Chapter 98 – Top Secret (1)

◈ Episode 98. Top Secret (1)

AAU North America.

The building’s lighting never went out at night.

The Rift was an inevitable and unavoidable threat.

We always had to be on our toes.

“Turn it off!”

The sound of flipping the switch echoed through the control room.

Exhaustion poured through me, but I’d been lucky this week.

“Still, Wednesday’s not so bad. Isn’t it?”

“I don’t know. I’m busy.”

“Well, what are you knocking on the door of a good day?”

Tomorrow is Thursday.

The day when new updates come to mind.

Even the most dedicated AAU employee doesn’t look forward to working on Thursdays.

Situational awareness, briefing the powers that be, blah, blah, blah. I mean, really, there was no time to breathe on Thursdays.

“Be diligent. Are you writing your report already?”

“I’m not about to waste anyone’s time.”

“Whatever, you need to take it easy. You’re too passionate.”

So what am I writing?


I glanced at my laptop screen, and it was obvious.

“World Tree? Is that what you’re digging?”

A predator swamp.

The world tree that grew out of that rift.

It was one of the hottest research topics at AAU.

Of course, their efforts had yielded no information.

“It’s nice of you to try, but what difference does tap on it really do? Why, only the real Raymond Sean would know about the world tree.”

“I do. I’m just organizing it.”

Tap, tap, tap.

Even as she spoke.

Katrina’s fingers didn’t stop.

“Well, maybe not now, but it might come in handy later.”

Might come in handy later?

At that, the man who had been glancing at it said.

“But it looks like it’s just a hymn to Lee Ho-yeol.”

From beginning to end.

There’s not a sentence without Lee Ho-yeol’s name in it, is it?

Still, I couldn’t say anything.

He actually found the seed of the world tree.

And sprouting that seed.

It was all Ho-yeol’s doing.

“Do you know if it’s going to be used later……. You mean you’re going to write a biography of Lee Ho-yeol or something like that and sell it?”

“What are you talking about? I uploaded the video on nettube. Who sees something like that these days?”

“…… You thought of posting a video, already.”


So there’s a fanatic here, too.

To the tongue-in-cheek man, Katrina replied.

“And it’s an occupational disease.”

An occupational disease?

The man realized.

“Ah! You said you were in charge of quests when you were at Cosmo, right?”


“Then that’s an admission. No, no, no, I should stop interrupting you.”

Quest department.

Back when Arcana was a game.

The department that organized Arcana’s quest systems, large and small.

He shut his mouth and thought.

If Arcana were a game.

A player who had accomplished so much on the Arcana continent by now.

Lee Ho-yeol’s name would be ringing out.

“A new hero is born. There are so many quests that can be connected by a single event, and this one is woven into the fabric of the world. What, you mean I can use it later?”

After all, every quest had a story.

Perhaps I should organize the inspiration that came to me as I wrote Ho Yeol’s story.

And then I’d use my professionalism to…….

“So, you’re trying to anticipate the next quest, right?”

Tap, tap, tap.

Katrina tapped her fingers on the keyboard and shrugged.

“Well, there’s a less than one percent chance that my predictions will be correct.”

If I can be of even a tiny bit of help, I’ll try.

Unlike the players, who risked their lives, moment by moment, to enter the rift.

There wasn’t much the AAU could do.

‘Time is still passing.’

The continent of Arcana is another reality, another world.

Considering the level of what Lee Ho-yeol had accomplished, it was certain to shake the entire continent.

‘Besides, time is faster in the Arcana Continent than in the real world, so Lee Ho-yeol’s achievement should have spread across the entire continent by now.

Indeed, how did Lee Ho-yeol’s actions change the Arcana Continent?

That’s why she was tapping away at the keyboard, trying to gauge the possibilities.

“Whoa. I’m hungry for sugar.”

Of course, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

The continent of Arcana would be a wasteland right now.

Even if it’s different from what you knew, it will be completely different.

Trying to predict the course of the continent with all those variables?

It’s impossible.

But she could be sure of one thing.

One thing he could be sure of, though: that ‘race’ associated with the World Tree would move somehow.


Of course, I don’t know when that will be.

I was sure of it.

That their arrival would turn the world upside down.



“Ma’am. What the hell………!!!”

But before that happened.

The world was turned upside down.


A beep that echoed throughout the control room, or rather, the entire AAU chapter.

The man shook his head.

“No, Wednesday’s emergency update was way out of line!”

Despite his frustration, his response was swift.

