To Hell With Being a Hero!

로유진 - Ro Yu-jin

Chapter 49: Consequences of One's Choices and Actions (5)

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Chapter 49: Consequences of One’s Choices and Actions (5)

“It’s about the forces behind the two types of beings.”

Zelit scowled. He didn’t expect to hear this from the leader of the fifth recruits; the words ‘forces’ and ‘two types of beings’ in particular piqued his attention.

“By two types of beings…do you mean the cursed ones who had gone mad and the broken ones?”

The hero nodded.

“There were different forces pulling the strings behind the scene?”

“Yes,” the hero said while gasping for air. “What do you think is the reason why the mutation happened in the first place?”

Zelit paused, stopping himself from calling the hero’s statements nonsensical. “Based on what you said …” After organizing his thoughts, Zelit asked, “Are you insinuating that the mutations were artificially fostered rather than a natural occurrence?”

Someone was purposefully bringing about these mutations, and there was a power overseeing the cursed ones and the broken ones respectively.

“Why? For what reason?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” the hero said in a low voice. “To expand their army.”

“So that they can keep us in check?” Ru Hiana asked, and the hero laughed a terribly self-deprecating laugh.

“Of course not,” he stated firmly. His voice grew weary as he continued, “Why would beings coming to this world with such tremendous power care about weaklings like us? We don’t even have the right to stand on this World’s battle stage, nor do we warrant a lick of their attention. That’s the reality.” In other words, even if all the recruits from the Celestial Realm and the natives of Liber came together, anyone would be hard-pressed to call them a formidable force in comparison to the other players here.

“How much do you know about the situation on Liber?”

The fifth recruits were different from the sixth and seventh. They were transmitted to the central base set up by Choi Chi-Hyun. They had traversed far and overcome many difficulties before arriving at this camp, so they must know more about the situation outside.

“It’s a complete mess.” After Liber’s ruling G.o.ddess Elephthalia went mad, the unprotected World fell into ruins, and was soon invaded by a wandering alien force. And that wasn’t all. As the boundaries existing in the World broke down, the demons living on the other side took their chances to ambush the mortal realm. Even the Abyss, which had been expelled underground at the beginning of Liber’s creation according to legends, began to crawl upwards.

The situation deteriorated to the point that even different kinds of monsters felt the threat of extinction and formed a coalition. There was no need to detail the events that followed—the human race that had been ruling over the Middle World of Liber for a long time was rendered powerless and insignificant, and thus the rapid decline of mankind commenced. Four giant powers then aimed for the now vacant spot ruling over the Middle World. There was only one possible way for things to unfold. A war to determine the fates of the different forces took place; they fought for territories they had always wanted as their own.

“Those who captured us wanted us to join them.”

“What?”

“It would be more accurate to say that they wanted to absorb us.”

The first thing the broken beings did to the recruits was to corrupt them. The recruits were cast to the large clump of broken beings and exposed to its impurity day and night. However, the heroes were extremely strong-willed and wouldn’t break easily. Thus, the broken beings changed tactics, opting to slowly erode the heroes’ mental fort.i.tude through all kinds of gruesome torture, until there was nothing but anger and hatred left in their minds. Then they could kill and turn heroes into vengeful spirits.

Chi-Woo couldn’t hide his shock. If the hero was telling the truth, the broken beings had attempted to use the recruits for yeomae. Yeomae was a type of enchantment so evil and dark that it had been made illegal during the Joseon dynasty.

“During the process…I felt their thoughts keenly.” While enduring the nonstop torture and corruption, the hero had felt a strong intent. Although he hadn’t heard directly from the broken beings, he was able to sense the reasoning and meaning behind their actions. “I can’t pinpoint exactly which force it is, but…those beings…they were using the broken beings to block…another force from mutating the cursed beings and forming an army through them.” Of course, they were also increasing their own numbers by doing that.

“Perhaps,” Ru Amuh opened his mouth after a resounding silence, “The fact that cursed beings appeared after broken beings became powerless shows that the two forces are battling.”

Similar to how a h.e.l.lish swarm of flies attracted other bugs, the broken beings had absorbed parts of the cursed beings they infested. Not only did this undermine the power behind the cursed beings, but it simultaneously bolstered their effort in experimentation. It was much easier to take over the cursed beings rather than the heroes since the cursed beings had already lost their minds.

At the end of the explanation, Zelit’s face was white as a sheet. Connecting all that he had heard before to this newfound knowledge, it dawned on him just how severe the situation was. To summarize, Force A captured and corrupted individuals into the cursed ones for the purpose of expanding their army. Force B had the same goal and used the broken ones to hinder them. While these two forces fought, an unexpected variable came down to this world from the Celestial Realm.

Force B was curious and tried to use this variable to their advantage. However, things didn’t go as they had expected; not only did things unfold in a way they didn’t expect, their plan was also completely ruined. Therefore, both forces were compelled to take measures accordingly.

Force A would want to find out why the plan they had put so much time and effort into had derailed, while Force B would take actions that would most likely impact the recruits. The heroes and the natives were completely cornered.

While everyone remained silent, Chi-Woo remembered something the White Horse General had told him.

[…It ran away.]

