A VIP as Soon as You Log In - Chapter 16: The Exposed Awl - 2
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After Kang Shin-hyuk left a deep impression on his fellow classmates, the teacher was about to end the lecture.
“There is an important announcement. Everyone, please be silent.”
The teacher of 1st-year student’s C class, Siara Bertrand. Like others Kang Shin-hyuk had met, she was a Caucasian who could speak fluent Korean, which wouldn’t have been the case if Korea wasn’t a nation known for its supply of talented superhumans.
She was a 40-year-old S Rank superhuman in top 5,000 of the World Superhuman Ranking. She once made a name for herself during her prime in France, afterward of which she moved to Korea to teach at Shinyoung.
She was popular with the students not just for her excellence in teaching, but for her youthful beauty that she was able to maintain by possessing a large quantity of mana.
“You fought yesterday too, right, teacher!?”
“I saw the video of you fighting and it was so freaking cool.”
“Could you also whip me like you did to the mons-. . . . . .”
After she shut everybody up by lightly slamming on her desk, she calmly turned on the main screen in the classroom. It was an announcement related to sports day.
“These files will be sent to you soon, but please take a look at them right now. The competition will be divided into three sections. There will be a school-wide competition where two teams, consisting of all students from 1st to 3rd grades face off against each other. Then there will be a class competition, where a single class from 1st to 3rd grades will be selected to be the winning team. Lastly, there will be a free-for-all competition where the results are determined by individual evaluations.”
“Holy crap, finally.”
“I’ll sweep the floor with everyone. I’ll be the free-for-all’s MVP.”
“Yes, will the next D Rank person please speak~” (1)
Just as the students began to make a fuss, the teacher slammed her desk again to silence the students and continued.
“Please take each competition seriously. All students have to participate in at least one of the school-wide and class competitions. Participation in the individual competition is voluntary, where each participant will be strictly evaluated starting from the qualifiers, so please beware that joining the competition with insignificant skills could leave a negative impact on your overall academic assessment.”
As expected of Shinyoung, sports day was also a nightmare. Kang Shin-hyuk read through the screen with a bittersweet smile.
The teacher’s explanation continued, but Kang Shin-hyuk was only interested in the individual competition. As implied by the wording, most of them were 1v1 competitions, and they were varied in the types of battles involved.
‘A competition where any major can participate, and major-specific competitions to determine the best Knight and Magic major of the academy. . . . . .’
Lastly, the new student competition where only the newly admitted students could participate! For new students, the competition was a bloody warzone that was as competitive as it was accessible. Kang Shin-hyuk’s stick vibrated.
[Baek In-ha: Shinyok, are you gonna participate in the new student competition?]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Yup. You?]
Indeed, if Kang Shin-hyuk participated in the new student competition, there was a chance that he’d have to fight Baek In-ha, a monster among monsters who possessed a S Rank trait and A Rank magic power. Even though he’s been growing rapidly, there was no chance that Kang Shin-hyuk would be able to defeat him.
[Baek In-ha: I’m gonna participate in the school-wide competition. Since you can’t participate in the new student competition while participating in the school-wide one, I guess we won’t be facing off against each other.]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: You’re crazy, school-wide competition. . . . . .]
Even though he should have felt relaxed at his answer, Kang Shin-hyuk felt more humiliated than relieved.
The new student competition was meant to tease out the most talented new student. But Baek In-ha was already walking over to the stage of the entire school. His vision was different.
Kang Shin-hyuk gently bit his lips, and continued with a sigh.
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Win the school-wide competition. I’ll win the new student one.]
[Baek In-ha: I’ll win it all. You win it all too Shinyok.]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Yup I’ll win it all too.]
Kang Shin-hyuk was just beginning to learn how to walk, and if he tried to chase down the person running in front of him out of jealousy, he would just end up falling over.
So. he decided to work on standing firmly on the ground for the time being. Running would come after he learned how to stabilize himself. He breathed slowly as he made his new pledge. It relaxed him quite a bit.
“The participation list for the school-wide competition and the class competition will be collected after Monday’s class. Likewise, anyone wishing to participate in the individual competition should come and talk to me before Monday. That is all. Please decide after carefully reading the files sent to your sticks.”
