Max Talent Player
[Translator – Lei ]
[Proofreader – Ash ]
[The quest ‘Gwanghwamun Plaza Raid’ has begun.]
Shin Yeonseo heard that notice, too. She happened to be in the Tutorial Building, and as soon as she heard the notice, she ran outside.
She got a call from Pietro.
–Who is it?
–I’m an info merchant from Italy, Pietro.
–I’m busy, please don’t spam call me.
–I’m Hyukjin’s friend!
Yeonseo moved her phone to the other ear.
–Ah. Boss Hyukjin’s friend? You should have said so from the start.
–Do you know the Gwanghwamun Plaza?
–Of course. I happen to be in the area.
–Hyukjin has convened the Giantgod guild members.
Yeonseo pumped her fist. “Sweet!”
Her eyes sparkled with liveliness. She’d been bored ever since Hyukjin went to Italy to clear the Dewinged Angel Statue Gate. Playing without Hyukjin didn’t give her as much pleasure and catharsis as Playing with him.
Holding a lollipop in her mouth, Kim Sunhwa prodded Yeonseo’s side. “Unnie. Those people are filming you. I think they’re streamers.”
“Yeah, it’s fine. Let ‘em be.”
Sunhwa grinned. ‘Unnie’s become super tolerant.’
Shin Yeonseo was particularly famous these days. In other words, she was a named Player. People called her the Wiz of 1v1 PVP, and some people were even calling her the ‘Swordswoman with the Smiling Eyes’.
Snippets of what the streamers were saying came their way.
–Yes, she’s extremely pretty, Hyungnims.
–The camera really doesn’t do her justice. The screen can’t reproduce the real thing, Hyungnims.
–She’s really super duper pretty. Those smiling eyes are really frickin’ amazing.
Yeonseo’s hearing was better than the average person’s, so she heard what they said, as did Sunhwa.
–Next to her? Ah. She looks super young.
–But she’s super pretty.
Sunhwa shook her head. These people, it seemed they didn’t have anything constructive to say other than ‘they’re pretty’. They were stealing glances at other people and filming them without permission. Normally, both Sunhwa and Yeonseo wouldn’t be happy with this situation. Quite the opposite—they would find it very unpleasant. But today, they decided to let it slide.
‘Looks like Yeonseo unnie’s in a good mood.’
Shin Yeonseo didn’t like those kinds of streamers.
‘And so am I!’
Both Shin Yeonseo and Kim Sunhwa were more tolerant than usual. And that was because they were in a very good mood.
“Unnie. I’m getting a call, too.” Sunhwa took the call. As soon as she received it, she said, “I’m with Yeonseo unnie. We’re heading there right away. Please tell Oppa we’ll be there soon!”
* * *
Translator - Lei
Proofreader - Ash
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* * *
The area around the statue of Yi Sun-sin in Gwanghwamun Plaza had descended into total chaos.
Hyukjin examined his surroundings.
‘I thought the evacuation had been carried out in perfect order before.’ There was no doubt about it. ‘It’s way messier than I remember.’
That was because the populace had encountered far too little danger.
‘Well, whatever. The crisis response system is still slowly coming together.’
The evacuation siren went off almost directly at the onset of the quest, and people were scrambling towards the shelters. It might not be a picture perfect evacuation, but they were getting the right idea.
“Hyukjin, I’ve finished calling everyone. Jo Sunghyun and Choi Sung-gu said it might take them a bit of time.”
“Thank you, good work.”
“It’s nothing. While I was making the calls, you’ve been observing this area. Probably with your special eyes. Am I right?”
“I thought so.”
Pietro’s heart pounded. Anticipation thrilled within him. What would Kim Hyukjin show him? What would Giantgod, a guild one rank, no, two ranks above Taeguk Shield, show him? He truly looked forward to seeing how outstanding these people—quite possibly the strongest Players in the world—truly were.
But then, something fell from the sky with a scream that put a crack in Pietro’s expectations.
“AAHHHHHH! JO SUNGHYUN, YOU SON OF A BITCH!”
Pietro jumped in alarm. He whipped his head up to see what it was, only to find that it was a person.
The person in question was a fairly famous fire magician in Korea, someone who was actually a member of Giantgod Guild, Choi Sung-gu.
‘From the sky?’