I checked the update history.

Right away… … .

Right away… … .

I had to move on to my next move.


With no one to blame but themselves, they both stopped at the same time.

“This is the same rift.”

The rift.

It was.

[Broken Dimensional Rift].

The rift that had been created with the emergency update, just like now.

In the emergency update history that came up.

Just like back then, [Broken Dimensional Rift] was written on it.

But the length of the update was unusual.


New Rift, ‘Broken Dimensional Rift: ה’ is added.

New Rift, ‘Broken Dimensional Rift: מ’ is added.

New Rift, ‘Broken Dimensional Rift: ל’ is added.

New Rift, ‘Broken Dimensional Rift: ש’ is added…….


The hands that tapped the keysboard.

My mouth stopped talking.

The gravity of the situation had sunk in.

The appropriate level was unspecified, but it shouldn’t be hard to guess.

This wasn’t the first time I’d encountered a [Broken Dimensional Rift].

It was not the first time it had happened.

[Recommended Level: Lv.900]

Despite my knowledge from experience.

I couldn’t shake the feeling of bewilderment.

Even if the recommended level was not Lv.900.

The number of rifts created was just too much.

Not only that, but he knew from experience that the recommended level of a rift could be increased.

The man muttered.

“… … This is not something we can handle on our ship.”


No, this wasn’t an AAU problem.

This was a catastrophe that required global consensus.

The news traveled fast.

Early on, some suggested an extreme solution.

“So we’re just going to let the rift collapse?”

“Do we have a choice? This is a catastrophe that might as well be wiped out with a missile. For the sake of the world, we have no choice but to make a small sacrifice.”

“Why don’t you refrain from saying that when we don’t even know the location of the rift yet?”

“No. The location doesn’t matter. Even if the rift appeared in the middle of my homeland, in my capital city, it wouldn’t change my decision. It can’t be helped. You all know that, don’t you?”

Under normal circumstances.

The heavy rainfall, which would have gone unmentioned, was seriously discussed.

Because yes, everyone knows.

“This isn’t something players can do, is it?”

An urgent update popped up on Arcana’s homepage.

Not only players, but the public had access to it.

So it didn’t matter which community you looked at, the sentiment was the same.

-No, you didn’t see any ranked players in [Predator Swamp]?

– Even in the appropriate level 500 rift, blood was pooped, but everyone

-Seriously, this update is out of line…….

-And this isn’t even a single rift!

But it was the players who realized the seriousness of the situation more than anyone else.

The Heavenly Unification.

Guild Master Liu Zunqun was the first to draw attention to the rift.

“It’s not up to us.”

He didn’t care about the people’s situation.

He had no intention of throwing away his life in vain.

Whether they bombarded the collapsed rift with missiles or nuked it.

It was none of their business.

“This is evil.”

“Is this Raymond Sean’s doing, too?”

“It’s an emergency update that popped up out of nowhere, which means it’s not scheduled.”

Kingdom of Yusra.

And Frost.

The players who stayed there also saw the update.

No matter how thirsty they were for level and fame.

Entering this rift seemed like suicide.

But like I said.

We all knew from experience.

I knew from experience.

The only player who had cleared it.

“So, in the end, it’s just Lee Ho-yeol again?”


About level 900 to 1,000.

Lee Ho-yeol, who cleared the [Broken Dimensional Rift].

Knowing that fact.

Some players had no choice but to move.

The place they encountered was, of course, the Magic Tower.

“……What the hell are you, again.”

“You, too. Don’t really talk to me. I don’t want to be misunderstood.”

“You’re good at making unpleasant noises.”


Nam Tae-min.

And Hisagi.

The three of them glared at each other with unpleasantness in their eyes.

It was an uncomfortable alliance that began in the [predator swamp].

How many questions, interviews, and media stories had they faced because of it?

“Even if I wasn’t the real Ho-yeol. uh?”

Nam Tae-min still shuddered at the thought.

Especially with Hisagi, he’d rather have the old days of snarling at each other.

Back then, they’d been able to vent their stress by tearing each other down.

But it was Ho-yeol who brought them together.

They didn’t know what he was thinking, but they couldn’t immediately dismiss his decision.

In the end, no comment on the alliance.

In today’s world, silence was the same as affirmation.

The result was now.

Leonie looked up at the two men with a pointed gaze.

“Do you even realize the gravity of your situation?”

“I’m here. You should be helping.”

“Because when you’ve received something, you have to give it back.”

A glance-

Leonie glanced behind them.

Like himself, the guild members were nowhere to be seen.

Well, at least he realized the seriousness of it.

“It’s practically suicide.”

A reckless decision.

I had no intention of involving the guild in this stubbornness.

Yes, I should have.

They weren’t the only ones being stubborn.

“Found it. Fools like me!”

A sneering voice.

It was Camilla, one of the Shining’s top executives.

Behind her out of nowhere were familiar faces.

“……Are you crazy?”

It was the guild members of Gaon, Inazuma, and Berserker.

Not all of them, but at first glance, dozens.

Quite a few players followed the guild master.

“Nam Tae-min. I knew you’d be here.”

“Sis, you think you’re the only one who’s stubborn?”

“You’re like a snake. Not a mouse or a bird. I finally found you.”

Camilla shuddered.

“A bond that even death can’t break? This is good.”

Of course, there was nothing enviable about their touching reunion.

“I don’t want to be in the same position.”

Camilla remembered that day.

She remembered the look in Jesse’s eyes.

Now that the [Broken Dimensional Rift] had reappeared.

“If you pretend, you pretend.”

She didn’t need to ask how Jesse would judge.

Of course, I don’t know how helpful it would be if she joined that ridiculous rift herself.

“‘You have to recognize that you’re being a princess~”

What’s a princess for?

She’s a princess because she has a lot of hands.

I looked around, but Jessie was nowhere to be seen.

“… … Didn’t you already have it? I was in a real hurry, but I.”

Camilla hurried into the tower.

And then she saw it.

Jesse Heinness, frozen in place.


Camilla’s senses could detect even the slightest breath.

Jesse’s breathing was distinctly different than normal.

“Jesse, what’s wrong. What’s wrong.”

Camilla wrapped her arms around Jesse from behind.

The others who had entered after her witnessed the scene.

Or, more accurately, a changed view of the Magic Tower Lobby.

” ……The portal is gone?”

There was no sign of it.

The portal that had always guarded the lobby of the Tower was nowhere to be seen.

What that meant was simple.

Here, to the players gathered in the Magic Tower…….

“There are several rifts that have spawned. How do we get to all of them without a portal……?”

There was no way to get to the rifts in a short amount of time.

Soon, Camilla realized the reason for Jesse’s stiffening.

Camilla bit her lip hard.

Why had the portal disappeared?

She couldn’t put her finger on it.

There were probably reasons.

But she could guess who had the power to make the portal disappear.

I’m not sure, but even a senior mage wouldn’t be able to do something like this. Yeah, you’d have to be at least a Chief to make a decision like this.

“……, I’m going to have to say something to that.”

Everyone finally realized.

Ho Yeol had shut down the portal.


Unlike themselves.

They knew he was looking off into the distance.

There must be a reason for this behavior.

Yes, for the players, including themselves.

They might have thought this was a difficult rift.



This was too much.

“Holy shit. Does this mean we can’t do anything?”

Even to themselves.

“There are a few rifts. What are you going to do with them all by yourself……!”

Ho-yeol, even to himself.

Because he was always proud.

And because he was consistent.

I hadn’t thought about it.

What kind of mindset did he have to shut down the portal?

And even worse, to head to the rift alone.

And why were they thinking about it now.

Why are they only thinking about this now?

This wasn’t the first time Ho-yeol had carried this burden.

It was an indescribable feeling.

In the silence.

A grinding sound

A grinding sound could be heard.

“No matter what, this is too much. Alone, all alone……!”


You can’t bring outsiders into your internal affairs.

“‘Furthermore, for a collective action like this.”

The senior mages of Magic Tower are coming out in force.

They won’t say what’s going on.

If you’re perceptive, you realize that something has happened in the Tower.

“I don’t want to be criticized.”

I want to keep things as quiet as possible.

If something happens, taking responsibility and stepping back is a parachute.

I know that because I’ve seen it in society.

So, you know.

As quickly as possible.

as quietly as possible.

It’s best to take care of business from the inside.

Eleven rifts were created.

It wasn’t hard to pinpoint their locations.

“Even if I didn’t realize it at first.

[Broken Dimensional Rift].

The imperfect nature of the rift was known from experience.

All I had to do was trace the magic trail of Karimzeva, the one who planned this.

Naturally, I don’t have the power to do that.

But I do have my trusty mages at the Tower.

Indeed, Marcelo did not hesitate.

Searching, interfering, manifesting.

Finally, Marcelo’s eyes narrowed.

“I have the coordinates.”