Chapter 63 - Demonic Human Association (1)

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Nighttime in the Tower of Trials was a little special.

The warm temperature during the day dropped rapidly once it became night, which increased the ferocity and attack power of the monsters roaming about.

So, at night, most players stopped hunting and went to find a safe place.

This was common sense.

Because for the average player, there was no need to take risks. An hour had passed since Jin-hyuk dealt with the named monster.

Jin-hyuk sat in front of the shrine, at the boundary between it and the expansive bamboo forest.

‘Reminds me of old times.’

The place where he had spent the most time sleeping and broadcasting in the tower.

After hunting like a madman, he always looked for a place where he could see the night sky. And this spot wasn’t a bad place for a break.

Especially if he could see the meteors falling through the sky.

‘It’s also great here since I could get bamboo shoots as well as other materials on this floor of the tower.’

After making a fire, Jin-hyuk placed bamboo shoots, rice, and rock salt inside a bamboo barrel and put it over the heat to boil. In addition, he added three of the iron-clad shrimp that could be caught in the valley.

Almost immediately, a fragrant and delicious smell filled his nose.

Grrrk.

His stomach was growling.

He took a spoon scoop of the food and put it in his mouth. The soft, warm food made it’s way pleasantly down his throat.

The quality of the shrimp meat, which was plump in the middle, created a fantastic texture.

Kuak, what a fantastic taste.

‘Next time, I need to start copying some cooking skills.’

As one started going higher in the tower, a large variety of foods would appear.

Desert veal that was full of flavor, a rainbow crab from the sea.

The Thousand Apple was said to have a thousand types of unique scents. Ingredients that you couldn’t find outside the tower.

Such treasures were in here that he could enjoy once more.

“Oh, it smells good.”

“Looks like a tasty meal.”

A pair of people emerged from the bamboo forest. They were a Chinese man and an alluring western beauty.

It was Melena and Li Qiao.

“Ah! We do not have any bad intentions. We just came here following the light.”

“As long as we can avoid the night dew, we’ll be fine..”

Melena and Li Qiao calmly approached the bonfire.

What was with these two…

Were they planning on acting like regular players?

For real?

‘This is ridiculous.’

At this point, he didn’t even know what to think of these two. These looked more foolish than the ones before…

Would they even be able to win if they approached him after revealing their identity?

He really wished they did. That way, he can spend the long night without being bored.

“If it helps avoid the cold, sit down.”

Jin-hyuk pointed to the bonfire.

“Thank you. I am Melena.”

“I am Li Qiao. Excuse us for our actions.”

The two of them sat down around the fire. At least the fact that they wanted to avoid the dangers of the night wasn’t a lie.

Their half-frozen arms and legs looked clearly desperate for warmth.

“You must have suffered a lot.”

“Don’t say it. Masked oppa cannot understand how much we suffered around trees all day.”

Right. It must have been difficult.

How much trouble would they have gone through by acting like mice that were peeping on others?

“The food is quite nice. Would you like some?”

Jin-hyuk handed them a bamboo bowl.

Inside, the appetizingly plump shrimp and white rice tempted with their appearance.

Don’t think too much.

He knew that they were starving too.

“…”

Melena gulped down her saliva with a conflicted expression but didn’t reach out for the food.

This was suspicious.

She didn’t know what he had done to the food. However, perhaps because of her strong appetite, she was tempted to take it.

On the other hand, Li Qiao drew a straight line.

“We are fine. I am sorry for putting it like this, but I do not want to touch food from someone we do not know. Especially if they have covered their face.”

“You seem to care too much about the mask?”

“Isn’t it obvious? If you didn’t have something to hide, you wouldn’t be wearing a mask.”

“Well. If it is making you uncomfortable, I can take it off.”

“… what?”

“… really?”

They were both shocked at Jin-hyuk’s words. The person whose identity they were trying to discover simply said he would reveal it? No wonder they were shocked.

“Of course, it is no fun to simply take it off, so let’s play a simple game.”

“Game…?”

“It seems like we have things we are curious about each other, so let’s take turns asking questions. If my questions are answered, I will remove the mask as soon as the game is done.”

A game that involved an exchange of information.

Li Qiao turned his head.

‘There is no way to confirm the authenticity of our words.’

It didn’t matter if he even lied.

On the other hand, opponents who didn’t know who they were might become careless.

‘Even if we accept this offer, we have nothing to lose.’

Melena, too, nodded her head and whispered to her companion.

“There are 5 minutes left for the relic to activate. It should be fine if we use the time to our advantage.”

Any worries they might have wouldn’t last long.

“… interesting. It wouldn’t be bad to pass the time like this.”

Li Qiao responded first, and at that moment.

[Anubis' Judgment has been activated]

A transparent wave was released from Jin-hyuk.


…caught them.

Jin-hyuk smiled. He knew they would accept his offer. It was because they needed time.

Psss!

He could feel a unique energy wave emanating from the woman called Melena.

