Chapter 54 – The Obsessed Last King (2)
Translator: WH Editor: Sasha
The witch sighed anxiously.
“Don’t just blurt stuff out recklessly. Most mistakes can be covered for but if you really go all out talking nonsense, even I can’t restrain the media.”
“There’s no one as gentle as me. You know me right. I’m the prophet, okay? I know what the most exemplary answer is.”
“…Can I really believe you?”
“Ayyyy, of course.”
I took over the microphone from the Witch. The Witch seemed worried about me up till the last moment when she passed me the microphone, but it was really fine. I had a [Secret Method].
“Ah. Ah ah.”
I warmed up my voice gently. My voice resonated through the square through the speaker.
“Hello, everyone. I am a Hunter who received the nickname, Death King. Nice to meet you.”
The flashes formed a striking wave. I wasn’t very flustered. Was yesterday’s experience of being surrounded by a crowd a form of immunization against this? I was more relaxed than I thought and received the ‘baptism’ of flashes head-on.
“Your name is… John Evans-nim?”
“Yes. That’s right.”
The young reporter looked straight at me. Eyes burning with the spirit of a journalist. He had a heated gaze that looked as if he wouldn’t miss any move I made and that he would surely reveal who I really was.
It was quite an uncomfortable gaze.
Meeting a gaze like that.
There was only one idea that came to my mind.
“In my opinion, it’s a voice of concern that comes from my shortfalls.”
Learn from your lessons.
[T/N: 반면교사 (反面敎師) is a Korean idiom that basically means something that allows one to learn a lesson from a mistake, or a direct translation could be ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’ ]
Let’s just not become someone like Flame Emperor!
The reporter gripped the microphone with one hand and batted his eyes. He probably didn’t expect me to react in this kind of way. Meanwhile, recalling in my head the weasel-like mug of the Flame Emperor, I said.
[T/N: weasel in this context refers to someone who is deceitful and cunning.]
“I’ll repeat it. In my opinion, it’s all a voice of concern that comes from my shortfalls.”
My secret move was very simple.
‘No matter what, all I have to do is say it the other way round of how the Flame Emperor would!’
Did I look like I would have some kind of great knack for interviews?
I was different from the Witch. I didn’t have a talent at captivating the crowd with speeches. No talent, no skills, no experience.
But, there was just one thing.
I had the knowledge that others didn’t.
The world’s most impudent Hunter’s interviews!
‘If I did the exact opposite of what Flame Emperor did, even if I was bad at it, it’d still be decent.’
I was a big fan of the Flame Emperor for nearly a decade. Thanks to that, the inside of my head was no different than a library. A library where the atrocities and the absurd remarks of Flame Emperor were recorded.
What if it wasn’t me who was holding to the microphone now, but Flame Emperor?
He would have said this.
[It’s because of my greatness that we could clear through the 20th floor, you little bastards.]
[I worked to the bones to clear the tower, y’know? So what’d you expect me to do? The items and experiences I got there would naturally be mine. Hey, trash reporter. If I don’t fu-, if I don’t take it for myself, then who should I give it to? Huh?]
I didn’t just made that up on the spot right now.
In fact, he really was like that!
‘That was why before I returned in time, the Witch would turn pale whenever there was a press conference…’
It was the so-called [Your father] case.
So naturally, the press conference had a brilliant outburst. The swearing sounds of the reporters were broadcasted live, and by the time the Witch rushed to the conference, it was already too late.
It was literally a major catastrophe.
The live broadcast was stopped in a hurry, but the disaster was not over.
As Yoo Soo-ha counterfire’d the reporters, the mother of all curses and all kinds of curses that exist in the world were thrown at him, and the scene that unfolded was broadcasted by individual streamers just as it was.
‘His nickname wasn’t “The Plague” for no reason.’
Rumour had it that the Witch had been bedridden for a week after that day.