“Teacher! I want to participate in the individual competition!”
“I wanna participate in the school-wide competition! Will you accept my proposal if I dedicate the trophy to you?”
“Bring. The documents. With you.”
Kang Shin-hyuk bit on his last energy bar and stood up as the teacher dealt critical hits on the loud students’ heads with the attendance sheet.
But then a voice flew in from behind.
“Student Kang Shin-hyuk.”
Siara Bertrand had called him after she handled the clingy students and packed her attendance sheet.
Was it wrong to eat the energy bar at the end of class? I won’t be deducted points for this, right? As numerous thoughts passed by; a faint smile formed on her face. It was a smile he had never seen since he enrolled in Shinyoung two months ago.
“To think that you’d move his heart. I was very impressed. I’ll be looking forward to your development.”
“Huh. . . . . .? Ah, yes.”
As he thought, ‘Who could it have been?’ The answer came right away. She was probably talking about the supervising teacher of the Artifact Production Club, Lee Manwoo. Was he some sort of a special type of person? Did something happen to him?
But the teacher had already left after packing her documents before he could ask such questions. He thought about chasing her to ask, but decided not to, thinking that he’d naturally come to learn about the issue if it turns out to be important.
[Baek In-ha: To think that you’d seduce our teacher. . . . . . You’re the real killer of older women]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Dude for fuck’s sake]
Kang Shin-hyuk entered the Superhuman market with only the Godslayer sword tied to his waist, intending to buy some field rations.
In order to sustain long-term activity in a gate, the food has been developed to be cheap, small, and able to fill as much as ten meals.
They were hardly comparable to Eiren Jelly that was delicious as well as able to replenish spirit power, but since he had little HP remaining, he had to buy whatever he could with his own cash. Especially now, after he had earned the profit of hunting down a War Troll!
[A total of 229,105,550 won has been transferred to your account.]
Kang Shin-hyuk thought there must have been a mistake when he first saw the message. He knew why he received money, but couldn’t make himself believe the amount that was displayed. Two hundred twenty nine million won!
Thinking he might have misread the number of digits, he reread the message countless times. But he was right the first time; more than a hundred million had found its home in his bank account!
But still incredulous, he researched about the corpse of a War Troll. He found out that not all War Troll corpses can be sold, and certain kinds of corpses are demanded more than others.
F Rank monsters were barely profitable but the profits became sizable from E Rank. There was a huge variation depending on the type of monster hunted, but the typical price was about a 100,000 won.
D Rank monsters were also greatly dependent on the type, but they cost a minimum of 300,000 won and a maximum of 5 million won.
C Rank monsters cost a minimum of 2 million up to about 30 million.
The concerned B Rank monsters cost at least 10 million up to a grand total of 400 million! On top of that, War Trolls were rare monsters, placing them at the maximum price range!
‘But since we took out its heart, which comprises the majority of its price. . . . . .’
The price should have dropped significantly, but because the War Troll was deemed to be a variant, the value of the heartless corpse was high enough to fetch him an unimaginable sum of money.
With that, Kang Shin-hyuk, who had been barely holding on with a few tens of thousand wons in his pocket, had suddenly become a multi-millionaire.
Of course, filthy rich people would snicker at such an amount, however, it was money that he obtained by risking his life, but it still felt surreal to him.
‘This should be enough until I graduate. Now there’s no need to save my dignity maintenance expense. . . . . .!’
While ecstatic, he realized why countless people dream of becoming superhumans, why low-rank superhumans worked so hard to raise their ranks.
It was because a boost in rank came with a boost in profits!
‘I don’t want to be obsessed with money, but having a lot of money makes a lot of things easier.’
That was indeed the case right now. Even though field rations were considered to be “cheap,” that was looking at it from the standards of active superhumans; it was still a large sum of money for an average student. But what had happened with an excess amount of money? He had bought them without any hesitation!
Money leads to less time wasted, allows you to tread on more comfortable paths, and gives you better things. In order to become stronger as fast as possible, it was good to have as much money as he could.
[It’s more important to have more HP than more money. With HP you can purchase goods that are higher in quality than the ones you can buy with cash. Also, with some of your VIP restrictions lifted, you can directly purchase products that will speed your status’s growth.]
Kang Shin-hyuk shrugged his shoulders. He agreed with everything the Administrator said. There was nothing that the trade board of Hero Universe didn’t offer. Especially when it came to products that assisted in superhumans’ battles and growth, he recently realized, the trade board was teeming with those products.
“I know. Obtaining more HP and lifting my membership tier’s restrictions. . . . . . In other words, you’re telling me to put all my efforts into increasing my synchronization rate, right?”
[That’s precisely right. You can obtain more HP and upgrade your membership tier by hunting down monsters, but with you in your current state, that’s a bit difficult to do.]
Even though he was a prospective superhuman, he was just that: someone who wasn’t yet a superhuman.
It was impossible for a student from a training academy to undertake missions of fighting monsters that broke out of a gate.
Among those, if he wanted to tackle the long-lasting gates that teemed with monsters–commonly called ‘dungeons’, unless he suddenly happened to walk into one, he had to go through a long and complicated process of obtaining the rights of entry.
“That’s why I need the money. Enough money to sustain me until I graduate and officially become a superhuman.”
[Indeed, I am convinced. A 10HP bonus by the Administrator who was impressed by your thorough explanation!]
“I thought you’d give it to me by this point. Thank you.”
Kang Shin-hyuk wondered if every member regularly received a bonus like him, but decided not to ask. It was more satisfying to think that he was receiving special treatment. Despite the small amount, he liked hearing the bonus message.
“. . . . . .All right, now then.”
Kang Shin-hyuk, who had purchased two days worth of food, headed to his dormitory.
He had already applied to reserve an individual training room. A reservation for the whole training room just for himself, starting from Friday night to Sunday.
“Hello student Kang Shin-hyuk. Since you even brought field rations with you, you seem to be ready.”
Emil Bolton was standing in front of the training room. Kang Shin-hyuk had asked a favor to him.
“Yes, Mr. Bolton. I also plan on cutting sleep.”
“I overheard the students’ conversations. It sounded like you had grown noticeably in the past few days, and you’re here to hone those improvements to perfection, am I right?”
It was to maximize his gain from the effect of his new buff, ‘Increased Blood Flow,” but there was no need to explain that much.
After all, Emil Bolton wasn’t completely wrong. Kang Shin-hyuk had to adapt to his newly amplified growth rate in a short amount of time.
“Hm. All right. Everything you asked for is in there, so go ahead and check. . . . . . Also, when there’s a chance, how about you and I have a friendly sparring match?”
“I’d be honored, sir!”
He’d have to go all in to fight against someone who could still fit into the top sections of the World Superhuman Ranking. Kang Shin-hyuk bowed to Emil Bolton, and entered the training room.
There were fitness equipment on one side of the spacious room and all kinds of training tools on the opposite side. Emil Bolton had prepared everything he asked for.
“. . . . . . Good.”
After a light breathing exercise, Kang Shin-hyuk put a pile of the field rations on the floor and ate one of them. It tasted bad, but he endured it and passed it down his throat.
After that, Kang Shin-hyuk gently placed the Godslayer sword against the wall. He could see the sword shivering.
“. . . . . . I’m going to train my sword techniques just a bit later.”
“Yup, I’m going to train them so much you may get tired of them.”
The Godslayer sword was only faintly shivering, but Kang Shin-hyuk felt like he could understand what it was trying to say. He chuckled and gently swept its edge a few times.
Having awakened spirit power and learning that the sword has a sort of “ego,” he started talking to the Godslayer sword as if to a person, quite often. It was a natural interaction for Kang Shin-hyuk, though it might not be good for someone else to see him talking to the sword.
“Well, anyway. . . . . . I should get started now.”
Kang Shin-hyuk began his physical training right away. Training his martial arts and spirit power was important, but more than anything, he wanted to train his strength to C- as soon as possible!
He began lifting weights that were several dozen kilograms heavier than his usual amount. But he immediately realized that he had made a mistake.
‘This is still light. Come to think of it, my strength must have increased by a great amount by this point.’
He was already overwhelmed by his upgrade to D+, so how would superhumans of C, B and A rank strengths feel about their own power? How strong would they become if they supplemented their strength with mana?
