Moments before he was about to pass the pillars, Aegehios’s voice could be heard loud and clear.
“God is generous. But never forget, that excessive greed could call upon your death.”
The moment he passed the pillars, Sungchul found himself in a empty pure white space as far as the eye could see. The area was far too large to be able to grasp its size.
After a moment of looking around, a small being appeared in front of Sungchul.
“It has been forever since the last human -yeyo!”
A familiar pattern of speech. A crease appeared in Sungchul’s brow.
‘Is it a Homulculus?’
But unlike Homulculi’s awful grating voice, this voice was rather gentle and perhaps even cute.
As he had suspected, the being that appeared before him was completely different from the hideous homunculi. It was an adorable looking fairy.
“I am your assistant-yeyo, to help you through your trials.”
Even its behavior was completely at odds with Homunculi.
Sungchul put his gaze on the lovable fairy and asked calmly.
“How long have you been here?”
“Who knows-yeyo! Aegehios-nim says it’s been over ten thousand years, but I’ve hibernated for too long to know details-yeyo!”
The fairy replied with a troubled look before smiling brightly as it walked forward to stand before Sungchul.
“Anyway, it might be a bit sudden, but the first trials will start-yeyo. Look forward, please-yeyo.”
The instant the fairy finished speaking, a chain of text appeared in front of Sungchul’s eyes.
[Trials of God]
[Welcome to Aegehios.]
For reasons he couldn’t fathom, Sungchul couldn’t shake the feeling that this place very strongly reminded him of the Summoning Palace.
Although they couldn’t be any more different.
‘It seems as though this place is the original.’
As Sungchul was thinking to himself, more text continued to appear before him.
[Beginning the Entry Exam.]
[The Entry Exam is a place where your strength, techniques, courage, and wisdom will be tested before entering into the trials proper.]
[Before you challenge the trials, please assess yourself objectively and select the difficulty that you belong at.]
- Extreme difficulty
- Limit Testing
There appeared to be five difficulty levels available. Sungchul looked down towards the self-proclaimed assistant of the trials to ask in a calm tone.
“What kind of reward is there for the Limit Testing difficulty?”
The fairy shrugged her shoulder and answered.
“The best rewards -yeyo! However, it would be best to hold off on it-yeyo. The Limit Testing difficulty pushes the boundary of what’s possible, and it cannot be halted once it starts…yeyo!”
“Is that so?”
There was only one answer to begin with. Sungchul didn’t hesitate to immediately select the Limit Testing difficulty.
“You’re really going to pick that one-yeyo?”
Sungchul nodded to the fairy’s shocked question.
“G…Good luck yeyo!”
The fairy seemed disheartened as she vanished.
Not long after the fairy was gone, Sungchul detected sinister blood lust and malice coming from all directions.
His enemies soon made their appearance from the void.
Skeletons, but it was not of any ordinary creature. It was an undead made from the remains of dragons; a Bone Dragon.
Not many monsters in the world could even begin to compare to these mighty corpses of dragons, and five of them were surrounding Sungchul from all sides.
The difficulty of this exam deserved the title of ‘God’s Trials’.
Ordinary people wouldn’t even be able to survive the entry exam. But Sungchul was not an ordinary person.
“Shall we begin?”
Fal Garaz appeared in Sungchul’s hands.
Bam bam bam!
Not even live dragons could stand up to Sungchul, so mere re-animated dolls made of already-deceased dragons were easier for Sungchul to deal with than cooking a dish.
‘You’re all worse than rice with eggs and soy sauce!’
Even before the dragons had a chance to attack, Sungchul charged forward with the ferocity of a tiger and shattered all the dragons one after another.
Not even 10 seconds had passed since the Fairy had disappeared after sighing.
The Fairy reappeared. It was strangely cute to watch her bewildered face. But Sungchul put away Fal Garaz into his soul storage while staring at the Fairy with an expressionless face.
“That was easy. This was considered limit testing? This?”
