When Hyeonu and Reina’s interview finished, a new PvP round started. It was the second of the seven scheduled PvP rounds.
“I will announce the participants of the first and second matches,” the host said and then paused. The names of the eight teams appeared on the screen before disappearing again. The names of the teams participating in the next two matches emerged one by one. The first name that came out was Manchester.
“This time, Manchester will be playing in the first match! Their opponent is...”
The second name that appeared after Manchester was Crescent Moon.
“Crescent Moon!! Manchester and Crescent Moon will play against each other.”
The first matchup was really interesting. Manchester—with their secret weapon Luke, who made an all-kill in his debut—would be facing Crescent Moon—the team with the strongest player, Alley Leader.
“Then I’ll pick the next two teams straight away.”
The names of Crescent Moon and Manchester were pushed to one side of the screen, and new names appeared in the center again.
They were Xuanhua and Red Bull America.
“In the second match, two teams that both have one loss each will face off. Red Bull America will play against Xuanhua!”
The second match was a clash between Red Bull America and Xuanhua. Both teams had lost once, so they had to win this match unconditionally. At Arena Week where they would only play seven matches, having only one loss was greatly different from having two. In other words, they were meeting on the edge of a cliff.
“All the players in the first and second matches are requested to return to the waiting room.”
The teams that had to play in the upcoming matches disappeared into their respective waiting rooms to prepare for their match. The matches were just around the corner, so the teams needed some time to decide on the strategy or order of play. When Crescent Moon returned to their waiting room, all of the players—except for Hyeonu—sat on sofas and chairs.
“I don’t know who will come out. That player, Luke, might come out again. What should we do?” Hyeonu wanted to decide who Crescent Moon’s first player would be before making a strategy. It was only after making that decision that he would be able to say something else, be it coming up with a customized strategy or giving advice.
“I went out first in the first match. So, this time, I will appear as the third player.” Dwayne was the first to speak up. He wasn’t greedy to play in this match. After all, he had already beaten Karelin in the first round. This was enough of a reward for him in Arena Week. From now on, he would no longer be greedy and would just do his best for the team. It would be better if good results came out, but he wouldn’t be disappointed if that wasn’t the case.
“I don’t want to be the vanguard either.”
“Me neither, Hyung.”
The problem was that Lee Hoon and Yuri were also reluctant to go out as starters. To begin with, Yuri never liked the idea of going out first, and Lee Hoon was afraid of facing a pointless defeat. There were various reasons why it was a burden to be the first player.
Hyeonu saw that they were putting off being the starter, so he neatly arranged the order like this: “Hoon, you go out first. Yuri will go out as the starter in the next match. Then it would be fair if Dwayne went out again after that, right? At the end, I’ll go out as the starter.”
“Hyung!” Lee Hoon protested strongly.
Meanwhile, the other two nodded at Hyeonu’s decision.
“This is good.”
“I also think it is good.”
In any case, Dwayne had no major objections, and Yuri had similar thoughts.
Lee Hoon approached Hyeonu and muttered, “I’m not ready...”
Hyeonu told him, “Wasn’t your heart prepared back in South Korea? Don’t speak nonsense, and head out.”
Seeing Hyeonu’s frown, Lee Hoon nodded hurriedly. He knew he wouldn’t be able to take responsibility for the aftermath if he said anything else.
“Don’t worry too much. Luke won’t come out first. Your opponent is probably Ryan,” Hyeonu said.
Lee Hoon’s expression changed dramatically when he heard that. His face had brightened when he heard that Luke wouldn’t go out first, but he soon became depressed again upon hearing that his opponent was going to be Ryan.
“Don’t worry too much. You’ve practiced a lot, and I analyzed a lot.” Hyeonu patted the head of the gloomy-looking Lee Hoon. There was no need for Lee Hoon to be intimidated in advance. The people who had helped Lee Hoon practice—Hyeonu, Kim Seokjung, Gang Junggu, Teika, and Rain—weren’t inferior to Ryan.
“The only aspect in which you’ll lose to Ryan is reputation,” Hyeonu added. The preparation period was short, but they had prepared many things.
“Hyung, is there anything for me? Ryan’s videos don’t make sense...” Lee Hoon said with a more comfortable expression. Ryan had also experienced many changes since the Winter League. Like Reina, his skills had skyrocketed. The videos from the last league or his streams meant nothing now. There were fewer than 30 combat videos that were still useful. It was a number that could be called a lot, but more data was needed for an accurate analysis.
“It is roughly similar. Nothing much has changed,” Hyeonu replied.
When Lee Hoon heard that, he cocked his head. Hyeonu’s response was illogical. How had Ryan’s skills changed so much if nothing much had changed?
“Hyung, do you dislike me? You dislike me, right? Is that why you aren’t teaching me?” Lee Hoon’s expression became more aggrieved.
Hyeonu said, “I am telling you about it though? You already know about everything. It’s just that his magic power control is more refined and detailed now.”
