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Arena (Web Novel) - Chapter 27 The Korean Arena Research Center (1)

Chapter 27 The Korean Arena Research Center (1)

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

11 A.M.

I get an abrupt phone call.

-Is this Mr. Kim Hyun-ho?

“Who is this?”

-I am a research employee.

At his words I am up to attention. It’s the Korean Arena Research Center.

-I have arrived at Cheonan to escort Mr. Kim Hyun-ho and Kang Chun-seong.

“I have not heard from Kang Chun-seong yet so you will have to wait a while.”

-I will be waiting at a location close to your place so please call me when you receive word from him.

“Yes.”

She said she would send cars to the team members and she meant it. Not only that but they are early and waiting, they are really devoted.

The national employees researching Arena must really be pouring their heart and soul into scouting examinees.

‘If I had played and tugged with another country’s research center I could’ve received a better offer. Well, too bad since I didn’t have the luxury of time to do so. And I like staying in Korea over another country anyway.’

It’s interesting.

I didn’t know there were national institutions, but to realize they are scouting examinees in fierce competition like a pro soccer team.

3rd, 4th, 5th…

If I can continue surviving the exams and keep getting stronger, other state institutions will offer money and try to scout me as well.

Imagining lots of countries coming to me with bags of money, competing with each other, trying to win me over, just thinking about it makes me feel incredibly good.

Of course, it’s all relative only if I can survive.

Zing, zing.

My smartphone rings. Unknown caller ID. Its Kang Chun-seong.

“Hello?”

-I am at Cheonan station.

“Come towards my house. I’m at…”

I give Kang Chun-seong my home address.

After that I give a call to the research employee.

“He said he’ll be right over.”

“Understood. Then I will be waiting with the car up front.”

“Yes, I am heading out now.”

I change my clothes and go out and in front of the apartment entrance is parked an Equus car*. Oh, it’s a surprisingly nice car. But still, they are a state institution so they’re using a state car.

(TN: A Hyundai Equus, a Korean car that I’ve never heard of.)

A guy looking to be in about his late 30’s gets out of the car and introduces himself.

“Are you Mr. Kim Hyun-ho?”

“Yes, nice to meet you.”

“Please get in.”

He personally opens the back door. I feel like a VIP. A moment later, Kang Chun-seong joins us and sits next to me.

“We will depart.”

**

The guy takes the car and goes to a nearby army base and lets us off at the army’s helipad. Not long after, a helicopter arrives making a strange noise.

The man points to the helicopter.

“Please get in.”

Where in the hell are we going?

I get a suspicious feeling but get into the helicopter with Kang Chun-seong. The helicopter takes off making a strange sound.

As this is my first time in a helicopter, I frantically check out the inside of the helicopter and gaze at the view below.

After all that, the place we arrive is a lonely and remote island off the west coast. It’s a fairly large island and I can see two large 10-story buildings.

‘An island, I wonder if it’s because it’s an institution that cannot be revealed?’

After getting off the helicopter, we are guided by an employee and make our way into the building.

“Oppa!”

“Hyun-ho hyung!”

We arrive at a room kind of like a waiting room and Hye-su and Joon-ho heartily welcome us.

“Did you guys arrive by helicopter too?”

“Yes.”

“I was a bit freaked out. They said to just get on the helicopter so I thought where in the world are they taking me.”

I can see it. It’s almost like getting kidnapped.

I was less scared because I at least came with Kang Chun-seong. If they tried something funny, he would’ve KO’ed them all. Haha.

It happens when the four of us are gathered in the waiting room talking about this and that.

“You have arrived.”

Cha Ji-hye appears.

Today she is wearing a dark gray suit with a white sweater and brown ankle boots. Her walk is like usual, step, step, fearlessly intentional.

“Nice to meet you, I am Cha Ji-hye. From now on I will be your team’s supervisor.”

“You mean, if we sign a contract?”

“Yes.”

At my words Cha Ji-hye lets out her special tiny smile.

“I am aware you have passed the second exam, how many days of the rest period are left?”

“14 days. Our exam finished yesterday.”

“You posted online as soon as your exam was over?”

“Yes.”

“You are indeed very prudent. It is a relief that you have more time remaining than I thought.”

Ah, seriously, why does my heart just fly away every time this woman gives me a compliment?

Maybe because I spent my youth as a person who never had a romantic relationship. Or is it just that a person like me is ever so weak towards beautiful women?

“I will give a brief explanation of the contract terms. Our Korean Arena Research Center firstly aids in all ways possible for your survival, regardless of individual skill or results.”

“You mean we get the same treatment as veteran examinees, without discrimination?”

I ask.

Cha Ji-hye nods her head.

“Yes. There are limits to the help we can give you anyway, and the result is ultimately based on your own competence.”

“That is true.”

“You have all only just yet passed the second exam and our hope is for all of you to safely pass and grow from the next exam. Thus, more so than gaining majeong, our plan is to focus on survival.”

“If we do bring back majeong, how much will we get?”

“The compensation for majeong is dependent on the majeong energy concentration level. This compensation is without discrimination from other examinees and is the same for all examinees. Any difference will be in annual salary only.”

“How much salary can we get?”

“The salary is not dependent on results and is an amount basically for livelihood guarantee, but to determine that amount we must know how strong each of you are.”

“You mean you want to verify our skill levels and equipment?”

“Yes.”

