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Chapter: 149


Chapter 149

There were three big reasons why the area around the DMC Riverview Xi was one of the most expensive places to live in my past life.

First: It was a Player town made up of the highest level Players.

Second: The Korean Players Association building was directly around the corner.

Third: A powerful, growth-type Guardian Tower called ‘Megalodon’ was situated there.

And I knew. The ‘Guardian Gems’ that were materials for summoning Guardian Towers were generated at Gajwa Station, and only Players could acquire them.

‘She did a good job finding them.’

Before I went into the Gwanghwamun Dungeon for the first time, I gave Sunhwa a task.

–What should I do, then?

–I need you to find Guardian Gems. We need ten of them. Also, Seohye is going to be moving in, so help her out. Help her set up a protective barrier, too. 

The groundwork I laid back then was very nearly coming to fruition today.

In Sunhwa’s cupped hands were gems the size of apricots. Yeonseo took one, squirming. "Wowww. So pretty! I’ve never seen anything this pretty! Never! Never ever! Pretty stone! Amazing!"

Yeonseo marveled all on her own. The Guardian Gems were small, sparkling stones. Their surface was one flawless curve, and light that shone through them was cast into colorful kaleidoscopes. Darongi was sleeping in Stealth mode on my shoulder.

[Guardian Gem]

A gem that can summon a Guardian Tower. 10 Guardian Gems are required to summon a Guardian Tower.

The type of summoned Guardian Tower is random.

In the case of a growth-type Guardian Tower, the Guardian Tower’s initial ability will be set according to the summoner’s ‘enhancement talent’.

The Guardian Field where Guardian Gems can be used is not publicly disclosed.

Yeonseo poked a Guardian Gem with her index finger.

"Wow. It’s so pretty."

Like the Two-Faced Swordswoman she was, Yeonseo looked completely different from when she was PVPing. Her eyes were curved into the pretty smile that gave rise to the Sword Empress Crush Syndrome as she continued to praise the Guardian Gem, looking totally enraptured.

"Give this to me," she demanded.

"No can do."

"Whyyy! I’ll go on a date with you."

"That’s a double no."

"Why! Aren’t I pretty?"

Yeonseo sidled up quite close to me. Sticking herself right next to me, she looked up at me, blinking in a way that made her look truly innocent.

I could tell with Eye of Perception and Observer’s Eye whether this girl was making a calculated and intentional move right now, or if she was just acting in the mannerisms that were natural to her. It was the latter. She just naturally did this. I didn’t think I would ever come to like Yeonseo as a woman, but regardless, I also didn’t think I would ever come to dislike her as a person.

"Nope. Not pretty."

"That’s weird. People keep telling me I’m pretty."

Sung-gu snickered. "I think Hyukjin’s the only human who can talk to Yeonseo like that."

Yoohyun seemed completely unmoved by the brilliance of Guardian Gems or the future Sword Empress’ smiling eyes. He formed his two massive hands into fists. Of course, I had no idea why he was getting worked up here.

"Hyungnim. How are these things used? Are they the key to a new dungeon?"

Yoohyun was focusing on the gems’ true worth, their utility. I felt strong enthusiasm rippling from him.

"I’m sure you can all see from the description, but Guardian Gems are literally gems for summoning a Guardian Tower."

I decided to give them a little run-down before summoning the Guardian Tower.

* * *

Choi Sung-gu shook his head in a semblance of terror. "I really… wonder sometimes if this guy is human." He stared at Kim Hyukjin like he was really terrified. "How and where did you get that kind of info?"

"Easily."

He nodded at Hyukjin’s half-hearted response. "Yeah, yeah. Figures. Geniuses are all like that. Ask ‘em how, and they just say it’s easy." Scowling, he shivered. "Eurgh, unfair af. ‘I only studied the textbook a bit, and I got 100% on the SAT~’ How are you any different from those kinds of hateful geniuses?"

