The Hero Association gave the title ‘Nine Evils’ to the nine Djinns who rose to the peak of Djinn society. It was meant to brand them as ‘the evils of humanity’ or ‘nine roots of evil’, but the Djinns happily accepted the title, calling it the highest praise.
“It’ll be a waste of time again….”
This place was the base of Wicked, the third-ranked Djinn of the Nine Evils. This base was a secret sanctuary made by reconstructing a deep cave in South Hamgyeong Province’s mountain.
—We will answer anything.
In this sanctuary, an ordinary Djinn named Tomer was looking into a computer. Her brown Latino skin and healthy figure shone even in the dark cave. However, there was no one giving her lewd glances.
Even among ordinary Djinns under Wicked, Tomer was a bit special. She was an odd one who didn’t care about missions and only cared about pursuing strength. A few Djinns even doubted her being a Djinn.
“…What wind blew to make that woman stay in the office?”
Another ordinary Djinn muttered quietly as he stole a peek at Tomer. It was uncommon to see her glued to her desk like she was now.
“Someone told her about an information agency on Violet Banquet.”
“Probably Seth. That guy’s crazy about women.”
At that moment, a field agent walked into the office. The two gossiping Djinns quickly buried their faces on their desk. The field agent looked around the office, then called someone’s name.
‘…What now.’ Tomer slowly got up, murmuring quietly to herself. The field agent heard her complaint clearly, but he only furrowed his brows and did not say anything about it. Tomer was a young, ordinary Djinn who was only 20 years old. But it was only her position that was ordinary. Her skill was enough to classify her as an elite.
“There’s a mission.”
“Yeah, an observation mission.”
The agent handed a thick stack of documents to Tomer. Frowning, Tomer received the documents.
Looking fixedly at my laptop, I pondered.
Tomer was a bit of an unusual Djinn. She became a Djinn for one purpose.
To kill her father with her own hands.
To achieve this goal, Tomer sold a part of her soul.
Tomer was that unfortunate.
When she was seven, Tomer’s father killed her mother and abandoned her.
At first glance, he was just a human garbage, but there was another reason behind it.
This setting was a device I implemented to eventually bring Tomer to Kim Suho’s side. Though, I stopped serializing before I ever got to that part.
In any case, with Wicked’s help, she would eventually find her father even without me helping her. After killing him with her own hands, she would swear loyalty to Wicked. Before I went on hiatus, she had even become one of Wicked’s executives.
For the record, Wicked’s executives were on a much higher position than ordinary executives. The executives of Wicked were only inferior to the Nine Evils themselves. In other words, they were the future leaders of Djinn society.
If I found Tomer’s father for her, would I be able to bring her to my side?
Probably not. But if I used the plot device I created for Kim Suho…
For now, I unleashed the Book of Truth.
I didn’t know for sure where Tomer’s father was. Thinking about all the information Tomer gave me, I willed the book to reveal his present state of affairs.
Two streaks of Stigma disappeared in an instant.
My left arm felt numb, and an intense headache shook my head. It felt like my vision was turning white.
I collapsed on the ground, unable to endure the pain.
The throbbing pain lasted for a minute before subsiding. I raised my head and looked at the Book of Truth. With two streaks of Stigma, I could find out about Fernin Jesus’ current status, but I couldn’t find his current location.
[Fernin Jesus changed his name to ‘Agus Benjamin’, and has retired after undergoing plastic surgery.]
Sunday before the start of school.
I visited Seoul’s Magic Tower. It was to engrave magic seals on my obsidian bracelet.
As the Magic Tower society was filled with materialistic snobs, I wore the luxury suit I bought in Clancy Islet to avoid being ignored.
“Kim Hajin-ssi. Welcome.”
A guard mercenary checked my name on the reservation list and let me in.
In the Magic Tower, where classical music flowed calmly, there were many others who made reservations to come. A magician approached me while I was looking around.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Jin Yohan, a 4-star magician. You made a reservation for magic seal-related business, correct?”
A 4-star artifact artificer was the highest ranked magician an ordinary person could meet. I nodded in satisfaction.
Jin Yohan scanned me up and down, then spoke with a smile.
“Follow me. Let’s go to the office.”
Jin Yohan’s office was on the 33rd floor.
As soon as he sat down on his counseling chair, his secretary brought him a cup of coffee. Jin Yohan took a sip, then cut straight to the chase.
“What kind of magic seal are you looking to engrave?”
“Physical ability enhancement. Or do you have a physical defense magic?”
“Ah, yes we do.”
Jin Yohan projected a hologram in the air.
“First is this. Speed boost.”
Speed boost, strength enhancement, barrier, blood circulation, etc…
Most were fairly mediocre magic seals.
“Do you have any that runs with more magic power?”
Most magic seals engraved in artifacts used little magic power, as no matter how much internal magic power an artifact had, it wasn’t enough to use anything above ‘Speed Boost – Haste’.
However, this obsidian bracelet didn’t have such restrictions. I needed a powerful, high-cost magic seal, even if it could only be used once a week.
“For example, qi reinforcement or momentary awakening.”
Jin Yohan gave me a strange look, then nodded.
“It’s possible, but it will be very expensive.”
…30 minutes later.
I left after making a reservation.
It seemed I needed to wait a bit more until I could obtain magic seals.
At least until Packhorse Master finished conquering the Suwon Devil’s Nest.
The month-long summer came to an end. Other cadets were busy traveling abroad and whatnot, but I spent most of the time training and raising a kid.
“That picture you took in Japan came out really well.”
“Ah~ I wanted to go to Spain. If only my Portal pass didn’t suddenly expire….”
Cadets who came back to Cube seemed to have enjoyed their break as they all had bright faces.
Even without seeing their faces, I could find out through their social media. Most went on vacations abroad, and some posted pictures of themselves training during their break.
[Enduring a hard day, hoping for a better tomorrow.]
That was one of Shin Jonghak’s social media posts. The picture he uploaded with it was even more of a spectacle. It was a clear set-up shot with his sweaty head leaning on his spear. Because of his handsome appearance, I had to admit that he looked like a model.
Just like this, I often checked the major characters’ social media.
Kim Suho and Yoo Yeonha were rarely active on social media, and Rachel’s social media was administered by the English Royal Court. As for Chae Nayun, she hasn’t posted anything since the casino incident.
[…Too complicated. #FirstTime #ClancyIslet #Flustered #Annoyed #CubeCadet]
Along with the short phrase and a string of hashtags was a picture she took of Clancy Islet’s night scenery.
This was Chae Nayun’s last post.
It looked like a typical attention-seeking post from a high schooler, but the reaction was explosive.
Uyeonha [Don’t think too complicated.]
Orange2574 [What? ㅠㅠDid something happen?]
Jonghak2 [Call me]
Aeoaeo [Unni, why aren’t you posting anything nowadays?]
“…She has so many likes.”
As expected of a celebrity, Chae Nayun had many followers.
Looking at it, I felt ostracized, so I went back to looking at stocks. It shouldn’t be long until Packhorse Master’s stocks skyrocketed.
Five minutes later, 8:00 A.M.
Kim Soohyuk walked into the classroom.
As soon as he arrived, he knocked on his desk loudly and gathered the cadets’ attention.
“Today is the start of the second semester. As you all know, the second semester comes with a big change. Not only will your rankings be different, new cadets will also join the class. Maybe some of you went to the welcoming ceremony yesterday.”
Welcoming ceremony. Starting from the second semester, magicians who wish to become Heroes will come to Cube from Korea’s ten magic academies. 20 magicians per class for a total of 200. I already took note of magicians who would play important roles.
“These transfer students will join us starting from today. Come in.”
With the instructor starting to clap, cadets also began clapping. Then, the front door opened, and 20 black-robed magicians walked in.
At first, I stared at them without much thought.
One, two, three… Then suddenly, my eyes widened.
Among the twenty magicians, there was someone who shouldn’t be there.
Her skin was whitened and her hair dyed darker, but I was sure.
It was Tomer.
Tomer was raised in Korea from when she was 10 and was admitted to Gangwondo Magic Academy. Although she quit after 4 years, disillusioned with the magician community, her status was guaranteed just by having been admitted. With the few Djinns who were part of Cube’s executives, she was indeed a good person to infiltrate Cube.
“Everybody, take a seat.”
At Kim Soohyuk’s words, the magicians sat down in empty seats.
“Now, I will announce the ranking change.”
Tomer sat in the middle seat.
Using my smartwatch, I checked whether I received any messages on my laptop.
[Tomer – Although she plays an important role in the story, her appearance and strength are too sudden. It is better to create a connection between her and other major characters from the beginning.]
Doing useless things again.
“Rank 1, Kim Suho!”
Kim Soohyuk began to announce the rank change. He only voiced the top 10, and the rest was posted on a wall poster.
Rank 1 Kim Suho
Rank 2 Shin Jonghak
Rank 3 Rachel
Rank 4 Chae Nayun
Rank 5 Shen Yu’an
Rank 6 Yoo Yeonha
Rank 11 Yi Yeonghan
Rank 17 Kim Horak
Rank 334 Kim Hajin
Rank 334. My rank had gone up 600 places. Mmn, it was a moderate, average rank.
I was satisfied.
The first outdoor class was training. The purpose was supposedly to get to know the transfer students. The name of it was ‘dangerous hike’.
“There aren’t any dangerous monsters on this mountain. But…”
The chief instructor, Kim Soohyuk, held up his index finger with a scary face.
“There are terrifying hidden traps. They’re replicas of what Djinns once used. You might end up being hospitalized, so make sure to stay on your toes.”
Next, Kim Soohyuk divided 120 people into 10 groups of 12.
The 10 groups then began to climb the mountain from different starting points.
“Alright, everyone, let’s go!”
Chae Nayun belonged to Group 3, which included Kim Suho.
“Oh, Chae Nayun.”
Chae Nayun and Kim Suho led two magicians and eight cadets to the foot of the mountain.
Not long afterward, goosebumps began to appear on their arms. Not only did the wind get chilly, their surroundings also got dark. For the record, it was currently 10:30 A.M.
Just the environment was scary and spooky enough, but there were also all kinds of traps just like the instructor said.
Flames suddenly sprang up from the ground, tree branches coiled around them like tentacles, and even ghosts appeared to frighten them.
“…God, my heart almost dropped.”
When a creepy female ghost appeared, the cadets all fell on the ground. Was Cube trying to give them nightmares to celebrate the start of school? Chae Nayun let out a deep sigh as she placed her hand on her heart.
“Geez, this is too scary.”
Even Kim Suho was murmuring in cold sweat.
Looking at him, a thought suddenly flashed across her mind. The person who she was constantly thinking about, and made her feel complicated…
Kim Suho tilted his head. Chae Nayun looked around sneakily. Other cadets were trying to calm their startled hearts and weren’t paying attention to them.
Consequently, she tried to act as nonchalant as possible, as she brought up something that didn’t have much to do with the current situation.
“Hey, you’re my friend, right?”
“What? Why ask that all of a sudden? Are you sick?”
“…Just answer me.”
“Well, of course I am.”
At Kim Suho’s immediate answer, Chae Nayun smiled bitterly. As expected, Kim Suho thought of her as a friend. Perhaps this was the normal reaction.
However, Kim Hajin had clearly stated that he couldn’t be her friend. Unlike Kim Suho, he was proclaiming that he would be more forward.
“What was that?”
At that moment, a bush on the right side suddenly rustled, and a familiar face popped out.
Speak of the devil, it was Kim Hajin’s Group 6.