Chapter 130. Ties

Soo Ah stopped and glanced at Yoon Se Hwa.

"..."

Yoon Se Hwa kept her mouth shut, despite her saying 'Stop!' just a second ago.

Then, Soo Ah turned around as if saying 'You're worth less than a bug; it's not even worth talking to you.'.

Seeing that, Yoon Se Hwa gritted her teeth and made up her mind.

'I'm not worth less than a bug!'

In the end...

"Look at me!"

Thud.

Yoon Se Hwa kneeled onto the floor.

"Where's your apology?" she said, and stared at her coldly. 

Yoon Se Hwa bit her lip and said, "I'm... mhm. I'm sorry."

Tears dripped from her eyes. Of course, they weren't tears of regret or repentance. 

'This pisses me off!'

She was pissed at her condition, so much so that she just wanted to shrivel up and die. Here she was, kneeling in front of Soo Ah and begging for forgiveness. 

"Look here," Soo Ah called.

"..."

Yoon Se Hwa remained silent.

"I'm not going to accept your apology. I'm not going to accept or even try to understand your past actions with just a cheap apology."

Her voice was as sharp as a well forged blade.

If Yoon Se Hwa had genuinely apologized, then she might've accepted it, but Yoon Se Hwa had no intention of doing so. 

Like right now.

"I never did anything that needed your forgiveness! And I have no intention of making up with you either!" Yoon Se Hwa yelled.

"Pfft," Soo Ah laughed.

For some reason, Yoon Se Hwa shouting with that tearstained face of hers made her laugh.

It reminded her of a villain telling the hero that 'they'd get them next time'.

"Stop laughing!" Yoon Se Hwa yelled once more.

"Keep your promise; that you won't cause any more trouble," Soo Ah finished and then turned around.

"We'll see just how long you remain at the top! I'll be waiting for the day that you fall from grace!"

She heard Yoon Se Hwa's malicious voice, but Soo Ah just ignored it and left the waiting room.

Click.

Once she closed the door, she automatically let out a sigh.

"Hoo."

This ill-fated relationship between them had finally come to an end.

Then...

Jae Woo, who'd been waiting outside of the waiting room, approached her.

"Soo Ah."

"Oppa."

"I heard shouting... Are you ok?"

"I'm ok. Everything is over now."

Soo Ah smiled.

"Ahem. Excuse me."

Tae Gyu, who'd come over as well, passed by them and entered the waiting room.

"Oppa, let's go."

"Sure."

Jae Woo and Soo Ah passed through the passageway side-by-side. At some point, Soo Ah stopped.

"Oppa, please excuse me."

Soo Ah brought him to a secluded area.

"What's wrong?"

Soo Ah bowed in front of him.

"Thank you very much. Everything went well because of you," she said honestly.

"You don't need to thank me... with our relationship."

Jae Woo scratched his neck in embarrassment.

"And what relationship is that?" Soo Ah stared into his eyes and asked.

Then...

He felt like he needed to say these words right now.

With a trembling voice, he said, "I like you."

"Ding ding."

Soo Ah smiled and embraced him. Then, Jae Woo responded in kind.

How much time had passed like this?

Jae Woo and Soo Ah let go of each other. For some reason, the mood was just plain awkward.

"Oppa," she called.

"Yeah."

"Do you want to meet up next Saturday?" she asked.

"Saturday?"

"I don't have anything planned on Saturday. Let's eat together then. I'll treat you to some delicious food."

Jae Woo nodded his head.

"Sure! Just send me the time and place."

"Ok!" Soo Ah said excitedly.

Then, her phone began to ring. She checked the caller and then looked up at Jae Woo.

"It's my manager. I'll have to get going."

"Alright. Take care," Jae Woo said.

"See you then!"

Soo Ah enthusiastically waved her hand and left.

'Yes, yes, yes!'

Jae Woo jumped around and clenched his fists.

* * *

Two days later...

Tae Gyu emailed Jae Woo the information that the Jairus Guild had on the Master Miners.

'He works quick.'

Jae Woo satisfyingly opened the email.

"Hum, hum, hum."

Jae Woo began humming automatically. How could he explain it? It felt like two days had just blown right by.

At that moment, the door to this room opened and Yura popped in to check on him. 

"What's going on, Big Brother? You've been in a good mood lately."

"Huh? Oh, it's nothing," Jae Woo said evasively.

"Really? Ok then."

Yura closed his door and left. Then, Jae Woo scratched his head and focused on the files Tae Gyu had sent him.

The files contained information on three separate Master Miners.

Of them, one of them came to his attention.

It was none other than...

"Bower!"

The Master Miner, Bower!

He was the miner that his in-game blood brother, Burkan, had told him to find after writing him a letter of introduction.

Bower would periodically show up in Balturon Village.

'Balturon Village?'

This is the first time he'd heard of Balturon Village, so he looked it up on the internet.

"It's a village located in the Phamas Mountains."

The Phamas Mountains were located in the eastern region of the Arth continent.

Of all the mountains on the continent, it was both the longest and the largest mountain range, so it was called 'The Continent's Roof'.

Not only was the Phamas Mountains dangerous, but powerful monsters resided there. It was said that a player had to be at least level 200 to come out of there alive.

'It was a good idea that I decided to grind.'

Although he'd temporarily stopped exploring dungeons, he'd hunted diligently with Eder and Sephiro; therefore, he was now strong enough to get through the Phamas Mountains alive.

"Alright!"

'Strike the iron while it's hot', or so they say. He would head for Bower immediately!

