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Chapter: 107


Chapter 107

[Darongi requests that you open his Inventory.]

I checked his Inventory.

[Centipede Pearl]

A consumable item that greatly increases poison resistance.

Imparts a particularly strong resilience against insect/snake poison.

Duration: 360 seconds

"Darongi, you…"

I stroked his little head. This thieving genius did it again.

"You brought thirty of these?"

Darongi nodded. But the rascal didn’t intend on meekly giving me the Centipede Pearls. Just like when we first met, he wanted something from me.

"I’ll give you acorns."

[!!!] marks appeared above his head at the mention of acorns. I bought them out of curiosity, but it turned out that Darongi went crazy for the things.

[Darongi wishes to trade with his master.]

[Trade complete.]

The thirty Centipede Pearls in Darongi’s Inventory were moved to mine. I gave acorns to get Centipede Pearls. He had probably gotten the pearls by digging into the ground and finding the bodies of the Pearl Centipedes, or something like that.

‘Impressive.’

At least when it came to ‘thieving’, Darongi possessed far higher talent and skill than me.

In any case, we cleared the Centipede Cave. My preparations for the U-Plex Dungeon were nearly complete.

After going back home, I pulled out the notepad and checked the contents once again.

–Late September 2018. Dungeon precursors occur near Hyundai Dept. Store.

That was what was originally written in the notepad, and after I regressed, I added a detailed explanation.

–Gas leak smells. Ant swarms. Weak tremors.

Those were the precursors. And then, two days afterwards:

–Sept. 29, 2018. Main door of the U-Plex dungeonizes.

I told the others that I didn’t know when or where the dungeon would form, but I knew it down to the day. I didn’t know the time, but the date was September 29.

–Estimated casualties when dungeon first formed: ~800.

The 800 or so people who were in the U-Plex as it transformed into a dungeon were trapped in it and lost their lives.

–Oct. 3, 2018. Dungeon break.

We wouldn’t be able to clear the U-Plex Dungeon legitimately. A proper clear would only become possible much later. As expected of a dungeon with a staggering four floors, the clear difficulty was nothing to scoff at. It was nearly impossible for us to clear it without a special strat at our levels.

After tidying my notes, I turned my thoughts to the strategies, running from the Big Black Dogs on the 1st floor all the way to Noah on the 4th.

‘The highest difficulty dungeon that can be cleared in the level 30s.’

Of course, it was only possible if you knew the ins and outs of the strategy. As I said earlier, it was a place so difficult it could never be cleared by Players in their level 30s without knowing the strategy, though it did have rewards to match.

Having gotten five acorns and scarfed all of them down, Darongi sat on my head, patted his bulging belly, and fell fast asleep.

‘Tomorrow… is September 27th, huh.’

There was one day before the precursors began.

‘I should prevent what I can.’

That was the right thing to do, especially if they weren’t even Players but regular people who didn’t know anything.

‘I will do my best… within the scope of what I can do.’

I contacted the Guildmaster of Taeguk Shield, Song Kiyeol.

–I have something to tell you. Let’s meet up.

* * *

Song Kiyeol went to President Song Kiyoung with a heavy heart.

"Well then. What happened?"

"I have just had a meeting with Player Kim Hyukjin."

"Is that so?"

Song Kiyoung straightened. He was very pleased with his grandson’s attitude lately. Kiyeol looked like he was trying to learn a lot from Kim Hyukjin.

‘Hm. What will he say?’

He, a grandfather satisfied with his grandson’s growth, listened quietly to what Kiyeol had to say and found himself stunned.

"...He said the U-Plex and Hyundai Department Store operating perfectly fine need to be closed down? Does he know what that would mean? The Internet’s already having a field day with the reports of gas leaks or whatever as it is."

Song Kiyeol was a little surprised. Honestly speaking, it wasn’t as bad as President Song made it sound. It was just a few people saying they smelled gas in the building and saw an ant swarm, minor stuff like that.

"He wants us to suddenly close our doors? And without being able to give sufficient official notice? Isn’t that essentially admitting that there’s a problem with the department store? How should we compensate the customers for wasting their time coming to closed doors?"

Song Kiyoung intentionally put a look of rage on his face. From his expression, it looked like he was saying ‘Is this all your discernment amounts to? Will you just nod and bow to everything Kim Hyukjin says?’

Kiyeol felt sweat run down his back, and not because he was scared of his grandfather.

Kim Hyukjin had said the following:

–President Song will likely say something like how there’s not enough time to give sufficient official notice, mention a few signs of dungeon opening, and talk about the time customers wasted coming for nothing.

As if Hyukjin already saw this conversation happen, he even went on to say:

–He’ll make himself look very incensed. But as Guildmaster Song knows, that isn’t real rage, but a test for you.

Kiyeol began to see things he hadn’t seen before. Meeting Kim Hyukjin had sharpened his insight.

"If Kim Hyukjin is correct, then we will obtain a profit beyond description."

Even at the cost of losses, they proactively prevented customers from coming into harm’s way, saving many lives. They would be telling the public that Sungshin’s Taeguk Shield had the ability… to predict the future.

"In addition, we will be able to build an even closer relationship of trust with Kim Hyukjin, the Player who can be called the front-runner of the new culture wave."

"And if Kim Hyukjin’s words were merely unfounded worries?"

