Song Junghye sat at her desk, her eyes closed.
She shot to her feet, grabbed the glass on her desk, and hurled it.
The glass shattered into a million pieces on the wall.
No one else was in the room.
She huffed to herself, “Kim Hyukjin, that son of a bitch.”
Ten years had already passed since she reached maturity and resolved to shove her brother aside and inherit Sungshin.
Before the world completely changed, she thought of herself as the sole successor of Sungshin.
But ever since this Kim Hyukjin guy popped up out of nowhere, things were slowly changing.
‘Even Oppa is steadily changing.’
The variable named Kim Hyukjin was galling enough, but to make matters worse, even her older brother was different.
‘He used to always concede to me.’
Junghye was well aware that she was her brother’s weakness.
In truth, that was something Junghye didn’t like.
She believed that if Kiyeol was the successor of Sungshin, if he was her older brother, he shouldn’t do that—Sungshin should come first before familial affection.
She thought her brother was far too weak.
That he had to change.
That was what she thought, but when he actually did change, she found it a little irritating.
‘The way Grandpa looks at Kim Hyukjin is special, too.’
Junghye wasn’t sure, but she had a suspicion there was some kind of secret deal going on between her grandfather and Kim Hyukjin.
A secret deal related to her grandfather’s ability.
‘What do I do’
There was no point in putting an assassin on him, and she couldn’t use Sungshin’s power to crush him.
Both her grandfather and older brother would stand in her way.
“I need to nip him in the bud before he gets any bigger.”
If he could not become an ally, then it was better to stamp him out, and very thoroughly.
That was Song Junghye’s way of doing things.
‘I can’t do it through legal means.’
So she had to find another method.
It was hard to find a solution in Korea, so she turned her gaze overseas.
Several days later, Song Junghye had a meeting with the Chinese billionaire who was stripped of his power as a Player and chased out of the auction Michelle recently hosted, Xu Xin.
“I know the reason why you lost all your power as a Player,” said Song Junghye.
“It’s because of a certain Player.”
“Do you know who that person is, Miss Song”
Xu Xin’s eyes were full of venom.
He could not, for the life of him, remember who that bastard was, even though there had been many witnesses.
Even Michelle said she didn’t know who that person was.
Xu Xin remembered he was an attendant of Song Kiyeol, the guildmaster of Taeguk Shield.
But Song Kiyeol said he expelled that attendant.
That was all Xu Xin knew.
“There’s something about that bastard, or Taeguk Shield.
It’s like our memories were fiddled with, or that we were caught in a mass illusion, because no one remembers him,” spat Xu Xin.
He had to find the culprit behind this outrage.
Song Junghye took a sip of tea, noting the venomous glint in Xu Xin’s eyes.
She then slowly continued speaking.
“He has a special ability called Cognitive Dissonance.
It is a type of mental manipulation ability.”
“How do you know that”
“Because he’s closely related to Taeguk Shield.”
“As I thought.”
Xu Xin had thought that person was in close contact with Taeguk Shield.
He guessed the bastard wasn’t an attendant, and his guess was right.
He huffed in a rage.
“I will smash his knees, and later, Michelle’s knees as well, and make them both kneel before me.”
“Yes, of course.
I would like to help you in that endeavor, Mr.
“Why do you want to help me”
“Because I want to defeat Taeguk Shield.
And personally speaking, I truly loathe that bastard.”
A deal was established between the two.
Xu Xin asked, “Does his class happen to be thief”
“He’s not a thief, but there is no doubt he has a thief ability.”
Song Junghye didn’t know about Darongi, but she knew Kim Hyukjin had a thief ability.
“I lost an important quest item called the Compass, you see.”
“As I thought, it was him.” That bastard had stolen his precious, precious money.
Xu Xin once again ground his teeth.
“I swear, I’ll dunk him alive in a vat of salt.”
“I would love nothing more.
I think we are in agreement.
In that case, how should we proceed I intend on giving you my full support, Mr.
Song Junghye’s eyes darkened.
‘The best way would be to kill Kim Hyukjin inside a dungeon or a gate.’
It was fine, especially if the target was Kim Hyukjin.
He wasn’t a person, but an enemy to be eliminated.
“If you are willing to lend me your strength, Miss Song, I will commit a large number of Chinese Players to the cause.”
“Then I will make it so you can Play in Korea—you can forge an alliance with Blood and Iron Lion.
I don’t think it’ll be very difficult.
Also, I will determine Kim Hyukjin’s current location and share it with you live.”
The Chinese billionaire, Xu Xin, and the guildmaster of Blood and Iron Lion, Song Junghye.
The two put their heads together and schemed.
Xu Xin’s hunting instincts writhed.
“Let us hunt the bastard, then.”
One day later, Song Junghye determined Kim Hyukjin’s location.
She headed towards the Tutorial Building in the luxury black sedan her older brother had gifted her.
Kim Hyukjin concealed himself afterwards, but he was seen going inside the Tutorial Building and hadn’t been seen coming back out.
‘The Tutorial Building.
That’s where he is.’
Xu Xin and Song Junghye thought that would be where Kim Hyukjin would breathe his last breath.
* * *
Translator - Lei
Proofreader - Ash
* * *
Hyukjin left the Endless Sky.
[Entering the Tutorial Building 2nd Floor.]
Players usually didn’t come to the 2nd floor of the Tutorial Building.
Nowadays, the only visitors to the floor were recently-awakened beginner Players popping in for a quick look.
After all, this place wasn’t fully activated yet.
But when Hyukjin entered, he saw quite a number of Players here.
‘I can’t tell what they’re saying.’
They were Chinese.
