Chapter 56: The First Method to Become a Respected Parent (2)
‘Why did you choose me?’
It was such an unexpected question that Chi-Woo stared at Ru Amuh blankly without answering.
“I’ve been trying my hardest to figure out the reason since that day.” Ru Amuh continued without looking away. “I thought hard about how I should use my powers from then on and did everything I could.” It wasn’t a lie. While they were marching, Ru Amuh had been struggling the most. He was the only person who had regained a tiny bit of his original heroic power. Thus, there were many responsibilities for him to shoulder and many roles for him to play, and he busied around all day long to help. He always stood at the forefront and tried to lead everyone. It was then he realized that no matter how long he led the group as a hero, he couldn’t give hope to those behind him like Chi-Woo had.
“This power…isn’t mine. It’s not a power I should’ve gained,” Ru Amuh said. “Those who died didn’t sacrifice themselves with me in their minds. They were thinking about you.” Ru Amuh lifted his sword slowly as he declared, “This sword is too heavy for me.”
“The sword you gave me feels so heavy that I just want to let it go.” After coming to Liber, Ru Amuh had to come to terms with his helplessness and incapability daily. That was why he envied and admired Chi-Woo in equal measure. Unlike the weakling Ru Amuh considered himself as, Chi-Woo had proven himself in crucial moments, which attested to the importance of his presence on Liber. Above all, he had taught everyone to not lose hope. Ru Amuh couldn’t do that. Rather than proving himself as a hero, he almost died. He had managed to survive this time, but it still felt like there was nothing he could do.
“You could’ve gotten this power or chosen another hero. But…!” Ru Amuh said with a self-deprecating look on his face before asking again, “…What is your reason, sir?”
Chi-Woo blinked. The atmosphere had turned much more serious than he had expected. ‘I knew he was righteous and sincere, but…’
He didn’t expect this level of stubborn integrity from Ru Amuh. Chi-Woo was at a loss for words like the time he talked to Eshnunna, but in a different sense. Ru Amuh’s reaction was preferable to someone who just accepted their power greedily and without much thought, but this was too much for Chi-Woo to handle. A part of him felt bothered since he had other matters to worry about. He scratched his head.
“Is that important for you to know?”
“Yes,” Ru Amuh said without hesitation. He seemed resolute, like he wouldn’t back down without hearing Chi-Woo’s response.
“Hmm…” Chi-Woo wondered how he should phrase his answer so that a hero with an overactive conscience like Ru Amuh would accept it.
“The reason I chose you…” There wasn’t much that came to his mind. After all, he had chosen Ru Amuh in a moment of crisis. “Before that, let me ask you one question.” In the end, Chi-Woo decided to confront him straight-on. “Why did you decide to come to Liber, Mr. Ru Amuh?”
“Were you simply following a G.o.d’s command? Were you not concerned at all whether this World fell into ruins?”
“That’s not it.” Ru Amuh shook his head.
“Then, why are you trying to save a World that doesn’t concern you?”
Ru Amuh couldn’t answer, and he looked at Chi-Woo with a troubled, blank look.
“See? Let’s not overthink this.” Chi-Woo wasn’t saying something particularly profound or meaningful. He just spluttered whatever came to his mind, hoping that Ru Amuh would drop the issue. “The answer is simple, really. You might have guessed it already, but I have no experience in melee combat, and I needed a hero who was skilled in that area of expertise at that time.”
“Yes, there were other heroes, but I was the one who had to make the choice, and I had to do it as quickly as possible without knowing how skilled the other heroes were,” Chi-Woo cleared his throat and said matter-of-factly. “I only knew a few heroes well, and you were one of them, Ru Amuh. You are a hero who resolved a star-cl.u.s.ter level event, and I had witnessed your skills in person. At that time, I simply made the judgment that you’ve ticked all the boxes and more.” Chi-Woo tilted his head like he was inviting Ru Amuh to find faults in his statements. “That’s all. There’s no other reason.” Then, when Chi-Woo noticed that Ru Amuh was about to say something, he quickly added, “If you are still wondering…Would you tell me why you chose to go through all this suffering on another planet first?”
‘I’m sure that’ll shut him up,’ Chi-Woo thought to himself and smiled.
Ru Amuh pursed his lips. He stared at Chi-Woo as the man grumbled about having to answer such silly questions. He still wasn’t satisfied. Even after hearing Chi-Woo’s explanation, he couldn’t understand. However, Chi-Woo’s question for him hit true and struck a deep, incomprehensible resonance in his heart.
[Why did you decide to come to Liber, Mr. Ru Amuh?]
It felt like someone had hit his head with a hammer.
The reason why he had saved Emertel.
And the reason why he had come to Liber. Chi-Woo had answered this question himself in the past.
[Well, what else but to save a World in danger?]
Chi-Woo’s goal was clear. All his choices and actions were based on that singular goal, and choosing Ru Amuh was simply a means to that end. Nothing more, nothing less. Chi-Woo seemed to be reminding him that they were both heroes who had come to Liber for the same purpose, and asking if they needed any other reason. The realization knocked Ru Amuh off balance and filled him with embarra.s.sment. Why did he struggle so much with this question? The truth was that he lacked personal motivation, and he had fallen into a trap like many new heroes before him. He was like those students who succeeded in everything–from pa.s.sing the entrance exam, going to a good college, graduating with astounding grades, and getting the job of their dreams. Once they finally got their dream job, they realized that it wasn’t a good fit for them.
Those who were too engrossed in hero plays didn’t even have to concern themselves with such matters. Due to his straightforward personality, however, Ru Amuh hadn’t even thought about his purpose for coming to Liber besides his G.o.d sending him here and hadn’t figured out his own motivation for saving this planet.
Chi-Woo had hit right on the mark. Ru Amuh hadn’t come to Liber to save it or to play the role of a hero; he had been nothing but a puppet that blindly heeded his G.o.d’s command.
Ru Amuh’s face flushed red. For a moment, he couldn’t look up. He squeezed his eyes shut and raised his head after a deep breath. When he carefully opened his eyes, he saw a great hero so dazzling that it hurt his eyes. Unlike him, who didn’t know what to do after saving a world, this hero held a firm, unwavering resolution to fulfill his heroic duty above all to save a planet that wasn’t even his. The hero probably had saved plenty more Worlds than him and was a hero among heroes. He could now understand Ru Hiana’s feelings when she struggled to find the words as she said, ‘This man is, this hero is…!’
“But I still don’t get it, sir,” Ru Amuh muttered. “I apologize, but I still can’t understand you.”
Chi-Woo clutched his forehead.
“I don’t know how I’m going to save Liber at all even with my mind made up.”
“Thus, please teach me.”
‘What the h.e.l.l is he saying suddenly?’ Chi-Woo wondered.
“Please tell me what I should do with my power. Please tell me how I can help you and save Liber.”
“What? Wait a moment.”
“Please teach me, sir.” Ru Amuh’s complexion brightened. It was like he had found his savior after falling off a cliff. Chi-Woo wondered what exactly Ru Amuh had misunderstood him about that he would have such a look of determination on his face.
“W-Why are you asking me?” Chi-Woo spluttered, overwhelmed by Ru Amuh’s eagerness. “Please deal with it by yourself. I am sure you will do well.”
“No. I can’t, sir.” However, Ru Amuh refused to budge. “You have to teach and lead me.”
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“Why must I?”
‘What the h.e.l.l is this? f.u.c.k.’ Chi-Woo fell into a habit whenever he faced a troublesome situation. It was to first close his eyes and then process the situation and his thoughts one by one. Unexpected messages had popped up; there must be an explanation. Chi-Woo pondered and suddenly recalled something. He hurriedly looked through his user information, and as expected, there was an update to the miscellaneous section. It said that his book had been unlocked—he didn’t even know when that had happened.
Chi-Woo had simply been wondering what nonsense Ru Amuh was spouting; whether Ru Amuh swore or pledged allegiance to him, he had no intention to accept it. However, finding out that the messages were a result of his ‘special privileges’ made him hesitate.
He had no choice but to reconsider. ‘Special privileges…’ First of all, Chi-Woo could now decipher the t.i.tle of the book to some extent—it probably meant that Chi-Woo should become a ‘parent’ for Ru Amuh, the ‘child’ in this equation. Considering the state of Liber, the book was probably telling him to guide Ru Amuh as a parent until he became an amazing hero capable of saving the world.
Chi-Woo's instincts were vehemently against the idea. He didn’t have the ability to raise another person when he couldn’t even take care of himself. However, his sense of reasoning was telling him the opposite. Every special privilege of his proved to be amazing in their own rights. There was no need to talk about how great the World’s Milestone was despite its reliance on luck, and the club and talismans were extremely helpful as well. In particular, the book was one of the special privileges he had obtained at the price of all of Laguel’s previous achievements. She was an angel who knew about Liber’s situation and Chi-Woo’s condition better than anyone else. Since she had warned him to take extreme caution in everything he did, the book was definitely not an ordinary item.
In a way, Chi-Woo had a feeling that she might have arranged this situation to help him because she knew about his worries in advance. The one thing his privileges shared was the connection between them. The World’s Milestone had given him the choice to save Ru Amuh, and there must be a reason for that.
‘7 Ways to Become a Great and Respected Parent.’ Like manure that helped seeds sprout and bloom, parents were those who made sacrifices for their children. However, they weren’t only sacrificial figures. There was no one in the world who was born as a parent. Everyone was born as a child and grew up to become an adult, and eventually a parent. Adults didn’t stop growing. They continued to grow and mature after having children. In this way, it was more accurate to call parenting a mutual learning process for both the child and the parent.
‘If I raise him well, he might support me later on in the future…’
A hero raised well was better than ten mediocre heroes. No one could foresee the future. ‘Who knows? Maybe he’ll let me retire after working so hard to raise him once he’s all grown up.’ Then Chi-Woo would enjoy his remaining years under Ru Amuh’s care.
Chi-Woo chided himself with a wry smile for daydreaming prematurely. The happy ending he couldn’t help but imagine must have meant that he was leaning toward accepting the role. He had been thinking about needing more strength anyway, which further cemented his resolve. Even if he was clutching at straws, it was better than nothing. Chi-Woo didn’t want to miss this opportunity—no, he couldn’t miss it. However, since he didn’t know what the results of his choice and actions would be, he needed to tell Ru Amuh beforehand.
“Mr. Ru Amuh.” Chi-Woo finally broke his silence and spoke up. “Have you perhaps heard of the igio-sword?”
Ru Amuh, who had been anxiously waiting for Chi-Woo’s replies, blinked several times. “Sir, are you talking about an ego-sword?”
“Yes, I know what it is…”
Meeting Ru Amuh’s inquisitive gaze, Chi-Woo replied, “I don’t want a sword that listens to me blindly.”
Ru Amuh’s eyes widened in confusion.
“I don’t want a sword that just swings in whichever direction I swing it.”
Ru Amuh let out a small exclamation as he finally understood what Chi-Woo was talking about.
“I want a sword that can move on its own, refuse to move when it’s necessary, and stop the user from swinging it when the situation calls for it.” Chi-Woo didn’t need a sword that just waited for orders; he wanted Ru Amuh to make decisions for himself and move accordingly. In other words, Chi-Woo wasn’t looking for a relations.h.i.+p between master and servant, but a mutually respected partners.h.i.+p. He would accept Ru Amuh as long as the man stood beside him proudly rather than blindly following him behind his back. The image Chi-Woo painted coincided with what Ru Amuh truly wanted, and his trust in Chi-Woo increased further.
[Ru Amuh’s trust in you has increased by 0.5%.]
While Chi-Woo was taken aback by the new message, Ru Amuh answered strongly, “Yes sir!”
“…Good.” Chi-Woo regained his senses and nodded as another message popped up.
[You have chosen Ru Amuh, ‘The Promised Boy’ as your first star.]
Countless messages popped up and filled Chi-Woo’s vision, and all he could hear were the notification sounds.
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