Chapter 36 - How A Veteran Grows (3)

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At the Lake of the Moon on the first floor of the Tower of Trials.

It was a location that boasted a beautiful view. It was said that a moon floating in the night sky would look like it was also below the surface of the water.

However, no one would go to that place despite such a name.

It was obvious.

There was no time to leisurely enjoy the view when the survival of mankind was at stake.

While it was more beautiful than any other place, it was also the most lonely.

Lake of the Moon.

But then, someone approached the lake.

It was Jin-hyuk.

“This too… It has been so long.”

When his level was low, he used to often come here. After crossing the middle point of the tower, he barely ever came.

So seeing this again was lovely.

[You seem to have good taste, but what do you mean you will hunt here?]

Elise’s voice came out of the ring.

“Look here.”

Jin-hyuk smiled as he walked along the edge of the lake. He didn’t come here to just take a midnight walk. He was here to find something.

His footsteps quickened, and his eyes moved around quickly.

Surely in here…

‘As I thought…!’

Jin-hyuk, who found a statue that resembled a carp, went stiff.

Although it was only one of the 12 statues on this lake’s shore, this particular one served a different purpose.

Jin-hyuk reached out and traced the sculpture.

He traced his fingers across its whole surface, edges… and found a hole!

[Oh. Is there a secret button in it!]

“If it was that easy, anyone would have noticed it immediately.”

Wouldn’t it be too funny for veterans to grow by doing such easy things?

The number of people who found this place exceeded a three-digit number.

It was even mentioned within the community from time to time. However, despite the rumors, no one could find the key that fit the hole.

That was one thing that couldn’t be done.

‘It isn’t unlocked with a key.’

Lake of the Moon.

In accordance with the location’s name, the method of unlocking the statue’s secret was a bit special.

Jin-hyuk covered the hole with his palm blocking the moonlight.

Shh.

And as he removed his palm, the moonlight shone its light into the hole.

‘Nice.’

Jin-hyuk used his palm to control the amount and angle of light entering.

Calmly…

If anything was out of sync, he wouldn’t be able to get what he needed.

Once, twice and again.

The moonlight touched the hole in a peculiar rhythm.

And right at that moment.

Guguggu!

The whole lake began to vibrate. Just like Moses divided the Red Sea, the lake’s water divided itself into two.


The terrain had changed completely.

‘Now, where do I go?’

Jin-hyuk went down the long stairs leading to the lake’s bottom.

Step.

This was a hidden layer that had never allowed humans to enter. Therefore, it was a place that was filled with mystery.

Finally.

[You have entered the first underground level in the Tower of Trials' 1st floor]

The ‘Underground’ was one of the hidden places in the Tower of Trials. Finally, he reached a customized hunting ground where he could grow.

“You can come now.”

Jin-hyuk, who had reached the bottom, infused magic into Braham’s Ring.

And…

Woong.

A vampire with long silver hair appeared. Or at least a version that was only 30 cm.

Elise looked around in disbelief.

“Oh my. How could there be such a space under the tower?”

She seemed shocked. The situation must be so surprising since her red eyes were wide open.

“What do you think?”

“Uh?”

“Little by little, don’t you think the contract with me was a good thing?”

“Well. I don’t think what you said back there is complete nonsense. Little… very little, it is becoming believable.”

Elise answered while avoiding Jin-hyuk’s gaze.

She still had her pride to take care of, so Jin-hyuk didn’t really care before a sudden thought entered his mind.

‘Who do the beings of the tower think of the players?’

The game had become a reality, but…

Were they just part of the data in the game? Or did the giant world of the Tower of Trials exist somewhere outside Earth?

There were too many possibilities but no clear answer.

Because this wasn’t something that you could find on just Google or Naver.

However, if it was Elise, who had been alive for thousands of years… perhaps she may have the answer.

“Elise, there is one thing I want to ask.”

Jin-hyuk said.

But…

“….!”

The words that came out of his mouth weren’t Korean. No, it wasn’t even a language. It was just a combination of tones that were unpleasant to the ear.

“What, what is this? Such scary voices.”

Elise groaned as she stepped back.

As expected, this happened?

He had wondered how he could resolve the doubt regarding the incongruity between the players and the residents of the tower, but they had blocked the exchange of information.

A simple but sure way.

“No. Nothing. It was nothing.”

It was still a good thing that he learned that he would not be able to talk about the existence of the tower and its denizens.

‘It must have been blocked.’

Jin-hyuk took out the Frozen Tears and Twilight Dew.

Before he started this hunt in earnest, he needed to raise his magic.

[Twilight Dew is brought in contact with the Frozen Tears]
[The second thawing begins.]

With a warm light and sizzling sound, the magic began to seep into Jin-hyuk’s body.

[Magic increases by +18]

… nice.

With this, the second thawing was successful.

The difference appeared right away.

“Phew!”

Stable breathing and magic flowed smoothly.

Maintaining Elise’s form outside was also more comfortable. Well, he can just be comfortable in general now.

In terms of levels, it would be close to around level 6.

‘I want to try it out quickly.’

He wondered how many unique abilities and skills he could use with his increased magic.


There was a reason why the first underground floor of the Tower of Trials was called the ‘Spawning Ground.’

It was because the monsters here constantly crawled out of the abyss.

“Kiaaaik!”

“Kuaaaa!”

Insects with black skin.

Dududud!

Ground Beetles that were the size of a tiger.

Their dozens of legs moved quickly as they narrowed the distance. Additionally, all of their levels were over 20.

It meant that they were all strong.

Kwang!

Kwang!

As the distance got closer, the insects jumped to attack him. However, just before their sharp claws and teeth even touched him.

[Unique Ability' Blessing of the Stars' is activated!]

A ray of light fell from the lake.

Kukuku!

It was Teresa’s power that could grant protection from the constellations.

[Magic defense of monsters reduced by 30%]

[Physical defense of monsters reduced by 30%]

“Kikikiki!”

“Kuuuk!”

The insects twisted in place as they suffered. Having lived in darkness for too long, the light was something they could not handle.

From their perspective, their eyes must be burning.

And Jin-hyuk wasn’t the kind of person who would stand still with his enemies defenseless.

“As expected, worms need to be burned to taste better!”

Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with the right amount of heat.

Wheik!

‘Element of Fire’ manifested in his left hand and gradually grew.

From the size of a baseball to a basketball…

From the size of a basketball to a sphere of 1m in diameter.

Jin-hyuk’s shoulders were slightly tilted as the fire flared up.

“Kuaaa….”

“Kiiik!’

The insects were crawling on the ground. There was a gap in front.

Now!

Jin-hyuk released the magic he had gathered.

Kwakwakwang!

A stream of fire engulfed them. Monsters blinded by the light screamed.

“Is it roughly done?”

The moment he said that.

“T-they are coming again.”

Elise glanced behind them. Suddenly, dozens of new insects were crawling up.

“Don’t just talk and show your skills too. Shouldn’t you work for your meal?”

“What? To use such a noble body for those lowly…”

“A noble person cannot look at the sunlight, so should I keep her in the ring forever?”

She still hadn’t fixed the habit of looking down at everything from her throne?

‘I once was the queen of an empire, and when I opened my eyes, I turned into a sudra of India.’

At Jin-hyuk’s threats, Elise trembled. She realized…

That whining would make her life miserable.

“F-fine. I will do it.”

[Elise Activates Lv?? 'Blood Bind.']

Woong!

Drops of blood appeared in the air, creating a large circle of red liquid.

“Kiik?”

“Kuak?”

In the blink of an eye, the insects’ bodies hardened. It was a skill that increased their defensive stats. No matter how much they were just giant insects, it was still a sight that made her cringe.

Now she had to end it.

Jin-hyuk grabbed his dagger and approached them.

‘Worth using, though.’

She didn’t kill them but was acting like support. The experience would be monopolized by the person who delivers the final blow.

It was for this reason that he held onto Elise.

Slash!

His dagger cut the insects down as their heads flew off.

Next, and then the next one as well.

As long as their movements were sealed, dealing with the monsters was a piece of cake.

[Level has risen!]
[Level has risen!]
[Level has risen!]

His level kept going up as his status window shined constantly.

‘Haha.’

Jin-hyuk smiled.

It was so fun to run wild as he pleased.

He thought he would die from waiting for things to get done.

‘I think I was stressed out because of the restriction of holding onto Lv1.’

But he didn’t have to do it anymore. Finally, he can satisfy his thirst for growth.

Dududud!

He saw new insects coming up.

“Don’t act this time.”

“You want to do it yourself?”

“Yes. I want to test how far I can use the ability with the magic I have.”

Jin-hyuk infused magic into the dagger.

[Unique Ability' Sword Grave' is activated!]

The swordsman’s talent permeated his body, and he could feel his entire senses becoming sharper.

Ba-dump! Ba-dump!

His heart was beating fast too.

For the first time, a proper fight.

“Please. Please do not stop until I take you all down.”

Tat!

Jin-hyuk moved.

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