In essence, this was a buff for beginners; just that it didn’t seem very balanced. An average healthy adult male would have a strength of 6. What would happen if you added 10 to this number? Even the most feeble of woman would easily exceed the boundary of a human’s limitations.
A strange light flashed across Sungchul’s eyes.
‘I’ve heard stories, but I never imagined that the Preselected would get this much of an advantage.’
He was one of the original summoned. Delicate dandies like the ‘Preselected’ hadn’t existed back then; everyone had to spend each day crawling together through the depths of hell. He knew that everyone who had survived had gotten through by their strength and their luck. In that way, it had been truly equal. Those who couldn’t manage, died. What Sungchul had witnessed in this cathedral now threw all of that out the window.
“Now! Now! Wake up! Great humans!”
They saw a pile of weapons and rations that had been prepared in front of the sarcophagi. There was only a week’s worth of food and weapons that looked similar to the basic ones already provided. Everyone looked confused, but Sungchul had already spotted the difference.
‘These are enchanted weapons.’
Physically identical weapons would have a drastically different performance when enchanted. This impact was more drastic for lower grade weapons like the ones they had been provided with at the start. These weapons were a world’s difference to the ones the group was currently equipped with.
“Now now, humans! Throw away those trash weapons you are carrying, and take hold of these new weapons, please! These are 10 times better!”
They hesitantly exchanged their old weapons for the new ones.
“Woah! They look the same, but I think the new ones seem better somehow.”
“Yea, don’t they feel lighter… and stronger?”
The Drill Sergeant saw the delighted eyes of the group and spoke even louder with his usual grating voice.
“You selected few! You are protected! I, Drill Sergeant, shall dedicate myself in guiding every one of you in safely passing through the tribulations of this Summoning Palace!”
The members began relaxing and smiling after hearing these words. They had completely accepted his words that they were some sort of chosen existences.
“Everyone. We will soon return to the plaza! There is no need to fear! You have obtained a few powers beyond that of those trashy humans! Kekeke!”
The Drill Sergeant’s words bolstered the group’s pride. Laughter could be heard from the people, but Sungchul saw a faint light approaching the group. It was another lantern. This lantern was held by a single Homunculus who was leading a single person in this direction.
“Huuuuh? What’s that?”
The Drill Sergeant revealed his razorlike teeth as he questioned the other homunculus.
“Manager! There is another chosen human!”
“What? Chosen human…?!”
The Drill Sergeant’s eyes lit up with a crimson light.
“There are already 25 people here. What’s happened here? Assistant!”
The Drill Sergeant began huffing and threateningly approached the smaller homunculus before it replied fearfully.
“T-that is… The human said he needed to take a shit first, so he was late.”
“Shit…? Does that even make sense?”
The Drill Sergeant drew close to the newly arrived human and glared at him. He was a 20-year-old male and with a decent appearance and a balanced physique. He must have been extremely friendly; because he continued smiling even as the Drill Sergeant was fuming before his face. A few of the women started observing him closely.
“Anyways, it’s impossible! All the Buffs of the Martyrs and the overpowered weapons have already been distributed to the 25 people gathered here. Those who are tardy have no right to get anything!”
The Drill Sergeant crushed a candy while shaking his head in anger. However, the small homunculus’ face now started to pale.
“B-but Manager… this human… is not average.”
“What do you mean? Assistant?”
“This human is someone directly chosen by the Order of the Iron Blood Knights’ Head Captain!”
“O-Order of the Iron Blood Knights?!”
The Drill Sergeant jumped up in surprise. He was so surprised that even the candy flew out of his mouth.
‘Order of the Iron Blood Knights, huh.’
Sungchul recognized the name. Once they had been the frontline defence of humanity against the demonic forces. But currently, they have been corrupted and instead became the shield of the elites. An image of the Knight Captain’s stubborn, stripe bearded face flashed through his mind.
“Hey, you call yourself the Drill Sergeant, right? Don’t be so stiff; I haven’t really adjusted to this world yet.”
The tardy guy finally opened his mouth. There wasn’t a speck of him trying to confront the Drill Sergeant. He passed by the flabbergasted Drill Sergeant and began smiling and warmly shaking hands with the rest of the group.
“Hello, everyone? Sorry I’m late, my name is Park Ahram. As you can see, I am a ‘Preselected’ just like you all.”
This was an astounding display of self-confidence and adaptability. He had already determined his status within this new society and was now making full use of it. He clearly knew that no matter what he said, the Drill Sergeant could not touch him.
The Drill Sergeant was shaking in rage, but he only continued to savagely chew an ever increasing amount of hard candies. He eventually came and stood before the 25 of them other than Ahram.
“Among you, there is a bad boy that has deceived this Drill Sergeant. Please come forward now. Before this Drill Sergeant becomes very angry.”
The people in the group continued looking at each other and exchanged suspicion filled gazes. Sungchul met two distinct gazes himself. They were the hip-hop boy and the brand-name girl he had met in the beginning.
“Isn’t it that person?”
“I think so too.”
The two eventually stood before Sungchul
The Hip-hop boy took on an aggressive tone with Sungchul.
“It’s you, isn’t it? Everyone can see that.”
Sungchul laughed to himself as the kid glared at him with arrogance in his eyes.
‘I guess I must look like I’m a pushover.’
The Drill Sergeant’s grating voice once again punched at their ears.