Pietro looked up. There was a helicopter in the sky. Choi Sung-gu was slowly floating down from the helicopter at a very controlled speed. He flailed every which way while screaming like a pig in the slaughterhouse, stopping only right before he hit the ground.
“Fuck. Fuck. I’m scared of heights, dammit. Fuck. You fuckity fuck fuck.”
Jo Sunghyun landed lightly next to him. “We’re here.”
“What’s with the helicopter?” asked Hyukjin.
“We got a little help from the government.”
“You made a contract with the government?”
“Yes, yesterday. I wanted to tell you, Hyung, but you were busy.”
“No, you did well.”
It was the same as the past. The Typhoon Jo Sunghyun could not turn a blind eye to injustice. He was a hero who harbored a spirit of sacrifice for the people. As such, he signed a contract with the government, one that bound him to using his power to protect the people in times of emergency.
“Have you signed the contract already?”
“I wanted to do the final signing after showing it to you, Hyung. It’s still a provisional contract, for now.”
If there was one change, it was that Hyukjin could scrutinize the ‘Player Agreement’ with the government before it was signed. There were definitely pitfalls in the contract. The government would do anything and everything to avoid incurring a loss. They would try to exploit Jo Sunghyun and the other Players at the cheapest price possible using the grandiose pretext of patriotism.
‘I can’t let that happen.’
Devote yourself to the country? Use your strength for the people? That was all good and dandy; Hyukjin didn’t intend on discouraging that. But the work had to be done for an appropriate reward. In Hyukjin’s opinion, labor exploitation was a hard no.
‘Especially if it’s my party member.’
There were many Players who were used by the government and then discarded. The government did not seek absolute ‘good’; they sought profit. Since that was the case, anyone who did business with them had to know how to efficiently use each other so both sides could profit.
“The Lady of the Scales must be happy about that.”
“Yes, she gave me a lot of sponsorships.”
Sung-gu finally pulled himself together. “Oi, Jo Sunghyun. You bitchass motherfluffer. Didn’t you hear me when I said I was scared?”
Jo Sunghyun ignored Sung-gu without even blinking. “Sung-gu hyung also decided to sign the contract with me.”
“OI. I said I wasn’t gonna do it! I don’t have any of that patriotism BS in me.”
“Didn’t you say you got a quest from the Giant of the Sunset?”
“...Actually, I’m so happy. Wow, working with the government? Woohoo, you’ve made it in life, Choi Sung-gu! Fuck!”
Hyukjin grinned. The Sung-gu and Sunghyun tag team would be a big help for the government, and working together was good for their mutual growth.
Pietro introduced himself with a few coughs. “Hello, I’m an info merchant from Italy named Pietro.”
After a simple round of introductions, Pietro asked the question he really wanted to ask.
“Why aren’t any monsters showing up around here?”
The answer was supplied by a girl who was walking up. “That’s because my oppa’s here!”
Pietro recognized the young girl with the pretty, dazzling smile.
‘Kim Hyukjin’s little sister, Kim Sunhwa.’
Despite being a genius tank, she wasn’t as famous in Korea as her skills would suggest. If you were to pick the most famous tank in Korea, it would obviously be the guildmaster of Taeguk Shield, Song Kiyeol. The guild members of Wings were also thought to be tanks.
Still puzzled, Pietro asked, “Could I… trouble you to explain?”
“It’s because I have Mettle. I’m sure you also know about Mettle.”
Many Rankers in the top rung had Mettle. Actually, at this point in time, they probably had the lower form of Mettle, Pressure.
“It’s the higher version of Pressure,” Hyukjin added.
“I see.” Pietro nodded. “You truly have a lot of skills.”
Mettle. Guardian Tower Summoning. A ridiculous archery skill. An extraordinary movement skill (Flash Step). Kim Hyukjin was like a puzzle that seemed to have more pieces with every look.
There was a crash, and the next moment, a car exploded.
“Oops… didn’t control my strength.”
A massive person lumbered towards them. It was the Tutorial Ender So Yoohyun, a very famous Player in Korea.
“Hyungnim!” he bellowed. “The shining jewel of the universe, So Yoohyun, has come to receive your command!”
Yeonseo shook her head. “You have Mettle too, don’t you? You should have used it on the way here.”
“Oh, right!” Yoohyun scratched the back of his head with his pot lid of a hand. “But it’s no fun if I use Mettle.”
