“This is fun.”
I was sitting with my teammates and watching the game.
The preliminaries were over. The main matches begun at 12 pm.
Following Kim Min-hyuk’s strong recommendation, we decided to participate as late as possible.
It was going to take a few hours until the tournament cooled down, so I relaxed and watched the game.
The group tournament was fun to watch, in a different way than watching the individuals.
The teams who had superior teamwork continued to beat teams that just had strong individual challengers.
Watching the fight and seeing the people helping each other was quite fun.
The team from the Hell Difficulty also participated.
They challenged a team that was made of well-versed challengers of the Normal Difficulty. They did their best, but they were soundly defeated.
Their opponents were well aware of the obvious difference in strength, so their match concluded in friendly mood as they gave tips to the team from Hell Difficulty.
As I expected, it was good that I recommended them to participate in the group round.
I hope this will be the foundation for their development.
[Team captain Lee Myung-sun and the other four members achieved victory!]
[Will you challenge them?]
Lee Myung-sun was a pretty famous ranker in the Normal Difficulty.
The other party members were high rankers. Their team work was quite excellent as well.
According to Lee Yuu-jung, the five were the Order of Vigilance’s Sixth Strike Division.
Their team work was obviously at a whole another dimension compared to other teams that were formed in the heat of the moment.
It looked like they were going to continue their winning streak unless they encounter an unexpectedly strong team.
I ate the nacho that Kim Min-hyuk bought as I thirstily anticipated the next challengers.
He said that it was not purchased through the store. It was being sold by a challenger who made it himself.
Of course, the base ingredients had to be purchased through the store. However, considering the difference in the ingredient cost and the food’s final price, this nacho had the potential for an incredible profit.
Kim Min-hyuk explained that the one selling the nachos made a contract with the Order. The one selling the nachos is making records of all dishes sold and plans to purchase items he wants from the Order based on the list.
The message about participation disappeared.
It seemed someone took on the challenge.
[Team captain Park Jong-shik and six others are stepping up.]
[The 11th match of the group round’s main match will begin.]
[Team captain Lee Myung-sun and the four vs Team captain Park Jong-shik and the six]
The challenger team’s captain was the Order’s manager of the Hard Difficulty. Along with his entrance to the arena, Kim Min-hyuk, who was eating nachos, screamed as he crunched nachos in his mouth.
Ugh, that’s disgusting.
“Ugh. Why do you guys go back on your words so easily…”
I also went back on my words, so I quietly looked away and pretended to be oblivious.
Park Jong-shik was not supposed to participate so early.
He was actually assigned to act as the responder in case any trouble popped up during the tournament.
Plus, Kim Min-hyuk thought it would be best if Park Jong-shik hid as much of his strength as possible.
Of course, he agreed to Kim Min-hyuk’s recommendation just like I had.
Park Jong-shik didn’t even glance at us at the stands. He was just strategizing with the team members.
Even though we are at quite distance, I can still see very well that the tip of his mouth was tilted up.
That Big Bro, he looks super excited about this.
I personally can understand his motives.
He doesn’t want to be excluded from the festivities.
Moreover, the tournament was going smoothly. It was going better than the Order had expected. With this unexpected smoothness, there was not much for the responders to do.
There were almost no occurrences of emergences like real fights between challengers.
“Hey. What do we do now?”
“I don’t know… Let’s just hope he will take it easy and come down. I’m going to go check if the responders’ manpower can be supplemented. I’ll be back in a bit.”
Disappointed, Kim Min-hyuk’s shoulders drooped down as he got up from his seats. He started to walk as he sent messages.
Unlike Kim Min-hyuk, who was upset about this, I was actually a little eager to see this match.
It was fun to watch battles between ordinary challengers. However, collisions between the strong ones was also intriguing.
Now that Park Jong-shik entered the scene, most of the ordinary challengers will give up on participating. From now on, only the strong teams who stand a chance against his team will participate.
It seemed that any other people shared similar views. From the stands, cheers broke into the intermittent noise.
Oh, I’m getting excited.
“Everyone who entered with Big Bro Jong-shik are from the Hard Difficulty, right?”
I moved to where Kim Min-hyuk was sitting. I asked Park Jung-ah next to me.
“Yes. On top of that, they are all from the Order’s Strike Division.”
Park Jung-ah looked at Lee Yuu-jung who was sitting next to her. Lee Yuu-jung diligently introduced each members to us.
“That one is from Hard Difficulty’s 24th Floor. The one with blue shield is from 27th Floor. The two over there with the Captain Park Jong-shik, make up the main forces. Also, the young boy over there is still at 19th Floor, but he is blessed with luck and quite talented as well, so he is being actively supported by the support team. As for his specialty, he uses Blitz…”
Um? That kid. I think I met him once during the day of the great harmony.
“By any chance, do you remember his name?”
“Yes! It’s Lee Jun-suk.”
Ah, it is him. I asked Kim Min-hyuk to find someone with lightning magic so I could raise my magic resistance. It is that Blitz user.
During the day of the great harmony, I asked him for information about the 12th Floor’s Stage in return for an accessory that improved his mana circuit skill.
So, he was quite highly rated.
Lee Yuu-jung continued her explanation about other participants.
It seemed she memorized all the information about every member of the Order.
She sure has great memory.
Her eyes were shining as she explained things. She was like a young, eager teacher who liked explaining things to others.
After hearing her explanations to the end, I learned two new things.
First, I could understand that this would more than frustrate Kim Min-hyuk.
Second, Park Jong-shik’s party members were practically the all-stars of the Hard Difficulty.
* * *
[Party Captain Park Jong-shik and the six have achieved their 11th victory.]
Infuriated, Kim Min-hyuk’s legs were shaking. He was glaring laser beams of fury at the back of Park Jong-shik’s head.
However, Park Jong-shik never looked this way like he didn’t give a damn about us.
Park Jong-shik’s team’s 11th victory made the crowd go wild.
At the tournament, there was no healing or recovery effects provided.
With passage of time, as they repeatedly fought in the, it was obvious that they were gradually being placed at a greater disadvantage.
However, his team crushed all 11 matches with perfect victories.
At first, when they won with overwhelming power, the audience looked a little disinterested. However, as they won three matches, then five matches, and when Park Jong-shik’s team won ten matches, people shouted out his name and began cheering for his team.
This was no different from the gladiators at a colosseum.
Park Jong-shik frequently displayed showmanship to encourage applause and positivity from the crowd. I was sure this was one of the reasons for such heated reactions from the crowds.
Of course, Park Jong-shik never looked at our direction on the stands.
[There’s three minutes left before the Party Captain Park Jong-shik and the six will win the entire tournament.]
Nobody was stepping up for the challenge.
It is no surprise. Who would challenge them now?
All strong teams who had confidence in their abilities to stand proudly against Park Jong-shik’s team lost.
“Hey. Don’t you think it is time for us to enter? I want to win the tournament at least.”
Kim Min-hyuk’s head was lowered. He looked at me for a moment before starting to agonize about the situation.
“Um… Now that it came to this. Can we just let him win? There’s no need for you to enter too…”
Kim Min-hyuk was not liking the situation at all. He was trying to convince me against it regardless. However, his words were interrupted by Park Jong-shik’s powerful voice.
Despite the colosseum’s humungous size, the voice echoed through the entire place like a lion’s roar.
“Aren’t you going to step up!”
The crowd exploded with shouting.
Wow… The response is unbelievable.
I could see why. When the mood is like a maelstrom that it is right now, then nothing would be more disappointing if the tournament because no challenger was willing to step up.
Instead of the tournament ending so prematurely, the crowds probably would want to see the greatest match up.
Park Jung-ah, who had been quietly watching the situation, declared participation.
All team members, including myself, were moved to the arena.
Watching us entering the arena, the crowds’ cheer became louder.
[Party Captain Park Jung-ah and the four will enter.]
[The 12th match will begin.]
[Party Captain Park Jong-shik and the six vs. Party Captain Park Jung-ah and the four.]
I can see the crowds’ enthusiasm and anticipation and I can hear their cheers clearly.
This reminds of the days of the professional gaming again.
It is the sensation that I cannot forget even if I wanted to.
Unlike myself, who was enjoying the situation, Kim Min-hyuk looked absolutely pissed. Park Jung-ah explained in detail,
“Now that it came to this, let’s focus on giving them entertainment. People will be very disappointed if the tournament ended now because nobody stepped up to challenge the team.”
Kuuuu. You are absolutely right.
Even Kim Min-hyuk had to agree with her. Of course, he didn’t forget to glare at Park Jong-shik with a fearsome gaze.
