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Chapter 349

SSS-Class Hunter who Dies to Live

04/03/2024

WE TRIED TRANSLATIONS

 

Translator: Ryuu

Editor: Abstract

Discord: https://dsc.gg/wetried

 

 

SSS-CLASS HUNTER WHO DIES TO LIVE

 

 

Chapter 349: The Voyage of the Full Moon (6)

 

 

 

When I asked if they knew the way, the cats' reaction was simple. The cats who called themselves the God of Commerce, were trembling yet prostrated themselves without a moment's hesitation.

 

"We shall surrender!"

 

Indeed, they knew their place.

 

"However, if we were to fall completely, it wouldn't be just one or two beings left destitute on the streets! It's not just for our own survival that we struggle, but for all the faithful people across the worlds and the divine citizens of this world... Please, have mercy on us...!"

 

"Please have mercy on us!"

 

The twenty-four cats simultaneously begged for forgiveness.

 

There was something deeply moving about the sight of the differently colored cats bowing their heads in unison.

 

But my heart had become far too sullied to live by sentiment alone.

 

"Is that the truth, you serpent?"

 

[The Eyes Dwelling in the Labyrinth reveals their innermost thoughts in a single sentence.]

 

As the serpent hissed, text floated before my eyes.

 

+

 

Mental State: 'Followers and divine citizens be damned, we're about to die here, what do we care!'

 

+

 

I knew it would be like this.

 

I clicked my tongue in disapproval.

 

"You all are consistently petty...."

 

"Meow! Why should a serpent submit to a mere human?! Because of it, we can't deceive or negotiate! This is an outrageous abuse of power... it shouldn't be allowed!"

 

The cats were outraged. Being a Constellation that primarily dealt in deceit, they seemed to have a natural aversion to Hisimet Cretsu. Caught off guard by the insult, Hisimet Cretsu, now infuriated, raised its head and hissed loudly.

 

The cats jumped in shock.

 

"Meow!?"

 

"S-So scary!"

 

"It's terrifying...!"

 

"Ah, look at that dreadful green! Such a color and curve should not be tolerated in this universe! Its mere existence is an insult to all creation...!!"

 

"Hisss!"

 

"Meowww?! Spare us, spare us!"

 

"The green alien is trying to eat us! Help! Help-!"

 

What a mess this has become.

 

Or more accurately, a cat mess....

 

Since 'cat mess' is a bit weird, let's just call it a 'meow mess.' Isn't that cute?

 

"My friend seems to have fallen into some strange thoughts again. Proceed with the negotiation."

 

The Countess intervened just in time. Of course, she was watching the spectacle live through the hologram.

 

"While you do desire unconditional surrender, we have no intention of extorting more than what's reasonable from you. Anyway, that place is a kind of heaven, and you all are its administrators, right? It's only right to preserve that status."

 

"Meow. So, what do you desire...? A fair monetary compensation or periodic tribute?"

 

"No, what I desire is only one thing, and that is your utter humiliation."

 

The Countess showcased the character that made her the wealthiest in the tower without any reservation.

 

Let's just call it a 'character flaw.'

 

"Cu-Customer...?"

 

"I have no intention of ruining the economic structure of the Heaven of Gold. Nor do I plan on ruining other worlds. It wouldn't be fair for the administrators of heaven to favor our tower alone, wouldn’t it? I'm saying, once again, I just wish you'd eat shit."

 

"Eek...!"

 

Shivering at the Countess's character flaw, I couldn't bring myself to sympathize with the cats, considering they were the ones who nurtured such a personality.

 

What goes around comes around. Karma. A meow punch. All these are among my top three favorite phrases.

 

"Come when I call you. Perform tricks if I ask you to, and if I command you to open a snack bag, then do it. Of course, you cannot lie to me and must always speak the truth. And that's not all. If I tell you to meow, you meow, and if I get sick of it and tell you to bark, then bark willingly."

 

The cats trembled.

 

"What outrageous demands!"

 

"To be born with a spine like a top and then to utter a dog's bark is the ultimate disgrace!"

 

"Indeed! Dogs are inferior beings that can't even stretch their backs! There are the Three Bonds and the Five Constant Virtues, we can't possibly use the language of dogs!"

 

So, these beings are a Constellation of deception, deriving pleasure from tricking others and looking down on dogs as an act of speciesism. At this point, calling them cats might be an insult to the cats of our world.

 

The Countess quietly listened to the cats' protests and then ended all arguments with just two sentences.

 

"If you don't like it, just let the King of Death expose all your secrets."

 

"From now on, we are your eternal dogs."

 

The twenty-four cats bowed deeply to the hologram.

 

"In fact, we have long admired the ways of dogs and have always wanted to say 'woof' instead of 'meow.'"

 

"Woof woof! This feels much more affectionate and fitting!"

 

"Having been bestowed with the ways of 'woof' and the teachings of 'bark' by your graciousness, we finally feel liberated from barbaric customs and embraced by the Great Way. Mrow!"

 

Indeed....

 

I'm not exactly sure what 'indeed' refers to, but it seems like the most appropriate word to describe the current situation....

 

[The 'Gold-Biting Cats' surrender to you.]

 

The negotiation between the Countess and the God of Commerce continued with various minor skirmishes. I didn't pay much attention to it.

 

It was just the process of refining the minutiae in the surrender document leaving no room for misunderstanding, and well, the Countess would handle it.

 

What was important to me was what came next. After over three hours of discussion, a perfect surrender document was finally drafted, and the Countess, beaming with a smile, looked my way.

 

"Good work, King of Death."

 

"It was nothing."

 

Unlike the joyous Countess, the cats were completely exhausted and lay sprawled on the floor.

 

"There was a demon among us...."

