It was an ordinary day like any other. Although he did gain victory in an important competition a few days back, nothing much had changed.
He only came back home after the interview and fell asleep after drinking a lot.
But opening his eyes, everything had changed.
He couldn’t believe his eyes and lay there for quite a while. After barely coming to himself, Sanghyuk first looked for a mirror and looked the reflection.
“N, no way……”
When he checked his own figure in the mirror, he knew that this absurd change was not a lie.
Inside the mirror was not a veteran director that put in his team to the highest place, but the young, 18 year-old Sanghyuk that was living in an orphanage.
‘This doesn’t make sense no matter how I think about it.’
This wasn’t something like a dream. No matter how many times he checked, this was all vivid reality. No one would think that they would actually return just because they dearly wanted to, right?
Sanghyuk was the same. That was just his own delusion. But now, that delusion had become real. Naturally, he was in a very confused state.
“Fuu, calm down first, and let’s check what situation I’m in.”
He woke up during the night and still couldn’t adapt to the situation after 5 hours. However, he couldn’t stay like this forever.
He was a very cool-headed man, to the point that he was nicknamed the ‘Ice Man’ in his past life. So he started to look around him and grasp his current situation while calming his heart down.
‘One thing is for sure. Either I came back to the past, or I had a very long and vivid dream about the future.’
They were both absurd hypotheses, but he could only come up with such things in his current situation.
‘The more likely scenario is that I came back to the past, right? Whatever happened, the important thing is that the future may proceed as I know it. If it’s like that, then I was just given the chance to live again as I wanted.’
It was very confusing, but he felt strange after his thoughts travelled there.
‘Was I so desperate that God gave me another chance?’
No matter how he thought about it, this kind of supernatural phenomenon couldn’t be explained through normal means. That was why he, as an atheist, brought in God to make himself accept.
“If you can’t avoid it, then enjoy it.”
Muttering his life’s motto, Sanghyuk looked at the mirror. This motto was something he saw when he was at the deepest pits of his life. Of course, this had become something of the future right now, but in any case, Sanghyuk was a 36 year-old man with an 18 year-old body so his thoughts were very different from his peers.
Something unbelievable had happened, but he couldn’t stay still just because he couldn’t believe it. Since the extremes of illogic, going back in time, had happened, he could only accept everything as it is now.
It took a few days for Sanghyuk to admit everything and accept reality as it is. He could confirm that this wasn’t something like a dream through meeting others he could barely remember as well as classmates, and he was convinced that he came back to the past.
Honestly, it wasn’t easy to accept such an absurd situation, but this was the 36 year-old Sanghyuk and not the 18 year-old, so he could come to a decision quickly.
When he accepted everything, he started seeing his surroundings. First, Sanghyuk knew that this was the year 2026, in other words, when he was 18 years old (2nd year of high school). The date written on the ‘old’ phone he had was exactly December 22nd, 2026.
‘The event that changed my life before the winter holidays of 3rd year will happen in exactly 11 months.’
After the event that made his life fall to the depths of the abyss that happens in just 11 months, Sanghyuk had to roll around in those pits for 5 more years.
It was slightly strange to remember the future as though reminiscing the past, but in any case, that would happen if the future went as he knew it.
Of course, Sanghyuk did not plan to make the same mistake again.
‘There isn’t much time as I think. If I want to live this newly-gained life without regrets…… I need to change many things.’
The orphanage would kick him out if he didn’t go to university at 19 years old. Sanghyuk could stay in the orphanage until February of 2028.
Sanghyuk naturally didn’t have the grades to go to university and had to look for another option, and as a result, he could only make such a choice in his past life.
The outcome was the worst possible one, but at the time, he thought that that was for the best.
‘I can’t put my trust in the crappy amount of resettlement support fund. There’s no way those rotten bastards would give proper resettlement funds anyway when they sold us out to those trash. I definitely need to look for a way I could live by myself.’
Since he already had an experience crawling to the top from the abyss with his bare hands, this didn’t feel like much to him.
The most important fact right now…… was that Sanghyuk was completely healthy.
“With the talent I have, I can achieve the things I really wanted!”
His talent that still wasn’t taken away by those trash – this still remained with him, and if he had that, he had the confidence in doing everything.
Actually, he had crawled back up from the bottom even after losing that talent. That was why he was currently nodding his head with a confident expression right now.
He couldn’t remember a lot of the things, but there wasn’t much inconveniences despite that. His personality was originally a quiet one, and he also had the matured wits of a 36 year-old, so he could blend in without popping out.
Like that, he adapted to reality in just a few days, then he started planning for the future.
He couldn’t be sure about the information of the future was 100% accurate, but from the past few days, the future he knew and the flow of reality was extremely similar.
In such a situation, it would be foolish to not use the information he knew.
‘The first thing I need…… is probably money, right?’
Since he was going to be kicked out into society in just one year, money could only be very important to him.
‘Then what can I do to earn money?’
Realistically, he was only in his 2nd year of high school right now, so he didn’t have many choices through which he could earn money. The only work he could do was slaving away at his part-time job with below minimum wage.
“I can’t earn enough money through a part time job. Then…… I guess it comes down to earning money through DN(Dream Network)?”
DN was a kind of huge world that was created in 2020 when VR(Virtual Reality) technology had developed rapidly.
DN had developed rapidly like the internet of the past, and by now, it had absorbed most of the fields where internet was dominant; it was accepted as the world within a world.
‘There’s still 1 year to DN’s revolution, EL(Eternal Life)’s release, isn’t there?’
EL, released in March 2028, became the greatest virtual reality game in the world in mere 4 months after its release. And it did not give its position away for over 15 years.
“I need to make the foundation through which I can undividedly focus on EL before it gets released.”
Since the only thing he had was his body, there wasn’t much he could do even though he had returned to the past.
Sanghyuk knew exactly what kind of special talent he had. That was why he was planning to use that talent to become the best of the best.
“What was the most popular VR game right now?”
Ever since he had come to the past, he was making notes on the important pieces of information he knew on his phone.
Looking through the notes, Sanghyuk could find ‘Sword and Magic’, and remembered that this was popular hit before EL was released.
“Yes. This one was popular for a while.”
Although not much, he did play Sword and Magic for around 6 months.
‘Although I played it against my will, but at least that will help me right now.’
Sanghyuk would subconsciously become angry every time he thought of that time, but anyhow, that experience could help him right now.
‘I guess it’s fortunate that capsule VR devices hasn’t been released yet.’
Capsule VR devices were things that became popular along with EL. To be exact, capsule VR devices were required to enjoy EL properly.
Sword and Magic was a game that could be enjoyed with the headset VR devices, and these headset VR devices could be bought for 400 thousand won (400 USD) if he bought it second hand.
“The problem is that I don’t have that 400 thousand won right now.”
VR devices were a must in order to earn money through DN. This meant that the money required to buy a VR device should be earned through part-time jobs.
Working part-time as an 18 year-old with a 36 year-old mind was a lot tougher than he thought. The job he went with was the convenience store that he found easy and done a lot in the past but…… he could see several injustices that he might have overlooked when he was young, but that wasn’t what made him tired, it was that he had to overlook them as well.
This wasn’t something that would be changed just because he stepped up, and his priority right now was to gather minimum funds, so he endured it through.
Like that, he made 600 thousand won (600 USD) through one month at the convenience store, and bought a second hand VR headset that he could use.
Since he had expert knowledge regarding VR devices, no scammers could scam him through the second hand trade websites.
What was unfortunate was that it was impossible to use this VR headset at the orphanage. Due to various reasons, he could only keep quiet about the fact that he bought a VR device.
Sanghyuk was in a position where he could only play games in secret, so he talked to the owner of an old VR room near the orphanage and paid 100 thousand won (100 USD) to hog one corner of the VR room for 2 months.
This might sound slightly expensive considering a regular membership fee was 150 thousand won (150 USD) per month, but right now, it was more important to start the game as soon as possible. (T/N: I’m guessing regular membership comes with a headset rent as well then.)
Since he was already thinking of dropping out of school, he was planning to attend just enough that the school won’t call the orphanage. Since the high school was filled with problem children, it wouldn’t matter even if he showed up once every few days.
Like that, Sanghyuk started off his first step in his second opportunity in an old VR room.
The nausea unique to accessing the Dream Network through a VR device made a lot of people feel unpleasant. This was improved a lot when technology developed and VR capsules made their debut, but they weren’t completely gone.
However, Sanghyuk didn’t feel this unique nauseous feeling at all. This wasn’t something that happened because he was used to VR in his past life or anything.
The talent he was born with – thanks to that talent, he could feel no nausea at all.
With the development of virtual reality technology and the appearance of a virtual world known as the Dream Network, a new kind of talent that wasn’t discovered until now received the spotlight.
It was a quality that not only measured people’s reactions in virtual reality, but also what people saw in virtual reality as well.
In real life, these people usually became professional sports players, but in the Dream Network, they naturally became professional gamers.
In any case, this quality was called the VRA(Virtual Reality Ability) and at first, this was considered something abstract, but after enough research from many researchers in the field, the exact measuring method had appeared.
VRA measurement was naturally done within the Dream Network, and the absolute majority of the world possessed VRAs of around 100~150.
The ones that didn’t adapt to virtual reality had around 70~100, and vice versa, the ones with great adaptability possessed VRAs around 200.
The special ones referred to as VR pro gamers had an average VRA of a whopping 250.
A VRA of 250 was equivalent to the motor abilities of professional sports players in real life.
Naturally, Sanghyuk also had a VRA that was far from normal. In his memory, the highest VRA he recorded in his past life was a whopping 350.
A value that vastly exceeds even the professional gamers……. This wasn’t confirmed, but he also heard that his VRA was a world record.
Of course, he was crippled in exactly 4 years after he recorded that, and was evaluated to have a VRA of 40, but at least right now, Sanghyuk possessed a tremendous level of VRA.
“In this half a year…… I’ll earn enough money to become independent from the orphanage!”
Muttered Sanghyuk in resolve before accessing the Dream Network. He was thinking of earning money through Sword and Magic and become independent.
It wasn’t easy to earn money through Sword and Magic when it was nearly at the end of its life. However, Sanghyuk believed that he would be able to achieve what he wanted to as long as he had his special talent and a few pieces of information.