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A week passed.
I went out on a date for the first time with Min-jeong in a while. She said.
“Oppa, what have you been doing lately?”
“Oh you know, just working.”
“It’s not like you went abroad but you aren’t home……”
“I had a situation come up. I’ll be back home soon.”
I felt like we had just hit a fundamental problem in our relationship.
There were too many things that I just couldn’t tell her.
Because of that secret, I had to stop living with Min-jeong and recently, we haven’t been able to see each other much.
And every time she asked, all I could do was to say that I had a situation I couldn’t talk about.
From Min-jeong’s perspective, she could have gotten mad each time. I think that her being patient so far is a show of how much she sacrifices for me.
“Oppa, just what is it that you do? What do you do with Jinseong Group that you even keep it a secret from your family? I’m getting really frustrated now.”
“I’m sorry. I know how you must feel and I am so sorry and ashamed.”
“I keep thinking all sorts of thoughts. That maybe you are lying to get rid of me, or that if I make a surprise visit home there will be a woman there, or maybe we are just done now……”
“It’s not like that!”
“How can I believe that?! Just why was it that I had to move out of that house, why do you have to keep it all a secret! I can’t understand it at all!”
“Please say something. Does it have to do with a crime? No matter what it is you do, I will accept you!”
“Please say something.”
Min-jeong started choking up with tears welling in her eyes.
That moment, I felt an urge.
‘Why do I have to keep it all a secret? Should I just tell her everything?’
I am an examinee.
I already died once, and going forward, I don’t know when I will die.
When the rest period is over, I have to go to a life or death fight to another world.
…… how do I tell her something like that!
In the end, I held my tongue.
We got in the car and I took her home.
All the way while we drove to the high rise condo studio I had got for her, min-jeong didn’t say a word.
My chest felt heavy.
Lured into temptation and starting to love so easily was a mistake.
I was an examinee.
Never knowing when I would die, it wasn’t right of me to start this relationship.
That our relationship would become so deep…… I had no idea.
With a heavy heart, I returned to the hotel.
When I got onto the elevator, a beautiful Caucasian woman got on with me and pushed the 14th floor’s button. The same floor that I was going to.
‘There are only 4 rooms on the 14th floor.’
Our eyes met and she smiled at me. I returned the gesture with a smile and nod.
After we both got off on the 14th floor, she went into Chairman Smith Maglun’s suite.
He must be checking the effects of the treatment.
Then again, today is the last day of the one week trial treatment.
“Hey, you’re back.”
The next day, Cha Ji-hye and I went to Chairman Smith Maglun.
“What are your thoughts on the week of treatment?”
“The chairman is very pleased. He wishes to continue receiving the treatment.”
That must mean he had a good time with the woman yesterday.
In that case, it is safe to say that Chairman Maglun’s problem was fixed.
But since the last week was simple treatment, I think it would be a good idea to give him a flame of life a day for another week.
After doing some calculations in my head, I said.
“I will carry on the treatments for another week.”
Then Dana Litalin said something with Chairman Maglun and then said to me.
“He says that amount will not be enough.”
“The chairman says that until he has confirmation from a doctor that the issue is resolved, the treatments must continue.”
I felt a bit flustered.
‘I hadn’t thought of that yet.’
Until the treatment is totally cured.
But because the flame of life was good for the body, even after being cured, that can be hidden and he can continue to request treatment.
‘I need to definitely put a nail on the treatment timeline.’
If I comply with his request, Chairman Maglun might greedily continue to ask for flames of life. How am I to know that what the doctor says isn’t fabricated.
So I said.
“The treatment time is two weeks total.”
“But before you said it is until cured?”
“I do apologize but I have changed my mind. The treatment time is always two weeks.”
“How will you take responsibility if he is not cured in those two weeks?”
“I will not take responsibility. The treatment time is 2 weeks regardless of a cure. If that is not to his liking, are deal ends here.”
Dana Litalin talked again with chairman Maglun.
“He says that is different than what we agreed on. You definitely said until cured, and on those conditions he made the down payment of $100 million.”
“That was the price for the week of trial treatment, and we definitely said that if he wasn’t satisfied, that the deal would end there. And Chairman Maglun properly verified the effects of treatment last night. Realistically, couldn’t we even say that he is fully recovered?”
“Only a doctor could determine that. Our side will provide you with the physician’s opinion.”
“I do not need that. The deal is done. Goodbye.”
I turned around and was about to leave Chairman’s Maglun’s suite.
Then, from behind my back, I heard Dana.
“Please wait a moment.”
I turned around.
Dana made his signature smile and spoke.
“The chairman says you are a boring man who does not know the fun of a negotiation.”
“I don’t find those kinds of negotiations to be fun.”
“But in order to survive in the Arena, you will have to get used to these things sometimes.”
“Won’t you attempt to meet at a compromise? The more you stay with us, the safer you are from the dangers of Lee Chang-wee.”
“The remaining item worth 10,000 karma will be deposited first and then I will continue the treatment for 10 days. I will not compromise any further. Going forward, the treatment timeline will always be 2 weeks, no exceptions.”
