Chapter 82. Teamwork (3)


“Ehew.”

After returning to the magicians’ dorm, Tomer let out a deep sigh.

[Tomer, why is the mission being delayed? Are there other variables?]

Her boss sent her a grumpy message.
Tomer’s mission was to injure or weaken Rachel. She only had to make Rachel take a break from her usual daily life for a bit.
With the cooperation from Djinns acting as spies in Cube’s executives, she thought she could quickly take care of this mission and go back, but there was a constant heckler obstructing her.

“Do I have to take care of him first…?”

Nowadays, she felt sour just seeing Kim Hajin’s face. Every time she tried to do something, he seemingly appeared out of nowhere and foiled her plans. Whether it was before class, during class, or after class, Kim Hajin refused to leave Rachel’s side.

“Tsk, can’t he know his place?”

Tomer simply couldn’t understand how a rank 334 cadet had the gall to act so straightforward. She already investigated his background, and he didn’t even have parents, much less a proper backing. Did he really believe that he could win a beauty’s heart just with courage?

“…Wait.”

A flash of insight sparked in Tomer’s head.
Kim Hajin had strong feelings for Rachel. Tomer was sure of it. However, although she didn’t openly show it, Rachel was undoubtedly uncomfortable with his advances.

He was trying to make a move one-sidedly.
There were many ways to spread malicious rumors. You could bad-mouth someone behind their back, or you could exaggerate rumors that were already present.
But for now, there was no need for such complicated schemes.
She just had to say things as she saw them, albeit exaggerating things a little.
To do that… she would have to first get close to Kim Hajin and Rachel… no, to the entire team.

Tomer messaged her boss.

[Is the mission really just to separate this girl?]

[That’s right. Afterward, the agent we dispatched will take care of the rest.]

‘Good, it’s time for a change of plans.’ Tomer laughed maniacally.
It was then.
Her smartwatch vibrated. The especially intense vibration signaled that it was from Violet Banquet. Tomer quickly turned on her smartwatch.

[Truth Agency]
[We have accepted Jamie Jamer-ssi’s request.]

“They’re replying now?”

She had forgotten about Truth Agency because it was 2~3 weeks ago that she put in a request. She had assumed they were unreliable since they didn’t answer.
Did they just have too many clients?
In any case, she was satisfied.
As long as she could find out where that bastard was, she was happy to wait.


**


“Next week, each team will select a small-scale Dungeon and do a presentation on the best way to conquer it.”

Friday’s theory class – ‘Phenomenon Realm Analysis II’.
Just before the class ended, the professor gave the cadets their team assignments. Cadets immediately broke out into groans. However, Jin Hoseung and Yi Bokgyu, who were sitting in front of me, didn’t seem all that worried. They turned around, looking at me happily.

“We believe in you, Hajin.”

It wasn’t just them.
Other cadets were also looking this way with envious eyes.

“Have a good weekend.”

With that, the professor left the classroom. Members of Team Rachel, including myself, got up.

“Guys, there’s a team leader meeting next Wednesday. Don’t forget to come to the auditorium if you’re a team leader.”

At that moment, the class president, Yi Yeonghan, loudly shouted. I looked at Rachel, who was putting her writing utensils away, and our eyes met.
I spoke.

“For today, let’s go to the café and just divide up the work.”

“Alright.”

This wasn’t Rachel’s voice. I turned my gaze to the side. It was Tomer.

“Let’s go to the café.”

Tomer had a very bright face.

“…What’s up with you?”

“What do you mean? Everyone, Rachel-ssi, let’s go. We don’t have time.”

Tomer stepped in and began to urge other team members. I stared at her with a daze. What was she scheming this time? Did she have a nuclear bomb set up at the café?

…10 minutes later.
We arrived at the café.
I tried peering through the roof and ground, but I couldn’t find any traps in the café. Although I was still suspicious, I started dividing up the work among others.

“Hoseung and Bokgyu can look up the data on the Dungeon. Jamer and Rachel-ssi can calculate the mana density.”

That was the result of our 30-minute discussion.
They would send their results to me, then I would assemble everything together into a presentable PowerPoint.

“That sounds good.”

“I agree.”

The team members agreed with a bright face.
When I was about to grab my bag and leave, Rachel suddenly grabbed my sleeve.

“Um, Hajin-ssi.”

“Yes?”

“Didn’t the English Royal Court contact you?”

“Eh? …Um, what contact?”

At that moment, Rachel slightly furrowed her brows.

“Um, the English Royal Court guild…”

“?”

I tilted my head. Although I didn’t remember something like that, I checked my email just in case. There were 1097 unread emails. I tried searching for the phrase ‘royal court’.
I found one email.

“Ah, they emailed me. Sorry, I don’t check my email that often.”

“They… emailed you?”

I didn’t know why, but Rachel seemed to be a bit angry as her lips stuck out in a pout.

“Try reading it when you go home.”

“I’ll just read it now.”

I clicked on the email. Just like Rachel said, the English Royal Court guild had contacted me. It was written in Korean, so I had no trouble reading it.
A 100 million won salary with additional benefits.
It wasn’t a particularly good condition for a pre-contract.

“Can I take a look?”

“Sure.”

Rachel peeked her head in and checked the content of the email. Her eyes moved around busily, then she frowned strongly.

“What kind of a contract is… nevermind, don’t read this.”

Rachel stood up, fuming. Then, she hurriedly rushed out of the café. She had the angriest face I’ve seen since I entered Cube.

“…What, why is she so mad?”

The rest of the team members watched her leave in a daze.

**


Sunday night, a time I set out for the sake of my sanity.
I was currently focused on playing a game.

[Victory]

I won once again.

[Nim][1]
[Yes?]
[How did you do that combo just now?]

The loser, Nayunjajangman, messaged me.
We became friends since we played on Wednesday. Because we were logged on around the same time, we’ve been playing against each other often. Thankfully, Random Consolidation System gave me numbers like 37, 40, 39, so I haven’t lost a single game.

[You must stay calm.]

[How are you so good? Are you an active Hero??]

[No, not at all.]

Strengthening of concept. It increased understanding of what combo to use and what combo was most efficient, boosting even the sense of time and movement within the game. Although my skills would vary depending on what number I rolled, I was undoubtedly worthy to be called an expert.

[By the way, why is your ranked match stats 43 wins and 43 losses?? Did you lose on purpose?]

[Yes, because I didn’t want to be someone who was intensely attached to mere numbers.]

I lied without even batting an eye.

[Ah… I see. You’re amazing. I can’t sleep properly if I lose a ranked match. Do you log on around this time every day?]

[Yes.]

[Can I ask you to teach me a move or two around this time?]

I couldn’t help but smile. He was surprisingly polite.

[Gladly. But I’ll be going offline now. I must go work out.]

[Oh! ㅋㅋ I was about to go work out too ㅋㅋ Jinx!]

I didn’t reply to him and just put my helmet down.
I carefully opened the door so as to not awake Evandel.
Then, I headed to the Fitness Center.
After about five minutes of walking, I arrived.
When I came out of the changing room in my sportswear, I ran into Chae Nayun who was also entering the Fitness Center.

“What, you’re here to work out too?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah.”

“…Alright, work hard.”

Chae Nayun walked past me into the girl’s changing room. I then headed to the treadmill without much thought. Suddenly, a thought flashed through my head.
Nayunjajangman.
Nayun. Chae Nayun.

“Mm… no way, right?”

It was unlikely. In the first place, Chae Nayun didn’t like jajangmyeon[2] that much. There was no reason she would use it as her ID. Not to mention, Nayunjajangman spoke like a man.

Beep—

I set the treadmill speed to 20km. I wouldn’t have even imagined it in the past, but now it wasn’t so difficult.
For the next 30 minutes, I ran on the treadmill. By the time I got off, I was soaked with my own sweat.

“Huu….”

I took out a sports drink from the fridge.
Chae Nayun, who just got out of the gravitation room, slowly came up next to me.

“Hey.”

I stared at Chae Nayun silently. She fidgeted around, trying to buy time.

“What? Say something.”

“…You see, my team got the Hongcheon Mantis Dungeon.”

It seemed Chae Nayun was worried about her team challenge. A Mantis Dungeon…. She ended up taking an insect Dungeon, which was one of the trickiest out of all Dungeons.

“Do, do you know anything about it?”

“…How did you choose the most difficult one?”

“I know right? The annoying magician in my team kept telling me to choose it.”

The magician in Chae Nayun’s team was Oh Junsik. He was recorded in my settings book. Although he was skilled, he was a bit of an ass. Because his aunt was a 7-star magician, he probably wouldn’t bend down to Chae Nayun either.

“He probably thought that he could get bonus points with a difficult assignment. But he’s probably going to be sloppy in his presentation. He’s going to stutter and make you facepalm.”

“I know, I was willing to overlook it, but now… Ehew, I’ve never met someone who is more headstrong than me.”

At least she knew she was headstrong.

“If possible, let someone else do the presentation. Unexpectedly, Hazuki seems to be a good choice.”

“I want to, but I doubt that bastard will agree… Kuhum.”

Suddenly, the atmosphere turned awkward. We both distanced ourselves as though we remembered our relationship. After all, we weren’t friends who could chat so amicably.

“…H-Have fun exercising. I’m going back to the gravitation room.”

“Uh, yeah, I’ll go lift some weights.”

**


August 12th, Tuesday, dusk.
In an empty park, a sharp sword swinging sound resonated through the area.

“Hey, didn’t I get better?”

Chae Nayun, who was just wielding a sword, asked with a bright face. Kim Suho nodded with a laugh.

“Yeah, you stopped closing your eyes.”

Only seven days had passed since Kim Suho started acting as Chae Nayun’s teacher.
Chae Nayun was certainly growing at an incredible pace. Her biggest achievement was that she stopped fearing close ranged attacks to a certain extent.

“I think playing that game really helped me.”

“Game?”

Kim Suho asked as he tilted his head.

“Yeah, I met someone who’s even better than you. A super expert who only does close ranged combat.”

“Ah~ Gladiator of the Century? But you don’t move your body in that game.”

Gladiator of the Century used brainwaves and iris-movements as control. Of course, you could play it with a keyboard and a mouse, but that would significantly slow down your reaction time.

“Yeah, but an ordinary person would never be able to do what he does. He’s my mentor!”

“Oh, he must really be an expert then.”

Chae Nayun’s mentor. It meant that the prideful Chae Nayun had acknowledged him to be superior.

“Yeah, he has a great personality too. He apparently matches his win-loss ratio because he doesn’t want to be intensely attached to mere numbers. Isn’t that cool?”

Most people played ranked matches to win, resulting in a rather boring match. Each side would first test out the waters with small maneuvers, and the outcome of the battle would end up being determined by which side dealt more effective blows. It was kind of like a boxing match, except that it was rare for one side to be KO’ed.
However, Extra7 was different. He charged at you directly and almost recklessly. Each of his movements were potentially lethal, helping Chae Nayun get over her fear of close ranged combat.

“If he’s that good, he must be an active Hero, right?”

“No, I asked him, and he said… Eh?”

It was then.
A man appeared in the distance wearing flip-flops.
It was Kim Hajin.

“Oh look, Kim Hajin’s here.”

This didn’t surprise Chae Nayun. Kim Suho had already told her that Kim Hajin was coming to talk to him and that he could only teach her until Kim Hajin came.

“Hm? Oh, you’re right. Then I’ll be going now.”

Kim Suho got up.

“Yeah, take care.”

“Don’t overwork yourself either, okay?”

Chae Nayun watched Kim Suho walking up to Kim Hajin.
It felt like they had gotten close recently. But how?

‘Now that I think about it, Kim Suho jokingly said they talked about me. Was it because of me…?’

Kim Suho and Kim Hajin walked off, chatting together. Chae Nayun strained her ears.

—How’s your condition?

This was Kim Hajin’s voice.

—Pretty good.

That was Kim Suho’s.

—Don’t overwork yourself. Friday’s right around the corner.

—Of course.

—Oh, and how’s Chae Nayun?

At that moment, Chae Nayun’s heart dropped a beat.
This was the most important part, but they were now too far for her to listen in.

“…The heck.”

Chae Nayun stared at them with a complex mix of emotions in her eyes.


1. “nim” is the respectful way of addressing people online.

2. Jajangmyeon is Korean black bean noodles. Personally, one of my favorite dishes.

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