When Hyeonu saw Tang-E’s elated expression, he forgot how to speak and just stared blankly at Tang-E.
“Why is it you…” Hyeonu uttered.
Tang-E was picked—this was an unexpected witness selection. Hyeonu had been surprised when the emperor came out. Then he thought it was natural when Yeongchan appeared because there was already a history of a copy of Yeongchan appearing in Laek. However, Tang-E was different. He was a ball that would bounce unpredictably.
“You have to do well. Understood? Are you going to play around?” Hyeonu carefully persuaded Tang-E.
Yet Tang-E continued to whistle and hum like he couldn’t hear Hyeonu’s words, “Huung~ Tang-E likes meat~”
Then just as Hyeonu was about to yell at Tang-E, the polite voice rang through the space: -The first question. What is your relationship with the academy student in front of you?
Tang-E had seen the process of the previous two people being questioned, so he skillfully answered the voice’s question, “This human is my master. This Tang-E’s master.”
-The answer turned out to be true. Then I’ll move onto the next question. Who is the academy student in front of you?
“He is a human who is stronger than anyone and is full of desires. The subjectivity is clear. He is a better person than anyone else.” Tang-E winked at Hyeonu.
Hyeonu smiled brightly at Tang-E’s appearance. ‘That’s right. This is it.’
“After all, how many essences and how much meat have I fed him?” Hyeonu muttered in such a low voice that Tang-E couldn’t hear him. Since Tang-E had eaten Hyeonu’s food, he shouldn’t say bad things about Hyeonu.
-The answer turned out to be true. Then I’ll move onto the next question. It is the last question. Is the academy student in front of you trustworthy?
‘Okay!’ Hyeonu held his breath while feeling delighted. He squeezed his fists but didn’t express his joy. Tang-E told the truth in succession. In addition, everything was positive.
This time, Tang-E nodded and spoke good words: “Master who gives me meat is trustworthy, more than anyone else.”
Hyeonu naturally had a bright smile on his face. It was true even if he didn’t listen to it. After all, no one cared about meat more than Tang-E. This was the truth. As if to prove it, the voice agreed: -The answer turned out to be true. The questioning is over. I will return the witness.
It was a long wait. The emperor, Yeongchan, and Tang-E—they proved that all the time he spent playing Arena wasn’t in vain.
Just then, Tang-E reappeared in Hyeonu’s arms.
“This is all thanks to your virtue, your virtue.” Hyeonu hugged Tang-E and stroked his head.
-You have passed the given test perfectly. Compensation will be paid before moving on to Stage 5.
‘What am I going to receive?’ Hyeonu smiled lightly at the message informing him that he had cleared the task. It always felt good to receive rewards.
[Experience has been acquired.]
[You have leveled up.]
[All health and magic power have been restored.]
[The title ‘One Who is Trusted’ is created.]
[One Who is Trusted]
[A title given to players who trustworthiness has been certified.
Effect: NPCs will trust the player a bit more.]
It wasn’t a big reward. Still, Hyeonu’s mood wasn’t too bad after seeing it. This was because Hyeonu hadn’t done anything, yet he gained a lot of experience and leveled up. In addition, clearing Stage 4 was a condition to go to Stage 5. So the fact that he met these conditions made Hyeonu very satisfied.
‘I will also be rewarded when I clear Stage 5. The titles and items I receive then will be a bonus.’
He had gotten a ring and title to prove his achievement when he completed the beginner academy called ‘Laek.’ So it was obvious that better rewards would come out when he cleared the higher ranked academy, Senu.
‘It doesn’t matter if it is an upgrade of the ring and title or an additional payment.’
Hyeonu didn’t care much. The former was good, and so was the latter. Of course, the latter was still more satisfying.
“Tang-E, let’s hit the jackpot.”
“Yes, Master dude!”
Hyeonu entered the door to Stage 5 with Tang-E.
The location of the Stage 5 mission was the same as Stage 4’s—a Colosseum, an arena covered in dirt and sand.
-Welcome to Stage 5. Stage 5 of Senu is not to surpass yourself but to surpass others. If you pass Stage 5, you will receive a certificate of completion.
‘Is it finally the end?’
Hyeonu’s expression was pleasant as he heard the voice signaling the end of Senu. The time he’d spent in Senu wasn’t that long; the journey from Stage 1 to Stage 4 had taken less than 10 hours. Of course, this was the time it had taken to proceed with the mission. The time he’d spent resting with Tang-E was excluded.
However, the successive battles in Stages 1, 2 and 3 caused him to suffer from fatigue. It was quite stressful to go beyond meeting certain standards, not just hunting and completing the tasks.
‘Who will come out?’
In his heart, Hyeonu wanted Yeongchan to appear again like back then in Laek. Otherwise, any player would be fine. Anyone was fine.
‘Just not an NPC...’
NPCs were terrible. The emperor, Lebron, Suped, Raccoon, Johannes, and so on—the many NPCs Hyeonu knew were all terrible. Some weren’t monsters, but there was little chance of them appearing.
‘Will the emperor come out again?’
It would be the worst if the emperor came out like in Stage 4. Hyeonu would only be able to take a breath and then die, even if it was just a fictional existence of the emperor. Just then, the person that Hyeonu had to overcome appeared in front of his eyes.
The person looked very familiar to Hyeonu. It was a man he had just met 10 minutes ago. With bright blond hair that suited him better than anyone else, this man was the emperor.
