The Ability He Shows
This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, Haikai, and Lei. Special thanks to Openbookworm of RRL.
|– You have entered the undiscovered dungeon of Kramador.
Bonus: Extra experience for one week, 2x Item drop. (6 days and 11 hours remaining.)
Weed did not receive the Kramador Dungeon’s first explorer message because he came after Hegel’s party, who discovered it first.
However, time had passed by and the monsters inside the Kramador dungeon had already respawned.
Slimy creatures similar to White Lizards were crawling about.
“Nide must have gone through a lot of trouble to discover this dungeon.”
Even for Dark Gamers who made money in Royal Road by tracking and investigating clues, it wasn’t easy to discover a new dungeon especially in the Central Continent.
He could imagine Nide suffering terribly in a dim, dark place.
Gildras’ Book of Strange Stories!
If it wasn’t for that book, it would have been difficult to find this dungeon.
The Forest of Dried Trees wasn’t a good hunting ground, and Growlers rampaged aimlessly at night.
“You’ve gotta read a variety of books after all.”
There was literary fiction, historical books, biographies, and economic textbooks. These kinds of book were not the only valuable works of literature. In particular, Weed couldn’t understand the common notion that famous foreign books were the only valuable ones.
There were a lot of things you could learn from reading porn books, which ignited fires in the chests of all men. Is there any other book that makes one concentrate as well as porn does?
Of course there isn’t!
While reading a book, as the words flowed into the head, those situations were drawn intact.
Moreover, it was an impressive story that had been filled with the infamous seven passions of mankind!
However, even porn books have their varieties. There are a lot of things to learn from the protagonist’s agony, their inner conflict, and the development of their faithfulness to their desires. Gildras was a man who received his domestic education from erotic fiction!
Hasn’t everyone experience bitterness after finding out there were only a few pages left to read when they were young? There probably wouldn’t be any students who would be sad at not having many pages left to read on their textbooks. So from porn, you can learn the mindset of cherishing books.
“Books are truly precious.”
Weed felt pleased when he saw Gildras’ Book of Stories. These types of books were classified as miscellania, and were traded even by the Dark Gamer Union. Unexpectedly, these books were sold for a greater price than encyclopedias, and he couldn’t just ignore the book’s value.
Underneath Weed’s mantle, Wings of Light unfurled magnificently.
Although the wings were spread inside a narrow cave, the wings were not meant for flying in the sky, but for flying at a breakneck speed.
“Moonlight Sculpting Blade.”
Weed swung his sword as he flew inside the dungeon.
In an extremely brief moment as he flew past the monsters, he slashed at their weak points.
Because he was flying way too fast, by the time he saw the monsters, they were already in front of his nose. He swung his sword continuously to cut down the monsters.
Completely disregarding the fact that Knights wouldn’t dare ride their horses inside a narrow cave, flying with outspread wings at a breakneck speed was reckless enough to call him crazy. At a speed where it was impossible to dodge, in a blink of an eye, he would receive serious damage if he were to collide into a wall.
Even with complete concentration, one had to be insane to fly in a fast pace inside a narrow place.
However, Weed was not someone who would reasonably consider something others knew as common sense.
There was no established method for hunting. Monsters had to be slayed by any means possible! Any method as long as it was quick and effective.
Even so, flying at a rapid speed with spreaded wings inside a narrow passage of a dungeon, while slashing away monsters, was a method Weed hadn’t considered before.
Although he didn’t have Wings of Light before, and though the monsters inside Kramador dungeon were relatively weak, it was not an idea someone would usually think of. Even if their reflexes and instinct were honed to a superhuman state, it wasn’t something a person would dare to attempt unless they had complete confidence in their control over their body and sword!
Even though this was the first time Weed had thought of this method and put it to practice, he found it fun.
If he muddled up at any moment, he could die.
Since the passages weren’t just in a straight line, there was a terror that made his heart plummet every time he had to change direction.
If he collided into a wall, it was possible that he might just turn into minced fish paste!
However, whenever he accomplished the impossible, his blood boiled with excitement.
And Weed was considering this kind of act with natural nonchalance.
“I’m starting to feel really dizzy. It must be because of my Dwarven body. It’s definitely not a good idea to fly rapidly while drunk!”
He was flying while drunk, even near-death situations couldn’t get him to sober up. Speed driving!
In an instant, he found his way to the second floor of Kramador dungeon by cutting through waves of monsters.
