With her father’s sudden appearance, Chae Nayun looked up at me listlessly.
“…Ah, hey, that’s my dad.”
“Alright, see you later.”
“N-No, you don’t have to leave. I, I’m not embarrassed to have you here….”
Before we could have a proper talk, the door opened, and a light breeze blew in.
Our heads turned to the door.
A man in a full suit walked into the hospital room.
I got up from my chair and greeted Chae Nayun’s father, Chae Shinhyuk. Although I’d seen him several times in the news, this was the first time I was seeing him in person.
He looked similar to Chae Nayun but had a sharper impression.
As he was far taller than me, the way he was looking down at me came off as cold.
Chae Shinhyuk was a man whose appearance and aura couldn’t be called ordinary. In truth, however, Chae Shinhyuk wasn’t particularly outstanding as a Hero or a businessman. In fact, as someone of average talent, he spent most of his youth in the shadow of his father.
Despite this, he was able to become the Chae clan’s successor thanks to his righteous character and endless self-cultivation.
Chae Shinhyuk asked.
“Ah, I’m Chae Nayun’s friend. My name is Kim Hajin.”
Chae Shinhyuk rubbed his beard and pondered.
“H-He’s just a friend. There’s nothing between us.”
While Chae Nayun was scratching her cheek in embarrassment, Chae Shinhyuk spoke up.
“I’ve heard of your name. You’re quite well-known in Cube. Your weapon is a gun, I believe?”
Chae Shinhyuk tapped my shoulder.
I forced myself to smile and headed towards the door.
“I’ll let the two of you talk now…”
I wasn’t used to talking to such a bigshot. I spoke as politely as possible, and Chae Shinhyuk returned a big smile.
“B-Bye. I’ll message you later.”
I left the room without replying to Chae Nayun.
As soon as I closed the door behind me, my smartwatch rang.
—Yes, customer. The items you ordered are ready to be delivered. I’ve called to ask for your address.
Two weeks ago, I ordered items from Essential Armory using the black card Yoo Yeonha gave me.
“Both of them?”
—No, the drones are still being prepared. They will be delivered next week.
I ordered two drones and 3000 12.7mm heavy machine gun bullets. Just the bullets came out to about 500 million won in total. They were both items I urgently needed for next week.
“Yes, the delivery address is….”
After giving my address, I accessed my laptop with my smartwatch.
There was a setting I needed to create.
I should have about 1532 SP.
With the 2600 SP I gained from killing Chae Jinyoon, 1532 was what remained after creating Dexterity. Right, just by destroying a distorted story, I gained 2600 SP.
Of course, I could have gained more SP by revealing myself as Chae Jinyoon’s murderer, but obviously, that wasn’t something I wanted.
[Current SP – 1572]
But when I checked my SP, I had about 40 SP more than what it was in the morning.
I hit my knees.
It must have been because I was named as one of the cadets injured by the magic power explosion.
Without much thought, I walked through the hospital’s lobby and sat down on a bench nearby.
“Desert Eagle, heavy machine gun mode.”
Tapping on my smartwatch’s holographic keyboard, I created a new setting.
[Desert Eagle – Heavy Machine Gun Mode]
—Using a small amount of Stigma’s magic power, fuse Aether and the Desert Eagle together to form a heavy machine gun.
[With many additional functionalities added onto the Desert Eagle, the amount of SP required increases.]
[1500 SP will be used.]
“…That’s a lot.”
A heavy machine gun modeled after the M2.
It was larger than an assault rifle and displayed a far greater destructive power. It was a weapon of war, in every sense of the word.
But since it could only be used situationally, it shouldn’t be worth 1500 SP…
After pondering for some time, I tried to increase the amount of Stigma’s magic power required for the mode change.
[—Uses 1.5 streaks of Stigma.]
[1100 SP will be used.]
The cost was reduced by a whole 400 SP.
“…This is good enough.”
Next week, I had to conquer a Dungeon with Kim Suho. With the Book of Truth, I found out that its last stage was ‘defense’. Both for this Dungeon and for future episodes, I had to get this heavy machine gun.
I hit ‘save’.
On the other hand, Yoo Yeonha dragged her exhausted mind to her home in Seoul.
“Oh, my daughter Yeonha! How was your—”
“It was okay. I’m going to bed.”
Leaving behind her father who was looking at her worriedly, Yoo Yeonha buried herself in her blanket.
The thoughts swirling around her head didn’t disappear.
In fact, they only became more chaotic as time went on.
Kim Hajin and Chae Jinyoon.
