The Genius’s Escape Plan Strategy – Chapter 3

𝐈 𝐖𝐀𝐒 𝐑𝐄𝐈𝐍𝐂𝐀𝐑𝐍𝐀𝐓𝐄𝐃 𝐀𝐒 𝐀 𝐖𝐀𝐑𝐑𝐈𝐎𝐑, 𝐁𝐔𝐓 𝐈'𝐌 𝐈𝐍 𝐏𝐑𝐈𝐒𝐎𝐍? (3)

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑: 𝐈 𝐖𝐀𝐒 𝐑𝐄𝐈𝐍𝐂𝐀𝐑𝐍𝐀𝐓𝐄𝐃 𝐀𝐒 𝐀 𝐖𝐀𝐑𝐑𝐈𝐎𝐑, 𝐁𝐔𝐓 𝐈’𝐌 𝐈𝐍 𝐏𝐑𝐈𝐒𝐎𝐍? (3)

The status window, weapon and armor inventory, and then the accessory slots unfolded before my eyes. Comparing them now to the first time I saw them after falling into this prison, the layout and positioning of the windows hadn’t changed in the slightest.

The status window was on the top left, the weapon and armor inventory on the top right, and finally the accessories on the bottom right.

Clatter, clatter.

However, now that layout was in an uproar, causing noise all throughout my field of vision.

『The Heavenly Emperor’s remains are infiltrating the prison warden’s management system.』

『Responding.』

『Response failed.』

A space was made by forcefully pushing aside the inventory windows.

There, a new row of slots I’d never seen before appeared. Based on my intuition, it looked like a bracelet made by connecting square, empty boxes in a long, circular shape.

“It’s just empty space?”

Am I supposed to fill these boxes myself? With what?

I tried moving a weapon or armor to the newly appeared slots to test it out.

『Invalid action.』

Hmm. Then it might be a slot for potions or accessories.

『Invalid action.』

My predictions were all wrong.

Then, does that mean these slots aren’t for putting items in?

Lfaltarkus Sion’s Remnants reacted to my desires. This absolutely couldn’t be a simple coincidence. He explained that the reason he left behind the Remnants was because of his ‘grudge’, and he called this phenomenon that he left for me a ‘blessing’.

In other words, he would lend me strength in achieving my dream of escaping prison. For me, who needed to get stronger as soon as possible, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Lfaltarkus’ voice rang out again.

『The prison is a vast world, Prisoner. Do you truly desire escape?』

“I do.”

『Even if you are to face agony worse than death, despair deeper than the abyss?』

“I’ll overcome death and cut through the abyss.”

『To my liking, Prisoner. Will you become my comrade?』

“Yes. I’ll pick up the baton you’ve left behind and plant it at the finish line, Lfaltarkus.”

『Good. I shall leave a mark showing that I walk with you.』

A tattoo was carved onto my left wrist with a sharp pain.

An ink-black drawing, sketched with bold strokes.

It was a lion roaring as it trampled on the neck of a dragon.

Was it perhaps like the symbol of this man named Lfaltarkus Sion?

Ting!

A unique red message window appeared, different from the previous blue status windows.

『A Main Quest has occurred.』

『Main Quest #1. ‘Escape from Purgatory’』

『The warrior has been confined to Purgatorium for some unknown reason.

The sentence given was 100 years for the ‘crime of mass murder’. If you cannot endure those years in prison, escape from Purgatory by any means necessary.

The method is to insert the key into the door on the highest floor. The Fallen Emperor Lfaltarkus will guide your path, but you will need courage and strategy, as well as sometimes overlapping good fortune. Good luck.』

『Time Limit: 100 years』

『Reward: If you escape, you can move to any space you desire along with your body at the time of escape.』

『Failure: Annihilation without reincarnation.』

The pressure from those two words ‘Annihilation’ was dizzying, but I soon trembled at the true meaning implied by the reward.

Once I became strong enough to escape from this inescapable prison,

‘𝙄’𝙡𝙡 𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙀𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙝 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙖 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙛𝙚𝙘𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙧’𝙨 𝙗𝙤𝙙𝙮.’

Fate had thrown me into this prison without warning. However, I happened to pick up a spoon left behind by someone who’d been captured before me.

The starting point of every prison break movie I’d ever seen was the spoon.

I wondered anxiously what I could accomplish with this spoon passed down to me by Lfaltarkus.

Just then, a voice flowed out as if it were a broadcast heard through a speaker.

『Attention to all prisoners in Purgatory’s waiting room. It is time for prisoner placement.』

Rumble!

