“……What are you!”
“You’re an adventurer, right? Figure it out on your own. Ah. Can I call a quitter an adventurer?”
Taesan casually raised his sword as he spoke. Levabas clenched his fist, his face contorted.
This was the first time he was fighting a proper adventurer. Taesan’s face turned serious.
Levabas gritted his teeth.
‘Even so, it’s only the 13th floor!’
He may have had some special means, but Taesan was an adventurer who could only clear up to the 13th floor. There was no way Levabas could lose.
With this certainty, Levabas ran. He rushed at Taesan, punching while keeping his body close.
Sparks flew as the sword and fist collided. As he blocked Levabas’s attack, Taesan thought.
‘Did he say he cleared up to the 20th floor? He’s not weak.’
He could feel a substantial weight.
No, he was incomparably stronger than an average adventurer on the 20th floor.
He had probably pushed his limits by endless repeated hunting. While Taesan was calmly sorting out his thoughts, Levabas felt like he was having a nightmare.
‘What is this!’
He screamed inwardly. His punches were perfectly blocked.
‘How can someone from the 13th floor…’
Levabas had cleared the 20th floor. The difference in stats between the 13th and 20th floors was overwhelming.
When their fists collided, his opponent’s defense would shatter, and he wouldn’t be able to even keep up with his movements. Under normal circumstances, it was a gap that couldn’t be overcome.
But Levabas couldn’t catch up.
Not only that, he was even being pushed back. His fists were numb, and his movements were blocked in advance. Levabas was on the verge of losing it.
If he knew that Taesan was controlling his strength to some degree, he would have truly gone mad.
Taesan swung his sword. He deflected the opponent’s gauntlet and bent his arm.
With a groan, Levabas created some distance. As Taesan swung his sword, he mumbled.
“The defense is quite high.”
Having gone down to the 20th floor, Levabas must be wearing better armor. This could take some time.
Looking down at him, Levabas gritted his teeth and charged in, but the same outcome unfolded. He couldn’t block the swinging sword, and a wound appeared.
“H-How can this…
“Your movements aren’t all that impressive.”
They were systematic but clearly different from the monsters Taesan had seen here. The ghost answered his question.
“Can’t you learn it here?”
Levabas roared harshly and swung his fist. Taesan did not evade.
The activation of a skill. The corner of Levabas’s mouth twitched.
He blocked the punch and thrust his sword into Levabas’ chest. A surge of blood gushed from Levabas’ mouth. Barely managing to create some distance, Levabas stared at Taesan with a dazed expression.
It wasn’t an unconscious act. Taesan activated the counter in response to the heavy attack.
“How did you know?”
A block couldn’t beat a heavy attack, and a heavy attack couldn’t beat a counter. They only learned this hidden property after countless attempts and duels over three years. A newbie on the 13th floor couldn’t possibly know this.
Meanwhile, Taesan had a calm expression.
“If it’s this hard to figure out that simple thing, what’s the average level like?”
Levabas’s face reddened as he pulled out black powder from his inventory.
The Powder of Illusion. An item that creates hallucinations upon inhalation, a high-tier item worth more than 2,000G.
Levabas also took out a robe.
The Robe of Stealth. A valuable piece of equipment he had obtained. Its effect was invisibility for one second.
A psychic attack and invisibility. Using a combination of the two, Levabas spread the powder and stuck it to Taesan. When he raised his fist, Taesan shook his head.
Even Maria’s presence had no effect on Taesan’s mind. There was no way that such a powder would have a significant impact.
Taesan’s body also disappeared.
Levabas, who couldn’t have imagined that Taesan would have a stealth skill, flinched. As time passed, the invisibility wore off, and Taesan kicked Levabas.
“It really is petty damage.”
Taesan grumbled as if annoyed, and Levabas coughed in shock.
‘He kicked me, and it caused damage…?’
There didn’t seem to be any attack power attached to the shoes. As he knew about Ainzhar and the Airak weapon skills, Levabas’ thoughts naturally drifted in that direction.
That arrogant old man who despised and trampled on them gave him a skill?
Levabas still couldn’t forget the look of contempt that Ainzhar had given him.
“What are you!”
Levabas charged while screaming.
Taesan counterattacked calmly. Levabas was only on the receiving end, never landing a hit. There was a basic difference in stats, and the quality of their learned weapon skills was different, so the outcome was as expected.
But Levabas did not fall easily.
“He’s tough and has a lot of stamina.”
A hit only dealt around 10 damage. Levabas’s health was around 1500. Simply put, he would have to be hit about 150 times to be taken down.
Taesan’s movements naturally began to show flaws that hadn’t been there at the start. Levabas’s eyes gleamed.
Despite being toyed with, he had cleared the 20th floor. Most ordinary people couldn’t pass the 1st floor; even those with talent often died before the 10th floor. Getting to the 20th floor was no easy feat.
Levabas put strength into his fist.
His gauntlet had a hidden function.
Its effect was a skill that caused damage equal to five times the basic attack power, just once.
It was an effect that could not be found on the 20th floor. After use, the gauntlet became completely ineffective for a month. Still, even considering this, it was a significant piece of equipment.
Though it wasn’t allowed for someone who had only been given permission up to the 20th floor, Levabas had desperately hidden and kept the gauntlet.
‘Just one hit!’
With bloodshot eyes, he pressed on. Seeing this, Taesan burst into derisive laughter.
Then he swung his sword. Levabas’s thigh was sliced.
Levabas’s eyes sparkled. Whether Taesan was off guard or he swung his sword too wide, a gap was created.
Levabas closed the distance. Whether it was coincidence or Levabas had good timing, or for some other reason, he was able to get close without any resistance.
Sparks flew in Levabas’s eyes.
Adding to the Heavy Strike that had consumed all his mana, he added five times his basic attack power. If it hit properly, it would be powerful enough to leave his opponent near death.
But it meant nothing.
Seeing his own fist returning to its original position, Levabas’s pupils shook.
Taesan stabbed forward with his sword. Normally, Levabas would have quickly created distance or counterattack, but he wasn’t in the right state of mind to do so.
He barely managed to swing his fist.
Levabas let out a hollow laugh.
‘What was I fighting against?’
Despair washed over him.
Levabas lay defeated. Seeing the nullification of his attacks, he lost all his momentum, making everything incredibly easy for Taesan.
With just one more hit, he would be dead. Instead of finishing him off, Taesan looked at the listless Levabas with cold eyes.
“You were nothing special, really.”
But he was an adventurer from the 20th floor. Taesan expected some level of resistance, but he did nothing from the moment his spirit broke. He could only take hits helplessly like a puppet with its strings cut.
Even now, the sense of emptiness and powerlessness seemed more prominent than the fear of death. The ghost responded.
“He must have lost his edge.”
They said the 20th floor was the limit. Perhaps he had been lingering here for a long time without a worthy opponent.
A beast without prey would become lazy.
He dug for information.
Although he had heard about the Guides of Sin from the ghost, the information he knew was old, from before he died. He merely mentioned that such a group existed but did not go into detail.
As Taesan approached, Levabas regained his senses belatedly.
“Do you know what I’m going to ask?”
“… If I answer, will you spare me?”
“No. I will kill you.”
Taesan didn’t lie. He had no intention of leaving a loose end. Levabas let out a hollow laugh.
“Then do I have a reason to answer?”
Taesan gestured to the ghost. He knew it wouldn’t be easy to get an answer. He had been pondering this, but the ghost had given him the solution.
Levabas’ body shook slightly as fear appeared in his eyes.
“No, no, that’s not it.”
He grabbed the hem of Taesan’s clothes.
Taesan was slightly surprised.
To hear that he’d answer just because of a threat of being offered as a sacrifice to the transcendent. His fear of that action was undeniably visible.
At least the gods he had seen didn’t seem to treat him so badly, so it was unexpected.
Anyway, he could get the answer. He didn’t seem to be lying. Taesan began his questioning.
“How many of you are there?”
“… I don’t know.”
Levabas shook his head.
“I told you, I was only allowed up to the 20th floor. The further down you go, the more there are, and I’ve never been there.”
Levabas gave a grim smile.
“You’re strong, but there are many stronger than you. Now that you’ve messed with me, you’ll also…”
Taesan smacked Levabas on the head.
“Shut up and just answer.”
“… Roughly a few hundred.”
Taesan was slightly taken aback at the answer that came out with a pained expression.
“Most of those who found this place accepted it.”
Hearing this, Taesan understood.
This place was dangerous and difficult. Even Taesan, with his knowledge and his Soul Ascension, faced various crises. No matter how much hope one had, it inevitably crumbled in front of reality.
Those who didn’t break either ran away into the labyrinth or perhaps they died at their hands. The number of those who descended to the deep layers like ghosts would be extremely small.
After organizing his thoughts, Taesan asked.
“You said there’s a limit to the floors you can descend. How does that work?”
“20th floor, 30th floor, 40th floor. It’s like this. Most are on the 30th or 40th floor.”
“So, that’s the bottom floor.”
Levabas kept his mouth shut. In reality, he couldn’t answer because of that.
Taesan ridiculed them.
To set a limit after coming this far. And not even a limit decided by themselves but imposed by others. Taesan could not understand it.
“You don’t know.”
In response to Taesan’s contempt, Levabas spoke with a trembling voice.
Taesan was a monster. Levabas still found it hard to believe he even existed. Skills that could nullify attacks. Not just one, but two of them.
It wasn’t just Taesan’s skills. His combat ability was also superior, and he knew all about the compatibility of skills.
There must be more that he has not shown.
Perhaps even at this point, he could clear up to the 30th floor without a problem.
It was an unbelievable situation.
“But not as much as those who have settled here. They… are monsters.”
Fear was visible in his eyes, impossible to hide.
“I know better than you.”
He knew those ones who had cleared this place. There was no way those whom even the ghosts were afraid to touch would be stronger than Lee Taeyeon.
“Still, they might be stronger than I am now.”
While Taesan was confident he could catch up eventually, it wasn’t yet time. The labyrinth gained momentum as you descended, and the dimension of strength changed.
Above the 50th floor, perhaps even those who had reached below the 60th floor. They were the adventurers who could be considered the brains of the Guides of Sin.
“Will they come up here to catch me?”
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