Chapter 58: Chapter 57: Who Would Disturb a Sleeping Lion?, Part III
I grabbed the Specialist and dragged him back down to the ground. I wasn’t about to let him go again with him jumping from wall to wall like a damn squirrel.
“Ugh.” I landed on the ground on my feet and threw the Specialist to the ground. As he lay there, slumped, I stuck my sword into his stomach. I saw a yellow flash, indicating it was a critical hit.
“Gah!” the Specialist yelled out in pain. The blade impaled him like a hot knife through butter.
“Ice Ring!” As soon as I was about to lift my sword to finish the Specialist off, Kim Jihan’s spell flew at me like a bullet and enveloped me. My body began to freeze in a thick encasing of ice.
“Specialist! Now’s your chance! Get up and…” Kim Jihan trailed off. I tensed my arms and spread them open, shattering the thick ice like glass. I turned to look at Kim Jihan.
“I need you to explain some things to me, so just wait there. I’ll deal with you later.” I ignored the dumbstruck Kim Jihan and pulled my sword from the gasping Specialist and stabbed him once more. I had been holding him down with my foot and he squirmed to try to get away, but couldn’t. I stabbed him three more times before he finally died. His body vanished in a cloud of smoke.
“I see he has a Respawn Gem.” Devas had three ways to respawn when they died. First, if they didn’t set up a Respawn Point, then they would respawn in the same spot they died at in three hours. Second, they could respawn in a Store. There was a rest area on the first floor of Stores called the Bonfire of Life. Devas could touch these fires and set up a Respawn Point, but they could only respawn at the closest Store to where they died, and it would also take three hours.
In the past, I had used the Bonfire to set my Respawn Point, prompting that asshole to use his Shadow Puppeteer to force me into using a Respawn Gem to set the point to his hideout. That was how that asshole got to kill me 123 times, once every three hours.
The third method was to use a Respawn Gem, but this was easily abused by wicked people to mess with people, like the way it happened to me. As a result, these gems were largely used by guilds and party groups. With a gem, a deva could set their respawn point at their guild’s headquarters, or any other place they wanted. When they died, their bodies would vanish into a cloud of smoke and would respawn at that point three hours later. There wasn’t a limit on how many times these Gems could be used, but in order to set a new respawn point, a deva would have to buy another Gem at 50,000 golden rings a pop.
The Specialist whose body just vanished into smoke was going to respawn at his own point in three hours.
I turned away from the cloud of smoke and looked over at Kim Jihan. His underling couldn’t move away from where he was standing, and just trembled where he stood.
“Where’re your ten guys?” It took less than five minutes to deal with that Specialist guy. If Kim Jihan hadn’t thrown his spells at me in the middle of the fight, it would have taken me less time.
“I only need one of you to talk, right?”
“What?” Kim Jihan blurted out at my question.
“I’m pretty confident that you know more than this grunt here.” I walked over to the trembling minion.
“Ah! I just tail people, I’m sorry! I’m not even that high a…Eek!” the grunt pleaded as he saw the blade of my sword approach closer and closer, but the blade did not stop. He could do nothing to block my attack. I cut him three times, killing him. But this time, his body melted like water instead of turning into a cloud of smoke. That told me that he was going to respawn back here in three hours. Most devas used the Bonfire of Life at Stores, but strangely enough, this guy decided to use that first method to respawn.
“And then there was one. When are your lackeys getting here?” I asked the remaining victim.
Shit! This can’t be happening! This is nothing like the intel I received!, Kim Jihan screamed in his head. This guy was way too strong. He knew that no matter what sort of attacks he threw at him, he was going to lose this fight. He knew that he wasn’t going to make a dent in Lee Jiwon’s health; this guy could easily ignore anything that came his way.
Could I beat him if the guys get here? He thought about his backup that was supposedly on its way, but shook his head. The Specialist could have easily wiped the floor with them. They may have been called aces, but they weren’t that good. Anyone that was stronger than the Specialist had no reason to associate with gangsters. They could get so much more working by themselves. Besides, this was a kidnapping job, not an assassination. The backup was mostly support for the Specialist.
They’re not going to be enough to get me out of this. What should I do? While Kim Jihan thought about what to do, the ten guild members he called for earlier arrived. They immediately rushed over to him.
“Hyung-nim, we’re here!” One of them stepped forward and said to Kim Jihan. But Kim Jihan made his decision when the member spoke.
“Sir?” the guild member asked in surprise. Kim Jihan had called them here in a panic, but was now telling them to return.
“Just go back, dammit! It’s over.” Surprised at Kim Jihan’s outburst, the guild members looked at one another before slowly leaving the alleyway.
Kim Jihan made his decision. He knew that even if he used the ten grunts as cannon fodder, it would be extremely difficult to escape Lee Jiwon’s grasp.
Before his life as a deva, Kim Jihan had an almost nonchalant view towards death; if he died, he died. He didn’t really have anything to lose from dying. But now that he was a deva, he had so much to lose. If he died, all that work he put in just to gain one level would disappear in smoke, just like the Specialist’s body. He was an ice mage; he couldn’t lose more points to his already low STR, VIT, and AGI.
He had to take more care of his life as a deva than he did when he was a mortal if he wanted to get stronger. There was nothing better at getting stronger than not dying.
His own guild master was infamous for his merciless temper, but even he didn’t go around recklessly killing his own guild members. If his devas died, then the overall strength of his guild would go down as well. Even though he knew that the worst punishment for a deva was the death penalty, he wouldn’t just kill his guild members just like that. If devas were mortal, that was fine. But they weren’t and carried that penalty for the rest of time. As a result, the guild would carry all those penalties forever and become extremely weakened.
Kim Jihan’s guild master strongly believed that a violent carrot-and-stick approach carried a strong message, but he was also very intelligent. It was how he managed to stay in Seoul and hold a secret relationship with the Sunbin Guild for so long.
Right now, Kim Jihan had two options: stay loyal to the guild and die, or do what Lee Jiwon asked and live to see another day. The choice was rather obvious; it was better to live another day. That was why he had his followers leave the scene. Kim Jihan wasn’t about to foolishly throw his life away. If he was lucky, he could even convince Lee Jiwon to at least go meet the guild master.
It’s not like he had to physically kidnap him just to bring him to the guild master. If he could persuade him, that was enough, right?
The guild master always had his five Specialists around him. One of them just died, but there were still four left. And in three hours, that Specialist was going to respawn.
Kim Jihan decided it was smarter to try to coax Lee Jiwon into coming with him, instead of by force. It didn’t matter if he failed; he had to protect his life at all cost!
I stood there, watching Kim Jihan. I thought that I was going to have to fight ten people at once, but he sent them packing. I was curious as to what he was planning, and decided to leave him be.
After the lackeys left the alleyway, I spoke to Kim Jihan. “Can we talk now?”
“Of…of course, Mr. Lee Jiwon.”
“Good. Who the Hell are you all?” I wanted to know who they were first.
“I’ll tell you everything if you promise me one thing.”
“What is it?”
“Just let me live. If you promise me that, I’ll tell you everything you want to know.”
“OK.” I really wanted to know who they were.
“Thank you. We’re part of a gangster guild known as the Hitman Guild.”
“Hitman Guild?” I had never heard of a guild like that before, not even in my past life. Hell, I used to work out of Seoul for a long time, but never knew that gangster guilds existed.
“Yes. We’re the only gangster guild in Seoul.”
“I see. Perfect. Why were you guys following me?”
“I don’t know why. I was just ordered by my guild master to kidnap you, sir.”
“Hmm…” I fell into deep thought at what Kim Jihan just told me. Of course, there was no way for me to know if he was lying or not. I looked over at my status UI.
I lost about 240,000 HP in my fight with the Specialist. My health was at least being quickly restored by 550 points per tick, thanks to my belt and Orb.
I actually lost that much health in that fight. I did take some damage from Kim Jihan’s ice magic but even if I fought the Specialist one on one, I still would have lost around 200,000 points. I consistently checked my health when I fought the Specialist. The fight was definitely in my favor as we fought in a narrow alleyway, but I also didn’t lose in speed. If we had fought in an open area, I was confident that I could have won before losing 200,000 HP.
That guild master has to be stronger than the Specialist, right? It’ll be dangerous if I have to go up against two or three more of them at once.
I didn’t ask Kim Jihan what the overall strength of his guild was. Even if he did tell me, there was no way for me to know if he was telling the truth. But I knew I had to be careful if I had to go up against three people who were at least as strong as that Specialist.
Fighting devas wasn’t simple. You had to take into account their stats, skills, and items. And sometimes, they didn’t fight alone. There’s nothing stronger than a mob, I thought to myself. I didn’t have the desire to show off my strength or even put up a façade. But even though I wasn’t actually kidnapped, they conspired to and I wanted them to pay for it.
But even I’m shocked at how strong I’ve become. I’m only level 60. I’m way below level 100 and yet, I can still increase my level by so much in a single day. I was improving myself day by day. I could clearly see that I was going to be stronger tomorrow than I was today, and even stronger the day after.
Kim Jihan wasn’t actually going to die even though he was begging for his life. There were still worse people than him that deserved to incur the death penalty.
No one in their right mind would actually reveal information about their guild just because they were threatened with death. Besides, I didn’t know much and no matter how much he told me, I wouldn’t be able to tell if he was telling the truth.
Should I pay him back now or later? I was presented with two choices.
“Heh.” I laughed realizing that the choice was obvious. I should let him live for now.
I had already put my revenge towards Lee Kangchan to the side for the moment. That guy did much worse than just kidnap me; he killed me one hundred and twenty-three times in a row! He left me in such a hopeless, worthless state, forcing me to jump into the Sea of Reset, and yet I was still biding my time. If I could hold off on that, then I could overlook this for now. Of course, I wasn’t about to completely let it go. I was still going to crush them, later on.
Revenge is a dish best served cold. I mean, it would probably be a little warm, but still. I could wait a little longer if it meant it would all be satisfactory.
Still, I shouldn’t be rash about this. I lived a long life back then; been through this, been through that. I knew it’d be stupid to just go storm the Hitman Guild right now. I might just give them what they wanted and let myself be captured!
I looked back at the cowering Kim Jihan.
“Where can I find your guild master?”
“I know where he is. My guild master always stays in a hidden safe house. I know where that safe house is.”
“Yes sir!” Kim Jihan replied strongly.
“How strong is your guild master, if you compare him with that Specialist person?”
“They’re about the same.”
“Hmm… you were telling me where your guild master was?”
“It’s difficult to explain. I could take you directly to him, if you wish.”
“Perfect!” Kim Jihan smiled at my reply and turned around, motioning for me to follow.
“Gak!” I stabbed Kim Jihan in the back as soon as he turned around. The blade protruded from his chest.
“Did you actually take me for a fool? Fool me once…” I did think there was at least a 0.0001% chance that he was telling the truth.
“But… you promised… let me live?”
“You know, I’ve lived a really long life. I’m not saying that I’m too old for my age or anything. It’s just that there’s something I learned throughout the years. It’s that it’s smart to leave no potential enemies.” I pulled my sword back and stabbed his body multiple times. He must have had a pretty high VIT for an ice mage, it took a few more stabs than expected.
“You…son of a bitch!” Kim Jihan entered the Groggy state from suddenly receiving a ton of damage, and couldn’t move. He could only move his mouth and swear.
I smiled. I figured it was the best way to infuriate a furious person even more.
“Have a nice trip!”
“I’ll get you back for this!”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever you say. You do just that. I’ll be waiting.” I lifted my sword and sliced down at his head. There was a yellow flash and his body was cut in half down the middle. Blood splattered everywhere, but I didn’t avoid it. His corpse soon vanished into smoke.
“Looks like he had a Respawn Gem as well.” I watched until the smoke dissipated, then left. If anyone peeked in, they would see that there was a lot of evidence that a fight had taken place here.