Chapter 311. Virtual Reality Containing the Truth (1)


“….”
“….”

Rachel and Jin Sahyuk sat in the reception room of the royal palace in shock. The pool table and the cue sticks that they never got to use were in front of them.

The game had ended instantly.

At this point, neither of them could remember how many points they were playing for. They didn’t even want to think about how the game unfolded.

Kim Hajin, the man responsible for this mess, instructed Rachel to ‘give Jin Sahyuk skillbooks’ and Jin Sahyuk to ‘listen to Rachel’. He then left the royal palace without looking back.

Everything felt futile.

“…This game shouldn’t be that easy,” Jin Sahyuk muttered and put a cue stick down on the table.

Hit too hard, the ball breaks. Hit too weak, the ball loses its course. Using magic power was also prohibited.
Pool was a difficult game for superhumans who had beyond average strength.

Tak—!

She posed properly and hit the cue ball. The ball hit the first target, bounced against the wall and then hit the second.

“I'm in a good condition today. Can’t believe the game ended before I even got to play. Oi, you…?”

Jin Sahyuk casually turned her gaze to the side, only to be startled by Rachel.
The princess looked as if her soul had escaped her body.

“…Are you crying?”

“…Eh? N-No.”

Kim Hajin didn’t know this, but as the three-time winner of Crevon’s Pool Tournament, Rachel took pride in this game. With delicate and elaborate techniques stemming from her experience in dealing with spirits, Rachel has long been the reigning queen of billiards.

“It… doesn’t matter anymore. Please, follow me.”

Still in shock, Rachel beckoned to Jin Sahyuk. She planned to show Jin Sahyuk the skill books as she had been instructed to do by Kim Hajin.

“…Sure.”

Jin Sahyuk followed Rachel willingly.

Rachel walked ahead and asked, “Special and Basic Skills, right?”

“Yeah. Something that will be useful in real life. Got anything good?”

“There should be. This is the royal palace, after all.”

The two of them walked down the hallway and arrived at the library accessible only to the members of the royal family and their close associates.

“Come in.”

“…Ooh.”

The library was big and the ceilings were high. Jin Sahyuk looked around in amazement. Every single one of the carefully carved bookshelves was a masterpiece.
Of course, they were nothing compared to Plerion.

“Why don’t you look around and see if anything catches your eye?” Rachel said.

Jin Sahyuk did as she was told. She walked slowly, her eyes skimming over the books. Skillbooks, history books, magic books, educational books, etc. The library had everything.

Jin Sahyuk spent some time looking over the books and studying various skills. In the past, she had thought some of them were useless, but now they all seemed interesting.

“Excuse me, Shin Jahyuk-ssi.”

Suddenly, Rachel called Jin Sahyuk.

“Mm?”

Jin Sahyuk asked back, her gaze still fixed on the book.

“Um….” Rachel hesitated.

Finding it strange, Jin Sahyuk raised her head and looked at Rachel. 10 seconds passed by.

Finally, Rachel asked with a small sigh, “What kind of relationship do you have with Hajin-ssi?”

“…Hm? Uh… nothing, I guess.”

But Jin Sahyuk already knew Kim Hajin’s secret.
She also learned about ‘Synchronization’ from Bell.
And, she knew how Kim Hajin would change once she managed to increase his Synchronization rate.

And so— with a meaningful smile, she added, “…For now.”

**


[16F — Genkelope’s Vessel]

I returned to the Genkelope’s Vessel. The vessel was again roaming above the ‘Genkelope Zone’ on the 16th floor. It seemed that the mission to recapture the Zone was still in progress.

“Welcome back, Ship Commander.”

Horner came out of the Commander’s Office where he had been observing the land below to greet me. I welcomed Horner with a smile.

“Good to see you. And my guest?”

“She’s waiting for you in the VIP lounge.”

Today was the day I would deliver the [Ceremonial Descent Robe] to Medea, my last guest in the Tower of Wish.