Weed sent an urgent whisper to Rumi.
- Are you okay? Are you still alive?
- Yeah. But well, we’re slowly dying.
How much Health have you lost?
About 55%. I think we’ll be completely dead in about 30 minutes or so.
Instead of proceeding to the second floor basement, he turned around.
Back to where all the monsters had been annihilated!
“Then I have a few moments to spare.”
Weed unfurled his wings and flew faster than before, tumbling through the path he had traveled through not long ago.
He flew at mach speed to collect the loot! Weed wasn’t someone who would walk away even from trivial japtem.
* * *
Most of the monsters on the second floor basement weren’t any different from those on the first floor.
In fact, since the passage had become more wide, his flying speed became even faster.
By the time he saw a halo-shaped light discerning the exit of the passage, he had already flown through it.
Before the monsters could counteract by opening their jaws wide to spew spit, his sword had already pierced through them.
|– You have delivered a critical hit.
– Your speed gave 382% additional damage.
If it could kill with one blow to the fatal weak spot of any monster, it was a useful technique.
However, it could get problematic if the monster endured the attack. The attack was a method which could only be used with high level of skill and concentration. A narrow passage was enough to impede counteraction.
Weed grumbled as he flew.
“I truly am nothing but a mediocre Sculptor. If I had sculpted these wings a little sooner, I could have hunted in dungeons so much faster!”
However, this method wasn’t something that could be used all the time, as dungeons have different structures. In spacious dungeons, even though he would be free to fly, the danger would be greater.
Ranged monsters could attack him if he unknowingly flew past them. His speed would only urge him into their rain of arrows, and Weed would die because of his speed and suffer disastrous injuries!
In addition, for monsters who survived the first blow, it wasn’t easy to attack them again with his sword while trying to brush past them.
It was an idea that spontaneously popped into his head when he saw the monsters gathered within the dungeon of Kramador. Although it was a smashing success, Weed still berated himself for incompetence!
After he had cleared the second floor, he descended to the third floor.
Naturally, he made sure he did not overlook any of the japtems.
Since he was flying in midair, he was able to avoid many of the traps, even for traps that were activated magically. Before they even triggered Weed had already passed by and was long gone.
From behind him, the boulder trap that had made Hegel fear for his life had been triggered.
Even though the boulder was rolling forward, Weed’s speed was much greater. He was flying at least five times faster than the boulder.
Weed waited for the boulder and allowed it to come close enough.
“Fortunately, that boulder will help me find my way through this complex labyrinth.”
He had heard from Rumi beforehand, how the others had fallen into a trap. While they spoke, he heard an interesting tale, all the while, he had been looking for a way to save them.
Within moments, he saw a passageway where a large boulder had destroyed part of the passage and was stuck.
“Rumi is probably on the other side of that boulder.”
Weed took a deep breath as he flapped his wings.
No matter how he looked at it, the boulder which looked to be about 10 meters in height, was impossible to destroy.
Even if he flew to build up his speed then crashed into it, though his destructive powers would greatly increase, it was obvious the boulder in front of him would not break, and he would only turn into a piece of beef jerky. And if he survived thanks to his Resilience and Perseverance, if he was crushed underneath the other boulder that was rolling towards him from behind, the pressure would spell his definite death!
“That’s no good.”
Weed reached into his pockets and pulled out a sculpture. It was one of the Fine pieces he crafted and kept when he was making sculptures in Thor Kingdom.
It was a sculpture of a young female adventurer laughing happily.
Weed mercilessly twisted the neck of the sculpture.
“Sculptural Destruction! Add additional stats into Strength!”
|– You have used Sculptural Destruction.
The pain of destroying a Fine sculpture! The grief!
5 Art stats have been permanently lost. Fame has been decreased by 100.
For a day, Art stats have been converted to Strength in a ratio of 1:4.
His Fame and Art stat were consumed and converted into Strength!
The muscles in Weed’s stubby legs and arms began to inflate like balloons. His chest became muscular and his thighs bulkier.
His Dwarven body was unusually muscular, it surpassed the body of a Barbarian. In fact, the only strange factor of his physique was his extremely short appearance.
Weed unfurl his Wings of Light and flapped it slightly.
Since the boulder behind him was rolling closer and closer, he didn’t have time to hesitate.
Weed flew rapidly towards the boulder and struck it with his sword.
The spectacle looked liked a shooting star was penetrating through the passage.
