Ordinary people might not have seen what happened due to being blindsided by the angle.
The vines filling up the sky were overwhelmingly big, and Kim Hajin’s arrow was like a needle in comparison.
However, every cadet could see what happened. Kim Hajin’s arrow had clearly curved.
In a way, it was a common sight. If it was a magic arrow, that is.
However, magic power wasn’t involved in Kim Hajin’s archery.
As such, they could hardly believe his arrow’s flight path even after seeing it with their own eyes. Rather than an arrow, it was more like a well-trained raptor, cutting through the tiny gap between the vines and chomping down on its prey.
At that moment, Chae Nayun felt a catharsis and squeezed the popcorn bag in her hand. Popcorn shot out of the crumpled bag and fell on the front seat like hail.
“Ah, fuck, what is it!?”
“Fucking hell, who did… Oh, it’s Nayun.”
“Ah, sorry. You guys can eat that.”
“…Huh? Oh… Uh, sure.”
The cadets sitting in front of her began to munch on popcorn. Chae Nayun watched them for a moment, then turned towards Yoo Yeonha.
“Hey, Yoo Yeonha, you saw that, right?”
Hearing Chae Nayun’s awestruck voice, Yoo Yeonha grinned.
“Looks like he didn’t want to go easy this time.”
“…Huh? What are you talking about?”
Yoo Yeonha’s eyes were fixed on the archery range as she muttered. Chae Nayun turned her gaze to the archery range following Yoo Yeonha.
Ah. Kim Hajin threw his bow away just now. He seemed somewhat angry.
“The favoritism was too harsh. It looks like he’s quite mad.”
“Yeah… surprisingly, he has quite a temper…. Oh yeah, it was too obvious starting from the half-way mark. Is the magician discriminating against Kim Hajin because of his looks!?”
Yoo Yeonha barely held back the laughter that rose up from her heart. She didn’t think Kim Hajin was that ugly, but it was true that he was uglier than Moren.
“It’s not because of his looks. Grand Duchess Ah Hae-In must have intervened. Moren is her nephew.”
Ah Hae-In was the greatest expert of summoning magic, a Master rank magician who was bestowed the title ‘One Man Army’ by the Magic Tower Association. She could apparently summon and control seven high rank monsters. As most high rank monsters had intelligence, it was difficult to even estimate how amazing she was.
“Didn’t Grand Duchess Ah Hae-In become a naturalized Korean citizen a long time ago? How can she have relatives?”
“Moren is her old relative. Her older sister still has French citizenship. Moren is her older sister’s son.”
Grand Duchess Ah Hae-In was a celebrity who proudly claimed an S-rank grade on Yoo Yeonha’s talent book. Naturally, Yoo Yeonha knew all about Ah Hae-In’s family background.
“…How do you know all this?”
That was what Chae Nayun wanted to know. As far as she was aware, there was nothing Yoo Yeonha didn’t know when it came to people.
“You should take some time to study too.”
“I’m too lazy.”
Chae Nayun retorted briefly, then stared at Kim Hajin. The judge asked Kim Hajin if he wanted to participate in the 375-meter range, but Kim Hajin shook his head. Then, he turned towards the crowd.
At that moment, their eyes met.
Kim Hajin looked at Chae Nayun. Although he quickly averted his gaze, Chae Nayun still received an odd feeling.
She carefully placed her hand over her heart. It was beating a bit differently than usual. Chae Nayun couldn’t help but remember what her teacher told her.
That she would begin to only see his good points…
“No way, I’m not crazy….”
Chae Nayun laughed it off.
Then, the host of the competition shouted loudly.
—Veritas class’ Kim Hajin succeeds at the 350-meter mark, achieving the first place record!
Clap, clap, clap— The competition ended with the applauses from the crowd.
But when Chae Nayun was about to go back, she saw Kim Suho heading to the waiting room.
Chae Nayun asked Yoo Yeonha.
“Hey Yeonha, wanna go to the waiting room?”
Yoo Yeonha stretched and got up.
“I’m busy. I have to go work.”
She had many things to do today. The analysis of the ginseng Kim Hajin invested would arrive in the afternoon, and there was also a meeting planned for Falling Blossom.
In this meeting, she hoped to gain even a hint on Kim Hajin’s past. That way, she would be able to repay her gratitude at least somewhat.
“How do you have so much work as a cadet?”
“I know right~?”
After replying quietly, she began to head back to her dorm.
Waiting room, dorm, waiting room, dorm.
Chae Nayun hesitated between the two, and in the end, she sighed and began walking back to her dorm.
The archery competition was now over. Currently, the 5-star magician was at a loss for words.
Even with an incredible level of favoritism shown towards Baire Moren, it was Kim Hajin who came out victorious.
In that case, how was he supposed to react?
Even he wasn’t so audacious as to say, ‘I’ll punish that cadet for beating Grand Duchess’ nephew—!’
But contrary to his expectations, Ah Hae-In was full of smiles.
“Why are you so scared? It’s only natural that my nephew would lose against someone like him.”
Only then did the 5-star magician’s throat clear.
“Ha, haha… is, is that so?”
“Of course. Anyways, I’m jealous. That’s what a Specialized Gift is?”
When she was young, becoming a Hero was her dream. However, no matter how much effort she put in, her body wouldn’t develop. Her body and Gift were only specialized for magic, leaving her with no choice but to become a magician.
“Tell my nephew I want to see him. I want to take him out for lunch to console him.”
Ah Hae-In got up from her seat. The 5-star magician bowed as he glanced up at her.
She barely passed 164cm thanks to the kill heels hidden under her cape, but her real height was only 151cm (there was a rumor that she was even shorter, and that her official height was the result of her tiptoeing during her physical measurements). Furthermore, her small face lacked even a single wrinkle, and her eyes were sparkly like a child’s.
The 5-star magician secretly had doubts.
What sane person would believe Ah Hae-In to be 30 years old? What sane person would connect her appearance to her title, One Man Army, without hesitation?
Weren’t most Caucasians tall? Why was the Grand Duchess so short? Even the 5-star magician’s fourth grade son seemed taller than her.
…It was then.
Ah Hae-In suddenly turned around. She stabbed at the magician’s heart with sharp eyes that she never showed before.
“What did you just think?”
“Y-Yes? Ah, n-nothing. I just thought the golden stars on your cape were beautiful….”
Ah Hae-In lightly clicked her tongue. The magician felt a mysterious chill. Even in reality, the magic power Ah Hae-In released from her body cooled the internal temperature.
“Don’t stare at me when I’m standing. I don’t like it.”
After giving the magician a sharp admonishment, Ah Hae-In left the observatory.
The magician stood in a daze for a while.
The only thing he knew was that the points he won by flattering her all day, even going so far as to mess with the final match, had returned to zero.
Sunday, 3 A.M.
At this late time when children should have gone to bed long ago, Rachel opened her eyes in her wide bed.
Her eyes hurt, perhaps because she shut her eyes too tightly trying to fall asleep.
She sighed and raised her body.
The penthouse room’s wide space entered her sight. Her room was huge, but empty. She had no talents for decorating, so she left the room the way it was when she received it. The only things inside were the standard furniture, a couch, a bed, and a TV.
The size of the room perhaps had something to do with how empty it felt.
Lately, she was being wrought with insomnia. Of course, insomnia was a chronic disease she was suffering with ever since ‘that incident’, but lately, it became too severe.
Every time she laid down to sleep, anxiousness and apprehension coiled around her, and embarrassing moments from recent days rose up in her mind.
Especially the Mock Artifact Scramble.
That was a class full of hurt. Even if Kim Suho was her opponent, she never expected to lose so helplessly.
Furthermore, although her fight with Chae Nayun didn’t come to a conclusion, she thought of it as her loss. After all, Chae Nayun had only switched to a sword a few months ago.
If Kim Hajin wasn’t there, Rachel’s rising star title might have crumbled.
She stopped thinking there.
Rachel turned on her smartwatch. She only had 37 numbers on her contacts. She had lived most of her life without friends. Still, she entered the one group chat she was in. There were 153 unread messages.
[Kim Hajin you little bastard, you were amazing today. How did you make that arrow curve? ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ]
[I know right? The singing competition and now archery. Hajin hard-carried the two events he participated in.]
[Oh right, Jamer, are you here??]
[Why aren’t you talking?]
[I’m sick. Don’t talk to me.]
[Oh look, there’s an official video of Hajin’s performance ㅋㅋㅋ There are already 10000 likes ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ]
The talkative Jin Hoseung added a link to the group chat.
‘What is it?’
Suddenly growing curious, Rachel wriggled her hand up and pressed the link.
In an instant, a hologram video popped up over a social media page.
The title was as follows.
[The rising star Cube cadet’s live performance – ‘If’]
‘It’s the song Kim Hajin sang before.’ Rachel moved her finger to stop the video, then paused.
Although she found the lyrics to be slightly overbearing, the song itself was good enough to warrant listening to it multiple times.
Rachel let out a dry cough and hit the resume button while pretending she did so by mistake.
After a calm piano melody…
Kim Hajin’s sweet voice rang out.
The music resounded in her huge room, filling up the empty space.
Rachel went under the blanket and closed her eyes.
Listening to music calmed her down.
‘…But he sounded much better live. His voice was clearer. Should I go buy a Bluetooth radio tomorrow? Bluetooth… blue tooth… that reminds me of Rome… et tu, Brute….’
Rachel’s random thoughts cut off, and she fell asleep.
Sunday. With a final Dungeon speedrun event, the Class Competitions came to an end.
The first place naturally belonged to Veritas class, where all the top ranking cadets were gathered, but that didn’t mean they won overwhelmingly.
Because other classes scored the majority of points in non-combat-oriented events like gaming, drawing, dancing, and cooking, the difference between the first and second place was only about 30 points.
In any case, Veritas class still won, and they held a big celebratory afterparty, sponsored by Shin Jonghak.
Of course, I didn’t participate and was spending time with Evandel at home.
Evandel was munching on a chicken wing next to me as I examined a document.
==Apprentice Mercenary Mission==
[Reward: 300,000,000 Korean won or an item of a equivalent value]
[Goal: Assassinate Siemens, the advisor of the chief of Colaion Mafia’s Southern Torino Branch.
[Siemens is a notorious mafioso known for committing murder, rape, blackmail, and human trafficking. Some even say he is a Djinn.]
This was the document sent by Jeronimo Mercenary.
It was quite the coincidence. The Colaion Family happened to be a Mafia family that happened to play a role in the middle parts of the main story.
“An apprentice mercenary is supposed to do this?”
Looking at the document, I felt a tinge of regret.
I accepted their offer, telling myself that I would write out my own story, but wasn’t the difficulty too high?
The Mafia in this world were dozens of times trickier to deal with than the real world’s. Especially in Italy, the Mafia became much tighter after Outcall, and their unity rivaled that of a country’s because of monsters lessening government crackdown.
The advisor of a Mafia branch chief… he had to be at least as strong as a low rank grade 1 Hero.
But if he was a Djinn, I would feel less guilty killing him.
Furthermore, ‘assassination’ was likely my specialty. Using the Desert Eagle’s sniper mode, I could attack from at most 2km away. Though, I would have to fire within 1km since my attack power would plummet otherwise.
In any case, I had no plans to immediately accept this mission.
The world outside of Cube was the wild. Even if I fully prepared myself to go out, I couldn’t I say I really was.
For now, I planned on creating this so-called Physique.Previous Chapter Next Chapter