Chapter 19 - Awakened Test (4)

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After a few moments, a new magic stone was prepared.

It was a large mid-grade magic stone that was blue in color.

“H-here… haa. Here it is.”

The examiner was gasping. It really took less than a minute to get it done.

Maybe he had thought that Jin-hyuk was too scary.

Fine.

So, should he begin now?

JIn-hyuk took a stance while holding his dagger.

Woong!

When magic was infused into the dagger, its blade was dyed red again.

‘I don’t need to hold back the power.’

Previously he had been holding back a moderate amount because there had been no reason to exert his power on a low-grade stone.

[The ‘Rift’ stat has been activated to the maximum.]

Profound magic was transmitted through his fingers as Jin-hyuk smiled.

Right, that was it.

‘The Law of Strong for the Strong.’

What would be the result of hard work for the last month?

It was time to check it out with his own eyes.

Psss!

Sparks flew as the dagger’s blade swept through the surface of the magic stone.


“Th… this cannot be.”

The examiner’s jaw trembled.

A monster from the Tower of the Trials came. Since its appearance, many awakened people have come here.

Most of them didn’t have the minimum magic required to register.

They were below F-rank.

In other words, they were judged to be unqualified. Of course, a few selected ones received ranks.

They received the right to climb up the tower.

But, nobody…

Even the rankers who had received S-ranks, there had been none of them who had cut down the magic stone.

That was expected.

This…

This made no sense.

Kukuku!

The magic stone had been cut in half and fell to the ground. Its cut surface glowed red.

Speed, strength, and magic. This was proof that everything was perfect.

[1st place Kang Jin-hyuk, Measurement: 20,895, S rank.]

The birth of a new S-rank.

No, his actual rank would be higher as he had crossed the 10,000-point threshold. It was twice the required number for an S-rank.

… A monster

“Uh… Uh… S-rank, congratulations. I will report to the higher-ups, so please wait a minute. The number… ah right.”

The examiner stuttered and pulled out his mobile phone.

‘Korea isn’t the problem.’

It was the appearance of a super rookie who was at the top of the new world rankings.

At least for… no. in such an event, he needed to report to the president of the Association right away.

But then…

“Wait.’

Jin-hyuk grabbed the examiner’s arm.

“Yes?”

“Will you report this right now?”

“Yes, yes.”

“Please postpone it for a week or so.”

“Delay it? Why?”

The examiner tilted his head like he didn’t understand.

“For personal reasons. After a week, I will not care whether you inform the association or spread it on the internet.”

“Ha, but that isn’t something I can do.”

Manipulating or holding back information.

If caught, he could get punished.

Just changing the ranks of a lower-ranked awakened itself was already a felony, then what about hiding an S-rank?

For a week even!

“No! Seriously! Even if I die, I cannot!”

He shook his head and refused.

As expected, this would be the reaction.

Jin-hyuk nodded as if he had expected it. He wanted to receive the many benefits of an S class but needed to hide his rank until he finished one task.

To do that, he would have to shut this guy’s mouth.

“There are few things I learned in my life.”

“L-learned?”

Step.

Jin-hyuk stepped forward and flashed the dagger in his hand.

“The first is that ‘there is no guarantee in human affairs.’ There is no credibility in words like ‘even if I have to die.’ There is none because the world changes according to the circumstances. And secondly, ‘The fist in front is scarier than the distant law.’”

‘The president is the one on the top floor of the building, and I am right in front of you.’

So it was better to choose well if you didn’t want to get hurt.

Shh.

Jin-hyuk was lightly moving his dagger.

Did the threat work?

The official’s expression turned quite pale.

The opponent was an S-rank.

What human can go against such a person?

If the man put a little bit of his mind to it, killing the examiner in one hit wouldn’t even be work.

“One week! Will it be done in one week?”

The examiner asked, and Jin-hyuk stopped walking forward.

“Yes. More than enough. After that, you can do whatever you wish.”

Instead, even he would actively promote it when the time comes. The better to attract aggro with.

That way, his future plans would move with ease.

“Alright. Kang Jin-hyuk’s rank will be announced in a week.”

In the end, he made the decision.

“You aren’t going to change your words or anything, are you?”

“As if I would. I promise you in my name.”

“I am sorry, but I do not believe in promises with just your mouth.”

A verbal promise was the least reliable thing in this world.

It was the kind of promise that you would break over a glass of wine even after saying that you would take it to the grave.

Better than simply that…

He needed extra insurance.

Insurance where the examiner would die if he broke the deal. Jin-hyuk’s fingers lit up with flames.

[Lv1' Stigma of the Soul' is activated.\]

The same mark he engraved on Park Hana.

“Be patient. It isn’t painful.”

Chiik!

And the stigma was imprinted.

The examiner frowned but just for a moment. This gave him a week.

“In the meantime, please use the first result.”

“The F-rank one?”

“Yes.”

Jin-hyuk nodded as the examiner asked.

“Then… how do we proceed with the second test?”

The first test was used to classify rank by measuring magic. Then there was a screening test.

The content was straightforward.

All he had to do was clear one of the dungeons in the Tower of Trials.

Since there was no restriction on difficulty, most had chosen dungeons with goblins or orcs.

That was, of course, a wise choice, but…

“I will attack the ruins on the 1st floor.”

Jin-hyuk has already decided where to go from the moment the Tower of Trials first appeared.

“The ruins on the 1st floor, you mean…!?”

The examiner looked shocked. There was only one ruin on the 1st floor.

The ruins’ Corridor of the Fallen’.

From when the game was first released eleven years ago up until now when it appeared in reality.

It was a Forbidden Area that was notoriously known to have never been successfully conquered by anyone.


The test was over.

The rank he got was F.

Jin-hyuk showed the two of them the faint tattoo on his wrist.

“Hyung is F class?”

“No. how? I thought you would be much higher than us. Did something go wrong?”

Lee Taemin and Yoo Yeon-hwa shouted at the same time.

This was unacceptable for them, in particular, the two people who saw the skills of Jin-hyuk in the game.

“This is a temporary rank, and we decided to retake the test a week later.”

A bit of truth was hidden in the lie as he had no reason to show that he was S-rank.

“Ah…’

“If that is the case, then okay.”

The two of them nodded as if they agreed with the temporary rank.

“Ah, right. Hyung. Then what about the second test?”

“I should see…”

“If it is a low-level dungeon on the 1st floor, we can come too. Would you like us to find something?”

“No. From now on, I should do it alone.”

This would be too dangerous. No matter how talented Lee Taemin and Yoo Yeon-hwa were…

No, actually, there wasn’t a single player in the world who could enter the ruins on the 1st floor and go all the way to the end, including himself.

In normal conditions, anyway.

‘So I need to use an unusual method.’

A shortcut rather than a proper path.

The Tower of Trials was originally the only way to survive.

“Don’t care about me. The two of you should continue climbing up.”

He would do so too, and they promised to meet again later.

So until then. He had to focus on his own growth.


After separating from his two friends, Jin-hyuk connected to the community forum of [Tower of Trials].

‘A veteran… Can I find them on the bulletin board?’

Usually, high-ranking players were mainly recruited at the guild level. Those ranked below D would often be matched through these bulletin boards.

And for the ruins, he would need hundreds of them.

[Looking for players to go to 1st floor 'Corridor of the Fallen' (000 people)]

Found it.

The difficulty was high, so he thought no one would challenge it, but…

‘Thank God.’

Jin-hyuk immediately called the number.

-Ring…

The caller answered the phone right away.

-Hello?
-I saw the post in the community and contacted you. The ruins raid. I want to participate too. Is there a vacancy?
-Ah, of course. We have a place.

The man answered hastily. It seemed like he was in a hurry to get quite a few people.

Well, they wouldn’t apply for it unless they wanted to die.

-That… your rank?
-F rank.
-Ah… F rank. I see
-Is that a problem?
-No, that isn't it. You can join the transport or mining teams even if your rank is low. However, if you go that route, you will not be able to receive the distribution of items obtained from within the ruins. The porters and miners are paid for daily work.

It meant low risk, no reward.

It didn’t matter.

After all, the purpose of going to the ruins wasn’t the distributed rewards.

-It is okay to give it to me daily.
-Then can you come to the entrance of the Tower of Trials right now? Even those who will be porters are gathering, and I will tell everyone the detailed conditions at once.
-I will be there in 20 minutes.

And the call ended.

Jin-hyuk called for a taxi right away and went to the meeting place.

After about 20 minutes, he arrived at the destination.

‘The entrance… this is it.’

Jin-hyuk looked around as he walked through the crowd and spotted a group of men gathering.

Seeing that all of them were of a good size…

‘Are there the porters he was talking about?’

As Jin-hyuk approached, a man in a suit and glasses smiled brightly.

“You were the one who called before?”

“Yes. Kang Jin-hyuk.”

“Hello. I am Oh Seung-hwan, the assistant manager of Matching Management.”

Oh Seung-hwan welcomed him warmly.

“Is this the last person to join?”

“Well, let’s start soon. Everyone is gathering.”

“Right. We have already been waiting for an hour.”

“Haha. I see. First of all, please click approve to join the raid. Right. All you have to do is press the approve button here.”

Oh Seung-hwan showed each of them the 30 cm-sized status window for those who applied for the porter position.

“Now, Mr. Jin-hyuk too,”

He showed the display menu last to Jin-hyuk.

The content didn’t matter. It was just one sentence.

‘Would you like to join the raid?’ if he agreed, he would officially join the raid.

Jin-hyuk pressed the Yes button.

[You have officially participated in the raid.]
[You have fulfilled the condition]
[The second update is applied.]
[Language patches for 103 nations around the world are applied.]
[The raid-only quest begins.]

“Oh! It is up!”

“Me too. Wow. This is amazing. A raid-only quest.”

“Huhu. Finally!”

Excited voices filled the air.

[#1 First Attack on Ruins
Difficulty: S
Description: Defeat the boss monster and reclaim the throne in the deepest part of the ruins.
Reward: You will be given the option to choose one of the relics. (However, if you cannot kill the boss monster, your selection of relics will be limited.)]

Several status windows appeared in front of Jin-hyuk.

Boss monster.

Retake the throne.

And the selection of relics.

Things he already knew.

Except-

‘This… what is this?’

In front of Jin-hyuk, a menu appeared that was different from the others.

[A privilege for the 'First Conqueror of Tower' has arrived]

Another status window appeared.

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