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Jun 13, 2011

Moonlight Sculptor v1c01

Disclaimer: We DO NOT own this translation! This is simply the text version of the official translation.
[The official translation has been dropped at volume 1]

Chapter One: The Birth of a Dark Gamer

Just imagine a noble, elegant and picturesque life in poverty that you might find nowhere else but in a soap opera.

No matter how poor you are, it does not discourage you from showing unconditional love for strangers, and even a piece of bread is there to be shared with a warm smile.

If anyone claimed that such an illusion existed in reality, Harn would beat him to a pulp, and strike once more to finish him off.

Life was too cruel for the poor.

The Labor Standard and Welfare Law, enacted in Parliament, prohibited a minor from working for a living under any circumstances.

Illegal though it was, Harn Lee had worked in every kind of trade imaginable.

He had cut seams in a textile factory since he was fourteen. The wages had been meager, yet he had been excited by the free meals handed out.

But the working conditions, an underground cell with two ventilation fans running, had put his health at risk. Eventually, his lungs had been seriously damaged, creating heavy medical bills.

The next job he had taken was at a gas station, and sometimes he went to the length of pulling a cart to collect and sell recyclables.

However hard he had worked, what was left in his pocket was only a small amount.

As a minor, the only way for him to get a job was by breaking the law, and his employers had always taken advantage of this to make him sweat terribly.

Thankfully, it had taught him an unforgettable lesson about the value of money. But things would be different from now.

He was finally an adult, had obtained his own ID card, and could get a job legally.

Inserting the ID card in his wallet Harn mumbled, "I'll work hard almost to the point when my body is falling apart. I'm sure I can cope with three part-time jobs."

Harn's parents had passed away when he was a child, and all that was left in his famity were his grandmother and a baby sister.

"Alright. From now on, I'll make money, a lot of money," Harn pledged to himself, and returned home.

"Are you back home?"

Grandma was lying down under a blanket. Her hip had been dislocated when she fell downstairs a couple of days ago, and she had since been unable to work.

She was only taking medication. She could not afford to visit a doctor for proper medical care, so she had to rest at home to get better.

She had been persistently refusing to go to hospital, though she groaned painfully in her sleep.

Every time Harn came home, something weighed heavily upon his shoulders. The house was lifeless with an aloof little sister and an ailing grandmother. That was probably why he stayed away from home even more.

"Where is Hayan?" Harn asked, out of routine.

"I have no idea. I think she might be hanging out with the delinquents again," Grandma said.

Hayan was Harn's younger sister.

She had hardly shown up at home in days.

"She's fine. I'm sure she won't get in trouble," Harn said reassuringly.

"You're her only brother. A brother should protect his little sister."


Harn forced a smile and entered his room.

He wanted to send his younger sister to college, even if it forced him to work at a construction site or drive a cab.

True, she had lately been drifting off the rails, but she was basically a bright and brilliant girl, unlike Harn. He believed that once she was admitted to college, she would find her true love there and live a happy life.

Also, he wanted to fulfill his wish to look after Grandma. He wanted to compensate her for what she, now old and ill, had sacrificed to bring up himself and Hayan.

"I'm going to look for a job tomorrow. I need to get a job interview as well..." Harn mumbled, switching on his computer.

The old computer buzzed to life. When it was connected online, he signed into an online game, as was his routine.

The game that he played was The Continent of Magick.

It was a classic online RPG game, which had been launched over two decades before, one that had ignited a frenzy for online games all over the Korean Peninsula.

It had remained the most popular online game until three years ago.

Harn's outdated computer, assembled out of second-hand parts from various sources, was unable to handle most contemporary online games, and nothing but The Continent of Magick ran smoothly.

It was the first game he'd ever played, but he had seen nothing better, the only thing he could call entertainment in his entire life.

His playing style was peculiar.

He had hardly bothered trying to make friends with other users, and spent all his days and nights hunting down monsters. When they appeared, he slew them without question, and as his level rose, he had moved to a deadlier dungeon.

He had never participated in any siege or conflict between clans.

He had taken pleasure in raising his avatar's status and upgrading the equipment, nothing more.

He had once carried out a hunting mission for two hundred consecutive hours without catching a wink of sleep, and it wasn't unusual for him to struggle for a month or two in order to rise a level or chase after a monster.

