Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 99

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Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 99: The Grey Temple (3)

The first reward had granted the Luck Stat and the Adaptive Stat.

Following that, the second reward appeared.

‘Was entering the labyrinth after receiving the First Class Advancement Quest the trigger?’

Jinhyuk gulped down his dry saliva.

Even the veteran players were surprised by the first reward which was beyond expectations, so one could only anticipate how splendid this reward would be.

Yeah, it would be a lie to pretend to be calm about it.

“Let’s check it out.”

He muttered in a whisper.

Ding!

[You have acquired ‘The Mark of the Moon’.]

[This ability will become effective upon completion of the First Class Advancement.]

[The Mark of the Moon]

Acquisition Difficulty: Immeasurable (Reward for the first one to conquer the tower)

Effect: Reduces the activation time of all barriers by 25%, while conversely increasing the performance of barriers by 30%. Furthermore, upon mastering all the ‘Forgotten Languages’ that have disappeared in the tower long ago, you will be able to learn ‘Nameless Barriers’. (Locations where you can learn Forgotten Languages will be indicated when you undergo the First Class Advancement.)

This is……

Insane.

Staring at the status window, Jinhyuk’s mouth hung open dumbfounded.

Initially, he had chosen an unfamiliar job class simply to pursue a new interest.

Of course, to Jinhyuk, a job was nothing more than an additional word on his status window.

Anyway, he could obtain all skills and their advanced versions.

Hence, the First Class Advancement was nothing more than light entertainment to alleviate his boredom; it held no significant value.

But now.

All that changed with the status message in front of him.

From being merely a bit more intriguing, now there was a new field causing every cell in his body to quiver.

Jinhyuk’s eyes were fixed on the status window.

‘Forgotten Languages’ and ‘Nameless Barriers’

They were things he had once come across while ascending the tower.

‘I had searched and searched, but never found any clues.’

At the time, he had thought it was merely a mistake made by the operators of the failed game [Tower of Trials].

But that’s what he thought.

‘All of that was an Easter Egg meant for the first player to conquer the tower.’

Now he finally understood.

At the same time, Jinhyuk’s heart started pounding frantically.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

At the realization that he could be the first to tread on the untouched snow-white path.

And that at the end of this path wasn’t the futile ending of a game but an expectation that it could be reality.

***

The raid team quickly cleared the monsters around the entrance and began to make their way inside.

Wham! Wham! Wham!

Various magical and skill-based attacks altered the scenery before their eyes.

Boom!

A massive explosion erupted as the diverse colors of magic energies converged.

Inside the labyrinth was nothing short of a battlefield.

“Tankers, brace yourselves and activate all aggro-drawing and survival skills! Remember, never let the aggro scatter!”

“DPS focus your firepower on whatever’s coming at the front! Anyone who can’t manage their power and starts whining can brace for an intestinal crisis later! I’ll grind them to dust.”

As one would expect, the elites of top-tier guilds.

Not a single casualty occurred while facing over 4m tall poisonous cobras and Giant Anacondas capable of crushing steel.

From a distance, Jinhyuk watched the Samurai Guild fight.

‘They’ve got at least the basics down, I suppose.’

Their coordination and balance between offense and defense are quite in sync.

They’re entitled to boast a little.

Let’s see.

With their skills…

‘I give them… one or two hours of survival at best.’

If they’re excessively lucky, a couple of them might last up to ten hours.

Jinhyuk calculated various scenarios in his head.

Now withering away, it was easy to predict how situations would unfold just by looking.

At that moment.

“How do they look in the eyes of player Kang Jinhyuk?” asked Lee Youngkwon, who had been standing by in silence.

“Hm? What do you mean how do they look?”

“Exactly as it sounds. I’m asking for your opinion about their skills.”

“Well, they’re not bad. They seem to have experience coordinating in multiple raids.”

“But… that’s not all, is it?”

Lee Youngkwon asked again, anticipating there was more to come.

“They’re by the book. Not bad, but not outstanding either. If it wasn’t for the foes they’ve encountered, their formation wouldn’t be holding up like this. Of course, the Japanese raiding style has a lot to do with it, being specifically optimized for group battles.”

“That means there’s a flaw in that formation?”

Flaws.

So many it’d be an issue, at least half a dozen visible at a glance. Did others not see it?

“If the opponent wasn’t a regular monster, but named-grade, the third tanker from the left would have been breached by now. See the flow of mana being deflected by his shield? It’s slightly unstable. Plus, to compensate for that gap, the support’s mana usage has increased. Looks like about 0.7%… that’s fatal.”

0.7%.

A trivial figure, though it could grow into a vast disparity if the battle dragged on or if it scaled to an intense fight that could sway the outcome in a breath.

“……”

Lee Youngkwon clamped his mouth shut tight.

