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    Names weren’t attached without any meaning. They all carried some sort of significance and were given for a certain reason.

    There were two reasons why this gate was named the Grounds of Distrust.

    One was due to the characteristics of the monster ‘Palsillocus’ that only appeared in the Grounds of Distrust, and the other was because of the form of the ‘special clearing conditions’ that occasionally appeared along with the basic clearing conditions.

    Sa-yoon checked the clearing condition explanation window that appeared in front of him again. There was one condition added at the bottom in red letters.

    [Or betray the companion who entered with you 0/1]

    Now, it was quite limited since only Sa-yoon and Geon-joo had entered, but when coming with the recommended party size of seven members, it demanded absurd betrayals such as killing the party leader or killing one’s lover.

    The important thing was that if the special clearing window appeared for even one person, the other people who had entered the gate together would also receive the special clearing window.

    And among those who received that window, there were people who actually practiced the special clearing conditions to monopolize the rewards.

    That’s why it was called the Grounds of Distrust.

    Even if they promised to focus only on the basic conditions and clear it together without worrying about such things, there was always one person who betrayed.

    Since Sa-yoon had received the window, Geon-joo would have also received a similar window, so Sa-yoon firmly pressed down on Geon-joo’s shoulder.

    “Is there really nothing?”

    “No.”

    “…Is that so? But why do I see a quest text saying to kill the companion who entered together?”

    He had caught him. As Sa-yoon pulled up the corners of his mouth, thinking he had fallen for it, Geon-joo, who had been silently staring at the condition window, spoke up.

    “You knew.”

    “Hmm?”

    It wasn’t the reaction he had expected. The scenario Sa-yoon had thought of was that Geon-joo would be startled and say something like “Wh-What? How…!” with wavering eyes, flustered and anxious, but the Geon-joo in front of him looked composed to the point of being nonchalant.

    “Why do you keep testing me?”

    On top of that, he even questioned and confronted Sa-yoon.

    “It’s not like I begged to come here, and I was half-forced to enter, so why are you doubting and trying to test me so much?”

    Is our guild leader a Dokkaebi…

    Dokkaebi. A being known for enjoying bets and tests. Sa-yoon, who frowned at Geon-joo mocking him in his unique gentle tone, lowered his arm.

    I give up, I give up. Forget about having fun.

    “You seem to have already known, pretty boy. How did you find out?”

    “You said you would explain while we were moving, but you didn’t give me a single document until we arrived. You didn’t even properly tell me what kind of gate it was.”

    “So?”

    “So I thought there must be something you couldn’t explain until we entered. And there actually was. Guild Leader, who has explored all types of gates, wouldn’t have been unaware of the special clearing conditions, so what else is left other than testing me?”

    “Intentionally not telling me even though you knew?”

    “It’s annoying to be fooled obediently.”

    “……”

    That answer made it clear that he didn’t have a submissive personality.

    The excitement had completely vanished after trying to grab and shake him a bit. Sa-yoon, who shrugged his shoulders, took out ‘Heris’s Dagger’, his main weapon, from his inventory and gripped it.

    “So what do you plan to do now? Trying to monopolize the rewards by breaking the special clearing condition?”

    “No way. The test seems to be over, so can you explain what kind of gate this is? It doesn’t seem like I’m getting much benefit from coming with an experienced person.”

    Every additional answer and remark he made was annoying, but Sa-yoon couldn’t even punch him due to the damn quest. Feeling like the beneficiary of his system window wasn’t himself but Geon-joo, Sa-yoon swallowed his dissatisfaction and looked at the space inside the gate.

    Despite the unpleasant name of the Grounds of Distrust, the inside of the gate was quite beautiful. The greenery and flowers were well harmonized, the sky was clear, and the sunlight was quite nice.

    However, in a gate, the moment one was captivated by the beautiful scenery, they were one step closer to death.

    Sa-yoon, who walked while fully receiving the shining sunlight, twirled the dagger in his hand once.

    “Listen carefully, pretty boy. This is just a pretty minefield. If you touch one thing wrong….”

    Crack!

    Sa-yoon’s dagger cut a well-grown sunflower. It was when Geon-joo, who was with him, expressed puzzlement at the sudden action.

    “Kieeeek!”

    The severed sunflower screamed. Then, the stem began to wriggle and sway.

    What had clearly taken the form of a sunflower grew and swelled, changing grotesquely. Geon-joo held his breath at the overwhelming sight.

    “Kiaaak!”

    Finally, the creature, which had grown as large as a villa, roared. The blue leaves scattered at the piercing sound, and the earth trembled slightly. The thing that had been a sunflower had now transformed into a vicious monster, its flower form no longer recognizable.

    It had three eyes and a face split into two, a white monster. Sa-yoon, who had been calmly facing the overwhelming presence it emitted head-on, gripped the dagger in reverse.

    “It’s a rank 2.”

    “What is that?”

    “What do you mean what? It’s a Palsillocus.”

    The monster that revealed why this gate was called the Grounds of Distrust. The false existence, Palsillocus.

    As the creature finished its roar and was about to assess its target, Sa-yoon grabbed Geon-joo’s collar. Then, with brutal force, he threw him far away.

    “…!”

    Geon-joo, startled by the outrageous behavior, widened his eyes. Sa-yoon looked at the person who had been thrown about 500 meters away from him.

    “Rest over there, pretty boy. You’ll get hurt if you get involved.”

    “Behind you!”

    “I know.”

    Geon-joo, who had been making an absurd expression at Sa-yoon turning his back to the enemy, urgently warned him of the danger in a panicked voice.

    Boom!

    With a thunderous sound, the foot of the rank 2 Palsillocus slammed into the earth. It was the spot where Sa-yoon had been standing.

    However, Sa-yoon was not there.

