༺ What Ahri went through (3), Party Time (1) ༻
Heaven above heaven. World outside the world.
A pillar that was reaching out from outside everything in creation gently pressed down on the Hotel.
Only after looking at it for a while did I notice.
The ‘pillar’ was actually a ‘finger’.
The Head Director of the Hospital said that the ‘Hotel inside the Hotel’ was like a black hole within the universe giving birth to another universe inside it.
How did I not realize it until now? If a new universe could be born inside a universe, that meant there could be bigger and broader universes outside of our universe!
It was but a single ‘finger’ that was gently pressing down on all the evil gods.
Like a human pressing down on a bug, it was neither excessive nor rushed.
That supernatural phenomenon bewildered the ‘Head Director’ let alone me.
“Kuhahahaha! Is it you? Are you the one that locked us in? Who are you? Are you the father of all creation or something? Who the hell are you to—”
It was a gentle ‘press’.
The evil existence, who forged a portion of his strength into the form of a star fragment and handed it over to a mortal to bring the world to ruin, was crushed to death by a single finger.
My instincts told me. That was the being – the very existence that had the answer to everything including all my countless questions and my deepest desires.
Restlessly, I ran up to the finger and kneeled down.
…There were so many questions floating in my head that I had no idea what I was supposed to ask first.
Please! Please! Answer me.
Anything! I have no idea who you are, but you should know ‘everything’ as someone who can protect the world with one finger, right?
In that world of nothing but light and the finger—
I heard a ‘voice’.
‘Confront your beginning at the second floor. When the time comes, you will have to make a decision.’
My beginning. Don’t tell me…
‘The Room of…!’
But what was I supposed to do there?
A strange alarm went off in my head as my brain started to turn blank. It felt like a large eraser was removing sentences from my head.
…I saw too much, huh. It seemed that I had crossed the line of what was allowed for the participants. From the looks of things, it appeared that I won’t be able to remember what happened in the Fifth Attempt after going outside.
My consciousness started to fade. Before blacking out, I thought to myself.
If you’re going to remove them anyway, at least tell me without beating around the bush!
[User: Han Kain (Wisdom)
Date: Day 24
Current Location: Floor 1, Corridor
Sage’s Advice: 2]
– Han Kain
I woke up and we were outside, which meant that my teammates managed to resolve the room. That was awesome, but…
…It was certain that I didn’t acquire an Inheritance. I didn’t see any notifications after all.
Turning around, I saw the people whom I missed despite the short separation inside the room. Chatting and laughing in joy, we eventually noticed who acquired the Inheritance.
‘Star Fragment of Another World’.
After hearing about the Inheritance, I was relieved that I wasn’t the one who acquired it. It might sound like I was trying to lie to myself, but it really was an Inheritance that I wouldn’t have been able to use. Unlike the Bracelet, it had a clear and powerful penalty.
Also, it was a delight to see that Jinchul-hyung, who had gradually lost his previous confidence and pride after dying questionable deaths, was finally back to his confident self.
Anyway, it’s about time I acquired one as well, right?
When we all returned to Room 105, we were welcomed by a loud fanfare and rounds of applause like last time.
— Boom! — Boom! Clap clap clap! Clap clap clap! Clap clap clap!
“Hey. Hey! Be quiet! Quiet down!”
Jinchul-hyung embarrassedly shouted out loud as a message floated on the screen.
/Esteemed guests! Congratulations!
We, the staff of the Hotel, give sincere words of congratulations on you discovering your second treasure.
Unidentifiable origin of the curse! Teammates falling one by one! Crushing pain for the body and the mind!
You have proven that you are most definitely the heroes that we had been waiting for.
This treasure is particularly difficult to use, regardless of how tough your physical body is. A little bit of use weakens the mind and the body, so it is difficult to practice even with a lot of time in hand.
That is why we, the Hotel, have provided a special place for you!
How about heading to the basement for the ‘Timeless Safari’?
It would be the perfect place to be acquainted with the treasure. There will be 5 days of rest starting from tomorrow! It would be beneficial to get yourself used to the treasure.
Today’s Surprise Event: Party Time! Will now begin.
# The Party Time will last for 5 days and there will be nothing dangerous happening during that period. Also, there seems to be a secret in this Hotel that only shows itself during the Party Time!/
Standing in front of the display screen, we all read the message together. The contents were slightly different from the time when Songee acquired her Bracelet.
First off, the Party Time went from 3 days to 5 days. Did they give more time because it was a harder Inheritance to get used to?
Unlike the Bracelet, where the only penalty was the slight headache that it gave, the Star Fragment certainly had a lot more conditions to take into consideration. It would probably take a while for Jinchul-hyung to get used to it.
Also, they mentioned an unknown location called ‘Timeless Safari’. From what we could gather, it appeared to be a place suited for using the Inheritance.
I had no idea what it was so instead of pondering by myself, I turned to Ahri, who had previously been to the Hotel.
That was when I noticed she was acting strange. She wasn’t looking at the display screen or anything – in fact, she was crouching down on the spot with her hands wrapped around her head.
“Ahri? What are you doing?”
“Do you know what ‘Timeless Safari’ is?”
Other people started gathering near her as well.
“Ahri-noona? Are you okay?”
Only then did Ahri stand up and reply.
“I can’t remember.”
“The Fifth Attempt. I don’t remember anything that happened after we opened the door of Room 101. It just feels like I left the room immediately after opening it.”
