My Exclusive Tower Guide chapter 39

My Exclusive Tower Guide

Chapter 39

“I don’t know either,” huh?

It seems like all these killers, whether it’s Son Seo-yeon or this Han Gang-hyuk, are all lunatics.

Regardless, people didn’t take Han Gang-hyuk’s mention of “killer” too seriously.

After all, it was a term no one but Han Gang-hyuk himself seemed to be familiar with.

And before I knew it, their attention had shifted to forming parties.

The 40 minutes given by the Bandaged Man were ticking away.

“Lee Ho-young, we’re in the same party, right?”

Seo Jun-ho asked me cautiously, his eyes betraying a hint of anxiety.

I smiled and nodded, and only then did he breathe a sigh of relief.

Perhaps he was worried I might refuse.

“Why ask about something so obvious?”

“It’s just that you look so serious right now.”

My current fixation was solely on Han Gang-hyuk.

I wanted to know why.

Why he would ask about “killers” while being one himself.

The best way to satisfy my curiosity was to become his teammate.

“Han Gang-hyuk, have you finished gathering party members?”

In the end, I approached Han Gang-hyuk first.

“Not yet.”

“How about joining with us?”

I gestured subtly to Seo Jun-ho standing behind me.

I figured it would be better to market Jun-ho, with his decent level, alongside myself.

Ultimately, Han Gang-hyuk had no interest in Seo Jun-ho.

“Lee Ho-young, you’re an interesting person.”

What now? Out of the blue.

Moreover, to make such a comment upon first meeting.

This guy was definitely cracked.

Han Gang-hyk continued to snicker, looking at my face.

“My face is that funny to you?”

“Yes. It’s quite amusing.”

We knew that the killer’s power was to see the murderous acts of others.

It was clear that Han Gang-hyuk was witnessing that in me.

If my face itself was funny, there was nothing I could say.

“Alright. I accept.”

Han Gang-hyuk readily agreed to my proposal.

“But, there’s a condition. I will bring the final party member.”

“That’s fine.”

I had no reason to reject Han Gang-hyuk’s condition.

Who made up the party wasn’t the most critical issue.

A short while later, Han Gang-hyuk brought with him a young female player.

Average level, average stats. She was definitely not a killer, and nothing about her stood out.

Just an utterly ordinary girl from a different sector than Han Gang-hyuk.

What was it about this girl? What was her secret?

Han Gang-hyuk looked at me and mouthed, “She’s exactly my type.”

There was clearly no sane person among the killers.

* * *

When the allotted 40 minutes for party formation passed, the Bandaged Man spoke again.

Now that I think about it, he had been silently watching our conversation the whole time.

His look and demeanor were that of a voyeur in the last stages of his affliction.

– That was very entertaining. The way you shared information before forming parties was impressive too.

He had been watching and listening after all.

– But I wonder if all the information you’ve gathered is true? Kukuk. Well, let’s leave that to your imagination, and now, receive your first stage mission.

1. Mission: Hunt the Self-Aware Mammoths.

2. Time Limit: 120 minutes.

As the mission was revealed, a portal the size of a gate opened in the air.

The Bandaged Man’s voice grew more excited.

– There are nine parties in total. But what’s the problem? There are only eight Self-Aware Mammoths. Kukuk.

Damn it.

From his words, it seemed that the renewal of qualifications was composed of several stages.

The worse news was that players might fail to renew their qualifications right from the first stage.

“So, if a party fails to hunt a Self-Aware Mammoth within 120 minutes, will they die?”

Someone asked the Bandaged Man.

This was a critical issue for everyone.

After all, there was no rule saying that my party couldn’t be the one left out.

– Haven’t I told you? Unemployed players are unnecessary in this tower. However, I will be generous just for the first stage. I’ll add another condition for mission clearance.

Following the Bandaged Man’s words, a new sentence was added beneath the second item of the message.

3. Additional Condition: If you kill another player within the portal, it will be recognized as having the same effect as hunting a Self-Aware Mammoth.

That bastard Bandaged Man clearly had no clue what “generosity” really meant.

“Do you want us to commit murder against each other?”

“If you’d just add one more Self-Aware Mammoth, it would solve everything!”

– Why do you act like children? You’re not here to play house, you know!

For a moment, the word “madman” almost burst from my throat.

Why were these tower fellows so insistent on making people kill each other?

– You’d better hurry up. The time limit is ticking away right this moment.

As soon as the Bandaged Man finished talking, players swarmed into the portal like a receding tide.

If this test proceeded normally, at least four gladiators among us would die.

Of course, I didn’t entertain the thought that it would be our party.

[Passing through the portal.]

I’ve got the minimap skill.

[The minimap is now ON.]

Spread out in front of me was a map of the world inside the portal.

Thirty-six red dots, hundreds of blue dots, and eight black dots appeared on the map.

The black dots represented the Self-Aware Mammoths.

Now we just needed to pick one and head towards it.

The blue-dotted minions were insignificant, whether we avoided or fought them along the way.

“If everyone agrees, I could take the lead.”

I suggested to the rest.

Strictly speaking, it was to the two of them.

Seo Jun-ho would agree anyway.

“Lee Ho-young, you’re quite initiative, aren’t you? Seo Jun-ho, standing beside you, is of a much higher level, though.”

Han Gang-hyuk smiled wryly as he alternated his gaze between me and Seo Jun-ho.