    “When they’re big, their movements are slow. Ah, but keep in mind this only applies up to rank 2.”

    Air Walking and Shukuchi.

    Skills obtained from the Myeongnyang Guild, which specialized in mystical skills, as if extorting them. They were skills that worked to some extent against A-rank monsters. Using that, Sa-yoon, who had jumped into the air by stepping on the void, gripped his sword properly.

    “Kiii.”

    The Palsillocus, realizing its attack had missed, let out an unpleasant cry. Sa-yoon landed on its shoulder.

    “Kiaaa!”

    The irritated creature swung its claw-like hand. A hand so large that the sky seemed dark for a moment. Sa-yoon lightly jumped to the side.

    Boom!

    Another loud sound was heard. When the Palsillocus turned its head to check if it had caught Sa-yoon, Sa-yoon had landed on its opposite shoulder.

    “It seems like its shoulder hurts.”

    He spoke mockingly and spun the dagger once. Kiaak! The angered creature violently shook its body left and right to throw Sa-yoon off.

    As a result, Sa-yoon’s body fell downward. Seizing the opportunity, the creature immediately opened its mouth.

    “Be careful of the piercing shot it fires at this moment.”

    Sa-yoon advised Geon-joo even as he fell. Woong, a vibration sounded, and a dark light gathered in the center of the creature’s mouth. The Palsillocus, which had opened its mouth to the maximum, fixed that light on Sa-yoon and fired a piercing shot.

    Kwajijijik!

    The concentrated beam was explosive. Nothing remained in the place the light had pierced through. Not the beautiful flowers, not the plants. And not Sa-yoon.

    It happened in an instant, so Geon-joo, who had missed Sa-yoon’s movement, looked around in a panic, searching for his guild leader.

    “Kieeeeek!”

    An earsplitting scream shook the ground. Geon-joo, who had covered his ears at that terrible sound, looked at the Palsillocus.

    Then he was shocked.

    In the blink of an eye, Sa-yoon, who had climbed onto the head of the Palsillocus, was stabbing the dagger into the eye on its forehead.

    “Heris’s Repentance.”

    Sa-yoon, who had deeply plunged the dagger, recited the activation word. The Palsillocus resisted, shaking its body. Sa-yoon didn’t avoid the huge hand that came crashing down. The moment the gigantic hand was about to crush Sa-yoon.

    Flash!

    A white light burst out, illuminating the field of view. A popping explosion sound followed it.

    Geon-joo squinted, frowning at the intense light accompanying the explosion. In the small field of view he barely secured, even the monster’s form was not visible.

    He moved his eyes to search for Sa-yoon. Sa-yoon, who had been at the center of this entire situation, was leisurely descending from a height that seemed to be about 6 floors.

    Tap.

    Finally landing steadily, Sa-yoon slightly furrowed his brows at the blood scattering in all directions. Honestly speaking, it wasn’t a visually pleasing sight. It wouldn’t be strange if Geon-joo, who had a weak stomach, was vomiting.

    It’s good, but the visuals are terrible.

    The S-rank weapon, Heris’s Dagger.

    When the activation word was spoken, it could cause a powerful explosion up to 3 times a day. It was a skill that couldn’t be used against humans, but when facing monsters, there was no better skill for finishing off a boss.

    Just stupidly stab the knife and move your mouth a bit, and it’s done.

    Flicking the blood-stained blade, Sa-yoon searched for Geon-joo, whom he had thrown far away. His pretty boy was obediently staying where Sa-yoon had tossed him.

    Seeing him looking at Sa-yoon with somewhat dazed eyes, Sa-yoon approached Geon-joo with slow steps as if going for a stroll.

    “Did you see?”

    “……”

    “You didn’t see?”

    “No.”

    “Then answer. Those are Palsillocus. There are ranks 1 to 4, and you don’t know which rank they are until you attack their disguised form. Their true form is only revealed after attacking, and you can tell their rank by their size. The higher the rank, the bigger and stronger they become, so be careful.”

    Sa-yoon, who spoke while glancing at the chunks of flesh, continued his explanation.

    “Roughly, rank 4 is equivalent to the boss monster of the E-rank gates you’ve been to, rank 3 is D-rank, rank 2 is C-rank. And rank 1 is the level of a weak A-rank monster, but rank 1 rarely appears, so take it easy, take it easy.”

    He spoke lightly, meaning not to be tense, but there was no response. Sa-yoon stared intently at Geon-joo, whose expression had somehow stiffened.

    Did he get scared?

    It would be his first time seeing a C-rank monster. Just in case, Sa-yoon had thrown him far away and made him watch, but he might still be overwhelmed by that intimidating aura.

    Sa-yoon, who hadn’t paid much attention since Geon-joo had enough determination to look him straight in the eye even in front of him, realized that facing monsters and facing people were completely different. He filled his right hand with energy and patted Geon-joo’s shoulder, tap tap.

    No matter how talented and determined he was, a novice was still a novice.

    If covered with a stronger energy, one could escape from the existing overwhelming pressure, so Sa-yoon patted and stroked his shoulder a few more times with greater force. Thinking it would be perfect to add a word here, Sa-yoon cleared his throat and observed Geon-joo’s expression.

    A tense face.

    What should he say to relieve the burden at times like this?

    All of his direct and indirect experiences, from books he had read as a child to conversations he had with adults, were mobilized. Eventually, Sa-yoon, who had found something suitable, smiled softly.

    “How is it? Now that you’ve seen it in person, it’s weaker and easier than you thought, right?”

    He spoke the words he had carefully chosen in a gentle manner. Sa-yoon, who was convinced it would have some effect, looked at Geon-joo with expectant eyes, then soon became disappointed.

    It seemed to have failed.

    His pretty boy’s expression had stiffened a bit more.

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