Chapter 45 – Escape (2)
‘Good, this is perfect!’
Hyun let out a delighted exclamation.
It was the best possible outcome.
She had reached the exit with most of the opponents stunned.
“Okay, Louise, go! If you move along the valley and erase your footprints, they’ll have a hard time following you! You’ll be able to find a place where the sun doesn’t reach before morning!”
Hyun had previously told her that, but he reminded her again just in case she had forgotten.
Just before walking out, Louise turned around.
Hyun’s heart burned after seeing Louise get sentimental.
Was it that she couldn’t get a grasp of the situation?
The opponents hadn’t died. They were just stunned.
Louise’s body shook at Hyun’s fierce shouting.
With a frustrated look on her face and about to burst into tears, she walked toward the dungeon’s exit.
“Did you say five years…? If I’m alive, I’d like to meet you again in that secret marketplace.”
After saying those words, she crossed the exit and disappeared.
Hyun didn’t look back.
The opponents who had been freed from stun had made it closer to the dungeon’s exit.
‘This is the last trap, huh…’
Hyun touched the red wall that was next to him.
Clack- As the last trap activated, thousands of arrows poured from each side.
That time they weren’t dragged to a single point.
That was because ‘The Ring of the Executioner’ was on Louise’s finger.
‘Damn…! I forgot to tell her to take out the ring! If she’s wearing it while escaping, she could get into trouble… I’m sure she’ll take it off on her own, right…?’
He realized it belatedly.
—That he hadn’t told Louise to take off the ring.
It made him somewhat anxious, but he had no other option than to wait.
The most important thing was to stall for as much time as possible.
‘How long can I resist…? If it’s one minute…’
Hyun looked at the masked enemies that were approaching him and bluffed.
He stood in front of the narrow dungeon’s exit.
‘Until I die, I won’t let anyone get out of here.’
* * *
Immediately after walking out of the dungeon, the entrance collapsed.
Louise walked to the road behind and swallowed her breath.
Hyun had demolished the entrance so that the people following her wouldn’t be able to catch her.
The moment she learned that, she wanted to cry.
She wanted to stop but kept running.
‘You… Were really prepared to die.’
Even while running, she could remember what Hyun had said.
According to him, since he was a user, it didn’t matter if he died, but Louise knew there was more to it than that.
Dying wasn’t a light matter, even for him.
Despite that, he had sacrificed himself for her.
‘No, we will be able to meet again. There are a lot of things I wasn’t able to tell him.’
Louise clenched her fist and shook her head.
She had to survive until then to meet again.
Just like Hyun had told her, Louise followed the valley while erasing her footprints.
If she discovered a dangerous monster in the distance, she waited, standing silently.
She stepped on the tree branches and used her wind magic to move. After many hours of doing that, her mana reached its limit.
‘Ugh… This is hard.’
NPCs from the game weren’t that different from real human beings.
If they didn’t eat, they became hungry, and when they ran out of energy, they became exhausted.
The vast forest wasn’t somewhere a kid like Louise could explore on her own.
Louise’s legs were shaking as if she was about to fall.
After she ran out of mana, Louise ran with her own feet, so it was normal for her to get tired.
But still, she couldn’t stop moving.
Before morning came, she had to find a place where the sunlight wouldn’t touch her.
Louise stepped on a stone and fell to the ground.
Because her stamina was at its limits, she couldn’t get up immediately.
‘Ugh, I have no time to do this… I have to keep moving…’
In the midst of fainting, Louise could feel the surroundings turn red.
‘The sun, already?’
Fear rushed in.
If she faced the sun there, where there was nowhere to hide, all the efforts they’d made up until then would become meaningless.
She wouldn’t be able to meet him again.
Louise, who had lost all hope, raised her head and looked upward.
Louise let out a groan.
What she saw was a black sun that emitted a dark light in the middle of a red sky.
From the red sky, dark light came out.
Louise thought that she must be hallucinating.
It felt as if she was dreaming.
After the black sun illuminated her, she felt comfortable and cozy, and she ended up falling asleep.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
‘I resisted quite a lot.’
He tried to resist by all means possible until the end, but he soon became light and scattered away.
If it weren’t for the narrow dungeon’s exit, he probably wouldn’t have been able to resist even a minute.
After dying, he was forced to log out. Hyun fell into a deep sleep.
Just before dying, his tiredness was at 96.
—That meant he had been logged in for too long.
Because there weren’t classes that day, Hyun slept for the entire day without eating.
He woke up after sleeping for almost an entire day.
The sunlight was coming in through the window.
‘What time is it?’
He checked out the clock. Twenty hours had passed.
There was still a lot of time left before the death penalty ended.
He also wasn’t sleepy anymore because of how much he had already slept.
He got up while stretching his arms. The dust rose, and then it calmed down.
It was silent.
After taking a shower, he prepared some ramen for himself.
