Chapter 281. After the Setup 2
It went without saying that the Neutral Zone instructors were limited.
Including the general manager, a Neutral Zone needed at least ten personnel, and the number could not exceed 10 percent of the total number of people.
Meaning, the number of instructors allowed to enter the 2018 March Neutral Zone would be 53 or less.
Of course, Seol Jihu didn’t plan to fill up all 53 seats. Although the general manager would gain Survival Points even if they sat around and did nothing, the instructors’ gains would be strictly merit-based.
It would depend on how well they could coax the trainees into spending their Survival Points.
For example, the instructor in charge of operating the cafeteria would gain little but consistent Survival Points, while the instructor in charge of the VIP store would be able to go for a single big fortune.
In other words, while an instructor’s profits would fundamentally depend on their ability, having fewer instructors would allow them to gain a bigger piece of the pie. This was the reason Seol Jihu decided to bring the minimum number of people he could.
‘I’ll definitely be bringing all of Valhalla’s members though.’
A total of fifteen people from Valhalla would be entering the Neutral Zone. Although only thirteen of them could actually perform as instructors, the Neutral Zone had strict rules, which did not set Flone and Little Chick as exceptions.
Whether one was a human being, a ghost, or an animal, they would be counted as one head if they entered.
As Earthlings tried to game the system after the heavy restrictions came in effect, the seven kingdoms had sealed any means for them to cheat.
As Seol Jihu recognized Flone and Little Chick as members of Valhalla, he could not just leave them behind and decided to bear the cost.
Another restriction was that only up to 60 percent of the instructors could be from the managing organization. As such, Seol Jihu cut off the number of instructors at 25 exactly.
Only after discussing with the participating instructors and distributing the roles was Seol Jihu able to get a breather. Finally, the preparation had ended.
Seol Jihu put down his pen and sprung up with his arms in the end, feeling refreshed.
Now, there was only one thing left to do — lazing around while watching his comrades run around the Neutral Zone to gain Survival Points.
‘You better not ask me for any help, or else you won’t hear the end of it. Ah, but I’ll help Yuhui Noona and Kim Hannah a bit.’
Seol Jihu vowed small vengeance according to the Golden Rule before plopping down on his bed completely relaxed.
Although he planned to take a nap, he fell into a deep sleep. By the time he woke up, the day had gone by, and it was the next morning.
And, the person he had been waiting for was back.
Kim Hannah had returned to Paradise late last night. Seol Jihu heard this news from Seo Yuhui who came into his room to tell him to eat breakfast.
Seol Jihu ran to the 10th floor trying to suppress his excitement and saw Kim Hannah sitting at a table, drinking coffee.
Looking back at Seol Jihu, Kim Hannah grinned. As this was not an official place, she did not use polite speech, but that was not a problem. Seol Jihu glued his butt on the chair across from her.
“Don’t be in such a rush. I was going to report to you yesterday when I came back, but you were sleeping like a baby.”
“You should have woken me up.”
“No, you were sleeping so soundly. I would have felt horrible if I did.”
Kim Hannah giggled as she took a sip of coffee.
“You even finished my share of the paperwork. Thanks. Really.”
“It’s nothing. It needed to be done anyway. Good job too.”
“Oh my. Thank you, Representative.”
Kim Hannah spoke in an unusually cutesy tone. She seemed to be in a terrific mood, perhaps because the preparations were done when she came back.
“It was a success.”
Kim Hannah answered without dragging it out any longer.
“Getting in touch was easy, but not so much afterward. I thought she would be easy to coax since she entered Paradise once already, but it was trickier than I expected.”
“She looked interested, but she didn’t try to show it. She asked all sorts of questions before asking me to give her some time to think. And she did that, twice.”
Right, she probably found it difficult to believe that she could not remember anything about a world she had gone to before.
“To be honest, I thought she would refuse and was racking my brain for a plan. But then she suddenly called me up, cheekily reaching out her hand like she’d buy my story just this once.”
Kim Hannah smirked as she put her coffee mug down.
“Anyway, I stamped her right then and there. Now she won’t be able to refuse even if she wanted to.”
“If you stamped her, that must mean she accepted my terms, right?”
“Of course. I explained everything to her on our second meeting, and she gave her answer on the third.”
Seol Jihu clenched his fists.
