My Exclusive Tower Guide chapter 47

My Exclusive Tower Guide

Episode 47

“Speaking of Kelbe, I wonder if you’ve taken out dental insurance. Just a moment ago, it looked like a few teeth flew out.”

Whack!

Once again, the crisp sound of impact echoed.

Today, Kangsu’s punches were on point, with a real bite to them.

He was never this intense when he trained with me; it seems Kangsu truly thrived in real combat.

At some point, Eum Il-ho stopped talking.

His expression just darkened further and further.

“Shall we call it quits here?”

I suggested to Eum Il-ho.

The outcome had already been decided.

Kelbe had completely lost the will to fight.

Yet he showed no signs of throwing in the towel.

He simply could not accept defeat.

Considering Kelbe’s level, he should not technically be losing.

Gone was the violent glint in Kelbe’s eyes, replaced by the docile look of a tamed sheep.

Now, he just repeatedly charged forward as if eating bitter mustard under his master’s orders—powerlessly and without any heart.

Whack!

No matter how many times he tried, the result was the same.

Even if Kelbe had rushed forward with the fury of raging teeth, he was already in a state where his anger management issues seemed to be neatly resolved.

The edges of Kangsu’s punches were starting to soften as if he was beginning to feel a tad guilty.

Before his master could give the order,

I imbued Kangsu with resolve.

“Finish it with your next attack.”

Standing next to me, Eum Il-ho shuddered slightly at my words.

Kelbe had reached his limit.

If Kangsu put full force into just one punch, the aftermath was uncertain.

Clang!

At my command, Kangsu readjusted his stance.

Kelbe was trembling uncontrollably.

His pitiful gaze seemed to crave nothing more than a declaration of surrender from his master.

Caught in a glance, Eum Il-ho had his eyes tightly shut.

A deep sigh leaked from his lips.

“…I concede.”

Eum Il-ho eventually forced out the words.

“You’ve made the smart decision.”

If Eum Il-ho lost Kelbe here, the mission in the Hourglass Room would be rendered pointless.

Even if he were to obtain a new pet, it couldn’t replace a high-level Kelbe.

It seemed Kelbe might have developed quite a trauma, and fixing that would fall on the tamer’s shoulders.

I could only wish him luck.

It wouldn’t be easy, that’s for sure.

* * *

[Returning to the lobby.]

With my tamer certification renewed, I completed all the floors up to the eighth.

What intrigued me most was the fate of my teammates who had taken on missions separately.

I had prepared myself mentally for the outcome.

Bandageman’s words had weighed on my mind.

He likened this tower to an ecosystem; there were too many players for the number of monsters, and he’d said that many would be ‘tidied up’ on the eighth floor.

For those like gladiators, whose job was oversaturated, it wouldn’t have been easy to pass the mission of the eighth floor.

“…Not everyone made it back, huh.”

The team of thirteen had dwindled to eight.

Kim Seyong, Chae Iseul, Seo Junho, Son Seoryeon, Ko Yongwoo, An Sechang, Song Jieun, and myself.

It was a bitter truth, but not far off from what I had anticipated.

I had less concern for Kim Seyong, Seo Junho, and An Sechang, as they held superior positions within their respective jobs, while Chae Iseul and Ko Yongwoo had rare jobs that offered some relief.

And there was no need to speak of Son Seoryeon.

The only surprise was Song Jieun’s survival.

She was a close-range dealer who wielded a whip, but her attack power seemed lacking, making her odds of survival slim, yet she had managed to complete the mission on the eighth floor successfully.

“Let’s keep our spirits up. Those who survived, need to live.”

For those compatriots who hadn’t returned, our shock had to be fleeting.

The ninth floor, which would start soon, was an essential point.

“Mr. Lee Ho-young, I’ve wanted to ask you something for a while now.”

“Yes, go ahead.”

It was Seo Junho.

I expected what the question might be about—Salseong, without a doubt.

After my return, through telepathy, I had provided Seo Junho with information about Salseong, especially concerning Han Kanghyuk’s threats.

It was only natural for him to harbor doubts.

“Thanks to Mr. Lee Ho-young’s telepathy, I was able to avoid a crisis, but what exactly is Salseong?”

As the word ‘Salseong’ arose, Son Seoryeon’s eyes flickered.

She likely never imagined others would talk openly about such a subject.

Salseong was still supposed to be shrouded in mystery.

“…Salseong is one who adjusts the difficulty of the tower.”

I could see it,

Son Seoryeon’s pupils dilating ever so slightly.

Her brain must be short-circuiting with the overload of questions: What was my identity, how could I know all this, and was her own identity compromised?

Yes, let her think. Such needless thoughts would lead to blunders, after all.

“Adjust the difficulty of the tower? What does that mean exactly?”

I began to compile the information I had to answer that question.

The details, once combined and filtered through my speculative brainstorming, transformed into new information to share with my teammates.

Though lacking a source, I was fairly certain that it wasn’t far from the truth.

“I don’t know precisely who the final administrator of this tower is, but that being is watching us like lab rats. Somewhere within the tower. It appears they don’t want us dead too quickly or to survive too easily. For that reason, the leveling system exists, and we have been arranged to grow gradually…”

As my words began, my colleagues held their breath and looked at me. Some nodded subtly, signaling their silent agreement with what I had said.

“As we ascend the tower’s floors, we grow, and with that, the level of monsters increases to ensure our survival rate remains appropriate,” I explained.

“What, then, is the role of the ‘Assassin’? Mr. Lee Ho-young, you mentioned earlier that the ‘Assassin’ is an entity that adjusts the difficulty,” someone inquired.

“The ‘Assassin’ takes on a role that regular monsters cannot. You could think of it as a covert killer among the players, like the one Seo Joon-ho encountered with Han Ganghyuk,” I said, offering a conspiratorial smile to Sohn Seo-yeon. I could sense the slight ripples within her stoic face.

“Mr. Lee Ho-young! Where exactly did you get such information?” another voice questioned.

“That’s a secret. The source of the information is not important. What matters is how we respond when the ‘Assassin’ appears before us!” My firm tone closed down any further probing.

Only Sohn Seo-yeon was left with a bitter expression, as if chewing on something unpleasant.

“Suddenly, I feel a bit neglected by you, Lee Ho-young,” Chae I-seol said unexpectedly after listening to the conversation in silence.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“Telepathy. You sent it only to Seo Joon-ho. Even though I’m registered to receive it too.”

“That’s because I happened upon information that ‘Assassins’ were among the gladiators by chance! There was no particular information I needed to give to you, Ms. Chae.”

“But according to Seo Joon-ho, you were constantly sending him words of encouragement via telepathy.”

Chae I-seol looked genuinely disappointed, evidently believing I had favored Seo Joon-ho.

“Hey, Ho-young! Hearing all this makes me feel left out too,” Kim Se-yong chimed in.

“And what’s your reason?”

“While everyone’s out there performing missions alone, a word of encouragement from you, brother, would have been so uplifting!”

“What are you even saying?”

“We all took on missions for the first time without your guidance. It was so tough without you; I thought I was going to die,” Kim Se-yong grumbled, but everyone silently nodded in agreement.

Facing this unexpected reaction, I felt oddly uncomfortable. The atmosphere was as if I owed everyone an apology. But it was Seo Joon-ho who eventually smoothed things over.

“Let’s agree that Mr. Lee Ho-young won’t show favoritism only towards me from now on! Is that settled?”

* * *

In the quiet of the night, while everyone else was asleep, only Sohn Seo-yeon and I were awake.

Sohn Seo-yeon had much to ponder about the day’s events, while I was worried about the upcoming ninth floor. Sometimes, knowing too much is a curse. Finally, Sohn Seo-yeon approached me and nudged me with her foot.

“Why?”

“Can we talk for a moment?”

She had brought up the topic faster than I expected. I thought she would have mulled over it for at least another night. We eventually moved to a corner of the lobby for privacy. Yet, Sohn Seo-yeon hesitated, simply twiddling her thumbs and not initiating any conversation.

Clearly, her thoughts were still unorganized.

“If you call someone over, aren’t you supposed to talk?”

“That… That is!”

“If you have nothing to say, then I’m leaving.”

“I want to know more about what you said earlier regarding the ‘Assassin’.”

Suddenly, she spat out her words as if someone was chasing her.

“Oh, the ‘Assassin’? What about it?”

It was somewhat amusing. After all her contemplation, the conversation she sought was about this.

“Tell me.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s important for our survival…”

“Sohn Seo-yeon, you’re not being honest. If you wanted to hear something from me, you shouldn’t have started the conversation like that.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Everyone is asleep. If you have a confession to make, tonight’s the opportunity.”

I gestured towards our sleeping colleagues, surrounded by protective barriers indicating their deep slumber. The moment they awoke, those barriers would vanish.

“Confess? You’re crazy.”

Sohn Seo-yeon’s eyes flickered slightly. I could even hear the sound of saliva being swallowed. The moment was ripe to strike.

“Assassin Sohn Seo-yeon.”

“What?”

For the first time in a while, her expression changed dramatically, and she tried to look calm, but it was amusing.

“You said you wanted to know about the ‘Assassin’? So I shared the information I knew, but is it that you suspect it’s untrue?” I asked.

She was at a loss for words, obviously aware that I knew something.

“How did you know?”

“Exactly. How did you know?”

She ultimately admitted it. Denying any further would be pointless, as she too must have realized.

“How did I find out? Well…”

I reached into my inventory, rummaging for something. Of course, it was all an act.

Just as Sohn Seo-yeon pondered, I had also given it a lot of thought on how to deal with this troublesome woman. When my hand reemerged from the inventory, it was holding a gun.

“Because I’m an ‘Assassin’ too.”

Smiling slyly, I looked at Sohn Seo-yeon. The die was cast. Whether she believed me or not was now up to her. The stage was set for my method acting to unfold.

– To be continued in Episode 48 –



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