My Exclusive Tower Guide chapter 86

My Exclusive Tower Guide

Listening to the voice within my heart, I formulated a hypothesis.

“Could it be that this Shaman NPC is actually a battle power meter?”

The reaction seemed to be the same with Sohn Seo-yeon earlier.

Just before, the Shaman had thought to himself, ‘This one is no good either,’ which likely meant he had judged the previous players similarly.

“Let me say this once more. I’m not here for a free meal, but to track down the whereabouts of a monster that roams this mountain!”

“Ah, there’s no meal to offer! Scram!”

– Annoying low-level players!

This further reinforced my hypothesis.

He must have judged that my combat power was insufficient to deal with the monster of Doria Mountain.

Certainly, the NPC must have assessed me based on my magic power and stats alone, likely underestimating me, but it seemed that the monster’s combat power was much greater than I had anticipated.

If the Shaman’s detector deemed Sohn Seo-yeon a no-go as well, I needed to find a way.

The strategy guide told me to seek out this Shaman, so there must be a way to sway his heart.

The quest was to figure out what that was, while listening to his inner voice.

“I actually came to you, sir, hoping to learn how to gather medicinal herbs!”

Even I thought the segue was random.

It was a barrage of nonsensical chatter that only made sense if the other party was an NPC.

“Good grief! Madman!”

– A low-level player and on top of that, he’s lost his mind.

Clearly, this method was not working.

I wished the strategy guide was more detailed.

I might as well continue playing the fool since I was already being treated as one.

“Truth be told, I wandered the mountain and now I’m quite hungry. Could I possibly trouble you for a meal?”

“Pitiable friend. Come in.”

“What?”

“Adding another spoon at the table isn’t difficult. You coming in?”

The erratic flow of thought belonged not to me, but to the Shaman.

He felt substantially different from the other NPCs I encountered on the 12th floor.

Until now, even the NPCs hardly differed from talking to a real person, but this Shaman was quintessentially an NPC.

Inanely, asking for a meal had become the password to enter the Shaman’s house.

I was, in any case, lucky.

“Thank you very much, Elder.”

With the door now open, I considered half the problem solved.

Upon entering the house, scents of medicinal herbs stimulated my nostrils.

The Shaman was in the midst of preparing a meal, and the aroma of food was overwhelmingly masked by the herbs.

After a while, he brought me some food.

“There’s not much prepared, but have this to ease your hunger.”

There was indeed not much to the meal, but my primary concern lay elsewhere.

– Did I unnecessarily add the Fragrant Herb?

True to the stereotype of a Shaman, he had put medicinal herbs even in the meat soup.

I nearly shouted upon tasting it; the soup was horrendous.

At that moment, my eyes met with the Shaman’s.

– Darn! Did I mess up the cooking again?

I couldn’t understand how such a character was designed—an NPC who prepares such terrible food and expects someone else’s reaction.

But since I had an objective in mind, I decided to play along for now.

“It’s rich and delicious. The soup made with Fragrant Herb, I mean.”

Upon hearing my words, the Shaman’s face brightened instantly.

[Your favorability with the Shaman has increased.]

“Indeed! I made it! You even recognized the ingredient after just one spoonful, that’s quite impressive.”

“I’ve studied a bit about herbs. I guess I have a sensitive palate.”

“You’re full of surprises! You seem to have a keen sense for flavors as well.”

“……Is that so?”

“Certainly.”

– By any chance, can you also sense the Thousand-Year Leaf Herb’s fragrance vibrating throughout the house?

It was curious.

The Shaman seemed to know I could hear his inner thoughts, posing the question mentally.

As soon as I had entered the house, this was the name of the herb I had detected.

Of course, there was no reason for me to deny knowing it.

“The fragrance of the Thousand-Year Leaf Herb is really vibrant in this house. Did you gather it recently?”

“Surprising! How on earth did you know that!”

With everything laid out in my mind, of course I would guess correctly.

[Your favorability with the Shaman has greatly increased.]

Perhaps it was time to ask.

“Elder, have you by chance seen the monster known to be lurking around Doria Mountain….”

“Scram! There’s no meal for you…”

– Ah, isn’t this right? But still, he’s too weak to face the monster.

The way this NPC was designed became clear.

To those who lacked the combat power, it automatically commanded them to scram.

“But Elder, I am enjoying the meal you’ve provided.”

“Oh, right. Of course.”

The Shaman scratched his head, looking embarrassed.

“And about that monster of Doria Mountain I mentioned…”

I had no idea what his reaction would be, but I ventured to try again.

Having increased his favorability substantially, perhaps a different response might come.

“A monster? Are you thinking of going to capture it?”

“Yes, that’s correct. I heard you’ve seen it, Elder. Please tell me.”

– Blast it!

[NPC is feeling confused.]

– Why did I have to feel favor toward such a weakling!

This Shaman had probably been designed to feel favor toward players capable of taking on the monster.

He would share information about the monster’s whereabouts only with players he felt favor toward.

“Are you worried I might get hurt if I go after the monster?”

“Worried? Not at all!”

“Then please tell me.”

– Damn it, I shouldn’t tell him!

But it seemed he had no control over that.

