Chapter 203. Omen of Reunion (2)


[The Tower of Wish has been the topic of interest all around the world. The first wave of ‘Players’ learned that by staying in the Tower for more than 1600 hours, you can bring one of the Tower’s ‘skills’ back to Earth. These so-called skills allow even ordinary people without inborn Gifts to display supernatural power…

…The general public’s consensus is that ‘entrance tickets’ are guaranteed lottery tickets to change their lives. Unfortunately, crimes targeting entrance tickets are also rising, and the social issue of dealing with ‘Players’ is also becoming more problematic.]

World’s rank 1 guild, Essence of the Strait, team leader office.
In this huge office, Yoo Yeonha, who was recently promoted to Chief Strategic Officer, was looking at the news on TV.

[Essence of the Strait Chief Strategic Officer, Yoo Yeonha]

A shiny nameplate sparkled on her desk. Thanks to the public’s attention being focused on the Tower of Wish, she was able to easily rise to a chief officer position.
Becoming the Chief Strategic Officer less than three years after joining a company. It was a bombshell that media would love to dig into, but Yoo Yeonha was able to get away with it thanks to their eyes being glued to the Tower of Wish.

“Hmm….”

With this, she had built a strong foundation to become the Essence of the Strait’s vice guild leader.
Yoo Yeonha changed the TV channel with her chin on her hand.

[CH 11] [I Live Alone]
—I’m wondering if I can also get a skill from the Tower of Wish… so I’m looking around auction houses.

[CH 12] [Accurate 19]
—Accurate 19! Find out anything you want to know about the Tower of Wish!

[CH 13] [Tower of Wish Special – What a Tower]
—The strongest person in the Tower is him….
—Black Lotus?
—Yes, his selfish path-blocking action is earning himself a name and the wrath of the Hero Association, but Black Lotus’ influence in the Tower is insurmountable.

[CH 14] [Public Debate – Issues Inside the Tower of Wish]
—It is not a good thing that a third-party group is situated at the highest influence inside the Tower. It would have been much better if Essence of the Strait, Desolate Moon, or Frost Sanctuary took this spot. We also can’t say for sure that Black Lotus isn’t a Djinn….

As one could see, every channel was talking about the same thing. After the news of being able to bring back the Tower’s skills spread, the media was completely drowning in stories regarding the Tower.

“Ehew…. Don’t they get tired of it?”

Yoo Yeonha let out a deep sigh and pondered.

‘Is it worth it for me to go?’

At first, she didn’t even consider it. She wanted to avoid headache-inducing stress after graduating from Cube.

But the situation had changed. Essence of the Strait was performing well inside the Tower, and the Tower was also a great place to meet new talents. With the advent of ‘skills’, recruiting those with good skills seemed even more important.

—Black Lotus demolished the Chinese Alliance totaling 67 people by himself. The question is, just what was such a powerful person doing on Earth? Could he be a hermit training in the legendary ‘Everest’?

A good example was Black Lotus. There was absolutely no connection between him and Yoo Yeonha, and they would likely never meet on Earth. But if she entered Tower, that would change. Although he was likely a member of the ‘Chameleon Troupe’, Yoo Yeonha found it worth the risk to meet him.

“Hnnnng….”

Yoo Yeonha agonized over her options. Of course, Essence of the Strait and its affiliate businesses needed her guidance. But they didn’t need it that desperately.
Not to mention, she could take things easy inside the Tower; even choosing the lowest difficulty tutorial. According to reports, Players needed to spend about 100 nights or about 1600 hours in the Tower to acquire a skill too….
Was it a foolish getaway or a worthwhile gamble?

“I think there’s a skill related to intelligence too.”

Yoo Yeonha smacked her lips and murmured.
She began to think about what skill to bring back and how to utilize them in real life. At this point, she had already made up her mind.
In truth, she already had an entrance ticket ready.
A red-grade entrance ticket.
With it, she would be able to bring a trustworthy companion with her.

“…Who should I choose?”

