A VIP as Soon as You Log In - Chapter 22: The Sports Day's Dark Horse - 4
[Bartender Noona: So what are you going to do?]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: I’ve decided to leave it up to you and fate.]
[Bartender sister: Wow, you really threw the whole thing away]
After a hectic week, Monday finally came when sports day was held.
To be exact, sports day spanned two days, where the majority of the school-wide competition (divided into Blue Team and White Team) took place in Monday and several big games, the individual competitions, and the announcement for MVP took place in the following Tuesday.
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Of course I’ll try not to get caught, but I can’t just stay hidden in sports day. I have to achieve scores.]
[Bartender Noona: How many matches are you gonna participate in?]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: If you include the school-wide competition, I think they add up to six. Also, I’m going to be competing in the Rookie of the Year competition.]
[Bartender noona: Seems like you have no intention of hiding at all.]
Since Monday morning, they have been talking about keeping Kang Shin-hyuk’s identity hidden from the Thunder Empress Shin Eunah, who was planning to visit sports day.
[Bartender noona: At least the very least, don’t reveal your Godslayer sword.]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Claire noonim. . . . . . I. . . . . . wish to be the Rookie of the Year.]
[Bartender: Ah, I don’t care anymore!]
Claire seemed to have decided to stop thinking at that point. It was a wise choice.
[Bartender noona: Anyway, don’t act like you know her when you see her at school.]
[Bartender noona: And I’ll meet you when I have the chance, so don’t get upset.]
[Kang Shin-hyuk: Yep!]
Perhaps expectantly, Claire had caught a flight to Korea as soon as she learned of Eunah’s visit to Shinyoung to mark Eunah by her side as much as possible!
Fortuately, participating in the Shinyoung sports day didn’t seem that strange for a high-ranker, so she was able to leave the U.S. without any troubles and had already arrived in Seoul.
Eunah: Grandpa, I’m going to visit a sports day today!!
That sounds like fun.
As soon as he sent a reply to Claire and put the stick into his arms, a whisper flew in from Eunah.
How could a message be received at such an appropriate time? Was she eavesdropping on him? Kang Shin-hyuk opened his eyes thinly and answered back immediately.
Eunah: It would have been great to have grandpa with me!
I’ll look shabby next to you.
Eunah: Grandpa is much cooler than me.
What a blatant lie when she hasn’t even seen my face, Kang Shin-hyuk thought. No, he had to hide his existence from her at school anyway, so he decided to run along with it.
The students in sports day were told to wear gym clothes and gather at the playground rather than in the classroom. Each class was designated to either Blue Team or White Team regardless of their major, and Kang Shin-hyuk’s class, 1st-year’s C class, was part of the Blue Team.
The sports day of Shinyoung Academy was different from that of the ordinary school in terms of scale. The first and second gymnasium, the small playground, and the large playground were all mobilized, with the opening ceremony held at the large playground.
The large playground felt big before, but having removed all the miscellaneous things occupying the space, it became an incredibly capacious area. So capacious, indeed, that two or three schools could easily fit in.
More than that, however, it was quite a spectacle to witness all the current students of Shinyoung, whether they were Knight or Magic major, gathered in one area.
“I guess the guests haven’t arrived yet.”
“I heard they’re rehearsing the opening ceremony. Doesn’t it feel nice to be doing things like a high school?”
“We’ve never attended a high school, so how should we know about that?”
The educational structure of Shinyoung was closer to that of a college than high school, with the students declaring their major in their first year and allowing them to take electives from their second grade, but you could see the traces of a typical high school by looking at the school’s events, such as sports day and the annual school trip.
For prospective superhumans, who could not experience a high school or college, that kind of balance provided the perfect environment.
“Wow, food trucks are starting to come in over that hill. I heard all the quality foods made it to the cafeterias this time. I guess one cafe wasn’t enough for the outsiders.”
“Yes, we’re definitely not a high school. . . . . . Wait, our school had a cafe?”
“Hey, right there.”
As soon as Kang Shin-hyuk arrived, Baek In-ha, who had been dragging him and snooping around, shouted excitedly, pointing to the stand where the Magic majors gathered.
“There’s Lee Na-hee sunbae! Right there!”
“Dude, you serious? You don’t know the prettiest lady from our school?”
“No, but your expression of ‘lady’ is creeping me out, so stop it.”
“Just look at her for now.”
Where Baek In-ha was pointing at, Kang Shin-hyuk saw a group of students from the White Team’s Magic majors.
There she was, a brown-skinned Latin beauty with a drowsy look. Her face looked familiar. Kang Shin-hyuk tilted his head, digging into his memories to see if they had ever met before.
“Out-of-this-world pretty, right?”
“I guess, yeah.”
Shinyoung’s Major majors were famous for having many pretty girls, but Lee Na-hee was by far the most prominent among them.
“I heard that she was number one in the popularity vote at last year’s school festival.”
“Was there a popular vote at my school?” What a weird thing to do at a superhuman training academy.”
“I heard it’s a voluntary vote. The Thunder Empress was famous for winning first place for three consecutive years while she was here and there’s a rumor that Lee Na-hee will be the successor of that achievement.”
