It was surprising. The magic swordsman class I had earned in the past was something I’d found 2 years later, and only a mere handful of people knew of its location.
‘He did say he wanted to become a greater hero than me.’
However, magic swordsman, without a doubt, was a class that was limited in its potential. As a former magic swordsman, I was aware of that more than anybody. I couldn’t erase the feeling that he had chosen me as his role model.
‘You have my sympathy.’
The path I had walked was the Asura path. Deceiving everyone, even myself. Would Minshik be able to walk that path? Of course, I more than welcomed it. If he rose to the center of attention, I would have more freedom moving in the shadows.
Finishing my thoughts, I feigned calmness and rested my gaze on Minshik, and seeing this, Minshik took a step back as he spoke.
“No way, you too….?”
“What are you saying? If you’re coming in then come, if not then don’t. What time do you think it is?”
I yawned with gusto, and then turned around to show my back in a completely defenseless manner. But I was actually observing Minshik’s behavior through the mirror I’d placed across me.
I was prepared to strike back if, by any chance, Minshik showed any funny movements.
‘It’s better to be safe than sorry.’
I wanted to trust him so I had to test him. He was a man who had once stepped into evil. That’s why I had to make sure whether he wanted to repent for his sins or not.
‘It hasn’t been long since he awakened.’
Even if he has awakened, it must have been a mere day or two since. That meant he was only a little stronger than the normal person. When it comes to close-combat, I was more experienced and still had the upper hand.
Minshik scratched his head as he looked at my vulnerable back. Then, he walked inside the house with uncertain steps. He seemed to be in a state of slight wariness, suspicious but without conviction.
I pretended to run toward the fridge, casually flipping over the mirror on the way before taking out some juice to pour in a glass.
“So what’s the matter? What’s with your appearance?”
“I just had something to do in the mountains.”
I smiled slightly.
“You went to the mountains? How unusual for a guy like you who hates exercise.”
I passed over the glass of juice but Minshik didn’t drink. He seemed much more strained than I was.
“Hansung. And just what happened to you? Why did you suddenly…”
“It’s nothing. Yang-ahjussi came looking for me.”
“…..! You didn’t say you’d go right?”
Minshik was greatly surprised, jumping up from his seat. An expression of simple-minded worry. It wasn’t something a fanatic of Aletheia could show.
‘That’s a relief.’
It was an instantaneous reaction without pretense. I hoped that this served as a small proof that Minshik’s nature hadn’t changed.
I calmly replied to him.
“Why would I go there? You told me so. That they were aiming for my parents’ insurance money.”
“Just from that brief exchange…?”
“That’s why I looked closely. And what you said seemed to be right. Can you believe that I could almost see the hunger in Yang-ahjussi’s eyes? He looked so unfamiliar then.”
Minshik had his lips pressed shut. Was he thinking that his few spoken words had changed the future?
I continued speaking.
“If I don’t straighten up, won’t there be more people coming at me? I don’t want to give away my parents’ belongings to strangers. That’s why, thank you. And I’m sorry about hitting you before. You know I wasn’t in my right mind then, right?”
It was an apology for the violence I hurled towards Minshik when he visited me at my parents funeral. I held out my hand to reconcile with him.
Minshik appeared slightly absent-minded. He must be feeling turmoil inside from his first time experiencing the butterfly effect.
Seeing his absent-minded face, I surreptitiously raised my hand and scratched my head.
“Ah, I feel goosebumps. Anyhow, quickly go wash up. You look less like having come from the mountains and more like you’ve been kicked out of your house. If you’ve got no place to sleep, then stay over before you go. There’s no need to hide things between us.”
“It’s not like that….”
Minshik seemed to be worried about how to take in my change. There was a possibility of him noticing something off if I let him think too deeply.
“Is that so? But what’s with that paper? It looks really old.”
When I reached my hand out toward that old parchment, the symbol of a magic swordsman, Minshik hastily swatted my hand away.
I creased my brows as I opened my mouth.
“Ah! What’re you doing?”
Minshik instinctively covered up his chest pocket.
“No, n-not this.”
“Who’s going to steal it? Overreaction much.”
“Never. Touch it.”
Minshik’s expression turned fierce.
I raised both my hands up in a gesture of complete disinterest.
“Alright, alright. You are one funny guy.”
After that, Minshik glanced at my expression for a moment before coughing dryly and sat down. He drank the glass of juice I’d poured him with big gulps and then took something out from his back pocket.
Drinking the juice meant that his vigilance had gone down a notch. I was smiling when a moment later, Minshik took out a talisman.
“And this…you take it.”
“What’s this? A talisman?”
I idly remarked on the item.
Rune characters were inscribed on the slip of paper Minshik passed to me. It was a talisman containing ‘shield’ magic. A magic array was drawn on it, which automatically activated when the user’s body fell into peril.
There was nothing better than a treasure like this for a novice.
‘To think it’d be automatic magic. He gave me something precious.’
Just the shield by itself was rare, but he gave me an automatic one! Novices wouldn’t be able to easily get their hands on one even if they wanted to. It was the same as gaining an extra life.
Minshik showed a dead serious expression.
“Keep it and don’t lose it. This will save you at least once.”
“Did you perhaps meet a skilled exorcist on the mountain?”
“Nothing like that. Anyhow, just never lose it.”
Minshik stood up like he’d finished what he came to do.
“Going? You should wash up first.”
“I’m fine. Rather than that…Hansung. I’m going to change. I won’t live like I did before. I’ll do a right for everything that’s wrong.”
It was like he was making a vow: I could see the sincerity in his eyes.
I suddenly recalled the words he’d spoken right before returning to the past.
-Hansung, I’m sorry. If only I were a little more desperate in my wish, I could have properly returned to prevent the accident.
Prevent, he’d said. Perhaps Minshik had wanted to return before the accident befell my parents, to stop my life from falling apart.
However, he had failed. That’s why he was now seeking my approval, uncertain about whether he could change or not.
‘I should consider the magic swordsman class as a present to him.’
He displayed his sincerity in his own way, and thanks to him I could also return to the past. I could consider that trifling magic swordsman class as a gift and be done with it. I could care less as long as he didn’t go back to Aletheia.
“Alright. Do your best.”
So I’ll trust him this once.
But make no mistake. My trust doesn’t come cheap.
If he starts to walk the wrong path…
If he were to betray my trust.
I will truly kill him. Twist his neck in one breath, rip him apart limb by limb, and throw him to the dogs to eat.
Minshik, who was about to leave through the door, stopped in his tracks.
He stayed like that for around 3 seconds, before opening the door and heading out. His shoulders were shaking with emotion, like he had been waiting for those words. Minshik was crying. He was obviously trying hard to hold it in.
After seeing him off, I nodded to myself.
‘I can’t fall behind any further.’
Minshik had made his move. At least from how I saw it, Minshik truly meant it. He seriously wanted to become a hero.
Since I’ve confirmed it, that was that. It was time for me to start moving. As luck would have it, I had something to do. I had been mulling over it for a while, and it was only now that I had come to a decision.
I reviewed, with utmost prudence, all of the possibilities held by each of the countless classes, numbering in the tens of thousands, and finally came to a conclusion.
‘The keys hidden in this world. A power that can select those keys.’
A ‘gate’ was just like pandora’s box. It not only released all kinds of despair, but hope too. Among there was one that pulled at my interest.
An ancient power that has lost its owner!
The one who possessed that power in the past had chosen wrong and ended up destroying himself. The power went out of control, and a megacity was obliterated as a result of the aftermath. Only after the event had the truth come to light.
The Ancient One was a huge mass of power, which allowed the user to ‘create’ a class. However, that power would only be safely granted to the user under the condition that the class befitted the Ancient One’s ‘calibre’.
The previous user had aspired to become an ‘emperor’ using the Ancient One’s power. An Emperor. This meant that a mere emperor wouldn’t be able to handle the Ancient One’s power in one piece.
I had defined the Ancient One’s power as such,
‘A weapon that won’t turn you into a God, but can allow you to kill one.’
The problem laid in the image. The Ancient One’s power would only work by clearly visualizing a power with a concrete base to it. The Ancient One’s power couldn’t be used with a vague image.
God? There was no way of vividly envisioning something I’ve never seen before, and had no idea of what it’s made up of. As of this moment, the strongest monster I knew of was the Demon Lord. In the past I sundered his flesh and pierced his heart with my sword, so I could doubtlessly create a class related to him. Demon Lord Slayer, for example. Or perhaps something beyond that. It would be better than an emperor, at the least.
I nodded to myself. The path was decided, and now it was time to move forward.
‘I’ll create my own job.’