The Novel's Villain - Chapter 88
23. Peaceful International Competition (3)
Jin-woo felt another headache forming. He inevitably scored many points; who would have known that all those proud Knights would surrender?
The original novel was a story that had strong national independence in Korea. It was even enough to make Jin-woo, who was a Korean, cringe. That very same Jin-woo had received a score that could take over nine Gates, although he wasn’t the main character of such an original novel.
Come to think of it; this Korea came out better than the original story.
‘Well…it’s good that Korea is doing well.’
Anyway, this place was real now. However, he felt awkward because he was at the center of it. His Popularity value was also constantly rising, so he could see how explosive the response was. When he took out his cell phone from the subspace and checked it, a commotion greeted him. A picture of Jin-woo with a Korean national flag circulated the net on the most popular portal sites.
It was an official news article.
[Warning from South Korea, No One heard It.]
[Never Ignore Korean Knights Again.]
[Korean National Flag Stands Gracefully at the International Water Gates.]
It was like that. His SNS was also going crazy. Many people were wearing bandages on their right hand like Jin-woo and took photos to upload. A relay was being held to express gratitude to Jin-woo. As soon as Jin-woo saw it, he couldn’t stand the cringe and dropped his cell phone.
It was indeed a very good thing, if only he hadn’t been involved in it. It somehow felt like he was drunk.
Then the worst thing happened, but he didn’t dare to look closely at it.
‘By the way….’
Jin-woo was in a huge ship heading to Korea. Originally, everyone moved together after the end, but the atmosphere was described as very chilly. All the famous Knights of other countries were sitting at the table in front of Jin-woo. They were famous enough for him to know their names. He wished they could go somewhere else, but they kept sitting next to him.
“Hallas, he was a really tough opponent.”
“You’re right. If it weren’t for the Captain, we would all have died there. The Captain is, sobs…”
Saying that they looked at Jin-woo. When Jin-woo looked completely clueless, they looked sad. The oldest Knight shook his head, comforting the others.
“For our sake….”
“This is so sad!”
A female Knight jumped up and got angry.
“How…how come…such a thing…!”
“Anna! Stop it. What a rude thing to do in front of the Captain.”
She trembled as if she couldn’t hold back her anger and then ran out the door. Tears dripped down where she left. Everyone looked wistful.
“I will go.”
A Knight stood up and reported to Jin-woo, waiting for the command.
“Ah, yes. You don’t have to tell me…”
When Jin-woo said so, he ran out, holding back his tears. It was like watching some crazy drama. Only Jin-woo didn’t understand.
He felt like he was left alone.
‘What the hell were they dreaming about?’
He thought it was just erasing their memories and overwriting them a little bit, but they seemed to have experienced something terrific. The Emperor of Gold and the Incarnation of Evil intervened when Lilith used her power, though he wasn’t aware. A very amazing story had been completed based on numerous novels that Jin-woo read.
Anyway, the Knights refused all contact with their country’s Association of Competent People and stayed there. There was a lot of criticism for surrendering, but they didn’t even care. They were only talking about strange things that only they knew.
“Anyway, you all must have done a great job. Then, excuse me…”
Jin-woo looked around and quickly escaped from them. As he entered the room prepared on the ship for him, another Knight came and stood guard in front of Jin-woo’s room. This was also very burdensome. He wondered what they dreamed of, but he thought it would be better not to know.
‘I’d rather not know…’
Ignorance could be the remedy.
When he got off the ship, there was a grand welcoming ceremony readied to greet him. It was filled with citizens, politicians, numerous cameras, and reporters who came out to welcome him in a much larger crowd than expected.
Jin-woo returned home, refusing all requests to meet. Even the President of the Association was taking care of his convenience, so no one disturbed Jin-woo. A return party was scheduled, but Jin-woo wasn’t the type to participate. It was enough for him to participate in only the closing ceremony.
Jin-woo shook his head and turned on the TV.
[In admiration for Captain Lee Jin-woo’s courage…]
[I feel sorry for my country, but I will never regret it.]
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[Sorry, I can’t tell you that. I will retire.]
[Please don’t look for me.]
Interviews of Knights from other countries came out. Most of the Knights who survived the closed battle refused to be interviewed, but a few said that. Jin-woo turned off the TV with a sour look.
“Well…it ended well anyway.”
Now, only the lottery remained. He just wanted to finish it quickly.
