Chapter 88. Words Without Legs (3)


With Kim Hajin in front of her, Yoo Yeonha was torn between fighting him or running away. Although she came into the room confident in her abilities, she didn’t expect to meet such a powerful enemy from the beginning.

“….”

Kim Hajin stood still, seemingly unaware of her worry. However, his relaxed attitude made Yoo Yeonha even more nervous. She couldn’t take his gaze head-on. This was the first time she had ever felt like this. It wasn’t like this before….
Then suddenly, Kim Hajin raised his hand.
In truth, Kim Hajin was only trying to scratch an itch on the back of his neck.

“Stay, stay away!”

But Yoo Yeonha, who didn’t know this, shouted subconsciously.
Kim Hajin stared at her silently, then slowly dropped his hand.
His gun was already in his right hand. It wasn’t the Desert Eagle Yoo Yeonha gave him, but a normal cadet handgun.
However, Kim Hajin had destroyed Kim Horak’s qi reinforcement even with an ordinary gun. It was precisely why he received the attention of top-ranking guilds for a while.

“….”

Kim Hajin raised his gun. Yoo Yeonha could feel beads of sweat flowing down her face.
First, she calmly examined her surroundings. Behind her was a narrow, straight hallway, making it difficult for her to escape the range of his gun. She only had two choices: fight, or be beaten.

Yoo Yeonha looked down at the whip in her hand. Then, she suddenly thought of something.

‘Perhaps this is the best chance for me confirm his skills. My current estimate of his strength only comes from observation. If I fight him now, I should be able to see a glimpse of his real power….’

At the same time, she had a different thought. This time, it was more cowardly.

‘If I fight Kim Hajin and lose, I’ll likely be the first one to be eliminated. I don’t want that to happen, but struggling for my life doesn’t suit my style either. It’s definitely not because I hate pain.’

After calmly weighing her options, Yoo Yeonha sighed.
Then, she opened her eyes wide as though she came to a decision.
Glaring at Kim Hajin with eyes sharper than the glare of a lynx, she swung her whip. Her whip moved fluidly like it was part of her limb, then it grabbed onto Kim Hajin’s gun.

Shweeek!

In the blink of an eye, Kim Hajin’s gun was snatched out of his hands.
Yoo Yeonha stared blankly at the gun that fell into her hand.

“I, I did it! Ha, haha!”

‘I never thought I’d succeed! Ahahaha—!’
Yoo Yeonha laughed proudly and thought, ‘maybe this person isn’t that amazing after all!’

“Even if it’s you, without a weapon…”

But in the next moment…
The gun flew back into Kim Hajin’s hand as though it was enchanted by something.

“Ah, aah! W-Where are you going!?”

Yoo Yeonha tried to grab the gun midair, but it was too late.
The ‘Aether wire’ Kim Hajin secretly shot out adhered to the gun and retrieved it. With Aether’s Detail Materialization trait, Aether wire was invisible unless one’s eyes were imbued with magic power. As a result, Yoo Yeonha thought that this phenomenon was the result of Kim Hajin’s magic power.

“….”

The smile on Yoo Yeonha’s face quickly disappeared. She stared at Kim Hajin even more nervously than before. Now, she was left with one choice. Since she was the one who made the first move, she believed she had to endure whatever came her way….
Yoo Yeonha swallowed hard.

“…Haa.”

Then, Kim Hajin let out a deep sigh and held up his gun.
He aimed it forward, and Yoo Yeonha shuddered. In front of his steel muzzle, her mind blanked out.

How should I dodge it?
Will it hurt?
Maybe I can dodge it?

All sorts of thoughts flashed by her head, but Kim Hajin didn’t fire. He smirked once, then put his gun back into his holster.

‘What?’

While Yoo Yeonha was puzzled, he trudged up to her and tapped on her shoulder.

“It’s still early, so let’s take it easy.”

