Time continued to flow and on the 5th day.
Boss of the fourth Ultimate Trial was defeated by Sungchul.
The giant with an elephant’s head kneeled before Sungchul and spoke to him with a magnificent voice.
“I admit defeat.”
Rewards were dropped. Four thousand Dungeon Tokens, Elixir, and one month stay at the Dragon Hotel.
Sungchul picked up these rewards that were becoming familiar as he waited for the Dungeon Assistant Voulu to appear.
‘If it weren’t for Marakia, I would have already completed the fifth Ultimate Trial today and be granted access to the Palace of Wishes where Genies are said to live.’
Although 30 Dungeon Tokens were mere spare change to Sungchul by this point, he had lost something that were far more valuable to him than money.
The time he had left was only around 10 more days.
Even if he were to push it back, 12 days was the absolute maximum permissible within the margin of error. But Sungchul was not going to stay any longer than 10.
It was because the World Parliament session that was going to be held soon was an important matter to him.
‘Marakia, I’m coming for you.’
Marakia did a good job evading Sungchul for the past 5 days. But any more would be difficult for him.
Sungchul told Voulu to never reveal his whereabouts to Marakia. Now Marakia could no longer pick where to run with information of where Sungchul was.
Therefore, from now on, Marakia had to not only complete the trials each day, he had to play a Russian Roulette with 25% chance to run into Sungchul.
“To Blanche Plaza.”
Instead of chasing after Marakia and switching Plazas, he decided to just pick one and stay there and wait.
‘He’ll eventually fall for it.’
No matter how good Marakia’s luck was, he would eventually show up at the Blanche Plaza. And when that happens, Sungchul was going to make him repay the 30 Dungeon Tokens plus interest, and the for the gull he had to enrage Sungchul.
There was going to be hell to pay.
“Bertelgia. Don’t you need another book shelf?”
“Mmm. Well, I’d welcome it if you wanted to make one. But the cushion here seems nice.”
Bertelgia was on the fluffy seat of the sofa, reclining into the comfortable position. One end of the bandaid was nearly fallen off, which revealed the hole underneath. Seeing that hole gave Sungchul a pang of pity.
“That hole. How can we heal it?”
Sungchul asked Bertelgia.
“Mmm… well, I don’t know either. Though countless recipes are recorded within me, the recipe to make my body is not one of them.”
“It’s not hidden or anything, is it?”
“Well, that’s a possibility for sure. But of course, the only way to find out is for you to pursue the Creationist quest as fast as possible!”
Bertelgia was always a very straight forward child, Sungchul thought as he nodded.
“There’s two I can get in Ixion so I’m planning on taking a look around in the Colossus once the World Parliament is finished.”
“And the other two?”
“We’ll have to search for it.”
As he replied, a question popped up in his head.
‘Could that be an answer?’
The image of a book Sungchul had met in the Tower of Recluse came to mind. It had identified itself as Bertelgia and offered absolutely no threat to Sungchul. But the words it had left with Sungchul stung him mentally again and again, as if it was a thorn he had swallowed that could not be digested.
Sungchul turned his eyes to Bertelgia who was lying down on the seat across from Sungchul.
“What is it?”
Bertelgia lifted her body slightly to answer.
“I was wondering, that wound, does it hurt you?”
“Not really. But it does get on my nerves. Every time I open the pages, the part that was warped by the hole gets in the way and cold air can flow through!”
“Is that so?”
“Why are you asking all of a sudden? I thought things were going well.”
Bertelgia seemed dissatisfied with his answer and glared at him for a bit before returning to the cushion and remained motionless.
It seemed like she was experiencing fatigue.
Sungchul arranged the items he had received during his stay at the dungeon on the bed in the room that now fell silent.
The number of tokens he possessed numbered at 10,942. Four Elixirs. Several coupons for stay at the Dragon Hotel.
Here, the number of Dungeon Token did not matter much.
From the past four days, Sungchul came to realize that only the rewards of Ultimate Trials were of any value, because the ordinary trials gave tiny amounts of change.
