Chapter 232: Chapter 231: The Value of Information Part I
I really was going to go as far as hug Zulova if he didn’t accept my handshake, but he didn’t turn me down. He must have not had heard from Jose and Cantana Alejandro how I had just backstabbed them, which was good for me.
“It’s an honor to finally meet you. I’ve heard many things about you,” I said and shook his hand for about a minute.
“Uh, yes. I’ve heard many things about you too.” He didn’t make it seem obvious, but I could tell from his clammy hand that he was more than taken aback. I was, after all, not only called the First Emperor, but also the Monarch Hunter. But I acted as if nothing was wrong and Zulova did the same.
“It was unfortunate we had to meet in these circumstances, but I hope the next time we meet, we’ll be on the same side.”
“Yes. I was thinking the same thing.” Zulova was obviously wary about my true intentions, but he had to at least keep up the appearance that we had no bad blood between us. If he didn’t, then he would experience firsthand what I put Cantana Alejandro through.
“I’ll see you around.”
Karaviki Mercenary Corps headquarters…
A feast was held that very day as what we had achieved today would go down in history as one of the Mercenary Corps’ greatest achievements. The party went on until late at night, and when it was finally over for the day, I retired to the room the Corps had prepared for me and plopped face down on my bed
“Open Stats Menu.”
==[Name: Lee Jiwon
Level: 814 Death Count: 0
Title: Earth’s First Deva
HP: 15,690,700/15,690,700 MP: 522,800/522,800
Strength: 32,354 + 5,007 Agility: 15,101 Vitality: 27,201
Willpower: 5,168 Intelligence: 4428
Unassigned Stat Points: 4,477 + 3
Special Effects: Luck Boost (X+1), immune to all Status effects, Dungeon Seeker 14 points
Physical Attack: 130,378 Physical Defense: 51,797
Magical Attack: 14,754 Magical Defense: 30,734]==
All those EXP bundles that the giant bull dropped were supposed to be shared by all fifty-five participants of the Defense wave; that is, in normal cases. But the reward description didn’t specify about the limit of EXP bundles one person was allowed to have. Just as long as a member had killed at least one monster during the wave, they were allowed their share. It seemed right, because getting to the three-hour mark was no easy feat. Helping the party get to that point was fair enough.
“But it was all for me.” My level went up 89 times during the Defense wave! Thirteen of those were from killing all those monsters on my own for close to four hours. I smiled. “What to do with 4,477 unassigned Stat points?” Getting my base AGI up to 20k wasn’t such a faraway dream anymore…
The next day, a message appeared before me.
==[Ripped Advance is no longer in effect.
You will lose 0-100 Stat points randomly from your five Stats.]==
It was supposed to be a pretty big penalty, but I waved it off. A hundred Stat points was nothing for me.
==[You have lost Stat points from the following Stats.
STR -50, AGI 0, VIT 0, WIL 0, INT 0]==
“Huh…I guess my Luck can’t do anything about that.” I did hope that I would lose closer to zero points, but I guess this was the most my Luck Boost could do. Losing 50 points wasn’t all that bad, so I just waved away the message.
After the weeklong festivities, I was asked to meet with Madun Yatekin before leaving.
“What is this?” I asked when Madun passed an item my way.
“It’s the winner’s reward.”
“Winner’s reward? For what?”
“For the Defense quest.”
“Oh.” I had actually forgotten about that all this time. I cared more about defeating La Griffe and Zulova than about the quest.
“It’s rightfully yours, which is why we brought it over to you exactly the way we received it.”
“But…” I didn’t take it right away. I was still a member of the Karaviki Mercenary Corps, as temporaryas the position was. I had to keep up appearances.
“No, it’s yours. You not only won us the competition, you completed the quest all on your own. It belongs to you. This is also not only my decision, but the unanimous decision made by the other fifty-four party members who stood behind you,” Madun said, as some of the party members who sat with us nodded fervently.
“I see. Thank you.”
“Mr. Lee,” Taniya said.
“This won’t be the last we hear from you, will it?”
“Of course not. I treasure my friends.” I agreed to help them in order to establish a good relationship with Madun Yatekin in the first place. I valued him more as an ally than I did my other allied factions. Well, I guess the Sunbin Guild was a special case…
“Haha. I’m glad we’re of the same mind,” Taniya said with a smile.
“So am I,” I replied with a smile of my own. With that out of the way, I shared my farewells with the Corps officers as I turned down the bundle of golden rings they tried to push onto me before I left. Having them set up their own embassy in my base in Seoul was already more than enough to me.
Komosomolets Island, Russia…
“Hmm…” Dorofei was alone in the study of his mansion, which stood alone in the northernmost Russian island. He thought of what to make of the most valuable piece of information he had come across. “But there’s nothing about the Judge’s Continent anywhere…”
Dorofei was told that the Continent would appear when the Otadolon stage came to an end and would be the place that would decide Earth’s fate. He needed to learn more about the Judge’s Continent and about what kind of competition that would take place, so that he could at least prepare.
“If the Otadolon stage is going to end, then something in this world system we’re in right now is going to change. There’s a chance that change will be just as unbelievable as the voice in the sky.” That was all Dorofei could gather after spending almost his entire fortune on information alone, but it was worth it. No, it was more than worth it. Knowing more than anyone else in this world was always a step up, but that no longer mattered to Dorofei anymore. The world was ending and Dorofei needed to know more about the Judge’s Continent. He was born of this very Earth, after all.
Dorofei picked up the report he just received, still hot from the printer. “Hmm…if it’s him…” The report had all the information on the recent competition between the Mercenary Corps and La Griffe, and how Lee Jiwon had once again showed unbelievable strength.
“It’s quite the mystery…” Dorofei had kept an eye on Lee Jiwon ever since India. He had chalked everything up to luck at first, but no one was this lucky. Lee Jiwon was no doubt a person of true skill, which was why Dorofei kept his distance. It was near impossible to tell how Lee Jiwon would react to a situation, especially towards someone as infamous as Dorofei, the Information Hunter. There was also no way to know for sure that Lee Jiwon knew things about this world system, things that not even Dorofei knew.
“But for some reason… I’m beginning to think he does.” It was just a gut feeling and nothing else. Dorofei got up from his chair. He would just have to find out.
My house in Seoul…
Rumors were finally starting to spread everywhere about the end of the Otadolon stage.
“So it’s begun.” I had been receiving reports from my allies and even my own clan about it, and I didn’t need to do anything. That was how high my social position was now. I left my room and headed for the terrace overlooking my garden and sat down on the sofa. I gave the Dungeon Mole another piece of banana candy.
It was starting to become a habit now as I would do it each time I had something to ponder.
“It does kind of feel like a waste, though,” I said to myself. I did not have any intention of keeping what I knew about the end of the Otadolon stage and the Judge’s Continent to myself forever. Everyone on Earth needed to work together to come out of this alive, but I also didn’t want to let the fact that I currently knew the most about the end go this easily.
“So that’s why I want you to buy it off of me instead. I’m no good at buying or selling goods, so I want you to make the best of the information in my stead,” I said as I pet the Dungeon Mole. There was no one else in the garden, that is, until someone revealed himself from a nearby rosebush.
“You should have just entered through the front door. You didn’t have to wait there by yourself all this time. But then again, you’ve got some skill to slip in unnoticed.” My base was guarded by seven powerful factions around the clock. You’d have to have a death wish to try to sneak in.
“My apologies. I was just too curious about many things, and had to take this approach.”
“No, it’s fine. I wanted to meet with you at least once, too,” I said to the newcomer. He was none other than Dorofei Krutikov, the infamous Information Hunter. I was told by my allies that they had bought their information from him. “You must be very curious.”
“Yes, I am. I feel like I’ll go crazy if I don’t find out more.”
“What can you give me in return?”
“I would need to hear what you know first to make a decision, but I do know that whatever it is, it is sure to be valuable. I have also never underpaid for any type of information; you can be sure of that. I value information that much.”
I nodded. “I see.” I had never heard about the Information Hunter ever being fooled. Anyone who ever tried to sell him false information found out firsthand why he was called the Hunter.
Dorofei was genuinely surprised when Lee Jiwon easily pinpointed where he was hiding. He followed his gut feeling and went there even though there was no evidence indicating Lee Jiwon knew things others didn’t. Dorofei knew now that he made the right decision, especially from the look on Lee Jiwon’s face.
“So you want to know what I know. I’ll tell you…” Lee Jiwon began to explain what he knew in a calm, simple tone, but nothing he said was simple. Dorofei knew from the start that there had to be other worlds that entered stages similar to the Otadolon stage. The voice in the sky calling Earth World 1455 was a pretty big clue. But he did not expect that there would be a battle royale competition between the worlds’ participants over the fate of their worlds, or that dying during the battle meant a permanent death!