I decided to give Song Kiyeol a gift, one of the pieces of information I possessed. It was information that could influence the flow of the future.
"Focus on mana crystals."
"Yes. Items called Lowest Grade Mana Crystals will start to frequently appear."
"I have heard of them, too. I think Gong Jinhoon has gotten one before."
In the current period, only ‘Lowest Grade Mana Crystals’ would be dropped, at best. By future standards, they weren’t terribly valuable items, but at this stage, you could almost call them treasures. Not long from now, research using ‘mana crystals’ would progress tremendously.
‘Those who get the mana crystals first will have an edge on everyone else.’
I lowered my voice a little. "According to information I secretly got a hold of…"
"Quite a lot of mana crystals are being dropped on Boracay Island in the Philippines."
A relatively higher number of mana crystals were being dropped there. The Players of the Philippines, especially the residents on Boracay Island, didn’t have much interest in Playing. They tended to focus more on tourism, and their server had a very late start in Playing.
"Whether you move to obtain those mana crystals or not is up to Guildmaster Song, but…"
"If it were me, I would go for them."
"There may already be foreign Players camping there."
I added one more thing. "There probably are. Maybe not now, but very soon. I believe you know the reason why I’m so sure."
"Yes. Because you have Precognitive Dream."
Precognitive Dream, Precognitive Eye. In this changing world, such things were no longer strange. Song Kiyeol understood my words very well.
"There’s also a high probability of those foreign Players being aggressive. At least according to what I saw with Precognitive Dream."
I took a moment to catch my breath.
‘Is it really a good thing to tell him this much?’
Senia was streaming us in a transparent state. Was this something I should show the Guardians?
Most of the foreign Players who were Playing on Boracay, or would soon Play on Boracay, belonged to a single guild.
That guild was called ‘Imperialism’.
The Players of the Imperialism guild were considerably nationalistic and claimed that the Players of their country were the strongest in the world. They were also very prideful.
‘Well, it’s not totally wrong.’
In the early days of Playing, the representative two countries that experienced the most rapid growth were the US and the UK. The reason those two nations were able to grow faster than other countries could be traced back to one Player.
‘The Player who alternated from the US to the UK, finding hidden pieces and sharing strategies.’
It was time for that Player to slowly start making his appearance. Countless British Players once said this:
–The ‘Great Explorer Jackson’ may very well be the greatest gift to mankind.
Jackson. The person who created a huge number of the existing strategies, solved a ton of hidden pieces, and made a massive contribution to clearing dungeons and gates.
‘This is about the time… that Jackson should be active on Boracay.’
Once this period ended, the UK’s ‘Imperialism’ guild would almost completely take over the Boracay server.
I added one more thing. "You can ask your Intermediate Administrator for more explanation later, but the Korean server is a single server. Its name is the Korean server."
"I am aware."
"There isn’t a Seoul server, a Gyeonggi server, or a Busan server. The server isn’t split up."
Kiyeol seemed to have realized something. He nodded, saying, "You mean to say that there is a separate Boracay server in the Philippines."
"Yes. Don’t forget that even the giant US and China countries only have one server."
The servers would be split later, but each country only had one for now. Basically, there was a reason why the Philippines alone had two.
"Understood. I will engrave your words in my heart."
Summary: Guildmaster who met his Teacher
I gave Song Kiyeol the information. Now, Taeguk Shield would move. The discovery of the value and effectiveness of ‘mana crystals’ would usher the world into a new stage. Originally, that should have been initiated by Jackson and the Players of Imperialism. Originally.
As impressive as Imperialism might be, the current Taeguk Shield was no slouch, either. After all, they were being fully backed by the global conglomerate called Sungshin, as well as the prominent figure named President Song Kiyoung.
‘If there’s anything they’re missing or something important they should know, I can tell them.’
With that, they should be able to go toe to toe with Imperialism.
‘I’ve majorly changed the flow.’
How much of a butterfly effect this would have was still unknown. Only time would tell.
About half a year had passed since I returned to the past. In that time, I had also changed a great deal. I was scared to change the future at first, anxious that things wouldn’t happen like I remembered.
‘But now, I’m not all that scared.’
My feelings had changed a little. I didn’t really fear the future I changed, and the reality that was to come. I couldn’t control the entire future anyway. I judged that the right move was to guide things in the direction I wanted, towards the picture I was painting.
"Ah, right. Thank you for the presents."
"This is nothing. Please take good care of our Taeguk Shield."
"I think even Miss Junghye wouldn’t have been able to figure out my disposition so well and manage to dangle a carrot in front of me. I am thankful for the sincerity you have shown me."
Song Kiyeol’s eyes grew wide.
State: Happy / Surprised / Huge Sense of Accomplishment
I didn’t think I said much, and certainly nothing that should have made him feel happy, surprised, or even a huge sense of accomplishment. But in any case, Kiyeol’s state changed in a very positive way.
"Therefore, I will not say anything to Miss Junghye regarding this case or the mana crystals."
Song Kiyeol grabbed my hand, apparently forgetting his enormous fame as a 3rd generation chaebol and the Guildmaster of Taeguk Shield. He suddenly bent low at the waist.
"Thank you. I won’t disappoint you."
He didn’t need to go this far… There was one last thing to say.
"If it looks like you will clash with Imperialism, contact me."
