It’s been about six months since I’ve entered the third stage.
I still haven’t been able to adapt to the environment and the bizarre weather that changes day by day.
Whether it suddenly rained or snowed became an insignificant issue.
“Is it an island today?”
I remember using the branch of a large pine tree as the bed and closing my eyes.
It was located in a very thick forest and I constantly heard birds chirping.
But, when I woke up, like a phantom ship out in the open sea, I was stuck on a floating island.
I couldn’t even guess as to where I would be placed next.
“Is this the fourth island?”
I tried to figure out how many islands I’ve been stuck on by retracing my memories.
Even if it was an island, the environment was different and they made it difficult for me to adapt to it.
“Well, an island isn’t all that bad. I’m satisfied.”
Out of the environments that it changed to, there were several locations where it was terrible and others that weren’t so bad.
An island was a pretty satisfactory location when compared to others.
I was placed next to a volcano that looked like it was going to erupt at any moment and on top of a farm where a hurricane was blowing violently.
Being surrounded by natural disasters that could harm humans wasn’t enough of a description for what I went through.
Whenever I endure those harsh disasters for a day, I feel extremely proud of myself.
Out of all the palm trees that were here, I selected the strongest looking one.
One that wouldn’t break no matter how many times it’s been punched.
As I entered the third stage, the first thing that I did was open the reward box that I earned from the second stage.
[Learning Device: The growth rate of skills through training will increase by three folds.]
The growth rate through training wasn’t really impressive.
It felt like fighting against monsters was five times more.
Despite the advantage of not putting my life on the line, the experience that I obtained from it was so low, that I couldn’t help but be exhausted.
But, thanks to this device, it covered a good portion of those disadvantages.
On top of that, the item that I earned from the second stage, Item Booster [Unique], increased the performance of the device.
[Item Booster [Unique]: It increases the performance of one item. For ones that are above unique, it can be used on items other than equipments.]
Because I was curious, I used the booster on the device and it worked successfully.
The device originally provided a growth rate of three folds, but now it provided four folds.
I took my stance and as I concentrated, I performed a powerful punch.
After retracting my fist from the spot where it hit the bark, a faint smoke started rising out of it.
The palm tree started shaking a lot due to the shock, but that was it.
“This place too?”
It was a pretty powerful punch that it wouldn’t be odd if an ordinary tree flew away, but.
Instead, the hand that I used to punch turned red.
Unlike its outer appearance, it was extremely sturdy.
Its defense skill might be higher than mine.
It wasn’t just the environment that changed after a day, but the objects around it changed as well.
It was as if it was providing me a stepping stone to grow because the objects around me were set up so that it was slightly stronger than me.
Also, the gravity and the air seemed like they were controlled to match my condition.
I first laughed it off, thinking I was hallucinating.
However, as time passed, I was sure that was the case.
I couldn’t overlook the fact that there was something here that slowly drained my energy whenever I was staying still.
After performing several tests and realizing that my assumptions were true, I sighed, thinking that the manager hated me.
After punching it 100 times, the tree finally fell down and I felt satisfied.
I continuously obtained experience and improving my skills was something that I had wanted to do.
During the six months, there were times when I thought how tiring this was, but I never felt bored.
Even if I wasn’t conscious about it, if I thought about hitting with my fist, a blue light enveloped my hands.
My mana was starting to react more to my body than my brain.
One thing that I learned while training here was that there were endless possibilities when it came to mana.
If I could really control it, the things I had only imagined could become a reality.
As soon as I thought about that, I started doing the training that was related to mana.
It was meditation.
I controlled the mana that was flowing within my body and tried to become familiar with the mana that was naturally flowing around me.
At first, it wasn’t easy.
Despite the fact that I was skilled in controlling the mana within the body, obtaining the energy floating around me was difficult.
But, as long as I put my mind to it, there’s nothing I can’t do.
After six months, I started gathering the mana that was floating around me.
The amount was very small, but the fact that there was a way for me to obtain them made me extremely happy.
And just like that, I trained myself in martial arts, sword fighting, bow shooting and meditation.
After a year had passed, I didn’t feel tired at all even after staying up for two straight days.
That’s how much my performance increased and there was another big change.
Monsters that wanted to kill me started appearing.
Wyvern, Gremlin, Manticore and many other types of species appeared once a week.