The closing ceremony was just as grandiose as the opening ceremony. The performance was great, but the highlight was the Gate lottery. The Gates were all precious, but like everything else, they were divided into grades. All seventeen Gates couldn’t be the same, after all. They were divided into Grade 1 to 5. Since they were on international waters, in some cases, they were far from their winning country, but they could be exchanged or leased through negotiations.
It was a very tense scene, but Korea was less concerned. This was because Korea won one Gate in the tournament and nine in the closed battle. Of the seventeen, ten were owned by Korea. Since the number of International Water Gates per country was limited to four, the remaining six were to be put up for sale.
The lottery was broadcast live not only on the airwaves but also on the Internet. It was no exaggeration to say that the whole world was concentrating on it. When Jin-woo, who had won the most lottery tickets, came upon the stage, the chat room exploded.
Vividic: Please sweep it all…
Lee Seung-hoon: LOL Isn’t it just Grade 5? We got Grade 5 in the last competition.
1Pick: That‘s right, I believe.
Even a Knight-Captain was likely to tremble. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the fortune of the country was at stake. As a person who risked his life to fight like that, he could have been cursed with this one blow. It was the sorrow of the Knights.
The ball came out when the button was pressed. There were many artifacts to prevent manipulation, utilizing the latest technology to detect even the smallest change in mana. The Knights usually prayed or pressed it with earnestness, but not Jin-woo. He just pressed it ten times without any hesitation.
HollyShack: Look at that spirit.
GraciousReward: He has a strong heart, huh. LOL
KyungDonny: Wow, he’s so damn cool. A real man.
Jin-woo left immediately without checking the result of the draw. People would wait to see the result and cheer in most cases, but Jin-woo didn’t bother. There was speculation that this was an action for the victims of the international competitions. It was the Federation’s people who announced the results of the draw.
Elin: Crazy LOL
rane7766: Gosh LOL
Light Jin-woo: What is thaaaat? LMAO
abc2211: Look at how dumb the other Knights are hahahaha
LetsEatPigeons: Wow, isn’t it fake?
GraciousReward: What a lotto!
There was an uproar when the lottery results appeared on the big screen: it was a strike. He swept away the Gates from Grade 1 to 3. The apartment complexes in Korea shook, and the streets were in chaos. It was truly a scene of festivities. For the first time, the Korean Knights suffered no casualties, and there was no cautious atmosphere. The next day, several companies gave their employees vacation time.
[Best score ever!]
[Lee Jin-woo Revives the Republic of Korea!]
There were a lot of articles that Jin-woo couldn’t bear to read. According to the points obtained, the Gates operating profit was distributed along with a huge reward. Since he swept nine out of ten, the income Jin-woo took was enormous, but Jin-woo donated everything. After all, the procedures were cumbersome. But thanks to that, his image improved beyond being able to go any higher.
Indeed, the Lee Jin-woo craze was sweeping over Korea.
[I hope it will be a small consolation to those who sacrifice for world peace.]
It was known that Jin-woo made that statement. In addition to this and that, a slightly embarrassing quote began to appear along with his photo. The reaction was explosive, but in Jin-woo’s eyes, it was odd.
‘Did I say this?’
Jin-woo never even did an interview. As soon as the closing ceremony was over, he gave up his position as Captain. He then went straight home and lay down on the sofa. Such a noisy and complicated place wasn’t to his liking. It was best to be quiet and involve himself in no affairs. His image was going wild, but now he gave up halfway. That was how all international competitions came to an end.
It was a peaceful international competition only for Jin-woo.
Before the international competition, he used to wander outside sometimes, but now he couldn’t. Too many people recognized him. invitations came rushing in, Jin-woo refused all of them.
“The other Korean Knights appeared on variety shows. Choi Hee-yeon also joined it. It seems that several high-ranking Knights have asked her.”
“Really? Which one is it?”
“Yes. This is NBS’s ‘Please Take Care of Healing.’ I heard half of it was about you, Young Master.”
Jin-woo nodded at Yoo-na. He often watched so he thought it would be good to join it if he had a chance later. Anyway, the affairs on Earth were resolved to some extent, and the JW Gate, G&P, Elonti Entertainment, and the Cultural Center worked very well. Jin-woo gave them only rough directions and returned to the Sanctuary.
Next on his agenda was the Middle-World.
He checked on the Maze first. He made the Maze play healthy games to reduce gate anomalies. However, the Maze was immersed in Internet culture. It had started a name for itself in a large community, but Jin-woo didn’t know. Besides that, it started becoming famous for its crazy skills in several games. The Emperor of Maze recently started a MeTube as well.
