Chapter 36 – My Death Is (3)
The white light settled down.
When I opened my eyes, I was already in the middle of the battlefield.
I confidently walked in at the familiar scene.
Monsters were crying out and soldiers were getting injured while fighting them.
Thousands of monsters ran to destroy the port.
The 11th floor.
The first battle to protect the Aegim Empire had begun.
“Thank you! I see you’ve come to help us, warriors!”
The general NPC who greeted us was the same as the last regression. He wore the same armor, had the same expression, and said the same lines.
“Warriors! Please save our empire and…”
But it was only up to there.
That was the end of the similarities.
At the general’s words, the way the hunters reacted was different.
“Gather, Black Dragon!”
A cold voice pierced through the battlefield. It was the owner of Black Dragon, the Witch. Just like in the battle that only I remembered, the Witch shouted after gathering her Aura. She had something about her that pulled people’s gazes.
“Black Dragon will take the directing right in this war from now!”
The Witch looked at the battlefield.
“Chen-mu mun! Civil Militia! Do whatever you need to at the left! Ten Thousand Temple and Sangryun take the right! Black Dragon will take the center. If anyone has any complaints, let me know after the battle! If you have time to complain right now, get another orc instead!”
The world changed.
The shouts of the hunters was proof of that.
The large guilds moved about in a hurry. Was it because I shared information that this was a team subjugation?
There wasn’t any hunter who stood around blankly.
“Kiddos, follow me! If someone dies before me I’ll kill you!”
Even the Chen-mu mun that the Venomous Snake was leading.
“What are you…never mind. Everyone, back Chen-mu mun up! We have to help those idiots when they start taking it overboard again!”
Even the Civil Militia, led by the Crusader.
“Ahahaha! Acting individually immediately gets you a death sentence. Everyone! Move as a team!”
Even the Ten Thousand Temple, led by the Heretic Questioner.
“Everyone’s so passionate. Let’s take it slowly.”
And Sangryun, led by the Count.
There wasn’t a single blind spot amongst the guilds. Everyone focused on what they had to do. Hunters specialized for battles swung their swords, and hunters who specialized in support casted magic from behind. Like a tsunami, hunters were pushing the monster army behind.
The general NPC exclaimed in astonishment. Was he touched looking at the view in front of him?
“Clearly the god hasn’t abandoned us! Look! The warriors from the other world are pushing back the monsters! Soldiers of the empire! We should also fight back! Soldiers, follow me!”
The leaders of the squadrons all shouted and ran.
I stepped aside and watched them.
What people needed was just a little bit of relief.
Even if I just changed a little, if I moved secretly just a bit, the scene of the stage changed like this.
Just then, Bae Hu-ryeong spoke in a low voice.
-Zombie. Are you alright?
-You’ll stand out less this way.
Bae Hu-ryeong was frowning.
-There’s no one who likes to stand out more than you. You go crazy for attention. Isn’t the attention going your way going to decrease like this?
‘Well. I guess.’
I shrugged my shoulders.
‘But this isn’t too bad either.’
-Hoho? I guess you grew a bit.
‘What do you mean, ‘grow…’ I’m still gonna take what I can get!’
Then, I felt a gaze on my back.
When I turned around, I saw the old Sword Saint looking at me.
I was a bit flustered.
“What are you doing there…sir?”
“I was watching you.”
The Sword Saint spoke like it was obvious.
“You said so earlier. To decide if I should kill you or not in 5 days. That’s why I’m watching you.”
“…Uh. Mm. You’re not really planning on watching me 24/7 for 5 days, right?”
“What a strange question. Of course I am.”
What the heck. Was he a stalker?
“Wait, you have to get monsters too! The next stage’s rewards will be given based on the level of contribution!”
Sword Saint lightly swung his sword.
Blue Aura clawed around the entire battlefield. About 20 goblins screamed and their heads fell off. Blood bloomed everywhere.
The Sword Saint turned back to me.
“Don’t worry, I’m planning on using my sword occasionally as well.”
“Do whatever you have to do.”
As expected, he was super experienced.
His level was completely different.
I shook my head and headed towards the Witch of the Black Dragon. Their guilds members stopped me, but paused when they saw Sword Saint following me. When the Witch realized that we were approaching her, she waved her hand and cleared our path.
