Chapter 7 - Labyrinth Libarintos (1)

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Jin-hyuk stood in front of a large building.

It was a mystery that broke down the conventional common sense and laws.

The gateway to the future of humankind.

[Tower of Trials]

This was the place where all these stories would begin and end.

Even now, when the gate to enter hasn’t been activated yet.

‘A lot of people have gathered.’

There were already thousands of them around the Tower.

“You have to head to the Goblin Cave on the first floor. It’s best to settle and hunt there.”

“I know. We need to level up quickly.”

“This time, let’s make sure to climb to the top.”

Whether teamed up or solo, everyone’s eyes were red and bloodshot; full of desire to climb faster than the others.

Ba-dump!

Even his heart was beating quickly as the moment arrived.

[19:00]
[Tower of Trials is now open.]

The towers all over the world were opened at the same time.

“It is open!”

“Hurry up!’

“Move!”

The people who had been waiting outside all rushed towards the gate. Jin-hyuk, too was ready as he walked into the light pouring from inside.


Woong!

Upon entering the Tower, a completely different view to Seoul spread out in front of their eyes.

Vast meadows and a blue sky.

The green forests filled the eye to the horizon.

This was the first floor of the Tower of Trials and the starting point for the players from Korea.

“Ohh!”

“Finally, we are here!”

The people burst out into cheers.

He also looked around with excitement and curiosity.

What was this feeling?

It was like everyone here were newbies playing the game for the first time. Of course, he could understand their sentiments as his heart was pounding with the same excitement.

‘A new feeling.’

Jin-hyuk touched the grass that reached up to his waist. The fragrant smell, the soft touch, and the sun’s warmth on his skin.

It was a familiar and nostalgic feeling, but…

It was different from playing a video game. This was reality.

‘If I die here…that will be the end.’

There was no such thing as starting over.

Jin-hyuk looked around with calm eyes.

‘Now is the time for it to show up…’

The moment he thought that…

Tring!

[Welcome to the Tower of Trials.]

A blue status window appeared.

‘It is starting.’

Jin-hyuk waited for what would follow.

[100 coins are paid out to commemorate the entrance of the Tower.]
[Coins are the currency that can be used in the Tower.]
[Players can upload their videos of their achievement, and 100 coins are paid for every 10,000 views.]
[However, the fee is different based on the level of the player.]
[Videos viewed by non-Tower residents are counted as views only for the first watch. Please choose carefully before watching a video.]
[Live broadcast options are only available when fighting against boss monsters to go up to the next floor.]
[In the case of misconduct or manipulation of views, measures will be taken.]

Right.

This was it.

The connecting bridge between those who climbed the Tower and those who lived outside. The player would use diverse scenes to draw the attention of the viewers.

Viewers would watch our videos and increase our view counts. This system was the most interesting part of the Tower of Trials setup.

‘It meant that the more famous a BJ became, the more they would monopolize the coins.’

In the near future, many players will upload their videos to bait viewers. However, Jin-hyuk had no intention of uploading a video anytime soon.

‘There would only be damage to me if I disclosed everything right away.’

Even if he decided to do it later and only edit it to show off the sweet parts, he would still get explosive reactions.

There was no need to worry about broadcasting already.

Similarly, live broadcasts that could drag on for a long time shouldn’t be used outside special cases.

‘Then I need to move now.’

Jin-hyuk looked towards one side of the forest.

The first thing he wanted to do had already been decided, and it was different from the option others were going for. It was a little special path.


There were three types of hunting grounds in the Tower of Trials.

They were dungeons, labyrinths, and ruins.

A dungeon was a small hunting ground made up of boss monsters and mass-produced mob monsters.

Since it was the most accessible and widespread hunting ground, most players used it as their primary hunting ground. On the other hand, the labyrinth was massive in size and often took much longer to clear.

The average conquest time would be a month or more.

Labyrinths on the upper floors might even require more than 6 months to clear. The final type, ruins, varied widely in size and were notorious for their difficulty.

That was because ruins tend to be filled by the highest level of monster species, such as dragons, giants, and spiritual beings. That’s before mentioning things such as tricky barriers and traps.

And…

Among the many options presented to Jin-hyuk, he chose the labyrinth ‘Labarintos,’ located at the center of the first floor.

[Name: Labarintos
Type: Labyrinth
Difficulty: B
Description: A labyrinth of Crete designed by Daedalus. It is characterized by a very complex maze and various traps.]

Considering an ordinary goblin dungeon was only rated F, a B-level difficulty labyrinth was a significant step up.

A beginner who just entered would try to challenge a labyrinth? That was no different from choosing to die.

However, there were many reasons Jin-hyuk chose this place.

Was it 6 years ago?

It was when he had been attacking the early parts of the 30th floor of the Tower that he realized one thing.

The fact that it was impossible to make it further up.

Since then, he has looked for all types of solutions.

He began searching through the lower stages for any hidden piece.

However, it yielded no results.

It was all useless because the start was bad.

When he discovered the problem, he panicked and was forced to delete the account he had raised with blood and sweat and start over from the beginning. He had even considered quitting but decided to continue, and in the end, he found an old book on the 10th floor.

In it was written what he needed to do on the 1st floor to clear the Tower.

[The method to enter the ruins of the 'Corridor of the Fallen' on the 1st floor was to get the approval of the owner of the ruins as you first arrive in the Tower.]

