Chapter 28 — A United Front (3)
Near the department store JaeHyun had been shopping at a moment ago,
Ahn Seok-Gu and Ahn HoYeon could be seen browsing through items.
“This and this one. And that one as well. Please wrap all of them up.”
“Do we need to buy that much?”
As Ahn Seok-Gu picked a lot of items, HoYeon asked with a worried expression. Their family was recently doing very well financially, so he felt worried since the money that was earned was all being spent on himself.
But Seok-Gu simply nodded with no regard to his worry.
“Everything will be of use to you. You mustn’t think it’s a waste. Besides, you will be earning double this money after a while. If you become an S-rank Raider, this much will be nothing.”
“Even so. You’re having a hard time because of me… Mother is also having difficulties.”
“That’s for me to worry about. Don’t let it bother you, just focus on training.”
That was what Ahn Seok-Gu had said, but he didn’t look concerned in the least. HoYeon sighed and bowed his head powerlessly.
‘Father regards me as a tool. A tool that would be thrown away if it doesn’t become an S-rank raider. Must I continue to live like this in the future?’
He knew that he shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts. But what could he do when his resolve kept weakening?
From the moment his father found out he had talent as a raider, he was forced to train.
At first, it was fine. He was a ray of light to a family that was dirt poor. His mother was elated when she found out that he had talent as a raider.
However, it wasn’t like that now.
He couldn’t remember why he wanted to become a raider anymore.
He was simply living a life of robotically training repeatedly. It had been a long time since he lost all his noble goals and values.
‘Nowadays, praise from others simply goes in one ear and comes out the other.’
How many more years did he have to keep training and crossing swords with others before this kind of life ended?
Ahn HoYeon probably wouldn’t be able to escape from this life until he took his last breath as a raider.
If so, what did it mean to be a raider?
Was it simply someone who hunted monsters and stole treasure from dungeons?
No. That was all wrong.
Raiders were people who helped others. It was a noble profession wherein they helped people in crises and saved lives.
But nowadays, people considered raiders to be idols who played with death.
Appearing on TV laughing and chattering. Not wanting to enter low-level dungeons that didn’t earn them a lot of money.
Were these people who were desperately running after money truly raiders?
‘I know. My current thoughts are too immature.’
Ahn HoYeon understood how things were. Nothing in this world moved without money.
That fact didn’t change even in the present world where monsters had appeared.
“Father… I’ll come back after resting for a moment. The training from yesterday seems to have tired me out a bit.”
“Ok. I’ll finish up quickly and go back. Wait somewhere close to the station.”
Ahn Seok-Gu nodded his head.
Although he had yelled at his son yesterday, the opponent was still a cadet about to graduate from Millaes Academy. Not being tired would be stranger.
Bowing his head as if to a stranger, HoYeon left.
Walking down the shabby roads by the shop and going inside a little bit, he could see a fountain.
‘We used to come here often before Mom got sick.’
Of course, the past he was reminiscing on was more than 10 years ago.
It was before his mother had to be hospitalized.
At the time, Ahn HoYeon was still young and reckless.
“I was really happy back then.”
Those words had come from the bottom of his heart. In the past, even though he didn’t receive this much attention from others, he was happy.
But what about now?
“Look over there. Isn’t that Ahn HoYeon?”
“Ah~ That ‘Combat genius’?”
“I didn’t think I’d see him at a place like this.”
Although he had adapted to the flashes of the camera, he was already like a monkey at a zoo. No, he felt he had become an existence even lower than that.
He was judged not as an object of envy but as one of utility.
‘I still have to spend 3 years at Millaes Academy. More arduous training is probably waiting for me there.
…Will I be able to do well with this kind of mindset?’
As he sighed while worrying—
“Help! Please… Anyone’s fine, please just save me!”
“It’s a monster! A monster’s appeared!”
Ahn HoYeon’s whole body trembled.
Demonic creatures. Does this mean that demonic creatures had appeared in the middle of the city?
‘A dungeon break?’
Dungeon breaks occurred when a dungeon was not cleared and the time limit expired.
Such an explanation might not indicate how serious it was, but a dungeon break tossed all the monsters in said dungeon out.
This neighborhood was a downtown area, a place filled with plenty of civilians.
‘It’ll take quite a while before the raiders from the government arrive. If left alone, the civilians on this street…… I have to go there right away.’
If his father were here, he would have surely tried to stop him, saying that it was a fight with no reward and that he wouldn’t be able to take part in the Millaes enrollment event coming up in a few days if he got injured here.
But Ahn HoYeon didn’t want to run from this fight.
He wanted acknowledgement.
He wanted reassurance.
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On why he was currently trying to become a Raider. On whether his determination from his childhood was still valid.
At an out-of-the-way alley connected to downtown, he encountered dozens of goblins surrounding the area.
With green skin and sharp canines, dozens of red eyes turned to Ahn HoYeon simultaneously.
HoYeon’s heart thumped in his chest.
‘Wh-What should I do?!’
At the same time, unexpected words fell from his lips in a shaky voice.
“M-My body… isn’t moving…”
He had wanted acknowledgement for his existence. So he came here even though he knew it was dangerous.
But now that he was actually here, his body wasn’t moving in this dangerous situation. What on earth was happening?
However, HoYeon already knew what it was.
His body couldn’t move due to fear.
Although he had sparred with several cadets from the academy, this was the first time he actually saw a monster. It would be stranger if he wasn’t scared.
But, of course, he couldn’t have expected things to this point. The situation was too sudden, and he had been filled with confidence that he could defeat the monsters.
Subconsciously, he thought he would have no difficulty in taking care of low-level monsters.
However, he had been completely wrong. His unmoving legs were proof of it.
Flinching, Ahn HoYeon trembled. A few of the goblins who met his gaze started to run towards him.
With legs that were scared stiff even without the recent development, HoYeon tried to move as his whole body was shaking.
‘Move! Please… move!’
He could see goblins waving the swords in their hands as they headed towards him.
HoYeon finally succeeded in moving, but it stopped at merely taking a few steps back. Simultaneously, a despondent cry fell from his lips.
At last, just as a goblin flashing teeth dyed red was about to strike—
A loud sound of collision was followed by the figure of a guy wavered into his line of sight.
Ahn HoYeon’s pupils dilated.
With a face as handsome as his own, the boy who saved him was about half a span shorter than him and seemed a lot weaker,
but he was fighting against the monsters by himself.
‘Is that 《 Lightning Chain 》?! What on earth is happening right now?’
Ahn HoYeon couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Normally, when a dungeon break like this occurred, Warrior-raiders were first assigned rather than Magician-raiders.
Magicians had trouble quickly defeating monsters since incanting in a rush was difficult, and if several didn’t gather together, their power would drastically decrease.
But what the hell was this guy in front of his eyes?
Although he was a Magician, he was incanting at a rapid pace and killing monsters left and right.
A guy who looked around his age was able to do such a thing.
‘Of course, just in terms of attack power, Magic is stronger than Combat. But incanting always holds Magicians back in a fast-paced situation like an actual fight. But for that guy… there’s almost no casting delay. Is this really possible?’
The chain flowing with lightning was floating around JaeHyun as it killed the monsters. With a loud bang, the goblins’ heads exploded one after another.
Cleaning up the monsters on the street took about a minute. JaeHyun walked toward Ahn HoYeon without letting his guard down.
“Tag. Okay, now that we’re done playing Freeze Tag, you should also help.”
“…And you are?”
“Now isn’t the time for that. You’re a Warrior, right? I need your help.”
At JaeHyun’s words, HoYeon thought for a moment. What kind of help could he give to such a powerful guy?
But the rest of his words were enough to make Ahn HoYeon move.
“It would be difficult for me to take care of all the goblins alone like this. I need the skill 《 Taunt 》.”
Quickly nodding his head, HoYeon stood behind JaeHyun and gathered his mana. No matter how strong JaeHyun was, it didn’t mean that he had eyes on the back of his head.
If a few goblins escaped from here, the streets would quickly run with blood.
The other guy had planned up to that point and came to him to ask him to use the 《 Taunt 》 skill.
That meant that there was no reason to hesitate.
The reason he came here was also to stop the death of innocent passers-by.
Ahn HoYeon nodded his head as he looked at JaeHyun.
“If I can be of help.”
一 Active skill 《Taunting Roar》 has been activated.
一 Monsters in a 50m radius are watching you.
一 30% of Magic & Physical attack damage has decreased.
The moment he activated the skill, a red light started to wrap around Ahn HoYeon’s body. JaeHyun smiled as he watched HoYeon activate his skill.
‘As expected of Ahn HoYeon. He really has great talent as a Warrior.’
An HoYeon had quickly gathered his mana and activated 《 Taunting Roar 》,
a skill that made him the focus of all monsters within a 50m radius of himself.
JaeHyun carefully observed the path of the approaching monsters.
“Remember. We can’t allow these things to go to the square.”
Contrary to his petrified expression a moment ago, Ahn HoYeon was now filled with confidence. Although he was still sweating and his legs were still shaking, his posture was quite alright.
That was probably what talent was.
JaeHyun suddenly realized how important luck was in life.
Those who didn’t have anything kept being poor, and those who were rich continued to increase their worth. This was the life humans experienced after the Yggdrasil rose and monsters appeared.
And he was someone who had the interest of a god at the highest peak of that luck.
“Let’s go, then!”
At JaeHyun’s words, Ahn HoYeon quickly took out a shield from his inventory and equipped it.
‘Yeah. This is what a raider is. What I have to do is save people.’
It was the moment a bright light shone from An HoYeon’s melancholic face.