She wiped her watery eyes, and coldness spread through her fingertips. Looking at her tears, she was confused.
She could see Kim Hajin beyond the hands. He was already dead. Because it happened so suddenly, it didn’t strike her as real. Reality didn’t seem like reality. It felt like her mind was floating in the clouds.
However, she knew that this was the reality. Because she had experienced this feeling before when the previous Boss of the Chameleon Troupe died.
Suddenly, she was overcome with regret.
It didn’t have to be today. It could have been tomorrow or the day after. But I insisted it be today. In fact, I was the one who pulled Kim Hajin into the Chameleon Troupe in the first place. I thought of Kim Hajin as nothing but a ‘tool’ to avenge the previous boss.
Then was this my punishment?
She felt something inside her crumble. The emotions she had been holding back had finally burst. She couldn’t stop the torrential current any longer.
She buried her face in his cold chest. Dried blood touched her forehead. Scenes that couldn’t be turned back flashed before her eyes.
The times Kim Hajin joked with me, his affectionate combing, the words he said as he gave me the ring, the days his intellect and maturity calmed me…
He protected me, but I couldn’t protect him.
I, his boss, couldn’t do anything to help him.
She closed her eyes and cried in the pitch-black world, trembling without letting out a single cry.
While she was in distress from sadness and regret and shaking from losing someone dear to her, a strange voice rang out.
It was a familiar voice, but one that could no longer be heard. Kim Hajin’s voice was calling me in my hallucination.
“Move over, Boss.”
The auditory hallucination got clearer and too real to be a hallucination.
“Move over, I said.”
Hearing the voice once again, I raised my head.
Kim Hajin was standing there, with a straight face. He even had a little grin.
Was I dreaming? Was all this a dream? If not, how much of it was real? Did I dream that Kim Hajin died?
Within an incomprehensible confusion, something even more unbelievable occurred.
Golden light had begun to shine from Kim Hajin’s body.
The unknown source of light engulfed his body. I took a step back and watched it intently.
Something seemingly impossible happened.
The two severed halves of his body came back together, his broken bones and torn up flesh were restored, and the drained blood re-entered his veins.
Even though I was witnessing it firsthand, I doubted my eyes.
“Ehew… what a shame to use up a life here. Are you okay, Boss?”
The resurrected Kim Hajin stared at Boss and smiled. Boss stood still in a daze. the insectile scythe in her right hand dangled side-to-side.
Soon, she threw the scythe away and jumped into his embrace. She hadn’t done so on purpose. Her body had moved on its own.
She tightly embraced Kim Hajin’s body.
In her arms, she felt his existence clearly.
His beating heart told her that he was still alive.
[Central Africa, Underground]
Humanity lost the vast Central African land to monsters a long time ago. Unable to survive in the harsh environment, humans abandoned most of the African land, and monsters had taken their place. The law of the jungle, where the strong devoured the weak, naturally descended in this place.
The continent that once contained dozens of countries seemed to have returned to its anarchical origin.
“So you were defeated.”
However, human language was now being spoken in this land where humans could not survive.
The one talking wasn’t human. He wasn’t human, but he looked like one.
His name was Orden.
He called himself the ‘Monster King’ and founded a country of monsters in subterranean Africa. The vast underground city spread far like an ant tunnel and served as a giant colony. Orden had been the long reigning king of this place. Under his rule, monsters formed a hierarchy, and through numerous research and experimentations, new monsters were birthed.
Humans called them ‘humanoid monsters’, but Orden called them ‘neo-humanity’.
In front of the sovereign sitting on his throne, a strange-looking insect muttered dejectedly. The insect resembling a human kneeled on his knees as though it was a knight serving his lord.
“You lost your right arm.”
The king’s gaze fell on the insect’s right arm. The insect flinched in shame.
Though it was the Monster Lord’s subject, it had lost the Scythe of Light bequeathed by him. As the scythe couldn’t be easily made, its arm was now irrecoverable.
“Do not worry, Kurukuru.”
However, the king said to not worry. He stood up from his throne and approached Kurukuru. His footsteps, infused with magic power, rang out vigorously, and the subterranean city’s atmosphere resonated with the king’s movements. Kurukuru didn’t know what to do.