Just like the method he was using now.

In other words, it was to reach the boss at level 1.

The labyrinth in front of him was a training place to make it happen… or at least it was supposed to be.

Hmm…

It was a bit absurd to call it just simple training.

Because there was no option of killing the monsters that roamed the labyrinth.

‘But to think I will be doing this.’

Jin-hyuk looked at the labyrinth and bit his lip. He’d rather die anywhere else than die inside because of the memories he had of the interior.

That was also why he thought it was worth trying once when he was in the military. The next day, when he got up, he felt horrible.

This was the same feeling.

Still…

‘I am not going alone, so it should be fine.’

Jin-hyuk glanced behind him.

Some people had followed and entered with him. They must have thought they were doing an excellent job hiding behind a tree.

So typical of newbies.

‘Cute.’

He had a rough idea of what they were thinking of doing.

‘But well… do things ever happen as you want them to?’


The five or six men and women following Jin-hyuk from a distance clicked their tongues.

“I thought it would be something special. It was a labyrinth?”

“Um. I didn’t think it would be here.”

“Damn it. This is why I said to just go hunting for goblins and level up.”

“Did we know that!? We thought he was here to eat up some secret thing that he knew about since he looked like a lone wolf kind of guy.”

“Let’s stop fighting and head back. If we go now, there must still be some vacant spots left.”

Several voices spoke up, most of them talking about the time wasted.

At that moment…

“Ssh! Look at what he is doing.”

A woman at the front put her index finger up to her lips.

“What?”

“Look carefully. The man is drawing things at the entrance of the labyrinth.”

Everyone glanced over at the woman’s words and confirmed it was true.

They wondered what he was doing but saw that blue light started shining from the text.

Kukuku!

The ground began to shake as the labyrinth opened up.

“Is this for real?”

“What!”

“He opened the labyrinth without a key?”

Their eyes shone. Typically, you would need a key or an item to open up such a place, but this man used nothing.

It was a situation that broke their preconceptions, leaving everyone at a loss for words.

“… let’s go. We need to go before he disappears.”

It was the woman at the front that broke the silence.

“What?”

“You want to go in? You don’t even know how large it is inside!”

“Park Hana. Are you crazy?”

“Be quiet and think.”

The woman called Park Hana looked frustrated at her companions.

“Aren’t you aware that the start of the Tower of Trials is the most important part?”

“That…”

“We know.”

It was common knowledge that difficulty got higher as they went up, so they needed early growth down here. Those who had played the game before knew that especially.

Park Hana continued.

“There was no key, but he opened the labyrinth. Do you think this opportunity will come again?”

Experience, items, and other things.

What someone could achieve inside was limitless.

“Besides, the difficulty shouldn’t be too serious since a level 1 entered.”

That was what she believed.

A player without a single item entering a labyrinth? This was proof that the place couldn’t be too difficult.

“Well, it is a labyrinth on the first floor…”

“If you see him going in alone, then it has to be easy, right?”

Everyone agreed to that, but now there was another problem.

“But will he share the items within with us?”

It was a matter of distributing the loot from inside the labyrinth.

“Of course, he won’t.”

But it didn’t matter.

Because they didn’t have to care about that.

“He seems to like the labyrinth a lot, so we can just let him stay in there forever.”

Park Hana pulled a sharp needle out of her inventory.

‘Stinger of the Giant Bumblebee.’

It was an item with a potent poison. Just 1 mg of it was enough to kill a person in a minute.

“W-well, what you were saying…”

“Right. My brother got this item from the National Museum of Korea yesterday.”

At Park Hana’s words, everyone gulped.

“I heard that there was a sea of blood…”

“It was horrific. Are you saying you got an item from that hell?”

“My brother said he’s been playing the game for a while and guaranteed this was a good item.”

Park Hajin, Park Hana’s older brother, belonged to the Black Crow Guild when he had played [Tower of Trials.]

As one of the better-known middle-rank guilds, the guild members still gathered occasionally. They were now moving through the first floor together as well.

“You can just trust me and follow.”

Park Hana looked at Jin-hyuk, who was standing in front of the labyrinth, with a sly smile. To survive in this world, even murder could be justified.

It was the law of nature for the strong to prey on the weak, and she had already made up her mind.


Crumble!

Six men and women appeared from behind the grass.

‘Will they come out now?’

They had been hiding so clumsily that he got bored with their antics.

Still, it wasn’t nice to not acknowledge them.

“Who are you all?”

Jin-hyuk asked with a worried expression. It was awkward doing this as it used facial muscles, which he rarely used.

Ahh, his chin hurt.

“Ah! We aren’t bad people.”

Park Hana took the lead and said this while shaking her hands with a light smile on her lips as if she was trying to appeal to him.

“We… well, we came to find a suitable hunting ground. And found you by chance.”

She made it sound like a coincidence.

What else would people say for their first meeting when they had bad intentions? Even a sick 80-year-old man wouldn’t say such a thing.

[Lv1' Eve of Truth' activated]
[Park Hana's words are false.]

Jin-hyuk’s eyes, which could discern truth and lies, shone. Still, he decided to play along.

‘Park Hana.’

The corner of his mouth turned upwards to a light smile.

‘This woman… has some interesting skills.’

A unique ability that looked worthy of copying had shown up.

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