Chapter 61. Final Exam (3)


Long after Kim Hajin left, Chae Nayun opened her eyes which she had kept tightly shut. She got up only after confirming that Kim Hajin had completely disappeared.
She had woken up a long time ago, but her mind was still in a daze. It was most likely because of what Kim Hajin said.

—Why are you so cute?

“…”

Chae Nayun’s cheeks flushed red. Her appearance was praised ever since she was young, but she had never expected to hear such a thing from Kim Hajin’s mouth.

“Auuu…”

Chae Nayun shook her head fiercely and shook off her thoughts.

“Whatever it was, I didn’t hear it. He was talking to himself. There must have been a cat or a dog nearby. Definitely.”

Chae Nayun murmured and crawled out of the sleeping bag. The sleeping bag was just as warm and cozy as a bed, something that made her night extremely enjoyable.

‘Should I leave it here? Or bring it with me?’ Chae Nayun began to think. ‘Since Kim Hajin left it here after saying… saying how I was cute… he must have wanted me to take it.’

After coming to that conclusion, she folded up the sleeping bag, which reduced to a size of a fist-sized ball.

“Was it this small?”

She was astonished by the tiny sleeping bag. After putting it away, she checked her smartwatch. It was 7:20 in the morning, but it was still dark outside.

“It must be a polar night….”

Chae Nayun stretched and began to prepare for the day.

**


On top of the World Tree, I looked around in all directions. Thousand-Mile Eyes were unrestricted by obstacles, allowing everything to enter my vision.
A day had already passed, and cadets were discovering their preferred method of survival. Some sold food to obtain points, some chased after monsters, and some concealed themselves and waited for unsuspecting cadets to walk by.

“Mm?”

When I found someone, a rather mischievous idea popped up in my head.
A method to blow my nose without using my hand. To be more precise, it was a method to eliminate cadets who were too strong for me to deal with.

I snapped off a decently sized tree branch and gave it a sharp end. Then, I inscribed a coordinate and some words on it.
Next, I grabbed the tree branch and threw it at ‘him’. Because he was so far away, I had to use some of Stigma’s magic power.
The tree branch flew like an arrow and struck the ground after lightly brushing past his face.

The cadet who was walking imposingly stopped and looked at the tree branch on the ground.
From where I was, I could only see his back. But I knew very well what emotion he was currently feeling.

He grabbed the tree branch I shot out. After checking the words written on the side, he turned to the direction the tree branch came from. Although he couldn’t possibly see me from this distance, I still dodged his gaze.
Now, I just had to wait.

…Just like that, an hour went by.
I was watching the drone footages on my laptop when I suddenly noticed a change.

“What? Already?”

Under the thick darkness, Rachel was heading somewhere with Joo Yeohoon. I quickly expanded my sight and tracked them. Their destination seemed to be a wooded cliff.
At the end of the cliff were two people. One was out in the open, and the other was hiding above a tree.
I didn’t know who they were, but I could safely assume that they were Djinns.
First, I moved a drone over to them. But to my surprise, the drone’s signal died when it got near. I was notified of the reason by an alert that arrived on my laptop.

[Joo Yeohoon – has various connections with other Djinns. Made contact with Lancaster family Djinns.]

“…”

Rachel accompanying Joo Yeohoon also happened in the original story, but Lancaster was never a part of this exam. But now that he was involved, his goal had to be Rachel.
Surprisingly, they were planning on fighting in an open area. Most likely, this was because secluded areas like caves were being used by other cadets as hideouts. Furthermore, because the area they chose belonged to that exam overseer, it was likely that no one would interfere in their plan.

But still, their method was too poorly planned.

“They must be the bottom rung.”

These brainless fools were likely part of the lowest class of Djinns who were blinded by their desires to make achievements and be loved by Lancaster. Since they were Djinns, they had to be stronger than average cadets, but they still didn’t look all that strong.
However, they were still a threat with three of them working together.

I took out my Desert Eagle.
After transforming it to a sniper rifle, I peered into the distance.
There, I could see Rachel walking with Joo Yeohoon. Rachel likely joined Joo Yeohoon’s team temporarily to find food. In the original story, it was Kim Suho who came to her rescue.
I had shared my location with her to prevent this from happening, but she was a stubborn girl.

“Ah, maybe…”

Suddenly, I thought of Kim Suho. To check if he was nearby, I expanded my vision a bit farther.

“Pft.”

Even in this serious situation, I couldn’t help but laugh. Did the original story have an enforcing power? Kim Suho was slowly walking towards Rachel. Next to him was Chae Nayun, who must have ran into him as well.
With this, it was three on three. Even without me having to help, Kim Suho and Chae Nayun would be more than enough to save Rachel.

“…Tsk.”

However, Kim Suho was Kim Suho, and I was Kim Hajin.
I had my own methods.
I attached my rifle’s gunstock. I could see my targets clearly. My eyes could see further than any scope in the world.

**

Joo Yeohoon’s team continued to offer Rachel their food. Although they offered it for free, Rachel still gave them some of her points as payment.
However, she felt uneasy. She valued her combat exam grades just as much as written exam grades. Since she didn’t know how many points would put her on top, she had to collect as many as possible.

In the middle of her worry, Joo Yeohoon asked her to join him for a hunt, saying that they had found a grizzly bear monster that would give 10 points.

“I’m a sharpshooter, so I’ll support you from the back. I only need 3 points, and Rachel-ssi can have the rest.”

“No, we should split it evenly.”

She didn’t ask why it was only the two of them going. She followed him readily. In her mind, she wouldn’t lose in a one on one battle even if Joo Yeohoon betrayed her, and she knew she would gain more points if there were fewer people in the group.

“It was here…”

However, standing on the cliff she was guided to wasn’t a bear, but a man.
His long hair covered half of his face, and two gauntlets ominously glowed in his hands. On the fingertips of the gauntlets were claw-like daggers.

“Who are you!?”

Joo Yeohoon put on his best act. Just in case things went awry, he was preparing an escape route. The long-haired man also played along with him, raising his gauntlet-covered hands and charging at Joo Yeohoon. In the blink of an eye, the man cut Joo Yeohoon’s shoulder, and he screamed and ran away. The man didn’t chase after him.

“Haa…”

Just like that, Joo Yeohoon disappeared.
‘What was that?’ Rachel sighed as she held up her rapier.

“…Who are you?”

At her question, the man made a chilling smile.

“———”

The man said something, but Rachel couldn’t understand him. It wasn’t Korean or English. The man murmured to himself, then suddenly charged at Rachel.

“Uup!”

Rachel drew her magic power around her rapier and defended herself. Her rapier clashed with the man’s gauntlets, creating hot embers that scattered out. Although the man had more magic power, Rachel could hold on thanks to his rough control.
Next, the man’s gauntlets struck down a few more times, which Rachel blocked with ease. Gauntlets versus rapier. The former had greater destructive power, but Rachel overwhelmed him with technique. As long as she maintained a safe distance, she felt she could come out victorious.

“Haat!”

Then, in the middle of a fierce exchange of blows, Rachel spotted an opening in the man’s defense. Without missing this opportunity, Rachel took a step forward, then rushed in. With a stab, she scratched the man’s ribs, then tried to jump back.
However, for some indiscernible reason, she couldn’t move her feet.
At that moment…
Someone jumped down from the tree above her. It was another enemy. Rachel saw him land in front of her, then twist his sword and stab at her widely open back…

“Kuaaak!”

A scream rang out. Rachel didn’t close her eyes as her thinking stopped momentarily.
However, realizing that she was still alive, she reexamined the situation. The assassin, who just dropped down from the tree, was rolling on the ground, writhing in pain.

“…Eh?”

She looked down at her sword, wondering if she had attacked subconsciously. Immediately afterward, she dropped this nonsensical thought as another attack flew towards her.
However, the attack wasn’t aimed at her.
Five streaks of highly powerful beams flew in, piercing through the assassin’s stomach, limbs, lung, and heart. The assassin fell to the ground helplessly, then scattered into dust.

‘What’s happening?’

Rachel was taken aback, but she didn’t have the time to think as the gauntlet-wearing man shot towards her. The man knew the weakness of long-range sniping. When the target was close to an ally, sniping became virtually impossible.

Furthermore, Rachel couldn’t distance herself from the man. By now, she realized that her feet were stuck to the man’s shadow. It was the magic, ‘Shadow Tag’.

Although she couldn’t move her feet, she still did her best to defend and counterattack. Her movements made it seem as though she was dancing in a tiny space.
Her nimble, fleeting movements caused the man to become enraged.
Frustrated, he tried to stomp down on the ground itself when— the unidentifiable attack flew in once again. Before anyone could react, the attack dug through the minute gap between him and Rachel, then blasted his shoulder.
Using this opportunity, Rachel stabbed at his flank.

But before her rapier could reach him, a sword strike flew in and struck the man’s shoulder.

“Kuak!”

With his shoulder cut, the man took a huge step backward, then jumped down the cliff.

“Who was that!?”

Two people ran up to Rachel. Kim Suho and Chae Nayun. They were cadets Rachel knew.

“Rachel? Who was he?”

Chae Nayun asked her. Kim Suho ran to the edge of the cliff and looked down.

“Did he disappear?”

Although she couldn’t fully understand the situation, she still asked the question she most wanted to know.

“Yes, he’s gone.”

“…What’s up with that polite speech.”

Kim Suho mocked Chae Nayun’s sudden use of polite speech.

‘It must have been Chae Nayun who helped me. That attack must have been her secret technique, something like invisible arrows.’
Meanwhile, Rachel tried to understand what happened.

“Thank you. You saved…”

At that moment, the moonlight reflected off of something and pierced her eyes.
That something was underground. It had dug into the ground but managed to reflect a faint moonlight.
Rachel slowly approached the object, then picked it up.

‘…A bullet?’

At that moment, Kim Suho muttered seriously.

“Let’s move first. We don’t know if that… person will come back.”


**


Tzzz— Tzzz—
Rachel examined the bullet on top of a campfire.
Staring at it didn’t reveal any new information, but Rachel had a person in mind.
Kim Hajin.
He had used a shotgun when he helped her before, and the mysterious person who saved her had done so by sniping. However, Kim Hajin was the only one she knew who used a gun.

“…Hmm.”

However, she couldn’t think of a motive. He helped her during the midterm exam, but that was likely because he was next door.
If Kim Hajin was the one who helped her again, then it would mean he helped her from far away through sniping.

If that was true, she had three questions.
First, how did he know that she was in danger?
Second, if he was the one who helped her, why didn’t he show himself?
Third, why did he help her?

“So, did you decide to change to a sword?”

At that moment, Kim Suho’s voice rang out. He was talking to Chae Nayun. Rachel turned her gaze sideways and stared at Chae Nayun’s waist. Just like Kim Suho said, she had a sword by her side.
Chae Nayun scratched her head as though she felt awkward. Rachel became alert.

“No, I just didn’t want to rely on a bow only during such a big exam. So, um, it’s a secondary weapon.”

Chae Nayun had brought two main weapons. One was a bow, and the other was a sword. Since cadets could only borrow one main weapon, she had purchased a training sword from Cube directly.

“Oh, rather than that.”

Chae Nayun clapped. Clearly, she was trying to change the subject.

“Rachel, we have a plan. Do you want to come with us?”

Rachel tilted her head in silence.

“It’s like a cooperation team. You know, we can do fine even without forming teams. So, we’ll each take turns finding food, finding a place to sleep, and standing guard. Then, we’ll go off on our own to hunt, and meet back up later.”

Rachel thought it was a good idea. After postponing her answer for a moment, she turned on her exam smartwatch.

[Location Sharing List]
—Kim Hajin
—Joo Yeohoon

Kim Hajin.
His location was still being shared.

“…It’s a good idea, but I’ll have to decline.”

Rachel got up, and in response, Kim Suho blinked his eyes and asked.

“Where are you going? Wouldn’t it be dangerous now?”

“It’s fine. I’m going to meet up with someone.”

“Then we’ll take you there.”

“No, I can go alone.”

She rejected him resolutely. Kim Suho scratched his head and nodded.

“Don’t be so cocky. Do you think every girl in the world loves you?”

Chae Nayun used this opportunity to deal a piercing blow.

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