cheok Jungyeong’s large body. It was a slim man holding a spear.

“…I’ll be your opponent!”

Shin Jonghak stopped the man with his own spear. Koong—! A heavy pressure fell on his spear upon contact. However, the pressure was still manageable.

“Hold on just a bit.”

From behind, long-ranged reinforcement arrived. Yi Yongha’s hellfire shot toward them, and Jin Seyeon shot arrows without using the medium called a ‘bow’.

Cheok Jungyeong’s body clashed with Yi Yongha’s fire, and Jin Yohan’s spear clashed with Jin Seyeon’s magic arrows.
Shockwaves bursted out and whirlpools of magic power erupted.
The ground cracked from a single exchange of attacks, and the following exchange shook heaven and earth.
The full-power attacks of these high-ranking superhumans were even able to split the clouds in the sky.

…When Cheok Jungyeong and Aileen began to run low on magic power, the ‘hyenas’ jumped in.

“Miss Aileen, there are more enemies coming. I’ll shoot them down.”

Jin Seyeon was the first one to notice them with her excellent eyesight. Along with her announcement, several hundred arrows rained down from the sky. They clearly distinguished friend from foe and only hurled towards the enemy.
In response, Djinns who were aiming for an opportunity to attack burst out at once.
Of the 50 Djinns that shot out, half were swept away by Jin Seyeon’s attack.
However, Evil Society’s executive, ‘Kim Hakpyo’, blocked Jin Seyeon’s arrow with tentacles of demonic energy, and Satan’s Servant’s ‘Kim Ohsung’, created a powerful barrier around him.

“Uhahahaha…!”

Cheok Jungyeong burst out into laughter at the sudden appearance of Djinns. His powerful laughter shook the earth, and he faced the pandemonium with sincere happiness.

“Come—!”

He roared, and the resulting shockwave caused blood to burst out from the ears of a few Djinns.
Subsequently, Cheok Jungyeong began to go wild. As his opponents’ attacks could hardly pierce his armor, there was nothing stopping him from being reckless. He jumped up like a gorilla and crushed the heads of every Djinn he came across.

“…He really is crazy.”

Aileen murmured apathetically and chased after Cheok Jungyeong.
KWANG—!
KWANG—!

While Cheok Jungyeong’s fists were sweeping through Djinns, Aileen unleashed another wave of magic power.

“Stop, you gorilla bastard.”

Spirit Speech restrained Cheok Jungyeong’s movements.
Frozen in place, Cheok Jungyeong’s eyes turned towards Aileen.

“Where do you think you’re running away to? You should play with me~”

Aileen smiled, and Cheok Jungyeong returned a similar smile.
The moment they were about to estimate each other’s true level of power…

——

Silent streaks of light flashed through the battlefield. Black light flickered through the sky as the world seemed to stop for a moment.
Heartbeats stopped in the chaotic battlefield.
Thud, thud.
Eight Djinns who were pierced by the mysterious streaks of light fell to the ground. Blood flowed out from their pierced necks, and their bodies soon scattered away.

No one had seen this attack coming.

Everyone in the battlefield fell silent and tried to comprehend the situation.
Ssss—
Meanwhile, Jin Seyeon unleashed her magic power and restrained the movements of her allies.

“…?”

Yi Yongha and Shin Jonghak looked at her curiously.

“Don’t move.”

Jin Seyeon muttered. In her mind, the previous attack was a warning. If anyone moved, the mysterious attack would turn towards them next.
At the same time, Jin Seyeon used the eyes given to her by her Divine Archer Gift to search for the sharpshooter’s location.
However, she couldn’t detect the sharpshooter at all.
The silence on the battlefield continued for a while…

“…Fuck!”

Until Kim Hakpyo’s shouting broke it. His body was completely black as he had been in the state of Devil Transformation. It was thanks to this that he was able to survive the sudden ambush.

“Waiting room!”

The remaining Djinns were also unable to locate the mysterious sharpshooter. Quickly realizing that they were at a massive disadvantage, they escaped using their [Emergency Waiting Room Teleportation Tickets].
The hyenas all fell back, and the battlefield was left with the original forces once more.

“Tsk.”

Cheok Jungyeong clicked his tongue, seemingly having been contacted by someone.

“Screw off.’

He gestured to shoo Aileen’s party away as though his interest had dwindled.
However, Aileen stood still at the forefront of the battlefield without moving a single inch.
Jin Seyeon noticed Aileen’s desire to fight and approached her.

