To Hell With Being a Hero!

로유진 - Ro Yu-jin

Chapter 23: I Take Refuge (Namu) (6)

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Chapter 23: I Take Refuge (Namu) (6)

It was all Ru Hiana could do to think about Ru Amuh; hopes that he was well—no, still alive and the more realistic thoughts that it was already too late warred in her mind. As a hero, she knew she had to accept the reality of the situation. Still, Ru Amuh was also an outstanding hero whose skills she had personally witnessed by his side. No matter the danger or how dire the situation was, Ru Amuh had always managed to survive. Thus, Ru Hiana couldn’t accept his death easily. She knew that the t.i.tle of hero was meaningless on Liber, but right now, she simply wanted to run out of this camp. Whenever she thought of Ru Amuh, she felt like she was sinning by doing nothing. Now, however, after listening to what the nameless young man told her, Ru Hiana had to repress these feelings. But if she really….

She didn’t know when she fell asleep. It seemed she had slipped into unconsciousness while shuddering in guilt.

—I…

Ru Hiana opened her eyes slightly. She had heard someone calling her name in her sleep.

‘Did I imagine it?’ Ru Hiana tilted her head and decided to close her eyes again.

–Ruana…

Ru Hiana opened her eyes wide. A red light flashed past her, and she jerked her head around.

“Ruahu?” she called out in a hoa.r.s.e voice. No one answered. She turned her head sideways, but only saw people sleeping around her. She couldn’t spot Ru Amuh anywhere. What if she hadn’t imagined his voice, though?

“Ruahu…” Ru Hiana murmured as she got to her feet. She stumbled past the tent and staggered across the camp like she was possessed. “Ruahu, Ruahu….” She cried out continuously and stopped. Could it be—no, it couldn’t. Ru Hiana’s eyes widened at the figure in front of her. The figure looked pale, and the edges of his eyes looked dark, almost purple. He had bloodstains all over his body, and he stared at her from afar with sorrowful eyes: it was Ru Amuh. Ru Hiana came to a halt.

“Ruahu.” An emotion she couldn’t explain by words rose inside her. “Ruahu…!” Ru Hiana ran like mad. Questions like how he got here weren’t important at this moment. All she could think of was that Ru Amuh had returned, and he was alive.

“Ruahu!” Ru Hiana was about to run and hug him when her eyes widened. “Are you alr….?”

He was there just a moment ago, but now he was gone without a trace.

“Ru…!” Ru Hiana looked around desperately and saw Ru Amuh again. Like how she found him the first time, he was looking at her from afar. Ru Hiana approached him again, but she couldn’t close the distance between them. He always got away, always out of her reach by a hair. Ru Hiana even ran sometimes, but it was futile. She didn’t question this though; she wasn’t in the mental state to think about anything else but the Ru Amuh in front of her.

“Ruahu! Ruahuu! Don’t go! Where are you going! Please!” Ru Hiana shouted with all her might in heartache. In response, Ru Ahu opened his mouth slightly.

—Hel….

His lips twitched.

-Help…

As if he wanted to…no, as if he didn’t want to keep talking, his face scrunched up. Finally, Ru Amuh shook his head sideways vigorously and completely disappeared. In a way, it almost looked like he had fallen over backward. As she ran desperately, Ru Hiana felt something brush by her ankles, but she ignored it. She found a pit where Ru Amuh had last stood. There was no need for her to think any longer. She had been enduring well until now, but with Ru Amuh’s sudden appearance, her heart couldn’t take it anymore.

Ru Hiana entered the pit. She stepped on the rocks protruding from the wall and made her way to the bottom. She soon saw the ground and got ready to jump down.

“Ah!” She suddenly felt something pull her by the ankles. By the time she realized it, her body had turned half a circle.

Flop!

She hit the floor hard before she could do anything.

“Ugh….” Ru Hiana’s eyes narrowed from the pain. Her face felt sticky, and she smelled the metallic smell of blood. It was extremely unpleasant. Ru Hiana looked up, perplexed. ‘This is…?’ She got up slowly and looked around her. She had never seen this place before. She had trouble seeing clearly in the dark, but she saw enough to be confused about how she ended up in this unfamiliar s.p.a.ce. Now that she thought about it, she had been chasing…Ru Amuh.

“Ah.” Ru Hiana finally regained her senses. It was like someone had poured water onto her and woken her up from her dream.

—Kkirik, kki, kki, kki, kki

She suddenly heard a series of strange noises.

“Ru-Ruahu?” Ru Hiana stuttered.

—Kkiugh, ugh, ugh!

She heard someone sobbing, or was it laughter deriding her? It was then the firelight coming from the inside of the entrance glimmered. It was only for a moment, but Ru Hiana saw them clearly—long, shadowy figures that flickered in and out of existence.

Shudder. Gooseb.u.mps popped up all over her body. A heavy silence abruptly swept the place, and she could neither hear nor see anything. However, she could feel it, a terrifying and menacing malice. And this intangible yet ominous aura engulfed the entirety of the empty s.p.a.ce until there wasn’t a corner untouched. At this moment, a memory flashed inside Ru Hiana’s mind like lightning. She reached for her belongings and pulled out a finely woven red silk thread that flowed out like waves. Ru Hiana lifted the silk thread high in the air and stopped. It was like she had suddenly stopped while dancing happily.

“Ha-ah…Ha-ah…”

Ru Hiana quelled her trembling breath and tried to understand the situation. The silence didn’t last long.

Dddddddddddu!

The whole area began to tremble. Dirt and sand fell from the ceiling, while the ground shook so intensely that Ru Hiana’s legs were vibrating. The red silk thread was also shaking along with everything. No, it wasn’t just shaking. It fluctuated wildly like it was full of wrath and ready to tear their opponent apart madly.

Ru Hiana felt a sudden pull from the other side of the silk thread and lost her grip. Rather than grabbing it from the ground, she remembered an instruction she was given and quickly turned on her hologram. She was surprised to see that her hologram was connected. She quickly clicked it with her finger.

‘Please… please…’

She called one of her saved contacts and quickly sent a message. When she looked forward again, the red silk thread was already in tatters. The mysterious being had been so enraged that even the nearby ground had slash marks all over it. The silk thread had been split in half and scattered into pieces like it had been shredded by a razor blade. The cloud of dust dispersed all over the place and suddenly settled down. Ru Hiana backed away with a fear-stricken face; it felt like a mysterious being with murderous intent was glaring at her.

‘Please!’ An entirely different sensation hit her. It felt like the being was going to swallow her whole. She squeezed her eyes shut intently. ‘Come quickly…!’

* * *

A couple of hours earlier.

“Let’s go in first and sleep.”

“What?”

“Of course, not without doing anything.”

Chi-Woo had told her to wait and went into the tent for a short while before returning to her.

“Could you tie this to yourself first, please?”

Ru Hiana looked at the rope Chi-Woo handed her. It was the rope that had been used to tie her up. “This is...”

“You promised before,” Chi-Woo said while wiping the sweat on his forehead, “That you will do anything to save Ru Amuh.”

Ru Hiana looked taken aback and stared at Chi-Woo contemptuously. “I don’t want to.”

“What do you mean? You definitely said you’ll do anything.”

“No. I can’t do it. I’ve never done anything like this, and until you save Ruahu…” Ru Hiana trailed off when she saw one of Chi-Woo’s eyebrows slowly go up.

Ru Hiana saw his reaction and asked to make sure, “Did I just misunderstand you?”

“Yes. But I did say it in a way that you would misunderstand. I’m sorry. It’s because I’m tired.” True to his words, Chi-Woo was completely soaked in sweat. He continued, “You don’t need to tie up your whole body; just tie it to a certain area—it can be your arm or ankle.”

“That’s not going to be very difficult, but…” Ru Hiana looked at him with suspicion. “Are you doing this because you think I’ll secretly run off by myself?”

“I’ve already considered that possibility in my plan.”

“Hm? What?”

“Let’s first get some sleep and rest a bit. We’ll head off once the sun rises.”

Ru Hiana had heard this before.

“It’s a simple plan. However, it was made on the premise that I would be able to successfully borrow the statue.”

“What if you can’t borrow it?”

“Then it can’t be helped. When that happens, I won’t stop you from leaving.” In other words, Chi-Woo would wash his hands of this whole situation.

Ru Hiana hesitated for a while and finally spoke, “You know…Ruahu…is probably dead, right?”

Chi-Woo stared at Ru Hiana with slight surprise. He thought she would say something like, ‘What if you can’t borrow the statue, and Ru Amuh dies in the meantime!?’

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“I don’t know that,” Chi-Woo replied while scratching his throat.

“I know that. Messaging works fine here, but how do I contact you when I’m outside—ah.”

“That’s why I’m going to borrow the statue.”

Ru Hiana looked at the red silk string in her hand. “Can I…ask why I have to do this?”

“Because I need to confirm something,” Chi-Woo replied simply. “If what we’re facing is the thing I’m familiar with, he’ll probably go crazy for it.”

“Go crazy for it?”

“Yes. But you still have to be careful. That string is just a means to confirm my speculation, so the only thing it’ll do is stalling for time.” Chi-Woo warned her again. “You don’t have to tell me in detail. Please just send me a brief message on what happened to that red string.”

“That won’t be difficult, but what if it doesn’t react to it?”

“Then run as fast as possible,” Chi-Woo said clearly. “I don’t know if you’ll be able to survive, but you have to give it your best. By the way, if I don’t receive a message, I’ll also be running away.”

Ru Hiana bit her lower lip. Even though she had said that she’d do everything, she still had her suspicions. However, it couldn’t be helped. She had to grab onto any straws for Ru Amuh, who might still be alive. But most of all, she had already witnessed Chi-Woo’s ability earlier.

“…I got it.” Ru Hiana spoke with a determined face and held out her pinky. “Let’s first register each other as contacts. I’ll do as you said. If you save Ruahu, I’ll keep my promise.”

Chi-Woo stared at the hand that Ru Hiana held out and presented his left wrist. Her pinky and his wrist touched, and a message that said, ‘one registration request received’ popped up. Since the interface was similar to that of a phone, it wasn’t difficult for Chi-Woo to use it.

Ru Hiana asked, “What do you want me to save your name as?”

“Whatever you want.” After registering Ru Hiana in his database, Chi-Woo let out another yawn. “I’m going to rest. Please don’t forget what I told you just now.” Chi-Woo tightly rolled the ends of the rope around his wrist.

Ru Hiana stared at him. Letting out a sudden sigh, she tied the rope around her ankle. She then went into the tent and sat in a corner, burying her face in her knees.

And then…

* * *

Pachichichichicihi!

At the same time, the sound of electricity crackling hit Ru Hiana’s ears.

—Kyaaaaaaaaaaaaakh!

A chilling scream a.s.saulted her, the horrifying sound sending s.h.i.+vers down her spine. Then she heard a familiar voice.

“Good. You did very well.”

Ru Hiana held her breath as she slowly opened her eyes. She saw a bizarre and grotesque black figure in front of her.

“Please just stay put now.”

She saw the back of the young man standing in front of the black figure. The person blocking the figure’s path was none other than Choi Chi-Woo.

“…What?”

Cracccccckle!

Chi-Woo looked at the quickly burning talisman with surprise. “Look at this punk.” He shook off the ashes of the burnt talisman and reached into his bag again.

“I didn’t know your response would be this enthusiastic. If I knew—”

At that moment, Ru Hiana clearly caught the expression on Chi-Woo’s face.

“I would have beat the c.r.a.p out of you in the storage room before.”

Chi-Woo had a graceful smile on his lips.

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