1

The terrorist attacks were quickly put down. It was because the executives of the Fiend Association terrorizing the world suddenly disappeared. Tens of thousands of fiends were left isolated, and they faced miserable deaths at the hands of the Players.

[Breaking news, The Heavenly Demon died! Specter and the Big 6 deceive the world.]

[An unprecedented victory! The Earth is now having a grand festival ♬]

[Happy event after happy event. Rahmadat Khali is back.]

[King of Destruction who protected the Nest says, “My victory, not the victory of mankind.”]

Cafe, school, work, street, drinking… In places where people gathered, praise for the 5 Heroes and the Big 6 incessantly flowed out. Breathing in the peaceful air after a long time, Seo Jun-Ho was on a bed in a hospital room.

"Phew, the burns...”

Thud!

Shim Deok-Gu came to visit the hospital with mandragora juice and clicked his tongue.

"So? How was it? I’m going to kill you if you do something like that again.”

"…Why are you nagging as soon as you see me?"

"I don't want to do it either. You better behave well properly, so I don’t have to do it, okay?"

Seo Jun-Ho drank the juice with a sulky expression. Since using the second Moon Eye, his body had been very creaky. The bones and organs in his body were in discord. Now it was impossible to even get up without the help of a caregiver.

‘But I'm glad it's only this much.’

Fortunately, his life wasn’t in as much danger as it was when he first used Moon Eye. It was thanks to the ‘Bringer of Spring’ title effect of increasing his rate of recovery and the effects of his body transformation.

"Master Christine Lewis said you'll have to rest for a year or so."

"She’s a quack."

"…What nonsense is that toward the best priest of the current times."

"I know my body best. It’ll definitely not take a year."

Shim Deok-Gu thought Seo Jun-Ho would be very depressed and in despair, but he was doing better than expected. Shim Deok-Gu looked at his eccentric friend and asked, "Do you have some way?"

"Of course. I always have a plan.”

"…Ehew," Shim Deok-Gu sighed. The problem was that his plan couldn't always win the sympathy of others. "So what is it then, the plan?"

"Before that, did you get what I asked for?”

"Oh, right." Shim Deok-Gu tapped on his Vita and nodded. “I bought it at the auction. What kind of piece of paper goes for eighty billion... It’ll be delivered in two days."

"Thank you. If this goes well, I might get up in a week, not a year.”

"…I don't know whether I should be happy or not because I'm afraid you'll cause another accident.”

It had been like that for a long time. This idiot would always get hit, and he would return with injuries whenever he went hunting. He would then quickly shake off his injuries, get up, and go hunting again.

‘I haven't felt like this in a while…’

It was a complicated feeling where the surrounding people were more nervous than the person involved. Shim Deok-Gu didn't expect he would feel this feeling for the first time in decades. He looked at his rascal friend as if he was pitiful.

"Why are you looking at me like that?”

"It's nothing, I’m just watching you because you’re pitiful."

"…Wow, that hurts me a lot.”

That was bullcrap; he wasn’t really hurt. Shim Deok-Gu knew that Seo Jun-Ho’s mind wouldn’t budge from something like this. As such, he checked the time and got up.

"Then, I have a meeting, so I'm going."

"Meeting? The world has come to this point, so what kind of meeting will you have?"

"The Earth’s security was broken too easily this time. The prime ministers, presidents, associations, and guilds of each country will gather to talk about future policies. We'll also have to do something about the Dimensional Elevator. Oh, and...” Looking at the oblivious Seo Jun-Ho, he smiled. "Jun-Ho, do you like the Heavens?"

***

When Shim Deok-Gu left the room, Seo Jun-Ho was lost in thought.

"Heavens…?"

He had brought upon a situation worthy enough to make anyone speechless. After all, his achievements this time were that great.

‘Although the reality is that I gambled with my life…’

However, in terms of the results alone, he had fought against the Heavenly Demon on his own, and he managed to sever one of the latter’s arms. The Big 6 said they were only able to kill the Heavenly Demon thanks to him. As such, his hospital room now had a mountain of gifts from them.

‘There's no choice but for people to bring it up.’

The Nine Heavens were overwhelmingly strong people whose ranks remained the same over the years. However, it was said that people were bringing up the subject this time.

‘Timing is also appropriate.’

They responded to the terror of the fiends beautifully, but many people still died. There was too much sadness and fear in the world for it to be thoroughly covered with the joy of victory.

'Since the world is currently like this, they need a hero even more.’

The ability he displayed this time was great, and it also raised the status of the Player's camp. As such, there were many political goals to reassure the confused people of the world.

‘Now that the Heavenly Demon is dead, the Nine Heavens must have become the Eight Heavens. It'd look good if they filled up the spot with a Player.’

Seo Jun-Ho himself had no intention of opposing it. It didn't really matter even if he was used politically. If even one more person could go to bed more comfortably because of him, he would be satisfied.

"Hmm?"

All of a sudden, something wriggled on the shelf next to his bed. After wriggling for a long time, it groaned and yawned.

"Mmm, I had a good night's sleep."

It was the Frost Queen. She wasn’t even a bear, but she had just opened her eyes after hibernating.

"What?"

She first looked at the mountain of gifts, then at her contractor.

Seo Jun-Ho greeted with an awkward look, "H-hi?"

As if he had sinned, his eyes were quivering. At the same time, the Frost Queen’s eyes became terrifying. She jumped off the shelf as if she were a detective and climbed onto the bed.

"What is all this?"

"Ah, ah! Don't step on me. It really hurts!"

She pressed here and there on Seo Jun-Ho's body, which had almost become like a living corpse. And before Seo Jun-Ho could even answer, she asked in a cold voice, "You used that technique again! You promised not to use it!"

