[Cast list: New World Guild’s leader, Kim Seokjung; the Phoenix Guild’s leader, Carey; the Mano Guild’s leader, Marco; Red bull American’s Mascherano; the British pride Ryan; the Tanks Corps Guild’s leader, Daniel.]
There were a total of six performers—four big guild leaders and two professional gamers. Not one of them fell behind Hyeonu’s nickname of Alley Leader. Rather, their names alone made Hyeonu look shabby. Hyeonu looked at the list and soon discovered something strange. “Why are there only six? Weren’t there supposed to be eight people in one episode?”
The original plan was to have eight players compete in a round-robin style league. However, only six people were scheduled to appear. The spots of two people were empty.
“We did a simulation test. We launched a company contest under the name of Masked Fighting King in Nike...” Kale’s expression clouded over at the end.
Then Jamie took over the explaining, “It takes too long. There are too many matches. No matter how short the edited versions are, all matches must be aired within an hour, and that just isn’t possible. 28 games would be too many.”
The problem wasn’t the streaming but the broadcast time. The time allowed for Hyeonu was one hour. It would be hard to fit 28 matches in such a short amount of time.
“Even after cutting it down to six people, there will be 15 matches. 15 matches take two hours. Thus, it is only enough if we cut one shooting into two episodes.”
Hyeonu nodded after hearing Jamie’s explanation. He had only thought about streaming. That’s why he thought 28 matches would be fine.
“Then I will appear in the second round.” Hyeonu returned the bomb with one of his own. This time, Jamie’s and Kale’s expressions became strange.
“You mean, you will appear after this week?”
“Isn’t it too early? Your level is still...”
Jamie and Kale were worried. There was a good reason for it. Hyeonu was literally the last bastion. Once Masked Fighting King was withering, he would appear like a comet. He was supposed to be the secret weapon that would once again lift Masked Fighting King above the water. It wouldn’t be good for him to appear in an immature state. The worst results could happen.
“Why not think about it again? Take more time to level up and appear in the sixth round. How about taking one more month to level up?” Kale requested with a desperate expression.
If Alley Leader collapsed here, Masked Fighting King might collapse too. It was because Alley Leader was the symbol of being undefeated that Masked Fighting King attracted so much more attention.
“It’s fine. After this week, I’m confident to win against anyone who comes. Level 120 is enough.” Hyeonu had a confident expression on his face. He truly was confident. At level 120, he could recreate a recipe from the past. It was a recipe that wasn’t used two years ago because his level had been too low. He hadn’t even been able to obtain the necessary ingredients because it had simply been impossible to obtain them. However, it was possible now.
“I’ll meet you in the arena first. I need to prepare for Masked Fighting King.”
Quency was also interested in Hyeonu’s Masked Fighting King. That’s why they implemented a special set specifically for the arena. Since security was very important, a teleportation array had to be used to enter the players’ waiting rooms. Since Hyeonu was the host, he had to talk to all the performers before Masked Fighting King began.
“You look pretty cool, little brother,” Kim Seokjung welcomed Hyeonu, who was all dressed up.
As the host of Masked Fighting King, Hyeonu was wearing a neat suit. His tall stature accentuated the style of the suit. If Kim Seokjung had to choose a flaw, it was Hyeonu’s mask. The suit and mask didn’t match at all.
“Brother, I didn’t expect you to appear. You should’ve told me first.”
“That’s why I didn’t say it. I was trying to appear in the same round as you.”
“In the same round as me? I’m appearing in the next shoot.”
Kim Seokjung had believed that Jamie had stabbed him in the back. He appeared in the first episode, but Hyeonu wasn’t present. Now Hyeonu’s words were like timely rain.
“I'm going to win today.” Kim Seokjung was filled with fighting spirit. ‘If I win today, I can compete with him later, right?’
The next stop was the waiting room of Phoenix’s guild leader, Carey. Carey wasn’t surprised by Hyeonu’s sudden appearance. He had already heard about Hyeonu’s visit.
“Are you Alley Leader? I’m Carey. As you know, I lead a guild called Phoenix.”
When Carey came out in such a manner, it was Hyeonu who became embarrassed. It was like Hyeonu was the participant and Carey was the planner and host. The host and guest had reversed roles.
“Ah, yes, I’m Alley Leader. It is nice to meet you.”
“Yes, I’m thankful for this opportunity.”
‘What is the thanks for?’ Hyeonu could read the sincerity in Carey’s expression. He just didn’t know why Carey was grateful. It had nothing to do with him. There was naturally no need to be thankful.
“I mean it literally. The people appearing in Masked Fighting King... Are they people that can be met easily in the arena? This is a rare opportunity,” Carey said. Then he lowered his voice, “Are you shooting right now?”
“No. This is just a meeting before Masked Fighting King starts. I can’t stream it freely.”
