Chapter 1196

“Two levels? Wow, the rewards are crazy.” 

The reaction of the top 1,000 rankers who received the Call of the Heavens quest was hot. The so-called high rankers were at least level 370. It was hard to gain 4~5% experience after a whole day of hunting and quests that gave levels as rewards were hard to clear. The sudden quest that gave two levels was like timely rain in a drought.

“Is this an event?”

“The S.A Group has finally learned how to deal with public sentiment.”

It was a surprise quest that made people suspect favoritism. Reinforcement, drawing, production, etc.—every time all types of probability content were conducted, the rankers were busy swearing at the S.A Group. Now they rarely praised the S.A Group and trembled with joy. It only lasted 10 seconds.

“...The time limit of the quest is a week.”

“What? This damn thing!”

This was the period of the National Competition. There was still one day until the end of the National Competition and this was roughly three days in game time. Naturally, the majority of high-ranking players were participating in the National Competition. It was virtually impossible to reach a certain part of the East Continent in just four days.

“This event is bullshit. It is just teasing us.”

“These S.A XXXX are too much. If such a quest is released at this timing, the fairness of those participating in the competition and those absent from the competition will be different.”

“This will hurt the growth of those participating in the National Competition. Who will participate in the National Competition if we are hit like this every time?”

In the past, Grid had placed a killing order on Veradin. Rather than condemning him, the high rankers agreed or sympathized because they identified with Grid. High rankers with a high participation rate in the National Competition had to understand and defend Grid who had suffered losses during the National Competition. Only then could they avoid experiencing the same thing as Grid.

At this moment, they were struck by a similar pattern. It wasn’t due to players but the tyranny of the game company. The S.A Group, who dominated the world, hadn’t changed since the Veradin incident. They were still arrogant.

“Is it the S.A Group’s proposition that those who participate in the National Competition should bear a penalty in exchange for the rewards they can receive? If they keep to this stance, don’t they know that they’ll be boycotted by the rankers sooner or later?”

“How many times has it been that the S.A Group failed to care about public sentiment? They are running the game according to their tastes so they won’t listen to us no matter what we say.”

“After a few years, only the low level players will participate in the National Competition and they will regret it.’

“The biggest problem right now is the attitude of the public. No one has a problem with how the S.A Group treats the participants of the National Competition. If people stand up and protest together, the treatment of participants might improve. It is a pity that they are staying silent.”

“For ordinary players, the National Competition is like a celebration. Why would they pay attention to the welfare of the strong players when they are monopolizing the rewards of participating in the National Competition?”

“There is no answer to this. The S.A Group will never change and in the future, we will lose every time we join the National Competition.”

The problem was that the quest that rewards two levels occurred during the National Competition. The complaints of the players participated in the National Competition boiled up and the arrow of condemnation aimed at the S.A Group. Players went to the operations office to demand their rights.

“Increase the deadline for the Call from the Heavens quest.”

The answer they received was naturally as expected.

“it isn’t possible. It isn’t fair.”

“What? Don’t you know that the current situation is unfair?”

“Why is it unfair? Haven’t you participated in the National Competition and earned rewards? Increasing the deadline for your convenience will increase the dissatisfaction of those who don’t participate in the National Competition.”

“Dammit! In return for giving up the rewards, those who don’t participate in the National Competition will grow and benefit in the game! Why do they say that we are the ones benefiting one-sidedly?”

The S.A Group replied, “This quest is part of the in-game growth for the non-participants.”

“Unseemly sophistry! It doesn’t make any sense!”

“Damn! The National Competition is too dirty!”

The players were disgruntled by the attitude of the S.A Group and declared they would abandon the National Competition while it was still ongoing. 

However, the S.A Group’s officials didn’t blink.

“The purpose of the National Competition is to bring the world together with Satisfy. Participants are obligated to help raise awareness of Satisfy. As a Satisfy player, you have to be an example to the world. If you give up the National Competition without a sense of responsibility, you will be deprived of all the previous medals you won and the corresponding rewards. You will also be penalized in future National Competitions.”

“This XX...!”

In the end, the swearing continued.

