Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 110

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Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 110: Recruiting Rankers. “Climbing the Tower of Trials” (3)

[Due to circumstances at the broadcasting station, “Climbing the Tower of Trials” episode 8 will be taking a one-week hiatus.]

Requests for final approval of the hiatus and files containing the broadcast footage were placed on the table.

“Phew.”

Director Kang Byung-Chan pressed his temples with his index fingers.

Signing this document would mean the station’s hope of a program would be taking a week’s break, causing a painful hit to revenue and recognition.

But there was no choice.

If they broadcast this episode as is, who knows what kind of disaster might occur.

The veteran who only shouted to avoid at all costs,

The female host with a teary expression,

And even the PDs who were actually crying.

It was as if a midsummer night’s nightmare had been stuffed into a single video.

‘Still, this I can understand.’

He almost swore, but a single mistake could be made up for later.

The problem was…

That the mastermind behind this hellish tableau had brazenly shown up to demand their dues.

‘Did they wrap their conscience in cement and coat it with diamond?’

This level of audacity would make even Satan shake his head.

“Are you seriously asking for an appearance fee?” asked Kang Byung-Chan.

“Of course. It’s written in the contract.”

“We are… Ah, I don’t know if you are aware, but due to this hiatus, we will suffer tremendous damage. We are in such a position where we might need to claim damages from player Kang Jin-Hyuk!”

Though Kang Byung-Chan threatened, Jin-Hyuk didn’t even blink.

“Who knows? I just did what was written in the contract.”

He was invited and gave his tips accordingly.

Now it was time to collect his dues.

There was no problem with that.

“You think such absurdity will work?” Kang Byung-Chan retorted.

“Yes. I think it will. In fact…”

Jin-Hyuk took a breath.

Then he continued, striking at his opponent’s vulnerability.

“Weren’t you the one who colluded with Lee Jong-Soo, representative of BJ Entertainment, to exploit the BJs and then told them ‘If you feel wronged, take it up with the law since it’s in the contract’? I understand that Director Kang Byung-Chan was behind that incident.”

It was a well-known fact among those in the know.

Director Kang Byung-Chan had secretly contacted big-name BJs to cover the station’s deficits.

Drawn by the prospect of big money, a few unscrupulous BJs joined hands with him, one of which was Lee Jong-Soo, representative of the entertainment company Jin-Hyuk belonged to.

And Jin-Hyuk had come here to hold them accountable for that incident.

‘Lee Jong-Soo died by the mangrove tree, so he’ll pay his dues. But not you.’

It wasn’t about avenging his wronged fellow BJs, but he couldn’t stand the sight of the perpetrator fattening their wallet.

And since he was planning to obtain some magic stones, it was an investment of his time worth making.

“Ah! Don’t bother denying it. I came knowing everything. I was one of the parties involved in that contract.”

“…!”

Swallowing hard, Kang Byung-Chan’s throat went dry.

If the other party truly was one of the BJs he had enslaved, no amount of smooth talk could deceive them.

Especially since Jin-Hyuk was not a bottom-tier BJ, but an S-class.

The most talked-about player in the world!

If he tried to lie now…

‘Damn it, my head’s on the chopping block.’

Feeling faint as if from anemia, Kang Byung-Chan felt his head spinning.

He loosened his tie and fanned himself with his hand.

Despite racking his brain, no clear solution to escape this predicament came to mind.

“…Okay. The magic stones. I will arrange for immediate payment. But, could I just make one phone call before that?”

A phone call…

It seemed he was seeking advice or sending out an SOS.

Regardless of what he did or planned, it would only tighten the noose around his own neck.

Jin-Hyuk had already read all of Kang Byung-Chan’s moves from a high vantage point.

“Please do.”

A simple smile and an answer were enough.

***

Thirty minutes later.

Kang Byung-Chan led Jin-Hyuk to a large storage facility located in the basement of the broadcasting station.

This place, formerly used as an underground parking lot, had changed its purpose to store various items, and especially magic stones, after the arrival of the Tower of Trials.

‘It’s really for storing things for tax evasion and bribes.’

Jin-Hyuk looked around curiously.

The place was as secure as a military facility, requiring iris or fingerprint scans even to pass through a door.

After going through several security doors…

[Director ‘Kang Byung-Chan’. Authorization complete.]

The doors to the storage finally opened, revealing a mountain of magic stones.

“Wow.”

Jin-Hyuk couldn’t help but marvel.

The amount was so astonishing that it reached the 10m high ceiling. It was dazzling.

Then, Kang Byung-Chan cautiously spoke up.

“Chief Producer told me that player Kang Jin-Hyuk intends to absorb the magic energy within the magic stones. Is that correct?”

“Yes. That’s my intention.”

“Then, may I make a suggestion?”

Kang Byung-Chan’s voice trembled thinly.

He seemed to have struggled for 30 minutes just to utter these words.

Jin-Hyuk, grinning, nodded.

“Go ahead, let’s hear it.”

“You’re probably aware, but the amount of magic stones we have is… beyond imagination. We have about 35,000 low-grade magic stones. We are willing to offer them to you, player Kang Jin-Hyuk, without limit. Until 7 a.m. tomorrow. That is, we will provide as many as you can absorb until then.”

