Chapter 117. The First Encounter (3)


The dispatched Heroes and police arrested all the smugglers who caused a scene in Disneyland.
Tomorrow’s headline should be something like, ‘Failed Negotiation Leads to Smuggler’ Infighting’.
Jin Sahyuk’s party, who was the real cause behind much of the mess, disappeared before the authorities arrived, and Kim Suho and Chae Nayun recovered thanks to my potions.

“….”

Currently, Kim Suho was sitting between the destroyed pieces of asphalt. I walked up behind him and put my hand on his head. His hair was quite soft.
Kim Suho turned around and smiled when he saw me. I smiled back and sat down next to him.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, thanks to you. I’ll pay you back for the potion.”

“You don’t need to. So, how are you related to the girl from before?”

Although I already knew the answer, I asked anyway. Kim Suho looked at the far horizon and murmured.

“She’s just someone I know.”

“I see.”

I didn’t ask any further.
For a while, we both stared at the night sky silently.

“…Hajin.”

Then suddenly, Kim Suho called my name in a serious tone.

“Yeah?”

I spoke as softly as I could. Kim Suho turned to the side and faced me directly. His eyes were filled with emotions that were hard to describe with words.
I understood what he was feeling, yet I couldn’t understand them at the same time.
Losing one’s home. That sense of loneliness was something I could empathize with, but unlike me, Kim Suho didn’t have the hope of being able to go back.

“…Nevermind.”

“Lame.”

I laughed and brightened up the mood.
Kim Suho accepted it with a soundless smile.

“By the way, you’re the one who suppressed her, right?”

“No, she was the one who suppressed herself.”

“…What does that even mean?”

I got up and put my hand on Kim Suho’s shoulder.

“It means she underestimated me.”

“….”

Kim Suho looked up at me with clear eyes.
I realized that Kim Suho had several charms. Most of the time, he was a reliable and bright guy, but today he had a melancholic aura about him.

“I’m leaving. I don’t know who she is to you, but don’t be so down.”

“…I’m not down.”

Kim Suho smiled bashfully as he said an obvious lie.
Finding this side of him a bit unpleasant, I ruffled his hair strongly.

“A-Ah! W-What are you doing!?”

“I’m leaving for real now.”

“What? Hey!”

With his hair puffed up like a lamb, Kim Suho glared at me half-smiling. I received his look with a playful smile as I walked back to the hotel.

**


Busan luxury hotel’s 2-person room.
Yoo Yeonha was currently deep in thought.
Today was an especially complicated night. In truth, it was the first night she experienced since finding out the truth as she was passed out last night.

“…I couldn’t tell him.”

She murmured.
Although she was determined to tell Kim Hajin the truth, she missed the chance while hesitating.

—You don’t have to say it.

Yoo Yeonha still remembered what he told her. However, he didn’t know what confession she would make. Furthermore, even without what he said, Yoo Yeonha felt like there was a chance that she wouldn’t have confessed.
She was afraid.
That one day when he found out the truth, his gun would point toward her. That the man she considered her ‘ally’ for the first time in her life would become the most threatening existence to her life.
That was what made her afraid, and that was what made her sad.

“Ah~ that felt great~”

At that moment, Chae Nayun came out of the shower and interrupted Yoo Yeonha’s somber thoughts. Yoo Yeonha looked back at her. Chae Nayun was in the middle of putting on her underwear.
Yoo Yeonha asked.

“…Does it hurt anywhere?”

“Huh? Oh, it’s fine. Apparently, the emergency treatment was good.”

The immediate consumption of a potion and the toughness of her body made it so that her internal injuries were easily healed.

“Whew.”

Chae Nayun sat down on the edge of her bed wearing nothing but her underwear. Yoo Yeonha glanced at her. There was a cartoon cat drawn on her underwear, but she didn’t look childish because of her excellent figure.
Chae Nayun picked up her smartwatch instead of putting on clothes. Seeing her typing on a holographic keyboard, Yoo Yeonha asked.

“What are you doing?”

“Hm? Oh, I’m texting Kim Hajin. I thought I should thank him.”

“….”

