Chapter 90. Homecoming (4)

“Wow, impressive,” Seo Jun-Ho muttered as he checked the time. As expected of the big names, all of them had sent him the materials perfectly on time. Seo Jun-Ho checked each one and grinned. “The smart ones always think too much.”

He sat at the edge of his bed, reading through the six hologram file titles with a satisfied grin.


On the Fiend Association - Goblin

Power Dynamics in the Ruben Empire - Silent Moon

Survey of Cities - Hallem

History of Religions - Silver Constellation

A Guide for Frontier Monsters - Labyrinth

Most Important Families and Nobles - Sky Soul


Surprisingly, the information they sent was all about different subjects. But this was within his expectations.

“After all, I requested different information from each of them.” Seo Jun-Ho grinned.

‘The Big 6 are the strongest out of the tens of thousands of Guilds that exist.’ 

Their leaders weren’t stupid; even Seo Jun-Ho knew that much. So he had put himself in their shoes. 

‘It took me longer than I expected to clear the Winter Castle.’ 

Three months was a long time; it was more than enough time for the Big 6 to meet up and come to an agreement. He was 100% sure that they had decided on the level of information that they would send him. Fortunately, Seo Jun-Ho had taken full advantage of their train of thoughts. 

“If I make it seem like I’m going to weed out the one who gives me the least useful information, then…”

Those smart executives who were greedy and selfish would naturally think like this…

“If I gave Specter the best information, then wouldn’t the rest be kicked out?”

And thus, these were the results. 

Heh, the Guildmasters must be rolling in their graves.”

It had never been a test in the first place. He had simply decided that this was the best way to get as much information as possible. Thanks to that, he now had information that couldn’t even be bought. Seo Jun-Ho also compared them to the Association’s data from Shim Deok-Gu, but the Big 6 was clearly superior.

“You guys still have a long way to go.” He laughed as he thought about the Big 6 Guildmasters with all this information before him. 

***

From the next day onward, Seo Jun-Ho and the Frost Queen got right to work. They put all their efforts into their respective assignments. Seo Jun-Ho started to memorize the information he had received while the Frost Queen binged dramas and movies.

“...Why does it feel like I’m the only one working?” Seo Jun-Ho muttered.

The Frost Queen looked up from her kernel of caramel popcorn, which was a little smaller than her fist. “What nonsense.”

“You’re just playing around while I’m studying.”

“I am studying as well.”

Pew! Pew! 

The Oscar-winning movie Independence Day was playing on the TV. 

“You’re obviously not.”

“I am. I’m studying the arts and culture of Earth.”

Wow…” Seo Jun-Ho shook his head, rolling his stiff shoulders. Even though he’d spent the entire afternoon studying, the pages didn’t seem to decrease. The number of documents he had were enough to make an encyclopedia. “It’ll take me at least four days to get through all this…”

His mind and body were exhausted, but his heart remained strong. 

The Big 6’s information network is super impressive.’

He felt sorry for Shim Deok-Gu, but the Association’s network couldn’t compare to the Big 6.

He was currently reading about the Power Dynamics in the Ruben Empire

‘The difference is clear just from reading about Duke Yulin.’

Even though a Duke was an important figure, the Association only knew his name, status, and duties. On the other hand, Silent Moon’s report included his personality, his relationships, his family members, his political weaknesses, and even his personal tastes.

“We can’t compete with this…” Seo Jun-Ho laughed bitterly. It was like watching a child trying to compete with an adult. He let out a frustrated sigh and kept reading. 

‘I don’t know about the rest, but I have to memorize everything about the nobles.’ 

The Frontier was different from Earth. Specter was a hero that saved Earth and Seo Jun-Ho was a rising star, but both would be newbies in the Frontier. 

“I wonder what kind of place it’ll be…” Just thinking about it made him smile.

He made a decision. He would go up to the Frontier in ten days. 

***

Knock knock.

There was a knock at the door. Shim Deok-Gu looked up. “Come in.”

His eyes widened when he saw who it was. Without intending to, he got up from his seat. “Miss Cha Si-Eun? What brings you here?” 

He cocked his head, confused by the sudden visit of Seo Jun-Ho’s secretary. The only time she visited the president’s office was the day she was hired. 

