This chapter was translated by curry, one of our new translators.
Money makes anything possible.
This was true for both the Old World and this one. Two of the Preselected belonging to the Order of the Iron Blood Knights were dead, but only one death had been reported. The other Mage who had lost his Preselected was dragged off by the Iron Blood Knights and never seen again. In Krill’s short lifetime, there had never been a moment that had caused him to shudder more. He was now standing at attention in the office and in front of a high-ranked and armored Iron Blood Knight.
“You are wise, my friend. You said you were Krill Regall?”
The high-ranking Iron Blood Knight brought up the thick emerald to his eyes and carefully examined it through one eye. He had had many accomplishments, as the scars on his face gave witness. This man was the Captain of the 3rd Assault Regiment, Sanggil Ma. In this Mass Summoning, he was the one in charge of nurturing the Preselected.
“I wouldn’t have let you off easily if you tried to bribe me with pocket change. You might have even suffered a worse fate than the other idiot who got dragged away earlier. In a place called Korea, Insolence is a grave crime,” said Sanggil with a bone-chilling smile.
“I…I wouldn’t dare…!”
“I know that. That’s why I’ve called you over.”
The Captain placed the emerald deep into his pocket and said in a low tone.
“For now, return to the Observation Tower.”
“What? You said…return?”
His Preselected was dead. What was there to be done even if Krill returned to the Tower?
Sanggil trimmed his fingernails with a nail clipper as he spoke in an annoyed voice.
“I thought you had a good head on your shoulders, but maybe I was wrong.”
“Hyunsuk is alive.”
When he heard this, Krill sensed a chill running all over his body.
‘It’s exactly like that guy had said!’
The man, who hadn’t revealed his name, had told Krill with a cold voice,
“At the very least, they will leave you alive for the moment. But remember, they will never let you go, nor will they forgive you.”
The current situation was flowing exactly as the unknown man had predicted. Sanggil sent Krill back to the Observation Tower to wait on standby. In the bird cage, there was a small Sky Squirrel with white, striped fur moving about busily. Krill tied a letter the size of a sesame seed to the leg of the Sky Squirrel then whispered as he opened the back window,
“Please deliver this to that person.”
The unusually intelligent Sky Squirrel nodded and then let its small body fly out through the open window.
Sungchul Kim untied the paper on the squirrel’s leg and confirmed the contents within.
[Tomorrow’s Rank Matches will go by Alamo Rule. You will go up against zombies.]
[The reward cutoffs are at 1/3/10/30 zombies]
[The bonus monsters will be wearing red hats.]
Sungchul memorized the contents in his head and rubbed the paper between his fingers. The paper became dust and scattered in the wind.
“You did well.”
He took out a piece of bread from his pocket and offered it to the Sky Squirrel.
The Sky Squirrel nibbled on the bread, then stared at Sungchul with some interest before disappearing into the darkness.
‘He’s intelligent,’ thought Sungchul as he recounted the information Krill Regall had provided him.
“Zombies will be coming out with Alamo Rule. That’s not a bad start.”
Rank Matches had many methods. There could be Death Matches amongst the Summoned of each plaza, or fights arranged between elites representing each plaza, or even a Pac-Man game where you had to avoid the monsters, and many other odd rules with names of unclear origins.
The Alamo Rule, which would begin soon, was one in which the Summoned would work together to defend against numerous demonic creatures. Although the demonic creatures were easy enough for newbies to overcome individually, there would be a great number of them. As the defenders, it would feel like they were fighting against endless waves of monsters.
However, this was also an opportunity. Even though these were weak monsters, as long as you could take care of them you would be rewarded. Krill Regall had mentioned cutoffs for the rewards, which changed at thresholds of 1, 3, 10, and 30 kills.
In other words, it meant the finest rewards could be had from hunting over 30 of them. Of course, top 3 were granted additional bonus reward, but Sungchul had no intention of being in the top 3. He would do just enough work to get maximum standard rewards. That was Sungchul’s goal. And most importantly, he was interested in the bonus monster that would appear.
