Inside a fancy office, a man with neat pomaded hair was buried in a big black chair with his eyes closed. He frowned, seemingly thinking about something intently, as his fingers tapped the desk incessantly. The man tapped on his desk exactly 34 times. Then he stopped his fingers and opened his eyes.
“What did I say, Rudd? It has been exactly two weeks,” Cheong Chen, branch manager of Adidas Asia, said emotionlessly. He was like a machine with no emotions.
Rudd replied while suppressing his sense of embarrassment, “I made contact with Alley Leader.”
“I said it failed.”
“I’ll try again next time.”
“Didn’t you say you didn’t get a chance to speak?”
At this moment, Cheong Chen interrupted Rudd with a face revealing feelings of annoyance and anger. “Then why do I have to be sworn at by that old man over the phone? I didn’t do anything!! Why should I suffer because of Lohan, an old man with no toenails?”
Upon hearing Cheong Chen’s shout, Rudd instinctively started making excuses. He felt desperate. “Alley Leader just greeted me and left. I couldn’t make the transfer offer.”
Cheong Chen’s expression cleared in an instant, and he tidied up his slightly protruding hair.
“Then find out where the information came from. Additionally, get in touch with those guys. If I can’t get a doll, then I have to rip it to pieces. That is the motto of my life,” Cheong Chen said with a smile.
It had been a week after Hyeonu met with Rudd.
Hyeonu’s hunting speed increased steadily. He even thought it was a simple process. The Fighting Energy Emission he gained from Raccoon played a part in it. In fact, when he used the skill on the monsters in the Balder Mountains, the level of monsters was so high that there was no significant effect.
They just flinched briefly. However, this brief gap was sufficient for Hyeonu. It was enough for him to escape a crisis and insert Dark Star into the monster’s vital parts.
“Tang-E, when are you going to eat the essences?” Hyeonu asked Tang-E during a brief break between hunts.
“Essences? Why are you asking about that?” Tang-E asked from where he was lying on a sprawling rock.
“Nothing, I’m just asking in case you ate them.”
“I haven’t eaten them yet. I’ll eat them soon. I’m saving them. I won’t give them even to Master dude.” Tang-E watched Hyeonu with hostile eyes.
They were the same kind of eyes that Yeongchan and Yuri had when Hyeonu sat down to eat with them. It was a gaze that seemed to regard him as a competitor.
“I won’t take it! Why would I eat them?!” Hyeonu screamed like it was unfair.
Then Tang-E’s gaze became stranger. “Is that so, Master dude? I understand. Believe me. I’m a bear with a big heart.”
Hyeonu ignored Tang-E’s ridiculous words and asked again, “So when exactly are you going to eat them?”
“I think I can awaken again soon. At that time, I’ll eat them.”
‘Tang-E’s level is already approaching 200?’
When Hyeonu heard Tang-E’s words, he checked the status window.
Species: Marionette Bear (First awakening)
Title: Bung Bung Island’s Heir
Stats: Strength: 787 Agility: 733 Physique: 899 Magic Power: 1,746
The heir of Bung Bung Island. Bear-like physical abilities and high magic power are racial characteristics. He is very affectionate, unlike his prideful tone.
Skills Possessed: Bear’s Momentum, Forest’s Blessing, Magic Power Affinity, Lightning, Giant Transformation, Roar, Ice, Fire, Subspace.]
Tang-E had gained the skills, Giant Transformation and Roar, after his first awakening. Both skills were a huge help to Hyeonu while hunting. Hyeonu was already looking forward to how good the skill from the second awakening would be when it corresponded to the player’s third class advancement.
“By the way, what’s hidden in your subspace?” Hyeonu asked about the subspace in passing.
Tang-E flinched for a moment. “Nothing. There is nothing. It’s empty.”
“Really? Then put some food in it later. I have the money to buy it.” Hyeonu couldn’t help stroking Tang-E’s head.
“I understand, Master dude. Fill it up.”
“If this continues, you can’t go to the competition. Don’t you know that? Stop embarrassing yourself. How can you lose at that ranking?”
Hearing Yoon Hyeongu’s words, Han Jaeyeol bowed his head. Han Jaeyeol’s expression was severely distorted. ‘I can’t compete?’
For Han Jaeyeol, the competition was his immediate goal and hope. It was the only hope that kept him afloat in the trashy Big Stars that didn’t give him proper support and made him work as a proxy knight.
“I’m sorry. I’ll practice harder.” Han Jaeyeol couldn’t rebel against Yoon Hyeongu. He still had hope though.
“Don’t forget there are many players besides you. You can go now,” Yoon Hyeongu stated.
Han Jaeyeol raised his head to reveal an expressionless face, but he was feeling rotten on the inside. “I understand.”
Han Jaeyeol said goodbye to Yoon Hyeongu and left the office.
“I need to squeeze out a bit more. Are there another four months left?”
Four months—that was the amount of time left until the Arena Pro League ended.
Han Jaeyeol came out of the director’s office and returned to his dormitory. After entering his room, Han Jaeyeol threw a pillow and vented his anger. “Wah!!!”
