Most of the people attending the reunion were intent on making fun of me. However, now that I got rid of my debtor status and succeeded, no one could make fun of me. Thus, the reunion lost its primary purpose and became very awkward.
In particular, Lee Junho couldn’t say anything and left first after finishing his glass of alcohol. Since then, the mood slowly changed. They noticed Lee Junho leaving and started to bombard me with questions.
"How did you appear with the 13 series? Did you win the lottery or something? Weren’t you struggling with a debt the last time I saw you?”
"Youngwoo, have you become a ranker in Satisfy? Did you get a lot of money from recording broadcasts? Will we see you on TV sooner or later?”
"What’s your relationship with Yura? Are you two really dating?”
"Dating the woman who is every man’s romance... I can’t imagine how superior you feel...”
Curiosity, envy, and jealousy were all showing in the alumni’s eyes. As I was enjoying this situation, some people from my school days who I thought were friends spoke to me.
"Hey~ Youngwoo, do you remember how close we were in school? It was fun at the time... Don’t you miss it sometimes? Should we hang out together sometime?”
“Oh! This is good! Everyone became distant after going to the army and university, so this will be good!”
"Hehe, you should bring Yura when we hang out. Isn’t it natural to introduce your lover to your friends? Huhuhu.”
“Hey, you know... Can I drive the car? I always wanted to drive the 13 series... Huh? Just five minutes is okay. Please.”
These guys turned away and tormented me like the others when I needed help, now they wanted to be friends again. I definitively put them down.
“You want to come over here and play like we’re friends now? Just shut up. Like everyone else, you are looking at me with jealousy. I’m here just to laugh at you.”
“Ha! What’s with this bastard’s tone? Are you acting like this now that you’re doing well?”
I used my words to strike them where it hurt, and they were upset by it. I scoffed at them, saying, "Isn’t it funny how you sound just like Lee Junho when he was talking earlier? Why did you laugh at me and ignore me until I started doing well? In the first place, weren’t you the bastards harassing people? Huh? Now look at yourselves. Do you think I can be disregarded by you anymore?”
The faces of the alumni went red as they grew angry; however, they couldn’t argue against me.
“You are the bastards who feel superior when harassing people inferior to you.”
I was cold. I had no doubt that after this alumni reunion, my relationship with them was over. I took my coat and left.
I returned to 23 and started it. After setting the destination in the navigation as my home, I chose the automatic driving function. I was about to depart when someone tapped on my window. It was Ahyoung. I rolled the window down and Ahyoung looked at me with anxious eyes.
“Are you leaving?”
Only a few days ago, she was the object of my love. I loved her so much that I dreamed of dating and marrying her more than 100 times. But interestingly, I didn’t feel any emotions towards her now.
Once I realized she wasn’t who I thought she was, disappointment, betrayal and any lingering emotions disappeared.
"The kids who used to disregard me are now envious. The ones who forsake me are now clinging to me. I have to leave because I am finished getting revenge. If I stay here longer then blows will keep being exchanged. It is a waste of time.”
When I liked Ahyoung, I couldn’t meet her eyes properly. My heart throbbed and I could only babble nonsense. But now it was different. There were no emotions, so I could look into her eyes and talk clearly.
"Stay well Ahyoung. I liked you.”
Ahyoung grabbed me as I was leaving. “L-Liked? Why is it past tense? Are you saying you don’t like me anymore? I...! I like you!”
The fact that Ahyoung was my first love wouldn’t change, even if she trampled on my heart. I wanted to leave with as good a memory as every, without ruining her illusions. I was blinded by love for 13 years, so I didn’t want to leave any room for her to cling onto me.
“Can’t you see? I have Yura now, the sky that you can’t be compared to. It would be foolish of me to leave her. I don’t have any feelings for you.”
I spoke as cynically as possible. Then I left the sad and hurt Ahyoung.
"This is the end for us."
