Chapter 21 -The Luxury of a Cup of Coffee (3)
-Gong-ja-nim! This is a straight. Kill him.
-Ah. Gong-ja-nim. He’s bluffing. Ah, you poor thing. Call him out and kill him.
-Dang. He has the same cards as Gong-ja-nim. But what can we do? Gong-ja-nim’s two pairs are the highest? Heehee. This is fun. Let’s keep on going until we die, Gong-ja-nim!
-Wow. He’s trying to get a full house? Gong-ja-nim. Don’t worry. I just looked under the table to see the cards. He won’t get a full house. Trust me, and go!
About 30 rounds of poker continued.
The guy opposite of me trembled. Venomous Snake. The one-eyed hunter was burning up.
“Shit! This is a scam!”
The Venomous Snake burst up. Boom! The table shook. Other hunters raised their cups like they expected this. Fortunately, we were able to avoid spilt coffee. Mm. Good timing.
“It doesn’t make sense! It’s already been 30 rounds but this guy hasn’t lost once. Even bluffing doesn’t work. This is a scam! I don’t know if it’s passive, but he’s using a fucking skill! It’s a scam! A scam!”
“Do you have proof?”
I sipped my hot chocolate. It was cold now, and became a weak chocolate latte. This was tasty in itself as well.
“I might be an expert at poker. I’ll feel wronged if you accuse me like this without any proof. Look upon me nicely, sunbae-nim. [TN: Sunbae-Term for addressing someone with more experience than you in a particular subject]
“Hey, is this really a F Class hunter?!”
The Venomous Hunter shouted while looking around him.
“How is this a F Class hunter! I’ll believe it if you say the Association lied about it after taking some side money. He’s at least a B Class!”
“Wow. How’d you know? That I’m not a F Class?”
“Right? I knew i….”
“Actually, I became an E Class Hunter yesterday. But I was busy clearing the 10th floor yesterday and I wasn’t able to let the Association know.”
“Thank you for judging me so highly. And Mr. Master. You’re out of chips.”
The Venomous Snake turned away and plodded away. To the out zone. It was where the people without any more chips sat.
“Welcome! Chen-mu Master!”
Heretic Questioner, who had been out first, brightly smiled.
“I thought it was about time for you to be out. So I ordered another expresso! You don’t need to refuse. Drink as much as you want.”
“I don’t like espresso…”
“Yes! I know. Being picky is bad!”
The Venomous Snake sat down in the out zone looking like he was gonna cry.
Now, there were 3 hunters left in the game. Me. The Witch of Black Dragon. And unexpectedly, Crusader.
Crusader looked down at her cards and wrinkled her forehead. She was the vice leader of the Civil Militia. A hunter famed for her righteousness. The Civil Militia was a guild established to protect the capital of the first floor. They were like the police. And I heard she donated all his wealth to an orphanage or something. [TN: I thought Crusader was a guy but we learn she’s a girl in this chapter! Korean…tsk tsk tsk.]
Crusader placed her cards down with a sigh.
“I thought I had a pretty good poker face. Kim Gong-ja. Do you have a clairvoyant skill?”
“Maybe. It could be clairvoyance or telepathy. Try guessing.”
“Newbies these days.”
The Crusader smiled bitterly. She bowed and moved to the out zone.
“Hey! How could you give up so easily!”
The Venomous Snake shouted in anger at her. The surroundings of his mouth were messy, like he spilled his espresso.
“You should stick next to him like a hunting dog even if you think it’s not gonna work! Are you gonna leave that con-artist be!”
“Con-artist. That’s too much to the new hero.”
“He’s obviously using a skill!”
Crusader shrugged her shoulders.
“I knew from the beginning.”
“It would’ve been weird if I didn’t know. Would a newbie really suggest a game of luck without any preparation? The fact that he challenged us to this game means that he was letting us know he could use a skill and get away with it without being caught. And we accepted that challenge.”
The Venomous Snake gaped with his mouth open.
“T, That’s how it was?”
“Chen-mu Master…it’s good that you work hard for martial arts, but use your head.”
Crusader looked at the Venomous Snake pitifully.
“From the beginning, we had nothing to lose. If we win, it would be awesome. But even if we lose…like the newbie said. He’s going to apply to all the guilds here. And that’s a pretty good result in itself.”
“B, But. We have our pride! How are we gonna be treated the same as…”
“Does pride feed you?”
The Venomous Snake was left speechless.
“Espresso feeds you! Here, Chen-mu Master. Drink up!”
In the end, the Rank 2 player was left, the Black Witch.
It was us two.
The Witch focused on her cards and spoke.
“It’s a relief.”
“Since you can get us.”
The Witch bet her chips. Raise. She raised the bar. Was she trying to provoke me?
