Chapter 50. Tit for Tat (3)


The masquerade party was happening at a castle in Paris constructed by a rich magnate. I positioned myself on a hill that overlooked the castle. In terms of distance, I was probably about a kilometer away.
In any case, my job today was simple. I just had to make sure the story progressed as it should. If possible, I hoped that everything would go according to the original storyline without me having to interfere.

5 P.M.

The sun had yet to set, but the masquerade had already begun. Luxurious cars arrived at the castle one by one, and people adorned in flamboyant dresses and masks went inside.
I checked Kim Suho and Yoo Yeonha’s location by hacking into their smartwatches’ GPS system. They were getting near.

5:30 P.M.

Two people got off of a limousine. It was Yun Seung-Ah and Jain. They were wearing masks resembling a fox and a tiger. They walked into the castle, led by a chauffeur.

Not long afterwards, Kim Suho and Yoo Yeonha arrived. Fully adorned in party clothes, their perfect figures shone brilliantly even with their faces covered.

“…Hm.”

Looking at all the masks, I couldn’t help but feel that my face was too empty. I had the feeling I should wear my own mask. After all, if I had to interfere in today’s events, I had to conceal my identity to ensure my safety.

Although I didn’t have a mask prepared, I could just use Aether to create one. Aether had the ability to transform into any equipment its user wished. Naturally, it was able to become a mask.

The question was its design.
I recalled a movie I saw on Earth. A mask from the movie Black Panther… though, it was really more of a helmet.
In any case, Aether transformed into the form I pictured in my head. I put on the Black Panther helmet, which then adjusted itself to fit snugly around my face.

6 P.M.

The air was becoming chilly as the sun began to set. The castle looked even more beautiful as it burned from the setting sun. I began to observe the castle’s interior more carefully.
Almost as if I was inside, I could see everything clearly and hear every conversation. This came from the synergy between 「Thousand-Mile Eyes」 and 「Observation and Reading」.

—I don’t know how to dance.

—So what, you’re going to just stand around after coming all the way here?

—…Well, I guess I’m a quick learner.

Kim Suho followed Yoo Yeonha’s lead as they danced to a classical piece.
At the same time, I discovered a strange movement of magic power on the other side of the castle.
It was a Magic Portal.

“…I knew it wouldn’t be so easy.”

Only Djinns could make such artificial portals. Even among Djinns, one had to be beloved by their contracted devil to have enough magic power to operate a Magic Portal.
An alert popped up on my laptop.

[Homer’s Ring – Mythical grade artifact. It doesn’t make sense that only a few people would aim for it just because it hasn’t fully awakened its power.]

[Modified setting – The Djinn group, Evil Society, has identified its origin and will interfere in the story.]

The situation was becoming more complex.
I turned my gaze back to Jain.
She was infiltrating the underground vault of the party’s host. The security guards surrounding the vault were already taken out.

—Let’s see…

Iris scanners, fingerprint scanners, and password locks were all useless in front of Jain’s Gift. She easily opened the door to the vault, and from the countless number of treasures, she put a blue diamond and a ring into her magic pouch. She then returned to the masquerade party.

Everything that happened so far was in the original story. The only difference was the arrival of Evil Society. If Jain could safely escape the masquerade party, I could go back, feeling relieved.
But…

—Yoren, where are you going?

Yun Seung-Ah appeared out of nowhere and grabbed Jain’s arm. Jain, who was about to leave the party, flinched momentarily, but soon returned to pretending to be Yoren.

—I went to the bathroom.

—Oh, well, I have something to talk to you about. Follow me.

Yun Seung-Ah grabbed Jain’s wrist. The exit was right in front of her, but for now, Jain followed Yun Seung-Ah obediently.

**


“…Um, vice-leader?”

Jain was led to an empty room on the second floor of the castle. Confused, she called Yun Seung-Ah’s name. The only thing in the somewhat worn room was a single bed and some dimly lit lanterns. Clearly, the place was made for a secret love affair.

“W-Why here?”

“You know why.”

Acting coquettishly, Yun Seung-Ah pulled Yoren’s wrist and pushed him on the bed. While Yoren stared at her, she closed the door and pulled her hair up in a ponytail. If it was the real Yoren, he would have been thrilled.

“I, um…”

Yun Seung-Ah mounted Jain in a somewhat lewd position. Then, she slowly took off Jain’s mask and lowered her head to his revealed face.

“Yoren…”

Yun Seung-Ah’s breath caressed Jain’s face.
But, Jain could feel the slight killing intent hidden behind Yun Seung-Ah’s mask.

“You won’t trick me a second time.”

Yun Seung-Ah shoved her hand under the bed sheet.

Shiiing—
A well-sharpened sword glistened in the dim light.
Hearing the chilling sound, Jain quickly pushed Yun Seung-Ah off.

“Vice-leader, what are you—”

Before she could finish, Yun Seung-Ah’s sword struck down. Jain used an emergency dagger she carried around to stop the attack.
Sword and dagger.
The weight and size of the two weapons were different, but the density of magic power enveloping them was equal.

BOOM!
The surroundings shook from the fierce collision.

“You’re making a mistake, vice-leader… Uk!”

Yun Seung-Ah’s foot hooked towards Jain who was continuing to feign ignorance. Jain was sent flying by the kick, and Yun Seung-Ah pounced after her like a ferocious beast. Although Jain bought time for herself by running around in all directions, Yun Seung-Ah was more tenacious and nimble than ever.

“Ak!”

Eventually, Yun Seung-Ah got on top of Jain and was about to strike down with her sword, when a whip suddenly flew in and restrained her sword.

“A lover’s quarrel shouldn’t be so noisy.”

Yun Seung-Ah and Jain both turned their gaze to the direction of the elegant voice.
The door had opened before they noticed, and a girl wearing a cat mask was standing there.
It was Yoo Yeonha.

“I am a Hero cadet from Cube.”

She had walked upstairs to find a bathroom, hearing the sound of clashing metal during the process.
She would have normally ignored it, but she had gotten tired of Kim Suho’s clumsy dancing and was tempted by the chance to improve her image as a cadet who showed Korean cadet’s excellence in a foreign country.

“If you put your weapon down, I’ll make sure there is no bloodshed.”

Yoo Yeonha added strength to her whip as she spoke leisurely.
Her whip seemed to want to snatch Yun Seung-Ah’s sword, so Yun Seung-Ah ignited her magic power on her sword. Immediately, her magic power burned fiercely and scorched Yoo Yeonha’s whip to cinders.
The only thing left of Yoo Yeonha’s whip was black ash.

“…Oh.”

In a daze, Yoo Yeonha took a few steps back.

“Uh…”

‘I, I got too cocky just because I was in France. I should have known, Korea isn’t the only country with powerful people.’

Yoo Yeonha felt her lips dry up. Hoping the woman’s sinister sword qi wouldn’t aim for her, Yoo Yeonha bowed in a ninety-degree angle.

“I will be on my way now. Please do continue what you were doing.”

With that, Yoo Yeonha backed away stealthily before making a dash for it.

“DIE!”

The fight then continued.
Enraged, Yun Seung-Ah’s sword struck down repeatedly. Each time her sword clashed with Jain’s dagger, lightning crackled and flames ignited.
The roaring sound called people together, spectators and security guards quickly rushing to the room.

“Don’t just watch and help! Uwaak!”

Jain tried her best to withstand Yun Seung-Ah’s demon-like attacks, but it was difficult to combat a sword with her short dagger. As time passed, she was driven to a corner. Jain became desperate enough to ask the spectators for help.
However, security guards couldn’t even dream of joining in such a fierce and ostentatious battle.

“Uk!”

In the end, Jain’s dagger was unable to endure, breaking in half. Just when Yun Seung-Ah was about to make her final strike, someone stole the sword hanging by a security guard’s waist.

Immediately afterward, a single streak of light shot through the air and cut in between Jain and Yun Seung-Ah. Kim Suho had used a security guard’s sword to block Yun Seung-Ah’s Flame Sword.

“Who are you? Back off before I cut you down.”

Kim Suho didn’t budge even at Yun Seung-Ah’s solemn warning.
He wanted to become a Hero to protect people. His firm conviction couldn’t be shaken so easily.

“I refuse.”

“…Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Currently, Yun Seung-Ah was half-covered by her mask. It was the same for Kim Suho. As a result, they were unable to recognize each other.

“I don’t know the reason you want to kill him, but…”

“Move!”

“Uuk!”

The current Yun Seung-Ah didn’t know mercy. She kicked Kim Suho’s solar plexus without a shred of hesitation, and Kim Suho knelt down on one leg as he staggered from the shock.

“Ah, hey! You stop right there!”

But thanks to Kim Suho, Jain managed to find an opening to jump out the window.

“See you later, crazy bitch… Eh?”

However, her attempt to jump out the window stayed an attempt.
From beneath the window, a thick darkness gushed up at Jain.
The darkness swallowed Jain, who was about to escape, then spat her back out into the room.

“…”

The darkness dyed the room in black. Yun Seung-Ah who was furious, Kim Suho who was writhing in pain, and Yoo Yeonha who ran away sullenly all held their breath and stared at the darkness.

Then, from the darkness, a figure of a man emerged.

**


“…Damn it”

On the other hand, Chae Nayun was comparing her surroundings to the map on her smartwatch. After every couple of steps, she stopped to check her watch before continuing on her way. Eventually, she saw a familiar sign.

[Goût Céleste]

“What!? This is where I ate lunch!!”

She raged. After walking for hours, she had arrived in the same place she started from.

“I can’t believe this.”

She stared at her smartwatch, fuming. If a user got lost after looking at a map, the problem lied with the map.

“What company made this!? Damn it…”

Chae Nayun’s anger fell on the smartwatch Cube provided. She flipped her smartwatch harshly and saw the word inscribed on the back.
‘Daehyun’.
It was her father’s company.

“…”

Chae Nayun called Yoo Yeonha once again.

“Kuuuk… Why isn’t she picking up!?”

**


“So this is the item containing ancient wisdom…”

The Djinn who appeared from the darkness held up a ring. The setting sun gave the ring a faint red glow. It was the ring Jain had put in her magic pouch.

“Ah, when did you take… Ak!”

After checking her magic pouch, Jain muttered despondently. Yun Seung-Ah immediately ran up to Jain, grabbing her by her hair before pointing her sword at the Djinn.

“Put that down.”

“Haha.”

The Djinn made a magnanimous smile. Yun Seung-Ah became nervous. It was obvious at first glance that the Djinn was completely different than a human.
Reddish black skin and blood-red eyes. A Djinn’s appearance strayed further from a human’s the more one was engulfed by a devil. From his appearance, Yun Seung-Ah could estimate his strength.

“This item isn’t something that suits people like you.”

A few days ago, Evil Society had confirmed this item’s location and potential through an informant.
Homer’s Ring – a cradle of wisdom that amplified all abilities involving magic power.
They didn’t expect someone else to steal the ring, but all was well since they managed to get their hands on it without much effort.

“Now then.”

When the Djinn was about to put away the ring in satisfaction…

Whish—

A streak of light broke through the window and enveloped the ring. In the blink of an eye, the ring was snatched away, disappearing outside the window.

“W-What!?”

The Djinn screamed and turned to the direction the ring flew out.
Outside the window, on a faraway hill, he caught sight of someone who was holding onto a wire-like object.
Someone… wearing a mask of a beast.

That someone, Kim Hajin, put on a thin smile.

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