Chapter 225. Preparation Period (2)


Medea lost her cool for a moment when the artwork of her life was stolen in front of her eyes, but she quickly regained her calm.
She straightened her dress and smiled modestly.
To be honest, it was a bit scary looking at her like this. But since Medea wasn’t a very normal person even in the mythology she came from, such a reaction probably wasn’t too out of place.

“I’ll be expecting it then. Thank you.”

Medea even thanked me politely before she left.
Hearing that there was a meeting among administrators coming up, I accepted her request to make her a dress.
It wasn’t a ‘favor’, so there was naturally compensation for it.
For the price of this dress… I should get about half of Prestige.
On a side note, Athena also left, saying that she would come back in 2 weeks to privately talk about something.

“Now that the burden is lifted off our shoulders… Horner? Erenner?”

“Yes, Ship Commander, the pathway to the hibernation chambers has been secured.”

“Then let’s go.”

I went down to the underground pathway with Horner, Erenner, and several NPC soldiers.
After about 20 minutes of walking, we arrived at a place filled with hundreds of hibernation chambers.

My job here was simple.
I took out the [Mystic Key] as though it was a trump card.
Then, I unlocked the 200 or so hibernation chambers in the room.

“Now, lead them to [Area 3].”

While I was giving Horner and Erenner their next order…

[Welcome, Player Extra7.]
[‘APG 982’, the AI assigned to oversee Genkelope's Vessel, greets Master. I have been connected to your ‘smartwatch’ for your convenience.]
[Notifying, power has returned to normal operations in ‘Area 3’ and ‘Area 1’.]
[You can take control over Area 1 through hacking its command system.]

“Then do that, but don’t hurt the people inside in the process.”

Aileen’s party should be currently in command of Area 1. But since they didn’t have anyone who was capable of utilizing their part of the vessel, it made sense for me to take it.

[Understood.]
[Commencing hacking…]
[Hacking complete. Area 1 has been synchronized with Area 3.]
[Video of Area 1 will now be projected.]

—Eh, what?! Guys, look! Something’s strange!

—Huh? What do you mean?

—Look!

—…’Area 1 now belongs to Master’…? What’s this?

—W-What? What are you talking about!? I just used my TP to power it up!

Having her possession stolen again, Aileen shouted angrily. I made a mental note to make it up to her later.
I glanced at Horner.

“I delegate some of my authority to Horner here.”

[Understood.]

“Horner-ssi, many Players will be coming here soon.”

“Yes.”

“Most of them will be summoned to the deck in Area 1, so make them go through some sort of a security check and separate them as needed.”

Then, I handed Horner a notebook.

“What’s this?”

“This is, um, what should I call it?”

It was the strategic book for floor 16 to floor 19. I didn’t know how many people would die climbing these floors head-on, and since I thought using this book as a reward could power up the vessel long-term, I put my full effort into making the best one possible.

“It’s a strategic book that Players would kill to get. Make them do whatever you want and give this to them as a reward.”

“Yes, understood.”

**


I returned to Earth for the first time in quite a while. But this time, I wasn’t alone. Spartan had come with me. He had recently awakened a new Trait, the ‘Authority of Existence’, which let him follow me out of the Tower of Wish.

“How’s the outside world? Is it better?”

—Pururu.

I opened my apartment door with the satisfied Spartan.
As soon as I opened it, tadadada— the sound of footsteps rang out, and Evandel soon entered my sight. She looked at me with a bright smile, then paused when she saw Spartan sitting on my shoulder.

“Uwoaaah… a big bird!”

She was in awe as evidenced by her eyes and mouth widening to the size of a pingpong ball.

“Evandel, do you want to play with him?”

“Woaah… I can~?”

“Of course.”

I handed Spartan over to Evandel and sat down on the living room couch.
I yawned a couple of times before turning on my smartwatch in curiosity.

