Chapter 199: It is always darkest underneath the lamp (1)


“What did you say? TKBM excavation team recruitment announcement?”

Yoo Jaeha, who had returned after successfully completing his mission, dropped his jaw in shock.

It was great that he received a storm of praises from his Captain upon his return, but what?

“You passed the TKBM open recruitment test?! Really?”
“Yes. They told me to start working tomorrow.”

The first thing Yoo Jaeha did was scream. Maybe that was to be expected.

It was that motherfucker Chairman Kwon's company, but TKBM was quite a famous global corporation and just talking about getting into it was quite prestigious for a person.

As for their excavation team… It might be a dangerous job but something that everybody wished to join.

But he managed to be accepted to such a place on the first try?

‘I bet there were a ton of applicants after hearing that Chairman Kwon had woken up.’

“Wow, shit, TKBM is the cream of the crop……”

Well, it wasn’t hard for Ju-Heon since he was just going back into his old company.

“No, wait, you damn person! Control yourself! Don’t you even feel bad for them?!”
“……What? Why?”
“You're not satisfied with doing what we did to Chairman Kwon that you're going to murder the regular employees?! The employees are innocent!”

Ju-Heon, who was sitting with his legs crossed, started to frown.

“Hey. You keep treating me like a villain every so often, who do you think……”
“What’s wrong? It’s true! Why are you pretending it's not?!”
“No. I did this just to dodge the individual inspection……”
“I understand. Just tell me what to do. Do I just need to abduct all of them? Abduct them and sell them off to a tuna fishing boat? Or maybe the Aoji Coal Mine? If not that, then maybe to dig for oil in the Middle East? Anyway, you damn Monarch of Crime, I guess I should just be glad that you're not participating in the organ trade……ugh!”

Ju-Heon stomped on Yoo Jaeha.

“Sure. I'll cut you up and sell your organs first.”

Flash.

Yoo Jaeha screamed once Ju-Heon took a dagger out with fluid movements.

“Joke, it was a joke! It really was a jooooooke!”

A gasping Yoo Jaeha lowered his head and started to beg for forgiveness. As Chloe was watching this situation with curiosity…

"Aigoo, of course I know. I definitely know it! The reason you applied for TKBM was to cause a shit… No, because of that detection artifact, right?”
"As long as you know.”

Ju-Heon snorted and put the dagger away.

That was right. Pandora must have been quite annoyed with Ju-Heon running wild that they personally offered their detection artifact. They also offered the assistance of Expert Detectors who were famous in Ju-Heon's past.

Of them, the bastard called the Monarch of Detection was nicknamed the human radar. Basically, these bastards had placed long-range radars all over the world.

This punk would end up being recruited for wars in the future, but he already had his fancy radars all over Europe.

That was why Ju-Heon’s location would be revealed the moment he arrived in Europe, even if he was far from the tomb.

There was a lot of discussion in the press about Detectors right now.

[A successful detection has led to the capturing of more illegal excavation teams!]
[All teams who had tried to sneak into the tomb without getting Excavation Rights have been captured as Tomb Raiders……]
[Of course, the captured excavation teams are complaining that Pandora is only issuing < Excavation Rights > to certain people…]
[Pandora responded that they have shared Excavation Rights with people who have met the qualifications and labeled these people as terrorists. They hope to increase the punishment……]

Of course, these Expert Detectors were not the issue.

They were quite annoying, but Ju-Heon’s excavation team was called a Tomb raiding team for a reason.

They were experts when it came to dodging detectors. However…

[The Detector artifact that Pandora offered, could this be that Pandora system artifact?]
[Ah, Pandora’s brain artifact that is said to be able to track anything down? Pandora is currently using that to track the movement of artifacts and artifact users.]
[We don’t know the identity of the artifact, but it is seen as the pillar of Pandora.]
[Wouldn't this be the first time that this artifact is being used in an excavation site?]
[We're not sure if it is indeed that artifact. Pandora has not made a public announcement and they are all rumors so far.]

