Return of the Frozen Player Chapter 7

Scritch scratch.

Shim Deok-Gu signed his name on the final document of the day and cleared off his desk. He couldn’t help but smile when he was done with his work for the day. Then, he looked up.

“Hehehe. Man, this novel’s hilarious.”


Shim Deok-Gu’s face fell as he was brought back to reality. Seo Jun-Ho was laying on his sofa, eating chips and drinking coke while reading a novel.

‘He’s the most respected Player in the world as well as the most popular role model…’

Was it okay for him to act like that?

Shim Deok-Gu let out a long sigh and walked over. “What’re you reading?”

“Huh? The main character’s a priest, but all they do is fight instead of healing.”

“What a crazy priest.” He took a seat on the opposite side and tapped on his Vita. A few documents appeared in the air. “Take a look at this. It’s the stuff you asked me for.”

“Oh?” Jun-Ho peeked up from over his book, eyes sparkling. He closed it with a thump and sat up, looking over the hologram documents.

“Wow, this is just what I needed. You’re the best,” Seo Jun-Ho exclaimed in excitement. Shim Deok-Gu looked a little repulsed. “Whatever. Why do you need these? You’re not thinking about going into these Gates, are you?” he asked.

“Of course I am. Why would I make you go through the trouble of getting these if I wasn’t going to go in?” Seo Jun-Ho refuted.

“What?! But…” Shim Deok-Gu quickly glanced through the documents, nervous. They were all about the ‘Uncleared Gates’ that had been around for the past 25 years. “…You know why no one has ever cleared these Gates, right?”[1]

“Making a mistake inside a Gate means instant death. Do you think I wouldn’t know that?”

Players who entered Uncleared Gates wouldn’t even leave corpses behind when they died.

“Besides, these are all easy, low-level Gates,” SeoJun-Ho added.

“Yeah, well, I suppose they don’t have any stars…”

“Stars? What do you mean?”

Shim Deok-Gu sighed. “Oh, right. It’s a system that was created while you were asleep.”

He tried to explain it as quickly and concisely as possible. 17 years ago, a single star was given to a Gate if 10,000 Players had died inside it. There had been 14 Gates that received stars.

“There haven’t been any Gates that 20,000 people have failed to clear yet, so the highest grade is a 1-star Gate. 11 of them have been cleared so far, and the last three are known as the 3 Great Gates.”

“Wait, then how many 1-star Gates have I cleared?” Seo Jun-Ho asked. When he was Specter, there had been a couple of Gates where 10,000 or more Players had died inside. They were more common in countries like China or India, where there was a higher population. “I’ve cleared three…no, was it four?”

“That’s right. Officially, Specter has four stars. You understand how difficult 1-star Gates are now, right?” Deok-Gu asked.

“Yeah. So those are called 1-star Gates now. I could feel that they were different from the moment I walked in.” From what Seo Jun-Ho remembered, 1-star Gates had boss monsters that were on an entirely different level. “Wait, if I only have four stars, does that mean that the Frost Queen’s Nest isn’t included in the count?”

“Of course not. She didn’t kill 10,000 people. You guys were the first people to enter the Gate.” Shim Deok-Gu shrugged. “Adding onto that, the strongest Players in the world all have at least one star. They’re called the Nine Heavens.”

“…What a cheesy name. They’re people, not skies.”

“Ha, are you jealous?”

“Who’s jealous?” Seo Jun-Ho sulked, but Shim Deok-Gu only found it cute.

“Anyway, you’re only level 1 right now. Even if they don’t have stars, I think Uncleared Gates will be too much for you.”

“Deok-Gu. Haven’t you heard the saying?” Seo Jun-Ho put on airs, jutted out his chin, and leaned back on the sofa as he cushioned his head. “Form is temporary, but class is forever.”

“…Don’t you feel embarrassed saying that?”

“Not at all. It’s the truth.”

If Seo Jun-Ho didn’t think that he could clear a Gate, he wouldn’t attempt it in the first place. When it came to hunting, he always made logical decisions after analyzing the situation, not letting his emotions sway him.

“Why are you so worried? Aren’t the Uncleared Gates troublesome for the Association?” Seo Jun-Ho asked.

“…They are, but that doesn’t mean that I want to send my friend somewhere dangerous.”

