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-Grid: How are you?
-Kraugel: Are you worried?
-Grid: No way. Who will dare worry about the person in the sky? I was just saying a common greeting.
-Kraugel: Things are good. I will get straight to the point. Why did you send me a whisper?
-Grid: Hehe... Can you let me know one thing? Are there any minerals in Satisfy that can be used as a material for sungla.s.ses?
-Kraugel: Sungla.s.ses? I see. The person who made the first contact with the evil eyes' king was you. Are you planning to appease the evil eyes' king?
-Grid: Amazing... Don't you know this is really creepy now? How can you guess that from one question?
-Kraugel: ...Isn't it funny that you are asking me about minerals?
-Grid: Pagma's knowledge isn't universal. I don't know what materials are required to make the item until the recipe is acquired.
-Kraugel: I heard you recently got an accessories maker? Won't it be better to ask her?
-Grid: Unfortunately, she still lacks experience. On the other hand, you have acc.u.mulated the most experience and knowledge in Satisfy. Please do me a favor. If you help me this time...
-Kraugel: The grandmaster's experiments wear black gla.s.ses. They wear gla.s.ses made by processing ether diamonds.
-Grid: Grandmaster? Experiments? Diamond?
-Kraugel: Once again, it is an ether diamond. I'm told it can be mined from the Elliter Mine in Talima.
Grid: The dwarf city... Do the dwarves grant access to the mine?
-Kraugel: The Elliter Mine has long been abandoned.
-Kraugel: Elliter mine has a gap in the dimension. Muller sealed it, but the seal has weakened recently.
-Grid: A gap in the dimension?
-Kraugel: It is also known as a h.e.l.l gate. Sometimes the 12th great demon's 'hand' will pop out.
-Kraugel: A hand that can grab hundreds of dwarves at once and turns them into dirt.
-Grid: Is it impossible to go there right now?
-Kraugel: That's right. The dwarves won't open the mine.
-Grid: So, that means there is only one way to get the ether diamond right now?
-Kraugel: That's right.
-Grid: The National Compet.i.tion's compensation.
-Kraugel: I wish you luck.
-Grid: Same. I hope you aren't disturbed.
-Kraugel: Are you mocking me now? You are a few steps ahead of me this year.
-Grid: Next year?
-Kraugel: We will stand side by side.
"Side by side instead of surpa.s.sing me again? He is a humble person."
Grid finished whispering and stood up. He sensed the resurgence of a compet.i.tor with SSS-cla.s.s talent who was different from the ordinary Grid in many ways. Grid's expectations were greater than his fear. He was stimulated rather than daunted.
The S.A Group's headquarters—how was a building permit given for this? Did they give bribes? The building was so tall that it raised questions.
A car that was rarely seen stopped at the entrance of the lobby. This was a limited edition sports sedan which only a few people around the world had. It had been three years since the release of this model, but the unchanging value and sophisticated design still captivated people's attention. The staff of the S.A Group in the lobby stopped their work and paid attention to the car. There were few people in South Korea who didn't know of the car's owner.
There were many exclamations when the young man descended from the car. s.h.i.+n Youngwoo—he was famous for being the first king among two billion players around the world. He received star treatment even among the employees of the S.A Group.
"Welcome. I was surprised when I heard you wanted a direct visit." Yoon Nahee, the manager of the operations team, came to meet him.
"It is nice to experience the fresh breeze. This is the best company in the world."
"It is thanks to Youngwoo-ssi and the other users who enjoy playing the game."
"You're grateful to the users? I have a feeling that today's contract will be successful."
Yoon Nahee was very surprised by Youngwoo's att.i.tude. The silly young man she met last year was now gone.
'He is a man who grew up with Satisfy...'
She shouldn't forget that the man in front of her was more special than anyone else. Yoon Nahee smiled brightly. "We put our heart and soul into the contract with Youngwoo-ssi. You can look forward to it."
"You put your heart and soul into it? Did the company's position on pavranium and divine stone change?"
"I'm sorry, but... as we mentioned in advance, we can't include pavranium and divine stone in the rewards. Pavranium is a cla.s.s-specific item, so the acquisition path and quant.i.ty are limited. Divine stone is cla.s.sified as a 'divine' item above adamantium and bloodstone, meaning players can't acquire it yet. Didn't you check the copy of the contract this morning?"
"I just wanted to ask. I understand. I can't argue about this."
"Thank you for your understanding. The director will explain in more detail but Youngwoo-ssi's rewards are limited to tier one production materials like last year... You—?" Yoon Nahee felt disturbed as she took Youngwoo to the elevator. It was due to the particularly dark smile that spread across Youngwoo's face. "What are you thinking?"
"Ether diamond. It is the reward I want."
"...!!" Yoon Nahee fell silent as she heard the name of the unexpected item. It was fortunate that she didn't fall down. The ether diamonds—they were diamonds encased in the dark matter called 'ether' that absorbed light and magic power. The mineral inherited the characteristics of ether and diamonds, showing exceptional power under certain conditions. It was worth more than adamantium and bloodstone which were the representatives of different worlds.
'However, the mineral rating is below adamantium and bloodstone.'
It was naturally one of the best minerals that existed in the human world. Still, there was a problem.
"...You know about it? The acquisition path of the ether diamond hasn't opened yet."
The special power of the ether diamond gave it a certain kind of usefulness, and it had the potential to make the 'rating' obsolete. It was something that a player shouldn't have yet.
"Youngwoo-ssi, the balance is important. At this point in time, players shouldn't have an ether diamond either."
s.h.i.+n Youngwoo knew the balance that she was concerned about. For example...
"Do you think I will free the evil eyes' king?"
The elevator door stopped where Yoon Nahee was heading. It was the 51st floor. She stood behind s.h.i.+n Youngwoo like a statue as he knocked on the door of Director Yoon Sangmin's office. He stated, "You promised me. You will give me up to seven items under a certain rating for the demon king project."
Yes, the rating... The S.A Group focused on the rating of the rewards. That was a mistake.
"N-No." Yoon Nahee looked at the office door that closed and hurriedly pulled out her phone. She tried to call Yoon Sangmin.
(What's going on?) Fortunately, Director Yoon Sangmin picked up just after greeting s.h.i.+n Youngwoo. She was in his emergency contact network, so Yoon Sangmin couldn't ignore her.
Yoon Nahee shouted, "We have to change the contract!"
(What are you saying? You want to suddenly change the contents of a contract that has already been thoroughly reviewed? Do you think this company is a playground?)
"Youngwoo-ssi wants ether diamonds!"
(What? A player knows about the ether diamond? Already?)
"Modify the contents of the rewards before Youngwoo-ssi signs it!"
It wasn't too late. s.h.i.+n Youngwoo had just entered the office. He would've shared a handshake with Yoon Sangmin and just received the contract. By now, he should've just read the first part of the contract. Yoon Nahee felt hopeful. However, Yoon Sangmin's murmur over the phone took away her hopes, (...He has already signed it.)
He signed the contract without reading it...?
"...Ah." The nervous Yoon Nahee belatedly realized that this wasn't the first contract s.h.i.+n Youngwoo had signed with the S.A Group. Before the 2nd National Compet.i.tion, he signed a contract with the S.A Group and experienced the 'reliability' of the S.A Group.
'Then the reason he asked for a copy of the contract this morning...'
Yoon Nahee hung up the phone and shook her head.
"As the years pa.s.s, he is becoming harder and harder to deal with. The woman who gets him will suffer."
"It has been a long time."
"Nice to see you. I have been watching and cheering you on."
"Thank you. Please give me the contract. I a.s.sume it hasn't changed from the copy sent to me this morning?"
"Of course not. Check it once again and then sign... Excuse me, I have to pick up a call."
