Chapter 199. Damned Long Story (1)


That was close. No, she was probably still suspecting something. Evandel also became excited after seeing Rachel and for the first time threw a huge tantrum. It seemed it was true that blood was thicker than water.

In any case, I had to put in two days of effort to appease Evandel. I did my best to lighten up her mood with Clancy Islet’s festival, made her a beautiful bracelet using one of the jewels I got from Jain, and promised her that I would let her meet Rachel eventually.

I wasn’t lying.
Evandel had to be revealed to the world eventually.
Of course, now was still too early. But once I had the power to protect Evandel both emotionally and physically and once Evandel had the power to protect herself… I would reveal her existence to the world.

It would be wrong to waste her talent just because I was afraid of something happening to her. In the original story, Evandel had a peerless talent for stronghold defense. That shouldn’t have changed in this storyline either.

“…Today was fun, right?”

“Uun~”

After our tour of England, we returned to the underground training room I set up for Evandel. Over the years, Evandel had created many spirit animals, which were now flying around the training room. Eagles, wolves, horses, hippos… a huge mystical army of animals greeted Evandel. Even at a glance, one could see that there were over a thousand of them. However, Evandel commanded with a single flicker of her hand.

“Guys~ clickety-clack~”

Evandel began to mutter strange onomatopoeias.

“Squish, squoosh~”

Her spirits then began to move according to the different sounds she was making.

“Chico, chico~”

She waved her arm around like a conductor as she commanded her spirits to dance.

“Sparkly, sparkly~!”

That one seemed to be an attack command as the army took on an aggressive stance. Then, they spread apart and began to charge forward at multiple angles.

“That’s enough. Perfect score! Well done.”

I praised Evandel and held her up high. Evandel smiled happily in my arms.

“If I have my magician’s hat and staff, I can command them even better!”

“Oh, really?”

I made a mental note to upgrade her gear later. I looked around the training room once again. However, I didn’t find any special spirits.

“Um, Evandel, where’s Fenrir?”

I couldn’t find Fenrir in the sea of monsters, so I asked Evandel instead.

“Over there~”

Evandel pointed to the corner of the training room. I followed her finger and saw a black wolf lying by the wall. He was the only spirit animal that radiated an imposing aura.

“Little wolf~”

But when Evandel called him, he shot his eyes open… and quickly ran over with his tongue out.
In case it wasn’t obvious, I had left Fenrir with Evandel, since I knew he would be treated as ‘equipment’ by the Tower’s system.

“He got smaller?”

“Un! Otherwise, he’s too big.”

“I see.”

I checked Fenrir’s stats.

===
「Ghost Wolf」
[Servant] [High-intermediate rank]
—The first Servant created by the witch, Evandel.
▷Basic Stats
[Strength 12.150]
[Bite force 12.850]
[Stamina 8.635]
[Speed 13.950]
[Perception 13.950]
[Vitality 8.850]
[Magic power 9.950]
===

The word ‘absurd’ didn’t even begin to describe him. If I fought him, I would surely be crushed. I wouldn’t be surprised if he reached the level of the real Fenrir soon.

“Alright, Evandel, can you play with your friends for a bit? I need to do something on the side.”

“Okay!”

Evandel nodded with a cheerful smile. I smiled back and bent my knees in a sitting posture. I didn’t have a chair underneath me, so my butt should have hit the ground. However, my butt safely landed on a comfy chair. Aether had moved on its own and transformed into a chair by itself.

Sitting on the Aether chair, I turned on my smartwatch. Then, I entered Violet Banquet.

[Welcome, Truth Agency’s administrator.]
[There are 77 clients eagerly waiting to hear back from you.]

As expected, there was a huge backlog of requests. I looked through the list. The ones that caught my attention were requests from Frost Sanctuary, Desolate Moon, and Essence of the Strait’s ‘Yoo Yeonha’.

‘I can tell Yoo Yeonha that I operate the Truth Agency… right?’

I pondered as I checked the contents of her request.

「I hope you are doing well, Truth Agency-nim. I am LadyU. I’ve contacted you once before for a request. Today’s request is something that is purely to satisfy my curiosity. Knowing how busy you must be, I will not take it to heart even if you decline my request. In fact, I hope you do not think I am bothering you with trifling questions…」

Yoo Yeonha had a serious tone. It must be the clause, [respectful and polite speech may make the response quicker.]

