Chapter 27 — A United Front (2)
As the swords collided, sparks flew in different directions. The two who were sparring were trying to find each other’s blind spots in the hopes of winning.
But one side was leading the spar. The moment their blades first met, the winner had been decided.
There was a huge difference in ability between the two.
Of course, both had known this fact already. They were simply doing their best in this spar.
“As expected. Cadet Ahn HoYeon is in the lead. Even though his opponent is two years older and a graduate of Millaes Academy, there is such a gap. He really deserves to be called Wonder Kid.”
“Exactly. Jeong HoCheol didn’t do too badly in the spar either, but… one really can’t win against someone blessed with talent.”
“Well, he’s the first cadet predicted to be an S-ranker in quite a while.”
The data analysts gathered at the sparring grounds shared their opinions for a moment.
Although it was a spar between Ahn HoYeon, who was still a prospective cadet at Millaes Academy, and Jeong HoCheol, who was about to graduate, people were unexpectedly gathered here with much interest.
The reason was simple.
One of the people in the spar, Ahn HoYeon, was quite famous. There was no one as famous in the media.
A Combat genius, expected to be another S-rank raider in Korea.
According to the figures released to the media, he’d recorded a 92 in the Warrior aptitude test as a middle schooler, breaking Korea’s own record.
Adding to that his height and handsome appearance, there was no need to talk about his commercial value.
Clang! Clack! Clack!
The two continued to spar. With a trembling hand holding onto his sword, Jeong HoCheol whispered in a low voice so others couldn’t hear him.
“Hey. Can’t you stop with this much and let me win? If I lose here, what would happen to my reputation as a senior?”
“Will you also make such excuses as you fight with monsters? If you have time to say such things, you should practice more. Don’t think about taking it easy.”
Ahn HoYeon put more force into the hand holding his sword and pushed Jeong HoCheol back with it.
It was a rough and honest reply that implied he had no plans to take it easy on his senior.
Parrying the blow with his sword, Ahn HoYeon quickly put his blade against the staggering Jeong HoCheol’s neck.
At a speed that was hard to believe came from a student with no formal training, it was a powerful attack that would be difficult without outstanding Strength and Dexterity stats.
Jeong HoCheol couldn’t do anything even as he stared at the sword flying toward him. He could only stare at Ahn HoYeon with resentment.
Cold sweat flowed down Jeong HoCheol’s back.
‘Damn. This is way too fast…!’
Jeong HoCheol gave up on counterattacking and stood in his spot devastated, due to the horizontal slashes executed at a dizzying speed.
Ahn HoYeon was a monster. He was someone with overwhelming talent.
On the other hand, Jeong HoCheol was born with merely a bit of talent.
The sword shot through the air like an arrow, seemingly bending, and quickly came to a stop right at Jeong HoCheol’s neck.
Just before stabbing into his neck, a system alert rang to announce the end of the spar.
一 The battle has ended.
一 The winner is Cadet An HoYeon.
The evaluator and data analysts showed pleased expressions.
Ahn HoYeon, however, didn’t show a sliver of happiness or joy. He took off the safety gear he was wearing and hung it carelessly. Then he walked toward a man who had been waiting for him.
The man spoke first.
“You did well.”
“Thank you, father.”
Ahn HoYeon replied in an emotionless voice.
His father, Ahn Seok-Gu, was no different.
Although they were father and son, they didn’t have a very close relationship, and it showed. Especially in conversations like these.
Ahn Seok-Gu scanned the spar’s system-analysis sheet he’d just gotten and spoke.
“Don’t get excited. This was an obvious win.”
Ahn HoYeon frowned slightly but didn’t reply further.
He removed the electrodes that were stuck to his body. It was a kind of device that recorded bio-signals and was something that could record the movement patterns of a raider.
In other words, it could be seen as an auxiliary method of detecting a cadet’s weakness and habits to help them fight more accurately.
Ahn Seok-Gu crossed his arms and stared at Ahn HoYeon with a dark expression.
