Chapter 125. < The Demon World. (1) >
Translator: thursdays Editor: Yahiko PR: LightBrin
Kim ■ remembered the day he first fell into another world.
-You have been chosen as the warrior who will save this world.
A dazzlingly beautiful woman smiled at him. Bewildered, Kim ■ looked at the angel before him.
Though he had seen many celebrities on the news and in videos, he was only [a normal high school student]. It was the first time he ever met someone beautiful enough to brighten up her surroundings with a slight smile. He could only stutter in her presence.
-E-excuse me? Angel-nim? Where is this?
-You don’t need to rush. Warrior-nim, I am [The Guardian Goddess]. This is the name of the Constellation who will protect you and guide your future days. You may not know a lot right now, but you will learn many things.
So she was a goddess, not an angel.
Kim ■ felt dazed.
-I was definitely on the school rooftop just now…?
-You were being bullied at school.
The goddess serenely put her hands together.
-Young humans are sometimes like beasts in that they practice pure evil in complete ignorance. Unfortunately, warrior-nim became their prey, and you fell because you could not endure it.
-Yes. To be specific, you fell to your death.
Kim ■ only remembered after hearing the goddess’s words.
The school rooftop.
The iron door to the rooftop was tightly locked. He felt like he was being challenged when he saw that the doorknob was secured with chains. So, Kim ■ opened the window of the 5th floor classroom and got out. He climbed a pipe onto the roof.
It was a crazy thing to do.
However, Kim ■ felt alive for the first time since his birth when he clung to the pipe and crawled up.
It was the first time in his life that he climbed out a window and scaled a pipe—the first time he had climbed onto the school rooftop. He never felt anything like this when he was struggling to survive.
He felt alive because he was facing death.
The sky he saw from the rooftop was red.
Kim ■ felt thankful that the sky turned red once a day.
For the first time, he thanked the heavens.
The red sky was a little friendlier than the blue sky. He wanted to break his body against the kind color.
‘If I fall…’
Kim ■ looked down at the ground. The schoolyard basked in the sunset like the Sahara.
‘I heard that after I fall—as soon as I jump—I’ll regret jumping.’
Kim ■ took off his indoor shoes and placed them down neatly on the floor. The soles of his shoes were blackened with permanent marker. He had not scribbled it on himself.
‘Will I regret it, too?’
The schoolyard became loud. Maybe someone saw him. The students who had been kicking around soccer balls before their nighttime study gathered together, pointing to the rooftop from below. There were several familiar faces among them.
Kim ■ quietly moved his thumb. Press. He sent a text message that he had written in advance on his mobile. Thirty-seven students would receive his last testament.
The one who murdered me was you.
You killed me.
Shortly after, a notification popped up, showing that the text had been sent.
It was done.
It was refreshing.
Kim ■ threw his phone. The cell phone fell in an instant to the schoolyard. It was broken. The students below became frightened by the sight of the broken phone. One person’s face paled, someone whom he had sent the text to.
‘I hope your life is ruined, too. Permanently.’
Kim ■ plunged into the red, sandy desert.
He thought that falling was just like failing to fly.
-I am the Guardian Goddess.
Then, he ended up here.
-I have many powers. Idol, compassion, prayer, sacrifice, and salvation.
Kim ■ remembered the day he first fell into another world.
-If you borrow my strength, warrior-nim, you can do anything and become anything.
A dazzlingly beautiful woman smiled at him.
-What do you wish to become, warrior-nim?
[You have entered the 50th floor through an unusual route.]
When I opened my eyes, a voice entered my head.
[The blessing from ‘The Corner Librarian’ will be removed.]
[Beginner protectionary measures will be suspended.]
[Beginner benefits will be temporarily revoked.]
I smiled wryly.
‘Just hearing the warning makes me tremble.’
I looked around.
The first things I noticed were the spires that rose up into the sky.
Five towers twisted and stood in the distance, like a giant’s fingers reaching into the air. It was weird that they weren’t collapsing right now.
-Wow. It’s been a damn long time since I’ve been here. Probably over 150 years?
Fortunately, I had someone with me to be my guide. The Sword Emperor. He had once climbed up to the 99th floor of the Tower, so of course he had been on the 50th floor before.
-But not a single thing has changed.
Rather than looking fond, Bae Hu-ryeong looked around at the 50th floor like he was already sick of it.
“What are those spires?”
-They’re Magic Towers. Some guys have been stuck here for over a thousand years. Instead of climbing the Tower, they just settle down and live on the 50th floor…
A thousand years.
-Anyway, don’t go near them for now. If you can, don’t even look at them.
-Because they’ll automatically detect your gaze if you look at them for more than 23 seconds. The number 23 in the world they lived in has the same meaning as 18 in your world, Zombie. ‘You fucker, what are you looking at?’ is what that alarm system means. Keh, can’t you just tell what their personalities are like?
I quickly looked away from the towers. What the heck? The alarm triggers just because you look at it for a certain time?
-Oh, right. They used to have six towers, y’know? But I knocked one of them down. They’ll probably freak if they learn I’ve come back as a ghost. They’ll mobilize everyone and chase you to hell, so make sure to keep quiet.
“…Now that I look at you, you’re not a guide but a troll. Dammit. I should have known it would be like this.”
It was then.
[Your body is starting to erode from the void poison.]
[Currently, your erosion is Lv.1.]
I was startled.
“What’s void poison? It’s saying that my body’s eroding right now?”
-Oh, yeah. That exists. Man, now it feels like I’m back in the Tower.
Bae Hu-ryeong shrugged as if it wasn’t a big deal.
-It’s just an omnipresent poison that flows all over the 50th floor. Who was it, again? Anyway, there was a bastard who acted as the manager of the 50th floor, and he used to fool around with the Hunters he liked. Then, the Midnight War of Liberation or something broke out and he got offed.
-While he was dying, he cursed the world since he couldn’t die peacefully, and that curse remained as poison.
“Uh, that’s totally…”
-Yup. You remember the zombie virus that spread when the Constellation of the Murim world died? Think of this as a stronger version.
I was dumbfounded.
“People live here, even though it’s all over the atmosphere? And for a thousand years? Are they nuts?”
-Yeah, they’re nuts. But the guys who get up here have some basic abilities, whether it’s aura, magic, skills, or even a Constellation’s blessing. What are you doing, Zombie? Hurry up and use your aura as protection.
I did as Bae Hu-ryeong instructed and drew on my aura. After enveloping my whole body with the red aura, I especially made sure to strengthen my lungs. I sighed for a moment, turning my head to look at Bae Hu-ryeong.
“What happens if you don’t protect yourself? What then?”
Bae Hu-ryeong uncharacteristically hesitated. His eyebrows furrowed, and his face seemed to reflect that he was considering what to say.
-You get a very… peculiar appearance and state of mind…
-Oh, lucky. There’s one now.
I turned around.
A toad-like monster was curled up.
However, the problem was that I didn’t know any toads with approximately 36 legs or shark teeth.
Also, the monster looked to weigh about two tons.
“What the heck is that?!”
-Who knows? He was probably a person much like you. A human who ate, shat, and talked shit like you do. Well, maybe 20 years ago.
While Bae Huo-ryeong was leisurely speaking, boing! A two-ton monster toad leaped forward. Anybody could tell that it was rushing toward me. I was taken aback, but I focused my aura on my feet and jumped far away.
The ground shook. The boom was a little too brisk to say that it was the toad’s fault. The ground had caved in, forming what looked like a small crater.
I pulled out the Holy Sword and used the Infernal Heavens Demonic Art. Chwak! The blade wrapped in red aura sliced through the monster toad’s waist.
Did I kill it?
Bae Hu-ryeong said suddenly.
-Sorry, Kim Zombie. I didn’t warn you earlier, but… From the 50th floor, it’s literally a world of demons. There will be a lot of times you’ll get screwed if you act according to your old common sense.
“What are you trying to say?”
That moment, something sprang out from the sliced cross-sections of the monster toad. It was a leg that looked like a tentacle. Instantly, dozens of tentacles fell out, bringing the toad back to its feet.
This time, there was not one but two.
-Yeah. Stuff like that.
“What the hell?”
-If you’re scared, keep staring at the Magic Towers. If you stare for more than 23 seconds, they’ll talk to you. ‘Who the fuck’s looking at us?’ and such. Then, if you ask them to save you, wizards on brooms will come to the rescue. What do you think? Aren’t they nice?