“Miss Aileen, let’s fall back for now.”

“….”

Aileen clenched her teeth silently.
Was she shocked, or was she just too proud to give up?

“…We didn’t plan on fighting anyways. We’ll be at a huge disadvantage if we continue.”

If the previous streaks of light attacked them, the ambush would have taken their lives instead.
However, the mysterious sharpshooter only attacked the Djinns.
Jin Seyeon didn’t know why, but since the sharpshooter seemed to want to let them go, it was best to go in her mind.

“Aileen-ssi.”

Yi Yongha also chimed in.

“Haa.”

Aileen finally let out a sigh and turned around.

“Fine, I’ll leave.”

Aileen’s party slowly began to distance themselves from the crystal stele.

…Just like that, the huge battle between many high-ranking Players was ended by a single sharpshooter.

**


[7F, Game Center]
[Welcome to the Game Center.]
[As you are the first Player to enter the 7th floor, you receive the ‘Special Skill Acquisition Book – Lv.4 Algorithm’ as a reward.]

Along with new system alerts, I arrived at the 7th floor lobby.
Although it was called the Game Center, it didn’t look like an arcade from Earth. It was much more futuristic, like something out of a science-fiction movie. Humanoid robots were walking around, and there was a huge, grey pathway leading to an unknown destination.

—Welcome, customer.

At that moment, a robot wearing a suit approached me. Its body was similar to a human’s, but its face was clearly that of a machine.
I was the one who designed this floor, but it was still cool to see it in person.

“Hello, nice to meet you.”

I knew who this robot was, so I talked politely on purpose.

—I am APG-365. It is my duty to identify and register your existence. You have the choice to refuse, but you will have to return to the lower floor.

“No, that’s fine.”

I emphasized that I was willing to cooperate.

[Lv.??? APG-365]

The robot in front of me was high-leveled enough for me to only see question marks. Of course, with my smartwatch, I was able to confirm that it was level 55.
The robot’s name was meant to be a reference to the ‘Great One’, and there were 365 of them on the 7th floor. Each of them was strong enough to obliterate the current Cheok Jungyeong or Aileen in one blow.

—Please stick your wrist out.

As such, I didn’t dare to offend it in any way. All hail AlphaGo-nim.

“Ah, yes.”

I put my arm out. The robot grabbed my wrist.

—You can pay 5000TP to get an advanced neurotech chip implanted. The advanced neurotech chip is definitely worth its price. If you are lacking in funds, you may choose to pay 1000TP for a basic electronic chip.

“I’ll go with the advanced chip.”

I took out 5000TP without hesitation. This was the only difficult part of the 7th floor. 5000TP wasn’t a cheap price at this point.
Most Players would choose to go for the 1000TP chip and think about how to skip the 7th floor with it.
But that was the worst choice. This ‘advanced neurotech chip’ was one of the best gifts the 7th floor had to offer.

“Here you go.”

I gave the robot 5000TP.

—Confirming…

A beam of light shot out of the robots’ eyes and scanned the TP. After confirming that the bills I gave weren’t fake, it collected the money and jammed a chip into my wrist.
A sharp pain instantly traveled through my arm and shook even my spine.

“Kuuk!”

—This chip is linked to your nerves. Causing any sort of trouble on this floor will have you restrained.

“…Got it. Argh, that hurt.”

I slowly stretched the sore parts of my body and stared at the series of system alerts I received.

[Your body has been linked to the 7th floor’s advance neurotech chip (now to be called Extra7’s Personal Chip).]
[You are a lucky person!]
[You received a master-grade chip!]
[Your strength and speed increases by 0.5 points.]
[Extra7’s Personal Chip is being analyzed for unique effects…]
[You receive ‘battle sense’ support from your chip!]
[You can upgrade your chip inside the Game Center’s ‘Upgrade Center’.]

The 7th floor was one of the methods to artificially enhance my innate physical limits.
Although it was easy to reach the 8th floor from the 7th, I had to spend some time on the 7th floor for this reason. Of course, I would end up spending a lot too.

—Player Extra7 has been confirmed.

“How many are inside right now?”

—There are four people enjoying games at the moment.

“Mm.”

The four people should be administrators. One of them should be the 7th floor’s administrator, and the other three should be from other floors.
Players weren’t the only ones who could climb the Tower. Prestige’s citizens could climb the Tower if they wanted to. It would just be unadvised and difficult, since they didn’t have benefits that Players received like the inventory, private waiting room, etc.

