Chapter 368

“This voice... Isn’t it Kale from Nike Management, the man who unearthed Alley Leader?”

“It seems so? Then why is his voice coming out?”

The audience cocked their heads in a confused manner when the unexpected video started playing. However, no one answered their questions. Everyone was busy focusing on the video, of which the content was changing rapidly. Colors started to appear on the black screen. It now showed a place full of golden sand, and a sense of the blistering heat could be felt from beyond the video. This was the Arti Desert.

-The first time I got to know him was through this short video. The image quality was really poor, but it didn’t matter. It was fine as long as I could see him fight, Kale’s voice flowed out once again.

Simultaneously, the perspective of the video changed. Someone moved to a place of fighting.

-This is a really old video. It is a video of him hunting the best boss at the time, the scorpion king.

A man and a giant scorpion were fighting fiercely. With agile movements, the man avoided the scorpion’s pincers and tail attacks. In turn, he released blue sword energy and broke the scorpion’s shell. The evasion and counterattacks were perfect. It was the ideal fighting style that everyone dreamed of. The 20,000 spectators were all big fans of Arena, so some people naturally knew the identity of this video.

“meleegod?”

“This is meleegod’s last video. After that video, he never uploaded anything else.”

meleegod, a name known only to early Arena players or those with a great interest in Arena—this name was once again revealed to the world.

“So why is meleegod coming out now?”

“And why is it edited with Kale’s narration?”

People couldn’t understand it. They had no issues with watching meleegod’s video again, but they were curious. Why was it appearing at this moment on the important opening day?

Eh?

“It changed?”

This was when the content in the video changed to something else.

The background was the same, but the characters that appeared were different.

“Alley Leader’s desert dragon raid video!”

It changed from meleegod and the scorpion king to Alley Leader and the desert dragon. There was just one thing that didn’t change—the perfect combat style. It was a bizarre combat style where only one-sided attacks existed. The extreme unfairness was the same.

Eh?

“Don’t tell me...?”

The people struggled to ignore the thoughts that came to their minds. Feeling it just wasn’t possible, they shook their heads wildly. The video darkened again, and this time, a voice from someone other than Kale rang out. It was Jamie Moore, the CEO of Nike Management.

-I was really surprised. It was one of the most surprising moments I’ve experienced in recent times. Kale suddenly wanted to recruit a new player. The video he brought me and the master of the video—everything was amazing. 

The screen became black again. Then light returned to the dark world. Alley Leader stabbed his sword into the desert dragon’s neck, and the desert dragon fell. After that, Alley Leader turned his head and looked at the crowd. The screen switched again. The desert dragon became the scorpion king, and Alley Leader became meleegod. Then meleegod slowly turned his head.

Accordingly, the video zoomed in. meleegod’s face that wasn’t visible at all started to be revealed little by little. It just needed to focus a bit more, and they would be able to see his face. At this moment, a child’s mask appeared on meleegod’s face.

Ah!!!

“Why?!”

The crowd sighed with a feeling that bordered on being annoying. They wondered what meleegod’s face looked like. If meleegod was Alley Leader, it meant this face was Alley Leader’s face. In the original video, meleegod’s face wasn’t visible. Hyeonu had deliberately made it blurry before distributing it. This was so no one would recognize his face.

The screen quickly switched between Alley Leader’s mask and meleegod’s face. It was done at a very fast speed. After a while, the switching screens stopped. It was on the part that people wanted to see most. meleegod’s face was revealed.

“Wow... That face...”

“He has it all... Even his face is handsome.”

This time, exclamations burst out, not sighs. It was due to the handsome young man who appeared. This was the face of the 20-year-old Hyeonu before he went enlisted in the army. His face only appeared on the screen for a very brief moment. This was because the camera illuminated something new. It was Hyeonu wearing Alley Leader’s mask. The current Alley Leader, not meleegod of the past, appeared on the screen.

This moment was followed by Jamie Moore’s narration. They were really short words, but they were more intense than anything else.

-MELEEGOD IS BACK.

“No way?!”