It would be quite the headache if the detection artifact that came out this time was indeed the Pandora system artifact.

That was a sort of super computer that controlled the central system. The Pandora system artifact was on 24 hours a day to gather a lot of information for Pandora.

Of course, it was questionable whether they would accept the potential damage and send that off for a single tomb.

‘They might have pulled their swords out now.’

That was why even Ju-Heon had to be wary.

Julian started to laugh while looking at the news about the Monarch of Detection on the TV.

Although they were claiming some bullshit about how this was all for the benefit of the citizens…

“In reality, that person was called because of our infamous captain.”

They all started to laugh.

“I guess it is that guy. Ju-Heon, there are rumors that he is creating your coffin.”
“Oh really? I won’t even look at it if it isn’t made of diamonds.”
“But they seem to be quite wary of you. Especially if they are willing to bring out the Pandora system artifact.”

The provocative articles were proof of that.

[It will be impossible for Seo Ju-Heon to enter this tomb.]
[Iron wall of an inspection. “We will be able to tell the moment Seo Ju-Heon arrives in Europe.”]

There was more.

[The Pandora-EU alliance has sent 1,000 soldiers. “Seo Ju-Heon? We will definitely arrest the Tomb Raider who is destroying World Peace.”]

Ju-Heon started to pout.

They were doing all this for a team that only had 5 people.

“These bastards have no morals.”
“Is that something you of all people should be saying? Anyway, you can just destroy all of the radars with Divine-Grade artifacts if we get caught. However…”

Julian looked at Ju-Heon who was sitting on the couch.

“You understand? There’s no need to waste time or artifacts because of those bastards.”

Tombs were a fight against time.

They would get nothing if another excavation team managed to get the artifact first while they are tied down.

Ju-Heon happily nodded his head at the opinion of his strategist.

He naturally had the same thought.

Beyond that…

Bang!

Ju-Heon placed his long legs on top of the table as he started to snicker.

“It’s still darkest underneath the lamp.”
“Excuse me?”
"Whether it is the hired Expert Detectors or the Pandora system artifact… None of them would dare to use a detection artifact on Pandora-affiliated teams like TKBM. No, they can’t do it at all.”
“Huh? Why?”
“Would you like it if I placed a CCTV in your room?”
“N, no. But I'd enjoy it if it was the other way around. Irene would pay me good money for those recordings.”

Seol-A started to glare. Ju-Heon just continued to speak.

“Pandora is, in the end, a collection of allied teams. Even if you have an alliance with the country next to yours, you’re still not going to reveal your forces to each other.”
“Then…”
“That is why they will only do weak detections in the name of trust.”
“Is that why you are sneaking into TKBM?”
“Yes, as long as I joined their team, I can manage to avoid the Monarch of Detection's inspection. They won't check the contents after confirming our association.”

Yoo Jaeha nodded his head.

“For that reason, Kongming, Seol-A, and I are the three people going to this tomb.”
“Huh? What about me?”
“Yoo Jaeha, you will deal with the artifact auction. There is an item that we must win in this auction. Chloe, you are back-up.”

Chloe quickly started to speak.

“I'll come too.”
“No. There’s something I want you to take care of for me with Irene.”
“But……!”
“No.”

Chloe flinched after seeing Ju-Heon's gaze.

Ju-Heon was originally slightly younger than her. Furthermore, Ju-Heon seemed much younger as it was currently 15 years in the past. It wasn’t that he seemed like a kid, but he was at an age where an old man like Chairman Kwon would look down on him.

But his presence and charisma was at least as strong, if not stronger than back then.

‘His Dominance is much stronger than back then.’

Even then he was one of the top ten artifact users.

‘He's definitely beyond the Monarch grade now. He could probably aim for one of the Four Emperors positions.’

He still didn't have the special filthy feeling that monopolizers gave off as they forced people down. That was why Chloe found it interesting and amazing.

Yoo Jaeha tilted his head in confusion at that moment.

“But why did it have to be TKBM of all places? TKBM is only one of the five teams with the excavation rights to this tomb……”

Julian checked through the files and responded.

“Ah…… I analyzed the other four teams and they were no joke. TKBM is no joke either, but we had an opportunity this time. Our Captain caused a shitsho……no, his plan succeeded so TKBM lost a lot of manpower. Their core personnel are still there, but this recruitment is the best time to infiltrate them.”

Yoo Jaeha suspiciously looked toward Ju-Heon.

Ju-Heon was having fun rolling the dice that he placed in Chairman Kwon over and over.

‘Alright, let’s see what will come up next. I wonder if this can turn him into an eunuch. Maybe that one can give him hemorrhoids?’

He was smiling wickedly.

‘Kongming seems to have worked hard to analyze all teams before choosing TKBM, but……’

It seemed as if their damn captain had chosen the prey that could make things most interesting.


“What did you say? Seo Ju-Heon might try to sneak into the tomb as a part of our team?”

In front of the Tomb of Pride… The current TKBM's captains, who had carried malicious thoughts about him in Ju-Heon’s past life, dropped their jaws in shock.

Seo Ju-Heon's name alone was enough to get them angry but that bastard might stealthily infiltrate into their team?

“That’s right. It might happen. He might try to sneak in with an excavation team with excavation rights in order to dodge the Monarch of Detection's radar.”
“TKBM recently recruited a lot of people. You have to be especially careful.”

That made TKBM's ace team captains start to sneer.

“Who do you think we are?”

TKBM was one of the top three excavation teams in the world.

“Do you know how thorough our excavation team is? You guys just worry about yourselves.”

The other excavation teams that had come to warn them responded with disbelief. They were thinking that TKBM’s foundational attitudes would never change.

“Look at these frogs forgetting what it is like to be tadpoles.” [1]
“Shh, they might hear you.”

There was a reason TKBM was one of the top three excavation teams. Their tremendous amount of capital played a part, but the virtue necessary to gain artifacts, their trashy personalities, also played a part.

"Anyway, Chairman Kwon and his bastard subordinates are all the same.”
"What?”
"Ah, you heard me? Anyway, just know that Seo Ju-Heon might try to sneak in through your excavation teams.”
“Ho, we are artifact users as well. Do you really think we would not be able to recognize an artifact user at Seo Ju-Heon's level?”
“That’s right. Don’t talk shit about TKBM. Do you really think we wouldn’t have expected something like that?”
“We’ve gone through all sorts of shit recently because of that bastard Seo Ju-Heon, but we were thorough with our recruitment. Our interviews were quite strict as well. In fact, it isn’t our TKBM teams but you guys who should be careful. You trash-like fools.”
“What? Trash?! You guys have no right to say that! Do you know how many of our people TKBM has killed?! You guys even killed our interns who didn't know anything!”
“That's why you should have sent some hot shots. Did you send them to build a friendship because we talked about having an alliance?”
“What?”
“And what do you mean we killed them? We just threw them aside because they were useless and they got themselves killed. Send some useful people next time. They were useless out in the field.”
"What? You bastard!”

Other excavation team captains started to calm down the people who were about to start fighting.

“Stop, stop!”
"Anyway, fine. We will be wary of Seo Ju-Heon just in case.”
“Let’s contact each other if there are any signs of him trying to infiltrate any of our teams.”

The excavation team captains quickly dispersed from their meeting.

‘Seo Ju-Heon and his band of misfits? You guys won’t be able to take a single step into TKBM.’

However… One step was bullshit.

“My name is Lin Yun, and this is James.”
“Hello, my name is Han Ji-Sang.”
“Yes, it must be hard going into one of the 7 Great Tombs on your first day at work, but good luck.”

They had openly walked onto the TKBM excavation team already.

Well, the one who had to pull an all-nighter was Yoo Jaeha though.

‘Jaeha was really about to die.’

