Chapter 98. Past


“…Wow.”

Milano, Italy.
Inside Colaion family’s Leolen Mansion, Vanessa and Paolo were watching the CCTV footage of Friday’s assassination incident.

“Perfection as expected.”

Jeronimo’s workmanship was flawless. Siemens was instantly killed, and the assassin disappeared as though he never existed. He had escaped from Torino, which was deep inside Colaion family’s sphere of influence, without leaving behind a trace.

“But what killed him?”

Paolo asked. Vanessa rested her chin on her hand and replayed the tape. However, the CCTV’s low quality footage couldn’t capture exactly what happened.

“I’m not sure.”

“I… think it was a bullet.”

“No way.”

Guns were indispensable weapons even in the current era.
Although they were called well-assembled toys compared to artifacts, in terms of market size, the firearm market was the same as the artifact market.
This was because cold weapon artifacts were mostly traded between two guilds, two individuals, or between a guild and an individual. Alternatively, they were traded in auction houses or special markets like the Violet Banquet.

On the other hand, guns were usable by even ordinary civilians, and high-class masterpiece guns were even capable of killing low-intermediate rank monsters.
In other words, the firearm trade was much more active and frequent than artifact trade.

“There shouldn’t be anyone in Jeronimo Mercenary who uses a gun.”

But that was the extent of guns. A tool for self-defense used by ordinary people against weak monsters.
There was no reason for the powerful to use guns.

“But it looks like a bullet no matter how I look at it….”

“How would a magic bullet pierce through the barrier? Anyways…”

Vanessa’s expression stiffened intimidatingly.

“You better keep quiet about the whole thing. Don’t open your mouth no matter what happens. We know nothing of what happened, got it?”

This matter was a secret they had to carry to their graves.
Godfather Colaion cared the most about the safety of his family. He would surely be enraged by Siemens’ death. No matter how much of a fool Siemens was, it was Godfather Colaion’s unbreakable creed that the punishment of a family member be carried out openly.

“…Of course, I know.”

Paolo nodded as if to ask why she would mention such an obvious thing.

“….”

However, Vanessa was worried. In movies, it was always someone like him who slipped up….
Unable to trust her own brother’s words, Vanessa even took out a ‘magic contract’.

**


[Sunshine Haven]

The retirement center that Fernin Jesus stayed in was located in the outskirts of Seoul. However, its name and appearance made it seem more like a comfy resting place than a retirement center.
I carefully walked up to the entrance and knocked on the door.

Soon, the door opened, and a middle-aged woman, who was likely a caregiver, appeared. She looked at me and smiled. Just when I was about to smile back and introduce myself, she spoke.

“Wow, it’s been a while, Hajin!”

“…Yes?”

Caught off guard, my head stiffened. A short silence descended as I felt like a hammer hit the back of the head. However, I quickly regained my composure.
Kim Hajin, or rather, Kim Chundong.
Chundong wasn’t a rock, but a person. It was entirely possible that he moved around and did things on his own accord.
Thinking about it now, this place was only 10 minutes away from Chundong’s original house.

“Ah… yes, nice to meet you. It’s been a while.”

That’s what I said.
Thankfully, it must not have been too out of character, as the caregiver reacted normally.

“You must be busy with Hero training lately. What brings you here? Ah, come in.”

The caregiver invited me inside, and I followed her in.

“….”

I took a full look around. The place was bigger than it seemed from the outside. In the living room were six people talking to each other as they played Go and Shogi. Then, they noticed me and laughed heartily.

“It’s been almost a year! How has it been?”

At that moment, the caregiver asked.

“Ah, you see….”

I hesitated to speak. I didn’t know how to bring up this topic.

“Yeah?”

“…Um, it’s about Agus ajusshi.”

“Agus… Oh, that South-American man?”

I nodded.
It seemed Chundong had some sort of a relationship with Agus Benjamin. I wasn’t too surprised since Chundong’s past was completely in the hands of the co-author. He must have done something to make things difficult once again. But as far as I was concerned, this situation wasn’t too bad. The co-author probably didn’t expect me to arrive here so soon.

“Yes, I was wondering if there was anything he left behind.”

“Let me think… I don’t think he specifically asked us to take care of it, but there was something.”

“A letter?”

“Huh? Oh, yes, a letter. How did you know?”

My eyes opened wide.
A letter.
Thankfully, it seemed the plot device I put in was left unchanged.

“Where is that letter?”

“It’s in the memorial along with his ashes. Why?”

“Ah, well….”

