Chapter 15 – You Have a Skill Too? (3)
A week passed.
The monster stumbled making the sound of a pot boiling. A king goblin. The senior member of the 5th floor had fallen.
I looked down at the king goblin’s face with determined expression.
This monster was the strongest of the ones that I saw this week. Ah, how many times had I died to get this monster? I sent away the king goblin with the mind of sending away a brave enemy warrior…
-Stop bullshitting yourself. You psychotic zombie.
“Ah. Geez. I barely managed to hunt this after 6 Coins. Can’t you just let me look in peace?”
6 Coins meant that I had put 6 lives on the stake. Right now, I was on the 6th coin, so I had died 5 times to get this king goblin.
Bae Hu-ryeong snorted.
-You’re a psycho if you get lost in thought like that after catching a monster. I only speak facts.
“Wow, I see. Our Sword Emperor’s personality is so nice.”
You might be able to tell from our conversation, but I was used to Aura now. Time was still flowing slowly because of the effects of the elixir.
It was just that I was speaking a lot faster than normal by focusing my Aura on my tongue.
Although it wasn’t a steadfast victory and one that I used dirty tricks to win.
I pulled out a poop-colored card and checked it.
[Goblin High Society]
Effects: The king goblin was lost in thought. ‘The level of culture for us goblins is too low. All languages end in kerrk, kerk. I cannot show my dignity with this!’ Then. The king goblin’s genius mind flashed. ‘That’s right! From now on, I will speak gork and not kerk. Gork! It’s a pronunciation that perfectly fits the precious king.’
※However, the fights within the tribe become worse.
※This is a skill copied from the Great King Goblin monster.
I clicked my tongue.
“Goblins worry about the most unnecessary things. Kerk and gork as basically the same thing.”
-That’s why they’re goblins. Humans aren’t that different either.
-I was talking to myself.
When I was about to ask him what he meant, a voice rang in my head.
[Your existence is becoming clearer.]
It was a voice that I had never heard before.
However, I knew what it meant. Countless players had testified to it, and even showed their own videos about it.
It was leveling up!
[Hunter Kim Gong-ja’s level is developing.]
It was moving. I had lived my entire life as a F Class hunter. I was anxious that I might continue to live like this. But I had the copying skill and the regressing skill, and after hurdles of pain…the moment of leveling up finally arrived for me.
[Your skill slots are increasing!]
[Your hunter rank is now E Class!]
Although I was only an E Class.
[May luck be with you.]
Red Aura flamed up from my feet. The thing that was similar to red liquid covered my body. Then, it slid back down and disappeared.
-…Was that a firework?
Bae Hu-ryeong scrunched his eyebrows.
-Or blood? Hm. That’s confusing. I think it’s either a firework or blood…
“That was just a level up artifact, right?”
-It’s not an artifact that just looks cool.
Bae Hu-ryeong scratched the back of his head.
-It’s a kind of hint.
-Mm. The type of artifact that reveals itself decides the [Shape of Aura]. Even the Flame Emperor that you killed. That guy’s shape was probably [Fire].
“Fireworks, you say”
I tried to remember. The scene of the Flame Emperor killing the Saintess with fire in the slums. It wasn’t a good memory to rehash but…it definitely seemed like Yoo Soo-ha dealt with a shape of Aura that was relating to fire.
-A hunter’s trauma is usually based on the shape of their Aura.
-Important events. Scenes. Memories. The ones that benchmark your life appear as the shape of your Aura. Like the shape of one’s unconsciousness? Well, it doesn’t have to be a negative trauma. But they generally are.
-From what I can tell, yours is either fire or blood.
Listening to him speak , I became curious.
“Now that you say that…what’s the shape of Sword Saint’s Aura?”
Bae Hu-ryeong casually tossed it out.
-Grandpops Marcus said he lost his way in the mountains when he was young. He didn’t want to die, so he climbed all the way to the top, and as he reached the peak, the leaves covering the night sky started to show the sky. When he got to the top, he saw the entire black night sky.
-He said he thought of something then. The moon didn’t shine by itself, but with the light of the sun. Even the life of someone who just accepts could be more than beautiful. Ah. I also want to shine by receiving that light.
-He said it was memorable enough for him to keep it in his heart his entire life.
I was unsettled listening to his story.
“But he said it was when he was young.”
-Yup. When he was 12.
“What kind of 12 year old would have those deep thoughts?”
Bae Hu-ryeong nodded.
-That’s why grandpops Marcus was a born boomer. Tsk tsk. When I was 12, I only thought about how to efficiently crush the bully in front of me.
“No, I don’t think that’s…normal either…”
If Sword Saint was a born boomer, then what was Bae Hu-ryeong? A born bully?
-Anyways, you’re used to the 5th floor. Let’s go up to the 6th.
“Ah, about that.”
“Can’t we just go straight to the 10th floor boss?”
“I know that I can copy a monster’s skill. I’m somewhat used to the Aura now. I think that I can get the 10th floor boss now.”
Bae Hu-ryeong closed his mouth for a moment.
He looked fiercely at me.
-Kim Gong-ja. Is a newbie already being too arrogant?
I firmly replied.
In our world, no one had succeeded in passing the 10th floor for several years. Since I dared to say I would clear that high difficulty area, Bae Hu-ryeong’s worry about me was expected.
“I’m really confident.”
But I really believed I could do it.
No, I was sure.
“If I can’t do it with 2 Coins, I’ll call you Seseung-nim.”
-Oh? 2 Coins?
Bae Hu-ryeong looked tempted.
-A guy that took 6 Coins to catch the goblin boss is gonna defeat the 10th floor boss with just 2 Coins? Really? You must not know, but I don’t let people out of bets that easily.