“So in the end, before we sign a contract, we have to reveal all our information. Isn’t this a contract that is too unfair to us? We were unable to contact other country research centers so we don’t know what an average salary for this kind of contract is at all.”

“In those regards we have nothing to say except to trust in us. If we are to continue having a good relationship with our examinees, we have to treat you properly. If we do not, we lose talented people to other countries.”

“Hmm…”

I have a feeling I can trust this woman. Ah, have I been ensnared by a beautiful woman?

After my thinking, I speak.

“For now, I will contract for a year.”

“You say 1 year?”

“Yes, one year for now and if we can build adequate trust then I will extend the contract.”

“Hmm, okay. The salary can always be recalculated based on your teams’ skills. We are receiving government aid as well so you will not be disappointed there.”

I look around at the others. Lee Hye-su, Lee Joon-ho, Kang Chun-seong, all three nod their heads.

I talk to Cha Ji-hye.

“Okay.”

Cha Ji-hye takes out pen and papers from her briefcase and distributes it to us.

“Please write down all your skills and items and karma. With that as our basis, we will determine your salaries.”

We begin writing down on our papers.

Spirit summon entry level 1, magic rifle gun, bandolier, 900 karma.

Cha Ji-hye looks at what I wrote and is surprised and asks me.

“Spirit summon?”

“Is something wrong?”

“No, that is not it. I just haven’t heard of an examinee with a spirit summons.”

“Is it that special?”

“Yes, any examinee with better skills gets known throughout the facility, but there has never been an examinee with a spirit summons as their main skill. The rarer the skill, your better you contract terms will be.”

“That’s a relief.”

“But, is that 900 karma you wrote mistaken writing?”

“No. 900 karma is correct.”

Cha Ji-hye’s face is overcome with surprise all the more.

“You mean to say you earned 900 karma in the second exam?”

“Yes, well the angel bastard said it was the best record ever, but is that true?”

“Yes, yes. It is difficult to even get that much in the fifth exam. You are incredible.”

Seeing her amazed face makes me feel good. To be treated as a mister capable, in my shoes, an experience I never had in my 29 years.

Without much more to write, Lee Joon-ho and Lee Hye-su turn in their papers. Cha Ji-hye reads them and doesn’t really show a response, but is surprised again at Kang Chun-seong’s.

“Mr. Kang Chun-seong, have you provided false information?”

“I did not.”

“For a 2nd turn examinee to have aura control entry level 4 and physical strength buff intermediate level 1 is, from a common sense approach, impossible…”

“So?”

Kang Chun-seong’s expression becomes menacing.

I quickly intervene.

“He’s originally a really skilled martial artist.”

“… understood. Anyway, I will return after evaluation. It will not take long so please wait a moment.”

Cha Ji-hye takes the papers she received from us into her briefcase and leaves us.

“Hyung, how much do you think we’ll get?”

“I don’t care about the money. I’m satisfied with them just helping me survive.”

It’s a greedless hope befitting a girl from a rich family, Lee Hye-su.

“True. Let’s not get too greedy for now. Like they said, for now, our priority is survival. Seeing how properly they’re set up, they will be a big help.”

Cha Ji-hye knows more way more about the Arena than we do. She has the full map of the Arena so she must possess immense knowledge.

The evaluation is really fast.

Cha Ji-hye returns after not even 30 minutes and passes out four contracts to us.

“You may read it and then sign. To sum up, the contract is for one year, the salary for Kim Hyun-ho and Kang Chun-seong is $60,000, for the other two people, $30,000.

“60k?”

I’m completely surprised. It’s a salary much higher than I expected.

Cha Ji-hye speaks to a very surprised me.

“Mr. Kim Hyun-ho, you received a high salary due to advancing in your very rare skill, the spirit summons, and for being the team leader, and Kang Chun-seong was definitely evaluated at 60k for already having the strength of a 5th, 6th turn examinee.”

“Then is there a mandatory requirement we have to fulfill?”

“You must use your karma after consulting with your research team manager, and any majeong you get in the Arena must be sold to us, and abide by training times, there are no other requirements.”

“Sounds good.”

I read the contract and Cha Ji-hye’s words are not wrong.

After my lead, everyone signs.

And so we concluded on the contracts.

“I congratulate you on becoming assigned examinees with the Korean Arena Research Center. I am everyone’s research manager Cha Ji-hye. If anything comes up, you may come talk to me.”

“Thank you.”

“I look forward to it.”

We do a last formal farewell with Cha Ji-hye.

And so we start our full scale training for the exams.

***

The very first thing we do is an individual interview.

Cha Ji-hye calls us one by one and listens to our detailed accounts of our past exams. She asks for full and detailed descriptions of how we passed the first and second exams.

It is with the intent of determining our tendencies and fighting style.

As the leader, I go in first for the interview.

I reveal everything truthfully including Park Go-chan’s death.

I did not think I would need to hide it.

“I will sum up. Examinee Kim Hyun-ho, you eliminated an examinee that tried to rape a comrade and murdered the red ape leader. Is this correct?”

“Yes.”

She nods her head.

“Very good. Examinee Kim Hyun-ho, you are far more capable than I thought you were. On top of it, you have a teammate like Kang Chun-seong, so your team has a good chance of long term survival.”

“Thank you. But about Park Go-chan’s death…”

“Do not worry. There is no evidence for punishment for what happened in the Arena and you had a very clear and appropriate measures. There are many teams that had collapsed teamwork because of people like him.”

Only then did the burden on my soul of Park Go-chan’s death get lifted.

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