Chapter 19 -The Luxury of a Cup of Coffee (1)
“So who subjugated the 10th floor for real?”
“I’ve been watching the news but there’s nothing. Only gossip…”
“Isn’t the Black Dragon hiding it on purpose? And they’ll do a big reveal…”
“Ah. I said it’s the Sword Saint for sure!”
In the city of the tower’s first floor, people were hectic.
People were happy that the difficult 10th floor was finally cleared. But they were all gathered in cafes to discuss who the secret challenger was.
How would they react?
If they knew that person himself was sitting right next to them.
I sipped my caramel macchiato. This cafe across Sangryun was the only Starbucks in Babylon.
I admired that fact that even though you couldn’t leave the tower once you entered it, there were still franchises. And there was even the franchise with the red nosed chubby old man as the mascot.
Ah. The desire of humans!
“What do you think, Sword Emperor? Isn’t victory sweet? Actually, I feel like even an espresso will taste sweet right now. Hm?”
“Hm. Is this earphone broken? That’s weird. There’s no reply.”
I tapped the earphone in my ear. Of course, there wasn’t any sound coming from it.
It was a simple trick of the eye.
I would seem like a crazy person if I just spoke to myself, so I pretended like I was calling someone. It actually worked quite well. No one in the cafe looked at me like I was weird.
“Sword Emperor-nim? Sword Emperor? Excuse me, Mr.Psychopath. Excuse me, Mr. Crazy Guy?”
“Ah. Now I can hear you. I thought you were deaf now. Tsk tsk, you made the superior Gong-ja-nim worry. Humans shouldn’t do that.”
“Ah, right. You’re a ghost, not a human. I’m stupid, so I forgot. Oh right! Sword Emperor. Can I speak informally to you now? It’s weird if I speak formally to you when you call me Gong-ja-nim. Right?”
Floating opposite of me, Bae Hu-ryeong’s shoulders shook.
-I’ve never experienced this humiliation in my entire life…emperor…how could someone who was called an emperor become like this…
“Nah. It was just a joke. Even if I’m called Gong-ja-nim, I couldn’t speak informally to such a senior. Although I could. I can. I’ll just call you Sword Emperor-nim from now on. How’s that? Satisfied?”
-Just kill me instead!
Bae Hu-ryeong cried out.
-Get a new skill and replace the Sword Constellation slot! You can do that, you son of a bitch! Just kill me!
“Oh no. This person’s saying things he shouldn’t. Aren’t we partners, partner? Forever friends. Best friends! Who in the world would kill their best friend? From now on, we’ll be together forever.”
-Sob sob sob. Whatever…I’m just not gonna say anything. Grandpops Marcus. I wanna go back to grandpops…
Ah, it was sweet.
I looked up at the sky sipping my coffee.
The clock in the sky showed that an hour had passed.
Just when I was thinking it was time for it to show up.
A brown cat crawled up to me. It was too clean to be a stray. If there was something special about it, it was that there were two gold pieces on its neck instead of a bell.
I wondered how I should deal with this situation.
‘Gold Piece Cat.’
‘Gold Piece Cat. It’s a really famous…ah. People wouldn’t know about it now.’
This cat wasn’t a normal pet.
It would be a well-known mascot of the Tower about 5 years later.
‘…I didn’t know such a bigwig would come to me.’
I supposed I should pretend like I didn’t know anything.
I calmly looked down at the cat. Controlling my face.
“Are you lost?’
The brown cat rubbed its head on my legs. I was a bit dumbfounded. If I didn’t know its real identity, I would just think it was a friendly cat.
“Do you wanna stay with me until your owner comes?”
I lifted the cat onto my laps. The cat calmly licked its paws in my lap like that’s what it wanted the entire time. It even yawned with a meow.
‘I can’t believe it’s a person crazy for cats. The acting is incredible.’
I rubbed the cat’s head.
As I was listening to the cat purr, a group of hunters came towards me. One of them spoke to me.
“Excuse me. Is your name Kim Gong-ja?”
Just by a glance I could tell their equipment was expensive. They weren’t just a ragtag bunch. If not guild masters, at least executives. A group of those kinds of people were gathered around the cafe.
I showed my ID to them.
“I wondered how long it would take. It took exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes I see.”
The hunters’ eyes shook upon seeing my ID. They frantically pulled their phones out and started to contact others.
“Yes. I found him!”
“In the cafe right across the bank…”
“No. Other guilds are also here…yes. Yes, sir! Understood, boss.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t have him taken by other guilds!”
It was the eve of a storm.
I contentedly watched what was happening in front of me.
‘I feel like I’m a VIP.’
-Well. Most guilds will try to scout you. You cleared the 10th floor by yourself. That’s a real VIP.
‘Mm. I guess. Even a person who cleared the 99th floor calls me Gong-ja-nim, so it would be weird if I wasn’t a VIP.’
-Fuck! Fuck! Fuuuck!
The hunters ended their calls one by one.
And they all looked at me with nervous faces.
As I waited for the first guild to speak up, a large blonde hunter took a step forward.
