0. Five Years Ago.
“Year 2037, October 11th. Millions around the world, no tens of millions! The time that many people have been waiting for has finally arrived.”
Park Young-jun, a famous commentator in V-sports (virtual sports) cried out in a passionate voice. The guild leader of the Saulabi Guild, Lee Gun-seong nodded at the commentator’s words.
It wasn’t only Lee Gun-seong. There were a total of four people next to the commentator. They were all guild masters responsible for sizeable guilds inside the virtual reality game Fantasia. Park Young-jun eyed the girl sitting next to him.
Jung Ha-ran. She was the guild master of the Comet Guild, one of the top 5 guilds in Korea. She only just turned 18 and her pretty face and skills meant she had many followers in Fantasia. She might be similar to a celebrity but Park Young-jun had no intention of having mercy towards a little girl.
‘I need contents for my commentary.’
Park Young-jun was a firm man with a strong philosophy.
Alkena. The name Jung Ha-ran used in Fantasia. Jung Ha-ran, no Alkena looked at Park Young-jun with a surprised expression.
This tension. Park Young-jun thought coldly. She might know the game inside out but Alkena had almost no activities outside the game. Broadcasters sent her interview requests several times but she didn’t reply.
It was surprising that Alkena joined Park Young-jun today so it was a sign that she cared about today’s clash.
“Alkena ssi clearly…you on the side that Laden will win?”
King Laden. He was an unusual player in several ways. There were no distinct forces. He didn’t even have a guild. He didn’t participate in monster raids in Fantasia or wars for the country.
But that didn’t mean Laden wasn’t playing the game. He enjoyed the game in a different manner from others. He soloed monsters meant for a party and used guerrilla warfare in the mountains.
In particular, Laden was known as the best PVP player.
“Ah….yes. Yes, that’s right.”
Alkena nodded stiffly as she replied. The reaction was a little slow but Park Young-jun still thought it was good. A pretty 18 year old school girl was showing a red, shy face on broadcast. There was no doubt that it would work.
“If you don’t mind, can you tell me why you think so?”
Alkena was disconcerted but Park Young-jun couldn’t be blamed because the questions had been prepared in advance. Alkena flipped through some documents on the table and coughed.
“….First off, the viewers watching this should know it very well. Laden…King Laden, he has an unprecedented winning record in the arena of Fantasia. 980 wins, 3 draws and 12 losses. Millions of people enjoy playing Fantasia but no one has achieved such an overwhelming record.”
Virtual reality game, there existed a place in Fantasia called ‘arena.’ Once someone registered and applied, they would be randomly matched in a 1 VS 1 player at a similar level.
980 wins, 3 draws and 12 losses.
When considered that an average player didn’t normally have more than 300 victories, defeats or ties, Laden’s established record made no sense.
“Alkena is correct.”
Beside Alkena was Lee Gun-seong, leader of the Saulabi Guild. No, Rubeck nodded his head. Like Alkena, he was also a commentator that expected Laden to win.
“The nickname King Laden, King of the Arena. Laden earned that nickname by proving his PVP skills. Laden only suffered 12 losses and 3 draws. When looking at his spec sheets, Laden suffered those defeats in the early days of the arena. After the 50th match, Laden wasn’t defeated even once. In other words, Laden wasn’t defeated in 930 PVP matches.”
That was how he gained the title of ‘King.’ King of the Arena. He didn’t pick a guild or played in a party. A hard-core solo oriented player who spent most of his time in the arena.
It was natural that Laden would have followers. Many users started Fantasia because they wanted to be like Laden and started imitating Laden by immersing themselves in arena or solo gameplay.
Of course, none of the players could match up to Laden.
“…Yes. Just like Rubeck said, Laden’s arena record is phenomenal. If I dare say it, Laden is the god of PVP. I think that not one player in Fantasia can catch Laden in a one on one fight. Only a group of 10 people would be able to fight him.”
“Is that enough?”
Park Young-jun said sneakily. It was Park Young-jun’s role as a commentator to know Laden’s basic information. His roles was to provide a springboard for the other commentators’ reactions.
“The end system consists of farming, levelling and raids. You will eventually become familiar with your own skills and the contents of the raid. Farming can also be finished at any time. Then there is the arena. At this time, most people would be thinking ‘Oh, I am good enough’ and would head towards the arena.”
Rubeck snorted while laughing. It was obviously full of derision.
“No. It is a funny idea. Of course, I can understand such thoughts. The farming system and raids are going well. It is a situation where they feel in control of themselves. But…PVE and PVP is completely different. Less than 4~5 people. There are only a few people. Catching a monster in a raid with a group is completely different from fighting alone in PVP. And Laden is Fantasia’s top PVP player.”
“That’s right. Well, there is an interesting fact here.”
Park Young-jun slowly looked down at his wrist watch. There was still some time until the match starts. The anchor-man and commentators needed to maintain the viewer’s interest before the fight started. Park Young-jun’s mouth moved quickly.
“Doom Knight Casabulo. A monster that the commentators here have faced. And the viewers watching the broadcast should be familiar with it. A boss of ‘La Baroque Castle’ that occurred when the expansion pack was released 1 year ago.”
“Ahh. I know what you are trying to say.”
Compared to the less experienced Alkena, Rubeck was much more relaxed. He had appeared several times as a commentator on V-sports and considered himself a virtual reality game BJ.
“Casabulo is now present on the Fantasia continent and is considered one of the most difficult bosses. In fact, many guilds paid more attention to the main boss La Baroque than to Casabulo when it was first released to the public. It was inevitable…Casabulo is too small. A hulking humanoid that is similar to a player’s avatar…he also used a sword as a weapon. I can see why people thought it was ridiculous.”
“But it wasn’t.”
Alkena knew the answer. She shook her head slowly and said.
“Casabulo is much more difficult than La Baroque. His body is so small that the attacks from players didn’t hit well. And the sword unleashed wide area attacks. He had all types of magic buffs and debuffs…recovery magic…and he also had awfully high stamina.”
“Do you believe that La Baroque Castle should be called Casabulo Castle instead? Well, Casabulo was also defeated. It took 40 people in the raiding party. Since then, there were several hundred attempts to break the record until a group of 15 people eventually succeeded in killing Casabulo. Until recently, those 15 people had the best record.”
“But Laden changed it!”
Park Young-jun exclaimed in a cheerful voice.
“Wah, an expansion that the top guild masters had been waiting for. Then King Laden went out to face the monster alone?”
“Why do you think there was an uproar? Laden’s video of 1 person against Casabulo was posted on a free internet site. The players around the world wrote underneath it…in the end, Fantasia officially declared that no illegal programs were used.”
“That fact…I still can’t believe it. No matter what a player’s specs are, they can’t compare to that of a monster. Unless there happened to be a significant level difference. Right now 100 is the limit in Fantasia and a level 100 player could attack a level 100 boss monster. The specifications can’t even be compared There is no reason for a raid if the specs are similar.”
“If any members of the audience hasn’t seen the video yet then they should watch it now. Laden is crazy. If you look at the video then you can only call him crazy. He avoided Casabulo’s attacks and counterattacked. He was able to prevent anything from leaking against his will. Laden’s class is a ‘Martial Artist.’ In Fantasia, a martial artist has low stamina and defense but makes up for it in their attack power and speed. In other words, it is a profession that needs to hit. In that one video against Casabulo, Laden showed the extreme limits of a martial artist.”
“Yes, he did it very well.”
It stopped here. Park Young-jun checked the clock again. The timing was perfect. Now it was time to listen to the other side.
“The monster that Laden is fighting against, Emperor Rake!”
Emperor Rake. He was the first person to become an emperor in Fantasia. In many ways, he was a player that was the exact opposite of Laden. He was the Emperor of Noah in the central region of Fantasia and was the guild leader of one of the largest guilds, Paragon.
Laden enjoyed playing solo while Rake was a thoroughly party oriented person. While Laden was PVPing in the arena, Rake was capturing top level dungeons and boss monsters. Most bosses that were newly released in Fantasia were first supressed by Rake.
“Rake will win.”
A man silently sitting on the right side opened his mouth. It was Garam who was the guild master of ‘Weiss.’
“Oh, is that so? Why do you think that?”
Park Young-jun asked Garam without any hesitation. Garam spoke slowly as Park Young-jun’s gaze remained on him.
“Due to the different specifications.”
“…S…pecs? If it is specs….”
“Weapons, armour and accessories. When added to the basic stats of the avatar, Rake is overwhelmingly superior. Don’t you think a person who spends money would enjoy Fantasia the most? What about the person wearing the best items? He is Rake.”
It was unknown what country Laden was from or what job he had. Everything was unknown. But Rake was different. He was the heir to one of the largest family run conglomerates in the United States.
“The Black Light Sword Ragnar. Currently it is one of the most outstanding weapons released in Fantasia. And the Harmless Armour. This is also one of the most advanced armours. The shoes belonging to the god Hermes also contains magic that will deflect certain attacks. In addition, all of Rake’s equipment are one of a kind on Fantasia. If any of them are released on the market then Fantasia’s economy would be reversed.”
Luanos, the guild leader of the Black Butterfly Guild remarked after Garam.
“And Rake’s profession is Crusader. It is the worst profession to face. Rake’s position as a crusader is a tanker. Laden might be the best PVP player in Fantasia but Rake is the tanker with the strongest defense. Putting aside the items, Rake’s tanker skills are at the peak. He is too good. From profession to specifications.”
“It is like Luanos-nim said. Rake’s profession is a tanker. He is the tanker with his skills at the peak in Fantasia. Rake lacks damage as a tanker. His items can help with the lack of attack power. Rake has the Black Light Sword Ragner. In Fantasia, there are only 14 types of items with one copy on the continent. Among those 14 types in Fantasia, how many of them are weapons?”
“He is called King Laden but in this case, there is no way he can beat Rake. What about Alkena-nim’s comparison of Laden to a boss?”
Luanos’ eyes headed towards Alkena. She laughed with eyes darkened by eyeliner.
“No matter how excellent the AI of the boss monster, it is still a monster that moves in a fixed pattern. The degree of difficulty for Casabulo might be high but…once you are familiar with the pattern, it isn’t impossible to catch it. But Rake? Rake is a human. The pattern is not fixed. In addition, his specifications might make him superior to a boss monster.”
There were a series of negative remarks. Once the psychological warfare between the commentators ended, Park Young-jun checked the time again.
‘A little more.’
“Now the match will start soon.”
The atmosphere naturally changed. Despite the fact that they were on different sides about who would win, the commentators were still players of Fantasia. They were players recognized in different fields, including PVP. Their hearts purely wanted to watch.
“Which reminds me, isn’t this fight due to a quarrel between Laden and the Paragon Guild?”
“Ah, yes. The public doesn’t know this yet but Laden and Paragon clashed in the Ellehab Jungle. In that place, Laden PKed 10 members of the Paragon Guild.”
“Then Rake made a direct offer. A PVP match in the arena. If Laden wins then Paragon will leave him alone and if Rake wins…Laden will come to the Paragon Guild.”
“But Laden refused.”
“He vowed that he would rather delete his character then join the Paragon Guild.”