[‘Guardian Tower Scenario 01’ – ‘Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master’, is beginning.]
Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master. It was a trial I already knew about.
[‘Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master’ is composed of 5 chapters total.]
[Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master 01 - Lycanthrope Chapter, is beginning.]
The area around the Guardian Tower began to shimmer. Starting from the ground, the shimmer distorted the tower and warped the crosswalk under our feet. From within that distortion appeared the strongest enemy of the Tutorial Field, the Lycanthrope.
With a grin, Yeonseo said, "What the, this’ll be a breeze."
The humanoid wolf might have been a foe to fear in the Tutorial Field, but not anymore. I, of course, thought the same.
It didn’t take us very long to hunt down about thirty Lycanthropes.
After finishing off the last Lycanthrope with his Flame Whip, Sung-gu rolled his shoulders with an air of relaxation. "If it’s this easy, I can kill ‘em while on the shitter! Plop, splurt!"
"Please put a filter on your words."
"My bro, my dude, my windboy. You can’t catch ‘em while on the shitter ‘cause you’re weak, eh?"
"Why would I have to kill them while on the toilet?"
"It’s ‘cause you’re weak. Plop! Splurt!"
"Should I make you really shit yourself, right here?"
While Sung-gu and Sunghyun were having a meaningless quarrel, the second chapter began.
[Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master 02 - Orc Chapter, is beginning.]
The next monster to appear was a horde of Orcs made up of Orc Warriors, Great Orc Warriors, and Orc Archers. It was just a group of Orcs, and hunting an Orc horde at our current skill level wasn’t very difficult.
[Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master 02 - Orc Chapter, has been completed.]
It was around this time that the Guildmaster of Taeguk Shield, Song Kiyeol, and the Golden Priest Gong Jinhoon arrived. The Poison Witch Cheon Sooji was with them as well.
‘I knew they would come.’
Their arrival wasn’t unexpected—I had contacted them in advance. They made it just in time.
[At this point in the scenario, the field where the Guardian Tower scenario is taking place will be separated from the outside field.]
[Isolating from the outside field.]
From now on, you couldn’t enter the field from the outside or leave the field from the inside.
[Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master 03 - Orcanthrope Chapter, is beginning.]
The Orcanthropes’ levels were around 32.
The situation was very different from when we first encountered these monsters. Our levels were far higher, and even Orcanthropes were nothing to fear.
[Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master 03 - Orcanthrope Chapter, has been completed.]
We completed the first three scenarios without much difficulty. But I didn’t relax.
‘From the 4th scenario onwards, it’s the real deal.’
That was generally the case. Depending on the grade, there were Guardian Towers with four chapters, and some with five. From the 4th chapter onwards, the difficulty would rise exponentially.
‘What… will come out?’
I looked around.
‘We’re being given a little time.’
Between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd scenarios, there was almost zero delay in between. But before the 4th chapter, we were given a little time to catch our breath. That basically meant that a little preparation time was necessary for the 4th scenario.
‘The corpses aren’t disappearing.’
Not all dispatched monster corpses automatically disappeared, but all of the Orcanthrope corpses were perfectly intact. Naturally, the intense reek of blood was pervading the air.
‘A little time. The intact corpses.’
I figured out what monsters would appear in the 4th scenario.
* * *
Taeguk Shield’s Guildmaster, Song Kiyeol, could only be awed.
‘Hyukjin’s party… has visibly grown.’
Their movements were on a different level entirely from when he saw them face the Orcanthropes outside the 1st floor of the Players Association. This time, they very nearly overwhelmed the Orcanthropes. No one incurred any big injuries.
‘More than anything, their teamwork is extremely good.’
They were close to the ideal party, where everyone faithfully carried out their roles.
Cheon Sooji said, "Guildmaster. It doesn’t look like we’re needed here."
After getting the message from Hyukjin, they came here in a hurry, but their presence here seemed somewhat unnecessary. Just then, Sung-gu came running up to Sooji.
"You know that thing, that skull water?"
"You know, skull water! Venerable Wonhyo nasty water!"
