The Novel's Villain - Chapter 68
The World Federation of Competent People was a huge group that held international competitions called Small Wars to maintain world peace. It was established to primarily prevent conflicts or wars between competent people. In a national disaster or similar situation, however, the World Federation of Competent People recruited Semi-Knights or higher ranks from each country and dispatched them as ‘Relief Knights.’
It wasn’t compulsory, and it gave the Knights the benefit of choosing to be dispatched as Relief Knights. A typical benefit was an additional point that could be used during the promotion review of high-ranking Knights. Knights could be appointed arbitrarily in each country, but the International Federation of Competent People promoted high-ranking Knights. All of the high-ranking Knights in each country were those who had been promoted and qualified by the World Federation of Competent People,
The Semi-Knights were also given official medals to help them be promoted to Knight-level. It was also a great honor for a high-ranking Knight. Most competent people wanted to become Knights, and the Knights dreamed of becoming high-ranking Knights. Therefore, acting as a Relief Knight was a good opportunity for Knights to score points. Unfortunately, however, the timing was bad.
Only a few countries were willing to send them even at the cost of the nation’s power loss before the international competition. Furthermore, it was the first A-Class global disaster to occur. Many countries turned down each other with sneaky excuses. The same was true of Korea.
Although it was a world-class powerhouse of Competent People, Korea received the most checks in the last competition, resulting in the worst outcome. The Chinese and Japanese Federation relentlessly penetrated Korea, causing great damage. Rather, it was the United States and Europe that benefited from their quarrels. At present, it was a good match for their countries.
It was natural that you didn’t want to lose it once you tasted the honey.
‘But it’s so appetizing that they would intervene.’
An A-Class global disaster didn’t consider the sovereignty of the country where it occurred. The International Federation of Competent People would manage the disaster zone. With the China Gate included in the disaster zone, it was tasty prey.
Due to disaster zone management, each country would dispatch competent people to step in the Gate. Moreover, as rumors circulated that Chinese treasures were there, their movements became even more aggressive. Since it was impossible to dispatch elite Knights who would participate in international competitions, there was a strange situation in which they were trying to rely on dispatching candidates or Semi-Knights.
‘I should go first…’
Jin-woo thought so and nodded. It wasn’t his intent, but somehow he was too deeply involved in it. Angelica and everything else there was Jin-woo’s assets even though they had been demonized.
He also received an application for Relief Knights from the Korean Association of Competent People to persuade the candidate Knights and the Semi-Knights. They were concerned about the international competition, but the Association didn’t want to miss it either because it was an opportunity to access China’s Gate.
First of all, Angelica’s recovery was a priority. Kim Young-hoon and other prisoners had to be recovered if possible as well.
‘It feels awkward.’
It was said that Kim Young-hoon sometimes sent letters to Kim Se-yeon. Jin-woo allowed it, but unlike his frustrating appearance in the past, he looked so fine, Kim Se-yeon was relieved. When she read the words that he would become a well-educated contributor to society, Kim Se-yeon secretly wiped away tears.
Kim Se-yeon showed that she didn’t care at all for fear that Jin-woo would be worried. No matter what, they were family, though. He would allow her to visit him when the situation stabilized, but unfortunately, he went missing.
‘By the way, Demon King, huh…?’
Angelica was called the Demon King as the main character in the A-Class disaster. Although it wasn’t an official title recognized by the International Federation of Competent People, it was already used among competent people.
The Demon King of Death. The Dark Demon King, or the Giant Dark Knight. They were little childish titles, but looking at the video, they fit.
‘Is it black mana…?’
He had to check further because he was curious about the black mana. If it were just black, it would be fine, but it did seem unusual. Jin-woo pondered for a while whether to go the official route or head there through Elonti. Going unofficially could lead to a difficult situation. He wasn’t even dispatched, and it would be difficult to respond if any photos or videos were taken.
‘The Association will also give additional scores during Knight review…’
He thought it would be okay to go as a Relief Knight. China was less likely to play tricks in that scenario.
