Max Talent Player
[Translator – Lei ]
[Proofreader – Ash ]
Ham Sohyun groaned.
Her eyes were pure white, and she seemed to be having a nightmare. Her hand moved, and words appeared on the yellow precognitive note.
[Return to thy homeland.]
[There lays a path to the sky.]
Ham Sohyun’s body lifted into the air before slumping back down onto the bed. Sooji pulled the blanket over her.
“Surprised you, didn’t it?” said Sooji.
“Yes, a little.”
“The person next to you must be Mr. Pietro?”
Pietro flinched. “You know me?”
“Somewhat. I know you’re an info merchant.”
Pietro nodded. “You’re correct. I’m Pietro, an info merchant from Italy. I’m running the Black Butterfly. It’s nice to meet you, Miss Cheon Sooji.”
“As expected, you know who I am.”
“Yes. I’m keeping tabs on every Taeguk Shield guild member.”
Sooji’s eyes curved into crescents. “Then you must also know about Taeguk Shield’s ultimate weapon, no, ultimate secret weapon?”
Hyukjin coughed. Somehow, he became known to the world as Taeguk Shield’s secret weapon. But really, ‘ultimate secret weapon’? It was such an embarrassing title.
“Let’s settle the introductions with that,” he said.
“Fine. Sohyun will wake up soon anyway.”
Pietro quickly noticed the goodwill in Cheon Sooji’s eyes.
‘She’s different from what I found out about her.’
The Cheon Sooji he had heard about was essentially a cold-blooded rose. She didn’t get close to anyone around her and was utterly frigid to anyone she considered an enemy. That was why some people called her the Unapproachable Poisonous Thorn or Poison Witch.
‘Poison Witch? Poison Thorn? Not at all.’
His intel shouldn’t be wrong.
‘Everyone has a different side to them.’
Depending on the circumstances and place, the same person could show multiple facets of their personality.
That led Pietro to one conclusion. ‘She opens up a bit around Kim Hyukjin.’
He really didn’t know much about Korea. His knowledge was limited to ‘Taeguk Shield’ and ‘Wings’, as well as the Tutorial Ender So Yoohyun and the PVP genius Shin Yeonseo whose smiling eyes were the talk of the town lately. He also knew the outstanding archer Hyun Junghwa.
‘If I didn’t know about Kim Hyukjin, it means I didn’t know the first thing about Korea.’
That realization hit him anew. The Poison Witch Cheon Sooji seemed to melt into a sophisticated lady in front of Kim Hyukjin. Even the Taeguk Shield guildmaster right next to him, Song Kiyeol, deferred to Kim Hyukjin somewhat. No, not just somewhat, but considerably. It was no exaggeration to say Korea’s true champion was Kim Hyukjin. That was Pietro’s judgment.
Just then, Ham Sohyun started coming to.
Sooji pressed a button under the bed, and the head of the bed rose with an electronic hum. With the electric bed at almost 90 degrees, Sohyun was able to sit upright.
“Here. Precognitive note. Take it.”
Ham Sohyun gestured with her eyes. Sooji knew what her friend wanted just from her eyes and picked up the precognitive note that had fallen onto the sheets.
“I can give this to Hyukjin, right?”
“Yeah. Thanks.” Ham Sohyun stared directly at Kim Hyukjin. “I can see it.”
“The great stigma enveloping you.”
“What kind of stigma is it?”
“I’m not sure. A stigma too great and deep for someone like me to interpret is engraved on your back.”
She moved her eyes to Cheon Sooji, who asked, “What? Have something to say to me?”
“Don’t approach him.”
“I’ve always been attracted to dangerous guys.”
Ham Sohyun’s eyes once again turned white. This time, her white eyes exuded bloodthirst so potent it made Cheon Sooji flinch. A heavy stillness descended on the hospital room.
“Lowly one. Retract thy interest.”
Cheon Sooji knew Ham Sohyun wasn’t the one talking right now. This wasn’t her friend. Something was using Ham Sohyun as a mouthpiece.