Some might question what kind of fun Harn was looking for, but he was immersed in watching his own avatar grow stronger and becoming capable of defeating monsters that he couldn't have faced before.

In a short period of time, Harn had reached the highest level. He had attained the ultimate point with nowhere further to go.

This feat was worth a full page dedicated to it in the annals of the The Continent of Magick. Nowhere had Harn found anyone who could rival his avatar in supremacy. In a dungeon where other users had to team up to survive, he could wipe out all the monsters single-handedly.

After reaching the highest level, he had slaughtered each and everyone of the most infamous monsters, including the Dragons, at least once by himself.

For Harn, though, the whole thing had stopped being fun.

A recent breakthrough in technology had introduced the virtual reality system, hailed as the Holy Grail of the online gaming industry.

Among a new crop of the virtual reality games, the game called Royal Road was the most spectacular of all.

Besides the fact that it embodied a perfect world in virtual reality, millions of subhuman races and users were playing shoulder to shoulder in Royal Road

Thousands of professions and millions of skills.

You might enjoy your own adventure as you wished, or spend a week-long fishing trip in the ocean with your friends - of course, as tong as you didn't run across an unexpected tornado.

The infinite flexibility and grandiose scale was wondrous, only to be outdone by its marvelous system.

Royal Road had won the most favorable comments: that it had brought to culmination the greatest fun that a man could ever enjoy in a game.

"It's out of my league. I couldn't care less."

What could Harn expect from a computer that was slowed down by a little weighty homepage?

Widely affordable though it had become, the online game still cost over ten million won because you had to install a machine that could realize the virtual reality. Had such a large amount of money been given to him, he would have rather covered the medical costs for his grandma or pay his younger sister's way through college. Plus, now was the time to give up this game, so he could move on and commit himself to something more productive.

Do you want to delete your account?
Yes / No

Harn moved the mouse cursor over Yes. A single click, and the avatar that he had worked so hard to create would be gone forever. The moment he flexed his finger, a thought raced through his mind.

"I heard you could make some money by selling an avatar. The transfer of an account or something."

A newspaper said that it was getting common to buy and sell online game avatars, and that they could be worth a fortune. It dawned on Harn that it would be better to sell the avatar to someone else who wanted it than erase it for nothing.

Harn searched the internet for auction sites with online game avatars. The first search showed dozens of related sites, and he chose the top one, described as the biggest and most active transaction website on the internet.

"I just need to post my avatar here, and it's done?"

Harn posted his own avatar along with a few captured images.

He described how the avatar was at the highest level in The Continent of Magick, included the best equipment that he had acquired from the Dragons, and was worth thirty trillion marks if you owned it.

He set fifty thousand won for the initial price for the auction.

He did this because he was afraid that if he had asked for too high a price, nobody would bother bidding on it.

The deadline for the auction was set twenty-four hours later.

Harn didn't expect to fetch a higher price out of it by setting a longer period, and he was in dire need of money so that he could buy a fine suit to wear when he showed up for job interviews.

There were market prices for avatars and items from various online games. Since only paying members were exclusively permitted to read the contents of other private auctions, he was denied access to them.

After posting his avatar from COM, Harn went to bed. He was going to wake up early in the next morning and stop by a nearby placement bureau.

It took less than an hour for the posting to warm up the blogsphere, the virtual space occupied by netizens.

Among those who read Harn's auction posting first, not one took it as a serious offer.

They were well aware that the maximum limit of an avatar's level in The Continent of Magick had been adjusted to be much higher by the latest software patch.

The maximum level was two hundred.

They considered it to be territory uncharted by any avatar from any server because the figure itself was practically impossible for any man alive.

...And now this posting claimed that an avatar at the highest level was for sale.

"Some guy's playing a prank on us."

"What sort of moron has posted this boring stuff?"

"This has happened too many limes. Nice try."

Several visitors dropped replies in this fashion. Some mentioned that no one would be fooled by this kind of phishing item, and the others simply said that it made them laugh, then they left.

They slighted Harn's posting as a joke because they were often duped by phishing items, rampant since the beginning of the third millennium.

"Well, it might be...?"

"No way."

Many netizens to write off the auction posting. but curiosity got the best of them, and they clicked on it.

An auction posting was required to show screen captures of the avatar for sale.

They opened each and every one of the image files attached to the posting.

The avatar's status window was impressive. All the stats hit maximum, and the items that he was equipped with were fantastic.

"Where the heck did he come up with these weapons?"

"The full set of Red Dragon Armor, and the Red Dragon's Backbone Shield? Wow..."

"He says they were conferred by the Black God of Valor."

They talked about it, though. It looked as if the poster had thrown his best efforts into creating
this phishing item. It would have needed a great amount of zeal to forge the images down to the last detail.

"This guy definitely spent a lot of time on it."

"I can tell the interface came from The Continent of Magick, but what games did he borrow this equipment from?"

Among those who read the posting, there were graphic designers currently in practice. They looked for any faults in the images.

"A fabricated image, however well mocked up, leaves microscopic traces behind. It could look genuine to the untrained eye, but brand new technology can detect what's fake."

The designers magnified the images by thousands, tracked down the pixels, studied every shade, and even scanned it in 3D in order to work out how the images had been forged.

But their attempts proved futile.

They had to swallow it in the end.

"All these images are real."

"I'm the chief designer of LK Co. I guarantee this picture hasn't been altered in any way."

Contrary to their expectations, the graphic designers began to confirm the authenticity of the images. Then appeared a number of users who still played The Continent of Magick.

The moment they saw the images, they let out a cry of wonder.

They had no doubt of the avatar's identity at first sight.

"This avatar is real. Avatar name, Weed. This user's damn famous."

"This equipment is his. But I didn't know he made the top level."

Harn had always played alone, and avoided crowded dungeons on purpose.

He had never participated in any siege, and always avoided his share of squabbles. But gossip about him had spread.

Weed, the man who had slain dragons and krakens that were deemed invincible, and swept the deadliest dungeons away - all by himself.

Keeping it to himself didn't mean that other players could not recognize him. He had already become a legend among remaining users.

It was only Harn who was oblivious to the fact that he was a celebrity.

"Then, this equipment is real, isn't it'?"

"So this..."

The initial price for the auction was fifty thousand won. It was too good a bargain for the holdings that the avatar had, compared to the market price index, never mind the avatar's value and equipment.

People raced to write down their bids.

II took only a few minutes for the highest bid to go up beyond three hundred thousand won, then seven hundred. Before an hour passed, it exceeded a million.

The bidders didn't hesitate to call because a single item of the equipment could sell at a higher price.

The bid started to jump.

At this stage. a number of people had given up because they knew how far the price would soar.

The number of players in The Continent of Magick had decreased in over time, but a considerable number of users were still playing the game after its servers were integrated into one when its service became free of charge.

In the beginning it was COM users who raised the bid level, but soon the white-collar class joined the race.

The Continent of Magick was the classic game that used to provoke an endless chain of sleepless nights all over South Korea. Harn's avatar was an antique, something you could show off in cocktail parties - you owned the top-level avatar of the once-greatest game.

The shrewder amongst the bidders called their bosses quickly.

"Hello, is Mr. Kim speaking?"

- Why are you calling me so late? You wanna get fired?

"Eh... I'm sorry, sir. No, it's something else. You used to play The Continent of Magick, right?"

- Yeah. so what?

"The top level avatar of COM is up for sale. I thought you'd be interested in it..."

- What the...! Ar-are you talking about Weed?

"Yes, sir. So you know about him, too. His level is two hundred. His stats are all max, and his equipment is..."

Then followed the character's explanation.

- Jump in it. Call for thirty million from your account. I will go home now to check it out. So bid right now!

The majority of people who held key posts in major corporations were part of a generation who used to play online games in their twenties and thirties.

They boosted the price range.

Postlings about this auction for the highest-level avatar flooded out in major portal sites and most game-related forums and blogs, thus making it a hot issue, and a flock of web surfers began to search for it, so it also topped the list of the most popular search keywords.

This opened a new chapter, the real competition, for the auclion.

Meanwhile, Harn was sound asleep, unaware of this.

"Manual labor... fifty thousand won. Cleaning dishes, thirty thousand won. Paper delivery, milk delivery in the morning. At night..."

He was busy summing up what to do the next day in his dreams.

The bid had been soaring since the auction came to national attention.

Even though the identity of the highest-level avatar in COM was little known until then, an impulsive human desire to show off ownership of the best avatar of the once-greatest game began kicking in.

The highest bid finally surpassed a hundred million.

At this point, the bid exceeded the sum of the market price for the holdings and individual equipment. Some people lamented that they were short of money, and dropped out.

"I think the guy selling this avatar is a big-time weirdo."

"How come he gave only twenty-four hours for the auction of such a priceless avatar?"

"Was he damn sure he was going to get the full price for it?"

The losers and onlookers were just trying to soothe themselves.

Before long, the number of replies alone went over nine thousand.

The auction was automatically renewed over and over, and when the highest bid reached three hundred million won, several companies stepped in.

This auction was becoming something huge.

If the deal was settled for a colossal sum, the news would reach the ears of countless people through the media or gossip sites, and the PR effects from it would be beyond calculation.

It costs dearly to run newspaper and TV ads, and people just don't care. But what about the news that a top-level avatar was sold for a small fortune? It would surely get attention and reach the ears and eyes of the public.

The PR departments of those companies approached this auction with that perspective.

Digital media companies and online-game TV stations in immense competition sought to take over this top-level avatar. To them, the value or market price of the avatar hardly mattered.

Suppose that a cable TV station broadcast a series of TV specials about the once big-name online game, casting the avatar in question, wouldn't it elevate their credibility and overall image?

The cut-throat competition led the bid to skyrocket, and the transaction website grinned with satisfaction at the number of visitors streaming in.

The auction finally came to an end.

Five online-game TV stations had battled against one another, and the final winner was CTS Media, a forward-thinking company that had lately been expanding rapidly in scale and winning market share.

As CTS Media turned in the final bid at the intervention of the president's secretary's office, the auction was concluded.


Harn was awakened by a phone call early in the morning.

He had been working on a construction site, and when he came home, exhausted, had gone to bed the day before. He had earned thirty thousand won. It was less than average because he was told off for being incompetent.

- Hello.

To his surprise. the voice over the phone sounded like a woman his age.

"Um... I think you got the wrong number."

Cenain that nobody in her right mind would call him, Harn was going to put down the receiver, but--

- Mr. Lee, You put up your account for sale. Is it correct?

"Yeah, I did, but--"

- This is Nahee Yoon speaking. I am secretary to the president of CTS Media Inc. I wired you the payment for your avatar, sir. Please confirm it at the transaction website and contact us as soon as possible.

"Wait. Was it really auctioned off?"

- Yes, it was. May I ask if you have not checked it, sir?

"No, I was a little too busy..."

Nahee Yoon in CTS Media.

Considering she was talented enough to work at a secretary's office to the president, she was no ordinary woman. She spoke eight languages, and everyone around her extolled her to the skies. But she was stunned by the fact that Harn had not updated himself on the auction of the decade.

"How much was the final bid?" Harn asked.

Harn felt his heart pounding. He had asked this in the hope that it was at least two hundred thousand won, so he could pay part of the medical costs for Grandma, but the voice coming over the phone jolted him.

- It is three billion and ninety million won, sir.

The market price for Weed, Harn's avatar, was originally thought to be one hundred and fifty million won. For popular online games, rare items were usually priced above one hundred million won, but the market price index in the case of an obsolete online game was extremely low.

Combined with the limited deadline, the character's fame and the public interest that was showered on it, many factors had worked in harmony to attract over three billion won. This itself captured the headlines, which was exactly what CTS Media was looking for. Harn shot back, "Are you messing with me?"

- Beg your pardon?

"I can't believe you're calling me just to say that. I'm hanging up."

Slamming down the receiver, Harn gave a bitter smile.

"How the heck did she find out the auction stuff? And how did she get my number?"

Harn bought none of it. It seemed way too impossible.

The moment he clicked on the transaction site, however, the posting that he had written popped up in the main page.

There were replies after replies after replies, and the highest bid price for the auction was, as Nahee had announced, 3.09 billion won.

Miraculously. Harn's strength kept him from fainting.

If this is a dream, I wish I never wake up from it.

The next day, Harn confirmed that more than three billion won had been actually deposited to his bank account.

The whole thing had really happened - there could be no doubt.

Harn ran to Grandma and showed her the bankbook. He had not dared to tell her beforehand because it sounded too good to be true.

"Grandma, I made some money," he said breathlessly.

"I see," Grandma said in a feeble voice.

It had been only three days since the ID card was issued to her grandson. Hard earned, yet little, she thought.

"I'm proud of you, Harn, anyway."

"You don't need to put 'anyway', Grandma."

Harn handed her the bankbook.

"What's this?" Grandma asked.

"Look. This is what I've earned," Harn said.

Grandma rubbed her dim eyes a couple of times and looked at the bankbook, only to react with incredulity at the amount printed on it.

"Wha... what have you done, Harn, a robbery or something? But this is too much for what you'd make out of a robbery..."

"I sold my account of the game I used to play."


"It's a long story... Anyway, I earned it legally."

"Then, really..." Choked with emotion, Grandma sobbed softly.

"Harn, we don't need to worry about the water and electricity bills any more?"

"Of course not. We can even own our home."

"You can go back to school, loo... and we can send Hayan to college. We can get out of a contemptible life."

Grandma was moved to tears. Same with Harn.

Memories of hardship and distress now became faint and distant.

"Now we can live a happy life, Grandma," Harn said in tears.

"Truly so."

They were all the more touched because they had worked together to survive many years of tribulation.

The following week, they looked for a new house, and had her exa­mined in hospital. It was discovered that her health was failing in many ways, not just in her back, so they made the decision to hospitalize Grandma for a while. Hayan, too, was delighted with a whole new life.
But their happiness was short-lived.

Black-suited men.

Those whom Harn wanted to avoid at all costs came to visit the hospital.

The men in black suits pushed into the ward wearing shoes. They were so physically well-built that the five of them left no room for anyone else in the ward.

Trembling in fear, the other patients left silently, assisted by the nurses.

Only Harn, Grandma and the men were left behind.

Harn was relieved that they had come while his younger sister wasn't there. But it was also true that their visits had never turned out well. He expected nothing better this time.

"Hello, Mr. Lee. I offer you my congratulations that your family's fortunes have turned around lately," said a man with yellow-dyed hair.

Harn shot back sharply, "So what?"

"We're here to collect your father's debt."


"Yes, sir. I'm sure you're now ready to pay back."

Harn caught his breath.

When his parents passed away, the debt of a hundred million won, which they had left behind, was inherited by him.

He should have renounced his right of inheritance, but back then he had been too young to comprehend how the legal system worked.

Grandma, too, had been so grief-stricken by the loss of her son that it escaped her mind that she had to apply to renounce the right of inheritance in the civil court within three months.

As a consequence, Harn now owed the loan sharks a hundred million won. He knew how ruthless they were, but he had money ready now. He didn't need to fear them anymore.

"I will pay off my debt. How much is it?"

"Pay off, you say? You're so cocky, sir. Well, it doesn't matter. As you know, we're always nice to our customers. Your debt is three billion won."

At the man's statement, Harn's temples throbbed with ragc.

"That's outrageous ... I remember my father borrowed a hundred million won, no more."

"Hey, listen, eight years have passed. As time goes by, interest builds up."

"It's still too much... I will sue you."

"Sue us? Go ahead. Do you think the judge will take your side?"

"Justice reigns in court."

"Ha ha ha ha."

The men burst in laughter at Harn's remark.

In particular, the fake blond man slapped his forehead and roared with laughter.

The man standing behind in silence suddenly spoke out. Harn could tell he was the leader of this squad.

"Make it simple and clear to this kid. Stop messing around."

"Yes, boss. I'm sorry," the fake blond man said. "Hey, you kid, keep your ears open. What we are doing is not breaking any laws. We're only asking for interest within the legally set limits. To begin with, the interest rate is fifty percent a year. Simple calculation. A hundred million goes up to one hundred fifty at the end of the first year, two hundred twenty second year, three hundred thirty third year, and almost five hundred billion won four years later."

Harn followed the calculation on his own, and felt despair.

A debt multiplied fivefold over a period of four years.

In his case, eight years had passed, so the debt had been rising to two point five billion won, and give or take a few more months, the figure of three billion won sounded convincing.

Even though Harn was bullied by these thugs from time to time, he had not realized how much his debt built up when you included interest.

Without him knowing, it had accumulated to a shocking sum of three billion won.

Personal bankruptcy!

Anyone in his right mind would file for bankruptcy at any cost if he owed three billion won.

Harn had also considered the possibility of going bankrupt. The catch was, he had to pay money for filing for it. He had to pay money to the court and a legal counsel who was needed to take the necessary steps for him to go into bankruptcy.

Simply put, Harn could not even afford to file for bankruptcy. Had he had enough money for it, those merciless loan sharks would not have let him file for bankruptcy in the first place.

"Pay back three billion won. Now," the fake blond man said.

"No, no way," Harn said.

"No way? Sure, Mr. Lee, do as you please. If you say no today, we will leave today and come back tomorrow to ask for it again. Besides, the interest you've got to pay will be a little more than now."

Harn saw the confidence of the men in black suits.

Confidence of those with power.

Harn was convinced what would happen if he refused to pay back his debt. Now that they had learned of his fortune and visited him in person, there was no alternative for him anyway.

They didn't even raise a finger. They were simply smirking at him.

"It looks like your poor Grandma's so sick that she's laking a break in this hospital. I hope she won't mind staying in this comfortable room a little longer. Also, I just saw your little sister in the corridor. She's lovely, and I have a few close friends who'd love to chase a high school girl's skirt..."

"Don't you dare lay a finger on Hayan!"

"Take it easy, I haven't done anything yet. We are only having a conversation, see? But what if you three happen to fall sick, hand in hand? It'd be a most touching sight."

Harn could no longer withstand the veiled threats. He was out of options. He knew that the men would not mind carrying out what they promised.

Those who could not pay back, and those who dared not pay back - in his slum days, he had seen too many of them who ended up worse than dead.

The original sin that he had committed was that he had been born to parents who had borrowed money from them.

Abandoned even by the law, Harn had to surrender his bankbook.

The men took it, fished one hundred grand in cash from their bag, and handed money to him along with the Certificate of debt for a hundred million won that his parents had drawn up eight years before.

It demonstrated that they had come here fully informed and prepared.

"Thank you, sir. See you later," the fake blond man said, waving his hand.

When the men were leaving the ward, Harn yelled, "Wait!"

"What's the matter, sir? Got a problem?"

"Someday I'll make you pay for this."


"Now that I paid back what I owed you, I will make you pay for what you did to my family."

The men were going to laugh again. But at the sight of Harn's eyes, their laughter died down before it came out.

They saw a beast in him.

The look in his eyes sent chills down the men's spines.

"It looks like you've gone insane. I think we need to teach you a lesson about the real world," the fake blond man said.

The men tucked their sleeves up. But Harn didn't lose his nerve, nor did he shrink backwards.

"Leave him alone. We already collected the money. I don't, want any trouble. Let's gel out of here," the leader said.


"Do you really want to make a scene in the hospital?"


The men in black began leaving the room.

"Oh, and kid."

The boss gave a warning look to Harn.

"I'm Jinsup Kang in Myongdong. Do you really believe your boldness can work out there in the real world? If you think it's unfair. make three billion won inside five years, and come to me. If you make it, I'll kneel down to you."

The loan sharks left.

Lost, Harn collapsed. He could hear his younger sister sobbing in the corridor, and Grandma sighing deeply.

Since three billion won had been stolen before his own eyes, nothing now interested him. A heavy weight of extreme nihilism broke him in two. On the third day, however, he decided to forget about it and move on.

There was hope, and he had seen it. He could not just sit back and remain a loser like this. Unexpectedly, a smile came to his lips. A grin surfaced amid tears.

The experience of tasting an amazing amount of money, however short-lived, taught him how to persist in a world that was harsh.

"Right. I made money once, why not twice?"

The following days were busy for Harn.

Even the hundred thousand that he still had wasn't available to use in his plan. He had to put sixty thousand aside for the mortgage plan for the house, already agreed on contract.

He could cancel the contract if he wanted to, but then he had to pay a penalty. He'd rather die than pay it.

After all, the fund he could use was only forty million won.

He consoled himself by thinking that the real estate bubble at the beginning of the twenty-first century had at least made it possible for him to get some change that he could freely use after he bought the house.

He registered at a Kumdo dojang where they practiced swords and at training centers for other martial arts, Taekwondo and Hapkido.

Harn went through tough drills, with a daily round of six programs. Nine out of ten Korean online game users were playing this game. This trend also lived up to Harn's expectations.

He learned and trained strenuously in various kind of martial arts at the training centers.

The instructors there called him Wild Beast. He swung the sword until his hands got bloody, and worked out every day to build his muscles.

The virtual reality game!

In it, people move their bodies and live an imitation life realistically. So Harn reasoned that learning martial arts and studying the game's system could help a lot.

Of course, a man trained in martial arts would not have an absolute advantage over others. But if he could add an extra ten percent of strength in addition to his current level, Harn thought that it was useful to master martial arts.

Because that extra ten percent could make a big difference while pIaying the game.

Harn practiced martial arts in the daytime, and studied all kinds of virtual reality games at night.

He analyzed thoroughly which game had the most users, and what sort of system it was built in.

He went to the length of creating analysis tables for all the races, classes, cities and skills of the game, and pinned them up on the walls in his room.

His room was littered with data notes.

For one year.

Harn learned martial arts and studied virtual reality games. This one year wasn't only a time of preparation on his part, but also a time during which he watched Royal Road's development closely.

As predicted, the virtual reality game industry was conquered and, true to its name, ruled by Royal Road.

The market share for Royal Road in the global online game industry was over seventy-five percent.

The audience ratings on days of conflict between major clans tended to overwhelm other TV shows.

It marked the grand opening of a new era in which anybody could win fame, power and wealth through the game alone.

The unparalleled system and virtual reality of Royal Road entwined to reward it with this level of success.

"Great. Everything's going as planned."

Harn's icy stare fixed on the monitor.

That day, he bought a capsule designed to connect to Royal Road for ten million won.

He almost wept over it, though he constantly assured himself that it was an investment that had to be made.

He was ready for the game. Now the game started.

He felt what it was like to be a soldier on the brink of a battle.

Do you want to connect to Royal Road?
Yes / No

When the message appeared, Harn didn't waste a second before shouting, "Yes!"

****************** V1C01 END ******************

Won: The currency of Korea. 1 dollar is about 1000 won

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  1. I'm in love, thanks for posting it. BTW why'd you guys decide to post this on your website, did my begging on the fourms work out after all?

  2. Oh whoa. This is so interesting! Selling an avatar... XD I wonder if that's possible in real life? Doubt it but eh. XD It's cool.

    I wonder what will happen next! Can't wait! :)

    1. It's possible. I remember a lot of my online friends selling o2jam accounts before. Though of course, it won't reach 3.09 billion. Haha.

  3. You can find the rest of volume one online with a bit of searching. Or you just directly cut and paste this link: to get the scans of Vol 1 (I believe pdfs and .doc files for vol 1 are available too)

  4. By the way, am I allowed to post links here? Gotta stop my habit of doing first and asking for forgiveness later >.<

  5. @Anon:
    As mentioned at the top of the page, this is "the text version of the official translation" found at that link. We changed the scans to text so we could put it up for online viewing. (that link only has image and PDF versions).

  6. thanks for translating this novel. here's hoping you guys continue onward till volume 29, or the latest volume release.

  7. Thanks for the posting! Many many hopes of you guys continuing after the official translation ends. There are txt formats of the official translation, just google it. ^^

  8. Text format? where? kindly give us a link, so it saves us the trouble of having to fix scan formats!


    This is the site for txt format in pdf. Hope it helps ^_^

    Here all of volume one in word doc.

    No problem >:3!!! As long someone ends up translating volume 2

  11. "To begin with, the interest rate is 50% a year. Simple calculation. A hundred million
    goes up one hundred fifty at the end of the first year..."

    Let me begin by saying that this is USURY, which is illegal in the US. Any company charging their customers excess interest rates will be breaking the law. I learned in my business class that any contract that promotes usury will not be upheld by the court. At least in the US, this is illegal, but not sure about Korea. If Harn sued those men in black in the US, he'll win for sure.

    1. The 50% interest rate is most likely legal. I know for a fact that interest rates in China taken by CORPORATIONS are usually 80% and sometimes exceed 150%. Considering this, then a personal loan to people who probably have a history of bad credit or seemingly no way to pay off the loan in a timely fashion will be lucky not to have interest rates exceeding 200%. The conditions in Korea are likely better, but I can't say by how much.

  12. Thanks for translating stuff. As for anonymous poster on may 15 2012. Korean movies manga and other korean litierture often has people encountering problems like that where if the main character was intelligent they could just go to the police and get out of it. like how many korean manga have you read where the main female character gets bought by some rich guy and has to do what he says. Personally sounds like the main male can go to prison for life for traficking in people. Or are being chaced by violent gang like debt collectors.


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