The sturdy iron bars sank into the floor as if they were a lie.

Unlike me, who’d taken a step back while tensing up, Chaka was laughing. He walked out into the hallway while banging his two fists together.

“The dinner bell rang earlier than I thought. Come on, scaredy-cat.”

Just as I was calculating Chaka’s running speed while looking at his thick legs,

『The Warden of the 0th floor, ‘The Rat Oppressed by Laziness’, has created an Avatar.』

A rat suddenly appeared next to Chaka, standing on its two feet. The Rat Oppressed by Laziness spoke as its name suggested, with an annoyed face.

“Prisoner Chaka Dokginov, this is the waiting room. I cannot tolerate hostility between prisoners.”

Whew.

I let out a sigh. And then, I was immediately overwhelmed by a feeling of misery. I’d been declaring my grand ambitions just a moment ago, saying things like ‘You picked the wrong prisoner’ and ‘I’ll definitely escape’, and now I was sitting here feeling relieved because the Warden had stopped it.

How pathetic.

However, it seemed Chaka had no intention of quietly following the Warden’s words.

“You’re the one who locked me up! I’ll crush you first.”

Chaka’s fist slammed down towards the Warden’s head like a hammer. The Warden’s build was about the size of his fist, so it looked like he would be crushed just like that.

BAM!

However, Chaka’s fist only hit the pitiful floor.

“I guess I forgot to mention one thing. Prisoners are given movement restrictions when they leave their cells.”

The Warden, who had appeared behind Chaka at some point, snapped his fingers. Then, thick iron shackles appeared on Chaka’s handcuffs and leg irons. Clank.

“You son of a bi━!”

“Of course, violence towards the Warden is also prohibited.”

As the Warden snapped his fingers again, Chaka’s body stiffened in the exact pose he was in, as if he was trying to kick him. It was a feat that would be impossible without powerful authority, whether it was magic or sorcery.

What the hell is this rat?

I activated the warrior’s Insight and stared intently at the Warden.

『You do not have the authority to view information on this entity.』

Even though this entity called the Warden of the 0th floor had the appearance of a small rat, it seemed I shouldn’t be fooled by that. His soliloquy tickled my ears.

“This is why I shouldn’t have become a Warden. It’s too bothersome. I just want to annihilate them all.”

I pretended not to hear his muttering and approached the Warden. Clank. As soon as I went out into the hallway, iron shackles were attached to my handcuffs and leg irons as well, but I ignored it and opened my mouth.

“Warden! I have something to say.”

“What is it, Prisoner Schwein Stringer?”

“I didn’t commit a crime. I was wrongly brought here!”

“Oh, so you’re part of the falsely accused faction. Following the rioters, now the falsely accused. Today’s not a good day.”

“No, what rioters? I’ve never hit or killed anyone since I was born. A sentence of 100 years is ridiculous. More importantly, my name isn’t Schwein, it’s Park Sang-sik. . . .”

“I understand. What do you want?”

Huh? Could it be that I can escape this easily?

“Send me back to where I was! A place called Earth!”

“Earth. I haven’t heard of it. Well, I probably heard of it but forgot because it was bothersome. I’m a Warden, not a judge. Judging the innocence or guilt of prisoners is bothersome. . . No, it’s beyond my authority. It’s bothersome, so I’ll just annihilate you. May you forever rest in eternal peace.”

The Warden pointed his graceful finger at my forehead and began to mutter something.

My vision blurred as if I’d fallen into water.

“No! Undo it. Undo it!”

I had to hurry and stop the Warden.

I had a great realization.

Not only was the prisoner trying to kill me because he was annoyed, but the Warden trying to annihilate me because it was bothersome was just as crazy.

This prison was full of crazy people.

“Yes. You’ve thought well. I’ve annihilated a few prisoners in the waiting room, but every time I do, the Wardens on other floors complain. The prisoners’ rioting is bothersome, but their complaints are even more bothersome.”

Really, there couldn’t be a word that suits this guy better than ‘lazy’.

The Rat Oppressed by Laziness walked ahead and spoke.

“Follow me. I want to quickly guide the two of you prisoners and then rest.”

Only then did the paralyzation holding Chaka in place seem to release, and he plopped down on the floor with a sigh. However, he wasn’t stupid enough to try jumping at the Warden again.

He got up and growled at me.

“Don’t get too comfortable just because you see these shackles.”

“Didn’t you hear just now? Window Bars, here. You’ll be annihilated if you hit me here.”

“It’s useless, even if you stimulate me and make me attack you, then try to get rid of me using the Warden’s power. There will definitely come a time when you can’t escape.”

