Chapter 28 - Day 7, 7th Floor City
On the sixth floor, the first stimulus to his senses was ‘wind.’ The cool breeze that blew from below. The seventh floor was ‘light.’
“Are we outside?” Yang Su-jin asked, and I thought she was correct. The dungeon was bright like it was daytime. If there wasn’t the high ceiling of a cave instead of the sky, I would have thought I was outside.
A ball that served as the sun, was lodged in the centre of the ceiling. It really was like the light from the sun, to the extent that I could feel the warmth on my skin.
A new element of this place were some ruins. On the sixth floor, there had been no traces of any ruins. No, this place didn’t have traces, but the ruins itself.
“It looks like a city. Wah, kind of like Ancient Rome.”
I agreed, but the city ‘here’ was probably a few centuries older than Rome.
Although it was a ruin, there were buildings four or five floors tall. The stone roads had little damage compared to the buildings. There were thin pillars rising at regular intervals along the streets... Street lights?
“But why hasn’t that woman come down?” Yang Su-jin turned and looked at the pillar where we had descended. It was a carved pillar of stone that stretched from the ceiling to the floor of the city. The staircase that brought us down didn’t directly appear. Maybe the ceiling was the sixth floor.
Yoon Ji-hee appeared not long after. I didn’t have to ask why she was late. I could see it. It was written on her face that she really didn’t want to come down. “Ah... I-I'm sorry.”
“If you are sorry...” Just as Yang Su-jin was about to say something...
[The locusts have started their activity.]
All three of us looked around. But I couldn’t see anything in either direction. In addition, I didn’t hear anything.
“E-Excuse me...” It was Yoon Ji-hee who raised her finger upwards. There were black dots in the air. As time passed, the number of dots increased and their size also became bigger.
[Evil Swarm of Locusts. Type: Reptile. Rank D.]
[They are called locusts due to their appearance, grouping habits and unique wings. Biologically, they are reptiles. When hunting animals, they separate their prey according to size and will take them back to their habitats instead of eating the prey right away.]
[They have an organ in their body to store sunlight. The disadvantage of flapping their wings is that is consumes a huge number of calories, making them reluctant to act in a space that doesn’t receive light.]
I couldn’t eat these guys properly. I grumbled and clapped my hands. The eyes of the two females zeroed in on me. “Go.” I pointed to the ruins. Both of them seemed to understand immediately, as they moved quickly.
We entered a one-story building, but the interior was quite large. Most importantly, there was a space where the light didn’t reach. There were many wooden shelves like it was a store that sold something. We crouched under the table that acted as a counter and waited.
Soon, all the light that entered the building was completely obscured by the swarm of locusts. There was the sound of wings flapping and countless black shapes passing by the door, but there were no signs of it ending.
There was something on the ground next to my feet. I looked at the locust that had taken one step into the building. Indeed, they really had the appearance of a locust. It was just like a locust, except that there were no insect-specific joints and it had the twinkling eyes of a reptile.
Between the gaping mouth, the teeth looked like toothpicks. “Look at this b*stard.” I laughed as I stared into its yellow eyes. I didn’t think it would understand, but... The mouth snapped crazily like it was expressing its feelings.
In the end though, it didn’t come in.
It had only taken one step into the building before turning around and flying back down the road. It was pretty cool in here. Due to the building being made of stone, the temperature was just like a refrigerator.
“I-It didn’t come in?” Yang Su-jin asked in a furtive voice. I nodded and looked at Yoon Ji-hee. She had her eyes closed and was blocking her ears. I waited for a while, but the sound of the wings outside didn’t stop. It felt like a dozen or so big dogs were flying around.
“We are trapped right?”
“It seems so.” Even though they were ranked ‘D’, the numbers were overwhelming. They weren’t opponents that we could run away from, so we couldn’t go out.
There was only one way left. “Wait until night.”
It seemed pretty ridiculous. Not only Yoon Ji-hee, but Yang Su-jin also stiffened. They stared blankly at me. However, it wasn’t that strange if you thought about it. First of all, there was always a solution. The reptiles didn’t always fly through the sky since there was a time when they couldn’t act. “Besides, this is a place where people lived.”