Ah! It’s impossible!”

The crowd who heard Jamie Moore’s words couldn’t believe it. It was clearly manipulation. meleegod was Alley Leader. This was obviously part of Alley Leader’s marketing. It must be a joke.

-MELEEGOD IS BACK!!!

This time, the sentence appeared above Alley Leader’s head on the screen. Simultaneously, Alley Leader raised his hands and started to untie the child’s mask he was wearing. Arena Stadium fell silent. Everyone gulped as they watched the sight.

Finally, Alley Leader’s face that had been hidden behind the mask was revealed. It was the face that everyone was curious about.

“This is ridiculous!”

“It is really meleegoooood!”

“This is completely crazy!!!”

It was meleegod. The Alley Leader on the stage disappeared and was replaced by meleegod. His appearance didn’t look precisely like it had been in the video. Instead, a man with a more manly and mature face appeared.


***


As the video was playing on the screen, the broadcasting staff were provided with the script. They were surprised, but they spoke what was written on the script like veterans.

“MELEEGOD IS BACK!!! The god of battle has returned to us as Alley Leader!!! His class is eternal! He’s the only gamer who proved it. It is Alley Leader, Gang Hyeonu!”

“Hello, I am the old meleegod and the streamer, Alley Leader. Now I am Gang Hyeonu, a professional gamer,” Hyeonu greeted everyone politely with a bow. “As promised, I took off my mask. It was a promise with many people, so I thought I should keep it. However, it is too boring just to take it off, so we prepared a small event. Are you all okay with that?”

Wahhhhhhh!

The moment Hyeonu’s words were over, cheers filled Arena Stadium. Kang Ujong and Jeong Byeongjin watched such a Hyeonu carefully to make sure that his face was truly the one they both knew.

“Well?” Kang Ujong asked.

“It seems so? He has become a man, but that is the correct face.” Jeong Byeongjin nodded. This face definitely belonged to the man who left them behind at the cafe.

“I should’ve grabbed him using whatever I could at the time... If I knew it then, I would’ve grabbed his trousers.” Kang Ujong smacked his lips together.

Thinking about it again, he felt regretful. He should’ve scouted this person even if it meant grabbing onto his legs in the cafe. If so...

‘It wouldn’t be hard to win Arena Week.’

However, it was too late to feel regretful as Kang Ujong had already left JT Telecom. Without knowing about Kang Ujong’s mood, Jeong Byeongjin teased, “Hyung, what could we have used to grab a kid who was going into the army? Honestly, if you had spoken a few more words, you would’ve been punched. I would’ve done it.” 

Jeong Byeongjin acted like he had already forgotten that Choi Hyunsung was beside him.

“That’s right? The army, is it?” Kang Ujong hit Jeong Byeongjin on the head.

There was no Choi Hyunsung in his mind.


***


Jung Hanbaek was mad when he came out of the cube. A wave of nausea surged up to his mouth. He had lost his nerve because of Alley Leader. Soon after, the other players approached him.

“Hyung, are you okay? You did well. Well, it’s possible to lose. We can win later,” Yoo Bin comforted and supported Jung Hanbaek.

Yoon Bin knew because he’d fought as well. He could hardly believe it was the same amount of stat points. Alley Leader was so much faster and stronger than Yoo Bin that it seemed like he was playing with different stat points.

“Yes, good job. It wasn’t just you who lost. Today is a complete loss for us... The next time there is a chance, let’s get revenge,” Kim Jinyong also said comforting words.

He had been uncomfortable all throughout PvP. It pained him to see his little brothers being treated so miserably. Kim Jinyong couldn’t help remembering last year’s Arena Week. The place had been full of the strong. He recalled the shock he had felt there.

‘Hanbaek wasn’t on the team at the time... So his shock will be even greater,’ Kim Jinyong thought. Jung Hanbaek was different from the others as he had just joined the team this summer. Therefore, he hadn’t experienced Arena Week before.

“Now we have to go to the stage for polite greetings. We should eat something delicious today. What do you want to eat?” Kim Jinyong spoke to his little brothers with a warm expression.

