The Player that Can’t Level Up - Chapter 42
You are reading The Player that Can’t Level Up Chapter 42 at NovelCake.
Tae-Shik didn’t approve or disapprove of Gi-Gyu’s decision. He just wordlessly sent Gi-Gyu to the association president’s office.
“I’ve never been here before,” murmured Gi-Gyu. He had visited the association building countless times, but he never got a chance to see the president’s office before.
“Come in,” the now-familiar voice answered from inside. Gi-Gyu opened the door and entered as he greeted, “Have you been well, Sir?”
“I have. Please have a seat,” replied Oh Tae-Gu.
Gi-Gyu looked around the president’s office slowly as he sat down on a luxurious sofa. The room reminded him of his junior high principal’s office that he visited on cleaning duty. The association president’s room was appropriately elegant and authoritative.
Tae-Gu also looked very different from when Gi-Gyu saw him in Tae-Shik’s apartment. Instead of the lacy apron, the president was now in a tasteful suit. As would be expected from Tae-Shik’s father, Oh Tae-Gu was a large, sturdy man with an unusual aura about him.
The president asked, “So I hear you’ve decided.”
“Yes, I couldn’t think of any reason to refuse your offer.”
“Good,” Tae-Gu replied as a pleased smile spread on his face. He continued, “From now on, you will have the same authority as General Manager Oh Tae-Shik. Of course, unlike him, you will not be burdened with responsibilities that come with such power. Tsk. Isn’t this an amazing deal for you?”
“I’m telling you that you can now wield power comparable to a general manager. The association will treat you as such; of course, your status will remain a secret to the public,” Tae-Gu explained with a smile as he studied Gi-Gyu’s reaction.
Gi-Gyu couldn’t help being shocked by this news. He expected to receive some perks by accepting the president’s offer, but what he got was beyond his wildest expectation.
Based on all that Tae-Shik had done for him, Gi-Gyu knew a general manager wielded substantial power. A general manager could even command an entire association branch in emergency cases.
Impressed by the president’s generosity, Gi-Gyu replied, “That’s very magnanimous of you.”
“Well, I’m old, so all I have left are my bones and my magnanimity. I suppose you could say I’m kind to my bones. Did you get the pun?”
“I… I definitely agree with your self-assessment, Sir,” When Gi-Gyu concurred, the old man grinned and replied, “What an agreeable young man you are. I like you even more now.”
The president continued with a firm nod, “From now, the association will be responsible for your family’s safety. Nothing can change this. You can refuse my requests, quit being a hired soldier, and even die, but the protection will always be there.”
“I am grateful for your kindness and consideration.” Gi-Gyu bowed deeply. This was the biggest reason why he decided to become a hired soldier. Since Gi-Gyu was out often, the association’s protection of his family could prove to be the most significant merit of this job. It was akin to a second layer of protection around his family.
The president suggested, “You should keep Sung-Hoon as your secretary. That boy is a smart one, isn’t he? I think he likes you too, so this is perfect. Sung-Hoon will also be necessary for you to exercise your authority since your identity will need to remain a secret. You will require a few mechanisms that will vouch for your identity.”
When Gi-Gyu didn’t refuse the suggestion, Oh Tae-Gu added, “Since you aren’t saying no, you must approve of Sung-Hoon.”
Closing his eyes for a moment, the president continued, “I’ve heard you’re looking into the devils.”
“…!” Gi-Gyu’s eyes widened in awareness.
“Tae-Shik used to be a high ranker, but he didn’t keep his position for a long time. He just wasn’t cut out for that role. That’s why he doesn’t know much. But most high rankers know about the devils. You know what that means, right? This is a secretive topic. So, I’m curious why you want to learn about these creatures.”
Tae-Gu opened his eyes and looked at Gi-Gyu quietly. Tae-Gu’s aura was as calm as the sea, but goosebumps still rose all around Gi-Gyu’s body as if a poisonous snake was coiling around his neck.
The president calmly announced, “My code name is Asura.”
“And I am still an active high ranker.”
Finally, the association president’s identity was coming to light.
“I’ve already heard about how you survived the Maze of Heryond and obtained two elixir bottles. You have already crossed paths with many high rankers, including Ironshield and Lucifer, correct?” When the president asked, Gi-Gyu nodded.
Gi-Gyu’s head was still spinning from the information he got a moment ago.
‘I knew the association president had to be a powerful player, but I can’t believe he is THE Asura—one of the greatest high rankers in history.’
Asura was a legendary high ranker whose identity had always been a mystery. Unlike the other high rankers, the public didn’t even know his nationality. Sadly, a name without a face didn’t last long in anyone’s memory. With time, Lee Sung-Ho became so famous that Asura lost his fame, but this didn’t change that Asura was a true legend.
‘Asura is one of the first five original high rankers, and he was known as the strongest player until Lee Sun-Ho appeared in the picture.’
So Oh Tae-Gu, the president of the Korean branch, was Asura.
“What kind of contact have you had with the devil?” Gi-Gyu couldn’t answer this question. Lou currently possessed a fragment of a devil, but Gi-Gyu wasn’t sure if he should disclose this information.
When Gi-Gyu didn’t respond, the president continued, “I… cannot tell you more about the devil just yet. This secret isn’t something you can bear at the moment. There are several reasons why I give select powerful players the name ‘hired soldiers’ and great authority. All you need to know now is that one of the reasons has something to do with the devils and that the devils have a very close relationship with the Tower and the gates. But it’s too premature for you to get deeper into this issue. You’ll only put yourself in danger if you jump into something you’re not ready for.”
“I understand,” replied Gi-Gyu. He was still a bit shocked from learning about the president, but he was slowly regaining control over his emotions.
“I’ll call you soon. Think of it as my first request. You can, of course, refuse if you wish.”
“I will visit from time to time, Sir.” When Gi-Gyu offered vaguely, Oh Tae-Gu clicked his tongue and replied, “Tsk. You may leave.”
Gi-Gyu rose and bowed deeply. He was bowing not to the association president Oh Tae-Gu, but to Asura, one of the five original high rankers and a legend.
When he left the president’s room, Gi-Gyu couldn’t help but laugh, “Hahaha…” He thought he had recovered from the shock, but he still needed more time to digest this new information.
“Haa…” Gi-Gyu sighed as he slumped his shoulders.
He still had a long way to go.
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Several days had passed since Gi-Gyu became a hired soldier.
“Congratulations.” Sung-Hoon approached Gi-Gyu from afar, clapping all that way.
“Is getting a driver’s license at my age really something to celebrate?” When Gi-Gyu asked in confusion, Sung-Hoon explained with a wink, “No, of course not. I was congratulating you for receiving authority comparable to a general manager.”
‘He sure knows a lot.’
Gi-Gyu realized long ago that Sung-Hoon probably had a close relationship with Tae-Shik and Tae-Gu. Suddenly, a thought popped in Gi-Gyu’s head. He asked, “Are you the president’s son too?”
“Pardon? What are you—”
“Wait, you have a different surname. Then again, you and Tae-Shik hyung could’ve different mothers. Perhaps you were born out of wedlock, so you can’t publicly call the president ‘father’ or take his last name.”
“Pardon?” Sung-Hoon scratched his head in confusion. Soon it became apparent that Sung-Hoon had no idea what Gi-Gyu was talking about, so Gi-Gyu shrugged and replied, “Haa… Never mind. I don’t think anything can surprise me anymore.”
Gi-Gyu spent the last few days getting a driver’s test. He loved his new home near the Bukhan River, but the public transportation system in his neighborhood was awful. It made moving around hard for his entire family.
If Gi-Gyu requested a chauffeur from the association, he knew the organization would send him one. But if possible, he wanted to drive his family himself. Thankfully, Gi-Gyu didn’t let the player race down and passed his driver’s test on his first attempt.
“Oh, and this is for you.” When Sung-Hoon took out a small box and offered, Gi-Gyu asked, “Are you proposing to me?”
“What are you… Of course not! Besides, I like women.” Sung-Hoon chuckled at Gi-Gyu’s joke. When Gi-Gyu took the box and opened it, he murmured, “I think you really were proposing, Sung-Hoon.”
Inside the box was a beautiful white gold ring embossed with an extravagant shield. It was an insignia that symbolized the association.
Sung-Hoon explained, “From now on, this will represent your identity, Player Kim Gi-Gyu. You can walk into any country’s association branch, and the officials there will recognize you thanks to the ring. They will treat you like a general manager, and the ring also gives you an SS rank player qualification as a side bonus.”
“Huh. So this holds that much power?”
“Indeed. But firstly, you’ve to insert your mana into it so that it’ll belong only to you,” Sung-Hoon explained. Just as Sung-Hoon suggested, Gi-Gyu put his mana into the ring. A bright light gathered on top of the ring for a moment before disappearing suddenly.
Sung-Hoon continued, “All manager level association members know about that ring, so all you have to do is show it to whoever is in charge. Then, you’ll be able to wield your authority without any problem.”
“That’s amazing.” When Gi-Gyu seemed impressed, Sung-Hoon smiled playfully and asked, “Please look inside the ring.”
There was something in English written inside the ring. Embarrassed he couldn’t read it, Gi-Gyu didn’t even bother to know what it said. When he remained quiet, Sung-Hoon explained, “You must’ve guessed by now that most of the association’s hired soldiers are high rankers, right?”
“Yes, that’s what I thought. Why else would this much power be given to them?” When Gi-Gyu replied, Sung-Hoon laughed in amusement.
‘Sung-Hoon definitely knows a lot.’
If he ever got a chance, Gi-Gyu planned on finding out more about this mysterious man. With a slight nod, Sung-Hoon asked, “By the way, have you heard about the chicken debate?”
“The chicken debate?”
Sung-Hoon’s lips curled up slightly. By now, Gi-Gyu had realized that subtle smile was Sung-Hoon’s tell: It meant he was about to tell Gi-Gyu a secret. Sung-Hoon clarified his question, “Did the high rankers become hired soldiers? Or was it the hired soldiers who became high rankers?”
Sung-Hoon’s smile widened, and Gi-Gyu now understood what Sung-Hoon meant. Gi-Gyu replied, “Are you telling me that other hired soldiers became high rankers because they were hired soldiers?”
“Exactly. The President is an excellent judge of a player’s talent. It looks like he has high hopes for you, Player Kim Gi-Gyu.”
“Yes, but I think we’re digressing again. Anyway, I’m telling you this because—” Sung-Hoon didn’t have to finish his explanation because Gi-Gyu was now better at making good guesses.
Gi-Gyu replied, “My code name.”
Sung-Hoon’s smile widened even more; this man really enjoyed divulging secrets. Every high ranker had a code name. Sung-Hoon announced proudly, “Player Kim Gi-Gyu, your code name is Morningstar. You were titled as such in the hopes that you’ll become our new rising star.”
Morningstar. It was pure coincidence that Gi-Gyu’s code name was the same as Kim Sun-Pil’s guild. Kim Sun-Pil did say that he chose this name because he admired Gi-Gyu, whom he believed to be a warm and kind man willing to help others when needed.
But after going through so much, Gi-Gyu’s nature had taken a turn.
‘I’m no longer that kind man anymore.’
Gi-Gyu slowly placed the white gold ring on his finger. He already had Lou and El on his fingers, so now he had three extravagant rings on his hands. But for some reason, they suited him. Instead of looking over the top, they gave Gi-Gyu a refined aura.
Ambling ahead, Gi-Gyu asked, “I understand the association giving its hired soldiers code names. But why do the high rankers in the other countries have code names too?”
Sung-Hoon scratched his head and replied, “I’ve heard that the other countries also protect and invest in their high rankers, so that might be why. If not, it may also be because it has become a tradition now.”
Gi-Gyu nodded and asked with a playful smile, “Did you bring the car? My brand new car?”
When Gi-Gyu asked for his car, Sung-Hoon replied, “Ugh… You don’t have to spell it out like that. I know it’s your car, Player Kim Gi-Gyu.”
Gi-Gyu walked up to his car, opened the door, and murmured, “I feel excited just knowing that this is my car, a brand new one at that.”
“You’ve made it big, Gi-Gyu!” Sung-Hoon smiled and got into the passenger seat. Turning toward Gi-Gyu, he began, “Now, start with adjusting your seat. Then, check your side mirrors and the emergency brake—”
“I know. I just got my license, remember? Just fasten your seatbelt.” When Gi-Gyu replied confidently, Sung-Hoon fastened his seatbelt with a worried look.
Gi-Gyu changed the gear to “Drive” and slowly pressed the accelerator pedal.
“Acckkk!” Sung-Hoon screamed as the car jolted into full speed.
“Player Kim Gi-Gyu! You can’t press the accelerator that hard! I mean! Gi-Gyu! You gotta slow down! I know we can survive a car crash, but still… No! Please! Ackk! Dammit! Ugh!” As the car roared to life, Sung-Hoon roared for his life.
That day, the motorists on the street witnessed the birth of a new villainous driver.