Chae Nayun and Kim Hajin.
Did Kim Hajin really kill Chae Jinyoon?
If so, why?
And did he kill Chae Jinyoon? Or did he have to kill Chae Jinyoon?
A sudden knock on the door interrupted her train of thought.
—Um, Yeonha? Are you hurt?
Her father asked from the other side of the door.
—Really? I cut some fruits for you…
“It’s okay. I’m full.”
The presence behind the door disappeared.
Soon, when Yoo Yeonha was trying to refocus her thoughts, an uninvited voice rang out.
—Yeonha~ do you want me to make you some ramen~?
“Ah, geez, just leave me alone—!”
Yoo Yeonha shouted at the door and dug into her bed.
She could feel Yoo Jinwoong’s disappointment, but as far as she was concerned, it was partly his fault that she was worrying about all this. He had to be punished too.
After Yoo Jinwoong disappeared completely, Yoo Yeonha recalled everything she saw today.
If Kim Hajin really killed Chae Jinyoon, what would the reason be?
Could it be that he figured out the truth of the Kwang-Oh Incident on his own?
No, that was impossible.
Not even her information guild was able to gather any information on the Kwang-Oh Incident. She was only able to find out the truth because of her father’s diary.
Kim Hajin surely couldn’t have found out the truth on his own…
“Wait, the Truth Agency…?”
Yoo Yeonha shook her head.
There were truths that information guilds could discover and truths that information guilds couldn’t discover. The Kwang-Oh Incident most certainly belonged to the latter.
Plus, it just didn’t add up.
If Kim Hajin really knew the truth, there was no way he would treat her so kindly.
From this conceited doubt came a suspicion.
What if he forgave her? What if her efforts(?) appeased his anger?
That still didn’t make sense.
If he forgave her, Chae Nayun, then Chae Jinyoon should have also been forgiven.
“What if there was another reason…?”
If Kim Hajin really murdered Chae Jinyoon and had a motive for it… the only person who might know about it was…
He was also the one who first found out about Kim Hajin’s tattoo. In that case, there was a chance he knew more about it. Yoo Yeonha quickly made a call.
[You are unable to call the receiver because your number has been blocked.]
Yoo Yeonha was dumbstruck. With her face red, she murmured in a daze.
“You blocked me?”
I’ll tell Dad!
As she was gritting her teeth in anger, she had a sudden thought.
The fact that Yoo Jinhyuk blocked her gave her a sense of assurance.
‘Why would he block me? He doesn’t even know that I saw Kim Hajin’s tattoo…’
As far as she was concerned, Yoo Jinhyuk had to have blocked her because he was trying to hide something from her.”
Yoo Yeonha thought hard under her blanket.
But soon, the door suddenly shot open.
“Yoo Yeonha, get up.”
A cold voice rang out.
Feeling a chill run down her back, Yoo Yeonha peeked her head out of her blanket.
Her mother, Jin Yeojung, was glaring at her sharply.
“What did you do? Your father is drinking soju calling out your name.”
“Eh? No, I didn’t do any—”
“Yeah, right. Come out and apologize.”
“Ah, but I’m in the middle of something impor—”
“…Ah, wait, aah.”
Jin Yeojung dragged Yoo Yeonha out of the room.
I arrived at a nameless Dungeon with Kim Suho. It was a stage-type Dungeon hidden in a swamp, filled with giant alligators.
Because I didn’t know much about this Dungeon, I was worried at first. But now that I had Kim Suho with me and mapped out most of the Dungeon with the Book of Truth, I was fully confident in coming out of this Dungeon unscathed.
Kim Suho and I were a cheat-like combination.
I guess you could say we filled each other’s weaknesses.
Each stage of the Dungeon had dozens of mob monsters and one boss-level monster. I could easily take care of the small fries, letting Kim Suho conserve his stamina for the boss.
With Kim Suho’s Sword Saint magic power, all boss monsters were cut in half like tofu.
“This looks like the final stage.”
Advancing smoothly, we arrived at the final stage, which had a slightly different atmosphere than the previous stages. In front of our eyes was an open field that was silent and full of war clouds.
Kim Suho pulled out Misteltein. Then, a message popped up in front of our eyes.
[Final Stage – survive for 30 minutes against an army of high-intermediate grade-8 monsters.]
Kim Suho frowned, but I cheered. Just like the Book of Truth said, the final stage was a defense stage, which was advantageous for me.
“Surviving for 30 minutes. Does that include…”
Kim Suho and I turned around. Behind us were three high school girls trembling in fear. I asked Kim Suho.
“Do you think they’re NPCs or real people?”
“…I’m not sure.”
“Geez, we’re not NPCs!”
They seemed to have overheard us as one of them shouted courageously.
“We’re cadets from the Agent Military Academy!”
NPCs existed in some Dungeons and Towers, which were products of the Otherworld. Naturally, NPCs were generally people of that world, not high school girls from Earth.
“I’ll set up a bunker just in case.”
I consumed one streak of Stigma and crafted it into the shape of a bunker.
I learned highly precise ways of using Stigma after I obtained Dexterity. Although Stigma’s magic power manifested according to my will, dexterity was needed for me to materialize what I pictured in my head.
“Wow, what’s this!?”
The bunker I created resembled the bunker from the famous game, Starcraft.
The high school girls quickly scurried inside.
“Wow, that’s amazing. How long can it last?”
“It’s not that strong. I only used one… er, a little bit of magic power. But it should be enough to protect them from being caught in crossfire.”
With the bunker protecting the girls, Kim Suho looked more relaxed.
“Alright, get ready. It looks like they’re coming.”
From the silent field, a countless number of monsters began to appear. Ghouls, zombies, banshees, flesh golems… they were all undead monsters.
I took out the Desert Eagle and set an alarm on my smartwatch.
“…Kim Suho, have you played a game like this?”
“In tower defense games, waves of monsters get stronger as time goes on.”
I transformed the Desert Eagle into assault rifle mode.
“I’ll deal with the front, so you deal with the monsters in the back. You can dodge my bullets, right?”
“As long as you aren’t shooting too wildly.”
I fixed the assault rifle on the ground and infused more of Stigma’s magic power into it.
The assault rifle then grew in size and transformed into a heavy machine gun on a tripod.
“Oh? Isn’t that new?”
“It’s a bit stronger than an assault rifle. Should I shoot first? Or do you want to lead?”
“You can go ahead. I’ll dodge your bullets on my own.”
Kim Suho shot forward faster than my bullets.
I murmured softly and held the heavy machine gun.
This weapon of mass destruction hindered the movement of its user and prevented precise aiming. However…
Its destructive power was more than enough to cover its flaws.
The barrel of the gun flashed white. Bullets shot forward like cannon shells, each striking three to four monsters.
One magazine carried 300 bullets, and the gun had a firing rate of 1300 bullets per minute.
In other words, it was entirely possible to use up all the bullets I brought in just 3 minutes.
However, I purposely maintained a slow speed. One reason was to avoid hitting Kim Suho, and the other was to hit several enemies with each bullet.
Clang, clang, clang—
Bullet casings rained down on the ground.
Then suddenly, a claw shot towards me. The magic power reinforcement seal on my obsidian bracelet easily blocked such weak attacks.
Next, I caught sight of a quick ghoul running towards me. Because of its unexpectedly quick speed, I activated Bullet Time.
The world slowed down and my consciousness sped up.
Hunter Ghoul. It was an intermediate-rank monster that was quicker than many monsters at its level.
It seemed to have figured out that my attacks were mostly low flying, as it even jumped up cleverly.
However, no matter how smart and quick it was, a mob monster was a mob monster.
In an instant, I twisted the machine gun’s handle at a sharp angle and fired. Two curving bullets shot forward and pierced the Hunter Ghoul’s head.
With its head blown up, it fell to the ground.
But as I was focused on the Hunter Ghoul, the progress of battle became messier.
Thankfully, Kim Suho was holding back the stronger monsters in the back.
With Bullet Time still active, I twisted the machine gun’s aim once again.
Fanning the machine gun in a cone, I fired in all directions.
The enemy lines were in shambles due to my calculated barrage of bullets.
A bullet pierced through a ghoul’s chest and blew up a zombie’s head. Bits and pieces of flesh and brain fluid splattered. The zombie and ghoul fell on their knees without moving more than a single step.
It couldn’t be good for the mental health, even for undead monsters.
I used up around a thousand bullets. As planned, I took care of the small fries, and Kim Suho joined the fray and cut down the elites. Then, after 30 minutes of battle, the final stage came to an end.
We approached the bunker behind us.
“Hey, you guys there…?”
However, the high school girls who should have been inside were gone.
Kim Suho murmured with a sigh.
“…They were NPCs.”
Modern people who appeared in Dungeons as NPCs. Fully knowing what that meant, we couldn’t express our joy of beating the Dungeon.
“…Hajin, look over there.”
On the ground where Kim Suho pointed were three beads huddled together like the high school girls.
Those who died in Dungeons sometimes became NPCs. These beads were all that remained of them.
[Low-intermediate rank Pink-colored Soul Bead]
—Created by condensed soul of a life killed inside the Dungeon.
Soul Beads were used as materials for magic seals and magic enchantments. Even low-intermediate rank beads would easily sell for hundreds of millions in Violet Banquet.
I looked at Kim Suho. He was looking at me too.
Neither of us seemed too keen on using these beads.
“…What should we do?”
Kim Suho asked.
“We’ll have to give them back. To their family members.”
That was the best solution.
Although we easily came to a decision, we couldn’t be happy. We knew fully well what these beads meant to parents who lost their children.
“Let’s open up that chest first.”
I walked towards the chest sitting in the middle of the open field. Kim Suho soon followed after me.
“Oh, there’s more than one this time!”
There were three items inside.
A bow, a wrist protector, and a leather belt.
They were all sand-colored, as though they formed a set together.
“Ah, this is it.”
“Hm? You know about them?”
“…No, it’s nothing.”
[Blessed Bow of Horus]
[Egyptian Archer’s Wrist Protector]
[Leather Belt for the Strong]
The bow and wrist protector were supposed to become the main equipment of Valerion, an executive of the Djinn group ‘Sin’.
I glanced at Kim Suho who was staring at the contents of the chest. I asked in a cheerful voice.
“How should we split these~?”
Kim Suho looked at me and smiled.
“I’ll leave it to you. You’re the one who found this place, and it was thanks to you that we beat the final stage.”
To be honest, Kim Suho didn’t need the bow or the wrist protector. After all, he was a close-range combatant. The only item that suited him was the leather belt, but there was just one problem…
“…You take this leather belt.”
“You’re taking the other two?”
Although I knew Kim Suho didn’t mean anything by it, I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty.
This leather belt was an artifact for training.
[Leather Belt for the Strong] [Ancient Artifact]
—When used, a maximum of 1000 jin can be added to the wearer’s body.
—Increases physical growth of its wearer.
“Can’t you read the item description?”
Although I was using my Gift, Observation and Reading, to see item descriptions, other people could see item descriptions without relying on Gifts. The only requirement was to be Enlightened and to have the special stat ‘insight’.
“Oh, Enlightenment? I’m bad at these things, so I need to get items appraised.”
“So, how do you use this leather belt?”
Kim Suho picked up the leather belt while smiling joyfully.
I suddenly felt sorry.
“It’s… for training.”
But unlike what I expected, Kim Suho’s eyes sparkled like he found a treasure.
“Y-Yeah, if you wear it, your body will get heavier. Look over there, you can change the weight too.”
Kim Suho exclaimed in awe. However, my expression darkened. He was only making me feel worse.
“It’s kind of like a portable gravitation room… but it’s actually a bit better. It’s an ancient artifact that speeds up your physical growth.”
“R-Really? That’s amazing! You’re giving this to me?”
“…What I’m taking are better.”
To be honest, they were not only better, but incomparably better.
[Blessed Bow of Horus] [Ancient Holy] [Ghost attribute]
A bow blessed by Horus, son of the ancient Egyptian god, Osiris.
—Power of Horus
*Arrows shot with this bow are endowed with sacred flames.
*Sacred flames are particularly powerful against evil spirits.
*By imbuing magic power into the bow, you can create an ‘arrow of healing’.
—Sun of Horus
*From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the user of this bow will receive improved vision.
—Moon of Horus
*From 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., the user of this bow can move with quieter footsteps.
An artifact bow with three options.
I carefully picked up the bow. I would have felt bad enough just taking this, but there was an additional unexpected benefit.
[Your Gift, ‘Master Sharpshooter’, links with ‘Sun of Horus’ and ‘Stigma’.]
[When you activate Sun of Horus while holding the Blessed Bow of Horus, it will fuse with your low-rank Gift ‘Thousand-Mile Eyes’ and allow you to use ‘Eye of Horus’ for 5 seconds.]
[Eye of Horus]
—Your vision extends far beyond the horizon, piercing through the feelings of people and laws of the universe.
While all sorts of jaw-dropping messages were popping up, Kim Suho asked innocently.
“Oh right, Hajin, you’re good with bows too, right?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I am…”
“That’s great! You got yourself a bow, and also… a wrist protector, I think?”
He was too pure….
Feeling extremely sorry, I stared at Kim Suho.