Episode 9 – Omniscient Sunfish (1)
After a while, we moved towards the entrance of the ‘hidden dungeon’ on the first underground floor. I walked behind Lee Jihye, Lee Gilyoung and Jung Heewon while looking at my smartphone.
「...In the midst of the splitting headache, Yoo Jonghyuk came to his senses.
‘Give up on this life.’
This was the end of Yoo Jonghyuk’s eighth life. 」
It couldn’t be. This hadn’t happened yet.
...Shit, why was this guy doing this on only the third life? If he moved carefully like his second life, he would’ve passed through the mid-to-late scenarios.
I raised my eyes to see Jung Heewon looking at me.
“Dokja-ssi, what are you looking at?”
“...Ah, the calendar... This situation has made me lose my sense of the date.”
I actually thought it might be more interesting to look at the calender. Sometimes I wondered how I finished reading this novel.
Jung Heewon looked at me suspiciously before turning her head towards Lee Jihye.
“Then... did you say your name was Jihye? Do you also use a sword?”
“Yes. I like the sword.”
“Right? The sword is the best. It has a good taste.”
“...Unni also knows the taste?”
Jung Heewon smiled as she watched Lee Jihye’s sword. It was a luxurious sword that obviously flowed smoothly. Maybe it was given by Yoo Jonghyuk.
“Your sword looks good.”
“Ah, Master gave it to me. Unni...?”
“My one... I-I like mine as well.”
Jung Heewon looked down at the groll horn blade and then sneaked a peek at the sword on the other person’s waist.
I didn’t do anything wrong but I couldn’t help feeling sorry. I had no choice but to hang something on Lee Jihye.
“Hey, why are you talking to Heewon-ssi but ignoring me?”
“Uh... that, I’m a bit weak to older females.”
Lee Jihye responded with a quivering voice and Jung Heewon gave her a headlock, as if Lee Jihye was cute. There seemed to be a connection between the ‘demon slayers.’ Lee Jihye barely escaped from the headlock and asked.
“By the way, why are you rescuing Master?”
“We are companions.”
“Don’t talk nonsense.”
“He is a useful guy.”
“...You sound like Master.”
[The constellation ‘Secretive Plotter’ is wondering about your heart.]
Come to think of it, it wasn’t just Lee Jihye but the constellations as well who must be wondering about my actions. He was a guy who would kill me if he got a chance. It was strange that I would run to save him.
[The constellation ‘Demon-like Judge of Fire’ likes your desire to rehabilitate a fallen friend.]
[100 coins have been sponsored.]
This one misunderstood me. But the Demon-like Judge of Fire... unlike the expectations of the Archangel Uriel, I had a deeply personal reason for saving Yoo Jonghyuk.
It was to prevent him from ‘regressing’ after his death.
Regression after death. It sounded good. A ‘regression stigma’ that triggered every time you died. The protagonist had a fraudulent ability.
The problem was that this ability invoked complicated thoughts in the surrounding cast.
「By the way, what happens to the world after you return? 」
A supporting actor had asked this of Yoo Jonghyuk when Yoo Jonghyuk’s number of lives had broken into the double digits. I forgot his name but Yoo Jonghyuk’s answer from that time was clear.
「 ...I also don’t know. I always choose a world where more people can live. 」
It was plausible but in fact, Yoo Jonghyuk didn’t know about the world he abandoned. In face, there was no definite theory about what happened to the world in Ways of Survival.
Science, magic, whatever.
This was why I was anxious. What happened to the world after the regressor disappeared?
Would it reset with the regression? Or would a parallel universe branch off? The latter would be fortunate, but if it was the former...
Lee Gilyoung, who was holding the hem of my clothes, looked up at me with anxious eyes.
“I think we’re here?”
[You are approaching the outside region. Be careful not to leave the scenario area.]
This message popped up. It didn’t matter. Chungmuro’s hidden dungeon was treated as an ‘inside’ area.
We turned the corner and Exit 1 appeared. A dungeon entrance with an ominous shade greeted us.
[You have found a hidden dungeon!]
[This dungeon has already been discovered by someone. You can’t get the first discovery achievement.]
[A new hidden scenario has arrived!]
[Hidden Scenario – Theatre Dungeon]
Clear Conditions: Defeat the master of Theatre Dungeon.
Time Limit: None
Compensation: 4,000 coins
The surprised Lee Jihye hesitated and stepped back.
“...What is this? Theater Dungeon?”
Lee Gilyoung looked startled. Well, this must be the first time they encountered a hidden scenario. Jung Heewon also spoke.
“A movie theatre as a dungeon... it sounds romantic.”
Romantic. This was only because she didn’t know how scary the movie theatre could be. We entered the theatre. The familiar lobby of the multiplex welcomed us.
[You have entered Theatre Dungeon.]
We were tense as we entered the bleak dungeon. It was a multiplex consisting of nine floors, from B1 to the 8th floor.
“Hyung, the posters are torn. Who would do that?”
“I’m not sure.”
I said this but I actually knew the truth.
The core of this ‘Theatre Dungeon’ were the ‘posters’ on the wall. Perhaps Yoo Jonghyuk defeated every poster as he went upstairs. His intentions were to sweep up all the rewards.
Except for the torn posters, nothing strange was found on B1. There were no items and no monsters. The only exception was the smashed elevator in one corner with a distrted door.
Lee Jihye asked.
“Isn’t this a dungeon? Why isn’t there anything?”
“Something will appear.”
“...Do you know something?”
“How? Something is fishy about Ahjussi. Is this your second life?”
That was her master. But he had lived three times.
Then Jung Heewon said, “It is due to the sponsor behind Dokja-ssi.”