===
▷Stats
*Variable stats
[Strength 10.6 (+5.400)]
[Stamina 10.135 (+5.865)]
[Speed 14.625 (+1.375)]
[Perception 14.925 (+1.075)]
[Vitality 10.605 (+4.395)]
[Magic Power 4.55]

□Gift
▷ 「Master Sharpshooter」 [High-intermediate rank] [Spirit attribute] [Evolving] [Grade 3 – Proficiency EXP: 83%]
▷ 「Young Dwarf’s Dexterity」 [High-intermediate rank] [Illusion-attribute] [Evolving] [Grade 5 – Proficiency EXP: 23%]
▷ 「Random Consolidation System」 [Low-intermediate rank] [Soul attribute] [Evolving] [Grade 3 – Proficiency EXP: 83%] [1]

□Physique (2/3)
▷ 「Magic Dysfunction Physique」 - Energy Conversion’s upper limit has been fixed to 16 points.
▷ 「Medicinal Memory Physique」 - because your stats have gotten too big, stat-related medicines greatly lose their effectiveness.
===

“Like I thought….”

Excluding the artificial stat increases I’ve gotten like the Upgrade Center’s surgery, my stats had only gone up by 0.6 points. Thankfully, the two most important stats for a sharpshooter, ‘speed’ and ‘perception’, had gone up more as I used [Stigma Crystals] to boost them.

Of course, back when I was in Cube, I worried about getting even one stat over 10 points. I had come a long way since then. With satisfying reinforcements like Stigma, Aether, skills, and the Medicinal Memory Physique in my body, I should be near the upper ranks of high-intermediate rank Heroes.

Tiriring—

Just when I was getting bored, Yoo Yeonha messaged me.

[I found a summoner magician and teacher like you wanted.]
[It’s the 8-star magician, Ah Hae-In.]
[It was hard to get her. Contact me as soon as you see this.]

“…Ah Hae-In.”

I looked at Evandel.

“Birdy, Birdy~”

—Pururu.

“Play with me… please?”

—Pururu.

Spartan chicly flapped away while Evandel chased after him. Every time Evandel tried to touch him, Spartan turned away and glared.

“Sowwy….”

Seeing her dejected, I smacked Spartan’s head.

**


The sky was clear on a beautiful spring day.
I met Ah Hae-In in the underground training room with Evandel.

“…I’ll arrange the best conditions available.”

As expected of an 8-star magician, Ah Hae-In immediately recognized what Evandel was and made me an offer after seeing her commanding an army of spirits.

“No, that won’t do.”

Her offer was entrusting Evandel to trusted members of the Magic Tower or the Hero Association, so that she could be carefully observed and managed.
It was an obvious no.

“This child isn’t human. She’ll need to be dealt with more strictly.”

Ah Hae-In’s eyes saw through Evandel but nothing more.

“No, Evandel is human.”

“….”

Hearing my determined tone, Ah Hae-In looked at Evandel again. The girl wearing a magician’s hat and waving a wand around was cute no matter how one looked. Soon, a smile emerged on Ah Hae-In’s face.

“But she can also become a disaster.”

“Does she look like a disaster?”

“….”

“To me, she looks like the opposite. She’ll help solve the disaster that will befall humanity.”

The moment I said that, Ah Hae-In’s expression suddenly turned cold.

“…What do you mean by that?”

I maintained my silence. She continued.

“Speak. What disaster do you think will befall humanity? The public perception is that Earth is in its most prosperous time, especially with the advent of the Tower of Wish.”

…Disaster that would befall humanity.
In truth, at this point in the original story, the enraged Kim Suho should have destroyed the Tower of Wish.
But now, there were still 10 floors left to go in the Tower of Wish, and Kim Suho was far from being enraged.
So the thing I was worried about the most was the ‘third episode’ arriving before the Tower collapsed.

“…Do you know about it, Duchess Ah Hae-In?”

“I asked first.”

Ah Hae-In said in a serious tone. I knew she had close ties to the Association, so it wasn’t surprising that she would know about this.
I met Ah Hae-In’s gaze for a moment, then turned to face Evandel.

“An existence that isn’t human, monster, nor Djinn.”

Instantly, Ah Hae-In’s eyebrows twitched.

“Whether it was born naturally through evolution and mutation, or artificially created through research… That, I don’t know.”

I continued solemnly.

“But I do know that it is craftier than humans and more heinous than Djinns.”

The third enemy was slightly different from demons or Djinns. Because I glanced over the details too much in the original story, I had no way to tell what changes the co-author would have made to make the story make more sense.

“You’ve heard the legend, right? That there are humanoid monsters living in Central Africa.”

“….”

Those words put the nail in the coffin. Ah Hae-In bit her lips.

“…Jeronimo’s information network has reached Africa?”

“It’s Fenrir’s information network.”