This was magic he had felt several times when playing [Tower of Trials] in the past.

‘The Coin of Caligula…’

A coin that held the image of the Roman tyrant Caligula. What kind of tricks did they prepare?

Well, this relic wasn’t a bad choice.

Its only real drawback was that it took time to activate. However, once fully activated, it had the terrifying effect of completely breaking down its target.

The relic, which would force its target to confess everything they knew without using time-consuming torture, was a useful item.

‘They know my body has not recovered yet and are trying to be more certain of their victory.’

Their intention to avoid any direct clashes was clear.

Amazing. Truly amazing.

As long as its existence and activation time was known, the Coin of Caligula was simply a regular coin.

‘Don’t they know there is always another person ahead?’

Jin-hyuk smiled.

“I will not ask the first question. You can ask me.”

“There should be questions about name or affiliation…”

“If you want me to reveal my identity in the first question, then playing the game is no use. It is only after the game is done that the mask will come off.”

“Then I will change the question. Do you have any colleagues here besides yourself?”

Hmm.

He thought they’d ask something else, but this was too realistic.

It must be difficult to accept that someone had come solo for a boss raid. Therefore, they must have thought that he had a comrade around.

Since the range of the coin was limited to 10 meters, they were trying to discover any variable.

“I came here alone, and I will leave here alone.”

“… I see.”

“This time, I will ask. From the looks of it, it seems like you have come to hunt the boss. Why did you only watch?”

“We were looking to go inside the temple at the right time. It is such a notorious place that we had to be careful.”

The response sounded too cautious, but they still answered since this was just the first question.

Two left.

Li Qiao asked the second one.

“If you are climbing the tower, there has to be something you wish for. Be it power, women, or fame. I want to know what motivates you.”

Oh.

At Li Qiao’s words, Jin-hyuk raised his eyebrows.

‘I thought they were here to kill me…’

If the conditions were right, it seemed like they still hoped they would be on the same side.

“I have something I do want, but if I say it out loud, do you have the ability to make it happen?”

Both of them were still shivering from the cold as they had been up on the tree for too long.

“Well, how we look right now might be unconvincing. But do not worry, we have got enough power.”

The second answer with this…

He only needed one more question answered.

Jin-hyuk let the unconvincing answer slide. At the same time, his polite tone became cold.

“If you have the power to do that… then, can you give me a seat on the ‘Round Table’?”

“W-what was that?”

“How do you know about the Round Table!?”

The two shouted in surprise at the same time. The Round Table was the highest executive gathering in the Demonic Human Association.

They could never have imagined those words coming from the mouth of an outsider.

But don’t they realize?

The fact that he was a veteran meant that he understood the origin and use of the expression of the Round Table.

“I haven’t heard your answer yet. Can you answer me?”

“Of course, I cannot answer that!”

Li Qiao grit his teeth.

“How would you even think we could do that?”

Melena suddenly stood up. He knew she would say that.

“Actually, I wouldn’t take the position even if you gave it to me.”

Even if there were no conditions, he wouldn’t take up the executive position in their association. They also no longer needed to do this clumsy acting.

[Conditions have been met.]

Because Anubis’ Judgment had begun.

Kukuku!

The ground began to shake.

“Kuak!”

Li Qiao hastily increased the distance between them.

It was an instinctive reaction after sensing unusual magic.

“Five minutes have passed!”

Melena shouted. The long-awaited time had come.

Once the Coin of Caligula was used, even an enemy of this strength could be defeated.

Because no player has the ability to defend their thoughts.

But…

“No, relics won’t activate.”

Jin-hyuk smiled.

“What was that?”

Li Qiao pulled out a dagger.

“That coin. It will be of no use to anyone right now. I delayed the activation time by 5 minutes.”

“Don’t bullshit us! How can you…!”

“Wait. It is real!”

Melena, standing next to him, had her expression darken instantly.

She had no doubt.

“The coin hasn’t been sufficiently given magic yet. That guy… the guy did something. He must have done something to suppress our magic!”

“What do you mean! We didn’t even eat the food!”

The only possibility was the dish that Jin-hyuk had offered them. But how could this happen when they didn’t even touch it?

“That is because just smelling the dish works.”

They had been only vigilant about eating the food, so he had to use his head a bit.

The effect was slower than ingesting directly, but the results were more sophisticated.

“When the sap flowing from the bamboo shoots reacts with armored shrimp, it creates a poison which suppresses magic. Of course, you won’t be poisoned if you chew the grass.”

Jin-hyuk showed the eucalyptus leaf which was in the mouth.

“N-No… you know everything about who we were and the effect of relics and how to destroy them?”

“The time… you mean we weren’t the ones trapping you?”

The two mumbled in disbelief. They thought they had laid the perfect trap.

They believed that time was on their side, but their plans had utterly fallen apart.

“From now on, I will ask the questions.’

Jin-hyuk snapped his finger.

At the same time…

[Anubis summons a 'Great Warrior'!]

Something began to move.

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