Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 257

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Solo Max-Level Newbie

Chapter 257: The Witch of Lamentation (1)

“There’s this hotshot ranker called Nirasha from India nowadays. He’s the most notorious monster after Namgung Chun.”

Nirasha…

The name I had expected popped up.

“I heard rumors that you fought against him in the Empire, brother?”

“There’s a bit of history, yes. And what else?”

“Additionally, Dangun and Olympus have also made their moves. Dangun sent a promising new ranker, Park Jung-jin, and Olympus is being led by a sorceress named Maria in their assault team. All of them are formidable rankers.”

Gandhara, Dangun, Olympus.

A coalition of three massive guilds.

The information Yu Yeon-hwa and Lee Tae-min conveyed was quite intriguing.

It meant that those arrogant enough to die before losing pride have finally had their noses bent.

‘Really, they think by combining their forces, they can take it on together.’

The corners of Jinhyuk’s mouth twisted subtly.

As always, the concept was disappointingly simple.

The ruins holding the Witch of Lamentation weren’t something you could just clear by outnumbering.

Nevertheless, discovering this place meant they had recruited some old hands who had played the Tower of Trials for quite some time.

“Any other unusual details?”

“Oh, there was one more thing. I found out through an acquaintance that they posted a notice only for their subscribers, saying they will conquer this place. But it seems like they’re only swallowing water, haven’t moved from the spot. Guess how long ago the notice was posted? Five days ago.”

“You’re right, sister. Main forces are still waiting outside the ruins. The healers seemed overwhelmed caring for the injured.”

Yu Yeon-hwa and Lee Tae-min each added a comment.

‘An assault team desperate for success… their repeated failures… and the traits of the ruins with the Witch of Lamentation.’

This was becoming interesting.

I might be able to strategize a more efficient approach than I originally planned.

“Listen carefully to what I’m about to say.”

The stakes were about to get much higher…

But that didn’t matter.

I had reliable friends right here to help solve that.

***

Thud. Thud. Thud… BOOM!

The rhythmically repeated sounds suddenly escalated into a massive explosion.

A table was smashed into dozens of pieces, scattering in all directions.

“Haa. Haa. Haa.”

A face flushed red with anger and shame.

It was Nirasha, the leader of Gandhara and the ranker known as the Sky of India.

At the unexpected loud noise, a muscular man entered the tent.

“Master… Are you alright?”

“Leave.”

“But…!”

“Don’t you see I’m in a meeting? Get out!”

“Ah, understood.”

Nirasha was not merely uncomfortable.

And understandably so.

Since the arrival of the Tower of Trials, Nirasha had never tasted desperation or defeat.

Indeed, steeped in the still prevalent caste system and born into a conglomerate family, Nirasha’s life had been destined for success from the moment of birth.

But now…

What kind of humiliation was this?

Five days had passed since their arrival, yet they had repeatedly failed to progress beyond the entrance.

For an alliance that had held such confidence, this was more than a blow to their pride.

“I understand your anger, but this won’t change anything. Besides, we knew this wouldn’t be easy from the start, didn’t we?”

A man standing at the edge of the tent spoke up.

It was Park Jung-jin, the ranker leading Dangun’s assault team.

Beside him, Maria from Olympus was also present.

“We should clean this up for now.”

Maria sighed softly, swinging her staff.

Whoosh!

The shattered table pieces returned to their original state.

“Player Park Jung-jin is right. What matters now is not to rage over failure, but to find a way to succeed in the raid. It might be better if we stick to our initial plan and focus on the front gate route…”

“The front gate? You’re aware, aren’t you, Maria? Just how long it will take to go through the front gate.”

The safest way to conquer a ruin was typically through the front gate.

However, the assault team had attempted to take an alternate route instead.

A long-range detection spell had revealed that the path from the gate to the boss chamber was too long.

At least a month.

Maybe even longer.

“We absolutely have to defeat the Gate Guardian and secure the shortest route. If we don’t move fast this time, the whole world will see our large guilds as complete fools.”

The statement contained some truth.

The large guilds had been toiling – climbing the tower, exploring mazes and ruins, trying desperately to build their reputation.

As a result…

They had managed to conquer some significant areas of the 12th, 13th, and 14th floors.

However…

…It wasn’t enough.

The achievements earned through near-death experiences failed to grasp the viewers’ attention – the results were too meager compared to the time and effort invested.

“Do you see? How our efforts have been evaluated?”

Nirasha pointed towards the large screen in the center of the tent.

The community comments from the Tower of Trials and VeeTube showed exactly what people thought about the videos posted by the large guilds…

-yeo: That 13th-floor maze ‘Jungle of the Sun’ huh? The place Dangun guild was bragging they’ve conquered.

-cho: A B-rank maze, right? Damn, they actually brought all main attack rankers just to clinch this place?

-이시영: It’s so-so, but kinda disappointing. Different from what I expected. I don’t get the same thrill from these videos anymore. Just me?

-Sh: Wanna know why? It’s ’cause of Kang Jinhyuk. Not only is Dangun not living up to its name, but it’s also just your perspective that’s risen.

-젼: Right, so true.

-이휘민: LMAO, I thought it was just me. After only watching whiz videos, this feels like downing a million dry sweet potatoes.

-Gdd: Can’t disagree with that.

-마리화나: The 90-day update alert wasn’t long ago, but I’m already feeling anxious.

And thousands more comments followed, a relentless stream of similar sentiment.

“Indeed, there were many harsh words. Since views translate directly to money, negative comments taking over the top spots can be a serious blow.”

“Even our videos weren’t doing well. Having a stable source of coins is essential to our growth, and unfortunately, we can’t ignore that fact.”

Park Jung-jin and Maria grimaced, a bitter taste in their mouths.

All of this because…

Yes.

‘Kang Jinhyuk…’

All because of that single human being.

Nirasha’s eyes filled with rage.

He had never imagined he’d be brought to such humiliation by a player without any background or capital.

After all, wasn’t the entire world’s focus currently on Jinhyuk?

The mere thought of Jinhyuk’s smug face during the recent live broadcast was impossible to shake off.

‘Don’t provoke him. If possible, avoid him.’

Even Shiva, the Indian deity who sponsored him, and the other divine beings had warned against entanglement with Jinhyuk.

Still.

Unacceptable.

‘I refuse to accept that one slight setback puts me below him.’

Things were different now. He had failed to awaken the second time, but…

Now he had ascended and acquired a new Mandala.

‘This time, I will make sure to establish my superiority.’

The key lay in conquering the Witch of Lamentation on Floor 15 and securing the title of world premiere.

Nirasha slowly rose to his feet.

Having formed an unwilling alliance, he was determined to succeed at any cost.

And on the day Floor 15 fell and Floor 16 opened up,

People would remember the name Nirasha.

It was at that precise moment.

“Master!”

The same man who had entered before rushed in again, his face pale as a ghost.

“Did I not make myself clear? I told you not to enter. Surely those of a lower class wouldn’t dare take my words lightly?”

“My apologies. But, there’s an urgent matter that I must report. Forgive my intrusion.”

“Speak then. Let’s hear about your so-called urgent matter.”

“It’s… Some players went to challenge the Gate Guardian without our permission.”

“What did you say?”

Nirasha exclaimed in shock.

A fool who had acted alone, ignoring the command of the alliance’s general.

Who could be idiotic enough to confront the Gate Guardian, the one who had remained unharmed despite hundreds of attempts?

Yet, the response that followed.

“…It’s… Kang Jinhyuk.”

Everyone in the tent fell into dismay.

***

Step. Step. Step.

Jinhyuk, Yu Yeon-hwa, and Lee Tae-min stepped into the detour path leading to the ruins.

“Kreee…”

Of course, the path wasn’t unguarded.

A lean figure standing over 4 meters tall.

A guardian clad in thin plate armor, wielding a long scythe, blocked the entrance.