“What’s wrong? Hunter Kim Gong-ja. And even the grandpops.”
She threw a fit with her forehead wrinkled.
“I’m busy directing our guild members. I don’t have the time. If you could say what you need to in 30 seconds I’d be grateful.”
“I don’t really have any business with you.”
The old man spoke casually.
“I just followed this youngster.”
“What? What the heck does that…never mind. Not interested! I don’t have time to be focused on you right now. This is a request, so if it’s not important, please leave. Hey, you! Team 4!”
Even while rebuking the Sword Saint, she busily gave orders to her guild members.
“Stop going forward stupidly and stay there! If you don’t want a spear to land in your ass, stay there! What’s Team 12 doing? Do you think we’re here for a walk?! Hunt properly!”
“S, Sorry! Black Dragon Master!”
“If you have time to be sorry, use your sword in that time instead!”
She really did look busy.
I quickly got to the point.
“Black Dragon Master. I have the reward for clearing the 10th floor.”
“Of course you do. So what?”
“This mini map is the reward. I can see the entire battlefield with this map. And allies and enemies are marked. I can even see where the enemies’ forces are.”
Then the Witch turned her head to look me right in the eye.
“Why would I lie. It’s real.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me sooner!”
She grabbed my right hand.
“Speak! Where is the boss monster!?”
I guess this person showed her real self when she was super busy.
I pointed in the direction that the mini map marked.
“It’s surrounded by monsters but there-”
“Say that you agree to the use of my skill! Quick!”
“Uh, I agree with the use of Black Dragon Master’s skill.”
The next moment, the Witch and I were floating in mid air. To be exact, we were falling. In the middle of the battlefield, monsters and humans were busily fighting.
The Witch’s black hair flew in the air as she shouted.
I shouted because of the sound of the wind.
“Where I’m pointing-”
Everytime the Witch shouted for her Teleport skill, we rapidly became closer to where the boss monster was. I hugged the Witch tighter in the air. It didn’t mean much. I just thought that if only our hands were touching I’d immediately fall from the sky.
Like she understood, she didn’t object. And she shouted with her eyes narrowed.
“Are you confident in using your sword?!”
“Enough to skill the boss monster here!”
“Then I’ll send you on top of the boss monster! So in one! Okay!?”
I knew well what she was saying.
When the last teleportation was finished, we flew right above the boss monster.
There was about 10 meters left to go.
Around the boss monsters, goblins were shouted annoyingly. It was hard to believe that was how they directed their monster army.
I covered my body with Aura and shotued. Did they hear us? The head goblin that was directing the monsters tilted his head to look up.
The head goblin and I made eye contact.
But it was already too late.
My blade landed right on top of the head goblin’s head. His body was split into two. He was a boss monster, but he couldn’t even fight back. He just looked at me until the very end like he felt wronged. Well, I guess since he had been skilled by me twice, he would feel wronged.
The monsters who had suddenly lost their leaders looked at my blankly. It seemed like they couldn’t understand what had happened because it had happened so fast.
I grinned at them.
Stepping on the body of the head goblin.
“You want to be cut into half too?”
The monsters belatedly screamed.
Unimportant little things like goblins and orcs quickly scattered. When one ran away, the other quickly began to run away, and soon, 30 of them were running away. They began running away like they were dominoes falling apart.
Next to me, the Witch clenched her small fists.
“Good job, Kim Gong-ja! Goodness! It seems like we’ll be able to clear the stage in less than an hour! Less than 50 hunters will probably have died. Maybe even 30… Ah! It can’t get better than this!”
It was the first time I saw the Witch so excited.
Was the reason why she was so expressionless in the last chap because…a lot of hunters had died at the beginning because they didn’t know what to do? And she was happy because the damage was less this time?
‘She’s unexpectedly quite simple.’
Someone who was sad or happy based on the number of sacrifices.
“Now now, you’re too excited right now. Calm down a bit.”
“You have to be excited when you’re feeling excited! I’ll compliment you again. Good job, Kim Gong-ja! There’s never been a case when the sacrifices to clear a stage have been this low. You can brag about this all you want!”
The Witch smiled fancily.
It wasn’t just lifting the corners of her mouth, but she was genuinely smiling.
“You might’ve wanted to take the clear reward for yourself. It’s really…a relief that the new hero is someone like you. I’m so relieved.”
