Chapter 41. Sudden Encounter (1)


Tak.

I closed my laptop.

“…Well that's terrifying.”

Cheok Jungyeong killed someone without hesitation, purely for his own enjoyment.
This was the world I created.
On the surface, the society seemed functional with science and magic vastly improving quality of life, but on the inside, demi-humans who didn’t care for the law or morals lurked within.
Demi-humans didn’t just refer to Djinns.
Humans who rejected the existence of Heroes, but had supernatural powers just like them. They were officially known as ‘wanted criminals’, but the public called them ‘Villains’.

“What killed him?”

The drone was unable to capture exactly what happened.
Only after slowing it down ten times was I able to catch a glimpse. Cheok Jungyeong threw out a jab, and a violent pressure erupted, instantly killing the police officer.

“He killed someone without even making contact… Also, this thing…”

I stared at the drone on my bed. It was more useful than I expected. If I bought a more expensive drone and added a bunch of settings to it, I might be able to put it to good use.

Wiing—

At that moment, my smartwatch suddenly rang.

[Yo, can I nominate you?]

It was Chae Nayun. She seemed to be talking about tomorrow’s duels.

[Why?]

[What do you mean why? You already provoked me several times.]

I still had one nomination left. Cadets had to duel at least three times and could duel at most six times. In other words, I didn’t need to fight anyone else unless someone nominated me.

[No, I’m exhausted from today.]

There was no chance of me winning in a one-on-one fight against Chae Nayun. Not only were arrows stronger than bullets, I also didn’t have the physical ability to dodge her rapid fire shots.

[You can think about that tomorrow morning. Also, how did you destroy qi reinforcement with a bullet? It didn’t look like you used your personal weapon. That’s all people are talking about. That was your Gift, right?]

So this was her real goal.

I ignored her message. Thinking about it now, I doubt she had any nominations left. Even if she did, she probably wouldn’t use it to maintain her peak condition. After all, she was scheduled to duel Rachel tomorrow.

“Whoa, it’s already 12?”

I took off my smartwatch and looked at the time. It was already midnight.
When I turned off the light and lied down on the bed, I received another message.

[You put on quite a show.]

This time, it was Yoo Yeonha.
I gave a short reply.

[I didn’t want to get hit.]

[Because you destroyed a qi reinforcement with your bullet, many guilds are showing interest in you.]

[I know.]

I had gained quite a bit of SP, 185 since noon. Once I collected a bit more, I would be able to create a new Art or Physique.

[They’re already calling your Gift ‘superpower bullet’ or ‘bullet reinforcement’… Speaking of which, what do you think about guilds?]

[Those names suck.]

[No, I mean, what do you think about Essence of the Strait?]

“Hmm.”

Yoo Yeonha had a tendency to judge people based on their usefulness. This would only get worse as she got older, and she would eventually become someone who didn’t care about someone’s background as long as they were useful.

[Contacting cadets beforehand is illegal. That’s a 500 million won penalty.]

I sent a thoughtless message, trying to end the conversation.

[First, I’m still a cadet. Cadets can try to recruit other cadets without being in trouble with the law. Second, I can afford to pay that much.]

She returned a very serious reply.
I felt a bit awkward.

[That’s not your money, it’s your parents’.]

[Oh right, your acting was pretty superb on your second and third match.]

“…This girl.”

Why was she talking like I was hiding my power? If anything, Kim Suho was the one hiding his power.

[Were you watching?]

[I had time. But to be honest, I think your growth speed is too quick. You were rank 934 during the initial exams, but if you corner a rank 18 after switching to a sharpshooter role, it’s too eye-catching no matter how much aptitude you have for it…]

“What is she on about now?”

I also ignored Yoo Yeonha’s message. In truth, my eyelids were closing. I fought three times today, so it wasn’t surprising.

“…Oh right.”

I suddenly remembered something else to do.
I turned on my smartwatch and sent Park Soohyuk a message.

[Hyung, thanks for the drone. I’ll take good care of it.]

**

Chameleon Troupe’s hiding place. In a pitch-black abandoned factory without a single stream of light, Chameleon Troupe’s boss was sitting cross-legged on the ground. A series of battles from earlier in the day was being played in her head.

Kim Suho’s swordsmanship was just like what she had heard. His sword strikes were light like a feather, but carried a heavy destructive power and connected fluidly with his next move. Each of his movements was natural like flowing water. His swordsmanship was so well polished and sharpened that it seemed more suitable to call it a sword art than swordsmanship

Next was Shin Jonghak. His spearmanship was truly domineering and vicious. He stabbed directly at his opponent’s heart and brutalized anyone who was constantly on the defensive. Using the spear’s long reach, he constantly cut, smacked, and stabbed his opponent. Rather than a duel, it was more like a one-sided beating.

—Next is the man you were talking about, Boss. The one who called you hot.

She nodded silently. The video being reflected in her eyes changed. This time, it was a battle between a gun and a fist. A sharpshooter and a warrior. It was clear who should be the winner.
However…
She abruptly opened her eyes. She only watched the video for a short time, but during this time, the sharpshooter’s bullet had destroyed the warrior’s magic power. She examined the nature of the magic power around the bullet. If her eyes weren’t seeing things, it could only be one thing. The power of ‘anti-magic’. It was the power she was looking for, the silver bullet that could kill ‘that man’.

—Interesting, isn’t it? I was surprised too when I first saw it.

“Kim Hajin. Write his name down on the notebook.”

She spoke without hesitation.

—…Really?

“Yes.”

—But Jungyeong said he didn’t like him.

“Gyeong hates sharpshooters.”

Cheok Jungyeong was a warrior in and out. Staring at each other’s eyes and trying to strike down death upon the enemy with deadly killing intent; he believed that was what a battle was.
Even in the Chameleon Troupe, there were members he didn’t like just because they fought from a long range.

—I guess so. He did say Kim Suho and Shin Jonghak were okay.

“Then put their names down too.”

—Then we’ll only have 5 slots left. Is that okay?

People who had their names written down on the ‘notebook’ could have their live locations tracked. In a way, the notebook was like a GPS. In addition, the owner of the notebook could teleport to the location of a written target.

—Who do we prioritize?

In exchange for its wide-ranged power, the condition, [target cannot know that his name is on the notebook], had to be met. But as long as the target wasn’t told about the notebook, there was no reason he should notice.

“Mm.”

The boss closed her eyes. She remembered what happened a long time ago.
The death of the previous leader of Chameleon Troupe 11 years ago, “that” man’s betrayal, and the day she cried for the first time. In front of a grave, she felt the new burden on her shoulders as the Chameleon Troupe changed its colors once more.

“For now…”

The Chameleon Troupe survived even with the death of its leader. A new leader was chosen, and the group managed to take a huge step forward using resentment and vengeance as nourishment.
But now, they couldn’t find where the traitor was hiding. No, even if they knew, they couldn’t do anything about it.
So, she kept searching this entire time.

The power of anti-magic, which could destroy the Magic Power Physique…

“Put Kim Hajin on top priority.”

**


Tuesday. I remained in my room until noon. Although duels continued until today, no one had nominated me.

“I should have just stayed in the dorm.”

Currently, it was 1 P.M., and I was outside. To be honest, I was bored. I also wanted to watch Chae Nayun (rank 4) duel Rachel (rank 3), and Kim Suho (rank 1) duel Yohei (rank 8).

“The seats are full.”

However, the arena was completely packed full of people. The first arena had 5000 seats, but there wasn’t an empty seat no matter how hard I looked.

‘Should I go back? Or should I just stand and watch?’

When I was having such thoughts at the back of the arena, two people, who seemed to be a couple, suddenly stood up and left.

“K-Kuhum.”

I sat down on the seat, feeling like I was walking on eggshells as I hoped they wouldn’t come back.

—Thank you for waiting!

Thankfully, the couple didn’t come back, and the host announced the start of the duel along with the excited cheering of the crowd.

Sssss.

Someone sat down next to me. I glanced to the side with a bag of popcorn in my hand, then looked back ahead.

“…?”

Suddenly, the image of the person flashed in my head. She... looked familiar. I swallowed the popcorn in my mouth and glanced sideways once again.
At the same time, my heart stopped beating and my breathing froze.
“She” was sitting next to me.
The boss of the Chameleon Troupe. As someone who lived her life without a name, she was only known by her title, Yasha.

I stuffed my shaking hands into the popcorn and fixed my eyes on the dueling arena. My heart, which temporarily stopped, finally began to thump crazily.

Why was she here? Did I do something wrong? Or was it a coincidence?
Right, it had to be a coincidence. She was here to watch Kim Suho and just happened to sit next to me…

In the middle of my panicked thinking…

“Huak!”

Someone who was walking down the stairs suddenly tripped. This nameless person was holding onto a large-sized soda. The soda promptly spun in the air before landing on someone’s head like a hat. For the record, the soda was filled to the brim.

I didn’t know whether luck played a part in it, but not a single drop landed on me. However…

I turned to the side, feeling a tinge of dizziness.
Under the soda cup standing like a party hat, Boss' black pupils were trembling uncontrollably.

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