Chapter 51: Administrator (3)
After the message about the meeting disappeared…
「 You have entered the Iron-blooded World.
My surroundings changed before even giving me time to process the message I had just read.
Like before, my waiting area had suddenly switched into a foreign location.
I was confused for a moment but I gained my composure and began to look around.
A cave, plain, field, desert, sea…
I’d seen all sorts of stages up to this point, but there was something incongruous about this place.
I stood in a snow-filled yard among white swords thrust haphazardly into the ground.
It looked like a battlefield where a battle had never taken place.
Of course, those weren’t the only things in sight.
There was a log cabin beyond the yard but…
‘Should I go in?’
I was hesitant to go in since there was no guarantee that I would be safe there.
‘But I can’t just sit here and do nothing…’
I was unsure of what to do, but it suddenly hit me that there was one skill that might be useful here.
‘Eye of Truth.’
「 Activating the skill ‘Eye of Truth.’ 」
The Eye of Truth targets whatever I’m focusing on at the moment.
It’s something I learned from using it a couple of times.
So if my focus is on the entirety of this location…
「 Iron-blooded World 」
「 Grade: 」
「 A special area where the administrator, ‘Iron-blooded Monarch,’ resides.
「 Can only be entered with her invitation.
I can extract information like this as well.
The skill referred to her as ‘her,’ so they seemed to be gendered.
Of course, the description wasn’t very helpful, so I couldn’t extrapolate anything more.
But I think I had an idea of where I was.
‘The place where the administrator resides…’
As it finally hit me that I might meet an admin face to face—
「 Administrator ‘Iron-blooded Monarch’ is displeased by someone’s probing.
「 Administrator ‘Iron-blooded Monarch’ wants you to stop wasting time and come in already.
A message I had never seen before urged me to go inside.
‘Can admins express themselves through messages…?’
She was even able to tell that I activated my skill.
Being able to detect something like that without even being in sight…
It served to show how powerful these administrators were.
‘I’d be dead if she wanted to kill me.’
So I made my way to the cabin.
I walked past the dozens of swords planted in the snowy field and arrived at my destination.
I proceeded to grab the handle on the door and let out a big breath.
No need to be nervous.
The tower said this was just a meeting.
That meant this wouldn’t be a situation that could endanger me.
I slowed down my heart and finally opened the door.
「 Administrator ‘Iron-blooded Monarch’ stares at you.
“It’s about time.”
I was greeted by a cold but beautiful voice…
I looked in the direction of the voice and found myself staring at a silver-haired woman sitting at a wooden table.
“I am the administrator you’ve been selected to meet with’, the Iron-blooded Monarch.”
I swallowed my words as I stared at the woman in front of me.
The woman wearing a snow-white long coat smiled at me as if this was amusing to her.
‘She’s a beautiful foreign woman on the surface…’
But in reality, she was an entity that controlled this tower.
I couldn’t help but be nervous.
It was then—
Her red eyes probed me slowly and she let out a smirk.
So you were the pioneer ‘hunter.’”
“I was wondering what kind of monster you were, but you look quite normal.”
I glared at her to protest the sudden judgment of my appearance.
“…Do you know me?”
Still sitting on the table, she crossed her legs and answered my question.
You proved yourself worthy on the 4th floor.
I’d need to live under a rock to not know about your ostentatious debut.”
My performance on the 4th floor seemed to have garnered some attention.
“Have you been watching my trials this entire time?”
“I knew from the leaderboard.
It’s not possible to spectate challengers below the 8th floor.”
“You seem to be misunderstanding something here.
Administrators aren’t god-like beings.
We also don’t control anything that happens in the tower.”
“What do you mea…”
“It’s more accurate to say that those who are bound to the tower become administrators.
So don’t be nervous.
As long as I’m bound to the tower, I won’t be able to hurt you.”
She said all this as if she knew that I was nervous.
“Well, logistics aside… this meeting is a perk given only to pioneers.
Ask me anything you are curious about.”
I didn’t exactly understand everything but I got the basic idea.
Administrators weren’t all-powerful, and they were just bound to the tower.
‘I guess she has no intentions of hurting me?’
I didn’t sense any animosity at all.
Maybe even to the point of being friendly.
When I realized this, I didn’t hold back.
“Can you tell me exactly what this is?”