Perhaps due to the [Your father] incident, the Witch learned what kind of existence the Hunter Yoo Soo-ha was. Was it not because of this incident that the top guilds distanced themselves from Yoo Soo-ha?
‘In the past, the Flame Emperor thoroughly screwed up this press conference.’
In other words.
‘I just have to say the exact opposite of what the Plague said.’
Do the exact opposite of the worst, and it’d be the best!
I grabbed the microphone as I recalled Yoo Soo-ha’s absurd remarks.
[It’s because of my greatness that we could clear through the 20th floor. You little bastards.]
“I know the public opinion is in an uproar because of me. But it’s overrated. Without the help of Black Dragon Witch and Sword Saint here, I would’ve never been able to clear up till the 20th floor alone.”
[I worked my bones off to clear the tower, y’know?]
“Of course, I am proud to say that I gave it my all. Aiming at zero sacrifices, we really put in all of our efforts, to the point of grinding our bones. But, I don’t think this can be considered as our ‘sacrifice’. It’s what we should do as human beings. As a Hunter, this was the right thing to do. More than anything…I did it because it’s something I like to do.”
[The items and experiences I got there would naturally be mine. Hey, trash reporter. If I don’t fu-, if I don’t take it for myself, then who should I give it to? Huh?]
“But, just cause of that, I don’t have the intention of claiming my rights. That is why I entrusted the rights of the 10th floor to the 19th floor to the guild masters. I only said that I wanted the 20th floor to myself… No. The 20th floor is a kind of [Green Belt] area. On the 20th floor, the residents of the tower who originally resided there will live there. I will be happy with just the administrator role.”
“Reporter Evan-nim. That is all.”
“Do you still have any other questions.”
The young man who was burning with the spirit of a journalist stuttered.
“Noth-… Nothing else.”
From here, I worked my brain even faster.
If it was the Flame Emperor, what would he have responded with when he heard the reporter’s words?
[Okay. If you don’t have anything else to say, then fuck off, you American pig bastard.]
It was a scene that I could obviously imagine happening.
In addition to this, he would’ve showed-off his bulky middle finger.
‘Let’s see. If I wanted to say the exact opposite line of this….’
I opened my mouth.
“Thank you. Ahh. If you have any other questions, I’ll answer it for a while, everyone.”
There was a moment of silence that swept through the plaza.
Though it was really just a moment of silence.
“Here here! I’m from Hwanmun Newspaper!”
“Please take our question, Death King-nim! I’m from Only Tower Daily!”
“We came from the Tower of Babel Broadcasting System!”
The reporters raised their hands in unison. As soon as they sensed that I was an easy-going person, they rushed to make an article.
This scene felt like baby ducks who were diligently swaying their beaks towards the mother bird.
I was inwardly impressed as I watched the press corps.
‘… The learning from your lessons strategy was insane.’
As expected of the Plague. A psychopath that was shittier than anyone else in this world.
He was always the man who would become my compass in a bad sense.
Even now, the compass clearly told me how to react.
[What? Hwanmun Newspaper? I’ll never do an interview with you guys, There’s nothing but old baffoons there. Even when I flip open the newspaper, it gives off a geezer smell. Hey, if you’re gonna call yourself a reporter, at least shower.]
Again, I recalled the words of Flame Emperor and said,
“…Then, starting from the reporter of Hwanmun Newspaper.”
The effect was magnificent.
The conference ended on a good note. It was literally a great success. Questions and answers popped up from everywhere for over an hour, but I didn’t make a common slip of the tongue.
In actual fact, it wasn’t easy to end the conference on a good note. The reporters shot vague questions at me to somehow extract even one line of extra information so they could put it in their articles. In the end, the Witch took over my microphone and said a simple thankful greeting.
“Everyone! I understand your desire of wanting to know more about our new hero. Unfortunately, there is little time left.” The Witch pointed at the sky with her finger.
Before we knew it, the clock of light was close to 00:00:00.
There were only 5 minutes left until the new stage opened!
There was no better excuse than this to be used to end the press conference.
“We will end our night’s rest here, and concentrate on clearing the tower again today. Please watch over us with your great interest and warm support. This time too, we will do our best to achieve the goal of zero casualties.”
There were regrettable bellows popping out from here and there.
As I wondered if the press conference would end just like this, a brave figure raised his hand.
“Black, Black Dragon Witch! One last question please!”
“Yes. With this one question, the conference will really end here.”
“Black Dragon Witch and Death King! What is the relationship between the two of you?!”
At that moment, people’s eyes shined.
Pure interest. Slight mischief.
Since the dawn of history, the one thing that humans have been most curious about was the story of love. The reporters probably wanted to match up the Witch and me in that kind of way.
The Witch thought for a while, then glanced back at me.
Should I say it was something like a mischievous prank?
There was a faint playfulness in the Witch’s eyes.
“The relationship between the two of us… That’s right.”
The Witch slowly opened her lips.
Then, a statement that would remain as a famous line of the era came out of her mouth.
“-A more than friend, comrade-in-arms kind of relationship.”
The reporters cheered. Should they focus on the word more than a friend? Should they focus on the word comrade-in-arms (戰友)? Either way, it was a mood where they were unable to make out the heads or tails of what they were told.
The reporter who asked the question also widened his eyes.
“Frie-, a more than a friend relationship, is what you’re trying to say right?”
The Witch leisurely uttered.
“I’ll repeat it again, it’s a ‘more than a friend, comrade-in-arms’ kind of relationship, That’s all there is to it. I hope there are no misunderstandings and misinterpretations.”
“If you have any misunderstandings and misinterpretations…!”
“The press conference hosted by the Black Dragon Guild will end here today.”
The Witch stood up from her seat.
“I would like to sincerely thank everyone again for all your interest and support. This has been the Guild Leader of Black Dragon, the Black Dragon Witch. I wish you all a good day.”
The reporters all jumped to their feet.
“Blac-, Black Dragon Witch-nim! How can you just leave like this?!”
“Please give us a more detailed comment on what you just remarked!”
“Black Dragon Witch!”
“Death King-nim, what are your opinions on the statement just now?! Death King-nim!”
The reporters clamored even as they shouted in hoarse voices. However, the Witch maintained her relaxed demeanor. As she guided me to the backstage, she chuckled lightly.
“Let’s go quickly.”
I looked back at the press corps for a moment. Everyone was crying out.
“…Are you going to just leave after putting out such a heated topic?”
“I’m a woman who watches drama.”
The Witch gently winked.
A playful wink.
“Originally, you have to set a fire at the end to leave a deep impression.”
Her words showed the dignity and authority of a guild master that reigned over the tower.
We walked all the way to a place we wouldn’t attract people’s attention. Only when we reached there, the Witch went “Phewwwww!” and exhaled deeply. Then she grabbed my hands.
“It was perfect! Death King!”
The Witch’s eyes lit up brightly.
I wondered if she was really the same person who managed her facial expressions calmly throughout the press conference.
“When did you even learn how to do an interview! Be proud!”
I just did the opposite of what the Flame Emperor would have.
“Your humble attitude was a particular plus factor! People like heroes, but there are things they like more than that. Which is a hero who bows his head! Of course, your humility shouldn’t be too overboard that it becomes servility… But you did just fine. Oh my gosh. The balance was exquisite!”
I just recited the opposite of what the Flame Emperor would’ve said.
“I didn’t know you even had a knack at dealing with the press. Ahhhh. What the hell has this child been doing all this while, to have only appeared now?! Besides clearing the tower, you even know how to create a good image, I feel like my shoulders have become 10 times lighter…!”
My heart was uneasy as I saw her expressing her joy this much.
I couldn’t bring myself to say that I just imitated the psychopath the other way round.