“Hey, you. Why did you raise your hand?”
Drill Sergeant was looking at Lee Yuhoon.
“Are you confessing that you’re the rat?”
Yuhoon’s shoulders fell away at the Drill Sergeant’s murderous tone.
“Then why did you raise your hand?”
“I’m not sure of the exact circumstance, but if I understand correctly, someone among us wasn’t Preselected to be here, is that right?”
Drill Sergeant nodded. Yuhoon, with a voice markedly more pleasant than the Drill Sergeant’s, continued speaking softly towards the crowd.
“The one guiding me has provided a wonderful suggestion. We could reveal the name of our guides.
A very primitive method, but an effective one. There was an Observer’s Eye above all of the Preselected. The Observer’s Eyes could only relay the voice of the magician to their candidate and were invisible to one another. But this wouldn’t matter if their candidate relayed the information. Only the Preselected would be able to answer this question. There was no room for collaboration.
“For reference, the name of the person guiding me is Leonis!”
Yuhoon was the first to reveal his hand, which was the conservative and smart choice.
The Drill Sergeant, who had been shaking in rage, quickly started smiling grotesquely.
“There, human! Truly brilliant! You have earned points in this Drill Sergeant’s books! That is a great honor!”
Yuhoon simply scratched his head and smiled sheepishly.
Sungchul began to suspect whether the idea had actually come from the guiding mage or from Yuhoon himself. Thick headed interns wouldn’t be able to think up such an idea on the fly like that.
“My guide’s name is Dolores Winterer? She says she is on a different level than average magicians!”
Ahram followed up with a raucous laughter. The Drill Sergeant ignored him and continued asking in progression.
“Human, your guide’s name?”
One by one, the group revealed their guide’s names, and the small homunculus followed behind the Drill Sergeant and recorded them on a sheepskin. When half the group was done, the young pair standing beside Sungchul started glaring at him once more.
“Hey, hobo. Trying to bounce now? That monster is going to split you in half when he finds out you clowned him, ya know.”
“Is that right?”
Sungchul replied calmly. However, he wasn’t looking at the kid, he was actually focusing on the Observer’s Eye above him.
‘Should I try taking that…’
It was just a simple construct. Its primary method of transmission should only be a simple kind of telepathy with the closest individual.
“Then I’ll stand in front of you.”
As he spoke, his right hand moved; it moved at a speed faster than anyone could notice and grabbed the Observer’s Eye above the kid’s head.
-Don’t fight with other Preselected… Don’t fight…
Telepathy flowed in. It was a pathetic telepathy that sounded weak and distant.
“Why are you standing in front of me?”
The kid, who hadn’t even realized that his Observer’s Eye had been stolen, began glaring at him once more. Sungchul feigned weakness and lowered his gaze, and kid smirked victoriously.
“Can’t wait to die can you? I won’t stop you.”
The brand-name girl and the kid continued chattering behind him. It was as though they were celebrating Sungchul’s imminent death. However, they could never imagine the reason his right hand would be gripping so strongly. It was almost as though he was holding onto something.
“Why does everything look so strange…. What… is there a problem…?”
Primitive telepathy from the Observer’s Eye continued buzzing in. Sungchul quietly reflected on this new revelation about the Preselected.
‘Now that I think about it, none of these people actually ever talked to the Observer’s Eye.’
His gaze fell on the distant Drill Sergeant and the woman in front of him.
“Elipas… is the name.”
The woman, including Yuhoon, never seemed to be speaking to themselves but rather would reply very quickly. That meant there was only one method of communicating through this telepathy, a very strong mental thought.
‘What is your name?’
Sungchul leaked a concise and strong thought through the Observer’s Eye. A reply soon followed.
“Didn’t I tell you before…? My name is Krill… Krill Regall….”
Krill Regall. As soon as he heard the name, Sungchul threw the Observer’s Eye into the air. It didn’t go far before a small explosion happened, followed by a splattering of blood, but no one seemed to have noticed this. Now it was Sungchul’s turn.
“Umm… the human with colorful clothing! State the name of your guiding magician!”
The Drill Sergeant revealed his razor teeth and demanded an answer.
“Krill. Krill Regall.”
The hip-hop boy’s face crumbled at the mention of that name.
“What… What did you say?”
It was only natural to be surprised. It was the name he was going to claim. However, the Drill Sergeant wasn’t interested in fair trials or who was truly guilty. He stood indifferently in front of the boy with the stolen name and demanded an answer.
“Hey you! Human with earrings! State your guiding magician’s name!”
The hip-hop boy was soaked in cold sweat. He finally pointed at Sungchul and began shouting.
“That fucker! He said my magician’s name!”
The Drill Sergeant and the small homunculus with the paper and pen both tilted their heads.
“No… shit. That fucker! He said my magician’s name before I could! Krill Regall was mine!”
There was no one here, and no homunculus who was willing to listen to him. The Drill Sergeant lifted the hip-hop boy by the collar with his pudgy hands.
“Got him! The rat! I finally found the criminal!”
“No…! It’s not me!”
Sungchul looked indifferently at the boy being dragged off, and quietly erected his middle finger. Finally, the boy understood what had just transpired, but by now it was much too late.
The boy was soon torn apart by the grip of the two homunculi. His pitiful screaming rang eerily throughout the forsaken cathedral.