Chapter 21 - Accept the Mission (1)

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Seol-Hwi moved to the yellow building. Judging by the sun’s position, the two people must be fighting at the first-floor entrance by now.

“It’s a shame I didn’t heed the rumors about the Supreme Pavilion’s nasty reputation. But don’t get too comfortable. Before I go down, I’ll make sure of one thing: I’m taking you to the underworld with me.”

“Bluffer.” The other man rushed the young man, and it went as Seol-Hwi remembered. Cheok-Ho struck the younger man in the chest.

[A great opportunity! Found a weakness in Cheok-Ho. How would you like to respond?]

Cheok-Ho fumbled around for a little bit, but he wasn’t totally unaware of his surroundings. Still, the choices were coming faster than Seol-Hwi expected.

▶ Attack
▷ Use Martial Arts
▷ Use Toolbox
▷ Approach the Opponent

Seol-Hwi’s abilities were higher than in the past. This wouldn’t go like it had last time.

<You have selected Approach the Opponent. Choose direction: North, South, East, West.>

There was no need to worry; Seol-Hwi chose West, which would place him behind his opponent.

“Gah!” Cheok-Ho looked back, bewildered.

“Ah. If I wanted to kill you, you’d already be dead.” Seol-Hwi peeked at the young man’s collar, ignoring Cheok-Ho.

It’s back here again. As expected, the silver armor Seol-Hwi had lost when he died was back in its place. Unlike the items in the Toolbox, these objects followed the flow of time.

“Tch!” Cheok-Ho’s shoulders dropped. He lost all will to fight as soon as he saw Seol-Hwi. Maybe he realized that his opponent was objectively superior to him.

“What do you want?” Cheok-Ho asked.

“I just wanted to talk.” Seol-Hwi recovered the bamboo plaques and the Heavenly Silver Armor from the young man’s body before looking at Cheok-Ho.

[Status]
Cheok-Ho
[Leader of the Supreme Pavilion’s Black Fire Squad]
Light wounds.
[Stats]
Health: 2,311/2,902
Internal Energy: 1,120/1,630

“You’re from the Supreme Pavilion?”

“...Yes.”

“The leader of the Black Fire Squad?”

Cheok-Ho didn’t answer, so Seol-Hwi threw two bamboo plaques at him. His expression twisted, thinking it was some sort of test.

Seol-Hwi had enough plaques already; he didn’t need those.

“Answer, and you can take them.”

Cheok-Ho hesitated for another moment and then nodded. “Ask.”

“Do you know anything about the other tests?” The only reason Seol-Hwi didn’t kill him was to find out about the other tests. There was no way that Goeun would explain it, so Seol-Hwi had to figure it out on his own.

“Did you come here without knowing what kind of place this is?”

“Isn’t it just a place to test ourselves?”

“...Huh.” Cheok-Ho sighed. “You don’t even know the tests… Well, I sort of understand. Someone as talented as you chose Body as your first test.”

Cheok-Ho eyed Seol-Hwi’s unchanging expression.

“Will you let me live?”

“...Depends if you answer or not.”

“...Hmm.” Cheok-Ho gave him a bemused look. “Okay. I’ll tell you as much as I know. There is a fixed order for each test here. It’s impossible to pass if you don’t know the order.”

“Order…?”

“Yes. Body, Speech, Writing, and Judgment—four tests in total. I don’t know the order; all I know is that this one is the end of the tests.”

“What? Last test?” Then why did he have to choose another test in his previous life?

“I, too, found out after I came here. The reason is, it’s structured to make it impossible to monopolize the treasures here.”

Ah! Now he understood.

That man said that the strong people would come here tomorrow morning. The treasures would give the weaker people a chance to win; that was why the test was pushed to the end. A battle of the weak against the strong, a true slaughter, was the best test of the body.

“I believe you. So, how about you run away now?”

“...I was thinking of staying here till night to get some treasure. If I can’t find enough treasures to fight the people who come tomorrow morning, I’ll leave.”

That’s what Oh Ma said.

“How strong are they?”

“It would be easier to understand if explained it in the context of the Nine Halls and the Five Pavilions. From my Supreme Pavilion, the leader of the Black Gold Squad, Shin Bi-Rang, might come.”

<You have discovered an important mission.>
Would you like to accept the quest “Remove Shin Bi-Rang?”
Reward: [Heavenly Dragon Pill]

What? Why Shin Bi-Rang? …Heavenly Dragon? No way. Is that the Heavenly Dragon Pill I’m thinking of?

Seol-Hwi couldn’t believe his eyes. This wasn’t just “some pill.”

[Do you want to see the details of the Heavenly Dragon Pill?]
○ Heavenly Dragon Pill
Description: A high-quality pill, said to have been made by the former scholar Cheon Chuk. Increases Health and Internal Energy by a large amount.
Effect: Increases Health by 16,000 and Internal Energy by 17,000.

S-so amazing! Seol-Hwi’s eyes twinkled with joy. A whopping ten thousand in both areas! He couldn’t have even dreamed of something like this in a past life.

I need this. There was no sense in worrying about it: he definitely had to get this pill.

<You have accepted the quest. Status of “Shin Bi-Rang” of the Supreme Pavilion is available. >
Shin Bi-Rang
○ Leader of the Supreme Pavilion’s Black Gold Squad
Description: Leader of the Black Gold squad, strongest of the Supreme Pavilion’s seven squads. Came here on a mission from the Pavilion Lord, Sama Gwi.
<Status Window Activated>
[Status]
Seol-Hwi
[Flying Squad Leader]
Body normal.
[Stats]
Health: 7,306(↑300)/7,708
Internal Energy: 3,600(↑270)/ 7,070
Combat Strength: 30,000 (New)

A new section had appeared: “Combat Strength.” Perhaps because he’d mastered mind-reading?

[Status]
Shin Bi-Rang
[Leader of the Supreme Pavilion’s Black Gold Squad]
Body normal.
Martial Arts Level: Close to Master-level (New)
[Stats]
Health: 15,000/15,000
Internal Energy: 12,000/12,000
Combat Strength: 70,000 (New)

All of his stats were in the ten thousands.

It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be crazy, to be precise. Seol-Hwi wouldn’t have dared in his previous life, but with his current ability, Seol-Hwi thought it would be worth it.

Nevertheless, it would be difficult. He’d be lucky to call it a fight and not a one-sided beatdown.

“Any other questions?” Cheok-Ho asked.

“Do you know anything else about the test?”

“Only Judgment. I heard that after a limited listening period, a poison is released. You pass if you hold out for a set time; if not, you fail.”

“...What?”

“Also, someone asks a question, and you have to give them a satisfactory answer. Writing… I don’t know the details, but I heard they’d give you a book. Then, as the book says, you have to solve the problems. It’s a written exam.

“Well, I need to go get some treasure, so…” Cheok-Ho slowly edged away. It seemed like he hadn’t given up hope just yet.

But… that bastard Goeun… Perhaps he knew you were doomed to fail if you didn’t know the order of the tests. Not telling Seol-Hwi would be a sure-fire way of preventing him from passing.

“But I’m definitely going to get stronger…”

[Would you like to open the Toolbox?]

Seol-Hwi put the Heavenly Silver in the Toolbox. He had the map in there, too.

He couldn’t afford to delay any longer.


Seol-Hwi kept treasure hunting.

Almost all of the treasures in the yellow building were taken. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find anything useful; there were a lot of weapons but no swords and the medicines were inferior.

He got one thing, at least.

[You have obtained a grenade.]

To his surprise, he got explosives.

[Toolbox]
<Medicine>
Confectionery Bar x1 (Bitten)
Golden Potion x2
Iron Blood Poison Detox x1
<Equipment>
[Armor] Heavenly Silver Armor
[Weapons] Moon-Scented Dagger
[Secondary Weapons] Grenade x1 (New)
<Greater Martial Arts>
Four Peak Demonic Martial Arts (Wind)
<Goods>
Island Treasure Map (7/7)

There were a lot of treasures left, but Seol-Hwi gave up on them. It was time to prepare. The sun was going down; he needed to recover his internal energy more than he needed more loot.

I wish I had a strong cultivation method.

He didn’t like hiding in one place.

[Stats]
Health: 7,426(↑120)/ 7,708
Internal Energy: 4,490(↑890)/ 7,070

It was a pity he hadn’t recovered much, but it was better than nothing.

Now, those warriors that Cheok-Ho had told him about were coming. Seol-Hwi set himself up on top of the red building.

There he is. Seol-Hwi’s senses found the leader of the Black Gold Squad. Helpfully, letters were floating over his head.

<Objective>
Shin Bi-Rang

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