But when I read the main content of her request…

[Is Creator’s Sacred Grace’s ‘Yun Seung-Ah’ in a romantic relationship with Jeronimo Mercenary’s ‘Kim Hajin’?]

“…cough. W-What, is she crazy?”

I was dumbfounded to the point of choking on air. What strange fantasy did she have now?
Telling myself to look into it later, I quickly wrote down a reply.

[They are certainly only neighbors.]
[As this request is too simple, we will not accept any payment.]

With that, I went back to scrolling down the list.

“…Eh?”

Then suddenly, a certain name shot into my eyes like a nail being hammered in.

[Hello, I am contacting you as the representative of Daehyun’s chairman, Chae Joochul the Immortal….]

**

Aileen returned to Earth for the first time. Along with her exit from the Tower of Wish, she felt like she regained the honor and authority she had been missing for a long time.
As soon as the news of her return came out, requests for interviews flooded in. After all, among the Heroes who entered the Tower of Wish with the first wave of entrance tickets, Aileen was the only individual who was regarded as someone who stood at the peak of her generation.

As Aileen enjoyed interviews, she partook in a public press conference proudly. She even made it a huge event on the Tower of Heroes’ front lawn. Her plan was to lay out her accomplishments and showcase the rewards she got from the Tower. She even made a mental note to have her hand on her waist proudly the whole time.

Indeed, Aileen became the main character of the press conference. At least, for the first half.

“We’ve been receiving reports that Pandemonium’s infamous terrorist, Black Lotus, has also entered the Tower.”
“This man known as Black Lotus….”
“If there is anything you know about his identity….”
“Sir Vast Expanse has also made a comment about him. We would like to hear Miss Aileen’s comment as well!”

However, their attention quickly turned to another Player. Once again, it was Black Lotus. Feeling sour, Aileen responded half-heartedly and sent them away. Although the reporters at this press conference were all seasoned veterans, they were unable to raise any objection in front of Aileen.

“I’m not Black Lotus, so why are you asking me? That’s it for this interview. Please go back.”

‘Please go back.’ With just these three words, the reporters all packed their belongings and got back in their cars.

“Unni?”

After the reporters left like cockroaches scurrying away, the only person left was someone that could resist her Spirit Speech.
It was Yun Seung-Ah.

“…What.”

Aileen glanced at her. Yun Seung-Ah was holding a plastic bag with tofu inside.

“Congrats on leaving the Tower. Welcome back.”

“Hmph, it’s not like I was in jail or anything.”[1]

Even as she grumbled, she took the tofu from Yun Seung-Ah.

“Unni, are you out of the Tower for good or are you going back soon?”

“I’m going back tomorrow.”

At first, Aileen wanted to make up an excuse and leave the Tower halfway through. But after witnessing the mysterious power known as ‘skills’ and because the scale of the Tower made it increasingly more interesting, she decided to climb the Tower until the end.

“Anyways, you’re here because you have something to say, right? Where do you want to go? My house or my office?

Aileen asked Yun Seung-Ah, intending to show off her skill.

“Mm, well… I don’t really care either way.”

“Okay, then let’s go to my office.”

Aileen grabbed Yun Seung-Ah’s hand, flustering her as it was something she wouldn’t usually do.

“W-Why are you grabbing my hand all of a sudden?”

Aileen didn’t respond. Three seconds later, the world flipped 180 degrees and a new scenery warped around them. Aileen and Yun Seung-Ah were now in Aileen’s office.

“W-W-What?!”

“Huhu, how is it? That was a skill. As I thought, it’s even stronger outside the Tower.”

Aileen was perfectly calm unlike Yun Seung-Ah’s panicked self. The skill Aileen used was ‘Teleport’. Unlike Blink, it needed some time before activation, making it trickier to use during the heat of battle, but it was able to transport up to two people as well. Of course, there was the downside that it ate up more magic power, but it was a negligible amount for Aileen when she was outside the Tower.

“A chantless teleportation spell that doesn’t even need a magic circle?”

“I was shocked when I first learned it too.”

“Amazing….”

