Translated by Lei
Proofread by Masadeer
The clear, pure, and clean cobalt waters of the Mediterranean flowed below the resort.
Having changed into cool flower print shorts, I was now drinking fresh tropical fruit juice while sitting on a beach chair, in the shade. It’d been briefly noisy because of Ms.Wang losing her senses upon seeing the ocean, but we’d soon all taken up rooms in the resort with people we liked. After a Mediterranean lunch, which was comprised of all sorts of seafood, we were enjoying a relaxing afternoon.
‘A place like this is a scenic paradise, there’s nothing more I could want.’
This was the ideal relaxation that I had dreamed of. A youthful adolescence enjoyed with the ever-so-blue sea and the world’s most beautiful women at my side in hot, but not sticky weather.
Even though he was rotting in money, I wasn’t jealous at all of my master, who locked himself up in the underground magic tower and guffawed while watching TV.
So what if he was an 8th Circle Mage.
I wasn’t jealous at all. After all, he had been so crazy about magic that he never got to ride the stormy period of adolescence, a truly important time in life.
“Hahahaha! S-stop that!”
‘Huhu, everyone went to the swimming pool, I see.’
As was seemly for a 6-star hotel, in terms of facilities, it didn’t fall behind any first-class hotel. With a spa, sauna, swimming pool, buffet, restaurant, bar, yoga studio, fitness gym, library, and etc., there was nothing it didn’t have. Moreover, we could use all the facilities as much as we wanted. Matching their lively youth, the kids had eaten lunch, changed into their swimsuits without a hitch, and had gathered in the swimming pool.
‘Shall I go, too?’
For some reason, Marisol had prepared a suite room for my private use.
‘Ye-rin is probably there, too. And… Ms. Lee as well. Huhuhu.’
The artful bodies of the two women made my chest burn at the mere thought of them. With bated breath, I headed to the outdoors swimming pool.
The slightly nasally voice of a woman called me as I walked towards the swimming pool.
‘Hot damn! Is that really the body of a human being?’
A sensuous body with a Venus-level, slender S-line, which didn’t even know the meaning of flat! Her large boobs of absolute fertility would make even milk cows cry and hail them as ‘your highnesses’. The important parts were just barely hidden by two white strings, and painted in white jade skin was her slim, pencil-thin waist, so small that it was regrettable. Under that were her sexy legs, as stretched out as the highway. Tied together with string was her swimsuit, which could certainly be called panties.
‘Big sis Marisol, why do you want to make this young one fall into cardiac arrest?’
Having appeared like the the reincarnation of a perfect beauty, Marisol would make even an ascetic who had undergone meditation training for 30 years, and was about to reach nirvana, ask to drink a glass of rice liquor with her. The peculiar smile on her lips was pouring oil all over my blazing heart.
“Ha, haha, Marisol.”
My eyes moved wildly as I smiled awkwardly.
“Hyuk, do you have time in the evening today?”
“Huh? T-the evening?”
‘Big sis, why do you ask. Keuu, of course I’ve got plenty of time.’
“Maybe. I have to make a campfire with the kids, and also…”
Contrary to my thoughts, the sounds that came out of me were half rejection. I had no confidence that I’d be able to take it if Marisol were to come out like this at night, too. I was still just a rugged panther that had only grown enough to move out of his parent’s house.
“Hoho, I will wait for you. Even if I have to stay up all night…”
After saying some strangely suggestive words, Marisol threw a wink at me.
‘My heart’s gonna burst. Seriously…’
Even without this, her looks that resembled Sophie Marceau made my heart go thumping every time I saw her. But Marisol had explicitly invited me.
‘Aaagh! How can a butt be so attractive!’
I watched Marisol’s back as she walked towards the ocean after leaving me a wink. Every time her explosively sexy tush twitched, the flesh on my cheeks also twitched.
‘Until the East Sea’s waters run dry and Mt. Baekdu is worn away…’
And I began singing the national anthem.
Just about every man knew that singing the national anthem was the best thing for cooling a blazing heart.
* * *
“I’m so happy! I’m so happy I could die!”
The gently blowing Mediterranean wind tickled the long palm leaves as it whispered past, and the fairies under the trees were immersed in playing in the water, unaware that a woodcutter was visiting.
[T/N: Refers to a famous Korean folktale. A woodcutter manages to take a fairy as his wife by hiding her winged clothing while she is bathing. For the full story, look it up.]
‘For Hye-jin to have a body like that! Oohh, Joo-hee’s body gives off such luster—!’
Honestly, besides Ye-rin and Ms. Lee Ji-hae, I hadn’t expected much from the other girls in our class. But a few of the ladies splashing like freshly caught mermaids were more than enough to make me happy.
And upon discovering two women who didn’t disappoint my expectations, I nodded. I didn’t know when the two of them had become friends, but they were chummily lying on beach chairs and enjoying a sun tan.
They were just 10 meters away from me.
Even without Magic Eye, which would let me see far distances, I was perfectly able to record everything about the two girls in my mind.
That was what the young man Morco spluttered every time he saw his fake wife, Song Dam-bi in the show, ‘We Got Married Yesterday.’
[T/N: The actual show is called ‘We Got Married.’ It pairs up celebrities in make-believe marriages. One of the pairs was a model named Marco and a singer/actress named Son Dam-bi.]
The exclamation was really, vibrantly satisfying to say. It was the ultimate exclamation for a woman who brought infinite delight to your eyes, and even set your spirit ablaze. Though they fell short of Marisol, there was only one word that was sufficient to express the silhouettes of the incredibly smooth bodies of the two ladies who were lying down with their knees slightly bent.
‘Dayummm’ was the only word that cut it.
If Marisol’s figure was the Angelina Jolie style westerner’s figure, then even though the two girls fell slightly short, they were still well-proportioned beauties who would definitely show anyone looking that this was the beauty of the East.
‘I made an outstanding choice!’
My goal had been to have a vacation that completely blew away the fatigue in my body and mind. It was an unexpected, spontaneous vacation that was meant to crush Hwang Sung-taek, but as far as choices went, it was totally awesome.
The saying, ‘Catch the pheasant, pick the egg, and kill two birds with one stone’ existed for a situation like this.
“Hyuk, what’s up?”
I heard a friendly voice from behind my back. With a feeling of foreboding, I turned my head slightly.
‘Holy shit! Oh Lord!’
Maybe this is how it would feel to be on an incredibly refreshing walk on the beach with the woman you loved, and then have a small bird poop right into your eyes. It was so disconcerting that I didn’t know where to put my eyes.
“What? What’s wrong? Is there something on my face?”
Ms. Wang was startled by my scream, which was unusual coming from me. She must have played for a long time on the beach, because her caked-on makeup had been completely washed away, revealing her naked face.
‘Gaaah, dear Lord! Why did you send me this kind of trial!’
It was as if I was experiencing a terrible Freeze magic, which not only cooled my feelings a hundred-fold more effectively than singing the national anthem, but also froze them. The beautiful memories I had made while looking at Marisol, Ye-rin, and Ms. Lee Ji-hae were attacked and reformatted by a virus.
Her poorly proportioned body wasn’t even a 6 head-to-body ratio but a 5 head-to-body ratio.
[T/N: Head-to-body ratio is how long your body is compared to your head. The Korean ideal is a body that is 10 times longer than the head, which equals a small head and very long legs. So basically, Ms. Wang has a big head and a squat body.]
I hadn’t expected her to have long hair. However, she must have harvested some kelp from the beach, because a string of seaweed was stuck in her muddy, curly hair.
The horror of the naked face below was…
At least in school, it wasn’t this bad. She had some mercy, because she went around with her face caked in makeup, which made it bearable to see. But, even if it was a slight exaggeration, the face that was revealed under the scorching Mediterranean sun made me want to take out my eyes and wash them in clean water.
‘Where did her eyebrows go? And what is that field of blackheads supposed to be?’
I thought the story about the man who saw his wife after she came out of the shower during their honeymoon and yelled, ‘WHERE IS MY WIFE” was just a legend, but…
That was how much of a shock Ms. Wang Sun-nyeo’s face was to me— it was truly a face I hadn’t ever imagined until now. It was enough to make my illusions about women immigrate all the way to Africa.
‘Dear Lord, why do you grant me both joy and misery at the same time?!’
She hadn’t even had a baby, but an ET level potbelly could be freely seen above her swimsuit— at the sight of such a teacher putting on the air of an alluring(?) woman in front of me, I clenched my eyes shut. If I looked at her any longer, I would receive such mental damage that I wouldn’t be able to go to school anymore.
“Hyuk, what’s wrong? Are you hurt somewhere?”
After closing my eyes without responding, I felt a black evil stretching towards my forehead.
‘I can’t let that happen! The purity I’ve guarded up till now will be—!’
The warmth that was quickly approaching my face shocked me back to my senses.
“Ah! I-it sure is hot!”
In the moment of crisis when my teacher’s hand was about to meet my flesh, I whirled around right then and there, and flung myself into the swimming pool. All throughout, I was doing my best to erase the magic formula that made you shit blood, a spell that frequently popped into my head…
* * *
“Eh, ehh? What’s going on?”
After returning his disciple to his native country and losing someone to nag at everyday as a result, Archmage Aidal watched the idiot box broadcasts of various nations to kill time. For the first time in a while, he went down to the basement to check the magic circle and stammered his surprise.
“The mana is exploding, it’s exploding!”
Though he’d thought it would stay stable for a year at the very least, providing time for his outstanding disciple to get used to magic, the mana of the Dimensional Travel circle was rampaging. Because it was an enormous amount of mana that he had done his best to concentrate, produce, and gather for the sake of dimensional travel, if it exploded, not only the magic tower, but hundreds of kilometers of the surrounding area would certainly become a sea of flames.
“Hyuk, I’m sorry. Though you were supposed to have fun for a while… sobsob! Never forget the feelings of love this master of yours has for you.”
All of Hyuk’s card activity, as well as his everyday life, was thoroughly reported to the Mage Aidal. Aidal had been awed by his disciple’s remarkable adaptability— Hyuk happily took the gifts and used them as if they were his. In any case, the money Aidal had earned on the Earth was so deeply invested that even if Hyuk were to use hundreds of thousands a day, it still wouldn’t run dry.
Even so, Aidal was amazed by the sight of such a young guy spending hundreds, thousands, and now millions, for the sake of bragging to his classmates.
If he had been curious about how his so-called master was faring, he could have asked the female staff member Aidal had dispatched from the group, but his disciple seemed to have completely erased his master from his mind.
And without knowing what kind of price tag was on the pleasures he was enjoying, his disciple was now savoring bliss.
“Lala~ lalala~ why am I so happy~ huhuhu.”
Every time he saw his disciple, who was living a life without regrets, a life Aidal had been unable to enjoy in his youth, Aidal’s stomach had burned. And every time the mana in the magic circle writhed, Aidal experienced the refreshing joy of a 100-year-old indigestion going away.
“Young life~ young life~ the young life of youth~ when you’re old you can’t have it~”
While humming a song he’d heard on a trip in Korea, many years ago, a song that had strangely reminded him of his regretful youth, Aidal hurriedly moved his hands. All while rejoicing at the future of his one and only disciple, one who didn’t understand his master’s kindness.
* * *
“You cannot go to Dhonakuhli Island. There is already a guest who reserved that place… Ah!”
Raivan stopped breathing as a muzzle was pressed into his chest. He was the hydroplane pilot who escorted guests to the Maldives resort, Nikanilu Resort, on Dhonakulhi Island.
“If you don’t want to hear the sound of a hole getting ripped into your heart, depart. Don’t make me say it twice.”
Three people from the East had suddenly sought him out and abruptly demanded that he take them to Nikanilu Resort. The smell of blood that radiated from their bodies told Raivan that these weren’t ordinary people. In particular, he could feel an unspeakably cold aura from one with the big, burn-like scars on his forehead.
* * *
“Hyuk, it’s so beautiful!”
Wasn’t there a saying that you should speak of the Mediterranean’s sunset if you haven’t seen it before? As if even the blue coral was sleeping, the emerald sea soaked up the magic dust of Time and was turned into red rubies under the sun’s rays.
Surrounded by such a red sunset and the ocean view, I walked down the beach with an angel, enjoying Ye-rin’s warm hand, which had casually grabbed mine tightly.
‘Ye-rin, you’re so beautiful, you steal my breath away.’
Having dashed into the swimming pool thanks to Ms. Wang Sun-nyeo, I dragged Ye-rin and Ms. Lee from their relaxation to have fun together. Using the water play as an excuse, my hands were able to freely appreciate the feel of Ye-rin’s and Ms. Lee’s silky skin.
And now, it was evening.
The kids who’d played in the water for several hours went to rest in their rooms, and Ye-rin agreed to my request to walk together on the beach with a smile, following me out.
“This is like a dream. It makes me think that the honeymoon I’ve wanted since I was a teenager must feel like this.”
As soon as I heard the word ‘honeymoon,’ my heart raced wildly, like a crazy runaway horse.
What did you think of when it came to honeymoons?
The first night, short yet long, together with the one you loved.
An evening spent at a beautiful resort.
Drinking wine as red as passionate blood, as you looked at each other with sweet gazes.
And then came the fated time.
Apparently people these days skipped all that and started the money talks instead, but how could you ruin the one and only honeymoon in your life with something so stupid?
“Hyuk… I’m more happy because… you’re by my side.”
This is what it was like to be blurred by tears. Right now and right here, I was getting confessed to by a kind angel, who had beautiful looks that had nothing to fear in the world.
Now there was no one to be jealous of.
Our feet had stopped moving at some point.
Our feet half submerged in the water, with the shimmering sunset backdrop around us, Ye-rin and I stared into each other’s eyes.
Even if I’d never been taught it, how could I not know.
I gathered her two hands, which had been holding mine, and slowly pulled them to my chest.
“I wanted to see you.”
With me suddenly saying I’d wanted to see her, Ye-rin’s large, black pearl-like eyes blinked.
“Did you know? That you’re a person I’d want to see even when I’m looking at her.”
It was a slick combination of words that mixed cooking oil, butter, and even sesame oil, which even I could only be surprised by.
In that moment, the sun’s light splashed onto Ye-rin’s lips, slowly painting them apple red.
I quietly called my angel’s name, my breath gradually growing rough.
Our faces slowly drew closer, like magnetism. Or rather, It was as if I were the blood-craving Count Dracula, Ye-rin’s red lips somehow attracted mine to hers.
The first kiss I’d only imagined for 17 years… True to the saying that the first kiss would cut deeply into your memory, this fateful time was something I’d remember with delight, even when lying in the grave.
Somehow, unbelievably, Ye-rin’s eyes had closed, her eyelashes were trembling.
Her wordless consent.
My heart, which had gotten faster not long ago, was now beating wildly against my ribcage, as if it were pummeling it with a laundry bat.
‘Just a little closer… a little closer!’
The rough breathing of a soldier who had to capture an enemy’s mountain fortress came puffing out of my mouth. And then Ye-rin’s full cherry lips were only a few centimeters away. Now it would be game over if I just clenched my eyes shut and pushed my lips onto hers.
In that moment, while I was flushing with joy, I felt a shudder run through my entire body.
‘Why in a moment like this!’
Suddenly plunged into a difficult situation, like having to choose between saving either your mom or your girlfriend, my body quivered violently.
The meal was all set, it would be over if I pressed forward by just a finger’s width, but an enlightenment had happened to strike me now.
I hadn’t even cast all the 3rd Circle magic yet, but the sudden surge of joy and expectation brought with it an enlightenment. From what I’d heard from Master, for Mages, overcoming the limit of the circle was exactly half as difficult as conquering Mt. Everest with your bare body, but it didn’t seem like such a wall existed for me.
Something squirmed in my heart— it was the circle trying to elevate itself to a new limit.
But I had to make a decision.
There was no knowing when an enlightenment would come. I could plunge myself into the world of mana by following the enlightenment, or unsparingly light this time on fire with Ye-rin.
Because it wasn’t a short moment, Ye-rin was also feeling that something was wrong. The temperature I could feel from Ye-rin’s hand was running cold, and then—.
I made my decision and pressed my lips onto Ye-rin’s.
Our lips met with a clear and bright sound.
With a word of apology, I left Ye-rin, who was startled by the feeling on her lips, and without even looking back, I ran to a place with no one else around.
Thu-thu-thu-thu-thump! I ran without looking behind me.
‘Aaggh, the fate of a cursed Mage!’
I made my choice. Rather than the royal road that would have stretched forth with Ye-rin, I chose the enlightenment as a Mage.
Tears blurred my path.
But I did not stop.
Because no matter how untimely, a young mischievous imp had gifted me with the opportunity for enlightenment.
* * *
In order to not miss the enlightenment that had come, I entered a forest shrouded in darkness.
This was the moment I would rise to not the 3rd Circle, but the 4th Circle. By the Law of Mana Drainage, the moment the 4th Circle was formed, there would be a powerful outward surge.
I sat crosslegged in the quiet forest, and when I drew in mana by breathing through the channeling method Master had told me, the circle thrashed within my heart. It was such an intense feeling that it couldn’t even be compared to when the 3rd Circle had formed. Moreover, the mana positioned in the upper and lower danjeons moved in conjunction, so the feeling of a new circle being formed drew closer with a heart-crushing shock.
‘Gaaah! I, I have to overcome it!’
I’d heard of people whose mana had scattered from the unfamiliar pain during circle formation, turning them into cripples. I clenched my teeth and circulated my mana according to the channeling method.
Then, all of a sudden, as if space itself was expanding, the circle in my heart rapidly enlarged. Like a snake shedding its skin and emerging into a bigger body, the 3rd Circle that I hadn’t even gotten totally used to yet extended into my entire body.
But then, suddenly, instead of condensing back into my heart, it started forming a band in my waist area!
‘What the hell!’
If Master were here, I’d at least be able to ask him as much as I wanted, but I was shocked by this unseen, unheard of phenomenon.
‘That’s right. Master said I was the first to train using this mana channeling method, right?’
He had combined the internal chi channeling that he’d received from the ascetic monk with his own mana channeling method, creating a new mana channeling method. Even Master wouldn’t know what was going on.
‘I-is this gonna be okay?’
Ease and doubt settled after the pain. I was astonished by the feeling of four distinct circles encircling my waist area like the rings of Saturn instead of being near my heart.
‘Have I really become a 4th Circle Mage?’
I was seriously doubtful. What if I died tragically in the middle of casting magic because of this circle, which just had to position itself weirdly?
‘Then I’ll lightly try 1st Circle magic first…’
This was a world in which even bridges could fall while you were driving over them. Feeling as if I were pounding a cement bridge, I thought of the 1st Circle magic that could be cast without an activation incantation.
“OHH! Nice! This is exactly it!”
With my dainty incantation, Light magic as bright as a searchlight lit up the forest. I could feel less mana was being drained than when I cast it with the 3rd Circle, and the mana itself was stable.
While I was at it, I wanted to see for myself. My power as a 4th Circle Mage who’d been able to get a generous bonus on top of the norm.
I experienced the spectacle of the magic formula and will getting drawn out in my head, and the mana inside my circle combining with the mana of the earth.
A red magic ball of flame the size of a bicycle wheel floated up in the space about five meters away from me. Even though I hadn’t even invested all the mana I had, it was the biggest Fire Ball I had created so far.
‘Huhu, now I’ll have nothing to fear from not just boars, but even boar patriarchs! Uhahahahaha!’
As a Mage, this was exactly the kind of enjoyment you earned from an enlightenment. Although it was joy only I knew about right now, I was still happy. Going from a mere loser who’d known nothing just a few months ago, to a 4th Circle Mage, gave me a sense of accomplishment. It was such an immense pleasure that I wouldn’t change a thing.
‘… Has Ye-rin left yet?’
I suddenly thought of Ye-rin’s red lips. After rising to the 4th Circle, my regret only grew.
‘That’s right, this isn’t my only chance. Ye-rin might stay by my side forever, but a missed enlightenment won’t come again!’
It was said that a man who didn’t persevere didn’t have the right to pee standing up. Even in my surging regret, I somehow found consolation.
‘Then, next is… huhuhu!’
From 4th Circle magic onwards, you could use an assortment of attack and defense spells, as well as various kinds of magic for everyday use. Though I hadn’t attempted them yet, Master must have done something funny to me. The 4th Circle magic formulas were fighting amongst each other in my mind, clamoring to be the first to be brought out into the world.
‘Sleeping magic, huhuhu, and even Binding magic on top of that. Huhuhu.’
Suddenly, magic-aided imaginations about unhealthy relationships flooded my mind.
‘No. Only bad guys think about such shameful methods.’ I shook my head as I dispelled those unmanly uses for magic. ‘But it’s weird. Why is it that when I think about a woman, an actual magic combo of Sleeping, Binding, and Silence comes to mind? Despite never having used those spells before?’
This unfamiliar magic combo, no, even these magic formulas I had never even imagined before, came one right after another whenever I thought about women. It was as if someone had seeded it into my memories.
‘I’m not that pervert Master Bumdalf!’
The face of my master, who’d lived two hundred years without being able to cast away his dream of rejuvenation, floated into my mind along with the work(?) spells.
‘Argh, I should sprinkle a fistful of salt, at least.’
I had forgiven master because of money, but even so, the mere thought of him sent a chill up my spine. It even gave me the delusion that even now, he was watching me somewhere.
‘When I get back, I’ll call a skilled shaman and have them perform an exorcism. I get goosebumps every time I think about him.’
Within that Gandalf-like good-natured face, Master Bumdalf was hiding his mega pervy, crazy, gangster nature. Just thinking about it gave me chills.
‘Huhu, it’s already night, huh?’
Dispelling my thoughts of Master, the landscape around me came into my view. At some point, the sun had disappeared and a full moon the size of a plump rice cake had drifted into the sky.
‘Marisol… is she really waiting for me?’
I suddenly thought of one scene I’d seen during the day. With a body blessed by God, where the curves went in at all the right places and out ever so generously, Marisol’s passionate gaze came to my mind.
‘Why am I so happy~! Young life~ young life~ the young life of youth~ when you’re old you’ll just be like Master~’
I involuntarily began humming.
‘Flight magic! That’s right, I’ll try flying once!’
The rule of studying was that reviewing was just as important as preparation. Deciding to try casting the 4th Circle magic, Flight, I activated my circle.
Mana and will were the foundation of circle magic. The magic formula, which included math and the laws of physics, was also a necessary existence for a magic circle, and various kinds of experiments.
The rules of magic manifestation had come to mind with a single thought. It was weird that the circle had formed around my waist area, but because I had confirmed there was nothing wrong, I was able to concentrate with a feeling of contentment.
‘Huh? W-what’s this?’
I activated my mana, and when I was just about to connect the activation incantation to fuse the earth’s mana with my mana…
I suddenly felt a strange energy from beyond the forest.
I sensed an aura that was similar to what the boar had radiated when it was running to catch me. It was an aura that made a strange tension scintillate through me— it was as if needles were pricking my skin.
‘Two people, no, three? Why me?’
In the past, I would have just absently dismissed it, but the somehow ominous and viscous feeling made my body tense up.
I suddenly recalled Master’s words that there would be many changes when I came to harbor mana.
‘Hwang Sung-taek and his cronies? No, that’s not it. This isn’t an aura released by puppies.’
They hadn’t been worth my fist even before I learned magic, so there was no way they could emit such a sharp energy.
I became more tense as I slowly calmed myself. When I had been learning Taekwondo, the person who had taught me, Instructor Jung, had been number one in the practical Taekwondo world in South Korea. Because I had studied rigorously under such a person, I didn’t lose my mental composure even while tensed up.
‘They’re about 10 meters away. They’re definitely coming.’
I didn’t know how they’d known that I would be in a place like this, the people radiating bloodthirst were approaching me with certainty.
‘I’ll probably need magic.’
If I could feel their bloodthirst from this far away, then they definitely had some kind of amazing skill. It could get dangerous if I were to get into a fight with such people.
‘Lightning would be good. So this is why he said that a Mage must keep their greatest attack and defense magic memorized.’
Master had often muttered advice to me, as if in passing. At the time, I thought it wasn’t that important, but thinking about it, it was all absolutely necessary counsel for a Mage.
Even as a 4th Circle genius who could conjure magic formulas with a single thought, I couldn’t compare to the experience of a Mage that had trained to death every day. It was like the difference between a child who had just learned to hold a spoon and an adult who’d used a spoon to eat, daily.
‘What a shame. With a little more time, I would have been able to memorize 4th Circle magic.’
I could cast 3rd Circle magic to some extent just by preparing myself mentally and imprinting the image in my mind, but I had only just risen to the 4th Circle. Also, because I had never cast 4th Circle magic before, I was even more regretful about the approaching danger.
And, with a rustle, they appeared.
They were three men wearing comfortable-looking black attire. As I had expected, they were definitely people who made a living by fighting.
“So you’re the crazy old man’s new disciple. Kukuku.”
‘A Chinese man? Does he know me?’
A man with a hideous scar that looked as if he had bonded chewed gum to his forehead with superglue chattered with a Cantonese dialect.
“And who are you?” I skillfully responded with an authentic Mandarin accent.
“Hohh, so you can speak Chinese? As expected, you’re worth being the old man’s disciple. Kukuku.”
‘The old man’s disciple? Does that mean he knows Master Bumdalf?’
Master Bumdalf had boasted that no one in the world knew about his existence. Having lived to two hundred years, there was definitely some dementia in him. After all, there was a Chinese gangster who didn’t look so good precisely pinpointing me and calling me the old man’s disciple.
‘Well, this is shitty.’
Within the chink gangster’s blazing eyes, I felt that there was a past that hadn’t been resolved with that bad-tempered old man.
“Who’s the old man?” I asked, pretending not to know.
“Kuku. So that old man Aidal didn’t tell ya. That there’s a senior who came before you.”
If he knew Master’s name, and could call himself my senior, then there was only one thing he could be.
‘He’s a Mage!’
Though it had endured the tension well, my heart thumped vigorously. This Chinese gangster was the first Mage I had met, besides Master. Considering that he looked like he had a nasty personality, he was Master Aidal’s type.
‘Ah jeez, life is just not helping me out here.’
Just a single glance told me these people were definitely born fighters, and had come looking for me with a grudge against Master. Moreover, one of them was a senior who knew magic. I was dying to call Master Bumdalf and chew him out.
“Senior, why did you come looking for me in a place like this? I would have met you halfway if you had at least called to let me know you were coming. Hahaha!” Hoping that maybe he wasn’t hostile, I lightly threw out a joke.
“Go ahead and act cute, kiddo. If you disappoint me… I’ll turn you into shark bait. Huhuhu.”
But the returning response was as I expected.
‘He did seem like a dreary bowl of Chinese black bean noodles that doesn’t even have the pickled radish. This chink! Death is the default, and the other option is mummification! You rotten bastard!’
[T/N: Black bean noodles are a Chinese dish, very commonly eaten in Korea. It is always enjoyed with pickled radish.]
Resolved to kill me, the bastard’s murderous intent chilled all of a sudden and was carried on the night wind to me.
“As you wish!”
At his words to kill me, the two disciplined, rabid dogs stiffly bowed their heads.
‘Shit! Is, isn’t that a knife?’ All of a sudden, looking like it belonged in a sushi kitchen, a 50 cm long sashimi knife glinted savagely in the moonlight. ‘These bastards, that’s so damn unfair!’
The made-in-China gangsters were clenching their teeth and wearing faint smiles.
A sincere cry burst out from deep within my heart.
‘There’s nothing I hate more in the world than made-in-China products!’
* * *
‘They were only together for a few months, but what’s with this mana’s energy?’
While entering the resort in search of the kid, Chang Li had suddenly felt a powerful mana’s energy and had run into the forest. According to the info, the kid in front of his eyes, Kang Hyuk, had only been with that crazy Mage for exactly three months and ten days. But the mana the brat possessed was enough to make even Chang Li tense.
‘He must have found a new method since then. Kuku. But what to do, your new disciple is gonna become fish food today.’
For over 20 years, Chang Li had been unable to forget. Even now, just thinking about when he had begged for his life by smashing his head into the ground until it gushed red, made his blood boil.
‘A Mage isn’t made in a single morning. Huhu.’
Chang Li’s right and left hands were among the slaughterers of the Triad. While licking the finely honed blades with their tongues, the two men approached the kid. They went forward to slice a hole into the stomach of the Mage’s new disciple.
* * *
Like former executioners, the two coyotes approached with knives in their hands.
They suddenly drew near while flicking their knives threateningly.
‘This, this isn’t a joke.’
Sliiiice. They had honed the knives so finely that a simple flick of the pale blue blade seemed to cut the air. I would assume a defensive posture if I at least had a sword, but the only things I had right now were flower print shorts and a matching short-sleeved shirt.
‘Bastards, I’ll teach you just what kind of an existence a Mage is.’
But I possessed the secrets of magic, which were unknown to the world.
‘Here it comes!’
It seemed that joint attacks were their speciality. With bloody smiles, the bastards ran at me like the wind.
‘Huhu, you blockheads.’
I had already mentally prepared the magic.
I forcefully cast the easy 1st Circle Light magic.
Night had fallen. The moon was up, but at the powerful Light magic that was like the combination of hundreds of incandescent light bulbs, the two guys clenched their eyes shut, instinctively blocking the light with hands over their eyes.
I landed my Taekwondo specialties, the back kick and the roundhouse kick, consecutively on one guy’s chin and the other’s stomach.
Both of them taking a single blow each from the unexpected attack, they shouted as they crumpled just like that onto the floor.
‘M-mana even strengthens my legs! Niiiice!’
Even I was surprised. Each blow I unleashed after concentrating hit the mark perfectly— my legs were much faster than before. On top of that, I felt the blows hit squarely and heavily. I could vividly feel that the circle mana I’d activated in order to cast magic had migrated to the bottom of my feet.
‘Huhu, then if I hold a sword, will there be a sword aura or something?’
On the Kallian Continent where Master had lived, the knights there used Aura Blade. I felt that I would also be able to use it if I held a katana.
Clap clap clap!
“Haha, impressive. These guys are supposed to be at the forefront of the Triad, but you subdued them in just one move. And with something like 1st Circle magic at that. Hahaha!”
The one who called himself my senior clapped as he looked at the underlings who had collapsed onto the ground.
I couldn’t let my guard down.
‘There’s something about him.’
Even while knowing how scary magic was, this guy was not fearful.
“Looks like I’ll get some exercise for the first time in a while.”
Craaack. The guy tightly clenched his hands, which were in leather gloves.
‘Mana? As expected!’
At the same time, I felt the energy of mana.
“I learned magic from the old man and rummaged through the continent for a long time. Huhu. In order to supplement the incomplete mana channeling method, I searched through ancient martial arts tomes like crazy. And I found it. Huhu, I found a divine technique that can rival the old man’s mana channeling method.”
‘W-what? A divine technique?’
Though it sounded like a joke, it was definitely possible. Master Bumdalf had also gained the meditation method from an ascetic while traveling the continent, after all.
“I only know up to 3rd Circle magic, but I’m a 4th Circle Mage. Huhu. I realized that magic formulas and enlightenments were separate after overcoming the limit of the circle. Kuhahaha!”
‘How could something like this happen! It’s like getting drenched while walking down the road!’
I’d thought of myself as the sole user of mana in this world, besides Master Bumdalf. But an oddball had appeared. And he was a criminal who, at the very least, had sent a few people to the underworld.
“Act cute, won’t you. If you want to keep your bones intact, at least. Kukuku.”
Though he hadn’t even raised a knife, I felt an even sharper energy from him than before.
‘Wait up, is, is the Triad THAT Triad?’
The yakuza of Japan, the mafia of Italy, and the Triad of Eastern Asia, which included Hong Kong and Taiwan. The names of the world’s three henchmen gangster groups came to my mind long after he’d mentioned one of them.
‘Oh god, what the hell did that old man do!!’
Master Bumdalf had managed to make the Triad, not just South Korean mobsters that sold pots or whatever the hell they did, but the Triad that was internationally known as knife specialists, into his enemy.
I stretched out my hand to stop the man who was approaching as if he were slowly strangling my throat.
He stopped walking forward, but didn’t say anything.
“I will give you the 4th Circle formulas.”
At my mention of 4th Circle magic, a glimmer of surprise passed through his expression.
‘Huhu. That’s right, if you’re a Mage too, then there’s no reason for you to refuse this offer.’
“In fact, I can even tell you the rough location of where that crazy Mage is living on top of that!”
I wanted to see it once. An intense war between the Triad and an Archmage.
But what I heard instead of a reply was simply the sound of the guy’s laughter.
“You foolish brat, did you think that the likes of the Triad could kill that old man?”
This guy belittled the Triad, even though they were so-called global gangsters.The shame and rage that surged from his eyes gave me the feeling that something I didn’t expect would happen.
“That old man… fought Europe’s mafia on his own.”
I was hearing about Master’s secretive past from the person who was apparently my senior.
“And he annihilated them. Though they armed themselves with anti-tank guns and even mobilized helicopters, the heavily-armed mafia was… he buried all 576 of them in the Alps Mountains. And so deeply that they could never be found again, at that.”
I didn’t know whether I should cry or laugh. I was so stupefied, my jaw could only drop.
“I’m satisfied. You’re definitely that old man’s disciple, so I’ll be completely satisfied once I rip the skin off your back. Kuhahahahaha!”
The bastard had made a terribly smart choice.
My legs shook. A true killer who knew magic was standing before me.
* * *
Even before I could come to my senses, the bastard attacked with Fire Arrow magic. I hastily cast Water Shield.
But he hadn’t been lying about having risen to the 4th Circle. In just one magic attack, the shield shattered like a window struck by a ball.
When the manifestation of mana exceeded its limit, the shield was naturally reduced to water droplets and dispelled.
And then came a kick.
I crossed my arms to block his kick, but I cried out at the forceful impact while getting pushed back by several steps.
‘I-it’s strengthened by mana!’
It seemed he hadn’t lied about gaining something called a divine technique. After blocking, the throbbing in my arms told me my bones could break with one wrong step.
It wasn’t just attack magic. He freely used 3rd Circle magic to try and catch me with mana.
A shield made of pure mana unfurled.
The magic created by his incantation crashed into the mana shield, making steam.
‘He’s a master of fighting!’
Though I had really fought for my fourth-degree black belt, this guy was on a different level. Sparring with my instructor and the other masters was as close to actual fighting as I had gotten. But this guy must’ve been trained in fighting techniques that knew no mercy, because his fist came raging in as soon as he saw an opening.
Because it was urgent, I also struck out with my fist. But there must’ve been spin in his punch, because the sound of bone bouncing off rang out as the skin was torn off the hand that collided into his leather glove.
“You’re pretty good, youngster. Huhu.”
The bastard freely used magic and his fists. I didn’t want to acknowledge him, but he was a more outstanding Mage than me.
‘I could really die here.’
The story of my youth, which had just started to bloom. My life could end before it even started, with something like ‘Main character was knifed and died.’
My mouth dried up and every cell in my body tensed as goosebumps rose sharply on my skin.
‘To win against him… there’s only the 4th Circle!’
The bastard was coming in and out like a cat that had caught a mouse and was batting at it. He didn’t look tired at all.
‘This little shit!’
Rage ran through my entire body. In South Korea, not once had I ever been in such a violent situation. Apparently there was violence in schools, but the strict school rules made that impossible at Daehan High School. And so far, there hadn’t been many people who had picked a fight with me. This bastard was daring to play with me, Kang Hyuk.
I clenched my teeth.
‘I will kill that bastard!’
We were both in the 4th Circle. But it seemed like he didn’t know 4th Circle magic, and I did. Even if we were at the same circle, if the level of the magic was different, then the difference would be a hundredfold, no, even a thousandfold. If that wasn’t the case, everyone would just train their 2nd Circle Fire Ball instead of aiming for the 8th Circle Hellfire magic.
“Let’s finish this now, youngster. Since troublesome guys can appear.”
This was a first-class, first-rate resort on a small island. The cacophonous sound of magic exploding out was more than enough to make the island shake, and guards armed with guns might swarm in.
“Alright, I want to end this too, you dirty gangster shit.”
At ‘gangster,’ the bastard broke into laughter while staring up at the sky.
It was a critical moment, so I hastily activated my circle as I thought of Lightning Wave, which was at the top of the 4th Circle attack spells.
‘O strength of Mana, unleash your sleeping rage upon this world! O blue bolt of lightning! Your friend here earnestly desires your strength!’
It was a short moment, but I displayed immense concentration as I gathered the mana in my upper, middle, and lower danjeons.
And I was able to complete the magic’s activation incantation.
Perhaps I had concentrated too much, because every organ in my body, including my heart, was hurled into stabbing pain. It was an unfamiliar pain. It couldn’t even be compared to the time when Master had shoved me onto a magic circle and tortured me.
‘Am, am I overdoing it?’
If any Mage heard that I, someone who’d just risen to the 4th Circle, was casting the peak of the 4th Circle attack spells, they would call me a crazy bastard. It was as if I were running into the ocean right after learning how to swim, saying that I would cross the Genkai Sea.
[T/N: The Genkai Sea is a part of the sea between Korea and Japan.]
But even though I felt an abnormal response in my body, the magic was completed anyways. Now I just needed to cast it.
The bastard was wearing an unknowable, faint smile while watching me.
I had the vague feeling that he had given me time to cast the magic.
“Lightning!” He must’ve memorized it thoroughly, because the bastard cast Lightning immediately, without even an exchange of mana.
Though he didn’t even have a mana staff, magic lightning coursed along his extended leather glove and burst out like blue streaks of electricity.
The blue wave of electricity was blinding, and predicting that the bastard would approach in the heels of the magic, I stretched out my hand.
The 4th Circle attack magic that was called a wave of lightning! As the incantation fell from my mouth, I saw my magic surge forward mightily like a rough wave toward the Lightning magic the bastard had unleashed.
I had put my all into this 4th Circle magic. There was nowhere to run in a radius of 10 meters.
And as I expected, I heard the bastard’s short cry from within the blinding light.
‘Don’t fuck with me, brat!’
Like when I had caught the boar, I grew dizzy and my body reeled, but the exhilaration was so great I felt like I could fly away.
Today was a historic day— I had won my first magic duel.
Then, suddenly, with a fleshy sound, I felt something flush hotly in my abdomen.
Even though the pale lightning magic was still spreading wildly around us and making sparkings as it went, the bastard’s scorched black face had approached mine.
And the strange pain I felt in my abdomen…
The strength in my legs vanished and I sank to the ground.
And then, I saw it.
A pale blue knife was deeply embedded in my stomach. Leaving only the handle, it had penetrated my abdomen.
“Huhu, youngster. You’ve probably heard about it, about nano technology? Kukuku. There’s no magic resistant mithril here, but in these modern times, there’s a thing called science. Kuhahahahahaha!”
‘Na… nano technology…’
He was a vicious bastard. Without a doubt, he had definitely researched for years on end in order to kill Master.
‘So, so I’m going like this.’
It was unfair.
A beautiful, flowery path to my dreams and paradise been perfectly prepared for me. I couldn’t even give Ye-rin a proper kiss, and Marisol was probably waiting in my room right now.
After the initial wave of pain, my consciousness began to fade. With the extreme agony and the horror that I might die, my mind withdrew from my body.
“Farewell… you pitiful 4th Circle Mage. Kuhuhuhu…”
I heard the bastard’s boorish laughter ring in my ears. I wanted to stand up and get revenge with this knife, but my body was heavy and sluggish.
And then, the faces of several people came to my mind…
Ye-rin and Joong Hyun, my parents, and lastly, the ever-cocky, notorious pervert, Master Bumdalf.
[T/N: The original meaning of ‘fuck’ here is a traditional Korean taffy snack. I have no idea why taffy became a synonym for a swear word.]
In my last moments, I forcefully shouted ‘eat fuck’ in my mind.
“Eh, EH! W-what’s this?!”
The moment my eyes closed and my consciousness dimmed as if I were intoxicated on medicine, I heard the bastard’s surprised voice. His voice was filled with shock, like the next door lady’s had been last year when she was scammed out of her money.
Everything became white, and something soft enveloped me.
That was my last memory.
While holding the earnest wish that a pretty angel had come out to meet me…
* * *
“OOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! IT’S, IT’S GOINNNGGGGG!!”
As if a nuclear bomb was exploding, an intense storm of light flashed on the magic circle.
And, while looking at the magic circle, the Archmage Aidal shouted that it was going at the top of his lungs.
“It’s gone. It feels… truly empty.”
With the disappearance of the magic circle mana he’d condensed for years and years, Aidal made a dazed expression. His homeland, Kallian Continent, which he had originally intended to return to. But because everything had become too much of a pain, he made a clone and sent him instead.
“Rascal, who knows if you learned magic properly or not.”
Aidal saw his one and only disciple’s cute face in his mind. The boy had taken the unlimited withdrawal card and rejoiced, partaking in joys that were reminiscent of a death row convict’s last supper. Even Aidal didn’t know why the sight of such a disciple kept flickering in his mind.
“Hah, surely he won’t come out as Orc poop, right? At least in name, he’s still a disciple of the Golden-Eyed Reaper Aidal…”
Shaking his head, Aidal erased the sight of his disciple becoming an Orc’s meal with effort.
“Eh, I dunno if he arrived well or not. The coordinates were confusing so I approximated it. I’ve gotten old too. Hng hng.”
Clasping his hands behind his back, Aidal lamented his age, without even knowing what had become of his disciple.
“Oh dear, I’m late! It’s time for ‘You’re This Mister’s Destiny!'”
He suddenly remembered a Korean show he enjoyed watching. Light on his feet, Aidal pressed the button of the magic tower’s elevator.
“Young life~ young life~ the young life of youth~ when you’re old you can’t have it~”
Without a hitch, he started humming the song that was stuck in his head these days.
Strangely enough, he suddenly had a strong craving for something he had eaten a long time ago— it was called taffy.