To Hell With Being a Hero!

로유진 - Ro Yu-jin

Chapter 33: Female President (9)

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Chapter 33: Female President (9)

Chi-Woo stood fixed to the spot for a long time, not moving even an inch. The information he saw shocked him so much that he had to read it several times before he regained his senses. Then he became so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t notice that one flower petal had wilted, and another one hung loosely like it was about to fall off.

“It’s getting late now. We have to go.” Hawa broke Chi-Woo from his pondering and reminded him of the pa.s.sage of time. Chi-Woo turned around blankly, and he staggered back to the path they had taken while keeping his mouth closed. Hawa walked forward and guided him from the front.

Meanwhile, Ru Amuh and Ru Hiana were beyond anxious and worried about their two companions. They argued among themselves, going back and forth with one saying, ‘We should wait a bit longer.’ And the other countering, ‘No, we should go to search for them right now.’ When they saw the bush in front of them rustle before Chi-Woo came out of it, they both sighed in relief. Of course, Ru Hiana was the one to complain angrily.

“Hey, senior! How could you come so late! Do you know how worried we were?” Ru Amuh tried to stop her, saying that they had to be quiet in this place, but Ru Hiana’s anger didn’t settle down easily. Since he knew he was in the wrong, Chi-Woo didn’t say much of anything else but a simple apology. Although his apology sounded insincere, Ru Hiana noticed the look on Chi-Woo’s face, and her rage quickly evaporated.

“Senior…did something happen?”

“What?”

“Your face…”

“Ah, it’s nothing. I was just thinking.”

“…You aren’t angry or anything, right?”

Chi-Woo made a weak smile. Ru Hiana worried if she had crossed the line, and from behind them, Ru Amuh glanced at Hawa and carefully observed Chi-Woo’s expression. Chi-Woo didn’t say anything back but instead stared at the empty s.p.a.ce in front of him. Since only one flower petal remained, the group set out to return to the main base camp. They didn’t accomplish much with this trip except confirm that this chilling forest was indeed very wide.

When they reached the base camp, they realized that they were the first ones to have returned. Having gone out at similar times, all other groups soon arrived after them. However, there was one group that they didn’t see; it was Giant Fist, Mua Janya, and Zelit’s team. All the petals on their flowers would have fallen off by now. Chi-Woo waited anxiously for some time, but they didn’t come back.

“Messaging them won’t work, right?”

“The connection is too weak. We can’t even contact everyone at the base camp.”

“Now that I think of it, didn’t that group have some quarrel before leaving?”

“They are really late. Shouldn’t we go look for them?”

People murmured, and Chi-Woo’s stomach tied in knots in worry. Out of all groups, it was the group he was most affiliated with that was missing.

‘Is it still…’ Chi-Woo checked the ‘Other’ section of ‘User Information’ on his hologram, but he only saw a message that said the World’s milestone was still on cooldown. It was then he heard someone exclaim, “Huh? Isn’t that them?”

“Yeah, it is. Why are they so late…Wait, hurry!” The nodding hero’s expression suddenly changed before he ran off. Chi-Woo also rushed towards the group and soon realized what the fuss was about. Eshnunna came in running so frantically that her usually neat hair was in a mess. Mua Janya and Zelit were moving as quickly as they could while supporting Giant Fist, as he laid his head sideways on their shoulders. The heroes who had run earlier than Chi-Woo quickly opened the entrance and helped carry Giant Fist past it. Even from a glance, anyone could see that Giant Fist was in a critical state. Like Ru Amuh had been when Chi-Woo first saw him, there was a deep gash on Giant Fist’s stomach, and a great amount of blood gushed out from it.

His face was pale with foams bubbling out of his mouth. His eyes were wide open, and his face was rigid as if he was about to enter a shock any moment.

“How did you end up like that!?” Ru Hiana shouted.

“Medical aid first!” Eshnunna looked fl.u.s.tered, too, but she immediately called out for the villagers and took Giant Fist to them.

“s.h.i.+t! This stupid b.a.s.t.a.r.d!” Soaked with sweat, Mua Janya kicked the innocent ground for no reason. Chi-Woo couldn’t take his eyes off Giant Fist as he grew farther away from him.

The day pa.s.sed by in a blur. Later, Chi-Woo heard from Mua Janya that it was completely Giant Fist’s own fault that he became critically injured. Like the troublesome fellow he had been inside the camp, he continued to stir up trouble outside. It seemed it had hurt Giant Fist’s pride as his groupmates appeared to blame him for the guide change. Thus, Giant Fist began to act out however he wanted. He didn’t listen to the guide—Eshnunna’s suggestions and kept going the opposite way. He tried to argue about every little thing, spoke in a rough manner, and Eshnunna had to endure all his abuse and rudeness.

And that wasn’t all; Giant Fist also picked fights with other heroes. He didn’t listen when Mua Janya tried to stop him, and he insulted Zelit by saying things like ‘Why is a n.o.body with the face of a dog telling me what to do?’ Considering all this, it was inevitable that Giant Fist would get into an incident. Even when the time was up and the exploration ended up futile, Giant Fist insisted on staying longer. Eshnunna tried to convince him that it would be dangerous, but Giant Fist only mocked her and didn’t listen.

After enduring for so long, Eshnunna couldn’t take it any longer and raised her voice slightly. Giant Fist exploded like he had been waiting for this moment, and he pushed Eshnunna away hard and swore at all of them to do what they wanted before going off on his own. Not long afterward, they heard Giant Fist scream; he had been ambushed by a cursed being. When Mua Janya and Zelit rushed over to the source of the noise, they saw Giant Fist groaning on the floor and found traces of someone having run away. That was where the story ended.

Giant Fist hadn’t woken up, but he wasn’t dead. His injury would’ve killed any ordinary person, but his strong body, honed from years of training, was keeping him alive. Giant Fist let out small, weak breaths, unfitting to his large stature. Chi-Woo stood to watch by his side for a while and ate his meal mindlessly before returning to his lodging place and lying on his bed. As soon as he lay down, he turned on his hologram and opened the records he had received during his exploration.

[Avoid the main base camp at all costs. Stay in a camp farthest away from the base camp or try to find another way out of the place on your own. It’s much better that way. If you are already there, it can’t be helped. You must try to run away. Before you leave, though, come up with a plan first. There’s no place that is safe, but there’s still some time.

No matter how dire the situation is, don’t die. Even death won’t be your ticket to escape. Stay inside your lodging place at night, and don’t wander around—this includes the inside of the camp as well as, of course, the outside. Don’t ever sneak into the building next to the lodging place. Perhaps the thing we are looking for is there. And above all, keep out of Eshnunna’s way. You must act mannerly to not offend her and avoid being her target. All the village people are in on this, but the boy might be different.

If someone guides you to this information coincidentally, don’t try to get too close to the girl since Eshnunna doesn’t like the Shahnazs. But in the case that you find a way, consider taking the boy and the girl and running away. I don’t know about the boy, but the girl is quite trustworthy. If Eshnunna approaches you separately and suggests going somewhere, refuse adamantly. Whatever her reason is, she will try to lead you into a trap. Bide time by whatever means and remember, you do not have much time. The clock is ticking as more recruits gather.

Don’t reveal this writing to people carelessly. If someone mentions and asks about me, always pretend ignorance. Besides, if you’re reading this, it also means you can see those guys and have the ability to get rid of them. But still, don’t ever let your guard down. There’s much that even I don’t know about. Stay on high alert and don’t act carelessly. Only move when you are completely certain. I beg you. Please help us…]

Chi-Woo read over the note over and over, but he had the same response every time. ‘I don’t know what’s going on.’ From what he heard, the hero was in a terrible mental state when they recorded this information. Perhaps they had drafted this letter haphazardly in a moment of sanity. It was disorganized and all over the place, so Chi-Woo didn’t know which point he should focus on, and if he should believe it at all—especially the part about Eshnunna.

‘It’s too shocking. Many of them could be mere guesses.’ The Eshnunna Chi-Woo had seen until now was the epitome of a great leader; she knew when to step down or push forward strongly. Why would this sorcerer paint Eshnunna as a villain? In what aspect did Chi-Woo have to look out for? Of course, something bad had already happened, and considering this record and the recent incident, there were reasons to be suspicious of Eshnunna. According to Mua Janya, however, it seemed that Giant Fist had been completely in the wrong. Chi-Woo turned off the hologram and shut his eyes.

‘I…’

He didn’t know what to do and how he should think about this record. Neither did he know how he should act from now on. He couldn’t get a sense of what to do at all. As he pondered over this, he heard someone approach. The door opened before a shadow crept in. Chi-Woo, who had been on guard, immediately got up.

“Shh.”

Chi-Woo was about to take out his club, but he stopped; the person who came in with an index finger on his lip was no other than Zelit.

“May I come in?”

“…”

“I know I shouldn’t say this after coming in though. Close the door quietly.” The latter part was directed to the person behind him. Upon closer look, Chi-Woo recognized the figure as Ru Amuh. He closed the door quietly and gave Chi-Woo a deep bow.

Chi-Woo was confused why they would come unannounced in the middle of the night. Moreover, it was even more suspicious that they were acting carefully to not get caught.

“I’m sorry about coming so suddenly,” Zelit apologized and revealed the purpose of his visit. “I want to talk to you for a bit.”

Now that he thought about it, Chi-Woo recalled Zelit saying that he wanted to talk privately. Then Chi-Woo became curious why Zelit also brought Ru Amuh, but he first led them to their seats. Soon after, the three of them sat loosely on the bed facing each other.

“I originally intended to come by myself, but this guy said your friend is in a life and death condition, so you must be having a difficult time. He wanted to join me and comfort you.”

“Ah.” Chi-Woo waved his hand to say that he was okay but stopped at Zelit’s next words.

“Well, it was a pretty good excuse. Since we can’t act too loudly in front of a heartbroken comrade, it was a good justification for us to act quietly. Even then, I hope we don’t get caught.”

“Sir, it wasn’t just an excuse. I wanted to comfort him while also fulfilling our goal,” Ru Amuh replied awkwardly.

“An ex…cuse? To not get caught?” Chi-Woo blinked in confusion.

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“Okay, I’ll start first,” Zelit said while staring at Chi-Woo. “Have you not noticed something strange?”

“About that.” Zelit hesitated, swallowing down what he was originally going to say. “…I don’t know.” He frowned with uncertainty but continued, “His behavior is suspicious, but as you know, I witnessed his actions firsthand.”

“Yes, that’s true.”

“Anyway I see it, it was Gripping Giant Fist and Rising’s fault. Eshnunna had no fault in this case.”

Ru Amuh tilted his head in confusion. “Then why did he…”

“Hmm. Before we get to that, I think I’m not the only one suspicious of Eshnunna.” Zelit looked towards him. “Aren’t you also suspicious of her?”

“Haha… I was planning to keep observing for the moment, since I could be wrong.” Ru Amuh admitted readily; there was no point hiding his suspicions anymore.

“Yeah, you say that, but you made it too obvious. When Ru Hiana was about to talk about his achievements, you purposely intervened and cut her off.”

“Ah. You noticed then already?”

“I only became sure after coming to the main camp. Ru Hiana hasn’t said a word about that since our arrival here. It’s probably the same for Eval Sevaru. I don’t know what he’s up to these days, though.”

“Yes. I made sure that she won’t speak a word about it anymore. Sir, I apologize again for acting so rashly that time.” Ru Amuh scratched his head and bowed to Chi-Woo. “I judged that it’d be better to just observe the situation first before revealing information about you. And you seemed to want to keep it a secret…”

Chi-Woo was speechless. Ru Amuh hadn’t acted like that because of Ru Hiana? It wasn’t because of jealousy. It was all for him.

“There’s a possibility that Gripping Giant Fist and Rising might have purposely acted out like that.”

“Yes, even more so because Sir Chi-Hyun was the one who specifically brought him. I thought it was a bit strange.”

“Yeah. Even though I heard that he’s rash, he’s a hero that Chi-Hyun of all people took interest in. Among all the heroes that went around with Chi-Hyun, there hasn’t been a single hero who was known to be problematic.”

Chi-Woo unexpectantly heard his brother’s name come up again. Even though he thought that Zelit’s reasoning for Giant Fist’s innocence was weak, he didn’t carelessly comment. Chi-Woo didn’t know a single thing about his brother as a hero.

“There’s only one difference between him and us. You and I have been hiding our true feelings, while Giant Fist has made his hostility very obvious.” Even though all of Zelit’s words were all speculations, there were many parts he was exactly right about. “It would be reasonable to say that’s the reason why he became the first target, but I don’t think that’s right.”

It was shocking. No, Chi-Woo was more than shocked—he felt chills run down his spine.

“No matter how much I think about it, the situation is full of contradictions.”

But Zelit wasn’t the only one dis.h.i.+ng out chilling speculations.

It was Ru Amuh as well. “It doesn’t make sense…Sir, I understand what you’re talking about to some extent.”

Giant Fist, Shahnaz Hawa, Salem Eshnunna, and even more people who might be hiding under a veil.

“Why did he decide to act out like that? For what reason? For what purpose?”

They had all been standing on a stage and acting with masks on their faces—while surrounding an entirely oblivious Chi-Woo.

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