The finger twirling her silver hair stopped moving and she smiled smugly.
“You adapt pretty fast.
I mean, I guess that’s how you survived.”
“As I said, the consultation is a perk given to pioneers.
You may ask administrators questions without explicitly using your ‘questions.’”
“Is that it?”
“Well, there are a few more advantages.
One is being able to meet an administrator face-to-face, and you can end up getting another ‘perk’ from the administrator.”
Might as well make the most of this then.
“Then can you tell me what a challenger from another world is?”
“Did you already run into that…? You’ve had quite the experience.”
She scowled her brows as if she knew something.
I narrowed my eyes and continued with the question.
“I almost died to one on the 5th trial.”
“And yet you’re still alive… I guess you’re resilient to misfortunes.
Well, it’s not really that big of a secret.”
Looking pleasantly surprised, she opened her mouth.
“You probably found out from the guy you met but… The Tower of Trials isn’t just in this world.
Other worlds have the same tower, and the challenger you met is from one of them.”
She said it like it was no big deal, but it wasn’t news to be taken lightly.
‘I guess other worlds do exist…’
And those worlds also have towers with challengers just like us.
It was difficult to accept but the existence of the tower wasn’t logical, to begin with.
I had a follow-up question.
“Then why did he come to me? Shouldn’t he have been able to intrude on someone from his own world?”
“Yeah, but he chose to come to a different world for a reason.”
She continued with a light smile.
“And that reason is that once you go to a different world, you can steal that floor’s rewards.”
“Not only that, they can get an even better reward than the one originally promised to you.”
“Those challengers come from a world where the tower has existed for decades.
That also means they’re all knowledgable about the immense rewards that the tower provides.”
“And that’s not all.”
“This world’s tower will merge with those of other world’s.”
“…What does that mean?”
“It’s as I said.
After the 20th floor, trials will tend towards group challenges, rather than individual, and you will meet with challengers from another world.”
“And they determined that killing challengers from a primitive dimension like Earth would be beneficial in future trials.”
The only thing I could do after hearing that was sigh.
‘I’ll be competing against other worlds’ challengers after the 20th floor…’
It was definitely an idea easier to wrap my head around since I had already met one on the 5th floor.
“You don’t look too shocked.
Doesn’t this come to you as a surprise?”
I swayed my head.
“…No, I’m stunned.
I am shocked at the concept of other worlds and I’m dismayed about the fact that I’ll have to face challengers from them later on.”
“You don’t seem surprised.”
“What am I supposed to do about it? I have to accept it and prepare for it.”
“Hmmm… I guess you can think of it like that.
She looked at me like an exotic animal, but that’s how I really felt.
It wasn’t like anything else that had happened made sense to me.
“Are you satisfied now?”
“I have one last question.”
Another question I had for a while.
“What exactly is the tower?”
While climbing, I got used to receiving all kinds of rewards from the tower but…
That was one question I couldn’t erase.
“And what’s at the end of the tower?”
“That’s something I can’t tell you.”
‘I thought you were bound to the tower.
How can you not know something like that?”
“It’s entirely possible.
Seeing that I’m also relatively a newcomer to the tower.”
“Administrators were all once challengers as well.”
She continued to explain.
“At one point, I climbed above and beyond the 20th floor but… I still couldn’t reach the top of the tower.
No, not just me— all administrators died before reaching the top of the tower.
That’s how you become an administrator.”
This was the summary of her explanation.
After reaching the 40th floor, challengers gained the ability to be resurrected as an administrator after death.
“For your information, I reached the 47th floor.
And I lost on pure dumb luck.
I went against an opponent that countered me in every way.”
She stared at me as if to ask if I finally understood…
And I couldn’t help but nod at her gaze.
“Which is why I can’t answer your question.
The only things I’m allowed to talk about are my own experiences from when I was alive.
That was the extent to which I could answer your question.”
There wasn’t anything else I was curious about.
I couldn’t believe the true nature of administrators…
“Well, it’s about time we end the consultation.”
It was time to go back to the waiting area.
“But… there’s something I want to offer you.”
“Yes, administrators may be bound to the tower, but there are still various things we can do.”
Her crimson eyes gleamed as she spoke.
“Challenger Han Sungyeun, I offer you a discipleship.”
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