For a week, the party focused on training.
Starting from normal workouts to sparring, they moved their bodies and exhausted magic power as much as possible. Just like in the original story, Yoo Yeonha led the training to get accustomed to the past.
A crescent-shaped sword strike flew through the air, along with a clenched shout.
A sharp, metallic sound rang out when two swords clashed.
Chae Nayun felt like her hands were going to explode, but she didn’t lose her focus. However, Kim Suho followed immediately with a crossway slash.
Then, he stabbed forward like flowing water. Chae Nayun was thrown back, unable to receive his attack.
“Auu…. I lost.”
Chae Nayun raised her hand from the ground.
Yoo Yeonha, who was spectating the match, jotted something down on her notebook.
“Kim Suho 12, Chae Nayun 0.”
“…Do you really need to keep track?”
Chae Nayun got up as she grumbled. She dusted off the dirt on her knees and butt, which Shin Jonghak watched with narrowed eyes. Because the weather was rather hot, Chae Nayun had cut up her long jeans, turning it into hot pants.
Feeling grumpy, Yoo Yeonha shouted loudly.
“Shin Jonghak 4, Kim Suho 8!”
“What? No, it’s 4 wins, 4 losses, and 4 draws.”
“I’m the referee. Kim Suho won those by my decision.”
At that moment, the sound of a bike engine rang out. Kim Suho, who was drinking water, muttered.
“Looks like Hajin is back.”
“Yeah, ssp, looks like our chef is back.”
Even since being pulled into the past, Kim Hajin was in charge of food supply.
Yoo Yeonha began to detest herself for drooling whenever she heard the sound of his bike’s engine. Because he always brought back something delicious, it was as though she was trained to react subconsciously….
“Hey, Kim Hajin! What did you bring back today!?”
Chae Nayun shouted. A bike appeared at the entrance of the abandoned building. On top of it was a trustworthy icebox.
Kim Hajin parked next to a wall and took off his helmet. By now, everyone had gotten used to his long hair and beard. Chae Nayun scurried up to him like a puppy that was waiting for her owner to come back home, then brought back the icebox from his bike.
Yoo Yeonha and Shin Jonghak also got up and followed Chae Nayun. Inside the icebox were pig, chicken, drinks, and even snacks.
“Is this Coke?”
When Yoo Yeonha spotted the brownish liquid inside a smooth glass bottle, dark greed emerged in her eyes.
“Korea had Coke in the 70’s…?”
Shin Jonghak murmured as he rubbed the beard he grew. When Chae Nayun glanced at him, he raised his chin and emphasized his beard.
Seeing him intently for a moment, Chae Nayun blurted out a single sentence.
“Why does your beard grow like a goat?”
Kim Suho and Yi Yeonghan handled cooking. I had all kinds of spices and seasonings in my magic bag, and Kim Suho created a delicious braised spicy chicken and pork belly.
In the 1970s, even ordinary stream water had higher concentration of spirit energy and mana than Baekdu Mountain’s so-called heaven-and-earth water. As a result, food that was cooked with it was even more delicious and nutritious. Just by eating and sleeping in this place for six months, one’s magic power capacity would increase by 10%.
Of course, they would have to move around after eating to accumulate the effect.
“Ah, I almost don’t want to go back. How am I going to go back to eating the food back home?”
Chae Nayun muttered as she stared at the empty pot in front of her.
“Rather than that, you should get up and spar.”
“…But my body hurts every time I use magic power. I’m not kidding. It feels like someone’s squeezing my heart.”
“That’s because magic power clumps together in your heart. You have to use magic power to alleviate it.”
I lightly ignored her complaints. Chae Nayun grumbled with a pout.
“…Then why aren’t you sparring?”
“Because I don’t need to.”
Training was one thing, but I didn’t need to spar.
The alerts I was getting on my smartwatch was proof of it.
[Your Magic Dysfunction Physique permanently absorbs accumulated magic power! Your strength increases by 0.0002 points.]
[Your Magic Dysfunction Physique permanently…]
Because of this place’s high concentration of mana, I gained 0.25 stat points during the past 50 days. I didn’t even have to put in any effort.
Moreover, because this place was isolated from present time, we weren’t chased on time. Even if we stayed here for a year, only an hour would have passed in the real world.
However, that didn’t mean we could stay here for long.
In the original story, the party stayed here for about four weeks. From then, the past would slowly erode.
“Alright guys, listen up.”
I clapped and drew their attention.
“We’re going to start poking them four days later. After all, we can’t stay here forever. So I made a plan.”
The plan was only slightly different than what it was in the original story.
We would start with their weakest point and take two of the crystals.
“Northeast water tower’s Kim Mingyo and south steel tower’s Joo Parang. We’ll split into two groups and ambush them at night….”
