Chapter 171

After streaming, Hyeonu kept touching his smartphone. He sent several messages and then called someone. “Kale? Have you started work already? I’m not interrupting your rest, am I?”

Nike’s Kale was the other person on the phone. -Already? It is almost time to eat lunch. It has been a few hours since I entered my office.

At Kale’s words, Hyeonu dropped the smartphone and checked the time. It was 11 p.m. This meant it was 10 a.m. New York time. As Kale told Hyeonu, it was past early morning over at Nike. Hyeonu smiled and changed the topic. “I see. Have you seen my stream?”

-I didn’t see it myself, but I was told what happened. Did you want something?

Hearing Kale’s words, Hyeonu nodded. “I want information on the streamers. I hope I can receive it tomorrow when I wake up.”

-Are you talking about any streamer specifically?

“Please gather information on the streaming times for arena streamers who have a higher ranking than me. Something interesting might happen tomorrow.”

Hyeonu was using Nike correctly. He didn’t have to waste time and effort investigating. Instead, he should use his management for these types of things.

-You want to snipe them. I understand. I will send it by email by tomorrow morning. Do you need anything else? Do you need material items or skill books? Kale asked Hyeonu to use the rights stated in the contract.

However, Hyeonu refused. “I don’t need them.”

There was no need to receive them. The level of skills that Nike could acquire probably wouldn’t be any use to the current Hyeonu. The material items were even worse. Rather, Hyeonu could sell the material items he had obtained if he wanted. He didn’t need to get them from somewhere else and use them. Currently, the player who was present at Arena’s leading hunting grounds was Hyeonu.

“Only I can get the level of items and skills that I want. Thank you for Nike’s favor, but I don’t need it right now. I will ask if I need it later. I am grateful for your thoughts.”

-I understand. Such a request is always possible, so please don’t hesitate to speak. Additionally, the creation of the professional team will take a bit more time. It requires more professional manpower than expected. The process is tricky... Still, don’t worry too much. If it doesn’t work, we’ll go in the acquisition direction.

Kale talked about something Hyeonu would be curious about.

‘It is rather strange that the result would come out so quickly.’

“I understand. Please proceed slowly. I will believe in Nike. Then I’ll call you back next time.” Hyeonu nodded and ended the call.

Then he murmured in a small voice while slapping his cheeks with both hands, “A pro team...”

The name of his professional team was one that would represent a turning point in his Arena story.

‘Let me sleep on it.’

Hyeonu lay his heavy body on the bed, unable to overcome the sudden surge of fatigue.


***


Hyeonu looked at his laptop and sang a strange song. “Which one should I choose? Please guess!!! Ding dong daeng dong!

A file was open on Hyeonu’s laptop, showing a blend of English and numbers. It was the information regarding the streaming times of the streamers which Hyeonu had requested for. Hyeonu stared at his laptop for a long time before finally deciding. “I’ve decided on you!!!”

Streamer Nine Steel—if he had to be defined in one word, that would be ‘troublemaker’.

Nine Steel had the ability to show brilliant battles, but his words and actions were always controversial. He proved that strength and personality were separate.

‘I didn’t like him since that time.’

Did this mean that Hyeonu hated him? That wasn’t it. Hyeonu simply wasn’t interested in Nine Steel in the first place. He only knew about Nine Steel from the file Nike sent him. Nine Steel wasn’t some terrible criminal, and Hyeonu had no reason to hate him. Still, if Hyeonu had to give a reason, then it would be that it just… It just ended up like this. Even if it wasn’t the same for his opponent.


***


-Steel, why didn’t you take part in the ranking battle yesterday?

-?? You don’t know? He was scared of Alley Leader.

-Ah, is that so? Our Steel turned out to be a chicken?

-Do you know now? ㅋㅋㅋㅋ He is the well-known coward of A-World.

Streamer Nine Steel frowned when he saw the messages in his chat room. He wondered if yesterday’s decision was poisonous to him. ‘No, I did well. Otherwise, the viewers would’ve left.’

Nine Steel smiled and made an excuse for yesterday’s escape. “No. Brothers. When did I run away? I was just a bit tired and needed rest. Wasn’t it time to rest?”

Nine Steel knew himself. His personality might be crap, but he was one of the best arena streamers in terms of strength.

‘It’s over for me the moment I lose in a humiliating manner.’

Wouldn’t he be humiliated if he failed to fight against Alley Leader and got defeated? The image Nine Steel had accumulated so far would be shattered. For his image, Nine Steel had reduced his sleep to focus on hunting and invested more than half the money he had earned into buying items. Such efforts would be wasted with a single defeat. Thus, he ran away.

‘I can live if he steps on someone else.’

Based on what he had seen of Alley Leader’s skills, he would have no chance of saving his reputation after meeting Alley Leader. Of course, once Alley was ranked first, they could meet without it being an unlucky encounter. This was because it wouldn’t matter by then. After all, it was natural to lose to the person ranked first in the rankings, even if it was Nine Steel who was on the verge of entering diamond.

“Today I got a ranking battle quickly. I think it is a good sign, Brothers.” 

Nine Steel saw he was matched in a ranking battle and turned to the chat room. However, the reaction he got from the viewers was strange. Additionally, the number of viewers started to increase dramatically.

-Uh, yes. Start quickly.

-You couldn’t escape today?

-I came to see Nine Steel receive justice.

-Is this where the famous Nine Steel is stepped on like gum on an asphalt road?

‘What does this mean?’

Nine Steel questioned the unexpected words. “No, Brothers! What does this mean? I’m going to be stepped on...? I am Nine Steel. I don’t know about my personality, but my skills are real.”

Even the viewers who would’ve usually sympathized with Nine Steel to some extent disagreed.

-Eh, no way.

-You will be well stepped on.

-Your opponent is Alley Leader.

-It will soon be broadcasted as Alley Leader’s highlight video. Okay? Hundreds of millions of people are watching.

Nine Steel trembled like a man who had seen and heard something he shouldn’t have. “A...Alley Leader?”

The moment he spoke, Nine Steel’s ranking battle opponent, Alley Leader, appeared.


***


Hyeonu gave a silent cheer when he saw the familiar man standing in front of him.

‘The sniping was a success!’

Then Hyeonu turned on the streaming mode straight away. Why did he have to suffer this hardship? Wasn’t it for his own stream? All this hard work would be meaningless if he didn’t turn on the streaming mode.

[Sniping Nine Steel’s stream. The sniping was a success!]

The stream’s title clearly portrayed the situation. It was a bit irritating, but there was no exaggeration. Rather, it was 100% true.

-Kyah! I was caught off guard.

-No one could expect when the grasshoppers will start crying out.

-ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ Today is the day Nine Steel will fall into the gutter! Scream loudly~

-This is really the first time it is continuous streaming. It would be good if it was usually like this.

Hyeonu greeted the audience with a smile. “Hello? I am Alley Leader who succeeded in sniping. The first sniping will soon begin. The next sniping could be a few hours away or tomorrow.”

He was about to pridefully show off to the audience when an information window appeared in front of him.


[The ranking battle has begun.]


“The ranking battle has begun. Viewers, you’ll see it in a moment. Please enjoy it to your heart’s content.”

After he finished speaking, Hyeonu turned his head back toward the man in front of him. This person seemed to be relaxed. However, he shouldn’t have such an attitude considering the low level of his fighting ability. 

‘What are his skills? They are as lousy as his terrible behavior.’ Hyeonu scoffed and slowly pulled out his single-edged sword. Then instead of wielding his sword, he opened his mouth and said, “Hello? I am Alley Leader. It is nice to meet someone who is in the same industry. Let’s get started.”

Nine Steel was already half out of his mind. ‘It is real, real!!!’

He hadn’t rested at all in the past year since he started streaming his ranking battles. Yet, last night, he broke his own rule and used some excuse to take a break from streaming. It was all so he could avoid Alley Leader. There were many streamers who could be called assholes. He succeeded as a streamer because he had the skills to do so. If he lost, he would lose that image.

‘I can’t let it be taken away here!’

Nine Steel grasped his weapon—a long red sword. He pointed his sword at Alley Leader, who was watching him with indifferent eyes.

Bah, do you think I will lose so easily? How did I get to my current position?” Nine Steel said.

Then he moved. Nine Steel’s movements made him seem like a leopard racing through the Serengeti. It was extremely fast. Nine Steel’s sword seemed like a beast that was about to bite Hyeonu. Huup!

However, if Nine Steel was a leopard, then Hyeonu was a tiger. He made heavy but fast movements as he easily blocked Nine Steel’s attack. Hyeonu’s sword was covered with a dark pure energy that pushed at Nine Steel’s red pure energy. The leopard couldn’t penetrate the tiger’s defense.

The subsequent battle was extremely one-sided. This was Hyeonu’s overwhelming dominance. Nine Steel was crushed beyond belief.

-Crazy. Is this the Daniel cosplay he showed on Masked Fighting King?

-There is nothing lacking when it comes to situational judgment, design, and control. In short, he is perfect.

-Honestly, I thought it was due to the items and stats. But this... It doesn’t make sense.

Hyeonu was a clever hunter, and he literally hunted Nine Steel. There wasn’t the overwhelming power he had shown so far in his streaming and videos, but it was overwhelming in a different sense. If Hyeonu had previously been a sharp spear that could pierce anything, then he was currently a suffocating iron wall. That wall was now holding Nine Steel’s neck and preventing him from breathing.

Hyeonu’s sword once again blocked Nine Steel’s sword. Nine Steel had already returned uselessly to his original position dozens of times.

‘I’m going crazy, crazy.’ 

Nine Steel bit his lips. This was a scam. How could there be such a skill difference between the same players? It was like an adult playing with a child.

‘I can’t lose.’

Nine Steel wouldn’t have a chance to recover if he lost so helplessly. He prepared for a final counterattack to keep his dream. “Berserk.”

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