My Exclusive Tower Guide chapter 43

My Exclusive Tower Guide

Episode 43

Looking through the Sage’s Status Window at the Doppelganger’s information, it was just as Master Nosa had said.

The Doppelganger was the exact representation of my abilities when I had started the 8th floor mission.

It was a perfect opponent to gauge my current level of achievement.

“So, have you discarded your swordsmanship skills, the original?”

Clearly, the creature was also reviewing my information.

After all, it shared all my abilities exactly.

“Yes. Thanks to that, I’ve become a swordsman without any swordsmanship skills.”

The Doppelganger’s swordsmanship skills were listed as Lv.4.

If I were to quantify my current swordsmanship, it would be just shy of level 4.

Considering the finesse and speed of the sword, my ability hovered somewhere between levels 3 and 4.

Yet, I judged that my level was comparable to the Doppelganger due to the unconventional nature of my swordsmanship.

A sense of autonomous movement not bound by system skills would make up for any shortfalls.

“Shall we begin, then?”

The Doppelganger approached me confidently.

Its calculations must have concluded that it could narrowly outperform me.

“Come at me.”

To clear the second mission on the 8th floor, I needed to overpower this creature comfortably.

The clear condition was to ‘achieve a certain level of proficiency in swordsmanship.’

Since this benchmark wasn’t clearly defined, I had to set a fairly high goal.

However, achieving this goal today was not going to be easy.

Even if I could only outperform the Doppelganger by half a move, it would be a meaningful outcome for me.

Swwisshh!

The tip of the Doppelganger’s sword came at me sharply.

I could feel that every aspect of the sequence – the elegance, speed, the magical power imbued in the blade, and even the footwork – were all slightly above mine.

On the 2nd floor, I could have overpowered the Doppelganger with the help of items, but now, using the same weapons as per Master’s suggestion, I couldn’t rely on such advantages.

“Huff.”

“Huff.”

We both exhaled fiercely.

I realized again that even the sound of the Doppelganger’s breathing was identical to mine, sending shivers down my spine.

The outcome of the battle with the Doppelganger was decided after exchanging more than a hundred moves.

Ssssssshk!

A thrilling energy transmitted from the tip of my sword.

I had managed to draw a red line across the creature’s abdomen.

“Damn it! Why did I lose!”

The Doppelganger conceded with a look of disbelief on its face.

Even if I were the Doppelganger, I would have been flustered.

After all, I had prevailed over Level 4 swordsmanship without any skills.

Nonetheless, the duel had confirmed at least a tiny bit of progress.

Master’s assessment remained unchanged, however.

“At best, it’s trash.”

Yes, I am trash.

Trash that’s progressing.

At least the first barrier had been overcome.

* * *

“Master, you said you lived your life embracing the sword. But what was at the end of that path?”

“Are you truly curious about that?”

“Yes.”

“Arrogant child. You who only wield a garbage-like swordsmanship have no right to discuss such realms.”

But Master Nosa’s expression was one of amusement, not because he found my question commendable.

Often, such a look appeared just before he was about to boast.

“History dubbed me as the greatest genius in martial arts.”

I knew it was coming – the whole ‘greatest in history’ spiel.

I’d heard it so many times it was as though calluses had formed in my ears, and yet, I had heard it again today.

I should have refrained from asking.

“At the age of twenty-nine, I united the seven sects of the Heavenly Demon Cult and ascended to the position of Heavenly Demon. People said a supreme Heavenly Demon appeared for the first time in history.”

This tale too I had heard hundreds, if not thousands, of times.

I wondered how many chapters his self-praising would extend to today.

“…And then, at the age of seventy-seven, I thought I had seen the end of the path of the sword.”

“Was it not the end after all?”

“Right. Only after coming to this tower did I realize that there’s still a bit more to go on my path.”

“So are you still continuing on that path now?”

Master merely shook his head in response to my question and did not elaborate further.

Doubtlessly, this secrecy was due to the tower’s oath.

This damn tower – always so full of secrets.

And then:

Crack!

Suddenly, Master Nosa struck my head with a tree branch.

“Show your respect with a bow of submission.”

“Out of the blue?”

“I have been waiting for this day for a long time. So, do it properly, immediately.”

Without any explanation, that’s always been Master’s way.

“Please explain why.”

“I am contemplating formally accepting you as my apprentice.”

“So, I wasn’t your apprentice until now?”

“That’s right. I haven’t passed on the swordsmanship of the Cult to you yet.”

Master’s words held truth.

Since I had discarded all my swordsmanship skills, the path I had taken so far was just retreading old ground.

Reacquainting myself with what was once internalized through skills. Beyond assistance, Master had not taught me any new techniques.

“Does this mean that from today, I…”

“Yes. Ho-Young, from today onwards, you are my disciple as well as a disciple of the Cult. And you will begin learning the Shadowless Soul Chasing Sword.”

“Apprentice Lee Ho-Young, I will pay my respects with a bow.”

I performed the martial salute as taught by my Master.

It was only the second time I had shown such formal respect.

Why this procedure was absolutely necessary was beyond me, but there was no reason to go against Master’s mood.

Since I had already removed all my swordsmanship skills, his teachings were essential for me to pass the second mission of the 8th floor.

