The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

REAPER SCANS

 

The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

[Translator –  goguma]

[Proofreader – Karane]

 

Chapter 123

Earlier, before Seol cleared the Gate of Doubts, Changsik was experiencing hell.

Whenever he spoke, his sounds were drowned out. He would look in front of him, but couldn’t see or discern anything. The mysterious sensations brought fear, not curiosity.

‘Someone… let me out of here…’

His memories of how he came in and what he was doing were all fading.

It was because his mind was tainted.

However, suddenly, Changsik’s surroundings became brighter.

 

[The final flagellant has overcome Emptiness.]

[Emptiness disappears from the Labyrinth of Penance.]

 

“U-Uaargh…?”

It was as if someone turned the lights on in his dying mind.

“Ahh… Ahhhhh!””

Changsik had been drooling all over his armor to the point that it was wet.

Changsik screamed and covered his eyes, the intense brightness causing him pain.

“Kaaaaargh!”

And then, a moment of silence.

“I-I’m alive? I’m… alive?”

Touched by the words that escaped his mouth, Changsik felt a surge of emotions that almost made him cry.

No, he was already crying.

After being tortured in extreme terror that made him unable to even tell time, Changsik’s heart couldn’t calm down in the face of sudden freedom.

“Haaaah…”

He let out a long, deep sigh of relief. Now that he was capable of judging the situation, Changsik started looking at his surroundings.

“Where… am I?”

He inspected the floor, but something felt off.

The walls looked weird too, but more than anything was the smell…

An indescribably foul smell exuded from the floor and the connected cave.

“Is this a tongue?”

It was an idea that suddenly appeared in Changsik’s head.

And the way the floor writhed and wriggled only made Changsik more sure of his assessment.

 

[You have received a mental shock.]

[Your mind is tainted.]

 

“I-I have to get out of here!”

Rumble!

As the tongue wriggled back and forth, the space got smaller. It seemed like it was trying to swallow Changsik.

Changsik scrambled around before barely pulling on the door handle a short distance away.

“Ahhh!”

And he lept into the door.

Click.

As Changsik vanished through the door, the tongue thrashed even more violently inside the mouth.

“Gasp… Gasp…”

Changsik felt gratitude for the fact he was still breathing and tried standing up.

“Where… is this place? Did Snowman succeed?”

If it wasn’t for Snowman, Changsik would have definitely died due to his mind being tainted.

The fear from being unable to sense or control anything had pushed Changsik’s mind to the edge. It was definitely something that Changsik did not want to go through again.

Changsik regretted it.

And then, he accepted it. Even despite his cautions, he had still taken the Labyrinth of Penance too lightly.

‘Are the others… still not here yet?’

Changsik checked his surroundings, but there was only one stone chair. He couldn’t see anything else other than that.

Seating himself in the stone chair, Changsik examined what interested him the most.

 

[Mental Contamination: 79/100]

 

Mental Contamination 79.

If things had gone wrong even just a little bit, or if Changsik had been pulled out of there even a moment later, he would have faced a terrible fate.

‘If mine’s this high… then the other people’s should be…’

Changsik didn’t finish that negative thought. He wanted to hold onto even the tiniest sliver of hope.

And then, more messages came up.

 

[You have overcome your penance.]

[You are granted the right to challenge the truth.]

[You must wait until the fates of all the flagellants are decided.]

[Hunger disappears.]

[Thirst disappears.]

 

“Is it… telling me to wait?”

It was almost as if the system—no, the labyrinth was telling Changsik that.

It told him to wait, that the most important thing had not arrived yet.

Changsik, a bit frustrated, stood up and took a couple of steps from his chair.

“Urgh… Aaargh!”

Crumble…

The small rock he kicked fell off and into the void.

“Where… is this place?”

The place Changsik was at was a bit too special to be just called a ‘room.’

He felt almost like he was at the subway station, where a couple too many steps would lead to him falling down into the tunnels. A difference in height that might even cause a few broken bones.

However, amid of that void, there was a floating square platform connected to the place Changsik was at by a single bridge, just wide enough for one person to cross.

Changsik ultimately decided not to make any rash decisions and waited for Snowman. After all, it was only thanks to Snowman that he was able to overcome his penance.

‘We would have all died if he didn’t come with us, I’m sure of it.’

Still, it seemed like understanding the situation quickly was one of Changsik’s strong points.

Changsik sat down in his chair once more and looked in front of him.

“...Statues?”

Five statues were all looking straight ahead.

The first was the statue of a knight wielding a sword. The second was the statue of a robed magician carrying a staff. The third was of a priest in ceremonial robes carrying a large book. The fourth was the statue of a demonic beast carrying a treasure chest. And the last statue was of a reaper carrying an ominous scythe in one hand and a lamp in the other.

Changsik felt oddly drawn to those statues, and as he had nothing else to occupy his time, he spent a few days blankly watching them.

However, all of it changed after a single message popped up.

 

[An individual’s mind has been completely tainted.]

 

“...What?”

A door opened at the same time the message arrived, but it wasn't the door Changsik came through. Instead, it was a door near it.

“Guaaaaaaargh!”

Thuuud!