“Yeah. I’ll annihilate you even if your bad breath suffocates me.”

Eventually, we reached a huge iron door.

“Are you telling us to go through here?”

The ancient, legendary iron door was engraved with evil spirits writhing in pain, pierced by sharp swords. What was truly astonishing was the sense of oppression from its sheer, dizzying size.

Standing in front of this door, Chaka and I felt like hamsters in front of an apartment elevator.

They called this the waiting room? And they said this was the ‘door’ leading to the real floor where prisoners like us would be confined.

Then, there was only one reason why they made it this big.

“Could it be that they drag dragons in here too?”

The Warden rat replied to my soliloquy.

“Oh. Prisoner Schwein, you’re quite perceptive. That’s right. Guilty dragons and evil dragons are confined on the 7th floor.”

I let out a sigh without realizing.

In most of the games I’d cleared, dragons were always the strongest species. They were monsters that could collapse a mountain by flying up once and turn a city into ruins by landing twice. There were many cases where they weren’t monsters that could be killed, but NPCs who created items when you offered them tributes.

However, it seemed that even dragons like that were imprisoned in this prison. This was completely unwelcome news for someone dreaming of escape.

While I was lost in thought, the prison’s judgment was concluded.

『Chaka Dokginov. Rank: Goblin. Assigned to the 1st floor, Hwalryongdo.』

The hobgoblin grumbled about how he was on the lowest floor.

It was my turn next, I suppose.

『Schwein Stringer. Rank: Human. . . . The existence is impure, so it is taking time to assign.』

『The soul’s identification tag and the body’s coordinates have a subtle inconsistency.』

『There is suspicion that the management system was contaminated through illicit methods.』

『Searching for precedents to refer to when assigning the prisoner.』

『No search results.』

『The Door of Purgatory is gathering the opinions of all the Wardens on every floor of Purgatory.』

At the last message, The Rat Oppressed by Laziness glanced at me in surprise.

“How curious. It’s been hundreds of years since the ‘Door of Purgatory’ gathered the Wardens from the upper floors. Are you really brought here unjustly?”

“Ah, that’s what I’m saying! You guys caught the wrong person.”

“Don’t blame me. It’s bothersome.”

“Bastard!”

In an instant, an ominous feeling ran up my spine.

It was as if someone was watching me, a feeling as unpleasant as if several mountain gorillas had climbed onto my shoulders.

What the hell is going on?

『All nine Wardens of Purgatory have gathered on the 0th floor.』

I couldn’t see anything with my eyes. However, it was clear that powerful beings had placed me on a roulette wheel and were observing me closely. It was an unpleasant feeling as if not only my muscles and blood vessels, but even my marrow was being scanned, but I couldn’t shake it off.

『The Warden of the 5th floor, ‘The Needle That Deceives the Scales’, is curious about your existence.』

『The Warden of the 2nd floor, ‘The Spiral Column Inviting Rivalry’, is disgusted by the smell of ‘King of Waters’ from you.』

『The Warden of the 6th floor, ‘Moss Dancing in the Ruins’, is puzzled by your weakness.』

『The Warden of the 8th floor, ‘The Cross That Usurps Worship’, urges the Wardens, saying not to have vain expectations.』

『The Warden of the 7th floor, ‘The Dragon That Coils Around Eternity’, suggests drawing lots.』

What do these guys plan to do with me now?

My chest felt like it was going to burst, but there was nothing I could do.

『The Wardens’ lottery begins.』

I don’t know what to pray for.

Common sense would tell me that the 1st or 9th floor would definitely be advantageous for escaping.

However, Lfaltarkus’ Remnants definitely said that he climbed to the ‘highest place’ first. In other words, doesn’t that mean that the floor where escape is possible is closer to the highest floor?

I’d like to be on at least the 7th floor.

Please, let it be the 9th floor, the 9th floor!

After a few seconds had passed,

A message appeared.

『The Warden of the 4th floor, ‘The Sword That Wept in Silence’, leaves his seat, doubting the transparency of the lottery.』

『The Warden of the 3rd floor, ‘The Multiplying Serpent of the Forest’, smacks his lips, saying he missed out on the fun.』

『The Warden of the 1st floor, ‘The Civet That Dips Its Tail in Flames’, smiles wickedly.』

Ominous.

The Warden of the 1st floor likes it?

『Schwein Stringer. Rank: Human. Assigned to the 1st floor, Hwalryongdo.』

Ah.

Why does my bad feeling always hit the mark?


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