He was testing me.

If he had seen my murder trajectory through the killer’s eyes, he’d know I’m far from ordinary.

I supposed you knew all along.

Junho Seo, knowing nothing, hurriedly explained himself.

“It’s just that, once you deal with Lee Hoyoung, you’ll understand! Lee Hoyoung was the top player in our region!”

“Huh! This sounds more like a cult leader than a gladiator, huh? Kukuku.”

Honestly, even I felt a bit embarrassed listening to Junho Seo’s comment.

“Guys! Aren’t we in a hurry? Other parties are busy with their missions, and here we are doing what exactly?”

Meeho Lee, brought by Kanghyuk Han, expressed her slight annoyance.

“Alright. Let’s trust Lee Hoyoung for now. We don’t want to make our cute lady any angrier. Kukuku.”

Kanghyuk Han.

I think it’s necessary to find an opportunity to speak with this guy alone.

* * *

Our party’s combination turned out to be rather decent.

We were all gladiators, but with distinct personalities.

Junho Seo’s sword played was succinct,

Meeho Lee was aggressive,

and Kanghyuk Han was just strong.

I naturally gauged Kanghyuk Han’s skills against Son Seoyeon as a reference point.

If Son Seoyeon was precise from a distance, then Kanghyuk Han was brutally ferocious up close.

Rather than slicing with finesse, it felt like he was beating the monsters to death with his sword.

There was a reason for this feeling.

The Aura Blade.

Kanghyuk Han’s sword emitted a blade of energy that exploded before it even touched the monster’s body.

Kuarrreuk!

The minion monsters, a bunch of red orcs, were being effortlessly slashed by our swords.

[Your level has increased.]

All my party members, except for me, were leveling up smoothly.

“You guys are better than I thought.”

Meeho Lee now seemed pleased with the party’s synergy.

And suddenly there was a message transmitted to me by the Sage’s Status Window.

[Information: Hidden piece detected to the northeast. A Self-Esteem Mammoth is trapped within a barrier.]

At that moment, a golden dot appeared at the top of the mini-map.

The count of the Self-Esteem Mammoths had increased from eight to nine.

This could mean everyone might survive the first stage of the mission.

But more meaningful than that was the fact that this gold dot indicated a Hidden Piece.

“Let’s slightly change our path to the northeast.”

“Why?”

I proposed, and Kanghyuk Han questioned my motive.

“Because it feels right. I’m confessing now, but I’m a person with great luck. Incredibly so.”

“Trusting in nothing but luck, Lee Hoyoung, you’re quite rash.”

“So, are you planning to oppose it?”

“No. I’ll follow without complaint. Kukuku.”

Now that I thought about it, Kanghyuk Han didn’t seem to care much about hunting the Self-Esteem Mammoths.

I got the feeling that if we were to get lost, he would promptly start killing.

And the reason he chose Meeho Lee became apparent.

“Why do you guys keep changing your minds? Let’s hurry up now that it’s decided!”

She is naïvely simple-minded.

At the wrong turn, she’d be perfect prey for Kanghyuk Han’s blade.

I surveyed the overall situation through the mini-map.

All players were alive.

Four Self-Esteem Mammoths had already been killed.

It seems like there were no underperformers among the players who had reached the 8th floor.

“Then let’s hurry on.”

It seemed best to finish the mission as quickly as possible.

For some reason, Kanghyuk Han was becoming increasingly unsettling.

* * *

[You have encountered the leader of the Self-Esteem Mammoths.]

The hidden piece we met in the northeast turned out to be the leader of the monsters we were hunting.

This one was much bigger and stronger than the other Self-Esteem Mammoths.

The reward for hunting such a hidden piece would be great.

“The problem is that this creature is trapped within a barrier.”

I tapped the dome-shaped barrier encasing the monster to gauge its strength, but it was beyond my ability to break through conventional means.

However, the Sage’s Status Window wouldn’t have shown me this cake if it was impossible to eat.

There must be a way to break this barrier.

And then, the sage sent me a message.

[Information: The barrier will automatically open when five Self-Esteem Mammoths are killed.]

Sure enough. There had to be a way.

And it was very simple. Just wait, and the problem would solve itself.

Currently, four Self-Esteem Mammoths had been killed, meaning just one more was left.

But the problem was Kanghyuk Han.

“Lee Hoyoung, what now? It’s a bit late to turn back.”

“Let’s wait a bit. This barrier seems like it will open soon.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Didn’t I tell you? I’m a person of great luck.”

I watched the overall situation again through the mini-map.

And at that moment.

Swoosh!

There was a flash of light and a spray of blood.

Kanghyuk Han had impulsively made his move.

Thud!

Surprised by the sudden attack from behind, Meeho Lee fell without even a chance to scream.

“What are you doing!”

Startled by Kanghyuk Han’s abrupt action, Junho Seo shouted.

But to Kanghyuk Han, Junho Seo was as good as nonexistent; his gaze was solely on me.

“Unfortunately, it seems I’ve passed the first stage of the mission all by myself.”

“You’re insane! I told you to wait!”

“I’m a bit impatient, you see. I hate waiting.”

Kanghyuk Han smiled wickedly, infusing his sword with aura.

The flash of the aura shone brilliantly.

“The Murderous Spirit, I’d like to have a chat about that.”

I also gave Kanghyuk Han a sly smile.

– Continues in Episode 40 –



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