“Still, that’s within limit, do you understand? I won’t really help in the battle anyway. I’ll just get in the way, so I’ll stand back from the start.”
With that, Kim Min-hyuk left the arena.
Actually, in this battle between me and the Hard Difficulty’s highest ranked warriors, he was not going to be much help.
I could say the same about the other team members.
[Participant Kim Min-hyuk has left the arena.]
[Participant Lee Gi-jun has left the arena.]
[Participant Lee Yuu-jung has left the arena.]
“I signed us up for this… You will be all right?”
Before leaving the arena, Park Jung-ah asked. She looked concerned.
“Of course. It’s totally fine.”
“Well then. You must win.”
I nodded, and she walked toward the edge of the arena. Also, before she left, while maintaining her emotionless face, she winked at me.
[Participant Park Jung-ah has left the arena.]
As I thought. She’s so adorable.
[Time left until the match begins: 30 seconds.]
Now, there were just myself and Park Jong-shik’s team.
Kim Min-hyuk is probably still hoping that I was going to hold back against him.
However, I was facing seven of the elite Hard Difficulty rankers.
Also, based on the matches so far, their team work is quite incredible.
The party member attributes’ combination is well formed as well.
Against such opponents, I can’t take it easy.
Also, I don’t want to go easy on them.
They were fired up with will to fight. I can’t afford to relax.
I was actually quite disappointed in the tournament so far.
The excitement felt great. It put a smile on my face.
Finally, I’m facing opponents who I can fight properly.
“Ho-jae. You won’t disappoint me by taking it easy, right?”
Full of fighting spirit, he was provoking me. I let him hear my reply.
“I should be the one to say that, Big Bro Jong-shik. You won’t disappoint me, right? You must not fall so easily!”
[The battle will commence.]
The message signaling the start of the match appeared. Drowning in the cheering thunder of the crowds, I charged forward.
They were not far from me. Still, I accelerated quickly and received the acceleration effect from the Wind Spirit’s Blessing.
It was at that moment. There was someone who blocked my path.
The opponent was not wielding anything besides a dagger.
Watching the matches from the stands, I had obtained plenty of information about the team.
This one was a close-range fighter who focused on speed.
His ability to evade attacks was extraordinary. He didn’t deal heavy damage. He wasn’t able to take much damage either. However, he provoked and drew the opponents’ attention to scatter their gazes.
Looking at the dagger coming toward my neck, I used a skill.
If this is a battle of speed, then it is a fight that I cannot lose.
This is especially true at the moment since I have the accelerator effect.
I struck the man’s wrist with ease and smacked his jaw with my elbow.
It was a clean hit.
The man was faltering. I haphazardly pushed him away and resumed my charge forward.
A warrior with a blue shield blocked my path.
He was a shield warrior who was in charge of the front line.
At an instant, a wave of mana surged from the warrior. A sturdy layer was formed along the outside of his body and the shield.
I wanted to go around or jump over it if I could. However, it was going to be difficult because of my speed.
I took light steps and prepared for an attack.
I slightly reduced my velocity and sent a reverse kick to the shield.
I didn’t like this method of attack very much. However, I didn’t have much choice since I wanted to strike up from below.
There was a blunt echo of collision. However, the warrior didn’t get pushed by my attack. He was holding the stance.
I wasted that move. I thought it was simply going to make him sturdy. I was going to make him float up into the air, but it didn’t work.
Does it also increase the weight?
Aiming for the moment, Park Jong-shik charged at me from the side with his sword. I dodged it, grabbed his wrist and used Blink.
I made him collide with the shield warrior with resounding boom.
Having used the Blink so many times now, it was possible to utilize it like this.
The two were noisily clattering on the floor as they struggled to regain their stance. I ignored them and charged toward the opponent that I was aiming for from the start of the match.
The long ranger who uses Blitz.
His attack power was incredible. Also, the Blitz attack caused substantial pain and paralysis. It was going to be tricky to handle.
As I approached Lee Jun-suk, powerful lightning surged from his body and spread around me.
Is it a skill that prevents the opponent from approaching him by discharging lightning into the surrounding?
Still, I can’t let this opportunity to pass when I’m this close.
When it comes to difficult opponents, I had to finish them off even if it meant sustaining damage.
The lightning was striking my body. I could hear the zapping sound. However, I ignored it.