TN: Venerable Wonhyo is a famous Korean monk who fell asleep in a cave, woke up in the middle of the night really thirsty, and drank some cool, refreshing water from a container he believed was a bowl. In the morning, he saw that he actually drank out of a human skull filled with dirty, rotten water and realized that it was his mind that determined truth and reality.
"Skull water? Nasty water?"
Wearing a tight-fitting black knitted one piece, Sooji folded her arms. Her bountiful chest, slender waist, and even her long, graceful legs were unable to draw Sung-gu’s interest.
"You know, that nasty water! Ah, what was its name again?"
Kiyeol realized what Sung-gu was talking about. "I think you must be talking about Rot Water."
"Yesss, that. Rot Water. Give me some of that."
"Right now? Why?"
Sung-gu didn’t intend on having a long conversation with Sooji. The characteristic intuition of a top Ranker told him there wasn’t much time.
"If you give me that, you’ll be able to have a drink with Hyukjin at night."
"Just the two of you."
When Sooji didn’t respond, Sung-gu thought, ‘Aw man, no matter how urgent the situation is, this isn’t gonna fly. I should just explain real quick.’
"Ah, I guess that won’t—huh?"
"Please tell him to be sure to keep his promise."
After getting the Rot Water, Sung-gu ran off without looking back and started sprinkling it all over the place. Then, he yelled, "Hey! Don’t just stand there! Spray this stuff all over."
Sooji found herself spraying Rot Water all over the field. Hyukjin’s party members worked busily, rearranging the Orcanthrope corpses.
When all their work was just about finished, the new chapter began.
[Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master 04 - Predator Tree Chapter, is beginning.]
Predator Trees appeared. Song Kiyeol, Cheon Sooji, and Gong Jinhoon saw them.
[Predator Tree LVL ?]
These monsters were capable of eating a Great Orc Warrior alive. Hyukjin, who had come up to Sooji at some point, relayed that information in a small voice.
They were nearly impossible for a Player of the same level to solo.
Producing their characteristic sound, the Predator Trees hungrily looked around, seeking prey.
Hyukjin and his party were prepared for their appearance. As the ones who had experienced Predator Trees before, Hyukjin and Sung-gu led the others in preparing a ‘flaming hell’ in advance.
Flames jumped up. The magic fire created by Sung-gu flickered bright red tongues of flame and surged up high into the air. Then, upon coming into contact with the Orcanthrope corpses and the Rot Water, they detonated with a powerful blast.
In mere seconds, the isolated space, the huge road where the Guardian Tower Master scenario was taking place, was swallowed in a blazing inferno so hot it melted the asphalt.
Amazingly enough, the scorching firestorm was perfectly contained within the field. Because of the reduced range, the flames were amplified even more. Raging with an intensity that sought to melt everything in the world, the firestorm filled the Guardian Field with red light.
In the midst of the inferno, Choi Sung-gu screamed. "GAH, FUCK! WHY ME!" His voice was filled with sincerity. "Why do I, the Jayangdong Firemaster, have to hug this frickin’ So Yoohyun!"
Choi Sung-gu, who had an extremely high affinity for fire and had absorbed the Tome of the Divine Fire Physique, was protecting So Yoohyun in his embrace. The outstanding tank, Kim Sunhwa, was protecting Shin Yeonseo with a massive shield. Song Kiyeol, who was already starting to be called the ‘Taeguk Shield’, could protect himself, as well as Gong Jinhoon next to him. The only person left was the Poison Witch Cheon Sooji.
Sooji could feel the man shielding her with his body. A certain man was lying completely on top of her.
Hyukjin put a hand over her mouth. From an outsider’s perspective, it looked as if Hyukjin were pressing her down.
"Don’t talk. The heat will invade your body."
But you’re talking, thought Sooji. She didn’t resist. She just entrusted her body to Hyukjin. She instinctively knew that if she was exposed to these flames without any defenses, there was no way she would escape unscathed.
‘He’s not sweating at all, not even a single drop.’
Pressed flat on the ground, Sooji gazed at Hyukjin’s face. As someone with a great deal of experience with men, she could tell.
‘He really is… indifferent?’
She couldn’t discern any emotions whatsoever from Hyukjin’s eyes. They were the cold eyes of a businessman doing business. Just that.