Eventually, she began to come up with a list. ‘Dad… is busy. I hear red ticket users even share a waiting room. I’d rather not share the same room with Dad during the tutorial.’

Then, a lightbulb went on in her head.

The strongest summoner magician, Ah Hae-In.
After partnering with Essence of the Strait, Ah Hae-In was focusing on research. But recently, it’d been known that she had been asking for an entrance ticket.
In that case, choosing Ah Hae-In might also deepen the partnership between them.

“Huu.”

After a deep breath, Yoo Yeonha organized her thoughts and picked up her smartwatch.

**

[8-3F, Crevon Mainland]

I passed Crevon Martial Tournament’s preliminary round without much difficulty. I was debating whether to use a bow or gun at first, then chose to go with a simple dagger and wire. As the enemy was only a Lv.6 NPC, winning was a piece of a cake.

“…Boring.”

“I agree.”

Boss, who also defeated her opponent with ease, muttered as we left the arena. She was looking at the air as we walked. She seemed to have figured out how to disallow friends from viewing her system windows as I couldn’t tell what she was reading. Well, it was most likely a webnovel.
I asked.

“Is it fun, Boss?”

“…Hm? Oh, it’s okay.”

After walking for about five minutes…

“Aah…”

Boss suddenly exclaimed with disappointment. The novel she was reading must have ended on a cliffhanger. Damn, how good was the author to make someone audibly yelp in anticipation?

“Oh right, Hajin.”

Boss suddenly turned to me.

“Yes?”

“Are you planning on getting first place?”

It was a rather random question, but I answered her anyways with a nod. There was no reason I would aim for anything else.

“If I can, then why not?”

“Is there an item you specifically want?”

“The first-place rewards all sounded great. There are a four of them, after all.”

A hint of curiosity surfaced on Boss’ face.

“The emotion potion too?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah.”

The emotion potion was perfect to use on an NPC. Although it also worked on Players, because its effect only worked inside the Tower, the emotion would disappear once the Player left the Tower.

“…I see.”

Boss turned away and I nodded without much thought.

“It does seem nice if you want to form a good relationship with someone.”

However, Boss suddenly began to talk to herself. Because it wasn’t a question, I didn’t say anything in response.

“If you feel a certain way about someone….”

“…?”

But Boss’ murmuring didn’t stop.

“If there’s a relationship you really want to form, you would need something like it. But the question would be who to use it on. I wonder who he’s thinking about. The target of the potion….”

She repeated the same thing multiple times in different ways before I realized that she would continue infinitely until I answered.

“I’m going to use it on an NPC. It doesn’t work well on Players anyways.”

“….”

Boss remained silent as if she didn’t ask me in the first place. She only made a small growl, like a kitten purring in joy.

“So, um, Boss… you’ve heard about the Sun Rise Ceremony, right?”

Players somehow managed to bring all of the materials Medea asked for. As for the rare ‘shamrock plant’, it was probably Kim Suho who brought it.

“I do. Are you going?”

“Yes, the sun will give us a nice present.”

By the time we were done with our conversation, we had arrived at a narrow alleyway between two shops. It was the kind of place that would be littered with cigarettes if it were on Earth.
Jin Yohan, Cheok Jungyeong, and Jain were waiting for us there.
However, the three of them looked a bit strange. Jin Yohan and Cheok Jungyeong were talking with excited faces, and Jain was looking at the Community as if she didn’t care about the two dolts.

“We’re here.”

Hearing Boss, Jin Yohan and Cheok Jungyeong turned around. Their faces were even redder. I couldn’t help but ask.

“What’s wrong with your faces?”

Cheok Jungyeong immediately yelled with excitement.

“He apparently saw that weapon!”

As I tilted my head in confusion, Jin Yohan raised his Serpent Spear smiling bashfully. Jin Yohan had used a black ticket to enter the Tower and brought his Serpent Spear with it.

“It’s a weapon related to this one.”

“…Ah.”