At that point, it would be possible to lift an entire building with their strength. That’s why they are called ‘superhumans,’ or ‘beings that transcended humans.’ It was a territory he could not conceive before, but he felt in his bones that he’d one day be able to approach it!
‘All right. . . . . . Let’s keep it going.’
He increased the weights until he felt a heavy load on his muscles. Due to their abnormal recovery rate, superhumans that were wielding mana could push the limits of their physical training as much as they wanted without worrying too much about possible damage. Due to such strenuous training, they were able to become stronger at incredible speeds.
For Kang Shin-hyuk in the past, who once had no capacity for mana, it was an unimaginable process to partake. But having the ability to wield spirit power, he was now different.
In fact, right at this moment, his spirit power was circulating through his entire body to assert its existence and calm his mind. With the ‘Increased Blood Flow’ buff in effect, he had nothing to be afraid of.
Pant, pant. . . . . .!
Kang Shin-hyuk began pushing himself to his absolute limit. His barbell was becoming progressively heavy, but he didn’t show a sign of wearing out.
The funny thing was, his spirit power began rapidly circulating to stimulate his origin.
“I want to rest.’
‘My arms hurt.’
‘But still, I’m enjoying this.’
‘Because the pain is making me grow.’
While his body was actively lifting up the barbell, his mind was calmly observing himself. It was not an act of distracting himself from the exercise.
In fact, he was able to honestly observe himself because he was so intently focused on the exercise.
‘I trained myself for years only to earn ant-sized rewards, so will this be enough to make me grow?’
‘No, it’s different now. Now, I can earn more than I did before. I’m sure of it.’
‘I want to give up.’
‘No, I’m making progress.’
‘I can’t let go of this opportunity.’
‘I just want to pound on metals.’
‘That’s the way to escape.’
Wait. ‘Escape’? Pounding on metals is a way to ‘escape’? More than physical training, wasn’t that the best way to become stronger?
His movement came to a halt and he put the barbell on the floor. His spirit power’s circulation had stopped. He had been observing himself without anyone’s interjection, so the thought he just had must’ve been of his own.
‘But why ‘escape’. . . . . .? I’ve never thought of it that way. Which means. . . . . .’
. . . . . . Was it Anvil’s memory? Kang Shin-hyuk placed his hand on his chest. He tried to reach his spirit power again, but perhaps because he was no longer immersed in his self-observation, he wasn’t able to pull off the intuition like before.
‘Is it because synchronization is active?’
The image of an old man pounding metals in a decimated world kept ringing in his mind.
With mysterious monsters rampaging all over the world, the image of an old man absorbed in blacksmithing to escape from reality.
Kang Shin-hyuk spoke quietly to the old man’s back.
“But now things are different.”
Anvil’s world was destroyed, but this world wasn’t.
Blacksmithing was a means to escape for him, but it wasn’t for Kang Shin-hyuk.
Kang Shin-hyuk lived on earth, not Merva.
“So don’t worry. I have no plans to escape from this reality.”
It was probably some sort of a self-consolation for Kang Shin-hyuk, whom Anvil acknowledged as his reincarnation, to try to comfort Anvil.
But this was probably a natural part of the process of synchronizing with Anvil. Kang Shin-hyuk decided to believe so.
‘I don’t step back. I only move forward.’
Anvil obtained his skills by escaping.
But Kang Shin-hyuk decided to use those skills to step forward.
Yup, he still hasn’t escaped his cringy sentimentality. He was fine with it, though.
Kang Shin-hyuk gripped the barbell again after emitting a deep sigh. He added a few more weights and lifted the barbell with as much strength as he could while enduring the pain of his muscles nearly rupturing.
‘Perhaps, one day I’ll go back to Merva–. . . . . .’
A thought came to his mind, but it disappeared as Kang Shin-hyuk lifted the barbell again with all his might.
He continued to train hard for the rest of the night. A long night, where the sound of training equipment and the heavy breath of a man filled the whole room.
Translator and Editor Notes:
1: So, from what I can understand about this line is that the superhumans are rated by the Gaia system based off of their stats, so, pretty much none of them would be a full D Rank superhuman. That is at least my guess. Hope it helps a little.
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