It happened a month after Jae Woo had joined the dojo.
Jae Woo had definitely put on some weight during that one month. His once frail muscles were now much larger.
Thus, his sword swings began to let out a menacing sound.
"Want to spar?" Deok Bae asked.
The sound of his sword swings had changed, signaling that he'd become accustomed to the sword.
There was no reason to refuse.
"Feel free to attack as much as you like. I'll just block."
The spar began. Jae Woo grabbed his blade and scanned Deok Bae.
Deok Bae lowered the tip of his blade towards the ground.
Surprisingly, his stance looked quite poor!
As he looked upon him, Jae Woo was hit by a strange feeling.
'It's happening again.'
He felt as though 'if I attack like this, it'll work'. He would often feel a hunch like this!
It wasn't the first time.
It started a few days prior. He could naturally feel the weaknesses or gaps amongst the swordsmen around him.
This time was no different.
If he struck at Deok Bae's side, then he felt he could hit him.
'Well, let's give it a go.'
Jae Woo aimed his training sword at Deok Bae's side.
Deok Bae easily deflected Jae Woo's sword with his own.
'As I thought.'
Deok Bae was a slightly surprised. For a newbie, Jae Woo's strike was quite sharp.
True, he'd assumed a poor posture that left an opening on his side, but Jae Woo had actually gone right for it.
'So he did block it.'
Jae Woo already knew his attack wouldn't work.
That intuition, which told him that his attack would work, vanished when Deok Bae swung his sword.
It was unfortunate, but he couldn't expect too much on his first try. Jae Woo moved onto his next strike.
'Top of the foot!'
Next, his intuition guided him towards the top of the foot and so, he swung his sword at the top of Deok Bae's left foot.
Deok Bae quickly retracted his foot. His eyes widened ever so slightly.
He didn't think a newbie would aim for his foot. And so, he'd almost been hit.
'His senses are great. Let's get a bit serious now, shall we?'
Deok Bae lined up his sword at the midline of his body. It was the most basic stance of Swordmaster.
Jae Woo bit his lip. Once Deok Bae adjusted his stance, his intuition went silent.
With no other choice, Jae Woo struck like he was taught.
He repeatedly swung downwards, slashed, or thrust!
Ultimately, Jae Woo was unsuccessful in hitting Deok Bae even once.
"You did well for a newbie. Now I'll be the one attacking, so do your best."
They switched roles and their spar began once more.
But strangely, Deok Bae's sword would aim for any area where Jae Woo felt a chill.
Thus, Jae Woo was able to fend off Deok Bae's attacks without much difficulty.
As Jae Woo repeatedly blocked his attacks, he found himself smiling.
'His senses really are good. Let's see how long you can hold out.'
Whenever Jae Woo either dodged or blocked his attacks, Deok Bae would increase the power and speed of his next attack.
Tak. Taahk. Tak. Tak! Tak!
Ultimately, Deok Bae's sword struck Jae Woo's right shoulder.
It was much too quick for Jae Woo to defend against.
"That's it for today. Good job."
Deok Bae withdrew his sword.
"Thank you for all your hard work."
Jae Woo bowed his head filled with regret.
'I could've blocked it.'
Because of that chilling sensation, Jae Woo knew where Deok Bae's sword would land.
Despite that, he hadn't blocked that last strike.
Though he knew where the strike was intended, his body couldn't follow up.
"Anyway... What's wrong with me?"
That strange feeling he felt during the match... how was he to understand it?"
Jae Woo was forced to think even harder on the subject.
* * *
Jae Woo felt that same intuition flare up whenever he fought against the other pupils too.
He would instantly ascertain his opponent's weaknesses and gaps in their defenses, and could sense any impending danger and block their strikes accordingly.
Thus, with this ability of his, he was able to defeat one of the pupils that had been learning here for more than half a year.
"Is it an... aftereffect?"
He'd never felt like this before the accident.
If that's the case, then this ability must've resulted due to the accident and his comatose-state.
'What exactly happened to my body?'
Jae Woo trudged home, locked in thought.
He felt a chill at the back of his head.
Jae Woo instinctually twisted his head to the side.
At that moment, a baseball flew past where his head once was.
"W-What was that!?"
Jae Woo was shocked, so he turned around. A man wearing gloves came rushing over to him.
"I'm sorry. Are you alright?"
"It wasn't intentional. We were playing catch, but I didn't catch the ball, so... the ball flew all the way over here. I'm really sorry about that."
The man bowed his head.
"It's alright. Fortunately, I dodged it."
The man apologized a few more times and went away to look for the ball.
Jae Woo rubbed the back of his head. That intuition, which flared up when the ball came flying at him! That chilling sensation!
'It's not just during a spar. It comes up in my daily life. I have to do some tests.'
If it warned of danger, not only during his spars, but in his daily life, then it would be really useful.
Jae Woo, who'd arrived home, brought Mina along to a vacant lot in the neighborhood.
"What!? What do you want?"
Her eyes were filled with discontent.
"Just take this without complaining."
He passed Mina a baseball. Of course, it wasn't a tough, rigid baseball. Since, on the off chance that he did get hit, it would hurt. So, he'd bought a soft, elastic baseball.
"What do you want me to do with this?"
"I'll be facing the other way, so try hitting me with that," Jae Woo said.
Mina looked at him as if he were out of his mind.
"It's a training method that I learned at the dojo. Apparently, it's great for improving your senses. So just help me out a little."
Jae Woo made up a story. She would look at him strangely if he said he wanted to test his ESP.
"Really? Ok, but I'm going to throw it hard," Mina said.
"No wait, it's my first time, so throw it softly."
Jae Woo played it safe.
Mina, looking disappointed, prepared herself to throw the ball. Jae Woo turned, facing the wall.
There was a 10m gap between them.
"I'm throwing it!"
And she threw.
The ball came flying behind him!
He felt a cold feeling on his butt.
Jae Woo twisted his body and felt that cold feeling disappear. Then, the ball struck the wall.
Mina was astonished.
'He really did dodge it.'
She looked at Jae Woo, as if he were a bizarre animal of some sort.
And she refused to give up.
'I'll hit you no matter what!'
"I'm throwing it again!"
Mina raised her leg like a professional baseball player.
She threw with all her strength!
Jae Woo dodged!
Again, she threw with all her strength!
And he succeeded once more!
She didn't manage to hit him even once.
* * *
'It's already been 5 months since then.'
Jae Woo had decided to call this ability 'Hyper Intuition'.
It would instinctively direct him to his opponent's weaknesses and/or warn of his danger!
It was because of this Hyper Intuition that he hadn't gone to the hospital.
He was tired of hospitals, and if he told them about his new ability, they'd either write him off as a madman or he'd receive psychological counseling.
In any case, half a year had already passed since he'd been learning at Swordmaster!
His body was trained and he had become familiar with both combat experience and his own intuition.
It was time to go back home.
The worldwide top virtual reality game, Arth, was waiting for him.
"From now on, I'll be coming to the dojo on the weekends only," Jae Woo told Deok Bae.
"I have to work. Money doesn't just grow on trees."
"What kind of work?"
All this time, he'd trained with Deok Bae and had talked quite a lot with him.
So, Deok Bae knew that Jae Woo was previously a pro-gamer.
"A game, huh... How about becoming an instructor here?" Deok Bae offered.
To him, there was no better sparring partner than Jae Woo.
And instructors were guaranteed a salary. It was much safer than playing a game for a living.
Of course, only Deok Bae thought that.
"I'm sorry, but I'll have to decline."
He didn't say what he really thought, which was 'it doesn't make enough money'.
"Well, come by on the weekends when you can."
Jae Woo nodded his head.
If he wanted to maintain his trained body, then he'd need to come to the dojo periodically to train.
"And do well in your game. No, you'll probably do well. Since it's you we're talking about."
Deok Bae had never met someone as relentless as Jae Woo.
"I'll come by later."
"Alright. See you on the weekends."
Jae Woo left the dojo.
A new beginning was awaiting him.
* * *
Come morning, Jae Woo snapped open his eyes.
'It's finally time!'
It was the day he became a pro-gamer again.
His pro-gamer blood, which had endured for so long, began to boil.
"But first, I have to get some things done."
Jae Woo left his house to exercise.
True, he planned to play Arth, but he had no intention of ignoring his training.
He ran around the neighborhood once, did some light stretching and trained his muscles. Once he was done, he went back to his house and ate breakfast.
And when he was done eating, he left once more.
How much time had gone by?
Jae Woo returned home.
"Where did you go?" Mina, who had been watching TV in the living room, asked.
"I went to get scanned."
Arth encouraged its players to do so. The process would scan the player's body and give them detailed data on that person, and then used that to create their characters.
In other words, it allowed him to create a duplicate of himself in-game.
"Did you buy ice cream?"
Mina could care less what a scan was. She was just craving something sweet and refreshing.
"What ice cream?"
"Really? It's so hot today, yet you didn't get any ice cream?" Mina criticized.
"If you want ice cream, then go out and buy it yourself," Jae Woo said.
"This is why you don't have a girlfriend."
Mina clicked her tongue.
"Then why don't you introduce me to someone?"
"No thanks. I'm not crazy."
"Then stop worrying about your brother's love life and go into your room."
"I start working today, so I'm going to need the living room."
"I don't wanna. I'm watching TV," Mina said.
Jae Woo widened his eyes and said, "Wanna die?"
Mina's eyes widened just as much.
"You're hiding your report card in Yura's room..."
Ultimately, Jae Woo played his trump card.
"Ah, crap. Fine, I'm going, alright!?"
Mina flipped him off and went off to her room in a flash.
It'd already been a half a year since he had awoken from his coma.
It was enough time for Mina, who'd acted like a sweet angel worrying over her brother, to quit her act.
Of course, her attitude lowered how thankful he was for nursing him for 2 years.
They'd just returned to their relaxing sibling relationship.
Jae Woo clicked his tongue and extracted a data chip from his pocket, which contained all of the scanned data.
He inserted the black data chip into the side slot of his goggles and then wore them over his head.
Jae Woo flipped the power switch.
Accessing virtual reality!
A white corridor appeared before him.
There were two doors within the corridor. Warlord's door, with a sign posted, explaining its termination of service.
A door adorned with a beautiful silver pattern.
Black smoke rose from the center of the door and the word 'ARTH' was written in the center.
"Shall we go?"
Jae Woo sounded completely thrilled.
Once he opened the door, he was enthusiastically welcomed by a rainbow of lights.
He took a deep breath to calm himself down and forcefully took a step forward.
Jae Woo passed through the door and began creating his new character.
[Scanned data exists. Would you like to create your character via your scanned data?]
[Creation complete. Would you like to change any details like hairstyle, tattoos, or color?]
[Please set your character's name.]
A strong older brother.
Abbreviated: Kang Oh.
That same Kang Oh, who was called a human dragon in Warlord.
[You may select your starting location. You may also be placed randomly.]
Altein was Arth's largest city.
After all, big fish like him needed to play in a big pond!
[Please enjoy the game.]
The bright light shrouded Kang Oh.
That was the moment where Warlord's legendary ranker, the human dragon Kang Oh, had returned to the virtual world.Previous Chapter Next Chapter