It was then that I realized who Jin Yohan saw. It shouldn’t be Zhang Fei, the original owner of the Serpent Spear, but another legendary general who would have fought Zhang Fei in his time.

“Lü Bu?”

“Exactly. His name was being displayed with question mark levels. Lü Bu, otherwise known as Fengxian. I got goosebumps when I saw him.”

Among NPCs, there were those whose identities were revealed depending on their nature. NPCs who wanted to show off their name had their names displayed and hidden otherwise.
Of course, I could see everyone’s with my smartwatch.

“Hahaha, looks like the Tower is starting to get fun—!”

Cheok Jungyeong burst out laughing. Seeing this, I tried provoking him a little.

“It’ll be hard to fight him with bare hands, don’t you think?”

“…Hm, maybe?”

Cheok Jungyeong surprisingly took the time to think about it deeply, and Jain, who was tired of listening to them, cut in.

“Just tell me the plan already. I’m busy. I have a party to go to.”

Like her words suggested, Jain was wearing a beautiful, fancy dress. I nodded with a smile and took out an ostentatious card from my pocket.

[The Banquet of Honor for Crevon’s VVIP nobles will be held in ‘Krischen’. The host is the noble, Phiunel.]

“Oooh, what’s this~?”

Jain’s eyes sparkled as soon as she saw it.

“A banquet….”

Boss also narrowed her eyes and stared at the invitation. ‘A banquet… a banquet…’ Seeing Boss murmur to herself, I explained.

“This is a banquet that’s also an auction. Almost all VVIP nobles, including the royal prince and royal princess, will be there.”

The Banquet of Honor was an annual event held by Crevon’s nobles. It would start out as an ordinary banquet where nobles greeted each other and then would change into an auction where nobles sold precious objects excavated around Crevon.
About 100~200 people should be attending the auction, and every single one of them should be nobles with a strong standing in Crevon. As such, only the most precious objects were sold here.

“Aha~ I get it. You want to steal the items that are coming out on the auction!”

Cheok Jungyeong asked heartily, but I shook my head.

“No.”

As I said, the entire floor’s nobles would be gathered there. The royal prince and royal princess should also be attending it, so Lü Bu should also be there as their guard.
Not even Cheok Jungyeong was able to fight against Lü Bu head on.

“It’s the opposite. We want to protect those items. Look at the back of the card.”

[Hiring guards made up of Outsiders.]
[Come to Phiunel’s mansion on the North River side.]
[There will be a test to determine your strength.]

Crevon’s regions were divided into north and south sides across the ‘Spyren River’.

“Protect? Guard?”

Cheok Jungyeong frowned.

“Yep, it pays quite a lot. 10000TP per person, to be exact.”

“…That’s boring.”

“No, it won’t be that boring. I’ve looked into it, and demons sent the nobles a threat that they would attack the banquet.”

Crevon was about twice the size of Gyeonggi-do, but the entire 8-3 floor was the size of South Korea. Demons lived on the western side of the floor, which was partially devoured by the Demon Realm, and they constantly looked for opportunities to topple Crevon.

“Demons? How come they’re popping up everywhere?”

Cheok Jungyeong asked.

“Because they’re the villains inside the Tower.”

“Mm. But shouldn’t they just delay the banquet if the demons are attacking?”

Jin Yohan spoke up.

“I don’t know. The nobles might be thinking that doing so would be giving into terrorist threats. Plus, Lü Bu might be able to stop them by himself.”

In truth, I didn’t know much about how this event would unfold. The future I knew disappeared the moment I blocked the pathway to the 9th floor.

“Ah~ Because they would lose face if they mobilized the army for the banquet, so they brought Lü Bu who is a one-man army.”

“Makes sense. Lü Bu would certainly do the job.”

Cheok Jungyeong and Jin Yohan nodded in agreement.

“Right, so think of our objective as guarding Crevon’s nobles. I’ll take care of everything else.”

Then, Jain asked me with a bright smile.

“So you’re going to be the only one doing the stealing~?”

