Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 36
In a large cave…
“Wow. There was a place like this?”
“It is really big.”
“It’s damp and humid, and there’s a weird smell…”
“It was supposedly home of a Lizardmen tribe, though it’s been a while since it was cleared out.”
“Anyway, there sure are a lot of us.”
A bunch of people had gathered inside during the day. They were all players wearing white jackal masks, people who made a living by hunting 1st Floor players.
“There’s gotta be at least a thousand of us.”
“There were this many Jackals?”
“We’re so spread out, it can’t be helped that we weren’t aware.”
“Is this the first time all of us gathered together in one place?”
Jackals consisted of a network of small gangs, which meant that their presence was dispersed. Gathering together would defeat the purpose of their organizational structure, so it couldn’t be helped that this was the first time they had all come together.
“I heard that that team over there obtained Floch’s Viper.”
“Floch’s Viper? Doesn’t that go for about 10,000 points?”
“Damn. Our team got fucking nothing this time around…”
“Hey, at least you guys got a few nice looking gals. I’m sure they’d fetch a pretty penny on the black market.”
“Hehe. That’s true. If it weren’t for the captain…”
The Jackals’ chitchat suddenly died down. It was because of one Jackal that had just arrived at the cave.
“Are all of you here?”
It was a Jackal wearing a red mask, the King of the Jackals. Mu WoonCheon had appeared.
“This is my first time seeing him in person.”
“Is that really the guy, captain?”
The Jackals who had never seen WoonCheon before asked each of their captains. The captains responded by simply nodding their heads.
When the Jackal captains got down on one knee and bowed their heads, the others followed suit. It was a sight to behold, a thousand Jackals bowing to one person.
WoonCheon smiled proudly behind his mask.
“Everyone, now rise.” Having enjoyed the greeting, WoonCheon signaled the Jackals to stand up with his hands.
And then the crowd started getting noisy.
“So it really is him…”
“He’s never shown himself before, so why now?”
“I heard he has a real bigshot backing him.”
“It’s not him that’s being backed, but us.”
“That’s how we were able to avoid the bureau till now…”
The cave had become noisy with chatter, and veins started bulging on WoonCheon’s forehead. He didn’t like this atmosphere.
“Whoever opens their mouth from this point…”
WoonCheon pulled out the sword that was hanging from his waist.
“I will cut off their head.”
Even inside the dimly lit cave, WoonCheon’s sword shone brightly.
The 「Moonlight Sword.」 It was an item far too pricey for any 1st Floor player to be wielding, but that weapon was in the hands of the King of Jackals right now.
The Jackals quieted down.
The captains also unsheathed their weapons and aimed them at the Jackals that were chattering, and the cave became dead silent in an instant.
WoonCheon lowered his sword before continuing.
“We have a mission to fulfill now.”
The few that spoke out of reflex quickly covered their mouths because of the glares shot at them by the Jackal captains.
After the small commotion ended, WoonCheon continued speaking, “I don’t know what the mission is. It will be a difficult one since it requires all of us, but I can tell you one thing for sure…”
WoonCheon clenched both of his hands and raised them up above his head.
“After today, we Jackals will ascend to the sky.”
The Jackals cheered at the short speech. Some were just going along with the crowd, but WoonCheon still smiled proudly.
“I shall introduce them to you.”
WoonCheon pointed towards the entrance of the cave.
Two people entered the cave. They were both wearing the same red jackal mask as WoonCheon, which was the symbol of the King of the Jackals.
Blonde hair and black hair poked out from each mask. It was Hargaan and YuWon.
“Thank you for coming all the way here.”
WoonCheon bowed towards the two and then handed them a thick envelope.
“A small token for you…”
“What is it?”
YuWon reached out and took the envelope. Opening and inspecting the contents, he saw that there was a bundle of paper with ‘1,000’ written on them. They were papers that had a special pattern engraved on them with a skill.
“It’s Asgardian currency, sir. Each bill is worth 1,000 points, and it’s the result of the collections this time around.”
Asgard had created a unique currency of their own. They were purchasable with points and usable like real monetary bills. And since it was backed by Asgard, they were guaranteed their worth.
“And this is everything from the collections?”
“Yes, sir. That’s everything.”
Hargaan took a look inside the envelope after hearing WoonCheon’s explanation.
Each bill was worth 1,000 points, and the envelope was quite thick. It was at least a few hundred bills thick, meaning it was a total of hundreds of thousands of points. Even though Hargaan had grown up inside Olympus, he couldn’t help but be shocked by the amount.
‘So he’s decided to completely jump ship,’ YuWon thought.
Seeing the amount, YuWon was sure that it was almost, if not all, of the money that the Jackals had made this time around. He knew that Agamemnon must have been waiting desperately for this money, so handing it over to him meant that WoonCheon had resolved himself to fully join YuWon’s side.
“Thanks for the gift,” YuWon replied, as if it wasn’t a big deal, putting the envelope inside his inventory.
YuWon looked over the 1,000 Jackals that had gathered inside the cave. There was truly no other gang like them. They packed the cave full.
While looking at them, YuWon smiled underneath his mask.
YuWon’s hand slowly came up, and hot mana gathered at the tip of YuWon’s fingers.
“It’s time to say goodbye.”
YuWon lightly snapped his fingers.
Starting right in front of YuWon, a massive fire started spreading across the cave.
“W-What is this?!”
The fire spread instantly. Red flames filled the cave in just moments, and a sharp-smelling smoke arose.
Shocked, WoonCheon quickly put some distance between him and the duo.
The cave descended into chaos.
‘Could this be…?’
WoonCheon thought back to the water that was covering the floor of the cave. He had assumed that the cave was just damp, but that wasn’t the case. The water-like liquid on the ground was helping the fire spread even faster instead of putting it out. It wasn’t water, but oil.
‘But why didn’t it smell…?’ WoonCheon wondered. Oil had a distinct smell.
And then an item came to mind. ‘The Scentless Powder!’
WoonCheon realized it. That item was capable of hiding the scent of the oil inside this cave. And it being a cave, it wasn’t out of place for the floor to be wet.
The nearby Jackals ran for the exit in an attempt to survive, but Hargaan’s hands moved in reaction.
The Jackals that had tried to escape were knocked back. YuWon and Hargaan stood in front of the exit to stop them from getting out.
WoonCheon looked back and forth between the Jackals that were burning alive and the duo. Everything had happened so quickly, he couldn’t process what was happening.
“W-What in the world is going on…?”
WoonCheon’s eyes filled with rage.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“What do you mean, ‘what we’re doing’?”
YuWon took off his mask and tossed it aside.
“We’re cleaning up.”
YuWon broke the mask with ease by stomping on it.
Following YuWon, Hargaan also took off and tossed aside the stuffy mask.
The two finally uncovered their faces, and WoonCheon finally understood that their goal wasn’t to cooperate with them.
“You guys… You’re not from Olympus.”
Hargaan responded after punching away another Jackal.
“I am from Olympus.”
“Because you guys are an embarrassment to Olympus.”
Hargaan firmly planted his feet at the entrance of the cave.
“And I’m going to cut you guys off with my very own hands.”
YuWon also cut down the Jackals that ran towards him without any hesitation. He had no intention of letting a single one of them leave there alive to begin with.
The entrance to the cave was the exit. There was no other escape route. That meant in order to escape from the fire, the Jackals had to get past Hargaan and YuWon to live.
WoonCheon took out his player kit in a hurry. There was only a single person that came to mind right now.
[Message could not be delivered.]
“Why?!” WoonCheon shouted while attempting to resend the message over and over again, asking for help, for Agamemnon to come to his location as fast as possible. “Why isn’t it working?!”
“A player kit is an object that sends a message by using the mana stored inside it,” YuWon said, laughing at WoonCheon struggle so pathetically. “Did you really think the player kit would work properly in the midst of a shitshow like this?”
The player kit delivered messages by organizing mana into text. So the way to disable a player kit was quite simple. One just had to flood the surrounding area with mana, which was exactly what was happening. The fire skill created a wall of mana around the cave, so any mana message ended up disintegrating, unable to make it past the wall.
As time went on, the fire got hotter instead of dying down.
Over half the Jackals had already burned to death.
“W-What are you all doing?!” WoonCheon shouted, pointing at YuWon and Hargaan. “Kill these bastards! Open a way already!” WoonCheon shouted at the top of his lungs.
It was a futile act. Even without him shouting as hard as he could, the Jackals were already running at the duo in order to live. And when they got close, they got their heads chopped off or were burnt to a crisp by an electric attack.
And before they realized it, the fire had gotten awfully close to WoonCheon.
Being out of options, WoonCheon unsheathed his sword. In order to survive, he had to fight.
WoonCheon ran forward while concentrating mana around his feet. He aimed for YuWon’s side while he was distracted by taking down a Jackal.
YuWon turned his head and the two locked eyes. His eyes were crimson.
‘I-I can’t move…’
For a second, WoonCheon’s body was petrified, like he had turned to stone.
Swinging his sword upward, YuWon sliced WoonCheon’s body in half in one go, cutting from his crotch to his head.
A red line appeared across WoonCheon’s body. His head rang, and he could no longer think. It was as if time froze. Everything felt slow. And before he lost consciousness, locking eyes with YuWon, he was able to hear the very last words of his life.
“I’ll put the money you gave me to good use.”