Chapter 149. A Disputed Area (4)
“A detachment.” Ru Amuh’s voice clearly rang. People’s discontented murmurings subsided a bit, as they hadn’t expected this response at all.
“We’ll set up a separate unit to infiltrate the city,” Ru Amuh continued.
After a moment of silence, someone remarked in a baffled tone, “…Do you think we will agree to that?”
“I’m not forcing you all,” Ru Amuh said firmly. “I will only take volunteers for the special unit.”
Hearing this, the rising uproar settled down slightly again.
“Those who are willing to enter the city with me, please step up now.” Ru Amuh turned calmly to the heroes. There was a stretch of silence where no one answered his call.
“Me.” Then one person raised her hand. It was Ru Hiana. She stomped forward, her ponytail swaying behind her head. Truthfully, she had a similar opinion as the others. Rather than forcing themselves through this mission, she thought it would be better for them to head back now. Still, she volunteered herself to be part of the detachment because she had sworn to live and die with Ru Amuh. And thus, Ru Hiana stood beside Ru Amuh with a tense expression.
Many looked at her in astonishment, wondering if she had lost her mind. Silence fell again.
“Ha.” Someone snorted. “There are only two of you. Are you gonna sneak in or something?” Someone snorted.
“Um…captain.” Then, Allen Leonard cautiously approached Ru Amuh with a conflicted expression. “I understand your intention to help the eighth recruits…but I’d ask you to reconsider the idea of sending a detachment. No matter how much I think about it, I can’t imagine us succeeding in going through the city.” Knowing Ru Amuh had the final say, Allen Leonard continued, “Even if we succeed in infiltrating, that won’t be the end. It will be a problem for us to come out again. Don’t you also see our situation…doesn’t allow us to consider the prophecy’s mission foremost?”
From what he had seen so far, Allen Leonard knew Ru Amuh wasn’t a reckless hero. He was brave and reasonable, as the time he successfully led the seventh recruits’ take over of the capital had shown. Thus, Allen was also curious why Ru Amuh was so firm about this plan. It was then the quick-witted Nangnang caught onto what was really going on. Ru Amuh appeared nervous, like he was waiting for someone to step forward and confirm his decision.
Then, Ru Amuh’s eyes, which had been fixed in a particular direction, widened. The doubt and nervousness that had lingered on his face even after he put forth his suggestion were replaced by certainty. Ru Hiana’s dark countenance also brightened, while Nangnang turned around and blinked hard. Amid the darkness, they saw one man quietly raise his hand.
“Me.” Then came his voice, and the man put down his hand before walking out of the crowd.
Ru Amuh clenched his fists, while Ru Hiana looked teary as they watched Chi-Woo step forward. People’s responses clearly split into two upon seeing Chi-Woo. The second, third, and fourth recruits looked at him like they were thinking, ‘who’s this crazy b.a.s.t.a.r.d now?’ On the contrary, the fifth, sixth, and seventh, recruits quietly murmured among themselves.
When deciding on the leader of the rescue team, Noel Freya had said Ru Amuh wasn’t a bad option. However, she had also said it would’ve been better if Chi-Woo had taken the position. Her judgments were exactly on point as this situation showed. The foundation of gaining trust was one’s ‘performance’. The same was true for heroes, or perhaps even more so, as the twelve lights of the Celestial Realm exemplified. Although it was true that Ru Amuh had made an achievement that differentiated him from the others, he had been dealing with only heroes, and many heroes though they would’ve been able to do what Ru Amuh had done should the situation allowed it.
What Chi-Woo had done since arriving at Liber was an entirely different story: he saved all the fifth and sixth recruits by storming a ranch by himself. He brought in help from the Abyss and came back alive after battling a G.o.d alone. He overwhelmingly beat up an important member of the Demon Empire and resolved the problem of the Academy from centuries ago. Thrice he had won a battle with overwhelmingly disadvantageous odds. In other words, Chi-Woo accomplished what had been thought impossible.
The first success could’ve been a fluke. But the same thing happening thrice? It could no longer be attributed to a miracle or pure luck. The fact that some people considered Chi-Woo to be above Choi Chi-Hyun spoke for itself. Of course, only the heroes who were aware of these stories found it difficult to simply turn away or laugh at the plan now, especially if they had personally witnessed Chi-Woo’s feats in person.
“…Are you serious?” Nangnang asked blankly.
“Ha—” Allen also let out a deep sigh. He looked extremely conflicted. ‘Perhaps. Maybe. This time…’ All kinds of thoughts whirled in his mind.
“Are you really, really planning to do this?’ Nangnang asked again, and Chi-Woo simply responded with a faint smile.
Nangnang glared at him and bared his fangs.
“That still only makes three—” Someone shouted, but their words were buried under Nangnang’s voice.
“Ah— Fine. Fine. I’m just going to bet my life on this. This is also me paying back the favor I received at the academy,” Nangnang said with a smirk and moved forth. “Although I am the leader of a platoon, it won’t matter since I’m more like a figurehead, right?”
Nangnang looked up at Ru Amuh and wandered around Chi-Woo. He wasn’t the only one who had changed their mind.
“I agree with you. If teacher is going, I will also give it a try.” Allen, who had been shaking his head at the idea nonstop, decided to partic.i.p.ate. He approached Chi-Woo and asked, “Okay, what kind of tricks did you come up with this time? Give me a heads-up so I won’t be surprised.”
“Why? Are you going to go back if I say I have nothing?”
“Haha. I wouldn’t have even refused if you were the leader of the rescue team in the first place.” Allen winked and stepped back.
After three people joined in a row, the atmosphere began to change slightly. The heroes glanced at each other for a bit, and more began to step forward.
“Roar of Quiet Snowy Mountains from the second recruits.”
“I’m Adali Avery from the seventh recruits. I will also join the detachment.”
Two more heroes got up.
“I’m William from the sixth recruits. I will also partic.i.p.ate.”
“I’m Hodamar from the seventh recruits. I will join as well.”
Two heroes asked to partic.i.p.ate following that. Hawa also quietly joined them without saying anything. Now there were ten of them in the unit. Crowd psychology was sure a scary thing—as several changed their att.i.tude, others also wavered
Eventually, another rose.
“Yeah, let me try to get loooooads of merits. Ah, I don’t care, f.u.c.k.” One hero came stomping and announced while growling at Ru Amuh, “I’m Dulia from the fifth recruits. I’m telling you all in advance that I haven’t committed to the mission yet.” Dulia glanced at Chi-Woo before continuing, “—Even if that guy is also in this team. I’m going to decide after hearing what else you have to say. What you said about using the gap between the two forces—you better brainstorm that. If it looks like it’s not going to work out, I’m going to escape by myself in the middle. Understand?” Dulia turned around after making the threat.
“Yes, you can do that.” Ru Amuh’s eyes shone as he nodded.
“Well… if I can turn back in the middle.”
“Then, me too.”
And so several more expressed a desire to join. Ru Amuh let out the breath he had been holding in. Even though he hadn’t completely won over his team, the number of people who had come forth was enough to form a special unit. It was all thanks to his teacher. Perhaps, he should call it ‘teacher’s effect’ that his volunteering gave Ru Amuh’s idea validity and helped move some of the rescue team members’ hearts. Of course, this was still a minority of them.
“…So, you are going to insist on doing this in the end?” one person murmured with discontent. “Okay then, members of the detachment who were blinded by their desire to gain merits, do whatever the h.e.l.l you want. The rest of us are going back. That works for you?”
“Yes, you can leave.”
“Then I’ll leave, but as a fellow hero, I feel regretful that you all are going on a suicide mission.”
“If you feel that way, you can help us out.”
A hero who was about to get up faltered. “…What?” They narrowed one eye and asked, “But you said we can return?”
“Yes, but before you leave—” Ru Amuh continued, “Even if you don’t join us, we stand a better chance of infiltrating the city if you offer some help.”
“Why do we have to do that?” A hero snorted. “It’s not like our lives are at stake, and we can safely return to the capital right now.”
“Yes, but if you help, you’ll be able to return with a bit more honor.”
“And,” Ru Amuh continued with a soft voice, “You’ve come all the way here. Won’t it be better for you to collect at least a little bit of merit before leaving?”
“Of course, you’ll be earning merits in a much safer manner than the detachment. I a.s.sure you.”
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The hero didn’t say anything, but merely glared at Ru Amuh like he was being ridiculous.
“Since he resolved many of my concerns, I’ll gladly give him my fame and t.i.tle as a legendary hero if that’s what he wants, as long as he keeps up the good work.” Chi-Hyun meant every word he said. He would go so far as to carry the hero on his back and shout to every town and alley that this guy was the truest and best hero at the top of his lungs.
“Yes, if that’s what you think.” Noel Freya made a bitter smile.
“Well, even then…” Chi-Hyun stretched his neck from side to side. He was quite surprised. He knew better than anyone how much of a crazed fanatic Noel Freya was about him. It was to the extent that she belittled and looked down on all other families of the big twelve outside of the Choi family.
Among the twelve families, not a single one of them was anything to scoff at, especially not the top six families. However, Noel Freya considered even the Ho Lactea family, who boasted 1/16 ‘G.o.dly blood’ and had a G.o.d as their founder, as dog food compared to Choi Chi-Hyun. Someone like her was now telling him that an unknown hero shrouded in mystery could be somewhat of a threat to him. Chi-Hyun couldn’t help but be interested.
“The hero that you mentioned, is he still in the capital?”
“Actually, we recently confirmed that the eighth recruits have entered Liber, and…”
Chi-Hyun nodded. “Ah, the prophecy.” He could immediately grasp the situation after hearing only a few words. “It’s a shame, but it can’t be helped. Oh, and one more thing.”
Chi-Hyun picked up the record he was reading. “Who was the one who created this growth system?”
“Ah, yes. According to Shahnaz, it was implemented here before our time.”
“But it’s quite detailed.”
“It’s been separated into four subdivisions, and there’s a promotion test and so on.” He seemed to be talking about in a roundabout way, and for reason unbeknownst to Noel, he seemed to find this humorous.
Noel Freya stared briefly at Chi-Hyun and said, “Uh. Hmm. That was also the hero’s suggestion.”
A strange smile appeared on Chi-Hyun’s face. Then he tapped on the paper like he had made a decision and got up from his seat.
“Sir, where are you going now?”
“I’m going to go check my tier. Heh.”
“What?” Noel Freya was shocked by the faint laugh escaping Chi-Hyun’s mouth.
“No, I mean—I’m going to where the eighth recruits are.”
“We already sent a rescue team… You’ve just arrived. Why don’t you take a short rest?”
“There’s no time to rest, and there’s an extremely high chance that the rescue team will return without doing anything. It’s happened more than a couple times.” Chi-Hyun stretched out his arms. “Still, it’s worth looking forward to their results since that hero also went with them, but just in case, I’ll also go. And judging by the flow of events so far, the mission a.s.signed to the eighth recruits won’t be easy, either.”
There was a clear reason why the prophecy had a.s.signed a mission to each recruit team. Every mission was absolutely necessary to change Liber’s future trajectory towards its salvation. In a way, the missions were imperative to create a happy ending. However, out of the seven missions a.s.signed, they had only successfully completed two —Chi-Hyun’s and the seventh recruits’. In other words, they had failed five of the prophecy’s missions.
“Since there have been so many failures, the mission the prophecy a.s.signed has gotten harder and harder.” Failure to complete a mission would become the burden of the next recruits. The reason why the seventh and eighth recruits fell into such extreme situations was because the second to sixth recruits had failed to fulfill their duties.
“I thought it was too late, but thanks to that hero, we’re getting back on track. Thanks to him, we were given this chance, so we need to hold onto it.”
Since he wasn’t someone that could be persuaded to change his mind, Noel Freya sighed. “Please don’t overextend yourself.”
“I can overextend myself a bit when so much has been accomplished.” Chi-Hyun seemed extremely happy about the accomplishments achieved by the unknown hero. He arched his neck from side to side again and started walking away. “Ah, by the way, can you tell me the name of that hero?”
Soon after, Chi-Hyun flew through the sky. With only one jump, he streaked through the night sky at a formidable speed. He had a rare smirk on his face as he murmured to himself, ‘Haha, that crazy punk. What kind of fake name is that?’
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