But the tokens gained from Ultimate Trials were needed for the next trial. In other words, of the 10,542 tokens, 10,000 of them were reserved for paying the entry fee tomorrow.
Meaning, the practical amount of tokens available for him to use didn’t even reach four figures, coming to a total of 542. And all of these were the total amount of tokens he had obtained from ordinary Trials until now.
Here, Sungchul could guess what the Dungeon wanted.
The only thing worth doing in this dungeon were the Ultimate Trials.
No matter how much one works on the ordinary quests, the rewards were meager and the Dungeon Fatigue system put a hard cap on a total amount of tokens someone could gather in a day.
Sungchul summarized the intent behind this.
‘It means only those who are powerful should come.’
Sungchul’s conclusion was that the purpose of this dungeon wasn’t growth; it was a proving ground to evaluate challengers to see if they were worthy.
Those who enter are tested to see how many Ultimate Trials they could overcome, and once they hit their limit, they can cash out and leave with rewards based on their progress. Or die.
Of course, there might be people who wants to go through the ordinary Trials repeatedly to try and get stronger, but to Sungchul, such method seemed far too inefficient and require far too much investment of time.
[Legendary Medusa Sharpshooter]
A half human monster with snakes for hair holding a bow appeared, placing him within its sights.
Sungchul stepped out of the way of the arrow and used Star Light to blast the monster to pieces from afar.
Dungeon token fell before Sungchul once the monster was annihilated.
The amount was measly 30 tokens.
He could more or less tell how much he could expect to earn in a day.
‘The most I can get is only around 300.’
Sungchul put the token into his pocket and went over his thoughts on what he wanted to accomplish in the dungeon.
‘Since that’s the case, I’ll just focus on clearing all the Ultimate Trials awaiting me as fast as I can.”
For someone who was chased for time like Sungchul, this might actually be a blessing.
Sungchul breezed through the rest of the Dungeon Fatigues before paying 10,000 tokens to enter the fifth Ultimate Trial.
“I have seen many people come and go, but I have never seen anyone go through the Ultimate Trials as fast as you yeyo!”
Voulu exclaimed before she opened the dimensional gates to the fifth Ultimate Trial’s boss.
The medusa that appeared on the other side of the door had the same appearance, but was slightly larger and stronger.
But like always, it was no match for Sungchul.
Fal Garaz appeared in Sungchul’s hands.
In a blink of an eye, the trial was over.
[You have overcome the fifth Ultimate Trial.]
[The doors to a more difficult Trial has opened.]
[The genies of the Palace of Wishes have recognized your strength.]
[You may now enter Palace of Wishes.]
[To you who have completed the Ultimate Trial, your rewards are as follows.]
1. Dungeon Token – 15,000
2. Elixir (Highest grade)
3. One week stay at the Dragon Hotel ‘Grand Keereh’
Once Dungeon tokens reach a certain denomination, they automatically merge to become the higher tier currency.
Sungchul picked up the 10,000 token in the form of a luminous diamond and felt its heavy weight before he put it in his pocket.
He was close. At this rate, by the 7th Ultimate Trial, he would be able to afford the Second Inner Flames without a doubt, along with spells and Essence of Spirits.
Of course, Sungchul’s goal has always been completing up to the 9th Ultimate Trial. It was pointless to try and estimate the total amount now, but it would prove to be an exorbitant amount. Enough to make Sungchul, who’s already far above human limitations, to become even more powerful than before.
‘This is why the Lesser Gods went through all the trouble sealing all the dungeons away. If you have the requisite skill, becoming stronger is so simple.’
Of course, the important element here was ‘skill’.
Done with his itinerary for the day, Sungchul returned to the Blanche Plaza.
His next destination was predetermined.
It was the Palace of Wishes where magic spells were taught by the Genies that live there.
Sungchul walked across the increasingly familiar plaza and arrived before the strange looking palace with rounded almost cute rooves.
But Sungchul felt someone watching from afar.
‘This feeling. I’ve felt it before.’
