Chapter 23 - Accept the Mission (3)

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How did this happen? A golden chance and a warning simultaneously; he couldn’t help but be confused.

▶ Attack
▷ Use Martial Arts
▷ Use Toolbox
▷ Approach the Opponent
9… 8…
▶ Counterattack
▷ Defend
▷ Run Away
9… 8…

Seol-Hwi frantically analyzed. Wouldn’t it be better to gain three seconds? If he chose to attack, he gained free time—he might be able to see his enemy’s movements.

The problem is my weakness. He’d never fought this man before, so his attack, defense, and everything else was unknown.

Let’s do this then.

<You have selected Attack. Rewinding time by 3 seconds. Move immediately.>
<You have selected Counterattack. The enemy is directly ahead. Respond quickly.>

“Kuak!” Shin Bi-Rang staggered back.

Three seconds back, as expected.

A chance and a crisis.

Seol-Hwi leaped forward without wielding his sword; instead, he prepared for his opponent’s attack. One thought dominated his mind:


A faint energy, emerging like a wave. Shin Bi-Rang’s legs became bizarrely invisible; they weren’t fast, but the flow of time seemed to bend unnaturally.

It… Disbelievingly, Seol-Hwi raised his hands to his face. There were bloodstains like a knife cut just below his temple.

Sword energy. Just a touch, but definitely lethal.

“Tch,” Shin Bi-Rang groaned. “Damn it…”

Shin Bi-Rang
Internal Energy: 4,365(↓4,230)/12,000

His attack had seriously depleted his internal energy.

If I had tried to run… Seol-Hwi let out a deep breath. If he hadn’t been prepared, that attack would’ve killed him. Running would have been certain death, no matter how he tried. He might have killed Shin Bi-Rang if he was lucky, but Seol-Hwi wouldn’t survive the attempt.

Who would’ve imagined that Shin Bi-Rang could do such a thing?

It’ll be difficult for him to use sword techniques again. That one attack had drained his internal energy; still, he might use a weaker sword energy attack. It went to show how much stronger Shin Bi-Rang was than Seol-Hwi in terms of physical strength and internal energy.

“You bastard! Who are you?”

“Who’s who? I’m someone below you, you bastard.”

“Below me? A member of the Supreme Pavilion?” Shin Bi-Rang’s eyes filled with shock, fluster, and curiosity. Seol-Hwi quite liked it.

“You don’t need to know,” Seol-Hwi said and pressed the attack.

Their blades met several times, leaving them with minor wounds.

Health: 6,226(↓1,200)/7,708
Internal Energy: 1,672(↓618)/7,070
Shin Bi-Rang
Health: 3,768(↓852)/15,000
Internal Energy: 3,485(↓880)/12,000

Let’s push him. He had more health but not as much internal energy as Shin Bi-Rang. It might be dangerous to attack without a plan, but he couldn’t afford to stop and think about it.

[Defense Failed! Your health will drop.]
[Successful attack! You have dealt damage]
[Dodge failed! Your health will drop.]
[Successful attack! You have dealt damage]
[Tie! Both inflicted damage.]
[Encounter failed! Your health will drop.]
[Defense failed! Your health will drop.]
[Tie! Both inflicted damage.]

It had truly become a bloody, fierce battle. Even after being stabbed in the shoulder, thigh, and left arm, his opponent didn’t back down. He kept running in, changing directions six times to confuse Seol-Hwi.

I’ll lose if this drags on…

Health: 1,354(↓4,872)/7,708
Internal Energy: 662(↓1,050)/7,070
Shin Bi-Rang
Health: 994(↓2,774)/15,000
Internal Energy: 1,980(↓1,505)/12,000

The longer the fight went on, the more the gap in health shrunk—worse, it got harder and harder to block his opponent.


Was he too excited about winning?

Shin Bi-Rang’s sword stabbed at Seol-Hwi, who blocked it, but the sound of their blades clashing was curiously absent.

While Shin Bi-Rang was distracted, Seol-Hwi moved.

Shit! Reluctantly, he brandished his sword towards the man’s chest.

It looked like Shin Bi-Rang tried to counterattack from his posture and openings.

Huh? Despite his collapsing posture, Shin Bi-Rang managed to step back.

A bluff.

[Warning! Shin Bi-Rang has found a weakness in Seol-Hwi. How would you like to respond?]

Shit! Seol-Hwi was going crazy. If he made the wrong choice this time, he was done for.

▷ Counterattack
▶ Defend
▷ Run Away

Those were his three choices.

Taking him head-on could be dangerous if Seol-Hwi wasn’t strong enough; running would avoid this attack, but he would be fatally wounded if Shin Bi-Rang pursued him. The distance and movements of the enemy said that defense was the best option.

<You have selected Defend.>


Seol-Hwi was prepared, but Shin Bi-Rang’s attack was faster than he expected. He was stabbed three times.

[Defense failed! Your health will drop.]

