The Novel's Villain - Chapter 113
32. Survive Until the End (4)
A game that appeared suddenly and without any notice, The Maze: New World. The closed beta test period was less than three weeks, but it was enough to drive the whole world crazy. Pre-registration for the closed beta test was over, and everyone who didn’t apply almost immediately regretted it. This was because the first batch was planned to be only around 300,000 units. All were scheduled to be sold offline at G&P Infinity Technomart nationwide, and to prevent resale, only one unit per person was allowed.
Besides that, the G&P New World Game Zone was scheduled to open parts of the country on the same day as the opening day. In particular, the game zone in the JW Gate jurisdictional area was the largest, and a holographic display was installed in front of the building, allowing people to watch the game in real-time.
One week before the opening, in front of G&P Infinity Technomart, JW Gate Jurisdiction Center. There was an endless line waiting in front of the door. There was still a week left before the launch, but the front of the mart was full, and the line continued to Cultural Street. There was no big problem because the security guards controlled it so neatly. It was an epic scene created after the closed beta test started.
The front of the mart was full of tents set up by people to wait, and an old man was wearing a mask and sunglasses in the first row. The old man’s surroundings were quiet because of his unapproachable energy. He frowned while looking at his smartphone; his hand slightly trembled.
Money Ghost: I had a party, lol. Destroying the skeleton bones. Looks fun, right?
(Attached Image: Me and my party members.jpg)
Money Ghost: Look at the staff. It’s shining. Healing is also the B-E-S-T.
Me: No fun.
Money Ghost: I got this. It’s a ring. You don’t have this, do you? You ignorant bastard. At least wipe the shit out with your sword, LOL.
The old man turned out to be the Sword Master, whereas the Money Ghost was Chairman Lee Hee-jin. The Sword Master didn’t dare to reply. This was because the more he replied, the more he felt defeated. He used to make fun of Chairman Lee Hee-jin, but the situation was suddenly turned around. The news about Ella was like a bombshell. He couldn’t believe Ella became the granddaughter of that damn Money Ghost…
Money Ghost: I’m a little popular.
(Image attached: Cheers_to_me.jpg)
A wizard was seen holding a wand while several people were applauding him. It was a very nice beard.
Chairman Lee Hee-jin was already famous among closed beta testers and on the Internet. There were articles posted on the community by testers, and Chairman Lee Hee-jin, Rundalf, was always mentioned. Interest in the Sword Master had withered. Now Rundalf was the trend among the elderly.
Title: Rundalf, So Damn Awesome
I had a party with Rundalf.
You know about the way to the tutorial, right? As far as I know, very few people have broken through there. It’s like how Bread Jam appeared on the news. LOL, It’s hard to learn the controls.
I’ve been killed ten times, and I was stuck in the skeleton room, but Rundalf showed up. He was looking at the skeletons, and when he swung his staff, everything just exploded. I insisted on creating a party, but he said it was annoying. He’s a bit tsundere.
Rundalf doesn’t even farm. The party members and I were slow to pick up items, so Rundalf told us not to pick them up, and then he poured dimensional gold coins on us. I think I’m going to be rich.
He’s so fvcking cool.
People preferred Rundalf’s provocative and unconventional moves to the Sword Master’s beautiful quotes.
‘My one second is worth more than all your wealth.’
‘If I can’t put them on their knees with money, I just need to give them more.’
‘Does money beget money? It’s just me and my money.’
‘Kneel. I will give you dimensional gold coins.’
Rundalf made several famous lines. The Sword Master felt like inner darkness was growing inside him after a very long time. He tried to regain his composure, but the more he thought about it, the more it annoyed him. In the end, he crossed his legs. After such a long time, it was finally the release day.
The Sword Master looked back, feeling intense energy in the long line. Most of the guards and busy cleaners were above the Knight-level.
‘As expected, it’s like my grandson-in-law.’
The Sword Master thought it would be nice if that damn Money Ghost resembled only half of Jin-woo. But after a long wait, he was finally able to buy the Login Device. The Sword Master returned to the Choi Family’s Sword School, even using the Air Dash to speed up his trip. As he had reached the limit of humanity, his body lightening technique made him faster than any car. He even flew around using the flying sword technique near the highway.
The trees shook wildly as the Sword Master passed by them. The villagers passing by looked at him and nodded as if familiar with it. They just thought he looked a little more urgent today.
“Money Ghost, I’ll teach you a lesson.”
