Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 177

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Chapter 177: Living Ordinary Days

“What’s with that hand gesture?” Mayrena’s eyes went wide.

What do you mean, what’s with it?

“If you’ve doubted the representative of a faction, it’s only natural that you should pay compensation,” I replied.

“C-compensation?” she stuttered.

“Mental treatment fees for verbal abuse and PTSD treatment for our spirits. Not to mention defamation and insult that also apply. Specificity and publicity can be proven, so I trust you’re aware of that.”

“P-PT… Specificity? What are all these words?”

“In this world, it would mean committing a sin grave enough to destroy three generations of a family… Well, that’s the gist of it.”

“This can’t be happening…”

Mayrena’s mouth hung open as if she hadn’t realized the seriousness of what had just transpired. Her pupils shook as if an earthquake had just occurred within them.

Good.

Using a plethora of complicated jargon is the best way to throw someone off balance.

I honestly didn’t fully grasp what I was saying, so imagine how the other party must feel.

Jinhyuk quickly followed up:

“However! I don’t mean to root out a pillar of the Spirit Realm, just grant us ‘the Blessing of Water,’ and we’ll call it even.”

‘The Blessing of Water.’

A skill only a few water spirits could use, which boosts a summon’s growth rate by 10% when blessed.

‘The effect lasts a week and can only be applied to one summon, but it’s better than nothing.’ After all, I needed to build my strategy based on sweet potatoes rather than the five elemental spirits.

“Is that acceptable?”

“It wouldn’t be normally, but I think we can let it pass just this once. The hurt spirits seem to have calmed down a bit. Isn’t that right, guys?”

“Uh… Yes! Yes!”

“Both my body and spirit feel warmer.”

“It’s like all the wounds are healing.”

The five elemental spirits nodded mechanically.

“Understood. It’s not too difficult a demand… As an apology, I think I can do that much. I’m sorry again for doubting you, Player Kang Jinhyuk.”

[Mayrena uses her unique ability, ‘the Blessing of Water.’]

[When the received blessing is applied to a summon, its growth rate increases by 10% for a week.]

A gem shaped like a droplet of water dropped onto the palm of my hand.

This was one of the blessings only mid-tier or higher-level spirits could use.

“Thank you, ma’am. The deposit has been received accurately.”

Now for the final step…

Jinhyuk slowly walked away, moving through the bustling crowd of players and residents, and spotted the Empire’s Prime Minister ‘Alfred’ standing amongst the tables.

Alfred looked quite busy filtering through potential recruits as a contingency.

Sweat dripped down his bearded face, clearly causing him some distress.

Jinhyuk moved closer to Alfred and whispered something almost imperceptible.

Alfred’s mouth dropped open as if the wind had been knocked out of him.

His eyes widened with shock and fear – a critical secret, known only to a few within the Empire, had been revealed.

He wanted to confront and question Jinhyuk immediately.

“Just a moment…!”

But Alfred’s hands only grasped at air.

Jinhyuk had already vanished like smoke, leaving the words “I’ll come to the Empire in a week’s time.”

***

When I emerged from the Tower, the sunset bathed the entire world in crimson.

The peace of the world around me was a stark contrast to the recent frenetic battles.

Surrounded by returning office workers and the laughter and chatter of people enjoying their evenings…

“Everything seems so tranquil.”

Elise approached me, her mask now removed.

I wonder if they know that this peace could shatter in an instant,” she mused.

If the next floor of the Tower wasn’t conquered within 90 days, humanity would face extinction.

If an Outbreak occurred, any city with an opened Gate would turn into hell on earth in the blink of an eye.

This was the ever-looming reality since the Tower had appeared.

“As long as I don’t fail, that won’t happen.”

Her confidence was indeed one of her charms.

“Don’t talk nonsense and just keep up. If we dawdle, the others will wait too long.”

Cheon Yuseong and Theresa were already at the meeting spot, and for the first time in a while, Lee Taemin and Yoo Yeonhwa had agreed to come, so it was best to hurry.

But Elise had more to say.

“It’s not nonsense.” Her tone was colder than usual. Her eyes pierced through Jinhyuk.

“You may seem incredibly selfish, but in reality, your actions are always designed to save the lives of as many of your kind as possible.”

Defeating villains and saving the innocent changed only the means, not the principle. Striving to grow stronger was ultimately for the prevention of humanity’s demise.

“In truth, you’re willing to make yourself the target, turning all your peers into enemies, just so you won’t bring harm to others.”

“That might be overinterpretation… In the end, I’m just repaying those who cross me the way they deserve,” Jinhyuk responded.

“What I’m saying is I don’t think so. Have you learned to see into hearts? What exactly are you trying to say?”

“I’m offering advice,” Elise said, shrugging off her shoulders.

“There is no being who can control every situation. Even you will be forced to make a painfully difficult decision someday.”

Even a sage makes foolish choices, and a just ruler may lead a nation astray.

It was only common sense – perfection exists only in deities.

“I know it’s reckless.”

