Chapter 310. The Stories That Become Bridges (4)


“Araha hates black clothes. She also hates arrogant people and hates being ignored even more. She has an inferiority complex because she wasn’t the first-in-line to become the king.

“The reason Araha is calling you should have something to do with Prestige. You’re Prestige’s master after all.

“I don’t know what Araha thinks about the prophecy. I assume it’s a mix of interest and displeasure….”

After receiving Tomer’s advice, we went to the royal palace, which was several times bigger and grander than the last time I had seen it.

“…By the way, Jin Sahyuk, did I kill you once or twice?” Before going in, I asked Jin Sahyuk.

Her pride seemed to have been hurt as she frowned without a reply.

“I’m not making fun of you. I’m asking how many Skill slots you have left.”

“…Five.”

“Five? Three basic and 2 special? You didn’t learn any?”

Jin Sahyuk nodded her head.

“You’re more prudent than I thought. Well, you’ll be learning some today.”

The royal palace should have a few buff-type passive skills. I would be surprised if the royal palace’s vault had nothing of the sort.

“No, I don’t need any.” But to my surprise, Jin Sahyuk shook her head and grumbled. “I can’t learn Ultimate Skills and Unique Skills because of you. I don’t need other trash skills.”

“What? No.”

Now that Jin Sahyuk was becoming more and more redeemable, it was important for me to strengthen her.

“Synthesized Basic Skills and Special Skills that take up two slots are worth learning. We’ll have to look through the vault to see what’s available though.”

“…The hell does that mean?”

“It’s fine if you don’t understand. Let’s just go in.”

Jin Sahyuk and I entered the palace. Once we showed our royal invitation letter to a guard, a knight came down to greet us.

“My name is Wilhelm Tell. Follow me, Her Royal Highness is waiting.”

Wilhelm Tell. He wasn’t all that famous in modern Earth, but his story remained as a small legend.
We followed Wilhelm past a huge garden. Countless knights were lined up along the hallway we walked through. I wasn’t sure if they were there to greet us or threaten us.

“Go in.”

Eventually, we arrived in front of a well-decorated door.

“…Yes.”

I turned the doorknob and slowly pushed the door in.
The door opened smoothly, and I could see Araha sitting at the head of a long, rectangular table.
Once the door fully opened, Araha smiled. Standing next to her were Lancelot and Lü Bu.

“Welcome, Master of Prestige and Former Knight Commander Shin Jahyuk,” Araha said.

“…We’re humbled to be in your audience.”

I greeted her the way I learned from Tomer. Jin Sahyuk, on the other hand, simply nodded her head. It seemed to be a matter of pride. After all, she was a former king.

“I see you haven’t changed, Knight Commander. Please sit.”

Araha didn’t seem to mind Jin Sahyuk’s attitude as she guided us to our seats. I tilted my head at Araha’s reaction. The impression I was getting from her was different than what Tomer taught me.

“Hajin-ssi?”

Then, a woman who was sitting near Araha called my name. A knight with blonde hair and sparkling eyes. She was someone I knew well.

“Rachel?”

Rachel and I exchanged curious glances.

“Hm? You two know each other?” A smile of interest emerged on Araha’s face.

Rachel looked back and forth between me and Jin Sahyuk before asking with a gulp, “How did you two…”

“Ah, Jin Sa-, er, Knight Commander Shin Jahyuk came as my companion. Her Royal Highness called us here.”

“Please, sit. Or do you plan on keeping me waiting?” Araha interrupted us and said with a cheery voice.

“Ah, yes.”

Jin Sahyuk and I sat down. Rachel still looked confused, and Araha clapped her hands, still smiling.
Immediately, several servants walked into the room with plates of food.

“Go ahead. I heard there’s a saying in your world that one should fill their stomach before enjoying the mountain view.”

With that, we began to eat. I munched on a king crab’s leg, and Jin Sahyuk sliced a premium steak.