The elite Knights who were in charge of China’s national power went missing. As soon as it was judged that China had no self-solving ability left, the disaster area was now left in charge of the International Federation of Competent People. At that moment, it was no longer Chinese territory. Upon investigation, it was said that the Seven Dragons Association was in a half-destroyed state as their expedition failed.
Thanks to this, the Old Archives and the Five Dynasties now attained real power. They were the group and clans that often appeared in martial arts magazines alongside Flame Mount Group, Non-participant Group, Palace Temple, or the Tang Clan of Shichuan. It was a very typical setting, so it was easy to understand.
‘Was the Ambassador from the Old Archives?’
It seemed so. It was a strange story about getting revenge on the Seven Dragons Association because the main character was entangled with a heroine, but what happened now?
‘I don’t have to worry about it.’
Jin-woo nodded and filled out the application form.
“I will go too.”
“No, take care of things here while I’m away.”
“But the opponent is said to be the Demon King. Could it be that it is an Emperor from another dimension who crossed the Gate?”
Come to think of it; he didn’t explain that to Yoo-na. It was very complicated to explain. He thought it would be better to take her to the Sanctuary later and just show her.
“It’s complicated to explain, but there’s no problem.”
Yoo-na looked at Jin-woo, then she nodded with a determined expression.
“All right. I will take care of everything here without a problem.”
Yoo-na left the study. The chick on her shoulder looked at Jin-woo and raised its wings to greet him in a mimicry of a salute. Sometimes it flapped around and showed itself, but it didn’t seem like a normal chick. It seemed like there was a little misunderstanding, but he thought it wouldn’t be a big deal since he would work hard anyway.
Jin-woo filled out the application and sent it to the Association.
‘I’ll have to get ready.’
Jin-woo went to the Sanctuary.
There was an uproar when it became known that Jin-woo had applied to participate as a Relief Knight. The Korean Association of Competent People made a statement that it was a true noble oblige. Those who felt indebted to Jin-woo, those who wanted to look good to Jin-woo, and those who knelt and begged him unconditionally showed their faces. They all just stomped their feet.
Arina greeted Jin-woo when he returned to the Sanctuary. It had been a long time since he visited the Sanctuary. Although he came back several times after the World Tree crisis, all he did was receive the videos from Arina and return home.
“Are you still wearing it?”
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“I’m practicing like it’s my life!”
Arina was wearing the outfit she wore in the video. It was nice to see since it was a bit revealing, but rather than seeing a demon, it felt like watching an idol practicing hard.
‘I’m sure it’ll be fine.’
The sanctuary management was better than usual, so he was going to let it go. Arina looked at Jin-woo and suddenly fell flat on the floor. He wondered why she was like that again; she often did that if there was anything to ask for these days.
“I congratulate you!”
“You pulled out the World Tree and brought the elves to their knees! You’re truly an Emperor yourself! But you didn’t tell me that…you are so mean!”
“Where did you hear that?”
“From the Demon Realm. There was an uproar!”
He didn’t think there was much to say, so all he did was talk a little about Ella. It seemed that Arina had heard rumors circulating in the Demon Realm, but the rumors were speculative. They said that the Emperor of Gold broke into Elonti alone, pulled up the World Tree with one hand, and wielded it to smash legions of orcs. Then he threw the world tree away and subdued all the elves.
The Elf Queen swore obedience in tears, and she was forced to sing for the Emperor of Gold for the rest of her life. In addition to that, it was said that the Emperor of Gold created a World Tree made up of dark magic and captured the souls of all the elves. It was a pretty plausible story because it was at least partially mixed with facts.
‘That’s rather more realistic.’
The Emperor of Gold took the Emperor of Greed, so it might have been normal for such an Emperor to conquer the dimension. The Emperor of Gold who exploited even the noble Elf Queen as his slave! Greed only devoured, but Gold dominated and exploited. His enormous wealth must be the result of exploiting the dimension.
Rumors were circulating that a more dangerous Emperor than the Emperor of Greed had appeared. Rather, the story seemed more real than the actual truth. Who would believe that the World Tree was awakened by the power of MeTube subscribers and views, then slaughtered the orcs while running wild like a Kraken? Who would believe that the Elf Queen made her debut as an idol singer on the planet Earth?
Even the craziest soap drama wouldn’t be written like that.
‘It would be difficult to explain.’
No one seemed likely to believe the truth.
“Even cold water should be first served to a senior! I will show you that I am much better.”
“…Yes. Work hard.”
Arina’s eyes twinkled as Jin-woo’s encouragement touched her.
“Ah! It is a congratulatory gift from the Demon Realm.”
Arina showed him the gift. There were some decent treasures piled up alongside many specialties from the Demon Realm. Yet what stood out the most was the congratulatory wreath.
[Congratulations on your dimensional conquest! As a race specializing in love and service, we, the Succubae, are eagerly awaiting the Emperor’s contact.]
– All Succubus-
[The greatness that subdues even the Elf Queen! We respect you. The beautiful greatness that corrupts even the elves! We will take you as our model.]
– All Incubus-
[I was truly impressed by your great achievement. Congratulations. All the trivial demons suffering from long drought and famine were able to laugh at the warm news.]
– Demon King Gallord-
Jin-woo remembered the time when he measured his potential. Again, regardless of the dimension, they were all thinking the same thing. In the original story, demons only appeared as a force of evil, but they felt somehow different when he experienced it himself.
It seemed that humans were often worse. Putting that aside, Jin-woo told Arina why he had come to visit. After all, it was a little too much to kill Angelica and the evil creatures. Angelica was Jin-woo’s subordinate and cleaner. She just happened to be doing that because she went to China. Arina thought for a moment, then nodded.
“It would be fine to apply the artifact that is currently working. If we force a connection, we will be able to reverse-summon them.”
“That’s a good idea.”
“I’ll get to work right away!”
Arina went straight to work. The work was simpler than expected so that their preparations could be completed quickly.
‘It’s my first time abroad.’
Come to think of it, he had never traveled previously. After becoming Lee Jin-woo, he had flown in helicopters, but he hadn’t once been on a plane. He was looking forward to it.
* * *
The Relief Knights were scheduled later than expected. Coordinating the schedules of each country caused it to be pushed back as there were several meetings on the issue of handling items that would be acquired in the disaster area. The Old Archives and Five Dynasties were trying to solve the problem independently. Still, the International Federation of Competent People decided to dispatch them as soon as the meeting was over.
Interestingly, the Korean Association of Competent People asked Jin-woo’s opinion while setting the schedule. The Association wanted to advertise the news of Jin-woo’s participation in the war on a large scale, so they made a polite request to him. Jin-woo agreed because he thought it would be okay to raise his Honor ranking.
Of course, there was an uproar.
‘I knew it would be a hot topic, but…’
It was more than Jin-woo expected as the news was plastered with stories about him.
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[Lee Jin-woo Participating in The War as a Relief Knight.]
[Realization of a True Noble Oblige.]
[Official: ‘Respectful to Those Below.’]
[Association: ‘A Mindset that Goes Beyond Knightly.’]
The Association also added a person from a broadcasting station, and it was said that they planned to make this into a documentary. It was to wash the image of the Association of Competent People, which had been dominated with authority during that time. Jin-woo was just going to watch and return Angelica. He had to be cautious, but he didn’t think it would be that difficult.
Jin-woo dressed as a Relief Knight and headed to the airport. The official Relief Knight outfit was white and had a mark symbolizing the Korean Association of Competent People, indicating that he was a Semi-Knight drawn next to it.
When he arrived at Incheon International Airport, an unusual scene was unfolding before his eyes. Many reporters from the broadcasting station and high-ranking officials were also on stand-by there to greet him. Past them, there were crowds of people who seemed to be his fans. It was the Knight’s fan club, but most of them were Jin-woo’s fans.
Yoo-na, who was slowly driving him, carefully eyed the scene.
“You are almost like a celebrity.”
“I guess so. Why do they even like me?”
“Isn’t your image good these days?”
“Most of it wasn’t what I said myself…”
Those were words wrapped up by the Future Strategy Office. He headed to the Knight-only counter in the Incheon Airport. There was a red carpet, and every time a Knight came out, applause and flashes were going off. The Knights entered first, followed by the Semi-Knights. The Semi-Knight entered as a group, but Jin-woo was specifically supposed to be the last to enter.
“Have a safe trip.”
Jin-woo nodded and got out of the car. From the moment the gazes gathered on him, Jin-woo’s appearance didn’t let any flaw show. The Emperor of Gold was always active, only showing the best results no matter how he was shot. He showed a strong charisma that made the previous Knights look like ordinary people.
‘Oh! Do I need a passport?’
Jin-woo went inside with such a thought. When he entered the waiting room, he saw the Knights and Semi-Knight standing by. They were chatting, but when Jin-woo came in, it became immediately quiet. Jin-woo looked forward to the next situation. It was because he thought it would be a little weird if it went smoothly.
“Nice to meet you, junior. You look very reliable.”
“Nice to meet you.”
But everyone smiled politely and greeted him first. Even though he only spoke a few words, the people were nice. Some felt like reliable older brothers, and some Knights were exceedingly friendly.
‘Why is everyone so nice?’
The Knights were quite good in personality. After all, they were painstakingly chosen to act as Relief Knights. There was no way those with bad personalities would be chosen. They were armed with a spirit of sacrifice for their country and others. There were no extra characters who would pick fights and quarrel. Come to think of it; all the Knights-class villains were characters from other countries.
“We have decided to get married once this is resolved.”
“I see. It’s good to have a family. Oh! My wife is six months pregnant…”
Jin-woo was startled to hear that.
“Here, keep this.”
“Hmm? Isn’t that your favorite watch?”
“It’s a lucky watch. I heard you had a bad dream.”
“Hey, it’s just a nightmare. It’s not like that…”
The atmosphere was warm; it was nice to see. However, Jin-woo felt a chill. A Semi-Knight who promises to return soon while calling his lover, a Knight who smiles while offering a keepsake to his friend, and a Knight who looked at a necklace with his lover’s picture inside. They were all death flags.
‘Oh, they’re going to die.’
If he were a character in a movie, novel, or cartoon, he would nod and think so.
‘But, this is real…’
Still, half of the reality was mixed, but would that happen? Jin-woo was just trying to laugh it off but hesitated. This idea felt like a typical carelessness flag. Choi Hee-yeon was also there. She heard that Jin-woo would participate in the war, so she submitted her application right away.
She approached Jin-woo as he was worried about his newfound colleagues.
“Is there anything wrong?”
“There’s something I’m a little concerned about.”
Was it because of the warm atmosphere? Choi Hee-yeon hesitated for a moment and started talking while looking at Jin-woo as if she had made up her mind.
“Well…when this is over…”
Jin-woo stopped Choi Hee-yeon and went out of the waiting room. It was because he thought he would be in big trouble if he listened to any more.
Choi Hee-yeon looked at Jin-woo’s back and became a little gloomy.
They arrived at the airport without any problems. The airport was quiet as China was currently designated as a travel ban by the International Federation of Competent People to head straight to the Gate. Perhaps because of the demonizing process, the sky was purple, and the air felt murky. It seemed difficult to even move unless you were a strong, competent person.
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The air was quite good for Jin-woo, possessing a strangely addictive smell. Knights from each country greeted each other with the spirit of battle. Although they weren’t famous, they came as representatives of their respective countries. It was rather strange to be so friendly with each other.
Jin-woo didn’t care what the atmosphere was like. He was just going to watch from behind and settle the situation, then leave. The Knights who were fighting with their spirit turned to look at the same person with surprise. He had a group of reporters with him.
“Mr. Jin-woo! How are you? I’ve been waiting.”
