My Exclusive Tower Guide chapter 42

My Exclusive Tower Guide

Chapter 42

“The special reward I mentioned is the option to choose your approach for the second mission.”

“An option?”

“Yes, but you seem disappointed?”

Bandageman looked at me with a playful smile.

I was expecting an item or skill, but my expectations had completely missed the mark.

“What exactly is the second mission?”

“The second mission for swordsmen is to enhance your swordsmanship in the ‘Space of Mind and Time!’”

“So, you’re telling me to train.”

“Yes. It fits well with the main theme of the 8th floor.”

The turn of events was somewhat unexpected.

I had gotten used to the continuous fighting, and now, all of a sudden, there was a mission to train. And this ‘Space of Mind and Time’—could it possibly have been inspired by Dragon Ball?

“There must be some restrictions, right?”

“Have you ever seen anyone gain anything easily in this tower? Every swordsman must achieve a certain level of accomplishment before the sand in the hourglass runs out. And if they fail… I’d rather not say it out loud. It’s too terrible. Kekeke.”

This evil fellow, certainly enjoy this even though he says it’s terrible.

“Then what will I get as a reward?”

“Although the principle of this mission is to be self-taught, I’m willing to provide you with a special opportunity.”

“Is this ‘option’ you mentioned…?”

“That’s right. Now it’s time to make a choice—whether to train on your own or to receive instruction from a master.”

I felt somewhat cheated.

Truth be told, I had no need for a master.

The ‘Wise Sage’s Status Window’ has been serving as my teacher so far.

“If I choose to train on my own, is there another reward?”

“Didn’t I make myself clear? The choice itself is the reward.”

What a far-fetched argument. This so-called ‘reward.’

“But this master in question, is it a human?”

“Yes, but different from what you might expect. They come from a different dimension, not from Earth.”

It seemed like a special offer made just for me but I couldn’t figure out how to take it. He seemed to think it was a generous offer.

“So, what special reward were you thinking of offering other players who succeeded in PK?”

“A random skill box or something of the sort.”

I was momentarily speechless at Bandageman’s response.

A random skill box.

With my luck, this could be the best reward.

“Can you change my reward to that now…?”

“Sorry, but once proposed, I cannot take it back. Make your choice. To train with a master or on your own.”

This unreasonable Bandageman.

But there’s no use arguing; I wouldn’t gain anything.

It would only ruin the goodwill I’ve built up. I had no choice but to make a selection.

“Then, I’ll go with the master.”

There was no reason for me to refuse a master.

If there’s anything to learn, it might help with completing the mission.

“Good luck.”

With those somewhat ominous words, Bandageman disappeared.

* * *

“How much do you know about swords?”

This was the first question posed by the old master who identified himself as Cheonma (Heavenly Demon).

“Nothing at all.”

“Nothing at all?”

The master looked at me incredulously, but my answer was true.

Before the apocalypse started, I had only swung a wooden sword a few times in a kendo dojo. Since entering the tower, I’d been wielding a sword through the game system.

It was safe to say that I knew absolutely nothing about swords.

“I will need to verify if your words are true.”

“How so?”

Whish—

Without warning, the master swung a branch at me.

It was an unexpected attack, and while not strong, I thought I could block it easily with the Unyielding Sword.

That was until my vision filled with stars.

Thwack!

The branch, curving like a snake, struck my crown.

I thought it was an optical illusion.

The branch had been about to collide with my Unyielding Sword, after all.

“So, it’s true that you know absolutely nothing about the sword.”

Apart from my throbbing head, being looked down upon didn’t feel good.

But up to this point, I could manage.

“Even from watching you defend, it’s clear. Your level is trash.”

But those words made me bristle.

No matter what, I had felled quite a few monsters with my swordsmanship.

Even a major character of this tower, Salhaeng Han Ganghyuk, had just met his end at my blade.

I was certainly not trash.

Thwack!

Then, the master’s branch struck my head again.

“What’s that for?”

“Your eyes! They clearly show you feel wronged, don’t they? Why? Does the term ‘trash’ suddenly make you feel unjustly treated?”

Was this old man skilled in reading minds?

Thwack!

The branch struck again.

It seemed my head wouldn’t get a moment’s peace.

I couldn’t even guess why I’d just been hit.

“Show some respect. We’re about to start a master-disciple relationship.”

That Bandageman… he must have deliberately given me only a little information about this peculiar old master.

If I had known, I would have been more cautious with my choice.

* * *

“I’ve dedicated my entire life to the sword.”

“Did you—no, Master—choose to do so of your own free will?”

“Yes. It’s the most challenging yet also the most entertaining thing in the world, the sword.”

“If the master had been born on Earth and not in the martial world, your life would have been different.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, in the world I came from, there are lots of things just as fun as swords.”

The martial world that the old master spoke of seemed to be a barbaric place based on the stories I heard.