Araha asked, “You’ve heard about the prophecy from Margrave Tomer, correct?”

“Yes.”

“I’ve called you to talk about that. We discovered a pathway that leads to your world, Earth.”

My eyes immediately widened.

Araha continued slowly as she munched on a piece of escargot, “But this pathway is in a dangerous place, and a huge amount of energy is needed to open it. Crevon isn’t capable of providing this energy.”

Energy…. That shouldn’t be a problem since the [Dimensional Entropy] was in our hands.

“I should be able to take care of the energy. Where is the pathway?” I asked.

Araha stared at me fixedly before letting out a deep sigh. “The 9th floor.”

“…Pardon?”

“The pathway to the outside world…” Araha paused. After collecting her breath, she muttered in a heavier voice, “…is deep inside the 9th floor filled with mythical monsters.”

**


[Desolate Moon Guild Building – Vice-Leader Shin Jonghak’s Office]

Desolate Moon’s newly appointed vice-leader, Shin Jonghak the Conqueror, was decorating his office. He placed his spear, which was the main reason he was granted the title ‘Conqueror’, on a shelf and placed a sculpture of himself he was gifted a long time ago next to it.

“Hahahaha.”

Just looking at the sculpture brightened up his mood. It suited the interior design of the office and was perfect to represent the Hero Shin Jonghak, at least in his eyes.

“…Kuhum.”

Shin Jonghak, who was wearing a satisfied smile, suddenly furrowed his brows. He had remembered it was Kim Hajin who sculpted this piece.

“That guy, why don’t I ever know where he is?”

Shin Jonghak clicked his tongue, sat down on his office chair and opened the newspaper. The first, second, and third pages were all about the ‘Gate of Glory’.

[3rd Round of Selections Begins for the Gate of Glory. Rising Star Chae Nayun, Kim Suho the ‘Sword Saint’, Shin Jonghak the ‘Conqueror’ Included]
[Norwegian Hero Bjormoj Steps Up to the Challenge… High-intermediate-rank Hero Leitlison Fails at 2nd Round]

—Vice-Leader, there’s news!

“Uwoah!”

A loud shout broke out as Shin Jonghak was reading. Startled, Shin Jonghak ripped the newspaper. Looking at the torn newspaper in his hands, Shin Jonghak sighed.

“…What is it?”

—I’ll send it over right now!

Shin Jonghak received the news on his computer. It was related to Essence of the Strait.

[Breaking News! Master-rank Hero, ‘Divine Archer’ Jin Seyeon, Joins Essence of the Strait!]
[Essence of the Strait Stocks Skyrocket…. Up 19% in 5 minutes!]

“…Pft.”

Shin Jonghak broke out into laughter while reading the news report. Jin Seyeon joining Essence of the Strait was certainly a shocking piece of news, especially considering how long she had remained independent. But it was nice seeing Yoo Yeonha, his long time friend, doing so well.
Although he wasn’t happy that Essence of the Strait was so far ahead of Desolate Moon, he knew Yoo Yeonha was no match for him in terms of battle prowess.

Shin Jonghak continued to read with a pleased smile on his face. Then, his gaze subconsciously turned to the frame next to his monitor.

“….”

Inside the fist-sized frame was the young Shin Jonghak and his grandfather Shin Myungchul, both smiling happily.

“Haa…”

Shin Jonghak picked up the frame with a sigh. Shin Myungchul, the brightest of the Nine Stars and the man whose name will be forever recorded in history.
Even as his grandson, Shin Jonghak couldn’t understand why Shin Myungchul sacrificed himself.
Wasn’t his life worth more than the lives of a few million ordinary people? Didn’t he know that? Or did he sacrifice himself regardless?

“…Grandfather.”

Shin Jonghak recalled an old memory. In it, he was crying in the arms of his grandfather. At the time, just being by his side consoled him. Shin Jonghak was prouder of him than anyone else and considered him the eternal hero of humanity.

