There would be a fresh attempt.
This was a comment made by Lim Cheolho.
Chairman Lim Cheolho said that the 4th National Competition to be held in 50 days would be a place for new innovation, which was a meaningful extension of the Satisfy world ‘created by players.’
“I’m dying.” Shin Youngwoo relaxed as he emerged from the capsule. He loosened up the tense muscles. “I want to get some air...”
After visiting the S.A headquarters 10 days ago, Shin Youngwoo didn’t waste a moment checking on his four heavenly kings. Every time he connected to the game, he devised better items and worked on producing them, which gave him mental fatigue and stress.
Shin Youngwoo needed mental and physical stability. However, he was scared to go out on his own. It was the reason why he hadn’t connected to the Internet during the past few days. He didn’t have the courage to face the criticism and anger of the people that would be pouring in after he declared that he wouldn’t attend the National Competition. Youngwoo had suffered from neglect and contempt since he was a child and should be used to it, but that was not the case anymore. It was natural. People should be respected. There was no obligation for him to get used to criticism.
This was what happened when he became lost in thoughts for a moment. The terrible memories rose, stabbing at his lungs and strangling his neck.
The hero who had become an object of respect and envy was defenseless in the face of past trauma. This was why people should respect others. It wasn’t easy to heal the wounds engraved on the heart. Shin Youngwoo knew this, so he treated his precious people with respect while being cruel to his enemies.
“Ah, I don't know.” Shin Youngwoo could no longer endure his depressed feelings and proceeded to change his clothes. He finally put on a mask and left home.
“Ha. Good,” Shin Youngwoo sighed loudly as he enjoyed the clean air and sunshine. The dirty old memories were blown away, and Youngwoo saw the street spread out in front of him. The commercial buildings lined the street and faced each other. There were many people wandering about, and there was a number of cars parked in the public parking lots built on low ground.
The land, which had been desolate just two years ago when Youngwoo picked this spot to construct his building, was now lively. It was a new downtown area where people flocked to see Youngwoo’s face, and merchants aimed for these people. This was a small achievement set by the person called Shin Youngwoo, not Grid.
“Here is a warm cup of tea.”
The sentimental Shin Youngwoo turned at the sudden words. An employee of a cafe in Youngwoo’s building had run out and handed him a drink.
“Youngwoo-ssi, you’re wearing a mask. I’m afraid you might have a cold.”
Youngwoo had thought he would be able to hide his appearance with a mask, but he was mistaken. The mask made Youngwoo’s sharp eyes and high nose stand out. In the first place, many people around here could instantly recognize Youngwoo’s tall and muscular physique with one glance.
“Thank you,” Youngwoo said, unable to refuse the act of kindness. He received the cup of tea and added awkwardly, “However, please tell your boss that the monthly rent won’t decrease.”
“Huhut. Yes. In any case, this is on my salary.”
“Excuse me,” Shin Youngwoo called out to the employee just as she was returning to work again. “Aren’t you angry?”
“Didn’t you see the article about how I won’t attend the National Competition?”
Ah, this person... It was why he wore a mask and looked around anxiously. The employee made a sad expression and shook her head. “I feel sorry. I have been cheering happily for you every year. Don’t you know? I live in an apartment. It shook with the voices of the residents every time you did something in the National Competition. My parents and grandparents are unfamiliar with Satisfy, but they always make sure to watch the National Competition. They might not know the rules, but they will sometimes laugh and sometimes feel pained. However, they will always cheer you on. My family members are all your fans.”
“I don’t blame you, Youngwoo-ssi. It is because you are the hero who made my family happy.” The employee stared straight into Youngwoo’s shaky eyes. She was telling the truth. “My friends, the families of my friends, and the families of my friend’s friends are also your fans. Youngwoo-ssi, you don’t have to participate in the National Competition. Even if South Korea doesn’t get a good result, there isn’t one person who will blame you. In the first place, you aren’t obliged to participate in the National Competition.”
The employee took out her smartphone since it was better to show proof instead of saying it 100 times. She entered her SNS and searched the Grid-related tags. “Look. People are feeling concerned about you, Youngwoo-ssi. They are worried if you are sick, if you will be damaged from not getting the gold medal rewards, and if you will suffer from a great hit.”
It was true. Many people were worried about Grid.
‘Grid caused South Korea to suffer.’
‘The Korean players would no longer be eligible for the compensation buff.’
It was hard to find anyone saying these words. On the other hand, Shin Youngwoo became more uncomfortable.
Shin Youngwoo had accepted the role of the demon king for individual gain. He hadn’t paid attention to the fact that South Korea would miss out on several gold medals due to this absence and that the Korean players wouldn’t enjoy the benefits of ranking highly in the National Competition. It was someone else’s business anyway. Shin Youngwoo just fought for himself and the Overgeared Kingdom.
Yes, Youngwoo wasn’t a hero. Despite this, the woman in front of Shin Youngwoo and the people on SNS were currently praising Shin Youngwoo as a hero. Naturally, Shin Youngwoo enjoyed being liked and praised.
