Chapter 44. Sudden Encounter (4)


“Wow~ I wonder if I got some sort of an insight. Who knew I could win against a Thousand-Mile Horse so easily?”

Tired of waiting, I was looking at my laptop when Chae Nayun’s bragging sound entered my ears.

“Really, what happened, Nayun?”

Yoo Yeonha also chimed in from next to her. Although Yoo Yeonha usually lowered her head in front of Chae Nayun, her genuinely surprised expression told me that it wasn’t just flattery this time.
It was understandable. Yoo Yeonha didn’t know anything about bows, so Chae Nayun’s battle might have seemed unproblematic. At first glance, it was indeed an amazing fight. But just like the saying, one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

“I learned from failure, something like that, hahaha.”

Chae Nayun made a hearty laugh. She must be feeling great, seeing as how she even brought up her loss from yesterday. Meanwhile, Kim Suho was smiling sweetly as he watched Chae Nayun.
As for me, I felt a chill run down my back when I imagined Chae Nayun reading my report. Should I submit it anonymously?

“Group 10. Rachel, Kim Hajin, Skid, Lee Wei.”

At that moment, Jin Joohwa announced the 10th group. I glanced at Rachel, who was sitting next to me. She seemed to have me on her mind as well, as her eyes met mine. She got up from her seat, and I followed.

“Come this way.”

Rachel and I followed a staff with the rest of group 10’s members.
We arrived at a waiting room, and the staff opened a giant door on its right side.

“Go in.”

Behind the giant door was a long hallway.
We walked in. Soon, the hallway came to an end, and two doors stood on each side of the wall.

“Stand in front of the door.”

The staff guided us to a door each. I was on the same side of the wall as Rachel.

“Good luck on your exam!”

I gave Rachel an energetic cheer, and she returned a nod.

“You have one minute to confirm your monster and terrain.”

Beyond the window on the door, I could see the monster and terrain I would face.
The terrain was flatland. The monster was a Chrome Wolf.

Chrome wolves were monsters that ranged from low-intermediate rank grade 4 to grade 2. It was comparatively weaker than what some of the other cadets had to face.
However, it was difficult to fight it with a gun. Not just difficult, but very difficult. Anyone could see at first glance that bullets would just bounce off its skin.

[Peculiarity – its skin has the ability to reflect metallic objects.]
[Weakness – inside the mouth]
[Strength – powerful epidermis]

Chrome Wolves were monsters I created.

“30 seconds left.”

They had the metal and earth dual-attribute, and its vital point was inside its mouth. While the combination of metal and earth attribute made it difficult to deal with, its weakness was unexpectedly clear. An extreme heat that could melt metal and earth, that was what I needed.
I grasped the knife in my pocket. When things came down to it, I could use Stigma’s magic power to heat up the knife.

“A minute has passed. Please enter.”

The members of group 10 walked into the examination ground.

It was a small room of about 130 square meters. Dirt and rocks filled the ground, while a wolf was crunching on something on the other side.
I barely had any time to think. Chrome Wolves were capable of long ranged attacks.
I quickly held up my gun. Ptui. The wolf spat something out. What seemed to be a metallic fragment hurled towards me. I aimed at the flying object and fired. The metallic fragment clashed with my bullet, destroying each other.

It charged towards me immediately afterward. I activated Bullet Time. I could clearly see the wolf’s slowed movements, but I didn’t move. I simply waited for it to open its mouth. Because it was so slow, I wasn’t even scared.
As though it was moving in slow motion, the Chrome Wolf opened its jaws as it shot towards my neck.
I jabbed my gun into its mouth and fired consecutively. By the time the Chrome Wolf shut its mouth, I had already jumped back by several meters.

My sense of time returned to normal, and the Chrome Wolf convulsed in pain.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t dead yet. After retching a few times, it spat out ten crushed bullets. Then, he growled while glaring at me.

“Tough, aren’t you?”

I had struck its vital point, but the Chrome Wolf’s bulletproof property put me at a disadvantage. Without a choice, I took out my knife. With a gun in one hand and a knife in the other, I lowered my body slightly and glared back at the wolf. My lips were dry and sweat drenched my body. Close ranged combat was always frightening.
Right when the fight was about to break out…

KWANG—!

A huge explosion erupted and the lights in the room went off.
I was now in total darkness, but I couldn’t let my guard down. There was a savage beast in here with me.

—A problem has occurred. All monsters will be reverse summoned. Cadets are to leave the examination ground immedi…Tzzzk.

The speaker cut off with a static noise.
I stared at the wolf. Rather than being reverse summoned, it was growing even more ferocious.

“Um, is that thing going to be reverse summoned?”

No one answered my question.
One or more of the dispatched magicians had to be a Djinn.
Jin Joohwa wasn’t a Djinn. I had already checked on my laptop. No change in setting had happened to him. In fact, the laptop didn’t detect any setting change.
This could only mean one thing.
The Djinn deployed here was a Djinn I didn’t know.
It was entirely plausible. There were uncountably many Djinns in this world. It wasn’t strange for an extra to appear.

“Haa… I knew this would happen eventually.”

An event that I didn’t know about was happening.
My heart rate went up at the uncertainty of the situation, but I forced myself to calm down. After a deep breath, I looked through the wall at the room next door. Rachel seemed to be in a similar situation, as she was glaring at her opponent calmly and silently. But her opponent was… a person.

—Kuwalwal!

At that moment, the Chrome Wolf charged towards me with a howl. I took out my personal weapon from Stigma. Desert Eagle materialized in my hand, and Aether fused with it promptly.
The grip fits snugly in my hand.
First, I fired a bullet at the charging Chrome Wolf. It fell down with a whimper.

“Know your place.”

The Desert Eagle I had taken out for the first time in a while was much more powerful than before, but I didn’t have the time to stand around and admire its strength. I didn’t even have time to look at my laptop.
Rachel was the urgent problem at hand.

There were arcs where Rachel was targeted. One of the antagonists of the story was someone who wanted to conquer England itself.
But now shouldn’t be the time. They should only attack after they grew their forces more…

—Krrrr…

I furrowed my brows at the growling noise. When I turned my sight back front, the single Chrome Wolf had unknowingly multiplied to three.
But I wasn’t worried in the slightest.

“Hm.”

I transformed Desert Eagle into the shotgun mode.
At the same time, the three Chrome Wolves flew towards me.
My job was simple.
I just had to point my shotgun calmly and fire without shaking.

KWANG—!

Immediately, thunderous gunshots rang out.

**


In a dark room filled with chilling air and breathless killing intent, a lone man’s murmuring rose up coldly.

“I knew this day would come one day.”

What should have been a familiar language approached Rachel unfamiliarly. She glared at the man who appeared from the darkness. Although the man was wearing a cape and covering his face, Rachel felt like she knew who he was.
Rachel calmly recited his name.

“…Sir Lancaster.”

The previous Captain of the Royal Guard and Rachel’s previous master, Alex Lancaster.
The man who disappeared a few years ago after his family was murdered in the infamous London Incident had appeared once again with breathtaking killing intent.

“I’m honored you remember me.”

A thin smile emerged on his face. Rachel felt a great malice from his sinister smile. From it, she could easily see the path he had walked.

“…You sold your soul.”

Lancaster shook his head. He was denying Rachel’s claim.

“I lived my life for my country, but my country killed my everything. I didn’t sell my soul. Only, my master took in my wandering soul after I was abandoned by my country.”

For a moment, deep sadness emerged on Rachel’s face. What Lancaster was saying was a painful memory for her as well.

“…Is that why you came to me?”

“Princess, does it look like I came here?”

Rachel furrowed her brows. Then, she stabbed with her rapier, which simply passed through his body.

“I am somewhere, but not here.”

“…”

Rachel turned around. The door to the room was tightly shut. For whatever reason, no help seemed to be coming.

Lancaster spoke with a smile.

“There’s quite a chaos outside right now. Of course, if this place was England, Princess’ safety would have been the top priority. Tens, hundreds, and thousands of people’s lives wouldn’t compare to Princess’…”

Lancaster paused momentarily. His smiling face was twisted viciously.

“The entire country would not hesitate to throw away their lives to save Princess. After all, Princess is England’s only hope.”

After saying what he wanted to say, Lancaster’s mouth drew a satisfied smile.

“But that isn’t the case here. In this place, you are only one of many cadets.”

Rachel stared at him with sadness. The resentment and anger in his voice made Rachel feel guilty. However, Lancaster clenched his teeth at her response.

“So you still won’t remove your hypocritical mask of pretense…”

Anger and regret filled his drawn out words. Rachel took a small courageous step towards him.

“Sir Lancaster…”

“I would like to talk a bit longer, but there is no time.”

However, Lancaster rejected her before bowing respectfully.

“Fairwell Princess, please be well.”

With that, he turned into a black fog and disappeared.

“Wait…!”

Suddenly, an assassin jumped out of the fog, swinging a sword. Though it was abrupt, Rachel managed to swing her rapier and defend against the attack. At the same time, the attack sliced off a chunk of her sword qi. She was astonished at the weight behind the magic power.

But the assassin’s magic power wasn’t the only astonishing thing.
The assassin’s movements were nimble and sharp. Left flank and shoulder. His keen attacks dug through Rachel’s weak points. Two swords clashed against each other, and a sharp metallic sound resounded. Hot sparks were ignited, and fresh blood burst into the air.

Against the assassin’s aggressive maneuvers, Rachel could only stay on the defensive. But as the fight continued, more scratches appeared on her body. Once the pain grew more intense, Rachel had to admit that she couldn’t defeat the assassin with standard tactics.
She made a gamble.

“Uk!”

The assassin didn’t miss the opening she purposely made. A deep stab appeared on her wrist, and Rachel dropped her rapier. Feeling his victory, the assassin dug in deeper.
At that moment, Rachel’s rapier reacted. Her rapier had still been connected to her magic power.
The assassin moved to pierce Rachel’s heart, while Rachel’s rapier shot up towards his neck.

KWANG—!

However, this nail-biting situation was interrupted by a terrifying vibration and a fierce explosion.
Rachel lost balance along with the assassin. The assassin’s sword couldn’t reach Rachel’s heart, while Rachel’s rapier couldn’t pierce the assassin’s neck.

KOONG!

The room rumbled with another vibration. This time, the right side of the wall crumbled down. Rachel and the assassin both turned towards the wall.

KOONG!

Another shockwave seemed to tear through the wall. The assassin then held up his sword, and Rachel also grabbed her rapier with her left hand.

KOONG!

After the second shockwave, the assassin charged at Rachel, which she narrowly dodged by rolling to the side.

KOONG!

A third and final shockwave blew up the wall and the assassin was sent flying back by the explosion.

“Geez, so much dust. Ptui.”

A man walked out from a cloud of acrid smoke.
It was a familiar face to Rachel.
Kim Hajin. It was him.

“…!”

The assassin immediately ran towards him.

“Who the hell are you?”

Kim Hajin simply fired his gun.

“Kuak!”

A shotgun shell sent the assassin flying back from one end of the room to the other. It was a terrifying display of power.

Kim Hajin then walked up to the assassin, who was stuck against the wall.
Click— Click—
The sound of his gun reloading rang out frighteningly.

Clack. He finished reloading. Rachel stared at the white magic power flowing around his arm. However, she didn’t have the chance to raise any questions.
Kim Hajin aimed at the assassin. He showed no hesitation as he pulled the trigger.
In an instant, a radiant white light illuminated the dark room.

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FudgeNouget's Thoughts

By the way, although "Lee" is usually how the surname "이 (pronounced, Yi)" is translated as, because the novel has Chinese characters as well as Korean characters, "Lee" is reserved for Chinese names and "Yi" is used for Korean names.