‘As expected…’

Everything was as predicted.

While everyone was marveling at the nearly flawless raid by the Samurai Guild,

only Jinhyuk seemed nonchalant.

The players from the fighting guild were too busy with exclamations of awe as they watched the battle.

-By the book, but nothing exceptional.

And with such a casual tone, despite witnessing nearly perfect raids.

-The tanker in the third row on the left… The supporters’ mana…

The insight to pinpoint weaknesses after just one battle.

Yes.

‘His perspective is just different.’

Like the difference between an ant crawling on the ground and a hawk soaring in the sky.

Depending on the level, the perspective on the same scene could be totally different.

‘The videos uploaded on VTube don’t reveal even a fraction of player Kang Jinhyuk’s skills.’

The limits of an edited version.

The highlights meant to keep subscribers’ attention often fall far short of reality.

As that thought completed in his mind, a chill ran through Lee Youngkwon’s body.

With this man…

He could actually…

Smash all those arrogant members of the Samurai Guild to pieces.

And could decapitate the divine beast, Medusa, which Fighting Wolves Guild had no answer to.

‘It’s possible.’

More than possible.

Although the conquest of the labyrinth was just beginning, in Lee Youngkwon’s mind, the end was already coming into view.

***

Intense battles and brief respites alternated.

How long had it been since they entered the labyrinth?

Following the route pioneered by previous players, the raid team came upon a crossroad without hesitation.

From here on, they were entering uncharted territory.

“Party Leader, we’ve arrived!” announced a scout, and everyone’s steps came to a halt.

There were two possible paths to choose from.

The left was well-lit with flames bursting from the ground,

whereas the right was shrouded in such dense darkness that any ambush could be fatal.

“Which way shall we go?” inquired Maeda, wearing sunglasses, now the raid leader of the Samurai Guild.

Fire and darkness.

This decision could drastically change the course of the raid, an obvious fact that didn’t need stating.

“……”

Takeshi slowly rolled his eyes—from the left to the right, and back to the left.

‘Damn, wasn’t this foresight in the future?’

Before coming here, he’d seen the scene through future sense.

A crossroad was there too, but the one now before his eyes was different.

Instead of fire and darkness, it featured pillars lined up in a row.

“Takeshi-san?”

Amidst it all, a pressing voice interrupted his thoughts. With time passing, doubt would evolve into certainty.

“Well…”

There was no more time to hesitate.

A decision had to be made.

But just then.

“As expected. You chose the left.”

An all too familiar voice interjected.

It was Jinhyuk.

“The left…?”

“Hmmph. Truly a choice befitting a veteran player. Considering the difficulty of the tower, one might be tempted to choose the seemingly riskier right path, boasting to themselves for going against the grain. However, this labyrinth sends those who try to game the system straight to hell. As expected, you already knew that.”

Jinhyuk genuinely looked impressed.

He beamed, thumb raised high.

“That’s right. I used the same method to conquer this place in the past. This type of crossroad also frequently appeared on my way up to the 30th floor.”

Frequently, my foot.

The Tower of Trials is no IQ test.

They wouldn’t create traps within traps trying to outsmart players.

Once again, the game is a failure.

Not designed by operators bent on perfection but slapped together to screw over top players worldwide.

Yet one thing became clear.

The extent of that guy’s foresight was much, much worse than expected.

‘A tarot card reading in a CGV cinema seems more reliable.’

Really, it’s beyond ridiculous.

However, Jinhyuk’s spoken words were far from his thoughts.

“I see…! So higher floors of the tower are similar to this place then.”

“Ha. Player Kang Jinhyuk, you’ll get there eventually. Of course, we’ll be one step ahead of you.”

I guess so.

It does seem like you’re one step away from the coffin before you go in.

“Shall we get going, then?”

“Understood. Let’s move out.”

Takeshi nodded.

“Are you sure about the left? Takeshi-san?”

Maeda, wary of uncertainty, asked for confirmation again.

“Yes. Just like player Kang Jinhyuk said, it’s common for the Tower of Trials to dig traps within traps.”

“…Right. Well, okay then.”

Although Maeda felt led by the nose, he couldn’t argue any further.

The player who had pinpointed the exact location of the hidden dungeon on tower’s 5th floor, never before made public.

Currently, the most trusted player in the guild was none other than Takeshi.

The raid team hastened their steps once more.

But as the last player set foot into the brightly illuminated path,

Whoosh!

The flames suddenly surged, dancing wildly. Red lines encased the players completely, front, back, left, and right.

“What’s this?”

“Didn’t you say the left was safe?”

“I thought it was, but… no, this is just a routine trap. Everyone, don’t worry too much! If you don’t move, the flames will pose no threat.”

Takeshi tried to reassure everyone.

Needless to say, it was futile.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

As if mocking his foresight, the red lines began to close in.

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