“Wow.” In the time that Seo Jun-Ho had been away, the only thing that Shim Deok-Gu had gained was worry and age. He looked at Shim Deok-Gu and sighed. “Sorry for ruining the heartfelt moment, but I’m going because it’s beneficial for me.”

“…Beneficial? How so?” Shim Deok-Gu asked.

“Gates give more EXP as more time passes.” Gates that had remained uncleared for years would have a lot of EXP piled up as rewards.

“So the only reason you’re going inside Uncleared Gates is that you can level up a little faster?”

“It’s the fastest way.” Seo Jun-Ho corrected.

“Can’t you just train safely and clear normal Gates? It’s not like it’ll even take that long with your skills.” Shim Deok-Gu argued.

“But that’s still not fast enough.” Seo Jun-Ho looked at him with a grave expression. “As long as the fiends are after me, time will never be on my side.”


“That’s why I need to level up as fast as possible.” If his identity was revealed, he at least had to have the strength to fight back.

‘Only Players level 30 and higher can take the Dimensional Elevator and go to the 2nd Floor.’

Seo Jun-Ho’s current goal was to reach level 30 as fast as possible.

When he saw how serious Seo Jun-Ho was, Shim Deok-Gu nodded heavily. “…I didn’t think that far. I didn’t know that you were under that kind of pressure.”

‘Actually, it’s not that.’

Frankly, he just wanted to punish the fiends for not knowing their place. Of course, Seo Jun-Ho didn’t bother to correct his friend now that he had finally calmed down.

“Then, for your First Gate…” As Shim Deok-Gu scrolled through the documents, his eye twitched. “Goodness, there’s only one Uncleared Gate that lets in Players at level 1.”

This Gate had first appeared seven years ago and had killed 142 Players thus far. It was known as the “Novice’s Grave,’ and it only let in level 1 Players.

The name of the Gate itself was also ominous.

“The Curse of Dawn,” Seo Jun-Ho read. He shrugged. “Based on the name, it’ll probably have zombies or something.”

“Well, you won’t know until you go in. You have to survive until the sun rises in order to clear the Gate,” Shim Deok-Gu said.

“That’s nothing.” Seo Jun-Ho shrugged.

“You’re so cocky…”

Of course, Seo Jun-Ho had the skills to back it up, so Shim Deok-Gu couldn’t say anything.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a card, holding it out to Seo Jun-Ho. “This contains your signing bonus.”

It was the money that Seo Jun-Ho would receive for signing a contract with the Player Association. As soon as Seo Jun-Ho accepted it, Shim Deok-Gu revealed a wide grin.

“From now on, you’re my subordinate for a year.”

“Is this funny to you? Do you want to get bossed around by your underling?”

The signing bonus was 200 million won, and his annual salary was 1.5 billion won. On top of that, he would also receive an incentive to clear Gates and would receive additional pay based on their difficulties. The terms of Seo Jun-Ho’s contract were unheard of for a novice.

“Oh, right. What do you think about living at the Association for the time being? This building has a residential area for our Players.” Shim Deok-Gu suggested.

“Sounds good. My safety will be guaranteed here.”

The Association headquarters had at least a hundred Players milling around at any given time, and the building itself was also protected by a magic barrier. No one in their right mind would even consider attacking it. Seo Jun-Ho considered this and made his decision.

“I’ll stay here. You have to get me a good room, though.”

“I got it. Once you make a name for yourself, I’ll give you an entire floor.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

“And…” Shim Deok-Gu stood up and picked up a massive box in the corner, struggling to carry it over. He wiped the sweat from his brow and nodded toward the box. “Open it. It’s the gear you’ll be using.”

“Gear?” Seo Jun-Ho’s eyes widened. He immediately opened the box. Inside was an armor set made of his preferred leather. He picked it up. “…It’s light.”

Seo Jun-Ho ran his nails across the surface and nodded in approval. “And it’s pretty sturdy too. This is a lot better than I expected.”

“Of course. It’s Kwon Noya’s work.”

“What?!” Jun-Ho’s jaw dropped. Kwon Noya was the world-famous blacksmith that had wielded his hammer only for Specter. “That old man’s still alive? Isn’t he a hundred by now?”

“He’s 98 this year. It’s been a while since he handed off his workshop to his grandson, but he’s still as healthy as always.”

