Most men fell into a bit of narcissism, looking at themselves in the mirror after showers. It was a strange, unfortunate, and rather sad habit of the male species.
But An Jaehyun detested looking at mirrors. He didn’t have any particularly handsome feature, and he couldn’t even look at the mirror without his thick glasses.
But at the moment, An Jaehyun was staring into the mirror with a big smile on his face.
It wasn’t an ordinary smile.
It was a refreshing smile. It may look odd to others, but An Jaehyun was doing his best to make his smile look as clear as possible. Looking into the mirror, An Jaehyun spoke to himself.
“You unlucky bastard,” he criticized himself.
But while criticizing himself, An Jaehyun didn’t lose the smile on his face. In fact, he made an even happier smile.
‘Yep, you really had an unlucky life.’
An Jaehyun once again recalled the last moment of his life.
It was a car accident. After he bought a lottery ticket, he resolved his mind for a new start. That was when a truck hit the bus station and crushed An Jaehyun with it. He couldn’t even feel any pain as he died instantaneously. He was thinking ‘Ah!’ as he was hit, and when he opened his eyes again, he was back in January 1st, 2036.
‘I knew I was unlucky, but come on, a car accident? Just how unlucky was I?’
It was a time when vehicles had built-in autonomous navigation system designed specifically to prevent car accidents. It goes without saying that An Jaehyun was extremely unlucky to have died from a car accident.
But as of now, his unlucky life had never happened.
‘Yep, you lived one really unlucky life.’
“So it’s time to live a lucky one.”
He had returned to the past.
There was no penalty. His memory, body, and thought process were all perfectly fine. He was disappointed that he didn’t gain a superpower, but he was nonetheless satisfied. What was so important was that something that would only happen in movies and novels happened to him. It meant that he became a main character, since obviously a side character wouldn’t be sent back in time.
An Jaehyun didn’t think too much into his situation.
It was a common cliché. An Jaehyun didn’t stop to think whether he was dreaming, or whether he had been dreaming a long dream all this time. He also didn’t think about the butterfly effect his return would have on the world. He found it useless to bother with anything that wouldn’t make him money.
There was only one important thing to him right now.
‘I’ll hit it big with Warlord this time.’
He knew Warlord was the only way for him to change his miserable life. An Jaehyun in real life was a dispensable, minimum-wage slave, but in Warlord, he was the Hero Slaughterer, a character worth an immense amount of money and capable of slaying any foolish challengers.
In other words, what was important to An Jaehyun were the tools he needed to achieve success.
‘The date is January 1st.’
He needed to first understand the situation.
The current date was January1st, 2036, 1:22 P.M. to be exact.
‘If you were going to send me back, why not a year more…’
Unfortunately, Warlord had already begun its service 10 months ago.
If An Jaehyun had gone back one more year like he wished, he wouldn’t have any big concerns.
In any case, he had to face the current situation. Truthfully, he was thankful. Wishing for more would be too greedy.
‘The gap is huge.’
10 months weren’t a small difference. In fact, it was anything but small.
Warlord released its top 100 rankings weekly, but rankers didn’t refer to just these top 100. Although true rankers were those on this list, one could be called a ranker if one’s level was above a certain standard based on the top 100 rankers.
The competition was fierce within the top ranking players. Only the names of top 100 rankers were displayed, and the money one could get from contracts by being a top 100 ranker were vastly different. Warlord’s rule of thumb was that every time the front digit of a rank changed, the front digit of a contract payment changed.
Anyways, what was important was that almost all rankers started playing within the first one month of service.
‘5 months was it? Super Rookie Myojyo, I think he started the latest out of the rankers.’
In this area, a Polish player called Myojyo made a name for himself.
He started Warlord exactly 144 days after its launch and managed to enter the top 100 in 2038, on Warlord’s 4th year of service.
This meant it took him close to 3 years to bridge the gap with the Starters.
Myojyo’s play time was freakishly high as well. Most rankers played about 100 hours per week. The Rule of 100. The standard was to invest 100 hours to playing every week. 110 hours meant a 10% higher result, 90 hours meant a 10% lower result. This was Warlord’s Rule of 100.
In Myojyo’s case, his average weekly play time was 130 hours. Normal people weren’t able to play for so long. Warlord required high amount of concentration, and loss of concentration meant death. In addition, death meant 48 hours of downtime. It was clearly better to sleep 8 hours for a good rest than getting 6 hours of sleep and dying because of it. Regardless, Myojyo managed to reach the top 100, and he was given the nickname Super Rookie.
But what if there was a difference of 10 months?
‘I don’t know about the titles that have already come out, but I know all the titles that will come out in the future. If I can monopolize them, I can cover this gap.’
It would normally be impossible to bridge such a gap.
But it was possible for An Jaehyun, who returned to the past with all his memories.