A difference of 1% experience was enough to change the rankings every day. Therefore, the attitude of the S.A Group, who threatened them under the name of the rules rather than caring about the position of the rankers, caused the players to let loose profanities.

The tension of the situation reached the peak.

“XX! Do what you like! Penalized? Give it to me! Do as you please! I’ll never participate again because the National Competition is too dirty!”

Surprisingly, there were many players. In particular, those who hadn’t won any silver or gold medals in the past four days gave up the qualification to participate in the National Competition. On the other hand, the gold medal winning participants hesitated about withdrawing. Still, they left a warning to the S.A Group which was trying to keep the situation under control.

“...I understand their position.”

The players left. The gazes of all the remaining employees in the quiet office were drawn to Director Yoon Sangmin.

Yoon Sangmin showed signs of weariness. He had flown to New York to run the National Competition and was struggling for months, so it was no wonder he was tired. He was full of anticipation that his hard work would be over in one more day but he felt terrible because such a ridiculous situation had suddenly occurred. He resented the Grid he liked so much.

"I don't understand it either. Still, what can I do? Changing it would give them too much benefits compared to the non-participants and it isn’t fair. In the first place...”

The principle was that management didn’t intervene in what happened in the game. They had no authority to intervene. All of Satisfy’s history was written by the flow of the world and the players swimming in it. Chairman Lim Cheolho had always insisted on this.

“...I’m only following the instructions of the higher-ups.”

Director Yoon Sangmin swallowed his long words and finished things. He expressed his disappointment that the current situation would have an adverse effect on the promotion of the National Competition in the future. The National Competition was only an incidental event. The value of Satisfy was within Satisfy. Director Yoon Sangmin thought that he would be satisfied as long as players didn’t abandon Satisfy.

‘Of course, it is a shame...’

Yoon Sangmin turned on the monitor that had been turned off. A panoramic view of the demon king’s castle filled the screen. The east, west, north, and south gates were guarded by the Four Heavenly Kings and the demon king was standing on the highest terrace of the castle.

Damian—he was a new star behind Kraugel and Grid. He had an archangel as a member of the Four Heavenly Kings and had an overwhelmingly higher health than last year’s demon king. His buffs and recovery ability that were beyond common sense would be a disaster for challengers. However, he wasn’t noticed.

“I don’t think you’re destined to be the protagonist yet.”

It was at the time when Yoon Sangmin was feeling sorry for Damian.

"Isabel-chan, please hold on.”

The white-haired man wearing a helmet that seemed to be made out of a dragon’s skull was praying earnestly. After monitoring all the events of the past four days, he was completely overwhelmed by Kraugel and the Overgeared members.

“Please! Stop those horrible humans from coming here!” 

“......”

The Four Heavenly Kings looked at the demon king who appeared pathetic compared to his majestic appearance.


***


“Would you like to quit?”

“I don’t recommend it.”

“...?”

The players who came back from meeting Director Yoon Sangmin first visited players belonging to the Overgeared Guild.

It was to convey the seriousness of the situation to the Overgeared members, who were influential both in skill and fame. They believed that if the Overgeared members boycotted the National Competition, other players would agree with them and the S.A Group would reluctantly change their attitude.

It was twisted from the start. The reactions of the Overgeared Guild members were completely different from expected.

“I don’t like this quest.”

The Overgeared members were negative about the Call of the Heavens quest itself even if it gave two levels as a reward. The players wondered, “Why? Do you think you won’t be able to reach the destination in time?”

Then the Overgeared members replied. “I wouldn’t worry if it was that. There are some people who have been to Xing. If it is a week then the deadline can barely be met. This is just a really nasty quest.”

"No, we're not worried about that. We have Skunk and we’re not worried about finding the way.”

The players asked, “Then what is the problem?”

“Have you heard the rumours of the blacksmith slaughter quest?”

Eh? Yes... I’ve heard about it.”

The players nodded at Jishuka’s question.

A few years ago, a quest took place that targeted all of Satisfy’s blacksmiths. At that time, it wasn’t known how to get to the East Continent so only hundreds of blacksmiths participated in the quest.

“There were rumors that the Overgeared blacksmiths who crossed to the East Continent fell into a trap and died miserably. Is this what you’re talking about?”

