—Monsters are rampaging in the south side too.
—Monsters are invading from the northern beach.
Inside her mansion in Western Crevon, Tomer sighed as she received reports from her communication crystal.
Crevon’s monsters began to stir. Not only had their numbers tripled, but they were also a level higher than normal. It happened so quickly that Players living in Central Crevon hadn’t even noticed.
“And the damage?”
—The northern castle is heavily damaged. It hasn’t been toppled yet, but they’re having difficulty holding the monsters back.
Truth be told, Crevon had been too peaceful for far too long.
When Tomer first came to this floor, she was told that the last war was 100 years ago. As such, Crevon’s soldiers had become too lax.
Of course, there was a recent incident where the demons attacked Crevon. But because it was dealt with in just three hours, Crevon’s soldiers and nobles had only become lazier and more arrogant.
“What is the royal family’s plan?”
—They’re planning on dispatching Lü Bu and other generals. They’re also planning on hiring Outsiders for help, since they know Outsiders need TP. Anyways, how are the damages on the western front? There must be more monsters in that area….
“It’s okay for now, but the monsters are getting stronger.”
Just like Tomer said, Western Crevon surprisingly suffered little damage, despite bordering land that was directly transformed by the Demon Realm. It was all thanks to Tomer’s thorough preparation.
She put her soldiers under hellish training for the past 3~4 months, and she used both aid from the central government and her own personal funds to upgrade her soldiers’ and knights’ equipment. As a result, ordinary soldiers averaged level 10, and knights who had vowed loyalty to Tomer had reached level 16.
Furthermore, she had extraordinary guests like Cheok Jungyeong and Jin Yohan, who liked to battle for fun.
“I’ll need more funds.”
But that wasn’t to say she didn’t have any problems. She’d run out of funds to pay for the soldiers’ salary, provide their meals, and to reinforce the castle walls.
—Understood. I will let His Majesty know about the western front’s situation.
Tomer then turned off the communication crystal and sighed. A soft voice entered her ears as she pressed down on her temple.
“…Looks like this place is safer than the royal palace.”
She knew who the voice belonged to without having to look. Tomer held herself back from sighing when she saw Araha, who was lying on her office couch with a sleepy face.
“Princess, when are you going back?”
“I don’t want to.”
“They won’t mind even if someone like me disappears.”
Araha smiled brightly.
“…No, you have to go back.”
“Because I feel uncomfortable.”
Araha frowned hearing Tomer’s blunt statement.
“See, even Margrave is looking down on me because of my low rank.”
“I am not. I am simply busy dealing with the monster attack.”
Tomer’s dukedom was located in the western border of Crevon. Together with the fact that she had her own army, she was also given the title Margrave. Because the Demon Realm was full of monsters, Tomer had to be wary of a potential attack at any moment. It simply wasn’t the environment a royal princess should be in.
“You speak like you’ve been ruling for more than 20 years, Duchess.”
Araha muttered curtly.
“My heart says this is my homeland.”
“…Fine, then I’ll return after I get what I came to find.”
“You mean the Crane Feather Fan?”
Araha nodded without a word. At that moment, another report came in from Tomer’s crystal ball.
—Duchess, Phiunel is here.
Both Tomer and Araha were surprised by the sudden report.
“Phiunel? Why is that old man here?”
—He heard that his savior is here and said that he wants to express his gratitude.
Tomer suddenly remembered the woman who was working as a centurion in her army and was sparring with her at least five times a day.
“The centurion, you mean?”
—Pardon? Um… which centurion are you talking about?
“…Let him in.”
Tomer cut the communication and messaged her centurion.
“Where are you?”
A dry voice rang out.
The ‘dukedom centurion’ was Boss’ current, official position. Although they talked politely with each other in public because of it, they talked very casually in private.
“Come find me after you’re done eating. There’s someone who wants to see you.”
[7F, Game Center’s luxury hotel, 31st floor]
I saw a fancy ceiling as soon as I opened my eyes. I was currently staying in the executive suite of the 7th floor’s luxury hotel, which was only second to its presidential suite.
I took a half a day’s rest here doing nothing.
Of course, I could have rested in my waiting room, but this hotel was better for resting while doing absolutely nothing else.
—I will help you shower.
Noticing that I had woken up, robots gathered near me. I let them do as they wanted and continued looking up at the ceiling.
[Crevon just made an official announcement. They’re handing out TP for killing monsters.]
[But the monsters are too strong… you’d have to be pretty damn powerful if you don’t want to die in the process.]
