Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 32
YuWon was attacked by a few more Jackal gangs after that, but every single confrontation ended similarly.
There were some groups as small as 10 people and some as large as 30, but none of them managed to find YuWon while he used [Stealth.]
The most skilled Jackal ended up being Phatayo, among the first ones he had encountered. He was at least able to vaguely see through YuWon’s [Stealth.]
Though none of this was really all that surprising. To begin with, it would be weird for a skilled player to be in a Jackal group. They might have the nickname of a ferocious beast, but that was only the case to new players who knew nothing about the Tower. At the end of the day, Jackals were just a band of dropouts that didn’t believe they could climb the Tower.
After taking care of multiple Jackal groups, YuWon finally arrived in the city.
This was the central region inside the 1st Floor, and countless players lived here. Using points as currency, they had formed a society here.
And within the city…
“One order of Martial Realm meat stir-fry, and an aguardiente* please. Here’s 5p.”
*TL/N: Terms for alcoholic beverages that contain 29%-60% ABV (Alcohol by Volume).
YuWon went to the restaurant called Tara.
He found food from the Martial Realm quite appetizing. Not only was it similar to food from his world, but YuWon had always liked Chinese food. When the apocalypse struck, he wasn’t able to have any for decades, but here, he was able to have as much as he wanted by just paying a few points.
“Here’s the stir-fry and aguardiente.”
The owner of the establishment brought him his food and the bottle of alcohol, which was the size of a child’s palm.
While eating his food, YuWon looked out the window of the restaurant.
The food was as delicious as he had remembered.
Tara was a restaurant on the 1st Floor that YuWon used to frequent.
‘It went out of business about 20 years ago…’
After having a sip of the aguardiente, he could feel the warm fuzziness of the alcohol spreading throughout his body.
This was also his first drink in a long time.
YuWon didn’t enjoy being drunk, but he always welcomed a beverage to complement his meal.
“It was delicious. Have a great day.”
Feeling good, YuWon gave the restaurant owner an additional 5p as a tip.
Having received a large tip, which wasn’t very common, the restaurant owner smiled widely.
Next, YuWon went over to a cafe with a nice view.
“Please give me an order of any tea and fruit please.”
The buzz from the alcohol wore off quickly. YuWon utilized the mana inside his body to scatter the drunk feeling from within.
At the terrace at the top of a building, Longjing* tea was served to him.
*TL/N: A type of green tea, also known as Dragon Well tea.
It wasn’t a very expensive tea. You could find it in just about any cafe within the Tower.
Appreciating the fragrance, YuWon wore a smile of satisfaction. It had been a long time since he could enjoy such a leisurely time and view.
‘This is something that’s nice about having returned.’
After going all out, non-stop, he had slowly become fatigued.
YuWon looked at the view from the 5th Floor where the cafe was located.
The city in the central region of the 1st Floor was far bigger than Seoul. It had high-rise skyscrapers, restaurants that sold food from various worlds, cafes, pubs, and entertainment facilities. This world that operated with points as the currency looked quite peaceful and beautiful.
The thought came to him that it was the right call to return.
YuWon continued to drink his tea without thinking much more. And when he could see the bottom of his cup, he took out the fragment of the 「Helm of Invisibility」 from his pocket.
‘Unlike the real 「Helm of Invisibility,」 it’s not perfect at [Stealth.] I wonder if it’s because it’s still unrefined, and I’m not skilled enough.’
A fragment of the 「Helm of Invisibility.」 Its original name was the 「Dark Divine Crystal.」 It was a gem known to hold an infinite amount of power. The players from earth would even jokingly call it an ‘Infinity Stone.’ As such, it was an object that held tremendous amounts of mana. However, it was entirely up to the capability of the user to draw out and use that power.
‘I’m not sure about the limits of its power, but I’ll need to refine it first.’
The Ruler of the Underworld, Hades. The 「Helm of Invisibility」 was an item used by him, and it granted perfect [Stealth.]
YuWon guessed that the 「Helm of Invisibility」 was an item that maximized the power of the 「Dark Divine Crystal.」
‘[Stealth] isn’t the only problem.’
YuWon had previously seen Hades in battle wearing the 「Helm of Invisibility.」
‘The reason why Zeus was able to claim the position as the Ruler of the Skies and become the king of Olympus was because he had obtained the fragment of the Lightning Bolt first.’
It was an object that allowed the current Olympus and the Olympus of the distant future to exist.
‘Who could properly handle this…’
After finishing his tea, YuWon stood up. Break time was now over.
‘I’ll get to see Ahjussi again.’
After finishing taking a break, YuWon registered as a player at the Rankings Registration Office located at the center of the city.
Player registration was a process where new players were given a number, a ranking, and a ‘player kit.’
A player kit was a crystal that could be used by imbuing it with the user’s mana. Because a mana’s property was unique to each person like a fingerprint, once you registered your mana at the Rankings Registration Office, you could pull up a player’s number and information on the kit by using their mana.
In a way, a player kit was similar to a smartphone. You could look up various events and incidents around the Tower using the internet, and you could even communicate with someone on the same floor by using their registered number. A player kit was an essential item needed to live inside the Tower.
“Was it here?”
YuWon scratched his head while walking around according to his memories. He thought he kinda knew where it was, and it did turn out that he only kinda knew. It was actually incredibly difficult to find the location just by knowing the general direction it was in.
‘And I don’t really have anyone I can ask.’
In the end, he had to search for it by foot.
And so YuWon ended up in an alleyway in the outskirts of the city.
“J-Just a few points.”
“My child is starving. Mister, please…”
If the center of the city was the day, then this place was the night. There was a gathering of beggars, dropout players, and citizens that were born inside the Tower.
“Give me everything you—kugh!”
“Damn it. You bastard! How dare you do this to our—agh!”
Naturally, most of them chose to steal rather than beg, robbing the occasional players that entered the alleyway.
There were four or five of them. And since they were guys that couldn’t move onto the next floor or even find a proper job here, they were obviously weak.
“If you really can’t stand living like this, then go up.”
“And don’t even think about taking this out on someone else.”
YuWon went ahead and broke an arm and a leg from each player that attacked him. He had no intention of showing pity.
Most of the people that had decided to remain here were still experiencing the fear from the Tutorial, people who only managed to enter the Tower by surviving somehow. People who weren’t confident they could overcome the trials on their own, and instead resorted to taking others’ belongings.
Pity? There was no one around who was capable of showing something like that.
A familiar sound.
It came from quite a ways away. YuWon let go of the arm of the player that had attacked him, so he could go find the source of this sound that he had been looking for.
The sound grew louder.
In the deepest depths of a back alleyway, there was a shabby blacksmith that radiated intense heat.
“So it was here.”
YuWon walked into the blacksmith’s workshop. When he parted the curtains that were in place of a door, he felt a rush of even more intense heat.
The entrance was only slightly hot, while the inside of the workshop was like being steamed alive.
The rhythmic beat of hammering steel.
But soon, a different sound emerged.
The sound of plunging hot steel into water.
From the room where the hammering was coming from, a voice came out.
“Didn’t you say you had to work in the morning?”
It was a thick, rough voice.
YuWon waited for the owner of the voice to walk out.
A moment later,
From behind a firmly shut steel door, a blacksmith with a dark tan walked out.
The man walked with a limp. Holding a heavy hammer, he looked at YuWon with curiosity.
“Huh? Who are you?”
After looking him up and down, the man was pleasantly surprised. YuWon looked entirely normal, unlike the thugs and beggars that roamed the alleys.
“Isn’t that the Pyromancy Robe? You don’t look like you’re from around these parts. Are you lost?”
The man instantly recognized and commented on the 「Pyromancy Robe.」 It wasn’t all that surprising. It was a fairly well-known item, and it cost way too much for a player on the 1st Floor to wear. It was something you’d normally never see in a slum like this.
“No, I’m in the right place.”
“Are you sure?”
“Is this not a blacksmith’s workshop?”
“What? You wanna buy some equipment?”
After listening to YuWon, the man picked his ear as if he had lost interest. He then pointed at a wall with some cheap equipment.
“If you’re fine with these, go ahead. Though I’m not sure if they’ll be any better than what you have already.”
After hearing the man speak, YuWon started appraising the items on the wall one by one.
YuWon’s brows furrowed.
ᗌ A sword so poorly made, the blade has no edge. It’s more of a blunt weapon than a sword.
The object was barely a sword, even having a pathetic description. A sword like this wouldn’t even be able to cut an apple without imbuing mana into it. The apple would get smashed instead of sliced.
“They’re all failures.”
The man frowned slightly at YuWon’s brutally honest criticism. It might have been true, but he was talking about something he personally made. Who would be happy to hear their creation called a failure right to their face?
“It seems you’re not that talented at breaking stuff.”
The blacksmith’s expression shifted. He looked confused by what YuWon had said.
YuWon looked away from the broken equipment and stared right at the man.
“Your name’s Vulcaro, right, Ahjussi?”
The man was surprised by YuWon calling him with familiarity. He knew his name. That meant that it was no coincidence that YuWon had entered his workshop, which was deep inside a hard-to-navigate slum.
“Who sent you here?”
Vulcaro tightened the grip on his hammer. A weak mana radiated around him.
YuWon quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out a player kit.
“You don’t have to be so wary. I’m a new player that just got to the 1st Floor.”
“A new player?”
Vulcaro looked at the player kit in YuWon’s hand.
On the marble-like player kit, the number one was engraved into it. It signified the highest floor the player had conquered.
The number one. It wouldn’t make sense if a player that managed to earn a 「Pyromancy Robe」 in the Tutorial was unable to conquer the 2nd Floor. And in Vulcaro’s eyes, YuWon didn’t seem like a coward like the players in the slums that had given up, afraid of the Tower’s trials.
This meant that he really was a new player that hadn’t challenged the 2nd Floor yet.
“… So you’re telling the truth.”
Vulcaro lowered his hammer back down.
YuWon let out a sigh of relief. If their talk had gone sour and Vulcaro had swung his hammer, a catastrophe might have occurred.
‘Ahjussi is as quick-tempered as always.’
YuWon was surprised that he’d raised his hammer after simply being called Vulcaro.
‘If I had called him by his real name, he might have actually thrown it at me.’
YuWon decided he should pretend to be ignorant of the truth for a little while. But with this, he had managed to make him slightly lower his guard.
Vulcaro looked at YuWon with a gaze that was asking, ‘So what business do you have with me?’
In response, YuWon showed his hand.
“The reason why I came here wasn’t to buy pre-made equipment, but…”
In YuWon’s palm…
“To commission you to make me an item.”
… Was a black crystal. The fragment of the 「Helm of Invisibility」 shone, letting out a black light.