“But! I have a condition.”
I lifted my forefinger.
“You have to tell me what kind of skill the 10th floor boss has without hiding anything. You can’t lie about this. Tricking me with cards is also not allowed.”
-Hm. Sounds easy enough.
And if I win, call me Gong-ja-nim. As politely as possible. With respect.”
“Why? Scared? Ha. If you’re scared, you should quit.”
The expression that a bully hated the most was probably ‘scared?’ And Bae Hu-ryeong wasn’t a normal bully. He was the greatest bully that had climbed the 99th floor.
His facial muscles twitched.
-Spit! This newbie is mocking the great Sword Emperor just because he had some cheat skill? Hoohoohoo, fine. Let’s bet on it!
-Bet! Kim Zombie, you won’t be able to subjugate the 10th floor boss and have to call me Seseung-nim until you die. Ah! But since you can’t die, you’ll just have to say Seseung-nim forever.
“Do you have a hallucinating skill as well? Get ready to serve Gong-ja-nim.”
We both glared at each other and laughed evilly.
Hunters who had been hunting goblins from far away whispered amongst themselves.
“Hey. That person keeps on talking to himself from earlier.”
“And now he’s even laughing to himself. Does he have a mental problem?”
“Sh! He might look this way. Pretend you didn’t see, pretend.”
…I would probably have to cut back on talking to myself now.
I calmly shut my mouth and headed for the 10th floor.
Unlike other hunting grounds, there was a doorkeeper in front of the 10th floor boss room.
The person sent from the Hunter’s Association furrowed his eyebrows listening to what I said.
“You want to attempt the boss room yourself?”
It only took two seconds for his face to switch into an expression like he was asking ‘Who is this crazy guy?’
“Um. I don’t know if you saw the news last time…30 honor members from Black Dragon guild. Along with the 4 highest rankers, but they failed. Hunting by yourself is committing suicide.”
I was confident.
“Sending a hunter to an attack they want to is the Association’s rule.”
“That’s true but…”
He had a troubled expression.
“Pardon me, but I write down all the hunters who enter here. My boss will probably look through this…and I’ll end up being a bad guy who let a hunter die. Please consider my situation as well.”
What should I do? I calmly stroked my chin.
-What? Hunter’s Association? We never had those guys in my world!
I meant to say that I was the only calm one.
-These stupid fools! I didn’t like how they did fucking politics making guilds and associations. That’s why they are still begging on the bloody 10th floor! Hey, Kim Zombie! Just beat this guy up and go into the boss room.
‘What Why would I beat up an innocent person?’
-He dares to block your way.
He wasn’t only a psychopath but also a mosquito.
I clicked my tongue inwardly and got out a pocket.
“I can see you working hard. You’re right. Me attempting it by myself is just a suicidal plan. But…I really want to kill myself.”
“I’m just so tired these days…”
I bitterly smiled.
“My girlfriend died 1 year ago. Some time ago, the Alchemy Castle said I have a terminal illness. Even if I live, it’ll only be half a year, and I don’t have the confidence to endure that half year without my girlfriend.”
Bae Hu-ryeong grimaced.
-What kind of shit is this zombie guy saying?
I ignored him. And I continued whispering to the doorkeeper.
“But even if I’m a lowly ranker, I’m still a hunter. I don’t want to enter the Alchemy Castle’s hospital wondering when I’ll die. Even if I die…I want to challenge a monster until the very end.”
“You had that kind of…”
He had a pitiful face looking at me. You know. The face people make when they listen to others misfortunes.
“This is money I collected from fights.”
I handed the pocket to the doorkeeper. There was 100 Gold inside.
“I don’t have anywhere to use it anyway…you can have it.”
“I, I can’t accept this money!”
“I want to lightly leave the world, door keeper-nim. And please don’t write down that I entered here. It’s the last request of my hunter life…”
His face turned heavy, like he was going to cry. And a bit of that heaviness was probably from that moneybag.
“…Alright. Enter. I didn’t see anything…”
-Ha, look at this.
He was baffled.
-Hey. Are the two of you filming a movie? This isn’t a prank, right?
Whatever the case, the doorkeeper let me in.
I left him and moved inside. It was a cobblestone path. The place the 10th floor boss stayed was like an extravagant residence of an old noble family. I walked the cobblestone path.
‘The 10th floor Flame Emperor Yoo Soo-ha cleared.’
I stood in front of the large door.
I slowly pushed the door open.
‘This time is different. Instead of Flame Emperor…no.’
The door opened with a loud sound.
‘I’ll write a fancier legend than Flame Emperor.
I took a step forward.
And it began.
I heard laughter from around me. At the same time, the door that I used to come in closed. Boom! In an instant, it became dark around me, and the shiver-inducing laughter became louder.
Candles flickered on one by one.
-Are you gonna play with me?
Here and there. Candles flickered on although no one had touched them. Where candles were lit, there were dolls. Small dolls that children players with.
-Are you going to play with us?
The dolls spoke.
-Freeze tag? The flower had bloomed? Hide and seek?
-The ice is melted. The flowers are ripped. Let’s go with hide and seek!
-Let’s! Play with us! Play hide and seek with us!
I got ready.
“Alright. I’ll play with you.”
The Aura that I trained in my body soared up.
Like it had been waiting for me, a voice rang in my head.
[You have entered the boss stage.]
[The challenger/s is hunter Kim Gong-ja. 1 person.]
[May luck be with you.]
The stage that humanity hadn’t cleared yet.
The ‘Hide and Seek of Hellfire Residence’ began.
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