Summary: Guildmaster who met a Reliable Hyung
But he was actually way older than me…
Song Kiyeol squeezed my hand.
* * *
My teammates and I—we still didn’t even have a proper guild name yet—cleared the Gyeonghoeru field multiple times.
"Shabam. Hyukjin. I gotta say, you’re like a real scumbag. Like for reals."
"We have to grind anyway, but you threatened all sorts of quests out of Miss Senia. We have to do this anyway, but you’re just shamelessly squeezing her dry."
"Like you said, we have to do this anyway. I’m just doing it in the most efficient way."
Quests with time limits. Quests that gave special rewards. Quests where one of us didn’t move. In truth, they were all minor quests that couldn’t be called ‘main’ quests. All of them were given independently by Senia.
"Doesn’t giving quests also take Coins?"
Yoohyun rubbed his nose. "They’re not Hyungnim’s Coins anyway, so who cares?"
"But that slender and beautiful angel’s Coins are being stripped away!"
"Do you dislike it, then?"
"No, I love it." Sung-gu stared at me with a snicker. "I love you, Hyukjin. I love that you’re a scumbag."
Was it my imagination, or did Isabel’s blade tremble just now?
In any case, we cleared Senia’s quests. Since they weren’t big quests, the rewards themselves were also small, but we were still able to secure a few more Coins and a few more rewards. And since the quests added a little more variety to our Playing, the number of Guardians leaving the channel should naturally be reduced.
Yeonseo asked, "Boss Hyukjin. There’s no sense of tension here anymore. It’s no fun. Can’t we go clear some other place?"
"Leveling is slower in other places. Our goal is level 40."
It was boring, but there was no helping it. This was the fastest route to get into the mid-game. We had to continue this boring work for at least three months.
‘Actually, even three months is super fast.’
Yeonseo pouted her lips a little. She pretended to sulk with an obviously fake voice. "Hng. Okipoki."
Why was it… that the Shin Yeonseo I was personally experiencing seemed awfully different from the Shin Yeonseo I saw through mass media?
‘Whatever. It’s not important.’
Yeonseo’s personality and cutesy act were secondary; her skills were the real deal. I had yet to come across any Players with classes related to the ‘sword’ more outstanding than Yeonseo.
Sunghyun said, "The levels of the Korean server Players are rising quickly thanks to Hyung."
That was especially true for the top Rankers. The phrase ‘the rich get richer, the poor get poorer’ was going around in the media, and it was also called a social issue. That was because we were still in the transition phase.
‘The rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer is going to become even more severe here on out.’
As unfortunate as it was, this thing called ‘Playing’ was strictly ruled by ‘talent’. The ideal society would only get further and further away. In sports, talent was commonly said to be king, but talent was even more important in Playing, to the point that if you weren’t born with talent, it was almost impossible to succeed in Playing.
It was truly unfortunate, but that was reality.
Sunhwa seemed a little displeased by something. "But you know, my oppa is the one who shared the strategy… but everyone thinks it’s Taeguk Shield who did it. I don’t like that."
She was pursing her lips and whining, so I rubbed her head. Somehow, this kid was really cute when she was grumbling. Oftentimes, she reminded me of a puppy.
In any case, we were in the middle of clearing the Gyeonghoeru on repeat. A lot of other Players were challenging the Gyeonghoeru, and the number of Players who went missing or died rose proportionately. Day by day, new incidents popped up.
New monster appeared in Siheung.
Monkey monster found at the Bugak Palgakjeong Pavilion.
The 10 reckless Players who challenged the Gyeonghoeru field.
And in the end, Taeguk Shield also took action.
Taeguk Shield expands into the Boracay server.
The first Korean guild to officially expand into a different server.
They would probably be able to acquire mana crystals, even if they had to go to war with Imperialism. Of course, Taeguk Shield was the focus of the media. They were a guild strong enough to control the press. It was only natural.
"Let’s stop here for today. Don’t waste your strength on pointless things and rest. I’ll see you all tomorrow."
Our average level was now 35. Leveling would get even harder from here on out.
"I’ll just do three PVPs before I go home."
There was no use trying to stop her—she wouldn’t listen. Besides, Yeonseo wouldn’t tire even after three rounds of PVP. I just let her be.
We all parted ways. I got into the super high class sedan Song Kiyeol prepared for me. The driver greeted me respectfully.
"I will escort you home in comfort, sir."
He gave me an excessively servile bow. I told him time and time again that he didn’t need to be so polite, but he kept it up anyway, and I gave up. If this was what he was comfortable with, it was better to just let him be.
I let myself relax into the First Class cabin seat.
‘It is comfortable, to be sure.’
Sunhwa was already snoozing away on the seat next to mine. She must have been tired.
‘Should have gotten one sooner.’
I should have asked for a car earlier. We could simply get in without having to deal with any hassle. It was way nicer and more comfortable than buying a car myself.
I hastily pressed the intercom button.
"Mister, hold on one sec."
The car came to a stop.
"Please wait here for a moment."
I heard the driver acquiesce over the intercom, and I got out of the car. Here, in the vicinity of the Gwanghwamun Dungeon, I spotted someone walking with quick strides.
‘Why is he here?’
A certain Player that shouldn’t be in the Korean server at this point in time had made an appearance.