Player with Maxed-out Talent chapter 78

# Player with Maxed-Out Talent, Episode 78

I had once declined the first gamble proposed to me by the Shepherd of Las Vegas. At that time, I had said,

-“I want to create odds for myself, to set up a game where I can win. Blindly betting in the hope of a sweet reward, without any information, is a fool’s errand.”

-“That’s why I refused. Leaving things to chance is no different from flinging trash.”

Using all the knowledge I had, I had thoroughly analyzed and calculated the guardian’s tendencies who offered me that proposition at the time, and this was the answer I came up with.

Naturally, the result was favorable. The Shepherd of Las Vegas respected my thoughts and sent a signal of satisfaction.

There was also this notification:

[Unnamed guardians sneer at you.]

Most of them are probably watching me through Senia right now. They must have laughed a lot at that time.

“I want to make a counter-offer. A sort of bet. Please convey my intent to the Shepherd of Las Vegas.”

And so Senia responded,

-“Player Kim Hyuk-jin, are you in your right mind?”

Of course, I am perfectly sane.

-“Don’t you remember what I said before?”

-“What are you referring to?”

-“I don’t leave things to chance. I create the probabilities and set the stage.”

-“But how can you make such a counter-offer to a guardian?”

-“Why? Is there a law saying I can’t make a counter-offer? Is that specified in the Code?”

Senia was speechless. It was expected. The very concept was foreign to Senia. As someone who knew that the pinnacle of the Sovereign class, the Pyramid Michel, often gambled and made counter-offers with the Shepherd of Las Vegas, I could confidently make such an offer.

‘The Shepherd of Las Vegas… likes such counter-offers and bets.’

Each guardian’s temperament varies. To those arrogant guardians who consider players insignificant, counter-offering is forbidden. Such behavior could be marked as insolent.

‘But it’s not the same with the Shepherd of Las Vegas.’

Senia’s concerns were just worries. Look, there’s no need to be nervous, rookie BJ. Adjusting one’s approach according to the opponent’s temperament is a basic tactic.

[The Shepherd of Las Vegas is interested in your counter-offer.]

Senia’s wings fluttered nervously. Although she tried to maintain an emotionless facade, the subtle signs of her distress were visible, and she muttered something incomprehensible. It seemed like she was explaining something to the other guardians.

[The Shepherd of Las Vegas wants to hear more about your counter-proposal.]

Fitting for the guardian of the famed Pyramid Michel, he generously used the ‘Time Pause’ ability once more. A costly power, they say.

[Time Pause ability is extended.]

[Time Pause duration is extended by 2 minutes.]

So, a total of 3 minutes have been allotted to me. Senia’s whisper reached me,

-“Do not underestimate the guardians.”

I know. If my proposition displeases, I would incur severe disadvantage for having deceived the Shepherd of Las Vegas.

‘I’m aware.’

Nothing is perfect in this world. Though I initiate and expand the situation, I cannot control everything at will. I am not a deity.

‘But the returns greatly outweigh the risks.’

That is what they call an investment. When the anticipated reward far exceeds the risk at hand, that’s when one should boldly advance. I’ve resolved to live differently from the past. My life is now under my creation.

[The Shepherd of Las Vegas is waiting.]

I began to speak,

“Based on my humble capabilities, at this location, at the Tomb of the Wind Warrior, it seems likely that an orc warrior and two orc archers, and one additional orc will appear.”

Though I haven’t seen it with my eyes, it’s nearly certain. Accepting the secret of the ‘Tomb of the Wind Warrior’ adds five more orcs. Meaning six ordinary orcs in total.

“The Shepherd of Las Vegas has not specified the content of the new quest.”

Sometimes such quests exist. They are malicious. Neither earring nor nose ring; such quests are undesirable. Clear and concrete actions like ‘Hunt the Orc Warrior!’ or ‘Destroy the Clear Crystal!’ should define good quests.

‘The Shepherd of Las Vegas offered the proposal and tested me.’

He wanted to know if I am a player worth his interest, worth continuing to sponsor. Without a doubt.

“Hence, I request that you specify the content of the quest, and at the same time,”

With this, I should be able to pass the test given by the Shepherd of Las Vegas easily. Given his temperament, it would have been a satisfactory answer.

“I propose the specified content back to you in the form of a counter-offer.”

Senia’s wings still fluttered nervously. An audacious (?) player daring to gamble and counter-offer with a guardian must be nerve-wracking for a powerless rookie BJ like her. She seemed far more stressed than the involved party, me. With such a faint heart, what’s the use?

“I shall present an item proving the hunt of the Orc Warrior as a tribute.”

* * *

Tae-woon Kwak listened intently, not missing a word from Kim Hyuk-jin.

‘Not just a middle manager… He’s dealing directly with a guardian-level entity.’

It was an unexpected way to play.

‘Today… I’m learning so much.’

It felt as though a new world had opened up. It seemed like an enlightenment. Moreover, my own body had changed. My affinity with wind attributes had greatly increased, and I could feel burst with mana and confidence that I could accomplish anything related to wind.

‘This is the Wind God Physique’s Book.’

This item was given by Kim Hyuk-jin. What kind of person is he? I became curious and beyond that, impressed.

‘He managed to secure the deal.’

I was a bit curious.

‘Proof of killing the Orc Warrior.’

What could that possibly be? Does something emerge when the Orc Warrior is defeated? And I would offer it as a tribute, like inserting a coin into an offering box?

‘I don’t know.’

I don’t know, but it seems like the quest is about to proceed. Kim Hyuk-jin spoke to his party members,

“We proceed with the quest.”

A notification sounded.

[The quest ‘The Secret within the Tomb of the Wind Warrior’ has been activated.]

Thanks to Kim Hyuk-jin’s trade, the quest details could be examined.

──────────

[The Secret within the Tomb of the Wind Warrior]

The Orc Warrior has been set to guard the ‘Tomb of the Wind Warrior.’ To discover the secret within the tomb, acquire the ‘Proof’ that signifies the hunting of the ‘Orc Warrior.’

+ Five additional orcs will be created.

+ In case of quest failure, all will perish.

──────────

The field, once paused by the Time Pause ability, started moving again with life. The tombs began to rise. Monsters revealed themselves.

Yeon-seo Shin tensed up.

‘What is the Captain thinking?’

It’s not just hunting but offering proof of the hunt. If we fail, we all die.

‘What if nothing comes out?’

If no ‘Proof’ appears, even if we somehow manage to hunt down the Orc Warrior, wouldn’t it be considered quest failure?

‘Damn.’

I’m not sure. But for now, Yeon-seo Shin trusted Kim Hyuk-jin. Now wasn’t the time to distinguish right from wrong. She had to concentrate on clearing the quest.

“Captain, like last time, I’ll handle the distractions, and will Seon-hwa draw the aggro?”

“……”

But Kim Hyuk-jin gave no response.

“Captain?”

“……”

Meanwhile, the Orc Warrior had fully revealed itself. The Orc Archers. And the orcs also fully stood up. Their presence was extremely menacing.

Seon-hwa Kim swallowed nervously. Even though she had seen them before, monsters always seem scary. They’re all so gruesome and big.

‘Should I draw the aggro like before?’

The goal is the Orc Archers. To fend off the Orc Archers’ attacks…

‘While Sang-gu Uncle, Tae-woon Oppa, and Sang-hyeon Uncle hunt the regular orcs and buy time…’

Within that time, sister Yeon-seo and Hyuk-jin Oppa should be able to hunt the Orc Warrior. Kim Hyuk-jin didn’t teach them, but that was the plan she envisioned.

‘But…’

To Kim Seon-hwa, it seemed a bit too much to handle. It wouldn’t be easy. She judged it very difficult for their current membership and abilities to hunt a group of orcs, especially with an ‘Orc Warrior’ involved.

‘What is Oppa thinking?’

Kim Hyuk-jin waited a little longer, until the Orc Warrior and the other orcs completely noticed them and showed hostility.

‘We should have gained enough attention by now.’

Many guardians must be eager to see how this predicament and quest would unfold. That’s good enough.

“Senia. Here.”

Kneeling on one knee, he handed an item to Senia, in a devoted posture, as if offering a tribute.

