I'm Not a Regressor

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I’m Not a Regressor

[Translator – Rainypup ]

[Proofreader – ilafy ]

 

Chapter 227: The Council of the Seven Stars (3)

 

The Council of the Seven Stars was set to take place in Shanghai, China’s Shanghai Tower. The stylish, 127-story skyscraper curled upward like a dragon ascending to heaven, and people from around the world crowded around it while broadcasting stations gathered to catch everything on camera.

“Wow… the New Year’s award ceremonies have nothing on this.” Ha-eun laughed in disbelief and expressed her relief at having dressed up; then, she looked back at the crowd surrounding the tower. “Tsk, is it okay for them to be festive when we’re trying to choose the next Seven Stars?”

“They believe it’s something to celebrate.” For the general public, the ‘Seven Stars’ were symbolic existences—they were Awakeners who represented humanity’s heroic protectors. Since that was the case, they had to be in the spotlight as much as possible—there was no value in a symbol that nobody knew about.

Ha-eun looked surprised. “I’ve seen a lot of these Awakeners on TV.” Just as she said, world-famous Awakeners who’d made outstanding contributions in subjugating monsters or who were the masters of super-sized guilds exceeding 10,000 members were everywhere she looked.

You could only count the number of times so many high-ranking Awakeners had gathered in one place since the first fissure on one hand.

“Ohjin… you’re pretty famous in Korea, but you’re practically invisible here.”

“Shut up,” Ohjin said. So many celebrities vied for attention that he was relatively overlooked—it was comparable to a famous Korean actor going to Hollywood and being ignored.

“Hehe. Ha-eun burst out laughing and slapped his butt. “No matter how ignored you are, this older sister will be by your side, so don’t worry.”

‘This is why I wanted to come alone.’ She’d insisted on going with him. ‘It’s not like she can do anything here.’ He was the only one sent to represent Korea, so all she could do was cheer him on.

“Those bitches might not be interested in you right now, but they’ll be shocked out of their skin during the competition,” Ha-eun said.

“What the hell are you saying?” he asked.

“I’ll give you a special gift when you come back as one of the Seven Stars, so work hard, okay?”

He couldn’t help but feel more motivated with her by his side. “What sort of gift?”

“Hehe.” She winked and gave him a sly smile. “Let’s leave the pleasure of finding out for after you return.”

In addition to the dragon veins, he suddenly had one more reason to become a member of the Seven Stars. “How many candidates are going to participate?”

“Last I heard, there are 28,” she said.

“That’s quite a lot. I’m the only one from Korea.”

“Each country has a different number of candidates that they can send out.” It made sense that countries with more Awakeners could send more candidates. Of course, that meant China, the US, and the UK—the nations most considered the strongest—could send as many as four people each.

“Is our country that weak?” Ohjin asked.

“We’re in about the middle of the world rankings.” Ha-eun explained. Korea was originally ranked at the top due to Sanggil, but his death and the extermination of his guild, Heaven’s Grace, were enough to lower their ranking quite a bit. “The countries in the lower rankings can’t even participate.”

Countries such as Japan, which didn’t have high-ranking Awakeners and was commonly referred to as being abandoned by the celestials, could not send any candidates. In other words, Korea was the lowest-ranked country that could participate in the Council of the Seven Stars.

“Stingy bastards.” Ha-eun frowned in dislike. “It doesn’t make sense to discriminate against countries when picking new Seven Stars to begin with.” What she said logically made sense, but…

“The Seven Stars have such a great impact that they can shake a whole country,” Ohjin said. Considering what happened in Korea after the death of the Star of Celestial Pivot, he could understand why they used such a dirty method of selection.

That didn’t mean he agreed with it, though.

“Well, it doesn’t matter if there’s one or four; I just have to beat them all,” he declared.

“So confident!” Ha-eun smiled and elbowed him.

As the two were talking…

“Oh, there you are.” General Manager Han Joonman, who was there as Ohjin’s guide, approached them. “I finished registering you as a candidate, so let’s go back to our rooms.”

“What does the competition’s schedule look like?” Ohjin asked.

“The competition itself begins in two days. Tonight, there will be a simple opening ceremony, and the candidates will gather tomorrow to be instructed on the detailed rules and precautions of the competition.” Han looked through the schedule he’d received. “The tower’s training rooms are free to use for the next two days, and if you need anything, tell management. They’ll get it for you right away.”

‘In two days, huh?’ It was quite a tight schedule since the matter was so urgent. Ohjin looked at him in thought. “Have you heard anything about how the competition will be held?”

“Yes, it will probably be announced tomorrow.”

He nodded and followed General Manager Han into Shanghai Tower, where he was guided to a room on the fifteenth floor. It was a fairly low floor when you consider the tower was 127 floors tall.

“I’m sorry.” General Manager Han scratched his head and gave Ohjin an awkward smile. “I hoped to get a room on a higher floor, but… Our request, um… I think it was misunderstood. Haha.” He avoided looking into Ohjin’s eyes.

Ohjin could hazard a guess as to why Han seemed so embarrassed. ‘We were pushed back by the other candidates.’

A total of 28 candidates would participate in the Council of the Seven Stars, and all of them other than him were high-ranking 9-Star Awakeners or above who had strong stigmas belonging to one of the 12 zodiacs.

 

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Even though Ohjin’s stigma was coveted by all other Awakeners, he was bound to be treated poorly among so many prominent candidates.

‘Well, my stigma probably makes it worse.’ Wasn’t there a fine line between envy and jealousy?  It was human instinct to be malicious toward someone who had what you wanted.

“Ahem. You have rooms one and two,” General Manager Han said.

“Isn’t one room enough?” Ha-eun returned one of the keys before smiling and waving the key to the first room.

“I see…” Han looked envious enough to shed tears of blood. “Haa… You need to go to the banquet hall on the 100th floor by seven o’clock in the evening.” As he left, they heard him mutter under his breath about the evils of lovers.

“Uh… was I a bit tactless?” Ha-eun scratched her head with an embarrassed look as she watched him go.

 

* * *

 

After resting with Ha-eun in their room for three hours, Ohjin went up to the opening ceremony on the 100th floor.

‘It’s pretty crowded here, too.’ The 100th floor was filled with reporters and the famous Awakeners he had seen outside the tower. When he entered, many suddenly focused on him.

“That’s him, right? The Lightning Wolf?”

“Isn’t he the only candidate who's an 8-Star?”

“Ha, I can’t believe a guy who couldn’t even reach 9-Star would try to join the Seven Stars.”

Derision and mockery poured from every direction, but Ohjin took a seat at a table and ate as if he didn’t care. Of course, such a prestigious event had plates full of delicious, luxury foods that melted on the tongue.

After a few moments, the host arrived on stage with a microphone in hand. “Ah ah. We shall now begin the opening ceremony for the Council of the Seven Stars. Before we officially begin, there will be a speech from Mr. Wei Ogak, who helped us hold this council.”

A middle-aged man with a stylish beard stepped on the stage. “First, let me thank all the Awakeners who came here to become heroes.” 

He continued in a low, thick tone. “The last few months have been a great ordeal for humanity. The Star of Rotating Jade and the Star of Celestial Pivot, who fought evil for humankind, lost their lives at the hands of the evil Black Star Organization, and countless victims around the world suffered at that terrorist organization’s hands.”

The man took a breath. “Even still, the Black Star Organization is not the only threat to humanity. News is spreading around the world that certain individuals we believed to be inactive have begun to move once more.”

Ohjin thought it was a boring speech. 

“At this moment of crisis, a star that can become humankind’s guiding light is more urgent than ever.” Wei Ogak made a slight gesture, and 28 spotlights illuminated the candidates. “Introducing the Awakeners who hold the potential to join the Seven Stars!”

Clap, clap, clap—!

Applause poured in from every side.

“As a representative for the candidates, Awakener Namgung Hui from China will give a speech!” 

Namgung Hui was a famous, high-ranking Awakener Ohjin had heard about. ‘I’m pretty sure he has the stigma of Leo like Lee Woohyuk. I heard rumors that he reached 10-Star recently.’

Namgung Hui, a beautiful man with a fine jawline and flawless skin, approached the podium. “It’s a pleasure to speak to you all. My name is Namgung Hui.” He smiled slightly and bowed his head. “As Mr. Wei said, we are now facing an unprecedented crisis that is perhaps even more dire than when the first fissure opened and plunged the world into chaos.

Namgung Hui clenched his fists. “However…” His hot gaze scanned the audience, and his feverish voice rang out through the banquet hall. “As always, we will stand firm and fight against the great evil! Please take a look at the candidates who are here to become the guiding stars of humankind!”

27 lights illuminated the candidates. “Jason Hardy, who is famously known for his title of ‘The Iron Fist’! Orlando Bale, who is known for his heaven-piercing arrows! Every individual here is more than worthy of joining the Seven Stars!”

Applause rang out each time the spotlights focused on a new candidate.

‘All this staring is going to wear us out, fuck.’ Ohjin scoffed. It was like he was attending some kind of New Year's ceremony. Just when he was about to pick up his fork to continue eating, thinking that no one was paying attention…

“Oh, right.” Namgung Hui looked at him with an evil grin on his face. “Except for one.”

The spotlights focused on Ohjin.

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