1

Both the dormitory and commuting students who are about to leave the broadcasting station didn’t look very bright.

Some of the kids from Year One Class Zero were teary-eyed, while Dokgo Miro’s fansite, Jung Haeon, and the others from Year Two Class Zero were full-on crying right after the results were announced.

They almost wailed out loud when Dokgo Miro greeted the camera and the audience one last time.

Their tears continued to flow when Jegal, who had just finished talking with the people from the association, came and comforted them.

They seemed as if their tears would be unstoppable unless Jegal did so.

“Why are there so many reporters at this hour?”

As they headed to the first-floor lobby of the broadcasting station, Maeng Hyodon discovered a swarm of reporters over the window and clicked his tongue.

While doing their best to hide Min Geurin behind them, Saeum of April and Kim Yuri answered.

“I think I’ve heard about things like this in our Player, Society, and Culture class. Each station has an Otherworld Department that works 24 hours.”

“Statistics show that otherworlds usually spawn during the day, but it’s not so rare for them to spawn at night. The media needs to be active the whole 24 hours since otherworlds don’t spawn at just a specific time around the clock.”

Except for Maeng Hyodon, the other kids nodded in agreement as if they were already aware of this fact.

Although Hwangho, who was contacting some people through means other than using a device, was on his own.

“The reporters will be dealt with the Players’ Association’s press office. We’re off to the other side. I’ll check first if there are any reporters lurking at the other entrance.”

Ham Geunhyung’s words reminded Maeng Hyodon of a certain man with a sneaky expression.

A few days after escaping Choi Pyeondeuk’s fight club, he was with Ham Geunhyung and met with a certain someone from the association.

The title on the person’s business card was a little too long for Maeng Hyodon to remember, so the memory is a little fuzzy for him.

Still, he can remember that it was a certain Hong Gyubin from some Public Relations team.

‘That time too, he said to leave the reporters up to him. Is it that person again?’

Just in time, Maeng Hyodon’s peripheral vision caught a glimpse of the sly-looking Hong Gyubin.

Hong Gyubin looked thinner than before, but he was still well-dressed.

His clothes were as neat as the clothes that reporters or announcers on news programs wear.

‘He was with someone who suddenly asked for my name and my autograph that time… Should I go greet him? Oh?’

Since he was someone who helped him before, Maeng Hyodon contemplated if he should greet Hong Gyubin.

But then, he’s worried that he might get in the way of his work.

While Maeng Hyodon was hesitating, he saw more people around.

And he saw another familiar face.

‘Isn’t that the third-place contestant?’

He was now wearing casual clothes, but Maeng Hyodon recognized him right away since they just watched the broadcast just a few moments ago.

The office worker was shuddering while trying to tell Hong Gyubin something, but Hong Gyubin raised his hand and stopped the office worker.

It seemed like a gesture that meant ‘Don’t say anything more. There are many people listening.

‘I think that person knows something about what happened today.’

Maeng Hyodon tried to decipher what it was through logical reasoning, but since his IQ outside of fighting isn’t the best, he gave up in the end.

Instead, other thoughts, including fighting, of course, occupied his mind.

Maeng Hyodon was back to the moment he tied an enemy and Jegal using his light skill.

Activating light skill increases one’s physical ability and enhances energy waves, so that moment was vivid in Maeng Hyodon’s mind.

‘If I were in battle a little longer, I think I would’ve gotten a sense of whether it’s a derived skill or a lethal move that Grandpa Tak mentioned before.’

Hong Gyubin was long forgotten in Maeng Hyodon’s head as he was preoccupied with thoughts of the fight earlier.

Meanwhile, Ham Geunhyung already returned and Hong Gyubin was long gone with the office worker.

After that, all the students from Eungwang High headed home.

Ham Geunhyung and Jegal both stay at the teachers’ residence inside Eungwang High’s residential area, but since not all the kids were dormitory students, they naturally had to be divided into two groups.

“Professor Jegal, I’ll take the commuting kids back home. Can I leave the dormitory kids up to you?”

“Yes, of course. Haeon-ah, are you coming to the dorms today?”

Most of the kids from Year Two Class Zero were living in the dorms.

Jung Haeon was also supposed to be a dormitory student, but since she had been doing activities as Dokgo Miro’s fansite, she often stayed more at hotels or broadcasting stations rather than the school dormitory.

Her eyes still puffy from all the tears she’s shed, Jung Haeon thought carefully before making a decision.

“…Yes, I’ll go to the dormitory.”

Jung Haeon glanced at Hani for a very short split second.

Just before getting on an air taxi headed to the dormitory, Jung Haeon sneakily wrote Hani a note, careful not to get caught by the professors.

The note contained a device code and a request for Hani’s time to talk about something about Dokgo Miro.

Hani quietly looked down at the note before entering Jung Haeon’s device code into her device.

* * *

I couldn’t think of just to what extent I should tell Yeom Junyeol, and how I’m supposed to tell him things.

Still, I couldn’t just leave my student, who was probably exhausted from filming, waiting outside, so I answered him right away.

“Yes, I’m awake. Please come in.”

I answered and hurriedly kicked myself out of the bed and glanced around the tea table in the center of the room.

I was informed that there was a simple dish prepared for me, but I couldn’t see any kind of tea around so I thought about where to look for one.

Creak…

While thinking, the door finally opened and Yeom Junyeol came in.

He must’ve returned home as soon as the broadcast was over.

He’s wearing the same outfit he had during the show, and he still has makeup on.