“All the media in the tower will be fighting to get to you, so get ready!”
She was purely happy.
The Witch held out her hand to shake.
Grabbing her hand, I thought to myself.
‘Getting attention from normal people…getting it from a lot of people is indeed nice. It feels great. Being envied by people and treated like you’re the best. It feels damningly good.’
‘Not as good as being acknowledged by these people.’
People who had lived with rigor.
Those who could be able to confidently say that they did their best.
Like the Sword Saint, who got to the top with just one sword.
The Witch, who created the largest force in the tower.
And countless other people, who had put everything into this.
I tightly held the Witch’s hand.
‘I want to live being acknowledged by these people.’
And it wasn’t just that.
‘I want to protect these people.’
So they couldn’t be played by the Devil King.
For the people who had lived so busily…not even cursing or teasing anyone like the Flame Emperor. Or laughed at others, making them feel small. I just wanted to be acknowledged by them.
I wanted to be respected by them.
Even if it might be impossible.
‘I want to live like that.’
In the slightly changed world, I also wanted to change.
And that was my deepest desire.
Bae Hu-ryeong mumbled.
-it’s worth watching a fella like you.
And not too long after, a voice rang out, letting us know that the 11th floor had been cleared.
Large letters popped up in the sky.
[Subjugation Contribution Rank]
Rank 1. Kim Gong-ja
Rank 2. Witch
Rank 3. Heretic Questioner
Rank 4. Venomous Snake
Rank 5. Crusader
Rank 6. Count
Rank 7. Sword Saint
As much as the world had changed, the ranking had slightly changed as well.
The Sword Saint slid down to rank 7. And the Witch, who was Rank 6, was at Rank 2.
[The top subjugators are entering the 12th floor.]
[The remaining subjugators cannot enter the 12th floor until the top subjugators have received their rewards.]
[Letting everyone know again…]
And it was finally heard.
The voice that opened the 12th floor.
“We might be able to clear the 20th quickly at this rate.”
The Witch spoke with a slightly red face.
“I thought at least 5,000 would be sacrificed…but the first step is good. Very.”
Left like this, a horrible sacrifice would be taken from us on the 12th floor.
And the person necessary to communicate with the outside, the Sangryun Master would be lost. The moment that connection was cut off, the economy of the tower would break apart. Everyone would be confused. The sacrifices could exceed 5,000, and even get to 500,000.
‘I’m gonna carry it.’
A blinding light surrounded us.
When I opened my eyes again, I was there.
The reception room of the empire.
The marble floor was still white, not dirtied by blood like last time.
The hunters were summoned one by one. The looks on their faces were different. There were some hunters who smiled like they expected me to be here, and others looked angry that I was first again.
Like in the last regression.
“Kim Gong-ja hunter! You were amazing!”
Heretic Questioner coming up to compliment was also the same.
“Working together with the Black Dragon Master! Ahaht. Was knowing the location of the boss monster a reward of the last stage? It seems like…”
“Just a moment.”
Unlike the last regression, the Heretic Questioner couldn’t continue to compliment me. I lifted my hand to stop him. He tilted his head.
“I have something to say to everyone first.”
The hunters all looked at me.
The Witch still looked flushed. The Venemous Snake had a frowning face. The Crusader looked indifferent, and the Count was fanning herself.
In the midst of receiving all the hunters’ gazes-
‘What about the Sword Saint?’
I checked the old man’s movements first.
He was standing by himself in the corner of the reception room. Even though our eyes met, he didn’t react. He just quietly looked at me with his arms crossed.
It was completely different from how he immediately lifted his sword to look at me.
‘It finally worked!’
The frustrating fight at the beginning of the 12th floor was gone now.
I made it disappear.
I was successful in stopping the hostile relationship for a moment.
I could feel my heart beating as I spoke.
“Yesterday. I told you something.”
I answered the Heretic Questioner’s question.
“I asked for you to do me a favor sometime.”
“Ah, yes! Of course I remember!”
“It would be nice if you could do that favor for me right now.”
I slowly looked at the hunters.
The Guild Masters were all listening closely at the word ‘favor.’
“5 days from now. Please stay here for 5 days without doing anything.”
I took a deep breath.
And I opened my mouth.
“I’ll clear up to the 20th floor in 5 days.”
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