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The Hell Express (지옥열차, 地獄列車, jiog-yeolcha), also known as the "Hell Train", is a super gigantic floating train in the sky that operates and function as a special test area for D-Rank Regulars on the 35th Floor of the Tower. The Hell Train are not mandatory test for Regulars to climb the Tower, but it served as a way to climb up more faster than normal test method. In other words, Hell Train is like a shortcut. However, not all of the Regulars are able to board the train, because there are only 100 Express Tickets available.
The Hell Express is an express train that will serve as a "shortcut" for Regulars who want to climb the Tower more quickly. It always travels repeatedly, meaning the train will go back to the starting point after reaching the final destination. The route of Hell Express start from the 35th Floor until the 43rd Floor plus an additional Hidden Floor. Because Hell Express provide quicker time to climb the Tower, many Regular always want to board on the train. Sometimes, there are Regulars who board the train for another reason beside its time efficiency, that is because they aim to find the "Hidden Floor".
A long time ago in the Tower, as Zahard and all Great Warriors were climbing the Tower, the Hell Express and its guardians were all created to help them with their training. Zahard and the Great Warriors did "Revolution" in a part of the Train called "Rice Pot" which is why the master of the Train called the place Revolution Road.
The Hell Express itself is a behemoth locomotive that appears to levitate in the sky using blue fire-like Shinsu. It is likely that it moves using the same mechanism. Regulars who want to board the train will climb a set of stairs that descended from the train. Before entering through the door, Regulars must insert their Express Ticket into a slot which causes the door to open, letting the Regular inside the Train.
The Hell Express has a day and night system; during the daytime there are very few enemies and it is relatively peaceful, but during the night time there are monstrous enemies everywhere. Regulars are only allowed to stay on the Train if they pass through a certain amount of sections each day and, if they manage to spend ten nights like that, they get to a certain place where they are required to take a Test in order to proceed to the next Floor. There is a test area for the next Floor at the end of every path, but there are numerous paths to get there; furthermore the paths completely change at night.
For Regulars to progress on the Train, they must clear three types of tests:
- A stage test on each Floor (as the Train passes Floors on its journey).
- Getting rid of monsters that appear at night.
- Fight train guardians placed in each room to receive various rewards and get to the next stage faster.
When a test can't be completed, due to unavoidable circumstances (such as the death of the Train conductor), the train has Regulars open the transport device and take a substitute test instead.
Inside, at the entrance of the Train, is the road of light named "Revolution Road". However the term "Revolution Road" was actually used by the master of the Train to refer to the 'Rice Pot', which is an area within the train that the master and the "god" of guardians used to train Zahard and the Great Warriors and allow them to do "Revolution".
- Main article: Express Ticket
To board the Hell Express, a person must have an Express Ticket which cannot be bought and must be stolen from another Regular by any means necessary (cripple, crush, kill). A regular who has ticket is called the "Ticket Holder or Ticketer". Once a Regular has one ticket, they become a target to someone else. Ticket Holders must defend their tickets from random Regulars who will try to steal it.
There are many predatory Regulars surrounding the Hell Express, and the highest among them are the top 3 D-rank Regulars:
- Sachi Faker the "Ticket Hunter", a seasoned Ticket Holder as well as a Ticket Hunter whom the Regulars should be the most afraid at the first station where he usually resides.
- Kaiser the "Name Hunter", a veteran warlord who resides at the third station, the "Name Hunt" station, that he has ruled for over a thousand years.
- The twin Zahard's Princesses Lo Po Bia Lilial Zahard and Lo Po Bia Shilial Zahard.
- Chief Engineer (기관장, Gigwanjang): The head of Hell Train, the one who command the train. Currently, only Pedro is the known Chief Engineer of Hell Train.
- Conductor (관리인, Gwanliin): The one who drive the Hell Train (literally "driver"). Currently, only Poro Poe is the known Conductor of Hell Train.
- Main article: Hell Train Guardian
- Main article: Hidden Floor
Hidden Floor (숨겨진 층, Sumgyeojin Cheung) is a virtual data area, as large as a real Floor, located inside the Hell Express. Only the Regulars who have cleared the entire Hell Express may gain access and they obtain the privilege to record their name along with a "trace" of their current self. This data and their personal details remain in the system on the Train like a kind of artificial intelligence.
The Hell Express will always departs from the Train City Skyscraper Platform on the 35th Floor, but will stops at every other station on higher Floors. Regulars who board the Train can get on and off from a station as they please. The Train arrives at stations located in the Inner Tower and Middle Area, and since the Train is a test area, the ones boarding the Train are somewhat excluded from the rules of the Tower. Because of its nature, Khun Aguero Agnis suggests that even non-Regulars (like Beta) may get on the Train.
