Team: HH, thursdays, Yahiko (1/12)
“You want me to carry you?”
Yeon-woo narrowed his eyes at Heidi. Although he wasn’t doing much, Heidi felt pressured.
Her shoulders trembled slightly as she nodded.
Yeon-woo judged Heidi highly. There was a big difference between being able to look into the eyes of someone you were asking a favor from and not.
On the other hand—
‘They’re done for.’
The people who were looking at him from far away with pleading gazes, having given all the responsibility to Heidi, were pathetic.
They were players from the 27th floor, but they were extremely weak. They would probably be eaten by magical creatures in the River of Souls when they crossed it or be prey for the pirates.
‘Do I look that different from them? So much so that they’re scared like that?’
Yeon-woo silently looked at Heidi.
His boat, which was being made by the Cannibal Monster Humans, was quickly taking form. The Cannibal Monster Humans said they needed 4 days, but 3 days was enough at this rate. Anything was possible if you forced them to put their minds to it.
Heidi had come in the middle of that process. She brought the players who were alive on the island with her and requested help.
“Yes. Of course, we won’t ask for bulls*** like help out of goodwill. We’ll give you half of the Karma that we have. And while we’re on the boat, we’ll do anything you ask. The trivial work and such. Anything.”
“Can you be held responsible for what you’re saying?”
Heidi was going to respond to Yeon-woo’s question and became speechless.
His indifferent eyes flashed slyly. He looked her up and down. Heidi unwittingly shook. She felt like a mouse in front of a snake – like her body had been dismembered to be observed. She couldn’t breathe.
All kinds of thoughts went through her mind. She felt scared and humiliated. She regretted saying
‘Anything.’ She felt like he was saying, “What are you going to do if I touch you?”
Despite the fear, she bit her lips. She couldn’t step back here. She couldn’t let down the people who were counting on her.
“I’ll…..accept any conditions.”
At her words—
Everything that was pressuring Heidi disappeared like it was never there. Heidi subconsciously sighed out of relief.
“You’re a lot different from the 16th floor.”
Heidi was surprised at what he said. She never imagined he would remember her.
The war with the Cheonghwado was a big event for her, but to the Hoarder, she was probably just a background character. It had been too short.
“It seems like it’s because of other people’s expectations of you. It’s best not to be swung by those. One-sided trust and expectation always turn into disappointment.”
“What are you…..”
Heidi felt like his words were bitter and lonely, like he was talking about some time in the past.
She was going to ask him what he was talking about, but Yeon-woo firmly cut her off.
“You’ll get to know in the future. If you want to get on the boat, fine. I’ll accept.”
Heidi’s expression turned brighter. She didn’t think he would accept that easily.
“However, there are conditions.”
Heidi swallowed with a nervous face again.
“First. The payment is 90% of the Karma you have. No haggling. We’ll do it in front of Charon so you can’t hide things, either.”
It was a powerful condition, but Heidi quickly nodded her head. In their positions, they would have to give up their life savings if he asked for it.
“You have to follow me unconditionally. I’ll throw you into the river right away if you don’t listen.”
“And lastly. Don’t pay attention to anything I do. Don’t even come near the places I point out. If you don’t follow this condition, I’ll throw you into the river.”
Heidi’s face brightened up again. She had worried that he would say something unreasonable, but they were all things she could understand.
She nodded her head in agreement. She didn’t forget to thank him.
「I see they’re the second bunch of slaves.」
Just then, Shanon said something strange.
“The second bunch?”
「The first bunch is over there, hm?」
Shanon pointed at the Cannibal Monster Humans. He seemed to be pointing at the people bound to Yeon-woo.
‘Then they’re pushed back a spot. To the second bunch and the third bunch.’
‘The first bunch is here.’
Shanon jumped up and down after Yeon-woo pointed at him and the Monster Portents, but Yeon-woo put him behind and looked at the people behind Heidi.
It would’ve been fine to reject their offer, but there were two reasons he accepted it.
One was that the boat that was being created was so large that it would be comfortable with more workers on it.
‘They’re lacking a lot…..but I think they’ll be useful if they’re put to work.’
He saw someone who was worth considering for the first time since he entered the Tower. She was responsible and had leadership. He could help her fill in areas where she was lacking.
However, if there was a con, it was that she seemed to place importance on living up to other people’s expectations of her. That needed to be fixed. She would probably change her mind about that soon, anyway.
‘I’ll have to keep an eye on her.’
Yeon-woo looked at the joyful survivors and turned around.
There, the Cannibal Monster Humans were moving busily.
* * *
Meanwhile, in the clan house of the Fantasy Regiment, Cardin was rushing around after having read the report that came from below. The moment he entered a temple-like building, the sound of swords clashing against each other rang against the marble walls.
Someone in shining armor was exchanging swords with multiple sword-wielders.
It looked like a hero was swinging his sword in an elegant way, and it looked like it was out of a legend.
He had a beautiful sword technique.
Although the people fighting against him were all expert level players, he pierced through their weaknesses with ease.
The jaws of everyone watching dropped. The same went for Cardin. He was in a rush, but he found himself absorbed in watching the sparring.
When the last sword flew up into the air, everyone released the breath they were holding. They hadn’t been able to breathe properly because it was so tense.
“Ah. We can’t defeat you, sir. We thought we were almost at your level now.”
“Every time you swing your sword, your left shoulder is open. As long as you fix that, you should be fine. You’ve improved a lot. I might lose next time.”