“I’m warning you, young poison girl.”
“...Do you know me?”
“I do. You are the child who is following the Soundless Serpens.”
Hyukjin also realized that Ham Sohyun wasn’t herself right now.
‘Who is it?’
Was it a possession? A descent? Somehow, it felt a little different from those.
‘The Soundless Serpens… is Cheon Sooji’s contracted Guardian.’
Whoever it was, they had perceived Sooji’s Guardian. Ham Sohyun spoke again.
“Didn’t this child warn you?”
“That you might die.”
“She did.” Sooji smiled. She looked directly into Sohyun’s white eyes. “But if I was going to flee in terror because of a little warning, I wouldn’t have gone for that man in the first place.”
She licked her red lips. She was indeed Cheon Sooji.
“This just makes me want this man more.”
Kim Hyukjin felt his head start to ache. He came because Ham Sohyun said she wanted to meet him, only to find himself in a sudden love quarrel.
‘What the hell is this?’ After a moment of hard thought, something occurred to him. ‘No way, is it Isabel?’
It had to be her.
‘Isabel, it’s you, right? You’re awake right now, aren’t you?’
(I don’t like her.)
‘It’s you, isn’t it? The one using Ham Sohyun’s body for an immature fight.’
(It’s not immature! I’m being serious right now. What’s that thing humans say again?) Isabel thought for a moment before continuing. (Right, that! I’m serious business right now.)
Apparently, Isabel had picked up some weird lingo. People didn’t even say that these days.
(But come on, can you blame me? She keeps coming onto a married man!)
Inside Hyukjin’s Inventory, Isabel’s blade trembled.
(And it’s even more annoying because she’s pretty.)
It was true that Cheon Sooji was pretty.
(Seriously, why are there so many girls like her around you? There’s Shin Yeonseo, Hyun Junghwa, and Cheon Sooji. Was this somehow engineered?)
Come to think of it, Isabel was right. It was definitely untrue that all Rankers were pretty and handsome. Hyukjin didn’t know how things turned out like this, either. It was just a coincidence.
‘Even so, you’re the prettiest.’
In all actuality, Isabel was just a sword, and if you wanted to split hairs, she looked like a sword. No matter how you looked at it, she wasn’t really “pretty”. But compliments were free, and he didn’t mind giving a little lip service.
(Th-That kind of flattery isn’t enough to please this noble one.) Isabel’s blade reddened a little. (I’m not happy at all. I’m sleepy, so I’d better go back to sleep.)
Isabel pretended to go back to sleep, but Hyukjin knew she was wide awake. He feigned ignorance.
Ham Sohyun regained consciousness.
“Did I say something just now?”
“You told Hyukjin you loved him.”
Sooji chuckled. “I’m joking. Anyway, I’ll step out for a moment. It seems you higher-ups need to talk.”
She got up.
“See you later.”
Cheon Sooji left the hospital room.
* * *
Translator - Lei
Proofreader - Ash
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* * *
After talking to Ham Sohyun, Hyukjin and Pietro left the hospital room and headed to the parking lot, where Hyukjin’s driver was waiting. They got into the back seat.
“The Tutorial Building, please.”
Hyukjin was giving Pietro a ride.
“I will arrange a meeting,” said Pietro.
Pietro was able to set up a meeting through the conversation with Ham Sohyun.
“Miss Ham Sohyun also seems to want to meet Itachi.”
“They’re both outstanding Precognitive Dreamers, after all.”
“The central reason why they want to meet… I’m sure you know that reason is you, Hyukjin.”
“Yes. Somehow, things turned out like that.”
Pietro visited Ham Sohyun not only because he wanted to know more about her, but also in order to relay Itachi’s desire to meet her. Itachi got in contact with Pietro through his acquaintance Pedro, and Pietro went to Ham Sohyun to convey Itachi’s message.
There is a person whose future I can see all too clearly. I hear that you also have very concrete dreams when you dream about that person. What do you say to having a chat together?
