The next morning…
“As expected, this car is more comfortable,” Sae-ah said while buckling up her seatbelt and smiling.
“Didn’t you like the foreign car you rode the other day?”
“The car itself was good, but Hee-soo kept worrying and asking, ‘Sae-ah~ What are you going to do now?’ She was a bit annoying…”
JiHan understood what Sae-ah meant.
Maybe other people said things like that out of worry, but it wasn’t comforting at all to the person on the receiving end. In fact, it usually felt like mockery.
“Let’s just use this car.”
“Still, there’s no need to refuse if they insist on giving a ride, right? I’m okay… Huh?” Sae-ah was speaking when her eyes widened.
There was a fancy sports car in the space JiHan had parked in the other day.
As soon as the door opened, a tall woman in a suit emerged.
“Hi.” HaYeon’s bodyguard, GaYeong, bowed toward JiHan.
“Isn’t she the bodyguard of the Twin Star Guild’s director?”
“You’re right. Stay here. I’ll go.”
“I also want to go!”
Her eyes twinkled in a way that made it clear that she wouldn’t listen.
JiHan nodded his head. He then parked his car next to the sports car and exited.
“Oh, Mr. Sung!”
As JiHan and his sister exited, the passenger door of the sports car opened, and HaYeon came out, showing off her beautiful appearance.
“To think I’d see you here.”
“Have you been waiting for me?”
“It was a coincidence. I’m a graduate here, so I came to see a teacher.”
“This early in the morning?”
“Greetings should be given early, after all. Fufu. Ms. Yoon, how have you been doing?”
The two exchanged greetings in a friendly manner.
“Speaking of which, Ms. Yoon, I’ve heard you’re this academy’s student council president… It seems like we have a deep connection.”
“Yes? In what sense?”
“I was the academy’s fourth student council president.”
“Ah~ I see.”
Sae-ah’s way of speaking changed to something that could have been from a textbook. Perhaps she thought the other woman was being too blunt.
On the other hand, HaYeon turned her gaze back to JiHan and brought up the main topic.
“Since we’re meeting like this, it must be fate… How about we have a cup of coffee?”
“Weren’t you going to visit a teacher?”
“Aah. Now that I think about it, she might be busy in the mornings. It just so happens that there’s a good coffee shop at this school.”
“Well… Why not?” JiHan nodded his head.
Their purpose was blatantly obvious.
‘If it were someone else, I would’ve refused…’
There was a high chance that Lee HaYeon was ‘Zero’, so he needed to maintain a friendly relationship with her.
“Uncle, are you going to have a cup of coffee with the director?”
“Okay, then let’s go up together.”
JiHan nodded and took the elevator with HaYeon’s group.
Within the Battle Net Academy’s cafeteria…
There was usually hardly anyone there in the morning hours, but there were far more people there than usual that morning who were dressed in neat suits. No matter how you looked at them, they were clearly businessmen.
As JiHan entered the cafeteria with HaYeon, people began murmuring.
“Ah… It’s JiHan!”
“Isn’t that Director Lee HaYeon from Twin Star?”
Those who recognized the two at first glance were members of scout teams dispatched from guilds.
‘They came up from the student parking lot.’
‘Is Director Lee HaYeon part of the academy’s alumni?’
‘Ah… Twin Star contacted JiHan first.’
To think she’d been waiting in the parking lot to meet him…
Only graduates could enter the student parking lot, and the other scout teams were unable to hide their disappointment.
‘We’ll hope that their deal falls through.’
‘We’re going to contact him directly next time.’
They quietly sipped their coffee and hoped that the pair’s conversation wouldn’t go well.
HaYeon looked at them and giggled. “For some reason, there seem to be many familiar faces in the cafeteria today.”
“Do you mean those people?”
“Yes. They’re guild scouts… It seems like they’re all here to meet you.”
As expected, waiting in the parking lot was the correct decision.
“JiHan, I was upset,” HaYeon said with a smile on her face as soon as they sat down.
Notably, she had stopped using formalities.
“I gave you my business card, but you didn’t contact me.”
“I was busy, so I forgot.”
“I was so anxious for your call that I couldn’t sleep at night, JiHan, look, I have dark circles.”
HaYeon put her flawless face next to his. She was the predator of the recruiting world.
“I’ll be more careful next time.”
“Ah. Also, I was watching your stream when I saw that you were trying to give your number to the person kicking the soccer ball… Do you remember it now?”
“Yes. I remembered it after the auction the other day.”
“Then tell me as well!”
HaYeon glanced around, brushed her hair back with one hand, and leaned her head toward JiHan.
“There are a lot of others around, so say it just for me.”
A subtle scent spread. HaYeon was so beautiful that the scouts watching from afar were mesmerized.
‘Director HaYeon is determined…!’
‘She should’ve become a celebrity with a face like that. Why come to this industry?!’
Contrary to the scouts’ thoughts, JiHan was reminiscing on the past.
‘She’s wearing the same perfume as Zero.’
Zero, drunk and causing havoc, came to his mind.
“Do you want to know my number?”
“I’ll tell you if you can satisfy my curiosity.”
“What are you curious about?”
HaYeon’s expression froze for a moment, then she pulled herself together and waved her hand.
“I… don’t have a Gift. If I did, I would’ve become a professional player.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. I really don’t.”
“You said you used to be the student council president…”
“Yes. I served as student council president, but they didn’t give me a Gift. Isn’t that too much?”
“I see… It seems like I was rude. I’m sorry, but I guess there’s a reason you came here. You probably want to make a recruitment proposal.”
HaYeon looked at GaYeong, who was standing beside her.
GaYeong took out a piece of paper and gave it to JiHan.
“Yes. We would like to recruit you to the Twin Star Guild, Mr. Sung. We’ve prepared a contract of the highest standard in the industry for that purpose,” HaYeon said in a confident voice.
JiHan skimmed through the contract. A sentence at the top caught his attention.
‘A treatment comparable to a Platinum-rank’s.’
Platinum players could become national representatives, depending on their positions. They were among the top rankers.
“Fufu… What do you think?”
Twin Star’s offer was huge. If he signed with them, he wouldn’t need to worry about money ever again.
“Woah.” GaYeong, who was looking at the document from the side, was amazed.
Wasn’t a contract like that too much for a Bronze player?
‘These conditions are only possible because it’s her…’
As a member of one of Korea’s richest families, it was a condition she could offer since she was the ‘parachute’ director from the Twin Star Group.
The other scouts were also unable to hide their surprise.
‘A Platinum contract?! Are they insane?’
‘I really struggled to get a Gold contract…’
The word ‘Platinum’ carried significant weight.
“Mr. Sung, we at the Twin Star Guild are sure that we will be good partners for you. We’re showing our will to make it so through this Platinum contract.”
“So far, you’ve never lost the top spot… but once you reach level 15, having a guild becomes mandatory. We will make sure you can maintain the top position.”
JiHan grinned at those words.
“Should we make a bet?”
“What…? What bet?”
“I’ll play a game without a guild right now.”
He tapped on the contract with his finger.
“Let’s see if I can keep finishing 1st or not.”
“If I can’t maintain my 1st-place position, I’ll accept the contract, but…”
“If I can…” JiHan’s smile deepened. “HaYeon, would you show me your status window?”
“I told you… I don’t have a Gift…”
“Haha. It’s just that I’m curious.”
To confirm whether she was Zero or not, JiHan proposed a bet, which was the type of thing Zero loved.
“But you always finish 1st, so the odds…”
“No. It’s different now. I reached level 15.”
“What? You’re already level 15?!” HaYeon jumped up in shock. His leveling speed was unbelievable.
JiHan, on the other hand, remained calm. “As you know, once you reach level 15, the next game will always be a dungeon.”
Her surprise only lasted for a moment. As she recalled his achievements, HaYeon made an expression that seemed to say, ‘I guess it might be possible’, and sat down again.
“Well. That’s okay, then. I have nothing to lose.”
At worst, she would have to show him her status window. There was no reason for her to refuse such a bet.
“Then we have a deal.”
JiHan clinked down his cup of iced Americano.
“I’ll be back before the ice melts.”
JiHan turned into light and disappeared. When they saw it happen, HaYeon and the other scouts were unable to believe their eyes.
“Wh-what?! He logged in without a Battle Net connector?”
During the Tutorial Season, it was common knowledge that playing a game without a Battle Net connector was akin to suicide.
What kind of confidence was that…?
Even though there was no risk for HaYeon, she started to bite her nails as if she’d already lost.
‘M-miss… you shouldn’t do that.’
GaYeong began feeling uneasy as she recognized HaYeon’s jinx.
Soon after, both of them—no, everyone in the cafeteria—started to log into Battle Tube.