It was said that this dungeon was created by putting together places that actually existed in another world. This place couldn’t shine 24 hours a day, since it was a place where humans lived. Furthermore, the shape of the pillars on the street looked like street lamps. In other words, the artificial sun would eventually turn off.
“Indeed!” As Yang Su-jin clapped positively, I held out a hand to her to ask for the items. Yang Su-jin took out a hot pack from her bag. This was my first request for her. Due to the lizardman’s essence penalty, I had to suffer quite a bit of cold on the sixth floor.
This was the correct answer. This place was huge. Thanks to the buildings, it was difficult to guess the width of this space, but I had spotted some pillars quite a distance away. They also led up to the sixth floor.
“A village? No... Maybe it was actually a wide city in reality. This might take longer than I thought.” Still, it wasn’t bad to think positively. If I had to wait then there was something I had to wait for.
I pulled a book from my inventory.
[An Introduction to the Old Language of Tellan.]
Even if it was an introductory book, it was a book that I couldn’t understand properly.
However, I decided to try it. Even though I came down to the seventh floor, there didn’t seem to be any special clues about this language. Based on the cultural relics and cities, it wouldn’t be bad to know the language in the future.
I opened the book but couldn’t understand the letters. The composition of the letters was shorter than the other books I had.
First... I looked at the letters that occurred most often. Once I figured that out...
[Talent has been acquired.]
[Talent - Text Decryption: The ability to decrypt letters and passwords of unknown language systems. Thinking power and insight has slightly increased.]
[Talent has been acquired.]
[Talent - Tellan (Reading, Writing): The ability to read and write Tellan will rise according to the level. There is a slight increase in Planning.]
[Tellan (Conversation) will be corrected according to the level.]
Then fragments of information entered my head. I had figured out the word ‘Ebun’ as well as the way of pronouncing the syllable ‘e’. If this was the case, it might not take too long to understand and read the language!
“Haha...” I smiled as the clue was solved more easily than I thought. Then I realized that I had forgotten one thing. I pulled out a book from my bag.
[4,000 Essential Swahili Vocabulary]
“You said that you know English and French?”
“Yes...” It seemed possible to have a fairly natural conversation, since she had been learning it since childhood. Yang Su-jin looked at Yoon Ji-hee with disbelieving eyes.
“Then memorize this. I will give you two hours to memorize as much as you can. Please remember at least 40 characters. Otherwise, you won’t be able to eat the packed food.”
“The time will start from now.” I turned on the timer on my cell phone.
Yang Su-jin, who was staring blankly, suddenly interrupted. “I want to try!”
“There is only one book.”
“Can I tear out the page from another chapter and memorize it?” I didn’t think much of it as I nodded and engrossed myself in the book again. I figured out how to read eight words. I had just realized that the language used punctuation in a different way when the timer rang.
[Reading Comprehension. Lv 3. 244/400]
[Text Decryption Lv 1. 81/100]
[Tellan (Reading, Writing) Lv 1. 56/100]
Yang Su-jin had a confident expression on her face. “I memorized 80 of them!”
“Is that so?” I answered casually and didn’t talk any more for a few minutes. Yang Su-jin’s expression turned impatient.
“Aren’t you going to ask?” Although the talent had gone up, word memorization was an area where people would forget as soon as they stopped reading. I had seen it in a few students who I had tutored. I needed to distinguish between true memorization and cramming.
“W-when? Ah... No, wait.”
Yang Su-jin remembered 34 characters. If I subtracted those that she said, “Ah! That is wrong!” then it would only be 29.
“Then it’s your turn.”
“I... I read...Up to this page.” There were 15 words on a page. She read eight pages for a total of 120 words. Yoon Ji-hee had memorized 104 of them.
“...” Yang Su-jin’s face wrinkled as Yoon Ji-hee received some positive words. Considering that she had learned English, I stayed away from languages with common etymologies such as French or Russian. Her basic memorization ability wasn’t bad, rather it was quite high.