Jae Woo activated his virtual reality capsule and logged into Arth.

* * *

Kang Oh walked through one of Altein's alleys. He was headed for its intercity transfer gate.

However...!

Beep. Beep.

Kang Oh's communication earring rang.

He grabbed the earring with his fingers and heard a baritone voice.

"Mr. Kang Oh!"

It was Grano. For some reason, just the voice alone gave him the feeling that he was handsome.

"Mr. Grano! Have you been well?" Kang Oh asked happily.

"I have. How have you been?"

It sure did feel good to exchange greetings! Grano had, like him, asked how he was doing first.

"I've been doing well."

"That's good to hear."

"But what's the matter?" Kang Oh asked.

"Modune has been dealt with, so I wanted to let you know."

"Ah, Modune."

The Insect Mage, Modune.

The Tower had attempted to use Modune to pressure the Arabas Kingdom into sharing their magic with them. 

"How did it go?"

"Are you free right now? I'd like to speak to you in person. I also have something to give you," Grano said.

"I understand. I'll head to the Tower's 2nd floor cafe now."

"I'll be waiting."

Kang Oh ended the call and immediately headed for the Mage's Tower.

He'd use the intercity transfer gate and head for Balturon Village after meeting with Grano. It was a slight detour, but it wouldn't matter much in the long run.

A short while later...

Kang Oh arrived at the Tower's 2nd floor cafe and saw Grano waving his hand at him.

"I'm over here."

As always, Grano was a middle-aged handsome man. However, his face looked gaudy and there were bags under his eyes.

"I already asked how you were doing earlier... But you look really tired?" Kang Oh said.

"I've been working on the Dalla #13 lately and before you know it, I hadn't gotten much sleep."

The Dalla #13. It was the name of the device that Grano was working on that would create rain for the Bariton Desert.

"It's good to pursue your dreams, but please remember to take care of your body. Your health is always paramount," Kang Oh said honestly.

It was only natural. He'd spent 2 years in a coma, so he knew very well how important one's health was now.

"I'm very much aware. I'd like to live long enough to see my daughters for a long time."

Grano smiled.

"I trust that you'll take care of yourself. Now then, shall we move on to Modune?"

"First off, our plan to pressure the Arabas Kingdom via Modune has completely failed," Grano declared. 

"Then you must've ransomed him off."

"Indeed."

"And all of that is mine."

"Yes."

Grano nodded his head.

"How much did it come out to?"

Kang Oh's eyes gleamed.

"2,000 gold."

"H-How much?"

"2,000 gold."

"2,000 gold..."

Kang Oh gaped at him, his eyes wide open. They'd sold for much more than he'd expected.

'Modune's worth 2,000 gold? Sure, whatever...'

Kang Oh smiled and his cheekbones rose. He'd made 2,000 gold!

"It's payment for Modune and his men, the Insect Mages."

"Ah."

The scum that worked beneath scum.

"Here you go."

Grano retrieved the gold bars from his subspace and placed them on the table. Obviously, there were twenty of them.

"Hehe."

Kang Oh grabbed each gold bar individually and placed them into his inventory's gold box.

"I got as much I could for you."

Grano looked like he expected thanks.

"You're the best, Mr. Grano."

Kang Oh grabbed Grano's hands.

"Anyway, with this, all of our business concerning the Bariton Desert has come to a close."

"Indeed."

Kang Oh nodded his head.

"Here."

Grano handed him earrings embedded with blue crystals from his subspace. 

"What is this?"

"They're communication earrings that the Tower will begin selling shortly. I promised you that I'd get you a pair for free."

"Ah!"

Grano had definitely said that in the past.

"It looks a bit different from the one I'm wearing," Kang Oh said.

Kang Oh's earring was gold, but the new earrings had blue crystals inside of them. 

"It's an improved model. The range has increased significantly."

"In other words, this earring is better than the one I'm wearing."

"Yes."

"I'll use it well."

Kang Oh politely accepted the blue crystal earrings with both hands.

"You use it the same way. Once another person wears it, you can communicate with them by grabbing onto the earring."

"Understood."

"I'll take the gold earring back."

Kang Oh took off the earring and passed it to Grano. It originally belonged to Grano, so it was only right that he returned it.

"I don't have anything else to give you and nothing to receive, so I'll head up now. The Dalla #13 is waiting for me."

Grano stood up.

"Thank you for everything."

"I'll see you later."

Kang Oh and Grano shook hands and parted ways.

* * * 

Kang Oh, who left the Tower, summoned Eder.

At first, he was faint like an afterimage, but gradually became clearer.

"You came?"

"Yeah, I did. Here."

Kang Oh passed him one of the two earrings.

"This is... No way."

Eder's eyes shook.

"It's a communication earring. Mr. Grano gave it to me."

"Ugh."

Eder's face contorted.

He didn't want a communication earring at all. After all, Kang Oh would definitely use it to make him work from afar, or tell him to do something after he'd gone home!

"No thank you."

Eder resisted timidly.

"It'll be a pain if we can't keep in touch, so just take it while I'm being nice."

Kang Oh glared strongly, and grabbed the hilt of his sword.

"Ugh."

Eder bit the bullet and wore the earring.

"Looking good."

Kang Oh smiled and clapped while Eder's head dropped.

After that, he tested the communication earrings; he was quite satisfied with them. 

"Now then, let's go to Balturon Village."

He'd go there and meet Bower!

"Balturon Village? We're not going to Helm Mountain to hunt?" Eder asked.

"I'll explain on the way, so follow me!"

Kang Oh strode forward. 

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