After clearing the Dungeon, I ate dinner with Kim Suho and returned home.
Beep, beep, beep.
I entered the password and opened the front door. However, Evandel didn’t come out to greet me like usual. I could hear voices of two kids having fun.
When I walked inside, wondering if Evandel was mad at me for coming home late, I saw an unexpected guest. Evandel was with a girl I’ve never seen before.
Seeing me, Evandel smiled brightly and waved her hand. Curious, I looked back and forth between Evandel and the pretty girl next to her. The girl introduced herself.
I greeted her and looked at Evandel for an explanation.
Evandel smiled and introduced the girl.
“She’s my friend~”
“I’m Yun Haeyeon.”
The two children bowed at a 90 degree angle. I couldn’t help but smile, looking at their adorable gesture.
“H-Hello. You must be the friend Evandel talked about before.”
“Un! Haeyeon said her parents are busy tonight, so I told her she could eat dinner at my place!”
“Oh? What did you order?”
“Haeyeon is giving it a go!”
“Giving it a go?”
Evandel giggled, while Haeyeon sheepishly looked down and scratched her cheek.
“Yep, Haeyeon says she never ordered food before.”
For children, everything was a challenge. Now that I think about it, I had trouble ordering food when I was 5 too.
“But don’t order anything. Since your friend is here, I’ll cook tonight.”
Evandel’s face turned brighter.
Cooking was one of the skills I acquired with Dexterity. As long as I knew the recipe, I could mimic most of what professional chefs did on TV. Evandel was really surprised when I first showed her.
“Alright, then wait just a bit.”
I opened the fridge. There were more than enough ingredients.
“What do you want to eat?”
“I’m asking Haeyeon.”
Evandel pouted but she quickly went back to smiling when I patted her.
“I’m… fine with anything….”
Evandel’s eyes sparkled.
“Haeyeon, are you okay with steak?”
“Yes, I like it.”
I took out four pieces of beef sirloin and some seasoning.
Three of them were for Evandel, and the other was for Haeyeon and Hayang.
“Can I watch you cook?”
I began to cook under the curious eyes of two children.
Tak, tak, tak— I quickly chopped up some paprika and onions.
Chwiik— I made a 3-star Michelin chef’s steak sauce recipe.
Tzzzz— Then, I plated the garnish and meat, topping them off with the steak sauce.
I presented the completed dish under the awestruck gazes of two children and one cat.
“Here you go.”
Evandel and Haeyeon stared at the steak with anticipation. I checked my smartwatch.
[A sense of satisfaction and fatigue recovery effect seeps into your well-cooked dish.]
It was almost time for my 9 o’clock appointment.
“Alright, I’m going out for a bit. Let the steak rest for five minutes before you eat.”
“Thank you for the food.”
Leaving behind the two kids who were eagerly waiting to eat, I left my house and arrived at a nearby park.
As I waited, I checked the items I got today.
[Egyptian Archer’s Wrist Protector] [Ancient Artifact] [Sand attribute]
[Stored Mana 3000/3000]
—Ancient Archer Proficiency
*Increases your proficiency with bows.
—Blessing of the Desert
*Allows you to cast Sand Barrier using stored mana.
Blessed Bow of Horus and Egyptian Archer’s Wrist Protector. These two items, which I called the Egyptian Set, would serve me well at least until the middle stages of the story.
But now that I had a good bow, I couldn’t help but hesitate between a bow and a gun. At this point, it was hard to say one was better than the other.
My gun wasn’t an ordinary gun. As my main weapon, the Desert Eagle had all sorts of additional options attached to it.
First was an attack power increasing effect for each monster I instakilled. Just this effect alone made my Desert Eagle 2.2 times stronger than other Desert Eagles.
But there was more.
Shotgun mode, anti-material sniper rifle mode, assault rifle mode, heavy machine gun mode. With the Desert Eagle’s modal change function, I could display great firepower in all sorts of situations. The only flaw was that I fused Aether with the gun to change form, making me unable to use Aether for defense.
