Chapter 38 - How A Veteran Grows (5)

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Was it because his voice was too loud?

The old man heard it and became enraged.

“W-what did he say? What about the skeletons?! Say it! You dared to make fun of my summons!”

Hm.

Did it come across as too harsh? But what about it?

They might look strong to mediocre players but were just cute toys to veterans.

“Don’t use your voice from behind the screen; come show yourself right now!”

In video calls, only your direct conversation partner could see your face, while unrelated parties could only hear the voice. Of course, this could be changed if both parties agreed to it.

“Are you fine with it?”

Teresa asked him.

“It is fine. It looks like I contacted you at a troublesome moment, but this looks interesting.”

Jin-hyuk nodded his head.

[The video call has been converted to an open call.]

With that short system message, a man with a strange mask appeared.

And silence took over the hall that had been filled with a raucous commotion.

“T-that mask!”

“Ruins! The one who attacked the ruins is you!”

“Oh my. I didn’t think anyone had your contact! But Teresa knew you?”

It was natural for them to be unable to control their excitement. A player who hid his identity behind a mask. So many people had been looking for him, but none had found a clue.

Everyone wanted to catch the promising player before others got to them. This was a common thought shared by those here.

‘Teresa was working with him, so there is a high chance that the person doesn’t belong to a guild yet.’

‘Then it means that the person who gets him first is the winner.’

‘Coin, items, or money can be poured out to get him.’

‘Of course, bringing him is enough to change the face of the guild completely.’

‘Maybe this is the last chance I can get.’

The representatives of each guild gulped as they looked at each other. They looked like they were just waiting for the right time to pounce.

At that moment.

“How amusing.”

The old man stepped forward.

“Right. I heard about it too. I wonder if you are the one who played an active part in the ruins on the 1st floor. But this boss we are attacking is different.”

In the ruins, the power of each individual monster could be strong, but their numbers weren’t many.

On the other hand, the 3rd-floor boss had monstrous strength along with subordinate monsters serving under it.

This meant that there was a fundamental difference between this task and conquering a ruin.

“Hmm? Then are you saying you can? No matter how many enemies there are?”

Jin-hyuk asked while touching his stomach.

“Right. Having a large number of summoned beasts is my specialty…”

A large number of summons…

Summoned beasts here meant the skeleton, right?

He admitted that there were quite a few here.

But…

“It must be difficult with that fake staff, though.”

“W-what?”

“It’s only half done, right? I see that the ‘Adult Heart’ and the ‘Shroud Soaked in Oil’ were omitted.”

“T-t-that…how do you know?”

How do you think?

“That is because it looks different from the real Staff of Greed. The finished product with all the right ingredients would have a red gem studded under the skull on the right. Above all, the quality of skeleton soldiers is too low.”

“The finished item… you’ve seen it?”

The old man mumbled in shock. The shock must be too much. Even his beard was shaking.

“Curious? If you want, I can tell you where to find the rest of the ingredients,”

“Really? Where… ahem!”

The old man almost completely gave in to his desires but managed to hold himself back.

Because even a single word said here would be acknowledging his defeat.

Jin-hyuk, who saw that, smiled bitterly as if he knew this would happen.

After all, the opponent was an empty shell with no power.

‘At least he was using his head and tried to take a share from the guilds by fooling them with words of plausibility.’

Just looking at his half-completed staff, his intentions here were evident. There was just a shallow intention of stealing items or coins under the guise of a down payment.

As things were becoming slightly strange, the old man grit his teeth.

“Fine. For now, I will leave you. No matter who you are, I will surely repay you for this shame.”

“Wow… old man. It is the first time I have actually seen someone like you.”

“… what?”

“No. Aren’t you a bit embarrassed when saying that? ‘I will surely repay you for this shame’ if such a line was written for an anime from the 90s, the broadcaster would come to beat you.”

If he had just vanished, Jin-hyuk wouldn’t have cared. But, the problem with this guy was his mouth.

“You…!”

The old man glared at Jin-hyuk as if he wanted to kill him, but it was only for a moment.

Phat!

The shadows rose up.

“The next time we meet in person, we will see if you can be as relaxed as you are now… and… those here, be mindful of this. The fact that we are the only force with strength.”

The figure of the old man was then swallowed up by the darkness.


The hall fell silent once more.

So much had happened in such a short span of time that everyone there needed a moment to process it.

“It doesn’t matter if you leave the task to fail in the hands of such a clumsy person, but personally, I don’t think that is a good option.”

Jin-hyuk shrugged his shoulders at Patrick.

“… I know. But we had no options.”

Why was there no other option?

Jin-hyuk said again,

“Leave it to me. I will take care of the job without having to work together with the demonic humans to attack the tower.”

“Y-You don’t mean it.”

Patrick was shocked.

Was it possible to attack the tower alone?

If it wasn’t said by the player who solo-conquered the ruins, these words would have been considered a bad joke.

Jin-hyuk nodded his head without hesitation.

“It is possible.”

Because this was why he had gone to the underground floor.

“T-then how do we pay you for it…”

“You don’t have to give me anything.”

“Uh?”

“Let me go in alone. If you lock the entire area down so no other players can come, I don’t care about being paid.”

At Jin-hyuk’s words, Patrick’s mouth dropped.

It was from shock at how lenient the terms were.

“Why are you even doing this?”

“That is.”

Jin-hyuk glanced at Teresa.

“I just want to do the right thing for the sake of humanity and my colleagues.”

As soon as he said those words, Jin-hyuk had to pinch his thigh.

Ah, damn it.

‘Just saying that makes my legs go weak.’

‘That old man from a moment ago must have felt like this.’

However, unlike Jin-hyuk, who didn’t like his own words, the other representatives looked at him kindly.

“…”

Teresa bit her lip.

Her lips kept twitching.

“Haha. This is… as the representative of the guild, I have nothing to say.”

“So cool.”

“You are a true hero. We also need to reflect on ourselves.”

“Ha. I started with that mindset. I don’t know how we ended up like this.”

Admiration and resilience.

The representatives of the large global guilds were now reflecting on their own selves. Just one word and they were misunderstanding everything by themselves.

‘It is fine if I act like this.’

His reason for not accepting a down payment wasn’t for the sake of humanity. It wasn’t even for the aim of taking care of the guilds.

Jin-hyuk glanced at the camera.

[Currently, all screens and conversations are being recorded.]

A player who gave up all rewards for the sake of mankind, how much could they benefit from such a phrase?

He didn’t know for sure, but it’ll likely be several times more than what the guilds would have offered as a reward.

You idiots that will be the down payment!

‘I am not the kind of person who misses the big things to go after little things.’

Think about it.

How much would these guilds even be able to give him a down payment at this early stage of the game?

Maybe one low-level relic?

Or coins?

‘If I have time, I can get those things by myself.’

However, a solid position in the public’s eyes with all the benefits derived from it… was a sure gain.

Furthermore.

‘First broadcast function. If someone succeeds in the solo raid that failed for the others…!’

Just the thought was thrilling.

Ba-dump! Ba-dump!

Jin-hyuk’s heart started beating with a pleasant rhythm as if it was celebrating knowing the lottery numbers for the next week in advance.

“And. If I succeed this time, I would like to see you all and have a meal together.”

“O-of course.”

“We are looking forward to it.”

“I wish that day would come.”

Everyone added their own words with hope on their faces. They looked genuinely happy.

But no matter how happy….

‘… only I can do it?’

Jin-hyuk gulped and wiped his mouth.

Is this what it felt like to see a young chicken tap its feet in front of a pot of boiling water and ginseng?

‘Wow! Imagine what I could get with just copies from the abilities of two or three more rankers.’

This was awesome.


[The video call has ended]

When Jin-hyuk disappeared, everyone’s eyes turned to Teresa.

Like wolves aiming for the sheep.

“Miss Teresa, could you tell me about the man you spoke to?”

“Name, age, nation. It doesn’t matter if it is a little thing.”

“Huhu, didn’t the European side get gains this time? This time make concessions to us.”

“Should I say that A rank dungeon will be passed over to you if you step back this one time?”

“W-what are you saying?”

“Oh my. Why are you angry? Ah… well. The person who loses always raises their voice.”

“Wow.”

Another heated discussion. In the middle of it, Teresa bit her lip.

‘Mr. Jin-hyuk… you idiot.’

She didn’t even know what to do now.


‘Things turned out a lot better.’

Jin-hyuk stretched out his hands.

Thanks to the demonic humans’ help, he gained a reputation in front of the large guilds.

By now, they must be fighting with each other to get more information about him.

‘Hmm. I feel a bit bad for letting Miss Teresa take care of it, but…’

I will buy her a meal to make up for it.

It was then

“Haa. Haa. Haa. Are you going to kill me?”

Elise turned towards him with a gasping face.

Ah, right.

She was forgotten.

During the video call with Teresa, bugs were still climbing up, so he made her deal with them.

As a result, she had used up all her remaining magic and was on the verge of fainting.

“It is fine to see you complain about something else for a change. If you were really going to die, you wouldn’t have the energy to complain, but this is fine seeing you all fine.”

“D-di you that would comfort me?! This… this is a slavery contract!’

Elise looked helpless.

What?

But to feel remorse, one had to have a conscience.

“Tch! What do you see me as? Do you think I am messing around? Anyway, I was thinking of buying a Magic Supplement from the coin exchange and giving it to you.”

Although it was the cheapest one, it didn’t matter since Elise couldn’t see the coin exchange. What would she even be able to do if he insisted it was the most expensive one?

But…

“Sorry, but such supplements don’t work for me.”

Elise shook her head.

“What?”

“Didn’t I say that you cannot domesticate me?”

“W-what is that…”

“Huhu. Don’t worry. I will take back the mana I’ve used up.”

Elise smiled brightly, and her teeth shone.

Why does this sight feel ominous?

It definitely felt wrong…

When he had met the first time, she had said…

‘Tasty’ and ‘your blood smells delicious,’ right? She said those two things.

Man. This was dangerous.

Jin-hyuk took a few steps back without even realizing it.

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