"The president is expecting you.”
"Do I look like a failure?”
“Haha. Your expression is aggressive. He just expects you to return to your original position.”
Yura couldn’t say that this would never happen. Her tightly closed coral lips showed no signs of shaking and the middle-aged man bowed deeply before leaving.
Yura was reminded of the meeting with her grandfather three months ago.
"Let’s end this child’s prank and come home. It is enough to play for five years.”
"It isn’t a joke or playing around. Grandfather, don’t you know that Satisfy is a business dominating the world?”
"The business is done by those who created and are operating Satisfy. You are just one player. It is ridiculous if your pride is based on the tens of billions of won you earned as a player. You are just one of the billions of components making up the S.A Group.”
One part. A consumable that could be replaced by anyone. Yura didn’t deny it. She wasn’t Grid or Kraugel. She had realized a long time ago that she wasn’t a special person. This didn’t mean she intended to give up easily.
Home was a place where she couldn’t breathe. It was a cold and scary place. At her parents’ funeral, she couldn’t even see anyone’s tears.
‘Isn’t this better? My granddaughter is a thousand times better than my stupid son.’
She still vividly remembered these words from the funeral. It was the voice of her grandfather.
“Being my successor is far better than your current situation in terms of both wealth and honor. Don’t waste any more time and come back.”
“I don’t want to.”
“My grandfather’s grandfather founded this house and it was built up by all his descendants, including me. If it doesn’t follow the legitimate line, who will it go to? You can’t escape. Drop your futile stubbornness.”
"There is my cousin. I hope you can stop your obsession with me. I’m serious, Grandfather.”
"You want me to entrust it to that fool? Do you mean to throw away the family? Then I should take it as the responsibility of your parents, who gave birth to a scandalous person like you.”
Why was he bringing up people who had died all of a sudden? The old man smiled at his confused granddaughter. "I will take you out of the family register. On the day you depart for China, I will dig up the graves of your parents buried on my land and throw them into the river.”
"Grandfather, they are your son and daughter-in-law.”
“It doesn’t matter since they are already dead.”
Yura tried to maintain her composure but it was hard. Yura’s dark eyes were losing their way. Her head was lowered as she spoke in a trembling voice, “I will send someone right now to move my parents elsewhere...”
“It is the cemetery of my family. Outsiders can’t enter without my permission.”
"This year’s National Competition will be held in China? Okay. Go ahead. In the meantime, I will dig up your parents’ graves.”
Yura’s delicate jaw tightened. She stared at the table with bloodshot eyes and made a big decision. "I’m sure you have done enough research. PvP. It is one of the most prestigious events in the National Competition.”
Grid and Kraugel. Only these two people had taken the top honour in the highest event. PvP was the stage of dreams. Thousands of people dreamt of challenging it but ended up leaving it as a dream.
“If I win a gold medal in PvP, I can enjoy greater wealth and honour than being Grandfather’s successor. I will win a gold in PvP. Then please acknowledge me.”
The old man’s lips twisted. “Why should I listen to your suggestion?”
"If I can’t win a gold medal in PvP, I will go home. I will actively start undergoing training to become the successor and swear that I will grow the family and company. If you don’t even give me a chance and forcefully make me your successor, I can’t guarantee what will happen to the family and the company after grandfather’s death.”
The one-sided deal he wanted was possible. However, the ending wouldn’t be good. It was a clear threat. Was this scandalous? No, not at all. The old man was pleased. In this moment, his granddaughter was exactly like him in his youth. He was a young man who threatened his own blood to achieve his goal.
“Okay. I will accept the deal.” Surprisingly, the old man readily accepted. It was because he investigated it in advance, just as Yura thought. He knew that the likelihood of Yura winning PvP was infinitely low. His granddaughter’s talent wasn’t in the game. “A gold medal in PvP. This is the only way you can be freed.”
"Where will he be playing?”
"One sure thing is the demon king subjugation.”
As with every year, some changes were made to the rules of the 4th National Competition. One of them was a closed system for the players’ events. In the previous competitions, the list of which events players were participating in was revealed. This year, it wasn’t disclosed. In other words, no one knew what events a player was participating in unless they outright stated it.
This wasn’t a bad system. The public’s curiosity was provoked while the players struggled to find a way to avoid strong enemies.
It was now the last day of the National Competition. People discussed where Kraugel would use his remaining two tickets. This discussion itself was funny for the public. Reporters from all over the world had excited expressions.
“One of the tickets must be used for the demon king subjugation event? Kraugel won’t miss something that will allow him to win many medals.”
"He will also be participating in PvP. I can’t imagine a PvP event without Kraugel.”
PvP was a sanctuary. It was the best stage to show off their skills and talents. The rankers who were confident in their abilities would definitely play in PvP. In particular, this year’s PvP participation rate was high because Grid was absent. At the very least, they wouldn’t die in one blow. There were naturally reporters who expected that Kraugel would participate in PvP.
However, there were only a few of them.
‘They are reporters, right? Why are their levels so low?’
