Chapter 45 – Echidna (Part 1)
— What is with this reaction… — Chae Young-ju muttered, bewildered as she flipped through the headline articles about Kang Seon Soo.
Kang Yu, who was sitting in front of her, shrugged his shoulders like it was nothing.
— All I did was feed them what they wanted to hear.
Humanity never loses its craving for heroic stories.
People always remember the names of famous heroes, and Seon Soo perfectly conveyed the heroic image.
— Were your tears during the interview fake?
— Of course.
— What’s the purpose of this play?
— To upset them, of course.
— Kang Yu downed a gulp of coffee, leaning against the table, and continued indifferently: — It was only by introducing them to a hero that I could move the attention away from me.
If people recognized him as a ‘hero,’ it would cause a lot of problems.
If there were benefits to becoming famous, he wouldn’t have minded telling the press that he was the one who killed the unknown monster.
However, he wouldn’t gain any benefits if he became famous now.
‘On the contrary, it will be uncomfortable.’ The more attention he drew to himself, the more limited his actions would be.
Besides, considering that Kang Yu often acts outside the rules of law, having the journalists watch his every move would not be good for him.
He didn’t want to put himself at a disadvantage.
‘But I won’t be able to hide all my life.’ If Kang Yu continues to improve at the same pace, it’d only be a matter of time before people will start noticing him.
‘When that moment comes, then I’ll think about what to do.’
If he couldn’t avoid that situation, it was better to look at what benefits would come with it.
Kang Yu placed his cup of coffee on the table and looked at Young-ju.
Taking a deep breath, she asked:
— So what really happened at the Gate?
She knew that Kang Yu couldn’t have been hurt by the unknown monster at all.
He wasn’t the kind of person to be easily frightened or hurt.
No matter how strong the monster was, it could never have bested Kang Yu so easily.
— It’s not a big deal.
Seon Soo’s guys were the first to fight the monster, and then I killed it when I had the chance.
— Are you sure the monster was the one who hurt Seon Soo?
— That’s right.
— It looks more like he hurt himself or someone did it to him.
— You’re wrong.
— Kang Yu was calm in answering her questions, which was sounding more like an interrogation.
Young-ju looked at the man with suspicion.
Every time she talked to Kang Yu, somewhere inside, she felt a stifling pressure.
He was a more talented Player than she originally thought.
But the problem was that he had more than just ‘talent.’
For his own benefit, he was willing to do anything, no matter how immoral or unethical.
He showed no remorse for his actions.
‘I don’t think I’m raising a kitten, but a tiger cub.’
The girl, wary with doubt, shook her head and continued:
— Hmm… First of all, tell me more about this unknown monster.
— Even if he held the truth of the fight from her, the priority of today’s meeting was to learn more about the monster.
Kang Yu nodded and told her about the Boer.
Of course, he kept quiet about the ‘satiated’ stage, when the monster becomes completely harmless.
— A monster with this much power in the Level B Gate… — She crossed her arms behind her head, staring blankly into the distance.
If Kang Yu was telling the truth, the monster was so strong that it was hard to believe it would even appear at the Level B Gate.
‘It should’ve appeared in Level A, or even higher.’
Even if a monster like that appeared at the Level A Gate, it wouldn’t be an ordinary monster but an ‘elite’ one.
Although there seems to be a small difference between the Level A and B Gate, the strength of the monsters actually differ drastically.
‘According to the news, a lot of strange things have been happening lately.’
Starting with the appearance of the Devil’s Teachers and now an unknown monster.
Ever since that day, five years ago, the world has been looking for stability, and because of what is happening now, the world is being shaken again.
‘Come to think about it, the appearance of the Player Oh Kang Yu coincides with the beginning of all these strange things.’ It’s hard to believe, but only a month has passed since then.
Around the same time he became a Player, the Devil’s Teachers appeared, and monsters with strength beyond their Gate levels showed up.
‘But this is all just coincidence.’ Young-ju shook her head and stared at Kang Yu.
Kang Yu’s unusual pace of development did not prove his connection to the Devil’s Teachers nor the unknown monsters.
She couldn’t suspect him without good reason.
‘What’s more…’ The girl looked at the man sitting in her office blowing the steam from his cup of coffee.
Frankly, she didn’t think he was a particularly nice person.
However, no matter how selfish he was, he didn’t look like the Devil’s Teacher, who was certainly a real psychopath.
‘He’s not that bad.’ At least that’s what she wanted to believe.
‘Anyway, he and I are in the same boat right now.’
Because of what happened, there were rumors about Oh Kang Yu, and how he’s sponsored by the Red Rose Guild.
Of course, there aren’t as many articles about him as there are about the hero Seon Soo, but if you searched deeply enough, you could still find some information.
In particular, he was being labeled as a reliable partner of Red Rose.
— What are you thinking so hard about?
— Huh? Nothing…
— I have a question for you.
— You have a question? — She looked surprised, and tilted her head to the side.
He continued quietly:
— Do you know anything about the ‘splinters of the rift?’ — Kang Yu wanted to learn more about the notifications that appeared when he killed the creatures from Hell.
There was a chance Young-ju would know something about it.
— No, it’s the first time I’ve heard of it.
— Huh… I see.
— What is this about?
— When I killed the unknown monster, I received a notice that I destroyed a Level B splinter.
— Oh… — She nodded and her eyes sparkled with interest.
— I’ll try to find out about it.
Kang Yu nodded his head and continued:
— There’s one more thing.
— Tell me.
— When are you planning to tell me about your request?
— Ah… — Young-ju’s facial expression darkened as soon as it was mentioned.
Kang Yu spoke seriously:
— I think you heard about how they call us reliable partners.
However, there is one unresolved issue in our relationship.
The girl didn’t say anything.
— You’ve already invested so much in me.
Would it hurt if I suddenly refuse to comply with your request?
— Don’t worry too much about it.
If your request isn’t too unreasonable, I’d like to continue our partnership, too.
— Kang Yu kept talking and leaned over the back of the chair in front of Young-ju’s desk.
— So, isn’t it time to open the veil of mystery? —
— Ha… — Young-ju let out a sigh.
When the girl realized there was no way to evade this, she started talking:
— There are some bastards who call themselves the Devil’s Teachers.
Kang Yu remained silent.
— I can’t say how many of them there are or when exactly they came out.
But lately, they’ve been showing themselves.
— Go on…
— These are psychos who kidnap people to sacrifice them.
Our guild, united with the government, is trying to track them down.
— So I was planning on asking you to help us destroy these Devil’s Teachers once we catch their trail.
We don’t have any solid proof yet, but we’re sure this pseudo-religion is very strong.
A heavy silence filled the room.
Kang Yu finally understood why Young-ju was going around gathering strong Players.
‘She plans to wage war against the Devil’s Teachers.’ It’s no surprise that one of the largest guilds was aware of this situation, considering the government was trying to gather information on them.
No, it was more than just ‘not bad.’
If Kang Yu, who was initially pursuing the Devil’s Teachers anyway, could get the support of a large guild and the government, it’d be great.
‘The only thing I don’t know is…’
Kang Yu, with a frown, said:
— Why are you so interested in destroying them?
Chae Young-ju didn’t answer, and kept her lips pressed together firmly.
It was clear why the government is after them.
The main purpose was certainly to ensure the safety of the civilians.
But such a thing wasn’t exactly Young-ju’s responsibility.
She was no law enforcement officer, so she should have no reason to hunt them.
Of course, if a person was acting according to their morals, he or she would want to stop these Devil’s Teachers.
But Young-ju, as a leader, should first and foremost take care of her subordinates.
She couldn’t put the guild in danger just to satisfy her sense of justice.
‘She won’t benefit from it either, unlike me.’ Kang Yu had already received quite a few Magi through their ritual.
Since she wasn’t interested in Magi, she had no other reason to go to war with them.
— First of all, I’m not volunteering to do this for free.
If we catch them, we will receive decent compensation from the government.
— Oh, so the reward is the rea…
— Besides that, I have another reason.
— Young-ju quietly cut off Kang Yu’s words.
Kang Yu could feel anger coming from the girl.
Her hatred was so strong that it made her feel like her lungs were filling up with fluid.
‘She really is strong.’
Feeling Young-ju’s murderous hatred, Kang Yu thought this.
It was the first time that he felt her strength like this.
‘This is why she’s at the top of the Korean Players.’
He could barely contain himself from inviting her to fight and find out how strong she is.
— At their hands, one of our Players died.
I can’t let it go on like this.
Absolutely not, — she said in a cold, icy tone.
‘It must have been someone important to her,’ he thought.
It was easy to guess from how emotional she was acting.
Kang Yu nodded affirmatively and responded seriously:
— I understand.
I will fulfill your request.
— Thank you…
— I told you I’d pay you back properly.
Saying that, the man changed the subject.
— Did you do what I asked?
While Young-ju had called him to find out more about an unknown monster, Kang Yu had come to pick something up.
— Young-ju took a rectangular card out of the drawer.
It had a picture of Kang Yu and permission to enter the S-level gate.
— I’ll ask you again just in case: you’re not going hunting there, are you? If you are, I can’t give it to you.
— For the hundredth time, I’m not going to.
— So why do you need that pass?
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— There’s something there I want to check.
— Kang Yu smiled a little and took the S-level gate pass.
After sticking the card in his pocket, he left the Red Rose building.
On his way to the parking lot, he opened his status window.
‘I can finally use it.’ He opened the status window and looked at his special ability of Rank 5.
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