‘This shit!!!’ Hyeonu barely held back the curses that wanted to emerge. The emperor was in front of him, so Hyeonu showed superhuman patience.
-The summoned human is a chimera created on the basis of the memories of the previous students who came to Senu. It might be weaker or stronger than the original human. However, in this case, it was implemented as close to the original as possible due to additional information.
The emperor himself wasn’t the one in front of Hyeonu right now. This was a fictional emperor reconstructed from the memories of Hyeonu and the emperor’s visit just a while ago. It was like Laek’s version of Dakan in the past. Nevertheless, the chimera at that time was significantly weaker than the real Dakan. Hyeonu had personally competed against Dakan, so he knew it best.
This time was different. The fictional reconstruction was based on the emperor who had appeared in Senu, which meant an emperor with more perfect abilities was created. It was a disaster for Hyeonu.
-Shout ‘start’ to begin the Stage 5 test, and the duel will begin.
“Tang-E, give me buffs and then return to Bung Bung Island. I can’t protect you this time,” Hyeonu said in a solemn voice.
Tang-E made a confused expression at Hyeonu’s words. This was the first time he had seen Hyeonu look like this. He had never seen Hyeonu act this way in front of any monster or human.
‘Is that human so strong?’
“Sure enough, the golden color is good. Master dude, how about changing your hair color? You will become stronger if you dye it.”
Hyeonu couldn’t bear listening to Tang-E anymore and finally swung his fist, which led to Tang-E cradling his now aching head. “Don’t talk. Give me the buffs and leave quickly.”
Seeing Hyeonu’s rare serious expression, Tang-E nodded. “I understand, Master dude. Be sure to win.”
Tang-E fired a tricolored light at Hyeonu.
‘In fact, I want to do that too, Tang-E.’
Hyeonu sighed when he confirmed that Tang-E had disappeared. This was the emperor, that terrible monster. Still, what Hyeonu felt toward him was a vague fear. The emperor was an unknown. Hyeonu had never seen him fight, aside from showing off ridiculous skills.
‘In this case, I will just try to hit him.’
Hyeonu thought positively. He would begin with an attempt...
Hyeonu regained his composure and declared the start of Stage 5. The emperor’s eyelids trembled, and he opened his eyes. Simultaneously, multiple message windows filled Hyeonu’s vision.
[The stat ‘fighting energy’ has caused your stats to rise.]
[The other party is stronger than you.]
[Your stats have increased.]
From the message, Hyeonu knew for sure the emperor was stronger than him.
[The other party has the dignity stat.]
[The extremely high dignity has restricted your movements.]
[Player ‘Gang Hyeonu’ has entered a ‘slowed’ state.]
There was also a message indicating the identity of the emperor’s aura. The problem was that it wasn’t just one special stat.
[The other party has the fighting energy stat.]
[The other party is stronger than you.]
[The player’s stats will drop.]
[You have the ‘fighting energy’ stat.]
[The stat reduction effect won’t occur.]
[The other party has used Fighting Energy Emission.]
[Resistance has failed.]
[Player ‘Gang Hyeonu’ has entered a ‘slowed’ state.]
Surprisingly, the emperor also had fighting energy. ‘It would be stranger if the monster couldn’t use fighting energy.’ Hyeonu was rather calm. He felt relaxed after acknowledging his gap with the emperor.
‘Lebron also has fighting energy, right? Isn’t he sneaky?’
On the contrary, he even had such a ridiculous idea. Nonetheless, this leisurely time was only for a moment.
“My body isn’t moving at all!”
There was only one part of Hyeonu’s body that could move—his mouth. His limbs seemed to be tied up by cobwebs. The emperor didn’t even do much. He just opened his eyes, and that was it. It was something as natural as breathing, yet just seeing that rendered Hyeonu incapable of doing anything.
‘Who made this old thing?!’
Now he even felt resentment against the Quency development team and scolded them for being idiots who didn’t think of balance.
‘I can’t lose in such a fruitless manner. I guess there will be no more hunting today.’
His Arena gameplay for the day would end with this. There was no future for him.
Hyeonu took out all his skills—the giant skills, One Who Yearns, Twilight Reproduction, Fighting Energy Emission, Area Proclamation—and used them generously. There were three giant skills—Giant’s Power, Giant’s Nature, and Giant’s Origin. After using them all, Hyeonu regained freedom of movement to both his arms.
Then the moment One Who Yearns was used, he was able to control his legs. Still, it was only when Twilight Reproduction was used that he could actually lift his feet from the ground. Once Fighting Energy Emission and Area Proclamation were used, the Mysterious Sky Sword in his sheath was finally able to taste the air of the world.
“Haap!” Hyeonu let out an energetic cry like meleegod of the past and Alley Leader of the present.
It was a cry filled with the strongest desire of both periods.
‘Let’s just deal one blow.’
The Mysterious Sky Sword let out rough sparks. This attack wasn’t unleashed with the skill’s usual sharpness but a rough and uncontrollable magic power. Hyeonu’s feet moved faster as he carried out the Mysterious Sky Steps.
One step, two steps...
The width of his steps widened. Soon, the reach of Hyeonu’s range coincided with the shortening distance between him and the emperor. Then Hyeonu swung the Mysterious Sky Sword more concisely and faster than ever.