“Man, I can’t just accept this. I should go thank him in person.” Seo Jun-Ho wanted to leave right away, but Shim Deok-Gu held up his hand to stop him.

“You can’t do that.”

“What? Why not?”

“We have to take all possible measures to ensure your safety,” Shim Deok-Gu explained.

“…Are you suspicious of Noya?” Seo Jun-Ho’s eyes narrowed. After all, he considered Kwon Noya to be his first comrade.

“It’s not Noya that I’m suspicious of.” Shim Deok-Gu seemed taken aback at the suggestion. He shook his head. “We just need to avoid the eyes of the fiends and the Guilds.”

“…So they’ve been watching the workshop.”

“It can’t be helped. Everyone knows how close Specter and Kwon Noya were.” It wasn’t surprising that people had started watching the workshop after Specter had returned. If Seo Jun-Ho made his way to the workshop to meet Kwon Noya, it would only arouse suspicion. After all, there weren’t many people who could meet the blacksmith in person.

“Hm. That makes sense. If a newbie who has just become a Player goes to Kwon Noya’s workshop…Of course, he’d draw attention.”

“I told Noya about the situation while under the guise of picking up the armor. He understands.”

“I see.” Seo Jun-Ho felt a little sad that he couldn’t meet the old man right away. Although Kwon Noya kept on grumbling and was stubborn every time they met, Seo Jun-Ho still valued their friendship. “There’s nothing we can do. I’ll just raise my level and meet him another time. Besides…”

Seo Jun-Ho looked down at his scrawny arms.

‘That old man nags even more than Deok-Gu.’

If Seo Jun-Ho went to him in this state, he’d never hear the end of it.

He smiled and stood up from his seat. “Thanks for the armor. How about my weapon?”

“We have a lot of useful items in the Association armory, so take whatever you want.” Shim Deok-Gu took a sip of coffee before moving on to the most important question. “So when are you planning to go to the Gate?”

“Originally, I wanted to go right away…” But he changed his mind after the licensure exam.

‘I got exhausted after fighting only twenty dwarves.’

A Gate, an Uncleared Gate at that, would be much harder to defeat than twenty dwarves.

“I don’t want to waste any time, but I have to train myself up,” Seo Jun-Ho explained.

“That’s a good idea. How long do you think it’ll take?” Shim Deok-Gu asked.

“I just need to reach the bare minimum, so…” Seo Jun-Ho closed his eyes to think before he opened them again. “Ten days. I’ll aim for that.”

The time quickly flew by.


Cheonman Mountain in Namyangju was just outside of the safe zone. This was why a Gate had appeared there seven years ago.


A self-driving car came to a stop in the parking lot of Cheonman Mountain, which was right next to the Gate. A man who appeared to be in his twenties stepped out of the car.

“Is this it?” The man was Seo Jun-Ho, who had grown slightly bulkier in the past ten days. He was still scrawny, but his eyes gleamed with a different light than before.

In front of him stood a blue oval that was 4-meter tall.

‘A Gate.’

They were mysterious portals connected to other worlds that were crawling with monsters and riddled with traps. Once you were inside, you couldn’t trust anything.

‘The only thing you can trust is yourself.’

And in order to trust yourself, you needed the skills to back it up. Seo Jun-Ho knew this better than anyone, so he worked hard to train his body up over the past ten days.

‘It was insanely difficult.’

From the moment he woke up to the moment he went to sleep, all he did was train. He had even replaced his meals with nutritional supplements. In order to maximize his body’s efficiency, there was nothing he could do but train so intensely.

Thankfully, his hellish training had paid off.

[Seo Jun-Ho]

Level: 1

Title: Bringer of Spring

Strength: 25Stamina: 27

Speed: 31 Magic: 18

Though he hadn’t been able to raise his magic stat, he had been able to raise his strength stat from 21 to 25, his stamina from 24 to 26, and his speed from 27 to 31.

‘It’s better to raise my stats as fast as possible before I get stronger.’

The higher your level and stats got, the harder it became to raise them through training.

“Let’s go.”

An empty parking lot. A parked self-driving taxi.


And a stray cat.

They were the only witnesses as Seo Jun-Ho entered the Uncleared Gate, <Curse of the Dawn>.

1. A more literal translation would be ‘You understand what it means when a Gate has never been cleared, right?’ but contextually, it made more sense for it to be translated like this for it to flow with the next sentence. ?

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