"As time goes by, even if we forget, this heartaching feeling of longing, please don't forget~"
During my usual solo singing session,
a cup of coffee spawned with a clack, as if it was pleading for me to stop.
It's got to be an Americano when you're reading a newspaper in a cafe.
I took a sip of my Americano and began to read the newspaper.
The Monthly Normal Newspaper.
The sole Press company in the Korean Tutorial, founded by the Floor 30 NPCs in the Normal Difficulty.
Their naming sense was horrible.
Ever since its founding up till now, there had been many requests for a name change. However, it was ignored and they continued to use their name using a feeble excuse that the title contains the mind and soul of the founder.
You can subscribe to them by donating a certain amount of points every month through the Auction House.
For my case, I'm not just a subscriber, but one of their greatest investor at this point.
The monthly newspaper was created with 3 sections.
First was the news regarding what was happening outside the Tutorial, the real world.
Truth be told, it contained the least amount of useful information to the Players, but the outside news has always had the greatest attention from them.
The same goes for me.
Ever since I got trapped on this 60th Floor, reading the newspaper and finding out what happened outside this place had become my greatest joy.
What were the headlines for this month?
[Competition between America and Russia for the Returned]
[Repeat of the Space Race? Endless race for the Hell Difficulty]
[Lack of Korean Government's involvement on Hell Difficulty]
[America encourages future Players to challenge Hell Difficulty further]
Those crazy bastards.
They should know better than to encourage people to come here.
There was no way I couldn't swear at them.
Back in the past when it came to Hell Difficulty, China was first, and Russia was second.
In those days the number of people in Hell was just a tally on how many greedy people joined in.
But ever since the Hard Difficulty Players cleared the Tutorial and returned, everything changed.
Each and every individual who cleared Hard Difficulty had, with exaggeration, the power of an entire nation.
National might was now directly related to how many Returned that nation had.
The World's Policy was first the Returned, and second the Returned as well.
The most valuable resource was the Returned.
A nation's public order and military strength was based on the Returned.
The stability of the economy relied on the Returned.
Population and its density was about the Returned.
All first world nations gained information about the Tutorial from the graduates, the Returned.
In order to prepare the population from the random nature of the Tutorial's selection, they made its education and preparation an obligation to every citizen.
Plus, they began attracting the Returned from Third World countries by sending better contracts and deals.
Soon after, many of the Returned chose not to help their own countries, but choose their nationalities based on the contracts they were given.
There's even a saying that the moment you enter the Tutorial, you lose your passport.
Even if one accepted a contract with their own nation, in order to improve their terms, they would treat themselves as nationless before negotiating the contract.
All of the world scoured through the lands to gather as much Hard difficulty Returned as possible.
And soon, their eyes turned to Hell.
The first to move was China.
They would promote the relatives of all who challenged Hell Difficulty as Heroes.
From the rumours, half of the newcomers entered Hell Difficulty at one point.
The result was catastrophic.
They lacked too much information.
All of the challengers in Hell were killed through multiple Rounds, and China was now behind in raising new Returned from the world.
Since the number of Challengers are not determined by the nation's population, the blow was even heavier for the large, heavily populated nation.
The fact that only 100 people were chosen every time was very favourable to a country with small population.
And one of those countries was Korea.
For some reason, the survival rate of Korea's Returned were high.
Plus, Korea also had the highest Ranker for Hell, me.
Korea suddenly became one of the strongest nation for the Returned.
America soon approached Korea.
They determined that the reason for Korea's success was due to the society within the Tutorial and the high ranking Players who lead that society.
America promised financial and military support and in return, received information about Tutorial including Hell Difficulty.
To be precise, from me and few others, through the Korean Government.
And soon, America made every challenger in Hell as America's Heroes.
They made their lives into a documentary, and encouraged them.
They made them into idols for children, and created toys based on them.
With that, America now has an astonishing number of 11 challengers, I mean survivors in Hell Difficulty.
What was the point of having so many?
What was the point of reaching the 30th Floor?
Their chance of leaving the Tutorial alive was ever so close to 0.
The Korean Government listened to my warnings too well.
They made entering Hell difficulty illegal.
... But wasn't that too much?
Well it's good that there were no more casualties resulting from it...
Thanks to that law, people only enter Hell by accident like Lee Yeon Hee, or fools who wouldn't listen to the warnings from others.
Back then I didn't think I'd get stuck on the 60th Floor.
Although I'm sure noone would of made it upto 60th Floor even if Korea made it legal.
Hm... but it still put me on a spot.
Maybe I should of made the warning lighter.
I closed the first section of the newspaper, and opened the second.
News within the Tutorial.
[More Controversies regarding extreme punishment from the Militia.]
[Park Jung Ah, Captain of the Militia, informs punishments will stay harsh as it is.]
[Lee Jun Suk, Hard Difficulty Floor 90. When will he final clear the Floor?]
In all honesty, I'm not so interested in the news within the Tutorial itself.
Since all these stories could be seen within the Tutorial or heard from others.
The main article for the 2nd section was the walkthrough for the Tutorial.
And I could speak with certainty.
This newspaper had nothing that could aid me.
But, I always looked through the newspaper in detail, hoping to find some information that would be able to help Lee Yeon Hee.
Of course, there was none.
