Chapter 14: Trial of Competition (3)
「 The teams have been formed.
「 The citadel’s front door will open in 10 minutes.
「 Finish harmonizing by then and start the trial.
The two unmoving portals started to vibrate.
Teams of three…
I guess that information wasn’t wrong, since two people I’d never seen before walked out of those portals.
“…Competition, this shit is really the 4th trial?”
A fully armored giant murmured with a scowl on his face.
It looked like he just saw the last message that the tower sent.
He also probably didn’t know that this was actually the objective of this trial.
Conversely, the woman challenger didn’t seem very surprised.
“First thing’s first.
Shall we introduce ourselves?”
In fact, she took a look around and suggested that we exchange pleasantries.
She seemed overly calm but that eliminated a need for small talk.
“I’m Han Sungyoon.
Nice to meet you.”
The woman flipped her hair back and replied.
“I’m Lee Hayeon.
An eye-catching, cool beauty.
‘Just one left.’
The large man opened his mouth, almost reluctantly.
“…I’m Lee Sunghoon.
Don’t get in my way and we won’t have any problems.”
Don’t get in his way?
It was an interesting introduction but we quickly switched the topic.
“Firstly, did anyone look up any information about the trial?”
Lee Hayeon replied calmly to Sunghoon’s question.
“Yeah, I used my questions to find out some extra information.”
What did you find out?”
“…I used quite a few questions so I should know all the basics.”
“Hm, I guess I didn’t completely lose the teammate lottery.”
I felt similarly.
That Lee Sunghoon guy seemed a little arrogant but didn’t seem like a bad guy.
These kinds of people are usually the strongest.
It would be a pain in my ass if he was a permanent teammate but…
‘I can take this for a trial.’
Our paths would diverge after we cleared this trial.
“Let’s reveal our abilities before getting started.”
Lee Sunghoon wanted to skip the small talk and discuss our abilities.
That seemed like a given for people who need to work together.
Lee Hayeon seemed a little hesitant but opened up.
“I have an exploration-based innate ability and I can use magic.
I’m not fit for close-range combat.”
Lee Sunghoon’s eyes gleamed when he heard magic.
He seemed a little dim, but even he knew how valuable mages were.
“Oh, a mage.
What kind of magic can you use?”
I specialize in support magic.”
A mage who couldn’t use offensive spells…
After hearing that, I finally opened my mouth.
“But you can use at least one offensive magic right?”
Even support mages should be able to use at least one attack spell.
Although she probably wasn’t lying about close combat due to her lack of weapons…
There was no way she got up the tower without any offense.
Although I couldn’t say anything if she just said all her trials were some supporting ones…
She didn’t look like she had any other way of fighting other than magic.
Lee Hayeon’s eyes widened for a second and she admitted it.
“…It’s not much but I can also use some elemental magic.”
I could tell she was considering hiding it for a bit but she gave in.
I understood why she wanted to hide it though.
‘She probably thought that she might need to use a hidden skill in the worst-case scenario.’
The failure condition is the death of the entire team after all.
That meant as long as you were alive, what happened to your team didn’t matter.
That also meant you couldn’t do anything to them as long as they stayed alive.
‘There’s a decent number of loopholes if you want to abuse it.’
She probably wanted to keep at least one thing hidden just in case.
After all, anything could happen in the tower.
“You said you’re a mage, but you’re probably more fit in a supporter role.”
…Lee Sunghoon didn’t seem that interested in any of that.
I also thought about what I should reveal before speaking up.
“I specialize in close combat and I have physical-enhancement-based innate ability.”
Just enough for them to work with me.
I also wasn’t lying about anything because my innate ability actually does strengthen my body.
They didn’t seem to doubt it because it matched my appearance.
“What a coincidence.
I’m also a close combat specialist with a mana resistance innate ability.”
“Resistance… That’s a pretty high quality innate ability.”
“It’s on a different level from the mid-level losers”
He smirked as he talked about himself.
I guess I knew where his arrogance came from.
‘It’s because he has an innate ability like mana resistance.’