The door opened with a loud thud as something slipped out.

“I-Is that a person…?”

No, it was too gaseous, too liquid to be called a person.

However, Changsik instinctively knew what it was the moment he laid his eyes on it.

“Don’t tell me… is it a soul?”

Someone’s soul was screaming in agony as it flew off.

It was flying to the statue of the scythe-wielding reaper.

“Gaaaaaaargh…”

Fwiiirl!

The soul was sucked into the reaper’s lamp.

Hummm…

Hummm…

The lamp hummed for a moment before turning silent once more, as if nothing had happened.

The reaper's eyes flashed red before slowly dimming down into nothing.

“N-No. This is…”

It was a place where escape was impossible, even through death.

The Labyrinth of Penance had yet to reveal its true form.

 

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator - goguma

Proofreader - Karane

Join our Discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics

* * *

 

Emptiness, Doubts.

Seol felt peaceful after overcoming the two penances.

‘I’m clearing the Labyrinth of Penance faster than the Blood Saint did, I’m sure of it.’

Seol was progressing through the Labyrinth of Penance much smoother and with better performance than a piece who attempted Ascension, despite being much earlier in the game.

Seol was extremely encouraged as he saw a visible achievement right before his eyes.

‘Still… someone’s mind was fully tainted already?’

The mental damage became dangerous once the value reached 80. It was at that point you began hearing nonsense and seeing hallucinations. It wouldn’t take too long after that for you to finally crumble.

‘Now that I think about it, it’s already been over a week.’

Seol had taken a week to clear just two penances.

Emptiness, Doubts, Pain, and Patience…

Seol was certain that the four flagellants who also entered their respective doors were struggling as well.

‘The person who had their mind fully tainted… It’s most likely the person who entered the Door of Patience.’

In Seol’s opinion, Patience was the hardest, while Emptiness and Doubt had somewhat normal difficulty. Pain, on the other hand, was the easiest among the four.

‘But to think they were fully tainted already… it’s a shame.’

However, since everyone entered the labyrinth willingly, any emotion beyond that would be excessive.

‘Mental Contamination 28… It’s not a bad start at all.’

Seol had to ensure his Mental Contamination value didn’t reach 100 before reaching the end of the labyrinth.

And for that reason, he had to ensure his Mental Contamination value did not accumulate too high in the early easy and normal penances.

‘The main problem is the Gate of Patience…’

The reason Seol believed it required at least a month to clear the labyrinth was because of the Penance of Patience.

In fact, the majority of the labyrinth was spent clearing this specific gate.

The Penance of Patience demanded the flagellant invest a specific amount of time to clear it, and there were hardly any ways to reduce this duration.

‘Well, that’s for me to worry about after I clear Pain.’

Judging by his dark surroundings, it was likely Seol was currently in the Gate of Pain.

And just then, Seol heard a voice from his Shadow Space.

“Master! Are you alright?”

“Ah, yeah.”

Fwiiirl!

Fwirl!

Karen and Karuna came out of his shadows to stand by his side.

Karuna then spoke up.

“We were trapped in the Shadow Space by some unknown power…”

Karen nodded.

“I was worried that they would trick you…”

“Trick me?”

Seol slyly smiled at Karen’s worries.

Jamad spoke as well from the Shadow Space.

“She shouted so much despite the fact that you couldn’t hear us… it was a terrible experience.”

“Maybe he could have heard it?”

Seol shook his head.

“Tch…”

Karen crossed her arms and looked elsewhere.

“But where are we?”

“The next Gate.”

“It feels… a little different, though? What are we supposed to do here?”

“This time… it really isn’t much.”

“Really?”

Seol gazed into the dark space.

Step…

A statue, roughly the size of Seol, appeared from afar.

It wore armor and carried a longsword in its hands.

“What is that?” asked Karen.

“We just have to break it,” answered Seol.

“Really, is that it?”

“Yup.”

“Aha…”

Dash!

Karen leaped at the statue.

Fwooosh!

The knight statue thrusted its sword at Karen.

Fwip!

After easily avoiding the attack, Karen swung Flare.

Crumble!

Karen cleanly sliced the statue’s head off. Her swordsmanship was the kind that drew out admiration.

Thud…

The headless statue fell to the floor.

Karen turned around, back to Seol, and took a playful bow.

“How did you enjoy the swordsmanship of the Montra Empire?”

Clap Clap Clap!

“It was amazing. So, on that note… why don’t you show us more?”

“...What?”

 

[Pain has not been satisfied yet.]

[Your mind is tainted.]

 

Karen turned around to face the statue. However, this time, there were two.

“Well, shall I show you a bit more?”

Seol shrugged.

Dash!

It wasn’t too different from what happened earlier.

Karen’s sword swiftly beheaded the two statues.

Thuud!

“Fuuu… You saw that, right?”

“Yes, I fully enjoyed it.”

“Are you satisfied now?”

 

[Pain has not been satisfied yet.]

[Your mind is tainted.]

 

Seol winced as he shook his head. Karen, sensing something ominous, turned around once more.

“Damn it…”

There were four statues now.

“How long… do we have to do this?”

“I don’t know… until we draw out everything we have?”