“To become an S-rank raider, you must win against such opponents easily. You were born with one-of-a-kind talent. You have to work hard to raise our family to a higher status. You understand what I mean, right?”
“I’m going to go take a shower first. Let’s talk later.”
Bowing his head, Ahn HoYeon left the sparring ground and stood in front of the shower room.
The water from the shower head dampened his bright hair. An HoYeon let out a small sigh as he glanced at his messed-up hair.
‘When did things start to become like this?’
But he didn’t have the time to think about it too deeply. He had planned to go to the raider department store with his dad soon to buy some things.
He quickly showered and changed his clothes.
His father’s words were unpleasant, as always.
[Equipment Item — Weapon]
Rating: B (Growth-type)
The mistletoe branch that ended the life of Odin’s son, Baldur.
Grows alongside its user and contains an immeasurable amount of magic.
Physical & Magic Attack +150 Acquire the Passive Skill 《Mana Perception》.
*Level required to equip: 30
Name: Mana Perception
Raises the user’s ability to detect mana to the highest possible extent.
Allows one to see mana threads and greatly increases the user’s sensitivity to mana.
As he read the description for the item and skill, JaeHyun held his chin for a moment.
‘Is this the 《 Mistilteinn 》 from Norse mythology?’
JaeHyun thought for a moment. The Mistilteinn that appeared in Norse mythology was something created from a branch of mistletoe that ended the life of Baldur, Odin’s son.
Ending the life of the god loved by all, it was an item that could be said to be cursed.
To think that this item would be obtained by JaeHyun, who was chosen to be the adversary of the Aesir.
‘Is this another trick by the Nornir System?’
He didn’t believe he found 《 Mistilteinn 》 by chance.
The fact that the item had resonated with 《 Odin’s Lost Eye 》 and was acquired by him, the adversary of the Aesir, heavily implied a connection.
It was the weapon that led to the cause of the battle between the Aesir and their enemies — Ragnarok.
This meant that JaeHyun getting 《 Mistilteinn 》 now had a deep connection with the gods.
The enemies of the Aesir, Mimir and the Nornir System, probably wanted JaeHyun to go against the Aesir with this item.
He wasn’t sure, but if he followed the myth, there was a possibility that was what they wanted.
Apart from that, the item was so excellent that it was almost too good to be true, possessing a passive skill that increases mana sensitivity and allows him to see mana threads.
Even looking at the item objectively, there was nothing that would make him want to throw it away.
“Do you still wish to purchase the item?”
The salesperson asked nervously. Spending so much time on one person meant that she couldn’t take care of other customers, when she didn’t even think that JaeHyun would spend so much money on such a suspicious item.
At this raider department store, spending a lot of time with someone who seemingly wouldn’t buy anything was not ideal.
But looking at her expression, JaeHyun quickly nodded his head and said,
“I’ll buy it. With a check card. The balance should be enough.”
“Yes, of course you won’t. Then… Wait, what?! You want to buy this item?”
The eyes of the salesperson who had been answering absentmindedly widened. and her expression changed to one of shock.
Of course, 50 million won was a small amount that couldn’t even buy an item above C-rank.
But even so there shouldn’t be any reason to make a gamble worth 50 million won… Is this the hobby of a rich family’s young master?
‘No matter how I look at him, he doesn’t seem to be a 3rd-generation of a Chaebol family…’
The impression JaeHyun gave off was quite normal. But to burn 50 million won on such a gamble?
However, she didn’t show any of her thoughts on the outside.
She was a salesperson, and if there was a customer who wanted to buy an item, that was it. There was no reason she had to take responsibility for what would happen afterwards.
“I understand. I’ll go wrap up the item, then. Please wait a moment.”
Bowing towards JaeHyun, the salesperson moved to the back with the item.
JaeHyun hummed in delight as he watched her leave.
He had gotten a great item unexpectedly.
‘《 Mistilteinn 》 is a growth-type item that evolves along with its owner. It’s not something that’s easy to obtain. Plus, it’s an item the Nornir System and 《 Odin’s Lost Eye 》 led me to. There shouldn’t be a loss.’
Although 50 million won was a large amount to him at the moment, this would be worth it in the future.
After entering Millaes Academy, JaeHyun would grow much quicker.
Plenty of formidable enemies incomparably stronger than the Night Shade had been prepared as goddamn events at the academy. One wouldn’t have to worry about money if they could get a decent grade from those events.
In addition, he’d been worrying about not having a weapon. There was no reason for him not to buy an item that would increase both his physical and magic attack power.
‘The only problem now is what type of weapon this will be.’
There was a big chance that《 Mistilteinn 》was a gift from the Nornir System.
Would that make this a Magic-type weapon?
Fortunately, perhaps since it was an item given by the system, it could be equipped without a lot of requirements. There was only a Level requirement.
However, there was a limit to what he could see with the 《 Detection 》skill. For example, he couldn’t see what it looked like/ merely read about what kind of skill and effects it had.
So JaeHyun had no idea what kind of weapon it actually was.
It could be a sword, bow or staff. Or something totally different.
‘Well, there’s probably no reason for me to think too much about it.’
It probably wouldn’t take JaeHyun a long time to reach Level 30, but since there was still some time before then, he concluded that he didn’t have to worry about it just yet.
“Here’s your item, sir.”
The salesperson, who had finished wrapping and ringing up the item, handed JaeHyun a paper bag. Since the item wasn’t that big, she seemed to have wrapped it up swiftly.
“Now that I’ve bought everything I wanted… I should head home.”
Leaving the shop, JaeHyun planned to start heading home. Most of the things he had bought were to be delivered to his home, so the only thing he was carrying was 《 Mistilteinn 》.
‘I got everything I came here for. I should go back and check to see if I missed anything.’
Just as JaeHyun was about to head home while thinking so—
An ear-piercing scream caused JaeHyun’s heart to skip a beat.
“M-Monsters… Goblins have appeared!”
The continuous screams started to spread in the department store and nearby alleys.
JaeHyun narrowed his eyes.
‘…What’s happening? Are there monsters?’
JaeHyun calmly took in the people’s reactions as he quickly scanned his surroundings. He could see frightened people running into the building.
‘It seems like something’s happened outside… I should go check it out.’
He quickly poured a bit of mana into his legs and jumped over the crowd pushing into the building.
JaeHyun focused on his hearing as he looked for the source of the screams.
The area where the screams came from was the alley connected to the department store’s rear entrance.
JaeHyun swiftly headed outside.
He soon arrived at the alley, and what came into his sight was dozens of goblins attacking innocent bystanders.
JaeHyun bit his lip.
‘I can’t take care of so many enemies by myself. If I use force, I might be able to take care of most of them, but a few will surely be able to escape.’
He started to analyze the situation as he gathered his mana.
‘If even a single one escapes, there will be civilian casualties. What should I do?’
Even if he wanted to use the terrain against the goblins, this place was too open.
Although it was an alley, it was directly connected to the downtown area.
Realistically, in these days where manpower was sorely lacking, it would take at least two hours for the raiders sent by the government to arrive.
And if the dungeon break was left as is, the corpses that would appear could fill a truck.
JaeHyun hurriedly studied his surroundings,
hoping to find someone who could support him.
A small exclamation left JaeHyun’s lips. A boy came into JaeHyun’s sight as he looked around.
A boy around the same age as him with a robust physique and handsome appearance.
“That guy is… Ahn HoYeon?”
He was a prospective cadet at Millaes Academy, same as JaeHyun, and was a genius born in Korea with great potential as a Warrior.
Instantly, numerous ideas started to run through JaeHyun’s mind. Soon after, he came up with the best strategy to solve the current situation.
A smile started to appear on JaeHyun’s face.
‘Ahn HoYeon right after Lee JaeSang… Things aren’t going too badly.’
He planned to make good use of Ahn HoYeon.
 Chaebol refers to families in Korea who own large businesses. They usually refer to the rich and privileged class.