Even after finishing his meal, he was still hungry, so he cooked one more.
He turned on the computer and checked out the Asrian community.
Except for the duel arena, there wasn’t any new special content.
He tried to do different things, but he couldn’t concentrate.
His head was full of what had happened the day before.
“Tsk… I only suffered losses. After dying, there’s nothing I can do.”
There wasn’t any reward for the quest to protect Louise.
Even while complaining, SeoHyun had a smile on his face.
‘I wonder if she managed to escape… I guess she did…? She should’ve been right next to the valley.’
Hyun tried to calm down.
Since it was something that had already passed, he had no other choice but to believe.
While he was worrying about Louise, he got a message from the capsule.
[You got a new message!]
[AIN has sent a conversation request. Will you accept?]
‘Ain? If it’s a request to game together, I won’t be able to… Since I can’t log in.’
There were 48 hours of penalty for dying.
Only 20 hours had passed, so there was still a lot of time left.
Hyun spoke to the capsule’s voice recognition device.
LeeSeoHyun: I died, so I can’t log in today. There are still 28 hours left.
Ain’s voice spread through the room.
AIN: What? What were you doing?
LeeSeoHyun: I was trying to complete a quest alone…
AIN: Hmm… That’s why you should’ve done it with me.
LeeSeoHyun: You suddenly disappeared, so there was nothing I could’ve done about it.
After receiving a call from Ain, a smile was drawn on SeoHyun’s face without him even noticing it.
As he talked to her, he felt that the anxiousness was fading away.
AIN: But what did you do yesterday? How did you manage to level up so fast?
While talking, Ain suddenly said something strange.
He couldn’t understand her, so he asked again.
LeeSeoHyun: Level? Are you talking about me?
AIN: Yes. Hyun, you’re currently level 95.
LeeSeoHyun: Eh? What are you talking about?
Because both of them were registered as friends, they could check each other’s levels whenever they wanted.
But according to her, Hyun’s level was 95 at the moment.
‘Is there something wrong?’
More than being happy, he was taken aback by it.
Is there a bug?
Before he had died, he was at level 70.
That meant that, after dying, his level had risen 25 times in one go.
The only way to gain experience was either by hunting or completing quests.
Because he had died, he could’ve only gained experience by completing a quest.
The only possible explanation was that he had cleared the quest to protect Louise.
But he was getting even more confused.
‘That quest definitely didn’t have a reward…’
Then he thought of a possibility.
It was his first time seeing those words. Was that the reason why he had leveled up so much?
That was the only explanation he could come up with for the moment.
‘I’ll have to log in to know what happened.’
Hyun was hoping for it not to be a bug.
He was scared of having misused a bug and having his account banned because of it.
LeeSeoHyun: Leaving that aside, what are you doing?
AIN: I’m in the duel arena. I’m doing a few more rounds after finishing my placement tests. Fufu… You’ll probably be surprised at my record.
LeeSeoHyun: That’s right. The duel arena has opened its doors… Well, at least you won’t get bored even if I’m not there.
AIN: That’s not necessarily true…
AIN: Send me a message when you log in. I’ll be burning some time in the duel arena!
The conversation ended.
SeoHyun was thinking about many things while sitting on the capsule, but he suddenly became tired again.
He finally concluded that it’d be better to think about it once he could log in.
Hyun decided to push back the thoughts about that for a little bit.
* * *
—It was at the point when SeoHyun was asleep after dying.
Because Hyun wasn’t there, there weren’t many things she could do.
‘Should I go to the duel arena?’
In Asra, she had spent most of the time dueling. The same was true this time.
[You’ve entered the duel arena!]
[The damage you receive will be reduced by 1/10 in this place!]
Every city has a duel arena in it. It was a dark place that resembled a pub.
The duel arena worked with a matching system and could only be used by players, So there weren’t many NPCs inside the building.
There was a giant portal inside the lobby, and in front of it, many users were trying to get a match.
‘Were there so many people in the duel arena?!’
Ain’s mouth was agape at sight. There were so many people gathered that it reminded her of a concert.
The fact that there were so many people interested in dueling made Ain happy.
The duel arena…
There were many matchmaking systems, but Ain was mostly interested in 1 vs. 1.
After you dueled 10 times, you were put into a category depending on your skills.
Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, Grand Master, and Pioneer!
From bronze up to diamond, each category was divided into five more, but from Master up to Pioneer, there weren’t any subdivisions. They themselves were categories on their own.
Grand Master and Pioneer members were fixed at the top 1000 and top 10, respectively, so if you didn’t have a talent for the game, it was a category you wouldn’t be able to reach.
Just reaching the category of Master was enough to be praised on the community boards.
‘Match register… Oh?’
Ain was surprised.
In the previous game, you had to wait for at least five minutes before you found an opponent, but the matching had finished in just a second.
The sight changed when the portal in front of her began shining.