Chapter 55 - End Of 3rd Floor, The Heartless Army (1)

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“N-no…no, please, please…!”

Jin-hyuk left the hall, leaving Alex to scream behind him as he had no reason to watch until the end.

Crack!

Thud!

Debris was falling due to the aftermath of the melting skill that Alex had used. It wasn’t threatening, but it was causing dust to rise up.

[Lv2 'Ice Formation' is activated.]

Psss!

A film of ice spread over Jin-hyuk’s body. An ice shield in a snowflake pattern appeared and deflected any falling rocks.

Jin-hyuk’s eyes turned towards the other guests lying on the ground. A few had yet to regain consciousness due to the severe amount of physical and mental pain they had suffered.

‘Thanks to this, I will gain more.’

In this situation that was close to a disaster, there would be no other side that could collect the auction items.

Treasures from the 175th black market auction were all underneath some rocks. The first person to pick them up will become their owner.

Jin-hyuk walked between the unconscious bodies on the floor.

‘I saved your lives, so you should at least pay me with this much.’

On the contrary, he could even say he was underpaid, considering the goods amounted to only a few million dollars. Of course, there might even be people who would personally ask him to open his bag and throw their item in it just because he saved their lives.

That didn’t matter.

‘Because I’ll be on a plane to Korea when you all wake up.’

Besides, almost all of them were utterly out of it, so how would they know who the culprit was? Best case scenario, they’d all blame the demonic humans.

Lululala.

Jin-hyuk hummed to himself as he dug through the wreckage. Quite a few treasures were damaged, but fortunately, the best items made it through unscathed.

‘It feels like I am inside a treasure dungeon.’

The most valuable items he recovered were the Heart of the Ichthyosaur, Unknown Iron Ore, and the Vault of Michaelangelo.

The crown that Elise had given in as payment was also recovered.

Nice.

This was enough.

Jin-hyuk took out an old piece of paper he had put inside his pocket.

It was the Subspace Inventory Combination that he had obtained from the Corridor of the Fallen.

He would be able to use it to store various items by using materials, such as replicas of Tower relics. Using the items here, though, he would not be able to make platinum or diamond-grade subspace inventories.

‘For now, let’s just use it to reduce the inconvenience of carrying these items around on my person.’

And that was more than enough.

[Heart of Ichthyosaur (A), Unknown Iron Ore (B), and Vault of Michelangelo (C) are used as materials!]
[You have successfully created a large capacity subspace inventory (Gold Grade +5000kg)!]

A yellow-colored subspace inventory appeared with a dazzling light. Finally, he could clear off the cumbersome items.

But at that moment.

Rrr!

He felt something from the people around him.

“…!?”

Jin-hyuk quickly turned his head.

‘Is someone already waking up?’

He thought as such for a moment as he turned around and met with a pair of small eyes.

A little boy with teary eyes was staring at him with admiration.

‘… a kid?’

Jin-hyuk shook off any suspicion.

“I will pull you out, so wait one second. Don’t move.”

“Uh? Yes.”

The boy nodded his head as Jin-hyuk made his move.

Slash!

A blue-colored dagger cut through the pile of rubble.

Since the angle had been arranged to ensure that only the rubble was cut, the boy was safe.

“T-thank you, hyung.”

“Well, this much is easy.”

Jin-hyuk smiled as if it was nothing.

“Hyung is the one who killed monsters and bad guys, right?”

“Uh?”

“I saw it before I fainted. Just like in the Marvel movies. Really… so cool.”

Marvel movie?

Was he talking about that one movie where the Avengers fought Thanos?

Well, in a kid’s eyes, it might look that way. It must have looked like a movie scene when he wiped out the undead.

“I also want to become a strong player like hyung someday and rise to the top. So, when the bad guys kill people, the hero will show up and save them… at least that’s my dream.”

Hmm. Hearing it openly like this was a bit strange. Because the boy was still pure-hearted, he didn’t even control his expression.

And it didn’t feel bad.

Because there was no hidden meaning, just an expression of gratitude.

‘Sometimes this isn’t bad.’

Jin-hyuk smiled and patted the boy on the head.

But he had to stop now just in case someone else woke up. And one thing before that.

“Well, later, when people ask who did this, can you keep this a secret?”

Jin-hyuk put his pinky out.

“I will never tell anyone. Because a hero’s identity can never be revealed!”

The boy smiled and linked his pinky too.


On the 3rd floor of the Tower of Trials, there were two places the players hadn’t reached yet. One was the boss room on the 3rd floor that blocked the way to the 4th floor.

The other one was right here.

It was a place called the Cathedral of Hatred, a labyrinth that had destroyed countless challengers.

But…

Contrary to its notoriety, the place had been conquered a while back by the demonic humans.

“Damn, why is the security so tight in here? This isn’t good for us.”

A slender woman grunted, a lot of anger expressed through her words.

She couldn’t help it.

Layers of barriers and traps were placed here to prevent players from approaching. The labyrinth was also filled with numerous high-ranking undead monsters that made it difficult to suppress nervousness, even if they were demonic humans.

“Stop complaining, Melena. I am already not feeling too well because of that stupid doctor.”

The Asian man next to her clicked his tongue.

It wasn’t much, but the cold energy which exuded from his body wasn’t inferior to that of a giant monster.

“Li Qiao. Should I be paying attention to your mood now?”

“That would be a good thing. If you don’t want to die.”

“Interesting. You speak like you are a lot stronger than me?”

Melena took his gaze head-on. It wouldn’t be strange for their weapons to be unsheathed at any moment.

“Both of you, let it go.”

A man in a black hood interrupted their little fight with a low and heavy voice.

Unlike what Melena and Li Qiao were wearing, the man’s hood had an inverted red cross on its shoulder alongside the Roman numeral VII.

“… I understand.”

“Tch!”

They obeyed the command and just nodded their heads.

Melena and Lu Qiao had worked outside the Tower for over a decade but still didn’t get along.

Truthfully, it was contradictory to even talk about demonic humans getting along with each other. They were an apocalyptic cult that indulged in a pseudo-religion. Their members were made of killers who killed for pleasure, to the point of even becoming mercenaries. They were monsters who had thrown their humanity away.

It was a group that hated being bound by any kind of law.

“But no matter how poor Alex’s skills are, I don’t understand how he lost even with so many resources.”

Li Qiao opened his mouth.

“Well, a guy named Kang Jin-hyuk was one of the Tower veterans. His rank should even be similar to ours.”

“Do not be so careless. Maybe he is higher ranked than us.”

At those words from the hooded man, air escaped from their mouths.

“Ah, please. Even the executives who went up to the 20th floor were treated as insane. You think he went even higher than them?”

“I also think we are putting him on a pedestal he doesn’t deserve. We chose [Tower of Trials], a virtual reality world to avoid the eyes of the CIA and stuff, and we know more about the Tower than others…”

“Right. The other players don’t have a special reason to move like us. There was no need for them to hide in the tower to avoid the eyes of others.”

It had been 11 years since the game was released. However, most people quit the game in less than 3.

A natural thing.

Even people who enjoyed games with extreme difficulty didn’t want to waste their time. An average player would only want to be in something that got better in time to endure the boredom.

Was there a fool who threw away his life in this tedious game?

Why would he?

But a strange tension lingered on the man’s face.

His intuition had made him rise to this association’s executive position. Beyond that, his own fear continued to send him warning signals.

He should never underestimate Kang Jin-hyuk. Do not be careless. That was something only fools did.

Then…

“You two, go with Cadrick.”

If there was even a slight chance to take down Kang Jin-hyuk, he would seize it.


At the last gate on the 3rd floor of the Tower of Trials, Jin-hyuk stood in front of the only path to the 4th floor.

“Phew…”

He took a long breath.

‘All preparations complete.’

All the items he had asked Lee Yuri to prepare were now safely in his subspace inventory. His physical and magical conditions were also tuned to their best state.

All that was left was to turn on his broadcast channel before the boss battle.

‘If I am thinking about the future, I should collect as many coins as possible.’

The first video he uploaded had amazing views within the first 24 hours.

Good players would get coins naturally. Inversely, players without a name would have difficulty getting even 10 views in a hundred days.

So he would have to rise up the ranks and get the highest position.

To prevent any competitors from coming after him.

‘Let’s work hard today,’

He only planned to use the broadcast of this boss raid to attract the public’s attention. But even then, he wasn’t going to broadcast it live.

Publishing it to the public without editing was dangerous.

‘If I can impress everyone smartly on the first broadcast, then editing it nicely is good.’

It also meant that the next one would be easier if his first video was a huge hit.

However, at the moment, Jin-hyuk was thinking about his new channel name as a painful memory came.

‘Not Captain Timo!’

He’ll never use that kind of name again. He wanted to forget that nightmare.

Jin-hyuk bit his fingers.

He prided himself on knowing more than anyone about the Tower of Trials, but he still had this fatal flaw.

No matter how hard he tried, his naming ability didn’t improve.

How many minutes had passed?

A name flashed through his mind.

“… Unknown.”

He mumbled it. That’s right.

[Do you want to name this channel 'Unknown'?]

A status window appeared, asking for confirmation.

“Yes. I will.”

When he had cleared the Labyrinth, the system recommended the code name Unknown to protect his identity.

The meaning of Unknown.

At that time, he thought he simply liked the sound of it, but now he also found that he liked its meaning.

‘The main concept is to hide behind the identity of the mask.’

[Your personal channel has been created!]
[Channel name 'Unknown'!]
[Broadcast function is activated!]
[Real-time streaming is only available when fighting boss monsters on each floor.]
Current BJ Rating General: (90% commission taken)
Viewers: 0/1,000
Subscribers: 0

Ba-dump!

Jin-hyuk’s heart beat quickly.

“What am I getting so nervous for?”

In the past, the concept of live streaming in the game was quite vague. It was because so few people played [Tower of Trials].

This was virtually his first live broadcast for the Tower. It would be a lie if he said he wasn’t excited.

[The Tower of Trials 3rd floor boss battle: I will show you how a veteran raids for the first time on broadcast.]

With a title like this, it should attract many viewers.

‘Now then, let’s move.’

One last time, JIn-hyuk checked the mask and placed it on his face.

Step.

And he walked towards the other side of the swaying gate.

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