Koong. Koong. Koong.
Every time the tires hit a rock, the HUV shook violently. Just how much of an old model was it to not even have a steady driving module? Yoo Yeonha was both confused and shocked.
‘Why did I ask to follow them?’ Five minutes were enough to make her regret her words.
“…So why are you here?”
While she was steadying herself from the constant bumps, Kim Hajin, who was sitting next to her, asked. Yoo Yeonha glanced at him and retorted.
“What use is going on vacations? You have to see things, hear things, and feel things to advance forward.”
Kim Hajin quickly accepted Yoo Yeonha’s words and faced front again. Yoo Yeonha stared at him fixedly.
He was average-looking no matter how many times she saw him. If he had glasses, his face would be the average face of all salarymen.
But, there weren’t just one or two things that were suspicious about him. Rather than suspicious, he was full of secrets. Unfathomable… was too grand of a word to describe him, but he was still mysterious.
When Yoo Yeonha was having such trifling thoughts, she felt her smartwatch vibrate.
It was a message from Chae Nayun.
[Alright, I’ll take on his bet. Looks like he needs to be put in place.]
She seemed quite angry. With a snicker, Yoo Yeonha initiated a conversation.
“Nayun says she’ll do it. The bet.”
At that moment, Kim Hajin’s smartwatch also vibrated. Yoo Yeonha was curious.
“Show me too.”
Kim Hajin displayed the message without complaints.
[Sure, let’s fight. I’ll give you a month. I’ll bet my everything that I’ll win. What are you going to bet?]
A duel between an archer and a gunman was thus established.
Yoo Yeonha found the situation quite ridiculous, but was also curious.
“…By the way, why are you doing this?”
Of all people, why was he so bent on provoking Chae Nayun?
Kim Hajin stared at Yoo Yeonha. He then spoke as though it was an obvious truth.
“Chae Nayun’s real talent isn’t in bows.”
Yoo Yeonha couldn’t understand what he was saying.
“If she gives up on using a bow, she can advance much further.”
Kim Hajin added those words somewhat bitterly. At least, that’s what Yoo Yeonha felt.
Yoo Yeonha then began to see what was going on.
Without interest, there was no criticism. One had to carefully scrutinize something to see its flaws. In a way, giving proper criticisms was harder than giving compliments.
In that sense…
Just how long has this man been watching Chae Nayun to be so sure of his thoughts? Three months? Half a year? A year? Or perhaps even longer?
‘…Come to think of it.’
During the third year of Agent Military Academy, Kim Hajin was in the same class as Chae Nayun. They were both only 11 years old. From then until now, six whole years had gone by.
Could it be that for six years, this man…
Suddenly, the HUV shook violently and stopped. Yoo Yeonha hit her head against the headrest of the front seat.
“W-What’s going on!?”
Yoo Yeonha was inexperienced with such things, but both Park Soohyuk and Kim Hajin weren’t. Park Soohyuk turned off the engine and spoke.
“This is the monster point. We’re getting off.”
“Ah, yes, it’s a place where many monsters appear…”
“I know what it means, but how do you know that this is a monster point?”
“End of April is when monsters start to get more active. The weaker ones will be pushed out of their territories, and this is a natural escape route. There are a few more places like that, but those places are famous so they’re always bustling with people.”
Park Soohyuk replied without hesitation, causing Yoo Yeonha to stare at him in surprise.
But her gaze quickly fell back on her smartwatch. She had received a message.
“Hmm… Well, I’ll be going now.”
“Huh? Didn’t you want to hunt with us?”
“Something came up just now. Plus, I said I wanted to come with you, I didn’t say anything about hunting together.”
Yoo Yeonha got off the car.
From the distance, Essence of the Strait’s guild members came running.
“Then, I’ll be off.”
“Yeah, see you later.”
“Yes, see you back at Cube.”
After taking in Kim Hajin’s average appearance once again, Yoo Yeonha turned back.
“Ah, by the way…”
But almost as though she forgot something, she quickly turned around and reached her hand out to Park Soohyuk.
“Can I get your business card?”
For a week, I focused on hunting and training. I went to Wonju every day and hunted an average of 15 monsters per day.
The combination of Aether and Desert Eagle was undoubtedly overpowered for a weakling like me. Even if I didn’t aim at a vital point, I could one or two shot any monster under low-intermediate rank grade 6.
“Hm… It’s not going up by much.”
Now, it was Wednesday.
Classes would restart in two days. Cadets were returning, and the archery bet between Chae Nayun and me was already widespread.
[Low-intermediate rank] [Spirit attribute] [Evolving — Grade 7] [Proficiency EXP 75%]
Master Sharpshooter was only 25% away from grade 6. I’ve been shooting monsters for an entire week, but the proficiency didn’t even increase by 10%. It was because the amount of EXP needed to rank up increased exponentially.
“Will I be able to hit grade 6 in a month?”
Now that the bet was happening, I had to win, but I felt a bit uneasy at just grade 7.
At that moment, the room suddenly rumbled.
Was it an earthquake?
I quickly looked around. For some reason, it felt like I was at the epicenter of the earthquake.
I found something strange. The seed I had placed on my desk was shaking fiercely. Looking at it closely, I noticed that the blood disappeared from the gauze I wrapped it with.
“…Is it hungry?”
When I asked, the shaking stopped. I was dumbstruck, but I still took out another gauze soaked with Rachel’s blood. I pulled the seed out of the whitened gauze and placed it on top of the new gauze. Immediately, the seed trembled as though it was happy before burying itself into the gauze.
Was Rachel’s blood that delicious?
Soon, an itinerary would be posted for the traveling club’s next trip.
I checked my smartwatch for an announcement.
[Traveling Club – There will be a trip this weekend.]
Yun Hyun, unfortunately, destroyed the academics club, and the hunting club was suspended because of Sven. The traveling club was the only club I had left. Everything was happening according to the original story.
During this trip, another incident would occur.
The traveling club would soon be caught in an assassination incident.
The traveling club’s leader was kind and gentle, but his indecisiveness and naivety made him the target of a French conman. The conman, disguising himself as a rich businessman, coaxed the club leader to bring the traveling club’s cadets to his giant mansion, saying that he would pay for all expenses.
The club leader made his decision after visiting France and enjoying his time during the trip.
However, the rich businessman’s real identity was an infamous conman who was constantly under the threat of assassination by people he had conned in the past. Although he didn’t need to worry about them because most of them were powerless, he had accidentally provoked a group he shouldn’t have.
Footsteps of Darkness.
—While the time changes from Saturday to Sunday, your life will be taken.
He had received an assassination notice from Footsteps of Darkness, a notorious assassination group known to target criminals.
When he received the notice, the conman despaired.
Because he was a wanted criminal, he couldn’t report it to the Hero Association to receive help. He also didn’t have enough time to liquidate his assets, so he didn’t have enough money to hire mercenaries.
After pondering over the matter for a long time, he came up with the idea of inviting cadets to protect himself for the weekend.
But there was another secret behind the event…
This should be the correct event since the assassination incident was supposed to happen a week after the combat exams.
At that moment, a violet bordered alert popped up on the corner of my laptop screen.
It was from Violet Banquet.
I quickly clicked on the alert.
Truth Agency had received its first customer.
—Here is a detailed information on someone I wish to find. He’s an evil man who conned my family and ran away. Can you tell me where he is?
A beer belly, snake-like eyes, and chubby cheeks. It was the stereotypical face of a conman.
This man was the conman behind the assassination incident, Belbet.
In a dark, abandoned factory used as the Chameleon Troupe’s hideout, the presence of people was felt for the first time in some time.
Stuck to the surface of the concrete floor were ten shadows. All ten colors besides the currently empty seat of Black were gathered in this place. It was to discuss the seat which had been empty for three years.
The shadows were positioned around a round table, watching a video projected by Droon. Shown on the video was a person Droon personally witnessed.
It was part of Droon’s Gift, an ability which could project or materialize anything he experienced with his five senses.
The ten shadows watched the video, some with curiosity and some with disapproval.
“Oh geez, that surprised me.”
The end of the video was marked by a thunderous gunshot and a brilliant white flash.
When the video came to an end, the leader of the shadows signaled the start of the discussion.
“Raise your hand if you see potential.”
However, the voting didn’t begin, as a high-pitched female voice quickly cut in.
“By the way, Boss…”
Boss stared at the source of the voice, a beautiful Caucasian woman.
“When did we become a group that needed to meet to analyze some greenhorn?”
Her complaint quickly clashed with a man’s gentle voice.
“I think he has potential. Most importantly, I like that he doesn’t have parents or a significant other.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“If you don’t have people by your side, you start to indulge in other things. We might not be able to give honor, but we can give money.”
The Chameleon Troupe was one of the extremely few groups listed on the Hero Association’s violet list. However, only the name of the group was known to the public and its members’ identities remained completely hidden.
The Chameleon Troupe guaranteed the freedom of its members. They could live their lives however they wished. Only when there was work to do did the members gather or work in teams to complete missions.
“So what, you want to bring him in? A kid who can be sent flying by a little nudge?”
“We’re strictly talking about his potential…”
Boss crushed the rising debate between the two members.
“From this man…”
In truth, the Chameleon Troupe was like a mercenary group. Of course, their goal was much grander than making money and living a lavish life. But that didn’t mean their goal was unattainable.
To achieve their goal, the Chameleon Troupe did what they needed to do at the right moment. Currently, their goal was to kill the ‘traitor’.
“I confirmed the power of anti-magic.”
Boss threw a glance at Droon.
Receiving her look, Droon projected another video.
The man in the video was using an ordinary gun to fight an opponent using qi reinforcement. When the bullet he fired shattered the qi reinforcement, the weight of the air was clearly heavier than before.
“…It’s illogical to think that the same thing will work against that guy just because he managed to break a qi reinforcement of that level.”
“Like I said, Jain, Boss didn’t say we were recruiting him right away. She asked if he had ‘potential’. At least in my eyes, he seems to have it.”
At the man’s snarky rebuttal, Jain sent him a glare.
“Fine, let’s say we bring him in after he grows up. Black is the only color we have, so is he getting that seat?”
Black wasn’t a color that suited a greenhorn.
Black was the color belonging to the man who betrayed the previous boss. At the same time, it was the color of the ‘strongest member’ of the Chameleon Troupe. This rule remained unchanged for over 20 years.
“…Then I’ll take over that color.”
At that moment, a giant man spoke up. It was Cheok Jungyeong, who had stayed silent this entire time.
“Rejected. You’re too stupid.”
“I also reject. I’m stronger.”
“Then what do you bastards want to do?”
“Aren’t there others? Are we just going to ignore Kim Suho and Shin Jonghak?”
“We’re going to vote on them next. This discussion is for who we’ll select as candidates.”
Troupe members who had remained silent began to speak up one by one. Voices overlapped on top of each other, causing a headache for Boss. She spoke in a suppressed voice.
“Show of hands.”
Everyone immediately quieted down.
With no other choice, the troupe members began to vote.
Jain, who already voiced her objection, and Cheok Jungyeong, who didn’t like the man, were the only ones to vote against him.
The rest of the members voted in favor.
Jain snorted, clearly dissatisfied at the result.
“By the way, Jain, take this. It’s an invitation letter for the VVIP masquerade party in France.”
“Oh, stealing that ring, right? Don’t worry.”
But Jain’s sulking didn’t last for long as she took the invitation letter with a bright face.Previous Chapter Next Chapter