While the Penance of Pain was the easiest gate to clear, there were also no tricks behind it.

All you had to do was give it your all in destroying the statues over and over again.

Cruuuush!

Cruush!

Seol had a scowl on his face as he spoke.

"Just think of it as a short trip into hell."

 

* * *

 

Cruuuuush!

Thuuud!

Stab!

“Argh! That hurts!”

Baaaam!

Crumble…

Karen swung her sword at the statue that had stabbed her, severing its head.

“Gasp… Gasp…”

“Gasp… Gasp… Haah…”

Seol’s party had become a total mess.

Seol was so exhausted that maintaining the Night Crow form became difficult, and his summons were completely drained of energy as well.

The only thing they could see around them was the debris of countless statues.

While the earlier cuts were delicate and clean, the subsequent injuries were brutal, as if a starving beast had charged across the room, tearing through the statues. Their remnants scattered across the floor, creating a flurry of dust.

Thud.

Only after using every last drop of energy did Seol see the final message.

 

[Pain has been satisfied.]

 

Seol’s mind felt hazy, like a cloud had been cast over it.

 

[You have overcome Pain.]

[Pain disappears from the Labyrinth of Penance.]

[Mental Contamination: 41/100]

 

……

Crumble…

Flinch…

It was only after a little while that Seol realized the next penance had already begun.

Crunch…

There was sand in Seol’s mouth.

‘This is…’

Seol tried his hardest to help himself up.

“Urgh…”

Seol found himself in a desert with nothing but sand and the scorching sun.

‘So the Penance of Patience has already started. But…’

Seol did not know how much time had passed.

But first, he opened his inventory to satiate his hunger and thirst.

“Haah…”

The water he brought lost its original color. It was white, as if someone had poured ash into it. Looking at it with the Eyes of Perception, it was clear this would give him a painful death.

‘I can’t drink any of my water. Then what about the food…’

Seol scowled after looking at his food pouch.

“It’s all rotten.”

Seol’s Fresh Ingredients Pouch wasn’t working. It was likely due to the labyrinth being a special location affecting it.

Fortunately, his seasoning jar was still fine. However, that wouldn't be enough for survival.

‘This is rough from the start.’

The three months' worth of food and water Seol brought to clear the Penance of Patience had all turned rotten.

Truthfully, Seol wasn't even sure if he could bring in food in the first place.

He thought it would be fortunate if he could at least bring in water, but he was unable to save anything.

‘Haah… then I guess it’s exactly like the time I attempted it with the Blood Saint now?’

Even though Seol had wasted three months’ worth of food and water all at once, he didn’t despair and kept himself moving.

The Blood Saint had survived a situation like this too. There was no reason Seol, who had already experienced the same hell once, wouldn't be able to again.

At least, that’s what he believed.

Like that, three days had passed.

 

* * *

 

It was around this time when Seol realized he had made a grave mistake. Even though he expected to find food much earlier, he still hadn’t seen anything.

“Haaaah… Haah…”

Since he hadn’t eaten anything, and there was nothing to sate his hunger either, his body was now facing complications.

“Damn… it…”

Thud.

‘I didn’t think it would drop me off in a completely different location this time…’

Despite being dropped into a desert, the Blood Saint managed to find something to eat or drink at least once every two days.

Consequently, this implied that Seol’s situation was much harsher than his time as the Blood Saint.

Seol lay on the floor and looked up into the clear blue sky.

How was there a place like this in the labyrinth?

Lately, Seol was having these kinds of strange thoughts, even more than thoughts about ways to find food.

“Haha… at least give me something…”

But then, something Seol didn’t expect at all happened.

“Are you alive?”

Someone had spoken to him.

At first, he thought it was one of his shadows from the Shadow Space, but it wasn’t.

“I can’t believe I’m hearing hallucinations now…”

“Kid, how’d you get in here?”

“...What?”

It was only when someone obstructed his view of the clear blue sky that Seol realized these weren’t mere hallucinations.

‘...A person? There’s… a person in the labyrinth?’

He certainly wasn't someone who came to clear the labyrinth either.

After all, no one would accept someone as old as him into their party.

The man appeared to be in his forties or fifties, and had a full beard. The man then took out something from his inventory.

“I picked this dragon fruit a few days ago. If you’ve collapsed because of hunger, you’re welcome to eat it.”

Currently, Seol was more shocked by the fact he had encountered another person here, than by the discovery of food after three days.

Seol had a blank look on his face as he accepted the fruit. He then asked the man a question.

“Who… are you?”

“Are you asking me for my name?”

“Your name… Yeah, your name.”

“It’s been a while since I’ve said something other than ‘I’ or ‘me’.”

The older man gave a smile, revealing a few missing teeth.

“Toki. I’m pretty sure that was my name in the outside world.”

“Toki…? No way… There’s no way…”

“What’s wrong?”

Toki, a shoddy monk from the backstreets.

A person whom Seol loved dearly, as well as Seol's first piece to challenge the Labyrinth of Penance.

And... a piece Seol lost to the labyrinth.

“Kid?”

“...You were still alive?”

Toki was still wandering the labyrinth.

____

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