The fairy didn’t seem to be able to hear Sungchul as it flew here and there between the shattered remains of the bone dragons before she regained enough wits to turn to look at Sungchul with wide eyes.
The fairy was surprised enough to temporarily lose her characteristic and strange pattern of speech.
But this didn’t last long, because the fairy puffed up both of her cheeks and shouted while swinging her fist in circles.
“But that was merely an entry exam, becoming too overconfident because of it is no good-yeyo! This is god’s dungeon! D…don’t look down upon it!”
“Alright, alright. More importantly, what is the reward?”
As the Fairy had said, after a brief moment the dragon corpses that was scattered around the floor turned to dust and vanished as bright words appeared before Sungchul’s eyes.
[You have passed the ‘Limit Testing’ difficulty Entrance exam.]
[To you who have overcome the Limit Testing trial, the following reward will be granted.]
1. 30 Dungeon Tokens
2. Elixir (highest quality)
A small vial of elixir and strange metallic gold colored almost plastic-like coins were dropped before Sungchul.
Sungchul tilted his head once he had a look at the Dungeon Tokens.
‘Hmm. It feels like I’ve seen this before.’
It was made up of material he had never seen before, but the coins seemed oddly familiar. And while he was racking his aged brain cells in search of memories that could tell him why, Bertelgia suddenly poked out of the pocket and shook herself.
“What is this? Isn’t this that thing that they use in the Summoning Palace? It’s…. whachamajig. Palace Token! It’s totally the same as Palace Tokens!”
Sungchul agreed with her assessment. He had thought that this place was oddly similar to the Summoning Palace, but now that he saw the rewards for quests were in form of tokens, he realized that they were all but same in every way.
‘The resemblance is uncanny, with the Summoning Palace.’
The Summoning Palace was the territory of one of the five principle gods of the world, the God of Mediation and Neutrality. It was known was a holy ground where the dimensional gates connected to Sungchul’s original world brought the Summoned into this world by the power of the principle gods.
Of course, in contrast with the rather sacred image this place holds in the general populace, the palace was actually used to carry out unspeakably violent trials, gambling among the ruling elites that comes to watch, and obtain fresh slaves with no connections in the world.
Whatever the case may be, Sungchul noted the remarkable similarities between the dungeon of the God and the Summoning Palace and came to a conclusion.
‘So, the Summoning Palace was a cheap imitation of God’s dungeon after all.’
Just comparing the mascots, Fairies to Homonculi, spoke volumes of their differences.
A difference no mere inferior copy could hope to match with the original.
Sungchul was brought back to his memory of his childhood, of the mini motor cars that had been hugely but briefly popular. He had a painfully enlightening experience realizing the performance difference between the Japanese original black motors and the knock off brand ‘golden black motors’.
But the difference between those two motors could not compare to the difference between the Summoning Palace and God’s Dungeon.
‘Why couldn’t you guys do a better job copying? How’d you end up with Homunculi?’
Sungchul greatly despised the Homulculi. Had he been younger and more passionate, he might have impulsively committed himself to the ultimately unproductive act of eradicating all Homunculi from the world.
While Sungchul was sincerely organizing his thoughts in silence, Bertelgia was getting bored so she emerged from the pocket.
She observed the Dungeon Tokens that were laying on the floor before saying something insensitive.
“Isn’t this just a knock off?”
“Excuse me? What do you mean?”
The Fairy stared at Bertelgia with wide eyes.
“You called it ‘Knock off’?”
“Yes, ‘Knock off’.”
“What is ‘knock off’?”
Unlike Aegehios, this fairy seemed easier to deal with.
Bertelgia looked at the Fairy as she made clear what she had meant.
“Mmm… Fake? Cheap imitation?”
The Fairy’s reaction was instant.
“It is no-yeyo!”
The Fairy shouted angrily, passionately enough for the cute face to grow red.
“It is not ‘knock off’!”
