Chapter 146 – To The End of the Core (1)
‘We’re almost there!’
Hyun used every possible technique to resist the attacks from the devils.
«Shadow Shield», «Shield», «Shadow Run», «Illusion», «Invisible», «Biorhythm Acceleration», etc… Almost all of his skills were locked behind their cooldowns.
‘We’re really almost there!’
They’d been running, stepping on the wind barrier and the walls of the abyss, but they were almost at the destination.
They crossed the canal; the core’s wall was almost in front of them.
Hyun quickly took the items he’d prepared for that moment from his inventory and threw them forward.
—They were throwing daggers sold in the marketplace.
It was impossible to destroy the wall with a dagger.
He just wanted to differentiate the walls that could be penetrated from those that couldn’t.
As expected, most were blocked by the magic circles and bounced away, but a few got stuck in the walls.
Hyun’s eyes focused on the parts of the walls where a mark was left.
As the «Sword of Darkness» hit the wall four times, a clean, rectangular hole was made.
TarrTarr crossed to the other side by stepping on the wind barrier.
「Everyone remembers, right? We’re going as I told you!」
After making TarrTarr cross to the side the core was on, Hyun changed the «Assimilation» target to Louise.
He’d spent all of the Demonic Energy on the «Sword of Darkness», so he hit the wall with the wind that time.
Another hole appeared in the wall of the core. It was different from the place TarrTarr had gone through.
As Hyun landed there, he heard Ain’s voice.
“I also came!”
“I sent him to the lower floor!”
After checking that Ain was following his plan, Hyun smiled.
“As expected, I can only trust you in situations like this.”
Once he got inside, Hyun quickly compared the surroundings with the map that was in the Interloop.
They were on the 5th floor.
Unlike the inner castle, which had a fancy interior, it looked like an engine room.
‘Up until now, everything has gone as I expected!’
Usually, to reach the 5th floor, they had to neutralize countless guards and magic circles.
They’d been able to reach that part so easily because their level was low.
If Bahmir had tried to infiltrate using the same technique, his high Demonic Energy would have put the entire castle on alert.
The reason Mablen disappeared was because of the same reason.
「Good, we’re going full throttle from this point!」 Hyun said to everyone through the party chat.
The more time they took, the more enemies would appear.
That voice also reached Salon and TarrTarr, who were on the floor below.
「So this is the last part.」
Salon remembered the previous day’s explanation while running through the passageway full of magic circles.
What did they have to do after reaching the core?
When he first heard the plan, he couldn’t hide his surprise.
“Split the party in two? Are you serious?”
“Yes. Salon, when we reach the core, you and TarrTarr will go to the 4th floor; Ain and Louise will go to the 5th one.”
Hyun’s strategy was like this:
The path to the 5th floor was blocked. To go through there, they had to dismantle the defense mechanism of the magic circles on the 4th floor.
They had to go through both paths simultaneously to move faster than the enemies.
…But Salon couldn’t understand Hyun’s thoughts.
He and TarrTarr combined had a 13% contribution rate… what could both of them realistically do?
“Don’t worry too much. I’ll help you.”
“Ah, Hyun. Are you also coming to the 4th floor? If you’re going to support us, the story changes! We’re going to divide into a party of men and women!”
“No, it’s not like that…”
Hyun’s explanation sounded crazy.
Was something like that possible?
He wouldn’t have believed him if he hadn’t gone through Iluna’s Quest.
‘I guess I have no other choice than to trust him…’
Salon and TarrTarr were on the 4th floor.
Ain and Louise began running through the passageway of the 5th floor.
One party would have to deal with trash mobs and the other would deal with elite mobs.
“Just give me a glancing blow. Right now, your flames are dangerous.”
“Fu, I know that.”
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Because he kept using the «Shadow Shield», Louise’s field of vision was completely dark.
It was then that an opponent appeared.
The eyes of the vampire, who seemed to be the core’s administrator, widened after seeing Ain and Louise.
“Intruder…? How did they already reach—?!”
Louise’s hand emitted a black wind before he could finish the sentence.
As the Demonic Energy wind and the protective field clashed, the vampire was pushed back about 10 meters.
“Ugh, how dare you!”
Whir. Black energy began gathering around his hand.
The vampire’s unique Demonic Energy…
But Ain’s attack reached the vampire before he could use it.
She cut him with «Efreet’s Claw» from his back.
Its effect had been stacked with the effect of the «Angel’s Sword Style», so the damage output surpassed a hundred thousand.
The protective shield was destroyed.
The burning claws of the beast devoured the upper half of the vampire’s body.
“These damn rats—!”
He couldn’t finish the sentence.
Louise’s attacks ensued, and he received a huge amount of damage.
The vampire was hit by dozens of magic attacks per second, and his HP was instantly reduced by more than half.
Ain’s claws targeted him again, but…
«Efreet’s» Claws hit the ground, and the shock activated the magic protection circle.
Ain put the claws back and clicked her tongue.
“Tsk, he escaped.”
“That’s better for us.”
“That’s true, but…”
She couldn’t find an argument, so Ain just moved her lips.
“Go with Louise first.”
“What about you, Hyun?”
“Now I have to help the floor below.”
The light particles soon got absorbed by the ground.