The zombies with the red hats, these bonus monsters, were slightly stronger than the normal ones, but defeating them yielded great rewards.
Sungchul wasn’t certain about exactly what the rewards would be, but based on his past experience, it definitely included Palace Tokens. This information was valuable to Sungchul, who was in dire need of 19 additional Palace Tokens.
On the dawn of the second day, Sungchul opened his eyes to a familiar demonic energy.
The Necromancers had arrived at the Summoning Palace and were chanting an incantation to raise the dead.
In the morgue below the Summoning Palace, the dead were coming to life. These were the victims from the first day of the mass summoning. Thousands of these corpses followed the Necromancer’s orders to move through the underground tunnels and stand just outside Blanche Plaza’s entrance, which was connected to the palace. Most of the Summoned couldn’t imagine such a scene, but the Preselected were told ahead of time of what was happening
“Kim Hyung! Did you hear that voice?”
Yungjong acted rather friendly.
“You mean the part where Rank Matches will start today?”
“Yup. According to their Guides, they were told to fight at the front instead of heading towards the backlines.”
“Is that so?”
“They said to get at least 30. God damn it…I’m a bit nervous.”
Getting 30 kills was the minimum requirement to get the best rewards. Krill Regall’s information seemed reliable. A little after sunrise, the Homunculi, including the Drill Sergeant, appeared at the Blanche Plaza.
“Now now, humans! Rise and shine! The most important event, the Rank Matches, starts now!”
The people who were hungry and thirsty all stared at the Homunculi with vacant eyes. The Drill Sergeant showed off its razor teeth as it smiled and started speaking in its particularly annoying voice.
“All of your friends who had come with you will be here soon! It’s simple! Just play with your old friends for one hour! And remember! If you kill your friends, you can get water and rations. The rewards will grow the more you kill!”
After the Homunculi disappeared, a low trumpet sound was heard over the palace walls. The gargantuan walls that were always closed were now slowly being opened wide. Each member of the crowd had a blade in hand and was watching nervously to see what lay beyond. Outside the palace doors were humans; humans who were staggering and walking strangely. While the crowd was bustling, Sungchul read the message that appeared in front of his eyes.
[First round of the Rank Matches begins now.]
[Rule: Alamo ]
[Featured Monster: Zombies]
[Raise your sword and fight. Cut down your enemies. Here, your value will be measured only in what you prove through your own actions.]
Sungchul smirked as he grasped the staff in his hand. Moonlight, one of Vestiare’s gifts. Today, Sungchul had thought of using Moonlight instead of a sword for the audience at the Observation Tower.
The ruling class of Other World often gathered in the Observation Towers on Rank Match days and gambled great sums of money on which Plaza would win. Among those gathered in the Plazas, there were some who were able to wield a sword well in their own right, as well as those who are natural born fighters.
Using Moonlight would help him stand out, but the bastards up in the tower would lose interest quickly; what they wanted to see was not some wimp who relied on items, but diamonds in the rough who showed a genuine talent for fighting. The strong, hidden among the crowd, would awaken to their true nature on the battlefield today and would henceforth push themselves during the remaining trials to grow even stronger.
“Kim Hyung, let’s try our best.”
The Preselected were all on the frontlines, as if by a previous arrangement. Sungchul found Ahram among them. He was also on the frontlines, but he was not holding onto a sword; he held a staff instead. It looked a little different from Sungchul’s, but it appeared to be a Mage staff charged with Magic power.
‘Did they have to babysit him with that staff because he refused to train properly?’
Sungchul had destroyed Vestiare’s fragment, so the Mage in charge of Ahram didn’t really have much of a choice. Even though it was conspicuous, in order to raise Ahram’s capability immediately, he had to be given an item that could be used instantly to boost his power. To Sungchul, this was good news. It meant that he did not need to be careful about holding back with Moonlight.
[Rank Match begins now.]
[Restrictions have been removed.]
[Warning! You could die!]
As the message disappeared, the zombies outside the palace door pushed forward into the Plaza with a singular purpose.
Most of the Summoned stepped back in fear at the sight of the zombies pouring in.
“Uuuh…! Please let me live!”
“What the fuck is this bullshit…”
There were some who edged back from the fight.
“All right, everyone! Let’s go!”
Some of the Summoned who had the will to fight got into a formation and faced off against the zombies. Sungchul noticed that the man who was leading them was the middle-aged office worker from the first day, who had recruited a party despite being told off numerous times. The man lacked strength, but fought on desperately and engaged in a hit-and-run battle tactic.
On the other hand, there were those who firmly held their ground and fought head on. It was uncertain if they were also one of the Preselected, but they had courage on par with a Preselected and good instincts for battle. They were the type that got the feel of it with each zombie kill and quickly grew stronger. These were probably the types that the ones at the Observation Tower watched with the most interest. Of course, the Preselected behind them were not just idling either.
“Now! Everyone, let’s go!”
The Preselected, including Yuhoon, entered the fray as well.
Zombies were cut down easily. This was inevitable; the zombies’ power was on par with the average Summoned’s power on their first day in the world. In the past week, the Preselected had been bestowed blessings, given enchanted weapons, and undergone training; to them, the zombies were nothing more than smelly lumps of meat.
“Wo…Woah! I got one of these!”
Among the Preselected, Yungjong was rather cowardly, but even he was able to cut down a zombie easily. Some of the women stubbornly refused to go out and fight, but the Preselected were already doing their part. Meanwhile, Ahram Park was standing with the women in the rear until he decided it was time. From his staff, two spirit wolves emerged and leaped at the zombies, whipping up a bloody storm.
“Excellent! You’re doing great!” said Ahram as his raucous laughter reverberated over the battlefield.
Sungchul waited until there was a lull in the battle before he began using his staff. He aimed his staff at the zombies and poured his strength into it. Energy bolts shot out of the end of the staff and pierced through the bodies of the zombies.
“Woah! Kim Hyung! What was that?”
Youngjong asked in surprise.
Sungchul Kim replied nonchalantly.
“This? I picked it up in the forest.”
As he said this, Sungchul made a quick work of the zombies. Ten, Twenty, Twenty-nine. With one more left, Sungchul scanned the masses of zombies rushing in. Finally, he found the bastard he was searching for; the zombie wearing a red hat. Sungchul headed towards the bonus monster. However, two spirit wolves passed by him and rushed at the red hat zombie first.
He could hear a giddy laughter coming from behind him.
“Ahahahaha! That one’s mine! Nobody shall touch it!”
It was Ahram. Anger erupted from Sungchul’s eyes.
‘That son of a bitch is asking for a beating.’
Sungchul held himself back in the hopes that the kid would still have some uses in the future. He grabbed the head of a zombie off the floor and threw it backwards. The zombie head flew like an arrow straight towards Ahram.
Ahram cried out and crumpled to the floor. He had dropped his precious staff before he fell unconscious.
As soon as he let go of the staff, his connection to the spirit wolves was severed. Sungchul now had the opportunity to take the red hat zombie for himself. As he was aiming his staff, he noticed a woman who ran like a cheetah towards the red hat zombie.
On the outside, she looked like an ordinary Summoned. However, the vigor and skill with which she ran…the energy in her focused gaze was unusual; if he wasn’t careful, he could lose the red hat to her.
Sungchul poured his herculean strength through his body, and in a flash, he was standing between the mysterious woman and the red hat zombie
Sungchul’s sword pierced through the heart of the zombie, and their gazes met. Her eyes were filled with astonishment, but her unwavering gaze was abnormal even by his battle-hardened standards. However, the message which popped up concealed her from his eyes.
[You have eliminated the bonus monster!]
- Palace Token x 3
- Light Shield of Vitality (Common)