"If he was wrong, then we will have obtained a card with which to pressure him."

"You are suggesting closing down the department store with that alone?"

Song Kiyeol recalled Hyukjin’s words again.

–He will not agree to close down the department store with that alone. Not if he’s the President Song Kiyoung I know.

Kiyeol bit his lips a little. Kim Hyukjin met his grandfather just one time and figured him out to such an extent. Kiyeol had seen his grandfather for thirty years and was only now starting to see the depths of his grandfather’s character.

"We will be able to show the public our stance of ‘Lives come first’, even at the cost of profit and slight slander and reproach."

"..."

After looking at his grandson for a long while, President Song suddenly burst out in a guffaw.

"Kiyeol. Tell me honestly."

"About what, sir?"

"Did you come up with everything you said and thought?"

Kiyeol responded honestly. "No, sir. My thoughts are heavily influenced by the conversation I had with Kim Hyukjin."

"I see. I thought as much." Song Kiyoung thought it was very amusing. "Kim Hyukjin. Kim Hyukjin, you say."

He had a background check done, but there wasn’t anything all that special about the boy. He was an ordinary person born to an ordinary family, and yet, he was extraordinary.

"How amusing. Alright then. If that place dungeonizes… What do you intend to do with our Taeguk Shield? Surely you aren’t planning on entrusting everything to Kim Hyukjin’s party and sitting around sucking your thumbs, no?"

* * *

I got the news via the Internet. Actually, it didn’t balloon into that big of an issue.

[The Hyundai Department Store in Sinchon suspends operation for a safety inspection.]

There were a few articles about how people were inconvenienced by the sudden safety inspection.

‘Ant swarms have been found, and people also smelled gas. There were also people who claimed they felt faint tremors.’

Rumors of that sort popped up on the Internet like urban myths. There was also some talk that the suspension of business might be because of those strange occurrences.

‘The future is changing once again because of me.’

I wouldn’t regret it. I had already finished telling the party everything they had to know. We went around learning the terrain of the dungeon and the Hyundai Department Store, as well as the locations of the escalators. We also had the Centipede Pearls we needed.

I checked the notepad one more time.

–Sept. 29, 2018. Main door of the U-Plex dungeonizes.

I prayed that no one would be inside when it happened. No matter how hard Sungshin worked to inform the public, many people would come without hearing the announcement. Even if people were warned not to come, there were always people who did the opposite of what they were told. We just had to hope there wouldn’t be anyone like that.

The morning of the 29th dawned. Since I didn’t know when the U-Plex would turn into a dungeon, we arranged to stand by in the vicinity of the front doors early in the morning.

"Boss Hyukjin. This place’ll really become a dungeon?"

"Hm. My Precognitive Dream said so."

"Precognitive Dream is so fascinating. Ah!"

Yeonseo spotted someone—the Golden Priest Gong Jinhoon, as well as the Poison Witch Cheon Sooji.

"Are the Taeguk Shielders coming too?"

"They’ve just come to put on a front. We’ll be the ones doing the clear."

They were here to show that Taeguk Shield wasn’t just sitting on its thumbs, or more precisely, to earn marks from President Song Kiyoung.

"Oppa. I’m against that unnie," said Sunhwa, her words full of stubborn determination.

Yeonseo nodded. "Yeah, me too."

What nonsense were they coming up with so early in the morning? I just ignored them and let them be.

"Everyone remember what I said?"

A chorus of yeses met me. I had shared the overall strategy with them while Senia wasn’t present. I would of course have to tell them the complete details ‘on-site’, but they had a definite outline.

‘1st floor.’

The 1st floor was primarily populated by ‘Big Black Dogs’. Their levels would probably show up as a ‘?’ for me. They were impossible to hunt head-on.

‘There will even be a boss monster.’

A monster even stronger than the Big Black Dogs would be there as well. I took deep breaths. It would be alright. We could do it.

"Oh! Oppa, something’s happening to the front doors."

At 8:40 am, the dungeonization began, starting with the front doors. Notices were sent to all the Players in the vicinity.

[A dungeon has been generated.]

[The ‘U-Plex’ is starting to transform into the ‘U-Plex Dungeon’.]

The U-Plex began dungeonizing as expected, but there was something different from the past.

[No ‘humans with lifeforce’ have been sensed within the ‘U-Plex’.]

That was what I had aimed for, in order to minimize the casualties and to prevent needless slaughter.

[The activation condition for the ‘U-Plex Dungeon’ has not been satisfied.]

But the notice was a little strange. The activation conditions weren’t satisfied? Did that mean the dungeon’s activation would be canceled? I felt a lurch of dismay. In my plans, this was a place we absolutely had to clear.

[A System revision is occurring to satisfy the activation condition of the ‘U-Plex Dungeon’.]

I made my assessment instantly. The moment I saw the words ‘System revision’, I knew what it was. It would increase its range until it collected enough ‘humans with lifeforce’. 

I was sure of it.

[The ‘U-Plex Dungeon’ is expanding.]

[The ‘U-Plex Dungeon’ cannot be forcibly entered from the outside without a ‘special right’.]

In order to swallow and consume living humans to meet the activation conditions, the dungeon began to expand.

‘I will…’

I could prevent the expansion. I could prevent a portion of the people in Sinchon from being swallowed by the dungeon.

‘...prevent it!’

____


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