Warlord has a title system. If a player achieved something no other players had, or if the player was the first to discover something, or if the player accomplished a monumental feat, he was given titles. They had a simple function – to permanently raise the player’s stats.
It was a system for those in lead.
In most games, the ones who started later had more advantage, at least in terms of time efficiency. They just had to pick and follow a path other had toiled through. It was fair for the pioneers to receive some benefit, and that benefit was the title system.
There were no information on titles whatsoever. Players had to find them out for themselves by playing the game.
However, the current An Jaehyun was full of title-related knowledge.
He also knew the best hunting grounds and the method for hunting certain monsters. These were among the many weapons at An Jaehyun’s disposal.
It wasn’t easy to bridge a 10 month gap, but it wasn’t impossible for An Jaehyun.
‘I’ll just have to work hard.’
There was one more problem.
‘What’s important to me now is money.’
An Jaehyun remembered 2036 very well. It was the year he was fired from the factory he worked in for no clear reason, and was close to running low on the money he had saved up.
‘I probably have 2, 3 million at best.’
One needed at least 7 million won to start Warlord.
‘I need to borrow 5 million somehow…’
To play Warlord, one needed Peach Corp’s virtual reality device, V-Gear. Unfortunately for An Jaehyun, the cheapest Level 1 Model’s exact cost was 20,990,000 won.
It was expensive.
It was the cost of a small car. It wasn’t a small amount, but it couldn’t be considered too expensive for what it was worth. V-Gear was the key to accessing the virtual world.
There was, of course, no need to pay all at once. There were monthly installment plans just like for real cars. For V-Gears, 12 months was the max, and one had to make a down payment for the first three months, which was about 5 million won.
There was also the cost of creating a Warlord character. Upon creation, one could play free for the first 3 months, but other extraneous costs amounted to another 2 million won. This cost couldn’t be paid on credit.
All this amounted to about 7 million won.
Taking into account the currently saved up money, An Jaehyun still needed 5 million more.
‘There’s no way my credit card can handle that much, and I probably can’t loan that much from the bank. If I take out the deposit for this one-room apartment and live on the streets with just my V-Gear… no, that would be just asking to be robbed.’
An Jaehyun already knew the answer to this problem.
‘Looks like I’ll have to go to those loan sharks.’
An Jaehyun hated the loan sharks as much as anyone else, but he knew it was the only way to borrow such a large amount of money. It would be akin to putting himself on shackles, but obtaining 5 million won by honest work would take 3 to 4 months, and that would be no different than cutting off his own legs.
‘Assuming I’m okay with money, what’s my plan now?’
His next worry was about his future plans.
Warlord’s main content was monster raids. It was also the most lucrative content.
However, monster raids were designed for cooperative plays.
An Jaehyun knew for sure that Hyrkan would never be able to solo a raid. Although Hyrkan was strong, it was impossible for him to solo a raid. It was because Hyrkan was a swordsman. Swordsmen were front-liners, and their job was to charge into the enemy and make way for his team.
Additionally, raids required various chemical reactions from different classes. If a monster reacted to a specific magic, it was the players’ job to take advantage of the fact and find its weakness. Only a very small minority relied on brute force to fight.
In the first place, this way of thinking was completely irrational.
An Jaehyun had amazing personal skills and now the knowledge of the future. Using the two, he could easily enter any of the Top 30 Guilds’ Esquire groups. Esquire groups contained prospective, back-up players for the Top 30 Guilds, and they received the full backing of their guilds.
If a player distinguished himself somehow, he was promoted to a regular member. At that point, wealth and fame naturally followed. All he had to do was cooperate with the guild’s decisions.
But An Jaehyun denied such rational way of thinking.
He didn’t care about what the rational thing to do was.
‘Like I’ll ever work under those fuckers.’
Just because An Jaehyun threatened to overtake their positions, those rich pigs had ruined An Jaehyun’s life. As a result, An Jaehyun was forced to quit Warlord with nothing but bitterness and anger left in him. An Jaehyun would never forget the persecution, humiliation, and hardships he faced after the Hahoe Mask Guild betrayed him. It’s nothing to brag about, but he even considered committing suicide.
Of course, none of this had happened in present time, but those memories were etched onto An Jaehyun’s mind.
Join their guild and become their dog?
Maybe he would if he really were a dog.
But An Jaehyun wasn’t a dog. He was human. And his human values wouldn’t let him accept such a thing.
‘A class that can do solo raids… a class you can play alone.’
An Jaehyun racked his brain.
‘Does Warlord have a class that can do everything by itself?’
To An Jaehyun anguishing over this question,
A light bulb went off.
There was one.
While everyone was fighting fearsome monsters as a guild, there was one person who succeeded in soloing a raid.
His nickname, Rich Lich.
“There was that guy!”
His class, necromancer.