Though his eyes were covered by an eyepatch, murky black smoke drifted from the gaps between his sharp teeth.

Jinhyuk’s gaze drifted downward.

Drip. Drip.

Blood was still dripping from the scythe, warmth emanating from each droplet.

How many players had fallen to that scythe?

Without the knowledge to beat it, more would surely perish.

After a brief moment observing the guardian, Jinhyuk shook his head.

At the same time.

[System Broadcast activated.]

He started a personal broadcast.

“Brother, are you sure it’s a good idea to do a live raid broadcast?”

“Getting that kind of aggro… won’t that be excessive?”

Yu Yeon-hwa and Lee Tae-min seemed apprehensive about the situation.

Of course, stepping onto someone else’s hunting ground and broadcasting live wouldn’t earn a warm welcome.

It was natural for them to worry.

However.

“Don’t worry. They won’t be able to do anything. If anything, this raises our own control of the situation.”

“What do you mean?”

“What happens when I appear here unexpectedly and turn on a live broadcast while the large guilds continue to fail?”

Expectations would skyrocket, and the world’s attention would turn here.

If the large guilds attempted to put a stop to it?

Or, even worse, turn away help without showcasing skill?

They might not just be criticized – they could be totally buried.

In the end, whether it was Nirasha, Dangun, or Olympus, they would be pleading to join hands with them.

At least outwardly, that’s the façade they would need to keep up for their own safety.

At that moment.

-Cow: 5555? What’s this all about? Is this for real?

Jinn: OMG. It’s true. And it’s the Ruins of the Witch of Lamentation.

-오서준: The place where those three major guilds said they’d strike?

-최건: Yea, gave up without a fight, right there.

-bluesky: I thought they at least made it halfway in. They haven’t even breached the entrance yet? After no news for so long, I would’ve never guessed it was that bad.

-쿠키굽기장인: Looks like Jinhyuk got fed up and went there himself.

-초콜릿시럽: Wait! If he’s broadcasting now, doesn’t that mean he’s going to show us the raid live?

Viewers flooded in.

Despite no prior announcement, just 30 seconds into the broadcast, the chat was bustling with hundreds of comments.

“Hello, everyone. I’m really sorry for appearing so suddenly and without notice. The reason I’ve started this broadcast is… well, I’ve joined the raid on the Witch of Lamentation.”

Showing a hint of guilt by gently biting his lip.

“I didn’t want to interfere with another guild’s territory, but I couldn’t just stand by and watch the perpetual failures. I’ll help you through the first Gate Guardian, and then with the assault team’s permission, we’ll continue on.”

Maintaining a humble and modest demeanor as he continued.

With controlled voice modulation, gaze direction, and even facial muscle movement.

It was a flawless performance.

“Just in case there is any confusion, I want to say upfront this live broadcast will only cover the defeat of the guardian, and as usual, it will be replaced with edited footage later on.”

Jinhyuk kept talking.

His smooth control of the situation was nothing short of a trained talent from his days as a BJ.

-Gtg4: As expected, Jinhyuk’s got amazing character.

-Lpr: Frankly, there’s no yours or mine in the Tower of Trials, right? Whoever clears it first wins.

-유연준: Honestly, if Jinhyuk is offering to help when they can’t even clear it, isn’t that angelic?

-lsi0: True altruism right there. It’s rare to see a player with both talent and good character.

-OUY: Everyone run! You’re being deceived by a demon!

-김기태: Did the big guilds even plant their shills here? Caught ya!

-채형석: Gotcha, you rascal!

-999e: Officer, over here!

-doh: Doubting a person who can’t be doubted, because he’s just too good and kind?

While a few viewers were quick on the uptake, most were taken in by the act.

A reputation built over time shines the brightest in moments like this.

Good.

With the stage set, it was time to make a move.

Jinhyuk retrieved a fang from his spatial inventory.

Fizzzt!

Black magic began to condense along the blade’s blue edge.

And.

“Kreee!”

The guardian, too, responded to that murderous intent with a long, piercing howl.

The broadcast… had begun.

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