Dana consulted with Chairman Maglun.
“He says that is acceptable. And we will even give the price we agreed upon right now.”
Dana extended his hand.
Pa pa pat!
20 item backpacks were summoned and spilled everywhere. Large item backpacks worth 500 karma. Altogether, the price totaled 10,000 karma.
I got a massive sum of karma again.
With a shaking heart, I gathered the item backpacks.
One by one I switched the ownership and retrieved the items to make them disappear.
“Then starting today for ten days, I will begin treatment. Flame of life!”
Hwa lu luk!
A flame appeared atop my hand.
I handed that over to Dana. Dana took it carefully and delivered it to Chairman Maglun.
Chairman Maglun immediately pushed it into his chest.
Perhaps from the feeling of vitality sourcing through him, he closed his eyes.
“I will head out now.”
I returned to our suite with Cha Ji-hye.
“Retrieve, item bag, four.”
Four item bags appeared.
I handed those over to Cha Ji-hye.
“Are you giving them to me?”
“I was able to beat the small Chinese man because of your help. All this time, I have received your help many times, this is the least I can do.”
Without any fuss, Cha Ji-hye calmly picked up each backpack.
This woman really has no modesty, she was just totally chill and I liked that.
“I was in need of an item bag, I’ll just keep one and change the rest to karma.”
“You won’t change them all into karma?”
“Getting food and water in the wild can be difficult. If I could skip that task, I will be able to move a lot faster.”
That is true. Hunting hasn’t been hard for me because I use Sylph, but it won’t be that easy for her.
Cha Ji-hye exchanged her three remaining backpacks for 750 karma.
I too exchanged my 16 backpacks for 4,000 karma.
‘Thank goodness the negotiation went well.’
I was honestly scared that Smith Maglun would use violence and threats to bully me.
He was the official number one ranked examinee and was part of Maglun’s entourage so that was a real possibility.
But thankfully, Smith Maglun was a very sensible man, and we were able to have a proper negotiation.
I discussed with Cha Ji-hye how to go about investing my 4,000 karma.
Cha ji-hye said.
“There doesn’t appear to be a way to increase the strength of the power of your guns, your major attack method.”
My thinking was the same.
I was able to master the ammo compensation skill so that it can pierce steel and I could also use the spirit summons while shooting.
Regardless of the examinee, it can be said that the one that is shot is going to the grave.
“Should I invest it in the spirit summons?”
“You are currently intermediate level 2 so with exactly 4,000 karma you could raise it to intermediate level 4. I am not sure that it will have that drastic an effect.”
“Hm, that’s true.”
“And you said you could increase your spirit summons by feeding your spirits the flames of life, so how about using your karma elsewhere?”
“Then which skill should I raise? Maybe I should get a new skill……”
“Other than the double guns you have, the only other weapon of yours is the Mosin-Nagant?”
“Then what about changing your rifle to something else?”
“Yes, I am thinking you need an anti-material sniper rifle.”
“What is an anti-material sniper rifle?”
“It is a rifle used to shoot tanks or transport vehicles from a long distance. It is a rifle that pierces through armor, so what do you think would happen if YOU used one?”
A rifle used not to target humans but tanks and transport vehicles. According to Cha Ji-hye’s explanation, it is a strong weapon that could kill a target even if they were hiding behind a wall.
If I were to use it with the ammo compensation plus the power of Sylph and Kasa to make it more powerful……!
“In the event that the opponent isn’t even aware of the attack, I think even Lee Chang-wee would be finished in one shot.”
“I think you’re right! Then I guess I’ll have to look into the anti-material sniper rifle.”
I gave a call to chief secretary Lee Jung-shik of the Ilsung Group.*
(TN: Raws says Ilsung but I think it was a typo and should be Jinseong but I’m leaving it.)
-How can I help you?
Lee Jung-shik chief secretary of the 3rd secretarial office always answered his phone in a businesslike manner.
“Would you be able to obtain an anti-material sniper rifle?”
-That will not be a problem. I can get help from the ministry of national defense so if it is a weapon the Korean army possesses, it could get it to you in a couple days.”
“That sounds good. Please get it as fast as possible.”
I was so excited I could hardly wait.
A weapon so great that I could send a relatively large monster flying would soon be in my hands.
Of course it would probably cost an incredible amount to itemize it considering how powerful it is supposed to be.
‘I hope it can be itemized within 4,000 karma.’
After deciding roughly how to spend the karma, I worried about Cha Ji-hye’s situation and what she was going to do.
“Miss Ji-hye, what do you think you are going to do now?”
“Obviously I will clear all the exams.”
“No, not in the Arena, here.”
“I cannot yet reveal that I am alive. Chief Kim Joong-tae will try to kill me in any way possible since I know about his corruption.”
“Do you have anyone that will be worrying about you? Family or perhaps a significant other……”
“I have neither family nor a significant other.”
Cha ji-hye replied with a short answer.
“Is it that you are uncomfortable about me staying with you?”
“Huh? Oh, no, of course not.”
“Then I will continue to be in your debt for a while.”
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