“I’ll only use a bow as an ultimate ability…”
That seemed to be the right choice.
I stared at the sand-colored bow, then tried attaching Aether to it. Immediately, the ancient bow transformed, looking more modern and elegant.
“Is it because of Aesthetic Greed? It keeps doing this.”
Ever since Aesthetic Greed was added to Aether, even my guns took on new forms. I couldn’t quite describe it well, but simply put, they became more elegant and beautiful.
“Did you get a new weapon?”
After about 10 minutes, the person I was waiting for finally arrived.
Boss approached me with a smile on her face.
“You were right. Creator’s Sacred Grace failed their Tower campaign. Horribly, at that.”
“…Are you happy?”
“Of course, haha.”
The stock price of Creator’s Sacred Grace fell by 30% in just four days. It took a massive dip on the first day and was steadily falling ever since.
“So, what’s your request?”
“Will you accept it?”
“As long as it’s possible.”
In exchange for giving Boss stock-related information, I requested her help for the upcoming incident.
“Have you heard of Dark Moon Society?”
Dark Moon Society should infiltrate Cube during this episode. This was also the episode where Lancaster made his first real move, and I already confirmed both using the Book of Truth.
“Dark Moon Society? How do you know about them?”
Boss frowned suspiciously.
“Well, you see…”
I scratched my neck and spoke awkwardly.
I didn’t have any other option. The co-author would surely make the upcoming incident messier. It was only natural that I have an ally or two to balance it out.
“During the previous final exam, they tried to kill me.”
Boss’ face distorted viciously.
As expected of Yasha, she valued her comrades dearly. I felt proud.
Today’s class had yet to start, and I was currently looking at Cube’s dropout form. Looking at the line asking for the reason I was dropping out, I couldn’t help but wonder what I should put down.
After much thought, I wrote only two words – [career change]. Then, I signed the document.
“Good morning! I will announce the randomly created teams. Remember, it’s only a 2-person team.”
The morning common class was more or less a walk in the park. Today’s training was a VR Dungeon. It was no different than the Mock Dungeon Trial we had last year, except that this one was government sponsored and done in a VR world.
“Team 6, Yoo Yeonha and Kim Hajin.”
Yoo Yeonha, who was sitting in front of the VR capsule, twitched.
She turned head her like a machine, and our eyes met. When I smiled at her, Yoo Yeonha returned a deep sigh.
“Now, sit together with your teammate.”
Yoo Yeonha slowly walked up and sat down next to me.
“Alright, listen up! The visual effects for this Dungeon will be more realistic than the real thing, so stay on your toes! Now~ put on your helmets!”
After the instructor’s enthusiastic introduction ended, I put on my helmet. A vivid scenery spread out in front of me.
—Wow, it’s like I’m in a LAN café.
However, Yoo Yeonha didn’t say anything. From the looks of it, she wasn’t even logged on.
I took off my helmet and stared at Yoo Yeonha.
With furrowed brows, she was staring fixedly at my right arm. I flicked her forehead.
“…Ak? What are you doing?”
“N-Nothing. Let’s start.”
Yoo Yeonha put on her helmet, walking on eggshells around me. Thinking that she was up to her usual delusional antics, I ignored her and put on my helmet.
We were placed in a vast cave.
—Where should we go?
—Let’s go straight.
[A giant bat has appeared!]
—Why are you surprised by just this… oh right, you hate scary things.
From ghosts to jump scares, Yoo Yeonha hated all scary things.
—…N-No, I don’t.
—Anyways, how should we kill it?
—…Attack its ears.
Yoo Yeonha murmured softly. I did as she said. I shot twice, striking its ears and instantly killing it.
—Next up is a zombie. Its weakness?
Progressing smoothly, we quickly reached the end of the Dungeon. What should have been a 30-minute course only took us 20 minutes to complete.