Yoo Yeonha watched her silently.
Chae Nayun respected Chae Joochul, her grandfather.
But Chae Joochul played an even greater role than Yoo Jinwoong in the tragedy Kim Hajin suffered.
Of course, Chae Joochul wouldn’t have shown his ugly side to his granddaughter. However, the longer Chae Joochul remained a ‘good grandfather’, the more Chae Nayun would feel betrayed when she found out.

'Should I tell her about Kim Hajin’s past? That the one who killed Kim Hajin’s parents, robbed him of his family and forced him to live in solitude was Chae Joochul, the one she admired the most.
Or should I just remain silent?’

…Yoo Yeonha spoke her name.

“Nayun.”

“Yeah?”

Chae Nayun didn’t know anything about Kim Hajin’s twisted and tangled past.
And if possible… Yoo Yeonha wanted her to remain oblivious.
Yoo Yeonha knew Chae Nayun well. As someone who knew the pain of losing one’s family, Chae Nayun would undoubtedly feel more guilty and sad than Yoo Yeonha.

“…Who was that person?”

“What do you mean?”

“The person who attacked you.”

“Oh. I don’t know.”

“You didn’t tell the police?”

“Yeah, I was too lazy.”

Chae Nayun didn’t tell the police that she was attacked. It was likely because she was afraid of her father finding out and causing a mess.
Tap, tap, tap.
Chae Nayun’s eyes and fingers were focused on her smartwatch screen.
Yoo Yeonha stared at her intently, then added.

“…Be nice.”

“Hm?”

“When you text him. Be nice and not snarky.”

“…What?”

“Just listen to me so you won’t regret it later.”

“What? Are you high?”

Chae Nayun looked dumbfoundedly at Yoo Yeonha who silently crawled into the bed. Tilting her head, Chae Nayun looked at the reply she just received from Kim Hajin and frowned.

[Sleep.]

**


Two days later. 11:00 A.M., Sunday.
I returned to Cube’s dorm room with Evandel and Hayang. Compared to the presidential suite and Seoul’s apartment room I enjoyed over the weekend, Cube’s dorm room was too small and cramped.
Thankfully, I would be assigned a bigger room next year. If I couldn’t endure it, I could always move out of the dorms and commute to school.

“Chicken~ chicken~ chicken, chicken, chicken~”

As I walked into the kitchen with three roasted chickens I bought, Evandel and Hayang waited anxiously at the kitchen table.

“Since Hayang only eats legs and wings….”

Evandel gave Hayang two chicken legs and wings. After fighting for a long time, Evandel seemed to have finally learned the concept of sharing.
I watched them eat with a smile, then walked into the bedroom and turned on my laptop.

[You obtained 433 SP!]
[Luck applies, giving you 22% bonus SP!]

I gained quite a bit of SP with last night’s incident. Just the luck bonus was close to 100 SP.
Since I accumulated enough, it was about time I use it.

“Mm….”

I typed in one of the Physiques I thought of.

[Medicinal Memory Physique]

It was one of the more recent ones I came up with. Since it looked like I would be consuming a lot of medicine from now, I came up with a Physique to make the effect more permanent.

===
□Memory
—When consuming medicine with the same property and effect, the body will memorize a portion of the medicinal effect. The amount is dependent on the luck.
□Reproduction
—The body will naturally produce medicinal effects that are 100% memorized. The amount is dependent on the luck.
—Reproduced medicinal effect will have different ‘reproduction cooldown times’ depending on its effect.
□Adaptation & Growth
—The medicinal effect will increase with repeated consumption and reproduction. The amount and frequency is dependent on the luck.
===

[1000 SP will be consumed. Would you like to save?]

“Damn.”

As expected, modifications related to a permanent stat increase were extremely expensive.
But being expensive also meant it was worth its cost. Not to mention, I had more than enough SP to pay for it thanks to fighting Asura and attacking Jin Sahyuk,

[The setting has been changed.]
[Luck applies, improving Medicinal Memory Physique’s overall functionality!]

“Hm.”

Next, I tried eating a ginseng pill.

[By consuming a medicine, your strength, vitality, stamina, and magic power stats increase slowly.]
[Your body remembered 4% of the ginseng pill’s ‘stat increase’ medicinal effect.]

4%.
Assuming that the increase was linear, I only needed to consume 25 pills for my body to learn to reproduce it.

“That’s not bad at—”

Then suddenly, my upper arm began to ache.
It was a pain I’ve been expecting but wasn’t looking forward to having.
I quickly took off my shirt and looked at my arm. A crescent line was being drawn above the cross-shaped Stigma.
I clenched my teeth to prevent groaning.
Evandel was currently outside. I couldn’t let her worry about me for no reason…
Under the burning sensation that was impossible to get used to, my consciousness began to fade away.

**


“Huk!”

When I opened my eyes, it was 11 am.
Furthermore, today was Sunday, the day I promised to meet with Rachel.

“Shit, I’m screwed.”

I went to the living room and found Evandel and Hayang sleeping.
I first checked my smartwatch.

[Missed call – 6:34]

There was one missed call at 6:34 am.
Could it be…?

“Argh.”

Although my arm still hurt, I quickly ran out of my room and raced to the place I promised to meet Rachel.
After arriving in just five minutes, I hid in a bush nearby and looked for Rachel.

“….”

As I thought, Rachel was still waiting for me. She was next to a street cat, perhaps to deal with her loneliness.
Rachel stroked the cat’s back and looked up at the sky. Her mouth moved slowly. One, two, three…. It seemed she was counting stars.

Although I felt extremely sorry, I first checked her wrist for the bracelet. Without it, there was no way I could help her.
Thankfully, she was wearing the bracelet.
I approached her as I scratched my head.

“Um… Rachel-ssi?”

Rachel discovered me, then dropped her head silently.
For someone who waited for five hours without hearing back, she didn’t seem too angry. However, her faintly protruding lips and sharp, cat-like eyes told me that she was upset.
I couldn’t blame her. After all, she waited five hours.

“Sorry, I’m late. Something came up.”

I slowly walked up to her.
Rachel greeted me with a faint smile.

“It looks like you just woke up.”

Rachel glanced at my hair. I touched my hair. It was indeed puffed up like I just got up from bed.

“But that’s okay, I just came here too.”

“…Eh? Ah… kuhum, sorry.”

She definitely sounded upset. Feeling awkward, I stretched my arms a bit.

“Since I’m late, I’ll cut straight to the chase. Um, Rachel-ssi wanted to learn about Barrier, right?”

Rachel nodded silently.

“But before I can teach you Barrier… why don’t you try following my training method?”

“Yes?”

“You know, people have different training methods. One of the best ways to overcome a slump is to change one’s training method. The method I use might be suitable for Rachel-ssi too.”

Hearing my hurried and flustered tone, Rachel looked at me doubtfully.

“Why don’t we take it slow tomorrow….”

“No, no, just try sitting down like you’re meditating.”

Rachel tilted her head as though she didn’t understand what I meant.

“Just sit like me.”

“Ah, yes.”

Rachel sat down cross-legged on the ground.

“Next, spread your magic power throughout your body. This is called breaking through acupoints….”

I muttered some buzz words I remembered from martial art novels. Thankfully, Rachel began to concentrate on controlling her magic power without complaint. A faint blue glow began to surround her body.

“Good, just keep going.”

I encouraged her, hoping she wouldn’t find it too suspicious.

“Next, try moving all that magic power to your left wrist. We’re going to make it go around your body afterward.”

This was the most important part.
The moment her magic power opened the bracelet on her left wrist, this useless training method would become the greatest training method.

“Put strength into your left wrist, kind of like you’re emitting magic power from it.”

Psssssh.
The bracelet began to shake from the vibration of magic power. However, the Butterfly Seedling Dust showed no signs of flowing out, while Rachel’s face turned red like a tomato.

“Harder, like you want to break that bracelet on your wrist….”

Rachel’s trembling became stronger. The movement of her magic power also became fiercer, and in the end…
Snap—
The bracelet snapped it half.
The Butterfly Seedling Dust inside finally began to pour down.

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