Seol-Hwi retreated. Blood dripped from his body, but—

He was alive.

Health: 273(↓1,081)/7,708
Internal Energy: 542(↓80)/7,070
Shin Bi-Rang
Health: 994/15,000
Internal Energy: 1,660(↓320)/12,000

Damn it. There was no winning now. That attack had changed everything.

“Feel that? The difference between you and me?”

Shin Bi-Rang’s voice oozed arrogance. No, it was confidence. They’d crossed blades several times, and now he was confident.

“I don’t know if it was because of the treasure, but your end is here. The gap between us is too great for you to cross.”

That was not a bluff. Shin Bi-Rang had constantly honed his sense for battle.

“Don’t make me laugh. Did you think you were the only chosen one?” Seol-Hwi smiled faintly.

The floating status window had turned gray. It was so clear during the battle; what was up with it now?

“Don’t keep talking shit.” Energy spilled from Shin Bi-Rang’s body. This was the famed sword energy: invisible and unlearnable to anyone but the highest.

Seol-Hwi was panicking. Left or right? Shin Bi-Rang clearly meant to end it with this next strike.

Move! Seol-Hwi leaped the moment Shin Bi-Rang moved. He thought he’d try to at least hit one vital point.

Unfortunately, Shin Bi-Rang’s movements were not so simple. His sword approached in the blink of an eye, piercing through Seol-Hwi’s shoulder. It didn’t stop there and continued cutting through Seol-Hwi’s left side.

[A shocking blow! Shin Bi-rang fatally wounded Seol-Hwi.]

Seol-Hwi counterattacked, but his blow was much weaker.

[Successful Attack! You have dealt damage to Shin Bi-rang.]
Health: 30(↓243)/7,708
Internal Energy: 542/7,070
Shin Bi-Rang
Health: 914(↓80)/15,000
Internal Energy: 550(↓1,110)/12,000

Seol-Hwi’s vision was blurring—the blood loss was getting to him. He could vaguely feel that his back had been pushed against the wall.

He’s coming again. Seol-Hwi could feel it, even if he couldn’t feel it.

Now! Seol-Hwi moved just as he felt Shin Bi-Rang close—not towards the enemy but towards the window.

“You bastard!”

Seol-Hwi threw himself out the window.

If I’m right…

Seol-Hwi was falling from the window sill, and Shin Bi-Rang was racing after him. Then—

[A great opportunity! Found a weakness in the Black Gold Squad leader, Shin Bi-Rang. How would you like to respond?]
▶ Attack
▷ Approach the Opponent

Ahhhh…! Seol-Hwi’s eyes brightened.

A weakness! Nothing else mattered when this window appeared, no matter what situation he was in. This was a chance to win.

It was bound to happen. He’d expected it to happen. However, there were some things he hadn’t expected.

Time stopped! He understood that. Seol-Hwi had jumped out of the third-floor window with no health left; if he didn’t make a choice right away, he would die. The system took that into account.

But if I attack now, I’ll die too. I don’t even have enough strength to lift the sword.

So Seol-Hwi’s eyes kept moving.

<You have selected Use the Toolbox.>
▶ Recovery
▷ Equipment
▶Confectionery Bar (Bitten)
▷Golden Potion x2

Wait. Equipment would be…

▷ Recovery
▶ Equipment
▶ Short Sword [Weapon]
▷ Moon-Scented Dagger [Weapon]
▷ Heavenly Silver Armor [Armor]
▷ Grenade [Secondary Weapon]

This…? Seol-Hwi had an idea. It was worth a try, but he needed something more certain right now.

<Use the Golden Potion?>
<Health recovered.>
<Hemostasis effect applied.>
Health: 1,055(↑1,025)/7,708
Internal Energy: 542/7,070


Shin Bi-Rang stabbed twice at Seol-Hwi. As his health rose, Seol-Hwi was able to fend off the attacks agilely, and both of them landed on the ground simultaneously.

“How…?” Shin Bi-Rang was speechless. He was certain that Seol-Hwi was fatally wounded just a moment ago. Now he had enough strength to block Shin Bi-Rang’s attacks and even counterattack?

Even more shocking was the scar on Seol-Hwi’s shoulder. The bleeding had stopped.

“Didn’t I tell you?” Seol-Hwi only got a blank stare from Shin Bi-Rang. “I am a chosen one too.” Seol-Hwi grinned and hefted his sword.

Now he was confident. His opponent had no idea.

[A great opportunity! Found a weakness in the Black Gold Squad Leader, Shin Bi-Rang. How would you like to respond?]

His surprise must have left him open for Seol-Hwi.

<You have selected Use the Toolbox. >

Seol-Hwi didn’t attack. He knew he didn’t have to rush.

<Use the Golden Potion?>
<Health recovered.>
<Hemostasis effect applied.>
Health: 2,080(↑1,025)/7,708
Internal Energy: 542/7,070

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