[One of them ran away. There’s a high possibility that’s the culprit.]

Everything seemed to be falling into place. Perhaps the being that had escaped was a member of Force B.

Zelit turned to Chi-Woo, his gaze silently pleading for Chi-Woo to tell him that this wasn’t the case—that everything the hero said was nonsense, that he had been spouting lies because he was bewitched. However, Chi-Woo shook his head. Chi-Woo had searched the hero carefully beforehand and made sure that the hero wasn’t bewitched; he couldn’t have been more clear-headed.

Zelit dropped his face into his hands and wiped it a couple of times. After a forceful rub, he asked, “Is that why you told us to run away? Why didn’t you guys do so?”

“We didn’t have a choice,” the hero replied.

“You came here from the central base; you could’ve gone back there.”

“That’s not such a simple task.” The hero shook his head. “Leaving the central base was a gamble, and it was a blessing from the heavens that we managed to make our way here.”

“Gamble and blessing…”

“As soon as we crossed the country’s border, we lost half of our recruits.We lost another half on our way to this base camp.” And once they arrived at this camp, they had lost most of the remaining half. The hero looked bitter. “Moreover…even if we had returned to the central base…all we could do was wait until we died. It’s pointless.”

“What? Even at the central base?”

“The central base does fare better than this camp. It’s less dangerous.” Rather than ‘safer’, the hero had described it as ‘less dangerous’. His intent was clear. “However, the central base suffers from the same fundamental problem as everywhere else.”

“By fundamental problem, do you mean...”

“There is no G.o.d.”

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Zelit sighed. Without a G.o.d, it was difficult for a hero to acquire any sot of backup. “Not even one?”

“Rather than certain death…won’t it be better to bet your life on a path where you’d have a chance to survive?” Seemingly having antic.i.p.ated Zelit’s thoughts, the leader of the fifth recruits smacked his lips several times before quietly saying, “There is a way if you want to stay here.”

Zelit looked up and realized what the man was suggesting.

“Sacrifice.” The word alone was enough to make Eshnunna’s heart sink. “Even restoring the power of one of you would make a difference. In fact, I don’t expect whoever it was to be restored to their full power. Still, if you slowly build up the individual’s strength and establish a foundation…”

Then there would be a possibility for the tide to be turned since every hero was qualified to receive the blessing of a G.o.d. Of course, one person alone would not be able to save Liber, but at least there would be the possibility of change.

Even though everyone knew what the hero was saying, they hesitated to agree with him. Because…

“I…won’t apologize to you,” the hero said in the direction he had heard Eshnunna’s voice coming from.

Eshnunna stood still and stared down at the ground. She softly replied, “…I know.” She sounded completely different from when she was talking to the sixth recruit insulting her. “On the other hand, I—”

“There’s no need for you to apologize, either.” The fifth hero recruit spoke like what had happened between them was merely a conflict resulting from their unaligned goals. Then he turned his head back and said, “This is all I have to say. The choice is yours.”

They had two options: to fight knowing it would almost certainly lead to their death, or to take a gamble and make a run for it while also risking their lives. Or….

“Lady Eshnunna, I have urgent news!” The exclamation was accompanied by hurried footsteps, and the door burst open. The villager who came in looked like they had just seen a ghost, and their face was deathly pale. “The Shahnaz….the Shahnaz Camp…” Everyone, including Eshnunna, stiffened when the word ‘Shahnaz’ was uttered. “They escaped here!”

People looked confused by the villager’s words. They had escaped here?

Eshnunna asked, “Are you saying that they fled to the main camp?”

“Yes! They’re here right now, outside…!”

Even before the villager could finish talking, another one came running and shouted, “I have grave news!” The second villager’s message was the same as the first. People from another camp had escaped here as well. Disasters seemed to have befallen multiple camps at the same time, as reports from villagers came in one after another. When the ninth villager was about to enter—

“What are you doing?” a middle-aged woman demanded in a tense voice. “It’s been a while since I asked you to send news about us. Why hasn’t there been a response?!” The person raising her voice was no other than the Shahnaz Camp’s guard captain, Rawiya. “Since the situation is dire, I’ll disregard the formalities.”

Rawiya looked around and said with a loud voice, “If you have ears, listen carefully. The cursed ones have begun moving.” She spoke simply, but the situation was not simple at all. “It’s not just us. Judging from what I heard from the different camps, it seems that they’re coming in all directions.”

They were being surrounded.

Zelit quickly asked, “Is it only the cursed ones? What about the mutated ones?”

Rawiya bit her lip and gritted her teeth. “From what I’ve heard, several people have seen green-level mutated ones as well. We saw one ourselves, but there are camps that saw three.”

The heroes sighed. According to the leader of the fifth recruits, the broken ones that tried to kill and use the recruits had been suppressing the cursed ones, but Chi-Woo had ruined Force B’s plan by rescuing the fifth and sixth recruits. It had been six days since that happened; it was enough time for both forces to catch on. As a result, Force A had sent out the cursed ones today in order to find out what exactly had transpired in the forest and to sniff out any threats.

“I’m afraid…” the leader of the fifth recruits deeply sighed and said, “You don’t have a choice, either…”

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