“Are you the guest who came here with Yongyun’s gold plaque?” The emperor, an old man sitting on his throne, threw a question at Hyeonu.
‘Old man...’ Hyeonu thought.
That’s right. The emperor was an old man. He had white hair, white eyebrows, and a white beard. They were all white. His dignity as an emperor couldn’t be seen at all.
‘Of course, I thought the third imperial prince was fairly old, so I was mentally prepared. But...’
Still, this was the only emperor of the East Continent. He could eat meals that were good for his body and learn the best magic power application method in the East Continent. Then why was he so old? Hyeonu couldn’t understand it at all. Nevertheless, he was polite to the emperor.
“Yes, I am Gang Hyeonu.”
“I’ve already heard about it. You came from beyond Mount Cheon? An adventurer and a viscount... You are great...”
The emperor was genial and more like a neighborhood elder than the emperor. He didn’t give off the air of an emperor at all.
‘He feels like the village chief of Aslan.’
“You're overpraising me. I was lucky enough to come to the East Continent. Ah, this... My emperor sent it.” Hyeonu pulled out the emperor’s pre-arranged message.
The attendant that was standing without any presence behind the emperor moved. He stood in front of Hyeonu and reached out politely. Then Hyeonu carefully placed the message in the attendant’s hand. The attendant bowed slightly before stepping back and returning to his original position.
The emperor received the letter from the attendant and opened it .“Hmm...”
There was no change in his expression while reading it. In fact, it was exactly the same from beginning to end.
‘What is written in it?’
Hyeonu hadn’t seen the letter, so he was curious. If he were asked about why he didn’t read it, Hyeonu had only one answer.
‘The emperor told me not to look.’
Hyeonu might be the only one hired, but he had no intention of risking failure. Consequently, he chose the so-called ‘safe route’. It wasn’t long before the emperor’s gaze shifted from the letter to Hyeonu. “Do you know what is written here?”
Hyeonu shook his head. “I don't know. How could I read the correspondence of His Majesty at will?”
“Then I will read it exactly as it is written. ‘The person carrying this letter is very talented. There will be a place to use him at least once. However, he won’t act if there are no rewards. Be careful. In addition, if you want to sign an exchange treaty between continents, just give him a reply.’ Do you agree with the emperor?”
Hyeonu nodded. The fact that the emperor of the West Continent knew him so well gave him goosebumps. After all, he was a player. He never did a job without any compensation. Every time he moved, tangible and intangible rewards always followed.
“That is correct, but it isn’t just me. Most adventurers are like that. We will go back and forth if it is profitable.”
“For the sake of profit, you aren’t picky... It is nice and neat. This is better than feeling dubious about your intentions.”
The eyes of the East Continent’s emperor lit up for a moment. Then the light disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
‘He isn’t just an old man.’
However, Hyeonu didn’t miss it. He noticed that the emperor was indeed an emperor after all.
“An exchange... It is a good idea. Hmm... A good idea. I’ll write my reply,” the emperor said and raised his hand.
The attendant pulled out a brush that he got from an unknown place and handed it politely to the emperor.
“So Gang Hyeonu, can you cross Mount Cheon at any time?” The emperor asked as he placed the brush on white paper.
His eyes weren’t on Hyeonu though.
“Of course, I can cross Mount Cheon. It just takes a long time. If you give me a return amulet, I can come back faster.”
“When can other adventurers come here?”
“I expect it to take half a month at the earliest. The number will be around 40 or so. It is necessary for them to cross the mountain range, but it is a tricky task. Therefore, it will take time for the number of adventurers to increase.”
“Quality is more important than quantity. Of course, the relationship with me is important for that ‘quality’.”
Hyeonu found the emperor’s words strange. It was as if he knew something and was asking Hyeonu about it.
‘I think his words have a different meaning from before?’
It was worrisome.
The relationship with the emperor himself… What did this mean?
Hyeonu was troubled for a moment. Just then, a thought flashed through Hyeonu’s mind: ‘Why is the emperor trying to look like an old man?’
“I have a question. Can I ask it? Your Majesty?” Hyeonu prepared numerous baits to be used with the question he wanted to ask.
“Go ahead and ask me. You are a guest of the imperial family, so you can ask as much as you want.” The emperor didn’t know anything and happily accepted Hyeonu’s request.
“There are many wonders in Yuxin. Its characteristics are amazing, and the culture is unique.”
“I guess so. The West Continent and East Continent are separated, so they will be different.” The emperor nodded at Hyeonu’s words.
It was obvious. Even within the empire, the cultures of the north and the south were different. The culture of Taeyang was different from other cities, let alone the culture of another continent.
“That’s the strange thing. For example, Buncheonru here in Taeyang. There are many stores and even places to sleep in the huge building.”
“Buncheonru can be called the pride of Yuxin.”
The emperor liked hearing Hyeonu’s continuous praise and even clapped. There was no one who wouldn’t like hearing praises for their nation. This was even more so if they felt love and pride for their nation. Behind the mask, Hyeonu’s face had a strange smile as he asked, “So who is the owner of Buncheonru?”
“Buncheonru has no owner. You can open a store as long as you pay a certain amount of taxes to the imperial family.”