The connection between me and you, which was a bad link in the past, was cleanly cut off. Now it was a fresh start.
On the way back home, I recalled the conversation I previously had with Yura,
"After the Tzedakah Guild succeeded in the raid against Malacus, the forces of the Yatan Church rapidly weakened. Therefore, the Tzedakah Guild is now the Yatan Church’s main enemy. The Yatan Church will surely retaliate against the Tzedakah Guild, and as everyone expected, I am the Yatan Church’s Eighth Servant. Conflict between us is inevitable.”
"Then did you come to me to declare war? D-Do you want to kill me here? No matter how angry you are in the game, isn’t it too much to kill people in reality?”
"...Don’t make people into killers. I just want to pay back my debt from when we fought before.”
"During the quest in the Yatan Temple... Didn’t you log out despite beating me in order to help me clear the quest? Thanks to that, I was able to consolidate my position in the Yatan Church and become the Eighth Servant. You are a great benefactor to me, so it is hard for me to point a weapon at you.”
“I deliberately logged out to help your quest? What does that even mean?"
Yura firmly misunderstood something.
"At that time, I wasn’t intending to help your quest. You owe me nothing.”
I didn’t know how Yura misunderstood this fact, but I wanted to resolve this misunderstanding because I didn’t want to be connected with her. However, she was already deep into her deluded fantasy.
"I don’t know why you are denying it. Even if you didn’t intend to help me like you just said, it doesn’t change the fact that I was helped by you, so I’ll pay off this debt.”
Yura had a very selfish nature. In the end, I could only nod.
“I guess words won’t work. Okay, I understand. Do what you want. Then I can cut this bad connection sooner. How are you planning to pay off the debt?”
Yura frowned like she didn’t like it. She was so beautiful that even this made me amazed.
‘She is a scam...’
Yura explained her plan while I was admiring her.
"After war breaks out between the Yatan Church and the Tzedakah Guild, I won’t kill you. I can’t kill my benefactor, after all. Although, there might be some situations where fighting is unavoidable.”
“...You’ll spare me? Wow, I’m so thankful that I’m on the verge of tears.”
The role I played in the Tzedakah Guild was a blacksmith, not a soldier. I didn’t plan to involve myself in any guild activities unless I was directly affected, like the recent incident with the Giant Guild. It was 100 times more profitable to make items compared to fighting, so I would rather be the guild’s blacksmith. There was no chance of Yura and I meeting in a war.
I felt assured and nodded.
“Okay, I understand how you will pay off your debt. Then are you done? We’ve arrived at the destination, so let’s separate. Please don’t appear in front of me again since it isn’t good for my heart.”
Yura was a woman who destroyed the Yatan Temple while trying to kill me. Having a connection with her, it was no different from torture. I wanted to quickly separate from her, but she had different thoughts.
“It is over. I want to pay off the debt in another form.”
"Excuse me, but I have been researching your past. Over the years, you have suffered humiliation because of your high school alumni.”
No, why was she talking about a man’s shameful past? Didn’t she know about privacy?
‘Is she a stalker?’
I wanted to snap out, but I was so afraid that I couldn’t open my mouth. She suggested to me, “Aren’t you going to attend the reunion right now? I’ll come as well. Let me pretend to be your lover in front of your fellow alumni.”
What nonsense was she saying?
Yura kindly explained to me, "Once they find out that a famous, intelligent and beautiful woman like me is your lover, they will no longer make fun of you. You will be able to silence the alumni. How is it? Pretend to be lovers. Isn’t this a great way to pay off my debt to you?”
I was fairly certain that Yura had a princess disease. It didn’t make sense for a famous, intelligent and beautiful woman like her to make this suggestion.
“Isn’t this a scene common in dramas and movies? The gender roles have reversed but...”
I vetoed Yura’s words.
“That’s okay. There is no need for that. I am able to change my position with my own abilities.”
Yes, I refused Yura’s suggestion.