Do you have any idea how high my pain and paralysis resistances are!
I even have great magic resistance.
Watching me approaching while ignoring the lightning magic, Lee Jun-suk swung his arm in a futile attempt to try to stop me.
However, he was a long ranger. When it came to physical ability, he couldn’t be all that strong no matter what.
I grabbed his arm and threw him to the outside of the arena.
Normally, against an opponent like him, I should be quickly striking him on the critical point to knock him out or kill him. However, since this was tournament, I chose to throw him off the arena.
All right. I eliminated the difficult one.
I didn’t even have a moment to rest. A lancer was charging at me. I avoided his spear with ease and celebrated inside for the victory to come.
While I thought I’ll be grasping the victory without any trouble at this rate, I could feel a strong flow of mana from behind me.
Park Jong-shik was focusing an incredible amount of mana at his right hand.
What the hell is that…
Is that a Kamehameha wave? Or is it Rasengan?
From the looks of it, it seemed to be an attack that required a windup time.
Let’s handle this one first.
It seemed the preparation was over. Park Jong-shik released himself from the stance. He raised his right hand up.
The focused mana in his white hand was glowing white as he charged in, his palm facing me.
It is too fast.
Is it also affecting his physical performance?
The increase in his speed is excessively high.
That’s got to be a Power Skill.
I need to use a Power Skill to fight this.
Just before I collided with Park Jong-shik, I used Blink and moved to the left side of his back.
Perhaps because he had seen me use Blink several times, he didn’t panic. He figured out where I was and turned to his left.
‘You responded quickly, but this will be different from dealing attack to the front in the way you wanted.’
Let’s decide the duel here.
I also focused mana at my right hand. I threw my fist and swung the Talaria’s Wings.
* * *
With nothing to do, I rolled around on the bed.
The tournament concluded last night.
Now, the only thing left was the free activities for the third day.
Kim Min-hyuk and Park Jong-shik left the tournament as soon as it ended. Because of the Order’s work, they returned to the residential area and waiting room.
To explain in more detail, Park Jong-shik used work as the excuse and left the tournament first to avoid hearing nagging from Kim Min-hyuk. Kim Min-hyuk left afterwards to the residential area.
As for me, I had a meeting, so I decided to stay here until the lunch time.
[The mystery box for the winner of the first individual tournament.]
Explanation: The reward for the winner of the first individual tournament. It is unknown as to what could come out of the box. However, it will definitely help the winner.
[The mystery box for the winner of the first group tournament.]
Explanation: The reward for the winner of the first group tournament. It is unknown as to what could come out of the box. However, it will definitely help the winner.
I had two mystery boxes.
One was from the individual tournament. The other was from the group tournament.
Looking at the prizes made me think about the tournaments.
The individual matches were boring, but the group match was very satisfying, especially the fact that I won in the end. That made me feel even more satisfied.
Everyone was satisfied by the group tournament; not just the members of Park Jong-shik’s team, but the crowds were pleased as well.
Kim Min-hyuk was probably the only one who was displeased with today’s outcome.
I brought out the mystery box and held it in my hands.
It was the size of a cube. It was black, perfect square block.
[Would you like to open it?]
I thought about it for a moment and put it back in the inventory.
I didn’t need a new power right now.
Actually, I had many powers that I didn’t know how to handle very well at the moment.
Let’s open the box after asking Kiri Kiri.
I was getting bored. I was about to do skill training. At that moment, the knocks that I was waiting for resonated into the room.
Knock knock knock…
I panicked. To greet the guest, I got up.
I opened the door to greet Park Jung-ah. She was blushing a little.
“Were you waiting for a long time?”
I was waiting ever since the tournament ended last night. I was waiting through the entire night and the morning of the third day.
Still, I couldn’t just tell her that I had been waiting long.
While I hesitated, Park Jung-ah apologized as she excused herself.
“I’m sorry I was late. The business I had to handle took longer than I thought. Were you asleep? I am not bothering you, am I?”
Bothering me? My heart is pounding from anticipation.
“Of course not. Actually, I was desperately waiting for you.”
Having heard what I said, she came close to me and smirked lightly.
She whispered into my ear that she was sorry for making me wait.
As I thought, her smile is so attractive.
Park Jung-ah placed her arms around back of my neck. I picked her up by the waist and used my foot to close the door.
Buy us some coffee!