[I heard this is all because Black Lotus got killed. Is this true?]
[Don’t tell Crevon’s citizens that.]
The comfy bed I was lying in instantly changed to a bathtub.
I felt several hands massaging me and washing my hair as I read the public forum.
“…What a party.”
The Community was already a ruckus, but the real calamities had yet to descend. Aileen’s party was lasting longer than I thought on the 9th floor.
But even if the Door of Calamity opened, it wouldn’t impact the Players much. Even in the worst-case scenario, in which Crevon would reach the brink of destruction, Players had an easy way out.
They could simply abandon Crevon. The 9th floor’s calamities could only stay on the 8th and 9th floors, and there was a residential area on the 3rd floor as well. With Prestige having changed from a nearly uninhabitable slum to a medieval city, people wouldn’t miss Crevon that much.
—Shower has been completed.
Of course, I had no plans to let that happen.
I got up as soon as the shower ended. There was food on the table prepared by the robots. I quickly threw it down my throat and went out to the lobby.
For the record, the 7th floor’s luxury hotel was on a different scale than an inn. Most Players would never be able to afford any room, and ‘administrators’ were its main guests.
Was there one here right now?
There were only two rooms on each floor. I stealthily gazed through the door of the other room.
“…You still haven’t learned who the maker is?”
A woman seemed to be calling someone with a crystal ball. I shuddered as soon as I saw her. The guest next door was none other than Medea.
Medea frowned unhappily and whispered in a small voice.
“Heimdall wouldn’t say?”
I could hear them talk
—Yes, he is refusing to talk to us in any way.
“…Tsk, fine. Then what about Aphrodite? She and Helena were looking into it as well.”
—It seems neither of them found out anything about the maker. After all, none of us can interfere in the 8th floor’s matters.
“That’s good news, at least.”
I could somewhat guess what they were talking about.
Aphrodite, Medea, and Helena. These three administrators all liked luxury items and were probably trying to buy the Wolf’s Fragrance.
I had to admit that my Wolf’s Fragrance was really a work of art. As expected of an item I poured all my effort and high-quality materials into making, it had probably reached the pinnacle of what could be classified as a ‘luxury item’.
“We’ll talk later…. Wait, no, you said there was trouble on the 8th floor, right?”
“In that case, why don’t we….”
Medea paused, then suddenly looked around. I immediately realized that I was found out.
“…I’m hanging up for now.”
She hung up the communication crystal ball, walked up to the door, and slowly opened it.
I approached her before she could find me.
Not long afterwards, Medea found me in front off the elevator. I met her eyes and tilted my head as though I had seen her only now.
Medea glared at me without a word. Her eyes were somewhat aggressive but only temporarily so. She soon put on a fake gentle expression and smiled.
“I didn’t expect to see you here. Did you come to gamble again?”
I shook my head.
“No, I don’t gamble anymore.”
I saw Medea clenching her teeth stealthily. How scary… Should I make up an excuse and run away?
While I was contemplating, Medea spoke first.
“Oh right, I’m using the robe you gave me as a consolation prize well.”
A faint hostility flickered in her voice. It was the kind that was much more threatening and cold than openly-shown hostility.
“No, consolation prize? That was a present.”
“I’m no fool. You took off with 300,000TP and left that robe behind to not anger me.”
Medea looked at me with a bright smile, and I scratched the back of my neck. She might have hit me with a magic spell if we weren’t on the 7th floor. Damn, she was the one who got greedy and lost, why is it my fault?
I let out a dry cough. It felt wasteful to give her a present without asking for anything in return, but I had to keep a good relationship with Medea for Prestige at the very least.
Plus, I made the Wolf’s Fragrance pretty on purpose. It should probably be the prettiest and fanciest ‘robe’ in the Tower. Its high level (Lv.10) was also an indication of it.
That said, its usefulness in practical situations wasn’t on par with its level at all.
“I prepared a present for you, Medea-nim.”
I resolved myself and spoke with determination. However, Medea immediately declined.
“Yeah, no thanks.”
Then, she continued with a twisted sneer.
“I don’t need your heart either.”
‘Not ‘I’ll take your heart’ but the other way. She completely hates me doesn’t she?’
I was slightly flustered, but it was her loss anyways. Let’s see her face when she sees my robe in some other administrator’s hands.
“What a shame, I worked hard to make it.”
“It’s fine. How good can an item made by someone like you be? Even the robe you gave me before, I threw it away after one use.”