From that, Pietro noticed something strange. ‘Come to think of it…’
Monsters like Goblins, Trolls, as well as Orcs, Orc Warriors, and Lycanthropes were spawning and engaging in battle with Players around the Gwanghwamun Plaza. But Shin Yeonseo and Kim Sunhwa had nonchalantly walked through the fray looking like they hadn’t fought a single monster.
‘No way, it can’t be that So Yoohyun, Kim Sunhwa, and Shin Yeonseo all have Mettle?’
Mettle wasn’t a terribly rare ability, but it wasn’t so common that a bunch of people could have it in the same guild.
And yet, Giantgod Guild had at least three people with Mettle. He suddenly felt glad he had tagged along.
“I think there’s probably something hidden in the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin,” said Hyukjin.
“If you say so, Boss Hyukjin, it must be so.” Yeonseo already had her sword drawn. “Playing with you is the best. I’m getting excited for once. What’s up with the statue?”
“I don’t know, either.” He really didn’t. “But I think… someone who can reveal this secret will show up around now.”
“Who?” Yeonseo stroked her chin, before thinking of someone. “Jackson?”
“Is Jackson still in Korea?”
“If I’m right.”
In the past, the Gwanghwamun Plaza Raid wasn’t anything special. It was a scenario Hyukjin had considered unimportant, an almost everyday occurrence.
But looking at it up close, that didn’t seem to be the case. There was definitely something here. The fact that it wasn’t revealed meant… someone had kept it a secret.
‘And that person is very likely Jackson.’
Originally, Jackson was supposed to ‘not have been in Korea’ at this point in time. But that same Jackson was already deeply involved in Korea’s scenarios. He had played major roles in both the Gran Seoul and Gwanghwamun Dungeons.
‘Jackson is definitely coming.’
Even if he didn’t…
‘Someone else will come.’
Someone would come to dig up the secret of the statue of Yi Sun-sin. Of course, Hyukjin kept observing with Observer’s Eye, but it wasn’t enough.
“It appears you’ve been waiting for me.”
A Player with a Translation Marble walked towards them. Sure enough, it was Jackson, the British explorer. The Great Explorer Jackson stopped in front of the statue of Yi Sun-sin.
“Somehow, I had a feeling we would meet,” responded Hyukjin.
To be honest, he was indeed waiting for Jackson. Hyukjin was looking forward to seeing him. Now that he was armed with ‘Cognitive Dissonance Dispel’, Hyukjin thought he might be able to see something else from Jackson.
‘I’m not seeing anything of note.’
There was no Cognitive Dissonance effect on Jackson.
“I thought that if you were here, Guildmaster Kim, you would have been waiting for me.”
“Is that so?”
“I suppose it’s something like the inevitable pull of fate.”
Behind Jackson, several Players appeared amidst the cars. Hyukjin was able to recognize them.
‘Kang Woongmin the Adamant, and the Poisoned Dagger Jung Sangchul.’
They were the right and left hands of the Blood and Iron Witch Song Junghye. With them were the members of their guild, the Blood and Iron Lion. They were apparently starting to cobble together a fairly decent team.
TN: Song Junghye’s guild was originally the Blue Spearhead, but the author has changed it to Blood and Iron Lion.
“I see you have Miss Song Junghye’s guild members with you,” Hyukjin said.
“Yes. I plan on clearing this gate with them.”
Hyukjin stared at Jackson.
‘As I thought. It was Jackson.’
It was highly likely that Jackson and the Blood and Iron Lion cleared the ‘secret thing’ hidden here, whatever it was. That was why the people of the world remembered this scenario as merely a small blip.
‘It may have given Song Junghye wings.’
Song Junghye was not made of ‘Blood and Iron Queen’ material. But what if she were to get her hands on certain serendipitous opportunities, and those opportunities were gained through Jackson? That could change things. An opportunity like this one, for example.
‘Then it sort of makes sense.’ Hyukjin thought for a moment. ‘Statue of Yi Sun-sin, Gwanghwamun Plaza, Blood and Iron Lion, and Jackson. What could Song Junghye have gotten here?’
‘I have a feeling I know.’
Something that shouldn’t be allowed to go into Song Junghye’s possession popped into his mind, and like lightning striking a rod, he knew what he had to do.
He knew what kind of drawing he should draw, and what kind of stage he should set.
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