Kale secretly spread rumors everywhere. As if that wasn’t enough, he even spoke to the PD of FOX and the staff of the planning team.
-Alley Leader has decided to reappear on Masked Fighting King. In addition, everyone will be fighting under the same conditions on that day.
The news spread in an instant. Inquiries flowed in from everywhere, but Nike just responded tacitly. Right now, a brown-haired beauty stood in front of a screen that was the only source of light in this darkened space.
“Right until today, this is a list of players who have announced their intention to participate.”
She pressed the remote control in her hand, and dozens of faces appeared on the screen. They were all celebrities. Anyone who knew Arena would want to meet them.
“With these candidates, we will have a better lineup than ever.” One employee who saw the screen admired it.
“Alley Leader has only one condition—only fill it with skilled people. So we now have to pick a total of seven people.” Kale looked at the photos with an expressionless face. Certainly, players who could be called superstars had their photos up there.
‘Reina and Mascherano aren't in the list, and neither is Reynold from Europe. It is a bit disappointing...’
Reynold was unofficially the strongest person in Europe. There were also rumors that he had met Rain and Teika in Arena and won. Moreover, he had a record of having defeated Mascherano in Arena Week last year, so this lent credibility to the rumors.
“We have a lot of superstars, but we need more PvP specialists. For now, we will select only four participants. We will make additional contact for the remaining three spots,” Kale stated.
Kale and those in the planning room had a fierce discussion. They were such famous stars that there would be no backlash no matter who was chosen. Nevertheless, there were minor differences. Only those who had the fewest or no disagreements with each other could appear in this episode of Masked Fighting King. Some could say it was a rather tricky selection.
‘There can’t be a single blemish on the stage where Alley Leader will appear.’
This was the stage for Alley Leader. That alone was well worth the effort.
“Who would you like to pick for the remaining one?”
After a long meeting, three participants were decided. There were a total of four people including Alley Leader. There was only one spot left to be filled before the meeting could end. The other three spots were reserved for more special people.
“I want to choose Locke. Looking at the latest Arena footage or last season’s matches, he seems to have grown enough.” A male employee recommended Locke as a candidate.
A rebuttal came immediately though.
An employee sitting on the other side of the one who suggested Locke got up while saying, “There shouldn’t be a Korean player since it's a relatively weaker league. Besides, this Masked Fighting King requires players with top skills. Growth isn’t important.”
His argument was clear. Locke still wasn’t enough to be world-class.
“He hasn’t shown anything. Even his arena ranking isn’t of a master,” Kale added. He had the same thoughts.
“That’s right. Locke is lacking. He hasn’t been verified yet. Let’s recommend other players. They are still many better stars than him.”
The meeting seemed like it would never end.
A message window flashed in front of Hyeonu, who was hunting hard. It was a message he had been waiting on for the last few days.
[The Yusma Empire’s delegation has arrived at the Yuxin Imperial Palace 1/1.]
It was the completion of the main scenario quest. Of course, this wasn’t the finale of the scenario, but it was one of the steps toward that finale.
‘The rewards... I have to go to the emperor.’
Hyeonu realized it when he saw the quest window. The subject of the reward was the emperor. Taking in a deep breath, Hyeonu opened the inventory.
‘It’s okay. There’s still a lot.’
He confirmed the number of bottles of alcohol he had from the East Continent. These ones were different from the last time and were for just in case the emperor wanted to drink. Hyeonu took a deep breath and headed to the emperor’s palace where the emperor would be. The emperor didn’t even open his eyes even though Hyeonu entered the great hall. He just continued to sit in his high throne.
‘The concept is really strange,’ Hyeonu murmured internally, but he never showed this thought on the surface.
Hyeonu bowed and greeted the Emperor.
After that, Hyeonu reported, “Your Majesty, the envoys have safely entered the imperial palace of the Yuxin Empire in the East Continent.”
Even though Hyeonu was done talking, the emperor took no action. He just stayed still. It seemed like an eternity passed by before the emperor finally opened his eyes and said, “Good work."
Along with the emperor’s short words, Hyeonu received a message informing him of the clearance of the quest.
[Exchange with the East Continent has been cleared.]
[Experience has been acquired.]
[32,124 imperial contributions have been acquired.]
‘Is he in a bad mood today? I should leave quickly.’
Hyeonu felt a sense of uneasiness from the emperor who seemed more bored than usual. His intuition was ringing.
“Your Majesty, I will go first.” Hyeonu threw a bait to escape. He would immediately leave the hall if the emperor didn’t say anything in return.
“I have something to say to you.”
If only it wasn’t for the emperor’s words… Hyeonu firmly grabbed hold of his desire to leave and put it firmly in place.
“What do you want to say...?” He asked nervously. Based on the way the emperor expressed his words, it seemed like there must be a problem.
‘Does he want to cut the support?’ Hyeonu wondered.
The construction of Phinis was still in full swing. Many places were completed, but there were still many places left to be finished due to the large-scale.
‘It will be over for Phinis if it is canceled now.’
He would go bankrupt. Hyeonu didn’t have the money to cover that much construction.