Shin Jonghak muttered bitterly as he looked at his young self in the frame.

“I still resent you.”

**


On the other hand, inside the Essence of the Strait guild building, now being flooded with calls, Yoo Yeonha summoned Chae Nayun who was one of Essence of the Strait’s most famous Heroes.

Chae Nayun shouted as soon as she entered Yoo Yeonha’s office, “Is it true?! Jin Seyeon Hero-nim is joining our guild?!”

Her voice resounded loudly. Yoo Yeonha grinned and nodded her head.

“Wow….”

Chae Nayun’s jaws dropped. It was an understandable reaction as most Master-rank Heroes who weren’t guild leaders themselves rarely stayed in guilds.
Jin Seyeon joining Essence of the Strait was truly a piece of news worthy of all the buzz. But that wasn’t all that was surprising.

“Anyways, Nayun.”

“Hm?”

Yoo Yeonha smiled lightly and took out the Balmung Kim Hajin gave her. Chae Nayun tilted her head.

“Take it.”

“What’s this? A baseball bat?”

Her reaction was to be expected. Balmung currently looked like a long stick more than anything else.

“This artifact is perfect for you.”

“This? What, is it the stone club Beowulf used?”

“No. Just try holding it.”

Yoo Yeonha wanted to surprise Chae Nayun. So she gave Balmung to her without an explanation, and Chae Nayun held it with keen interest.
And at that moment— whoosh!
Yoo Yeonha formed a small whip with her magic power and made a small cut on Chae Nayun’s arm.

“Ow!”

Blood flowed from the cut, and Chae Nayun turned to Yoo Yeonha.
Tk, tk— Blood seeped into the stone sword.

“What was that for?”

Chae Nayun eyed Yoo Yeonha angrily.

“Just watch.”

“I’m bleeding, geez.”

“Right.”

Yoo Yeonha shrugged. 500ml of blood was necessary to awaken Balmung, so she had no choice but to make the cut a little deep.

“Right? Look at my arm! It’s bleeding a lot!”

“Look at what’s in your hand.”

Hearing this, Chae Nayun looked down, seething.

“…!”

Chae Nayun’s body shook. The stone lump in her hand was sucking in her blood.

“H-Hey, what’s…”

She didn’t have the time to ask. Once Balmung absorbed enough blood, it emitted a bright light. Yoo Yeonha and Chae Nayun instinctively clad themselves in qi reinforcement.

Kwaaaa— The erupting light soon seeped back into the stone.

“…Uh.”

Silence descended in the room.
Chae Nayun let out a short sound. The lump of stone in her hand had transformed into a sword.
Navy blue blade and a golden hilt. Just like in the myth of Siegfried, both light and darkness coexisted in the 1.8-meter-long greatsword.

Yoo Yeonha looked at it and said, “That’s Balmung.”

“Bal… this… holy…”

While Chae Nayun was lost in shock, Yoo Yeonha took out a document from her drawer. It was a contract for permanent lease of the weapon.

“You want it, right? You can have it if you sign here.”

“…Huh? Oh, yeah, of course.”

When Yoo Yeonha showed her the contract, Chae Nayun signed it without even giving it a brief glance.

“What’s happening!?”

Then, Yoo Yeonha’s office door burst open. Heroes who detected Balmung’s magic power rushed inside.
But once they saw that both Yoo Yeonha and Chae Nayun were safe, their gaze turned to the only odd object in the room.

“…Wow.”
“The heck….”

Balmung, a weapon of many legends.
Yoo Yeonha smiled at the dazed Heroes and gave them an explanation, “This is Balmung. Our major shareholder, XJ-nim, lent it to us.”

XJ was short for EXTRA HAJIN. His name was well-known as a major shareholder of Essence of the Strait, though no one knew his real identity.

“Cool, right? Feel free to take pictures and brag about it to your friends.”

A guild having such a valuable weapon boosted its image.
Even after hearing Yoo Yeonha’s explanation, the Heroes continued to stare at Balmung blankly.

**


[Tower of Wish – 8F, Crevon]

Rain was falling in Crevon. I was sitting in the royal palace’s reception room, deep in thought.
Araha said that the pathway was on the 9th floor. I didn’t know whether or not she was telling the truth, but I could probably just leave the Chameleon Troupe to take care of it. After all, Cheok Jungyeong was always itching for a fight.

“Why haven’t you responded to my messages?”

Then, I heard Rachel’s voice from nearby. She was talking to Jin Sahyuk.

“Do I have a reason to?” Jin Sahyuk answered.

“…I see.” Rachel nodded her head without even the slightest change in her expression. But anyone could tell that she was hurt by the blunt response.

“Hajin-ssi?”

“Yes?”

I turned to Rachel with a smile. Rachel also put on a smile and nodded.

“It’s been a while.”

“Ah, yes.”

“….”

Meanwhile, Jin Sahyuk looked back and forth between me and Rachel. Feeling her gaze, Rachel also turned to Jin Sahyuk.
Just like that, a silent battle began between the two.

“Haha… huh? What’s that?”

Looking around the room, I found a pool table in the corner of the room. From what I heard, all sorts of sports spread by Players were trending in Crevon.

“Um, do you guys want to play some pool?”

“Huh? Pool?”

Rachel’s eyes suddenly brightened.

“…I’d be happy to. Are you good, Hajin-ssi?”

“Uh… It’s hard for me to be bad at it, I guess?”

I had Young Dwarf’s Dexterity after all.

“Pft.” But Rachel suddenly snorted. It was the first time I was seeing her sneer. It must have come out subconsciously as she immediately fixed her expression, but I was taken aback.

“Ah, sorry. It’s just that I’m… quite good at pool. I even won a tournament.”

“Ah… I see.”

I nodded thoughtlessly at Rachel’s proud comment, but that ended up triggering Jin Sahyuk’s competitive spirit.

“What pool are you talking about?”

“English billiards, straight pool, carom, eight-ball, it doesn’t matter to me.”

“Yeah? Then let’s go with carom.”

“Sure.”

Rachel was full of confidence, which Jin Sahyuk seemed to hate. Jin Sahyuk stomped towards the pool table and grabbed a cue. Rachel also grabbed one with a grin.

“Shall we begin?”

“Ah, it’s a bit boring if we’re not betting on something. What should we bet?”

“A bet… What about a wish?”

“Good.”

Everything happened in the blink of an eye. But just as the match was about begin…

“…?”

I was contacted by Spartan who was outside the Tower of Wish.

—Yoo Jinhyuk messaged that his investigation of Yi Yeonjun is complete.
—Yi Yeonjun seems to be up to something. It doesn’t seem urgent. Currently on the lookout.

I got up to return to Earth the moment I received Spartan’s thoughts.

“I’m leaving now. You guys have fun.”

“Huh? Where are you going?”

“She’s right. Kim Hajin, you’re playing too.”

But Rachel and Jin Sahyuk grabbed me simultaneously. Rachel even handed me a cue.

“Don’t run away. You’re playing for a wish too.”

“…Me too?”

“Of course.”

Rachel and Jin Sahyuk were ready to go all out.

“Uh… okay.”

Since Spartan wasn’t in a hurry, I agreed and decided to quickly stomp them and leave.

“Then I’ll go first.”

I put some chalk on the cue tip and got ready. But Jin Sahyuk and Rachel weren’t placing me in their eyes at all.

“I’m curious how good you are, Former Knight Commander.”

“I’m curious too.”

“Please, teach me.”

“I don’t know if you’re good enough to be my disciple.”

“…Annoying me. Is that a tactic?”

“Please, why would I need to stoop to such a level against a beginner?”

“….”

Little did they know, they wouldn’t even have the chance to show off their skills.

“I’m going.”

I planned on ending it on turn one.

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