A huge forest was built on the outskirts of Clancy Islet. This forest served to protect the island from crashes without exterior damage to the island, so all the trees in the forest had strong and large trunks.
I picked a random tree to lean against.
My heart, which stopped momentarily, trembled greatly and began to beat again.
Holding my thumping chest, I recalled what just happened… then stopped. I went back to focusing on the present. For the sake of my sanity, it was better to forget about what happened.
I looked around the dark forest. The overturned sedan that the Djinn rode was stuck in a ditch, and my bike was lying a little distance away.
The bike was fine. It had a 40% consolidation on top of being reinforced with Aether, so there was no way it could have been destroyed.
I slowly walked up and raised the bike. For some reason, I wanted to take it back with me. Was there a way I could?
While I was having a slightly illegal thought, I suddenly felt someone’s gaze.
Rachel was staring at me while sitting like a mermaid. Because Cheok Jungyeong gave me such a big shock, I had forgotten about Rachel’s existence for a moment.
“…Are you okay?”
She didn’t seem hurt at first glance, but I still asked. Rachel nodded silently. With a dazed face and her mouth half-open, I could see the front of her teeth.
I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Why did you follow me?”
Then, Rachel closed her mouth and stared at me for a while. I didn’t avoid her eyes.
An exceptionally bright moonlight blanketed the dark forest of the floating island. Rachel shined silver from this light.
She looked into my eyes for a long time, then pulled something out of her pocket.
It was a bullet. To be exact, it was a bullet without the casing.
What was that? I tilted my head.
Suddenly, she called my name. I thought for a moment that my ears were acting up. However, I wasn’t mistaken. Rachel had certainly called my name.
I replied hurriedly.
“This belongs to Hajin-ssi, right?”
I stared at the bullet. I didn’t have the ability to distinguish bullets just from their shapes, but it did look like a bullet for the Desert Eagle.
“Yes, I think so.”
I reached out to grab the bullet, but Rachel put the bullet back into her pocket, pretending not to have noticed.
“Um, where did you get…”
“I found it during the final exam.”
I finally understood the situation.
She must have found it when I helped her by sniping Lancaster Djinns.
“I thought something similar might happen again, so I followed you.”
Rachel scratched her cheek as she pulled out the sword hanging on her waist.
I knew what that weapon was. It wasn’t just a training rapier given by Cube.
It was a legendary sword said to be used by one of the twelve Knights of the Round Table.
But no matter how good the weapon was, Rachel didn’t stand a chance against an overwhelming opponent like Cheok Jungyeong.
“By the way, Hajin-ssi…”
Suddenly, Rachel’s voice became firm. She stared at me fixedly and asked.
“Back then, why did you help me?”
I didn’t know what to say, so I just stared at her.
Rachel wasn’t finished yet.
“During the midterm exam and then the final exam. Thinking about it now, Hajin-ssi was there, uup!”
A chilly wind blew, and Rachel’s long hair curled into her mouth. I barely held myself back from laughing.
Rachel tied her hair back, then cleared her throat.
“Kuhum. I can see how what happened during the midterm exam was a coincidence, but for the final exam… no matter how much I think about it, the only explanation I can come up with is that you were watching me.”
I scratched the back of my neck.
Rachel was a pivotal character who was exposed to extreme danger. If she got hurt or was killed, the story progression would be distorted greatly. That was why I was watching her. Since only I could prevent it.
However, that wasn’t something I could explain to her.
As such, my answer was simple. It was simple enough to be acceptable and convincing.
“I’m your fan.”
Rachel widened her eyes and tilted her head.
“I’m your fan. I’m even a member of your fan café.”
Rachel’s fan café did exist. England’s fan café had about 500,000 members, and even the Korean one had about 10,000. I checked it before when I didn’t have anything better to do.
…But it was perhaps too absurd of an excuse as Rachel shut her mouth tightly.
Whiish— The wind blew, shaking the leaves of the trees around us.
The awkward silence continued for about five minutes, then…
Rachel asked with a quivering voice.
“Does that mean… you like me?”
Cheok Jungyeong returned with the crystal to the hotel suite, where everyone else was waiting.
“Uhahaha, that’s right, I’m back.”
When four members of the Chameleon Troupe stared at him, Cheok Jungyeong burst into laughter.
“Haha, it’s almost like I’m the main character.”
He pushed his hair back as though he was embarrassed, then put down the suitcase.
Jain snatched up the suitcase.
“This better be the real thing.”
She swallowed her saliva and opened the suitcase slightly. A brilliant white light shone through the opening gap, letting her know that it was the genuine crystal.
A smile emerged on Jain’s face. Satisfied, she closed the suitcase.
“Haha, it was a piece of cake.”
“…Wait, why are you so happy? Don’t tell me you killed him?”
Boss’ eyes suddenly flickered coldly.
“No, I didn’t. Ah, I was planning to at first.”
Cheok Jungyeong smiled deeply.
At first, he wanted to blow up his head.
If his eyes trembled even a little bit, or if he tried to dodge or show any sign of fear, Cheok Jungyeong probably wouldn’t have stopped his fist.
However, the man continued to stare at his fist. Without being flustered, he observed Cheok Jungyeong’s movements, showing the fearlessness of a warrior.
Cheok Jungyeong liked his manliness.
“Are you sure he wasn’t frozen from being scared? Did you check his pants?”
“…Jain, if you underestimate him, you might regret it one day.”
Jain furrowed her brows. Cheok Jungyeong shook his large head sideways as he murmured, ‘just kidding, just kidding.’
“I would know if that was the case. I purposely charged in a little slowly. Also, he was facing me directly, but he didn’t bat an eye.”
To demonstrate, Cheok Jungyeong pushed his fist at Jain. Jain was startled even by this tiny movement.
“See, strong people and people who will become strong have a different mindset.”
Cheok Jungyeong spoke as he pounded his chest proudly.
“Courage, boldness, fearlessness… all of these are impossible to have without a strong heart. Closing your eyes when your sword is clashing is the same thing as having your neck cut—”
Droon interrupted Cheok Jungyeong’s passionate speech, making him frown.
“…Tsk. Brat, don’t cut in when an adult is talking.”
However, he couldn’t do anything about Droon.
Although he loved fighting and killing, there was one absolute rule he never broke.
“Try that in three years and you’ll see what happens.”
To never touch young children.
That was his rule.
The turmoil in Clancy Hall was quickly suppressed.
Although Evil Society’s executives weren’t captured, there weren’t too many casualties thanks to the total mobilization of England’s Heroes.
Broken down buildings and battered roads.
While Heroes and paramedics were busy going back and forth, Yoo Yeonha was sitting on the ground, staring at her hair that had been blackened.
She sighed. How much time and effort would it take to restore this hair at the beauty salon?
Yoo Yeonha kept sighing, and soon, Chae Nayun walked up to her.
“Hey, did you see that?”
Chae Nayun asked without any explanation. Yoo Yeonha became annoyed for a moment but pushed her complaint back into her throat.
Yoo Yeonha had seen many things. First was Kim Junwoo’s overwhelming might. He tore countless Djinns apart with his bare hands, making him truly worthy of being a hunter of the Vast Expanse.
Next was Kim Suho.
His talent also stuck out like a sore thumb. There was nothing that the metal attribute covering his sword couldn’t cut. His final sword dance, which cut down raining fireballs, was one that still stayed in her mind.
“Kim Hajin. He went off on a bike.”
Yoo Yeonha had also seen that eye-catching scene. Just like Chae Nayun said, Kim Hajin went off somewhere on a motorbike. He was so fast that Yoo Yeonha had to do a doubletake on whether bikes could go that fast.
“Yeah, I saw him, but where did he go?”
“I don’t know, but where do you think he got that bike? I want to buy one too.”
Chae Nayun’s eyes flickered as she smacked her lips.
Kim Hajin didn’t make any special accomplishments in today’s incident. However, Yoo Yeonha had a suspicion. Kim Hajin’s driving skill. He seemed too experienced for a mere cadet.
At that moment, Kim Suho hastily walked up to them.
“The princess is apparently gone. Have you guys seen Rachel?”
Chae Nayun and Yoo Yeonha looked around the area. Although the incident had been settled, Heroes were beginning to get busy once again. The word ‘Princess’ didn’t disappear from their urgent conversations.
Yoo Yeonha suddenly felt a chill down her back.
She muttered in complete shock.
“…Their goal was the princess?”
“Yeah, it makes sense. Rachel is England’s most precious treasure. If they kidnapped her….”
It was then.
A black bike was coming their way, making broken clunking noises. Everyone other than Yoo Yeonha, who was focused on making deductions, turned to the direction of the bike.
On the bike’s saddle was Rachel, who was wearing a helmet and trembling as she drove the bike.
“If they kidnapped her to take her hostage, England wouldn’t hesitate to hand over the rights to Clancy Islet. Their goal must have been the entire country, not just Roton Corporation. Those evil bastards….”
“Hey, stop murmuring to yourself and look over there.”
Chae Nayun nudged Yoo Yeonha’s shoulders.
“What, I’m busy right… now… Eh?”
Yoo Yeonha suddenly felt drained. This time, Chae Nayun murmured seriously.
“That’s the bike Kim Hajin ran off on.”
Yoo Yeonha’s face became serious once again. Her head spinning fiercely, she continued her detective work.
While everyone was distracted by the attack in Clancy Hall, Kim Hajin had run off on a bike. However, it was now Rachel who was riding on that same bike. Did that mean Kim Hajin defeated all those Djinns by himself and rescued Rachel?
Impossible, not even Kim Hajin could be so fearless…
Rachel and I split up in an awkward atmosphere.
—Does that mean… you like me?
I denied her, but it didn’t look like Rachel believed me. She said that she understood, but I felt like she interpreted things the wrong way.
In any case, I returned to my hotel room alone.
Of course, if I returned with Rachel, I would have been able to obtain a lot of SP as ‘the cadet who saved the princess’.
However, receiving more attention than necessary was poisonous.
Currently, Clancy Islet was filled with Evil Society’s Djinns. They had failed in their mission, and no one knew where their fury would go.
The Chameleon Troupe was fine since they were a group with the might and wealth to withstand Evil Society, but if Evil Society chose to vent their anger on me… my future would be bleak.
“…Anyways, this place is amazing.”
My hotel suite was beyond anything I imagined. Not to mention, it was all free. After winning 2 billion won at the casino, the casino manager told me to rest and upgraded my room for free.
I sat down on the comfy couch and made a video call with my smartwatch.
The call went through, and the face of a cute child popped up on the screen.
“Hey, have you been doing well?”
Evandel was a quick learner. She quickly learned to use basic electronic devices, and because I told her not to call me Daddy, she even started calling me by my name.
—Un, look at this!
Evandel showed me a cat she made.
A cat ghost.
It was small and cute.
“Wow, good job. It’s really cute. I want to pet it.”
—Heehee, right, right?
I learned from the internet that praises were important for raising a child.
—By the way, Hajin, when are you coming back?
“Tomorrow morning. I’ll be there as soon as I can. Wait just a little bit more.”
To be honest, I wanted to go back right away. But because the entire island was undergoing a vetting process, I couldn’t leave even if I wanted to.
“I’ll bring back something delicious. What do you want to eat?”
“Alright, got it.”
I received a message on my smartwatch.
The sender was Chae Nayun.
[Hey, are you busy? Everyone is going to go get food.]Previous Chapter Next Chapter
In case you haven't noticed/understood, "yes?" (with a question mark) means the same thing as "excuse me?" or "say what?"
If you've read or watched Japanese stuff, it's the same thing as "hai?" in Japanese. (they both translate to "yes?", but means "excuse me?" or "say what?"); I personally like keeping it this way instead of using "excuse me" or "say what"