“…I see.”

This great calamity would destroy the entire Middle East and a third of Europe. But with Evandel’s help, this international catastrophe could be reduced greatly.

“Even knowing that, you don’t plan on revealing that child’s existence to the Association?”

“No, not now. Not until the time comes.”

“Hm….”

Ah Hae-In closed her eyes and pondered.
Tick— Tick— Tick—
The clock ticked dozens of times in Ah Hae-In's silence.
Eventually, Ah Hae-In nodded.

“Fine. But that child’s talent is far greater than what you think.”

Ah Hae-In pointed at Evandel. She was dancing with Hayang after training.

“5 years, you said?”

“…Pardon?”

5 years? What 5 years?
While I tilted my head, Ah Hae-In continued.

“3 years… no, 2 years will be more than enough for her to surpass me.”

“Oh, really?”

How amazing.
I nodded my head and asked.

“So, can you teach her?”

“…Are you doubting my abilities?”

“No, it’s just that Evandel doesn’t use magic power.”

Evandel used the ‘power of spirits’, a power that was unique only to her. [2]

“I know, don’t worry.”

Ah Hae-In put up two fingers.

“Two days a week, I’ll come here to teach her for 12 hours. The price will be—"

“Would you like it in TP or Earth’s currency? Ah, you can get it in Tower items too, if you’d like.”

“…Eh?”

Ah Hae-In seemed to be taken aback.
I continued with a smile.

“Ah, this has gotten more common recently. With how famous the Tower of Wish has gotten, Players inside the Tower trade with stuff outside the Tower.”

“Ah, right, I heard about that too. In that case….”

Ah Hae-In took out a contract. This black paper was one Yoo Yeonha liked to use. Ah Hae-In probably got it from her.

“How does 50,000TP every 2 weeks sound?”

“That’s fine.”

“…You must have a lot of TP. 50,000TP is a lot.”

“If you’re talking about my assets, I have well over a thousand times that amount.”

Ah Hae-In narrowed her eyes and examined me. I simply smiled and got up from the chair I was sitting on. It was time to introduce Evandel to her teacher.

“Hm?”

However, Evandel wasn’t there. Spartan and Hayang were gone as well.
Seeing me looking around the room, Ah Hae-In spoke.

“They just left.”

“Oh, they did?”

“You should pay more attention to your kid… tsk, tsk.”

As she said that, Ah Hae-In focused on writing the contract.
While I was waiting for her to finish, I found a smartphone on the ground.
It was Evandel’s.
In this world, smartwatches filled the role of smartphones, but since smartwatches were trickier to use for children, smartphones still weren’t obsolete.
Curious, I picked up the phone.
As soon as I unlocked it, a green search engine popped up with the following search history.

[england]
[wat is england]
[enland pincess]
[England princes]
[rahel]
[rachell]
[rachel]

“….”

I suddenly felt bitter. Evandel’s search history was filled with her looking up England’s Princess Rachel.

“Huu….”

Rachel was a well-known person and often appeared in the media. In fact, she even went on the news this morning. Not only was she England’s princess, but she was also one of the Tower’s top Rankers, Crevon’s royal guard, and the most talented elementalist in history.
Her beauty was also widely talked about in Korean forums, so it would be surprising if Evandel hadn’t seen her.
…In fact, she probably looked Rachel up every day.

“Here.”

At that moment, Ah Hae-In handed me the contract. I glanced over it real quick and signed it immediately.

“…Then I’ll pass on 50,000TP to Yoo Yeonha.”

“Got it.”

“Let me go get Evandel.”

I left the training room.
It wasn’t hard to find Evandel. She was just sitting on a swing in the playground nearby, watching something on her smartwatch.

“Evandel?”

I called Evandel with a smile. Startled, Evandel waved her hands hurriedly and quickly covered her smartwatch’s hologram screen.

“He, hehe. You’re here, Hajin Hajin~?”

Because of it, she couldn’t run up to me. Seeing her cover up the screen awkwardly, I approached her first.

“Hajin, I….”

“It’s okay.”

I kneeled in front of Evandel, who was at a loss for what to do, and gently met her eyes.

—Princess Rachel, who just returned from the Tower of Wish, has been garnering more and more attention due to her talent as an elementalist….

A news broadcast rang out from Evandel’s smartwatch. I gently embraced Evandel.