It looked as if the MC from the TV walked right out of the screen.

As his hoobae, I tried to greet Yeom Junyeol politely, but he beat me to it.

“Sit down. You’re our benefactor and guest after all.”

Yeom Junyeol pulled out a chair and waited until I sat down.

When I complied and took a seat, Yeom Junyeol opened a sliding-type shelf and looked around.

Inside were individual triangular tea bags.

Although it looked like a regular tea bag at first glance, it was engraved with the brand logo of a company that supplies tea to Air Hotels, so it seems to be a high-end luxury product.

However, Yeom Junyeol looked disappointed.

“We don’t have a lot of guests who come over so only simple things are prepared. Sorry for that.”

“Oh, no, I think I saw the kind of tea that I wanted to drink so…”

I immediately pointed to one of the triangular tea bags and told him that that was the tea that I wanted to drink.

I was relieved to finally see Yeom Junyeol’s face turn bright.

The atmosphere softened at the scent of the fragrant tea filling the room.

“You did a great job today. Did you go to the end-of-show party?”

“It’s been postponed. There were too many things that happened today, and not everything is sorted out yet. Some of the staff and cast members went to the Players’ Association for investigation.

There were only three contestants left for Playlist’s final broadcast.

I don’t think Yeo Raehun or Dokgo Miro would be investigated, so it’s probably the third one.

‘So the Namgung C&T employee was called to the association to be investigated.’

The timing of that office worker telling everyone to run…

It was strange indeed.

At that time, a number of otherworlds already spawned without warning, and an unidentified someone of royal lineage was already attacking the station.

‘It wouldn’t be surprising for him to be caught right away.

From the Players’ Associations’ perspective, waiting until the broadcast was over is already a huge concession.

It was an incident that occurred at the broadcasting station.

An incident involving Namgung C&T, or simply the Namgung Group.

From those two points, it’s highly likely that Hong Gyubin was deployed.

‘I’ll have to talk to Hong Gyubin before leaving the country.’

I thought about how I should reach out to Hong Gyubin, but things wouldn’t seem to work for me.

I thought my student would become calmer and more lucid once he gets a sip of the sweet persimmon leaf tea, but I guess not.

“…Euishin-ah?”

I took a sip of my own tea.

The warm tea hitting my tongue seemed to make me feel rather drowsy.

“Teacher.”

With just one word, my hazy mind suddenly became clear.

This was the first time he looked at me as Jo Euishin and called me his teacher.

Yeom Junyeol’s words felt like a splash of cold water.

“…”

Yeom Junyeol was staring at me.

Only then did I realize that I had been avoiding eye contact all along.

Yeom Junyeol’s eyes staring right at me didn’t have a hint of criticism.

Rather, he seems to be greatly worried.

And I felt strange.

‘He’s different from usual. I think I can feel Hongryong’s energy in his eyes but… it’s strange. It’s different from last time in one of our lessons when his pupils opened vertically because he used too much force.’

I looked into Yeom Junyeol’s eyes, examining it in great detail.

At that moment, it seemed like his eyes were shaking like a dancing flame.

‘It’s not just Hongryong’s energy, this is too similar to Hongryong’s eyes. No, wait…!’

I was astonished.

Yeom Junyeol is a descendant, but he has a light skill that can summon a dragon.

Until now, Hongryong was being summoned as an entity separate from Yeom Junyeol, but that wasn’t the full extent of Yeom Junyeol’s true power.

Yeom Junyeol’s hidden power awakens when he finds out that Cheon Dongha and Ma Jinseung died to save him.

As a result, his Summoning Hongryong light skill became Transforming to Hongryong.

‘People of royal lineage and their descendants can be transformed into their animal reincarnations. Yeom Junyeol’s body wasn’t big enough to turn into a dragon, but he became a bigger human at best.’

One of PMH’s sub-stories featured Yeom Junyeol turning into a dragon.

I felt sorry for Yeom Junyeol at that time, but his appearance was suitable for his alias ‘Little Hongryong’

‘Simply turning into a dragon and Transforming into Hongryong are completely different.’

The moment Yeom Junyeol transformed into Hongryong in PMH.

Over my smartphone, the scene showed a sky colored in flames.

Yeom Junyeol covered the sky with flames enough to cover the sky, burning everything in the way.

Yeom Junyeol’s eyes being too similar to Hongryong’s…

It might be a sign of an awakening.

‘Don’t tell me something happened again while they were filming!’

Yeom Junyeol’s Transforming to Hongryong skill became available from the shock of losing his close friends.

In other words, the fact that he seems to be transforming into Hongryong right now means that he experienced a shock great enough to trigger it.

I was just called ‘teacher’ by Yeom Junyeol, and he opened his mouth again, seeming like he was about to say ‘that word’ instead.

I preempted his words.

“Did something happen while filming Playlist?”

“…What?”

“After I left, did you encounter an enemy, or something that could’ve shocked you in some way, or something that…”

I couldn’t finish my own sentence.

It was because the flame in Yeom Junyeol’s eyes emitted an even stronger light.

“Yes, something big happened.”

Yeom Junyeol’s voice lowered by an octave.

“My esteemed teacher was brutally stabbed in the shoulder and endured great pain in his guts to save me and my family. He was seriously injured to the point where he had to use a powerful skill to stop himself from bleeding. I couldn’t do anything but stifle my presence, something that my teacher taught me, and watch as everything unfolded in front of my eyes.”