Cale softened his gaze after hearing the high school senior Choi Jung Gun’s voice again.
“Ah, I’m sorry. I’m not borrowing any books today.”
Choi Jung Gun lowered his head again as if he had nothing else to say to Cale. Cale could not really see what Choi Jung Gun was doing as there was a computer monitor in the way.
He just quietly observed the back of the head of this person.
‘Is this the Choi Jung Gun I know? Was this punk in front of him the person from the Choi family? Maybe it was just a coincidence that he was named Choi Jung Gun?’
Cale decided to think about a problem first.
‘Is this a modified memory? Did the sealed god do something?’
Neither was true.
Although Cale could not remember the name of this book club member, this person was still vaguely in his memories. His face only felt weird now because he had met Choi Han. He had not been able to put two and two together because he had not remembered their name.
‘It makes sense that I don’t remember everything because this was before my ability awakened.’
Kim Rok Soo’s memory had been pretty good ever since he was young.
However, this was normal compared to once he got the ‘Record’ ability after the cataclysm.
It may seem obvious that he doesn’t remember, but…
‘Freshman year of high school. The memories of this first semester are extremely faint.’
The memories of this time were lacking when compared to any other part of his life, and the only thing he really remembered was that this was the most peaceful time of his school days.
‘First of all, the Choi Jung Gun in front of me is the same person who was in my past.’
What he needed to figure out now was whether this Choi Jung Gun was just a book club member or THAT Choi Jung Gun.
Then there was something else to consider as well.
Could that Choi Jung Gun exist in this world?
He was someone who died in Cale Henituse’s world a long time ago.
‘Choi Jung Gun also showed up in Ahn Roh Man’s world.’
He had to in order to steal Taerang, the Unbreakable Spear, and run away.
Considering those facts…
‘It is highly likely that Choi Jung Gun, who was a single-lifer, became something else after his death and is jumping in and out of different dimensions.’
Basically, it was a realistic hypothesis to think that Choi Jung Gun went to Ahn Roh Man’s world to steal Taerang and then jumped into Kim Rok Soo’s world during his freshman year to do something as well.
In that case, why did Choi Jung Gun come to this world and what was he doing?
Cale scoffed internally.
If this book club member in front of him was really that Choi Jung Gun, it was obvious what he would be doing here.
‘I’m sure he’s here because of me.’
Cale had already predicted that Choi Jung Gun had some sort of relationship with the God of Death and the Sun God. With the God of Death keeping an eye on the White Star, it was possible that Choi Jung Gun would be looking into Kim Rok Soo.
Choi Jung Gun raised his head again. He slightly frowned and looked at Cale. He seemed to be asking why Cale was looking at him like that.
Cale smiled. Cale asked as Choi Jung Gun flinched.
“Sunbae, is it okay for you to be a book club member when you are a senior?’”
Choi Jung Gun’s expression seemed to be asking what the hell was up with this guy. The hoobae who usually borrowed books without saying anything suddenly spoke to him, so it was abnormal.
“I don’t think that’s any of your business.”
He did not respond nicely. The innocent-looking face scowled for a moment.
“I was just curious. Most people stop their club activities to study.”
“I’m not studying.”
“Then what are you doing?”
Choi Jung Gun’s brows scrunched together.
However, Cale could not help but do this as Kim Rok Soo. He needed to talk to this guy to learn anything.
Choi Jung Gun looked around before confirming that they were the only in the libraries and looked away from Cale.
“Just leave if you’re not going to borrow any books.”
He didn’t want Cale to bother him anymore.
“I understand. I’m sorry if I upset you.”
Cale started moving away. He headed toward the library door as if he had nothing else to do here.
“Haaaa. I’m writing.”
He heard Choi Jung Gun’s voice behind him. Cale turned around and looked at the desk where Choi Jung Gun was sitting. He could see an open notebook and a pencil in front of Choi Jung Gun now that he was at an angle and not right in front of it.
Choi Jung Gun put his arm over the notebook to cover it and avoided Kim Rok Soo’s gaze.
“I see that you mainly read fantasy novels?”
Kim Rok Soo could now hypothesize as to what Choi Jung Gun was writing.
“Are you writing a fantasy novel?”
Choi Jung Gun smiled as he looked away from Kim Rok Soo.
“It’s more of a guidebook.”
He didn’t even look back at Cale before waving the arm that was not covering the notebook.
“Anyways, go. I need to lock up and go to my class.”
“Yes, sunbae-nim. See you tomorrow.”
Cale opened the door and walked out to the hallway. He started to smile but there was a cold gaze on his face.
‘It’s more of a guidebook.’
He became certain after hearing Choi Jung Gun say that.
The Birth of a Hero.
The author of the novel was Nelan Barrow. That was Choi Jung Gun’s other name.
Cale was flabbergasted. When would Choi Jung Gun have written The Birth of a Hero? He had thought about that before. He had also wondered why it was in the form of a fantasy novel.
As a seventeen year old in his freshman year of high school… (TL: Korean high schools are three years. Elementary Grades 1 – 6, Middle school 7 – 9, High school 10 – 12) Cale finally found the answer after revisiting this moment of his past again.
‘It’s because of me.’
Choi Jung Gun knew that Kim Rok Soo enjoyed reading fantasy novels and wrote this ‘guidebook’ called The Birth of a Hero.
Ding dong ding dong-
The bell rang to signal that there was five minutes left of lunch. Classes would resume in five minutes.
Cale headed back to the classroom.
His shadow was cast on the stairs as he walked up and yellow smoke rose from within. Cale started to speak at that moment.
“Ah, come on.”
It was hard to tell whether he was frowning or smiling.
“I won’t be able to finish this quickly.”
The sealed god’s test was not the issue right now.
The first semester of his freshman year that was so faint in his memories… It looked as if he would need to dig through this time that he considered one of the most peaceful times of his life.
Something that he did not realize or did not remember definitely existed during this time.
He looked at his watch to fathom the amount of time he had.
“I should investigate about Choi Jung Gun first.”
Choi Jung Gun, the high school senior who was a book club member.
It seemed as if he needed to look into this guy.
He walked into the classroom.
“Hey! Kim Rok Soo, there’s one minute left!”
Cale sat down and immediately asked the student next to him a question.
“Hey. Does our class have a book club member?”
“I’m part of the book club. Wow, hey! You don’t even know your friend’s club activities?”
He looked at the calendar.
It was the end of March. (TL: Korean schools start in March)
“The club recruitments still aren’t over, right?”
“They ended last Friday. Why?”
Cale put his arm on his friend’s chair as he responded.
“I want to join too.”
Freshman Kim Rok Soo. He would catch two birds with one stone by developing some relationships as his younger self who felt sloth and loathing toward building connections and dig up some dirt on Choi Jung Gun who was observing him.
“Yeah. I might as well. I decided I want to join the book club.”
“Mm, then I will ask the hyung who is the club president!”
“A second year student?”
“Yeah, he is.”
“There was a third year senior in the library.”
“Ah, that sunbae?”
His friend immediately knew who he was talking about.
“That sunbae transferred last year, but he’s still involved as a senior because apparently his dream is to write.”
“Really? What is he writing?”
The bell rang as Cale asked that question.
It was the start of fifth period.
Cale had asked Choi Jung Gun what he was writing and was told that it was a guidebook. However, he still asked about it.
It was just in case he heard something different.
“Mm. He wouldn’t tell me. Apparently it’s a secret. Ah.”
His friend nonchalantly responded before taking out his textbook and leaning toward Cale as he slowly added on. His voice was full of hesitation.
“I overheard that sunbae taking to the club advisor last time.”
He was peeking at the door and whispering because he didn’t know when the teacher might walk in.
“I heard it was a fantasy novel. Ah, don’t say anything about it because I only know it by accident. It’s a secret. I’m only answering because this is the first time you’ve ever asked me a question.”
Kim Rok Soo had never asked him anything despite sitting next to him for a whole month. Such a person was showing interest in the book club and asking a question for the first time, making this friend decide to answer the question.
“Okay, thanks. I won’t say anything about it.”
The friend smiled in relief at Cale’s response and the English teacher walked into the classroom at that moment.
Cale looked forward as if they had never been talking and focused on the chalkboard.
It was as he had expected.
‘A senior doing club activities needs to get permission from their homeroom teacher and the club advisor. That was why Choi Jung Gun would have had to reveal some of his writing to them even if he wouldn’t tell anybody else.’
