To Hell With Being a Hero! - BestLightNovel.com
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Chapter 461. The Star Among Stars (2)
The next morning, Chi-Woo woke up from his sleep and got out of his lodging. He was shocked to see that Flora was waiting for him right outside the door without moving an inch. According to Aida, Flora had been waiting before dawn broke and stayed there even when she told her that it was too early.
‘What in the world?’ She had waited all night long without sleeping just because he said they should go somewhere the next morning. Chi-Woo smacked his lips. After giving her a full meal and Flora displaying how good she was at using the fork now, Chi-Woo took her to his master.
“What’s all this fuss early in the morning?” Byeok asked.
“I came to you in a hurry because there’s a crucial request I must make to you, Master,” Chi-Woo said, meaning that he came to her not as the leader of Seven Stars, but as her disciple. Byeok raised her pipe and said, “Speak.”
“I would like to ask you to take in this child as your disciple.”
Byeok was about to place the pipe into her pipe when she stopped. She looked at the thin girl who had her head bowed.
“Who’s that child…?”
“Her name is Flora. She’s the only survivor we found in our recent expedition, and that’s the name I gave her.”
“I heard about it. I thought it was strange when I heard that you were keeping her at your place and even had a guardian oversee her…” Byeok took a puff from her pipe and smacked her licks. “I’m sure you are aware that I don’t take in anyone as my disciple.”
“Yes, I’m well aware of it.”
“But you still brought her to me knowing that. She’s not even a hero from the Celestial Realm, but a native girl who isn’t all grown up.”
“I’m not trying to force this decision on you or make an order to you, Master. Please take a good look at her just once.”
“…Well, that’s not much to ask,” Byeok accepted the request without much difficulty. Though she looked a bit taken aback, she thought she could kill some time with this girl. “I will do it properly since it’s a request coming from you. You may leave now that I’ve heard you loud and clear. I will tell you once the results are decided,” Byeok said.
“Thank you.” Chi-Woo bowed and turned to Flora. “One’s master is like the sky. Consider Master Byeok’s words like mine and follow them.”
Flora bowed just like Chi-Woo did. Soon afterward, Chi-Woo left, and only Byeok and Flora remained in the room. There was a heavy silence. Neither Flora nor Byeok said anything.
‘It really is strange. Very strange.’ Byeok studied Flora closely and narrowed her eyes. This was the girl Chi-Woo had personally brought and requested her to train. Unless Chi-Woo was trying to fool around with his master, who he considered as high as the sky, there must be something special about the girl. No matter how much she studied the girl, however, she didn’t see anything noteworthy about her. She didn’t seem to possess a powerful amount of mana; and far from being blessed by the heavens physically, she looked like she had been suffering from malnutrition instead, which was worrisome.
‘Seems like I will have to take a personal look at her.” Byeok flicked her pipe and got up from her seat. She thought Flora would naturally follow her, but Flora didn’t even budge, so she had to return to the room again. Just to try it out, Byeok told Flora to follow her, and only then did Flora get up and move her feet. Byeok didn’t know whether she should call the girl stupid or very obedient. Her expectations dropped a bit, but she didn’t let it show as she took Flora out of the main building.
“Look carefully from now on,” Byeok said and brought a sword. She swung it four or five times and said, “Copy me.” Then, she threw the sword to Flora’s feet as the girl stood fixed.
“Swing until you are satisfied. Swing until you think you’ve displayed the greatest swing you can make,” Byeok said and slumped down on a random spot nearby, putting a pipe into her mouth. She planned to observe Flora a bit before enjoying a nice nap under the morning sunlight. She thought the matter would be done when she opened her eyes again. And if Flora was still swinging her sword restlessly till then, she might give Flora a compliment or two for her will and determination. Byeok yawned with her mouth wide open and jerked her head for Flora to begin.
Good at listening, Flora grabbed the sword without hesitation. She flinched a bit when she clutched the sword, but Byeok nonchalantly pa.s.sed over the matter. Soon, Flora raised the sword and got into the stance that Byeok had demonstrated to her and swung from up to bottom.
Whoosh—! Byeok’s eyes opened slightly wider because the sound was clearer than she had expected, but in the end, the surprised look on her face was replaced by a thin smile. Considering that Flora was a native girl who didn’t know anything, she had quite a good stance. This could be a talent, but Byeok remained indifferent. Of all the numerous heroes she taught, there were plenty with talents equal or greater to that.
‘If taught well, she’ll be able to reach Hawa’s…hm?’ Byeok was about to finish her a.s.sessment of Flora when her forehead creased. ‘What is she doing?’ While swinging the sword, Flora kept stopping before recommencing her attempt. And every time she did this, the sound of her swing changed. Slightly taken aback, Byeok looked at Flora with surprise.
Suddenly, it sounded as if an iron was cast in the air, and Byeok’s eyes opened wide.
‘What—?’ It was then Byeok noticed that Flora’s posture was a bit different compared to the beginning and was still changing. Every time Flora stopped and recommenced swinging, there was a small change in her posture. Yet the result of the change wasn’t small at all.
‘No way.’ Byeok had told Flora to display the greatest swing she could make. She had spat out those words without much expectation, yet Flora was putting those words to reality without any help or advice, but based on personal intuition and senses alone. What in the world was this? Byeok was befuddled by the sight she was witnessing.
Sling. This time, it sounded as if s.p.a.ce was getting cleanly split into two. Byeok was so shocked that she got to her feet without realizing it. She focused entirely on the sword that Flora was swinging. Thus, Byeok didn’t notice that inside Flora’s empty, dazed eyes that looked so lifeless that it seemed as if they would never be filled, an unknown and strange pa.s.sion was beginning to stir.
“…Again!” Byeok called out, but it was unnecessary.
Sling, sling, sling, sliiiiing!
The sound of s.p.a.ce splitting continued to ring. Byeok’s gaze wavered senselessly. She looked with her mouth gaping wide open, and her pipe slipped out of her loosening grip. This wasn’t a rose blooming out of a polluted garbage pile. Right now, she was witnessing a scene even more miraculous—like something being made out of nothing.
Sometime later, Byeok came to her senses and turned on her Celestial Realm device to call someone.
“Ru Amuh—no, first team captain. Can you come to my place for a bit?”
—Sorry? Ah yes, I understand.
Byeok hung up and stared intently at Flora. Even though she had witnessed what had happened with her own eyes, she still couldn’t believe it. That was why she called Ru Amuh. Geniuses recognized other geniuses after all.
The expedition had been a success. After exchanging stories and enjoying his time outside, Umaru returned to Seven Stars while humming. He was heading to the main building when a faint sound tickled his ears. It was sharp yet clear and had a certain rhythm to it. Umaru smiled. As someone who was well-trained in swordsmans.h.i.+p, he instantly recognized how special the sounds were.
“Oh my. Who is swinging their swords so excitedly?”
There was nothing for him to do anyways. Bored, Umaru thought he should go watch and walked toward the source of the sound. The sound of whoos.h.i.+ng wind continued endlessly until Umaru arrived at the scene, and he saw that there were already a couple of people who had gathered before him. Their eyes were glued to one place with their mouths agape.
“What? Why….?” Soon afterward, Umaru was making the same face as these spectators. Ru Amuh was on the ground looking shaken and surprised, and in front of him, there was a girl kneeling on one leg and heaving quietly with her shoulders going up and down.
“…N-No way.” Umaru stuttered in astonishment. “How could it be? Mr. Ru Amuh was beaten?” Telling everyone to quit it now if they were trying to trick him, he asked while looking around.
“It wasn’t an…official duel,” Eun-Hyang replied. “They banned the use of mana and only used their swords.”
Umaru laughed humorlessly. Even considering that, it wasn’t a situation that he could simply accept. “Don’t lie—”
“It’s not a lie,” Teresa cut him off. “Of course, the first team’s captain didn’t go all out and he didn’t really lose.” Now that Umaru looked again, he realized that while Flora’s eyes were still hollow, she was gnawing her lower lip like she was slightly enraged by something—it was as if she thought she really had a chance of winning.
“But he almost lost. If he hadn’t rolled on the ground at the end, he would’ve been struck with a proper blow.”
Umaru felt chills run down his back. Teresa was saying that Flora basically won 99% of the fight. Umaru’s face hardened. When he was first admitted into Seven Stars, he challenged Ru Amuh with the same conditions and couldn’t forget how thoroughly overwhelmed and beaten he was.
“Hey, Flora. Do you know what you did exactly?” Umaru asked.
“I’m sure you don’t. Anyway, I can’t accept this,” Umaru said while stomping toward Flora and clutching his axe threateningly. “Bring it on. Let’s also have a duel.”
Flora settled her breath and glanced wordlessly at Byeok. Byeok nodded slowly, and with her permission, Flora let out a deep sigh and got up. Umaru got into position with a smirk.
“Let’s see. If you make me try my hardest, I will acknowledge you.”
While conversing in Chi-Woo’s office room, both Chi-Woo and Eval simultaneously turned to look out of the window. It was noisy outside.
“Boss, it seems that you should take a look at what's going on,” Eval said, and Chi-Woo got up immediately. There was quite a sight to see. He didn’t know what happened, but Flora was on the ground dripping blood, and Evelyn and Aida were healing her while the other members jeered at Umaru. They were asking if Umaru had gone mad, how he could have gone so far against a kid and so on.
‘But still?’ Chi-Woo tilted his head curiously.
“Boss!” Teresa spotted Chi-Woo coming their way and relayed everything that had happened to him. “That Umaru b.a.s.t.a.r.d tried to kill the child you saved! It was because it hurt his pride that she was putting up a better fight than he expected!”
“Ah! That’s not it!” Umaru denied the claims exasperatedly. “I restrained myself in the beginning because I only wanted to test her skills! But she kept telling me to fight properly in between. What else could I’ve done?”
“Don’t lie, sir!” Eun-Hyang retorted sternly. “That child didn’t open her mouth a single time while training! In the first place, she isn’t someone who knows how to talk!”
“No! Ah, this is driving me insane!” Though he couldn’t deny their claims, Umaru felt like he was going mad trying to explain himself. n.o.body else had seen it, but he clearly saw the girl glance up and down at him with clear annoyance; furthermore, she swung her sword aggressively from time to time as if she was speaking to him with her whole body that he should quit playing around—to stop being so boring and do this properly.
Umaru began to use more and more of his powers until Flora stopped egging him on. Of course, he was clearly in the wrong for mixing mana into his attacks. It was an accident that happened because he was so focused on going in the direction Flora wanted. But one thing was clear: Ru Amuh had succeeded in overpowering Flora even while restraining himself until the end, but Umaru had failed to do that.
Fortunately, Flora soon regained her senses. Because Umaru had pulled back as much as he could with the last blow, Flora’s wound wasn’t deep, and she had only been knocked out momentarily. Flora looked around blankly but flinched when she saw Chi-Woo. Like a dog seeing its warden, she quickly got up.
Though Chi-Woo heard many chattering around him, he didn’t pay attention to them and only focused on Byeok’s response.
“The first day that we met…” Byeok said. “Do you remember the exam I gave you?”
“How long did it take you to meet my standards?”
“That child…it took her less than ten tries.” Byeok shook her head and said in a trembling voice, “In less than ten tries, she made a perfect swing that surpa.s.sed even the standard I set.”
And it wasn’t just a coincidence as Flora repeated the perfect swing many times after that.
“I won’t ask any question right now,” Byeok said and walked up to Flora like she had a more urgent matter to take care of. It seemed that she was going somewhere when she grabbed Flora’s arm and turned around.
“Wait…!” Chi-Woo called out to her, but Byeok didn’t pay attention and simply dragged Flora away. She seemed possessed as she moved. Yet Byeok had to soon stop because Flora was resisting with all her might to stay in place.
“Ah, seriously…!” Byeok chewed on her lower lip anxiously, turned around, and shouted at Chi-Woo, “I need to go see your brother!”
Hearing this, Chi-Woo realized what Byeok planned to do. In order to create the proper training environment for Flora, Byeok was going to ask Chi-Hyun to make his Image Representation s.p.a.ce. With this, the superintendent of the Celestial Realm who was notorious for being tough and strict had acknowledged Flora’s potential. This meant only one thing: they struck the foretold jackpot.
“…What?” Chi-Hyun couldn’t hide his surprise when Byeok suddenly visited him with a girl. Not only had she barged in without warning, she told him to create his Image Representation s.p.a.ce out of the blue. Chi-Hyun wanted to ask if Byeok learned only bad things from her own disciple, but pursed his lips again after seeing the girl. He clearly saw with his eyes and sensed the enormous potential overflowing from this girl’s whole being. It was like the vast ocean.
“What a pity,” Chi-Hyun said calmly after a short silence. “If this girl had grown up in a better environment, there might’ve been no need for us to come to Liber.”
“It can’t be helped. There are very few people who live up to their full potential everywhere,” Byeok said, and Chi-Hyun nodded. Even on Earth, if everyone had found their talents properly, perhaps the planet would be overflowing with geniuses. Chi-Hyun nonchalantly accepted this fact, and Byeok frowned.
“By the way, you don’t appear that surprised. I thought you would show a more dramatic response than that.”
“Is there a reason to be that surprised?”
“Don’t be too a.s.sured of yourself. Perhaps this child could surpa.s.s you.”
Chi-Hyun smirked. He wasn’t laughing at the ridiculousness of the thought. Considering the girl’s potential, it was a real possibility. Perhaps she could really surpa.s.s him decades or centuries later. While he agreed to part of what Byeok said, though, it didn’t give him a reason to be surprised.
One would get sick of a type of food if they kept eating the same thing over and over again no matter how tasty it was; likewise, one would be numb to everything else after they had experienced something unbelievably shocking again and again. The girl’s potential was definitely surprising, but if Chi-Hyun had to rank all the beings he’d met in his lifetime in terms of potential, she would only be in second place. The first place belonged to someone else. And after spending quite a long time with that someone, it was only natural that Chi-Hyun wasn’t that surprised by this girl. While she was like the vast, seemingly boundless ocean, all water was still under the sky.