I ignored the two women and tried to move to the ground floor when I was caught by Lee Gilyoung. The cockroach on his head was moving wildly. Lee Jihye drew her sword at almost the same moment I covered her mouth with a hand.
“Shhh, there is somebody else besides us.”
I breathed out while small sounds started to be heard. Just upstairs. Then... the lobby? I first thought it was Yoo Jonghyuk but it wasn’t Yoo Jonghyuk’s voice.
“...Are you sure? Here... there are a bunch of things.”
“Yes. I bought the information with 1,000 coins.”
“Yes. They are disgusting but the information is obvious.”
I heard the sound of people talking. We went up the escalator and approached them. It seemed that four people were gathered in the lobby on the 1st floor.
Lee Jihye whispered, “Who are they? I never once saw their faces in Chungmuro.”
“Maybe they came from the ground side entrance.”
“Ground side? Isn’t that filled with poisonous fog? Furthermore, the scenario―”
“Different stations have different scenarios at different speeds. There are those who have finished the scenario faster than our station. If there is a weak poisoning, they can eat the meat from the underground species.”
I said this but I was confused.
There was no information about such people in Yoo Jonghyuk’s life. At this point, Yoo Jonghyuk and I should be the only ones who knew about the hidden dungeon.
What caused the variables? Needless to say, I needed to find out.
“Then let’s go inside.”
A blue spotlight was floating above the men talking. A bright light surrounded them and then they disappeared.
“...What happened to them?”
Jung Heewon asked me but I didn’t answer. Instead, I was searching the posters on the wall. This was torn, that as well... by the time I reached the end of the wall, only one wasn’t torn. I read the words written on the poster.
Steven Spielberg, Samuel L Jackson, Jeff Goldblum...
That bastard Yoo Jonghyuk... he left this one alone? As expected from the third regression.
At that moment, the light came on again. This time, the spotlight was aimed on us. The surprised Lee Jihye and Lee Gilyoung stepped back, but there was no way to avoid it. The word ‘ray’ suited it.
I asked Jung Heewon, “Heewon-ssi likes movies?”
“Of course. Do you usually like it?”
“You might hate it after this.”
“What do you―”
[You have been hit by a projection light.]
[The screening will begin.]
The surrounding landscape started to slowly change. It wasn’t a simple illusion so Fourth Wall wasn’t activated as before. The old linoleum floor became covered with green bushes, while the reception desk and popcorn stand turned into a lush rainforest. The ceiling turned into a blue sky with no clouds and no end in sight. Lee Ji-hye muttered in a small voice.
“Where the hell is this place?”
Lee Jihye shouted and hacked at the surrounding trees and bushes, but nothing changed. Lee Gilyoung started looking for insects with a calm expression.
I tried to touch the nearby trees. It had a hard and moist texture. It was a real rainforest from the Mesozoic era. This was a different realism from the specter’s Welcome Prison. This was the power of the theatre master on the dungeon’s 8th floor.
“It is a movie.”
“...Really ridiculous things are happening.”
A novel had become reality. There was no law that a movie couldn’t become reality as well.
Jung Heewon was a fast adaptor and quickly understood.
“Ahjussi, what movie is this?”
“You’ll know soon.”
“...Can’t you just let me know? Wait a minute, what is this kid doing...?”
At this moment, the shrubbery moved and something jumped out in front of Lee Gilyoung. An insect that resembled a giant preying mantis. The size was approximately 40cm. Lee Jihye was terrified and cried out.
“Hey Kid! Back away!”
However, Lee Gilyoung responded calmly to the fuss.
“It isn’t a preying mantis. It is a Titanoptera from the Triassic period.
Lee Gilyoung stretched out his hand to the titano. The insect didn’t refuse the touch and after a moment, Lee Gilyoung and the insect’s body was wrapped in a blue light.
Lee Jihye watched with a stupid expression.
It really was good that I brought Lee Gilyoung. This guy’s ability might allow us to pass through the gateway more easily.
The giant preying mantis moved its big mouth and Lee Gilyoung nodded. I didn’t know what it involved but they were having a conversation. After a while, Lee Gilyoung paled as he talked to the preying mantis.
...What was it?
Lee Gilyoung hurriedly turned to me.
As he spoke, the sound of the earth shaking was heard. It seemed that something was coming at a tremendous speed, smashing the huge palm trees.
The muzzle of the giant reptile that appeared through the rainforest was covered with reddish blood. Some bloody men were running in front of it. It was the men who entered before us.
Lee Jihye stepped back and spoke to Jung Heewon.
“I know what movie this is.”
“...Yes, me too.”
A body that was over a dozen metres tall and hard skin. Fierce muscles dominated the entire body. The strongest predator of the Mesozoic Era was in front of us.
At first glance, it was similar to a grade 7 monster. The difficulty level was atrocious considering this was the 1st floor of the dungeon. But my heart just thumped. The harder the hidden dungeon, the better the reward.
I pulled out a blade and said, “Get ready to fight.”
Maybe Yoo Jonghyuk skipped only this movie because of the contents. The main reward of Theater Dungeon was related to the movie contents. Yoo Jonghyuk probably thought there weren’t any worthy rewards in a movie where dinosaurs appeared. But he didn’t know.
In this movie, a really important reward was hidden.
“...Are you serious? We are going to fight that?”
“We need to beat it to make an exit.”
“It is a long movie. Have you forgotten?”
A T-rex was approaching quickly. The island’s central laboratory was seen behind it. And an escape helicopter was on the rooftop of the laboratory.
This was a movie. A movie that the master of Theater Dungeon made into reality.
Therefore, there was only one way to escape from here.
“Let’s make a great ending.”
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