CH 7

A personnel who was organizing the remaining documents checked his phone and then nudged his colleague sitting next to him.

“Before nudging someone, how about telling me what you want first? With that kind of attitude, how did you even pass the Association’s personality test?”

“Hey, we finished work early. Wanna go watch the match?”

“…Do we really have to?” the bespectacled employee frowned.

“Why are you being so dry about it? Don’t you think it’ll be fun?”

“Well, I’m not sure.”

It was obvious how Yoo Hwa-shin would tease and mock him if he went without thinking.

Mister! You said you weren’t coming, but now you’re here? You must have been interested in me, right? Right?

It was exhausting just imagining it. He pressed his thumb against his temples, his stress rising. Yoo Hwa-shin had an uncanny ability to get inside people’s heads despite only meeting them a few times.

“My inside source says the first match is already over.” With Jin’s triumph.”

As he spread his arms high, the bespectacled personnel’s eyes sparkled. “That S-rank guy?”

“Yeah! Even among S-class, he’s a master of illusions. At first, he wasn’t acknowledged as S-rank but was later promoted. Wow, isn’t his story just perfect?”

Awakened individuals and rankings.

What had once seemed like a dream had become a reality, and people adapted within just five years.

Of course, the reality did not include the fantasies of hunters, skyrocketing salaries, and dungeon raids that people had fantasized about in the past.

Unidentified monsters infiltrated the real world through gates, killing people. People were devoured by monsters, burned, sliced, or blown apart. The various causes of death left horrifying piles of corpses strewn about the streets.

Death was a reality. People had to cry as they watched their parents die before their eyes, and even if they witnessed that scene, they had to abandon the corpses and flee to save their own lives.

The opening of Korea’s first gate. Seoul that day was in utter chaos.

The situation quickly spiraled out of control. Not long after, the Awakened appeared as if by a miracle. The first gate in Korea was closed only after all of the monsters were killed by the Awakened.

When it was discovered that the gates were a worldwide phenomenon, the United States led the way in establishing an international agreement. Each country’s government will manage awakened individuals, and those who refuse to join the government will be denied the right to use their abilities.

Following the agreement, Korea designated all Awakened people to a special national position known as “Hero.” Many objected to the childish name ‘Hero’ being proposed for this role instead of ‘Hunter,’ but the Awakened eventually became ‘Heroes.’

As time passed, international standards for managing each country’s Heroes were established. As a result, some became S-rank, others B-rank, and others ranked lower. At the same time, status windows were created.

Status windows were programs that allowed Awakened people to see their bodies’ and mana structures through holograms.

Only the individual could see the information, which appeared in their eyes like an amazing new technology. When there were changes in their abilities, the rank, abilities, and precautions would automatically update. If an unregistered ability was discovered, it would be automatically updated in the global server.

However, unlike in a game, the status window did not display detailed numerical values or levels. In the status window, only the Awakened individual’s perceived abilities, specific skills, and rank based on standards were listed.

Ha Cheongwon was no exception.

Overall Rank: B

Basic Physical Strength: B

Possessed Mana: B

The reality wasn’t a game, and strength couldn’t be determined solely by numbers or levels.

At times, a B-rank could defeat an A-rank, and a C-rank offense-type ability might be more suited to the field than a B-rank support hero.

Nevertheless, there were limits. There was a clear difference between the ranks. The gap widened the higher the rank. So, it was absurd to say that an F-rank could defeat an A-rank or an S-rank.

“Who do you think will be in the SH Squad? Ah, I’m already looking forward to it!”

Hearing his colleague’s excited voice, Ha Cheong-won calmly responded while wiping his dirty glasses, “Of course, it will be filled with S-rank heroes. It would be easier to promote our country’s heroes that way.”

“Really? Anyway! Let’s go watch the matches quickly. Weren’t you acquainted with that F-rank guy from earlier? His match against an A-rank just started moments ago!”

Ha Cheongwon put his glasses back on. The difference in hero ranks and abilities became more pronounced the higher the rank. So, there’s no way that F-rank man could defeat an A-rank.

“Alright, alright, stop nagging.”

Eventually, under his peer’s urging, Ha Cheongwon grabbed his coat and headed toward the underground arena where the match was taking place. He could feel his pulse quickening as he got closer to the door where the light was leaking in.

Yes, this wasn’t anticipation, but anxiety. It was the unreasonable anxiety that perhaps the F-rank man could somehow defeat the A-rank.

‘What exactly is going on?’

It was strange.

Go Young-woo had no intention of flaunting his abilities against an F-rank. Doing so would only make him a laughingstock among the higher-ranked heroes who were watching the match.

So, he just intended to teach the guy a lesson.

He thought that if he threw a few punches and showed some intimidation, the F-rank would realize that he didn’t belong here and would naturally back off.

“Heuk, heuk.”

But what was the reality? His fists never reached Yoo Hwa-shin. Whenever he thought they would, there was no one there. The power behind his punches had wasted without him knowing why.


“Haaa. You’re too slow. Can’t you move a bit faster? If we keep going like this, everyone will realize how strong I am.”

The annoying, snide remarks that came in between. There was nothing about the situation that Go Young-woo liked.

“Shut up!” Go Young-woo yelled, his teeth clenched in frustration.

In truth, his true strength lay in his fast speed rather than his massive muscles.

