The Hero Returns

Chapter 19



Chapter 19: Chapter 19


The sudden thought got the examiner shaking his head.


<>


It was possible to fake one’s magic factor. One would just have to reduce the amount of magic that was injected. Still, it wasn’t an easy feat. Aside from just having a high magic level and factor, a high level of control was needed just to change one’s magic properties.


He could count with his fingers the number of people he knew who had that much control over magic. They were world-class awakeners.


The first man amongst all awakeners who entered the Tower of Trials and had survived until now had that level of magic control.


<>


Moreover, what other reasons could there be for hiding his capabilities? The examiner found his thoughts to be overboard. He started clearing up the place after putting aside his interest in Su-hyeun.


Hak-joon found a black vehicle waiting for him after he exited the institution. It was an expensive foreign car, but it wasn’t that expensive for a somewhat established awakener.


Whirl—


The backseat window was drawn down. The Ares Guild leader, Jung Dong-young, who was waiting in the backseat, spoke to Hak-joon.


“All done?”


“Yes.”


Click—


Hak-joon opened the backseat door and hopped in next to Jung Dong-young. Jung Dong-young signaled the driver to get going.


“How did it go?”


“I got a B rank.”


“Well done.”


It was quite a satisfying outcome. Getting a B-rank just after a year of climbing the Tower of Trials was a rare achievement. B-rank awakeners were one of the top ranks now.


“What is the A rank’s standard?”


Hak-joon’s question contained his earnestness to achieve his next rank as soon as possible. Feeling happy, Jung Dong-young laughed and replied.


“Level 6 and above, factor 55 and above.”


“Do I have to meet both requirements?”


“Of course. The institution is also paying attention to awakeners of A-rank and above. In fact, those who are above A-rank are the driving forces of this era.”


“You’re indirectly complimenting yourself. How great.”


Jung Dong-young was one of the few A-rank awakeners in Korea.


Although it was almost the same as complimenting himself, his words weren’t entirely wrong. In fact, the main leaders of each existing guild were all A-ranked awakeners.


“Besides that, I heard that there was an awakener called Kim Su-hyeun in the evaluation today?”


“Yes.”


“I heard his ranking was bad. Was it someone else with the same name?” Even if the results were out, he seemed to be quite concerned. In fact, most guilds were eager to recruit the rookie awakener Kim Su-hyeun.


“I think so.”


“Hmm… What are the chances of him faking his magic level?”


“You know that can’t happen, right?”


It was nearly impossible, even for Jung Dong-young, to have that level of magic control. Regardless of if he were a genius, it wasn’t something that Kim Su-hyeun, who was just in his first year, could do.


Still, Jung Dong-young smacked his lips at the thought of it being fishy.


Compared to Hak-joon, Kim Su-hyeun, who had broken each floor’s records, was more talented.


<>


Not receiving his evaluation until now would mean that the possibility of him not receiving his re-evaluation was higher.


Jung Dong-young thought that Kim Su-hyeun might just be a child from a well-off family.


<>


Su-hyeun picked up his bag and checked his new awakener’s registration card. The letter C that was clearly printed on the card was evidence enough. This card was required before entering public dungeons.


<>


Although he felt guilty for faking his magic level, he could not freely reveal his identity either. He hated the fact that so many people were focused on him. Furthermore, the institute’s eyes were on him, too.


<>


It wasn’t time for him to step into the limelight yet. Hence, he chose not to undergo a confidential evaluation either. Regardless of confidentiality, as long as one had to receive an evaluation, the institute would still find out about it.


<>


It wasn’t tough to change his magic attributes. There might have been no other awakeners in the guilds with better magic control than Su-hyeun.


No, it wasn’t only that. Even in the future, there were no other awakeners with better magic control than Su-hyeun. In terms of magic control, Su-hyeun was too remarkable for any awakener to follow.


Deceiving magic attributes? So long as it was not increasing his magic level, it was as natural as breathing to Su-hyeun.


<>


This annoyingly sluggish computer was testing his patience. Suddenly, he felt lucky to have gotten his awakener registration card.


<>


He just had to endure this frustration until then.


After he had logged into Abyss Online, Su-hyeun looked up “Ares Guild.” Quite a few articles appeared in the search results. It wasn’t a huge guild, as Su-hyeun had expected, but it was on the larger side.


<>


It wasn’t just how large Ares Guild was that got them famous.


“Guild leader Jung Dong-young. Former gang member. Fistfighter that suppressed all of Gyeonggi Province, except for Seoul.”


Jung Dong-young had an impressive portfolio. Apparently, he lent his fists to loan sharks and even touched on human trafficking, as well as private loans and ring payments.


It was revealed that the guild was training its own awakeners, and it was gaining higher profits than before. Although they knew he was running a cleaner business than before, those who knew Jung Dong-young said that he still hadn’t cleaned his filthy hands yet.


<>


No matter how great a gangster he was previously, Jung Dong-young could never make a name for himself amongst awakeners as a fistfighter. Besides being known as a fistfighter, he was also a great awakener. There weren’t many A-rank awakeners in this era.


“Hmm…”


In the end, the Ares Guild that Hak-joon belonged to wasn’t a good guild. Even though all awakeners in the guild weren’t corrupt, there was no way the subordinates would be competent if the higher-ups weren’t scandal-free.


<>


There was no way of knowing now. Su-hyeun stuck out his chin and started reading the past trending articles on Abyss Online. Su-hyeun didn’t have much knowledge of issues that had happened before 2020.


<>


Most of the articles until now were about specific large scale guilds, celebrities’ awakenings, and politics and laws about the awakeners. He had no interest.


Compared to what would be happening not too long from now, these were just minor issues for pure entertainment. Su-hyeun briefly read through and remembered the comments circulating on Abyss Online. Amongst them…


[January 1. We’re gathering C-rank and above awakeners for a new dungeon attack that appeared in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province. It is an orange level dungeon. For more details…]


There it was.


Su-hyeun’s eyes lit up slightly at the post.


“January 1, 2020.”


The part of the future that he had to change.


The beginning was right in front of him.


Act 10


Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province.


It was around a week ago when a dungeon had appeared on Yakshi Mountain, just a short distance away from City Hall. Its difficulty level, orange, was second to last on the easy side of the scale, with the easiest being red.


Lee Ju-ho, who was head of the Dungeon attack and a B-rank awakener, sat down and laid across a table in the cafe.


“Why aren’t there more people applying…”


“It’s the year-end. On top of that, the frequency of dungeons appearing recently has increased rapidly.”


The man who sat across him, Kim Ba-reum, was Lee Ju-ho’s co-leader of the dungeon attack and also his long-time friend. They needed at least seven awakeners in a team but had only gathered six, including both of them.


“Damn it. It’s getting tougher now, too. As dungeons keep appearing, the price of Ether is getting lower and people aren’t gathering as much.”


“What do you mean by getting tougher? Even if the prices fall, you could still make a few hundred million won out of them.”


Kim Ba-reum waved his hand as if telling his friend to not be funny. Lee Ju-ho grinned and picked up his half-emptied Americano, knowing that his own words were silly.


“But the things that happened recently have been quite weird. Aside from the increasing number of dungeons appearing, the number of deaths is also increasing during dungeon attacks.”


“Since when was there no awakener who overestimated themselves and died during dungeon attacks? The death count would increase as much as the numbers of amateurs increase.”


“Is that so?”


“Are you sure you didn’t mishear that it’s actually the Tower of Trials’ death count that is increasing? If it’s so, there’s no need to worry.”


Lee Ju-ho did not pay much attention to Kim Ba-reum’s words.


In the first place, his job as an awakener warranted high risks as well as high returns. Of course, there weren’t as many deaths from dungeon attacks up until now. Amongst awakeners’ accidental deaths, almost 99 percent had happened in the Tower of Trials.


Because of that, those awakeners who were guaranteed a certain level of safety had given up on climbing the tower.


<>


Lee Ju-ho was a B-rank awakener. When Lee Ju-ho first started climbing the tower, he had aimed precisely for a B-rank status. Even if a B-rank awakener joined a dungeon attack, the allocated rewards were different. In fact, being a B-rank awakener in this industry was quite a success.


The money he had earned over the past year had led him to live a decent life where he could afford expensive foreign cars and lavish apartments.


<>


Lee Ju-ho had thought that his life from now on would be smooth sailing.


Ding—


Just then, Lee Ju-ho’s smartphone rang. Who had contacted him? He checked his phone. He quickly sat up while still checking the message.



Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.