“Yes. There is a good chance that the person who gave that quest and the one who gave this quest are the same person.”

“...Who is it?”

“A yangban.”

“...!”

The Overgeared members knew that Garam was the one who killed the blacksmiths. It just wasn’t known that Hanul was the one who created the quest. Of course, the weight of the name ‘yangban’ was sufficient.

“Hey, it was a yangban?” The players’ faces were white. They were high rankers and had information about the East Continent, so they knew the yangbans were gods. They were also gods who considered humans trivial.

Jishuka smiled at the players who were as stiff as statues. “They won’t be involved in anything good. Isn't that right?"

“......”

No one denied it. Once the players realized that this quest wasn’t good, they stepped back and left. Soon, Lauel’s voice echoed through the waiting room that contained only the Overgeared members.

-Well done.

The voice came from over the phone. Jishuka frowned. “Is this really good enough?”

It was Lauel’s analysis that those who accepted the quest were likely to be in a hostile position to Grid. If the quest creator was a yangban, the ‘evil’ mentioned in the quest was likely Grid who was hostile to the Hwan Kingdom. The Overgeared Guild were in a position to stop the rankers from participating in the quest.

“I think it would be better to honestly persuade them not to be hostile to Grid and to give up.”

-That is a bit provocative. Jishuka, shouldn’t you know better than anyone that the pride of the high rankers is as high as the sky?

Cough...

-If you talk about Grid while implying that they shouldn’t face him, it would spark the rankers’ sense of challenge. It would also crush Grid’s pride if you ask them to give up for Grid’s convenience.

Thus, proper coordination was needed.

-It is a quest that the yangbans are intertwined in. If there is a possibility of falling into a trap like the blacksmiths a few years ago... It is enough just to plant this level of awareness. This alone will cause a large number of people to give up on the quest.

“Then what about those who don’t give up?” Jishuka trembled as she recalled the strength of the yangbans she had experienced first hand.

“It will be too difficult for Grid if even some of the high rankers join the yangbans. Even Braham couldn’t knock down Garam by himself. That’s why we need to help Grid right away.”

-No. The moment you give up on the National Competition in the middle, all the rankers will participate in the quest. They will think you cheated them to monopolize the quest rewards.

“...” 

-In the first place, you must earn the National Competition rewards. You need to obtain as many breaths as possible to help Grid in the long run.

“So what are you going to do? Will you send Mercedes and Piaro to Grid?”

-No? We can’t force so many precious talents into a desperate situation. We have already significantly reduced the power of the enemies. What else can we do?

“...?”

-Jishuka, be calm. You might be blinded due to your love for Grid but everyone experiences failure. The person who has suffered more failures than anyone else is Grid. 

“What are you saying?”

-Grid’s winning streak is over. It is time for him to return to Reinhardt.

“You...!”

Jishuka’s face reddened. She felt disbelief that Lauel could speak about Grid’s failure so easily.

Lauel told her.

-Now Grid is fighting the gods. Do you think Grid is going to win and conquer the world of the gods?

“...!”

-You have to know that faith that is beyond reason is only a burden on Grid. Grid isn’t a god. He can’t always win and can’t always live up to your expectations. 

“......”

Jishuka bowed her head. She realized how much her vague belief had put a strain on Grid.

-Cool your head and focus on the National Competition.

Lauel hung up. The atmosphere of the quiet waiting room became heavy. It wasn’t just Jishuka. Yura and the Overgeared members had the same thought about Grid. When did it start? They had started taking Grid’s victory and success for granted...

“There are many gold medals in the remaining events. Once Grid comes back, we will give him the breaths to encourage him.”

Chris broke the silence. All the Overgeared members nodded with resolve.

At the same time...

"This is funny."

Grid was crossing mountains and rivers. No obstacles stopped him. This was the majesty of Earth God. Every time Grid activated it and changed the terrain of the area into a plain, the intensity caused the rough mountains to become an equal height. Grid was leisurely walking with his hands behind his back.

“...Is this a person?”

Qi Jiang’s group following Grid clicked their tongues. In their eyes, Grid looked more like a god than the yangbans.

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Translator: Rainbow Turtle

Editor: Jyazen

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