He stretched his right arm back and charged. He grabbed the F-rank’s shoulder who was trying to dodge his attacks. Yoo Hwa-shin, who was now firmly caught in his grasp, couldn’t move. Go Young-woo swung his fist that he had been holding back. Finally, it was done. He landed it. This time, he felt like he could finally punch that irritating face, but….


Yoo Hwa-shin, who was supposed to be right in front of him, was nowhere to be found. He was certain he had apprehended him.

Before he knew it, Hwa-shin removed the grip on his shoulder and forcefully pushed Go Young-woo’s left shin with the sole of his foot. Although Go Young-woo’s basic physical strength was only at a D-level, he was still an awakened individual. However, his body had been slightly pushed backward by the guy’s sudden attack.

In contrast, his opponent’s body was completely unscathed, without a single scratch. The man’s clothes were as pristine as when they had first started. A well-fitted shirt and black slacks.

It should be difficult to move in such a getup, but how on earth was he dodging all of my attacks?


In sharp contrast to the enraged Go Young-woo, the leisurely Hwa-shin was still debating which of his abilities to employ.

‘I did say something to Mu-eum, and I do want to show off something here. But choosing a reasonably good ability is proving to be quite a hassle.’

“Hey! F-rank.”

‘Ah, right.’

It was only then that Hwa-shin looked at the man before him with round eyes. “Ah, sorry. I was so deep in thought that I forgot to play with you from time to time. Haha.”

‘What in the world?’

Surprisingly, that brazen apology only served to enrage Go Young-woo even more. His nostrils flared, emitting an inaudible heat. ‘Playing with me? Forgot?’

“You son of a-!”

Hwa-shin sighed deeply.

‘…Being that angry makes it even easier to read you.’


Go Young-woo threw another punch with a powerful shout. However, the trajectory was slightly different this time. Unlike his previous punch, which was aimed at the Hwa-shin’s shoulder, this one was aimed at the stomach. He had anticipated Hwa-shin’s movement and adjusted his course accordingly.

‘This guy’s body doesn’t have a single muscle in his abdomen, so it’ll hurt like hell.’

But then, Hwa-shin casually uttered a word, “Stomach?” “…!” anticipating his movement.


Go Young-woo’s face crumpled up like a discarded receipt in a garbage can. ‘How did he…? …Could it be? Is he a precognitive ability user? No. There are no registered heroes in the country who have precognitive abilities that are versatile enough to be used in combat.’’

Nevertheless, for Go Young-woo, even if he had already realized he was being read, it was now impossible for him to change the trajectory of his fist. His body had already begun to move in a predetermined direction.


Go Young-woo tried to grab hold of Hwa-shin as his punch barely grazed his waist, but he couldn’t catch the evasive Hwa-shin. Hwa-shin slid back with smooth and agile movements, avoiding Go Young-woo’s outstretched hand.

His opponent was always one step ahead of him, nimble yet precise, with no wasted effort. The man’s stamina consumption was minimal. Go Young-woo, on the other hand, felt as if he were chasing a ghost.

“Go Young-ie,”

‘Damn it, my name is Go Young-woo, you bast*rd.’

In an instant, a cute new nickname, ‘Go Young-ie’ had been given to him…

‘No,’ Go Young-woo frowned.

Despite deliberately mispronouncing the burly guy’s name, Yoo Hwa-shin stood in his place, drew a circle with his finger towards his heart, and asked, “Aren’t you curious how I dodge all your attacks?”

How he could predict and avoid everything like this was quite simple.

“Destiny is like a cogwheel made of threads.”

The few laws he had discovered while observing, manipulating, and reconstructing karma.

“Countless threads come together to form you, and through those threads, I can predict you.”

To understand the flow, he had to have the phenomenon of karma itself embedded in his mind.

“Something like that principle -”

“Are you a fraud? Sorry, but I don’t believe in that stuff,” Go Young-woo spat out his saliva and snorted.

Yoo Hwa-shin shrugged his shoulders, adding, “Even when I explain, you really don’t believe me.”

Seeing the flow of karma was more than just bending fate and manipulating the actions of others. To manipulate actions, one had to see the flow, and once that flow was focused on, the flow in front of one’s eyes revealed a short but definite future. So, reading the karma of a simple, muscle-bound brute was an easy task. It was too slow to begin with.

‘But now, it’s time for me to decide what kind of ability I want to show.’

As Hwa-shin was deep in thought, Go Young-woo’s patience had reached its limit, and he was boiling over with rage.

So what if he became a laughingstock? He didn’t want to lose this match! He wanted to join the SH Unit! He wanted to stand above others!

He became a hero to experience the feeling of superiority!

He didn’t have time to waste on an F-rank like this. In the end, Go Young-woo decided to use his ability. He spread his arms wide and shouted, “Shadow!”

With just one word, the shadow on the ground surged up massively. Go Young-woo’s shadow had grown to at least ten times its original size, resembling a golem from the world Yoo Hwa-shin had previously lived in.

Moreover, it was in excellent shape, resembling its master. The black shadow’s muscular outline was incredibly distinct.

Go Young-woo’s ability was “Shadow Doppelganger.” He could freely transform and manipulate his own shadow.

He swung at Yoo Hwa-shin and shouted again, “Go and devour him!”

In an instant, the shadow engulfed Hwa-shin.

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