It was necessary for a smooth school and book club life.
‘What Choi Jung Gun is writing right now probably sounds like a fantasy novel to other people.’
They should see it that way.
Cale had thought it was a fantasy novel at first too.
However, Choi Jung Gun had told Cale something different.
He said it was a guidebook.
‘I’m right. He really is writing The Birth of a Hero.’
Cale started smiling again.
‘Choi Jung Gun. Oh, and the God of Death as well.’
The God of Death said that he brought Cale to that world because Lee Soo Hyuk and Choi Jung Soo died in his place. Of course, part of the reason was that Cale was connected to the White Star in some ways as well.
‘But he was observing me even from this time?’
That God of Death was a funny bastard the more he got to know.
He couldn’t tell whether that bastard was a good bastard, a bad bastard, or a weird bastard.
Cale realized something else at that moment.
The orb that had split into two.
What would have happened to the item that had been arranged by the God of Death?
He had completely forgotten about it.
The item that had made its presence known during the sealed god’s first test was not visible right now.
At that moment…
Cale felt one of his front jacket pockets of his uniform getting heavier. Cale avoided the teacher’s gaze and put his hand in his pocket.
He then lowered his head.
The two split parts of the cintamani in his pocket were dyed yellow.
However, black spots slowly started appearing one by one on the yellow light the moment Cale looked at them.
* * *
Alberu could see a red light in the firmly shut temple door when he climbed to the top of the steps.
He heard a voice through the flash of light that made him think of a teleportation magic circle.
“I give up!”
The eerie red light disappeared with that shout and a person appeared. Alberu immediately walked toward the person.
“Oh! Your highness!”
Toonka looked around and asked Alberu.
“Did everybody come out? I forgot for a bit that we agreed to come out in five minutes. I’m sorry! Hahahaha!”
He looked fine laughing loudly like that.
However, Toonka quickly figured out the situation after looking around.
“Was I the only one who came out?! I shouldn’t have come out either!”
Toonka had proceeded with the original plan and shouted that he gave up to come out of the temple as soon as he realized that the normal test had started.
Honestly speaking, he thought that he would be the last one out and that everybody else would have come out a long time ago.
Everybody other than himself was the type to follow rules. However, his expectations had been completely off.
“Commander! How was it in there?”
Alberu started asking as soon as he was in front of Toonka.
He frowned at that moment.
There was an ominous cry before one of the six pieces of the orb lost its blue light and turned white.
‘Does that resemble the test that Commander Toonka was taking?’
The remaining three blue pieces slowly became dyed yellow. They were being dyed at different speeds.
Alberu knew what yellow resembled.
The remaining three people had followed the first two to enter the sloth test. Toonka saw the sweat on Alberu’s forehead and opened his mouth with a stiff expression on his face.
“I looked around for about a day first-”
Alberu had no choice but to cut Toonka off. It could not be helped.
“For a day?”
It had not even been one hour since Alberu woke back up.
However, Toonka was saying that a day had passed.
‘Time flows differently in there.’
The flow of time in the illusion seemed to be completely different from this place.
It was at that moment.
Ancient Dragon Eruhaben approached him. He was also pointing up at the sky.
“…It looks like someone else is pushing forward again.”
One of the yellow pieces was slowly becoming dyed green.
Failure when it is green.
One of the people was entering the third stage of the illusion test.
* * *
Clopeh did not pay any attention as his surroundings turned green and looked forward with a concerned gaze.
A calm voice flowed out of his mouth.
“My mental state will not crumble just like how the shield will never break.”
He took a step forward into the green world. His will and determination was visible in his eyes.
* * *
Cale was back at Raon High School for a second day. He smiled warmly toward the person who spoke to him as he entered the library.
“You want to join the book club?”
Cale walked in with the current book club president and made eye contact with Choi Jung Gun who was sitting at the desk again. Choi Jung Gun jumped up in shock and subconsciously asked.
“He’s joining our club?”
‘Why? Is there a reason I can’t?’
Cale responded internally before his smile became even bigger. It was the same bright smile that made him look like a good person that Raon called his scamming smile.
He then gave a short greeting.
Choi Jung Gun instantly looked baffled.