“I know that well. It is easy to stream, but it is stressful because you have to show something a bit different every time. In any case, I’m saying this to you, not anyone else. There will be a large patch soon. Events will also be held along with the patch, among which are PvP events.”
‘Therefore, thank you!’
Hyeonu realized what Carey was saying. This was the reason for his thanks. Carey thought of Masked Fighting King as an opportunity to gain information. He was actually aiming to win the event that would take place some time later.
“Then I’ll see you later.”
After the brief interview, Hyeonu exited the waiting room. He had one more thing to think about. This was a really unexpected harvest.
Hyeonu ended the interview with Marco and Daniel in turn. Now there were only two people left—Mascherano and Ryan. Unlike the other four, Mascherano and Ryan were pro gamers. They were currently in the Arena Pro League but came here on their break.
“Did they want to come out on Masked Fighting King that much?”
Hyeonu couldn’t understand it. Pro gamers were the aces of their team and the face of their country. Was there a reason why such a person would come to live stream on their break? It was questionable.
“Hello, I am Alley Leader.”
“It is nice to meet you. I am Mascherano of Red Bull America.” Mascherano was a very intelligent man. He thought of himself as a magician, but his class was actually a fighter. It was rumored that he had a very uneducated class.
“This might be a cliche question, but let’s ask it once. What made you come to Masked Fighting King?” Hyeonu checked the time and quickly proceeded with the interview.
There were 30 minutes until the start of the streaming. Considering that there was one rehearsal left, he had to finish all the interviews and hand over the data in 10 minutes.
“At some point, people look at me and evaluate me, Mascherano of Red Bull America. They only see this. That’s why I’m keen on streaming during my break time.” Mascherano recalled this time last year. He had worked really hard at the league and streaming, but nothing changed. “However, it hasn’t changed. They still only see me as this—Red Bull America’s ace, Red Bull America’s main damage dealer. I want to look back at myself without such prejudices.”
Mascherano talked like he had prepared for the interview or had been thinking about it for quite some time.
“Then is there anyone you particularly want to see?”
“I want to face Jin Sijong, the guild leader of New World. He beat me once before in the arena. Won’t this be a revenge match? I hope Jin Sijong appears.”
‘He was beaten by Brother! Has he been sharpening his knife since then?’
Hyeonu nodded at Mascherano’s answer about Kim Seokjung. “Then I’ll ask you one last thing. Are you aiming to be the Masked Fighting King?”
Mascherano replied without hesitation like it was within the expected range of questions, “Of course. Since I’m Red Bull’s ace, shouldn’t I at least climb to the throne of Masked Fighting King?”
“I understand. Then the interview will end with this.” Hyeonu smiled with satisfaction at the interview ending earlier than expected.
‘This should be enough for the rehearsal.’
At this moment, Mascherano opened his mouth again and said, “An interview is an interview. I came here for a separate reason. It isn’t just me. Ryan will be the same.”
“Huh? What does that mean?” Hyeonu didn’t know what Mascherano meant.
Why were Ryan and Mascherano at Masked Fighting King?
‘How should I know?’
“Scouting. Please come to Red Bull and take on the role of main damage dealer.” Mascherano’s words were astonishing. He suggested scouting Hyeonu, who was at a starter level compared to professional gamers.
“I will have to reject the offer. I don’t want to be a pro gamer right now. I will focus on streaming,” Hyeonu said.
“I didn’t think you would accept it now. It is the same with the club. Just remember our offer when you decide to become a pro gamer later, Alley Leader,” Mascherano responded like he had anticipated Hyeonu’s answer. He was truly a man of readiness. ‘He is very prepared.’
“I understand. I’ll see you later.”
It was as Mascherano said. Ryan also made an offer to Hyeonu, “How about coming to Manchester? We want to recruit you, Alley Leader.”
Hyeonu gave Ryan the same answer he gave Mascherano, “I will have to reject the offer. I don’t want to be a pro gamer right now. I will focus on streaming.”
Ryan was confused because he hadn’t expected to be rejected so resolutely. Then he quickly controlled his expression and repeated the same words Mascherano said, “If you want to make your professional debut later, be sure to come to Manchester! Please think about it.”
“Yes. I will consider going to Manchester at that time.”
Finally, the pre-interviews of the six people were over. All that remained were rehearsals and the full-fledged streaming.
During the time when Hyeonu was rehearsing, there was one place where attention was focused—A-World. It was the place where Hyeonu was streaming live, and it was in a frenzy. Usually, streamers opened a room 10 minutes before the stream began. Hyeonu averaged between 30,000 to 50,000 viewers during those 10 minutes.
-Ah, when is it starting?
-I think it is starting at 6 o’clock?
-I’m dizzy, so please start early.
-By the way, there are many people today.
-200,000 and it hasn’t even started yet?
200,000 people—it was a number that showed how much attention Masked Fighting King was attracting. Then 6 o’clock arrived. On the black screen, a man in a black suit and a mask appeared.
Masked Fighting King had begun.