I nodded without affirming her verbally.
Just like she said, I would be the only one stealing items at the auction.
Though it was a spoiler, Phiunel’s real identity was a demon spy. It was his plan to siphon off precious treasures from the auction.
It was the same in the setting I abandoned, and I had already confirmed it with the Book of Truth. The auction items would only arrive on the day of the auction after going through strict security measures, so Phiunel would swap out the real items for fake ones once the auction was over.

I would step in at that very moment to steal from the thief himself. One of the items was something I wanted very much, a unique skillbook.

“It’s almost time. Let’s get going.”

The ‘audition’ would begin in 30 minutes.
I began to head towards Phiunel’s mansion.

**

[8-3F, Phiunel’s Mansion]

Same time.
Phiunel finished explaining the guarding mission to several Players. The auction would start after the first half of the Banquet of Honor, and it was the Players’ duty to protect the auction house from a potential attack from demons.

“…Any questions?”

Phiunel finished talking and looked at the Players’ faces. Kim Youngjin, who was quietly listening, raised his hand.

“Will we be enough for such an important event?”

“You’re Team 1. There will be a Team 2 and Team 3 as well. Each team will be in charge of different areas, but you Outsiders should be able to recognize each other, right?”

Kim Youngjin nodded and Phiunel continued to talk.

“Your job is important. The royal prince and princess are also attending this banquet. Though, of course, it will be the fourth prince and the fifth princess.”

“Eh? So we need to protect them also?”

This time, Chae Nayun was the one who asked. She glanced at Rachel, who was standing next to her.
Rachel was also a princess of a country.
Her full name was ‘Rachel Elizabeth Louise’.

“No, they will be accompanied by two royal guards. Nobles whose statuses are lower than the royal prince and princess have to be accompanied by guards whose statuses are lower than the royal guards. But there will be nobles who arrive without guards to ‘respect’ the royal court. It will be your duty to protect such nobles.”

“Oho… then who are the royal guards?”

Chae Nayun asked with sincere curiosity, and Phiunel returned a gentle smile.

“One is Lancelot who has the title, Knight of the Sacred Lake.”

Rachel’s eyes immediately widened. Lancelot was one of England’s legends. She couldn’t help but get her hopes up that he would somehow recognize her.

“The other person… well, the title of a knight doesn’t fit him, and I personally dislike him as well.”

Phiunel rubbed his beard.

“His name is Lü Bu.”

The two characters instantly changed the atmosphere of the room.
To the Players gathered here, the name Lü Bu was much more famous and familiar. Although many things were exaggerated in Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms, his strength was undoubtedly real.

“Sounds fun.”

Kim Junwoo, a hunter of the Vast Expanse who was also close with Chae Nayun, spoke.

“I see.”

Phiunel made a small smile. But soon, he put on a solemn expression and clapped twice.

“But as you might know, I will need to test your strength.”

At that moment, Rachel felt a strange aura creeping up from the walls. The others felt the same thing and began to clad themselves with magic power.

“I hope you understand. My life is on the line in this business. But don’t worry, I’ll pay a hefty fee upfront if you pass.”

With that, Phiunel left.
At the same time, the window shattered, and assassins clad in black began to show up.
Finding themselves suddenly besieged, the Players looked at each other and smiled bitterly.

**

…20 minutes later.
Chae Nayun left Phiunel’s mansion after passing his test. Next to her were six other Players who also passed the test.

Now known as [Guard Team 1], the group laughed and happily discussed the test’s difficulty.

“It wasn’t that hard.”
“There were 27 assassins, but demons are that weak? Could it be that Lü Bu isn’t as strong as we think he is?”
“But don’t underestimate them. It shouldn’t be this easy to earn 10000TP.”

While they were chatting…

“…Hm?”

Chae Nayun caught sight of a group of five Players entering the mansion. They were all wearing hooded robes that hid their faces. Even so, Chae Nayun received a strange feeling from them. To be exact, from just one person in the group.

“…?”

From the person’s build, Chae Nayun could tell that he was a man. Although she couldn’t see anything else, her intuition told her that she had met him before.
Then suddenly, a strange urge struck her. Her intuition was telling her to run and grab his shoulder.
Chae Nayun hesitated. She was the type who believed in her intuition. In the first place, ‘intuition’ was a special stat she possessed.

“That must be Team 2 or Team 3.”

Kim Junwoo placed his hand on Chae Nayun’s shoulder and said. However, Chae Nayun didn’t return an answer. She watched the group slowly get farther away and felt the emotions constricting her.
At that moment, the wind blew.

The wind carried the group’s smell to Chae Nayun.
It was an unfamiliar yet familiar, dizzying smell.
Suddenly, her vision turned misty. She brought her hands up to her eyes, but there were no tears.

‘What’s wrong with me?’
Curious, Chae Nayun turned back to the group.
But before she could even determine the source of the smell or the identity of the group, the mansion’s door closed.

“Ah….”

In that instant, an unknown feeling of loneliness rose within her. She felt stifled for breath, as though a huge rock had fallen in her heart.
Then, her eyes became misty once again. She wiped her eyes and looked at her sleeve, upon which faint droplets of water were glistening like glass.

**


[8-3F, Crevon Duel Arena]

Currently, Jin Seyeon was mulling over how to defeat Black Lotus at the ‘World’s End Bridge’. She felt like her group could win with the help of a single Player…
As she thought, her body and magic power moved on their own.
Jin Seyeon distanced herself from Shin Jonghak who was running towards her and shot a magic arrow.

“Kuk!”

Struck by the arrow, Shin Jonghak groaned. If Prestige’s bonus was focused around hunting, resting, and training, then Crevon’s bonus was focused on sparring, dueling, and competing. Once Players found out about this, they began to spar each other all the time.

“One more time!”

Shin Jonghak shouted and came rushing in once again.
Jin Seyeon pondered.
A sharpshooter had to deal with another sharpshooter. Warriors were unable to fly. Without astounding magic power output, walking across the sky was impossible.
Even so, Jin Seyeon had chosen Chae Nayun and Kim Suho to be the first candidates in her Black Lotus-hunting group. That was because they were famous even in the Community as ‘magic power monsters’.
Chae Nayun had an especially frightening magic power capacity, and there was a chance that she could dive the enemy sharpshooter instantly. Right, by cladding herself in magic power and detonating magic power behind her to force her body forward, she would be able to fly forward like a bullet…

Her thoughts stopped at this point.
Jin Seyeon’s expression suddenly froze.

“Wait.”

“Yes?”

Shin Jonghak came to an abrupt stop at Jin Seyeon’s word.
Bullet.
Bullet.
Bullet.
Jin Seyeon repeated this word in seriousness.

‘Stupid, why didn’t I think of this before?’

Sharpshooting was a fight between distances, and Jin Seyeon already knew someone who could snipe Black Lotus from an equal distance, if not farther.

The monster wolf, Fenrir.

His sniping skills were highly praised in the field of mercenaries. Supposedly, he could snipe a target 5km away.
Plus, Fenrir’s bullets were well-known for their ability to pierce through Barriers. Jin Seyeon had also heard from Kim Suho that Fenrir used a black ticket to enter the Tower, bringing his unique form-changing gun with him.
As such….

“Perfect.”

Jin Seyeon finally opened her mouth.

“What do you mean?”

“I came up with a way to break through the World’s End Bridge.”

Jin Seyeon smiled gently as she said proudly. Aileen, who was watching their spar from the side, also ran up to her.

“What, what? Tell me.”

“Before that….”

The key to finding Fenrir.

“Let’s go find Suho.”

Shin Jonghak frowned, but Jin Seyeon paid no attention to it. A perfect strategy was unfolding in her mind, where under Aileen’s protection, she and Fenrir would carefully strike down Black Lotus’ attacks, and Kim Suho and Shin Jonghak would sneak past onto the 9th floor.

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