Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 66
Leveling with the Gods
“W-What the hell is all this?”
“But it’s not that hot…”
“Were they all burnt to death?”
There were far more scorched spider monsters in this room than any of the previous rooms. Dozens, maybe even a hundred giant spiders even larger than the ones in the previous rooms lay dead.
And that wasn’t all.
“Look over there!” one of the party members shouted, focusing the group’s attention to where they were pointing.
Their finger pointed up at the ceiling.
Hoon’s eyes widened after seeing what was up there.
“That’s actually a spider?”
A spider the size of a house with dozens of legs was dead on the ceiling. It wasn’t entirely clear because it had been burnt black, but it appeared to have had hundreds of eyes on its back.
It was obvious to anyone who wasn’t an idiot. It was the boss of this dungeon. Agrea, the queen of spiders who hadn’t been defeated for years now.
“It died while stuck on the ceiling?”
While his companions were lost in confusion, Hoon jumped up. Running across the wall, he reached the ceiling, kicking Agrea’s corpse and dropping it to the floor.
Because of how massive the corpse was, the chamber shook for a moment.
Hoon closely inspected Agrea’s corpse as the purple flames started to extinguish themselves.
‘It wasn’t only burnt by fire,’ he thought.
Inspecting the corpse would give him an approximate idea of the killer’s skills. And coming from a martial clan specializing in the sword, Hoon was exceptional at reading traces of swordsmanship.
‘These marks were definitely created by a sword. The sword’s length is approximately 1.3 meters. They manage to slice through Agrea in a single swing after softening it with heat.’
Having checked the slash mark, Hoon was able to picture the fight in his head.
The monstrously-large Agrea. A player that can control purple fire. And the player’s movement, slicing Agrea in a single strike while it screamed in agony from being burnt alive.
Hoon felt a chill up his spine. He wondered what might happen if he had to fight the player that did this.
Looking around at his surroundings, he realized that there weren’t any burn marks on the chamber itself.
He had never heard of a skill that could do something like this.
“Was this maybe done by a Ranker?” he said, thinking out loud.
That was the only possible conclusion he could come to. The one who did this was simply too powerful for it to have been a player on just the 11th Floor.
But that still beckoned the question, ‘Why would a Ranker come all the way down here?’
There was no reason for a Ranker to raid a dungeon on the lower floors. It’d be much better to raid the dungeons on the upper floors to level up. Not to mention a Ranker would get ridiculed by other Rankers if they were found to be raiding a dungeon on a lower floor.
“… We’ll have to go back,” Hoon said.
The boss room that was found sooner than expected had already been cleared by someone else who got there before them through a different route.
Hoon had no choice but to give up on this dungeon.
* * *
* * *
ᗌ Classification : material
ᗌ A thread from the Spider Queen Agrea. It has a high mana conductivity, and it is super elastic. It is also harder than steel.
After checking what he reaped from the dungeon, YuWon put the lump of thread the size of his head into his inventory.
“I got lucky.”
He ended up hitting an unexpected jackpot in the dungeon he entered on a whim to test out his skill.
‘This much should fetch at least 1,000 points. Alternatively, I could also just keep it and use it later.’
He was already in a good mood when he stumbled upon this jackpot.
After exiting the dungeon, YuWon called forth mana to his hand.
A purple fire appeared above his palm.
He couldn’t feel any heat because [Holy Fire] was a skill that only damaged targets that YuWon designated.
‘It’s even greater than I expected.’
There were things that simply couldn’t be explained by the text in a skill window.
Having become a skill, the ability to wield the [Holy Fire] became engraved into his instincts. However, without actually using the skill, it was impossible to understand the full capabilities of how to use it.
That’s why YuWon wanted to test it out before the test.
‘For being an S plus-ranked skill, the firepower isn’t that great, but that’s inevitable with a low proficiency… But that’s not what’s important.’
[Holy Fire] was a fire that grew bigger by eating the opponent’s emotions, which was one of the scariest abilities that Outers possessed.
Controlling one’s emotions was difficult no matter how strong a mental fortitude one possessed. This applied to fear as well.
Spiders were naturally afraid of fire, so as soon as YuWon manifested the [Holy Fire,] it quickly grew by feeding on the spiders’ emotions. In that situation, [Holy Fire] had a greater effect than any fire-type skills he knew.
‘Once I have a higher Arcane Power stat as well as a higher proficiency, the effect should increase manyfold.’
He had obtained quite a lot in this hunt, including raising the completion rate of [Heaven-Slaying Star,] which had stagnated during his long stay on the 10th Floor.
[Completion rate: 91.67%]
YuWon was now in the final stretch of completing [Heaven-Slaying Star.] It being an incomplete skill, YuWon was excited to see what kind of effect it would have once it was completed.
‘This is going faster than I expected.’
His current growth speed was much faster than originally planned, but as the path ahead was thorny and treacherous, he couldn’t be satisfied with his current progress.
After returning to the inn, YuWon found a group of players gathered around, loitering in front of his room. They all had worried looks on their faces.
“What are you guys doing in front of someone else’s room?” YuWon asked.
As he walked down the hallway, they focused their gazes on YuWon.
There were a total of eight players, none of which YuWon had met before.
“Are you… YuWon, by chance?” one of them asked.
As expected, their business was with YuWon.
The fact that YuWon had arrived on the 11th Floor and was going to participate in the test was already well known. That was unavoidable since the team list for the next test had already been publicly announced.
After taking a second to think on how he should respond, YuWon nodded his head. “So?” he said, thinking that it was pointless to lie.
“We are fellow members of Team A, like you. My name is Halimun.”
YuWon nodded his head, signaling them to go on.
Halimun, glad to know that YuWon intended to hear them out, carried on. “As you know, the teams are highly disproportionate in this test. Team B has many well-known players, such as NamGung Hoon.”
YuWon already knew all this, but he simply didn’t care. However, the same couldn’t be said of everyone other than YuWon.
“About half the players on Team A have already forfeited, but there are still half remaining,” Halimum said.
“And is that because of me?” YuWon asked.
YuWon’s perceptiveness made Halimun nod his head in surprise.
“Yes. There are many skilled players on Team B, but I’m sure none of them are on your level. The remaining half believe that because you are on the team—”
“And that has nothing to do with the fact that you guys are out of points?” YuWon interrupted Halimun.
Maybe it was because YuWon hit the nail on the head, but Halimun and the others looked away.
On every floor, every time you took the test, players had to pay a test fee. The test fee was as low as 100 points and as high as 1,000 points. For YuWon this was chump change, but that wasn’t the case for your average lower-floor players.
On top of that, if you failed a test and wanted to try again, you had to pay the test fee again. This meant that quite a significant number of players gave up on climbing the Tower, being unable to pay the seemingly exorbitant test fees.
“Since it’d be a waste of points to just give up, you want to make an attempt by rallying around someone reliable. Is that it? YuWon asked.
“That’s a rude accusation…!”
“We just wanted to discuss how we could pass the test together…”
“I have something to say about that,” YuWon said while walking past the players to his room. “If you value your lives, just give up. There’s nothing that amazing up there that’s worth potentially dying a meaningless death.”
YuWon already knew well what lay at the top of the Tower, as well as the power that Rankers ended up attaining.
Most people that climbed the Tower revered the power of Rankers, wishing for a taste of that very same power and the influence that came with it.
‘It’s all meaningless,’ YuWon thought to himself.
9 out of 10, or more like 99 out of 100 people would lose their lives in the process.
And this test was even more dangerous than usual.
‘I should be the only one to enter this tiger’s den.’
This test was rigged, aimed at YuWon, and the other members of Team A were simply the sacrificial lambs.
Thinking that there was no need for them to be moths flying into the flames, he wished that they would give up on this test.
“Now if you have nothing else to say, go away. It’s not a pretty sight, being gathered around a stranger’s room,” YuWon said while opening his door. He had nothing more to say to them.
Halimun, who had been gritting his teeth from the humiliation, opened his mouth while trembling, “So you’re also just going to give up?”
Half the team had already forfeited the test. If YuWon also gave up, the remaining 1% chance would vanish.
“No,” Yuwon replied, contrary to Halimun’s expectations. “I’m going to challenge the test.”
“Huh? But you just told us to give up, and that…”
YuWon glanced back at Halimun and other players while closing the door, leaving them with a final line, “That only applies to you guys.”
The door closed.
They didn’t go away right away, so YuWon could hear whispering outside his door. If he tried hard, he would be able to make out what they were saying, but he didn’t bother.
‘I wonder how many of them will give up,’ he thought.
There weren’t many that valued their life so little that they would be willing to challenge the test even while knowing Yuwon wasn’t going to cooperate with them. So for anyone that remained, it meant that they were that desperate, and so they’d be at least somewhat useful.
‘I’m colliding with them sooner than planned… but this is actually good.’
He couldn’t avoid the challenge even while knowing it was a trap. Regardless of this test, Olympus was sure to continue coming after YuWon.
From the moment he got in the way of them capturing Hephaestus, they ended up in an irreparable relationship.
‘The larger the trap, the more likely it is to get noticed by the Administrator. I know Olympus is going to try their hardest to eliminate me while I’m still on the lower floors.’
Having deeply interfered with the test, Olympus was now also exposed to danger. That was why YuWon decided to jump in headfirst even while knowing it was a trap.
“Bring it on, Olympus.”
This wasn’t just a test to move on to the next floor. It was why YuWon spent days honing his senses, which had become dull from returning to the past, to their maximum.
And thus, time flew, and the day of the test dawned.