Soon, the king placed his hand on Kurukuru’s severed arm. Kurukuru felt a small pain, one that it was thankful for. A new arm shot up from where the king had touched him. Just like before, the arm had a sharp scythe. Although it was different than the Scythe of Light, it shone with a fierce, metallic luster.
“It is the best metal found underground. Although it can’t be compared to the Scythe of Light, it should be able to withstand human magic power.”
The subject expressed its gratitude at the king’s benevolence. Orden smiled thinly and returned to his throne. The subject, still kneeling, didn’t look at the back of its lord.
“Now, let’s hear the story.”
Soon, the king’s voice rang out imposingly.
“Kurukuru, who did you lose to, and how?”
The subject felt great shame at being unable to complete its lord’s order and began to recite what happened just five minutes ago.
The Pandemonium invasion came to a successful conclusion. Cheok Jungyeong’s return played a huge role. No one knew what he was up to inside the Tower, but he had grown stronger and decimated the remaining Djinns in the eastern region.
The quick-footed giant with instincts surpassing that of a savage beast. Together with the ultimate skill, Energy Blast, Cheok Jungyeong was truly a monster from the depths of Hell.
Afterward, Chameleon Troupe entered a hideout Dark Moon Society had prepared for us. However, I didn’t have time to be happy.
The fact that it had appeared meant the next great calamity was nearby. Just like I worried, the third phase ended up coinciding with the Tower of Wish.
…That aside, something else was quite uncomforting.
I turned my head to the side. Boss was staring at me intently.
“Boss, you can go now. Actually, please go.”
Boss has been like this ever since our fight with Kurukuru. She forced me down on the bed and refused to leave my side.
“Do you have something to say?”
She didn’t reply to any of my questions either. She just continued to stare at me fixedly.
I scratched my neck and lied back down. Only then did Boss react by letting out a small sigh of relief.
I raised my upper body once more. Boss then looked back at me worriedly.
It seemed I had no other choice.
I began a staring contest with Boss.
We stared at each other for five minutes without talking.
Finally, Boss opened her mouth.
“I’m sorry. As your boss, I should have protected you, but you ended up protecting me instead.”
For the record, I let her know about my unique skill. That included its 3-minute Time Reversal and resurrection ability.
—Activated when your physical body dies.
—Your physical body returns to its state 10 minutes before your death. (1/2 lifetime usage left).
Body Reversal, Clockhand of Fate’s third ability. It activated the moment my physical body died, returning it in time 10 minutes before death.
I told Boss because she said she wouldn’t let me be alone otherwise, but she continued to stay next to me anyways.
“I’m fine, Boss.”
“…But I’m not fine.”
“Don’t worry about what happened too much. We got this too.”
I held up the right arm of Kurukuru’s that Boss gifted me. The Scythe of Light shone, reflecting the moonlight shining down from the window.
“But what use is that?”
“What do you mean? This is an amazing weapon.”
Scythe of Light. Although it was a bit gross at the moment, once I clean it and use its blade to make a weapon, it would be comparable to most mythical-grade weapons.
“Do you want to use it?”
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Boss shook her head.
At that moment, I received a message from Jain.
[I think it’s because of what happened in the past~ Boss will be fine tomorrow~ She might even kick her blanket tonight in regret~]
[Ah, don’t forget to film her~]
Film her? That… sounded like a great idea.
I raised my smartwatch and began to film her openly.
Boss immediately flinched.
“…W-What are you doing?”
“Filming you. I won’t stop until you leave. If you want to keep your dignity as the boss, you know what to do.”
Boss fell into thought before jumping up.
“…Tell me if anything happens.”
She left the room afterward.
With my eyes, I could still see her guarding the door outside the room, but Jain appeared soon and dragged her away.
I sighed as soon as she disappeared.
I could finally be in peace.
I lied down and went into [Violet Banquet].
[You received a reply from Daehyun Chae Joochul.]
Four days ago, Chae Joochul notified the Truth Agency that he would hunt the devil known as ‘Plucas’. Naturally, I sent a drone to Plucas’ temple to observe the situation.
However, that wasn’t what was on my mind at the moment.
Kurukuru, you son of a bitch, you dare to kill me? I’ll send this world’s most tenacious and powerful enemy after you…. I began to type furiously.
As I was completing my sentence, the wind suddenly blew and enveloped my body.
It wasn’t that strange, except that I had kept the window closed.
I raised my head and looked at the window in surprise.
There, I saw an unexpected guest sitting on the windowsill.
Deep navy hair and eyes flickering with dangerous magic power.
It was Jin Sahyuk.
She stared at me and clicked her tongue.
“That surprised me. Why are you here?”
“…I heard you died, but you’re alive and well.”
“What’d you say?”
I frowned. How did she find out that I died?
“Did you come to get beaten up again?”
I didn’t want to fight her in my current state, but I kept up my façade anyways.
“No, no, I’m not here to fight. I just heard some piece of shit idiot say that you died, so I came to see… see you. You know him, right? Bell. T-That son of a bitch lied to me.”
Thankfully, Jin Sahyuk was scared off. She pretended to be fine, but she couldn’t even meet my eyes.
“We can fight if you want to.”
“I, I told you I’m, I’m not here to fight.”
“…I just wanted to sp… spit on your corpse if you did….”
Right, this was the Jin Sahyuk I knew.
I suddenly remembered an episode from the original novel. Jin Sahyuk had cooperated with Kim Suho to defeat a devil, saying that she was the one who would kill Kim Suho.
“It’s true. I did die. I just came back to life afterward.”
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“It’s my skill.”
Jin Sahyuk’s face contorted. What kind of an overpowered skill is that? She grumbled and said as she glanced at my body.
“There’s someone who can kill you?”
I didn’t answer her question.
I suddenly had a strange thought.
‘Did the co-author leave her as the ‘final boss’, or did he change her into a neutral character that could be persuaded?’
Although it was a bit sudden, this was an important question.
Even Kurukuru had been strengthened vastly. In this situation where enemies stronger than Kurukuru could appear at any time, Jin Sahyuk could become an ally as powerful as Kim Suho if she could be persuaded.
To find the answer, I returned a question.
“Hey, why do you live?”
“…I what? Are you picking a fight with me?”
Jin Sahyuk looked at me dumbfoundedly, but when she met my eyes, she flinched and looked away.
“People have their own reasons for living. I’m asking what’s yours.”
“…I didn’t come to hear bullshit. I’m leaving.”
“I confirmed you were alive. It’s even great now that I know you can revive. It means I can kill you multiple times.”
Jin Sahyuk tried to run away.
However, I extended Aether and grabbed her wrist.
I felt like I wouldn’t have another chance if I let her go. Jin Sahyuk would continue to avoid me, and when we met again in the future, a huge fight would surely break out.
This time, I asked in more detail.
“Do you want to return home?”
Jin Sahyuk paused for a moment but didn’t answer.
I had no choice but to throw out a word as bait.
Immediately, Jin Sahyuk stiffened. Her body froze in place and her magic power turned cold.
Jin Sahyuk creaked her head towards me. Shock and suspicion flickered in her eyes.
“D-Don’t tell me… you’re a Transmigrator too?”
I smiled and shook my head.
“Don’t fuck with me—!”
Jin Sahyuk suddenly yelled. Damn, what if Boss hears you and rushes over?
“Answer me! How do you know the royal family’s name!?”
“We can talk about that later when we have the chance.”
“You humiliated me this much knowing that!?”
Jin Sahyuk’s tone changed. She came into the room, grabbed me by the collar, and yelled.
“…You might die if you don’t let go now.”
Five seconds until Boss came.
I raised my hand and began to count down with my fingers.
Five, four, three, two….
However, I seemed to have touched Jin Sahyuk’s reverse dragon scale with the royal family’s name, as she refused to back down.
Then, when I finally finished counting down…
Spartan’s signal suddenly rang in my ear. It meant something happened on the 27th floor.
This woman kept shouting at my face, but I was out of time.
Spartan summoned me forcefully, and I was pulled into the Tower.
1. In Asian mythology, dragons have a 'reverse scale' that, if touched, incurs the dragon's wrath.
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