It was absurd how the location wouldn’t change until I took down the monster.
There were several times when I almost lost my life because of these monsters.
The Gremlin was just as small as a Cobalt, but they tried to capture me by setting up traps.
A large monster like a Wyvern continuously showed me their power and kept on flying above me.
I managed to take down the Wyvern after three days.
Intermediate level monsters and above weren’t even in the guidebook, so I really had to put my life on the line to kill these monsters.
The fact that they only appeared once a week was a relief.
“I can’t believe I have to live here for two more years.”
I mumbled as I grabbed the items from the ogre that I took down.
I wondered how the outside world has changed.
Since a year passed, I was sure that a good amount of people escaped the stage.
The survivors return after completing the third stage but what happens after?
In the current situation, it wouldn’t be odd if they said there were more than four stages.
No, the stage might just be a tutorial and they might send us to a totally different dimension.
In my current situation, it felt like I could take whatever they threw at me.
“I shouldn’t skip my training today, right?”
On the day where I finish the hunt, I always want to skip the training for that day.
However, I ended up grabbing the sword because it would be a waste not to train since I’ve done it every single day.
Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance.
I believed that I would get acknowledged for my hard work.
And just like that, I managed to spend 30,000 hours in this prison-like place and the time came for me to be released.
Honestly, I lost my sense of time, so I didn’t really feel much during the remaining months.
When it’s time for me to leave, I was going to go outside and cheer loudly.
As I finished preparation to leave, a small door opened in front of me.
This was when I was able to meet the manager that was in charge of me.
The person had long, blonde hair that past their shoulders and pale skin that shined brightly.
The smile on their small face made them look really cute and charming that I spaced out for a moment.
It was as if god himself sculpted this person.
I couldn’t help but be surprised by how they looked because I’ve been wanting to see their face.
After realizing what was happening, I held onto my sword.
After taking a deep breath, I used all my strength and charged towards her.
The sword pointed straight at her, but it shattered into pieces right in front of her.
“This is a pretty violent greeting, don’t you think? Well, it’s understandable as to why you’re angry.”
The fact that she was able to block it so easily made me think that she really was a manager.
“I attacked you with the intention of taking you down.”
“Yes, I can see that you’re filled with a murderous spirit. Unfortunately, you still have a ways to go before you can touch me.”
She waved her index finger as if she felt sorry for me.
“I’m sorry. I won’t lie to you and say that it was all for you. But, since you were able to complete this stage, you were able to obtain an amazing power.”
She circled around me and started studying me.
“I told myself that I would punch the lights out of the manager that put me here, but I didn’t think it was a beautiful woman.”
“Oh, is that so?”
While she was near me, I attacked her once more with my sword.
I increased the amount of mana, but it was still no use.
“I’m not a manager for no reason.”
“I’ve put a lot into this attack, so there’s not much I can do if this didn’t work.”
Pushing my disappointment aside, I grabbed the sword again.
“Can I go out now?”
“Of course. Like promised, you’ll return to the real world.”
“I’ll be parting with the stage.”
“Perhaps. It’s what helped you get this far because you only thought about surviving this place.”
Like she mentioned, I endured with the thought of surviving each day and didn’t have any other goals.
The thought of wanting to survive was what helped me get this far.
“It’s possible that you might return. However, it might be different from what you previous experienced.”
“Ha ha, you think? I’m not that crazy to want to return here.”
“Don’t you want to kill me?”
I stroke my chin while thinking.
It was a very interesting thought.
“I’ll think about it.”
“…You’ve done well. If you walk through the door that I came out of, you’ll return to the real world.”
“Hm, I can’t really say that I’m thankful. Despite the fact that you’re cute.”
“Ha ha, that’s a compliment, right?”
At first, there were a lot of things that I wanted to ask her, but when I actually saw her, all those questions were erased from my head.
I was going to return anyways, so there wasn’t a need to ask about this place or why I was the only one that was placed in such a harsh environment.
After looking at the smile she had while sending me off, I walked through the door.
After the door closed, the 13th manager stood there with a sad smile and looked at the door for a while.
After feeling a sting on her finger, she let out a small moan and looked around her.
It was thin, but her finger was cut by a sword.
“No way…did it happen when I blocked?”
After meeting Kang Jin Woo, she started getting more interested in him.
“I’ll…meet him again, right?”