‘How can he be so calm with me under him?’
It was a slight kick to her pride. It really was an ‘anything goes’ situation, but she still felt her pride take a hit. Her powerful desire to possess this man blazed up as hot as the flames around her.
Desire to possess, lust, thirst, all of it billowed up within her.
‘In this exact position…’
One day, she would definitely embrace this man properly. She would make this man hers. Her heart writhed with the twisted desire to possess.
Yeonseo called out, "Boss Hyukjin! Can we hunt them now?"
The Predator Trees took a lot of damage from the flames. Hyukjin’s party members were able to hunt the enfeebled trees without much difficulty.
Yoohyun wiped the sweat from his brow. "Hyungnim. One wrong step, and I would’ve been burned up to a crisp."
If Sung-gu hadn’t hugged him tight, he would have been doomed. That was how strong the flames were.
[Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master 04 - Predator Tree Chapter, has been completed.]
As he wiped the sweat streaming down his face, Yoohyun laughed happily. "But really, trusting Hyungnim is what made such an easy clear possible, hahaha!"
* * *
I didn’t answer Yoohyun. I also turned a blind eye to the fact that the Poison Witch with the Sadistic / Erotic / Queen disposition was sporting a summary like [Lioness Blazing with a Twisted Desire to Possess]. There was something more important at hand.
For the 4th chapter, Predator Trees came out. So what about the 5th? As far as I knew, there were only two monsters that might appear for the 5th scenario.
‘One is the Big Black Dog, and the other is the Twin-Headed Big Black Dog.’
The strongest out of all the beginning period monsters I’d experienced so far were the Big Black Dog and the Twin-Headed Big Black Dog, monsters that were absolutely impossible to hunt straight on.
‘But in the Qualifications of a Guardian Tower Master scenario, we must hunt them.’
Hunt them? That was impossible for a regular Player. But for me, there was a chance.
[Thousand Dog Master]
Higher level title of Hundred Dog Master.
Induces complete submission of all pure dog monsters under level 40.
Grants extreme intimacy with all pure dog monsters between levels 40-50.
Grants weak intimacy with all pure dog monsters between levels 50-60.
Big Black Dogs and Twin-Headed Big Black Dogs were both level 40-50 monsters, so I would automatically get extreme intimacy with them through the effect of the Thousand Dog Master title.
‘But that isn’t complete submission.’
Intimacy was something that could break at any moment. If my opponent wanted to kill me, the intimacy they felt towards me would crumble, no matter how strong it was.
‘And plus, the Guardian Tower’s final scenario won’t be easy.’
I ran countless simulations in my head.
"This guy’s at it again. Meditating in the middle of a battle," Sung-gu grumbled.
"Shh. Be quiet for once. You’re bothering Hyukjin hyung."
All conversation went in one ear and out the other, all too naturally. I heard them without hearing them. There was only the Guardian Tower in my eyes. The air around the Guardian Tower, the energy it was exuding, the flow within the Guardian Field, all the factors and information, everything was an element of my observation.
‘It’s going to be Big Black Dogs, or a Twin-Headed Big Black Dog.’
I was almost certain of it.
‘How do we kill them?’
And the important thing was that we had to do it ‘without damage’. Was it really possible? To kill these monsters, which we could only appease but not hunt in the U-Plex Dungeon?
I ran through a great many thoughts. And in the end, I came to a conclusion.
‘With just our abilities alone, it’s impossible.’
One mistake, and we would be the ones getting slaughtered. At our current levels, that was the kind of monster Big Black Dogs were.
‘We can’t kill them.’
"If Big Black Dogs appear… it’s impossible to hunt them with our strength," I said.
Truth be told, I didn’t think Big Black Dogs would show up in the Guardian Tower scenario. Yeonseo’s eyes went round.
"Eh? Then what do we do? Just die?"
I shook my head. When I came here, I came prepared for the worst-case scenario, though I didn’t think it would really come to that.
"No. We’re going to clear this place."
There had to be a lot of Guardians watching. A regular clear wasn’t enough.
"We’ll clear it absolutely perfectly, without anyone getting hurt."
Even if we were up against a pack of Big Black Dogs.