The Big Stars’ players were scared by his yell and gathered in Han Jaeyeol’s room one by one.
“Why is Jaeyeol doing that?”
“I guess the director said something to him.”
“Did that happen again?”
“I guess so.”
It had become routine for players like Han Jaeyeol to be called to the coach. Everyone wanted to leave Big Stars if they had a chance.
“By the way, did you hear? What will happen in the next professional league?”
“What does that mean?”
At Kim Jinhwan’s words, everyone except for Han Jaeyeol looked at Kim Jinhwan.
“I secretly listened in on the director the other day. In the next league, it seems the patched castle will appear? Those who don’t have a castle won’t be eligible to participate in the siege, and they will fall to the second division.”
“What does that mean?”
“So we’re going to the Second Division League?”
The other players asked Kim Jinhwan even though he wasn’t an employee of Quency.
He was so flustered that words came out randomly. “How many pro-gamers can earn enough imperial contribution for a castle? It is difficult to buy a title for the next league even if you’ve been working hard since this talk came out. However, you can buy a castle from someone like Alley Leader. If not, buy it from a guild.
“It is because the guilds aren’t in a hurry right now. If you give them money, they might sell it. Then what about us? The coach is a bastard who makes people act as proxy knights. He curses and hits them if they don’t. What can we do in this club? We will be sent to the Second Division League and have to continue acting as proxy knights.”
Kim Jinhwan’s bombshell remarks made the players shut up. They also knew how the club would act. In fact, they knew better than anyone else as they had suffered for months already.
“So what can we do?”
“We can’t leave the team now.”
“Do you need to invest some time in Arena now?”
“Who knows? Is it possible? We’re still pros...”
“The gap is already too big. I still have two more weeks until I finish my third class advancement. By that time, the famous streamers will already be past their third class advancement.”
The players were all over the place like merchants in the market. However, as time passed, the players’ words subsided. The more they spoke, the more they realized that their future was grim.
“Sigh... What should we do? Do we have to keep doing this?”
“If we go down to the second division, there will be less funding... We will be cut even further. Our salary...”
All the players sighed. They knew best as to what would happen to them the moment they were pushed out from the focus of people’s attention. The players were still sighing when Han Jaeyeol approached them. Han Jaeyeol’s expression looked like he had decided on something. “Hey, if we continue like this, we won’t be able to go anywhere. We will be stuck under Yoon Hyeongu’s hand, and our lives will be over. Do you agree about this?”
The Big Stars’ players nodded. Han Jaeyeol spoke harshly, but in a cold sense, this was their future. Acknowledging this, the players showed their acceptance. Then Han Jaeyeol continued, “So how about getting started four months earlier?”
Han Jaeyeol’s words suggested that they stop being pro-gamers right now.
‘It is too much. Think slowly.’ Lee Yeongjin expressed his opposition, “Isn’t this too extreme? Think a bit more and make a decision...”
Some of the players nodded.
However, another player interrupted Lee Yeongjin. It was Kim Jinhwan. “Yes, let’s go. I will no longer be a player here. If there is no place for me, then I’ll try to be a streamer. I can’t stand it anymore.”
Kim Jinhwan helped Han Jaeyeol. They had the same thoughts. Seeing as they would be thrown away anyway, it would be better to walk out on their own feet.
“Jinhwan!” Lee Yeongjin called out Kim Jinhwan’s name loudly after hearing Kim Jinhwan’s words.
Kim Jinhwan just said whatever he wanted to say without any concern. “Yeongjin, I know what you’re worried about, but you should know this too. Four months later, we won’t be able to go out and become a streamer like we can right now. We will just be thrown away and rolled out.”
“Jinhwan is right. In any case, we’re just consumables. Our only chance is right now.”
Hearing Han Jaeyeol's words, everyone looked at him. They seemed to be asking for the method.
“Once something goes wrong, our life as pro-gamers is over. The domestic teams are already saturated, and they don’t have the strength to go to overseas teams, right?”
“That’s right. We wouldn’t have come here if we had that type of strength.”
“Giving up on everything looks cool. We aren’t good enough to be professional gamers. I think this knowledge has come too late.”
The players snapped at each other. It was cold criticism. Now that they gave up on the great foolishness of being a professional gamer, they could finally see reality. Han Jaeyeol saw it and continued, “That’s why I thought about what to do. Our skills are good, so we’ll be able to stream 24 hours a day like those big guilds. We can also make a channel. Then we’ll make some money—more than we are making now.”
The current salary they received from Big Stars was very low. It was lower than what they would get from working a part-time job.
Someone asked, “In any case, the only thing we know is Arena. Let’s say this is true. Are we going to fuck over Yoon Hyeongu?”
Han Jaeyeol smiled with a confident expression. “You know how I lost to the man that Alley Leader taught?”
“Yes, that’s why you went to the office today.”
“I will aim at Alley Leader. I saw on the stream that he’s a very nice person. If this is the case, he should come out unconditionally? He might accept if I speak to Nike. It is an opportunity for Alley Leader to become more popular.”
This was the method Han Jaeyeol came up with.