Kang Byung-Chan generously made the offer.

However, Jin-Hyuk clearly saw through his intentions.

‘The absorption rate for magic stones is notorious.’

Even for players with a good absorption rate, it would take over 5 minutes to absorb a single low-grade magic stone.

With a time limit of 7 a.m., no player could absorb magic stones worth 500 million won.

In other words, the mountain of magic stones was a tantalizing bait.

In reality, there wasn’t enough time to absorb even 100 million won’s worth of magic stones by the morning.

Kang Byung-Chan impatiently awaited Jin-Hyuk’s response, hoping to cut his losses by a fifth.

A swindler hoping the easy mark would go all-in.

Might as well be the face of that middle-aged man.

Alright.

If that’s what you wish for, I’ll take the bait. What’s the difficulty in that?

“Understood. Until tomorrow morning, 7 a.m., I will use only as many magic stones as I can absorb.”

“Wh-what! Are you serious?”

“Why are you so surprised? As if you’ve caught a big fish?”

“Hehe… Well, that’s not it. I just mean that it’s good we’ve come to an agreement that benefits both sides…”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m sure you do.”

Enough with the nonsense.

Jin-Hyuk waved his hand dismissively.

Kang Byung-Chan, worried Jin-Hyuk might change his mind, quickly ran off to the door, but not without adding one last word.

“Just to let you know, the magic stones have an anti-theft spell on them. Storing them in interdimensional inventory or similar actions will be impossible for you.”

“Don’t worry. Then, I’ll see you in the morning.”

With that, the door closed.

[Time Remaining: 11h:59m:59s]

Only 12 hours remained until morning.

While the timer on the screen began to count down, Jin-Hyuk was not in a hurry, despite the pressure to absorb the magic stones.

Instead, he leisurely opened his interdimensional inventory.

‘Sure, they said not to put the magic stones inside the inventory. They didn’t say anything about taking things out of it.’

Therefore, he wasn’t breaking any rules.

“Come out, my sweet potato.”

Jin-Hyuk reached into the depths of his interdimensional inventory.

Then, out came…

Waddling and wobbling!

A reptile with black skin and yellow eyes staggered out.

An ancient species. It was sweet potato.

“Munch!”

“Yes, yes. Were you lonely in there?”

Jin-Hyuk embraced the sweet potato and affectionately showered it with love.

Sweet potato licked Jin-Hyuk’s cheeks with its tongue, a sign of joy.

The cool touch and its head cocking charmingly were irresistibly adorable.

“It’s not that I’ve called you out for anything else. I thought you might be hungry.”

35,000 magic stones.

Indeed, for an average player, this was an overwhelming number.

But, for an ancient species newly hatched from its egg and craving a tremendous amount of food…

This number of magic stones was far from being too much.

On the contrary, it was lacking.

“Munch?”

Sweet potato looked cute tilting its head from side to side, its small tail swaying at the mention of food.

“Yes. That’s all your food over there.”

So.

“Eat it all up.”

Jin-Hyuk said coldly.

There was no hint of sympathy or hesitation in his voice.

‘Thinking I don’t know anything about absorption rates…’

Too bad even an apology wouldn’t save them now.

He would ensure they understood their idiocy by bringing down the cornerstone of the broadcasting station.

***

The next day.

On his way to work, Director Kang Byung-Chan hummed a merry tune.

He had reason to be joyful.

Thanks to Chief Producer’s advice, he managed to significantly recover from a difficult loss.

Also, he couldn’t help feeling triumphant about outsmarting the arrogant upstart who thought he could get one over on them.

‘Forget the money, this feels even better.’

Since any chance of befriending his opponent was gone, he needed to feel good about something so he could sleep well at night.

Even episode 8, which was on hiatus, would be okay, given that the Heukwoon Guild and the Zhonghua Guild were sending top-ranked players.

The program was headed for smooth sailing.

“Oh, have you arrived? Director. Good morning.”

An employee bowed at a 90-degree angle.

“Ah, yes. Good morning to you too, Manager Park. Don’t work too hard so early. Have a coffee or something. Haha.”

Director Kang Byung-Chan, known as a tiger around the office, had a kind face and chuckled warmly today.

His steps were light.

After putting down his briefcase in his office and receiving today’s schedule from his secretary, Kang Byung-Chan headed straight to the magic stone storage facility in the basement of the broadcasting station.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

His heart pounded with anticipation and excitement.

‘Now then, how many magic stones did our celebrity manage to absorb?’

Rubbing his palms together, Kang Byung-Chan opened the door.

But…

“What in the world happened here…”

Upon seeing the interior, Kang Byung-Chan gasped for air.

It was a sight hard to believe.

“Impossible. Where did all those stones go?”

Empty.

The 35,000 magic stones had vanished.

All that was left on the floor were crumbles and fragments that appeared to be what was left of the magic stones.

“Munch!”

A reptile with short legs and a bloated belly rolled around on the floor.

And…

“Oh. Director, you’re here? Sorry, but by any chance, could you procure some more magic stones? It seems our little one is still not quite satisfied.”

Only Jin-Hyuk, smiling the brightest smile in the world, remained.

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