Chapter 43 - Swordsman's Proposal (1)

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[Chun Yuseong requested a video call]
[Are you sure you want to accept it?]

A familiar name appeared on the screen, and Jin-hyuk answered it.

“Eh. You were alive?”

The demonic humans couldn’t have been that weak… but as expected for the top swordsman.

“You fucking idiot! Do you know how much trouble I have been through all night because of you!? I couldn’t even sleep since I had to deal with those stalker bastards!”

Chun Yuseong yelled.

“I know. But I did it for you. You are good at everything else, but you lack face-to-face combat experience.”

“W-who are you to say that!”

“Nobody, I just wanted to tell you about my feelings. Now I am sure you’ve learned how it feels to be chased by people.”

“For real… after you die, it will be hell for you.”

“Ugh. Well, I cannot deny that.”

If he had to consider himself either a good or bad person, he was closer to evil. If he had to choose between heaven and hell… Well, hell always sounded interesting.

But…

“It doesn’t seem like you contacted me to just swear at me. What do you want?”

If he really was overly pissed about what happened, he wouldn’t just be making a call. He would have come here wielding his sword.

Having fought him more than 100 times over the years, Jin-hyuk understood this man’s character better than anyone else.

“You are smart. Actually, I have a proposal for you.”

“Did you bring up the story of demonic humans so I wouldn’t reject the offer?”

“Think however you want to.”

“Fine, I will hear you out.”

Jin-hyuk nodded his head, and Chun Yuseong began his explanation.

“In an hour, an event will be held in the Awakened Association. Players of AA rank and higher, including me, are supposed to gather there.”

This…

A party?

“The times must be good. The attack on the boss is failing, and they are holding a party for everyone?”

“That is why it is being held.”

“What?”

“Due to the successive failures, people are anxious that the trust of the public in the Guilds and Association is about to fall. That is why they are aiming to show how strong and reliable players they have.”

“Hmm. That’s a nice way to do it.”

A battle between players with different abilities. Raids or monster hunts often appeared on videos, but seeing a player fighting live against another player was a rarity.

It wasn’t a bad way to relieve the public’s doubts, just like how the Roman Emperors of the past used to make gladiators fight in the colosseum.

Right, well.

Now that he could understand the intention.

“What does that have to do with me? I am not in AA rank or higher.”

“The winner is given the choice of choosing between two things. A replica relic of his choice… or…”

Chun Yuseong lowered his voice, indicating that the second option was a huge deal.

“Or get a nomination to apply for a match against a player who didn’t participate in the event officially.”

Shit.

That was ominous as hell.

Jin-hyuk pressed his forehead.

“You want to fight me.”

“Killing you is the reason I am climbing the tower. It would be perfect to do that in front of everyone.”

Wow, look who said he wasn’t a fighter.

Always with the same wish, maybe this guy was a true chuunibyou.

“But what if I refuse?”

“Of course. Rejection will make you be branded as a coward, but it isn’t like you are one to care about that.”

“Then, I can refuse. I hate being bothered like that.”

Thank god. There was a way to reject the request. Just as he was about to sigh in relief.

“No. You cannot refuse.”

Chun Yuseong took out a black ticket from his pocket. It was an unusual ticket at first glance, with golden letters embedded in it.

“What is that?”

“An invitation from the black market. If you have it, you can attend the auction in Las Vegas tomorrow at midnight.”

‘…?’

Chun Yuseong nodded while looking at Jin-hyuk.

Right, this was it.

Invitation to the black market auctions wasn’t something easy to obtain. There were rumors that they could only be received after passing strict conditions.

The exact method was still unknown.

And he’s just gonna give that?

‘Did he bring something appetizing to bait me in?’

Unlike the Coin Exchange that players could use, cash was the main currency in the black market. It was still an attractive place for many people.

Those who attended the auction would be using cash. They would use the items three days after that to attack the 4th floor.

If he could get into the auction, he could secure better items.

“So if you don’t win against me, you’ll hand over that ticket to me for free?”

“Don’t worry, that won’t happen.”

Chun Yuseong put the ticket back into his pocket and said,

“Come in your best condition as I don’t want to hear excuses after you lose.”

And the call ended. Until the very end, the guy acted like some kind of hero.


On the way from the underground level to the Awakened Association.

Jin-hyuk finished the work he couldn’t do when he was down there.

Name: Kang Jin-hyuk
Gender: Male
Age: 27
Level: 19
Strength 8 Agility 8 Stamina 8 Magic 41 Rift 100 Luck 10 Adaptability 10
Stat Points: 54
Coins: 2740
Unique Ability: Fusion, Sword grave, Blessing of the Stars, Anubis' Judgment
Skills: Lv4 'Element of Fire', Lv3 'Eye of truth', Lv3 'Communion', Lv3 'Stigma on Soul', Lv3 'Monopolize', Lv3 'Shallow Breath', Lv1 'Ice Formation', Lv1 'Daylight'

‘54 points…’

Seeing this reinforced the feeling of just how crazy today had been.