But as a result, the alumni witnessed Yura getting down from my car and misunderstood that she was my lover. Then they envied me enormously. It wouldn’t have been possible to elicit such a response with just the 13 series.
"... The more I think about it, the stranger she is. What type of person developed such a misunderstanding, did a background check and tried to repay her debt in this manner? Wasn’t it preposterous? Paying off a one-sided debt... She is insane.”
Based on common sense, Yura seemed to have a narrower sense of human relationships than me.
‘She seems to have become strange after becoming successful at an early age and living apart from others.’
In no time, I arrived home. I went straight to the capsule and connected to Satisfy.
Winston had lost troops several times in the battle against the Yatan Church, the knight captain was wounded and the lady was kidnapped. The city was becoming one of the best in the north and the population was growing rapidly, but there was a limit to the guard troops.
Earl Steim became aware of the situation and led support troops to Winston.
“Ohh! My lovely daughter! You have become even more beautiful since last I saw you!”
Earl Steim was one of the most influential nobles in the Eternal Kingdom and the ruler of the north. But he was just a doting dad in front of his daughter, Irene. Despite the numerous soldiers and knights watching, Earl Steim embraced his daughter and shed tears.
“You must’ve suffered! I’m sorry that I burdened you so much! Thank you for being safe! Thank you!”
Irene was Earl Steim’s only child. Rather than keeping her safe by his side, he appointed her as ruler of a territory and let her experience being kidnapped again, so he couldn’t forgive himself.
Irene suggested to him. “Father, you didn’t do anything wrong. The whole thing was my fault. Father, that’s why... I wish I had a strong person taking care of me.”
Earl Steim glared at Phoenix.
"That's right... You need a strong person... Someone much better than the incompetent Captain Phoenix...”
“Please kill me!”
Phoenix’s guilt was unimaginable after losing in the war and not being able to protect his master. Earl Steim ignored him and spoke to Irene, “But sweetheart, Doran is dead and there is, unfortunately, no one stronger than Phoenix in the north. Leave Winston to Phoenix and return with me.”
“No, there is someone here who I can depend on. He is stronger and more courageous than anyone else.”
Irene was the daughter of a warrior. While she wasn’t trained, her ability to recognize strength was excellent. She was complimenting someone so confidently that Earl Steim was filled with expectations.
“Then who is this person?”
“He is a blacksmith.”
The answer coming from his daughter’s smiling mouth was so unexpected that Earl Steim thought he heard wrongly for a moment. Earl Steim regained his spirit and asked, "Sweetheart, the strong and brave person you can rely on is a blacksmith? Did I hear it properly just now?”
Irene unabashedly nodded.
"That's right. He is the great blacksmith who made the sword that became a family treasure not long ago, and also the one who saved me from Malacus. Not just that. He is the hero who saved Winston from the Mero Company.”
“Ha! That rumored person...”
He was clearly a great person just based on the achievements. But Earl Steim became frantic after seeing Irene’s face.
‘My daughter has the face of a woman in love...!’
He knew about the one who helped save Winston from the evils of the Mero Company. It was also reported that he had the power of a legendary blacksmith. But a blacksmith was strong enough to kill one of Yatan’s servants?
Earl Steim couldn’t believe it.
"Sweetheart, no matter how I think about it, I don’t think such a perfect person exists in this world... Is he handsome? It seems like you have been deceived by a scammer...”
Irene proclaimed, "I’m not deceived! Do you think I am a pathetic woman who will be enticed by looks? In the first place, he isn’t really handsome!”
Phoenix and the knights nodded in unison.
“That’s correct. He is good but his appearance...”
Earl Steim didn’t like that either.
"An ugly man dares lure my daughter? Disgraceful person! I want to see what type of person he is! Drag him in front of me right now!”
"Earl, he is Winston’s hero and Irene’s savior. Shouldn’t we bring him respectfully?”
"...Yes, bring him respectfully.”
OG: Glossary Link.
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