“And I don’t dislike that about you,” Elise stated. She wasn’t reproaching Jinhyuk for tackling the impossible, not really. She simply wanted…

“To rely a bit more on the people around you.”

She wished to share his burden, knowing how lonely it is to sit alone on the throne.

“The crown can be heavier than one might expect,” she added, speaking as a clan leader who had protected her family amidst numerous enemies, as a covenant-bonded contractor. She wanted to help carry the weight.

“Comrades,” Goguma chimed in energetically, her eyes twinkling.

And that feeling – knowing there were others ready to share the highs and lows – was warming to Jinhyuk.

‘Comrades…’

A word he carefully pondered internally.

In his past life, every approaching figure meant a potential betrayal, an interest to weigh. Trust was a luxury not afforded in the climb up the Tower, where only self-reliance was the norm.

‘That’s right. That’s how it felt…’

To have comrades by one’s side, as those waiting at the meeting spot must surely be to Jinhyuk now…

“So, you’re really just asking for a treat later, aren’t you?”

“If someone is speaking seriously, at least receive it calmly for once.”

“It’s not even a human but a vampire.”

Jinhyuk scoffed.

It seemed Elise had lost her sense of identity amid all this.

“So, you imply cheese dakgalbi with heaps of seaweed and sesame oil mixed into fried rice? That’s the entire reason?”

“Of course, it is… No, it’s not! Hey!”

“Sure… Even vampires can’t resist the call of their appetites.”

Jinhyuk clicked his tongue, and Elise flushed red in the face, unleashing her temper.

“You really want to be xxxed and then xxx, and after that be xxxx? Do you want to pick a fight today? I’m holding back, but if I wanted to, I could have turned you into xxxxxx!”

Her once “noble” demeanor had degraded to that of a gangster from the slums.

‘Surely, it can’t be because of me…?’

Improbable.

Surely not…

Feeling an indescribable sense of responsibility, Jinhyuk headed to the meeting place, followed by Elise who continued to shout.

***

An hour later, Jinhyuk and Elise arrived at their destination. Despite it being a weeknight, the streets of Myeong-dong teemed with people.

They entered a well-known Chinese restaurant in the area, where Theresa, Cheon Yuseong, Lee Taemin, Yoo Yeonhwa, and the newly-in-charge Kim Heeung of the Black Crow Guild had already gathered.

“Brother, we’re over here!”

“Hyung! You’re here! Ah, Miss Elise is with you too.”

Yoo Yeonhwa and Lee Taemin greeted them.

Sure enough, as they missed out on the ball, their reunion felt significant, and it was certainly heartening.

“Jinhyuk-ssi, you’ve worked hard.”

“I haven’t really worked… Just conned a bunch of people.”

Theresa and Cheon Yuseong greeted them each in their own way.

I had mentally praised Cheon Yuseong for coming quietly for once, but he always had to add something strange to the mix.

“President, you’ve arrived.”

Lastly, Kim Heeung respectfully bowed his head.

Now that I think about it, the Black Crow Guild required some attention…

The last update I’d heard spoke of an influx of new members, and judging by the dark circles under Kim Heeung’s eyes, that gossip seemed accurate.

“It seems you’ve been working hard. I apologize for not being able to oversee things personally.”

“No, sir. Just having you in that position is enough. Thanks to you, I can take my place and grow the guild.”

Kim Heeung bowed deeply with sincerity. Having been exploited rather than appreciated by the previous guild leader, Shin Geonsu, he was thankful for the opportunity just to be part of all this.

With light greetings passed around, the after-party began in earnest.

The table was graced with the restaurant’s special thick cuts of meat, hand-pulled beef noodles, and the crispness of perfectly cooked sweet and sour pork.

Served with soup dumplings and kaoliang liquor, a rather lavish spread was set.

“Oh, such refined dishes.” Elise marveled.

Recently enamored with modern cuisine, Elise indulged herself in a variety of dishes from Korea, China, and Japan.

“Have I finally earned the reward for cleaning up after my imperfect contractor’s mess?”

“What? You cleaned up after my mess?”

“Yes. Without ‘Blood Lord,’ you wouldn’t have achieved your goals. Although I don’t know how you used my noble abilities, I’ll inquire after dinner,” Elise declared, raising her head high enough that her neck seemed to strain.

Hmm.

This will not do.

It’s high time for some reeducation.

Jinhyuk casually placed some prepared dishes on the table.

Noticing the dishes Jinhyuk set down, Elise inquired with curiosity.

“What is this soft gray-colored food?”

“It’s called chou doufu. It’s so popular that famous BJs are all clamoring to eat it.”

He left out the fact that it was typically served as a punishment, but its popularity couldn’t be overstated.

“Well, if it’s that famous… I must try it.”

“Yes, and this is mint chocolate from Baskin Robbins. It’s my favorite dessert. The taste of chou doufu followed by mint chocolate… oh boy, you won’t want to eat anything else.”

Well, not ever again, probably.

A sly smile crept onto Jinhyuk’s face as Elise, eyes gleaming, took hold of a spoon.

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