He went straight to his room and tried to log in. A warning message came out saying that the assimilation rate with the device was very high, and it could be dangerous if a competent person were accessing it. It was said that competent people should refrain from using it, and G&P was not responsible for any problems that arose in the future.
The Sword Master, of course, agreed and skipped it. He could agree to something like that more than a hundred times. His avatar was slightly younger, so he had to change his beard. Finally, he opened his eyes in a dark dungeon. He only had his bare body. His old friend, the Sword, of course, didn’t exist. When he checked his body, he couldn’t feel its vital force.
Skeletons came from all directions. They looked pretty disgusting. The Sword Master felt tense.
‘Am I nervous?’
His hair stood on end. For a moment, he was horrified.
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The Sword Master laughed. How long had it been since he felt a sense of crisis? It has been a while since he felt the tension! Starting with the fingertips, his whole body trembled. His body was gripped with a sense of joy and thrill.
“H-hey, watch out!”
“If you’re so absent-minded like that…”
The player around shouted, worrying about the Sword Master. Now that the official opening has begun, there were quite a few people around. Everyone thought that the Sword Master would become prey for the skeletons. After all, there were so many players like that. But there was no need to worry.
The Sword Master clenched his fist. There was a saying that the path to martial arts always returned to its origin. The Sword Master was also well versed in bare-handed fighting.
The Sword Master’s fist smashed the skeleton’s bones. The combo attacks that followed were works of art, using the avatar’s physical abilities to the fullest. He hurled the skeleton over his shoulder and smashed their boney pelvis with his knee. Finally, his foot smashed the skull. The whole body of the skeleton crumbled into powder.
‘What a good body…!’
He liked it. He liked it so much. There was no such constitution that existed in humans, so it fits well with any aura.
‘If I use this body…!’
It seemed possible to overcome the limitations of experience.
Sword Master, who had been honing his skills, knew more about magic attacks than anyone else. Physical attacks, which had severe side effects, were also significant. He seemed to be able to experiment with many of them himself. A body that was reset but could be resurrected even if it died! What a wonderful gift this was!
The Sword Master laughed out loud.
As he stepped forward, he began to smash the skeletons with great force. It was such a rough movement that it was impossible to think of him like the Sword Master. It was violent and cruel. He ripped apart the skeleton’s limbs and blew their heads off with the other skeleton’s arms.
“Wow, that’s awesome.”
“Is that possible?”
“But, it seems a little crazy.”
The players were amazed. The way he smacked the skeletons while laughing was terrifying.
“Stand up, Rundalf!”
The Sword Master that unleashed his reins had arrived. It was when the Supreme Crazy Demon, which was paired with the Golden Rundalf, was born. Then…
“It’s pretty similar.”
“How could he prepare for this?”
“As expected, Captain is still Captain even if he lost his memory.”
Unlike the other newbies, some people seemed relaxed.
“I feel like I’m back again.”
“Anna, don’t get too excited.”
After work, James Dean and the fake returnees also showed up. The Captain was preparing in advance for the coming end. If people practiced in advance through virtual reality, they would be able to minimize confusion. Their respect for Jin-woo was rising again. The Relief Knights reappeared in the Maze.
* * *
The official opening went very smoothly. They were all sold out, and the factory was running non-stop due to the orders that kept pouring in. Of the 10,000 closed beta testers, only a few came to the Village of the Beginning, where the tutorial was. They all struggled in the first dungeon, where they needed to learn how to control their body, and it had already reached the official opening before they knew it.
As time passed after the official opening, the number of people who arrived in the Village of the Beginning began to increase. Yoo-na reported on it while looking at the sales status table that she received from Se-yeon.
“Revenues keep going up.”
The money earned by the Login Device was just a small sum of money. Revenues in the game were great. Jin-woo didn’t mean to make a profit, as the goal was to reward everyone and return the Maze to its original state. But money was still piled up.
“Already? No one has finished the tutorial yet.”
“Yeah, mostly revenues are from avatar creation. Even if we exclude the Heaven maintenance cost and the remuneration of the angels, the net profit seems to be great.”
The avatar was able to be created without having to pay anything. There were limitations, but not to the point of being too intrusive. But everyone wanted to make their avatar look great. People dressed up the character nicely in regular games, but what if it was your real body? The more difficult the conditions were, the more dimensional gold coins were put in.
Dress it up and die. Dress it up and die again. As it was repeated, avatar generation sales skyrocketed. Once people saw their beautiful and wonderfully created bodies, they couldn’t return to their normal bodies. It was like a drug.
‘I didn’t mean it, but…’
If there were many micro-charges, people would usually curse the game company, but all the players who enjoyed The Maze: New World praised it. It was another reality where money wasn’t wasted at all.
“About that… I have one more thing to tell you…”
“Umm? What is it?”
Yoo-na hesitated a bit. Then she showed him her laptop. It was MeTube. When Jin-woo saw it, he remembered a video he had seen a while ago. Bread Jam blew up his MeTube account as promised and bowed in front of the G&P headquarters with a heart of remorse. Then he hung Jin-woo’s picture in his room and bowed to it every day.
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‘Long live Mr. Jin-woo!’
‘I love Mr. Jin-woo!’
‘You are a man born to be praised. Without you, I must not be able to live!’
He posted such a video on the main page of his newly created account.
‘It’ll be fine if I just leave it alone.’
Jin-woo shook his head and looked at the laptop screen. The name of the channel Yoo-na showed him was Rundalf TV. Jin-woo knew that his grandfather’s avatar name was Rundalf, but he didn’t expect to find out that he had a MeTube account. The videos on the channel were amazing.
‘I Fed a Skeleton 1,000 Dimensional Gold Coins.’
‘What if I Give the Skeleton Boss a Dimensional Gold Coin?’
‘Shock! Skeleton Boss is Bribed?!’
‘Open 3,000 Mystery Boxes.’
‘Meeting with Bread Jam. The Reason I Scolded Bread Jam!’
‘Wizards Don’t Even Do Farming.’
’10 Reasons Why the Recently Appeared Crazy Demon is Sloppy.’
His grandfather was indeed awesome. He didn’t have to keep his dignity because he didn’t have to reveal his identity. Having an avatar freed his grandfather…no, the seal was unleashed. It hadn’t been long since the channel was created, but it already exceeded 1.5 million subscribers. Having subtitles in almost every language on the planet also played a big role in that.
“…He bribed the Skeleton Boss of the basic control zone for 7,000G.”
“The Skeleton Boss crawled on the floor and became a skeleton horse. I have removed Chairm-… Rundalf’s purchase from the revenue.”
If Jin-woo was the Emperor of Gold, his grandfather was the Great Emperor of Gold. The only person who could defeat Jin-woo with money was his grandfather.
“These days, it is said that Lee Min-woo was entrusted with everything as the Chairman’s representative.”
Lee Min-woo couldn’t live without the potion. During the day, he took care of everything on behalf of his grandfather, and he was kept very busy at night. He was enduring by drinking the potion like a nutritional supplement. Jin-woo remembered that he received a phone call from Lee Min-woo the night before. He had been drunk.
‘I-I… I’m happy… I’m happy… so happy, but… I’m happy… Oh, I’m happy. Hic.’
Jin-woo nodded. For the first time, he finally understood what it meant. Sometimes it could be hard when one’s happiness overflowed.
“Let him enjoy it.”
Anyway, it proceeded smoothly. Middle World was fine, and it was more peaceful than ever. Jin-woo could concentrate on things related to the Maze without worrying about anything else.
‘Come to think of it….’
According to the original setting, there was another Emperor in Middle World. In the original story, it seemed to disappear with the destruction of the realm. It didn’t seem like it would be too dangerous, considering it wasn’t mentioned after that.
‘I’ll have to pay attention to it.’
If there were something wrong with the Middle-World, he would know right away, so he would just keep an eye out. There was nothing wrong with being prepared.
It had been a while since the official opening. The Login Device was sold out as soon as the stock was released, and reservations were delayed several months later. Currently, the service was only available in Korea, but overseas fans were stamping their feet and asking for service overseas.
Overseas MeTubers kept posting how they hung up Jin-woo’s pictures and bowed down or earnestly prayed towards it. As much as that, global game fans and even those not originally interested in the game were thirsty for The Maze: New World. Jin-woo checked the situation in the central control room.
‘There are quite a few people who have completed the tutorial.’
After completing the tutorial, players could start right from the Village of the Beginning, even if they died. The tutorial was to learn how to use the Village of the Beginning and learn basic skills through training instructors. After that, players were able to challenge the lowest floor of the Maze in earnest. Since the monsters on the lowest floor were crowded, the Maze’s symptoms seemed to improve even if only the lowest floor was cleaned.
The quest given by Jin-woo was delivered to those who completed the tutorial. The rewards were great. Even in terms of dimensional gold coins alone, it was worth 30 million won, and it would also give a lot of regular coins. It wasn’t even 30 million won for a party, but each party member. Anyone could get the reward by defeating any middle boss among the countless dungeons on the lowest floor.