Jin-hyuk couldn’t stop smiling as he reviewed his unique abilities and skills. In particular, Anubis’ Judgment, Daylight, and Ice Formation were skills he could use a lot in the future.

Insane!

There was no way his crazy growth could be compared to others. He then went back to reviewing his stats.

‘Stats should be raised evenly. I should focus on things I haven’t invested in until now.’

It wasn’t that increasing just one stat was bad, but in order to be prepared for many different situations, it would be better to have them at the same level.

The higher you went up the tower, the higher the variety of anomalous climates and monsters would become.

[Strength increased from 8 to 16.]
[Agility increased from 8 to 16.]
[Stamina increased from 8 to 16.]

8 points were invested in every stat.

Then…

Jin-hyuk grabbed a stone that was on the ground and clenched it slightly.

Crack!

The stone split into two. His grip felt different, and thanks to his raised agility, he could fully grasp the movement of his whole body.

‘I would only be able to feel the change in stamina in a prolonged battle, so I would have to check it then.’

Just as he was thinking that.

[Congratulations! Your uploaded video has been selected as a 'Hot Issue.']

A golden status window shone in front of him.

Oh?

Was it already going around?

He thought it would spread decently quickly, but since the quality of the content was good, it seemed to have spread faster than he expected.

Jin-hyuk clicked on the video. He saw himself in the mask alongside Teresa, Patrick, and other rankers of the guilds.

Of course, the demonic humans had been edited out since the purpose of the video wasn’t to undermine the public image of the guilds.

Even if he didn’t add those kinds of things, he knew the video would get good views.

-CryingHelin: Going for a boss without pay, alone? For real?
-ScratchingVoiceandPantiesRubbing: Wow. I thought it was just skills, but he had personality too!
-BecomeOrn: That man is so cool! He is purely thinking of the people.
-kd1004: Are all the rankers watching this? Learn by seeing this.
-ScienceofYasuo: But is it possible to defeat the boss solo?
-NonsenseReader: If someone else said it, I would have doubted them but looking at the achievement of this player till now, I think it might be possible.
-SanityConfined: Somehow, I have confidence in him.
-DimianPeter: Hyung! Reveal your face just once. Seriously, I will only ever upload videos of hyung!
-HulktoHulk: 222222
-FallingThunder:3333333

The reaction was as expected.

The topic involved a player that everyone was curious about.

And since such a talented person said he would attack the boss alone, the atmosphere had heated up.

As if to support that, the viewer numbers were something he hadn’t seen for a video of his for a long time.

[Views: 50,536,988]

That number was shocking because non-tower viewers only counted as one view per day.

If it was 100 coins for 10,000 views, 50 million views would give him 500,000 coins. He would receive 50,000 coins due to the 90% commission fee.

‘If it wasn’t for that crazy 90% commission, we would earn a lot…’

He couldn’t help it since it was the system at work. This applied to all the players and not him alone, anyway.

‘Still, 50,000 coins is enough to make people lose sight of the goal.’

In Korea, there would be no one who had more.

Even the rankers from overseas wouldn’t have been able to collect more than 10,000 coins individually.

Even users who upload videos daily to get hundreds of thousands of views wouldn’t be able to dream of getting this many coins.

‘Let’s get the coins first.’

Jin-hyuk cashed out the payment as he arrived at his destination.


The main gate of the Awakened Association.

Chun Yuseong could be seen in a black suit.

What was that kind of outfit for a fight? Hopefully, he didn’t mistake a fighting hall with a dancing ball.

As Jin-hyuk shook his head, Chun Yuseong spotted him.

“You are late.”

His face looked like he was angry for having been made to wait for a long time.

“Late? We still have one minute before the time we agreed on.”

Jin-hyuk shrugged as he looked at Chun Yuseong.

‘He’s become much stronger than when we met at the ruins.’

A sharp aura and a strong body.

No wonder he wanted to fight again. Since he had achieved such growth, he must think he had a chance of winning.

But…

Contrary to Chun Yuseong’s wishes, the gap hadn’t narrowed down at all.

In fact, it was probably larger now.

‘This feels a bit bad.’

Even if they had spent the same amount of time and tried to use the same way of training, the result wouldn’t change.

All because the quality of information that the two of them were as different as the polar poles.

And at that moment.

“Well, were you the one who Chun Yuseong was after? A lot sassier than I thought.”

A man with large muscles that seemed like they would explode out of his shirt from any minor movement approached them in a suit.

And he had a tattoo on his neck. A very well-known tattoo.

‘Oh.’

Jin-hyuk thought in surprise. This was going to be interesting.

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