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To Hall Plain! (2/4)
There was nothing special about the transfer. Having experienced it over a hundred times, it was a so~so feeling. I was transferred to the <Starting Inn> and came out of the second floor hallway. Arriving here, I heard a large commotion coming from the lower floor. This was a time to wait for the Players in Hall Plain to come and introduce us to the world. Usually, there was a silent anxiety in the Inn as the survivors waited to find out what next, but this level of noise was unexpected.
The Summoning Net surrounding the Inn was released once all the new players had finished their set up and was transferred to Hall Plain. Once this net was released, the existing players entered the Inn and introduced the world to the new players. My old self detested these guides.
These guides were quite arrogant. They looked upon the new comers like fresh new recruit in the army. Though I do acknowledge that these guides had passed their Rite of Passage, had gone through these transition period and survived through countless hardships.
There was nothing worth listening to. After adjusting to Hall Plain, one begins to get conceited and look upon the new players like “I was like them once.” I remember the player who told me this died three month later.
Although I didn’t like these guides, there was nothing much I could do about it. The best thing to do right now was listen to their explanation and go through the Player Academy.
Well, since I already spoke this much, let me explain more about Player Academy. I think the concept of this Academy was quite ingenious. I don’t know who suggested establishing it but that person must have been a bit crazy. Rather than spending their early days being clueless about things, the Academy trained the new players. The improvement was remarkable and pointless early death drop significantly.
Regardless, I needed to meet up with the party and clear up all the misunderstanding. After that, I had no idea what to say. Thinking on this, I reached the end of the second floor hallway. Now I just needed to open the door in front of me.
While I was thinking of a lie and how to clear up the misunderstanding, I heard a voice from the door. It was a familiar voice that could be heard from the other side of the door.
“Don’t bark at me! You son of bitch!”
“I am telling you, you crazy bitch. I saw it clearly with my two eyes!”
“That means your going blind! You lying asshole!”
“You crazy bitch. You think I was the only one? You think? Bo-rim also saw it. I keep telling you, that crossbow was broken in half!”
Hearing the familiar name, I could guess who was spewing this much profanity. The troublemaker, Park Don-gul. I never have expected him to survive. Well, truthfully, I had lost all interest in them. Dead or alive, I just didn’t have it in me to care. Regardless, I decided to be a positive as possible. The early memory was still seared in my mind and the time will come when I can beat him to a pulp.
The other high pitch voice, I recognized it in an instant. The constant friction between the two, Park Don-gul and Lee Yu-jung, what an ill-fated relationship. I clicked my tongue and quietly opened the door.
Hearing the creaking of the door opening, many people turned their gaze to it. Before Yu-jung could tell Don-gul to shut up, she heard the door opening and turned her head up. Seeing this, I laughed awkwardly.
As expected, I was the last person to be transferred. As I took a step outside the door, everyone in the Inn was looking at me. There must be over forty people crowding the Inn. Last time, there was less than twenty. Discounting the number of high-state players, it look like there was a clear effect of killing the Boss on the sixth day. Last time, about half of the people in this room had been killed.
Walking down one step at a time, I greeted them easily enough.
“Everyone is alive. Glad to see that you are all safe.”
Of course they were alive. I sent them off at the Warp Gate with the utmost care and affection. Even then, I received no response at my greeting. I felt slightly disconcerted while Yu-jung came stumbling towards me.
She lifted her arms and gently rubbed her hands on my cheeks. Her eyes and lips were trembling, her emotions gushing up, amazed at my sudden appearance. Yu-jung wasn’t the only one. The faint hope had became a reality. The party, even Wu Jung-min, looked at me in disbelief.
Yu-jung asked with a strained voice.
“Oppa… Su-hyun Oppa? You are not someone else, are you?”
“Of course, do you think I am a doppelganger? Ou, ouch! Cut that out, it hurts.”
“Congratulations on coming back alive. I never thought there was a chance you would survived… amazing.”
I barely managed to pull Yu-jung’s hands off my cheeks, before I heard a husky voice next to me. Turning my head, the voice came from Wu Jung-min. He looked like he had more to say but I shook my head slightly. Wu Jung-min seems to have caught the sign as he closed his half opened mouth. Next, I caught the eyes of Won Hye-su behind Wu Jung-min, who immediately looked away.
An-hyun looked at me with a welcoming expression. Yu-jung’s expression was half happy, half crying. Sol was crying out right. An-hyun and I stared at each other for a while. He seems like he wanted to say something, as his lips kept moving but no sound came out.
A case where no matter how much you wanted to speak, the words didn’t come. This didn’t matter much, but I wanted to get out of the spotlight. The situation was already awkward, but with Sol crying it just became really embarrassing.
I tried to soothe the tearful Sol as I deliberately moved to a corner. Park Don-gul was in that place. Seeing us approaching, he took Lee Bo-rim with him to the opposite side of us.
I waited for the gaze to turn away from us and for the party members to compose themselves. But there was one person bothering me and that was An-sol. She sat next to me, grabbing my cloth and refusing to let go.
I signaled An-hyun for help, but he just opened his mouth and laughed.
“Hyung. I still can’t believe it. You are like a phoenix, coming back from the dead..”
“Haha. That’s a bit too farfetched. I was just lucky, that’s all.”
An-hyun shook his head from my reply. Never mind that, do something about your sister. She’s not a baby, so why is she clutching my cloth so tightly? An-sol didn’t seem to care about my position as she spoke with a shaky voice.
“That’s not it. For me, I saw a miracle. I waited at the bottom of the stairs, thinking maybe… Then Oppa…”
Her voice and her grasp on my cloth became stronger. She couldn’t finish what she was saying as she burst into tears once more. Seeing this An-sol I felt hopeless. But, I felt a bitter in my heart as it was time for me to lie to them.
“Anyways, I am glad to see you all alive.”
“If you were alive, you should have came earlier! You are always making us worry… No, I am sorry Oppa. It wasn’t even your fault…”
I tilted my head at this scolding, apologies and tears from Yu-jung. I never knew these kids were worrying about me this much, I felt happy. Yu-jung clenched her hand into a fist and rubbed the evidence of tears from the corner of her eyes.
“Oppa, tell us. That bastard was telling us that he saw your crossbow broken in half by the Warp Gate. Oppa was gone and the monster had disappeared.”
Ahem. The time had come. How fortunated that I had the foresight to burn the Boss monster’s corpse. But leaving that crossbow behind was quite careless of me. I wanted to avoid the topic but then I felt a cold glare. It was none other than Kim Han-byeol. If I answered vaguely now, I felt I would be in some kind of trouble with her later.
Kim Han-byeol had not spoken a word since I entered the Inn. Except for when she first saw me, her expression hadn’t changed at all. I turned my head for a moment and faced her. Reading the emotions within her eyes, although it was really small, it was mixed.
She felt overall relief but mixed in there was small amount of distrust and suspicion. Han-byeol was definitely not like the others. She had quite a similar personality as me. She never let the situation affect her or showed her emotions, always leaving room for reasoning. She would never grasp the truth about the essence of the matter, but the fact was, she had doubts about me.
The Inn had settled a bit, however that didn’t mean it was silent. Conversations erupted all around between the survivors. I sighed in my heart. I felt I was sighing too much these days. I decided that I would tell them I didn’t remember much of it.
“Yeah. That’s right. I was trying to avoid the monster’s attack… but that thing was targeting my crossbow from the beginning. It shattered in half immediately. The situation was quite gloomy. Hahaha.”
“Is your left arm fine?”
Kim Han-byeol interject immediately after I finished. She sounded sincerely, however she had an ulterior motive ‘wasn’t the crossbow on your left arm?’ I wetted my lips before answering her.
“The monster attacked with it’s tail. My left arm was raised and the tail grazed passed it, taking the crossbow with it.”
“… Then what happened next?”
“Well, truth be told, I don’t know. What can I say? I can’t remember it well. I really felt like I was going to die, nothing else came to mind. That thing was trying to stomp me to death and I rolled like my life depended on it…”
I explained in a quiet voice, twisting and looping my original experience. It ended with me saying that in the dust cloud, I took my chance and ran with all my strength toward the forest. Everyone nodded at that. Of course, everyone except Kim Han-byeol. Anyone who had faced the Boss monster for three minutes would immediately pick up on that my explanation was riddled with mistruth.
Kim Han-byeol seems deep in thought as she didn’t ask anymore questions. She kept her mouth closed as they all remembered what had happened and the atmosphere was celebratory on my survival. The suspicion in her eyes had yet to clear up. I decide to stop for now. This spin doctoring was all a delaying tactic on my part anyways.
Before we knew it, the blue light outside the window was fading.
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