Yoo Yeonha asked carefully in a soft voice.
“I… I heard you were dropping out.”
“…Did Chae Nayun tell you?”
Yoo Yeonha nodded.
“She’s quite a blabbermou—”
“She was crying.”
Yoo Yeonha’s voice became heavier.
“She was crying?”
“Yes, she said she didn’t want you to leave.”
As I was choosing my words, I felt a mysterious gaze fall on me. I turned to the side.
There, my eyes met Rachel’s.
However, she quickly averted her gaze. She seemed to have overheard what we just talked about.
“…Anyways, it’s not something I have a say in. I believe that you’ll deal with it properly.”
Yoo Yeonha murmured then got up.
“Team 6 just finished.”
After the morning class came lunch time.
I came to Cube’s cafeteria to eat alone.
However, Rachel was also at the cafeteria. But because there was a female agent disguised as a cadet standing next to her, we only exchanged a brief eye contact as a greeting.
“I’ll take the special set.”
When I sat down with my food, someone sat down next to me.
It was Chae Nayun.
She waved her hand awkwardly. I looked at her plate and asked.
“You can eat cafeteria food?”
Chae Nayun courageously put a sausage in her mouth.
However, her chewing speed only slowed down as time went on.
“So, um… when are you leaving?”
She asked without swallowing the food in her mouth.
She coughed loudly, almost choking on her food. Luckily, she managed to swallow it before anything that she would regret happened.
Chae Nayun looked down at her plate with dejected eyes, then clenched her fists and hit the table.
“Can’t you stay?”
I could only shake my head in response.
“Ah, okay, well, if you have to go, you should. I can… I can also find someone else to be my boyfriend.”
She mumbled as she glanced at me.
“Yeah, go ahead.”
“…I’m kidding. I won’t date anyone else.”
Immediately, Chae Nayun frowned heavily.
However, I quickly finished my food and got up. Chae Nayun ran after me.
After returning my plate, I left the cafeteria and walked to a nearby park.
There, a second battle began between me and Chae Nayun.
“Uuuu, it’s infuriating the more I think about it! Don’t you know how to be tactful? You know, lip service?”
“I mean, didn’t you like me at first!?”
“What are you talking abou—”
In the middle of our conversation full of misunderstandings, a strange undulation of magic power suddenly rang out.
I immediately froze. Swirling near the ground was a sharp yet light aura. In the air was an ominous magic power that seemed to interfere with the foundation of earth.
Chae Nayun and I looked at each other simultaneously.
“Hey, what was that?”
Chae Nayun asked. I let out a small sigh. I couldn’t find out about the specific date because I didn’t have enough magic power.
…It seemed it was finally here.
“It should be a magic phenomenon.”
What was happening now was an extremely rare magic phenomenon. A natural magic disaster that happened when the dragon race that lived in the depths of the East Sea touched the ocean’s magic power keystone. Although this phenomenon normally happened as a pure coincidence, this incident was orchestrated by Djinns.
“Magic phenomenon? Ah, hey, look over there.”
Chae Nayun pointed in one direction.
Cube’s scenery was changing.
The green leaves were changing color, and the cool breeze turned hot. Additionally, Cube’s state-of-the-art buildings disappeared, leaving only a single dilapidated building and a wooded forest.
“O-Okay. Ah, your hand…”
I grabbed Chae Nayun’s wrist and quickly ran into the sole dilapidated building in the center of Cube.
“Don’t let go of my hand!”
Because she kept twisting her wrist, I shouted.
“S-Sorry, but you should explain what’s going on…”
“The space got distorted.”
“We learned about it in class, remember? It’s the broken mirror phenomenon.”
Broken mirror phenomenon. It was a magic phenomenon where space was cut into pieces like a broken mirror.
This magic disaster was something I created using random interesting theories I heard about. Technically, this phenomenon was a form of barrier created when a dragon interfered with mana clouds that rose up through convection currents.
To find incarnation bodies for devils, Djinns had provoked a dragon and invaded Cube.
This invasion was carefully organized by Djinns. That was the reason I couldn’t stop it. Even if I was willing to give up on the growth Kim Suho and Shin Jonghak would experience, there was simply no way for me stop the Djinns’ plan, which would require me to kill a dragon.
“Space might split at any moment, so stay sharp. You see that building in the center? We need to get there as quickly as possible… Uk!”
The space distorted once again.
My hand was forced to let go of Chae Nayun’s wrist, and the scenery changed once again.
Now, the world looked like it was half-day and half-night.
This time, the air was filled with the smell of blood.
I turned to the direction of the smell. Then, I ran without a shred of hesitation.
As soon as I discovered the source of the smell, I shouted loudly.
12 pairs of eyes fell on me.
There, Rachel was surrounded by ten or so Djinns.
While a thick smell of blood flowed out, Rachel’s face became faintly brighter. I first checked her condition. Thankfully, she didn’t seem to be the one bleeding. Rather, the blood came from the Djinns she cut down.
“Oh~? What a coincidence~ we meet again. It’s been a while.”
A somewhat familiar man clapped his hands and revealed himself.
I knew very well who he was.
He was Heuk Jeon, the assassin who interfered in the final exam.
“Yeah, it’s been a while.”
As expected, Lancaster and Dark Moon Society were involved in this incident.
“Yes, yes, it really has been such a long time.”
Heuk Jeon unleashed a vicious killing intent as he spread his daggers out into the shape of a fan.
However, I tilted my head.
Did he not hear the news yet?
“Hajin-ssi, run away. There are too many of them for just the two of us to fight. I’ll hold them back, so you should go look for reinforcements—”
Ignoring Rachel who was saying something seriously, I faced Heuk Jeon.
“Kim Hajin, Kim Hajin. Ever since the day you humiliated me, I’ve been waiting for this day…”
“…You haven’t heard the news?”
I pointed at the walkie-talkie hanging on his belt. The Djinns attacking Cube all had walkie-talkies that worked in this distorted space.
However, that was the same for me.
Using a magical device I prepared for today, I sent Boss a message.
[Boss, those guys are bothering me again…]
It was a similar device as the magic letters the Yoo Sihyuk School used.
“What are you doing? I advise you to take out your weapon…”
It was then.
—Heuk Jeon! Where are you, you son of a bitch!?
Harsh words came out of Heuk Jeon’s walkie-talkie. Heuk Jeon and the Djinns surrounding him were all befuddled.
“Eh? I’m in the middle of the miss—”
—What? You motherfucker, I told you not to do that!
Sweating profusely, Heuk Jeon lowered the walkie-talkie’s volume. He clearly didn’t want to embarrass himself.
“…Um, Hwarang-nim, I thought we already finished our talk with the Lancasters.”
—Do you think I give a shit about Lancaster right now!? That person contacted me just now. If something goes wrong because of you, I will kill you myself!
That was the end of this brief radio message.
—I’m not kidding, I will really kill you! I’ll tear your limbs apart and feed you to the highest rank monster I can find!!
The walkie-talkie then came back on with a final warning.
Heuk Jeon stared at the walkie-talkie in his trembling hands, then put it back down. Sweating even more profusely, he asked carefully.
“Um, Kim, Kim Hajin-ssi? C-Can you please explain what is going on…?”
I couldn’t tell whether he was slow or just shocked.
“Well, think about it this way. I make money on the side by investing in stocks. One of my clients happens to know about you. So I asked them for a favor. Who knew one of my clients would have such a tight relationship with you?”
Heuk Jeon looked like his soul was sucked out. He seemed to be saying, ‘I’m being humiliated because of mere stocks?’ but considering Boss’ personality, it was quite a good excuse.
“So, what are you doing?”
I pointed at a rock nearby.
It was the perfect place to kowtow.
“If I were you, my head would be kissing the ground right about now.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter