Team: HH, thursdays, Yahiko (5/10)
Atran disappeared back into the portal. He probably left after assuming what was going to happen next.
Yeon-woo looked at his other selves.
“What is this?”
“I thought this might be the case. There are quite a lot of them.”
“This will be annoying.”
They were muttering with Yeon-woo’s face and voice.
And most of them were standing silently, observing the situation.
It was the same reaction as Yeon-woo’s, who became quieter in dangerous situations because he was thinking.
The theme of the 34th floor would probably be ‘Self Denial.’ Finding the real me out of multiple mes. That was the most important.
Mirrors were the only tool that could reflect oneself. And beyond that mirror, another “me” might swallow the real one, and people were scared of being swallowed by another version of themselves.
In their eyes, they were the real ones, and “me” was the fake one.
The 34th floor had been created with that in mind.
Placing an innumerable amount of mirrors on the stage and allowing the reflected appearances to move freely.
On the 34th floor, finding your real self was the main objective.
Of course, the fakes would all pretend to be real and think and speak like they were real.
There weren’t many ways to differentiate between the real and fakes in that situation.
They would kill each other until one died or speak with each other.
Of course, in the former case, it was likely the real one would die. And then, the copies would all disappear as well.
So most people tried to speak with the doppelgangers, though they all called themselves the real ones.
It wasn’t easy, but the moment the fakes discovered the real one, the stage would be finished.
His brother had also chosen the latter.
He had such a logical mindset that he was able to cause the copies to surrender after speaking with them.
His brother had cleared the stage in a very short amount of time.
‘On the other hand, Vieira Dune dominated the fakes with her mental magic, and Valebich and Bayluk fought to the death until only one was left.’
Bayluk fought, thinking that the limits of his poison could be overcome faster if he released all of his poison at once.
The other members were at a similar level, so there were only two ways to get through the stage.
However, the “Yeon-woos” didn’t attempt to fight to the death or convince each other.
Each of them tried to understand the real situation in the slowed-down world.
They all asked one question.
‘Am I fake?’
Each Yeon-woo only left a part of his Consciousness behind and started to spin in front of the real one. It was an attempt to tell whether they were real or fake.
Of course, Yeon-woo had an easy way to tell.
There might’ve been multiple Yeon-woos, but each god was unique in the universe.
Hermes, Athena, Agares, Ceto, Hondon, and even Persephone and Hades. The Channelings from the heavenly world and Tartarus with Yeon-woo at the center were tied together in such a complex, web-like manner.
Of course, the ones with faint connections would appear fake.
The Yeon-woos who judged their Channelings to be weak instantly broke the Philosopher’s Stones inside of them. Blood poured from their mouths, and they faded away.
They had decided to kill themselves.
The dead Yeon-woos didn’t have any regrets. They didn’t even look wronged as they disappeared.
Their judgment was cold and quick. It was the same mindset he had since Africa. He considered his life a tool.
Finishing the Mold of the Black King after making Kynee. Finding his brother’s soul. For these two goals, he couldn’t slow down or take a break.
Shanon and Hanryeong gulped, watching Yeon-woo. They had cleared through the 34th floor in the past, too, but they had never seen a player decide to kill themselves.
Players who climbed to the 34th floor were exceedingly confident in their skills and couldn’t make rational decisions about themselves. No, that wasn’t just rational; it was inhumane.
Who in the world would be able to kill oneself so easily? Even though people made extreme decisions when they didn’t have anything to live for, at the end of the day, life usually struggled to stay alive.
However, the Yeon-woos didn’t even blink. In an instant, half of them disappeared.
Then, they asked the next question.
‘Do I really own these Blessings?’
Because the Draconic, Divine, and Demonic Blessings were supernatural, each of them was unique. The stage used data, but there would be limits to it. First, those who lacked the Draconic Blessings fell. Then, the Demonic Blessings, and next, those with weak Divine Blessings coughed blood.
Once again, half of the remaining fakes fell.
Like that, Yeon-woo continued to get rid of those who didn’t have everything he should have had.
After some time, only those who had the exact physical conditions as Yeon-woo were left. Each of them could pass as the real Yeon-woo no matter where they went. They had the complete Hoarder’s body. There was no other way to approach it.
‘Internal investigation for the next question.’
Yeon-woo dug deeper into himself. From his body to his mind, into the world of his unconsciousness.
‘Am I real?’
Yeon-woo’s thinking abilities were something normal humans couldn’t follow, having already taken on Draconic qualities.
They asked themselves whether they were thinking properly and if something was wrong with them.
Those who were sure about themselves quickly pulled their Magic Bayonets out and cut their throats.
Blood poured out, and their bodies fell over.
「……Not suspecting yourself might leave room for arrogance in the future.」
That kind of mindset wasn’t something the real one should have. Endless suspicion and restless effort were what made the Yeon-woo of today. He could never be arrogant about himself.
‘Do I suspect the one next to me?’
The Yeon-woos who were suspicious dug their Magic Bayonets into their hearts. Once again, half disappeared.
「Because he couldn’t judge properly……?」
Next, those who had only been suspecting themselves.
Those who had other thoughts.
Those whose Time Difference had been misaligned because their focus wavered.
Yeon-woo suspected himself multiple times and looked for the answer with assurance. The Magic Bayonets were always at their necks to stab in without any hesitation if they were late or hesitating in their response.
The shining forest of mirrors was stained blood red.
Shanon and Hanryeong were speechless as they watched the scene.
Rebecca looked away, and Nemesis covered Nike’s eyes with a complicated face.
『How long does he have to keep this up for?』
He thought Yeon-woo was becoming more humane, but there were still inhumane sides to Yeon-woo. Someone who was ready to throw his life away for his goal. That was how Nemesis saw Yeon-woo.
At the end of multiple questions, there were only two Yeon-woos left.
The two Yeon-woos opened their eyes at the same time. There was a strange light in the two sets of eyes under the masks. They had the same appearance as earlier, but they were feeling something different now.
If they had felt longing earlier, now…..
They both considered themselves real. Asking any more questions at this point was useless. Both of them would come to the same result anyway. Then, there was only one method left.
The two Yeon-woos dashed at each other.
* * *
The head of the Yeon-woo who died fell to the ground. Neither of them spoke, like the outcome was obvious.
The dead Yeon-woo scattered blood and disappeared with a flash of light. A portal opened above him, and Atran appeared again. He had a petrified expression.
There was so much blood that he was ankle-deep in it. How many Yeon-woos had died here? And because he knew their ends were from killing themselves, he felt strange. Atran always felt there were moments when Yeon-woo seemed inhuman.
‘Isn’t he a monster who looks human? Or like a robot who acts human. Ugh.’
Regardless of what Atran was thinking, Yeon-woo checked the message that popped up in front of him.
[All trials have been completed.]
[You have accomplished an achievement that is not easily accomplished. Additional Karma is being rewarded.]
[You have left a great record. Would you like to register your name in the hall of fame?]
[You have chosen not to register your name.]
[However, even if not made public, your accomplishments will be left in the history of the Tower, and you can change the status of your registration anytime.]
Like always, he ranked first. Except for the 10th stage, he was 1st place on every floor.
In the place where the last Yeon-woo previously stood, a strange black glass-like object was left. It wasn’t that large, so if you didn’t look closely, it was easy to overlook it. Even if you did check it…..
[Piece of Reflection]
Summary: A trace left behind after the Reflections of the 34th floor broke. They look like pieces of glass or mirrors. They have some magic power, but there doesn’t seem to be anything special about them.
It was easy to think of it as a useless item.
The other pieces of the Reflections floated lightly into his hand.
Thankfully, all of the pieces had the same magic power that Yeon-woo had, so it was easy to find them.
The pieces of the Reflections spun around and combined into one. Clack, clack. A black bead formed in his palm.
[Magic Sword Stone]
Category: Miscellaneous, Material
Summary: The thousands of pieces of Reflections combined into one. If it is made into an artifact and the user of the artifact matches the data inside the stone, it will become an outstandingly sensitive artifact.
On the other hand, if the owner and the data don’t match, through reading and hacking, a skill inside of the data can be randomly assigned to the owner of the stone.
The Magic Sword Stone was relatively well-known, so it could no longer be called a hidden piece.
But still, only players who passed the trial on their first try could gain it, and it was tricky in that all those pieces had to be gathered.
Also, because it had the data of its owner, if you put it out in the market, it was the same thing as revealing your weakness, so it was usually used as a material to make new artifacts.
A divine artifact made with your data. Anyone would want it.
His brother had created Dragon Slayer with the Magic Sword Stone, and he had succeeded in strengthening it from S-rank to EX-rank.
Dragon Slayer was an outstanding weapon that still rumored among players.
Yeon-woo wanted to use the Magic Sword Stone to strengthen his Magic Bayonet, but Vigrid was nearly as powerful as Dragon Slayer, and he needed to use it for Kynee.
[You have succeeded in gathering the Magic Sword Stones (2/2).]
‘So only three Jamshid Liquors and the Adamantine Nova are left now.’
Since By the Table could get the Adamantine Nova, he didn’t have to worry about that, and all that was left was three Jamshid Liquors.
However, the problem was this.
‘Jamshid is a being on the 70th floor.’
To be exact, Jamshid was the Lord who ruled the 70th floor for a long time and passed away. His nickname was King of Thousands. His greedy and violent personality had been so impactful that it was still well-known in the Tower a thousand years later.
He liked to make alcohol out of boredom, and a small amount of wine that occasionally entered the market was sold at an expensive price.
Yeon-woo had never drunk it before, but among people who enjoyed alcohol, it was treated as an elixir.
‘I don’t know how it’ll be used to make Kynee though.’
The most important thing was that he needed to get it somehow.
Of course, he might’ve been able to get it on the 70th floor. However, no matter how fast Yeon-woo ran, it was impossible for him to get to the 70th floor in the amount of time that was given.
Even if it did, he would’ve had to get there without finding any of the hidden pieces or Karma, so it was better not to. And the wariness of the Eight Large Clans would’ve increased.
In the end, he had to find a way.
‘No. It’s not like there isn’t any way at all.’
Yeon-woo knew someone who enjoyed taking care of precious items. There was someone who was as greedy and extravagant as Jamshid from a long time ago. And fortunately, he liked Yeon-woo.
‘The Gluttony Emperor.’
It seemed like it was time to visit the Blood Land, the visit that he had been pushing back since the 23rd floor in the Demons’ Forest and during the fight with Walpurgisnacht.
* * *
“I’m not even surprised anymore.”
High in the sky, Creutz looked at the fight Yeon-woo had with his copies. His eyes under his helm were dark.
Contrary to Yeon-woo’s assumption that Creutz had gone on ahead, Creutz had summoned his Flying Dragon high up in the sky. It was to observe Yeon-woo without any copies of him being made.
He wasn’t surprised when he saw what he did.
The mirror that exploded and the blood that stained the ground. The image of them killing themselves stayed in his head. And on one hand, he understood. He wondered if the Yeon-woo he met was the same Yeon-woo as before.
‘I can never confront him as an enemy.’
However, with the business of Tartarus at hand, he didn’t know how he was going to lead Yeon-woo to the Regiment Leader.
* * *
The letter he received through Atran began like this.
Are you doing well, friend?
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