Hyukjin ignored Sung-gu’s monologue. The flame magician was the type of person who could keep up a whole conversation all by himself with zero input from the other party. He kept grumbling, saying, "Eurgh. Unfair af. He’s too good, it's frustrating. Fuck."

Sunghyun calmly returned to the topic at hand. "So a Guardian Tower… is a dungeon or gate within a set zone. In addition, it’s a shield of sorts that blocks the appearance of monsters?"

"Yes."

Everyone understood what I was saying.

"And that shield can be summoned using these Guardian Gems."

"Yep."

"So we probably have to start looking for the summoning location, the Guardian Field, right?"

Sunhwa smiled brightly. "I already found it!"

She looked at Hyukjin with a toothy smile. He knew what she wanted, and gave her head a quick rub. For some reason, Sunhwa had an abnormal fondness for getting her head patted. He couldn’t understand it. Getting your head rubbed just put more oil on your scalp. What was so good about it? He only did it because Sunhwa liked it.

Sunhwa’s boasting didn’t stop there. "Right, right, allow me to elaborate. I investigated the Guardian Gems and Guardian Field!" Her chest puffing up, Sunhwa looked at all of the unnies and oppas gathered in turn, before proudly continuing. "Ahem. Oppa told me Guardian Gems could be found in Gajwa Station, so I went and looked for them every day. Seohye and I found the Guardian Field together."

"Wha—? You’ve already found everything?" Sung-gu, who was still mumbling about unfairness, gave her a look of surprise. "How?"

"I found it while helping Seohye make a barrier. When you go to that field, the Guardian Gems start shining with rainbow light."

"Shabam? What’s this about a barrier? This chick’s barriers are scary af."

"Oppa told her to do it."

"Kim Hyukjin, again?"

To summarize, Hyukjin had Seohye move to the house next door, then instructed her to set up some kind of long-term barrier there.

"And in the meantime, he had Sunhwa look for Guardian Gems."

Moreover—

"And he even had her find the Guardian Field? Ah… you really are one crazy bastard. So basically, Hyukjin orchestrated everything?"

Guardian Gems. Guardian Field. Even Seohye’s barrier. Sung-gu asked, as if honestly curious, "But seriously, Hyukjin. Friend. How do you know this sort of stuff? You weren’t just clearing the Gyeonghoeru with us the whole time, huh?"

Sunhwa answered Sung-gu in Hyukjin’s place.

"It’s because my oppa is a genius."

And then, she started giggling, and maybe her laugh was infectious, because Yeonseo joined in, saying, "Yep! Totes agree! Hahaha!" The two weirdos were on the same wavelength or something and did a high-five with perfect timing.

The two of them often talked about pointless things. Yeonseo grinned at Sunhwa. "Sunhwa, do you like your oppa or hamburgers more?"

Yoohyun trumpeted, "Of course she likes Hyungnim, who buys her the hamburgers!"

"I asked Sunhwa, not you, you muscle mountain."

Yoohyun gave a pathetic whimper that didn’t match his massive frame and strength, then shut his mouth, his bulky forearms standing out prominently the whole time.

Sunhwa gave her answer. "I like my oppa who eats hamburgers together with me!"

Ahn Seohye simply watched all of this happen from the sidelines.

‘What is… this feeling?’

This person called Kim Hyukjin was truly fascinating. Everything seemed to happen with him at the center of it all, and all these people gathered around him. Here, in this place full of people, she thought she could feel some kind of warm feeling she’d never experienced before.

Hyukjin glanced at Seohye from the corner of his eye.

‘Ahn Seohye.’ She was supposed to be the future Red Demon. But he had removed the ‘Red Eyes’ from her, and it was currently in his possession. He was playing tug of war with the Shepherd Boy for this mysterious item, and Song Junghye was looking for it as well.

The Red Eyes aside, in Hyukjin’s eyes, Seohye seemed to be in a pretty good mood. He also had a feeling that the ‘darkness’ he had seen in her had grown much less intense.