In a single strike, half the boulder was destroyed. However, because it wasn’t completely destroyed, Weed’s body was hit with the recoil impact.
The recoil impact was not the end of his troubles. His body collided with the remaining boulder.
“Dammit! Nothing ever goes right for me.”
His Health was reduced by two-thirds.
If it wasn’t for his Resilience and Perseverance, as well as the Dwarven racial characteristics, he would have experienced death for sure!
As he flew as fast as a shooting star, Weed had faltered.
After all, he was still Human.
‘Do I really need to crash into it at such a fast speed? Wouldn’t it be fine if it was a little weaker?’
His fleeting hesitation reduced his speed, and as a result, Weed fractured his body instead of destroying the rest of the boulder.
If Weed was able to cast magic, he would have able have to destroy the boulder more effectively, but since he couldn’t, his body was forced to suffer for his attempt.
With his battered body, he spread his wings once again. Since the Wings of Light did not receive any damage, he was able to extract his buried body in an instant.
“Let’s try this one more time.”
The boulder behind him had rolled much closer, so he didn’t have time to do anything half-heartedly. Nevertheless, in that short space of time, he accelerated 30% times faster than he had before.
“Whatever happens, happens. If I die, so be it, but I will take down this damn boulder with me!”
Death was something all Dark Gamers feared most.
The agony of losing experience points and skill proficiency.
Weed felt the same way, however the current situation was ‘all-or-nothing’.
In order to completely destroy the boulder, Weed flew towards it at full power, reassured by the fact that he will get resurrected by ‘Power to Reject Death’ even if he loses his life.
In addition, Weed focused all his strength and speed at the point of his sword. The point of his sword started to quiver, and because of his Moonlight Sculpting skill, the sword was enveloped with beams of light.
Then the other half of the boulder was destroyed in a single slash.
* * *
“Hey Rumi, how much Health do you have left?”
“We’re gonna die soon. After all dungeon exploration is dangerous. Looks like we’re gonna die without another squirm.”
“Damn. If we were in a wide plain instead of this narrow passage, there would’ve been no way we would’ve gotten caught in this spider web crap.”
Hegel and the rest of his party were tightly wrapped up in spider webs like mummies, with only their mouths free!
As they were awaiting their deaths, they heard an extremely loud noise — as if a thunderbolt had crashed down before them. Without delay, a shockwave swept past them and shook the entire pathway.
“Wh-what’s going on?”
“I don’t know. Could it be that Weed-oppa has arrived?”
“Rumi, how could Weed-oppa know where this is and find us?”
“Because I told him.”
“That means he has fallen into the same trap as we did? Wasn’t the sound earlier was of a boulder crashing? It seemed like the sound came from the same direction where the boulder was…”
“No way. How could the likes of a low-level Sculptor come into this dungeon.”
“I’ll try to send him another whisper.”
“That’s a waste of time.”
Rumi sent another whisper to Weed, but she did not receive any response. At that time, Weed was preparing to unleash all of his strength.
“Maybe not after all.”
Then they heard another sound. An explosion so loud, it felt like their eardrums were going to burst!
The fragments of the boulder that had shattered flew everywhere as the passage shook. Their bodies which were bound in spiderwebs and suspended in the air, bounced from side to side.
The lump of rock that had blocked the entrance as a result of the trap had been destroyed.
They suddenly heard a voice.
“So I found you properly.”
“Just stay still. I’ll free you soon.”
With a swing of his sword, Weed severed the spider webs that had immobilized the bodies of the party members in midair.
Although they had been lowered to the ground, there wasn’t a chance for them to regain their senses.
Weed continually swung his sword and cut away the heaps of spider webs that clung to their bodies. He was removing the thin silk on people’s bodies by swinging his sword.
Although it was hard to believe, it really happened.
As even the silk covering their faces was peeled away, they could see a dignified Dwarf of muscular stature standing before them. It was a Dwarf holding a sword that looked longer than his body.
Every time the Dwarf swung the sword, the silk on his colleagues was peeled away.
It could only be described as sword skill that verged on the miraculous.
Hegel asked with a hint of disbelief in his voice, “Is it really Weed-hyung?”
His mind was still muddled and his thoughts were in a disarray. Even so, since Weed had appeared and saved them while they were totally helpless, he felt grateful.
But just then, a huge lump of rock came rolling into the passage entrance.
It destroyed part of the passage, and once again blocked their escape.