“You don’t seem the least bit surprised by the name ‘Shadowless Soul Chasing Sword.’ It’s to be expected from me, but any other disciple of the Cult would have cried tears of joy for three full days and nights.”

“Is that sword technique really so remarkable?”

“Why should I even say it? It’s the greatest sword technique of ancient and modern times that I, as the Sect Leader, have refined from the unique swordsmanship of Shin-gyo. And you will become the second successor of the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword.”

“I’ve heard that there are numerous disciples in Shin-gyo besides me. And the candidates for the next Heavenly Demon are personally taught by you, Master. I don’t understand why I am to be the successor of the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword.”

“It’s embarrassing to admit, but Shin-gyo has yet to find someone with the talent to inherit the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword.”

The tone of my master had become strict, dignified, and serious at some point.

That signified the gravity of his decision today.

Yet, why was I, who am not even talented, chosen to be the successor?

I am just an ordinary company employee who has lived a typical life, never once feeling I had any special talent in swordsmanship or martial arts.

“Do I truly have the aptitude?”

“If I say you do, then you do.”

“Because you are the Heavenly Demon, Master?”

A faint smile appeared on my master’s face, as if he liked my response.

The special quality my master sensed in me was probably because of the game system’s adjustments.

With high probability, the Sage’s status window influenced it. Now I can only be thankful for my master’s favor.

“The sand in the hourglass is less than half now. Only if time weren’t so limited. It’s doubtful whether you will be able to grasp even an instant of the mysteries of the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword in the remaining time.”

“You’re taking a gamble on me, deciding to pass on the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword.”

“That’s right. Henceforth, you must train with the resolve to face death. The Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword is the most profound sword technique in the world.”

The words of my master involuntarily steeled my resolve.

Now, only half of the hourglass’s sand remained.

If I do not achieve mastery of the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword that I will soon learn, I will become nothing but a wisp of ash in this place.

“I will do my best.”

“Good.”

Encountering a martial artist called the Heavenly Demon on the 8th floor and forming a master-disciple bond. I became certain it was the greatest opportunity I could gain in this tower.

* * *

The process leading up to learning the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword after first meeting my master went by rapidly.

Although I had removed the swordsmanship skills from the status window, the residual memory of my past swordsmanship allowed me to recover to the same level without difficulty.

Such was possible solely because of my master who had attained the epitome of swordsmanship.

However, the plateau of my accomplishments came immediately after I learned the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword.

I seemed to understand with my mind, but I couldn’t even accomplish the most basic things.

“You truly do not understand.”

I thought I understood, but in reality, I did not.

The only thing I really understood was why my master described the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword as the most enigmatic sword technique in the world. That was certain.

The Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword was a sword technique yet it was the most difficult philosophy, a high-level art, and akin to a religion that one must devote everything to.

“It is difficult.”

“It’s the greatest sword technique perfected by me, the prodigy of ancient and modern times, over a lifetime. How could it be easy?”

I wasn’t sure if it really was the peerless technique of all ages, but I could acknowledge my master was indeed remarkable.

The problem was that he made it incredibly difficult to learn.

And there was a bigger issue.

“After learning the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword, my swordsmanship seems to have regressed.”

“It’s a natural occurrence. The Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword is a technique that requires you to let go of everything you’ve held onto. By relentlessly letting go, the moment you reach a particular singularity, you will understand an aspect of the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword.”

Only a quarter of the hourglass’s sand remained.

Still, my master spoke calmly.

He must know what the sand running out meant for me.

But the one in a hurry was only me, not the master.

It was about my life, after all.

“Shall we have you spar with your doppelganger again today?”

“Which doppelganger are you referring to, Master?”

“Obviously the one that fought with you before. Who else would I be talking about?”

“If we fight now, I will certainly lose. As I mentioned, recently my swordsmanship has regressed…”

“Hoyoung, it seems like you’ve forgotten who I am.”

The Heavenly Demon.

What was this Heavenly Demon, anyway?

I couldn’t fully grasp the significance of such a title in the martial world.

“I understand. I will fight.”

However, one thing was clear.

There must be a reason behind my master bearing the title of the Heavenly Demon.

“Good. And always remember, you are a disciple of the Heavenly Demon.”

The cliche line was expected.

At my master’s gesture, my doppelganger reappeared after a long time.

“Me again? We’ve already fought once; why?”

My doppelganger looked puzzled.

Now the doppelganger didn’t simply judge me by looking at the status window.

Being more cautious than before, it posed a tougher challenge.

However, my master had set impossible conditions for me.

“Decide the match within fifty moves.”

“Fifty moves?”

It might have been possible if I hadn’t learned the Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword.

As I managed to prevail after about a hundred exchanges on our first encounter.

But now, I lacked even a fraction of that confidence.

Attempting to wield the clumsily learned Shadowless Soul-Seizing Sword would surely backfire.

“…You, the original! What on earth have you been doing all this time?”

After a moment, my doppelganger, spewing blood, asked me.

Fifty moves weren’t even necessary.

The match was decided in just thirty-four exchanges.

– Continued in Chapter 44 –



Want to keep in touch ? Join our Discord : https://discord.gg/wMvrbbTzrG

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *