Villain Hides His True Colors
[Translator – Yasi ]
[Proofreader – Karane ]
A head that had flown up high rolled across the floor.
Where people's eyes had immediately turned, blood was gushing out from the severed neck.
The interior that had been filled with screams instantly became silent.
There were expressions of disbelief as they watched the body of the monster spewing blood like a fountain.
"I-is he dead...?"
Someone who had come to their senses uttered.
Still holding my sword, I also watched the monster's movements in case there was a second phase.
His body that was standing upright swayed here and there. Soon after,
Eventually, the body fell to the floor and stopped moving completely.
At the same time, deafening cheers resounded all around.
"I-I'm alive, it's over!"
"Ah! We can go home now..."
"Heuk...Thank you! Thank you so much!"
People who chortled in happiness. People who felt a sense of relief washed over them. And even people who lowered their heads to me in tears.
Meanwhile, I shook the blood off my sword and watched the monster's body closely.
Huu...I guess there was no second phase.
In fact, I was already close to my limit from breaking through the barrier earlier.
Naturally my mana and stamina were recovering little by little at this moment, but the mental fatigue sustained still remained.
If a second phase had gone as it was, a pretty dangerous situation might have unfolded.
It was fortunate.
I never thought I would be able to kill a guy like this so easily.
However, thanks to him already being low HP, I was able to easily overpower him with a last hit.
I didn't know who had served him on a platter in advance, but...
This was why 'kill stealing' was the best way to hunt.
The goat-head woman just earlier and this time the bug.
Somehow, I felt like I had struck gold one after another.
Smiling contentedly, messages began to appear in front of my eyes as if on queue.
Level has risen.
Level has risen.
Level has risen.
You've reached level 69.
Gained a Fragment of Growth.
Ah! I couldn't believe I was already level 69...
It was a little disappointing I couldn't hit level 70 this time, but adding the goat-head woman from earlier, I had grown 6 levels today alone.
In addition, considering that it had not even been a year since the start of the second round, it was a truly amazing pace of growth.
Just one more level until level 70!
It was time to really prepare for the approaching metamorphosis.
It could be said that the concept of metamorphosis was similar to the 'transcendence' system that generally appeared in MMORPGs.
While the most obvious was the distinction between a newbie and an old master, the benefit was the rapid evolution of all abilities.
In the first round, it was only after I had gone through this metamorphosis that I had begun to make a name for myself in earnest.
Many difficult conditions had to be met in order to do this metamorphosis, but the most basic premise was to be level 70.
Anyway, it seemed I was going to reach it soon...When this was over I'll have to get some elixirs first.
Fortunately, I already had a first-class material called Dragon Heart.
I only needed to find an alchemist or a dan maker to create it.
...But where the hell was I going to find one?
There were a few figures that came to mind right now, but currently there was no information on their whereabouts or what they were doing.
Also, my current identity was that of a hero. In other words, it could be said that it was a situation where it was impossible to threaten them recklessly like in the first round.
Hmm...it'll work itself out somehow.
I didn't have to worry about this yet. Before that, there were other things to think about.
First, I had to wrap up this problem.
The Challenge wasn't over yet.
[Challenge - Eighth Layer Hell (2)]
Condition: Protect Shirahui until the end of the school festival.
Time: 3 months.
Reward: 1x Random Box (High).
It was a Challenge with a high-grade box on the line! Recalling my purpose for coming here, I looked around.
My reward! Where was my reward?
Just then, familiar faces ran towards me while shouting.
People from the Hero Association, Hairy, and trainees including Mousin and Saki.
They suddenly came up to me and blocked my view.
No, what was wrong with these guys? I was in a hurry.
My annoyance flared up.
While I wished to quickly complete my Challenges, these guys were being very annoying.
It was troublesome managing my image. I had no choice but to tell them to get away.
Just as I was about to clear the way, one step faster than me, Saki cried out.
"Noah! S-serious trouble!"
She was making a fuss, but it wasn't something out of the ordinary for her, so I might have simply ignored her like usual.
However, her expression was unusual this time for some reason.
What? Was something really going on?
She pointed in one direction with tears in her eyes.
"She did her best...Heuk, suddenly, the monster...But she was still trying to protect us. Th-there...Heuk!"
I couldn't understand what she was trying to say through her stuttering. But naturally I looked towards where she was pointing.
A corner of the gym. The professors at the institute and some people were gathered with gloomy faces.
Between them, I saw a girl lying on the floor.
The girl laid motionless on the floor like a corpse, and somehow her silhouette looked quite familiar.
Immaculate skin like porcelain and fine features like a doll.
Wait, why was she lying there?
All the others here were alive, so I thought she would be alive enough, even if not unscathed.
But what the hell was this...?
The figure of the monster from earlier passed through my mind.
He was charred at the joints. At first, I thought he had just been burnt by fire...
What if he was electrocuted?
Thinking that far, I began to understand the situation.
It was clear that Shirahui had fought the monster before I came here.
And, the monster must have been hard to beat for someone of her level.
So she definitely...
Must have used that power.
The great power I saw sleeping inside her the other day. Even then, how much effort was made to suppress the overloading power?
If all of that power was released again this time, the current situation was understandable.
She should have just kept a low profile. Why did she do something so pointless?
It was a mess.
I sighed and approached her.
Seeing her up close, even though it was a little, she was moving her chest up and down. However, her condition couldn't be said to be very good.
Pale skin and a feeble breath. Her breathing was precarious.
A sudden ominous foreboding swept over me.
No way...She isn't going to die before I complete the Challenge, is she?
"No! You can't die here!"
If she's going to die, shouldn't I at least get my reward?
Was it because she had heard my desperate plea? Her long eyelashes trembled, and not before long, her eyes slowly opened.
She looked at me with haziness in her eyes.
"Oh! Are you awake, noona?"
"I'm...not dreaming? How...Here..."
She showed a perplexed expression. I guess she must have fainted before she saw me coming in.
As if she still hadn't grasped the current situation, her eyes blinked for a moment, and soon after she raised her body in surprise.
"N-no! I-it's dangerous here! If I don't deal with him now...Keuk!"
After saying as such, she vomited blood and collapsed again.
* * *
[ Translator - Yasi ]
[ Proofreader - Karane ]
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* * *
Meanwhile, I wrapped mana around her head before it could hit the floor.
Damn it...it was worse than I thought.
Checking her physical condition through my mana, she was already broken to the point where it was difficult to function. Rather, it was to the point where it felt like a miracle she was still alive.
But even so, she was desperately trying to lift herself up by circulating her mana.
"I-I have to stop him...Because Choi Noah entrusted me...I..."
Seeing that her eyes were out of focus, it seemed her consciousness was already becoming murky.
If she continued to use her mana, she would only be using up her remaining life.
Damn it! She couldn't die yet.
I had no choice but to calm her down in the kindest voice possible.
"Rest easy, noona. I've already taken care of the villain."
Her struggling movements sharply stopped. And again, she looked at me with somewhat focus in her eyes.
"I-is that really true?"
"Yes. He was already close to death when I came. As a result, I was able to handle it easily. But that...It was all thanks to noona, right?"
"You've worked really hard alone. It's all thanks to noona that everyone here is safe and sound. So now you can relax and take care of your body."
Only then did she let go of her strength as her body drooped. Soon, she murmured in a faint voice that was hard to hear.
"Really...I'm glad...it was enough...I have something to tell you..."
What the hell was she glad about?
Honestly, I didn't know what this girl wanted to say, but there was one thing I could tell for certain.
There wasn't much time left.
So somehow, before this girl dies, I must complete the Challenge and get my reward.
The condition was to protect her until the end of the school festival.
And maybe the criteria for such a thing was for the conclusion of this monster incident and life returning to normal.
If so, what needed to be done was clear.
I had to deal with the remaining monster before Shirahui died.
And in the first place, I had another reason...
[Challenge - Evil God's Apostles(1)]
Condition: Eliminate the Apostles of an Evil God.
Reward: Varies depending on performance.
The other Challenge I had received. Because of this, I had to move even now.
Honestly, my body was completely worn out, but I stood up by forcing myself as I strained my legs.
"Noona, please hang in there a little longer. I'll think of something."
She simply breathed with her eyes closed, so it was questionable whether she had heard me.
Damn it, I needed to hurry. At this rate, my reward...
After checking my equipment, I looked at Kim Taehi who was standing next to me.
"Ajumma. Can you take care of the girl here for a moment?"
"Where are you going all of a sudden?"
"I still have work to do."
"Don't tell me...Are you going to fight the remaining monsters? You can't! It's too reckless in your current condition!"
Others were startled by her words and also began to dissuade me.
"Wh-what? Noah! It's dangerous, what are you saying? No way!"
"Even for you, you'll die if you fight in your current state! If you're going to go, kill me first! It's suicide!"
"Yes! Or we can go together!"
Hairy, Mousin, Saki, etc...Countless people blocked my way.
Even without their chatter, I was in a hurry, but why are these guys hindering me?
My face hardened as I felt my irritation rising.
"Then you're saying we should throw the noona here away?"
"N-no, that's not it... I mean...I'm just worried..."
People were unable to answer.
Dokgo Hakju, who was watching the situation, spoke to me in a somber voice.
"All heroes wish they could save everyone, but... Cruelly, we always have to make a choice."
What, why was this man trying to preach all of a sudden?
As the others quieted down, another guy had popped out again.
We haven't talked to each other much, but now he was worried about me?
I was slowly starting to get irritated.
However, as if he didn't care for my opinion, he looked down at Shirahui and said what he wanted to say.
"A little while ago, she...was constantly forced to choose who to save. It was truly a heavy burden. But nevertheless, she didn't give up her choice. The choice to save even one more person. She knew it would be her downfall, but she never wavered."
"What I'm saying is, even if you choose to stay here, she'll understand. Unfortunately, having you here at the moment is the best choice to save more people."
As if agreeing with him, visitors who were listening to the conversation in the distance shouted.
"I-if you're a hero, you have to be responsible for the active site until the end! You didn't even learn that?"
"Everyone here is out of mana and stamina. So you should at least stay and protect us."
"Y-yes! Student! I don't know what's going to happen, but I think it's better for you to stay here until the rescue team comes at least!"
I was wondering what they had wanted to say, so I listened...
In the end...They wanted me to stay and protect them because they thought it would be dangerous?
The exact same situation as the one I had experienced at the hotel.
Why did they think they could decide whatever they wanted?
If I stayed here, my reward would be lost.
Should I just kill everyone here and blame it on the monsters?
That kind of feeling arose, but on the contrary, that could delay things further.
Eventually, I couldn't hold back my irritation, so I circulated my mana.
"It's something I must do, so don't try to stop me."
Dragon fear contained in my voice spread out in all directions.
The noisy people became silent, and those with weak stamina or those close to me fell down trembling.
I walked between them without any hindrance. Whenever our eyes met, they avoided my gaze and lowered their heads.
Huu...I should've done this earlier.
I had wasted too much time for nothing.
As I walked past everyone and towards the collapsed wall, someone appeared again in front of me.
It was Samaria. Was she trying to stop me now?
Just when I thought as such, she spoke up first.
"Ah, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to get in your way. I just want to ask you one thing, is that okay?"
"Huu...What is it?"
"Why the hell are you going this far? If I know Choi Noah, this behavior is...Ah! Are you building an image? If that's the case, even if you don't overdo it, later I'll..."
As expected, this woman was unpredictable. She knew too much about me.
However, there was one thing she didn't know either...
"No. I can never give up. So get out of the way quickly. I don't have time."
Hearing my words, Samaria looked genuinely shocked.
I passed her, and after a while, her voice muttering quietly to herself flowed into my ears.
"No...That can't be true...You're...You're not that kind of person...No...No..."
As expected, this woman was crazy. I think it would be good for my health if I stayed away from her.
Huu...Let's go to solve the last Challenge.
With an earnest heart, the moment I was about to step out of the gym.
Suddenly, along with a familiar notification sound, new messages appeared in front of my eyes.
Completed Challenge 'Evil God's Apostles(1).'
Reward varies depending on performance.
Gained 2x Random Box.
What the hell was going on here?
The second Challenge was completed automatically even though I hadn't done anything.
Wasn't there a total of three monsters?
What? Did he maybe commit suicide?
If it had been any other time, I would have been happily dancing since I had gotten my reward, but for some reason I had a bad feeling. My hunch as a veteran gamer was warning me.
A much more dangerous being than the monsters I had just met was coming here.
And at that very moment,
A high-frequency sound enough to pierce the ears reverberated.
Boom, boom, boom–!
Blue lightning bolts struck outside the gym, causing a huge explosion of light.
And at the same time, invisible intangible energy spread in all directions.
As if I was hit hard on the head, I felt nauseous and my sense of balance was disrupted.
What the hell...
I quickly got a hold of myself by circulating my mana.
But others around me, unable to overcome the shock, began to collapse one by one.
After some time, when I turned my head, everyone in the gym was lying on the floor.
In the bright sphere of lightning, the figure of a man slowly began to emerge.
An uncompromising and upright impression. Terrifying mana spewing from his entire body.
And even the eyes that looked subtly similar to Shirahui.
Ah...come to think of it, there was still that guy left.
He was the father of Shirahui, and one of the strongest heroes in Korea.
...Shin Cheonho, 'Lightning Sword.'
His body was full of injuries, big and small, and even his left arm was missing as if someone had forcibly ripped it off somewhere.
I see...he was the one that had killed the monster.
That explained the messages just now.
But...There was one thing I still didn't understand.
"Ahjussi, why are you pointing your sword at me?"
With the power of lightning wrapped around his body, he answered.
"Choi Noah. You're under arrest on charges of colluding with Eighth Layer Hell. If you resist...You'll be killed immediately."
As soon as his words fell, he, who had turned into a flash of lightning, began to fly toward me.
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