Chapter 16 - Awakened Test (1)

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The next day, the three of them headed to the Seoul Arts Center, where the Awakened Association was located.

The first thing which caught his eye was the 150-floor skyscraper.

Jin-hyuk tilted his head up. He could see the top of the building touching the clouds.

“Is this constructed with the unique ability of the architecture field?”

He had heard of it but seeing it was amazing. And this was made in just a month?

“This is the headquarters of the association. There are tests and work related to the tower here.”

“Wow. Come to think of it, it’s already been three weeks. When I took the test, my heart was trembling.”

“Eh, are you kidding? You can defeat King Kong with your bare hands. That is why even the examiners there were scared of you.”

“Oh my, are you actually saying that to me, Taemin?”

Yoo Yeon-hwa was smiling, but her lips were stiff and straight.

At that moment…

Shh~

Goosebumps appeared on Jin-hyuk and Lee Taemin’s bodies.

This…

It was a similar feeling to when he had first encountered the minotaur.

Maybe he was mistaken.

…maybe.

“…”

Taemin gulped and changed the subject.

“Ah. Right! If hyung gets a rank this time, why don’t the three of us join the same guild?”

“Guild?”

Why a guild?

“Dagun and Father of Fighting don’t often accept new members, but hyung and us should be able to pass their screening. To be honest, starting from the 15th floor, it will be tough to attack without healers, buffs, and debuffs.”

Ah, because of that?

Well, it wasn’t just once or twice that a small number of people entered a labyrinth and got annihilated.

No matter how strong one was, the higher you climbed, the more limited a solo player became.

So these two decided that having helpers would be helpful.

‘Tch.’

Jin-hyuk clicked his tongue.

‘Wasn’t that a cause of failure when climbing the tower?’

Experience. Items. Hidden pieces.

Those who would be able to eat it all up alone in the past would have to share if they moved in a group, right?

If he had to, he’d rather take people he could discard at any time.

“I think it should be clear by now, but I have no intention of belonging to a group.”

Being tied down to a guild felt disgusting. Especially if the higher-ups in the guild were the types of people who made too many orders.

“Then hyung, me and nuna. Would just the three of us work?”

“No, the efficiency will drop even if it’s just us.”

Sharing between the three of them wouldn’t work either.

The best way would be…

“In principle, each of us should move separately but join together for specific locations. The two of you are already working together, so you would be able to handle it, but I am more comfortable working alone.”

Right, this was for the best.

“Three people are already tough, but you want to go alone?”

“Oppa, isn’t that too dangerous?”

They looked shocked. Of course, they would be.

Lee Taemin and Yoo Yeon-hwa were players who climbed up to the 20th floor of the tower.

That meant they had put in enough time and effort to achieve that, so they knew better than anyone.

Whatever the level, a solo act was an inevitable path to death. But there was something that even these two didn’t realize.

There was a clear difference in class, even among veterans.

And…

The fact that there was a player who wandered alone, even after everyone else had left, and saw the end.

“Let’s start with the test for now. We should go before it gets crowded.”

Jin-hyuk smiled and headed for the building.

“Uh…? Uh.”

“Su…. ure.”

And the two followed him with sullen faces.


“Here, everyone who came, please take a numbered ticket and wait for your turn!”

“The D-09 test is up, so if you qualify, go to the test center!”

Inside the building was crowded with people wanting to take the test even though it was a weekday. Considering how many were deceived, it felt like the seductive promises worked fine.

“Please, please bring in a good rank. Even an E would do,”

“If I can just get into one of the top 10 guilds. My life will flourish…”

“Let me sign the contract with the association! Please! I will be proud to have the civil service card around my neck.”

If you received a rank below F, you wouldn’t get the chance to enter the 2nd floor, let alone get recruited into a guild.

Therefore, everyone earnestly prayed as if hoping to win a lottery.

They prayed to stand out from the others.

Of course…

Jn-hyuk looked at them with cold eyes.

‘People with this kind of mindset wouldn’t even survive for a month in the tower.’

At best, it would become obvious that they would become losers on the floors that forced them to compromise with reality. No, they’d probably go silent even then.

It was because it hurts more to simply get caught by the ankles.

Jin-hyuk turned his gaze away and pulled out his ticket.

Group E-01.

‘It was worthwhile to come early.’

Currently, group D is halfway done. He would have to wait just another hour to get his own done.

“But what is it with today? Aren’t there more reporters than usual?”

Lee Taemin looked around. At the very least, there were dozens of reporters waiting for someone.

They looked like anxious dogs waiting to pounce on meat.

“Right. It is odd.”

Yoo Yeon-hwa said in agreement.

Usually, only four or five reporters were here.

Unless a large guild came, there would be no reason for this many reporters to come. Was there an unexpected event happening?

The moment they thought that.

They heard a commotion at the entrance as a group of people entered with a shout.

“Park Hana! It is Park Hana from the Black Crow Guild!”

Park Hana.

How could she not be known?

The rookie that set the media on fire through her appearance in the Hall of Fame.

“Wow. Is she Park Hana? The one who survived the labyrinth?”

“… dope. I watched it on loop on Viewtube. To see her in person.”

“Next to her is Park Haejin. I heard he did a deal with the Chinese side not too long ago.”

Faces that were similar to each other.

Besides these two, another person caught the people’s attention.

“Oh my god! Isn’t that Kim Gitae from Fathers of Fighting Guild!”

Flash!

The cameras began to flash all at once.

One of the seven largest guilds in the world and the second largest in Korea.

Even a ranker from them was also here.

“Do not miss a single shot!”

“A front shot, please. A picture with all three!”

The reporters were thrilled at this.

No, they couldn’t help but feel excited as this was a scoop that could be used on the front page.


“Phew.”

A towering man, standing over 190 cm, approached.

Kim Gitae lowered his sunglasses with an annoyed look.

“What is with the people? I am busy. All the dogs and cows seem to be getting tested here.”

“It seems like more people are dreaming about making money. Why wouldn’t people come to the tower in today’s world when that is their chance to get a rise in their status?”

Park Hajin answered.

“Anyway, they are bugs which suck onto others. Don’t they know there is no point in trying even for a hundred days?”

If they had known, they would have never come.

If they knew that the fountain that they wanted to live in would inevitably get crumpled.

“Anyway, it is a good day today. It is all because of you siblings who came all the way here, but if you make a mistake… you both know, right?’

“O-of course!”

“Don’t…worry at all.”

The siblings nodded their heads. This was a golden thread they had barely managed to catch.

Whatever they had to use, they needed to hold onto it tightly.

And the plan was perfect.

“Since we don’t have time, let’s clear the people in line. The reporters are waiting too. We cannot stay here for long.”

Park Hajin nodded at the guards next to him.

“Clear the path.”

“Can’t you see people passing by? Move to the left and right! Move!”

“Move quickly if you don’t want to get stamped on.”

The players of the Black Crow Guild scrambled to clear the line, and the path split open like Moses parted the Red Sea.

There was no one to complain about it.

“Ahem!”

“Where do we put the personal information…”

All the officials there turned their eyes away. This was the reality.

The high-ranking guilds stood above all.

But…

The steps of the people stopped.

Three people were blocking the path without moving away. To be precise, two were trying to dissuade one person.

In particular, the one not moving was sipping cold water.

“Who are you? Didn’t you hear us?”

“Uh? What?”

Jin-hyuk tilted his head.

No, seriously.

He took the ticket and waited for his turn. So how dare this guy come in and act all mighty?

If he came right now, he should be in group F to get tested.

‘Ah, no…’

As if remembering something, Jin-hyuk looked and pushed his ticket to the man.

“This is what the Americans call the alphabet… with A, B, C, D and then E. Then comes F. If you don’t know, memorize it right now.”

He might not know the order. Usually, one learnt it in elementary school.

He felt bad for this man.

‘I feel bad, man.’

Did he have a tough time in his family?

“W-who asked for that!”

The man’s face turned red.

“Puah!”

“What is this? An eye test?”

Laughter came from behind.

“…”

Kim Gitae, who was watching it from behind, didn’t move but frowned. It was like he was trying to figure out this situation.

And finally…

“Tch. You assholes. Get out of here!”

Park Hajin came from behind the members.

“I don’t know who you are, but you are making a huge mistake right now. It isn’t too late, so shut it before we beat you up.”

Intimidation was so cruel.

‘Is this the guy Park Hana was talking about?’

Looking at his eyes, he wasn’t the kind to hesitate even for a second before killing someone.

Interesting.

How could the siblings be this similar to each other?

“It is all fine, but can you talk a bit further? My eyes are stinging from the smell from your mouth.”

“H-Hyung!”

Lee Taemin grabbed his wrist.

“Oppa! Why are you doing this?”

Even Yoo Yeon-hwa was surprised.

“Bastard!”

“Did I hear it right? That person. Park Hajin…”

“He seems to want to die. Is he sane?”

Even those who were watching were biting their lips.

Of course.

Park Hajin was the most surprised one.

“You… what did….?”

Park Hajin’s face turned red.

“Why? Is that thing on your neck not a head but an empty dumpling? It seems like the air feels polluted from just breathing close to you.”

Jin-hyuk smiled brightly and tried to wrap up the words prettily.

This was all just a bonus.

“This jerk. Can you handle this? If you think I won’t touch you because so many are watching…”

“Ah, please. Who would be even scared of you if it wasn’t the guild’s name?”

“Fathers of Fighting? You think the guild is nothing without that name?”

“Right? You are doing well in Korea with the Fathers of Fighting Guild. You people and…”

Jin-hyuk shrugged and said.

“What was the name again? Black Raven? Or Black Crow, what is it?”

There was no white crow in the world, so why specify the color? Idiots.

“By any chance, are you dumb?”

Or maybe a guy who didn’t know how to deal with the world?

Jin-hyuk didn’t understand why a guild named themselves something as basic as the Black Crow.

“You! Fucking worm! I changed my mind. You need to die!”

Park Hajin pulled out a sword with his hand.

Surely…

“You started the fight first.”

In an instant, the air changed.

Cold enough to give goosebumps to the whole body.

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