Yun Seung-Ah put on a face of envy.

“Why don’t you enter the Tower too? This is a great chance for you.”

“…You know why. I’m busy with my guild.”

“Why are you sacrificing yourself for a guild? Don’t be stupid.”

Yun Seung-Ah only smiled bitterly at Aileen’s chastising.

“Anyways, why are you here?”

Aileen said as she sat down on her office chair. The difference in their height had been bothering her for a while, and Aileen was happy to finally do something about it.

“Well… I’m here to bribe you.”

“…Bribe?”

“There are two kids I’m close with inside the Tower. Unni’s one of the strongest people in the Tower, right?”

“…Kuhum.”

Aileen let out a dry cough and leaned against her chair.

“I am the strongest~”

“…Right, exactly.”

Aileen’s lips trembled. She was indeed weak to compliments.

“Alright, that much shouldn’t be hard. One should be Kim Suho, but who’s the other one?”

Yun Seung-Ah hesitated for a moment before carefully opening her mouth.

“Fenrir, Kim Hajin. You know him?”

“Fenrir… I do, but I haven’t run into him ever.”

“But if you do happen to meet him, treat him well. Help him too if he’s having trouble with something.”

Hearing Yun Seung-Ah’s serious tone, Aileen replied confidently.

“I got it. Trust me.”

…After that, Aileen busily popped up here and there. As expected of someone who liked receiving attention, she threw several media events, lectures, and conferences. She was completely different than Yi Yongha who was quietly resting at home with his wife.

In any case, after spending the night on Earth, Aileen returned to the Tower…. But before she had the chance to even remember Yun Seung-Ah’s request, she was faced with a shocking piece of news.

[A Player has entered the 8th floor.]
[An unknown Player has cursed you!]
[A bounty has been placed on your head!]
[Anyone who defeats you will receive 5000TP.]

Three seconds.
For three seconds, Aileen stood still in a daze. Then, she rubbed her eyes. The system window still filled with sentences she couldn’t comprehend.

“…What bullcrap is this?”

Aileen spat out a curse.

**


[Tower of Wish, 8-3F Crevon Mainland]

I returned to the Tower of Wish after a five-day vacation. Although I ended up spending an extra day outside, there weren’t any dramatic changes inside the Tower. It was just the news of me reaching the 8th floor that was heating up the public forum.

===
[The Player on the 8th floor must be Black Lotus, right?]
—Almost certainly.
ㄴNah, it might not be him! I heard Black Lotus and Fenrir fought each other with the latter coming out on top.
ㄴWhat? Fenrir?
===

“What?”

While I was light-heartedly looking through the public forum, a strange comment caught my attention.
The Player’s ID was 「JiSUPERYoon」.
…She was spreading what she heard from Kim Suho.

“This girl….”

Was she in charge of spreading rumors? Well, it wasn’t much of a secret anyways, and it was good that more and more people were perceiving Black Lotus and Fenrir as different people.

“You go, Yi Jiyoon!”

As soon as I said that, 「JiSUPERYoon」 posted another comment.
—Yep ㅋㅋ Fenrir is using a gun inside the Tower ㅋㅋHe entered through the black ticket ㅋㅋ He seemed to have brought a gun with it. ㅋㅋㅋ He’s practically a grand general inside the Tower.

“….”

I exited the public forum and stood in front of the [Ironblood Duchess’ Mansion].

“You know me, right?”

“Of course, Honored Guest Kim Hajin, welcome back!”

“Thank you.”

After passing by the knights guarding the entrance and walking through a beautiful garden, I entered the mansion’s lobby. I first tried to locate Boss, and Aether reacted in response to my thoughts.

[Aether Algorithm – Vision Improvement]

In an instant, my vision spread out. As my Thousand-Mile Eyes began to penetrate through the walls of the mansion, Aether displayed a clearer view of my target.

[Player ‘Boss’ found.]
[Vitality – 100/100]
[Magic Power – 100/100]
[Status – Reading a book]
[Predicted Future Action – 99% chance to turn the page.]

It was telling me all sorts of extraneous information. ‘Interesting’. I muttered inwardly as I walked up to the library upstairs.

“Boss~”

I called her with a smile.

“…Oh.”

Boss glanced at me momentarily and then nodded.