Although I had already expected it… “Compared to what you look like, your head is surprisingly good when you study.”
“I-I, not, studying...” It wasn’t just a condescending act. She was flustered due to the praise. In actuality, her grades weren’t bad. Based on the messages from my friends about her academic record, she never got anything below an A.
“You must have done quite well in high school.”
“I-I didn’t. I was almost yanked out of classes… That... I went to an international school.” It was a place where parents who were crazy about education in East Asia sent their children. They couldn’t just have wealthy parents, but the students had to study well. It would be difficult for students of general high schools like me to follow their classes.
"Even if you entered through a special screening, it is great that you managed to keep up with the classes. I heard quite a bit about it while studying in a public school.”
“Well. It isn’t good or bad, just a little surprising.” While we were speaking, the outside was becoming dim. The sound of the locusts’ flapping wings also cut off. I should take a look around this place.
“Yoon Ji-hee, wait here.”
“If a locust pops up, then you will have to run back. Do you still want to follow?” I threw the hot pack to Yoon Ji-hee. My hand pointed to the chapter she was holding. “You keep reading. I don’t think it will take that much longer to memorize. Well, you shouldn’t waste your time while waiting.”
Things were going well. Honestly, it was more than I expected.
I exited with Yang Su-jin. The sun on the ceiling was covered. Just like eyelids covering the eyes, a giant cover surrounded the artificial sun. Before it became completely dark, I stored as much of the scenery into my mind map as possible.
“Let’s focus on the ears rather than the eyes. Go over there...”
“...” At that moment, I noticed that Yang Su-jin’s cheeks were puffed out.
“What is it?”
“If you have a complaint then say it.”
“I'm sorry. Yes, I am stupid.”
“Yes. I am unemployed. I don’t even know where an international school is. In addition, I only managed to memorize 34 words in two hours.”
What was this...? It was actually 29 instead of 34 words, but it wasn’t that good. “I don’t think you are stupid.”
“... It was only 34. In two hours.” It was actually 29. “If she is so clever with just memorization skills, my position with Yoon Ji-hee should be reversed. Isn't that right?”
“...” As I paid attention to my surroundings, I muttered. “Being good at studying and having a good head is different.”
“What is different?”
“Among the high school friends that I have, there is one who dropped out of school and delivered jajangmyeon. He created a good, quick service delivery app and received several investments. He’s a great friend. I personally think he is very smart.”
It was the difference between having a talent and using the talent in the right place. However, most people didn’t realize their talents and weren’t satisfied. “So what if you can’t memorize an African language in a few hours? She can’t even survive one hour here alone. Isn't that right?”
“Then what is the problem? You can do it.” That was enough. Anyway, they would have to face quite a lot of people who came down to this place. For most of them, their actions would be no different.
“Anyway, you still haven’t tried to stab me in the back. That alone is good enough.”
“... What if I do so in the future?”
“It isn’t a high possibility. Now stop whining and listen carefully.” In the meantime, the surroundings were quiet. The streets became completely dark and the street lights turned on. However, the street lights only brightened the middle of the road. The outskirts and side buildings were completely dark.
Yang Su-jin and I stuck closely to the outer walls of the buildings. As we moved out of the light, we could only see within our original field of view. “Well, there is something I don’t know.” Yang Su-jin spoke in a low voice.
“What is it?”
“Did you keep that woman alive for her language abilities? If you don’t teach her how to fight and just let her read a book, then we can kill her whenever we want.”
She sounded like she had found the answer. I didn’t answer. Regardless of my answer, it was important that she find an answer she could understand. She wasn’t academically smart but her head wasn’t bad.
... Even so, 29 words were disappointing.
[Stealth. Lv 3. 244/400]
“...!” I held my breath as the letters surfaced. Yang Su-jin did the same as if she saw the letters. The experience of Stealth had gone up. In other words, there was something else in the area. Before long, there was a sound in the darkness.