Most reporters who came to the National Competition were veterans. They collected data on the tendencies and relationships of the players and based on this, they were convinced of Kraugel’s absence from PvP. It was speculated that Kraugel would go to breaking the hero and the demon king subjugation.
What was the reason? It was simple. This year there was no Grid in PvP. In order to make up for last year’s defeat, Kraugel was likely to play in breaking the hero. He was going to defeat last year’s Grid and prove his own growth.
‘This will be an article.’
It was the reporters’ thoughts that the Hero Grid would be several times stronger than the real Grid. Last year, Grid showed great control skills when defeating Hao in battlefield. However, that was the only time Grid fought without his items. There were many variables in the real world. Hao might’ve been in an unusually bad condition that day. There was also the possibility that Grid’s condition was extraordinarily good or lucky on that day.
At the present time, when Grid’s control wasn’t proven to be the ‘best’, it was natural to think the Hero Grid controlled by the super AI would be more powerful. Could Kraugel beat that monster? It would be tough. One year’s growth wasn’t enough.
The reporters’ hands were already itchy. They wanted to quickly write about Kraugel, who was defeated and frustrated by last year’s Grid.
“Focus on the Hero.”
This was Lee Gookrae’s instructions. It was an order from the top so it should be faithfully executed.
PD Bang Songkook of OGC obediently followed the order. He instructed all staff members to focus on the Hero. Thus, the broadcast of OGC Station was somewhat unusual.
The MCs of other stations predicted the players who would participate in Breaking the Hero and exploring the specs of those players, while OGC analyzed the video of Grid last year. Based on Grid’s specifications last year, they devoted themselves to guessing the hero’s stats and skills.
The cameras were centred on the Hero.
A man with black hair was standing on the plains. The sight of Grid not taking part in the National Competition this year made people feel sorry.
『 This year’s Hero feels a lot different from last year’s Hero. Last year’s Hero had high evasion and accuracy while his defense and health was normal even in terms of normal players. This year’s Hero has high defense and health, meaning he won’t receive much damage when attacked. Still, he isn’t that slow. If an AI controls this hard and fast body, the evasion rate will greatly soar. From the player’s perspective, the Hero will be hard to knock down. 』
『 That’s right. This could be called a survival-type boss monster. He has excellent basic defense, combined with the blood-sucking and recovery ability. He also creates shields under certain conditions... Oh, he is invincible. 』
『 The problem isn’t just survival. The attack power is very high. If the player allows one attack from the Hero, they will be in a critical condition. They can cope with the long movements of the sword dance but the performance of the skill is powerful and the burst of flames is immediate... 』
『 Didn’t Player Tarma die in one blow last year from the flames? 』
『 The reason why Player Tarma didn’t participate in this year’s National Competition must be due to the trauma... 』
Continuously hitting the Hero with skills wouldn’t kill him. On the other hand, they would fall into a critical state just from a basic attack. From the perspective of the players, there was no answer to defeating the Hero this year. At least, this was what the commentators thought.
『 Still, the players of the National Competition are representatives of their country and might have different feelings. 』
『 Right. Ordinary people like us can’t think of a strategy. Of course, a handful of players... 』
『 Jang Hyukmin, how many players do you expect to participate in Breaking the Hero this year? 』
『 Um... I think there will be around 10 people. 』
『 You are like me. It should be Kraugel, Chris, Zibal, Haster, Seuron, Pon, Regas, Katz, Damian and perhaps Peak Sword, who has an absurd attack power. These are the only people I can think of. 』
『 Well, we don’t have to guess too much. There are 125 countries participating in this year’s National Competition and the number of participants is over 1,000. There might be strong players we don’t know of yet and there is room to defeat the hero. 』
『 As soon as you said this, the list of participants has been released. The players participating this year... Eh? 』
『 Hah. 』
The commentators were at a loss for words. The list of players was revealed on the holographic boards floating around Beijing Stadium. It was much shorter than the commentators expected.
『 Five people...? 』
Only five out of nearly 1,300 players...? The players expectations of Grid... No, it was a glimpse of how the players evaluated the AI controlling Grid.
'Is Grid on this level?’
‘Is he that much worse than last year’s Hero?’
‘None of the Overgeared members showed up at all?'
The Overgeared members were people who watched Grid from right beside him. The fact that not one of them participated in breaking the hero...
Gulp. The sounds of gulping came from everywhere. Tens of thousands of spectators were silent as they watched the stage. Five players came up to the stage in turn. Sympathy was in the eyes of the people watching them. The players on stage were also agitated. The number of players was much smaller than expected and they started to wonder if they had failed to grasp something.
This was except for a single man.
It was as the reporters expected. Kraugel chose breaking the hero instead of PvP. Now he was chasing someone. His goal was Grid.
“This makes me sad.”
Zibal, Haster, Chris, etc. The big players who were afraid of Kraugel but felt competitive toward him either laughed or gritted their teeth. All of them had their pride thoroughly crushed. It was like Kraugel was telling them, ‘You aren’t worthy of my attention.’