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We drove for about 20 minutes in the taxi and we arrived at a street in the center of Copenhagen.
“This is Stroget.”
Stewardess Lee Soo-hyun kindly explained this place to me.
Being the longest pedestrian street in Europe, it is also the center of shopping in Copenhagen. The word stroget itself means ‘to walk’ in Danish.
It is strewn with old buildings and the whole street looks ancient. I felt as if I could be delusional that I am in the 1800’s.
I followed Lee Soo-hyun around and started touring and shopping.
Lee Soo-hyun began to do as she was instructed, changing me from head to toe.
She searched for a hair salon on her phone and we start by getting me a fresh haircut and then she dragged me around to brand name stores where I get a two button suit and a shirt and dress shoes. I end up holding a bunch of bags in both hands full of plain clothes too.
Suddenly I get a text on my roaming cell phone.
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: Oppa! I picked one. I picked a relatively lower price one that is really sturdy. I couldn’t pull the trigger on such a large purchase so I couldn’t get a really expensive one. ㅠㅠ]
In the picture that Min-jeong has sent me is a $1000 Swiss brand wrist watch. It’s definitely a brand known for its strength.
I thought she would be excited and buy an expensive luxury brand, but she does have economic taste.
I send her a response.
[Me: Okay, I’m on my way to go buy it now!]
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: Buy it and send me a picture]
Perhaps it is the alley of shopping because that watch brand is also nearby. Of course, I buy the watch with my own money.
Thinking of, the price of all the clothes we just bought must be a handful.
“Is the chairman buying all of these things for me?”
“Yes, it is not my card so do not worry.”
Lee Soo-hyun said that and smiled. She’s not as cute as Min-jeong, but still a cute girl.
The luxury brand suit is definitely different, just by wearing it. I used to think suits were supposed to be uncomfortable, but now, wearing a suit that is tailored to my body, it is more comfortable than anything.
‘This is me!’
I admired the reflection of me in the full body mirror.
Is it due to the physical strength buff?
Firm shoulders and a fatless midsection, slender waist and long and strong legs are accentuated by the well fitted suit.
Such incredible detail, this moment is the coolest moment of my life.
“You really look completely different.”
I felt that Lee Soo-hyun, too, is admiring me.
“You picked out really good clothes for me. How can I repay you for your hard work?”
“No need. You have such a good body, it was fun.”
The day somehow is gone and now is now 7 pm.
The meeting time is coming up and I have to be on my way.
We came out of the stroget street and got into a taxi and headed towards the hotel.
Lee Soo-hyun checked in at the front desk and handed me a key card. On the card is written NO. 2001. I think it means it’s on the 20th floor.
Lee Soo-hyun took me to the restaurant on the hotel basement level 1 and said goodbye.
“If you wait here, the others will arrive here for the meeting.”
“Are you going back?”
“Yes, I checked into this hotel. Well then.”
Lee Soo-hyun then respectfully bowed before disappearing.
A little disappointing.
It’s not like I have developed feelings for her. I am surrounded in all directions by foreigners speaking a foreign language!
Suddenly, a male restaurant employee approached me and asked me.
The employee kept saying something to me.
The employee takes me to a room in the far corner of the restaurant.
He knocks and a young man’s voice is heard.
“You may come in.”
I’m completely shocked.
It’s not Korean.
No, it is a language that does exist in this world. But it the only other language I know.
‘It’s the Arena’s language!’
It’s the language they were speaking in the village in the forest. The man in the room is an examinee like me.
I open the door and go in.
“Nice to meet you.”
A blonde and handsome man.
I thought to myself that there couldn’t be a man more suited to the image of a high born gentleman.
He looked a little bit older than me. Of course, Westerners do look older so I can’t judge before he tells me.
“I am examinee Kim Hyun-ho.”
“I am Odin.”
The Odin from the Northern European legends?
“Is that like a code name?”
“Haha, yes. It is also the name I use in the Arena.”
“I see. I will call you Odin.”
“Sounds good. Anyway, I heard about your predicament from the chairman. You are now but a 3rd turn examinee, a sad situation has befallen you.”
“Assisting you will be easy and difficult.”
He spoke ambiguously.
I don’t want to be caught in his words.
“When you say easy, you mean is that because I am a 3rd turn examinee, this level will not be difficult to you in your position?”
“Yes. Then what do you think will be the difficult part?”
The baby angel is like this too, there sure are a lot of those who like quizzes.
“It’s probably because you don’t know what kind of exam the 4th exam will be.”
Odin looked proud of my answer and nodded at me.
“But do not despair because of that. I want to help you no matter how.”
Is it because of the price chairman Park Jin-seong will pay him?
The money paid for his aid will be 10 million dollars.