Valuable information that I didn't know of and ones that could help me wouldn't be written on an article like this for free.
That was dead certain.
I clicked my tongue, and took a look at the last section, the Auction House catalogue.
I wondered if there was anything good that month.
Could I send something to help Lee Yeon Hee?
As soon as I opened it, there was a headline which caught my eye.
[Finally Released! The Dragon's Egg!]
It seems Kim Yeon Ooh from Hard Difficulty Floor 77 has failed to hatch the dragon egg.
Through the constant requests from the Auction House, Kim Yeon Ooh has decided to list it for an auction on the 83rd Round.
Hey, wait a minute.
Normally dragons are at the pinnacle of magic,
and they liked to transform into humans through polymorph and, huh?
I finally saw an exit through the 61st Floor!
I hatch the egg!
I raise the hatchling!
I teach magic to the hatchling!
I teach polymorph!
I train it to a point where it can survive alone in 61st Floor!
61st Floor Cleared!
I calmed my pounding heart, and checked how many remaining points I had.
Alright, I am fully loaded.
But not satisfied, I made a statement in the Community.
[Lee Ho Jae, Floor 60: Anyone who bets on the dragon egg will get fucked over by me.]
[Lee Jun Suk, Floor 90: Wow, you've finally lost it huh. Jung Ah nuna, member of the Militia is blackmailing here. Isn't that a problem?]
[Lee Ho Jae, Floor 60: Shut up. And don't you dare think about making a bet for the dragon egg either.]
[Lee Jun Suk, Floor 90: Heh. That's up for me to decide.]
[Park Jung Ah, Floor 90:... Sigh]
[Kim Min Hyuk, Floor 97: Man, he's changed a lot. Back in the days, you couldn't even talk properly with others, trying to set that mood with your chuuninbyou. What happened to you?]
[Lee Ho Jae, Floor 60: Pot calling the kettle black huh. You couldn't even look me in the eye back then because you were so scared.]
[Kim Min Hyuk, Floor 97: Oi! Don't say that bullshit. I wasn't scared aight? I wasn't at all.]
I ignored my friend's attempt at maintaining his reputation and closed the Community.
Unlike what I've said on the Tutorial, I won't be chasing down people who competed for the dragon egg.
I have my place as a member of the militia to worry about.
Besides, I would never lose to anyone in the auction when it comes to points.
First of all, I'm the highest ranking player in Hell Difficulty.
Secondly, I've been here ever since the very first round, and I've been taking all the special benefits including the first to clear the floors 1 to 60 and many more.
I've earned some hefty points through providing information and counseling walkthroughs and helping with raising the stats for others.
There was no one in the Tutorial throughout the world, who had more points than me.
I could probably buy not just an egg but a dragon itself, if it ever came up in the auction house.
And the reality was that I would never be able to beat someone without going back to reality.
Unless the Grand Conference occured again.
Infact, it's been a while since the last Grand Conference.
It had always been very irregular with its arrangement and the frequency dropped as time went by, but maybe it was time for another one to be arranged soon.
If it does happen, I'll be able to see my friends and most importantly, see Lee Yeon Hee for the first time.
I had been talking with her through the chat this whole time, I wanted to know who she was in real life by seeing her eye to eye.
Maybe it would help me with training plans for her.
I should definitely put a request amongst the Easy difficulty players to gather some information about the next Grand Conference.
Memories of the past Grand Conferences began to pop up.
There's... not many good memories about the first Grand Conference.
There were other memories from different conferences as well.
Some were good, and some weren't so good.
These conferences were arranged quite frequently before the rules within the Community were set in place.
According to Park Jung Ah, it felt like the gods were urging us to solve the situation at hand.
They should have planned the system better when they made it.
Since none of them could engage directly to solve it, they had no other choice than to open these conferences until the problems were solved by the people themselves.
After I read the newspaper, I left it at the corner of the table and took out a letter.
It was a letter to Lee Yeon Hee.
Truth was I've been having a 1:1 chat with her everyday, but I occasionally send these letters aswell.
The first letter I sent was through the Auction House which was how I sent her items, and have continued to do so up until now.
It was okay for me, since all I had was time.
For Lee Yeon Hee, well...
Maybe it felt like being pen pals for her?
Well, it wasn't so bad.
If this could ease her loneliness and boredom then I've got to go along with it as much as I could.
Lee Yeon Hee had been sending all the thoughts and feelings she's been having as if writing a diary.
I noticed most of her conversations have been centred on her current personal state and complaints rather than information and training.
The letters focused more on stories back in the real world or when she was young.
Since the letters were quite long, the replies had to become thorough aswell.
I proofread the letter, looking for mistakes or if I'm missing any points in my answers.
After the proofreading the letter, I pondered on my concerns that I've delayed until now.
It had been going on since the night before.
Should I really put this onto the letter?
I repeatedly wrote it, erased it, and changed it.
Even a teenage boy in love wouldn't worry as much over the last phrase of his letter.
Send Kirikiri Turtle's,
I don't think it's the time yet.
Send Kirikiri my regards.
Yes. Let's just keep it this way.
I really do want to send my regards to Kirikiri aswell.
My mind felt refreshed after dealing with the concerns I've had on my mind for the last few days.
Buy us some coffee!