"No, I… I had to do it in that situation…”

"Explain. If you cannot make me understand, you...” The Frost Queen trailed off, then trembled as she spoke, "Why, why at this time... We will definitely discuss this later!"

After speaking, she hurriedly blocked her mouth and hid while holding her breath. At the same time, the hospital room door burst open.

"Yoyoyo! My friend!" It was Skaya Kirilland who appeared with a noisy greeting, and behind her stood Gilberto and Rahmadat. "Oh, what's wrong with you? You look really injured."

"I'm a patient because I’m injured. You can see it with just a glance.”

"Hahaha! You're a patient because you’re injured. That's true."

The hospital room became noisy when these three people arrived at once. Since it was a VIP room, they weren’t being a nuisance to the others in the surroundings, but Seo Jun-Ho's mind was rapidly being drained.

"I'm very tired right now. Don't talk too much and leave."

"Don't worry!" Rahmadat reassured.

Rahmadat took a large piece of meat from his Inventory and strode to the kitchen attached to the hospital room.

Seo Jun-Ho asked, "…What are you doing?"

“I thought it over on my way here. What should I do if my friend is sick?"

"No, don't think about it. Please don't...”

"Stamina recovery! Grilling fresh meat is what a true friend does."

He was trying to feed a patient a steak out of the blue.

Gilberto sighed and said, "Sorry, I tried to stop him, but he didn't listen. That's also bear meat hunted from Siberia."

“…”

It had only been a minute since these guys came into the room; no, had it been about two minutes? Seo Jun-Ho started to feel dizzy and nauseous.

'No, it feels like they had gotten even worse than before...’

Was it because everyone had been frozen for twenty-six years? It was like compensation for the sentiments they couldn’t express in the meantime. In other words, they had become a notch even harder to control than they used to be.

"Oh, come to think of it, I wanted to ask you something," asked Rahmadat as he skillfully cooked steak. "That Heavenly Demon, was he strong?"

“…”

Seo Jun-Ho closed his mouth shut, while Skaya and Gilberto pretended that they weren’t interested, but they focused on Seo Jun-Ho. Even they were quite interested in this topic.

"…Very. He was the strongest opponent I have ever met in my life.”

"Sigh, that's too bad. Since you said that, I would love to have fought him." Rahmadat smacked his lips. It was impossible to fight a dead man.

"I heard you and Skaya saved the students in the Nest. Good job."

"It was nothing. We wouldn't have been able to do so if it wasn't for the note you gave us in the first place," Rahmadat casually replied, but his back looked droopy today.

After exchanging glances with Gilberto for a while, Seo Jun-Ho changed the subject, "Deok-Gu said that the Dimensional Elevator needs to be repaired."

"Oh, I'm sure it does. It made a terrible sound when Rahmadat and I were in the Nest.”

"Hmmm, there was also smoke. The elevator has likely been destroyed," Gilberto said after listening to the story in silence.

"…The elevator built by the system can also be destroyed. I had no idea."

"No one really thought of destroying it..."

"But it's not man-made. How the heck are you going to make the repairs?"

"Well, I don't know about that...”

The moment Seo Jun-Ho trailed off, a clear voice responded—

"You’ll probably need my help."

“…!”

“…!”

The voice belonged to a third party, not to anyone in the room. Skaya, Gilberto, as well as Rahmadat cooking steak immediately responded.

"…What the heck is this shady guy?" Rahmadat made a one-line comment.

Both Skaya and Gilberto were being hostile, as it was their first time meeting him. Only Seo Jun-Ho opened his mouth with his eyes wide open.

"Gray-nim?"

"It has been a long time since I saw you, Player Specter.”

Wearing a gray suit and a fedora, he was the 1st Floor Administrator, Gray. Seo Jun-Ho's eyes quivered ever so slightly, as he hadn’t expected a visit from an Administrator.

‘No, moreover, can an Administrator even roam around like this?’

Seo Jun-Ho had met two Administrators so far, and he had met them three times in total. However, those meetings had always happened with him being summoned into their space to meet them.

"I know what you're thinking. I don't usually come out like this. It could affect the causality...”

"Causality?"

"Oh, let's pretend you didn't hear that." Gray waved and took off his hat, revealing his slit eyes. "The order came from above to fix the elevator."

"If you say above, do you mean Reiji?"

"…Much, much higher than her."

While he was smiling kindly, Skaya asked, "Do you know him?"

"Yeah, it's Gray-nim, the 1st Floor Administrator.”

"Administrator…?"

Her eyes began to sparkle. She was an explorer of magic, so a person involved with the System had to be someone interesting to her.

"Do you perhaps need someone to teleport you to the Dimensional Elevator? I can do it for you."

"Well, it’s certainly no good in overusing my power in this place. Then please, Player Skaya Killiland."

"I'm following you, too. You look pretty strong. Would you like to go for a round with me when you're done?"

"Haha, no thanks."

Rahmadat turned off his magic mana burner and quickly disappeared with the two.

The quiet hospital room looked as if a storm had passed. Seo Jun-Ho asked Gilberto for a favor. "…Gilbe, can you open the window?”

"Ah, the smell of meat is certainly strong. Sorry. I should have stopped them from coming with me."

"No. Who can stop them?”

"Please get well soon. You're the only one who can control them," Gilberto asked sincerely.

The reason why only Seo Jun-Ho could control them was very simple.

"…I should. I’ll get well as soon as I can, and set a time soon.”

A match, more specifically, a match arranged under the guise of reorganizing the rankings. Seo Jun-Ho closed his eyes and began to image train.