Nothing much had really changed. It was simply that Ryan’s magic power control had improved considerably. With this, his existing combat style was strengthened. It was as if the weight of the fighter was the same, but the overall power was increased. This was what his opponents felt.
Hyeonu continued, “You have to aim for the small sense of deviation. Ryan probably hasn’t suffered much defeat since he improved. Honestly, Luke isn’t that different from Ryan. They will be on par with each other. You can defeat Ryan and win again with Luke.”
He found that Ryan’s weakness was imperfection. As Hyeonu had seen in a video, Ryan hadn’t fully adapted to his improved magic power control. This wasn’t a big flaw; it was just a fine discrepancy. The gap was so small that it would naturally disappear over time.
‘Luke isn’t capable of pointing it out.’
In Hyeonu’s view, this minor flaw wasn’t recognized by anyone in Manchester.
‘By the way, can he see it?’
Nevertheless, the problem Hyeonu was concerned with was somewhere else. It was whether Lee Hoon could see this fine difference. Hyeonu’s answer was no. Lee Hoon was incapable of seeing the difference, so Hyeonu was reluctant to speak as it was obvious that Lee Hoon would see Hyeonu as a strange person.
Hyeonu played a video comparing Ryan’s past and recent battles on the tablet. “His magic power control has improved. The specs of the characters he used in PvP have also increased. Naturally, the power of his attack is higher than before, and his opponent can’t block or deflect his attacks as easily as before. Fight a bit like how he’s fighting, and you will win too. It is good to approach him. Ryan’s magic power control has improved, so he can make pure energy more quickly. But do you know what his problem is? Fighting like this makes things simpler than before. It is old-fashioned. The problem is that you need to pull out that old-fashioned combat technique.”
It was as Hyeonu said. Ryan’s sword moved more simply than before. The anomalies were gone, and simplicity remained. There was just a strength that hadn’t been seen before. In a way, it seemed he had abandoned variation in his combat technique and chosen strength. However, strength would naturally follow magic power. It wasn’t necessary to abandon the anomalies at all.
“I understand, Hyung. I’ll just have to make it so he can’t make pure energy at all.” Lee Hoon looked like he had prepared something and nodded with an expression of enlightenment.
“If you know, win.” Hyeonu patted Lee Hoon’s shoulder as if to encourage him.
Just then, the voice of the host flowed from the television in the waiting room: -The PvP match between Crescent Moon and Manchester. The two players who are coming out first are Lee Hoon and Ryan.
Hyeonu’s expectations were correct. Ryan was Manchester’s first player.
‘I will also win. I need to win,’ Lee Hoon repeated the same words in his heart.
Victory—only this word remained in Lee Hoon’s mind. Lee Hoon had many goals. Hyeonu would end his short career as a professional gamer after Arena Week, but Lee Hoon was determined to continue it in parallel with his streaming channel. The problem was that he couldn’t maintain a professional life just because he wanted to.
At present, there was a giant tree called Hyeonu sheltering him from everything. The problem would occur after Hyeonu’s shadow disappeared. Would Lee Hoon be able to survive on his own?
‘The first step starts now,’ Lee Hoon thought. Obtaining victory against Ryan today would be the first step toward extending his professional life.
“The first game is between Lee Hoon of Crescent Moon and Ryan of Manchester. Let’s get started!”
The moment the host’s words finished, the number floating in the air quickly decreased.
3, 2, 1...
The moment Lee Hoon saw the number disappear, he covered his front with a shield, kicked hard against the ground, and rushed out like crazy. Seeing this, Ryan quickly raised his magic power and swung at Lee Hoon. Ryan knew that the rest of the battle would be easier if he could prevent Lee Hoon’s charge.
Lee Hoon blocked Ryan’s attack with the shield, which was covered with a blue membrane. The shield’s blue membrane faded a bit, but it was still in a uniform state. Ryan saw this and moved without delay. He failed to prevent it, so the next choice was to avoid it.
Lee Hoon arrived a short distance from Ryan, raised his shield, and struck the ground. He knew it would be hard to hit Ryan directly with the shield, so he was aiming for this from the very beginning. The ground near where Lee Hoon stood split apart and shook. Ryan kicked off from the ground and jumped into the air to escape the shock.
‘That’s it!’ Lee Hoon threw the shield at Ryan, sending it flying with heavy momentum. Ryan struck at Lee Hoon’s shield with his red-colored sword and landed steadily on the ground. A blue light appeared in front of Ryan’s eyes as if welcoming him.
It was Lee Hoon’s sword. Ryan hit it and quickly retreated with a flustered expression. This was because he was struggling against an unexpected opponent. Amongst the players of Crescent Moon, Ryan had only been wary of Hyeonu. Karelin had lost to Dwayne, but Ryan had dismissed it as just one case.
However, he now realized that he was in a crisis. Regardless, such self-criticism was short-lived as Lee Hoon didn’t even give Ryan time to self-reflect. Lee Hoon lunged a stab at Ryan with the glowing blue sword.Previous Chapter Next Chapter