The Player that Can’t Level Up - Chapter 40
You are reading The Player that Can’t Level Up Chapter 40 at NovelCake.
After Gi-Gyu agreed to a dinner meeting with the association president, he left the building. When he came outside, he saw Sung-Hoon waiting for him.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” Sung-Hoon announced. Behind him, an unfamiliar car was parked neatly. It wasn’t the same car Sung-Hoon usually drove, so Gi-Gyu asked, “Did you get a new car?”
Gi-Gyu didn’t know much about cars but even could tell it was a new car and from a name brand at that. Sung-Hoon opened the back door with a faint smile and suggested, “Please take a seat.”
For the first time in his life, Gi-Gyu was getting the VIP treatment, so he said awkwardly, “I feel a little overwhelmed.”
Sung-Hoon shrugged and replied, “Well, this is your new life now, so please don’t feel uncomfortable. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to.”
Gi-Gyu got into the car slowly. It was no wonder people liked expensive cars—they were incredibly comfortable. Gi-Gyu smiled playfully and joked, “I was going to give you a bonus once I got my reward from the hunt. But it looks like you don’t need a bonus since you can afford such a great new car.”
“N-no! You got it all wrong. This isn’t my car! It’s yours, Gi-Gyu!” Sung-Hoon replied hurriedly. Gi-Gyu had already guessed that, but he wanted to tease Sung-Hoon a little.
Sung-Hoon groaned and said emphatically, “I was going to surprise you with this, but I guess I failed. Anyway, you need to give me that bonus.”
“Of course.” Although Gi-Gyu didn’t hire Sung-Hoon, Sung-Hoon had been working very hard for Gi-Gyu. Gi-Gyu was thankful for his help, and he felt that the man deserved a bonus.
Scratching his cheek, Gi-Gyu murmured, “But I had no idea the car would arrive this quickly.”
“Is there a problem?” When Sung-Hoon asked in confusion, Gi-Gyu replied, “I don’t have a driver’s license yet.”
Sung-Hoon seemed shocked, as he forgot to slow down at the speed bump. The car jolted hard, and a startled Sung-Hoon apologized, “Ack! I’m so sorry!”
This was a brand new car whose owner hadn’t even driven it once. Knowing how expensive this foreign car was, Sung-Hoon became rigid. He quickly parked it nearby and ran out to check. Thankfully, there were no scratches, so Sung-Hoon sighed in relief, “Phew…”
When Sung-Hoon returned, Gi-Gyu reassured him, “It’s all right. Please don’t worry about little things like dents and scratches. Just think of it like your own car, Sung-Hoon. I’m just grateful you’re driving me around.”
“Phew… Thank you.”
“But don’t you make a lot of money too, Sung-Hoon? You may belong to the association, but you’re also a high-grade player.”
Gi-Gyu remembered hunting with Sung-Hoon inside the Maze of Heryond. Gi-Gyu knew Sung-Hoon was even stronger than Kim Dong-Hae based on what he saw.
Sung-Hoon explained, “The association salary isn’t that great. And because I’m so busy with work, I rarely get a chance to go out hunting. The only extra income I get is the overtime pay or stipends for business trips.”
“Hmm…” Gi-Gyu contemplated for a moment before asking, “Then why do you work for the association?”
They lived in a capitalist world. Most people consider money the most important thing in life. It was common knowledge that most players were high earners, so someone like Sung-Hoon, a skilled hunter, could make a lot of money if they wanted.
“Well, there are many reasons why a player would choose to work for the association. This doesn’t apply to me, but most people who work at the association do so for their family.”
“Family?” Gi-Gyu asked.
“You know that hunting monsters isn’t the only thing players do, right?”
“The association players have to fight with members of various guilds and Red Players frequently,” explained Sung-Hoon.
Although killing other players inside the Tower or the gates was officially illegal, the same couldn’t be said about “hunting accidents.” Murderers usually hid their crimes by disguising them as accidental deaths or hiding the corpses.
Instead of the public police force, the association was responsible for investigating and punishing the criminals inside the Tower and the gates. It wasn’t that uncommon for association members to get killed in the process.
“This is why many players owe favors and grudges to other players. Unfortunately, people nowadays rarely forget grudges and remember favors. Once a player dies, no one can protect their families from that player’s enemies. This is common among ordinary players. However, for the association players, the association acts as a protective wall that shields their families,” Sung-Hoon explained.