I wasn’t just imagining it; Bae Hu-ryeong had been grinning for a while. And if Bae Hu-ryeong was grinning, there was a very high probability that he was messing with me.
In other words.
“…What’s the cost of being saved?”
-Heh, you’ve got some brains. How did you know? They’ll make you sign a soul-draining contract that takes 12 years of your life as collateral. Zombie, you have SSS-class skills, so you’ll get a lot of love from them. How envious!
“Y-you over there! Hurry and run away!”
I heard a voice calling urgently behind my back.
“This way! Run over here! Quickly!”
When I turned around, three old men in shabby cloaks were beckoning. Their clothes were caked with filth like they were homeless, but their eyes revealed profound wisdom. The voice was also so desperate that I almost went to them without thinking.
However, I couldn’t do that because of Bae Hu-ryeong’s mug staring at me, which made my mind pause. My feet stopped on instinct.
Instead of running to the old men, I sent my aura at them.
“Run this way!”
As soon as my attack approached them, something terrifying happened. Jump! Something surged from the ground where the old men were standing.
It was a hedgehog-like… ‘something.’
“Y-you over there!
Hurry and run away!”
But instead of spines on its back, there were three old men.
“This is insane…”
In short, they weren’t actually old men at all. The monster’s back was just a lure to draw people in and eat them.
-Hey, hey. As expected of Kim Zombie. You’re naive, but you know how to use your head. What kind of place is this? Thinking rationally, would there be old people helping you for no reason? Hmm?
“Run this way!”
A monster toad and a monster hedgehog ran at me simultaneously. Dozens of tentacles wriggled on the toad’s skin, and three old men sang a chorus on the hedgehog’s back.
This sight was totally going to sully my mind.
“Is everything like this here?!”
-There are a few ‘exceptions,’ but it’s mostly like this. Welcome to the Demon World, where cosmic horrors dance, crow-tit. Now do you see how normal and sensible a Hunter I am?
“This isn’t the time…!”
I wasn’t sure if it was fortunate or not, but—
“—Duck your head, stranger.”
The [exception] that Bae Hu-ryeong mentioned suddenly appeared.
“I will cut.”
A voice that used aura to directly enter your head. It was the telepathy skill, Sound Transmission. I quickly ducked my head as the voice decreed. At that moment, the sound of wind being cut and a horrifying attack passed over my head.
Two monster toads were bisected at once.
Remembering the sight of the toad’s regeneration, I panickedly yelled.
“No, if you cut it, it splits and regenerates…!”
I stopped talking. The monster toads did not move and stayed cut.
In other words, they were dead.
‘What? Does it only regenerate once before it dies normally?’
-Mm, no~ It regenerates many times~
‘Then, why did they die?’
-That happened because…
Someone else explained it before Bae Hu-ryeong could.
“To kill [one that dies in half],”
The Sound Transmission user was speaking.
“As its name suggests, it must be split to exact [halves].”
Bewildered, I glanced at the corpses.
As he said, the monster toads were split in exact halves down the center of their bodies. Somehow, that caused them to die permanently.
The Sound Transmission user immediately pointed his sword at the monster hedgehog.
Explosions sounded each time.
Despite the fearsome aura, the monster hedgehog took the hits like they were insignificant.
‘It’s like the Lady of the Golden Silk when she had the blessing…’
The monster hedgehog rushed forth like it was taking no damage, but the Sound Transmission user continued to strike blow after blow.
The cries of the old man on the left were buried by the explosive slash.
The cries of the old man on the right were buried by an explosive slash.
The cries of the old man in the center were buried in the blast of the cut.
“A lamenter’s noumenon is in its lament.”
The moment the sound of the old men’s cries were buried in the explosions, the hedgehog fell apart like sand.
“So you must kill it by burying its sound.”
Two types of monsters were neutralized in the blink of an eye.
Extensive knowledge of the prey and the overwhelming power to utilize that knowledge.
I blankly looked at the Hunter, the Sound Transmission user.
Bae Hu-ryeong grumbled.
-Man, that bastard. He’s not even that old.
The silver-haired youth I saw in Shiny’s trauma.
The Constellation Killer.
Lefanta Aegim tilted his head as he put away his sword.
“Do you know me?”
Bright blue eyes like newborn stars turned toward me.
: 18 sounds like a curse word in Korean.