"I think that about does it for the explanation. We’re gonna go create a Guardian Tower now."

If a Guardian Tower appeared here, this area would become extremely safe. Of course, there was no guarantee a Guardian Tower could do anything about an incident on the level of a ‘calamity’. But something like that was no different from a natural disaster that ignored the norms. That wasn’t something humans could prepare for. Hyukjin was well aware of that and accepted it.

He took the lead, and all his party members followed.

* * *

The DMC Riverview Xi was a massive complex. The road between complex 1 and complex 2 was a road with six lanes both ways. I stopped in front of the crosswalk that spanned the road.

‘In the middle of the crosswalk.’

I couldn’t block off the road, so I had to wait until the crosswalk was green to destroy the Guardian Gems one by one. I checked the Guardian Gems’ description one more time.

The type of summoned Guardian Tower is random.

In the case of a growth-type Guardian Tower, the Guardian Tower’s initial ability will be set according to the summoner’s ‘enhancement talent’.

The Guardian Field where Guardian Gems can be used is not publicly disclosed.

‘In the past, the growth-type Guardian Tower Megalodon was created here.’

Even on a worldwide level, Megalodon ranked among the very powerful Guardian Towers.

‘Who summoned Megalodon here in the past?’

If enhancement talent played a part, only one of the famous ‘Masters’ could have summoned such a tower.

‘Who was it?’

I rifled through my memories and thought of all the Masters who started becoming active about now, but I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t know much about Masters, unfortunately.

"Hyungnim. Will you destroy the gems?"

Yeonseo stared at the Guardian Gems with deep, deep regret. From the looks of it, she really liked them.

"Yeah. I’ll do it."

I had already confirmed my enhancement talent through several enhancements. I wasn’t level 40 yet, so I couldn’t be sure, but at least in the beginner period, my enhancement talent was world-class.

‘And I also have Observer’s Eye.’

Enhancement was fundamentally based on talent, but it was also greatly influenced by environmental factors. For example, if you were trying to enhance a fire-attribute item, a place with lots of heat energy was most favorable. As an extreme example, enhancing a fire-attribute item was very easy if done in the vicinity of an active volcano.

‘The environment. The optimal location. The best timing.’

I could discern those. Observer’s Eye made it possible. The crosswalk sign turned green for the first time. I just crossed.

"Eh? Hyukjin. How come you didn’t do—mmph!"

Sunghyun covered Sung-gu’s mouth. "Shut up for a moment. Hyukjin hyung is concentrating right now."

"Mmpgh! Mmpgh!"

Thanks to Sunghyun, I was able to concentrate more. I walked across several more times. I didn’t keep an exact count, but it was probably at least ten. Thirty minutes also passed, but no one expressed any complaints.

‘The sound of the cars. The people crossing the road. The guys behind me. The place I’m standing. The flow of the air right now. Each and every one of these things is an influencing factor.’

That was why I had no choice but to be careful. After some time passed, I discovered the optimal timing in the middle of the crosswalk.

‘Now!’

I crushed one of the rainbow Guardian Gems.

[The Guardian Gem’s power is permeating the Guardian Field.]

[The Guardian Gem’s power is taking a potent effect.]

Another long stretch of time passed, and I broke another Guardian Gem.

[The Guardian Gem’s power is permeating the Guardian Field.]

[The Guardian Gem’s power is taking a potent effect.]

That was enough for one day. It didn’t seem like something I could do in one go.

"Let’s go clear the Gyeonghoeru."

The Guardian Tower was important, but our steady level grinding was important as well. The party’s average level was 35. That was also my level.

Four days passed in a similar fashion. We continued clearing the Gyeonghoeru, and I continued destroying Guardian Gems. Now, there was only one Guardian Gem left.

Once this last gem was destroyed, the Guardian Tower would be summoned. And now was finally the time to destroy the 10th Guardian Gem.

[The Guardian Gem’s power is permeating the Guardian Field.]

[The Guardian Gem’s power is taking a potent effect.]

____


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