Now, Hyeonu would say what he wanted to ask the most upon meeting the emperor: “Then I’ll ask specifically—who is the owner of the seventh floor? The imperial family? The nobles? Or... someone else?”
“......” The emperor was silent.
However, silence was also an answer.
‘Huh?’ Hyeonu wondered.
Then at this moment, he felt something behind his back and quickly stretched out his fist. The Mysterious Sky Sword was placed in his inventory, but he was still wearing Memories of a Murderer. It was because it looked like a pair of normal gloves and not a weapon. Hyeonu’s fist had black magic power swirling around it like flames as it collided with someone’s sword. The man with the sword bounced away. Hyeonu followed after the man while raising his fists.
At the emperor’s urgent call, Hyeonu stopped moving. His fist had stopped right in front of the eyes of the man in black.
“I’m sorry. Buncheonru is a very sensitive topic, and they don’t know you...”
The emperor looked genuinely sorry, but Hyeonu didn’t believe it at all.
‘Damn old man... He is testing me.’ Hyeonu couldn’t not know this.
The developers wouldn’t have turned the emperor into a puppet unless they were idiots. The emperor was just hiding behind a nice face. Hyeonu told him, “Stop it. I will stop too. Instead, you need to answer me. The owner of the seventh floor is the Gucheon Secret Department. What is their relationship with the imperial family?”
“I will be the one to explain that slowly.” This time, a voice rang out from behind the emperor. The owner of the voice was someone Hyeonu knew well. It was Liu Yongyun—the empire’s third prince.
‘Ah, that’s right. I’m streaming... That’s good.’
Seeing Liu Yongyun made Hyeonu remember what happened a few days ago. He had also turned off the microphone when he met Liu Yongyun then. It was only now that he realized the microphone was currently still turned off as he had been too preoccupied with the idea of playing Arena alone.
Hyeonu’s back started to sweat. He couldn’t help feeling depressed at the thought of the viewers’ complaints.
‘I’m going to have to turn it on now.’
Hyeonu quickly turned on the microphone and whispered in a very low voice, “I’m sorry. I forgot. I won’t let this happen next time.”
It was an excuse he made every time, and Hyeonu repeated it again today. Yet, the next time this happened, Hyeonu would certainly still turn off the microphone. He made excuses but didn’t look at the chat window. Instead, Hyeonu was staring at Liu Yongyun, who was in front of him.
“Can I explain it now?” Liu Yongyun wondered.
“I was waiting for you to explain.” Hyeonu used the fact that his expression wasn’t visible through the mask to naturally turn over the situation.
“The Gucheon Secret Department... They were originally created by the first emperor. It was hundreds of years ago. The original intention was to make them an instrument for easy governance. The idea was to limit the power of the nobles by impersonating a mysterious force. Then...”
-What does this sound like?
-Isn’t this completely avoiding liability?
-At first glance, it is a story of a force becoming an uncontrollable monster.
-Quency’s developers should wake up. This story is too cliche. It is better to let Alley Leader do it. He will make something more novel.
Hyeonu nodded. He agreed with the viewers. It was a scenario that was too obvious, cliché, and tiring.
“Are you saying it has reached a point where you can’t control them anymore? They came from the Yuxin imperial family, but they have become uncontrollable monsters. Now you don’t know their exact size or external circumstances?” Hyeonu questioned.
Liu Yongyun couldn’t say anything and only smiled.
“So right now, the imperial family has nothing to do with Buncheonru? Do you have any recent information?” Hyeonu inquired further.
“It doesn’t matter at all now. It sounds strange, but it is a competitive relationship. We don’t know how much of the Yuxin Empire has joined hands with them.”
“Can you give me any information you have? I have a bit of a grudge with them.”
At Hyeonu’s words, questions appeared on the faces of Liu Yongyun and the emperor. How did an adventurer who had just crossed into the East Continent form a grudge with the Gucheon Secret Department?
“You don’t understand, but... it’s true. The martial art I have learned is deeply connected to them,” Hyeonu explained the situation to Liu Yongyun who was staring at him with wide eyes.
Liu Yongyun nodded. “Of course, I will give you the information I have. Viscount, a strong man like you will be very helpful to us.”
-Then you should’ve publicized it and attacked them for being smugglers or robbers.
-Are you stupid? Think before talking. Filter your brain.
-If this fact was known, would the nobles stay still? They will run in and try to be independent. Thus, the empire can’t openly subjugate them.
-Okay, okay. I understand now.
‘Yes, this is the reason.’
Hyeonu understood enough. Apart from that, he still thought they were incompetent. He wouldn’t have come this far if he had even a bit of an obsession with power.
‘Then I don’t have to use the return scroll.’
Hyeonu smiled at the situation that had gone well.
-So, Alley Leader? Shall we chat now? Why did you just turn off the chat? Where did you go at the beginning?
-This seems to have completely lost your original intention, person who talked about original intentions just an hour ago...
-Do you have dementia? This is a matter that requires an apology.
Hyeonu saw the chat window and started sweating again. The situation wasn’t going well at all.
He was suffering the consequences of his own actions.
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