“If you have anything you want, tell me right away. Money? Fame? Authority? or, a lover? Don’t worry about it. As long as it exists in the tower, I’ll give you anything.”
“It’s okay, I kind of already have what I want…Black Dragon Witch. The statement just says, more than a friend, less than a comrade-in-arms, what was that all about? I was taken by surprise inwardly.”
The Witch shrugged.
An expression that seemed to say it was something trivial.
“It’s nothing. I sprayed some smoke screens on purpose.”
“Smokescreen, you say?”
“Mmhmm. The media will be digging into a scandal that doesn’t even exist anyways. That way, your image will only be damaged that much. That’s why I’d rather put a smokescreen so that they will focus their attention on me and you.”
“Is that so…?”
I had never dealt with the media before, so I don’t know if what she said was right or wrong.
The Witch vaguely laughed.
“Don’t worry. Death King. It’s already been several years since I shouldered all the public opinion by myself. Trust me entirely when it comes to this area. Leave special areas to the experts. Okay?”
I don’t know what it was, but it felt odd… That’s right. It felt as if I was aiming for a monster on the hunting ground whose abilities were unknown. However, this was not the hunting grounds, but the first-floor city of Babylon. It was impossible for a monster to be here.
Was it because of the mood?
-Tsk tsk tsk.
Bae Hu-ryeong clicked his tongue.
– You’re pathetic, Zombie. Since you have a head but not a brain, how can I not call you a Zombie? Even though you’re a Hunter in name, you don’t even know that you’re heading towards your own deathbed (死地), my my my.
‘Ah? What are you talking about again?’
-You’re pathetic! Pathetic!
Bae Hu-ryeong pounded his chest as if he was suffocated. Still, he was a nasty-looking man that was just like a gorilla pounding on his chest.
It was at that time.
On the other side of the stage. From the direction of the plaza, came the sound of a loud shout. It held a different excitement than the cheers that were sent towards us.
It was the countdown.
The Witch and I stopped our conversation and looked up to the sky.
[00: 00: 05]
Before we knew, the time had come where the 21st floor stage was about to be opened.
The rays of light that formed numbers in the sky scattered in all directions. The cheers of the people became even greater. As if to answer back to the cheers, the rays of lights gathered again and formed the hologram of the Goddess.
The hologram of the Goddess parted her lips.
[Those who climb the tower.]
[Congratulations on breaking through the shadows of the Devil King.]
It was the moment when a new stage was about to open.
People started making noise as if they were happy, perhaps because they had already witnessed the hologram of the Goddess.
But I, who had experienced the tower in the past knew.
‘It’s okay. I’m not letting my guard down.’
Just like the tower, which was a tutorial up till the 10th floor, changed from the 11th floor onwards.
The fact that the 21st floor would again have a completely different stage from the 20th floor.
[The lot of you can stay on the first floor of the tower forever.]
The hologram of the Goddess calmly announced that fact.
[This is a refuge for those who have fled.]
[In return of giving up on the challenge, you could choose a ‘snack’.]
[But you all chose to clear from the 10th floors up to the 20th floors.]
A voice resonated in the wide sky.
[To witness the ending of this tower.]
[Then, it would be right to respond to your will.]
White rays of light enveloped us without prior notice. It wasn’t just the Witch and me. From the direction of the plaza, flustered sounds could be heard.
“Wha-, what’s happening?”
“I didn’t say anything though…”
This was the biggest difference as compared to the last time.
No one had even said “Transmit”, but the white light swallowed us up.
The Witch looked down at her own feet with a confused look.
“… No way, is this a forced transfer?”
Her speculation was correct.
[Those who climb the tower.]
[Those who are determined to climb the tower.]
[Those who are willing to receive a new name and become warriors of the tower.]
The Goddess gathered her hands towards her chest.
As if she was praying for someone.
[From now on, only the chosen warriors will carry out the noble duty.]
Suddenly, the white ray of lights completely covered us.
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