“Weed-hyung, what about that rock?”
“Seems like it’s the trap I triggered.”
“We’re screwed! What did you come in here to do. Hyung.”
There was no time to even be relieved at receiving salvation.
The spiders that had withdrawn swarmed and crawled out of small holes in the ceiling and walls. Simultaneously, spider silk descended upon them like a curtain and completely enveloped the whole area.
A unique attack that rendered the body completely immobile like a mummy had begun.
Weed extended both arms.
An Intermediate Sewing skill.
The technique for acquiring additional materials!
A technique that wound the spiders’ freshly spewed silk and made skeins.
The silk extracted from the spiders was wound into a sphere, sealed with cloth, and was being loaded into Weed’s backpack.
Hisss hisss hissssss!
Since their silk didn’t have any effect, the spiders made threatening noises and crawled down on their silk. However, Weed didn’t bat an eyelid.
A lot of strength was loaded into the Dwarf’s short and thick thighs. Right before his calves were about to burst!
The spiders chose the wrong time.
He was covered in wounds from breaking the boulder and his clothes were also considerably crumpled, but that was no problem.
The fourth of the Imperial Formless Sword Technique.
Weed’s movements became like flowing water. Sword Dance was a skill that added explosive power to the truly dance-like movements.
All the spiders that touched his sword was blown away. Each and every one, without end.
As the sword flowed on without stopping, the power of the skill was reaching its peak..
The sword that weaved forcefully and lithely between the spiders!
Although the sight of him stepping forward with short legs and swinging his long sword was amusing, it was impossible to laugh while watching his great power.
Weed was effortlessly swinging his sword as he leapt between the spider webs. The sticky and elastic spider webs were cut away like rotten string.
“Move. I don’t have time to waste on the likes of you!”
With the exception of the paralysis and spider webs, the small spiders weren’t threatening.
The Sculpting Blade that demolished the enemy’s defensive abilities. Thanks to the Blade’s special characteristic, the spider webs couldn’t do him much harm, and thanks to his Tailoring skill, he was even collecting spider thread at the same time.
Weed, who broke through the small spider swarm, faced off with the Elfin Queen Spider.
A powerful monster with a level in the late 380s!
Big hairs were heavily forested on its twelve legs, and the head portion was incomparably terrifying and grotesque.
It was this monster that forced Nide to give up resisting and left him to despair after confirming its stats.
However, Weed’s bounding steps became even faster.
“Don’t block me. I’ve gotta recover my expenses!”
He had increased his strength with Sculptural Destruction, and a Fine piece at that.
It was the Weed who even ordinarily despised piffling around while hunting, so in a time like this, he had to go completely crazy with hunting. If only for the sake of extracting the expense of the lost Fame and Art stat, there was no time to delay.
Then, the Elfin Queen Spider turned around and began to hastily scurry away.
Scuttle scuttle scuuuttle. (Sound of Spider Queen running away)
It wasn’t that it was funny just because it was a spider, but its fleeing speed was terrifyingly fast.
The spider, which took to fear especially well, characteristically chose to run away rather fight. Even if a prey other than Weed were to appear, it would initially flee if the prey tried to resist. Facing the prey after waiting until the prey had completely drained of strength was the Elfin Queen Spider’s method.
Even as it did so, it moved towards the opposite side of the passage as it spewed forth spider silk that was thicker than a forearm.
Weed used the mana he had left to fall back on his most powerful attack.
He swiftly pierced the vital point of the Elfin Queen Spider, the rear point where the spider thread came out.
|– You have delivered a critical hit.|
The Kaiser Sword that had its power maximized through Sculptural Destruction!
The horrible destructive power that equaled the ultimate attack skill of the Magicians, Mana Burn.
The Elfin Queen Spider’s huge body trembled.
An explosion, flash, and tremor even greater than when he broke through the boulder that was blocking the passage burst out.
The best that Hegel and the group members could do was to crouch down and block their ears. However, the explosions and light didn’t stop with that.
“Kaiser Sword, Kaiser Sword, Kaiser Sword!”
The final form of the Imperial Formless Sword Technique that he used even by consuming his own Health and Stamina after his Mana had run out completely!
He was hunting the Elfin Queen Spider relentlessly through the barrage of Kaiser Sword.
|– You have delivered a critical hit.
29% additional damage.
|– You have delivered a critical hit.
47% additional damage.
|– You have delivered a critical hit.
82% additional damage.
|– You have delivered a critical hit.
114% additional damage.
This was the reappearance of the single point attack technique– all those attacks were bombarded on a single point!
He was attacking a precise point through the invocation of an extremely difficult skill while mindlessly chasing the rapidly fleeing Elfin Queen Spider.
Although Hegel and the others weren’t able to see it because they had their heads ducked down, the attack technique that Weed was currently demonstrating could be called the strongest attack.
The damage that increased through Kaiser Sword with Sculptural Destruction and his Sword Grinding skill. All of this attack power was applied to the single point attack technique.
With its exponentially decreasing Health and increasing injuries, the Elfin Queen Spider’s movement speed was markedly diminished.
It might have tried resisting if it had the strength since escape had become impossible, but in the face of such incredible damage, it staggered a few steps forward and then died.
The Elfin Queen Spider’s body turned to grey light, and from it poured out sapphires the size of duck eggs and a waist-high pile of relics and gold coins.
Weed collected the loot with lightning speed.
“Wahhh, although he said he was a Sculptor…” Hegel moaned as he clutched his head.
It was as if his mind had gone dumb; Hegel couldn’t think. Though he said he was a Sculptor, what the hell did it mean that he could collect spider silk as Sewing materials.
“And those athletic movements… it wasn’t skill, but real sword technique.”
The majority of users fought while relying on in-game skill. However, special fighters used their own power and were able to optimize their fighting even with skills. In a case like this, the difference they could show in their fighting was incredible.
While holding the same sword, a normal human and a trained swordsman fight. The result would already be decided. Even if their bodies and equipment were on par with one another, with the practiced person’s judgment, sense, and experience, they could only show a world of difference.
Even in Royal Road, if an expert of fighting in reality and a normal person hunted monsters, of course the difference would be apparent.
Maintaining the optimal distance, making minimal evasive movement, and using an attack method that let them draw out their maximum strength! The mindset with which they hunted would be different, and fundamentally, just the way they moved was extremely and completely different.
The majority of people weren’t up at that kind of level.
From their days as a beginner, they would become used to the character and become experts at skill use as they developed more and more. As they hunted repeatedly, the method with which they fought with monsters would become increasingly proficient.
That you could catch a monster that you had hunted hundreds of times before much more easily than a type of monster you were fighting for the first time was this kind of logic!
However, Weed or the SwordNoobs didn’t need that process.
“All you’ve gotta do is knock it down.”
There wasn’t a speck of sympathy in those who ignorantly knocked down the monster.
* * *
“He must’ve succeeded in the hunt.”
“Let’s go and see.”
After about 20 seconds had passed, Selsia picked her body up. Following her, the other party members walked to where Weed was.
They felt something like awe.
The fact that they were feeling intimidated because of this mere Dwarf was laughable, but it was the truth.
If it was someone they didn’t know, they wouldn’t have even dared to approach him.
When they had neared him, Weed was wrapping a bandage around his body. He was using the technique of holding a bandage in both hands and winding it around his torso, arm, leg, neck, and back. He rubbed herbs on thickly and was deep in meditation with his eyes closed.
Skill mastery of Bandaging!
The skill that brought even competent Warriors esteem if they raised it to Intermediate — Weed had mastered it through his combat labors.
His Health and Mana were being steadily restored.
Although they’d approached Weed, upon seeing how he was so heavily wounded, Selsia couldn’t dare disturb him.
“What should we do… It looks like he got really hurt from fighting with the Elfin Queen Spider.”
“We can’t even treat him cause we don’t have a Cleric…”
It happened when they were fretting helplessly.
After he’d recovered just 8% of his Health, Weed opened his eyes.
They were narrow and sidelong, slitted eyes. Weed’s eyes weren’t originally like this; his eyes normally appeared bright and gave off a clear image. Now, his eyes were changed because of the Art of Sculpture Transformation.
The life in the narrow and slitted eyes was bleary.
“I don’t have time to play around like this. I’ve gotta recover my expenses!”
After taking a long, deep breath, he staggered as he walked to the passage where the Elfin Queen Spider had emerged.
His ankle must’ve broken in the thick of battle, as it was dragging on the ground. If not for his Perseverance and Resilience, it was an injury that would have already rendered fighting, even moving, impossible.
“Something like a broken ankle will probably reattach itself with time.”
Weed plowed on as he used his sword like a cane.
Since he had experienced a broken ankle or wrist over a hundred times, he knew the state of his body better than anyone. Therefore, he was going to continue fighting.
* * *
Choi Ji Hoon was having a date with Lee Hyun’s little sister, Lee Hye Yeon.
He fixed her electric appliances, and had become friends with her as he taught her the things she didn’t know in Royal Road. Although they weren’t on couple terms yet, their relationship was very close.
While drinking strawberry milk, Lee Hye Yeon asked, “Oppa, should I show you my personal talent?”
“Yeah. I wanna show you my imitations, like what comedians often do.”
Choi Ji Hoon couldn’t control his considerable expectations.
“You’re really going to do it for me?”
“Yeah. First I’ll express the sound of a person walking from far away through imitation.”
Lee Hye Yeon spoke after slightly licking her plum-colored lips.
“Next is the sound of a car starting up. Vrooom!”
“This is the sound of an airplane taking off. Swooosshh!”
The click of a picture being taken, the riiing of a phone call, the boom boom boom sound of a drum being played, the bark sound of a dog cry, the meow of a cat cry!
Choi Ji Hoon laughed himself to tears.
The imitations weren’t at all similar, but seeing a girl of such innocent and youthful appearance earnestly doing the gag was delightful.
‘This child, she has charm.’
Although he had met plenty of girls, the feeling of being sucked in like when he was with Lee Hye Yeon was a first. It seemed like he would have no regrets even if they lived their whole lives together.
‘I would be happy every morning when I open my eyes, hear the chirping sound of the birds, and be able to see the fully bloomed flowers.’
The figure of a man who was completely immersed in his fantasy!
It was to the point that he was worried that he might just be a normal oppa here by Lee Hye Yeon’s side.
Choi Ji Hoon asked casually, as if it wasn’t a big deal, “What’s your ideal man?”
If she couldn’t reply properly, he was prepared to ask her what she thought of him.
Lee Hye Yeon answered without hesitation.
“Height about 187 (6’1”) and weight 78 kilograms (172 lbs), it’d be good if his attire suited him well. His ankles have to be thin, slightly slim body and muscles. For hobbies, cooking and cleaning. Annual income around 200 million won ($190k), financial businessman. Will an age of about twenty-eight do?”
“I’m joking. I like a family man. Everything else is fine as long as he’s to my liking. If need be, I can work and feed the family.”
“A family man?”
“Yeah. A man who’ll only look at me and love me.”
Choi Ji Hoon was speechless.
In terms of eligibility, he had more than anyone. He had confidence in his appearance as well, and had the charisma to charm any woman.
However, those kinds of conditions held no meaning for Lee Hye Yeon.
‘Apart from the things I’ve had since birth… I’m really a worthless person.’
This had become an opportunity for Choi Ji Hoon to turn himself around.
Just then, he met a familiar face over Lee Hye Yeon’s shoulder. From the time he’d known, spent, and met with Lee Hye Yeon, this was the primary person he feared to even meet in his dreams!
It was the first among the SwordNoobs, Jung Il Hoon.
Jung Il Hoon, who’d come to the city to buy a present to give to Cha Eun Hee, had caught him red-handed.
“Oppa, what’re you thinking about?”
“Your face went really blue, are you okay?”
“I-it must be the lighting.”
“There aren’t any blue lights here… anyways, I’m going home now.”
“You’re going already?”
“Yeah. Because my oppa gets worried if it gets too late.”
“Should I take you home?”
Choi Ji Hoon spoke as if he considered that a novel idea he’d thought of himself.
‘No matter what, I have to leave this place.’
An instinctive struggle to survive!
Lee Hye Yeon got her bag and stood up.
“You don’t have to do that. From here, it’s only five stops on the bus. I don’t even have to transfer.”
“I’ll see you home on a taxi.”
“Save your money. Why would you waste money on something you don’t need? You would go back on taxi after dropping me off, right?”
Choi Ji Hoon couldn’t lie and say that wasn’t true.
Even if he tried to ride the bus, he’d never done so in his life, so he didn’t even know what the fare was.
In his preschool, elementary school, and middle school years, a chauffeur had dropped him off in a limousine.
In high school, he’d ridden his motorcycle. Although it was a dangerous ride with a high chance of an accident, his bodyguards and an escort of police cars were behind him.
The most frugal means of transportation he’d used was a taxi.
His imported cars at home were taking a long break in the garage.
Somehow, he’d become the inheriting son of a business franchise CEO. He couldn’t tell her the truth because he was afraid that she might become prejudiced or hostile towards him.
Although he didn’t dislike the time he spent comfortably on these modest dates, he’d never felt a painful regret like this before.
“I’m going first. Go home safely.”
Just when Choi Ji Hoon stood awkwardly to take her home anyways, he saw Jung Il Hoon wagging his finger and stopped.
He was even saying something. The blatant words his lips conveyed were clear.
‘If you run, you’ll die.’
* * *
After he’d seen Lee Hye Yeon off, Choi Ji Hoon approached Jung Il Hoon, his shoulders cringing and his eyes trembling. Without a doubt, he was the picture of a prisoner.
“It’s hot. Let’s walk a little.”
They headed towards a nearby park.
For Choi Ji Hoon, it was an incredible relief that they didn’t ascend into the back mountains.
‘At the very least, it’s better that I was caught by Jung Il Hoon and not someone else.’
He was the first instructor and had a strong sense of responsibility. Since he himself was courting someone, he was unusually considerate.
Fish were swimming peacefully in the clear, park lake.
‘I’m jealous of you guys.’
At this moment, even Choi Ji Hoon was jealous of the fish.
Jung Il Hoon moaned loudly with a drawn face, “Do you… like Hye Yeon?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Choi Ji Hoon didn’t make any excuses.
They might not be in a dating relationship, but he was certain that the feeling of love had blossomed in his heart.
“So that’s how it is.”
Jang Il Hoon didn’t speak for a long time.
Choi Ji Hoon’s body, which had been trembling like a leaf, gradually relaxed.
He hadn’t been thoughtlessly beaten. So with the optimistic hope that he would make it to the other side safely, he tried carefully moving forward.
After a moment of silence, Choi Ji Hoon gallantly straightened his chest.
“As long as Hye Yeon likes me, I want to try being in a honest, serious relationship with her.”
“In the end, you…”
“I’m sorry. Hyung-nim.”
“It’s fine. What reason is there to be sorry to me. Love is a matter for those involved. And if it doesn’t come to dating?”
“I’m in love with her.”
Choi Ji Hoon explained how some expressions of Lee Hye Yeon were so beautiful to him.
It was an explanation that spanned a long 10 minutes. He even spoke honestly of the empty feelings he’d felt while meeting other girls.
“I’m still young, but I think she’s a girl who’d be hard to find again in my whole life. More than anything… Even now, it’s like I can still hear her voice. I think of her when I sleep, too.”
Choi Ji Hoon realized something as he spoke.
Lee Hye Yeon was different from other girls. He realized that if he lost her, she was a precious person he would never be able to meet again, and also just how enthralled he was with her.
Jung Il Hoon clapped his shoulder with a thickset hand.
“Alright. It’s fine if you’re that determined. A man doesn’t have to talk pathetically about this and that.”
“Are you giving me your permission?”
“What do you mean, permission. I told you that love is fine if those involved like each other.”
“Thank you very much. Hyung-nim!”
“Ah, but you know…”
Jung Il Hoon spoke genially, “Come to the dojo starting from tomorrow.”
“If you’re a man, you should pay a little attention to your muscle fitness too. Do you think a flaccid body will do.”
“It’s not flaccid…”
It was a body trained with basketball, soccer, swimming and all sorts of sports.
Jung Il Hoon shouted sharply, “It’s weak! With that level of fitness, could you win against about 3,000 thugs if they lunged at you while in the middle of a date?”
“3… 3,000 of them?”
“No matter the situation, you have to be able to protect your girlfriend. Even if a war broke out, a drought struck, a flood happened, earthquake, even if a tsunami were to rise, you have to save your girlfriend. Are you prepared for that much?”
“I shall raise that kind of strength and courage in you. It’s too bad all I can do for you is this kind of small help.”
“Thank you very much.”
“If if they find out the truth that you like Hye Yeon, then even the students will diligently come to help you like it’s their own business. You’ll have no lack of sparring opponents, so come early at dawn. That way, you can receive the teachings from at least one more person.”
Sparring with the instructors and their 500 trainees!
Choi Ji Hoon’s face drained of color.
He thought he might understand the meaning of what it was to come to the dojo.
“Surely your feelings of liking Hye Yeon isn’t fake, right?”
“It’s fine if you want to run away. You can run away. That means you don’t have to come out to the dojo.”
“Yeah. Since we can just go catch you.”