I was just going to leave, but she kept provoking me. Was she also mad that I got rid of her tracking spell? I was starting to get angry.
Hearing that, I smiled forcefully.
The elevator arrived at that moment.
We got on it at the same time.
An awkward silence filled the elevator as it descended. Thankfully, the 7th floor elevator was extremely quick, needing only two seconds to go from the 31st floor to the 1st floor.
The door opened again, and when I set foot outside the elevator…
AlphaGo suddenly appeared. It was then that I realized we weren’t on the 1st floor.
This was the administrator’s 17th floor.
AlphaGo looked at me and spoke.
—The 7th floor administrator, Simad, has a message for you.
—Are you the crafter of Wolf’s Fragrance?
“Yes… but why?”
At that moment, Medea, who was about to close the elevator door, suddenly flashed her eye at me. Seeing how surprised she was, I couldn’t help but think my luck was helping me out once again to pay her back for looking down on me.
I looked back and forth between Medea and AlphaGo and hid my expression.
“Ah, yes, I’m the one who made Wolf’s Fragrance.”
—Administrator Simad would like to buy that work of art.
“Rather than that, how did he find out?”
—Simad was watching over your craftsmanship.
Medea’s eyes widened the more AlphaGo talked, and I felt giddier. ‘What words should I choose to make Medea angrier?’ While I was having such delightful thoughts…
[The first party to enter the 9th floor has given up their right to battle first. The Door of Calamity has opened!]
A flurry of system messages suddenly shot up.
[The list of Calamities is as follows:]
[1. Half-man, half-cow monster, ‘Minotaur’.]
[2. Petrifying Enchantress, ‘Medusa’.]
[3. Odd-eyed Giant, ‘Cyclops’.]
[4. Living Hive Mind, ‘Chimera’.]
[5. Bottom-dwelling Snake, ‘Python’.]
[The 9th floor’s calamities will now slowly lead their armies and advance to the 8th floor.]
[They will drive Crevon’s monsters to madness!]
[Crevon’s demons will now take on a more aggressive stance!]
My face froze. As expected, there were two more calamities to defeat than in the original novel.
“W-What did you just say? Wolf’s Fragrance? T-Then the gift you were talking about is….”
Medea placed her hand on my shoulder.
But I brushed it off with a sharp snap of a wrist.
“Yes, but didn’t you say you didn’t want it?”
“No, no, no. But, uh, y-you made that thing? How?”
“Ah, rather than that, something really important just came up, so I have to go to the 8th floor. Sorry, Medea-nim.”
In truth, I wasn’t in that much of a hurry, but I acted otherwise as I ripped the ticket to the 8th floor.
“Wait, wait, I…!”
Medea’s voice cut off in the middle.
Serves her right for being such a bitch.
[Desert Eagle’s enhancement has been complete.]
[Many functionalities have been added to the weapon in addition to increased firepower.]
[The added functionalities are as follows.]
1. Tracking Bullet
—You can make your bullets track the enemy.
2. Self-Tracking Bullet
—The Desert Eagle will not leave your body.
3. Exploding Bullet
4. Piercing Bullet
I arrived at Crevon with the enhanced Desert Eagle. Despite such powerful monsters invading, Crevon’s city was…
—Buy some beef jerky~ They’re excellent food for traveling~
—This looks different than the cigarettes I know.
—I hear they modified the design so that Outsiders can smoke it. If you try it, you’ll see that it has a weaker taste, making it easier to smoke.
—Mom~ I’m hungry~
Very peaceful. Its citizens never ceased laughing, and every shop was bustling with activity.
It wasn’t the scenery one would expect from a country facing a catastrophe. But looking at history, it wasn’t that surprising. Crevon’s government likely didn’t tell its citizens about the calamities to prevent mass panic.
On the streets of Crevon, which were no different than usual, I summoned Spartan and Sannuri.
Sannuri stomped her hooves strongly. Black skin, black mane, black irises; a steed that seemed to be darkness itself. The appearance of such a horse grabbed the attention of nearby people.
I hopped on Sannuri graciously.
“Go to where my companions are.”
Sannuri immediately charged forward. The robe I was wearing began to flutter in the wind.
Clack, clack… Sannuri started off on the ground but was running through the air before I noticed. There were only a few horses capable of ‘Air Walking’.
After 10 or so minutes, I arrived in ‘World’s End’.
“You’re here, Newbie. How flashy.”
