Chapter 224: Chapter 223: A Small Clue Part I
I slowly walked out of the basement beneath the Abu Dhabi embassy. I had just killed Cantana Alejandro and was feeling very satisfied with how I had sent him off.
Ten minutes earlier…
“Do you understand now? I have you in the palm of my hand now.”
“Yes! Yes, I understand!”
“I would like it if I didn’t hear about you doing bad things from now on. It’s hard enough to find any good news in the world today, and I don’t need you adding to that, okay?”
“I’ll be a good boy! I promise!”
“Good. And don’t forget, I’m always watching,” I said as I stabbed Cantana repeatedly in the chest. I wasn’t going to let him go scott free after all this. He needed to know that I had not a single drop of mercy left in me for him.
He did keep thanking me again and again until he died, though.
“Well, that’s all done and dusted. All that’s left is to open the Chest.” That was it. The Chest was going to open itself in two days’ time. But as I noted before, I hadn’t done this for the Chest; it was to return whatever favor I could after all that I had received from Pedro.
“Young master!” someone called to me once I returned to my house.
“What is it?”
“You have a guest.”
“This late at night?” It was around 10 PM. It was normal for many to be still out hunting at this time. There was no time to waste when it came to leveling up, but it still was pretty late to come knocking at someone’s door.
“Huh. Alright. Let’s see who it is.” Whoever it was and whatever this was about, coming this late meant that it had to be an emergency of some sort.
My drawing room…
“Ha…” I thought I was confident enough to not be surprised at this sudden guest. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have been surprised if all three remaining Monarchs were making themselves comfortable in my own house, but this guest really took the cake.
“It has been a while, Master Lee.”
“Yes, it has, Ms. Marie.” The guest was none other than Anton’s personal assistant, Marie. In other words, an NPC. “What brings you here this late at night?” My curiosity was piqued. I doubted an NPC would come to ask for my help or anything.
“I’ve come to ask you to visit our Store tomorrow.”
“Excuse me?” That was it?
“Master Anton will explain everything if you come. But, please know that it will be of benefit to you.”
“Huh. I understand.” Since this was coming from Anton, I didn’t turn her down. He was the one who made me his Store’s VIP member and helped me get a decent head start, like giving me the chance to learn Unrivaled at level 0.
“Then we’ll see you tomorrow,” Marie said as she got up, curtsied and left my home.
After she left, I racked my head to try to figure out what it could be about, but couldn’t get a clue. “Well, I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.”
Early the next morning, I left the house with my hat and sunglasses on and headed for the Store. Marie didn’t say when I should go, but there was no reason to put it off. Like always, there was a huge crowd in and around the Store. It seemed like everyone was talking about me and how I had destroyed the NCR Guild in Mexico.
“Man…do you think Lee Jiwon will go down in history as one of Korea’s greatest heroes or something?”
“Hero? What are you even talking about?”
“What? He’s Korean, isn’t he? It’s thanks to him that our small country’s become a superpower of the new world. That makes him a hero, doesn’t it?”
“Hey, leave your daydreaming at home. There are more important things to worry about. Like how do you think the Emperors will react now?”
“Yeah. Lee Jiwon is definitely one of the Emperors now. He also brought the Sunbin, Myth, Ravi, Shire and Abu Dhabi Guilds, and the Werewolf Clan, together. That should be enough to make him an Emperor.”
“That actually makes sense.”
“Right? A new power would need to exhibit the same or similar amount of strength as the existing Emperors to be called one as well.”
“Either way, the previous Emperors need to watch out now. Lee Jiwon is one matter, but there’s no way they can ignore the six factions that have his back now.”
“Well, that’s good enough for me. If that does happen, it’s good for us as fellow Koreans.”
I was hearing praise everywhere, and I couldn’t help but stand a little straighter.
I entered the Store with light footsteps and slowly walked up the stairs to the fifth floor, where Anton’s office was located. The guards on the fourth floor were still there, preventing entry to the fifth floor, but they must have known I was coming and allowed me to pass. Just that was enough to throw the entire Store in a tizzy.
“Come in,” I heard from the other side of Anton’s door when I raised my hand to knock. He must have known the moment I had entered the Store and for the life of me, I could not figure out how he does it.
I opened the door to see Anton beaming at me, and I smiled back. “It’s been a while, but what’s this about?”
“Sit for now. Marie will be here soon with the tea. It’s the same expensive tea I brought out when we first met.” Well, that meant that whatever was going on was very good for Anton, and that put my heart at ease. What was usually good for him was also good for me.
A knock soon came from the door. “Come in,” Anton replied, and Marie came in with the tea and poured a cup for me and Anton.
“Thanks.” This tea really was something else. Each sip I took had a very distinct and unique flavor, but left an equally refreshing feeling that washed over me.
“No, thank you.”
“Huh?” I haven’t really done anything recently. Well, if I did, it was just learning and removing multiple skills again and again, but I doubted that was what he meant.
“It was revealed yesterday that I took first place by a mile. There’s no need for me to worry about competition anymore, and it’s all because of you.”
“Oh, congratulations.” Because of what he told me every time I visited his office, I knew by now that all Stores competed with one another through points. It was why Anton and Marie wanted me to use only their Store.
“Anyway, it’s why I invited you. I want to give you a gift that’s definitely going to take out a good chunk out of my profits. Honestly, I was just going to give you a small gift and be done with it, but my grandfather found out about it and wouldn’t let me hear the end of it. Ugh.”
My ears picked up at the mention of a gift.
“Do you know what others call my family? A bunch of barbaric mercenaries. My grandfather has always preferred fighting over talking. But this was the first time my family entered the competition and secured first place, so everyone’s going crazy. My grandfather, father, and mother are all so happy,” Anton said with a sincere grin. “Did you bring them, Marie?”
“Yes. I have them right here.” Marie came over and placed three crystals on table between me and Anton.
“This first one has 5,000 Stat points. This one has 5 skill points ,and this one has 5 billion golden rings,” Anton explained as he pointed to each crystal. “Obviously, I can’t give you all three. You can only pick one of them. I was going to give you crystals that had 1000 stat points, 1 skill points and 1 billion golden rings, but since it’s you, I can deal with the loss.”
“…” It hadn’t been that long since I had received over 5,000 Stat points, and now that I had another chance to gain another 5,000 Stat points, I shivered a little. It was like the universe was forcibly trying to make me the strongest in this world. This couldn’t just be chalked up to pure luck.
“I’ll take the Stat points crystal.”
Marie took away the second and third crystals, leaving the first crystal alone on the table. I reached over and picked up the crystal with a shaky hand.
“Awesome. Now, what I’m about to say is going to be the first and last time I’m going to say it. I won’t ever repeat myself, so listen carefully,” Anton said with a serious tone. He leaned over as if he was imparting me with a huge secret. “Soon, the 1455th world, no, Earth’s Otadolon stage is about to come to an end. This world will then receive a test, and if you all pass the test, you’ll be able to survive, but if you fail it… well, simply put, the world will be destroyed. Even you.”
“…” I thought Anton was going to joke around, but from what he just said and the expression he was making, I quickly realized that this was no game. What he said next forced me to believe him.
“The Judge’s Continent… it’s going to appear soon.”
“!!!” My eyes shot open in shock. I knew about the Judge’s Continent. Well, I didn’t really know about it, but I had heard passing rumors about it in the past. I also knew that many large guilds and organizations had frantically tried to find it.
“A battle royale will take place on the Judge’s Continent, where each Creator will place the fate of their worlds on the line.”
“Each Creator’s world…”
“Yup. Other worlds that have completed their Otadolon stage, like Earth, will participate in a fierce battle. Only the winner will survive, and the rest will be destroyed.”
I sat there in stunned silence as Anton continued. “Dying on the Judge’s Continent means dying for real. There’s no resurrecting like you usually do.”
“What?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but Anton continued on. “There are going to be monsters on the Continent, as well as Stores like this one. There will be chances to get stronger, but know that there will also be other competitors. No, not just competitors, enemies! You have to kill them if you want to survive,” Anton said as he leaned back on his chair. “That’s it. I can’t tell you anymore than that. I’m not allowed to. Anymore and it’ll be considered aiding Earth in getting first place. But, remember this as well… I want you to win, Lee Jiwon!”
Anton didn’t say anymore after that, and I didn’t try to ask him anything. What could I ask him after what he just told me? I just finished my cup of tea and left the store as Marie and Anton wished me the best of luck.
I quickly returned home and went straight back up to my room. I plopped down on my sofa and just thought. I Summoned the Dungeon Mole, too, and petted it to try to calm my racing thoughts.
“The Judge’s Continent…” I was actually shaking from shock. It had barely been ten years now and now, all that hard work was about to be taken away from me.
“Is that why…?” I had over 10,000 unassigned Stat points. I could get my base STR up to 30,000, or my base AGI or VIT up to 20,000. It really was like the universe wanted me to become the strongest.