Eunsol-noona showed her intrigue.
“That’s interesting. Has something like that happened before?”
“It’s my first time inside the Hotel. There was a time when I died straight after entering the room, but never something like this where I can’t remember anything.”
“Maybe you were immediately killed by your mom as soon as you went in?”
“…I’m not on bad terms with her. At least not that much.”
There was nothing we could figure out even if we were to linger on the topic. Perhaps after thinking the same thing, Eunsol-noona cut the conversation short.
“Let’s talk about it again when you remember it one day. For now, let’s go eat!”
The Hotel dishes were as delicious as always, but they tasted even better after achieving some great results. When we were almost done with the meal, Eunsol-noona opened her mouth as always.
“Let’s take today off. However, let’s just discuss what we need to do during this time. The first thing I can think of is the ‘Safari’ that the Hotel recommended us to go to. Also, we need to come up with a future plan, at least on the last day, right? Because we have to decide whether we want to go to Room 102, ‘Mansion of Fear’, Room 104, ‘Hotel High School’ or Room 107, the ‘Gate Room’.”
I also added something essential that had to be done.
“It’s ‘Party Time’, so let’s not forget the Sanctum of Blessings. I believe many of us would be able to enhance our blessings this time.”
Grandpa Mooksung added.
“We finally have some time off, so how about we spend the time training ourselves? The boys will need to attend at the very least.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean exactly what I said! Training. That pig is a monster in terms of strength so he can do whatever, and will probably be busy learning how to use the Inheritance. However, Kain, Seungyub. Don’t you think you need to work on stamina to beat through this perilous Hotel?”
An ominous feeling started to bud in my mind.
“Uhh… Thanks for the offer, but it’s only 5 days and not something like 50. What kind of training could possibly—”
“Only 4 days? ONLYYYY? Do you think this Hotel will be generous enough to often give you 5 ‘precious’ days off? And you guys really need to work on stamina.”
…It didn’t look like there was any room for negotiation. Sir seemed adamant on harassing me during this ‘Party Time’.
Let’s think positive. Maybe he’ll teach us some secret techniques of the Administration! Remembering the time when Grandpa was flying through the mountain like someone from a wuxia novel back at the Mansion of Fear, I persuaded myself to be positive.
That was when Elena suddenly joined.
“Grandpa. Can I please do it together?”
Grandpa Mooksung replied with an excited look on his face.
“Huh? Of course you can. Songee, you can join us too.”
Songee, who was doing her best not to look at us, replied with sorrow written on her face.
Right as Grandpa’s gaze was about to turn towards Eunsol-noona, she quickly shifted the topic.
“Alright! I will keep in mind that some of us will be training ourselves. Also, it’s Party Time so we need to do some exploring. There might be a few interesting things even apart from the Sanctum of Blessings, right? For now, these are the things we need to work on.”
- Go to ‘Timeless Safari.
- Empower blessings at the Sanctum of Blessings.
- Physical Training.
- Hotel Exploration.
- Decide on the next room.
“Those are the five things we thought of on the spot. If you can think of anything else, let’s talk about it tomorrow. For now, let’s take a rest.”
She quickly ended the conversation and stood up. Unlike what she was usually like, I could tell that there was a sense of urgency in her actions.
…I could guarantee that she was in a hurry in fear that Grandpa would add her to the ‘Physical Training Group’.
– Kim Ahri
After the meal, everyone headed back to their personal locations, but I headed to the front desk in deep contemplation.
Why couldn’t I remember anything from the Fifth Attempt?
I had no idea why.
Even if my mind had been contaminated from the very beginning, the memories should still be there, and I should at least be able to remember the strange things I did. Also, it’s not like mom had the special ability of deleting people’s memories.
Did I brainwash myself? However, even Allusion wasn’t able to completely wipe the memories clean like this. I was thinking hard to myself when Mooksung walked here from a distance.
“What are you thinking about by yourself?”
“Wondering why I lost my memories.”
“Hmm. That’s interesting. You didn’t remove your own memories, did you?”
“I thought about that, but it definitely feels different from when I delete my own.”
“Mhmm… I can’t think of anything.”
“Same, so I’m just going to give up here. More importantly, what’s with the sudden talk about ‘Physical Training’?”
“What do you mean? Didn’t you say that a few days ago?”
Me? Physical training?
“What in the world are you talking about? When did I talk about training their stamina?”
“You were concerned that Kain was ‘overly used to’ the irrational atmosphere of the Hotel, right? I remember you telling me to guide him back to the path of being ‘more human’.”
“How is that related to stamina training?”
“I knew it – you don’t understand people that well. Perhaps it’s because you were a superhuman from birth.”
“No, I think right now, the strange one is you, Mooksung, and not me, no matter how I think about it.”
“Healthy mind resides in a healthy body. The trials of the Hotel are harsh but the body is weak, and that’s why he’s relying on severe strategies to resolve problems. It’s through the repetition of that that his mind would turn more and more vicious.”
“Oh okay! So you mean you will train his body, enough so that he can smash through the trials with his fists, and that would allow a ‘healthy mind’ to reside in his body? Is that what you are saying?”
“…Whatever. You do you.”
Mooksung left with a genuinely proud look on his face. It didn’t matter to me in the slightest, but I just hoped that he wouldn’t say, ‘Ahri told me to do this,’ or any of that nonsense while ruthlessly pushing them beyond their limits.