“You’re late.”

“I ended up staying another day.”

For some reason, Boss seemed to be hurt. I examined her closely. As I thought, she had bruises under her left eye, above her collarbone, and near other parts of her body.

“Boss, did someone beat you up?”

“Mm~”

Boss snickered.

“I’ve been sparring with the Ironblood Duchess recently.”

“…Huh?”

My jaws dropped. I couldn’t understand what she was saying. Was she saying that Tomer beat her up? Tomer wasn’t weak by any means, but she should be a few levels below Boss…

“Boss, how much of your stats have you recovered?”

“About 50~60%.”

50~60%… Boss was only at half of her real strength, but from the looks of it, Tomer seemed to have beaten her up easily. It seemed Tomer had gotten incredibly strong inside the Tower.

“…Keep up the good work. Crevon doesn’t have a Hideout System, but it has bonus stat boosts for sparring.”

Crevon was full of powerful NPCs. Naturally, there were many quests and events involving them. To fully reap the benefits of this floor, personal strength was vital.

“I plan on focusing on sparring for the next month. The Ironblood Duchess seems to enjoying sparring me too.”

“Yo~”

At that moment, a voice calling us rang out. We turned our heads sideways and saw the Ironblood Duchess, Tomer, walking towards us.
She grinned.

“Here, it’s what you asked for. I got it ready while you were back on Earth.”

She trudged up to me and handed over a small crystal.

“Oh, already?”

[Lv.7 Location Crystal Stele]

It was a portable crystal stele. By infusing it with magic power, I was able to teleport to the ‘World’s End Bridge’ whenever I wanted. With this, I would be able to combat Players trying to reach the 9th floor whenever I wanted.

“You should be able to reach the eastern border with this crystal. It’s expensive, so don’t lose it. It took 20 or 30 times the money I borrowed from you to make it.”

20~30 times meant that this crystal was worth 6~9 billion won. I put the crystal stele away and tapped Tomer’s shoulders.

“Thanks.”

“No problem. Also, you can only use it five times, so don’t forget that. And here.”

Tomer handed me a box that seemed even more important than the crystal stele.

“What’s this?”

“Half a year ago, monsters began to drop strange pieces of paper. We threw them away at first, but it just seemed too fishy. So we collected them and put them all in this box.”

“Paper?”

After mulling over it for a bit, a bolt of electricity coursed through my brain.
Paper! If I was right, this box had the potential to be the most precious treasure chest in the entire Tower.
I quickly opened it up.

===
[Item Experience +50 Coupon x11]
[Item Experience +70 Coupon x4]
[Item Experience +100 Coupon x4]
[Lv.2 Consolidation Coupon]
[Lv.4 Skill Consolidation Coupon x3]
[Lv.3 Skill Consolidation Coupon x2]
[Skill Experience +30 Coupon x11]
[Skill Experience +60 Coupon x9]

===

Gold mine. It was an absolute gold mine. When I saw the item description windows, I almost fainted from shock.

“I can’t use these, but I figured you guys could.”

“….”

I was touched by Tomer, and my body moved automatically. In the next moment, I found myself hugging Tomer.

“H-Hey, are you crazy?”

“Thanks, friend.”

“…It’s hot.”

Tomer easily pushed me away with her strength. It was like she was tossing aside a puppy clinging to her leg.

“Don’t squeeze me if you’re going to hug me.”

“Well, you see, I’ve really been needing these. I still can’t believe you have so many. How long were you collecting them for again?”

“Six months.”

As I was thanking her with heartfelt gratitude, I suddenly felt a sharp gaze on my back.
I turned around.
Boss was glaring at us with narrowed eyes.

“Oh? Why are you glaring?”

Tomer asked teasingly. Then, what I couldn’t understand happened. Boss flinched and looked away.

“…Kuhum, Duchess, would you like to spar again today?”

“A spar? Sure, I’d be happy to. Follow me.”

Boss went outside with Tomer. The way they left made it look like Boss was inferior to Tomer.

**


…The ‘Guild Alliance’ quickly climbed the Tower. The news of a Player reaching the 8th floor had been the trigger.

Exactly four days later, they attacked castle no.5. This time, even Aileen, Jin Seyeon, and Yi Yongha participated in the battle. The attack was carried out under high tension due to the belief that Black Lotus might show up once again.
However, it seemed it really was Black Lotus who reached the 8th floor as he was nowhere to be seen, and the castle attack ended without anything special happening. Just like in the other castle attacks, Rachel made great contributions as an elementalist.

As expected, the crystal stele that led to the 6th floor was inside castle no.5, as well as the ‘Essence of the Sun’, which Medea wanted.
After giving the Essence of the Sun to Medea and claiming the reward, the group climbed up to the 6th floor. Players needed [100,000] performance points to reach the 6th floor, and most members of the guild alliance had already surpassed that number.

[6F, Splendor]

Immediately, they were greeted with a beautiful scenic view. Right in front of them was a wooden sign that someone seemed to have hammered into the ground.

[Use this place to train.]

‘Was it some kind of a trap?’ Such a thought couldn’t escape the minds of several alliance members, and while they were discussing the matter, the administrator arrived to allocate them with time.
Some received 6 hours and some received 100, but the average was around 48 hours.
The alliance members pondered.
Should they train here? Or should they go straight to the 7th floor?

Essence of the Strait, English Royal Court, Frost Sanctuary, Desolate Moon.
The above four guilds and Rankers chose to train, and other guilds and Djinn alliances chose to quickly climb up.

The ones who arrived on the 7th floor Game Center were then faced with an unbelievable sight.

“…What?”

“How is this possible?”

“The hell! It’s SevenPoker again!”

Curses and cries of astonishment rang out throughout the Game Center.
It wasn’t surprising. The first place Player for most of the virtual reality games was just one person. The alias ‘SevenPoker’ claimed the top spot for practically every game. Players suspected that it was the floor’s administrator at first, but the letter ‘P’ next to the name signified that it was a Player just like them.

“It looks like Black Lotus wiped this place clean!”

“…Fucking hell, how can he be so greedy?! Can’t we put a bounty on his head somehow?”

“We don’t know his nickname, and even if we did, who would dare challenge him?”

“…I guess you’re right.”

In any case, a week went by since then, and most Players had run out of the time they were given on the 6th floor. After having advanced by several levels, they passed the 7th floor’s Game Center and began to gather in [8-1F, Field of Trials].

“We just have to reach the end of this place?”

Currently, on 8-1F.
A warm breeze blew above a vast field.

“It looks like it, Lady Aileen.”

Aileen’s party, consisting of Jin Seyeon, Aileen, Yi Yongha, and Shin Jonghak, were standing at the starting line.

“Should we divide the task somehow?”

Kim Suho’s party, consisting of Kim Suho, Chae Nayun, Yi Yeonghan, Yi Jiyoon, and the Fermun brother and sister, suggested.

“We probably don’t need to. Just look around and see if there are any Djinns nearby.”

“Djinns? Ah, right, someone put a bounty on Lady Aileen.”

Jin Seyeon furrowed her brows when she thought about how someone dared to target Aileen.

“You be quiet. Like I care about some idiot putting a bounty on my… eh?”

At that moment, something caught Aileen’s attention.
A cute squirrel had appeared on the field.
Although the squirrel was a little larger than usual, as Aileen loved cute things, she didn’t suspect a thing and called the squirrel over.

“Come here, little squirrel~ I’ll give you treats~”

The squirrel stared at Aileen warily, then scurried up to her.
After arriving by Aileen’s side, the squirrel began to act strangely. It was rubbing its hands on her pocket.

“Haha, look! This squirrel is adorable.”

Aileen only found the squirrel to be cute. She didn’t notice what was happening at all.
-30TP
-40TP
-20TP
-30TP

Jain, who was able to transform into an animal now, ran to Aileen as soon as she spotted her from the forest.

“What are you doing here~? Are you hungry? Are you looking for food?”

Looking at Aileen who was grinning from ear to ear, Jain thought, ‘idiot.’

A happy smile emerged on Jain’s face.

“Look! This squirrel is smiling. It must like me a lot! Should I take it in as a pet?”

…Completely unaware that she was being robbed in broad daylight, Aileen kneeled and patted the squirrel’s head.



1. It’s an old tradition in Korea to eat tofu when you leave prison.

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