“Ah… I see.” Gi-Gyu had worked for the association as a guide for five years, but this was the first time he had heard about it. It was partly because he never got the chance to talk to anyone about such a sensitive topic. Gi-Gyu also knew that most people wouldn’t tell him the complete truth about things like this.
Sung-Hoon continued, “But, this doesn’t apply to me. I didn’t join the association for this. This is just why most association players chose to work for this organization.”
Gi-Gyu closed his eyes. He could relate, as his family was also his utmost priority. What if he died and Rogers or any other players who held a grudge against him harmed his mother or Yoo-Jung?
Lou warned Gi-Gyu, who replied, ‘I know.’
Gi-Gyu was having a difficult time controlling the sudden boiling rage at the thought.
-Why are you so worried about it? There are plenty of ways you can prevent something like that.
Gi-Gyu went through many options in his head before deciding on one.
‘I just have to make sure no one with a grudge against me is alive.’
While Gi-Gyu was busy with his thoughts, Sung-Hoon announced that they had arrived at Gi-Gyu’s home.
Gi-Gyu’s dinner with the association president was next week, so he had plenty of time. Refusing to waste a single second, Gi-Gyu headed to the Tower every chance he got.
Last time, Gi-Gyu passed the 20th-floor test, and Lou was done absorbing stat points from the lower-floor monsters. Now, Gi-Gyu steadily and quickly climbed to the 30th floor. The monsters he faced on the 20–30 floors felt no different than the orcs from the tutorial floors. Thanks to his newfound stats and abundant abilities, Gi-Gyu massacred the various monsters he faced as he went higher up the Tower.
Gi-Gyu was growing and becoming stronger rapidly, but there was one problem.
‘I’m not getting enough experience points!’
All this hunting only gave him a meager amount of experience points, making it hard for his Egos to level up. Now that he had four Egos in total, the monsters from 20–30 floors weren’t cutting it.
‘But Lou’s abilities are increasing, so I must keep going.’
Lou continued to absorb different monsters’ blood to increase his stats slowly. Lou was also developing further tolerances and immunities against various toxins, so Gi-Gyu had to hunt on each floor rather than skipping to the 30th floor.
El now had higher stats and abilities than Lou. So, even though Lou never mentioned it outright, it seemed his pride was hurt. This was probably why he nagged Gi-Gyu every day.
-Go get it! Hunt it down!
-Get up and work! There is no time to rest!
Finally, Gi-Gyu lost it. He announced, “I’ve turned on your pain sensor, Lou.”
-Ackkkk! Sorry! Sorry!
Just as Lou wished, Gi-Gyu hunted without rest. But he did this with Lou’s pain sensor enabled.
‘Coddling someone just because they’re important is definitely a bad idea.’
Being Gi-Gyu’s first Ego and all, Lou was very precious to him, so he had overindulged Lou. This was why Lou had been becoming ruder and meaner.
-I’m really sorry…
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“Good, Lou. We’re partners, right? So, there are certain rules we both have to follow to maintain a cordial relationship.”
Lately, Lou had become arrogant and overbearing, but the threat of pain was enough to make even him docile. Threats and punishments decreased Gi-Gyu’s assimilation level with Lou, but he felt so much better now that it all seemed worth it.
While waiting for the day he would have dinner with the association president, Gi-Gyu spent all his time inside the Tower.
“Oppa, move your feet!” Yoo-Jung ordered as she vacuumed. Today was a rare day, as Gi-Gyu had decided to stay home and rest. Before today, his schedule had been quite monotonous: Go inside the Tower, hunt all day, sell the collected crystals, and finally spend the night with family. Hunting and leveling up were certainly important. However, Gi-Gyu, who was still healing from the past emotional trauma, knew spending time with family was also important.
“Ah, fine,” Gi-Gyu muttered as he raised his feet. Yoo-Jung quickly vacuumed underneath and continued to the next room. When Yoo-Jung was out of sight, Gi-Gyu turned on the TV.
The picture quality of the latest flat-screen TV was so life-like that Gi-Gyu murmured, “Tae-Shik hyung definitely got the expensive stuff for us.”
Everything in their new home, including the sofa, the TV, and the vacuum Yoo-Jung was using right now, was a gift from Tae-Shik.
Meanwhile, the news anchor on the TV pondered aloud.
-Who do you think cleared the Maze of Heryond? Athena? Ironshield? Lucifer? We still have no idea who took care of this gate.
The Player News channel was still talking about the Maze of Heryond. The same anchor continued.
-Also, the question remains: Was an elixir rewarded in this hunt? And if it was, who took it? Wealthy people from all around the globe have actually put up a bounty on the elixir!
Gi-Gyu clicked the remote to change the channel. There was no reason for him to watch this news, as he knew exactly what happened inside the maze. When he flipped to the next channel, he found the reporters discussing the Angela guild.
-The Angela guild has stopped on the 80th floor.
-Yesterday, they brought down their soldiers and left the Tower.
-There is even a rumor that Guild Master Lee Sun-Ho was injured. Have you heard of it?
-That must be just a rumor.
The reporters continued to talk about the Angela Guild.
-They were climbing the Tower so smoothly until they reached the 80th floor. Are you saying there is another reason they suddenly decided to leave the Tower?
-Nothing has been confirmed so far. It’s possible they just needed a break or do some maintenance.
-Has the Angela Guild made any official statement?
-Nothing specific yet.
None of this information was helpful to Gi-Gyu. So what if the Angela guild stopped climbing the Tower? What help was a rumor that Lee Sun-Ho was injured?
But then, Gi-Gyu muttered, “If Lee Sun-Ho was really injured, just how strong was his opponent?”
According to Tae-Shik, Lee Sun-Ho was most likely stronger than Lucifer. So Gi-Gyu couldn’t imagine someone like him getting injured.
-If Guild Master Lee Sun-Ho was really injured, we could have a serious problem in our hands. The Angela Guild has excellent healers, and Lee Sun-Ho is known to use great potions like it costs nothing. So, if he has an untreatable injury…
The reporter gulped loudly and continued.
-Doesn’t this mean he might need the elixir?
Gi-Gyu’s eyes sparkled as he watched.
-But, that’s only if the rumor is true.
-I suppose we’ll find out if we watch what Angela Guild does next. If they begin searching for the elixir, it will confirm that Guild Master Lee Sun-Ho was indeed injured.
Gi-Gyu quietly turned off the TV.
‘Lucifer has the last elixir bottle.’
Even after giving Gi-Gyu two elixir bottles, Lucifer was still left with one more. Of course, there was a probability that it wasn’t the only elixir around: Maybe there was a vial or two of the elixir circulating the black market.
If Lee Sun-Ho was really looking for the elixir, would he fight Lucifer for it?
“I’m going too far with this,” Gi-Gyu muttered. It was most likely that Lee Sun-Ho wasn’t wounded at all. With this thought, Gi-Gyu opened his cell phone: There was something he had to find out.
Gi-Gyu needed to do his research on the association president. There wasn’t much-known information about this elderly man. All Gi-Gyu knew about him now was that he was pretty old and a legendary figure. Strangely, not even the association president’s real name or age was known to the public.
“I better learn as much about him as possible before the dinner.”
The president couldn’t have asked Gi-Gyu for dinner just to make an acquaintance. There had to be something the elderly man wanted from Gi-Gyu. Why would someone so important invite him to a meal?
Gi-Gyu wondered what the president wanted from him. What could it be?
‘Tae-Shik hyung assured me that he’ll try his best to keep my information hidden from the president.’
Since that day, Tae-Shik and Gi-Gyu had continued to talk regularly. Tae-Shik told Gi-Gyu that he didn’t know why the president wanted to see Gi-Gyu. Tae-Shik suspected that it was simply because his father, the association president, was interested in Gi-Gyu. But this reason still didn’t make any sense to Gi-Gyu.
Gi-Gyu wondered if the president received the report about Lucifer and the elixir. But Tae-Shik was adamant that there was no way this could’ve happened.
As Gi-Gyu searched the internet, he muttered, “I can’t find anything about him…”
There wasn’t even a photo of the association president on the internet. Even Gi-Gyu wouldn’t have known how the president looked had he not seen him that day.
But, how was this possible? How could such a public figure remain this mysterious?
Disappointed that he couldn’t find anything, Gi-Gyu had no other choice but to wait.
“Umm…” Gi-Gyu scratched his head and looked up at the building. It was where he was supposed to have dinner with the association president. But…
“This is Tae-Shik hyung’s apartment… He’s so rich, so why won’t he move to a better place?”
Gi-Gyu was escorted here tonight by a chauffeur. He found their route a bit too familiar, and when the car finally stopped, he realized he was in front of Tae-Shik’s apartment building.
Gi-Gyu got in the elevator and reached Tae-Shik’s apartment.
The doorbell rang, and the door opened.
The greeter was none other than the association president. He was wearing an apron and was currently wiping his hands with it.