A VIP as Soon as You Log In - Chapter 15: The Exposed Awl - 1
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The next day, Shinyoung Academy was in chaos.
Not just Shinyoung–the entire city of Seoul was talking about last night’s event where monsters broke out of dozens of irregular gates. But the incident hit home for Shinyoung students in particular, who were destined to face those monsters in the near future.
“Fuck, all those gates were A Rank!?”
“They were all irregulars too. I heard there were a lot of casualties.”
“That’s insane, all of the superhumans A Rank or above would’ve been dispatched.”
Humanity’s progressive adaptation to the new world didn’t mean that the gates would cease to be dangerous. Just as with other natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, gates were erratic events that humanity could only prepare to effectively respond to once they occur.
And yesterday, was a test of humanity’s preparation.
“But Seoul has a ton of skilled superhumans, like the Thunder Empress.”
“I’m so thankful the Thunder Empress is part of the association. The top guns of most elite guilds are often dispatched overseas.”
“It also seemed like the Alchemist was still around Seoul. Because of her, I heard, there was practically no one injured, despite the casualties.”
“I freaked out when the sirens suddenly went off last night.”
“A Rank monsters. . . . . . I’m freaking curious, though. Don’t you wanna see one?”
“Yes, will the next E+ Rank person please speak.”
Kang Shin-hyuk was silently eating his energy bar in the midst of the chaos in the classroom.
The Troll Heart Cocktail’s buff ‘Increased Blood Flow’ was still in effect.
Kang Shin-hyuk was incredibly thankful for receiving an additional 3-day buff in growth rates on the last day of the login bonus, but on the dark side, he was greatly bothered by the hunger that was constantly plaguing him.
The burden was so great that even after eating seven chickens the night before, two trays of cafeteria food (one tray just for the rice and the other for the side dishes) two times in the morning, he felt hungry again just as the first class had started.
‘I’m so thankful today is Friday.’
The remaining two days of the buff’s effective period were Saturday and Sunday, his days off school. If he could make it through today, he could spend the next two days training himself in his dorm room with a mountain of snacks stacked beside him.
He had already been growing at a rapid rate, but he couldn’t let go of this golden opportunity. While ‘Increased Blood Flow” was still in effect, he was determined to upgrade his physical strength from D+ to C- Rank.
D+ Rank and C- Rank were just a stage apart, but the difference in strengths was as clear as the change in the letter. His agility and stamina were already C Rank and C- Rank, respectively. With his strength entering C- Rank, all of his stats would enter the C Rank territory!
‘Then I would already have reached the level of a superhuman who was trained at a decent superhuman academy. At Shinyoung, I would surely place among the top 1st-year students. Adding to that, since my weapon proficiency is second to none, if I supplement it with my spirit power, I’d have nothing to be afraid of. If it all works out, I might be able to get superb grades from the upcoming sports day.’
Almost every event hosted by Shinyoung has grabbed a lot of attention from outsiders but along with the school festival, sports day in particular attracted a lot of interest. The reason was simple; outsiders were allowed to enter!
It was an event where students of various talents showcased their skills and scouts from various different guilds and active superhumans came to evaluate them.
In other words, your performance on sports day could greatly impact your future, so it was unwise to consider it as a fun day where you could just slack off.
‘Getting good grades from sports day also improves your academic evaluation. In many ways, it’s a great opportunity to raise my worth; it might even be a good idea to participate in the new students’ competition.’
If he diligently raised his worth this way, he’d be marked as a student of great promise and would receive several sweet offers from various guilds upon graduation. When that happened, it wouldn’t be much of a dream to go back to the hotel he stayed in yesterday.
He could order ten chickens from room service and enjoy the luxury of drinking cup ramen soup after dumping the noodles into the sink (1). Anything would be possible!
Kang Shin-hyuk’s stick vibrated as he instantly finished the energy bar while trying to relive the moments of eating last night’s chickens. He checked to see new messages that were sent by the kind-hearted noona that bought him chickens at the hotel.
[Bartender noona: I thought about it, but let’s keep our meeting a secret to Eunah]
[Bartender noona: Also, don’t tell anyone that you’re from earth]
[Kang Shin-Hyuk: Okay]
Kang Shin-hyuk had saved her number as “Bartender noona” out of the concern that having her real name listed and spotted by someone may lead to some bothersome trouble.
But the innocent young boy didn’t yet know that a name as vague as “Bartender noona” would also lead to various sorts of troubles.
[Bartender noona: Though with your skills, you’d be exposed to the world pretty soon anyway. . . . . . There’s no way you’d go unnoticed by Eunah when you were noticed by me, right?]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Are you acknowledging me as Anvil now?]
[Bartender noona: I don’t believe in the reincarnation part. Or rather, I don’t want to.]
[Bartender noona: But I think I can believe the part where you obtained Anvil’s ID and inherited his memories and knowledge]
[Bartender noona: But if you impersonate ‘Grandpa’ in front of Eunah, I’m going to kill you]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Like I said, I never did that]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: She’d tell you the same if you ask her. I’ve been honest from the beginning]
[Bartender noona: (emote)]
Despite his firm denial of her accusations, Claire sent several types of ‘suspecting emotes’ and ‘staring emotes.’ She had been like this on the phone since they split apart from yesterday, so Kang Shin-hyuk was already quite used to it.
[Bartender noona: Anyway, I hope you had a good rest last night. I’m about to board my plane, so I’ll talk to you later]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Are you returning to America?]
[Bartender noona: Of course. I may be a freelancer, but I can’t stay away from home too long]
[Bartender noona: I met everyone I planned to, and the commission from Janus was a total bust.]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: I’m sorry about that. . . . . .]
The three of them–Kang Shin-hyuk, Claire, and Janus–had already talked about the matter the night before. The conversation didn’t last long, as Janus had already figured out that Anvil was reincarnated in Eunah’s world upon hearing of Kang Shin-hyuk’s discovery of the Godslayer sword.
Claire was mad at Janus for not telling her earlier, but Janus giggled as if he was wearing a cheeky grin. He still paid her plenty of HP for the efforts she put in, so Claire didn’t have much to say.
Oh, by the way, the ID Claire used in Hero Universe was ‘Bartender.’
[Bartender noona: If you’re sorry, help me out next time.]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: You need my help?]
[Bartender noona: I don’t know how to use my spirit power yet, so I want you to help me]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: But I’m not that good at it either]
[Bartender noona: But it’d be better for me to cling onto you midway than to drop head-first to ground level.]
[Bartender noona: I don’t think it’s a bad deal for you either. I’ll give you all the potions I made from my experiments]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Wow, I love you noona (emote)]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: (emote)]
More than ‘not being bad for him either,’ it was a comically one-sided exchange, being able to receive potions from one of the best potion makers in the world.
Despite the slight awkwardness between them last night due to the trivial misunderstanding, Kang Shin-hyuk was happy he could regularly meet such a good person.
[Bartender noona: Sorry, but I’m not really into younger guys]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Ah sorry, I wasn’t talking about you but the potions]
[Bartender noona: You say that when you frantically scanned my whole body when you first saw me]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: I’m very sorry noonim! (2) I made a mistake since you were too attractive!]
[Bartender noona: All right, all forgiven since you’re honest]
[Bartender noona: I’ll visit you again later with chickens]
She was a really good person, Kang Shin-hyuk thought again.
‘Since it came this far, should I specify the chickens’ brand as well? No, that’s going overboard. But if I’m going to eat them in the first place, they might as well be the best ones. . . . . .’ Just as Kang Shin-hyuk was painfully agonizing over the question:
[Bartender noona: By the way. Do you know of a teacher. . . . . .”]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Yes?]
[Bartender noona: Ah, nevermind. Don’t worry about it. Let’s talk about it later.]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Sure.]
That was the end of their conversation. Kang Shin-hyuk shrugged his shoulders and put his stick back in his pocket.
Baek In-ha was in front of him.
“It’s a girl.”
“100% It’s a girl. Our Shinyok-yi didn’t even come back to his dorm.”
The word “girls” was pretty much glued to his lips, but as the saying goes, even a malfunctioning clock sometimes gets the time right. As he was spot on, Kang Shin-hyuk came up with a random excuse:
“I told you, I went out to buy some dinner, but then went to a nearby evacuation center after the sirens went off.”
“No, the smile you let out just now was the smile of a winner. It was a smile of superiority, as if to say ‘I’m different from you measly children.’ It’s a noonim, right! You must have seduced a beautiful noonim last night!”
If Baek In-ha didn’t shout such pathetic remarks out loud in the classroom, he would be popular with girls too, Kang Shin-hyuk thought. . . . . . Kang Shin-hyuk spoke to Baek In-ha with a look of sincere pity.
“No seduction, but I did get to know a noonim yesterday.”
“She’s an Irish American with red hair and red eyes and a good style. Her name’s Claire Boyle, she’s a famous superhuman.”
“Oh. . . . . . Did you guys eat dinner together?”
“Yup, we ate chickens. Claire noona bought them for me.”
Just as he turned his back to the reality that was too hard to bear, Baek In-ha lightly gave a light tab on Kang Shin-hyuk’s shoulder and returned to his seat.
Looking at Baek In-ha’s back, Kang Shin-hyuk thought there might have been no need to save Claire’s number with a nickname and took out his second energy bar.
The last lecture of the afternoon, ‘Monster Ecology,’ dealt with the ecology of monsters that appeared on earth; their weaknesses, and detailed counter-strategies against them.
All the writing classes (3) that he had to take to become a great superhuman were as necessary as they were boring, but now he was also hungry due to the ‘Increased Blood Flow’ buff’s effect. While Kang Shin-hyuk was struggling to endure the immense boredom and hunger, a whisper arrived on his message log:
Eunah: >< Grandpaa (4)
It was a whisper from Eunah, a.k.a. the Thunder Empress. Kang Shin-hyuk was used to receiving her messages, since she has been sending them to him whenever she had the time since Kang Shin-hyuk joined the Hero Universe.
Anvil: What’s up?
Eunah: My friend went back to Americaaaaa
She must have been talking about Claire Boyle. Then this girl who speaks like a little child like her tongue hasn’t been fully developed must be the Thunder Empress. . . . . .
Eunah: We couldn’t even find what we were looking forr :((
Anvil: That must be distressful.
Eunah: Yes :(( And a lot of bad beings appeared yesterday so I was really tired fighting them.
Kang Shin-hyuk made a decision. He decided to have Min-seo, the youngest kid (6 years old) at the orphanage, as a reference while talking to Eunah. His conversation partner’s mental age must be around there, he thought.
Anvil: You must have worked hard.
Eunah: Tell me I did goodd
Anvil: Great job.
Eunah: Tell me I did goodd
Anvil: Yup, you did good.
Eunah: Yup! 🙂 I did good, right!
Unable to endure the endless messages, Kang Shin-hyuk felt the ends of his lips convulse as he said whatever she asked him to.
He was able to respond without any issues with the image of a pure innocent child in his mind, but knowing that she’s actually the Thunder Empress, he couldn’t connect the image of the mighty warrior with someone who was talking like a little child.
“Student Kang Shin-hyuk? Judging by the fact that your pen hasn’t been moving, the lecture must be very boring for you.”
“I understand, though it might have been better if you weren’t caught. Right?”
It was at that moment. As Kang Shin-hyuk was mentally wriggling about due to his conversation with Eunah, he was pointed out in the classroom.
“Why don’t you then teach us about the weaknesses of the monster Aviole? If you give us a satisfactory answer, you may spend the rest of the class for self-study.”
“Uh. . . . . .”
He was screwed. Kang Shin-hyuk was taking a writing class to compensate for his lack of grades in more practical classes, but he was not quite knowledgeable of the Avioles yet. That was expectantly so, because Avioles were C Rank monsters he had never learned about!
He memorized every detail of E Rank monsters that 1st-year students were required to fight against, but it was too much to ask for a 1st-year student in their first semester to be informed of a C Rank monster!
“Hold on, please.”
But if he didn’t respond, he’d lose his writing scores. If he lost points in a ruthless point-based system where your scores influenced every aspect of your student life, failure in this moment could even end up impacting his graduation.
Eunah: Grandpa, What’s wrong? Are you busy? I am sorry 🙁
No, don’t worry about it. But I’ll be right back. I’m in a class, so let’s talk later.
Eunah: What are you learning about?
Kang Shin-hyuk revealed the monster’s name without a second thought as he was too agitated by the stares from the teacher and other students. Eunah responded right away.
Eunah: Avioles . . . . . . I know a lot about them.
“Student Kang Shin-hyuk? Do you need more time?”
As the teacher’s stare was about to become even sharper, the Thunder Empress’s messages completely filled Kang Shin-hyuk’s retina like clouds filled the sky in a stormy night.
Eunah: Avioles have two wings, but they’re actually midsize ground monsters. They don’t have a fixed habitat, so they move underground at high speeds, sometimes leading them to break out of gates with monsters belonging to completely different habitats. There was even a case where they broke out from an extremely low ranked gate.
” . . . . . . ”
Eunah: The feathers on their wings have a ton of small holes in them, and using them, they soak up soil particles which they then emit back out to dig through the ground. If they align their wings about 70 degrees to the ground and howl, it’s a sign they’re about to attack and you have to be on your prepared right away. The soil particles stored in their wings are then discharged at once by infusing mana and that attack is comparable to a C Rank magical power or physical strength.
At this very moment, a vast amount of knowledge stored in the association’s database was flowing into Kang Shin-hyuk’s head!
Eunah: But there is a window of opportunity right after their attack. They have to refill the holes with soil particles, and if you launch water-based magic of C Rank or above, their wings would be rendered useless by absorbing water instead of soil.
Eunah: They actually breathe with their wings, and will only try to breathe with their mouths if the holes in their feathers are blocked. You can easily kill them by stuffing water into their throat when they do. If you don’t have the right magic, you can just attack their butt to block the passage used to discharge the soil. Their throats are actually quite sturdy, so it’s not the most recommended part to target. But if you cut off the tail on top of their heads, they lose their sense of magical power so it becomes easier to fight them.
” . . . . . . Avioles are.”
Kang Shin-hyuk didn’t have much choice at this point.
“Avioles are creatures with two wings but they’re actually midsize ground monsters.”
“They use the small holes in their feathers to absorb soil particles, which they use to attack during battle. . . . . .”
As Kang Shin-hyuk began talking, the teacher listened to what he had to say. Kang Shin-hyuk merely repeated what Eunah had told him. She had come to his rescue, though if you think about it, it was her fault that he was pointed out by the teacher in the first place!
“. . . . . . Thus, if a water attack proves to be fruitless, it’s best to take advantage of the slight gap after it has discharged all soil particles to cut off the tail on top of its head to disturb its sense, and then finish it off by attacking the discharging pathway in its butt. That is all.”
“. . . . . .”
The teacher was totally silent when Kang Shin-hyuk finished the lecture that his classmates probably wouldn’t have for another year. Kang Shin-hyuk tried his best to sustain a stiff expression to hide his guilt of having cheated, and most students were slightly tilting their heads because they didn’t know if anything Kang Shin-hyuk had said had any authenticity.
Then, a moment later, the teacher let out a smile and gently applauded.
“Splendid. It was more impressive that your answer wasn’t in the form of a textbook answer. You had grasped the ideal strategy of hunting an Aviole, and more, you’ve meticulously explored the best way to hunt it as a Knight major. It was the perfect answer that could only be formed by having watched and analyzed dozens of videos dealing with Aviole counter-strategies. I could clearly see that you studied hard. You’ve been awarded 3 points.”
“Th. . . . . . Thank you.”
“You may use the rest of the class time for self-study. But even if you know all the lecture’s contents, please, try not to look bored in class.”
“I’m sorry! I’ll continue studying as hard as I can.”
Kang Shin-hyuk emitted a deep sigh sinking down into his chair. Baek In-ha, who was sitting near Kang Shin-hyuk, tried to covertly give a thumbs-up to him but ended up as the teacher’s next victim to answer a question.
Kang Shin-hyuk was dazed for a moment and he could hear students whispering to each other.
“Ah, Kang Shin-hyuk was always good at writing courses.”
“But that was just. . . . . . Is he backed up by a large guild or something? That strategy he just talked about is something you only see at the front line of a major guild. I’ve never heard of a specific timing to attack.”
“Hey, he also beat Doo Woo-jin a while ago. What if he’s amazing in practical courses too?”
“That was just a coincidence.”
“Yeah~ Just as it’d be a coincidence for you to meet an Aviole at an F Rank dungeon and die while shitting your pants, right?”
“What did you say fucker?”
Until a few days ago, the words around him were filled with shock and suspicion, but the air around him had changed quite drastically. Faintly but distinctly, there was a mood where everyone was now acknowledging Kang Shin-hyuk.
Kang Shin-hyuk slightly smiled. It wasn’t a bad feeling.
‘That just now wasn’t me, though.’
He had never expected he’d receive such help from Eunah.
Despite knowing that she’s a superhuman from the association, it was hard for him to put his trust in her as she always talked like a little child, but now he felt like he could acknowledge her as one of the top superhumans of Korea.
While Kang Shin-hyuk was sitting with a complicated mixture of 1/3 happiness, 1/3 guilt, and 1/3 unrest, a message popped up in front of him:
Eunah: Grandpa, Is there anything else you’d like to know about?
Anvil: Nope, that was the perfect explanation. Thank you. I made it through the situation all thanks to you.
Eunah: Heh. . . . . .
Just as Kang Shin-hyuk was happy to finally receive a short message from her.
Eunah: Do you want to know more!?
Eunah: I know about pretty much every single monster up to S Rank! I know a lot about SS Rank monsters too! I’ll answer anything Grandpa is curious about! Grandpa, do you know what Medusa is?
Eunah: You know, I thought you don’t turn into stone as long as you don’t look at its face, but its breadth and mana rays and all these other things can turn you into stone, so I almost died hunting it! And you know–
Uh. . . . . . Could you please go through one by one, slowly? When you are free, that is.
Like this, Kang Shin-hyuk had officially recruited the girl who was calling him Grandpa as his tutor. It was the moment when a green light turned on his way to receiving a high writing course grade.
Translator and Editor Notes:
(1) A faux pas for commoners
(2) ‘Noonim’ is the more dignified version of ‘noona’ and connotes much more respect than the latter.
(3) “Writing courses” really means “knowledge-intensive courses,” as opposed to “practical courses.”
(4) Korean has a way of sounding cute/adorable by prolonging certain vowels or with certain single/double syllable sounds, but since that seems either impossible or incredibly awkward in English, I’ll just use emotes instead, unless the alternative works. (The closest analog that comes to mind in English is replacing half the letters with w like “The cwosest anawog thwat cwomes to mwind in Wiengwish is . . . . . .” But I don’t want to commit that sin.)
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