From the moment Merlin came out, the hierarchy was settled and arranged in an instant. Merlin approached him with his dazzling blonde hair fluttering behind him. It was much fuller than when he wore a wig. The other wizards who followed him were in a similar state. They were known as the wizard faction that didn’t wear hats. He was a British elite, so Merlin’s name was as heavy as that implied.
Merlin rushed over and greeted Jin-woo, his head bowed down. Merlin emphasized the frizz of his hair when he bowed and raised his head, with the wizards following him mimicking his display. He was now in the prime of his life.
Merlin began to speak to him privately, making it look like they were sharing some great secret. The Knights and Semi-Knights remained silent and looked at Jin-woo and Merlin. It was certainly the very picture of two discussing matters of important information to the country.
“Mr. Jin-woo, I shot a shampoo commercial this time.”
“…Is that so?”
“Thank you so much for making my dream come true. Now it is my turn to repay you.”
Merlin’s dream was to be a wizard beyond human limits; it was his only dream when he entered Circle Magic. Having fulfilled his dream, he became a complete Sage.
“We were touched by your merciful heart and brilliant spirit of sacrifice! We will follow your words.”
“No, you don’t have to. I am just a Semi-Knight.”
“Mr. Jin-woo, you’re a man with all the virtues of a hero. Wizards always recognize heroes. What does rank have to do with it? Isn’t that right, everyone!”
Merlin looked at the reporters and offered Jin-woo a lot of flattery, to the extent he wondered if it was okay. Jin-woo wanted to stop him, but it was already too late. It was a little crowded around them, but the situation was sorted out anyway.
Merlin was said to have participated as the head of Relief Knights. The British royal family moved to stop him, but they couldn’t break Merlin’s will.
“Sir Merlin, when are we going in?”
“Currently, there was the last general attack at China’s request. The situation is tough, but they want to protect the sovereignty of the Gate somehow. It’s probably best for them to figure it out on their own. Well, would you like to see it for yourself?”
If this expedition failed, the International Federation of Competent People would immediately intervene and manage it. As Jin-woo nodded, Merlin cast magic, and a screen came to his mind. The Wizards went to the scene in advance to watch the situation.
Jin-woo was able to see the battlefield through the Wizards. The competent Chinese people had engaged in a fierce battle. Some seemed to be the Ambassador group, and there were quite a few Knights with decent abilities there. They desperately resisted against the monsters, knowing that the territory would pass to the Federation if they were pushed back like this.
‘They reap what they sow.’
Who told you to steal technology? But was it because of that desperate heart? The monsters were slowly retreating backward little by little.
Jin-woo looked closely at the monsters.
Jin-woo had no choice but to feel puzzled. They were wearing something, so he thought they were strange monsters, but when he looked closely, they were indeed orcs. No, why were the orcs there? They were far more valiant and fought better than when they had warred against the elves. It looked as if they had mastered swordsmanship. They weren’t being pushed back by the competent people at all.
The screen was reflecting the temple. Jin-woo leaned in closer to get a better look.
“It is an unidentified temple. It may be dedicated to that huge Knight.”
He could examine the temple more accurately with his Magic Eye.
[C] The Golden Temple
A temple was built to worship the Emperor of Gold. If you have faith, the Emperor of Gold might grant you power.
Jin-woo was speechless. It was the moment when Jin-woo identified the temple with the Magic Eye of Information…
The Emperor of Gold must always win. Defeat doesn’t suit him.
The Emperor of Gold was activated, and mana coming from Jin-woo seeped into the ground. At that moment, a golden glow emanated from the orcs and monsters.
“L-look at that!”
A great roar was heard from the distance as the orcs’ physiques grew much larger. The bone helmets they wore shattered, revealing their growing golden fangs.
“The monsters are evolving!”
“I-is that the Demon King?”
The competent Chinese people, who were fighting valiantly, began to be pushed back horribly.
Jin-woo had a blank expression on his face.
Something else rolled around.
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