“I am the HR team leader of the Civil Militia Guild. Kim Gong-ja hunter-nim. As you may already know, the Civil Militia is the most honorable guild in Babylon. If you enter our guild…!”
“Just a moment.”
I lifted my hand. The HR team leader of Civil Militia paused.
“Sorry for cutting you off. But let’s speak after two things are clearly established.”
“First. Let’s not leak anything to the media.”
I slowly looked at the hunters. I could guarantee that none of these hunters would be a lower rank than me. Before I regressed, I wouldn’t even have dared to look at them. But now, I didn’t fall short to any of them.
I had the achievement of being the first person to subjugate the 10th floor.
This was like a landmark that no hunter could destroy regardless of their level.
Competent hunters considered performance important. If they were competent, they wouldn’t be able to treat me like I was nothing.
“I won’t sign a contract with any guild that leaks my name to the public. I won’t even associate with them. Please be aware.”
“Uh…u, until when?”
Another hunt raised their hand to ask.
“The Golden Newspaper reporters are sticking their noses into all the guilds…Kim Gong-ja-nim. I don’t know how long we’ll be able to hide this.”
“Well, I’m not saying to hide this forever.”
I pointed at the sky.
The hunters all looked up at the sky too.
“Just until today. Until the clock reaches 00:00:00, please keep the ban.”
“Ah! Alright. Somehow until then…understood.”
The hunters all sighed in relief.
‘I can’t be held up by reporters. Not when I have to run as fast I can to the 11th floor when it opens.’
I opened my mouth again.
“That’s the first condition. And for the second-”
The hunters all looked at me with stiff expressions. They were probably nervous about what difficult condition I would request.
I grinned and looked around me.
“-this is a public area so let’s respect the other customers.”
“Can’t you see the customers looking this way? They’re surprised because you all suddenly gathered here.”
I was right.
All the other customers were looking this way. Most of the customers whispered to each other with suspicious eyes. There was even a customer who looked like they were filming this.
“It’s a nuisance.”
“I know you were all rushed looking for me, but let’s take it slow. It’s not like I’ll run away.”
The hunters realized the environment and dispersed.
“I’m sorry. I can’t tell you the reason but if you could move…”
“Sir. How much would it cost to rent this cafe for 1 hour?”
“Everyone, thank you for your understanding! If you come to Chen Mu-mun sometime, we’ll…”
The scale of the large clans’ executives was definitely different.
It took 5 minutes for them to make everyone leave and rent to the cafe from the owner. The cafe was empty after only 5 minutes.
We entered a corner of the cafe and started to speak.
“Then let’s start the negotiations. State your conditions.”
Funnily, they all had a cup of coffee in their hands. It was because I said they were being a nuisance. How cute.
“…Our Civil Militia offers 10,000 Gold for the contract fee.”
That was the starting point.
“10,000 Gold? Dang. You’re showing you’re poor in a place like this. Kim Gong-ja hunter-nim! Please sign up with the Adventure League. We promise 20,000 Gold, and an executive position.”
“Come to Chen Mu-mun, hunter-nim. Our guild grows combat specific hunters and we’ll take you in as a trainer with 25,000 Gold.”
“The position of a trainer is just annoying. Please think well. Kim Gong-ja hunternim! If you come into our Ten Thousand Temple, we guarantee an honorary position. To be honest, we hope you promote our clan. With 30,000 Gold and a separate pay for other jobs…”
“Association! Please work as an ambassador for the Association!”
It was a mess.
The HR team leaders all pleaded with me. I understood how they felt. All the high guilds probably felt pressured by Sword Saint.
The lone hunter who didn’t register in any of the guilds who was Rank 1!
Because of that, people probably wondered. If there was really a need to register in a guild. If solo play was the best option…
‘Although it’s because Sword Saint is special.’
It still hurt the reputation of the guilds.
‘And if a new hero that was as famous as the Sword Saint was born?’
‘They would do anything to scout him.’
At the very least, block other guilds from taking him!
Was probably the orders that these team leaders got. It was obvious.
“C, Civil Militia can give 36,000 Gold as the contract fee…”
“Sheesh. The poor guilds should step back. Hm?”
“Are you trying to fight us with thousands? Don’t you understand the situation?”
“Us Alchemy Castle can…!”
It was then.
A heavy voice came from somewhere.
The hunters all turned their heads. Their gazes landed on my lap. To be exact, it was the cat on my lap.
The cat meowed and jumped up. It’s feet were soft paws when it jumped off my lap, but when it landed, that wasn’t the case. They lightly landed with shoes.
“50,000 Gold. I can give it to you here if you prefer.”
The person looked back. Clang. The 2 gold pieces on their necklace made a clear sound as they shook.
“And the spot of Sangryun’s vice leader position.”
Hunter Rank 3.
The guild master of the Merchant’s Association. Count.
“50,000 Gold and vice guild leader. How’s that.”
A woman with the skill of [Metamorphosis] brightly smiled and spoke. Although she was probably over 40, she looked to be in her 20s. She was probably drinking elixirs everyday.
She was the wealthiest person in the tower.
A bigwig that I wouldn’t have met in the past.
I forced myself to calm down and smiled.
“Now we’re talking.”
The first step of negotiating for my body ended.
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