But I somehow get the feeling that to this guy, 10 million bucks isn’t that big a deal.
It’s because I sense his means from his behavior and speech.
Even for carrying the heavy burden of being an examinee, he doesn’t show it at all and exudes an atmosphere of being a magnate/important figure.
“I am an 18th turn examinee.”
That’s a surprise.
That means he’s lower than Yoo Ji-soo’s team that had passed the 19th turn.
Is he not as grand as I assumed him to be?
“And I have never had an instance of failing an exam.”
Then the story is different.
He has never bore the penalty of a failure, and received a prize at every success, he is bound to be a very powerful examinee.
“The place you are at in the Arena is probably the Forest of the Dead and brown mountain border.”
“The Forest of the Dead? That forest is the Forest of the Dead?”
“Recently it has been called that. It is said that no one who goes into that forest returns alive. A good and skilled adventurer nor a beast hunting mercenary have ever returned, time and time again, and it has begun to be called that.”
That moment, I recall the silver clan.
“Is it the ranch…”
I carelessly mumbled under my breath and it peaks Odin’s curiosity.
It’s not really anything I have to hide so I tell him what happened in my 3rd turn exam.
Odin’s face freezes over.
“Those were really lycanthropes?”
“Yes. They were bastards with silver hair.”
“That is definitely not your average lycanthrope. I can see how the Korean Arena Research Center miscalculated on that one.”
I listened to Odin’s continuing explanation.
“Lycanthropes have the same intellect as human and can even change into human form. Just listening to these points, wouldn’t you say they make a powerful threat against humans?”
What if they changed into their human forms and infiltrated human society?
What if they live in the shadows of human society and breed and grow in numbers?
Thinking along these lines, lycanthropes have the biggest chance of being a threat than any other beast or monster.
“But lycanthropes are not as dangerous a monster as we think. Do you know why?”
I thought back to the silver clan leader, Leon.
He pitted us into a mental fight, using a bow and arrow to fight us.
As I thought about Leon Silver, I think I know the answer.
“They reject human culture and adaptations to life and instead favor their bestial instincts? Usually…”
Odin lets out a refreshing laugh.
“Am I wrong?”
“Not one bit. That is entirely the answer. You are really smart.”
I am relieved.
I am glad that, in the least, I do not appear a useless rookie with no point in helping.
“Anyhow, hearing your story, I can kind of guess what your next exam will be.”
“I am all ears.”
“There is a high chance the exam will be related to the silver clan.”
Even though I have already escaped the Forest of Death?
Would I get another exam where I have to go back into the forest and fight the silver clan?
“What was your first exam?”
“It was an exam to kill a red ape.”
“And your second exam?”
“… to survive a week from the red ape clan.”
“That’s usually how it goes. It usually doesn’t end in one exam, but there’s a lot of instances of continuing the exam in the next one. They’re like relations.”
“It’s not like meeting someone and then parting means a relationship is over. Exams are the same.”
Relationships… He is a Caucasian who knows the Asian culture well.
“Then the story is simple. You don’t know what the 4th exam will be but I will give you two kinds of aid.”
“First, I will send the army to suppress the silver clan.”
Did I just hear that wrong?
Odin just smiles.
“I will confess that my introduction was inadequate. I am Count Hans Odin.”
I am in shock and my mouth gapes open.
Impressively, Odin has attained royalty status in the Arena. He has attained the noble title of count and people and things to govern.
Then I recall the ‘ranch’ again.
“I am sorry but the person who raised the high taxes there…”
“Oh, goodness no.”
Odin raises his hand and adamantly shook it.
“That is the story of a neighboring domain’s Bastian. I do not do disgraceful things like that.
“No need. Amongst examinees, there are plenty of those bastards that treat the Arena people as mere bugs.”
That hits me in a delicate spot.
In order to clear my exam, there was that time I sacrificed the whole village people as bait.
“There are evil shit people who kill people and retrieve majeong from those lives. It’s particularly bad in China. They’re crazy for money.”
“Um, people have majeong too?”
I am startled and ask.
“Of course they do. People are one of many living creatures that carry a lot of mana. That mana clumps together and therefore they have majeong.”
Odin is enraged as he made a passionate speech.
“China’s country level next generation energy source majeong accruement pushes for it they encouraged their arena examinees to kill people and get more majeong.
“The Chinese people are making a mistake. Right now they are doing shit like that and gathering a lot of majeong, but eventually they are taking strong examinees and turning and growing them into murderers.”
They do that?
I get a terrifying feeling.
Using karma prizes to get stronger powers, an examinee murdering and that becoming normal, all in order for profit, how will that end up?
“Our conversation got distracted. So, I will send an army and suppress the lycanthropes.”
“And the other thing, it will be good to present to you with a useful gift.”
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