Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 90

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Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 90. The Corridor of Choices (1)

Jinhyuk swiftly dispatched the players and retrieved his Twin Dragon Swords.

‘The other zealots should take care of themselves now.’

With the Breaker gone, there wasn’t much the zealots could do.

At best, they could struggle futilely with their toothless blades.

Now all that was left was to deal with the cult leader.

‘All I need is to pick someone to lead the way.’

He could find his way alone, but with over ten possible hideouts for the leader, waste of time was a concern.

‘I don’t like that.’

It’s best to get out of this blood-scented place as quickly as possible.

Jinhyuk casually scouted the area.

Oh!

There was one who caught his eye.

That one there. Everything from his face suggests a born guide.

He seemed less (?) insane than the typical zealot.

A rare find in this place.

‘Alright, you’re the one.’

Jinhyuk moved swiftly and subdued the target in an instant.

Distracted by the desire to flee, the capture was easier than he anticipated.

“Please, forgive me! Save me, please. I beg you. I don’t… I don’t want to die.”

A short-haired girl screamed in terror.

‘This is something else.’

Even a slight press on her shoulder,

and anyone would think I had chopped off an arm or something.

“Calm down. As long as you behave, I won’t kill you.”

“Really?”

“If I wanted to kill you, I wouldn’t bother with this annoying conversation.”

It was a cold remark.

Yet to the girl, those words had more convincing power than any plea or threat.

Considering the skills Jinhyuk had demonstrated until now, there was no need for long-winded explanations.

“But if you lie or try any funny business, that’ll be the end of you.”

A guide only needs to lead the way.

Just that.

“Yes. Understood.”

The girl nodded.

“Do you know where the cult leader is now?”

“Yes.”

At least she proved to be useful.

Concerns over wasting time due to the many hideouts subsided.

“What’s your name?”

“Andria. Please, call me Andria.”

“Okay, Andria. Lead me to where the cult leader is, and I’ll ensure your safety. Oh, and take care when you answer.”

[Lv4 ‘Soul Imprint’ activates.]

“I’m not a fan of empty promises.”

Whoosh!

From the tips of Jinhyuk’s fingers, a red flame flickered.

Andria shuddered, but only for a moment.

“I promise.”

This formed a temporary contract.

A brutal one that would burn the body to ashes upon betrayal.

***

Jinhyuk followed Andria through the dark corridor.

‘We’re heading to the twelfth chamber.’

He considered the possibility of her stalling or misguiding him, but that seemed to have been an unnecessary worry.

Had Andria not been present, he would have probably focused on the most secure chambers, like the seventh or twelfth.

That’s when it hit him.

Why was such a fearful girl among the zealots in the first place?

“Do you believe in that deity or whatever?”

The Demon King who thirsts for blood and sacrifices.

And the zealots on the fifth floor, existing solely to resurrect him.

Without a faith that transcends blindness, there’s no way she could be part of them.

But the answer that came back was unexpected.

“No. I don’t believe… in any gods. If there were, they wouldn’t leave such a hell of despair unchecked.”

“Then why follow the leader?”

“It wasn’t my choice. I was sold off.”

“Sold off?”

“Yes. Discarded. By the family I should trust the most.”

Her dead eyes whispered the truth.

‘So that’s why she’s here.’

The mines, the arena, the asylum – all places scattered across the fifth floor were harsh.

It was commonplace for families to trade their kin for a few coins.

Jinhyuk tasted bitterness.

‘She had a quite unfortunate story.’

The system assured a 0.1 adaptive stat bonus for killing evildoers.

But how does one classify a bystanding victim, sold out against their will?

Only one method could yield the answer to that.

Nevertheless…

He didn’t wish to find that answer.

“I know this won’t be much comfort, but I’m somewhat like you. Abandoned at an orphanage right after birth and had to grow up alone.”

In solitude and despair.

Learning the realities of life too early.

“But resenting parents, the world, or oneself won’t change anything.”

Instead, he tried to do what he could.

Not especially talented as a BJ.

But he never begged for donations, justifying his poverty.

Being content with only what his efforts brought, and what the viewers willingly gave.

“Of course, your situation is much more dismal than mine. I never risked being sacrificed for a wrong word.”

He acknowledged the crucial difference between them.

“So, I’ll kill the leader and topple his cult. Nobody will try to kill you again. So stop showing that despairing face; it makes me feel gloomy to see it.”

Andria’s pupils vibrated.

She hadn’t expected such words from him.

“What are you staring at?”