I needed to think about how to answer this question. I knew nothing about Chundong’s personality, but from the caregiver’s soft gaze and the smiles of other retirees… I could surmise that he was amiable.

“He and I had a promise.”

“Oh, did you? Right, you did like introducing yourself to retirees and listening to their stories… I think his ashes are kept inside Seoho Memorial.”

“Ah, thank you.”

I bowed.
After exchanging a few words of pleasantries, I left to the memorial the caregiver told me about.

[Seoho Memorial]

“…Hm.”

It was also my first time coming to a memorial. Like going to foreign countries, I was experiencing many new things in this world.
I scratched my neck and walked inside.
There were thousands of urns stored inside the memorial, but my Thousand-Mile Eyes could quickly locate the name I was looking for.
Agus Benjamin, written in Korean.
His urn was placed inside a drawer along with a letter.

“Letter….”

Just like the caregiver said, there was an old letter placed next to his urn.
I walked up to the drawer. However, I withdrew my hand before I opened it.
I already knew what was inside the letter. It shouldn’t be me, but his daughter who opens it.

…But what if the content was different?
Because of this worry, I opened the drawer and took out the letter. It was written in squiggly letters that I couldn’t read. After translating it with my smartwatch, I saw that it was the same as what I created in my setting.

Feeling relieved, I placed the letter back and turned around.
Then, I entered Violet Banquet.
In this situation, the Truth Agency could only tell its client one thing.

[We have located Fernin Jesus.]
[The price for the information will be 300 million won.]
[If you’d like to hear the answer, please complete the payment.]

**


Same time, Cube’s penthouse.
While Kim Hajin was reading Agus Benjamin’s letter at the memorial, Yoo Yeonha received a report from Team 3 of the Falling Blossom.

“…Volunteer work?”

Team 3 reverse-traced Kim Hajin’s past, and Yoo Yeonha managed to discover a new piece of information.

—Yes, from when he was 11 to when he entered Cube, he seemed to have volunteered often in orphanages, retirement centers, and nursing homes.

“Volunteer work….”

Yoo Yeonha pondered.
Being born an orphan, but realizing his talent and entering Agent Military Academy.
It was a beautiful rags-to-riches story.

If it was her, she would have thrown her shabby and ragged past into the trash.
However, Kim Hajin didn’t forget his past. In fact, he continued his volunteer work in order to not forget.
Yoo Yeonha remembered seeing someone like him. Of course, not in real life, but in a movie.

“…Hm.”

She finally understood a few things. Kim Hajin was a cadet, but he often liked to leave Cube. Because of this, bad rumors about him had spread, but the truth couldn’t have been more dazzling.

“…Amazing.”

Yoo Yeonha exclaimed in awe.
Not forgetting his past and trying to find it.
Not viewing his strength as a mean of gaining fame, but using it only when necessary.
His way of life, which was faithful to his beliefs and principles, was something Yoo Yeonha couldn’t help but admire, even if it differed from her own values.

“Rather than that, isn’t there anything more? Like about his birth.”

—We’re looking into it as much as we can, but we’re at a complete standstill. There is no other trace of his past left.

“Dig deeper.”

Although she was somewhat unhappy, she let it go.

“And next?”

—An incident broke out in Torino at the Colaion family’s mansion.

“Colaion?”

Yoo Yeonha raised her eyebrows.
Yoo Yeonha was planning on forming a partnership with the Colaion family.
Her goal was to smuggle artifacts.
The Italian Mafia had many ‘black artifacts’, which were artifacts that haven’t been reported to the central government. This was because artifacts dug up by the Mafia were prohibited from being exported, so that Italy’s government and numerous guilds could buy them for a cheap price.
What Yoo Yeonha wanted were such artifacts.

“What incident?”

—One of their executives was assassinated. But because they think the assassin came from Korea, they are asking us to search for the assassin.

“…Search, you say.”

Yoo Yeonha pondered. Considering Team 3’s full force, finding a mere assassin wasn’t a difficult task.

“What do you think? Can you do it?”

—It’s not impossible.

“Oh? And why is that?”

—We just hired a rather useful recruit.

Yoo Yeonha frowned. Because of her deeply suspicious personality, she didn’t trust people who she didn’t handpick.

“…Is that so?”

—Yes, I will send you his profile now.

Then, Yoo Yeonha opened the profile with an unsatisfactory look.

===
[Kim Hosup]
—17 years old, 168 cm, 78kg
—Agent Military Academy graduate
—Gift: [Superhigh Speed Network]
□Connects his brain with a computer, showing incredible ability in information searching and tracking.
□Search speed increases with higher computer specs and internet speed.
===

**


Late night, Tuesday. I left my room and came outside Dorm 1.

“Ah! Kim Hajin! Over here~!”

The person who called me outside shouted as she waved her hand.
When I stopped near her, Chae Nayun ran up to me, smiling.

“Ah, is this it? The study guide?”

“Yeah, so stop texting me.”

I gave her a study guide she had been pestering me about. I wasn’t the one who wrote it, as I just copied what I found by hacking Yoo Yeonha’s personal database. Yoo Yeonha had a habit of saving everything she wrote.

“Ah~ Thank you so much. I’ll pay you back for this favor for sure.”

“You don’t need to. Just study harder.”

I stared fixedly at Chae Nayun. Lately, Chae Nayun has been looking more and more pitiful. I just felt like helping her. I didn’t even know what was right anymore.

In the past, I wasn’t able to look straight at her face when I thought about the ‘day’ that would inevitably come. But now… I just had to not be found out. Just like how I assassinated that Mafioso, I just had to kill him and escape unnoticed.
But because of this thought, I kept…

“Okay! But again, thank you sooo much! I’ll go study immediately!”

Chae Nayun smacked my arm, then ran off to her dorm, hugging the notebook I gave her.

“…That hurt.”

I rubbed my arm as I watched her leave.
Why did she always hit me so hard?

*


Because Cube was so empty during the written exam week, time seemed to fly by. Before I noticed, Friday came around.

“Hey~”

1:30 P.M. after the end of the final written exam.
Chae Nayun appeared in front of me with a bright face.
She was practically living in the library for the past couple days. It seemed everything went well.

“Thanks, I survived because of you.”

“…Really?”

“Yeah, I must have gotten at least five problems I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. That’s a big difference, right?”

“I guess so.”

Next week was the combat exam week. Naturally, I was a bit nervous. My goal was to bring my ranking up to about 200.
But what was more important was what came afterwards.
The ‘incident’ that would happen after the combat exam.

“Oh right, do you want to go there after the combat exam? It’ll be on me.”

“…Where?”

“Han Jung Gak. It’s a really famous Korean restaurant in Ganghwa Island. You’ve heard of it, right? It’s just as famous as the restaurant you took me to in Paris. Kim Suho and you…”

Han Jung Gak. It was the highest class restaurant I had in my setting. I was curious what the food there tasted like. It would undoubtedly be the pinnacle of Korean food.
However…

“I’m not going.”

“What, why?”

“I don’t have the time. You can go with Kim Suho.”

“…What, are you jealous?”

Jealous? That was a word I couldn’t just gloss over. Naturally, I frowned.
I glared at Chae Nayun and snapped back.

“Are you crazy?”

“Uh, fine, if you don’t want to come, don’t. I just wanted to pay you back for treating me in Paris….”

“I’m not going.”

After cutting her off resolutely, I headed back inside.

“Ah, wait! Just the two of us can’t go even if I wanted to! My dad will get mad if he finds out~!”

Chae Nayun kept talking nonsense until the end.

**


The weekend flew by and Monday came around.
The combat exam week had begun.

The first combat exam was a team challenge.
It had similar rules to the first semester’s duels, but was done between two teams.

“Team Rachel will be on offense, Team Yohei will be on defense!”

Team Rachel was in the first battle of the day.
Our opponent was Team Yohei
[1]. Team Yohei’s leader was Miyamoto Yohei, a top-class warrior from Cultivation class. Apparently, Yohei’s ancestor was that famous Miyamoto Musashi.
For the record, this wasn’t a part of my setting.

“Ready!”

There were many spectators watching the battle. Of course, it was practically empty compared to the previous midterm exam, but many cadets still came by to watch. It was to be expected as Rachel’s team and Yohei’s team were participating.

“Get into formation.”

Rachel spoke. We got into a formation we prepared for beforehand. The two warriors, Rachel and Jin Hoseung, stood in the front, and the supporter, Yi Bokgyu, stood in a protective position between me and Tomer.

I raised my cadet handgun and spoke to Yi Bokgyu.

“You don’t need to protect me. Focus on protecting Jamer.”

“What? Why?”

“I’m gonna go take their magician’s head.”

It was about time for me to display my strength.
And just as always, my strength operated by the principle of Strong Against Weak, Weak Against Strong.
Now that I had Curve Shot, a magician hiding in the backline was nothing but a prey.

“Wait, shouldn’t you…”

While Yi Bokgyu was worrying, the judge shouted loudly.

“DUEL, BEGIN!”


1. Yohei was mentioned once in Chapter 42 as the rank 8 cadet.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter