Chapter 44 - Swordsman's Proposal (2)

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Black Cloud Guild.

It was one of the larger-scale guilds that aimed for third place in Korea.

‘They are far from normal.’

The Black Cloud Guild’s recent rapid growth was based on its aggressive sales force. Its guild leader, Hong Deok-pyo, also had a few nasty rumors around him.

In short, they’re bad guys.

And this man had the tattoo of the Black Cloud, the trademark of the guild, on his skin.

“An acquaintance?”

Jin-hyuk asked Chun Yuseong.

“I have heard the name from a scout of the guild who offered to take me in.”

Ah…

Now everything made sense. He showed interest in Chun Yuseong as the guild wanted him.

And, of course, this single goal-oriented man must have rejected the offer right away. In any case, the swordsman who doesn’t leave room for boredom was good.

The man asked again,

“Eh. I asked you. Are you Chun Yuseong or whatever he was?”

“Right. I am Chun Yuseong.”

“As expected. I was told to look for a dark face that looked like shit, and I was right. I am Jong Do-hyun of the Black Cloud Guild.”

Jong Do-hyun introduced himself.

“Is it an offer to join the guild? I already answered the scout.”

“I know. I just heard about it.”

“Then we have no reason to talk anymore.”

“True, but it is annoying that a new rookie with just an AA rank is rejecting an offer from our guild. This time, I plan to make you accept it by force.”

“You… You’re trying to force me?”

Chun Yuseong looked at him with a face that seemed like he couldn’t comprehend the statement.

“Ugh. Unlike your look, you seem to have some gangster in you.”

Jong Do-hyun showed his teeth, and both began to leak out killing intent in an instant.

Psss!

Magic from both sides collided, and dust flew up from the ground. Their hands then moved…

Towers the weapons on their waist.

And at that moment.

“Don’t overdo it, and keep your weapons sheathed. You’re not stupid enough to fight in front of the association, right?”

Jin-hyuk intervened.

“He is the one who picked a fight!”

Chun Yuseong protested like a child. It was because he knew well that fighting here wouldn’t do any good.

Clack

“Kuak!”

Chun Yuseong pushed his sword back into his sheath. On the other side, Jong Do-hyun looked at Jin-hyuk with an evaluation look.

“What are you?”

What?

“I came to cheer for this guy because I knew he was participating.”

“Cheer? Not to participate but cheer?”

“I didn’t get an invitation.”

“Ha… if you didn’t get an invitation, it means your rank is low, right?”

“It is F. My personal favorite alphabet.”

As Jin-hyuk calmly responded, Jong Do-hyun smiled at the ridiculousness of this all.

Clench!

As his joint loosened, the muscles that had seemed ready to explode were moving bizarrely.

“If you came to cheer, you should be quietly clapping your hands from the corner. How dare a mere F-rank try to block my way?”

This guy would be dead already if this had been inside the tower instead of the association.

But considering they were outside, perhaps just a finger or two would be fine. As he thought about it…

At that moment, he was about to swing a magic-filled fist.

“He is my prey!”

Chun Yuseong, who had been watching closely, shouted aloud.

Srng!

The sword he drew out was shining brightly.

[Chun Yuseong Lv6 Soul Chasing Sword Qi activated!]

“As expected.”

As if waiting for this, Jong Do-hyun turned toward Chun Yuseong.

And blue light flashed from his fists.

It was an enhanced skill that could turn rocks into powder in one hit.

“I’ll even shatter that sword like chopsticks!”

And that was it.

That was the last thing Jong Do-hyun remembered.


Woong!

A 2-meter tall hulk of a man collapsed to the ground. Since the handle of a dagger had dug deeply into his temple, his consciousness was blown away.

“Now it is finally quiet.”

Jin-hyuk retrieved the dagger with a simple hand gesture.

And.

“…”

Chun Yuseong, who had witnessed it all, became silent.

Then, with a complicated expression, he dispersed the magic on his sword and placed it back into its sheath.

‘That movement just now…’

No matter how careless the opponent had been, Jin-hyuk had managed to hit such a vital point in a short window of time. It was so fast that he couldn’t see it despite focusing on his movement.

Jong Dohyun wouldn’t have even been aware of what happened to him.

‘Damn it.’

Chun Yuseong clenched his fists. After parting from the ruins, he focused on getting stronger without resting for a minute.

He went into the labyrinth that extended time and practiced hard. Facing numerous monsters, he continued to overcome his limits.

Yet.

Just why?!

‘Does it feel like the gap between him and me hasn’t narrowed even in the slightest?’

This was impossible!

No, this could not be. No matter how many times he thought it over…

He just couldn’t think of any scenario where he would be able to respond to that kind of surprise attack.

“What are you so shocked about? Hurry up and get inside before others see this. You said we are out of time, right?”

“… yes.”

Chun Yuseong walked forward with heavy steps.


The 13th-floor training hall of the Awakened Association.

The entire floor was made of magic stones and a special alloy that could absorb magic. It was a place where players could run wild.

Kakang!

Kang! Kang!

The sound of clashing blades echoed. It was a battle format that involved 24 players, a Battle Royale. Because of this, all kinds of unique abilities and skills were used.

“Haha. Park-hyung. Why do I think your body is moving sluggishly? Aren’t you relying on your abilities too much?”

“I am still warming up, you brat. Now you will get nervous. Be careful if you don’t want to meet the healer on the 5th floor.”

Was it because only players with high ranks were here? Most of them seemed to know each other.

And they were even speaking while running around the floor. It was because of the connection they had with the game.

Of course, that didn’t mean they wouldn’t fight.

They just won’t kill each other. With pride and honor at stake, they would do their best.

At the same time.

Even in the audience, rankers from each guild and officials from broadcasting stations were watching.

“This seems quite a high level.”

“Right. I think the public will like this.”

“However, it is a temporary measure, and we need to break through the 3rd floor soon.”

Several voices were speaking about various topics, though most covered the subject of the future of humankind.

But not everyone was like that.

No matter if the future of humankind was at stake, some only prioritized increasing the power of their guild.

People sitting in the center of the audience glanced over at a person with hawk-like eyes.

Hong Deok-pyo, the only S class and Guild Master of the Black Cloud, was here. There were also scouts from the guild who had come with him.

“The duo over there seems quite nice.”

A scout pointed to an old man who wielded flames and a young female summoner. The woman was in charge of defense with her summoned beasts. The older man would then use his flames to pressure their opponent as soon as any gap appeared.

It was a perfect connection that seemed to have been built over a long partnership. However, Hong Deok-pyo ignored those words.

It was because he already had his eye on a specific player.

Chun Yuseong.

‘… good.’

A slim but strong physique.

That energy that made people go cold, strong enough that it could be felt from afar.

‘It seems like there are loopholes in the awakening test.’

There was no way that he could just be AA rank.

No matter how tiny the possibility, it didn’t feel like he fit in the A category at all.

Hong Deok-pyo himself has already felt delighted by seeing the man wield the sword a few times here.

“It is understandable he didn’t want to join.”

“Ah, hyung! Are you seriously saying that? Actually, I was able to bring him down, but then some worm hit me in the back of my head!”

Jong Do-hyun was furious.

“Do you think an F rank would dare do that?”

“Y-You do not believe me?”

“How can I believe you failed because of such a small worm?”

“Ha. It is frustrating, for real. I’d rather be sent down so I can clean up that trash and make Chun Yuseong kneel down to me!”

“Ssh! Is it time for the fight yet? I’ll pay attention to the interviews which will come up.”

Jong Do-hyun didn’t participate in the match because of the press conference at the end of the spectacle.

Among those who awakened, one in 500,000 would be able to get an AAA ranking.

Considering the growth rate in the Tower of Trials, Jong Do-hyun had the talent to rise to S class in the next 3 years.

And if it was known that such a person was in a guild…

The status of that guild was bound to rise.

“I spent a lot of money to get it done. You understand, right?”

“Do not worry. I will do it right.”

Jong Do-hyun smiled.


At a spot not far from the Black Cloud Guild.

Jin-hyuk yawned as he watched the matches.

What was this… a joke?

Even if it was a match with no actual risk to life, this all seemed so dull.

Wasn’t the only good thing he could see here the Min Jung-woo and Lee Yuri pair he had met in the National Museum of Korea?

‘It is nice to see them after a while.’

The two of them seemed to have been stimulated from their fight back then and had improved their skills.

However, the rest made him want to ask what they were up to in the Tower of Trials.

Well, the reaction from the people around him was too positive for him to be the only person swearing. At this level, the future seemed bright to the people there.

It was very bothersome.

Was he supposed to say that this was the level the world accepted, but his friend Elise would burst out laughing at seeing?

‘Damn it, if this happens, Chun Yuseong will win.’

Jin-hyuk sighed a little while looking at the guy running rampant in the fighting area.

He thought the invitation was given to strong prospects, but this seemed strange. Even if all of the players in the arena worked together, they wouldn’t be able to scratch Chun Yuseong.

And to support this thought.

Chun Yuseong immediately began to subdue the other players.

“Kuak!”

“Kua….”

Players who suffered minor wounds began to surrender. They knew the skill gap was too much, and most didn’t want to get in trouble.

Even if they could read the sword’s movement, they couldn’t do anything, and, in the end, 15 minutes was all that was needed for all the players to be knocked out.

“Ah, we have the winner!”

The staff stammered as the result was announced.

Clap!

Immediately applause began to come from the audience.

It was proof that the guild officials in the audience were impressed by this.

“Congratulations, Player Chun Yuseong. Then, from one of the two rewards, replica and…”

“There is no need for a replica. All I want is an opponent.”

Chun Yuseong interrupted the staff, which made the audience roar in excitement.

‘As expected. A strong person will want to fight instead of an item…’

‘Amazing. I hope our guild gets him.’

‘Who the hell would want to fight with such a man?’

‘It must be one of the guild masters.’

That was everyone’s thoughts. If such a strong monster had an opponent he wanted to face, it had to be a top ranker from Korea.

Was it going to be the Dangun Guild? Or someone from the Fathers of Fighting?

Or was it the Yoo family who was renowned for being at the peak of martial arts in Korea?

Or someone from the mercenaries who didn’t have a guild affiliation?

Just as all sorts of speculations began to bubble up.

“Come out.”

Chun Yuseong pointed his sword at a man in the audience.

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