“Did you know that’s a form of mocking? I know you don’t have any idea of what it’s like to lose.”
“Is that so? Haha.”
The man chuckled and stretched out his hand for the man on the floor. Then, he took off his helm. Gold hair drenched in sweat revealed itself. His face looked like it was sculpted. His looks were so seductively outstanding.
However, his low voice and the charisma that he exuded showed that it wasn’t just his looks that were beautiful.
The servants around him quickly dried out his hair with a towel while he gulped down water. He felt parched after sweating.
Everyone around him had a neat and serious attitude. The white armor they had on had a cross (十) in the middle, emitting holiness.
The second squad of the Fantasy Regiment, the Illusion Knightage.
Considering how the first squad consisted of leaders of different clans, the second squad was technically the center that led the Fantasy Regiment.
The commander, Creutz, had outstanding sword techniques, enough to be called the ‘Illusion Knight.’ and he was the face of the Fantasy Regiment, having represented them in front of the public.
His beautiful face, honorable personality, and caring attitude created the exact image of a knight, so many people followed him.
“Oh, who’s this? Cardin. What are you here for? I haven’t heard anything from you after you entered the smithy.”
“I came because I have something urgent to tell you.”
“To tell me?”
Creutz wondered what the captain who had gone into closed training would have to tell him, so he took the report from him.
The moment he read it, his face stiffened.
The servants realized that something wasn’t right and quietly stepped back.
The other knights all stepped away from him and got on their guards.
“The Hoarder arrived on island 2,311? And the 92nd Squad was destroyed as a result of that.”
“Was Tree Image the 92nd Squad? The one with Hector?”
“I was always worried about that guy since he was so arrogant without the skills to back up his attitude. He’s gone and done it this time. I thought he would be okay since Two Face was at his side.”
“The Hoarder doesn’t let anyone go if they bare their teeth at him.”
Creutz rubbed his forehead in frustration.
“The Regiment Leader will be furious when he hears about this.”
“Haaa. The Hoarder will probably refuse if we contact him like this.”
“He’s very suspicious of others.”
“This is why we said over and over not to confront him.”
Creutz sighed. If he knew this was going to happen, he would’ve sent the knightage to the 26th or the 27th floor.
But no one knew when the Hoarder was going to appear on the 26th floor, and there were too many islands on the 27th floor, so it was hard to pick a single spot.
That was why he had requested the help of the other squads in the area. It seemed like some arrogant fool had messed things up.
Creutz felt extremely frustrated. But what could he do? The water was already spilled, and the people responsible for the mess were dead.
‘Is it time for restructuring? I thought it was too early, but it seems like there’s a limit with the way we’re doing right now.’
In fact, Creutz believed that the structure of the Fantasy Regiment had to be changed.
The Regiment was a private group created by the ‘Commander’ and 12 of his blood brothers. Then, as the Cheonghwado toppled and the Red Dragon split apart, the Regiment recruited greater numbers.
Thanks to that, they had reaped gains and controlled most of the lower floors within a year.
However, their expansion caused trouble in some places.
Because of their loose control, some squads within the Regiment acted out.
Also, some good-for-nothings entered through the easy conditions and asked for unreasonable things like ‘equal relationships.’
Creutz, who based the Fantasy Regiment on trust and loyalty, felt frustrated at this.
They didn’t listen no matter how much they attempted to rein them in, and if they used force, they would always get complaints.
There was also the problem with the Eight Large Clans.
People who didn’t know compared them to the Eight Large Clans because of their size.
However, Creutz didn’t agree.
They might be similar in scale, but they were vastly different internally. They were ever so lacking.
Loose control, wide management, and their number of rankers.
Everything was lacking.
Still, the Eight Large Clans didn’t look too kindly on the Regiment.
They just weren’t able to do anything because of the tensions between themselves, but if they had the chance, they would try to rip them apart.
Also, it wasn’t just the Fantasy Regiment that had grown during the time of confusion. There were a few new clans that were as large or skilled as them. They had to win in the competition with them somehow.
In the end, for the Fantasy Regiment to grow to even greater heights, they had to take care of the things that happened within their sight and restructure their organization.
‘We need the Leader for that, but since he doesn’t go outside…..’
Creutz sighed, thinking of the Regiment Leader who would’ve left from closed training.
He knew how much the Regiment Leader cherished Yeon-woo and what kind of relationship they had, so he didn’t know what he was going to do now.
Yeon-woo was someone they had to recruit as an ally, never as an enemy.
“Then, what about the Hoarder? Where is he?”
“I heard he already floated his boat onto the River of Souls.”
“I suppose it’ll be easier to find him after that. Deliver this to the squad that’s near the river. Fix the misunderstanding and…..never mind. I’ll do it myself this time.”
Cardin was surprised, but Creutz nodded heavily.
“Of course. We have to fix the misunderstanding face to face.”
Cardin’s expression hardened. Creutz realized that there were some things that Cardin didn’t say.
“Is something the matter?”
“That’s…..I don’t recommend you go yourself.”
“There are reports that Triton just arrived on the 28th floor.”
Triton was one of the Four Emerging Clans along with the Fantasy Regiment. They were famous for having the god of the seas, Poseidon, back them up.
They were all violent and uncivilized. Creutz despised them.
That wasn’t the end of it.
Cardin squeezed both his eyes shut as he finished his sentence.
“There are reports that the Blood Land and the White Dragon sent spies at the Hoarder’s appearance.”
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