“But that kid was really cheeky. She said, ‘If you’re telling the truth, I should be able to confirm it when I get to that unspeakable world.’”
Kim Hannah shook her head.
Seol Jihu asked with his eyes sparkling.
“How was she? Eun Yuri, I mean. Did she look okay?”
“I don’t know. I can’t open up her Status Window, so I have no way of knowing. But—”
Kim Hannah paused for a moment before continuing.
“She seemed timid, but I could also tell that she was a bit of an oddball. From the way she talked, she wasn’t stupid at all. She didn’t feel like an ordinary college student.”
“Also, she was really pretty.”
Seol Jihu rejoiced.
“Yep. Even when she was just sitting still, the aura she gave off was no joke. She was one of those atmospheric beauties.”
Kim Hannah glanced at Seol Jihu coldly.
“Why are you so happy?”
Seol Jihu blinked rapidly.
“Uh, it’s because you said she wasn’t ordinary.”
“Mhm, I’m sure it is.”
Kim Hannah sighed.
“Ehew, why are there only a few men in our organization? It’s women everywhere. Everywhere, I tell you!”
Seol Jihu stealthily looked away, hearing Kim Hannah’s obvious jab. However, he suddenly remembered something good and spoke.
“Oh yeah, do you remember when you and I first met?”
Kim Hannah lightly coughed as if she choked on her coffee.
“Cough, cough! Damn it, I was wondering why you were just letting it go.”
“Hehe, you didn’t remember until I brought it up, right?”
“Damn it, why did I…”
Kim Hannah smacked her lips while glancing sideways.
Seol Jihu smiled faintly.
“I’m curious about something.”
Kim Hannah apologized right away.
“I didn’t know. No, it’s not that I didn’t know, but I didn’t have time. I didn’t think I’d be using the gold stamp on you.”
“Mean? What part of you back then was I supposed to trust?”
Kim Hannah grumbled softly as she studied Seol Jihu’s face. However, he only stared at her without a word. She must have had a guilty conscience as she spoke when Seol Jihu didn’t say anything.
“Come on, think about me a little. I don’t have any battle power. Killing me is like snapping a twig.”
Still, his gaze did not drop.
“Argh, damn it…”
Unable to bear his indescribable gaze, Kim Hannah eventually raised the white flag.
“Okay, I’ll apologize. Sorry. Let bygones be bygones, please?”
“If you’re sorry, do me a favor. Then I’ll forget about it completely.”
“It’s nothing difficult. You just have to do as I say.”
“Ugh. Hey, I’ll just give you my jacket. How about you use it for a day and return it to me? You said you liked my smell, right? I’ve been wearing it for two days.”
“Hmm, I’ll take it for now. It’s nowhere enough though.”
Seol Jihu did not refuse, making Kim Hannah dumbstruck.
“Are you for real? I actually can’t believe it.”
Ignoring Kim Hannah’s pleas, Seol Jihu spoke with a smile. Soon…
“…Have some shame. Do you really wanna do that?”
Kim Hannah criticized Seol Jihu with a pitying look.
“Why? It’s fun.”
“Put fun aside for this.”
“I have to destress somehow, right? Anyway, it shouldn’t be difficult, so you choose.”
Seol Jihu gave an ultimatum before getting up from his seat.
“Oh, I’ll give this back to you in the Neutral Zone.”
Of course, he didn’t forget to take the jacket hanging on Kim Hannah’s seat.
Staring at him with a dumbfounded look, Kim Hannah shouted, “At least don’t take the jacket!”
Time flew, and the opening of the Neutral Zone entered the countdown stage.
Although preparations were fully made and there was nothing more to be done, Valhalla was bustling from early morning.
The Tutorial would start at 8 p.m. Earth time. All participating instructors had to enter before then.
Although leaving the organization building empty weighed on Seol Jihu’s mind, there was no need to worry about any possible burglary as Flone admonished the mob of housebound spirits to keep the place safe.
Valhalla’s members hopped on the carriage at the right time and left for the Neutral Zone. However, Seol Jihu did not leave with them and remained in Eva.
He had told his comrades that he had to take care of something as general manager and that he would arrive before it’s too late, so they should enter first.
Then, the place he visited was Luxuria’s temple.
Now that Eun Yuri was stamped, she had to come to Paradise regardless of her will.
But before then, there was something he needed to do.
‘I want to use a wish.’
Using a wish to resurrect Eun Yuri. Only then would she gain the qualification to enter Paradise again.
Seol Jihu was somewhat looking forward to this process. After all, this was the first time he was using a Divine Wish. However, nothing of note happened.
Never mind a grand ceremony, all he got were words that the wish was heard and that the resurrection was complete.
After Luxuria’s confirmation, Seol Jihu returned to Valhalla with a grin. It was boring to stay in such a big building alone, but he spent his time productively, vigorously training for the first time in a while.
Then, when it was time, he finally started walking toward the destination.
Where he headed to was the portal within the temple. He did not get on a carriage and go to the Neutral Zone bordering Scheherazade. Instead, he had gone back to Earth.
Coming back after a long time, Seol Jihu immediately checked the current time.
2018 March 22nd, 7:31 p.m.
He had returned on time thanks to calculating the time several times. As Kim Hannah said, the Tutorial was a stage that was randomly created on Earth, and the summoning happened on Earth as well.
In other words, he would not be able to enter the Tutorial if he stayed in Paradise. Though, that wouldn’t be impossible in the first place except for unique situations.
After wandering around his room for a while, Seol Jihu suddenly checked his phone. There was a big backlog of text messages and calls that he failed to pick up.
Many were from his mother and older brother, and Yun Seora had interestingly texted him as well.
‘I need to give them a call…’
Although this thought crossed his mind, Seol Jihu gently put his phone down. He could be on the phone for a while if he started talking to them, but he had less than 10 minutes remaining. There was a chance the call would end in the middle.
Blaming himself for being too busy with Paradise, Seol Jihu quietly sat down and waited. Finally, the clock turned to 8 p.m., and a change occurred.
Without any signs, a silvery light formed in the air before quickly descending and swallowing Seol Jihu whole.
‘So this was what happened.’
As he had been so flustered the first time, he had not seen it clearly.
Seol Jihu stared in amazement as the light rapidly dyed his body. In the next moment, his vision turned white, and irresistible drowsiness flooded in.
When he opened his eyes, an unfamiliar scenery unfolded before him.
After getting up, Seol Jihu first checked his surroundings.
‘I thought it would be my apartment room…’
But rather than his room, he found himself in a living room he had never seen before. It looked like the house of an average middle-class family.
It was then. Wing, wing! A vibrating sound buzzed, followed by a recorded robotic voice.
—Now, now, rise and shine! Wake up and check your messages. Hurry up!
Although the echo in the room made it slightly unclear, he could still tell that it was Phi Sora’s voice.
Neutral Zone aside, she had insisted on taking charge of the Tutorial.
Seol Jihu really couldn’t feel a hint of manners in her tone.
Laughing blandly, when he tried to enter the room where the voice came from…
An alert struck his ears.
[Confirming the admission of Seol Jihu — the Helper of Gold Mark Invited, Eun Yuri.]
Seeing the message, Seol Jihu grinned.
It was generally believed that an Earthling could only experience the Tutorial once. However, the reason he could enter the Tutorial as a fully-fledged Earthling lied on the gold invitation.
The invitation clearly said on the bottom:
—*This invitation letter allows the honored guest to bring along another person as a helper.
In other words, Seol Jihu had obtained the qualification to enter the Tutorial again by becoming Eun Yuri’s helper.
According to Luxuria, the gold stamp was made for someone who must be brought in.
‘The Tutorial should be a piece of cake.’
Although the stage was created on Earth, the Tutorial was an independent space just like the Neutral Zone.
As he could use all his abilities from Paradise, it would be more difficult to fail the stage. Seol Jihu pledged to explore every corner of the Tutorial this time.
That was, before a new alert rang out.
[A Gold Mark Invited entering with their Helper has initiated ‘Tutorial Modification’.]
[Gold Mark’s bonus privilege, ‘Hidden Stage’, has been opened.]
Seol Jihu blinked rapidly.
The Tutorial changed when a Helper entered with a Gold Mark Invited? A new hidden stage would open?
He had never heard anything about it.
“What’s going on…?”
As he was standing dazedly from the unexpected turn of events…
Click. He heard the sound of a door opening.
It was from the room where the voice came from before.