Chapter 1. Cube (1)

One day, I received an email. The sender asked if he could remake my novel.
At the time, I was dumbfounded. I might have been on a short hiatus, but to ask to remake a novel that was in paid serialization…
I, of course, refused. In fact, I didn’t reply.
It was partly because doing something like that without permission would go against copyright laws, but it was also because I was ashamed of the 'hiatus' status I was in.

The webnovel I was writing was called 'The Returnee Hero.'
It wasn’t a sensation, but it was a fairly popular novel and the greatest hit in my five years of writing.
But at the time I received the email, I had been on hiatus for three months.

The reason was simple. The words didn't come to me.

At first, I poured my passion into writing. My personal note on the world’s setting neared 50,000 characters[1], and I poured my heart out in writing each chapter.
But after a year of writing, I fell into an awful slump.
Even so, the novel continued for six months, reaching the mid-late stage of the story. But because I forcefully pushed myself to write, the story was full of plot holes, and the personalities of the characters had collapsed. Unsurprisingly, the number of readers dropped by the day. I was too scared to even read the comments.
In the end, I chose to go on hiatus.
But no matter how long I rested, I couldn’t continue with the story, not even a single sentence came out.
When I was wallowing in misery from realizing my lacking writing skills…
I received another email asking to remake my novel.

[[email protected]]
[Please. This is for personal satisfaction. I will not reveal the remake version of the novel anywhere. It will only stay between me and you. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired by the remake and come up with a way to continue the story…]

It was a fairly long email consisting of six sentences, but what it was asking for was simple.

He wanted to remake my novel for self-satisfaction.

How much did he like my novel to send an email like this? Since I wasn’t particularly proud of my work, I agreed, feeling thankful and ashamed.

… In that case, was that the cause of this situation?
The chance of winning the lottery was said to be 1 in 8,145,060. Then what was happening to me at this moment had to be a 1 in 7 billion chance.

I was standing in an ordinary family home.
But the world I was in wasn’t my world, and I wasn’t ‘me.’ Though one might think I was being philosophical, I really wasn’t. It was just the best way to describe the situation I was in.

I had become an extra in my novel.
An extra I had no memory writing about.

Kim Chundong.
Chundong lived in an ordinary apartment room, but he didn’t have parents. As for why, I, of course, didn’t know.
At 9 years old, Chundong was admitted to 'Agent Military Academy,' a place to nurture elites to fight monsters and Djinns.
What ability did Chundong possess to pass its entrance exam?
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know anything about him. I didn’t even know his face. I wasn’t kidding. I really didn’t.

When I look in the mirror…

(?)

That’s what I saw. An oval with a question mark.

This crazy body possession(?) or transmigration(?) was completely unreasonable. I had gone to bed just like any other day, but when I woke up, i found myself on the last day of the semester at Agent Military Academy.

At first, I had two suspicions.
First was that I was being pranked.
But that idea was shot down in just five seconds. I couldn’t even be bothered to explain why.
Second was that I was dreaming.
But I naturally came to dismiss the idea. As everyone knew, the thought of being in a dream never occurred to dreaming people, and more importantly, no dream continued for two weeks with such a clear sense of reality.

As a result, I spent the past two weeks pondering whether the ‘world inside the novel’ should be treated as the ‘reality I was in.’

Ding Dong—
Tatatatatata~

Just like I’ve been doing in the last two weeks, I was lying in bed and staring blankly at the ceiling when my smartphone alarm began to ring. Glancing over, I saw that it was ‘time to go to school.’

“Why the hell do I need to go to school.”

13 days ago, it was Agent Military Academy’s graduation. But the ones graduating were only non-combatant cadets, and non-combatant cadets couldn’t be called Heroes. Combat class cadets had to attend the academy for three more years.
These three years would be spent at [Cube], a Hero Academy.
Unfortunately, this damned Chundong guy was a combat type cadet. Again, I had no clue who he was.

“Ah… How frustrating.”

I had barely done anything for two weeks. I spent most of my time on the internet, ate food when I got hungry, went back online to search for a way out, laughed at the surprisingly funny variety shows airing on TV, ate food when I got hungry… Anyways, the only noteworthy event was going to Seoul two days ago for the three-hour long ‘Cube Entrance Ceremony’.
I didn’t want to go, but I had no other choice since I was told I would be expelled if I didn’t attend.

“I do think I need to go, but…”

I couldn’t figure out who dropped me here, for what reason and with what power.
But after living idly for two weeks, I reluctantly came to accept my fate.
It seemed I would live this way for a long time.
In that case, I at least needed to make a living for myself.
In my novel, being a 'Hero' was anyone’s dream job. Though things become serious midway through because of Villains, the hiatus was not long afterwards.
I just had to survive until then. When the time came, I was sure I’d figure something out.

[7:33 AM]

There was only 57 minutes until school.
I got up and trudged to the bathroom.
Standing in front of the mirror, mister question mark greeted me.

“… Screw this question mark. Is it ever going to go away?”

Without joking, my face was a question mark. I didn’t know why.
It wasn’t because I didn’t describe my face. If that were the case, it didn’t make sense for the other billions of people to have their own faces. So why was only Chundong’s face a question mark?

“I don’t get it.”

Murmuring begrudgingly, I washed my face. I could feel my skin. I had hair too. That made things all the more creepy.

After cleaning myself up a bit, I changed into Cube’s uniform, which I got at the entrance ceremony. Other than that, I had no other baggage.
People who saw me in this uniform would undoubtedly send looks of envy, But I didn’t know what I was doing.
My face was a freaking question mark, how was I supposed to figure anything out?

Turning the doorknob, I glanced back.
My home for the past two weeks. The apartment room I barely found thanks to the address written in my cadet card. It seemed I got attached to it in this short period of time. I felt like I would miss it.

Cube floated in the middle of the East Sea. Once I left, I probably wouldn’t come back.

“Ehew.”

Putting behind the big apartment room I was happy to have, I stepped into the dark and unfamiliar world.

1. 50,000 Korean characters is about 10,000 English words

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