As designed, he had to mechanically respond to a player who met the favorability condition.

Located near the summit of the thirteenth peak of Mount Doria is a cave, and in that cave dwells the beast… Argh, dammit!” With that, I had the answer I wanted. I wasn’t sure if I had the ability to hunt the monster, but I pondered what would happen if this guy ended up dead. The shaman felt a sense of responsibility; after all, his recent answer had sent a player headlong into danger. “If you’re worried, perhaps you could give me some herbs to help me grow stronger. I promise to repay you.”

“Herbs only enhance your magical power. How would you use them? You don’t even seem to have any magic skills.”

Normally that would be the case, as magical power is consumed when using skills. However, what I currently needed most was magical power. Although I had no registered skills, the remnants of my training were still etched in my memory, and if I could just acquire some magical power, I could also restore the might of my Shadowless Soul-Chasing Sword. “How about just one millennium five-leaf herb? Considering the aroma in the room, it seems you’ve collected quite a bit.”

“No way!”

– This lunatic, he studied herbs but he doesn’t know about the dangers of the millennium five-leaf herb?

“Are you concerned that I might be in danger if I consume it?”

I, too, was unaware of what the risk might be. All I could do was wait for the shaman’s response. “You’d still eat it knowing? You madman! If you can’t absorb it properly, your body will explode!”

It seemed there was a good reason for his reaction. If ingested, the herb could cause a magical power surge within the body—a clear indication that the herb contained a significant amount of magical energy. “Elixir. I know how to consume it.”

“What?”

I’ve taken the elixir of life three times, including the innately cultivated elixirs that have rendered me impervious to all poisons.

– This guy, was he bluffing about having the elixir?

“I never bluff about elixirs! I’m well aware of the many serendipities that must converge for an herb to be formed.”

“What’s that? Look at this guy!”

[The shaman’s favorability towards you has greatly increased.]

I sought the shaman to learn the whereabouts of the monster, never expecting to gain an elixir as well.

It seems fortune favors the bold.

* * *

After leaving the shaman’s house, I searched for Son Seo-yeon’s campsite. I thought about setting off alone to where the monster was, but in the end, I decided to bring this fellow along. After all, Son Seo-yeon might well kill the shaman soon.

Although an NPC, it was not a pleasant thought to have a friendly existence assassinated. “The old man really disclosed the location of the monster?”

“Yeah.”

“Damn NPC, discriminating against people! Wait a moment. I’ll go kill him and be right back.”

“I’m leaving right away. I’m not inclined to show you any kind of patience.”

“Putting on the facade of a nobleman again?”

“Think what you will.”

Seeing that I was serious about leaving, Son Seo-yeon shook his head. It seems I’ve changed his mind, thus repaying my debt to the shaman. “I still can’t fathom how someone like you became the Great Murderer!”

“Quit the nonsense and let’s get moving.”

If the shaman’s estimate of combat power is correct, Son Seo-yeon won’t stand a chance against the monster. So, for now, I’m willing to give him a chance. It’s also an opportunity to gauge the monster’s strength and strategize accordingly.

“I remember the time we rode the kangsoo up the mountain on the 9th floor. Don’t you remember, Son Seo-yeon?”

Suddenly, the memory of that day came flooding back. If I hadn’t succeeded on that mission, the 10th floor would have been bathed in blood, and one of us might not have survived to this day. Of course, the survivor would’ve been me.

“How much further do we have to go?”

“Just stop complaining and follow me.”

“Who’s complaining! I don’t do that kind of thing.”

We traversed peak after peak through the night. If there had been monsters, we could have hunted intermittently and leveled up, but this mountain was not known for being a hunting ground. It was merely an endless, monotonous hike, made worse by the company of Son Seo-yeon—a terrible partner for conversation.

Having walked the mountain trail in silence for hours, it was not us but a message from the tower that broke the long silence. [Oh Min-ah has reached a fame of 100.]

[The player will move to the 13th floor.]

It was the moment when a pro gamer couple passed the 12th floor in first and second place. “Those irritating bastards.”

“Why such an angry response? It’s not a race, so why bother?”

“Annoyance rather than anger. I can’t stand the sight of those self-righteous fools.”

Isn’t that the same thing?

However, Son Seo-yeon’s inner voice is completely silent to me. I can’t read every thought, but I’ve never once heard his, implying the possibility that it’s impossible to read the inner thoughts of Son Seo-yeon.

‘Anyway, it seems we’ve almost arrived.’

Near the summit of the thirteenth peak that the shaman spoke of. We had entered the territory where the monster supposedly lived. And in that moment, the sun began to peek over the other side of the mountain. “As I said, if we spot the beast, I go first.”

I don’t know where he sold his conscience, but I was willing to let him have his way. “Oh, but it’s right behind you.”

“What?”

Boom boom boom!

Suddenly, small bolts of lightning began to strike right behind Son Seo-yeon.

At my warning, Son Seo-yeon had rapidly unleashed his lightning magic.

Such an astonishingly quick response. “You were fooled by that?”

Even if he was fooled, the power of the magic was considerable. If such abilities couldn’t impress the combat strength meter, the monster must be even more formidable.

– To be continued in Chapter 87 –



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