“You don’t have to tremble like that. It isn’t bad news.”
That was what the emperor said, but it could still be slightly bad news, or perhaps it was good news. Hyeonu stood still like an anxious student about to receive his report card and waited for the emperor’s next words.
“Right now, unconditional support has become impossible. Due to the growing number of adventurers gaining territories, nobles are protesting about the fairness of things. They are probably nobles who have a good relationship with those adventurers.”
Hyeonu forgot he was in front of the emperor, and his expression distorted. It was the worst. In the end, it meant the emperor would cut off his support due to the other adventurers.
“Of course, no one would’ve said that if LeBron had been present. He might seem like he only rolls around his house all the time, but he is a sharper imperial sword than anyone else.” As the emperor recalled the past, he shook his head and then laughed suddenly.
The emperor continued speaking, “I already know that you have done a lot of work in Phinis. It would be a serious problem if support were cut off now. Therefore, I came up with a plan so the nobles will understand.”
At this time, a ray of light fell on Hyeonu.
“What is it?” He held onto the emperor’s next words like it was a string of salvation.
Hyeonu was even prepared to grab onto the emperor’s pants if the emperor were right in front of him.
“I told you I would give you as much support as you contributed to the imperial family. There are naturally differences in titles. I can’t let barons receive the same treatment as our earl.”
Boredom could no longer be seen on the emperor’s face. Instead, he had an amused expression.
‘Ah... I was cheated.’ Hyeonu finally realized that the emperor was making fun of him.
The Emperor remarked, “You are still too naive, making you different from your viper-like master. That is why you are more interesting.”
“I didn’t know that Your Majesty enjoyed such jokes.”
Hearing Hyeonu's words, the emperor laughed again and said, “It is because I thought of the past, of what used to be...”
A hazy expression momentarily flashed across the emperor’s face, but it was just for an instant. The emperor once again looked at Hyeonu with his usual boredom before saying, “Then leave the gifts you brought.”
Hyeonu quickly took out 10 bottles of alcohol from his inventory, placed them in the hall, and left.
Alone in the vast hall, the emperor closed his eyes. “I miss you even more today.”
“Sigh, I was scared.
Hyeonu came out of the cube and hurriedly ran to the kitchen. He opened the door of the refrigerator, took out a 500 mL bottle of water and drank it in one breath. It was for a short time, but he had been deceived.
‘My territory almost flew away.’
It was that or Hyeonu’s bankbook would be gone—one of the two. Hyeonu immediately put the empty bottle of water into the recycling bin, sat on the sofa in the living room, and turned on the television. As always, the channel was a game one with a lot of Arena-related programs.
-It is said that FOX’s most popular program, Masked Fighting King, has prepared a special feature. Let’s see it with the viewers.
Currently, the Arena information program ‘Arena Today’ was airing.
‘It’s time to promote it already?’
Thinking about it, Hyeonu realized it wasn’t too late. The shooting day was tomorrow, a Thursday. It was originally on Friday, but that was in line with Hyeonu’s streaming date, so it was changed. After Yeongchan became MC, he always recorded one day in advance on Thursday to make full use of the editing time.
‘Since it is aired on Sunday...’
There were three days left. If it were Sunday afternoon, it would be four days. Either way, there wasn’t much time left.
‘Well... let’s think of it as warm-up and experience it in advance.’
Beeep. The front door was unlocked and Yeongchan entered.
“Hey, you are going to appear in Masked Fighting King?” Yeongchan asked as he ran to Hyeonu.
The purpose of Yeongchan’s outing today had been a meeting with Nike, so he had probably heard about Hyeonu's appearance on the show there.
“Did you hear about it today?”
“Were you hiding it?”
“I wasn’t hiding. You just didn’t ask. If you had asked me, I would’ve answered you like I am now. It isn’t a big secret,” Hyeonu spoke shamelessly like always.
Yeongchan was instantly speechless. However, he soon opened his mouth again and asked, “Are you coming out to practice PvP?”
“Well, something like that.” Hyeonu turned to lie down and stare at the ceiling. Then he closed his eyes.
Yeongchan saw this and asked again, "What else is there? Do you have another reason to appear again?”
“For publicity. My appearance has to be shorter and bolder than everyone else's.”
“You will go out and finish it in the real Winter League?”
“Of course. Honestly, I feel sorry for my other teammates. These people are gathered because of me.”
Crescent Moon was made up entirely of people who weren’t obsessed with being pro gamers.
“Indeed... Dwayne is learning, while you, Sunny, and Lee Hoon are streamers. Yuri hasn’t finished school. Mason...”
Mason was a chaebol—an unreasonably rich one. If he wanted to, he could probably buy a few pro teams.
“In fact, I never would’ve thought of becoming a pro gamer if it wasn’t for that jerk. My family...” Hyeonu murmured in a low voice. "Yes, that jerk is the problem. If I’m going to step on him, I have to step on him properly. Just destroy him so that he won’t be able to return no matter what method he uses.”
Yeongchan heard the small murmurs and frowned like a demon.