After murmuring incomprehensible words, he walked past her to the outside.
Yoo Yeonha watched him leave in a daze.

**


“Argh, it still hurts.”

My right wrist was sore. Yoo Yeonha’s whip only lightly grazed it when she was snatching my gun, but it tore my skin and turned it red.
If it had hit me directly, it would have broken my bones for sure. As I thought, Yoo Yeonha was quite strong as well.

“Ehew, what a relief.”

With my bluff working well, I safely went past Yoo Yeonha and entered the fourth-floor lobby.
The fourth-floor lobby was quite huge but oddly silent. There were no voices nor were there any noticeable presences.
What’s going on? Did everyone go elsewhere?
I turned on my smartwatch.

All cadets participating in the Mock Artifact Scramble were wearing ‘life-detection devices’. These devices accurately measured the HP of each cadet, eliminating those that received critical damage.
Through the smartwatch which was connected to the laptop, I checked the GPS coordinates of these devices.
There were only ten cadets on this floor, including me and Yoo Yeonha.
Six of these ten were already traveling in teams.

“Tomer….”

Next, I checked Tomer’s GPS coordinate.
Currently, she was in a bathroom on the seventh floor. It seemed she was planning on killing time there, as she showed no sign of movement.
In that case, I had to chase after her.
…Then suddenly, I felt curious about what the other cadets were doing.
A fight had broken out on the third floor, the floor above me, but the big match had yet to start. In other words, Chae Nayun and Rachel had yet to meet.

However, on the fifth-floor lobby, a big match that anyone would want to see was starting. The cadets facing each other were that great.
Shin Jonghak and Kim Suho. The two cadets, who could be said to be the representatives of Team Black and Team White, had met.
I put on the CCTV watching their fight.

—I knew this day would come, Kim Suho.

Shin Jonghak muttered in a serious tone.

—….

However, Kim Suho faced Shin Jonghak silently.

—Come. I’ll show you the difference between our level.

Kim Suho pulled out his sword in response to Shin Jonghak’s provocation. Shin Jonghak also held up his spear.
Kim Suho was the first to attack. He charged in and swung his sword. Shin Jonghak stepped back as he blocked Kim Suho’s attack. Sparks flashed at the clash between a spear and a sword. They both properly utilized the strengths and weaknesses of their weapons for offense and defense.
At that moment, someone quickly shot past me.
Stomp, stomp, stomp— A harsh stair-climbing sound rang out.
I glanced up and saw Yoo Yeonha. She was running away faster than anyone I had ever seen before.

“…Oh right.”

Thanks to her footsteps, I snapped back to reality.
Although a marvelous, intense exchange of spear and sword was happening below me, I didn’t have the time to leisurely watch them.
I headed to the emergency stairs. As it was smaller than the staircase in the central lobby, I would be able to avoid enemy encounters.

**


“I, I surrender!”

A male cadet shouted surrender in front of Chae Nayun’s sword. The moment he said the safe word, he was blindfolded. He would now be transported to the third floor’s ‘elimination lounge’, where other cadets eliminated from the third floor would be waiting.

“Whew… easy.”

Chae Nayun murmured proudly as she wiped off her sweat.
This was already her third kill.

“It’s only been three months since I switched to a sword and I’m already this strong. I must be really talented with the sword.”

While Chae Nayun was brimming with confidence, someone shouted softly at her.

“Nayun—!”

Chae Nayun turned toward the direction of the voice. It was Yi Jiyoon, who was wearing a white cadet uniform. She ran toward Chae Nayun in short, quick steps.

“Whew, thank god.”

Clinging to Chae Nayun, Yi Jiyoon let out a sigh of relief.

“Were you hiding this entire time?”

A supporter like Yi Jiyoon was weak in brawls like this. An attack-focused supporter like Yoo Yeonha would be able to shine depending on the situation, but Yi Jiyoon was a purely support-oriented supporter.

“No, I managed to defeat one with my weakening debuff.”

“Oh really? That’s good. Anyways, it’s nice to see you.”

Chae Nayun was also happy to see Yi Jiyoon. She was a supporter that enhanced warriors in particular. She provided various physical buffs that made warriors feel like they became Superhuman.

“Ahh, I really thought I was dead….”

Yi Jiyoon calmed her heart for a bit, then spoke as if she suddenly remembered it.

“Oh yeah, Rachel’s on this floor.”

“Rachel?”

Chae Nayun’s eyes widened.

“Yeah, I was so surprised! I barely managed to escape because I ran away the moment I saw her.”

It was then.
Stomp, stomp, stomp— Someone ran upstairs out of breath.

“Wait.”

The two stared at the staircase nervously. Yi Jiyoon held up her bow, while Chae Nayun pointed her sword at the stairs.
However, the person who showed up was someone on their team, Yoo Yeonha.
Yoo Yeonha seemed to be relieved as well, as she let out a sigh of relief when she saw Yi Jiyoon. Chae Nayun tilted her head and asked.

“Yoo Yeonha, why are you sweating so much?”

“Huh? Uh, it’s nothing.”

Yoo Yeonha looked haggard, unlike her usual self.
Chae Nayun asked in doubt.

“Who’s downstairs?”

Yoo Yeonha replied softly.

“…Kim Hajin.”

""Kim Hajin?""

Yi Jiyoon and Chae Nayun both asked back.

“Mhm.”

“Oh, then Kim Hajin must be eliminated.”

Yi Jiyoon asked innocently. Yoo Yeonha shook her head with a bitter smile.

“No, he didn’t get eliminated.”

‘But I almost did.’ Embarrassed, Yoo Yeonha didn’t say the last part out loud.

“Really?”

Chae Nayun, who was scratching her cheek and pretending to be unconcerned, asked in a casual tone.

“So, uh, what was he doing?”

“I don’t know.”

Yoo Yeonha replied half-heartedly, but then Yi Jiyoon butt in with a strange smile.

“Maybe he’s looking for Rachel?”

At Yi Jiyoon’s remark, Chae Nayun tilted her head.

“Eh? Why Rachel?”

“Because Kim Hajin likes Rachel.”

“…Huh?”

This time, both Chae Nayun and Yoo Yeonha were confused.

“What are you talking about?”

“Eh? You guys don’t know?”

“…K-Know what? What about Kim Hajin?”

Chae Nayun stuttered as she asked again. Yi Jiyoon tilted her head.

“You really don’t know? I thought everyone has heard the rumors by now.”

“Then it’s just a stupid, groundless rumor.”

Yoo Yeonha spoke firmly. As far as she was concerned, there were more important things to worry about at the moment than such absurd rumors. After all, this Mock Artifact Scramble held great weight in their grades.

“Anyways, did you locate the artifacts?”

“Ah, yeah, I have one on me. I ran into an NPC on my way here.”

Yi Jiyoon took out a small box from her uniform pocket. Yoo Yeonha’s expression quickly brightened.

“I’m glad. First, let’s transport this to the first floor.”

“Yeah.”

“And Yi Jiyoon, you’re mistaken. That rumor probably spread because Kim Hajin and Rachel are on the same team….”

While Chae Nayun was murmuring somewhat seriously…
Arrows suddenly rained down. Yoo Yeonha quickly swung her whip and smacked them away.

“Who is it!?”

Chae Nayun shouted with enraged eyes. Although the rain of arrows was mostly blocked by Yoo Yeonha’s whip, Chae Nayun was still irritated by the ambush.
The three of them turned to the balcony and saw Rachel and other cadets in Team Black.

“Rachel! How can you ambush us like a coward!”

Chae Nayun trembled with anger.
However, Rachel looked down at them calmly as she pulled out her rapier.

“I’m going in.”

At her soft voice, the members of Team Black reacted simultaneously.

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