Villain Hides His True Colors
[Translator – Yasi ]
[Proofreader – Karane ]
Idiot! I knew this would happen!
Shirahui knew she should have stopped Yeom Gangjun when he had said he wanted to fight alone.
Regardless of what she thought of him, it didn’t need to be said that Noah’s strength was incomparable to other trainees.
"Hmm...Don't hesitate. You can all come at once. I'll control my strength this time."
That was just comparing individuals. Heroes always dealt with villains as a team.
As such, when synergy was at play, it was bound to be several times more effective.
"...I'll see how long you can be so relaxed. Everyone, start!"
In response to Shirahui's command, Mousin and Fernando charged at Noah.
Flames rose from Mousin's tonfas, and Fernando aimed for Noah's face with beastly movements.
While they were occupied, Shirahui concentrated and circulated her mana.
Let's see if he can handle this.
She released her power that had been suppressed until now.
< Lightning Calamity >
Her hair turned golden yellow and gold arcs sparked around it.
A streak of lightning was carefully drawn out from the source of power that laid dormant in her body.
Soon, a lightning bolt shining like a weapon of Zeus was held in her hand.
The uncontrollable force fluctuated wildly as if it was about to explode at any moment.
Her talent, which even her father, an S-Rank hero, had said would surpass him one day was finally revealed.
She bit her lips and shouted forcefully.
"Everyone, step down!"
As soon as her words fell, the two who were attracting Noah's attention quickly backed down.
Then, through the wide open gap, she threw the lightning bolt.
Boom, boom, boom–!
The lightning bolt flew, breaking the ground in its wake as it penetrated Noah's body in an instant.
Pierced by the lightning bolt, Noah's body was carried along the air and flew far away.
Noah, who had fallen to the ground like a corpse, didn't move at all.
The moment Shirahui saw it, she belatedly realized what she had done.
Wh-what have I done...
She rushed to Noah.
Soon, a gruesome body that had been burned black caught her eyes.
In particular, there was a hole in the chest where the lightning bolt had penetrated. Not only that, all the blood vessels around it were scorched and no blood flowed out.
Only those words came to her mind.
Her father had warned her to be careful...
In the heat of the moment she had even used the power of lighting that she had been trying her best to suppress.
She really didn't intend to go this far. Murder at the institute.
Future events were vividly depicted in her head.
Not only will she be revoked as a hero immediately, she will be put before the court of law.
And more painful than anything else, this incident will ruin her father's reputation and career.
Just as she was floundering in despair, she heard a voice that shouldn't exist in her ears.
"Ah, this one hurts a little."
When she looked down, Noah, who had a hole in his chest, opened his eyes and looked at her.
Startled, she fell down on the spot.
On the other hand, Noah nonchalantly raised himself up from the ground.
His charred skin had returned to its original color, and the chest that had been hollowed out was filled with new flesh.
"Wh-what the hell are you...?"
Even though she was looking at it with her own eyes, it was an incredibly hard to believe sight.
To deny such a reality, maybe she was hallucinating?
She could only stare blankly at Noah.
"I was wondering how strong it was, so I let it hit me...Honestly, it's more than I had expected. I haven't felt such a sting in a long time."
The attack after releasing Lightning Calamity was just a sting...?
Even her father who had the same attribute said the power of Lightning Calamity was nothing less than dangerous...
So what was the limit to Noah's strength?
At only the age of 13, did it make sense to have reached the peak of mankind called S-Rank?
She felt as if all the common sense she had believed in until now had been completely broken.
The rumors about Choi Noah...It was all true.
And finally, the reality, which had been denied, began to take shape.
She had been fearlessly burning a sense of rivalry against a person with power comparable to S-Rank.
Only now did she realize how considerate he was of her.
The little boy standing in front of her now felt like a monster.
"I didn't know you were this strong. Well, then I could play a little."
The monster, who had recovered his entire body before she knew it, raised the corner of his mouth as he pulled out the sword he was wearing on his waist.
At that moment, she felt an overwhelming pressure from his body.
Regardless of her will, her whole body trembled and it became difficult to breathe.
She had never experienced such a terrible killing intent.
I-I'm going to die...If I stay here, I'll die!
Her head became filled with the fear of death.
She recalled the dismembered body at the entrance ceremony.
"N-no, I hate it...I hate it!!!!!!"
She screamed in a panic.
A bunch of bright yellow sparks began to bounce around her body at the same time.
The lightning that she had barely managed to suppress in her body was going out of control as if her mana was overloading.
Bang, bang, bang–!
As her body became brighter and brighter, bolts of lightning flared in all directions, destroying the nearby buildings.
The constantly overflowing force of Lightning Calamity was already far beyond her acceptable limit.
At this rate, it wouldn't be long before her body burst into pieces.
Not only that, but all the others here will also die.
She tried to concentrate to suppress the Lightning Calamity.
However, despite her desperate efforts, there was nothing she could do once she lost control of the force.
The day she had killed her mother at a very young age was also the same as now.
At the time, she was at least able to suppress the force because she had her father by her side. Now, there was no one here who could help her.
Ah...Is this really the end...
Just as she was about to give up hope,
In the light that was hard to even open her eyes, like that day a long time ago, someone had grabbed her by the shoulder.
Was her life replaying in her mind before her death? She unconsciously uttered a word.
But when she turned her head, contrary to her father being there, it was a tiny, slender hand.
Soon, there came a young voice in her ears.
"Noona, are you okay?"
How come it was him...? Rather, how?
"I-it's dangerous...Even now...Run away..."
Noah's body was constantly burning as if being fried due to the endless energy spewing by Lightning Calamity.
However, as if he could never compromise, he spoke firmly.
"I will never let noona go."
What was wrong with his head? She couldn't understand the situation.
* * *
[ Translator - Yasi ]
[ Proofreader - Karane ]
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* * *
From her understanding, a half-hearted hero was the most important thing to steer clear of. Or, was he just that confident in his strength?
"You'll die...Stop being stubborn and quickly leave..."
"I can't do that."
Noah was holding on desperately despite the terrible pain. An act that simply cannot be done by a half-hearted hero.
Unless he's a fool, I'm sure he knows I hate him...
And yet, now he was risking his life to save her.
Would I have done the same thing if I was in his shoes?
This was a far cry from what she knew. So what made him so desperate?
It was really suicidal.
"Why...why the hell...?"
"That's because noona is very precious to me."
Precious...? What was he talking about?
She felt confused to the point where she had forgotten the current situation.
In the meantime, Noah, who had finally broken through the repulsive force created by Lightning Calamity, pushed himself completely into the burning lightning.
Then, with a smile that was brighter than the ring of light, he hugged her body tightly.
"So...I'll never let noona die."
At that moment, the force of Lightning Calamity that was fluctuating wildly with nowhere to go all began to flow into Noah's body.
As if he had turned into an ugly monster, his body burned black.
Meanwhile, his skin continued to regenerate. Shirahui wailed in anguish at the sight.
"N-no...Stop! You can stop now!"
The pain that Noah was feeling right now was at a level that humans could never tolerate.
But as if he couldn't give up, he hugged her even tighter.
What the hell...what the hell...Why is he going this far for me...
The hellish moment continued. She even thought it would be comfortable if she just died.
However, in this short moment that felt like an eternity, Noah endured all the pain without uttering a word, much less a scream.
Soon, the force of Lightning Calamity that seemed to never dry up gradually began to fade.
At last, when she felt the force weakening, she was able to control Lightning Calamity after concentrating all of her nerves.
Her golden hair returned to its original color and she could now see the surrounding landscape.
Buildings that had been completely scorched.
Fortunately, the other teammates were far away and were even taking care of Yeom Gangjun who had fainted.
However, now it didn't occur to her to think of any of the other teammates.
More than her own body, she checked Noah's condition first.
He was breathing quietly with his eyes closed as if he was in a deep sleep.
"I'm glad...I'm so glad..."
She didn't know if she was still nervous, but tears trickled down.
The culprit behind her problems at the institute. A genius with outstanding talent to the point where she felt jealous. A hero with a more righteous heart than anyone else.
She stared blankly at the small child in her arms.
* * * * * * * * * *
I woke up after a full day of sleep.
And since I haven't eaten for nearly 24 hours, there was a rumbling noise coming from my stomach.
I took out the chicken I had packed from my inventory and took a bite.
"Huu...I suffered a lot this time."
[Challenge - Eighth Layer Hell (2)]
Condition: Protect Shirahui until the end of the school festival.
Time: 3 months.
Reward: 1x Random Box (High).
Challenges were updated after I decided to participate in the school festival.
It was the kind of task I really loathe. As a result, it was really difficult this time.
As expected, things like this didn't suit me...
But a high-grade box was at stake, so it was a Challenge I could never give up.
I didn't know what I had to protect her from since nothing was specified, but...
Something was going to happen at the school festival.
And from the looks of the Challenge's title, it seemed Eighth Layer Hell was likely to be involved.
Would I have to protect her from those guys? I had a hunch that it wouldn't be as easy as I thought.
Huu...I didn't know what it was, but let's put in more effort until the school festival was over.
Soon, status logs that had been pushed back began to appear in succession.
Favorability has increased.
Favorability has increased.
Favorability has increased.
You've met the requirement to recruit 'Shirahui' as a companion.
Ever-rising messages of increased favorability. I looked at the message window for a moment.
"Hmm...it's a bit vague."
As for this girl, there wasn’t much information available.
All I knew was that she was called Lightning Calamity in the first round and that she ended up dead in my hands.
And...The taste from my hands wasn't as bad as I thought at the time.
Well, that was about it.
However, this time I saw it. An unidentified great force lying dormant in her body.
Just the energy from yesterday was equivalent to the power of the past when she was called Lightning Calamity...
Maybe in the first round she couldn't realize all of her potential when she was young?
If that was the case, she may also be a potential SS-Rank.
There was no need to decide in a hurry.
'Shirahui' will be registered as the warrior's followers.
For now, I thought it was better to focus on getting the reward of protecting her first.
Just when I thought so,
Someone knocked on my door.
Who was it?
I opened the door with a chicken leg in my mouth.
There, huddled together were my teammates who seemed to have come to see my condition.
"Noah! You're up!"
First, Saki smiled brightly and shouted.
"Look! What did I say? I told you it wouldn't be a problem!"
"Tsk! You kept whining to me last night texting me because you were worried about Noah."
"Wh-when did I?! Did you have a dream?"
Mousin, full of dark circles under his eyes, bickered with Saki.
"Hahaha! I didn't see what happened because I fainted again this time, but I heard all about your heroic deed. As expected, my eyes weren't wrong! Oh, and this is abalone porridge I had asked the kitchen lady to make specially."
Yeom Gangjun stubbornly tried to push the tray of porridge through the door, and next to him was Fernando standing with an anxious look.
Fortunately, he still remembered the warning I had imprinted when he came to my room last time.
"H-how are you feeling?"
Shirahui, who seemed to be wearing a lot of makeup today, was standing with a big basket of fruits.
"I'm fine. What about you, noona?"
"I-I'm fine too. Th-thank you very much for your concern."
I looked at every inch of her body.
It looked a little red, but fortunately other than that there seemed to be no major abnormality to my reward.
Soon, the clothes she was wearing suddenly caught my eyes. It was the expensive coat Mousin had prepared.
Didn't she say she didn't want to wear it?
Why was she wearing it? Was it a waste to just throw it away?
As soon as I thought as such, as if she felt my gaze, she answered hastily by herself.
"W-we're on the same team...I-it would be weird if I'm the only one not wearing it! Th-there’s really no other meaning!"
Perhaps she was embarrassed because she had really wanted to wear it. However, the fact that she had changed her mind seemed to have hurt her pride.
Shirahui, as if trying to hide her sense of shame, changed the subject.
"N-now that we're all gathered again...Let's have a meeting on what to do at the school festival!"
"Again? We had a meeting all day yesterday! Let's just do it in moderation for pity's sake."
Mousin grumbled at her words. In response, Shirahui stared at him coldly.
"I say this all the time, but you're the filler. So try harder. Don't you even know the word free pass? It's a rare opportunity so of course we have to do our best to prepare..."
The two bickering was about to get loud. I really wanted them to go somewhere else.
I cut off their words.
"Can't we just do it roughly? I'm tired."
Then for some reason, Shirahui nodded obediently in agreement at my suggestion.
"Y-yeah. Come to think of it, I think it's better to do it roughly. I think it's more meaningful to show our everyday skills than to make a contrived plan."
"Hey! Why did you suddenly change?!"
"Could you please be quiet?"
I sighed inwardly as I looked at them.
My only wish was for this Challenge to be over as soon as possible...
And finally, a few days later the long-awaited school festival began.
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