Julian, who had turned into James, an American, felt sorry for Yoo Jaeha.
His name was on the verge of going up as the Monarch of Pushoverness, but he truly was the Monarch of Fraud Julian remembered.

‘Is it because Ju-Heon thoroughly trained him? Jaeha, and even Seol-A are developing quite a lot.’

They might even become stronger than they had been during their prime.

Julian's heart was beating quickly.

Well, it was good that Yoo Jaeha used da Vinci's artifact to change their faces and physique, but……

‘You understand? I created this artifact skin quickly so its duration and durability are quite low. Just three days. You need to clear the tomb and get out within three days. Also be careful since receiving a strong attack would return you back to normal!’

Most Great Tombs took at least three days just to move around.

Would this really work since the fastest time any Great Tomb has been cleared still took a whole week?

Furthermore…

“Thoroughly investigate the new personnel. Report up if you see anything suspicious!”
“Yes sir!”

‘It looks like they have their suspicions.’

Well, they had expected as much.

In fact, they would have clicked their tongues and called these people idiots if they weren’t suspicious.

But if there was something Julian had not expected……

“Seo-Ju-Heon, that dog-like bastard. He really is a thorn in our eyes. How many excavation teams are being fucked over because of a single bastard?”
“Fuck, we've had to work overtime and more overtime because of that motherfucking Seo Ju-Heon.”
“Please let me go home……”
“Let’s kill him if we capture him. I managed to get my hands on a torture artifact.”
“His only talent is sneaking around like a damn rat……I wonder if his thing can even get up to be a man.”
"Exactly. What a fucking retard.”

There was a woman whose eyes flashed as she took out a knife after hearing their comments.

Julian quietly screamed while seeing this happen.

"Seol-A, stop, stop!”

Julian held Seol-A back from assassinating those bastards.

Seol-A's gaze was quite chaotic.

“I will be back after cutting off their necks.”

She looked ready to chase the people who talked shit about Ju-Heon to the ends of the Earth. Julian desperately stopped Seol-A since he knew she would actually do that.

“I know you're angry that they talked shit about Ju-Heon, but relax. Relax!”

‘This is the middle of the enemy base!’

"We can't get caught out here! Even our captain is holding back his temper and staying quiet. That’s why……”

He was definitely not staying quiet.

“Huh? My artifact, where did my artifact go?”
“You idiot, look again.”
“Hey, where is YOUR artifact then?”
“Aaah! Where did it go?!”

Julian grabbed his hair and started to freak out after hearing this.

Many people were starting to scream around them.

“Huh? Hey! Where did the artifact I was restoring go?!”
“Huh? Did the owner already take it back?”
“Of course not! Fuck, what the hell?”

Julian grabbed the back of his neck.

‘Seo Ju-Heon, you motherfuuuuuuuuuuucker!’

His suspicions were correct.

While everybody was in states of chaos, there was a young man with glasses that was calm.
He had horn-rimmed glasses and mop-like hair. This dismal appearance was quite different than the strong impression he usually gave off.

He was acting as if he had no idea what was going on.

'I'm new here and have no idea about anything.'

He had an innocent expression that seemed to be giving off such a message, but well…

Snicker snicker.

Julian clenched his hair after seeing the corners of this young man’s mouth twitching while others couldn’t see it.

‘Damn it! There’s no way a sparrow will just pass by a gristmill!’

Well, was this actually more of a crow being unable to pass by a sparkling object without trying to get it?

‘This guy can never be still! What will he do if he gets caught?!’

They had not even gone inside the tomb yet, but… Ju-Heon was already running wild as if he was a crow that had found a sparkling object.


1. An idiom about people whose situation becomes better forgetting what it was like in the past and pretending as if they had been living in this better situation since the beginning.

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miraclerifle's Thoughts

A crow that found a sparkling object? Is the aura of the Crow affecting our MC? Or did the Crow save Ju-Heon because it, she, he(?) thought Ju-Heon was a bird of the same feather?


Second break day tomorrow.