Four days later, late night.
It was the day of action.
We split into two teams.
Shin Jonghak and I were in one team, and the other four were in the other.
Of course, Shin Jonghak vehemently opposed it, but I insisted. I felt more comfortable teaming up with Shin Jonghak.
“We’ll go first. If you can’t clear the mission in two hours, just escape and return to the base.”
I got on my bike as I said that. Shin Jonghak hopped on behind me awkwardly.
But when he was trying to find something to hold on to, his hands touched my butt. Immediately, he shuddered.
“Shit, what am I supposed to hold on to?”
“Next to you.”
Only then did Shin Jonghak look at the side of the seat, which had two protruding handles.
“I want to try riding it too….”
While Chae Nayun watched with somewhat of an envious look, I stepped on the accelerator.
Even on a mountain path, my bike could go from 0 to 100 in less than a second. As a result, Shin Jonghak and I reached our destination in lightning speed.
“Get off. We’ll walk from here.”
I stopped in a forest near our target and transformed the bike back to its suitcase form.
Then, while we were sneaking up to our target, Shin Jonghak suddenly asked.
“Oy, is there a reason you and I had to go together?”
The reason was simple.
Kim Suho wouldn’t try to kill people, even though the people in this world weren’t real.
A water tower could be seen in the distance.
There were only about twenty people guarding the water tower. Furthermore, people of the past had poor mana controlling technique. Out of all the people there, Kim Mingyo was the only person I couldn’t beat. However, Kim Mingyo was only as strong as a low-intermediate rank Hero, so Shin Jonghak could defeat him alone.
“Kim Mingyo should be inside the water tower. I’ll deal with the small fries outside, so you go inside and get Kim Mingyo. I’ll support you from the back.”
“I don’t need your support.”
Shin Jonghak took out his spear.
He needlessly spun it in the air and caused a cloud of dirt to rise up.
“Ptui. Hey, you’re getting dirt in my mouth.”
“I saw it entering your mouth too.”
“…Cut the crap.”
Although that was what he said, he licked his teeth and spat on the ground.
It was then.
A deep voice rang out from below the mountain.
“Who is it?”
We both turned to the direction of the voice.
There, we saw a young man with a well-built body. From the way he suspiciously shined a flashlight over us, we could guess that he was a lackey on patrol.
“This place is Asura-nim’s land. Outsiders aren’t allowed in, so turn back.”
In response, Shin Jonghak stepped up sneering.
“And if I refuse?”
“…Ha, then you’ll have to be beaten and chased away.”
The young man pulled out the nunchucks hanging on his waist, intimidating magic power flickering around them.
Whoosh— whoosh— whoosh—
He began to brandish the nunchucks.
“Can you see the movement of the wind?”
Top, bottom, left, right. The nunchucks covered all sides and threatened us with a fierce gale.
I took a step back, thinking it would hurt to hit. Then, the young man burst into laughter.
I transformed the Desert Eagle into shotgun mode and pulled the trigger.
“This is… huaak—!”
He flew back after being shot.
“…What a funny guy.”
“You wait here, Shin Jonghak.”
In preparation for this event, I brought 100 handgun, shotgun, and sniper bullets, and 900 5.56mm bullets.
“Who are you to tell me where to go and not go?”
“It’ll be easier for two captains to fight once the lackeys are taken care of, right?”
“…I guess you’re right.”
I climbed a nearby tree and transformed the Desert Eagle into sniper mode.
First, I targeted the ones patrolling the area or dozing off.
My bullets would fly silently and put them to sleep eternally.
I didn’t need to hesitate or feel guilty.
This place was a reproduced past.
These people weren’t real. They were only ‘records’ that would disappear soon….
Clenching my teeth, I pulled the trigger.
A bullet hit an enemy, whose body fell down silently. I didn’t watch him die and immediately aimed at another target.
By the time I sent five people to their deaths, I was drenched in cold sweat.
Even killing fake people took a toll on my mind. I closed my eyes and took a brief rest.
On the other hand, Kim Suho’s team was also infiltrating the south steel tower.
Looking above at the steel tower, Yoo Yeonha fell into thought.
There was a purple crystal shining at the peak of the steel tower. However, it was encased in a magic cylinder, so it was impossible to snatch it away with her whip.
“…What’s our plan?”
Yi Yeonghan asked.
Yoo Yeonha looked down and scanned the enemy’s forces.
There were about forty people, a fairly large number.
If they were all at the level of Cube’s cadets, it would be difficult to take them on with just four people.
In the world of Heroes, being a certain rank meant that you were able to take on ten others who were one full rank below you. In other words, an intermediate rank grade 1 Hero needed to be able to suppress ten low-intermediate rank grade 1 Heroes simultaneously.
However, Yoo Yeonha didn’t think the four of them were at such a level.
Only Kim Suho was the exception.
Yoo Yeonha looked at Kim Suho and spoke.
“Kim Suho, you need to draw their attention as much as possible. Most of them will chase after you, but they’ll keep a small number back to defend. The three of us will then suppress them, and we’ll slowly lower their count.”
“What? Isn’t that too dangerous?”
Chae Nayun seemed a bit hesitant, but Kim Suho agreed wholeheartedly.
“No, I think that’s for the best.”
Kim Suho smiled lightly.
“Then I’ll get going.”
He condensed magic power around his legs and ran forward explosively. A sonic boom seemed to scatter behind him as he shot to the battlefield like a bullet and struck down a patrolling guard with his branch.
The man collapsed with a pained scream, and everyone’s attention became focused on Kim Suho.
Hearing this shout, most of the guards ran toward Kim Suho, while Yoo Yeonha, Chae Nayun, and Yi Yeonghan rushed at the ten or so guards left behind.
Yi Yeonghan headlocked them with his monstrous strength, Chae Nayun smacked them with the magic power surrounding her sword, and Yoo Yeonha suppressed them with her whip.
A man brandishing a sword fainted after being choked by Yoo Yeonha’s whip.
Yoo Yeonha poked the collapsed man with her foot. Seeing that he didn’t react, Yoo Yeonha turned back leisurely. But at that moment, a sharp sword shot toward her. Although she quickly ducked out of the way, the blade cut parts of her hair.
Enraged, Yoo Yeonha swung her whip and strangled the man who attacked her.
“…Do you have any idea how much effort I put into growing it!?”
Her whip strangled him tightly, and the man’s face slowly turned purple.
Yoo Yeonha stared at the hair on the ground and fiddled with her shortened hair. Realizing the severity of the cut, her eyes burned in anger once again.
However, Yoo Yeonha took mercy and let go before she strangled the man to death.
Although Kim Hajin said they weren’t real people, she felt like killing them would leave a bad aftertaste.
“Hey, Yi Yeonghan! You handle the steel tower! Yeonha and I will go help Kim Suho!”
At that moment, Chae Nayun’s shout rang out.
Yoo Yeonha also turned her gaze toward Kim Suho. Although he was being chased, he didn’t seem to be disadvantaged. In fact, the thirty people that chased after him had now become five.
…It was then.
“Uwuk, hey! Help me, not Kim Suho! Joo Parang is here!”
Yi Yeonghan’s desperate shout rang out from the steel tower.
2 hours later.
Just like in the original story, both teams retrieved the purple crystals without much problem.
To celebrate, we roasted a whole pig.
I didn’t have much of an appetite, but Chae Nayun and Kim Suho ate voraciously.
I watched them until they finished eating, then spoke when their plates were empty.
“Good job today. Now, the north and southeast areas will become inactive.”
We just had to take it slow, just like today.
But Yoo Yeonha suddenly grabbed her neck. As though she was choking, she smacked her chest and gulped down water. Her face was pale white.
“What’s wrong, Yeonha?”
Chae Nayun asked worriedly.
“Nothing. I just can’t… digest food well.”
“There’s no way you shouldn’t be able to digest food.”
“W-What do you mean? It’s not like I’m a pig. I can get sick too.”
No, that wasn’t the problem. There was no way she shouldn’t be able to digest such a soft meat. I narrowed my eyes and scanned Yoo Yeonha for injuries.
…She wasn’t injured.
But I noticed her hair.
It was asymmetrical.
In other words, someone had cut it.
Yoo Yeonha tilted her head.
I pointed at her hair.
“Your hair. What happened?”
“Oh, this? It was cut during the last battle….”
Like I said before, Kim Suho’s team would have ‘suppressed’ them only. The ones that survived would have returned with traces of the ones who attacked them. For example, hair.
“Argh, why does my chest feel so heavy…?”
Yoo Yeonha kept thumping her chest.
If my thoughts were correct… this was a curse. Depending on the curse magician’s ability, even a single strand of hair could be enough to drive one to the brink of death.
Gwangmyeong City Hall indeed had a voodoo curse magician who could use this curse of weakening.
…Things were a bit more complicated now.
“Why are you looking at me like that? I’m not that sick.”
Yoo Yeonha furrowed her brows and asked sharply.
Chae Nayun also chimed in, grinning.
“Look how worried he is. Maybe he likes you.”
“Then I’ll have to decline. Sorry.”
“Listen you two…”
Power of curses were amplified in high mana concentration areas. Not knowing this, the two girls were snickering to themselves.
But well, it was partially my fault for not warning them about it.
I sighed inwardly and slowly opened my mouth.