Chapter 16

Dugun dugun.

His heart was beating wildly. Tang-E’s buffs and Giant’s Power that lasted five minutes were like drugs to Hyeonu. He took deep breaths. This power had to be used in the spar against Lebron.


[The stat ‘fighting energy’ has caused your stats to rise.]

[The other party is stronger than you.]

[There will be an additional stat increase.]


‘Go.’

The longsword on Hyeonu’s shoulder was swung out. It moved like lightning toward Lebron’s shoulder. Every time the sword passed, the air cried out. It was like the hiss of a snake. This only lasted a moment. The serpent was trampled on and crushed by the branch of an ent.

Lebron’s wooden sword moved quietly. Naturally, it deflected Hyeonu’s sword.

‘I can’t let him do this.’

Hyeonu injected magic power into his longsword. He was going to suppress Lebron with force. Yet once Lebron injected strength into his wooden sword, Hyeonu was thrown back without any power.

‘As expected, I can’t do it with force?’

Then let’s go with a melee. Hyeonu thought about how the wooden sword was shorter than his longsword. Hyeonu approached Lebron’s side using Bash. His longsword swept over Lebron’s side.

Hoh?

‘A decent knight can’t even touch me like this?’

Lebron marveled at Hyeonu’s attack. He would give this attack 80 out of 100 points. By Lebron’s standards, 80 points was a very high score. The highest score Lebron had given to adventurers so far was 50.

‘This guy, he isn’t a just a showy person.’

Hyeonu’s combat sense was enormous. Lebron became a bit more serious. This person was different from the garbage Lebron had faced so far. “You—I like you.”

An explosive force burst out from Lebron. Now he looked like he was worthy of being the best knight of the empire.

Hyeonu was prepared. He had thought about how to link his attacks after his longsword cut Lebron. However, the best knight of the empire went first. Hyeonu’s follow-up blow was deflected. 

After that, not a single one of Hyeonu’s attacks landed a hit. Lebron’s pressure was too great. In particular, the monstrous pressure interfered with his movements. Hyeonu rushed forward again, swinging his sword back and forth while also using his fists and feet. He attempted all manner of attacks.

Nevertheless, Lebron’s defense was like a steel wall. It was similar to the scene of an action movie. This fit really well.

Hyeonu checked the time remaining on his buffs. There was only one minute left.

‘I can’t do this.’

Wah!!!” Hyeonu roared. He only had 30 seconds left. After that...

He wouldn’t be able to do anything.

Lebron smiled when he saw Hyeonu. He read Hyeonu’s intentions.

‘This is the last one. There’s no going back.’

This person was showing a willingness to kill. It was the determination to hurt Lebron in this confrontation.

‘Okay. I’ll take it. Let’s play just once.’

Lebron lowered his sword toward the ground. The momentum pressing on Hyeonu was also gone. Lebron was in a ‘come and see’ posture.

“This is the last one,” Hyeonu declared to Lebron.


***


Hyeonu’s mind was blank. His body was in pain, and he had no energy like he had been exercising for hours.

Hah.” He didn’t even have the strength to speak.

Hyeonu had burned up everything all of his energy in five minutes. ‘I burned it all up. All of it.’

Lebron approached the repeatedly gasping Hyeonu.

“Brilliant. I acknowledge those skills,” Lebron praised Hyeonu while handing him a bottle.

Hyeonu wanted to answer, but his voice didn’t come out. It wasn’t until after he took a long gulp of water that his voice came out. Uh... Thank you very much.”

“You are the tenth adventurer to come visit me.”

‘10 people? Khan, you shouldn’t do this.’ Hyeonu was dismayed. He had thought he was the only one who had received the gold coin.

Lebron read Hyeonu’s expression and explained the circumstances, “Based on your expression, do you think Khan gave that coin out 10 times? I was the one who gave the gold coins to 10 people, including Khan. Moreover, a total of nine coins have been returned as of yesterday. Your gold coin is the last.”

“The last one...” Hyeonu murmured in a low voice. Nine people had already met Lebron. This was limited to warrior players. Other classes would have NPCs similar to Lebron, so the number would grow exponentially.

“Still, you’re the best. Even if the previous nine people merged together, they wouldn’t be able to be a match for you. Take pride in this.”

There was a flood of messages in front of Hyeonu’s eyes after he heard Lebron’s words.


[You have cleared Meeting the Knight of Kion.]

[Experience has been acquired.]

[You have leveled up.]

[All health and magic power have been restored.]

[The title ‘New Star Acknowledged by Lebron’ has been created.]

[New Star Acknowledged by Lebron]

[-A title given to adventurers acknowledged by Lebron, best knight of the Yusma Empire.

Effect: All stats are increased by 10%.]


‘A title? It is as amazing as expected.’ Hyeonu savored every word. Lebron, who had been watching Hyeonu, handed him a book. “Additionally, this is what I promised to give you. Don’t be sorry that it is just one book. It is a set rule, so I can’t change it.”

‘Master of Combat’ was the title on the cover of the book. Hyeonu was puzzled. ‘Is it a combat-related skill?’

Going off the title alone, he couldn’t tell if it was a continuous or buff type skill and didn’t immediately know what it did. Still, his worries didn’t last long. He opened the skill book and learned it. His personality meant he couldn’t bear the frustration of waiting to use it.


[A skill has been created.]

[Master of Combat]

[-A skill handed to a master of combat, a person who is never pushed by anyone in combat.