“If you train hard and wait, I promise I’ll let you meet her.”

**


…After that day’s defeat, I fell into an abyss of darkness and solitude. The conviction I carried deep in my heart was shattered, and humiliation was instilled into every inch of my body.

The pain from that day still haunted me every night. The humiliating way I begged him to spare my life refused to leave my mind.

Every day, he appeared in my nightmares. In front of his cold, beast-like eyes, all I could do was shudder in fear like a rabbit.

I felt the fundamental basis of myself crumbling down from this trauma. A vicious sense of helplessness and powerlessness engulfed my body. With my entire life rejected, only emptiness filled its place. The first few days after that incident, I spent most of my time just lying on my bed.

It was too late to realize this fundamental truth. As I had never experienced such defeat and humiliation, as I was used to finding excuses for my defeats and finding reasons to gloat for my victories, I had become an insufferable loser.

Of course, even a late realization was still a realization. I began to do what I had to do one by one.
I began to put in effort. I put in effort like my life depended on it. I exhausted my body and mind, learning what ‘effort’ meant for the first time.
Perhaps because of the effort I put in ever since the day of defeat, days where I felt accomplished increased. Although my body still shuddered uncontrollably whenever I thought of that traumatic day… I had finally obtained the chance to start over after falling to the bottom of the cliff.

[2 weeks later, 15F – Genkelope’s Restored Vessel]

On a deck of a spaceship filled with numerous Players, Bell, Jin Sahyuk, and Rumi were waiting to get approved for entry.

“Are you feeling better now?” Bell asked.

Jin Sahyuk simply snorted. Bell liked this change in attitude. Jin Sahyuk had always been the type to talk with action rather than words, but now she had become quieter and more thoughtful. As far as he was concerned, this suited the future ‘world’s strongest’ more.

—Next guest.

After all… who would have thought Jin Sahyuk would have the patience to wait in line? This was a simple yet very fundamental change.

“It’s our turn. Let’s go.”

“I’ll go first.”

‘Rumi’ was the first one to go. In less than 10 seconds, she was admitted into the ship.
Next was Jin Sahyuk. She walked up to the security expressionlessly.
But something was wrong. The employee who saw Jin Sahyuk’s face flinched, then quickly put his hand under the table.

“What’s wrong?”

—Please wait a moment.

“For what?”

—Please wait a moment…

“What?”

Jin Sahyuk frowned at the strange discrimination. It was then.
Koong, koong!
Suddenly, eight heavily armed soldiers appeared and surrounded her.

“What’s this?”

A system alert also popped up.

[You have been marked as 15th floor’s criminal. All stats decrease by 70%.]

“…What? Criminal? I, I just got here! I…”

—Capture her!

Before she could voice her complaints, the soldiers charged forward. With her stats reduced, Jin Sahyuk was helpless against them. She could only glare unwillingly while her body was restrained.

“Why me!? Why me!? Why me!?”

—You are under arrest.

“What? Why the hell am I being arrested? Hey! Let go of me!”

—You are under arrest.

“But why!? I’ve never even been here before! I don’t know what’s going on, but you’re making a mistake!”

—You are under arrest.

“Y-You fuckers…! Oi, Bell—! Do something about them…?”

However, Jin Sahyuk saw Bell talking to the man behind him in an attempt to not get involved.
It was a familiar sight to Jin Sahyuk, and she naturally misunderstood what it meant.

“Bell, don’t tell me… Fuck, Bell! Is this your doing—!?”

—We will make you faint if you don’t be quiet.

“You guys should just let go of me, dammit!”

Jin Sahyuk struggled to get free, but there was nothing she could do with her stats restricted so heavily. She didn’t even need to be handcuffed by a magic-restricting item.

“Bell, you son of a bitch!”

Looking at the roaring Jin Sahyuk, Bell thought, ‘She’s like an injured beast.’

“Bell! Bell—! Beeeeell—!”

Jin Sahyuk was dragged away as she continued to yell. Bell faced her and mouthed.

[It’s not me.]

“What do you mean it’s not you!? If that’s true, then help me—!”

Bell ignored Jin Sahyuk for now and returned to talking to the person behind him. It would be dangerous if the same thing happened to him.

“Aaaaaaak—! Why are you doing this to me—!?”

Jin Sahyuk struggled crazily. Rage and the feeling of being wronged surged from her heart to the point of tears.

