The singing competition ended, and the results came out before the lingering aftertaste of the music disappeared.
Veritas class’ Kim Hajin didn’t get first or even second place. He got fourth.
Although his choice of music and voice were great, how well someone nailed high notes was still used to grade someone’s singing.
However, Kim Hajin was undoubtedly first place in terms of cadets’ topic of conversation. His performance was already uploaded and gaining hits on several cadets’ social media.
“…Ah~ it feels like I went to a concert.”
“Right? Who was your favorite?”
“Kim Hajin, Neilee, and Harim. But Kim Hajin really caught me off guard. I heard he goes out a lot. Maybe learned how to sing at karaokes.”
Currently, Rachel was still sitting in the audience, now listening to other cadets’ conversations. She needed some time to organize all the complicated thoughts coursing through her head.
Today, Kim Hajin showed a good performance. He didn’t confess to her like many people were saying he would. She was having trouble sleeping lately because she kept having nightmares about it. She was glad that it was over now.
However, the song Kim Hajin chose kept bothering her. His voice felt sincere, and the lyrics that said he wanted to get closer but was afraid of being rejected.
It was a meaningful song.
‘Perhaps he realized I was avoiding him. Now that I think about it, I’ve been avoiding him too noticeably lately. There’s no way he wouldn’t have found out…’
Feeling sorry, Rachel let out a small sigh.
“What are you doing here?”
A strong voice interrupted her thoughts. Rachel slowly turned her head towards the direction of the sound.
There, she saw Chae Nayun, who spoke as she pointed at the exit.
“Aren’t you leaving?”
It was only then that Rachel caught sight of her surroundings. The auditorium was already empty.
Rachel got up and began walking to the exit. Chae Nayun stared at her back with a strange gleam in her eyes. Then, she followed Rachel.
It was already 10, and darkness blanketed the outside world.
Rachel trudged forward with a face full of worries. Chae Nayun gave her sideway glances, then went ahead and joined up with cadets who were waiting for her.
“Chae Nayun, where are you going next? …Huaam.”
“Back to my room.”
After retorting briefly, she looked around.
“By the way, where did he go?”
Yoo Yeonha replied to her question.
“That person went that way. To the church.”
Cube also had religious facilities to support cadets who came from various backgrounds. Most religious cadets were Protestants, and there were some devout cadets who wanted to become priests in the future.
“Why a church?”
“I don’t know… why, does it bother you?”
Chae Nayun replied indifferently, but kept glancing at Rachel. She was walking towards the direction of the dorm.
For the record, dorms were on the opposite direction of the church.
“Well, if you aren’t doing anything else, I’m going to bed. …Huaam.”
Shin Jonghak yawned. Today, he participated in three competitions: the soccer match, Dungeon speedrun, and duel. He was justifiably exhausted.
Chae Nayun waved her hand as if to say, ‘I don’t need you.’
“Yes, please just go back and sleep.”
Yoo Yeonha meaningfully watched Chae Nayun’s oddly temperamental attitude.
“Nayun, what are you going to do?”
“Nothing. Just gonna go back and play some games before sleep.”
“Mmm… you’re not gonna go to the church, right?”
“W-Why would I go there? I never believed in a religion my entire life.”
Chae Nayun grumbled with an uncomfortable expression.
I sat down on the worship chair. The wood creaked as it embraced my body.
I stared at the cross hanging in front of me. A dark light shone through the stained glass on the side. I turned my gaze sideways. The colorful art inscribed on the glass glistened in the darkness.
This was the sanctuary of God.
A holy place of confession for those who wished to confess and atone their sins.
Sitting in this huge chapel and reflecting on myself, an unknown reverence and holiness embraced me…
“…or so I expected, but well… there’s nothing special.”
I scratched the back of my neck. There wasn’t some grand reason that I came to the church. It was just that in movies, main characters often visited a church when they were in anguish. Then, they would suddenly be enlightened to their direction in life!
But it seemed that only happened in movies. Or maybe, it was because I was an extra and not a main character. In any case, the silence was only making me sleepy.
After making a big yawn, I stared at my smartwatch again.
[You might have to kill a person.]
[But you will receive a hefty reward.]
[You won’t have to worry about hiding your identity. As Jeronimo Mercenary’s apprentice mercenary, we will guarantee your identity will be kept a secret. If you want, we can extend this guarantee even when you become an official mercenary.]
This was the reply she sent in response to my message, ‘how much will working there pay?’
To be honest, I wasn’t short on money and only asked them that to play along with their methods. As Boss was socially inept, she only knew how to appease people with money.
Anyone could become a mercenary by law. They could even hold the position concurrently with another job. I heard there were many Heroes who worked as mercenaries part-time because they were chased on money.
About 50 to 100 Cube graduates and probably half of the cadets who had to drop out would end up being mercenaries.
It wasn’t a bad choice for me.
Chameleon Troupe participated in huge events like major artifact scrambles and the conquering of the Tower of Dimension. If I joined them, I at least wouldn’t have to worry about straying from the main storyline.
And most importantly… I would be able to kill Chae Jinyoon without difficulty. Even if he was a third-generation chaebol, 5 years had passed since he fell into a coma. The security around him should have gotten lax.
But still, the fact that I had to kill someone got on my mind.
Chameleon Troupe would continue to kill many people.
The only difference between Chameleon Troupe and Evil Society was that Chameleon Troupe didn’t kill needlessly. They were no different in that they killed people and plundered their wealth.
Would I be able to commit these crimes?
I had doubts in this regard. This world was no longer just a world inside a novel….
While I was pondering with my eyes closed, I felt the door creak open.
I slowly opened my eyes.
Footsteps continued slowly, and soon, someone sat down next to me.
“Are you Christian?”
The voice echoed inside the church.
I glanced to the side, then spoke with a grin.
“…No. What about you?”
Kim Suho gazed at the cross as he answered.
“No, me neither.”
Despite what he said, Kim Suho’s eyes carried a hint of reminiscence.
“Then what’s up with that meaningful gaze?”
“Oh, I didn’t notice.”
“You looked like a devout believer. I would have believed you if you said you wanted to become the Pope.”
“Pft, it’s not like that… I just remembered something from the past.”
The past. Indeed, Kim Suho’s past was a bit special.
I made a small smile.
“You used to go to a church?”
“No, but something like that.”
Kim Suho shook his head.
This time, he smiled without answering. He was saying no.
“Mormonism? Zoroastrianism? Hinduism? Islam? Greek Orthodox? Confucianism? Taoism?”
“Hahaha, no, none of them. I wasn’t really a faithful believer either.”
Hearing Kim Suho say this, I threw out a sentence nonchalantly.
“Then what, is it a religion from another world?”
For a moment, Kim Suho’s eyes opened wide. I just threw a tiny stone in Kim Suho’s heart, but I pretended to be oblivious and smiled.
Kim Suho laughed and shook his head. Then he suddenly wore a serious expression and asked.
He asked with an unconcealable sorrow and reminiscence.
“Do you think there are other worlds? You know, like Lord of the Rings.”
Tolkien died in 1973. As Outcall happened around that time, Tolkien’s work stood firmly in this world as a timeless masterpiece.
Without meeting Kim Suho’s eyes, I looked at the cross in front of me.
The crucified son of God entered my eyes.
“…Outcall happened 50 years ago. Even without looking through Earth’s history and just looking at anno domini (A.D.), you’ll see that there were no monsters in this world for 1970 years.”
I faced Kim Suho once again.
“Then rather than saying that monsters suddenly appeared on Earth, it would make more sense to say existences from a different world crossed over to ours.”
Kim Suho was silent.
I wondered what was on his mind.
In truth, Kim Suho and I had similar circumstances. However, he came to this world when he was young and he even had another family. So unlike me, he didn’t have to feel lonely. He probably only missed his family back home every once in a while…
Kim Suho’s lips moved slowly.
“Then do you…”
“That’s part of the ‘Otherworld Theory’ presented by Dr. Jerus.”
I shrugged and cut him off.
Kim Suho jumped slightly in surprise, then laughed.
“…Ah, is that one of the theories explaining Outcall?”
“Yeah. It’s being criticized for being completely groundless, but I think it’s pretty convincing. Outcall happened out of the blue. I think it’s stupid to use logic to explain something illogical.”
“I guess so.”
We became silent, but the silence didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. Then, I suddenly grew curious and broke the silence.
“Oh right, are you using Misteltein well?”
“Of course. Just like you suggested, I’ve been going out frequently hunting monsters. I feel like it’s gotten harder.”
“Haha, really? Then in the future, let’s go together to find better equipment. Oh by the way, you don’t have an agent, right? I’ll introduce one to you.”
Kim Suho had to get stronger.
He had to be faster than now, and he had to get stronger than in the original story. In a way, Kim Suho was the only method I had in dealing with uncertain danger.
My goal was to finish the main story. However, it didn’t have to be me that finished it.
Even if I died in the middle, if Kim Suho could continue the main story….
Kim Suho interrupted my thoughts.
“An agent, huh… by the way, what could be better than Misteltein?”
“Who knows? The world is big and full of artifacts.”
With that as my final thought, I got up.
I’ve been here long enough, and I thought about my worries more than enough.
“I’ll leave first.”
“Oh, okay. I’m gonna stay here a little longer.”
“See you later.”
I left the church, leaving Kim Suho behind.
3 A.M. It was now Saturday.
Looking at the text in front of me, I breathed a sigh of relief. I almost lost this time. If Random Consolidation System was just 3% lower, I would have been defeated.
—Wow, you’re amazing as expected, hyung-nim. I went all out this time too.
Jajangman messaged me.
—I almost lost. You’re getting stronger by the day… I might not be able to win anymore after a couple months.
I couldn’t fall asleep, so I put on my helmet to play a match or two. Jajangman happened to be up, so I ended up playing seven matches with him.
—ㅋㅋㅋ True, I’ve been getting stronger quickly ㅋ
Jajangman and I became close enough to call each other brothers. It was probably because I could act my original age (26) online.
—Why are you up so late?
I changed the topic.
Currently, it was 3 A.M. I already beat him seven times in a row, and I was getting sleepy.
—Oh, well, something happened today… I can’t fall asleep ㅋㅋ
—It’s not really something I should say… ㅋㅋ
Oh? From the looks of it, it was a relationship problem. Well, Jajangman was a teenager, so he was at that age. Half of his life should be about friends and the other half about girls.
I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. After all, I had to worry about killing someone or figuring out a way back home.
—Tell me. I’m 8 years older than you, so I have more life experience.
—Well, it’s nothing big… just that, um…
—It’s like… you don’t really want it, but you don’t want someone else to have it either.
Aha, I get it. This son of a bitch, he’s the popular type!
—So you’re the one on the receiving end?
—Kuhum, well, I can’t say I’m experienced with giving things out~
‘Why does he sound so much like a dick today?’ I smirked and replied back.
—But why so suddenly?
—No reason, just that it’s been on my mind recently.
—On your mind?
—Yes ㅋㅋ;; A little bit.
—Really? Well, you’ve gotta have a reason, right?
This was getting interesting.
—Yes, so um… that person sang in a talent show we had today. I think the song was aimed at me.
A girl appealing to a guy with a song? She must be quite the assertive one. Or maybe Jajangman was just really handsome.
—Then can’t you just accept her feelings?
—No, I don’t think that’s right.
—Why not? What if someone steals her away? You might regret it later.
This was coming from experience. As a 26 year old, I had relationship experience, and I knew girls who had crushes on me.
At the time, I rejected them because I wasn’t interested, but when I saw them going out with other guys later, I always felt a bit sour.
I even remembered thinking, ‘that girl used to like me—’, like a loser.
—Wow, you’re saying the same thing as my friend. ㅋㅋ But I don’t really think I’ll regret it.
—Of course you don’t feel that way right now, but you will later. Plus, didn’t you say that she was on your mind?
—Just a little bit. No, a tiny bit.
Just a little bit. No, a tiny bit.
From this message, I could feel that he was a proudful person who didn’t like losing. It seemed he really was too young. You had to lose every once in a while to not regret it later on.
—But doesn’t the fact that you’re staying up late because of her contradict what you’re saying?
—Yes? Uh… no… right?
—Trust me. I’ve been through the same thing. From today, you’ll suddenly only see her good points. Once she gets a boyfriend, it’ll be too late.
After sending that message, I waited for his reply.
1 minute, 3 minutes, 5 minutes…
No matter how long I waited, there was no reply.
“Did he fall asleep?”
'Damn, I was wondering what he planned to do.'
I opened up the in-console clock. It was already 3:40. It was time for me to sleep. I hurriedly took off the helmet and fell on my bed.