Chapter 8 – Plain and simple

◈ Episode 8. Plain and simple

The player community is in an uproar.

─Is the update a true story? A balance tweak?

─It’s not just the balance, it’s us too?


No, I didn’t even have to go into the community.

The news was all about the new update.

“AAU has confirmed that Count Ascura is a vampire, a demonic monster.”

“Even the big guilds are freaking out. Their attitude is that they can’t rush into a rift where the danger is so obvious.”

I belatedly checked the update.

I was horrified.

“……What, level 430?!

Doesn’t level 430 mean I’m higher than the current leaderboard?

I take back my comment about them being an inferior race.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, they’re Demons.

Among players, the Demon Tribe is a tricky monster to deal with.

To play them safely.

It was common knowledge that you had to be at least 10 levels ahead of them.


“You’re updating us to tackle these?

This is the reaction!

It’s like, “Oh, my God.

It’s no wonder the big guilds were so passive, because they had a lot to lose.

But just wait until the rift collapses while they’re looking at each other.

That’s when the gates of hell open.

Of course, I was fully aware of that.


Natural Enemy: Increases combat power by leaps and bounds when battling demons.


Natural Enemy.

The effectiveness of the Demon Hunter’s class skill was greater than I thought.

But the Imp was only level 200.

It was inconceivable that he could hunt Count Ascura, who was more than twice that level.

But that was only the conclusion of my mind.

At this moment, my heart was beating as usual.

Yes, it was a beat that said it didn’t matter what kind of demon I became.

“No demon’s temptations, deceptions, or trials can make a dent in Grandfell’s lofty pride.”

Not before imps or vampires.

Not even in the face of demons.

This arrogant pride will never be diminished.

It’s literally a pompous, death-defying setup.

Of course, I had no intention of dying a screaming death in the pursuit of fashion.

As lean and mean as possible.

That’s how I want to live.

“No, wait.

But for this moment, my hair could do it.

That’s what it was telling me.

A glowing quest window.

Hunt a Vampire. (Ongoing)

Announce that the hunt has begun. (In progress)

Looking at that quest objective brought back memories of the past.

I remembered the way a demon hunter hunted demons.

I remembered once again.

That gave me confidence.

‘If I follow the quest like I did back then…….’

I might actually be able to hunt vampires.

I was sure of that.

For a moment, I had a vision of a flower garden.

I wonder how much experience I’ll get for defeating Count Ascura.

I wonder if he’ll give me a good item.

Oh, and let’s not forget the class quest rewards.

But the corners of my mouth didn’t even twitch.

The colourful flower gardens I imagined were no better than the family gardens Grandfell had seen in passing.

In other words, it was all a matter of course.

It was what he deserved.

─New crack location!!! Russia?!!

I said in a cold voice.

“I’ll punish you severely for going to the trouble of hiding.”


The Wizard’s Tower.

Its interior was indescribably mysterious.

“Crazy. It’s not what it looks like from the outside!”

The interior was vast, as if different laws of physics were being applied.

Countless books decorated the interior.

The crowning glory was the glowing ‘portal’ in the centre.

“Russia. No leaning towers. I can only imagine.”

“Master was right after all. It’s a good thing we settled here so quickly. Why, look at the Japanese and Chinese guilds. We were so stubborn, we got on a plane and ended up in Russia.”

“It’s a five-hour drive from the airport.”


Massive teleportation magic.

It was a high-level magic, as evidenced by its effectiveness.

Only a handful of players could use it.

Of course, it was impossible to compare the players’ portals to the portals of the Magic Tower.

“When will I ever use this kind of magic?”

“I don’t think I could do that with a manlep.”

“…… million leaps? Is there a million leaps in Arcana?”

“No. That’s why it’ll never happen.”

“Dude, you’re talking to me.”

The players’ portals were a means of escape, not transport.

The amount of magic required to maintain the portal was prohibitive.

“Still, when are we going to be able to run through a portal like this?”

The portals provided by Matap were not originally free to use.

But the world had changed, and so had Matap.

There were many people gathered around the portal.

But it was Gaon who drew the most attention.

“Has Gaon discovered Count Ascura’s strategy this time?”

“Why did you decide to go on an expedition before the other guilds?”

“Even if Gaon is unsuccessful, it has been suggested that the information he gained should be shared with the other guilds, what do you think?”

Ranked 5th in the world.

The top guild in South Korea, Gaon.

Guild Master Nam Tae-min answered the flood of questions.

“I’m sorry, but we don’t have any cheats, and since when do we challenge the Rift with cheats……. Why did we decide to go on an expedition before other guilds? Obviously, to stay ahead of the competition.”

As befits his position, Nam Tae-min’s words were full of confidence.

“And what, sharing our strategy with other guilds even if we fail? I’m sorry, but that’s not going to happen. They’ll say it’s for the peace of mankind, or something. I’d tell them to try the Rift themselves, just like us. That’s the real peace. Don’t you think?”

The momentum was enough to make the assembled journalists swoon.

But beneath his confident demeanour, Nam Tae-min’s insides were burning.

Gaon had staked a lot on this expedition.

“I have to make a difference.

The Mage Tower had attracted large guilds from around the world to Korea.

That might be a good thing for the government and the people.

Not for Gaon.

Their presence in Korea was diminishing by the day.

Gaon’s move was an encouragement to other guilds.

The press clamoured.

“……? Wait, isn’t that the Shining Guild?”

Number one in the world.

The Shining, the most powerful guild in the world.

They were leading the expedition and had shown up at the Magic Tower.

“Yes, that’s how you come out.”

The Shining made their move.

The other guilds were sure to follow.

The press corps that had gathered around Nam Tae-min shifted to Shining.

Nam tapped his brother on the shoulder.

“There’s no need to rush, it’s going to be a long battle.”

“I know, I just need a little motivation.”

“By the way, you’ve been dynamic since day one. Me too.”

“Hyung, I think it’s just a fluke.”

Nam Chul-min joined the expedition as an analyst for the Gaon Guild.

He didn’t expect to be a part of such a grand strategy from the beginning…….

But he did his job as an analyst.

The parachute is fine.

I didn’t want to hear the sound of a punctured parachute.

“I’m done briefing the guilds.”


“Yes. This new rift has a very unusual layout.”

Nam took out his tablet PC.

There were three overlapping circles drawn on it.

Nam pointed his finger at the outermost circle.

“This is the outer fissure of the territory. I didn’t draw it in a circle to make it look good, but it’s really a circle, and hundreds of fissures have been found.”

“……Hundreds? Wait, what about the inner circle?”

“That’s the Earl’s estate crack. They’re a little smaller, aren’t they? There are about thirty of them.”

“Then, the innermost circle must be the Count’s citadel.”

Nam Cheolmin nodded.

“Yes, Count Ascura is in the crack of the innermost citadel.”

“Wait, why does it look like a real castle……?”

“Well, that’s what I thought.”



Nam tapped his tablet.

The next screen showed a medieval castle.

“If the rift collapses, I wonder if Count Ascura’s castle will be summoned.”

“…… type, but isn’t that a bit too far out there?”

“Why not? A magic tower would be created.”


Nam Tae-min couldn’t argue.

There was nothing wrong with his brother’s words.

But what was certain was that the rift would collapse.

If Count Ascura’s castle is indeed summoned…….

“Isn’t it possible that …… could fall under siege?”

“Yeah, that’s what I’m worried about, too.”

“This is crazy. We’re already under siege!”

In Arcana, sieges were overwhelmingly favoured by the defending side.

In this case, the defender was, of course, Count Ascura.

Nam Tae-min was convinced.

“He’ll be untouchable then.”

Nam shrugged his shoulders in response.

The brothers were silent for a moment.

Nam Tae-min spoke first.

“We’ll just have to do our best.”

“Good idea.”

“You should be motivated, too.”

“It’s a lot to take on right off the bat.”

Nam Chul-min also had something to say.

“For now, I was just going to do my best to sign the rookie. I’m adjusting the contract again, writing polite texts again, and suddenly the update is gone…….”

The rookie Nam Chul-min is referring to here is, of course, Ho Yeol.

In fact, even at this moment, Nam Chul-min was worried about Ho-yeol.

So was Nam Tae-min.

“Bitter. Each player is important in this strategy.”

“That’s why I told you to increase the ratio!”

“Hyung, it was 9.5 to 0.5. We were 0.5! Where is the ratio to increase? We buy you a house, we buy you a car, we pay for your activities. If the ratio is like that, it will take more than 10 years to recover…….”

“Oh, I don’t know. It’s you.”

There’s a brief pause.

“Anyway, let’s get ready.”

Finally, the time came to enter the portal.

Nam Tae-min shook his head.

“……What, are you ready?”

“The analyst has something to prepare.”

“No, I want to know if you’re not smoking.”

“Oh, cigarettes?”

Nam Chul-min smiled.

“I quit. It takes away my worries, so I can’t reach for it.”


I opened the wardrobe.

The location of the new crack is Russia.

Currently, the average temperature in Russia is about 2 degrees Celsius.

I should have chosen thicker clothes.

But I was in a suit.

I guess it’s the setting that does not live and die by formality and class.

Adapt, adapt, adapt.

Good thing, though.

The few jackets were quite thick.

I checked my reflection in the mirror.

It was as if I’d been silver-haired since birth.

There was not a trace of darkness left in my hair.

My face had changed, too.

Her hair hadn’t changed, but her eyes had.

I could tell that the aura emanating from his face was different than before.

His physique had grown stronger with repeated training quests.

His loose suits fit like a tailor-made suit.

His diet was strict, thanks to his noble palate.

No wonder the muscle growth was so noticeable.

I stared at myself in the mirror and said.

“That’s me.”

Yes, I know this new me is me, too.

It wasn’t anyone else’s.

It was me, the black history of Lee Ho-yeol.

Knowing that, there is no hesitation in my actions.

The preparations are done.

I am going to Russia.

To do so, I head to the Wizard’s Tower.

……Wait a minute.

“I almost forgot.”

As I slip on my shoes and head out the front door, I stop.

I opened the cupboard and grabbed a handful of barley-green tea bags.

I tucked them into the inside pocket of my jacket.

……Yes, I guess it’s better to die at tea time than not.

Of course, a tea bag wasn’t going to make green tea.

But it didn’t matter.

I could “explore” and “interfere” and “manifest”.

Yes, I had succeeded in manifesting magic.

I looked at the teacup on the table and said.

“I don’t even need a teacup.”

The stack of papers next to the teacup was proof.



. . .

I reached the stupa.

I stared at the glowing portal.


Portal, a high-level magic that only a few players can use.

It was a portal manifested by NPCs in the tower who were comparable to archmages.



In my eyes, that high-level magic,

seemed simpler than the ‘fire’ I’d seen on Video.