He recalled sensing a very similar gaze in the past in the Crimson Plaza. He could simply ignore it and move on, but he had nothing but over abundance of excess time to burn anyhow.
Sungchul pretended to walk towards the palace before he flung himself towards the general direction of where he felt the stare originate from.
Something scrambled away into the alley way.
Sungchul stopped breathing and changed his direction to chase after the mysterious being.
Soon, there was a dead end. Not a single living thing could be felt here.
But Sungchul knew, that the mysterious something was hiding here somewhere.
Fal Garaz appeared in Sungchul’s hands.
“Show yourself. If you don’t…”
Sungchul lifted Fal Garaz high in the air. Right as god-like strength began to flow across his body…
A panicked voice came from thin air. And soon Sungchul watched the magical sight of a part of the scenery become distorted and a man hopping out.
‘Invisibility? No, this is fundamentally different from that.’
What appeared from thin air was an emaciated almost skeleon-like man draped in rags. He was quite tall with long arm and legs, but his complete lack of fat made him look almost like an insect.
“Who are you?”
Sungchul asked calmly as he stared at the man.
To that question, the man kneeled before Sungchul and assumed the universal pose for asking not to be hit, and lowered his head.
“I… I’m a challenger. Like you…”
The man replied with a wheeze.
This was impossible. The God’s Dungeon had been buried deep underground as a result of the Lesser Gods’ machinations and only now resurfaced into the world after ten thousand years. And the first person to enter had been Sungchul himself.
There was absolutely no doubt to this.
But to put that aside and to claim himself a Challenger, there was only one potential possibility, but even that was dubious.
Sungchul pointed his hammer at the man and asked calmly.
“Are you from the Order of Extinction?”
The man’s sunken eyes were opened wide as he looked up at Sungchul. Sungchul had no ability that explicitly allowed him to know truth and false with certainty, but he did have enough understanding of people to know with high confidence if they had any ulterior motives.
‘It does not seem like he’s lying. And that color.’
The rags he wore made him look like an absolute beggar. Almost like clothes dug up from an ancient grave.
Sungchul was able to detect a very slight but a terribly ripe odor coming from the man.
“What are you?”
Sungchul pressed the hammer into the man and asked.
The man screamed in terror and shouted with both his hands in the air.
“I…I told you! I am a challenger like you!”
Sungchul put away Fal Garaz and instead took out Krombui.
“It’s been a while, friend!”
Sungchul nodded to reply to Krombui’s greetings before he pressed Krombui’s edge against the man’s smelly neck.
“Does have a grudge against me?”
Krombui muttered quietly to himself.
The sunken eyes of the man were filled with terror and surprise as it looked down at the blade pressed against his neck.
“How long were you here for?”
Sungchul asked again.
The sunken eyes were taken off of the blade and raised up to look at Sungchul as the man hastely answered.
Sungchul took a step forward towards the man, who now looked like he was wronged and shouted out with near hysteria.
“I don’t know any details! I was here since before this god forsaken dungeon suddenly stopped functioning!”
Sungchul couldn’t hold back his surprise. Sungchul took Krombui away from the man’s neck as he asked calmly.
“Is that true?”
“Why would I lie?”
The man looked frustrated as he reached into his Soul Storage to retrieve something to show Sungchul.
It was a document of sorts.
Sungchul grabbed it and tried to read it.
‘Hmm? These letters…?!’
It was written in ancient tongue.
Sungchul used his mediocre understanding of the language to decipher the document.
[Dillo…Buron… Tromeia…Bandit…Guild… Dabbler …prefer… made of branches… sauteed…]
The latter half could not be understood, but he could tell that this was a form of identification of sorts.
Sungchul glared down at the man and asked with a cold tone.
“How have you survived until now?”
It was the most fundamental question. And to this, the man looked around his surroundings and replied with a trembling voice.
An answer for the wrong question.
But Sungchul did not hold it against the man. If anything, Sungchul was feeling deeply curious.
About this man who had been in this Dungeon since ten thousand years ago.
That is a long time in a dungeon.
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