Chapter 5. Back In My Day (1)

The Frozen Player Returns 제리엠 2551words 2023-08-30 06:12:26

Chapter 5. Back In My Day (1)

Seo Jun-Ho sat with his eyes closed and legs crossed inside Hanguk Hospital's rehabilitation room number 12. His comrade Rahmadat had taught him that the lotus position could help with magic circulation.

‘Training my body will take a long time anyway.’

Restoring his body to the way it was during his prime years would take at least a few months. Of course, he couldn’t spend that time focusing solely on his physical state either. So for now, he would train in other aspects that could be improved more immediately.

‘My magic stat is 18…’

It wasn’t very high. When Players with at least a little bit of talent awakened, their magic stats would be over 20.

“Tsk, I went through so much to increase my magic stat back then too.” Seo Jun-Ho sulked as he recalled the memories. The day he awakened as a Player was the day he lost his family and swore vengeance. He also received the S-rank skill ‘Watchguard of Darkness.’ However, the first time he used it properly was six months later. The reason for this was simple…

‘This crazy skill consumes a ton of magic.’

Because it was so powerful, he needed just as much magic to use it. So, having a lower magic stat than others, Seo Jun-Ho had to push himself to his limits to overcome his weakness. All his stats increased by 1 when he leveled up, and that was the only way to raise his magic stat right after he became a Player. Thus, he killed monsters upon monsters in order to level up. While other Players would go hunting once, he would go three, five times. And while Players took time to recover when they were injured, he would just put on a bandage and keep hunting.

After surviving this hellish life for a few years, Seo Jun-Ho eventually became the best Player in the world.

“Phew…” Seo Jun-Ho pushed his thoughts away and activated his magic power. It began to circulate around his body as it started to awaken his magic circuits.

‘They’re really rusty.’

The circuits had fallen into a deep stasis after not being used for 25 years. People often compared magic power to a train, and magic circuits to train tracks. It was only natural for an unused track to become overgrown with weeds, and this was the case with Seo Jun-Ho’s magic circuits. Magic hadn’t passed through them for a long time and now, there was buildup.

Most Players didn’t care about maintaining their circuits because it didn’t affect their ability to use magic. However, Seo Jun-Ho was the type of person that wouldn’t be satisfied unless his circuits were in their best condition.

‘I don’t have much magic, so I have to use it efficiently.’

One would lose less magic power when their magic ran through clean and clear circuits, which was why Seo Jun-Ho always made sure to take care of them.

‘I will lose about 30% of the magic I use right now. I can’t use it like this.’

Seo Jun-Ho gathered the dust-like magic into one area and then spread them out over his worn magic circuits. The magic awoke and rushed through them like an ox. His circuits branched out through his body like roots, and every time magic energy passed by, the impurities would be washed away.

When he opened his eyes, three whole hours had passed. His entire body was sticky with sweat.

“Hm, good thing I don’t smell.”

Perhaps it was because he was trapped in the ice, but his body hadn’t collected any waste. It was a good thing too because that meant he could give his full attention to improving his body’s condition.

Seo Jun-Ho stood up from his seat and summoned his magic power. Unlike three hours ago, it awakened like a wildfire.

“The magic loss rate is about 5% now…It’s not as good as it was before, but it’s not bad.”

This was why he took care of his magic circuits. Seo Jun-Ho gave a satisfied smile and squeezed his hands into fists. He started to summon all the magic power he had to see how far he could push his skill.


Darkness bloomed from his magic, spreading out elegantly like a drop of ink in a pool. Someone who didn’t know better would have surely said it was beautiful. But someone who knew the true nature of this ability would never describe it as such.

Darkness was the most wicked, the most violent out of all the elements.

“Ugh…” Seo Jun-Ho’s face contorted as he tried to maintain his skill. “Hup, cough! Cough…”

He gasped for breath, unable to hold it in any longer. When he looked up, the darkness had already disappeared. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve.

‘I think this is my limit with the current amount of magic power I have.’

His mind started to race.

‘In that case…How am I supposed to fight in a real battle? What did I even do when I didn’t have enough magic? Ugh, I have so little fucking magic.’

He quickly found the answer as he wracked his memory.

‘I guess all I can use is blind spots, traps, and brute force.’

All he could do with his tiny amount of magic was block his opponent’s sight or grab at their ankles.

‘Once I get more magic, I’ll look into the Frost Skill.’

Thanks to the effects of Bringer of Spring, Seo Jun-Ho could actually feel his magic power being replenished. When he recovered all the magic he used, he narrowed his eyes. “I wonder what it’ll be like.”

He was very curious. Just with his S-rank Watchguard of Darkness, Seo Jun-Ho had been able to rise to the top, but the EX-rank Frost would surely be even stronger. It made him nervous.

‘...I hope this one won’t consume a ton of magic too.’

Nervous, he closed his eyes.

‘Like this…Or is it like this?’

Both darkness and ice created something out of nothing, so Seo Jun-Ho was able to activate Frost more easily than he expected.


The ground froze beneath his feet. He grinned. “It doesn’t take up as much as I thought!” Of course, it was an EX-rank Skill, so it still consumed a considerable amount of magic power; about the same as Watchguard of Darkness. But this meant that it was more cost-effective.

‘At this rate…I think I’ll be able to use it in battle if I just raise my magic stat a little bit.’

Additionally, he wouldn’t have to spend so much time experimenting with the skill as he did with Watchguard of Darkness.

“I’ve already seen the real thing.”

Seo Jun-Ho had battled the Frost Queen for 70 hours straight. In other words, he had studied all the techniques she could use for 70 hours straight. Not only that, but he had experienced their effects as well.

“I’m looking forward to the exam.”

A wide smile filled his face.


A week passed quickly. During that time, Seo Jun-Ho trained his body and memorized all the documents that Shim Deok-Gu gave him to catch up on all the things that had happened in the past 25 years.

“Alright, I’m all ready.”

Crack. Crack.

He rolled his neck and changed his clothes. Today was the day of his examination as well as his discharge.

‘Of course, there’ll be a stand-in for me.’

Specter was still officially lying in his hospital bed because the Association had officially judged that he needed at least a few months to recover.

“Reveal Specter’s identity!” Someone was yelling through a loudspeaker outside the hospital as reporters and protestors bustled about.

“Reveal his identity!”

“What bullshit. I bet they don’t even feel sorry for the patients.” Seo Jun-Ho muttered. To be fair, they wouldn’t be here so early in the morning if they had that much common sense.

But since he was the subject of the complaint, he couldn’t really say anything.

Seo Jun-Ho got in a taxi and headed to the Korean Player Association building.

“They must have a lot of money.”

The 80-floor building was designed with an elegant curve, and a large crowd of people was already gathered at the entrance. They were all here to register for the Player Licensure Exams. Seo Jun-Ho was already registered, so he didn’t have to wait in line.

“Please sit in the waiting room and come in when it’s your turn.” An employee instructed.

Seo Jun-Ho checked his ticket. Number 75. He would have to wait for a while.

The mood in the waiting room was more casual than he expected. The exam didn’t have a limit on the number of people who could pass. Every examinee could pass as long as they were talented enough, so there was no need for them to compete with each other.

“Hup.” Seo Jun-Ho sat down on a chair and crossed his arms. He closed his eyes but kept his ears open. He listened in for information that wouldn’t be on all the formal documents that Shim Deok-Gu gave him.

“Did you see the morning news? They finally cleared the ancient Dungeon on the 2nd…Heaven’s Breath…”

“I heard that one of the judges today is Shim Deok-Gu himself.”

“Haa, if I fail again, that’ll be my fourth time.”

“It’s been 2 years since I awakened, but I still haven’t passed the exam. Maybe I’m just not talented.”

“Does anyone know what weapon we should pick for the highest chance of passing?”

‘There’s nothing too useful.’

Well, they were all people who had yet to become Players. It would have been more surprising if they actually knew something useful. Seo Jun-Ho gave up on gathering information and opened his eyes.

Right on time, an announcement was made.

- Examinee number 1, please come in.

A hologram screen appeared in the middle of the waiting room, showing the inside of the testing room. A moment later, it showed the examinee picking a weapon in the armory.

‘A spear.’

The man looked nervous as he gripped the long spear. But it didn’t matter, because the exam began right away.


Hologram monsters appeared and charged. The man swung his spear in wide arcs as he approached them, and the monsters took a step back.

“Wow, he’s pretty enthusiastic.”

“The monsters are stepping back because they’re scared.”

“I’m jealous. I bet number 1 will pass easily.”

The other applicants admired his movements, but they didn’t know any better.

Seo Jun-Ho shook his head.

‘Tsk, that’s not how you’re supposed to use a spear.’

A spear was most efficient when there was a distance maintained between the user and their opponents. The fact that the man was using the spear to close the distance meant that he knew nothing about the weapon. Unsurprisingly, the monsters suddenly charged at him in a do-or-die way. He fell, and the battle concluded. The monsters disappeared, and his face revealed his shock as he received failing marks.

‘So that’s how they do it.’

Seo Jun-Ho’s body was already itching. He wondered if killing the hologram monsters would feel like the real thing.


The judges’ room was set up quite peculiarly. There was a glass window that looked into the testing room, and behind it was a plush sofa where ten people sat.

“Hm, this one’s not very good either.”

“It seems like they didn’t study up on the monsters’ traits and fighting methods.”

“That should be the bare minimum they should be doing as a Player.”

“I think we should fail them.”

The Guilds’ judges began to speak all at once. However, they weren’t as stubborn as usual. They presented their opinions carefully as they observed the reactions of one person.

“I agree. This one fails.”

The Korean Player Association had lost a lot of its power, but Shim Deok-Gu was still the President. The other judges were careful not to offend him.

“Send in the next one.”

At Shim Deok-Gu’s order, an announcement was made, and a new examinee walked into the testing room. The judges squinted as they saw.

“Ha…There’s always someone that does this.”

“This is more excessive than usual. A sword, bow, throwing knives, a spear, and even a handgun…He really must’ve swept through the armory.”

“These kids don’t even know anything about weapons.”

“Well, they think that having more weapons makes them stronger.”

“Does he think he’s Specter or something?”

“Seeing how skinny he is, it also looks like he doesn’t know how to take care of himself.”

Just like they said, the new examinee looked like a Specter copycat. They weren’t uncommon among novices. Copycats would walk around carrying multiple weapons, trying to imitate the weapons master Specter.

“It’s annoying for us, but I can’t imagine how you feel, President.”

“What do you mean by that?” Shim Deok-Gu asked.

“Specter is your close friend, but he’s trying to mimic him.”

“You’ve been by the so-called perfect Player’s side for a very long time.”

“...Well, I suppose. I think this is quite entertaining.”

Shim Deok-Gu snorted as he looked down at the testing room.

‘I told you to stand out…But this is too much, you bastard.’

The Specter copycat, Seo Jun-Ho, looked around the room in wonder.

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