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“Do you remember the first day when Park Go-Chan and Kang Chun-seong almost fought?”
“How could I forget.”
“Do you remember what Kang Chun-seong said back then?”
“Oh, the eyeball…”
I laugh and nod my head.
“Yes, that. He said it’s something anyone can do but not everyone has the nerve to do.”
“Hye-su, you will eventually have to do it too. You cannot be protected forever.”
“I know it is scary. I was terrified too. I still am. But try and cross that mountain. Once you cross it, you will be better than anyone else. Hye-su, you are capable of it.”
I stand up from my seat. I can’t delay the time any longer.
“I will be off now.”
Lee Hye-su stood up quickly and tried to dissuade me, but I marched on forward. And so I set off for the gorge.
As I left the gorge and entered the forest, I put on my bullet pouch and rifle, and summoned Sylph.
“From now on, get rid of all the noise I make.”
I take a step.
Interestingly, the crunchy sound of stepping on grass was not made.
With this, I can easily avoid the 9 apes standing guard.
“Guide me to where the leader is. Avoiding the awake apes as much as possible.”
Sylph signaled she understood and hopped onto my shoulder, pointing the way with her paw. I walked in the direction my cute guide instructed me to.
I retrieved my board and checked on Sylph’s remaining summon time in real time.
Getting rid of any noise was using her time twice as fast. The bigger a noise I make, the more power is used to get rid of that noise.
When I walk as softly as possible, the time given to me is about an hour. And so that is why I told her to escape if I was not back within the hour.
‘They will have a hard time without me. Plain as day.’
Not to mention food, but even with starting a fire they will suffer. I think to myself that when that time comes, even Park Go-Chan will long for me and it suddenly makes me laugh.
And Lee Hye-su.
‘You are the only one that has protected me.’
That I appeared righteous and brave to one woman makes me proud.
Of course in her shoes, my help was crucial to her survival.
But I don’t think she calculated for that and used me. If she was a calculating women, wouldn’t she have flirted with me from the get go?
Seeing as how she didn’t, Lee Hye-su is just a nice girl who grew up in a nice house, not wanting for anything.
Honestly, I liked her the moment I saw her, her pretty face, void of any primping. It’s why I disliked Park Go-Chan even more. Taking care of her wasn’t completely empty of an ulterior motive for me.
My insides boil at the thought that with me gone, Park Go-Chan may sexually harass her as he pleases.
‘You think I’m doing some heroic sacrifice? I just want to go back to living.’
If I succeed in this task, I will have made the biggest contribution to clearing this exam and will earn a lot of karma. Not to mention it will make me more appealing to Lee Hye-su.
It is this double motivation that keeps me forging on.
Of course, the most important thing is my life.
I move carefully.
Not long after entering the forest, I can see the red apes. They were bunched together sleeping, here and there.
With Sylph’s, help I weaved through the sleeping bastards and passed them.
My skin shivers, having to go right past the sleeping bastards. I feel my heart getting tense. If I take one wrong step and step on one, it’s the end for me.
Then, Sylph taps me on the shoulder.
‘What is it?’
As I look at her, she points to the left. From the left, an awake red ape is strolling about.
I immediately lower my body and carefully move. I hide my body behind the bushes and continue on.
Sylph draws on my shoulder with her front paw.
There is 50 meters left until the leader.
40, 30, 20…….
The distance gets shorter.
At 15 meters, I put a lead bullet in the chamber. Using Sylph to quietly slit its throat is the best option but you never know, so I keep the gun loaded.
Then, 9 meters.
Hiding behind a thick tree, I look at the situation before me.
‘Is it that?’
The red apes’ leader is a bastard with an incredible build. His height looks similar to Kang Chun-seong, and its muscles are intense. He looks to be about three times as heavy as the other apes.
‘I wonder if he’s a mutated one?’
It it’s this much, he must’ve been destined to be the leader since the day he was born. Superior since birth, he must have a strong hold on the gang.
Nonetheless, all that’s left to do is kill it.
Like a strong being, he sleeps in a big starfish shape, with all limbs out. He appears magnanimous in his sleep. I will let you sleep for eternity.
As far as obstacles go, near him are two red apes that are wide awake.
Leader, 2 guards.
I have to kill all three at once.
“Sylph, do you think you can slit all three of their throats at the same time?”
Sylph nods her head up and down.
“Okay. Slit them.”
She flew like the wind.
Chwak! Chwak! Kwajik-!
From all three of their necks, blood pour like a fountain.
I gripped my fists and celebrated. I just have to quietly escape the way I came, but…
“Ki ruh ruhk!”
I’m completely surprised.
The red ape leader bastard makes a sound like he’s coughing up phlegm from his blood pouring neck and wakes up. He hasn’t died?
The leader presses down on his blood gushing neck and gets up. His body is stumbling back and forth dangerously.
I give out the order to Sylph.
But then, right at that moment.
The leader rips out a roar. At the same time, the blood goes ‘pu hak!’ and, as if exploding, pours out his neck. He falls backwards and stops breathing.
But the last roar he let out has already awoken all the red apes.
From all around, the agitated voices of the red apes.
To have his throat cut and still let out a roar and wake everyone up! What the hell?
Now I am in the center of a hundred woken red apes.
“Board retrieval, skill review!”
-Spirit summon (Main skill). Lower level wind spirit is currently summoned.
*Level 1: Summons period 2 hours (Remaining time: 31 minutes.)
When the summon time is up, you may re-summon in 10 hours.
I only have 31 minutes of summon left.
‘What do I do now?’
My heart is pounding in horror. Amidst the danger, I desperately search my mind. A countermeasure, countermeasure, countermeasure!
‘Fuck, there is none! Just run!’
I start to run. Using Sylphs power, I run without a sound, quietly.
The bastards aren’t completely awake from their slumber, and haven’t realized the situation. The leader is dead and without anyone giving orders, they are bound to be muddled in confusion.
Using this time to run at full speed is the best option for right now.
One bastard is face on in front of me.
‘Fuck, what are you looking at.’
I give him a pull of my loaded magic gun.
Thanks to Sylph’s power, the gun doesn’t make a sound, and the only sound that is made is the dull thud when the lead bullet hits its skull.
As I run I load the gun again.
As the strange shrieks of the red apes spread through the forest, Lee Hye-su is in a sheer fright.
‘What do I do!’
It seems the red apes have all woken up at once. If Kim Hyun-ho hadn’t been caught, there wouldn’t be such a disturbance.
… Kim Hyun-ho will probably not be returning alive.
In a daze and not knowing what to do, Lee Hye-su suddenly remembers what Kim Hyun-ho had told her.
Retrieving the board and checking the time, almost an hour has passed. She heads inside the cave and wakes the rest of the group.
“What is it?”
“That, that is…”
At Joon-ho’s question, she doesn’t know how to respond and stumbles in her words.
“Hyu-Hyun-ho told us to immediately escape.”
“What are you talking about?”
As Park Go-Chan asked of her, Lee Hye-su replied with a voice mixed into a cry.
“I think Hyun-ho is dead.”
She can barely relay the whole story to the shocked group.
“That shithole, who does he think he is to go out all alone and fuck himself, pfft, I didn’t like him from the beginning anyway.”
“Now is not the time to be saying things like that. Don’t you think we should hurry and escape?”
At Joon-ho’s words, Park Go-Chan waves his hand.
“In that big a commotion, going out will be more dangerous.”
“But, Hyun-ho hyung…”
“Hey, shit. You wanna talk back to me again?”
Park Go-Chan is eager to assume leadership and Joon-ho quickly shuts his mouth.
The group cannot come to a decision and stays flustered. Now that Kim Hyun-ho, who had made a practical leader, has disappeared, problems are already surfacing.
It is Kang Chun-seong who had quietly been in silence, without a word.
“He said to run if he didn’t come back within the hour. So we shall run.”
Kang Chun-seong thought it wise to follow Kim Hyun-ho’s request. Since it was Kim Hyun-ho’s good decision making that led them well to this point.
Park Go-Chan didn’t make a squeak and followed. And so they group left the gorge.
“Where should we go?” Asks Joon-ho.
Everyone is in silence.
Not that they think about it, the one who had decided where to go was always Kim Hyun-ho. Which direction should we go if we want to live? The person leading the way has to make those decisions constantly.
They realize the big difference in being in the front and just following in that footstep.
“Missus, in what direction did that bastard Kim Hyun-ho go?”
Park Go-Chan asks and Lee Hye-su points to the right.
“Then we should go in the opposite direction!”
Park Go-Chan shifts his walking to the left. The other three people don’t have any other thoughts and so have no choice but to follow him.
Following from way in the back, Lee Hye-su felt an ominous foreboding.
Park Go-Chan decided the direction they should go, and the group decided to follow it. Park Go-chan’s desire for leadership that Kim Hyun-ho had pressed down, is starting to come up again.
And Kang Chun-seong, who has the ability to suppress him, has no desire to assert his own leadership. It seems he doesn’t want to deal with other people.
And Lee Joon-ho was weak, in strength and heart.
‘Hyun-ho, please come back alive. Please don’t die.’
Lee Hye-su pleaded in her heart over and over.
Perhaps the focal point was the death of their leader, because the red apes did not chase after me.
Thanks to that I barely escaped alive but I cannot return to the gorge where the group is. It’s because I cannot divulge their location because of me.
“Sylph, the bastards aren’t chasing me anymore, right?”
Sylph was on my shoulder waving her tail back and forth, and replied. Now, Sylphs summon time is only 5 minutes left. It is fortuitous I was able to escape in that time.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I look up at the sky.
It is still the dark night sky. But a ray of sunlight peeked through, calling on the morning.
“It’s done! I did it, ku hahaha!”
I make two fists and rejoice.
When I think to myself, I cannot believe it. I secretly went in on my own, amidst hundreds of red apes, and killed their leader and escaped.
I did it!
The unemployed, almost 30-year-old, Kim Hyun-ho!
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