It was almost pitiful to see how upset it made the Fairy.
Bertelgia, who was the instigator of this outburst, watched the Fairy for a moment before sneaking back into Sungchul’s pocket.
“Was I not supposed to call it that?”
Sungchul replied with a nod before bending down to collect the items from the floor.
30 Dungeon Tokens, and one Elixir.
‘Tokens are one thing, but I don’t really have a use for Elixirs.’
It was just when he was about to pick up and have the elixir join the tokens in his Soul Storage like he had done many times.
“Did you just think that you don’t need Elixirs?”
The Fairy asked while looking at him straight in the eye.
‘It seems this one is sensitive to others’ thoughts.’
Still, at least it wasn’t like a Homulculi. Sungchul thought as he nodded.
The Fairy held her hands behind her back and spoke as she flew around Sungchul.
“For consumable type of items, only the ones provided by me works in this place… yeyo!”
“Is that so?”
“Try it for yourself if you don’t believe me-yeyo!”
The Fairy’s eyes were positively glistening with anticipation as she watched Sungchul’s face. She was literally asking Sungchul to test this out.
But Sungchul was a realist.
“I’ll assume it’s true.”
“Mmm? You aren’t going to test it out-yeyo?”
“If you say it won’t work, then I trust that it won’t work.”
The Fairy stared at Sungchul with an open mouth and stunned expression because of his dead-pan reply. In the end, she let out a sign and muttered to herself.
“Ah… it’s an uninteresting challenger-yeyo. He’s young but he’s acting just like some old grandpa challenger yeyo.”
“… I am somewhat old now, actually.”
The Fairy had tried to instigate some response but Sungchul seemed completely immune to taunts.
“Um… Ok fine, yeyo. Anyway, since you passed the entrance exam, I can officially serve as a guide for your journey to the path to God-yeyo!”
“My name is Voulu yeyo!”
“Blue? I feel like I’ve heard this name before.”
Sungchul replied with a tilted head.
“It’s Voulu! it’s not Buh but Vuh! Yeyo!”
“Hmm I see. Anyway, Balloo, what’s next?”
Voulu was beginning to get a grasp of what kind of an individual Sungchul was, and replied with a general information about the quests and rewards that were available in the God’s Dungeon in a business-like manner.
First, Dungeon Token was the only valid form of currency within the Dungeon.
All rewards in the Dungeon were in the form of Tokens, and the challenger could visit a sort of a cash shop between quests that were filled with items that couldn’t even be dreamt of finding anywhere else.
Meanwhile, the Dungeon Tokens weren’t used exclusively for purchasing items. There were 9 special trials within Aegehios that required a certain number of tokens to gain entry.
The so-called Ultimate Trials.
It was said that each of the Ultimate Trials featured powerful beings that required challengers to push themselves to their utmost limit to overcome. But for those who can overcome these impossible odds awaited fabulous rewards.
Furthermore, a special bonus prize awaited those who could complete all nine trials. But no one had ever been able to complete all nine Ultimate Trials, so nobody but Aegehios himself knew what those rewards were.
It was a type of quest that did not exist within the Summoning Palace.
Sungchul crossed his arms and stroked his chin as he thought to himself carefully.
‘I guess this was too difficult to imitate.’
Whatever the case may be, he was happy. The important thing was that he now knew what was required to complete the entire dungeon.
Sungchul called out to the Fairy.
“What is it, yeyo?”
“How many tokens are required to challenge the Ultimate Trials?”
“It depends on the trials, yeyo. The first Ultimate Trial requires 30 tokens to enter.”
“Is that so?”
Sungchul’s eyes glistened.
‘It seems that these so-called Ultimate Trials were created to serve as shortcuts for those with overwhelming power like I, to avoid needlessly wasting time.’
This was perfect for Sungchul.
Feeling that everything was going smoothly, Sungchul extended his hands to give 30 tokens to Voulu.
“I’ll challenge an Ultimate Trial right away.”
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