Just then, a handsome man’s face appeared on the giant screen.

“Who is it?”

“He is handsome. Was there a player like this?”

The handsome man opened his mouth while the JT Telecom players were marveling at his appearance.

-Hello, I am the old meleegod and the streamer, Alley Leader. Now I am Gang Hyeonu, a professional gamer.

The identity of the handsome man was Alley Leader.

“It’s Alley Leader.”

“His name is Gang Hyeonu? My friend’s name is Hyeonu as well—Ha Hyeonu.”

The players talked lightly as they anticipated the dinner. However, one player was different. It was Jung Hanbaek who had a haggard face. He hadn’t looked up at the screen yet. In fact, he didn’t even have the strength to look up.

‘Gang Hyeonu?’

A familiar name had entered his ears. Gang Hyeonu—it was that damn name. The name that Jung Hanbaek never wanted to hear again echoed throughout Arena Stadium, furthermore as a chorus of tens of thousands. Jung Hanbaek slowly raised his head and looked at the screen. He wanted to see the man with that rotten name.

“......!!”

Gang Hyeonu...

It was him! Gang Hyeonu, who should be begging on the ground due to the decline of his family, was standing on the stage. He was standing in a spotlight that was brighter than anyone else's, and he was receiving more attention and cheers than anyone else. It was as if the teenage Gang Hyeonu whom Jung Hanbaek had envied was standing right there. They were now in their 20s, but Gang Hyeonu was a constant wall. He stood firmly in Jung Hanbaek’s way.

Jung Hanbaek couldn’t stand the anger that surged in him and cried out furiously, “Uwaaah! Gang Hyeonu!!!”

The players of JT Telecom who saw his outburst were baffled. Kim Jinyong quickly grasped the situation and urged the players, “Take him away quickly. I’ll take care of the rest.”

The JT Telecom players stuck to both sides of Jung Hanbaek and forced him to move.

“Did something happen?”

“Jung Hanbaek suddenly complained of pain. The players are quickly bringing him to the waiting room. I think he needs to go to the hospital straight away... I’ll do the greeting on stage for the rest of the players,” Kim Jinyong lied to the staff member who approached to find out the situation.

“U-Understood. I’ll report it to my superiors.” The staff member looked surprised but briefly reported the situation through the headset in his ear.

‘What happened this time, Jung Hanbaek?!’ Kim Jinyong sighed as he looked at the distant stage.


***


On the stage, the broadcasters were interviewing the winning team, Crescent Moon.

“Isn’t it surprising that meleegod, the man who is said to have led the beginning of Arena, is actually the same person as Alley Leader?” The surprise of the person speaking couldn’t be hidden.

In fact, it was hard to believe that the strongest person in the past, meleegod, and the strongest person of the present, Alley Leader, were actually the same person.

“Personally, I think it is less surprising to have one person than two.” Hyeonu’s words caused laughter to echo in Arena Stadium.

He was so shameless. Hyeonu behaved exactly as they had seen on the streams.

“Is the personality you showed in your streams the same as your real-life personality?” The commentator asked. 

“No, it is a thoroughly planned character. It has little in common with me. I am kind, polite, and respectful.”

“In that case, aren’t you really similar?” The commentator smiled at Hyeonu’s words.

The interview went smoothly. It wasn’t just Hyeonu. The other members of Crescent Moon were also making their debut, so it was a fresh image. There were still many questions left when all of a sudden, a man in a black suit appeared at the back of the stage. He approached Hyeonu and whispered something.

Hyeonu’s eyes widened in an instant. Then he picked up the microphone and started talking urgently, “I want to apologize. I have an urgent personal situation, and I think I need to stop here today. I’m really sorry.”

Hyeonu bowed several times after finishing his words.

The broadcasters were veterans, and one of them opened their mouth and spoke without panicking: “Gang Hyeonu has a sudden situation. We’ll hold onto questions for the next interview. We ask for the understanding of the spectators and viewers.”

Hyeonu once again bowed to the host and left the stage in a very urgent manner.

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