It happened in less than a minute. s.h.i.+n Youngwoo laughed as he placed the fountain pen he received from his father back into his pocket. Meanwhile, Yoon Sangmin struggled to keep calm as he put away his phone. "You signed without reading it?"
"Didn't you say the contents are the same?"
"You never know..."
"It's okay. I already signed it."
"We can resign the contract if we both agree... Sigh, okay. I understand. There is no point feeling regretful since it has already happened. I have one question."
"What is it?"
"Why did you take the risk?"
"You could've pretended not to know about the ether diamond and then signed the contract after carefully checking its contents. Why did you dare to tell Yoon Nahee about the ether diamond and create such an urgent situation?"
"I wanted to be sure."
"I wasn't sure if I should choose the ether diamond instead of a divine creature byproduct."
"...Yoon Nahee's reaction gave you confidence."
"Yes. Her honest reaction gave me the answer. That's why I signed this."
"I see. You made the correct judgment. The ether diamond... To be precise, the value of the evil eyes' king that can be exploited with the ether diamond is great." The evil eyes were an advanced species. They were different from the inferior water clan. The king of the evil eyes would give s.h.i.+n Youngwoo a power that couldn't be compared to the water clan. "With this, Youngwoo-ssi can build a foundation to fight against the empire. However, don't forget. It is just a possibility. The rewards will only be given based on Youngwoo-ssi's and the four heavenly kings' actions."
The contract clearly stated:
1. s.h.i.+n Youngwoo must partic.i.p.ate in the 'Demon King's Subjugation' event during the National Compet.i.tion and play the role of the demon king.
2. The demon king's role is to be hostile and overpower the players partic.i.p.ating in the Demon King's Subjugation event.
3. The S.A Group will support s.h.i.+n Youngwoo.
4. The four heavenly kings are referring to the NPCs Piaro, Asmophel, Mercedes, and Noll. The range of the duplication is limited to their stats, skills, and items. Duplication of their personalities, memories, and emotions are strictly forbidden.
12. The S.A Group is obliged to pay s.h.i.+n Youngwoo compensation whenever the number of kills acc.u.mulated at the gateways of the four heavenly kings increases by 100. Compensation payout will be given at the end of the contract.
13. If s.h.i.+n Youngwoo survives until the end of the Demon King subjugation event, the S.A Group will give him compensation. Compensation payout will be given at the end of the contract.
14. This agreement is valid until the end of the 4th Satisfy National Compet.i.tion.
Unlike s.h.i.+n Youngwoo's wishes, there were no special privileges. The S.A Group didn't give s.h.i.+n Youngwoo any special skills or items when he was the demon king. s.h.i.+n Youngwoo had to fight against all those partic.i.p.ating in the National Compet.i.tion with his own abilities and the abilities of the four heavenly kings who cloned the stats of his subordinates.
It wouldn't be easy. In particular, once the representatives of each country recognized the essence of the event and formed an 'alliance', the odds of the king being defeated would rise exponentially. Grid could gain up to seven rewards. Youngwoo would be able to monopolize more rewards than others could, but he was in a disadvantageous situation.
"Please play an active role and get the rewards you want."
"Thank you for your support," Youngwoo said goodbye to Director Yoon Sangmin and headed home. For the remainder of the time he had left, he was planning to build up his specs, make new items for his subordinates, and raise his level. In particular, he had to refine Noll who had been left unattended for a long time.
'The National Compet.i.tion now has a separate server. I can consume the creation slots at will.'
There was a chance of victory.
'I will do whatever it takes to win.'
"Apart from the ether diamond, the list of rewards includes the Stone of Life, the prophet's skull, the kelad cloth, and the yangban's mask. Get rid of them"
Yoon Sangmin gave an order after s.h.i.+n Youngwoo left. It wasn't possible to change the compensation for s.h.i.+n Youngwoo who had a separate contract, but the gold medal rewards were different.
'We figured out the blind spots of the compensation thanks to Youngwoo-ssi. We've received his help.' He tried to think positively, but a sigh emerged. Yoon Sangmin was already worried about the demon king project.