Chapter 55 – Heaven’s Invasion (3)
“What do you want to do first? Achievements? Getting a new skill? Or… Maybe level up?”
If one could use the Knight’s Hall, there was no need to hunt until reaching level 100.
Training in that place gave you more experience than hunting. So why would anyone hunt?
“Hmm… Should we start by clearing all the achievements?”
Among the bonuses that being part of the Abyss gave, there was one that increased the rewards by 30%.
Usually, users that belonged to the Abyss couldn’t get access to the Knight’s Hall, but Hyun somehow managed to get inside.
He could benefit from both the Heaven’s achievements and the bonus that being part of the Abyss gave. In other words, profit.
“I think we need to farm some experience for you first, Ain.”
Because they’d played those past few days separately, the gap between Hyun and Ain’s level had widened.
It was important for a party to have similar levels for safety reasons, so increasing Ain’s level was the current priority.
Not only that, but to use the Heaven’s facilities, Hyun needed Ain’s ID, so he couldn’t move independently.
“Yeah, let’s level up first. It’s not like it’s going to take a lot of time so.”
Hyun and Ain were about to move to the next place when someone grabbed his attention.
At the sight of someone unexpected, Hyun’s eyes widened.
At first glance, he thought that he’d made a mistake, but after watching closely, he became sure it was that guy.
He never thought he’d be able to meet him in Asrian since the game’s world was so big.
JaeHoon had also seen Hyun.
He was also thinking about the same thing.
After Hyun spoke to him first, a joyful expression blossomed on JaeHoon’s face.
“Are you… Lee SeoHyun?!”
JaeHoon was wondering if that was the case, and it was, indeed.
He was more surprised since the world of Asrian was as big as the real world.
Even if there were millions of players, the number of NPCs was far greater than that. So it was obvious that he wasn’t expecting to see him.
“It’s really you!”
“Woah, I never thought I’d see you here!”
The reason why they’d been able to meet each other was because of their battle ranking.
After the patch was over, every user with a high battle ranking started to gather around that place, so that’s why they’d been able to meet each other.
Even considering that, there were tens of ‘Heaven’s Academies,’ so the probability of both of them meeting was still low.
Because they were inside the game, they decided to call each other by their nicknames.
“Practice? That’s a really professional gamer-like name.”
“Hey, it’s even weirder using an abbreviation of your real name as ID.”
At that moment, Ain, who was listening silently next to Hyun, wriggled her eyebrows.
It was then that Practice noticed Ain’s presence.
He was so happy he met Hyun that he didn’t notice the surroundings.
When he saw her, his eyes opened even wider than when he met Hyun.
There, he could see a girl who he knew very well.
As their eyes met, she just greeted him by raising her hand.
“Y-you…?” Practice asked while stuttering.
Ain smiled triumphantly.
“Me? I’m in the same party as Hyun.”
“SeoHyun, no, you’re in the same party as Hyun…?”
“Why are you so surprised?”
Ain, who found Practice’s attitude weird, asked him while tilting her head.
Her confusion was understandable. Sadly, she didn’t remember Practice’s face.
She just couldn’t memorize the faces of all the people she’d fought against in the Duel Arena.
That’s why she couldn’t understand why Practice was looking at her like that.
“Hmm, what a weird guy.”
“Hey, how can you talk like that to someone you’ve never seen…! He isn’t an NPC. He’s a real person!”
While Hyun was warning her, Practice understood what was going on.
She probably didn’t remember his face.
It was understandable that she hadn’t recognized him. After all, he had been standing stupidly with his mouth wide-opened.
After recognizing his mistake, Practice spoke up again.
“Don’t you remember me? We met in the duel arena!”
Practice tried to imitate the moves he’d used in the Duel Arena.
Ain remembered after seeing the attack that changed direction twice.
“Oh, you’re that guy!”
“You do remember me, right?”
“What? You guys have met each other before?”
Hyun couldn’t believe what was going on.
By pure coincidence, he had met his friend in Asrian. But somehow, they knew each other.
‘What a coincidence… No way, maybe it isn’t?’
When he thought about it, maybe it wasn’t that strange.
Everyone there was a user with a rank that was at least or higher than Master.
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Practice was aiming to become a professional gamer, and Ain was someone who loved dueling, so it wasn’t weird for both of them to know about each other.
“But who’s that person?”
At Hyun’s sudden question, everyone’s attention became focused on one place.
In that place, there was a girl with blue hair who was wearing glasses.
That woman had been standing there since the moment Practice approached him.
Practice, who realized his mistake, smiled awkwardly.
“Oops, I forgot to introduce Jini.”
Practice immediately introduced his partner.
Just like Hyun and Ain always moved together, Practice also had party members with whom he played.
And among those, the closest one was the one in front of them, Jini.
She began to introduce herself.
“ID Jini, I’m part of Stardust. My position is Priest.”
“Oh, so you’re also a professional gamer.”
Hyun scratched his head.
She had blue hair and facial features that resembled those of a westerner.
She was clearly a foreigner, so Hyun wondered why she was in a ‘Korean’ professional gaming team.
But the explanation that followed made it clear.
Although she had some European blood mixed on her, her nationality was Korean. But since she had just returned to Korea after living most of her life in a foreign country, her Korean wasn’t good, so she asked for understanding.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
Leaving Practice aside, she had become excited after realizing that she was Ain.
From the moment she saw Ain, her gaze was fixed on her.
Even without Practice’s introduction, she was able to recognize her. That was because Ain’s face had already been publicly known thanks to various communities.
Inside Stardust, it had been a hot topic that Practice had improved a lot after studying Ain’s movements.
Not only that, but they’d learned a little bit more about her thanks to a coach that had experience playing Asra Online.
‘I can’t believe I get to see her in a place like this.’
Jini clenched her fist.
She had already seen Ain’s fighting video that had trended on Reddit.
She also checked out Ain’s previous videos in which people thought that she was an NPC.
How she moved in a battle as if she were dancing was almost like an art in itself.
The first time she saw it, she was shocked by it, and the more she looked at the videos, the more fascinated she became.
The coach had said that Ain’s experience in PvP and know-how couldn’t be compared to an average professional gamer.
Jini had also tried to learn from her movements, but she had soon reached her limits.
—A harmony made of a mixture of irregular movements.
Even for Jini, who had good eye-sight, it was hard to analyze Ain’s movements.
Jini never thought she’d get the opportunity to see her right when she was struggling.
“You’re Ain, right? It’s an honor to meet you.”
Ain was a little bit flustered at Jini’s reaction.
“Are you talking about… Me?”
“Yes. You’re very famous, didn’t you know?”
In just an instant, Jini asked numerous questions.
Among them, there were some private ones that didn’t have anything to do with the game.
“If you don’t mind, how old are you?”
Ain looked at Hyun and tried to brush off the question, but she ended up revealing her age.
If she was 17, that meant she was in 11th grade, so she was two years younger than him… With that height and appearance, she was a high school student?
‘How is this possible?’
While Hyun was shocked, Jini kept asking him questions.
And finally, she asked her if she wanted to join Stardust.
“No… I’m not interested in joining any team.”
Ain refused while looking at Hyun.
Jini noticed Hyun’s presence because Ain was constantly looking toward someone.
At first, because her attention was focused on Ain, she hadn’t noticed Hyun’s presence.
But after looking at Ain closely, Jini noticed that she was very aware of Hyun.
She saw her constantly taking glimpses at Hyun.
It looked as if she had left all the decisions to him.
Then, finally, she took an interest in Hyun.
‘Hyun…? I feel like I’ve heard that name somewhere…’
The first impression she had about him was that he was just Practice’s friend.
A few before, Practice had proudly said that he made a new friend who played Asrian.
But once she asked him for details, he avoided answering any further.
The reason was that his friend didn’t want public attention.
At that moment…
Jini remembered something that a coach who had experience in Asra Online said.
There was a user on the previous game who was a legend.
According to what the coach had said, that user had done many unbelievable things that escaped logic and reason.
“Wait, you’re Hyun?”
As Jini shouted while pointing at Hyun, Practice sighed.
Hyun had asked Practice to hide his identity if possible. He never thought that Jini would find out about him like that.
“Please, don’t tell the rest of the team about Hyun. Since he doesn’t want to…” Practice asked Jini with an awkward smile.
“Of course, that’s not an issue!”
Jini’s sparkling eyes were then focused on Hyun.
‘Is this user really that amazing?’
According to the rumors, his skills and abilities were on another level compared to the rest, but it was hard to believe based on his average look.
“Don’t you want to join Stardust?”
Just like she had done with Ain, Jini started talking to Hyun.
Hyun was sweating while answering her questions. At the same time, he was thinking about a possibility.
‘Her job is Priest?’
The only bad thing about playing alone with Ain was that there were many quests that they couldn’t do alone.
But what if there was a Priest with them?
Suddenly, Hyun remembered a certain quest.
—A Heaven’s Quest with an incredible reward that they couldn’t try to do it yet.
‘Because of the story’s flow, this should be the only opportunity to get this quest. If it isn’t now, it should naturally disappear!’
The original plan was to increase Ain’s level in the Knight’s Hall and then complete the achievements one by one.
But there didn’t seem anything wrong with changing the plans slightly.
That user, Jini, seemed to have a positive image of him and Ain, so it should be okay to drag her into his plan.
He cut Jini’s non-stopping questions and asked her something.
“Have you ever heard about hidden quests? Fufu, how about we join parties and do one now?”
At Hyun’s grim smile, Jini and Practice’s eyes widened.
Practice had previously experienced the feeling of extreme growth thanks to a hidden quest Hyun had given him.
There was no way professional gamers didn’t know the meaning of a hidden quest.
“Can… You tell someone else so easily about something like a hidden quest?”
“It’s just like Jini says! It’s too burdensome to us if you suddenly say that!”
Practice seemed upset, but Hyun shook his head.
Because he wanted to show off a little bit, he didn’t tell them he needed a Priest.
“That’s okay. I probably know about hundreds of hidden quests. This much is nothing.”
Practice tried to deny Hyun’s request but ended up accepting it.
Jini gulped and looked at things unfolding.
It didn’t take long before things went as Hyun wished.
“Ugh… I’m definitely going to pay this debt back.”
“Haha, it’s not a debt. Don’t worry.”
And that was how a party of four was formed in the lobby.
Jini was thinking about numerous things while looking at the relaxed Hyun.
Rankers usually didn’t share the information that only they knew easily.
Since he had never lost the number one ranking in Asra Online, she was sure he would be similar to them… But Jini’s expectations were wrong.
He never lost the number one position despite having such a great personality. Did that mean that his skills are even more amazing?
Since she didn’t know Hyun’s plans, that was the only explanation she could come up with.
‘Good. Anyway, this is a great opportunity to see his play style from close.’
Two veterans from Asra and two professional gamers.
At first glimpse, it seemed like the strongest possible party. No one would’ve imagined that they would find trouble from the start.