Chapter 1. Prologue
―The exam has ended.
The moment Do-joon eliminated the last team, the sound of the guide rang from the drone that was following him.
He straightened his back and looked around. The area was getting narrowed as the exam neared its end. Within it, a whopping five teams were battling against each other.
A 14-man survival game in a narrow area. The one standing till the end was Do-joon.
‘Crazy… … . Just how many people did he take down by himself?’
‘Seven of us joined forces, but even after that we couldn’t take him down?’
Two teams even joined forces and attacked Do-joon.
But it didn’t work. No matter how many of them there were, they had never met before nor were they unified. There was no way that they could work in sync.
Moreover, Do-joon was in a state where he had been fighting with many. A half-hearted approach to battle was not an option for him.
Do-joon was dusting his shoulders. All 13 people who fell down looked at him with the same expression.
With the expression of a commoner facing a wall of enormous talent that can never be surpassed by effort.
They will never know. While they were quarreling on a regulated training ground, Do-joon had already crossed the real battlefield of life and death.
Of course, there was a big specification difference due to the Additional Options.
“Thank you for your hard work.”
Just as the relief team arrived, they took them away.
Do-joon came back alone by helicopter. When he arrived at the headquarters building, he was swarmed by people.
They were the guild managers.
“I’m Seo Jung-woo from the National Guild! If it’s okay with you, here’s my business card… … .”
“This is the Barriers Guild! Not the best in the industry, but it’s quite historic…….”
“Mr. Kim Do-joon! Congratulations on winning first place! Can I have a moment of your time?!”
They jumped at Do-joon, no different from when they had done it with Kang Je-joon.
The crowd filled in in an instant. Do-joon stopped and politely received their business cards.
“Thank you all, but I don’t think I can say anything here. I’ll call you later, so let’s stop here for today.”
The words were polite, but the meaning was firm. He was just asking them to give him their business cards.
However, the impression received by managers was different.
‘Because he is older, his age makes him different unlike anyone else.’
‘Your attitude is dignified and full of confidence as your skills are backed up.’
Originally, they wouldn’t have thought of it this way. Because Do-joon’s reaction was just a normal response.
However, Do-joon’s general response felt mature because they were severely burned by Kang Je-joon at the cafe just before.
“Then I’ll go first.”
The managers looked at him as he walked away. Before he knew it, Lee Ji-ah naturally stuck behind Do-joon.
One person who acts unexpectedly all the time.
“Please wait a minute!”
It was Oh Sang-jin, who returned to the waiting room after handing over Kang Je-joon to Jang.
“Oh, sir. I enjoyed watching you taking the exam. Did you have a great time?”
He approached Do-joon with a gentle smile. He was unusually friendly compared to other managers.
Lee Ji-ah, who had a bad impression on the Karma Guild, wriggled her eyebrows, but Oh Sang-jin didn’t even look at her.
“Who are you?”
Do-joon asked in a tone that was not different from when he was dealing with other managers.
“I’m Oh Sang-jin from the Karma Guild. The guild leader is my father.”
“You’re the son of the guild leader.”
Do-joon looked a little surprised. He knew he was the manager of the Karma Guild, but he didn’t know he was the son of the guild leader.
Oh Sang-jin smiled at his reaction.
‘Yeah, you should be surprised if it’s the guild leader’s son. By the way, the reaction isn’t bad anyway? I was worried that you would be resentful.’
There were signs that things would go much easier. Oh Sang-jin handed Do-joon his business card with a smile.
“Can I talk to you separately, sir? I want to apologize at the guild level, not for anything else.”
In fact, it didn’t have to be this way.
Karma is the fifth-largest guild in the country. It was not a position where it would take a lot of damage to the extent that one gatherer went accidentally missing.
However, it was a big problem for Oh Sang-jin. He was the one who ordered the work at that time, and he already hated his big brother at the Karma Guild for a long time.
‘I made a mistake again, if I get caught… … ….’
He doesn’t know what kind of evil will come this time. He might even be kicked out penniless.
The older brother’s personality was enough to make him stay.
“Yes, I would like to formally apologize. Do you think it’ll be okay from now on? And…….”
Oh Sang-jin secretly looked around and spoke quietly.
“I have something to tell you about the recruitment. In other words, Kang Je-joon, who you laid down, signed a contract with us for 2 billion won.”
This was a real treat that he couldn’t help but bite. A play that draws attention with the word “apology” and pushes a wedge with the amount of 2 billion won.
Of course, he was not saying that he will give 2 billion won to Do-joon. He was going to cut the price by making excuses when he was asked.
But from a listening point of view, he couldn’t help but accept it.
‘I’m sure he’ll fall for it.’
Oh Sang-jin smiled triumphantly. There is no one in the world who hates money, and there is no one who doesn’t want to be apologized for unfair things. Now that both of those things have come together, who can refuse?
