Chapter 37. Intruders (1)


Thursday. The sound of scribbling pencils rang out in the classroom. Almost all cadets were hard at work to prepare for the exam four days later.

“Argh… I want to go play soccer or something.”

Of course, there was bound to be at least one cadet who hated studying. Chae Nayun expressed her boredom with her entire body.

“My body’s healed but I can’t move my body…”

This week’s incident was reported across the entire world, and combat training was canceled due to Cube’s executives all being under investigation. As a result, there were only review and theory classes until the exams.
To Chae Nayun, it must be like hell.

“Exams are next week. Study hard, or you’re going to have regrets when the results come out.”

Next to her, Kim Suho spoke with a laugh. Being a diligent protagonist, Kim Suho was also good at written exams. But since he wasn’t good enough to contend for top ranks, he asked Yoo Yeonha who sat in front of him if he ever had any questions. Just like he was doing now.

“Um, Yeonha, can you tell me how to solve this?”

Yoo Yeonha glanced at the problem Kim Suho showed her.

“…Can you not forget my last name?”

“Oh, yeah, sorry.”

I yawned as I watched them interact.
At that moment, someone poked my shoulder. It was Rachel. When I tilted my head, she handed me a piece of paper.
Just like yesterday, it was another high difficulty problem.
Rachel has started to ask me for help on problems like these. In reality, I haven’t even heard her voice.

[Suppose the boss monster of a Dungeon is a high-intermediate rank grade 3 demi-devil. The Dungeon is a Stage Dungeon, and each stage consists of a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 30 low rank to intermediate rank monsters. Assuming the size of this Dungeon is medium small, find the minimum and maximum mana density, and approximate the number of people needed to conquer the Dungeon.]

I had no clue where to start. Was this really going to be on the exam? I glanced at Rachel. She was tapping on the desk while staring at me.
I should probably answer the question.
I activated my Gift. With several abilities I added to Observation and Reading, it should be able to solve this problem as long as it followed the world design I created.

[A high-intermediate rank grade 3 demi-devil has a minimum magic power capacity of… medium small Stages have four to six floors… 878ppm~1133ppm. Nine people can use and recharge magic power without being overburdened.]

I wrote down the sentences that popped up in front of me on a piece of paper and gave it to Rachel. Immediately, her eyes widened. She buried her face on the paper and began to carefully scrutinize every step of the calculation.

Ding dong—

At that moment, the bell rang signaling the end of the class. The class was technically a review class, but in reality, it was just a self-study class. In any case, few cadets got up from their seats. They were all studying hard.
I, of course, planned on going back to the dorm. That’s just what smart students did.
When I began to stuff my writing utensils in my bag along with my laptop, a shadow was cast over my desk. I raised my head with a quizzical look. It was Chae Nayun.

“Hey, help me study.”

She spoke with a sweet smile.
I got up from my seat.

“…I don’t want to.”

“What? Why?”

“It’s too troublesome.”

Written exams began next Monday. That was less than four days. Even if she started studying now, her grades wouldn’t change much. Not to mention, I had no way of helping her study.

“H-Hey! Um, please! How about a study guide on Phenomenon Realm Analysis?”

She sounded more desperate than I imagined, but I still went on my way cold-heartedly.

**


The written exams went by like a breeze. From the first exam on Monday to the final exam on Friday, time seemed to pass in the blink of an eye.
I felt like I got everything correct. At first, I thought about aiming for an average score, but because I might end up scoring near the bottom on the combat exams, I did my best on the written exams so that I wouldn’t be held back.

Today was Saturday.
Combat exams would begin on Monday. During combat exam periods, Cube was open to cadets' family members, various Hero associates, and all institutions that hired Heroes. Naturally, Cube was bustling with people.

“Oh~ Cube’s rank 117, Kim Junha! I saw you on YouTube. My son is your fan. Can we take a photo?”

Because cadets’ families were present, the combat exam period was somewhat of a festival. It was a bit odd that teenagers fighting each other was considered a festival, but this was Cube’s tradition.

“We are in Cube, the world’s best Hero Academy…”

Reporters were also allowed in from approved broadcasting companies. Since becoming a Hero was akin to becoming a celebrity, the goal was to let cadets become used to being on camera.

“There sure is a lot of people.”

I was currently sitting in Hero Park, located in the center of Cube. Unlike how it was normally, the place was booming with people as though it was Disneyland.

“Ah! Hajin-ssi!”

At that moment, someone called my name.
Tap tap. I turned towards the direction of the footsteps.
It was Hazuki.

“Hajin-ssi, what are you doing here?”

“Oh… Just taking a break. Who are the two behind you?”

“My parents. This is my mom and this is my dad. Mom, Dad, this is my teammate.”

“H-Hello.”

I shook hands with Hazuki’s parents. They smiled and said something in Japanese. Since I couldn’t understand them, I just feigned a smile.

“Hajin. His name is Kim Hajin.”

Hazuki introduced me to her parents. It seemed they were asking for my name. After Hazuki told them my name, they grabbed my hands, saying “Hajin-san, Hajin-san”. I didn’t know what they were saying so I just replied with “hai, hai”.

In any case, after the greeting ended, Hazuki left with her parents.
Alone once again, I sat down on the bench. I couldn’t help but feel jealous of Hazuki, whose parents had come to see him.

‘Huu. If only Mom and Dad were in this world too…’

Just when I was having wishful thoughts… a certain person caught my eyes.

A woman was slowly walking through the crowded park.
Her long hair was black like shadows, her eyes looked like obsidian, and she seemed a bit drowsy.
She held a certain melancholic charm that seemed to turn her surroundings dark.

I felt like I knew her.
She was exactly as I described her in my novel.
One of the few wanted criminals on Hero Association’s blacklist, the leader of the criminal group Chameleon Troupe, and the person who inherited the title of Yasha of the Eight Legions.
As she disguised herself with countless number of identities, I was the only one who knew her real name.

At that moment, she suddenly came to a stop. She slowly turned her head, meeting my eyes. I had to look away, but my body immediately froze.
Her deep eyes seemed to strangle me. Just by looking into her eyes, I became stifled for breath and broke out in a cold sweat.

“…”

When my mind was about to turn blank, she turned back. Clack, clack. The sound of her high-heels rang out as she walked away.

“Haa… Haa…”

I collected my breath. It felt like I was under an immense pressure.

But at that moment, I felt a gaze on me. I slowly raised my head.
She had her back towards me, but I could feel a gaze from her back.
I was certain.
That woman was observing me.
My instincts were roaring. I had to say something, something that could explain why I was staring at her….

With a gulp, I muttered.

“Wow, she’s so hot.”

Instantly, she slightly twisted her head towards me.
But soon, she continued walking.

“Whew.”

I let out a sigh of relief. I beat my stifled chest and put my hands over my heated face.

I almost forgot.
The Chameleon Troupe would sneak into Cube for combat exams. Their goal was to scout. They wanted to see if anyone was worthy of filling in an empty position in their group.
In the original story, Kim Suho and Shin Jonghak were the main candidates. Kim Suho would be disqualified because of the differences in their beliefs, and they would return peacefully with Shin Jonghak in their mind. In other words, they weren’t here to cause any trouble.

However…

“I’m looking around constantly, but everything’s normal.”

Cube was currently filled with Heroes dispatched by the Association.
One particularly notable character was the world rank 1737, high rank grade 6 Hero, Oh Junhyuk.

“There’s no one out of the ordinary. Let’s just go grab lunch.”

“Just focus.”

There was also rank 2000, high-rank grade 7 Hero, Seo Youngji.

Several Heroes were on the lookout in disguise.
Because the incident with Yun Hyun happened before the combat exams, the Hero Association had dispatched numerous Heroes to investigate.

“Let’s eat pizza.”

“Shut it. Just keep your eyes out for anyone suspicious or with a strange aura.”

If the Chameleon Troupe were to clash with them… it wouldn’t end with just one or two dead people.

**


Clack, clack.
A woman stopped in an artificial forest. After confirming that no one was watching her, she quietly murmured.

“Someone saw me.”

The forest was empty without even a shadow of a person. However, a strange voice rang out from the ground.

—Really? Maybe you were mistaken.

“No, he said I was hot.”

—…Pfft. Well, did you like it, Boss?

“Do you want to die?”

—Check again. Maybe the necklace isn’t working.

A full body mirror shot up from the ground. The woman looked at herself in the mirror. Around her neck was Siren’s Necklace, an item with the ability to prevent people from recognizing her.

“The necklace is working fine.”

—Really? So someone saw through the necklace? He must have good perception. I’ll keep an eye out. Do you remember his name and face?

“…Stop joking around. You saw him too.”

—Huhu, I know, I know. I’m already looking into it. Wait just a bit.

Tadak, tadak. The sound of a keyboard rang out.
The woman closed her eyes and waited for the report.

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