“Okay, thanks.”

I headed for the VIP lounge, surrounded by warm welcomes from the crew.
I held a beautifully decorated gift box in one hand and opened the door with the other.
Medea was waiting for me inside, as expected.

“You’re finally here.”

Medea looked at me with a surly expression. It was a natural response, as I was well past the deadline.
I gave a small smile and held out the gift box in my hand.

“I put a lot of effort into making it.”

“Well, even considering that you’re way too late….”

Medea stomped up to me. Her face glimmered with joy and desire that she failed to hide.

“Give it.”

But there was one more thing I had to ask Medea before giving her this robe.

“Are you planning on descending soon, then?”

“…Probably?”

Medea nodded nonchalantly with her arms crossed.

“And you haven’t forgotten about our promise, right?”

“…Promise?”

I took out the copy of [Heynckes’s Dagger].

“Oh~ that?”

Medea and I made an oath over this dagger to never betray humanity and to help humans out at all costs. I couldn’t risk having Medea run away like the former Nine Star Oh Jaejin.

“Of course I haven’t.”

Medea nodded with a smile.
That was all I needed to hear.
Medea, the great sorceress who had been mentioned several times in Greek mythology.

“I don’t want to see the world that I’m going to live in fall apart either.”

I was sure that a person of such caliber would be of great help to this world.

**

After I delivered the robe to Medea, I left the Tower of Wish. Spartan informed me that Yi Yeonjun was still in France, and my next destination was determined.
With Spartan, I flew to Paris, France.
More precisely, my destination was the Champ de Mars where the Eiffel Tower, the iconic landmark of Paris, stood. I planned on observing Yi Yeonjun from there.
…However.

[★ Hosting the 3rd preliminary round of the Gate of Glory Qualification Tournament ★]
[Welcome to Paris.]
[The Paris branch of Essence of the Strait welcomes you!]
[Heroes, please join us at the Eiffel Tower!]
[We love you Kim Suho ♥]
[Hero discount….]

“…What’s going on?”

Paris was clearly in the middle of a celebration. Though it was late at night the city was brightly lit, parades and carnivals everywhere. From the big banners written in Korean, I could tell Paris was excited to be the host of the 3rd preliminary round of the Gate of Glory Qualification Tournament.

“Is it really worth getting this excited about?”

Even considering the fact that the Qualification Tournament was drawing global attention, it still felt excessive. It was as if Paris had been chosen to host the World Cup.
Anyways.
I began searching for Yi Yeonjun under the bright lights.

“…Where is he?”

However, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t spot Yi Yeonjun and was left with no choice but to rely on Spartan’s vision again.
Yi Yeonjun was not above but underground.

“What the.”

The man next to Yi Yeonjun looked familiar. No, it was more than just familiar— I knew who this man was.
Switching sides on a whim, he was notoriously fickle, but just like Team Rocket, he never accomplished anything.

“Team Rocket, I mean, Lancaster?”

Dumbfounded, I listened in on their conversation.

—…I offer you ‘England’.

As expected, Lancaster was scheming against England again.
He sure was persistent.

—I have top secret information about the British national security with me as well as other confidential documents. With this, you can turn England into a second Pandemonium. The class-1 security codes can neutralize the entire British system and disable all shields.

Yi Yeonjun stared at Lancaster in silence.
Thinking he spotted greed in Yi Yeonjun’s nonchalant expression, Lancaster offered a proposal.

—…There’s only one thing I want. Please destroy the British royal family.

Top secret information about the British national security that Lancaster claimed to know… I wasn’t sure what they were, but right now my top priority was Yi Yeonjun.
I took out my smartwatch and opened Violet Times.

==[Violet Times]==
[Investigator Yoo Jinhyuk has completed your request.]
[Here is the flash drive containing information about Yi Yeonjun’s past.]
[Please pay the complete amount within two weeks.]
===============

A small portal appeared above the smartwatch.
I put my hand inside the portal and pulled out the flash drive Yoo Jinhyuk sent me.
…It was then.

“What’re ya doing here?”

A familiar voice struck my eardrums with crushing weight. Startled, I looked up.

“…You scared me.”

There, Cheok Jungeyong was looking down at me.
With a smirk, he put his hand on my shoulder.

“It’s been a while.”

“…You’re right. But why are you here, Cheok Jungyeong?”

“Me? They’re hosting the 3rd preliminary round or something here, that’s what I’m here for.”

“Alone?”

“Yup. Fun things should be done alone.”

“Mm.”

I nodded and turned my attention to the flash drive and Yoo Jinhyuk’s message.

[Yoo Jinhyuk: I’ve put together the most crucial pieces of information regarding Yi Yeonjun’s past. I even included a flash drive containing all the information as a gesture of goodwill for the VIP customer.]

[Directions: Infuse your magic power into the flash drive and insert it in a virtual reality capsule or a virtual reality helmet.]

[I recommend a ‘whole body capsule’ in place of a ‘helmet’ for a more engaging experience.]

===
[Yoo Jinhyuk’s flash drive]
—A flash drive containing the extracted past.
===

“…Mmm.”

‘So something like this was possible, after all.’

The reason Yoo Jinhyuk delivered his research in the format of a flash drive was that he wanted his customers to experience the same things as himself.

“Oi, what’s that? Looks sort of fun.”

Suddenly, Cheok Jungeyong shoved his head in towards me.

“Nothing. It’s just….”

I was about to change the subject when, suddenly, an idea crossed my mind.
No one said this flash drive was strictly for one person. I knew more than two people could play the same game or watch the same video at the same time using the ‘party’ option in a whole body capsule.

“…Cheok Jungyeong?”

“Hm? What?”

“Do you know Yi Yeonjun?”

Cheok Jungyeong gave a small frown.

“No, not really. All I know about him is that he was the former leader of the Chameleon Troupe and also Boss’s savior.”

Cheok Jungyeong was honest.
I looked down at the flash drive in silence.
Cheok Jungyeong had no prior relationship with Yi Yeonjun. What’s more, he even seemed disgruntled by the former leader's presence.
Well, then….

“Cheok Jungyeong, follow me.”

“Eh? Why?”

“This,” I put up the flash drive and suggested, “You said this looked fun. So let’s look at it together.”

“…Hmm.”

Cheok Jungyeong folded his arms, pretending to be uninterested, but soon broke into a smile and came close to me.

“Where can we look at it?”

“Right over there.”

I pointed at [Capsule de Mars], the largest capsule cafe and one of the most famous tourist attractions in France.

“Capsule? So that thing runs by a capsule?”

“That’s right. Let’s go.”

“I’ve never used a capsule before.”

I headed to the capsule cafe with Cheok Jungyeong who still looked confused.

“Welcome~”

I paid the cafe owner in won and borrowed two capsules. An extra-large-sized capsule for Cheok Jungyeong and a medium-sized capsule for me.
As soon as I was online, I sent Cheok Jungyeong a friend request.

“Cheok Jungyeong, are you ready?”

—Uh… wait… this is so damn complicated…. Ah, there. I accepted your friend request and party invitation. Am I all set?

“Yeah. Give me a moment. I’m putting in the flash drive now.”

I infused my magic power—Stigma—into the flash drive.

“Here we go,” I said and plugged the flash drive into the capsule.

…It was then.

Chwaaaa—

“What the….”

A cluster of light formed inside the capsule.
The mysterious light shot out of the capsule and enveloped my entire body.

**


Meanwhile, Kim Suho and Chae Nayun were busy playing games in the capsule cafe. Their excuse was to relieve stress and relax before the 3rd preliminary round began.
But the real reason they came here was purely because of Chae Nayun.
There was no way that Chae Nayun, an avid gamer, could pass up an opportunity to visit [Capsule de Mars], the world-famous capsule cafe.

“Uhahaha. Kim Suho, you sucker! You’re terrible at games. I can’t even keep track of how many times you lost!”

Inside the virtual world, Chae Nayun teased Kim Suho, who had just lost to her. Kim Suho scratched the back of his neck in embarrassment.

—…Ah. This is kinda hard.

“Who’s up next?”

The game they were playing right now was called ‘Gladiator of the Century’.
Chae Nayun won not only against Kim Suho but also against Shin Jonghak and Yun Seung-Ah. She wasn’t ranked no. 1 for nothing.

—Nayun, can’t we just play something else?

Yi Jiyoon suggested, completely worn out from the duel.

—Good idea. We should play something else. I’m getting tired of this.

Shin Jonghak agreed.

“Something else?”

Deep in thought, Chae Nayun turned her gaze to her friend list. Currently online were Kim Suho, Shin Jonghak, Yun Seung-Ah, Yi Jiyoon, and… Yoo Yeonha?

[Yoo Yeonha — Playing at ‘Capsule de Mars’, Paris]

“What the. Yoo Yeonha is here?”

—Yoo Yeonha? The Yoo Yeonha?

Yun Seung-Ah’s hologram widened her eyes.

“Yeah. It says right here that she’s playing at Capsule de Mars. She must be here in Paris. Unni, can we include Yeonha and play GTA 3 on 3?”

—Sure, anything but Gladiator of the Century.

Kim Suho and others nodded in agreement.

“Okay, then.”

Chae Nayun invited Yoo Yeonha to her party.
Though Yoo Yeonha was a bit hesitant, she accepted the invitation. Immediately five holograms, not including Chae Nayun, appeared in the common area.

“Hey, Yeonha.”

—Hey. So you were here, after all, Nayun.

Yoo Yeonha looked at Chae Nayun with her arms crossed.

“Of course I am. But why are you here?”

—I came to Paris as a member of the Association… and I have some documents to go over regarding the capsules.

Yoo Yeonha smiled bitterly and showed Chae Nayun the stack of documents. Chae Nayun felt sick at the mere sight of it.

“Damn. Put that thing down and let’s play a game.”

—Sorry, I’m busy.

“Hey, this is your chance to rest. There’s more to life than just work! You don’t have to take care of that right this moment.”

Yun Seung-Ah, Kim Suho, and Shin Jonghak added to Chae Nayun.

—Why don’t you rest a bit, Chief Officer? I’m a guild-leader and even I’m slacking off. You’re making me feel guilty.

—Exactly. Take a break.

—They’re right, Yeonha. Play just one game.

—…What did you say?

Yoo Yeonha glared at Shin Jonghak disapprovingly, but soon heaved a sigh and nodded.

—Fine. I’ll play just one game. I need to talk to Jonghak anyways.

“Yay! Okay, wait a sec.”

As soon as her friend gave in, Chae Nayun pulled up their next game, ‘Grand Theft Auto XS’.

“Let’s go.”

[Asking party members to join….]
[All members have entered.]
[Accessing ‘Grand Theft Auto XS’.]

The game was about to start, when suddenly—

Chwaaaa….

A giant ray of light swallowed them whole.
Surprised by the radiance, Chae Nayun closed her eyes. And when she opened them again….

“…?”

Chae Nayun, Yun Seung-Ah, Yoo Yeonha, Yi Jiyoon, Kim Suho, Shin Jonghak.
The six players were standing above an unfamiliar ground.

“Wow… Nayun, what’s the name of this game? It feels so real. Ah, my eyes still hurt,” Yi Jiyoon remarked.

Kim Suho and Yoo Yeonha also turned to Chae Nayun and waited for her answer.

“…”

But Chae Nayun couldn’t say anything.
Having played [Grand Theft Auto XS] for an astounding 200 hours, Chae Nayun was currently very confused.

“…Where are we?”

This was definitely not what [Grand Theft Auto XS] looked like.

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