The moment I heard this, it felt like my entire world was fading away. My mind became more complicated. If what he said was true, no, it was true. This meant that Joseph had deliberately hid his identity while running Argos. It meant that all of his actions in the past were acting...
Could I trust him?
“...der. Are you surprised? Elder?” Joseph’s call woke me up from my thoughts.
“Uh, ah... Yes. No, I had a rough guess.”
I had no idea. In fact, I didn’t know what he was talking about right now.
“Huh? Really? I tried so hard to hide it. This is devastating. I should practice my acting some more...”
Joseph’s murmured words were even more horrifying. What was he doing? Why hide his identity and run such an organization? I asked hesitantly, “Are you that?”
“A psychopath or something...”
“Haha. Are you kidding me?” Joseph laughed like it was ridiculous, but my expression was extremely serious. Joseph seemed to read my expression and told me, “I’m very normal.”
“Are you sure?”
“Let me ask you something.”
“What is it? You can ask me two things.”
I corrected my posture. He said I could ask two questions, but I was actually going to ask more. The first one was this. “Why do such troublesome things when you’re the leader?
As the leader, he would’ve been able to run the organization with confidence, but he didn’t. Joseph nodded as if he understood my question. Then he took a deep breath and showed a serious expression. “Well, it’s simple. Do you know the saying that it is dark under the lamp? That is it. I have to hide my identity.”
“I’m looking for someone, but there is a person who can’t know about it.”
“A person who can’t know about it? Who is it?”
“Chairman Lee Geonmyeong.”
I knew this name. I couldn’t not know it. I had always seen it in the news even before I started Arkstar. The news was always about Chairman Lee Geonmyeong’s accomplishments, his privacy, and his health. He was known for his enormous achievements in reviving the world’s economy after he left the Korean economy. After Arkstar’s success, it was obvious that he had established one of the best companies in the world.
“Based on your reaction, he hasn’t found you yet. I’m glad.” Joseph muttered.
“Lee Geonmyeong is looking for me? Why?”
“Um, it is a long story...”
Joseph pulled out a cigarette and placed it in his mouth. The moment he was about to light it, a cafe staff passed by and shouted urgently, “Customer-nim, this is a non-smoking area!”
“Ah, I’m sorry. It has become a habit.”
Joseph apologized with a gentle nod of his head, put away his cigarette, and took a sip of the coffee in front of him. His expression was serious. What type of story was he going to talk about?
“...I don’t know where to start talking. Can I check one thing before that? You must tell me the truth. Can you promise me?”
“Have you been chosen by the seven stars?”
Perhaps he knew something. I struggled for a moment. Could I tell Joseph about this?
Joseph once again read my expression and spoke, “Elder, I won’t hurt you. It is very important to me. This way, I can tell you the truth. I will swear on my wife and twins.”
“Um...” I struggled for another minute before nodding. “Yes, that's right.”
Joseph’s expression brightened. “Thank you for your understanding. Then it is now my turn.”
Joseph sipped the coffee in front of him again and stared at me. His eyes were heavy like he was carrying the worries of the world alone. “Let me start with this. Your wife didn’t donate her organs.”
What exactly did he mean by this? My wife Seonyeong didn’t donate her organs. His words were like a bolt from the blue and brought me a headache. “It was an experiment for the game Union was making.”
* * *
The whole world was engulfed in a bright light. He closed his eyes and when he opened them, a familiar place appeared. He was standing on white clouds. Even so, Park Muyeol was surprised this time.
“It is huge.”
The previous clouds he saw when he meditated were large enough for two people to sit. The place where he currently stood was too vast. It was like an endless field.
Park Muyeol turned around at the familiar voice. There was a huge man standing there.
[Yes, it’s me.]
“Are you a giant?”
[Haha. They are the ones I’ve knocked down. I’m not a giant. I’m a constellation.]
“Yes. So why did you call me here? I have to look for the Star Fruit on the golden apple tree.”
[Yes, you do. However, I don’t think you can get near the tree at your current level. So I came to give you this.]
A grape in Hercules’ huge hand was surrounded by light and changed into a smaller form. It floated through the air and landed in Park Muyeol’s hand.
[An Ambrosia Piece from the Celestial Palace has been acquired.]
“Am... what is this?”
He opened the information window of the item straight away.
[Ambrosia Piece from the Celestial Palace]
[Rating: Partial Myth
A portion of the Ambrosia eaten in the Celestial Palace. Eating it can temporarily push you to your limits and you won’t feel hungry or tired.
-Experience and skill proficiency will double for a month.
-Stay full without feeling tired and hungry for a month.
-Get six stat points for every level for a month.]
‘What is this monstrous item?’
Park Muyeol noted that the item was myth rated. He knew about it from Chuntaek. Even though there was the word ‘partial’ in front of it, the effect was so amazing he couldn’t help clicking his tongue.
‘By the way, where is the Celestial Palace?’
It happened the moment he was going to ask curiously... Hercules opened his mouth, [Eat it. It isn’t something that should be given to humans, but this amount won’t make you immortal. Father will understand.]
“Thank you. I’ll eat it well.”
Park Muyeol placed the Ambrosia piece in his mouth and swallowed. He was thinking that he should eat it quickly since it wasn’t something to be given to humans.
[An Ambrosia Piece from the Celestial Palace has been eaten.]
[Experience and skill proficiency have doubled for a period of time.]
[You won’t feel hungry and tired for a month.]
[Your growth limit is temporarily broken.]
[Six stat points will be acquired for every level you gain.]
“Delicious. Can you give me more?”
[That isn’t possible. Then I’ll be caught. In fact, I stole it.]
“Tsk. You gave me a piece that is the size of a booger.”
[Be satisfied with this. It is something that humans can rarely eat. If you eat more and are caught, you will have to work in the Underworld as a laborer for the rest of your life.]
“It can’t be helped. By the way, why did you give this to me?”
In fact, Park Muyeol guessed based on the information of the item. Perhaps...
[It is for you to grow. You won’t feel hungry or tired.]
“It is indeed like this.”
[Protecting the tree is a monster called Ladon. I killed it in the past, but it had a baby.]
“So I have to grow enough to beat him?”
“It is easy.” Park Muyeol shrugged while smiling.
Hercules seemed to find it amusing.
[I wish you luck. Oh, don’t forget to fight with only a stick. I’ll be watching.]
Hercules flicked his fingers. Once again, Park Muyeol’s body was engulfed in light and he disappeared somewhere.
* * *
I headed home after my conversation with Joseph. It was peak hour so there was a traffic jam and I couldn’t move quickly. I grabbed the steering wheel while in deep thought.
...I couldn’t believe it. The story told by Joseph was so great that the aftermath was stronger than I thought. He told me a story I could hardly believe.
Joseph was a relative of Dr Kang Jaeseong, the one who created Arkstar. They weren’t blood-related family members, but Joseph’s wife was Dr Kang Jaeseong’s younger sister. The important thing was that he and Joseph were very close. He was currently in a comatose state, but he sent a message to Joseph before he collapsed.
The contents were like this:
[Kang Jaeseong: Seongkwan, watch out for Lee Geonmyeong. Once I fall down, find the one who has been chosen by the seven stars and help him.]
Seongkwan was Joseph’s Korean name. Joseph said that he had an uneasy feeling when he received the message. After that, Kang Jaeseong wouldn’t pick up his phone calls. Then the next day, he fell into a coma.
I remembered Joseph’s words.
‘I think Lee Geonmyeong is the reason Hyung collapsed. So I started to investigate. However, there was no progress because there was no data. The only thing I could find on my brother’s computer were details about the volunteers for an experiment just before Arkstar was created.’
He also showed me the list. There was indeed a record of Seonyeong. The name of the project was New World. It was a project to connect the brains of dead subjects and revive them in the world of virtual reality. She was the first person to be experimented on in the project. Of course, it was successful.
“...Seonyeong. It was you?”
I told Joseph about how I heard Gaia’s voice in the tutorial. She said she had been waiting for me and made a request of me. Joseph heard this and said that maybe Gaia was my wife. I agreed with him. If so, everything made perfect sense. The reason why Alexus looked like my younger self was because my wife made him in my image.
“Sigh. Why is it so complicated?”
If Gaia was really my wife then she had asked me for help. She said she had no one else to trust.
“I can’t do anything now. I need to become stronger in a faster manner.”
I needed to break through this stagnant road. I slowly stepped on the accelerator to speed up. “Please wait a little bit. I’ll be there soon.”
White made a rattling sound as I headed home. The sunset was beautiful.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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