I’m not entirely sure, but they’re certainly not my friends.’
They weren’t attacking just yet, but there was something odd about this situation.
‘I get the sense they’ve locked down the escalator going from the 1st to the 2nd floor.’
Considering the factors, it was most likely a scheme cooked up by Song Junghye.
When that thought occurred to him, he was actually relieved.
‘If they’re Chinese Players, I guess they’re Xu Xin’s subordinates.’
Xu Xin was the only Chinese person who really hated him.
‘Song Junghye revealed my identity.’
If so, everything would make sense.
‘Let’s just see what they’re gonna do.’
After being around celestial monsters like the whalekin in the Endless Sky, these Players almost looked like a joke.
Just then, he got a whisper.
We met earlier, do you remember
Hyukjin’s Eye of Perception captured the location of the whisperer.
Some distance away, near the wall at a corner, was a stealthed Player.
Whispers weren’t things just anyone could use.
You either needed a whisper item or a whisper skill.
Most Players who could send whispers were explorers.
He heard a notice.
[A gift from an anonymous sender has arrived.]
[‘Whisper Marble’ has arrived.]
He used it immediately, then whispered back.
–Yes, I do.
She was Kang Somyi, the explorer who had seen through his Cognitive Dissonance and had a summary of ‘Curious Explorer’.
–If I remember correctly, your name is Kang Somyi.
–You even remembered my name, that’s unexpected.
Anyway, are you in danger right now
–I’m not sure.
I think someone who dislikes me has set up a trap for me.
But weirdly enough, they were only expressing their hostility towards him and not moving.
–Are you the type to have a lot of enemies
–Not a lot, but a few.
–Who do you suspect is behind this
Hyukjin watched Kang Somyi’s reaction.
If she was on Song Junghye’s side, there would be some change in her emotions, and Eye of Perception would capture that.
However, he picked up no real reaction from her.
Kang Somyi asked:
–Is there any way I can help
–Why do you want to help me
–I really didn’t mean to, but I think I was the one who unintentionally sold out your info.
Kang Somyi was the only Player who saw Hyukjin going up to the 2nd floor.
A Blood and Iron Lion guild member had gone up to her and asked, ‘Have you seen this person We are urgently looking for him.
We will give you ample compensation’, and Kang Somyi told them that she had seen him going up to the 2nd floor.
–That’s all I said, but they gave me $5,000 for it.
Upon thinking about it, she realized it was odd.
They might not be at the level of Taeguk Shield, Blood and Iron Lion was still a major guild.
Why were they looking for a single person Instead of making her happy, the $5,000 made her suspicious.
–And then, a bunch of Chinese Players rushed in and started sealing off the escalator going up to the 2nd floor.
–I think you’re in this predicament because of me, so I want to help in some way.
–There’s not really much you can do.
I think there’s no avoiding a fight here, and you don’t seem to be a combat Player.
Kang Somyi didn’t deny it.
I’m an explorer.
I’ve been observing those guys the whole time.
I think I know what they’re trying to do.
Hyukjin grew a little interested in Kang Somyi.
–What do you think that is
–I think they’re trying to generate something.
–Before you came here, they planted mana crystals here and there.
Using a special method.
Hyukjin scanned the area with Observer’s Eye.
He didn’t see any mana crystals.
‘They’ve been consumed.’
There were an infinite number of uses for mana crystals.
They could be used to set up a barrier to hunt him, or activate a magic circle with a similar effect.
‘Since they’re Chinese Players…’
He got the gist of it now.
Do you sincerely want to help me
I’m kinda wallowing in guilt right now.
–Then please leave and go to Guildmaster Song Kiyeol.
Tell him what’s going on here, and ask him to bring reporters with him, if possible.
–Is that all
–You can get out of here, right
I got up here unseen, so I should be able to get down unnoticed as well.
Kang Somyi was a far more competent explorer than he thought.
It was no exaggeration to say she was top tier at this point in time.
She was able to see through my Cognitive Dissonance.’
This explorer appeared to have far higher latent potential than what was previously known.
I’ll do that, then.
Kang Somyi disappeared, and Hyukjin turned his gaze to the crowd with a shrug.
“Can anyone speak Korean here”
He really needed to keep a few Translation Marbles on him.
Once he reached level 40, he would be able to buy them from the Item Shop, so he would ask Senia to give him a few.
He got a response in Chinese, but he couldn’t understand it.
Hyukjin continued speaking.
They couldn’t understand what he was saying, but he was talking to the Guardians.
“Traces of mana crystals that have been planted around the room.”
He was sure the Guardians were curious about this situation.
The Guardians watching in Senia’s channel didn’t know what Kang Somyi had just told him.
Hyukjin explained, “Judging by the way the Chinese Players are positioned, the core must be that magician wearing the red robe.”
He checked the magician’s name.
Name: Lau Ding Xue
He was a magician Hyukjin knew—his name was quite famous in China, and his reputation went beyond just a little fame.
‘A lieutenant of the Demon King Army.’
Right after meeting the Demon King in the Endless Sky, Hyukjin ran into a lieutenant of the Demon King Army here.
Summary: Trap Magician who Relishes Human Flesh
Hyukjin already knew what kind of ability Lau Ding Xue possessed.
He told the Guardians.
“He laid a circle in advance and waited for my arrival.
I’m absolutely sure he’s set up a trap.
What’s important is what kind of trap it is.”
Hyukjin took a step forward.
The Chinese Players glared at him, all of them holding their individual weapons.
“I think he’s created a special field here and is trying to suck me in.”
If it was Lau Ding Xue…
“Is he someone who can open gates”
“For example… a gate like Mana Hell.”
That ability… was one he already knew.