Type: Continuous

Rating: Unique

Skill Proficiency: F

All stats (including attack power, defense, and defense penetration) will increase by 10% when entering combat.]


“A scam...” Hyeonu admired it. This skill was handed to him so casually.

Huhu... Now the promise of the gold coin has been kept. You may go,” Lebron laughed at Hyeonu’s action of immediately opening the book and issued a congratulatory order.

Hyeonu had gained a lot, but he still felt a bit regretful. Therefore, he threw out a bait. “Lebron, can I do anything to help you?”

Then an unexpected result came out. Lebron bit the bait. It was also quite a big bite. “I don’t need anyone, but I can trust you.”


[A quest has been created.]


“There are many undead to the south of Brigs. His Majesty suspects black magicians are behind them. I want you to go to Brigs to investigate for me.”


[Brigs’ Investigation]

[There are rumors that the undead have invaded Brigs, a southern metropolis. Find out the truth of the rumors on behalf of Lebron.

Rating: MS

Conditions: Black magicians killed 0/?

Rewards: Imperial contributions.]


Hyeonu was astonished when he saw the quest message.

‘MS?’

“Main scenario?”

The main scenario rating meant thiswas a pivotal questline in Arena. Unlike normal quests, they were fundamental quests that influenced all of Arena. In other words, Hyeonu had received the main scenario quest at level 33 and joined the frontrunners.

‘I led the first round. Now I am back in the fourth round.’

These feelings were fresh. The events that happened in the meantime crossed his mind. Deleting his character and going to the army, his family’s financial situation, his father’s collapse and the start of his part-time jobs, and then his return to Arena at Yeongchan’s invitation… Many things had happened in the last two years.

Hyeonu gave a wry smile. He remembered something he didn’t want to remember.

‘Please wait a little bit, Mother.’ 

Hyeonu replied with a tight voice, “I understand. I will go straight to Brigs.” 

Lebron gave some advice after hearing Hyeonu’s response, “Additionally, there are rumors that the black magicians have mastered necromancy and mind magic. You must absolutely not be deceived.” 

“I’ll remember that.”

Hyeonu left the tourney hall immediately.

‘The main scenario—I have to do it properly.’

Whether it was good luck or bad luck, it never came alone.


***


Hyeonu sent a whisper to Yeongchan for the first time in a while. He had to ask Yeongchan something.

-To Yeongchan: Are you busy?

-From Yeongchan: No? Why? Do you need some gold?

Yeongchan still remembered the 50 gold.

“Who are you looking at when talking about gold? You jerk...”

-To Yeongchan: It isn’t like that. Do you know any priests around level 60~70?

-From Yeongchan: Okay, I’ll look for one. Still, it will take some time.

Yeongchan finished his whispers with Hyeonu and shook his head.

‘Priest? Why is he looking for a priest?’

“His level is 32. Um...

No matter how much he thought about it, Yeongchan couldn’t figure out why Hyeonu was looking for a priest. Hyeonu had been hunting in the Black Forest just yesterday. He could change the level of his hunting ground in one day without any major issues

“However, he doesn’t need a priest at that low-level hunting ground...”

‘A priest who is around level 70...’

Still, it was the request of a friend, so Yeongchan searched the priests around him. All of them were over level 100 though.

‘What to do?’

Ah, that’s right. There was that person.”

Yeongchan prepared a bomb for Hyeonu—a huge bomb.


***


Hyeonu went to the unified auction house since Yeongchan said it would take some time. Inside the auction house, Hyeonu went to a corner and glanced at the items quietly. He thought it would be a good idea to find out what to expect next time. At this moment, there was a big fuss around him, but no one in the auction house was looking at him.

“You haven’t found it yet? What are you bastards doing?!!! What the hell?! Eh? Didn’t I buy you items and give you a hunting ground? Talk to me if you have a mouth, you bastards!!!” A man in red armor was yelling at two men in front of him.

“I’m sorry, Guild Master.” 

“I’ll somehow find out by tomorrow.”

The two men asked the man in red armor, the guild leader, to extend their deadline.

‘He is angry just because he couldn’t find something? The auction house is noisy.’

“I’ll believe you one more time. Somehow, bring the son of a bitch with the Dwarf’s Sword in front of me. Understood?”

‘Dwarf’s Sword?’ Hyeonu realized something as a familiar name emerged from the guild leader’s mouth. “!!!”

It was the name of the sword he was holding.

‘It was really cheap. Did I steal it?’

Hyeonu put the sword in his inventory and got up from his seat. He walked naturally to where the guild master was standing. Then he bumped into the guild master also in a seemingly natural manner.

Aigoo, I’m sorry.”

“Look where you’re going! Can’t you walk straight?”

“I’m sorry,” Hyeonu bowed his head and apologized. He could see the black skull pattern on the chest of the guild leader’s armor.

‘The Black Skull Guild...’

“A bad fate is eternal evil...”


***


Hyeonu left the auction house and was contacted by Yeongchan. It was a message stating that the priest would be waiting in front of the fountain at Yusma’s main square. Of course, Yeongchan would be there as well.

“By the way, why is he acting so awkwardly?”

Hyeonu couldn’t suppress his rapidly beating heart. Soon, Hyeonu arrived at the main square. He quickened his pace at the sight of Yeongchan. However, he slowed down when he saw the woman next to Yeongchan. She had a familiar face.

“...!”

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