The Maze used its power to make its body smaller. It made a very elaborate doll, in which its ego resided. It used to play on a computer like a junkie in the room every day, but now it sometimes rolled around on the floor. For some reason, the appearance seemed to embody Arina in her childhood. However, looking at the horns and ears, it looked more like a human than a demon.
Arina looked at that figure and nodded.
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“I think it’s because I feed it often.”
She said that the Maze especially liked potato chips and pizza.
Jin-woo looked at the Maze’s huge body. Everything was summoned from the Demon Realm, but it was empty from time to time. When Jin-woo looked at the Maze that went into the doll, the Maze was startled and broke into a cold sweat. It closed its eyes and focused on retrieving the parts but fell forward.
“Sorry. It’s stuck.”
It was said not to be recoverable because it was completely stuck to the dimension, so most stayed between dimensions.
The Maze hit its head and stood still.
“It’s okay, so don’t do that.”
The Maze was expressing its regret with its whole body. Anyway, Jin-woo thought it would be better to retrieve the ones in the Middle-World by visiting them directly.
‘Shall I get ready?’
Jin-woo packed a lot of stuff. The subspace things, including camping supplies, food, medicine, potions, modern goods, artifacts, and relics.
He stood at the center of the Sanctuary. The center of the Sanctuary was greatly transformed by the union with the Maze. The dimensional flow coming in from all directions fluttered like a rainbow, but the flow to the Middle-World was very small, as if something was blocked.
“The Middle-World is said to be the most distant dimension. It’s the place with the least dimensional interference, a pure dimension influenced by Heaven and the Demonic Realm.”
“It’s rumored to be a place rich in mana. It’s the opposite of demon energy.”
For that reason, it was said that when demons went to the Middle-World, their strength would decrease significantly. The Great War of Angels, Demons, and the Maze was said to have cut off the connection between the Demon Realm and the Middle-World. It was now reconnected, yet looking at the dimensional flow, its distance was the farthest.
‘I’ll have to go quietly this time.’
Jin-woo nodded as he vowed to do so. A huge wave was created when he activated the dimensional flow to the Middle-World, completely connecting. A beautiful bridge was formed from the center of the Sanctuary to a portal in the distance. It looked as if it contained the universe.
Jin-woo started to cross the bridge. He could feel the mana even though it was only on the bridge.
‘The dark mana…’
He could feel the dark mana rapidly weakening. When he reached the portal, it went completely silent. The headache was gone, and he felt so much better. A smile came out of nowhere. He looked back and saw Arina. The Maze stood next to Arina with a very troubled expression and waved its hand. Jin-woo grinned and crossed the portal.
After crossing the portal, he appeared in a forest. Jin-woo felt a high level of pure mana that couldn’t be compared with the other dimensions. It was like being inside jelly. However, it wasn’t uncomfortable but felt rather refreshing.
The protagonist, stabbed in the back by a Japanese shaman, came to the Middle World to restore his powers. He had to go through a lot of trouble here after losing his powers. It was understandable after seeing it in person.
Jin-woo looked at his right hand. The Black Flame Dragon was quiet. The dark mana had significantly decreased as high purity mana flooded in.
Jin-woo took off the bandages.
[Invading the Middle-World!]
[The Black Flame Dragon’s energy source accepts high-purity mana.]
[The Emperor of Gold has become more powerful. The golden power has awakened.]
The protagonist came to Middle-earth and became more powerful. His physical abilities and mana increased. Jin-woo also felt a change. Although his physical ability didn’t improve, his right hand felt strange.
It was very heavy.
‘There is no information yet.’
It was being updated. Jin-woo looked at his hand and tried to move it around. He struck the tree so hard that it shattered, but nothing happened like when it was surrounded by dark mana. Although there was a slight golden tinge to his skin, it looked much more normal than when it was bandaged.
Could it be that the effect had become more glamorous? If so, that was acceptable.
‘Anyway, it’s peaceful.’
Jin-woo liked this atmosphere. Nothing happened, and there was no sign of anything happening. It seemed that peace of mind had arrived after a long time.
After walking a little, he found a lake.
“The water is clear…”
Jin-woo scooped up the water with both hands. It was so clear that particles of mana could be seen in the water.
Jin-woo’s right hand dyed the water golden. The particles of mana turned golden and began to divide wildly.
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The golden water from his hand fell into the water. Jin-woo tilted his head. Then his right hand’s information came to mind.