Mana resistance could help you resist all things involving mana like magic or mana-based skills.
It synergized very well with those specializing in close combat.
“We should also reveal what our hunter ranks were in the outside world.”
He slipped that in as the corner of his mouth rose.
“I was a D rank hunter before I came here.”
“That’s probably a good idea.
I was an E rank.”
“Not bad for a support.
You must have been alright.”
“I must have been.”
While Lee Hayeon brushed Sunghoon off, his attention now turned to me.
I didn’t even have a rank to reveal to them.
Just 7 fruitless years as a trainee.
“I wasn’t a hunter in the outside world, but I was a player.
I was preparing to become a hunter.”
Of course, I didn’t mention that the preparation period was 7 years.
As expected, his face contorted into a look of disapproval.
“I’m still confident enough in my ability to fight.”
But he didn’t even try to hear me out.
“Confident my ass.
Just don’t hold us back.”
He looked like he just lost a lottery.
A familiar gaze.
The only reaction I got before coming into the tower.
“I guess you can at least be a meat shield if you can strengthen your body.”
Just his tone said that he didn’t expect anything from me.
I stayed quiet and stared at him.
He must have taken my silence as acceptance.
“Just stay in front of Lee Hayeon and follow my orders if you want to pass the trial.”
Lee Hayeon carefully opened her mouth.
“Well if he came up here, we’re all probably at the same power level.”
It was almost as if she was trying to calm me down, but I had no intention of replying.
All that mattered in this tower was your strength.
If he was qualified to talk to me like that, I had nothing to say.
My pride was a small price to pay for my life.
If he could prove his strength, it would be best to just play along with him…
Though if he couldn’t, there was no reason for me to be treated like this.
‘I’ll find out soon enough.’
「 The citadel’s front door will open in 3 minutes.
The trial would officially start soon.
“Let’s hear the information you found out using your questions.”
An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
No point in talking back to him now.
I wouldn’t let him talk his way out if he ever got in the way or caused a problem.
Even if he was a hunter in the past, if we were all reset at the beginning…
‘We shouldn’t be too far off in strength.’
Some of the rewards and our innate abilities were probably a little different.
But even then, we should all be around the same level…
More so since I found out how overpowered my innate ability was.
“Let me tell you what’s going to happen after the doors open.”
It wasn’t like anything that we haven’t faced before.
We’d be fighting monsters off, same as usual.
Also, we’d have to get through the horde as fast as possible and kill the goblin chief.
“In these citadels, there are a total of 5 bosses and only 15 people can pass the trial.”
Only half of the 30 would survive.
“Each boss is targeted by two teams so we have a team against us.”
That’s not bad, there were only 3 people against us…
‘Six people going for the same objective.’
It was designed to be cruel.
We would practically be murdering our opponents.
Actually, they were essentially ordering us to take out the other team.
Taking out the boss would be much easier if we took out the other team first.
But Lee Sunghoon seemed to prefer it.
“I like how simple it is.
We just have to kill it before they do.”
“We’ll have to map the area out first.”
“Didn’t you say you had an exploration-based innate ability?”
I’ll lead the way so the two of you can just protect me.”
“You hear that trainee? Just stand in front of her.”
I just nodded my head.
He definitely didn’t like the fact that I didn’t say anything, but he didn’t point it out.
More accurately, he didn’t have the chance.
「 Time up.
「 The citadel gates have opened and the monsters are pouring in.
「 Find the target as soon as possible and kill it.
“Stand in the front.”
Lee Sunghoon dropped the conversation and took out his greatsword.
I nodded again and stood in front of Lee Hayeon.
“Please just tell me where to go.”
“I’ll be in your care.”
She followed close behind and Lee Sunghoon guarded us from the rear.
As soon as we stepped out…
We only just started and this happened already?
Monsters made their way through the stone buildings.
Seeing an army of fully armed goblins made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
No way the tower would have made this easy.
“…I can lead the way later.
Let’s get ready to fight first.”
I remembered that I didn’t choose to go on a walk in the park…
This was the worst of the three difficulties… hard.
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