The stations for the Hell Train act somewhat as "safehouses" for Regulars trying to board the Train. Due to an implicit rule that Rankers are not allowed to interfere with matters related to the Regulars area and the Train, in most cases stations are made as cities that are independent, preventing interference from Rankers and other people.
Residing on the 35th Floor, Train City is the first area that Regulars who wish to take the Hell Express arrive at; this is also the first station that the Hell Express departs from.
Residing in the Middle Area of the 37th Floor, Wooden Horse is the second station Regulars can board the Hell Train. Ticket Holders stay in waiting rooms at the top of the station and use stairs to get to the plaza at the bottom of the station.
When the train arrives at the station it stops at the plaza, known as "Altar", but it only stays for one hour; the first 30 minutes is for passengers of the train to get off and the second 30 minutes is for Regulars trying to board the train.
The Name Hunt station is a place that was created to commemorate the bet between the 10 Family Heads and the Tower natives, in which they put their names on the line. The train stops at this station for two days before departing again. According to Evan Edrok, a powerful person resides there who acts like some kind of "leader"; this person is in fact Kaiser the "Name Hunter", a veteran warlord who has ruled over the station for over 1000 years and is notorious for stealing the names of new arrivals at the station.
The fourth station of the Hell Express, located on the 40th Floor. The spores coming from the mushrooms make Regulars cough. A small floating castle is visible from the Station. This is where David Hockney boards the Train and joins Baam's group.
The fifth station of the Hell Express, located on the 42nd Floor. It is located atop a very high mountain, thus many Ticket Holders fail to reach it. However, since taking the Hell Express allows Regulars to reach the 43rd Floor faster than through the usual way, many of them still make the journey to attempt boarding the Train.
The penultimate 'station' that the Hell Express visits. Unlike all the other destinations, there is no real station here and passengers of the train must instead jump out directly into the Floor far below.
The last station on the journey of the Hell Express, located on the 44th Floor, that consists entirely of Mega Dome 'City (Sawfish)', a floating station that is ruled by Lee Xiawun and his two adopted children. Like the rest of the Hell Express, Rankers are not allowed into Mega Dome City, but they are allowed to freely enter the reception room of the Mega Dome, which is for outsiders. Regulars have acess to the luxurious suites, which apparently are better than Rankers' houses.
Notes and Trivia
- Apparently, the number of D-rank Regulars that hold on to their Express Ticket throughout the entire journey on the Hell Express is less than 5 every year.
- According to Quant, there is a rumour that the Tower's most beautiful woman is sleeping on the Hidden Floor at the end of Hell Express.
- Hachuling has been to the Hidden Floor, although he doesn't reveal what's there.
- Ha Yura told Hong Danhwa that one could go back in time inside the Hidden Floor.
- Po Bidau Gustang explains that the Hidden Floor is a virtual space inside the Hell Express where Regulars who have passed the Hell Train may leave a "copy" of themselves from that current point in time.
- When Quant gave the explanation on the Hell Express, he mentioned that it lets you go up 6 Floors. If you catch the train on the 35th Floor, that means you would end up on the 41st Floor and not the 43rd Floor, as Yihwa later read. SIU mentioned that neither explanation was wrong, with the reason being explained in the future.
- There are lounge areas on the Train where Regulars can rest before proceeding to the next station.
- According to Daniel, "Revolution Road" is known to be the road that the 10 Family Heads walked through and everything changed for them after walking the road; is responsible for the division and unity of the 10 Great Families. It is the road which changed the history of the Tower.
- It is later revealed to be true. "Revolution" is a process for Irregulars to realise their "real fate", where they find their true self that has nothing to do with society, ideologies and others; Irregulars can discover themselves that they weren't able to find whilst being surrounded by false notions and boundaries. Zahard and the Great Warriors all did "Revolution".
- Daniel says that there are an unlimited number of secrets on the Hell Train. For instance, the Rice Pot is located in a hidden room, there is a space which is undetectable from the outside mentioned by Pedro to his master Karaka, while the latter has taken advantage of a hidden car. He then encounters a door he cannot manage to open and wonders whether the true hidden car lies behind.
- There are currently around 80 tickets unaccounted for.
- The Train is a place designed for the training of Zahard and the Great Warriors. So food, clothing, and quarters are all provided by the train. Although due to progression and time, SIU couldn't show all of it, but all of life essentials can be obtained from the train.