“No. I’m truly grateful for your words. But, the leader… Well, the leader is much stronger than you think. He uses a strange power.”

“I know.”

“Yes?”

“About the power the leader holds. And how to defeat it. I know it all.”

Jinhyuk smirked.

A carefree smile, disconnected from seriousness.

Yet, why?

Thump! Thump! Thump!

A curious throbbing began in Andria’s heart.

As if a faint light had appeared on the dark path she’d been treading for a lifetime.

A small flame sparked in the heart of the girl who had been writhing in despair.

After that, there was no more conversation between them.

Employer and guide. They each kept to their roles.

How long did they walk?

Their destination turned out to be a place with a firmly closed black iron door.

“Here we are.”

Andria spoke cautiously.

“Good job.”

Jinhyuk nodded, examining the door obstructing the entrance.

Runes drawn in blood covered the surface of the iron door.

‘It’s a spell to maintain the illusion barrier inside.’

Enter if you dare, huh?

‘Interesting.’

Immediately, Jinhyuk reached toward the door.

At that moment.

Boom!

The thick iron door swung open.

***

[‘The Corridor of Choices’ has been entered.]

[There are two challengers.]

A room filled with an enormous quantity of rusty keys.

This was the first trial of the Corridor of Choices.

“Here is…”

Andria looked around in confusion.

Understandably startled.

The entire scenery had changed abruptly.

“Don’t worry and just stay still.”

Jinhyuk reassured Andria.

That’s when it happened.

Fzzt!

A white-masked figure popped up on a screen, accompanied by static noise.

Red lipstick was drawn in swirling patterns on its cheeks, making it quite memorable.

As if saying ‘I want to play a game’ would be the next line.

[Welcome to this place. Sacrifices. My name is Valseuter and I serve the cult leader. They also call me ‘the Conductor’.]

“Huh? You smell like a terror?”

[Squeak! It’s not ‘smells like terror’, it’s Valseuter! Valseuter!]

The name seemed to be just asking to be misunderstood.

“I’ll just call you Smells, it’s easier to remember.”

Jinhyuk rubbed his head as if annoyed.

[Grr, you. For your insolence, you shall regret it. This is why this place is called ‘The Corridor of Choices’ – you must make life-and-death decisions to proceed! But thanks to your insolent behavior, I’m going to say only the bare minimum. Prepare to bury your bones here!]

“Yawn…”

Jinhyuk yawned long and hard.

Honestly, why do the people in these places go on and on with nonsense without being asked? Do they expect to be treated like novices in unfamiliar places, grateful for even the smallest bit of information?

But none of that mattered to Jinhyuk.

[Enough! Let’s start the game. I’ve hidden a key in this room. You have 5 minutes. Fail to find the key to the door within the time limit, and you’ll be crushed by the closing walls!]

As Smells threatened,

Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The walls of the room began to move.

A timer appeared, marking the limited time.

The walls closed in relentlessly.

If the key isn’t found, it would mean a gruesome end, just as the being said.

But finding the real key among the mountainous pile of keys seemed as impossible as searching for a needle in a desert.

[Bwa-ha-ha! Beg while you still can. Then I might give you a hint to choose the real key.]

As Smells burst into laughter.

But then…

“Found it.”

Jinhyuk picked a key from the pile.

[Don’t joke. You must have just picked random…]

Click!

The door opened.

[How… How did you…?]

Smells’ eyes bulged out, clutching the screen desperately.

Hey, get your face off the cam.

Looks scary up close.

“I just guessed.”

As Smells panicked over the inconceivable situation, Jinhyuk and Andria proceeded to the second trial.

This time, a room filled with transparent glass syringes awaited them.

Suddenly.

Ssshhh!

White smoke erupted from a vent in the wall.

The smoke quickly filled the room.

[Heh, that smoke you just inhaled will dissolve all your veins as time passes.]

Smells recovered composure and spoke.

“Poison?”

Andria’s face turned pale.

“So it seems.”

Jinhyuk casually followed suit.

[The syringes contain various substances. One might grant you a second chance at life, but the rest contain acid poison. Choose life or death. It’s up to you.]

Thirty syringes were placed on a table.

Only one contained the antidote to dispel the poison. The rest would kill instantly upon injection.

[Here’s a hint…]

“No need.”

Without hesitation, Jinhyuk picked a syringe and stuck it into his arm.

Shhhht!

The liquid entered his bloodstream.

[You bastard. Listen to the hint before choosing!]

In the end, Smells couldn’t contain the frustration and threw out a curse.

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