By using «Assimilation», Hyun could move between the 4th and 5th floors.
That’s why he hadn’t counted himself while dividing the party.
「Tell me when you reach the first section.」
The distance he could use «Assimilation» at was about 30 meters.
Because they had to be at similar areas on both floors, they’d said they would battle only in determined areas.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
The ‘first section’ was where the coordinates of both paths matched for the first time.
「If things get dangerous, call me, don’t overdo it.」
Ain laughed at what Hyun said through the party conversation.
‘Don’t overdo it.’
It was something he always said to her.
She usually ignored Hyun’s warnings because of her competitiveness… but now she decided she’d follow his words.
…Because she knew why he’d said that.
“You’re faster than me, right?”
Louise mumbled at Ain’s question.
“Follow me and don’t lose sight of me.”
While Ain looked at Louise from time to time, she moved according to the map that was on one side of her screen.
They’d faced vampires that seemed to be the core administrators quite a few times, but it wasn’t hard to fight them.
Louise canceled their magic whenever they tried to activate it.
“Oh, wasn’t Hyun «Assimilating» to you just now?”
“It’s my ability…!”
“You’re quite good.”
Louise’s face brightened at Ain’s mumbling.
She’d never heard something positive from a person that wasn’t Hyun.
“Now I’m also part of the force!”
“Wait, we have to meet up with Hyun here.”
Louise confidently tried to move faster, but Ain stopped her.
The first section…
If everything went according to the plan, they would meet Hyun there.
Both parties had to move at a similar speed, and she had to hit him to recharge his Demonic Energy.
As expected, Hyun soon appeared.
Was the situation below bad?
As soon as he recharged his Demonic Energy, he disappeared.
He just said something through the party chat.
「Ain, let’s pass on the second and meet at the third location!」
Judging by how the plan had changed, it seemed like something had happened below.
「Don’t you need my charge?」
「Salon surpassed the three thousand combo marker, so he can do it.」
Ain began worrying at Hyun’s voice.
It seemed like the battle happening below was fiercer than they’d initially thought.
After all, all of the monsters that were trying to get to the 5th floor had to get through the 4th one.
‘Is it going to be okay? I guess it will be okay since it’s Hyun?’
At the moment, she just had to care about reaching the third point, as Hyun said.
After finishing the 4th battle quickly, Ain reached the promised place along with Louise.
It was a luxurious room with a purple carpet.
This was the third place where they would meet.
Hyun had said that, from the moment they entered the core, speed was the most important thing.
If they slowed down, they wouldn’t be able to deal with the huge influx of devils.
But why hadn’t he contacted her yet?!
Ain was thinking about using the party chat but decided not to.
Hyun was still online, meaning he hadn’t died yet… If her voice suddenly sounded, maybe he would lose concentration.
“Hyun… Hyun…” While anxiously mumbling his name, she suddenly heard Louise’s voice.
“Ain, so you, too?”
Ain returned to reality after hearing those words that came out of nowhere.
“Hyun told me many things about you… Ain, you are also thinking about Hyun at the moment, right?”
Ain knew that, while she wasn’t online, Hyun often went hunting with Louise.
But he often talked about her?
But she had never heard that before?!
“What did he say?”
“It’s not important.”
“Oh… If it really wasn’t something important…”
Pressured by Ain’s eyes, Louise was forced to tell those nothing-important stories.
They really were irrelevant, but a smile appeared on Ain’s face after hearing them.
She suddenly came back to reality while smiling subconsciously.
It was because Louise seemed to enjoy talking about Hyun.
Maybe it would be stupid to have those feelings toward an NPC.
But you never know, right?
It was understandable that people would be impressed by Hyun, but she couldn’t let feelings beyond that develop… even if it was an NPC.
“I’m saying this just in case… but don’t try to flirt with Hyun.”
“I have no intention of doing that…!”
“Well, that’s something only I can do, anyways.”
Ain had never said something so straightforward.
Not even to Hyun.
The reason why she could say her inner thoughts was probably because Louise was an existence that was in between a human and an NPC.
While confidently saying that to Louise, Ain suddenly noticed a blue light coming from Louise’s feet.
Why was that effect under Louise’s feet?
The answer came a bit later.
Ain didn’t realize that Hyun had used «Assimilation» because he had used all of his Demonic Energy, so Louise’s body hadn’t become darker.
“When did you come?”
“Just now. A second ago.”
Was he telling the truth…?
While Ain was about to ask Hyun again, he awkwardly mumbled.
「Ehm… Let’s meet up at the 4th section!」
After Hyun quickly disappeared, Ain spoke to Louise.
Since Louise was the «Assimilation» target, she had to know the truth.
“Was it really a second?”
Louise shook her head.
“About… five seconds.”
‘Five seconds…? Did he hear? Did he not?’
Ain couldn’t help but wonder about that as she fought against more vampires.
She thought that she should check out the recordings later on.
But at that moment, all those thoughts vanished because of an enemy that had suddenly appeared.
The door they’d passed through closed, and the devil that was in the middle of the room stood up.
“GRR… Two human girls?”
Ain let out a short exclamation.
A beast that was covered by black fur… a monster she was familiar with in Asra was in front of her.