On a mountain that had a clear vantage point of the whole World’s End. Cheok Jungyeong greeted me as I came down from the sky.
I fixed my disheveled robe and looked down. The ‘calamities’ that came out of the Door of Calamity had already claimed their territories and were now forming an organized army.
Looking at this scene, I made a bitter smile. It seemed Eastern Crevon had already fallen.
“What’s our plan?” Cheok Jungyeong asked.
“We’re going to hunt one calamity and immediately go up to the 10th floor.” I answered. Aileen’s party should have received the reward for being the first to enter the 10th floor. Although that was slightly regretful, it was still better than Djinns taking the reward like in the original story.
“And after we get there?”
“We start climbing the Tower for real. We’ll be the first ones to reach each floor at least up to the 15th. We get a bonus if we hunt one of those calamities, too.”
From now on, climbing the Tower alone would be hard even for me. As such, I planned to climb as a group while still taking all the necessary rewards.
“Hunting those guys isn’t going to be easy.” Jin Yohan, who was standing next to Cheok Jungyeong, said. He was wearing a gentle smile with his Serpent Spear in hand.
“It’s fine. Don’t look there, but way over there, to the left of the canyon.” I made a small smile and pointed at a small canyon in the distance. One calamity, a large snake, had claimed it as its territory.
It was the Python.
“It’s by itself, practically asking to be killed.”
It was also the weakest of the calamities. If the Minotaur was level 40, the Python should be about level 30.
“I guess. Cheok Jungyeong, where’s Boss?”
Hearing Jin Yohan’s question, Cheok Jungyeong scratched his head and murmured clumsily.
“How would I know? Boss likes this little guy.”
“…Boss will be here soon. I already messaged her.”
It was then. A group of Players appeared on the plain not so far away.
I pushed my hood down.
It was the Essence of the Strait team.
They weren’t the only ones there. The English Royal Court guild, Kim Suho’s party, Desolate Moon, Frost Sanctuary, and various individual Rankers, including Vast Expanse’s Hunter Kim Junwoo.
Players who could call themselves experts were gathering one by one.
“Newbie, go out there and strike the first blow.”
I tilted my head at Cheok Jungyeong’s sudden suggestion.
“It looks like those guys are gonna come together and roll their heads again. What are you going to do if they choose the same target as us?”
It made sense. Just like Cheok Jungyeong said, the Players gathered in the plain were discussing how to approach the upcoming battle. A few of the smart ones should have noticed that the Python was weakest. But if I shot an arrow to signal the start of battle, they would have no choice but to fight the nearby calamities and monsters.
“Before that, give me the thing I asked for.”
“Oh yeah, I almost forgot.”
Cheok Jungyeong took out several arrows from his inventory.
There was a total of 60 [Lv.5 Dark Ore Arrows], made from the dark ores I bought from Players in the auction house or received through rolling the Random Dice.
[You consumed spirit power to use Lv.6 Synthesis.]
[Synthesizing Lv.5 Dark Ore Arrow with Lv.7 Dark Ore Arrow…]
[Warning! The high level of the items being synthesized decreases the success rate.]
[Warning! The high level of the items being synthesized decreases the success rate.]
[Warning! The high level of the items being synthesized decreases the success rate.]
Of the 60 arrows, 50 successfully fused with the five Lv.7 arrows I had, upgrading them to level 9.
Cheok Jungyeong, who was staring at me intently, asked.
“It’s interesting no matter how many times I see it. Why did you learn such a weird skill?”
I smiled lightly and nocked all five arrows on my bow.
A sudden question popped up in my head.
Between my gun and my bow, which was stronger?
I no longer knew the answer.
“…Don’t hide. Walk up to the mountain peak and show yourself.”
Cheok Jungyeong pushed me to the mountain peak.
“…I’m not an attention-seeker or anything. I really don’t mind.”
“What use is there to having cool items if you’re not going to show off? You’re good at archery too, so show it off! There aren’t many chances in this vast world to make a name for yourself.”
“…If you say so.”
I’d make some SP at the very least, so it wasn’t a disadvantageous offer.
I grumbled as I walked up and aimed the five arrows at the monsters. Then, I infused some of Stigma’s magic power into them.
Before I even let go of my bowstring, some of the Players with keen eyesight found me, pointed their fingers, and began to yell something.
This was all Cheok Jungyeong’s fault.
I let go of the bowstring begrudgingly.
The five dark ore arrows drew five independent trajectories and flew towards the armies of each of the calamities.