“I had something to tell you.” She bowed politely, and Shim Deok-Gu hurriedly led her to a seat. He took out two cans of orange juice from his fridge and sat down on the sofa. 

“Thank you.” 

“Yes, of course. What do you wish to tell me? Did Seo Jun-Ho send you?”

“No.” Cha Si-Eun shook her head. She reached into her jacket and pulled out an envelope. 

Shim Deok-Gu laughed nervously. “I doubt you’re trying to bribe me… Is this what I think it is?”

“Yes. It’s a letter of resignation.”

Ahem.” He cleared his throat and began again. “Please tell me if I or anyone else in the Association has made you unhappy. I’ll try to fix it.”

“No! It’s nothing like that.”

“Then, is Seo Jun-Ho bothering you…?” If that was the case, he’d go and strangle him. 

Cha Si-Eun smiled faintly and shook her head. “No. On the contrary, I feel indebted to him because he always treats me so well.”

“Then, why?”

“...Do you happen to remember the first time I came here?”

“Of course I do.” It had been one of the most memorable days ever since he became President.

“I felt like something was broken inside of me.”

“Yes.” Shim Deok-Gu nodded.

“I had no goals or aims when I came here.”

“It was raining a lot that day, wasn’t it? You were completely drenched. To be frank, I was a little scared of you.” 

The two chuckled amidst their reminiscence.

“President, you know how much I respect Specter-nim.”

“Of course.”

“I’ve never told you this, but I respect you as much as him.”

“...I didn’t know. I’m honored.” Shim Deok-Gu looked slightly shocked. He was genuinely surprised by her words. 

“You were the only person that helped me when I was struggling. The only reason I came here was that I wanted to work under you. I always admired how you tried to improve how Players were treated,” Cha Si-Eun said.

Haha… I feel embarrassed by all your compliments.” Shim Deok-Gu scratched his neck. 

Cha Si-Eun smiled and continued. “I had a short conversation with Seo Jun-Ho-nim yesterday. He gave me a lot of good advice, and I feel like someone had hit my head with a hammer.”

“What in the world did he say?” Shim Deok-Gu was astonished.

“He spoke with the same confidence and determination as he always does. But… it helped me realize a lot of things. I realized how childish my thinking had been.”

“Of course not. You’re one of the most mature people I know.” Shim Deok-Gu shook his head.

“Thank you. Anyway, after I spoke to him, I went home and thought for a long time about what were my motivations back then.” 

Shim Deok-Gu nodded quietly. The sparkle in her eyes was similar to Seo Jun-Ho’s. ‘

Those are the eyes of someone who knows what they want and knows where to get it.’ 

As such, he could only offer her his best wishes. “Congratulations. You’ve finally found your path.”

“...Thank you,” Cha Si-Eun replied.

“May I ask what you plan to do?”

“It’s really nothing big,” she said shyly, staring at her orange juice. “I want to try again, with a different mindset from before.”

“For yourself, rather than others?”

“It’s quite selfish, isn’t it?”

“Of course not. Actually, I wish you’d be more selfish.”

Cha Si-Eun looked grateful as she twisted the ring in her hand. “I wish to work under Jun-Ho-nim until he advances to the 2nd floor. Please keep our conversation a secret.”

“Alright.”

“And… Can I return this artifact when I resign?”

“Let’s do that.” Shim Deok-Gu nodded.

“I’m really sorry.”

“No. I was always worried because you looked like you were trapped. I’m glad that you want to spread your wings again.” His words were sincere. Shim Deok-Gu looked at the Magic Sealing Ring on Cha Si-Eun’s finger. “I suppose I’ll be hearing about the Schumern Saintess again sooner or later.” 

“...P-please don’t tease me.”

Several years ago, there had been a famous healer in the Schumern region on the 2nd floor. She had lived her whole life helping others. But when she truly needed aid, no Players or Guilds had answered her call. 

‘They even manipulated her so that they could make money.’

The only one that had helped her in earnest had been Shim Deok-Gu. Sadly, he hadn’t even been able to help her properly because the Korean Player Association had no influence on the 2nd floor. 

‘She retired after that, full of betrayal and regret.’

That day, it rained as if the sky had been pierced through. 

Shim Deok-Gu gave her a big smile and took her letter of resignation. “Congratulations on your return. Player Cha Si-Eun.”

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