[S] Golden Hand
As the Emperor of Gold became more powerful, the Black Flame Dragon fell asleep, and the Golden Power was awakened. The Golden Hand symbolizes prosperity, reproduction, and blessing.
*[S] Golden Power
The fish jumped through the surface of the water. They jumped up one by one and became a shoal, then in the middle of the lake, a fish as large as a whale soared through the waves.
There was a splash as Jin-woo quietly put on the bandage. Still, it was very peaceful for his first arrival.
* * *
Returnee. All those who participated in the informal international competitions considered themselves to be returnees.
Earth was destroyed after a giant tower was summoned to Earth due to Japan’s mischief. As the only survivors, under Jin-woo’s command, they climbed the tower to destroy its owner, Digent. The Knights who climbed the Revenge Knights Tower consisted of the remains from each nation’s many Knights Squadron. It was Jin-woo who brought together the Knights who were quarreling with each other. He led the Knights with overwhelming charisma and leadership to conquer the tower.
It had been years. Whenever the Knights lost their lives, Jin-woo, the Commander, sacrificed himself to save them. It was the power he received while climbing the tower. And, with Jin-woo’s excellent leadership, they were able to climb to the last floor.
“Thanks to the Captain’s sacrifice, we were able to return to this place and prevent destruction. But…”
That’s what James, the second-best Knight in the United States and Deputy General, said. He saw how much effort Jin-woo put in as he struggled with strategy and secretly vomited blood while everyone was sleeping. He was the perfect leader James dreamed of. In the end, Jin-woo gained enormous power after defeating the Digent. It was a force that could dominate the universe.
However, Jin-woo erased Digent’s existence and returned everyone in return for all his powers and accumulated memories. It was a great sacrifice considering the value of the knowledge gained from the tower. But the problem was, Digent mentioned another destruction when he died.
“We should be prepared.”
“The only land of hope is the JW jurisdiction.”
Everyone nodded. There he was able to lay the foundation for climbing the tower. The Knights all retired and disappeared. It didn’t matter if they didn’t get their retirement permits. The other countries were on alert, but they were reluctant to expose their weakened power.
Through networking, they made a new identity and began to live in the jurisdictional area. With the knowledge gained from the tower, they started training. Their ability level increased easily in the tower, but in reality, it wouldn’t. However, they kept trying. To repay Jin-woo for his favor and melt seamlessly into the area under his jurisdiction, they were searching for jobs.
Rachel blinked as she looked at the interviewee. She was looking for a security guard for JW Jurisdiction Cultural Center. Rachel had become a long-cherished member of JW, now managing the security of the Cultural Center.
“Mr. James Dean?”
“You are a Rank -D competent person with a physical strengthening type?”
Rachel tilted her head. It was because it was a face she had seen somewhere, no matter how much she thought about it. Then she remembered. It was James Cooper, the second-best American Knight, who suddenly announced his retirement. His hair and eyes were different, but the face was similar.
“You look very similar to Sir James Cooper, an American Knight. I was a big fan of him when I was young…”
“I hear that often.”
“There are a lot of younger people on the site, would that be all right?”
“Yes, no problem.”
Rachel nodded. He had experience and good skills. He was just a little old. He looked like he was in his early thirties, but he was forty-three.
“Your self-introduction is very unusual…you chose our CEO as the person you respect the most.”
“I respect him deeply. I owe him a lot. It’s impossible to repay him fully…”
“Oh…have you met our CEO?”
“…I haven’t met him yet, but isn’t he doing a lot of things?”
There was a deep sadness in James Dean’s eyes. Rachel looked into those eyes and had no choice but to accept him. After all, they seemed to share the same feeling.
“When can you start working?”
“I can right now.”
“I see. I will take you around the site today! Oh! Your salary will be….”
James Dean followed Rachel around the security area. In the middle, a female employee was carrying cargo. She had her hat pressed tight, but she nodded slightly as her eyes met James Dean’s. James Dean nodded and looked away. The painters, the ice-cream sellers, and the cleaners were all part of the Revenge Knights Squadron.
There was an uproar in their home country about their disappearance, but they were all working hard on their duties here. James Dean looked at Jin-woo’s picture hanging on the wall. He looked at the picture and bowed instead of saluting.
It was peaceful. No, not yet.
“What are you doing?”
“No. It’s nice to be at peace.”
He was a Rank A+ Knight, and he was developing even further through hell training. This was all happening while Jin-woo was away.
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