‘I’m not qualified.’ Shin Youngwoo’s face filled with unexpected guilt though.
The employee sensed something and said, “You don’t have to worry. We call you a hero because we have been comforted by your existence. It is a type of thanks, not an intention to place more burden on you. Don’t make such a pained expression. Do what you want to do. Nobody has the right to blame or resent you. If someone points a finger at you, then someone else will criticize them.”
The employee was a very ordinary person. She was a neighbor who could be met anywhere, and she represented the hearts of most people. What she said sounded like something Lauel would say. Shin Youngwoo’s shaky eyes gradually firmed up. “...Thank you.”
The essence of ‘patriotism’ that Shin Youngwoo felt in the meantime was formed by the army. He vaguely thought that he should be loyal to the country and fight for its people. However, that changed at this moment. Shin Youngwoo realized the importance of his neighbors. He realized how important it was to have the ‘country’ where his family and neighbors lived. Then one thing was for certain.
‘First, I have to protect the Overgeared Kingdom.’
He would give complete peace to his kingdom and its people.
‘Become the hero of my kingdom.’
As a hero, he had to become essential in the game and make the people feel proud. This was the level of work he needed to do. If someone else discovered Shin Youngwoo’s commitment, they were likely to laugh at him, calling it ‘small and insignificant.’
Still, that was just a story at the present time. Just as the emergence of virtual reality changed the world, the world could be changed at any time. Youngwoo’s ridiculous commitment might be the spirit that would protect South Korea in a world which would someday change.
The Chiyou test was one of the few trials and games for the yangbans who were born absolute. The yangbans took the test every 100 years when they were engulfed with a strange melancholy. Every time they overcame the frustration, their talents would blossom. The yangbans themselves were what people would call ‘power.’
“Sigh... Sigh...” The man who barely managed to pass the test was bloody. His hair was disheveled, and his eyes were filled with intense killing intent. The five seniors didn’t care.
“The yangban exist to correct everything in the world.”
“Garam, if you have chosen the path of killing, it means you need to kill all of the world.”
“Help the cycle of birth by killing. It is for the well-being of the world.”
“Once your killing intent calms down, peace will fall all over the world.”
Four of the five seniors gave advice to Garam. There was only one person who remained silent. Garam asked him, “Hanul. Do you remember Pagma?”
The five seniors frowned at the unexpected name. Pagma was the heretic who questioned the existence of the Hwan Kingdom that had ruled the East Continent since the beginning. The thought of the mutation who had shouted that yangbans and humans should be equal to each other was an unpleasant memory for the five seniors.
On the other hand, Hanul of the five seniors didn’t reveal the same hostility. “I remember. Isn’t that smoking pipe of yours Pagma’s work?”
It happened at this moment. Garam pulled out the smoking pipe hanging from his waist and broke it with one hand. The smoking pipe, which had previously blocked Grid’s sword, turned into powder and scattered in the air.
“He is dead.”
The five seniors’ reactions were nonchalant. They knew that any yangbans who left the Hwan Kingdom for a long time would lose their eternal life. Pagma’s death had just been a scheduled procedure. It was Garam’s next words that were surprising.
“Before he died, he handed his trivial techniques to the ignorant masses.”
“Power to the masses...?”
Passing on techniques was a taboo in the Hwan Kingdom. The blossoming of talent should only rely on the effort of the yangban. For a yangban, his power was his symbol. The act of transferring it or letting another person borrow it was no more than a denial of their existence.
“Who has inherited Pagma’s power?”
“We should find him and destroy him. We can’t tolerate any contact between the yangbans and the ignorant masses.”
Garam confirmed the angry faces of the five seniors and said to Hanul, “That person... He is a king in the west. Hanul, please divide the Red Sea. I will punish the beasts of the west and the kings who abandoned us thousands of years ago.”
“Absolutely not!” One of the five seniors shouted. “The western lands are polluted by all types of wicked gods! Once you step on that land, you will be hit by them and lose some of your power! You might lose your eternal life just stepping onto the western lands!”
“...” Garam was shocked. He didn’t know that the western lands, which the five seniors had abandoned a long time ago, were this polluted. Garam might even lose his eternal life...
The unexpected warning incited a vague fear in Garam’s heart, but his anger swallowed up the fear. Garam was reminded of the small wound that the ignorant person who used Pagma’s techniques had dealt him.
“I am willing to sacrifice my body if it will fix the world. Please part the Red Sea...”
“You won’t be the one crossing the Red Sea.” Hanul cut off Garam’s words.
Hanul’s ‘vision’ crossed Pangea and faced the Red Sea. The city was empty.
“The enemy will be the one to cross the Red Sea.” Hanul’s power was manifested.
[★Hidden Quest★ ‘Call of Heaven’ has been created.]
The same notification window appeared in front of millions of players. Many of the Overgeared members were included. The thing they had in common was that they were blacksmiths.
There were 50 days until the 4th National Competition, which meant 150 days in Satisfy. A land more brutal than hell opened its mouth.