—The Game Center has many fun games. You can purchase many things with the points obtained from games, so please take your time to look around at what we have to offer.

With that, APG-365 left.

“Hmm.”

I scanned the 7th floor’s scenery past AlphaGo’s shoulders.
The 7th floor’s concept was science fiction and games.
The science fiction part was the chip that was just implanted in my wrist, and the game part was exactly what it sounded like. Fighting games, RPGs, board games, poker… all sorts of games could be found on this floor.
At that moment, a system alert popped up.

[53 kinds of games exist on the 7th floor.]
[Players may receive special rewards depending on the records they set on different games.]
[The special rewards will be given out once 1000 Players enter the 7th floor.]

First, I headed towards the section of the Game Center specializing in virtual reality games.
Wiing— Wiing—
Meanwhile, my smartwatch continued to vibrate.

[You obtain 7SP.]
[You obtain 6SP.]

It seemed the arrows I just fired caused a bit of a commotion.
In any case, I followed a sign reading [Virtual Reality Games] and arrived at an arcade. Rows of virtual reality capsules were lined up in a huge room.

[Virtual Reality Gaming Capsule]
[There are 27 games stored in this capsule.]
[You can purchase special items with points obtained from playing games on the 7th floor.]
[To play games, you must exchange your TP for ‘Cash’. The Game Center’s currency. (Note, you cannot re-exchange Cash for TP)]
[You may receive Cash as a reward depending on your performance.]

Just like the system said, the Game Center had its own currency called ‘Cash’. Players could use this currency to purchase items. The ‘8th floor ticket’ was among them. If I remembered correctly, it should be about 10000 Cash.

“Hnng~”

I stretched and stood in front of a capsule. Then, I put my wrist against it.
Sss—
The capsule opened.
This virtual reality console looked like a bubble chair.
But before I sat down, there was one thing I needed to do.

“Scan.”

The number 26 was inscribed on the capsule. That was more than enough. [Young Dwarf’s Dexterity] would help me with all-important physical aspects of different games, and the [Random Consolidation System] would enhance the capsule’s overall functionalities.
Fighting games, RPG games, FPS games, and MOBA games were all available on the capsule.
I was confident that I could take first place in any single player game.

“How comfortable.”

I lied down on the capsule. As everything about the capsule was strengthened through the Random Consolidation System, the comfortableness of its seat was included as well.

“Oh right.”

「Boss you can come up now.」

Before I closed the capsule, I sent Boss a message.
Soon, the capsule closed, my vision turned black, and system messages popped up.

—Welcome, Extra7.
—Here are the list of games you can play.

1. Fierce Charge
2. Gladiator’s Battle
3. Princess Maker


**

Prestige, Riry Restaurant.

“We were taught our standing in the hierarchy, haha.”

Jin Seyeon laughed amidst a somber atmosphere.

“…You think this is funny?”

Aileen furrowed her brows.

“And what do you mean we were taught our standing in the hierarchy? We only retreated because you couldn’t find where that sharpshooter was! Shouldn’t a sharpshooter handle the opposing side’s sharpshooter?”

“…Kuhum, you’re right. It seems I am still lacking in training.”

In truth, Jin Seyeon’s performance couldn’t be called lacking. After all, it was her rain of magic arrows that killed 20 of the 50 Djinns that attacked.
But because she couldn’t do the most important task, she didn’t make any excuses.

“Hnnng, how embarrassing. Just how many people were watching that fight…?”

Aileen buried her head on the desk and squirmed.
Wiggle, wiggle
Soon, she raised her head slightly, revealing a wood mark on her forehead.

“Because of the Tower’s system, most people have seen the footage by now. I suggest you don’t look at the public forum for a while.”

Koong—!

Aileen slammed her head on the wooden table once more.

“…How’s everyone else doing?”

Jin Seyeon stopped paying attention to the depressed kid and turned towards Shin Jonghak. He was looking down at his food with a somewhat solemn look.

“Shin Jonghak-ssi?”

“….”

He didn’t answer even at Jin Seyeon’s calling. The shock he received seemed to be great.
In truth, Shin Jonghak spent the entire duration of the fight battling one on one with the unknown spearman.
The result of the fight could be easily guessed by looking at his face.
Although their fight didn’t reach a conclusion, if they were being scored by a judge, the outcome would have been one-sided.
In terms of technique, Shin Jonghak was overwhelmed. He could see that his opponent was going easy on him too.

“…How come you’re the only one who’s unaffected?”

Jin Seyeon looked at Yi Yongha. He was eating fried rice, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world.