“I’m from Ukraine. To be exact, I’m from where Ukraine used to be. With the war, after I lost my family, I suffered a lot. As you know. A woman living alone outside or in this tower is tough.”
“I suppose so.”
I gladly accepted her provocation. Re-raise. I raised the stakes.
She hesitated for a moment and tapped the table twice. It was that she was accepting victory. The Count spread the cards out as the dealer.
“So what are you trying to say?”
I rubbed my chin, pretending to contemplate.
“Everyone in the tower. And especially the first generation. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have a heart-breaking story. I’m an ordinary orphan as well.”
My cards was one pair.
“…this top is like my hometown.”
Her’s were a flush.
“In the tower, people don’t ask where you’re from. No, we made it so it was like this. The fact that I’m from Ukraine. That Chen-mu Master’s from China. That you’re from Korea…that isn’t important in our tower.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Thanks to the blessing of the tower, we can understand each other. Here, we’re all equal. At least…more than the outside world.”
If this went on, I would lose.
But I raised the stakes higher composedly.
“People outside consider here a trash can.”
“Even roses bloom in trash cans.”
The Witch signaled a call.
“Kim Gong-ja. The moment the clock in the sky shows [00:00:00], the media will pour out articles about you. You’ll start a life different from before. I hope you deal with it wisely.”
Another card was flipped over on the table.
“I’m not bragging, but I like attention. I like it when people compliment me and are jealous of me. It’s the truth. That’s all there is to it.”
Now my cards were two pair.
“…You’re honest. I guess you’re the exact opposite of Sword Saint.”
Her cards were still a flush. I had the shorter hand, but.
I lifted my eyes from the card to look at her.
“I’ll tell you all now while we’re on the subject. I don’t want to be treated like you because I just cleared the 10th floor. The 20th floor. 30th. 40th. 50th. And the 100th. I’ll subjugate them all. No matter how long it takes.”
“I know you consider the tower special. I respect that. I don’t plan on uselessly fighting with all of you. But I think of you as my opponents.”
Who would be the first to climb the Tower?
Who would be called a hero?
To be remembered by people, to be complement, to receive jealousy. To build the gold tower that everyone saw.
“I want to see the world beyond the tower rather than within the tower.”
So I was going to climb the tower.
“Refugees. Famine. I don’t have time to worry about that. Honestly. If you need my name, just use it. However many times you want. Just support me in climbing the tower.”
The feeling of subjugating the tower. I wanted to feel it again. I had only tasted in once…but I felt like I was addicted to it.
Because that’s how amazing it was.
The Witch sighed after a silence.
“I thought wrong. You’re not the opposite of the Sword Saint, but exactly the same.”
The Witch pushed all the chips in. Clatter. They all gathered in the center of the table like a small mountain.
“Is that a compliment?”
“No, it’s a curse. Greedy people.”
The last card was flipped. The opponent cards were a flush. Mine were…Full House.
“It’s a compliment.”
It was my victory.
“Then as promised, I hope I’m treated the same as the rest of you.”
“Can I expect that the more authority you have, the more jobs you’ll have?”
“Hm? Isn’t the job of a hunter to climb the Tower? Don’t worry. I’ll continue doing the job of a hunter.”
“A lazy newbie…”
The Witch bitterly smiled.
-Mm. Kim Zombie is a bit lazy. If there was a skill for laziness, he would’ve reached S Class.
‘…Are you really going back to Kim Zombie as soon as the game ended?’
-Of course, you mutant zombie! Gong-ja-nim my ass!’
Bae Hu-ryeong flew around in excitement.
-Zombie! Zombie! Zombie bastard! Wow, I didn’t know I would miss this so much! I’m never gonna bet with you lazy ass again!
How was the person that was called the Emperor of the Sword this pathetic.
I inwardly clicked my tongue and stood up.
“You’re leaving already?”
“Yes. The 11th floor is opening soon. I have to get ready now if I don’t want to be behind others.”
“How are you gonna prepare if you don’t know what’s on it?”
‘It wouldn’t be bad to give them a hint here.’
Since I was going to be treated like them, it wouldn’t be bad if they were in my debt a bit. I organized my thoughts and spoke up.
“It’s a [Play].”
“The theme of the 11th to the 20th floor is [Play].”
Everyone looked at me with flashing eyes. It was obvious why. With even the smallest hint, you could move faster than others. The information I was giving them right now was priceless.
“They gave me a hint as a reward for clearing the 10th floor.”
It was a lie.
I still hadn’t gotten my reward for the 10th floor yet. I guessed I would get it when the clock hit 00:00:00. But I still knew what would happen now.
Knowledge of the future. There was no reason not to use it.
“I don’t know any more than that.”
“…Thanks for sharing.”
The Witch nodded her head.
“I’ll definitely return this favor.”
I was looking forward to it.
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