Society was non-existent in that place.

Children wielded swords before they even learned to write, and Elder Master had been raised as a killing weapon for his sect since around the age of seven.

What joy could there be in life in a world where humanity was obliterated?

Enjoying the sword was probably a kind of brainwashing too.

“No, wherever I was born, I would have lived the same life.”

That’s why brainwashing is so terrifying.

“You are impressive.”

I could only muster a soulless reaction.

Perhaps Elder Master had noticed.

His ability to read minds was extraordinary, after all.

“Show me the best swordsmanship you can.”

“The best swordsmanship? Is there even such a thing? It’s all trash, no matter how you look at it.”

“You’re sulking.”

“I’m not.”

“I promise you. I will make you into useful trash.”

“It’s still trash, though, isn’t it?”

“Are you planning to remain trash for life? It’s up to your will and ability to rise above that.”

Elder Master pointed to a floating hourglass.

We couldn’t physically see how much time was left, but it was clear there was a limit here.

He promised he would make me useful within that limited time.

I had no choice but to trust and follow.

“Then, I will show you.”

I demonstrated Lv.4 beginner swordsmanship in front of Elder Master.

It might not seem like much to him, but in the eighth floor of the tower, it was top-class swordsmanship.

Compared to during the tutorial, it was a transformation beyond compare.

“Hmm.”

“…Is it trash after all?”

“I can’t deny it.”

As expected.

Since I anticipated the response, I wasn’t too discouraged.

“Please, teach me.”

“Alright! But before that, I hope you can make one serious decision.”

“I will follow any instruction.”

“Would you get rid of that swordsmanship skill attached to your body?”

“What?”

It was an absurdly dangerous proposition.

The reason I had survived in this tower thus far was, even if meager, thanks to this beginner swordsmanship.

To strip it away now meant losing half my strength.

“To learn sacred swordsmanship through such sorcery is not acceptable!”

“But those skills are part of the tower’s fundamental system.”

“I don’t care about that.”

Though we were both in the tower, Elder Master and I were different beings.

I’m a player who needs to survive, while he’s an NPC-like existence from another world.

Even Elder Master himself said he could travel freely between the tower and the Murim world.

He claimed that when he reached the state of sword-god unity and ascended, he found himself in this tower.

He’s undoubtedly a mystical being.

“Especially since I’m on a time limit. If I don’t reach a certain level before the sand runs out, I’ll die. Do you intend to push your only disciple into a corner by making me start from scratch without my skills?”

“Don’t worry about that.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“…Because I am the Heavenly Demon.”

Heavenly Demon?

I couldn’t understand what that was supposed to mean.

Until half the sand in the hourglass had fallen.

* * *

“Ho-Young.”

“Yes, Master.”

“Do you reckon how far your level has reached now?”

“I think I have restored the level of beginner swordsmanship Lv.4.”

Surprisingly, after getting rid of the swordsmanship skill, I had fully recovered to my previous level.

“That’s right. Do you remember what I told you back then?”

“Yes.”

Trash.

And still, my swordsmanship was trash.

The only difference was that it was constantly evolving trash.

Starting from scratch without the system’s help and getting to this point was incredible.

My companions in the tower were still struggling to raise their skills to level 1, even with grueling practice.

“Now it’s time to put what you have learned to use.”

“Against whom?”

Honestly, I was excited.

With Elder Master’s mysterious abilities, it felt like he could summon a Murim warrior or someone similar.

“But what are you expecting with that look in your eyes?”

“I was thinking of the opponent I would face. Perhaps a Murim person?”

“You’re getting overly excited. I don’t know any such sorcery to summon someone.”

I had thought that maybe Elder Master could do it.

The level of swordsmanship he had achieved was something I could hardly imagine.

His internal power, which he referred to as magic, was like an ocean.

What was most astonishing was that he was completely free from the tower.

“Master, you can freely traverse between the tower and Murim, can’t you?”

“I can’t explain everything because of the pact with the tower, but anyway, that’s impossible.”

That damn pact with the tower.

Because of it, I couldn’t hear a single word about the tower from my master.

“Then, am I to formally compete against you, Master?”

“Would it make any sense for a tiger to formally compete with an ant? No! Even an ant is too generous. Let’s say a germ under a fingernail.”

Elder Master felt like a transcendent being, but moments like these revealed him to be unmistakably human.

Continuously brainwashing me—even now—about his superiority, either elevating himself or relentlessly belittling me.

“So who can I actually fight against?”

“I’m thinking of making use of an interesting ability of this tower. I heard you are already aware of it.”

Ssshhhh.

As Master finished his sentence, something started to materialize in the air.

“This… This is!”

“Yes. Your own doppelgänger. Ho-Young, I’ve set it to the level you were at when you first met me.”

My doppelgänger stood before me with the same expression I had.

– To be continued in Episode 43 –



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