And his men were on standby at the place where the conversation was taking place. Everything was flowing perfectly.
“I’m sorry, but my answer is the same for you as well. I’ll call you later if I need to, so let’s stop for today.”
“… … Yes?”
Oh Sang-jin blinked as if he had misheard. But Do-joon didn’t say it again. He walked past Oh Sang-jin.
“Wait a minute!”
Oh Sang-jin grabbed Do-joon’s arm. Do-joon turned his head and looked at him. At that moment, Oh Sang-jin shuddered and released his arm.
This was because Do-joon’s eyes were piercingly cold.
But looking back, this kind of look was nowhere to be found. It was the same as usual, a normal impression.
Oh Sang-jin panicked while getting confused. After that, Do-joon left.
Originally, he would have caught him somehow, but he couldn’t due to an unknown chill.
He was absent-minded for a moment, and he woke up to the sound of whispers. Other managers were in the middle of laughing at his indecent behavior.
Soon his teeth were chipped.
‘Yeah, that’s good. We’ll see when you’ll get in touch.’
If it was about recruiting, he could have ignored it, but since he also said that he would apologize, he should get back to him soon.
He would not run to reporters immediately and whine or post nasty stuff on the internet. Even if he wants to, he would at least hear what he has to say.
‘See you later, sir.’
Nothing will change now or in the future.
His mouth, which had a mask-like smile on it, fell wickedly.
* * *
“Thank you for the meal.”
“No, you had a hard time driving.”
After arriving in Seoul again, Do-joon treated Lee Ji-ah to dinner. She drove him back and forth for hours, so it wasn’t polite to just let her go.
After leaving her in front of the store, Do-joon headed home alone. He refused to let her drop him home and stayed out in the middle of the night air.
‘Still there is no guild after all.’
What he was thinking about is the business cards he received during the day.
But no matter how much he thought about it, it didn’t seem like he was going to join the guild.
‘If I go in now, I will just be one of the rookies. Even if I get support, it’s unclear whether it will be of much help.’
On the other hand, the benefits of not joining the guild were obvious. Being independent of time and organizational life. So the freedom to focus on attacking the labyrinth whenever he wanted.
If he wanted to focus more on the dungeon, the choice to enter the guild would not be so bad, but he wanted to focus on the labyrinth rather than the dungeon.
Ten business cards he received today. Looking at them, he walked under the lamppost.
Just then, a business card caught his eye.
It was the business card of the Karma Guild.
‘I don’t need this.’
He snorted and crumpled Oh Sang-jin’s business card. He would keep other business cards just in case, but he didn’t need Karma’s.
Apologize? If he was going to do it, then he should have done it earlier.
If they had paid any attention to the case, they would have known immediately that he had returned. There’s no way that the association doesn’t have strings connected to it.
However, the fact that they made no approach until today, the day of the exam, means that they were not interested in the case or had no intention of apologizing.
Either way, it wasn’t a desirable attitude.
‘2 billion is attractive, but he was not saying that it will definitely be given.’
The amount of 2 billion that was the bait.
If Do-joon was a child with no social experience yet, he would have liked it. But he wasn’t.
How prevalent were such practices in the world, such as shaking bait that is easy to catch, and then actually offering other kinds of items.
He was not young enough to be fooled by words in a shell.
‘I have to send a rejection reply to the other guilds. Ignoring Karma.’
In the world of work, the urgent people are supposed to move first anyway. Do-joon was not in a hurry in this matter at all.
Under the light of the street lamp he had left, only a crumpled round business card was scattered in vain.
* * *
【You have defeated the Beast. Experience (EXP) increases.】
Do-joon, who slept late after a long time, entered the labyrinth after a simple morning exercise.
Tier 3 ‘Collapsed temple’. It was a place where the fit rate of one normal monster reached 37%.
Each one of them was the strongest so far, and the numbers were too crowded, so the short-term attack was prematurely abandoned.
‘I can increase my experience by hunting a few at a time.’
He was able to hunt little by little, targeting only the ones that popped up every now and then.
For now, that was the limit. Thanks to that, he couldn’t even enter the huge temple that he could see in the distance, and he could only get around in its front yard by struggling.
On the yard side, there were many small structures that looked like huge pillars or guard posts, so there was no shortage of hiding places.
‘The Corrupted Devotee… … . Looks like a ghoul on the outside.’
The “Corrupted Devotees” wandering around the yard looked similar to zombies and ghouls in the movie. Decomposed skin and clear eye sockets, and the clothes were worn like a saggy monk.
‘Zombie in a priest’s uniform.’
It’s not impossible, but it didn’t suit the image at all.
After all, there are movies in which the nun is the devil, so it’s not that strange, is it?
‘Should I get a weapon with divine power imprinted on it? … .’
He first found a place to hide as usual, while thinking of various ways to attack the dungeon.
【Eroded Staff of Faith】
He found an item in a building that looked like a guard post.