“Why!? Why me, why me, why me….”

—You are under arrest.

“Arrest my ass! Let go of me, fatass! Let go! Let gooooo—!”

Soon, reinforcements arrived, and the exhausted Jin Sahyuk could only get dragged away.

“Why, at least tell me why. Please, at least let me know the reason….”

As she slowly disappeared, Bell turned back and whispered, ‘…I’ll come rescue you later.’

—Next guest.

“Ah, it’s me.”

—Player confirmed.

Bell was partially worried, but it seemed he was fine.

“Whew, what a relief.”

After entering the spaceship, Bell looked around in astonishment. The place was almost like a residential area. He could see burger joints, sushi restaurants, and Korean food stalls. They even had neon lights above them as advertisement.

“Oh… is this that strategic book?”

While he was looking around the ship, a familiar voice rang out. Bell glanced at that direction. There, he saw Essence of the Strait’s Rankers, Chae Nayun and Kim Youngjin.

“Yep, take a look and pass it to the other guild members.”

“Wow~ Thank you! I heard it isn’t easy to get this. How did you do it?!”

“I cleaned up the monsters in Area 5’s basement. It really was hard.”

“Mm, then are we going up to the 16th floor right away?”

“Yeah.”

Chae Nayun, Chae Jinyoon’s younger sister.
Looking at her, Bell smacked his lips.

‘She would have been a good sacrifice too… Should I have gone with her instead?’

At that moment, Chae Nayun felt his gaze and turned his way. Bell met her eyes and gave her a faint smile.
But perhaps displeased at the smile of a robed stranger, Chae Nayun frowned and turned away.

“Haha… how cute.”

Bell smirked and went back to looking around the ship.
But now that he thought about it, he was missing someone. The person who came in before Jin Sahyuk.

“Ah, where’s Rumi? Geez, these girls sure like to go off on their own.”

But Bell simply shrugged his shoulders.
He didn’t care what Rumi was doing. He wasn’t the type to interfere in someone’s private life, and Players could revive a few times anyways.

“Well… I guess I’ll go to the prison first.”

Bell sighed and began to head toward Jin Sahyuk’s new home.

**


While Bell and Jin Sahyuk were having a relatively peaceful(?) time, Rumi was dragged to a dark alleyway. While Jin Sahyuk had been taken by the ship’s police force, Rumi had been taken by a much more dangerous person.

…It’s been a while, Rumi.

A cold voice rang out from the dark shadow that pulled her away. Just her existence alone stifled her breath.

…I told you, right? That I’ll kill you if I ever see you again.

“W-Why should I die?”

…You betrayed Boss with Bell.

“…You’re right, but Boss wasn’t as good of a person as you think he was.”

In that instant, the magic power pressing down on Rumi got stronger.

“W-W-Wait! You know about it too! The Kwang, Kwang-Oh Incident!”

Rumi shouted hurriedly.
Even a single death caused one to lose their skills. Rumi was well-aware of the importance of skills.

“You know it was Boss who organized that mission.”

To survive, Rumi touched a sensitive spot.
However, the shadowy magic power only dug deeper into her skin.
Rumi knew she couldn’t expect a peaceful death from the woman in front of her. She shuddered in pain and fear as she shouted madly.

“He took you out to test your abilities and that’s where you met the current Seat of Black for the first time! As a murderer and a victim!”

….
The magic power paused. Rumi inwardly breathed a sigh of relief, thinking she had found a way out.

“That’s right, I know all about it. If you don’t want me to tell him, let me go. I’ll revive anyways even if you kill me.” Rumi spoke.

The shadow flickered in the air, then let out a faint voice.

…Rumi.

“W-What?”

Immediately afterwards, a gut-wrenching pain engulfed Rumi.

…Who do you think I am?

“Ah, aak… w-wait…”

…There’s no room for negotiation.

When a shadow blade was about to dismember a girl… tiriring a sound unbefitting of the situation rang out.
In that instant, the pain surrounding her entire body disappeared, and Rumi turned around curiously.


1. Random Consolidation System’s attribute has been changed to “soul” from “spirit” (in case this is ever relevant)

2. This is different than the ‘spirit power’ that is needed to use the Tower’s skills. There just isn’t a good synonym for ‘spirit’ since ‘soul isn’t quite right.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter