Chapter 125. My Boss, My Hero (5)
Both Ru Amuh and Ru Hiana looked refreshed. They had sweated a bunch from their exercise and felt a sense of accomplishment. Their skills had been stagnant for a while now, and it had been a long time since they saw any sign of progress; the feat was all the more astonishing considering the fact that it was triggered by only a couple of words of guidance. Thus, the two’s reverence and gratitude for Chi-Woo deepened. They were swordsmen before they were heroes, and they knew how indebted they were to Chi-Woo now.
On the other hand, Chi-Woo felt a slightly bitter taste in his mouth. Ru Amuh and Ru Hiana’s improvements were the results of Philip’s guidance, and a part of him was jealous that they had gotten stronger when he desperately wanted to do the same.
—Well, I’m satisfied since it’s an enjoyable experience, and I’m glad that I could be of help. But you shouldn’t be too impatient about becoming stronger. It’s good that you have passion, but what’s the point if only you become stronger? It’s better if you become stronger with other people. I mean, at a glance I can already tell those kids are pretty all right. One of them is way beyond all right, actually.
In the end, Chi-Woo nodded. Philip was right, and it was exactly what he had thought in the past. However, it wasn’t easy for Chi-Woo to control his emotions.
—Yes, after all, a hero is also human. It’s inevitable that a hero would possess some selfishness and greed.
—But whether they can control such feelings according to the situation would differentiate a human from a beast.
Chi-Woo thought it was laughable that Philip, above anyone else, had uttered such words.
—But I’m not human anymore. I just used to be human.
Philip retorted, and Chi-Woo decided to just quit talking to him.
“Ah, by the way, Teacher—” Then finally Ru Amuh recalled that Chi-Woo had visited him for another purpose and quickly guided Chi-Woo to his house.
* * *
Once everyone sat down around the table, Chi-Woo tested his luck and asked, “What are both of your current plans?”
Until this point, Chi-Woo had thought things would work out in the end as they had always done. Yet, when he heard Ru Amuh and Ru Hiana’s responses, he realized he had been underthinking things. Both of their schedules were extremely packed, and although he was taken aback to hear this at first, he understood after hearing their explanation.
Around 2,000 heroes had joined them in the recent union. Among them, only five percent could use their divinity, and even a lesser number had made a contract with Shahnaz. Zelit placed the matter of increasing the percentage of people in this group as the top priority. As mentioned before, the difference between a hero’s skills before and after they regained the ability to use divinity was tremendous. It would take seven heroes with no power to even have a chance to defeat one mutant, but those who had access to divinity, however little, would be able to face a mutant alone.
Thus, the first thing Zelit did was introduce to the newcomers the gift Chi-Woo had provided for everyone: he revealed that there was a yongmaek located in the fortress by the border. Hearing this, heroes fought to head to the fortress. There was no way they would miss out on an opportunity to use divinity without making a contract with a god. And interestingly, many of these heroes were what would be called ‘traditional heroes’ in the Celestial Realm.
Of course, there were also heroes who didn’t head to the fortress and instead stayed in the capital. Their reasons were manyfold. For starters, they didn’t know how to awaken their divinity, and even if they knew the method, they didn’t want to push their way into a small area with hundreds of other people all day. And above all, the danger of going anywhere near the border was a good dissuading factor.
And thus, Zelit provided a second method for the heroes who remained in the capital. Heroes who were able to use their divinity already could take other heroes with them to help them accumulate merits. In other words, they would basically do what they had done before at the fortress. Thus, Ru Amuh and Ru Hiana had a very full schedule in the upcoming days. There was no need to explain how important Ru Amuh was, but Ru Hiana had also passed a promotion test and jumped from Iron to Bronze tier, making the pair rare, valuable members for everyone in the capital.
“If I could, I wish to focus on my training…but I suppose I shouldn’t.” Ru Amuh shrugged and laughed.
“Me too. I want to push off everything and make what I’ve experienced today completely mine,” Ru Hiana agreed.
“But duty calls… We can’t only be on the receiving end. Since Senior has done so much for us, we have to do our part.”
What they said made it harder for Chi-Woo to reveal the reason for his visit. Now, he wondered why he thought they would easily say yes to his request when it should have been clear that they would be too busy to do anything else. It would be the same for Zelit or Allen Leonard. But then, this also made him curious. Everything Ru Amuh and Ru Hiana just told him was news to him. Why hadn’t Zelit told Chi-Woo any of these things?
‘Is it because of that incident still?’ Chi-Woo thought.
In reality, Zelit considered Chi-Woo to be outside of his domain and control. To Zelit, Chi-Woo was a hero he couldn’t grasp, and he couldn’t easily make any request to him since Chi-Woo always did well by himself. Thus, Zelit had even talked to Noel Freya beforehand to ensure as much freedom was given to Chi-Woo as possible. But not knowing any of this, Chi-Woo simply thought, ‘Zelit must still have PTSD from what happened at the Evalya mountain.’
‘Well, it can’t be helped.’ Chi-Woo finally concluded. He couldn’t make them change their plans when they were acting for the greater good. Besides, Chi-Woo hadn’t been comfortable asking Ru Amuh or Ru Hiana about this matter anyway. In the end, Chi-Woo kept the real reason for his visit a secret and got up. It almost made him feel refreshed that he at least got some answers now. Then, Chi-Woo decided to focus on his own training for a while and spent the rest of the day doing so before going to bed.
* * *
At dawn, Salem Philip curiously watched a slime creep upward in tandem to Chi-Woo’s snores—at least until he heard the young man groan.
—Hm? Is he having a good dream or something?
“Goddess L-La Bella…!”
—What? Is he dreaming about the goddess of balance!? This shameless bastard! How dare you see the goddess you serve in such a way!
Envious, Philip was going to quickly enter Chi-Woo’s head to see what he was dreaming of when Chi-Woo’s groaning suddenly stopped.
And he looked extremely serious. The sweat collecting on his forehead seemed to be an indication for a nightmare, and now that Philip looked more intently, he could see divine energy poured out from Chi-Woo more than ever before.
—Is he…having a divine revelation?
A divine revelation occurred when a god descended upon a person. Obviously, it was not a common occurrence.
“Ugh-ha!” At that moment, Chi-Woo gasped and burst his eyes open while sitting up. Philip backed away in shock, and the bun quickly hid. Chi-Woo’s face looked blank as if he had just woken up from a bad dream. He calmed his breaths and looked wildly around before simply staring into space. He stayed like that for a long time.
Philip blinked and scratched his head. He wanted to ask what was wrong, but couldn’t. The air around Chi-Woo made him seem untouchable, and Chi-Woo himself appeared to be deeply conflicted. Then Chi-Woo squeezed his eyes shut before shoving a hand into his pocket. Once he took his hand out, he reluctantly cast something out.
Thud! Rattle… A die rolled on the floor.
—Huh? Isn’t that…
Philip’s eyes chased the die.
“Fuck.” Chi-Woo cursed harshly.
At the crack of dawn, Chi-Woo immediately went to Ru Amuh’s place. However, the house was empty, and when Chi-Woo sent him a message, there was no response. Only after he sent a message to Ru Hiana did he get an update about the situation. After Chi-Woo left their place, Ru Amuh took some heroes with him and left the capital in the afternoon. And they had probably gone too far for a message to reach them.
“Ah,” Chi-Woo muttered. “If I had known this would happen, I should’ve asked Ru Amuh to cancel all his plans.” Then he forcefully moved his heavy feet.
On his way home, Chi-Woo was haunted by the desperate need to change his plan. He had originally planned to push off everything and focus only on training, but the dream he had this morning bothered him. Of course, he still wanted to focus on training, and on the back of his mind, he thought that it might not be a big deal after all.
While he was deep in thought, he suddenly heard a few fake coughs.
—My thoughts are a bit different from yours.
—Yeah, training is good. You can never get enough training.
—But what’s the point of being locked up and training all day?
Chi-Woo tilted his head. He didn’t understand what Philip was trying to tell him.
—Honestly, you’re not a weak one compared to everyone else in the group. In fact, you’re well above average just by looking at your user information.
Being strong was multifaceted. Great strength alone did not make one strong, nor did having a great amount of mana. One’s user information and equipment definitely played a part. However, physical strength, mana, and equipment were still far from the only factors that made a person strong.
Philip highlighted the importance of a person’s heart. He wasn’t just talking about a person’s mentality, but what made Chi-Woo who he was.
—To tell you the truth, while you were sleeping, I looked around a bit to find out who you are as a person—by reading your mind.
‘Without my permission?’
—Hey, you punk. I'm your master. Do I have to get permission from my disciple for every single thing?
Philip coughed and continued.
—The important part is that you’re still a beginner. I admit that you’re no longer an ordinary person. It must not have been easy, so good job. However, whether you’re a hero or not, you haven’t lived in a world like this.
Philip wasn’t wrong. Even though he wasn’t an ordinary person anymore, Chi-Woo wasn’t yet an experienced hero who had gone through all kinds of trials and tribulations.
—What do you think is the most fortunate thing that has happened to you since you came to Liber? Your innate abilities? Special abilities? Your contract with La Bella? The fact that you luckily beat a god?
—No. From what I saw, your greatest luck is that you were part of the seventh recruits, and the fact that you met Ru Amuh as your friend and made him your first star.
Chi-Woo stopped walking.
—…But, I also think that you might be too dependent on him.
Chi-Woo couldn’t just ignore Philip this time because he couldn’t deny the truth of these words. It wasn’t always this way, but somewhere along the way, he started turning to Ru Amuh first whenever something happened. He did it because Ru Amuh was an amazing hero. He was a strong and brave hero Chi-Woo could always trust and depend on no matter how difficult the situation was.
—Let me ask you something. Are you going to raise Ru Amuh only?
No, that wasn’t his plan. He didn’t know the exact reason yet, but the ability that he got from the ‘World’ had seven spots for seven stars.
—And do you think all the heroes you’ll meet in the future will be like Ru Amuh and Ru Hiana?
Chi-Woo couldn’t say anything in response; he already knew the answer to Philip’s question—there was no way that would be the case. Finding a perfect and well-rounded hero like Ru Amuh was as difficult as catching a star in the sky.
—Yeah, of course not. Not all heroes are saints. You won’t be able to build their trust level so easily either. No matter how good you are to them, no matter how you try your best, there are definitely going to be problems in your relationships. That’s what all human relationships are like.
—But, when that happens, what will you do?
Chi-Woo closed his mouth.
—You don’t know, right? Yep. There’s no way you would know because you’re just a rookie who doesn’t even know what this world is like, let alone predict how your situation will change in the future. That’s why I’m telling you to build your experience while you can. Learn about different types of heroes and what your role is, as well as how you should act around them.
—Remember, you’re not going to be just a hero, but also a leader who has to guide other heroes.
Philip knew that Chi-Woo was special; he was made that way. However, Chi-Woo was still young. Even though he was fine before, now that the earlier recruits had joined them, he had to grow and mature much more as a person. Leading 1-200 people was completely different than standing on top of thousands of people and guiding them. This was not something that Chi-Woo could learn from others, but something he needed to realize by himself. Even if he got hurt and broken, he needed to stand back up and make his heart as strong as a rock. Only then could he fulfill his proper role in this damned world.
Therefore, Philip wanted Chi-Woo to experience this world as much as possible instead of holing up in his room. Chi-Woo stood still like a stone statue. He wasn’t sure if Philip knew enough of the situation or about himself, but he knew that Philip had given very important advice about the future just now. Moreover, Philip was correct in that he couldn’t go looking for Ru Amuh for such a small matter, especially considering his special circumstances.
After thinking for a long while and organizing his thoughts, Chi-Woo nodded. ‘Thank you.’
The death of Giant Fist and Mua Janya was one of the worst things that happened to Chi-Woo on Liber. There was no longer anyone who knew about his circumstances and could help him out. Excluding those two, everyone thought of Chi-Woo as a ‘great’ hero with a lot of experience, so he couldn’t easily ask around for help. As a result, Chi-Woo desperately needed someone who knew his background and could help him—someone like Philip.
‘Yes, as you say, training isn’t everything.’
Philip smiled without meaning to. He had hesitated to voice his thoughts because Chi-Woo had a feisty personality. To his pleasant surprise, however, Chi-Woo knew when to listen; he quietly considered Philips words and in the end, accepted Philip’s advice on his own terms. As a hero and king who had ruled over a country, Philip felt that Chi-Woo was not a bad candidate to be a ruler; he at least had the qualities of a leader.
—That’s what I’m talking about~! Gain some experience! Get an amazing weapon on the way! What’s so hard about getting strong? Right?
Philip floated down, and after putting his arms around Chi-Woo, he cheerfully shouted.
—Good! Why don’t we start gathering up some teammates?
Chi-Woo turned around, making his way not to his house, but towards the square.
* * *
The first thing that Noel Freya did after reestablishing the temple was to serve Shahnaz. As expected of a former capital city, there was a temple, and after cleaning up the area, Noel placed the holy statue there. Shahnaz was extremely touched by her actions and offered to make a contract with Noel Freya with the holy energy Chi-Woo had given her. However, Noel politely refused. Even though Noel, as an extremely rare priest-type hero, had a very close relationship with gods, Shahnaz was the goddess of war and wind, and wasn’t a good match for Noel’s desired skill development.
On the other hand, the temple had been crowded every single day since Noel re-established it; it wasn’t just because of the heroes who wanted to make a contract with Shahnaz.
—Damn! Woah, so diverse. Look at that pointy ear…woah! What about her tail…!
Philip was all smiles as he looked at the female heroes walking around. Chi-Woo scoffed inwardly; Philip had been serious and cool a moment ago, but now, he was back to his usual self. It was certainly difficult to pin him down.
Shifting his gaze away from Philip, Chi-Woo looked around to find many heroes roaming the square like they were all waiting for someone. Some of them gathered together in fours or fives and conversed with each other, and those who were by themselves glanced furtively towards those who were in groups.
‘Hmm…let me see.’ Chi-Woo stopped looking around and turned to stare at the shrine. Right at that moment, he saw a person coming out of the shrine as if she was reflecting the sunlight. Her steps were light, and Chi-Woo, who had been staring without much thought, slightly tensed up.