Player Who Returned 10,000 Years Later
[Translator – Daniel Shin]
[Proofreader – ilafy]
Chapter 158 - Hero Kim ShiHoon (1)
A week passed after Reinald died at the hands of the Demon of Prophecy.
The Guardians left the sadness behind, and everyone returned to their routines of investigating the Demon Cult and completing all sorts of missions.
The missions the Guardians took were related to investigating the Demon Cult, eliminating the monsters that walked out of the gates, and all sorts of rescue missions around the world.
"You want me to go to Latin America?"
KangWoo fell into his thoughts.
Gaia kept explaining.
"A group of indigenous people that have remained in those lands has been attacked recently by monsters. They asked for help from the USA, but there are many refugees, and they're spread out, so they're lacking personnel. I want Mr. KangWoo and ShiHoon to help the indigenous people of those lands reach the US soldiers."
Although most countries in Latin America and the Middle-east had collapsed, it wasn't that no one lived there anymore.
Countries like Argentina and Brazil were countries in name only, but there were still many people that lived in those countries that were trying to rebuild them from the ground.
When a nuclear power plant exploded in Japan due to a huge earthquake in the past, many people remained in that area, so it wasn't weird that some people still lived in a territory that had become infested by monsters.
'I really don't want to.'
He didn't care that there were people living in a dangerous area—that was a decision they'd made on their own.
No, even if they had no other choice, KangWoo had no reason to save them.
'I didn’t do this to play at being a hero…'
He just wanted to defend Earth from beings that belong to other dimensions.
KangWoo was doing it because of his own personal ambitions.
If civilization weren't on the verge of collapsing, he wouldn't need to go around pretending to be a hero.
'On top of that, they’re citizens of a country that has collapsed.'
Even if they died, the situation in the world wouldn't change.
Although incidents around the world had increased, people had accepted it as something inevitable.
It was a cruel thought in a humanitarian sense, but KangWoo didn't think about things like that in the first place.
'Well, maybe it would be different if they died in front of me.'
How humanitarian someone could be was often influenced by whether they could see it or not.
Someone dying of hunger in front of you was more shocking than the news that hundreds of thousands of people on the other side of the world had died from starvation.
He would save them if he could, but he didn't feel the need to make an effort to save people.
—That was how much morality KangWoo had left.
'It isn't that I have something to gain, either.'
He'd been able to grow exponentially after absorbing Tyrion’s power.
The biggest change was that he could use a bit of the demonic energy that was in the deepest part of the Demonic Energy Sea.
'The best part is that the number of Authorities I can use has increased.'
There were many Authorities he couldn't use unless he used demonic energy from the deepest part of the Sea.
No. In reality, most of the Authorities that belonged to Great Demons could only be used with demonic energy from the deepest part.
…But he couldn't be content with just that.
He still had a long way to go before he could win a fight against the archdukes.
'I also need to be careful of Mikael.'
He didn't have time to hang around saving people.
"Of course, I know this was a dangerous task."
It seemed like Gaia noticed that KangWoo didn't like the idea that much.
"But you could go with Mr. ShiHoon, and if you need, we can send you more members as support…"
"Ah, it isn't because of the danger," He answered firmly.
He wasn't lying.
Saving people that live in areas infested by monsters…
Leaving the tasks related to the Demon Cult aside, it was one of the most dangerous missions. No, the average task related to the Demon Cult wasn't as dangerous as that.
Still, he wasn’t too worried about it.
After his Demonic Energy stat reached 129, KangWoo obtained a strength that was above a great demon, so to him, it wasn't a hard task.
He crossed his arms and fell into thought.
It was true that he didn't want to do it, but it wasn't like he had something else to do.
'The Demon Cult still hasn’t moved.'
Since his stat growth had been blocked, absorbing the souls of demons and fulfilling the 1st condition of 'Demonic Soul' was his priority.
But the problem was that there weren't any demons.
Unlike other players, he didn't need to train, so he had even fewer things to do.
'Should I play being the hero?'
Gaia, Kim ShiHoon, and the other Guardians thought of him as someone who had inherited the power and will of the Hero God.
It didn't matter if it was true or not. He had to show himself doing some heroic things from time to time.
'There's also a chance the recent increase of attacks is because of the Demon Cult.'
He thought that playing the hero while investigating their movements might not be a bad idea.
"Yes, I'm going to take that mission."
"Ah! Thank you, Mr. KangWoo."
Gaia smiled brightly.
Although she looked very frail, her bright smile had something that could stimulate the hearts of all men.
'ShiHoon, you should be thankful to me.'
He felt guilty for having gotten rid of the innocent Reinald for the sake of Kim ShiHoon's love, but after seeing things develop like that, he was kind of proud.
'But why hasn't that guy appeared recently?'
He had heard that Shihoon had gone to another place in order to train.
They'd met in the Hall of Protection a few times, but they'd only exchanged simple greetings.
He felt that Kim ShiHoon was avoiding him.
'Don't tell me it's because of that?'
When Tyrion's power entered his body…
KangWoo had treated him coldly because Kim ShiHoon hadn't realized the pain he was going through.
"Then I'm going to prepare a plane for you. Mr. KangWoo, can you relay the mission to Guardian Kim ShiHoon?"
"Ah. Yes, of course."
"Guardian Kim ShiHoon has been looking down recently… so try to ask him what's wrong," Gaia said in a worried voice.
KangWoo nodded. He was planning to do that anyway.
'ShiHoon, it isn't because of that, right?'
He began walking faster in search of ShiHoon.
* * *
Kim ShiHoon was in a training room located in the Hall of Protection.
As KangWoo walked there, he heard an explosion.
Stomp-! Slam! Boom!
"Haa! Haa! Haaa!"
Kim ShiHoon was swinging his sword toward a practice scarecrow.
The scarecrow, which had been made using a special magic, was tattered like a mop.
As KangWoo entered the room, Kim ShiHoon's expression hardened. He kept talking while avoiding looking at him.
"Did something happen?"
"There's something I wanted to talk about with you."
Kim ShiHoon remained silent.
KangWoo looked at him quietly and then opened his mouth.
"Let's move to a quieter place."
He'd dragged Kim ShiHoon to the rooftop of the apartment where he lived.
As expected from an expensive building, the view from the rooftop was beautiful.
KangWoo leaned on the railing.
"Did something happen recently?"
"If it's because of how I—"
"No. This isn't because of Hyeognim."
Kim ShiShoon stood next to KangWoo while smiling bitterly.
"This is my problem…"
His voice had a sense of loneliness.
"Then… what's wrong?"
There was a short silence.
* * *
Translator - Daniel Shin
Proofreader - ilafy
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* * *
After thinking about it for a while, Kim ShiHoon opened his mouth.
"Do you remember when Mr. Reinald died?"
"Well, the truth is…"
He bit his lip and clenched his fists. The railing bent below his grip.
Kim ShiHoon kept talking in a trembling voice.
"To be honest, I felt relieved."
'Oh, so it was because of that.'
He felt disgusted at himself after feeling relieved that his rival had disappeared.
It was a Kim ShiHoon-like worry.
"Don't worry. It's normal for humans to feel like that."
"But, Hyeongnim, you aren't like that."
"Not really. If I were in your place, I would've danced."
Kim ShiHoon laughed at his commentary. He probably thought he was joking.
'But it isn't a joke.'
If it were KangWoo, he would've probably danced with happiness,
KangWoo looked at Kim ShiHoon and opened his mouth.
"Let me ask you something."
"What is it…?"
"You… why are you so strict with yourself?"
He'd been wondering about that for quite some time.
To be more precise, it was from when he saw Kim ShiHoon standing up for Alec while putting his life on the line.
'It’s too unnatural to call it a personality trait.'
Even if he'd listened to his words, Kim ShiHoon could cut the people that had turned into demonic monsters without hesitating.
That was something Alec or Reinald couldn't do.
Kim ShiHoon wasn't like them but was trying to become like them.
There was a heavy silence.
Kim ShiHoon narrowed his eyes and fell into thought.
There was silence.
"Haha. As expected, I cannot hide things from Hyeongnim."
Kim ShiHoon laughed lightly.
"When I was a kid… There's something I heard from my mother."
Kim ShiHoon looked up to the sky with sad eyes.
"I'm sorry for giving birth to you."
Kim ShiHoon clenched his fists.
"I really hated those words. I hated them so much that I couldn't stand hearing it."
"Yes. Of course, she probably doesn't think like that anymore. No. She probably can't even remember that she said that to me before."
He kept talking in a pent-up voice.
"But that isn't something I've achieved. It isn't a result I obtained with my hands. I was saved by Hyeongnim."
He spoke in an intense voice.
"I wanted to be like Hyeongnim and be of help to those that suffered just like my past self so that… I could say I did it myself."
"That's why I can't stand this selfish self."
Kim ShiHoon finished talking.
He felt like he finally learned about the human called 'Kim ShiHoon.'
He didn't want to become a hero, he didn't want to receive people's admiration and cry about justice…
He just wanted to extend a hand to those in need…
So he could be confident about himself.
In a sense, he was dumber than Alec.
It was a more frustrating, annoying, and childish thought.
Trying to help other people overcome a childhood trauma was something only someone with middle-school syndrome would think of.
It was a way of thinking KangWoo couldn't understand.
He placed his hands on Kim ShiHoon's head and messed up his hair.
"Agh! Wh-why are you doing this? Hyeongnim?!"
He couldn't help but sigh.
He smirked after seeing ShiHoon’s confused look.
"Fuck. I became quite bland."
At that moment, he was cheering Kim ShiHoon up.
It wasn't because he had something to gain. He also didn’t understand it; he just wanted to see him succeed.
It was a look that didn't suit him.
'It makes me want to vomit.'
He felt like it was cringe…
But it wasn't a bad feeling.
He patted Kim ShiHoon's head while smiling.
"To save people."
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