The swords exchanged blows. Sungjin wanted to speak with him more.
“Hey listen to what I have to say”
But the only reply he got was the swinging of the swords. And because either the conversation ended or 10 seconds passed, Trite was no longer active. The only way to interact with the Highlander was
Through the sword. The ‘Highlander’ was filled with rage. Enough to be willing entering the troll state to kill Sungjin.
Actually, Sungjin could have allowed one or two attacks to land to put the Highlander in troll state, kill him, and take two items. But Sungjin decided not to do so.
Sungjin liked him. And also, his reason
‘We almost died because you left the team!’
He was not wrong. The difference between Sungjin and the Highlander was that the Highlander had not experienced the latter stage of the raid; their knowledge was different, and their perspective was different is all.
‘Willing to sacrifice himself to carry out justice… kind of an idiot but… a man with good intentions.’
Others in the same position as him were thinking
‘Is he telling the truth?’
‘I hope it doesn’t bring harm to me.’
‘This can play to my favor’
And he was also strong. Each time Sungjin blocked a blow, he could tell that the man was unusually skilled with the blade. He was talented with extremely high stats.
‘…Let’s find out more.’
Sungjin held the sword in a cross as he blocked, and pushed away the two handed sword.
“Binding Frost! Frostbite!”
His feet froze in place. He couldn’t run away anymore.
“You fight with the sword, and yet you still use this kind of hex?”
It looks like he had no resistance to magic at all.
‘It’s just like looking at my past self.’
Sungjin thought as he asked
“Hey, you. What’s your name?”
“Why the fuck does that matter?”
It didn’t look like he was willing to share his name.
‘He’s certainly strong enough… And I like his sense of righteousness.
But it wasn’t like Sungjin could use the ‘Holy Water of Baptism’ on someone who didn’t want to receive it.
‘What should I do?’
In the short time Sungjin was considering his options, the spell lost their effectiveness and the Highlander came charging at him immediately. But
‘I saw everything I need.’
Sungjin finally became serious as he used the Moon specter to block the attack and used the Blood Vengeance to knock the two handed sword away.
The Highlander was surprised. He had believed he held the upper hand the whole time, but not only had Sungjin parried the attack with just one hand, but was able to knock the sword out of his hand with a strange motion.
The three behind the Highlander were also shocked. They were well aware of the Highlander’s strength, having climbed the tower alongside him. And the Highlander lost so simply.
Sungjin raised his sword to the Highlander’s neck and asked
“I’ll ask again. What’s your name?”
But he glared back at Sungjin and said
He was prepared to die. Sungjin watched him for a moment more before putting his swords away.
“I am not a troll, well I am sorry I left you guys behind… I only did that because I had my reasons…”
Explaining his circumstance or persuading others is difficult. The Highlander quickly ran over to his sword and picked it back up.
Even if the fight a moment ago could be called just and passionate, trying to recklessly charge against a foe of insurmountable difference in power is idiocy.
‘If he takes another step…’
But luckily, he walked over to the other hunters after retrieving his sword.
‘Not a bad judgement.’
Sungjin liked him a lot. If not now, Sungjin hoped that he could meet him later on so that he may baptise him.
Sungjin left the other hunters alone and headed towards the stairway to the fifth floor, where the hidden piece was waiting. Cain wordlessly followed. Cain was becoming wiser.
When he felt that the Master was in danger, he would unhesitatingly sacrifice himself to save Sungjin. But even though his master was exchanging blows with strangers, he calmly sat in place.
He must have realized Sungjin was fighting to test the stranger’s strength.
Sungjin patted Cain’s head as he stepped on the first step of the stairway when he realized
‘Ah right… this hidden piece can be used by everyone.’
Sungjin stopped and faced the other hunters to tell them
“Hey, come here for a sec. As an expression of apology…not really but, since there is a hidden piece here, so come get it.”
The hunters were standing in place despite Sungjin’s words. They were still being cautious of him.
“Well do whatever you want. There’s nothing but corpses upstairs anyway.”
Sungjin climbed down the stairs after he spoke. He now paid attention to the wall of the stairway. The height of the stairs in the tower was standardized between the floors.
With the exception of the stairway leading from 5th floor to the 6th. There were three more stairs between these two floors compared to any other stairway in the tower. In other words, there was a larger gap between the floors here. And in that gap was a hidden room.
‘I guess you could call it floor 5.5…’
Sungjin checked each of the bricks on his way down.
‘There was something weird here for sure…’
But he ended up reaching the 5th floor. On the floor was a corpse of a beast with a lion’s head and the body of a dog. A liog. When Cain saw it, began to growl.
Sungjin glanced at the monster as well. He remembered killing that last time around as well. The forcefully combined dog and lion.