 

"We might need to reconsider our service levels to our customers...."

 

How much had they been fleeced to end up like this?

 

I was relieved that the Countess was on my side. If she were an enemy, the Paladin would be too, and not just the economic structure of the tower, but the security forces would be against me as well.

 

Game over. The detailed assassination plans and the capital to execute them would just be the icing on the cake. Truly sinister.

 

"Thanks to you, I've fulfilled a wish I never thought possible in my lifetime. They say 'what's the use of having friends,' but clearly, I'm enjoying luxury because of a friend."

 

"I enjoyed it too."

 

"And now, we must end these enjoyable times."

 

The Countess closed her fan and smiled.

 

"It’s time to return, King of Death."

 

A message resounded in my head.

 

[The judge you've chosen has given you a passing mark!]

 

[You have gained the recognition of your judge!]

 

[You may declare Stage Clear at any time.]

 

There was no reason to hesitate.

 

I quietly declared Stage Clear in my mind, and in response, a yellow light enveloped me.

 

[You have subdued the 'Gold-Biting Cats.']

 

[Hidden Stage Cleared!]

 

[You will be transferred to the 70th floor.]

 

And then, I opened my eyes.

 

"Welcome back."

 

Upon opening my eyes, the first thing to greet me was still the Countess, languidly reclining on the sofa. She slowly waved her fan and said to me,

 

"I really wanted to say this face-to-face. Congratulations on your clear, Kim Gong-Ja."

 

We had broken through the 72nd floor.

 

 

 

 

 

The completion of the stage didn't mean the Countess immediately left.

 

Perhaps knowing that leaving here would erase her memories? The tower's laws dictate that all memories related to the Pillar, namely the [Staff of Time Immemorial], must be distorted. Perhaps that's why the Countess leisurely lounged around.

 

"I'm always in work mode because of the Merchants Union, 24/7. No rest for me."

 

The Countess said.

 

"Honestly, being here is like a free vacation. The flow of time is even different from Babylon, making it the ultimate vacation spot."

 

"What's the point of resting here if your memories are going to be erased anyway?"

 

"If it's going to be erased, I better enjoy myself more before that happens."

 

The Countess seemed serious. Well, I wasn't in a hurry either. I thought it might be a good opportunity to chat and get closer to the Countess.

 

"......?"

 

And during our conversation, we stumbled upon a quite astonishing fact.

 

"You knew about Patricia's assassination plans?!"

 

"Of course."

 

The Countess said it as if it was the most natural thing.

 

"Patricia and I have no secrets from each other. We don't needlessly blab about everything, but we never blur the line between what's necessary and unnecessary. We both have the intellect for that, and we've made that promise. The most important thing is the will to keep that promise. I trust Patricia's will."

 

The certainty in the Countess's expression was undeniable.

 

Honestly, I was taken aback.

 

"Uh... I don't know if I should say this, but Patricia probably also has, well, of course, it's just a plan, but a plan to assassinate Nisha too?"

 

"Of course. To take control of the entire tower on behalf of the Five Major Guilds, Patricia would first need to conquer the Sang-Ryun. And to do that, she'd need to start with me."

 

"Good heavens."

 

As I stammered, the Countess chuckled as if amused by my reaction.

 

"It's an old story. I was the one who told Patricia first. If she ever decided to become a dictator, she should start by taking my head before killing others."

 

"......"

 

"When would she have the courage to carry out a bloody purge without that kind of resolve? It was a kind of constraint. Honestly, without the chains I had placed, Patricia would have exploded long ago. Patricia is a deep thinker and may seem indecisive at first, but once she's determined, she goes straight ahead regardless of what happens."

 

I was momentarily lost for words.

 

My silence wasn't for no reason.

 

Neither the Paladin nor the Countess knew. Not a past event, but a secret buried in the cycle of time.

 

Only I remembered it.

 

'...The Countess was the first to die.'

 

The tragedy that unfolded on the 12th floor.

 

'When I first reached the 12th floor, the Paladin accepted the choice offered by the [Demon King of Autumn Rain]. She colluded with the Demon King. And we, the leaders of the Five Major Guilds, were hunted down by the Demon King one by one...'

 

When the Demon King swung his sword, red rays burned everything in their path. The first thing destroyed by that sword was the imperial audience hall of the Aegim Empire, and the person in that hall was the Countess.

 

The Paladin, Patricia, was the first to kill the Countess.

 

As promised.

 

"Hm? Your expression is odd. Is something bothering you?"

 

"...No, it's nothing."

 

It's okay.

 

In this timeline, it's nothing more than an event that hasn't happened.

 

The [Demon King of Autumn Rain] has become a Preta. I call the Paladin Patricia. The Countess can be called Nisha. And both of them call me Kim Gong-Ja.

 

Everything has changed.

 

'But...'

 

But what I once thought were mere coincidences, many events, now looking back, are understood in directions I never thought of before. They've become comprehensible.

 

It's… How should I say?

 

'A strange feeling.'

 

I realized anew. Eventually, coincidence is just a name I temporarily attach to the inevitabilities I don't know.

 

What I do, what I want to do, might just be the process of changing those many coincidences, one by one, bit by bit, sip by sip, into inevitabilities.

 

It must be so. I felt that this process was not at all different from turning each and every one into myself.

 

"Uh. Sorry to interrupt your enjoyable conversation."

 

A voice intruded beside us.

 

"This isn't a holiday resort."

 

The Pillar, hiding silver blades in its eyes.

 

The [Staff of Time Immemorial], holding a long staff, watched us.

 

"King of Death. It's time to ascend to the 73rd floor."

 

That’s right.

 

Another heaven was waiting for me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter 349

SSS-Class Hunter who Dies to Live

04/03/2024

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