Of course, it was given only to the party that cleared it first. But the lowest floor was never easy. The tutorial was nothing but a joke. Most of them couldn’t even make it to the middle boss and were wiped out. F-ranked monsters were too powerful for them. The Maze was strengthened with nightmares, and above all, there were too many monsters. It was beyond what a normal party could handle.
Players gritted their teeth. At first, they competed for the rewards, but there wasn’t anything like that left. Pride. Korean gamers had their pride hurt. So far, they had conquered any difficult game with ease. But now, they couldn’t even clear Stage 1.
‘But this speed is fine.’
He thought there would be many people who gave up halfway, but surprisingly, a lot of people were taking on the challenge. There were also quite a few who reached the middle boss room.
‘Is it today?’
There was a community that discussed only The Maze: New World. It had already grown to reach a large scale, and it was said that there would be a massive expedition today. Jin-woo went to the site and looked at the contents. A video was being uploaded.
Title: It’s Finally Today!
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I’m Bread Jam in the Village of the Beginning (Black Village).
Finally, the party set for attacking the lowest floor of the Maze departs today. Many people participate for the glory of victory rather than reward. People from other Villages of Beginning also decided to join us.
Hear, all! Many people mock Korean gamers. They say that we’re only losers who cannot clear Stage 1. They’re belittling us, who have cleared many other vicious games in the shortest time. You must prove it!
As the representatives of the Republic of Korea, we must attack the middle boss. We should pave the way for the many beginners who will arrive soon! Let’s wake up from frustration and despair! Today we will step on the middle boss’s body and move forward!
We’re going to win!
LurielisPretty: Let’s catch the middle boss!
Deathblade: Dimensional gold reloads completed!
Haham: Never ignore Korea again.
It was said that the main party started from the largest Village of the Beginning, where the central control room was located. People called this place the Black Village. Since there were several Villages of the Beginning, each was named after the characteristics of the village.
“It’s very crowded.”
“I think today’s revenue will be significant.”
Yoo-na nodded at Se-yeon’s words. Jin-woo looked at the village through the screen. The town center square was crowded. At first glance, there were more than a thousand people there. They were all those who passed the tutorial. There were also reporters from the broadcasting station.
“Is it going to be aired on SBC?”
It was scheduled to be aired as a special feature on the airwaves. It was an extraordinary setup. Jin-woo thought maybe his grandfather was involved. A familiar face appeared on the screen of Luna dressed as a priest. Although the Maze wasn’t there, she was still live-streaming.
‘Isn’t that cheating?’
The operator was participating in the expedition wearing a player’s mask.
‘I’ll have to look around to see if there’s anything wrong.’
Jin-woo came up to the village wearing a mask. He didn’t forget to change into clothes sold in the village. The village sold the special goods of the Middle World. There was no problem with the quantity because they stored plenty in the subspace and sold them. Many people wore clothes, rings, and earrings that could be bought with dimensional gold coins.
‘Business is going well.’
It was a great boom. Players met with street vendors and traded with each other, and they also made coins by selling items they had obtained with dimensional gold coins. Jin-woo went to the square where people were gathered. He saw familiar faces on the way. Even though their appearances changed, Jin-woo could tell who they were at once.
It was Rundalf and Crazy Demon, or his grandfather and the Sword Master. The Sword Master’s ID was New Sword Master, but he was known to everyone as Crazy Demon. The two glared at each other. When Rundalf swung his staff, Crazy Demon evaded. Crazy Demon quickly counterattacked, but it was blocked by the shield that appeared in front of Rundalf.
“Attack me if you can. You ignorant bastard.”
They kept arguing while attacking each other. Luna, who was over there, rushed over.
“You must not fight!”
“Cough, who said we fought?”
“We just warmed up a bit.”
At this, Rundalf and Crazy Demon turned their heads away from each other.
Jin-woo sincerely thought so. It turned out that the two were in Luna’s party. Priest, wizard, fighter. The balance turned out to be fine.
“Let’s also find a tanker to join the party!”
As Luna spoke energetically, Rundalf smiled pleasantly, and Crazy Demon was steadily growing dissatisfied with him. Jin-woo had a sudden hunch that he would get involved in something annoying. When he was about to get out of there in a hurry, he happened to make eye contact with the three of them.
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Jin-woo’s body hardened in place.
“I am an NPC.”
Jin-woo was embarrassed and made excuses that wouldn’t work.