“Eh? Oh, um, I’m the type of person who doesn’t get stressed out by such things.”

Yi Yongha’s favorite word was ‘leisure’.
His motto was ‘living a leisurely life’.
It was only with his innate talent that he joined the Temple of Justice. If he put in effort, his standing would undoubtedly be equal to Aileen’s. After all, he was known to be a genius whose Gift and talent were equal to Aileen’s.

“What about you? You don’t seem affected either.”

Yi Yongha asked.
Jin Seyeon made a bitter smile and shook her head.

“No, I’m affected.”

The mysterious sharpshooter’s attack was one thing, but his ‘stealth’ was what really astonished Jin Seyeon.
Where did he go after shooting his arrows?
Could it be that he fired from beyond my eyesight’s 4km radius?
Even if that were the case, there was still another question. Just how did an attack from such a distance carry such killing power?

“I’m very uncomfortable as well.”

…Simply put, even the Divine Archer Jin Seyeon was feeling threatened.

**


「Fierce Charge」
[1st – Extra7]

「Gladiator’s Battle」
[1st – Extra7]

「Mini-game Heaven」
[1st – Extra7]

「Spring Gunner」
[1st – Extra7]

「2031」
[1st – Extra7]


Of the 27 games stored in the virtual reality gaming capsule, I took first place in every game other than the three that Kim Suho would get 1st place in. As my performance was overwhelming, not even an administrator should be able to surpass my results.

[Cash – 38,624]

Naturally, I received more than enough Cash to purchase the 8th floor ticket.
With that, I was done with the 7th floor.
I could go up to the 8th floor after a single day.
However, there was one last thing I had to do before that.

“…Huu.”

I sighed.
Jin Sahyuk would soon arrive at the 2nd floor. Just like I promised last time, I would have to pay her another visit.
I put on my hoodie and robe and left the arcade.

“Uwoah!”

“Hmm?”

I almost bumped into someone.
White-hair, sly-looking face. It was the stereotypical face of a Western noble.

“Oh~ how’s it going?”

He looked at me and smiled.
I felt like I knew who he was and smiled back.

“Ah, yes.”

“I’m the 7th floor’s administrator, Simad.”

Simad reached out and grabbed my hand.

“Ah, yes, nice to meet you too.”

“Haha, I’m happy to have my first customer. Not to mention…”

He glanced at the arcade and put on a thin smile.

“Such an accomplished customer too. I have a suggestion. Do you want to play cards with us?”

“Cards? Us?”

I tilted my head.
I didn’t expect the 7th floor’s administrator to make such an offer so easily.

“Yep. Someone ran away, so we’re short one person. Administrators often don’t hang out with Players, but you’re the first one to enter my floor.”

“….”

I looked at Simad. In truth, I didn’t know what kind of a person he was. Just like how I completed all my task on the 7th floor today, this floor didn’t appear much in the original story either.

“Sorry, I don’t really have time.”

I was confident in winning no matter what game we played.
Still, I didn’t want to follow him. Not only was there no merit, but gambling on this floor would all happen in ‘Cash’.
For the record, ‘Cash’ could only be used on the 7th floor, and it was stored in the chip that every Player was required to buy. Although TP could be exchanged for Cash, the other way wasn’t true. As I already had an ample amount of Cash, I didn’t need to waste my time trying to make more.
All I had left to do was to upgrade my chip at the Upgrade Center.

“We’ll be gambling with TP. Your pocket seems to be full, so—”

“I’ll join.”

Now, the story was different.

“Ohoho~ what a bold young man. Great, follow me.”

I followed Simad without hesitation. The only thing on my mind was how much I could get out of them without angering them too much.
Walking past a lobby guarded by several robots, we arrived at a VIP room adorned with gold.

“Open.”

The door opened at Simad’s command.

“I’m back. I found someone, so we can play for a bit longer.”

“…Hm? Who did you bring? I told you, I’m not going to play with robots.”

Inside the room, a familiar voice rang out.

“I brought a Player, not a robot.”

“…What? Are you mad?”

“I’m completely sane. He’s quite rich, and we can always go easy on him. We’re playing for fun anyways, right?”

Simad glanced at me as he explained himself.
I walked up and stood next to him.
Then, I looked at the inside of the VIP room.

“…Eh?”

A short exclamation of surprise came out of my mouth.
At the center of the huge room was a gambling table.
One of the two administrators sitting around the table was…

“…Oh?”

The 3rd floor’s administrator, Medea.

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