Itachi proposed to meet first, and Ham Sohyun agreed. Soon, Itachi would come to Korea to meet her.
As he looked at the sights passing by in the mirror, Hyukjin fell deeply into thought.
‘Itachi is coming to Korea.’
In the past, Itachi had never left Japan.
‘A change I caused.’
What further changes would this ripple create? What would the two Precognitive Dreamers discuss, and what kind of future would be drawn?
“Since the pivotal reason they’re meeting is you, it might influence you somehow.”
“Your expression kind of tells me you’re looking forward to it.”
Hyukjin nodded. “I am. I think it’ll be fun.”
Pietro also looked out the window. They were pulling away from the Gwanghwamun area.
“This is really a place where the past and present coexist. Amidst the latest buildings and slick roads, there’s such a beautiful ancient palace smack dab in the heart of the city. Is that the Gwanghwamun Dungeon?”
“Yes. There’s a gate there.”
“It seems like there are truly many things hidden in Korea. Thank you. For opening my eyes to this country.”
The car passed the statues of King Sejong and Yi Sun-sin in the Gwanghwamun Plaza. Pietro tilted his head.
He didn’t see clearly since they were going by in the car, but…
‘Did I just… meet eyes with the Yi Sun-sin statue?’
Meeting eyes with a statue? That was odd. But Pietro had definitely felt it happen. As the car pulled away, he whipped his head back to look at the statue of Yi Sun-sin and gasped.
The statue of Yi Sun-sin had its head turned to look at him. There was no doubt about it. Pietro looked at Hyukjin.
“Hyukjin. Don’t you feel anything right now?”
Hyukjin wasn’t as taken aback as Pietro.
‘Was today the day?’
He had no sense of the date lately, so he hadn’t been paying close attention.
‘December 22, 2018.’
A scenario would occur today, one where monsters would spawn en-masse in Gwanghwamun Plaza. On the 22nd, for 22 hours, all manner of monsters would spill forth from the plaza. It couldn’t be considered a terribly important event. The rewards were nothing to write home about, and no super strong monsters showed up, either. Even if Hyukjin ignored it, the nearby Players would gather to hunt them down, and the ‘Gwanghwamun Plaza Raid’ would end in 22 hours.
Hyukjin could feel it, too. Some kind of change would occur at the statue of Yi Sun-sin.
‘I didn’t hear anything about this in the past.’
All he heard was that a bunch of monsters showed up around the Gwanghwamun Plaza and caused some damage. The incident ended with that.
The air began to ring with honks from cars. A traffic jam was quickly developing.
“Sir, we’ll get off here.”
At the same time—
A siren went off overhead. It was the emergency siren, followed by an evacuation notice. Hyukjin and Pietro got out of the car.
“Pietro. Did you see it?”
“Are you talking about the statue of Yi Sun-sin?”
“I saw it. It was turning its head to stare at us.”
It wasn’t doing it anymore. Hyukjin started walking first.
“It appears there’s something there.”
“Sh-Should I come, too?”
“Go hide over there in the underground evacuation shelter. Does your phone have a signal right now, by any chance?”
“As you evacuate, please convene my guild members for me.”
“By guild, do you mean… Taeguk Shield?”
Hyukjin smiled at him. “I’m sure you’re well aware I’m not talking about Taeguk Shield.”
“Understood.” Pietro felt butterflies in his stomach. “I will call the members of Giantgod.”
It wasn’t known to the public, but from what Pietro had found out, Giantgod Guild was Korea’s strongest guild. The elite guild led by Kim Hyukjin would be converging in one place.
“I already have their contact info.”
The guildmaster of Giantgod was calling the guild members of Giantgod. Pietro hazarded a request.
“May I come with you?”
He wanted to see Giantgod in action. As an information merchant, he wanted to see their potential for himself.
“I cannot protect you.”
“That’s alright. I can preserve my own life.”
“Then do as you wish.”
A notice came in.
[The quest ‘Gwanghwamun Plaza Raid’ has begun.]
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