“Is that so.”
That rumor was believable, Kang Shin-hyuk thought, as she had the beauty of a top celebrity, let alone the most popular girl at an academy. He nodded in agreement.
Then he remembered. Indeed, she was the sunbae he encountered at the Wyvern Hall’s entrance. He remembered her describing herself as half-Korean.
“Why do you look so sour? She’s a real beauty, isn’t she?”
“I know she’s pretty, but we don’t have any connections. It just feels like looking at a piece of art, like a celebrity on TV.”
“What do you mean by no connection–no one knows what’ll happen in the future. Someday you and that beauty might have a fateful encounter,. . . . . . .”
While the two were engaging in such a pathetic conversation, Lee Na-hee, having felt a gaze coming from their direction, looked up and turned her head towards them.
Somehow, her eyes seemed to have grown slightly larger after spotting them.
“Wow–she’s got a crush on me! Here! Sunbae! I’m Baek In-ha from 1st-year C class. . . . . .!”
Baek In-ha frantically waved at her, but she turned her head again, ignoring him completely.
Kang Shin-hyuk grabbed Baek In-ha, who was frenziedly trying to grab her attention. It was almost time for the attendance call.
The rehearsal ended without much trouble, and the school opened right away. The feast of luxury cars ascending the school hill made him dizzy. If Shinyoung’s entire parking lot was somehow flipped upside down today, the damage would cost hundreds of billions of won.
[The opening ceremony will be held soon. Please stay in your seats quietly.]
One by one, celebrities who occupied the front pages of newspapers, popular channels of TV, and famous MeTube videos have begun to take their seats.
When it came to an academy as prestigious as Shinyoung, the parents of the students and the academy’s associate were not typically ordinary people. While traits are not hereditary, the probability of awakening a strong trait was higher for children born to strong superhumans.
As a prime example, the Thunder Empress Shin Eunah was born to parents who ranked within the top 10,000 of the World Superhuman Ranking. Cases like the Alchemist Claire Boyle, who was born into an ordinary family but nevertheless became one of the top 500 superhumans of the world, were quite rare to be seen.
“Look over there, it’s the White Sheep Guild. (1) I think it’s their scout.”
“Fuck, it’s the Cursed Sword Guild!”
“Amatsuki Guild is here too.”
“Uh. . . . . . there! It’s the Vanguard Guild! Vanguard is here too! That’s the real Vanguard’s division 1 leader, I saw on the news!”
Whenever the guest room was filled, voices of cheers and astonishment rang out high among the students. Just as there was a rank for every superhuman, guilds had a rank as well, and more than half of the guilds in the top 100 seemed to have attended the academy’s event.
From the 97th-ranked White Sheep Guild to the world’s number one Vanguard!
“This is Shinyoung Academy for you. . . . . .”
Kang Shin-hyuk already knew that Shinyoung’s sports day wasn’t a children’s talent show like a normal school, but he still couldn’t believe the sight of these ridiculous celebrities crowded in one place.
He felt like he was about to suffocate. Why did he think of entering a school like this while not being able to handle mana in the first place? The reckless self of his past felt like a fool.
‘. . . . . . But now that I’m here, I have the opportunity to show the world what I’m made of. Yeah, that’s enough.’
He took a deep breath and clenched his fists. The opening ceremony soon began and the school anthem began to play.
“Kang Shin Hyuk.”
Suddenly, somebody tapped on his shoulder from behind. It was Karen Stringfield, who he paired up with for the three-legged race.
“I’ll look forward to your matches today.”
“Okay. . . . . .”
Come to think of it, she had said that her role this day was to reevaluate Kang Shin-hyuk’s strengths. And that if they turn out to be eye-catching, he’d be dragged into the Wyvern Knights. . . . . .
It was quite an unruly attitude, he thought. Who were they to judge him and drag into their group? He laughed off her remark.
“Don’t be surprised.”
“Wow, cringe. Feels like butter.”
“Because I’m serious.”
When Karen twisted her body and folded her arms around her waist at his cringing words, Kang Shin-hyuk replied with excitement and faint laughter, turning his head around. But then by coincidence, he saw Claire and Eunah standing side by side in the guest room.
Claire spotted him at about the same time and let out a mischievous smile. Kang Shin-hyuk was dumbfounded to see such a reaction coming from the very person who proposed his identity to be hidden.
Fortunately, no one else seemed to have noticed the two’s nonverbal interaction. Karen Stringfield threw one last remark at him.
“Hey, if you do well today, I’ll talk to you then.”
“Then my worth is going to get a lot more expensive. Say whatever when you have the chance.”
“So full of yourself too.”
She chuckled merrily. Did she learn while practicing three-legged race with him that he wasn’t simply bluffing?
Then out of nowhere, an unexpected whisper from the Hero Universe system flew in. Not from Eunah, but from Bartender. . . . . . or Claire.
[Bartender: What, you got a girlfriend? She’s quite pretty!]
[I didn’t expect your first whisper to be something like this. And no, she’s not my girlfriend. It’s an enemy spy.]
[Bartender: High schoolers are playing it really hard these days.]
[I’ll explain in detail later what kind of play it is.]
While he was unintentionally caught between the two women, the opening ceremony had concluded and the sports day had commenced.
Even the easiest games on Shinyoung’s sports day led to students sweating blood, so the heat quickly hit the ceiling.
“Blue Team will advance to the Relay’s Final Round!”
“Those who wish to participate in Maze Escape, please hurry up and gather here!”
“Let’s keep this pace and win in group maneuver!”
As the game was played by students who have already surpassed the limits of mankind, they were full of excitement for everything, especially when it came to group maneuver!
It was a big scuffle in which two floors with unstable footing went up on a large stage, and the opponents threw rubber balls specially designed to push people away.
As the stage shook uncontrollably throughout the game, it was an extremely unpleasant game where you could easily lose your cool, though it was greatly entertaining from the perspective of those watching it.
“Oh, come on, the White Team is holding out by sprinkling the floor with lime!”
“Were items approved in this game!?”
“Yup, they didn’t ban them!”
“Oh, they’re falling! They’re falling!”
With the start of group maneuvers, all games were being played with all kinds of ingenious items and abilities, which was an important element of the fun of watching the games of Shinyoung’s sports day.
With such flashy matches all around, an ordinary person could feel like they’ve entered a new world, where games using supernatural abilities and items, as opposed to traditional sports, were the norm.
“The three-legged race is about to begin! The participants of three-legged race, please gather here!
“Let’s go, Kang Shin-hyuk.”
And finally, the moment has come for Kang Shin-hyuk to shine. The three-legged race where the White Team and Blue Team face off each other.
Surprisingly, Kang Shin-hyuk was paired with Karen Stringfield for the race. As he was waiting before the finish line by tying his ankle to Karen’s, Claire sent a whisper to him.
Bartender: So she’s your girlfriend
I told you, she’s a spy approaching me in this kind of way.
Bartender: Wow, look at that all effort you’re putting in to tie the knot.
So how’s the thing with Eunah?
Bartender: She doesn’t know. Though I think she’s about to.
Then the message was cut off. As expected of Shinyoung’s superhuman trainee, who could easily outperform Olympic athletes with their physical abilities alone, the two teams’ pairs were already approaching the line of their final runners.
“Oh, I think your team’s losing.”
“We can turn it around.”
“You’re not gonna be full of yourself just by winning this race, are you?”
“No way, this is only a start.”
Shortly after saying that, the rival team’s final pair took over the baton first and set off.
The next moment, Kang Shin-hyuk and Karen Stringfield also took over the blue baton, but the difference of one second was critical for superhumans who were not bounded by the scale of seconds. In fact, many spectators thought they had already lost.
“Can I use my trait a bit?”
“As long as you don’t use your magical power, it should be fine.”
“That’s not what I’m asking–I’m asking if you can keep up.”
“Don’t worry. Just go all out.”
Kang Shin-hyuk answered back while emitting his spirit power. When he checked to see where it was headed, it was permeating through Karen’s sneakers.
With that he began to understand and commune with the object, taking advantage of his recent enlightenment.
He could clearly understand her movements, down to the smallest detail. Armed with that knowledge, Kang Shin-hyuk said in a confident voice:
“I’ll try to match your movements.”
As soon as he spoke the sentence, both of them set their foot at the same time. Two feet symmetrically opposed to each other, perfectly coordinated.
Kang Shin-hyuk and Karen let out a smile at the same time.
“Heh, not bad.”
“. . . . . . All right, let’s go!”
Many of the spectators tilted their heads at the sight of the pair seemingly facing each other through a mirror. But then a moment later, the two began to run with explosive momentum!
“The Blue Team is the best! Catch them up!”
“How on earth is that three-legged race?”
The two of them sprinted along the playground. Rather than a mere three-legged race, the two of them were running at the speed of a single superhuman at his highest speed.
Some shouted, “Aren’t they using mana?” but the magic circles that were drawn all over the playground was proving in real-time that they were innocent.
Naturally, the pair caught up with the White Team and crossed the finish line without slowing down.
“Blue Team wins!”
“Good job, rookie!”
“They’re so cool!”
“Wait–they can stop, right?”
Of course, there was no need to worry. The two, who had crossed the finish line, slowed down as if they had planned the movement for that exact second and came to a halt just before rushing to the stands installed at the end of the field.
“Karen, marry me!”
“Kang Shin Hyuk is so cool!”
“You two should become a couple!”
Kang Shin-hyuk calmly untied the knot that tied their ankles. Several teachers were approaching them, and he found the greatly flustered looks on their faces funny.
But as he turned around, he realized that Karen Stringfield was wearing the same expression.
“You really kept up. How?”
“That’s a secret. But well, like I said before”
Kang Shin-hyuk tied the blue band to his head and smirked. The horse race was about to begin.
“This is just a beginning.”
From now to its end, sports day will be his stage.
(1) There are two possible translations of this guild’s name, either White Sheep or Yellow Iron Tree. I’ll use the former translation for the time being, and I’ll revise it if it happens to be wrong.