Kim Hyuk-jin already had a token that proved the slaying of the Orc Warrior.

──────────

[Orc Warrior’s Fang]

This is the long fang of an Orc Warrior. It contains the Orc Warrior’s power and, if refined in a special way and consumed, can grant unique strength.

──────────

With a half-hearted expression, Senia took the item. To others, it might appear emotionless, but to Kim Hyuk-jin, it was quite reluctant. His expression revealed quite a bit.

“Why? Is there a problem?”

“That’s… not it.”

Kim Hyuk-jin inwardly clicked his tongue. Others might have been oblivious, but Senia should have already known the fact that he had acquired the ‘Orc Warrior’s Fang.’

‘The moment I got the Orc Warrior’s Fang was before the Shepherd of Las Vegas started monitoring me.’

More precisely, it was after I defeated the Orc Warrior and received all the rewards that the Shepherd of Las Vegas began to watch me. That was the timing.

And so I made the bet.

[The quest clearing conditions have been satisfied.]

[The ‘Secret within the Tomb of the Wind Warrior’ has been partially cleared.]

[For a complete clear of ‘The Secret within the Tomb of the Wind Warrior,’ the Shepherd of Las Vegas’s approval is needed.]

It seems to require some confirmation time.

[The system forcefully applies the ‘Time Pause’ ability.]

Monsters stopped in place. The members of Kim Hyuk-jin’s party gave him bewildered looks. They were finding their own paths, thinking in their minds how they should proceed, but suddenly a partial clear happened.

[“Whispering Demon” expresses delight.]

[“Brave Lion King” is greatly disappointed.]

[“Nameless Watcher” continues to observe.]

Now, Kim Hyuk-jin requested a whisper from Senia.

-What are you doing?

-What do you mean?

-Didn’t I just spread the game for you? I’ve just slapped the Shepherd of Las Vegas on the back of his head. Many guardians must be watching now.

The Shepherd of Las Vegas isn’t upset. That’s clear. He would surely think that my hand was just better than his. Indeed, a notification came.

[The Shepherd of Las Vegas admires your hand.]

[The Shepherd of Las Vegas is considering granting final clearance.]

Kim Hyuk-jin thought,

‘The Shepherd of Las Vegas must have been satisfied with my clear. He would have acknowledged that I had a good hand.’

But the reason for considering the final clearance is,

‘It must be because of the other guardians.’

That’s why I requested a whisper.

-Aren’t the other guardians going wild? Saying this isn’t a clear.

Especially, entities like the “Brave Lion King” would think so. Kim Hyuk-jin himself admitted it. This play has some sly aspects.

This kind of play divides opinions. Guardians like the Shepherd of Las Vegas would unconditionally be okay with it, but there would be many others who would not.

-That’s why you, as a central figure, need to step in. You’re the middle manager.

Following the rules of the system, keeping face for the Shepherd of Las Vegas, and also satisfying the other guardians – providing content to please the majority of guardians. That is the role of a middle manager and BJ, isn’t it?

-You need to launch a new quest.

Or else,

-You need to attract paying viewers.

In other words, entice another guardian to issue a new quest. For the many guardians who want to see us hunt those orcs, encourage them to issue a new quest without violating the system’s rules. That’s Senia’s task at the moment.

‘Someone among the entertained guardians will issue a quest for us to hunt down the orcs. Definitely.’

But they can’t just do it. Kim Hyuk-jin has already satisfied the clear condition. Systematically, that is clearly the case. To ignore that clear and proceed with another? Then the guardians would need to stake something more.

‘Rewards. We have to up the ante.’

In cases like this, when one has to proceed with another clear, it’s customary to put in a bigger reward. Of course, it’s the player’s choice whether to accept it or not.

-We will hunt the orc brutes.

That was the plan all along. Now we’re just in the process of maximizing the rewards. After all, gambling is about raising the stakes. Senia seemed shocked, momentarily speechless. Kim Hyuk-jin grinned.

-Are you really going to hunt? Those orc groups?

Senia’s wings fluttered nervously.

-Didn’t I say? I’m the one who sets the stage.



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