It was a beast he did not want to look at for too long. Sungjin turned around and climbed back up the stairs while rubbing his hands over each of the bricks. Along the way
One of the brick was loose.
Sungjin pulled the brick out. It came out without any resistance. Inside was a red button. Then
The wall along the stairs opened up. At the same time, the Operator gave an announcement.
[You have found the ‘Hidden Place – Magician’s treasure horde’]
Sungjin entered the room. The light came on automatically and illuminated the entire area within. The room was full of eye-catching treasures.
Between the mountain of golden coins, there were golden crosses, silver cups, gem boxes made out of rubies and sapphire scattered across the room.
An ordinary person would be overwhelmed by such a sight. But Sungjin held no such attachment to gold. If only these coins were Black Coins, gold was useless.
Sungjin treated these mounds of gold the same as piles of stone as he walked among the treasures. And meanwhile
“What is this?”
He could hear voices from behind.
“Wait… is all of this… gold?”
“Rich! We are rich!”
They shouted in excitement. The others must have followed him down. Sungjin stared at them. Three of them were visibly elated. The ‘Highlander’ wasn’t showing it outright like the others, but his eyes were large. Of them, one acted upon his impulse right away.
The Green Magician ran forward and stuffed a diamond necklace into his cube. Sungjin watched with narrowed eyes.
‘Why are you doing that…’
But when he put the necklace into the cube, the bottom of the cube opened up and let it drop out.
‘You can’t even take it back with you…’
He already tried it once. Any item not ‘owned’ is discarded by the cube. Sungjin left them alone and continued to walk deeper into the room.
On the far side was an extremely worn out pointy hat of a Magician. It was a stereotypical wizard hat. Sungjin picked it up. And then
“Who are you?”
The hat spoke to him. Sungjin responded without being surprised.
“I am Kei. A Hunter”
“…Hmmm really? You weren’t surprised at all by my appearance. You must be quite a veteran hunter.”
‘A veteran… yes… since this is my second time around…’
The Magic Hat continued to speak
“I don’t know how you came to this tower but… if you can, get out. The master of this tower is becoming more and more deranged. Dangerous things may happen.”
Dangerous things have already ended though.
“I know. If you mean Lenin I already killed him.”
“Yeah, I killed him.”
The hat paused for a long time.
“So… he went crazy in the end?”
It asked. Sungjin nodded
“Yes. He had completely lost his mind. In his insanity, he razed the town and began strange experiments in the tower.”
“By experiments… you mean combining different species?”
“So in the end… so that’s what happened…”
The magic hat’s dialogue changed a lot from before.
‘I think last time he just upped my status a bit… what did I say to get him to do that again?’
While Sungjin was trying to recall the past, the Magic Hat said to him
“Lenin was my friend.”
It was an utterance mixed with regret. Sungjin decided to listen to the hat.
“When he was first assigned to this town, he protected this town from monsters and was well respected. But he changed when he completed his mission and returned to the Capital.”
Now that he thought of it, he remembered these words. But Sungjin still listened to the story quietly.
“His teacher was at the Capital. “Orkin of the Blue Ocean”. A great Magician. But he did not select Lenin as his disciple. He picked an unknown child instead.”
Sungjin felt people approaching from the back. The hunters had arrived and were listening in on the story.
“He had devoted his whole life to his teacher… and at first, he tried to understand the teacher’s choice… But he never overcame the feeling of rejection and slowly lost his mind. And finally, he crossed the line experimenting with Taboo Magic…”
The hat stopped speaking as if it was struggling with rising emotions.
“I tried to stop him… and ended up like this after losing. Hunter, I thank you for taking care of him on my behalf.”
Sungjin bowed for a moment. ‘Thank you’ was sure to be followed by some sort of reward. The hat continued and said
“As a proof of my gratitude, I will give the rest of my remaining magic power over to you. Do you accept?”
If he thought about this for a second, this dialogue was a bit different from last time. When he had visited the hat last time before he killed Lenin,
‘Take some magic power from me. Please kill my friend Lenin on my behalf.’
Something like this had happened. Well, in either way, reward is reward. Sungjin nodded.
“Well, I’ll take it gratefully.”
The Hat glowed for a moment, and a blue ray of light came down upon Sungjin. The Operator gave an announcement.
[You have obtained 5000 allocated status points.]
The reward was done with this. Sungjin was about to put down the hat. But the hat asked one more question.
“The ones standing behind you… are they comrades?”
Sungjin looked back. Behind him were ‘Highlander’ and the three others who were watching.
He couldn’t use Trite to read their minds, but their inner thoughts could be heard loud and clear.
‘Please PLEASE say yes’