Chapter 18 - Day 5, 5th Floor Social Standing
According to my estimate, there were 30 people left, which was more than I thought there would be.
The remaining people weren’t communicating with each other. They knew those left at the end would have to form a team so they just watched each other’s faces. It seemed like they wanted to stay until the end.
There was a loud sound as I closed the book and 30 pairs of eyes focused on me. "Please hand me the leftovers from our meal and water.”
"Yes!" I ate the remaining food and drank water. I had already eaten but some time had passed and I was quite hungry, so why shouldn’t I eat the remaining food? Of course, I finished it quickly and turned my attention back to the book.
"Again? I’m bored because you’re only looking at books.”
"Read this.” I threw the mathematics book at Yang Su-jin and concentrated.
[Reading Comprehension. Lv 3. 44/400]
[Language Acquisition Lv 2. 187/200]
[English (Reading, Writing) Lv 3. 13/400]
Some time passed and I saw a shadow in front of me. I looked up to see a man standing over me. His angular face and thick eyebrows gave off a tough impression. When he opened his mouth, a thick and calm voice came out. “I’d like to go with you.”
"Kwak Yu-han.” I looked at the list on the wall. Kwak Yu-han was in 7th place. "If you let me go with you...”
“Do you want to go with me? Then wait until everyone is gathered.” Kwak Yu-han’s eyes widened like he was surprised and he nodded. He sat down against the wall and leaned on it.
That was the beginning. After seeing me accept Kwak Yu-han so easily, the rest of the people started to gather around. “I-I will go as well.”
“My name is...” I had put on a wicked act. In order to get what I wanted, I was a powerful person who did terrible things without changing my expression.
So what were their motives for going with someone like this? Kill me or ‘eat me’? It was an easy way of thinking, but would all thirty something people think the same thing? I needed to think more realistically.
I looked at the crowd of people gathered and raised my index finger before I made a ‘shh’ gesture and everyone fell silent. This compliant response was my evidence. In general, there weren’t many who would choose to fight someone stronger than them. They would rather choose to go under that strong person.
"Excuse me, you there in the front. Your name?”
"Kim Jong-gyu. I..."
"125...” I raised my hand to stop him. “Huh?”
"I would appreciate it if you get out of the way so I can see the others.”
Kim Jong-gyu’s complexion changed. "Nope. Can you just listen to me for a minute? Just please take me. If you let me accompany you then I will do whatever Kim Hee-chul ssi tells me to do. So...”
He was a fairly educated person so his words flowed smoothly, but it didn’t matter. "Excuse me, Ajusshi.” I interrupted Kim Jong-gyu and pointed a finger. His head looked in the direction of my finger like a dog. He saw the people silently watching the conversation.
"See them? Do you think that any of these people will be less hardworking than Ajusshi?”
“...” Kim Jong-gyu’s expression was embarrassed. It was a smart idea but he had too many competitors. A person with the strength of two people. Two people who moved as one. I had wondered if it was easy to break through this dungeon, but I hadn’t been able to find a good answer.
But that was before killing someone in this dungeon. I would gain the ‘talent’ they had in the dungeon. It wasn’t 1+1, but rather 1+0.1~0.2. I hadn’t suddenly become a genius just because the loser was killed.
Moreover, considering that techniques weren’t passed down if someone was killed, the best way to break through this dungeon was to work as a team. Of course, it wasn’t that easy. Trust didn’t suddenly sprout from the ground.
Even if two people who were similar in skill were able to hold hands and negotiate, it was hard to trust one another unless they believed in each other thoroughly. But what if they weren’t equal? What if there was a clear hierarchical relationship?
Obedience. Rather, the one on the bottom could be comfortable as they obeyed the one above. By giving up that initiative, I had to be confident that the person wouldn’t betray me.
The second successful candidate was a boy around 20 years ago. He was somewhat defiant and handsome. Compared to the well-grown body, his face was still immature. “Kim Ha-jong. 19th place.”
"Go wait at the wall.” Ever since Kim Jong-gyu’s exclusion, half the people had turned away silently. Perhaps they were ranked lower than Kim Jong-gyu. There wasn’t the least bit of value in bringing them with me.
The third and fourth people that I picked were a set. There was one girl who looked around Yang Su-jin’s age. The other person was a boy who seemed to be one or two years older. “Siblings?”
“Yes. My brother is Lee Sang-hoon. I am Lee Min-ju.”
Compared to the older sister’s attitude, the younger brother seemed to be in a poorer condition. There was no eye contact and his shoulders were slumped. "My brother is ranked 185th but I am 15th.”
"Are you a set deal?”
"My brother’s share... No, I am confident that he can do it.”
"This pair would be useless.” Yang Su-jin spoke in a mocking voice towards Lee Min-ju. She was looking at Lee Min-ju with dissatisfaction. Lee Min-ju was glaring back.
“Ah!” I hit Yang Su-jin in the back of the head and nodded to Lee Min-ju.
"Go to the wall and wait."
"Thank you!" The sister pulled her little brother away with saying a word.
"A-Are you really going to take them?”
“Are you jealous of a younger woman?”
“... It isn’t like that. I just don’t like her expression. She is trying to create an image that she works hard.”
"She is the 15th ranked. What are you?" Of course, I already knew Yang Su-jin was ranked 41st.
"You just have to follow my instructions. Clearly understand the line separating both of us. You don’t seem like the type of make a mistake like this.”
“...” Now there was only one spot left. Among all the people, one woman walked out. I thought she would come out, and I had been watching her from the beginning.
The second time I saw her, Yoo Su-jeong had a creepy smile on her face. I had seen her kill and take An Su-hyun’s abilities two days ago. "I thought you would be popular, but this is beyond what than I imagined. You even caught a cute schoolgirl.” There was admiration mixed in, causing Yang Su-jin to feel uncomfortable.
In fact, I was quite uncomfortable as well. Yoo Su-jeong was wearing a grey dress that showed off her body and seemed to be intended to maximize her sex appeal.
"Go back and wait.” I interrupted before Yoo Su-jeong managed to completely speak.
"Eh? Aren’t you going to listen to my story?”
"You are the 3rd ranked, so what do I need to hear?”
"I don’t want to hear one more word.” As soon as I finished speaking, I beckoned to the people leaning against the wall. I headed towards the nearby stage. Then I beckoned to Yoo Su-jeong.
“...Well, okay. It wouldn’t be bad to let you follow me.”
Yoo Su-jeong shook as she walked back towards me.
As she looked at me with discomfort, I grabbed Yang Su-jin’s shoulder, lowered my voice and whispered, "Walk with me.”
“Yes...? Yes." She slowed down as naturally as possible, without making it seem like she had deliberately slowed down. On the other hand, I repeated numbers one by one.It was my cell phone number.
"Contact me as soon as you leave.”
“... Are you going to buy me a meal?” What was she talking about? Obedience was good. There was the Leadership talent so I was sure that there were plenty of talents in this field. Finally, after climbing onto the stage, I looked at all the ones left out.
To be honest, a leader might prefer leading those with insufficient abilities. However, the more competent and ambitious a person was, the more they would expect an equal relationship. Yoo Su-jeong was separate from that.
[Is this group of seven okay?]
The stone statue asked me. Once again, I read the invisible expression. It was smiling like it knew everything.
I answered despite the statue’s ability to read my mind. I never thought I would be a leader. A person should know their capabilities. ‘Not being able to do it now’ was different from ‘not being able to do it.’
Right now, I wasn’t going to take care of those on the stage. I was better than them. I had enough talent to be ranked first and would receive new talents on the sixth floor. Yang Su-jin also had the means of distinguishing between potions and poisons.
On the next floor, I would kill five people. In reality, I would cooperate with Yang Su-jin and start the poisoning first. Subtracting one of the siblings, the actual number was four. It was fortunate that I could bring in someone slightly lacking due to his older sister.
Even if I had poison, it was a big risk to take down five people.
[Now, move on to the 6th floor!]
[5th floor cleared.]
My eyes opened. "...Well.” Today, I had a test. I brushed my teeth, went to the bathroom and organized my schedule in my head.
I would go to school early in the morning and study with a friend until lunch. The test was at 2 p.m. And in the evening... I would meet with Yang Su-jin to make a plan.
However, there still wasn’t a phone call from Yang Su-jin. There was also no rice in the rice cooker. I had forgotten to buy rice yesterday. Should I eat at the convenience store?
I put on sweatpants and left the front door. The elevator was just coming down from the fifth floor. My place was on the fourth floor. Ah, I missed it...
The elevator stopped. Why was it was stopping at the fourth floor? There was no one I knew upstairs who would stop here except for the caretaker. I expected to see An Su-hyun’s face when the door opened. However, it was the face of a woman.
"Ah, you were coming out.” Yoo Su-jeong greeted him with a sincere expression.
"The day before yesterday. The manager told me. Hee-chul ssi lives in No. 405.”
I formed fists inside my pockets. I was conscious of the CCTVs in the corridor. My expression didn’t change. "I don’t want to be stalked.”
"Is that so? Hehe. I'm sorry if you are offended. But it couldn’t be helped. I definitely needed to see you.” I clicked my tongue and walked towards the elevator. The next moment, Yoo Su-jeong fell to her knees.
I pulled my fists out of my pockets and… Yoo Su-jeong was begging on her knees. "What are you doing? This...”
"Well. Isn’t this the basic posture when asking for a request?”
“Please don’t kill me. Please.” Yoo Su-jeong smiled brightly as she begged.