As soon as the morning assembly was over, I called Hong Ok-rye to a quiet place behind the school’s main building and asked her, as a “favor”, to monitor the Higashinori Research Center, as there were these and those dangers.
“Hey…… Comrade Baek, I don’t think I can do that.”
Hong Ok-rye responded saying this was troublesome. This made me be in trouble as well. As a member of a secret independence movement, I asked her to help me with this because I thought she would be the best option for spying operations, and I didn’t expect her to respond this way.
‘If not possible, I’ll make her do it.’
I looked around for a moment, then spoke to her in a pompous voice.
“What? I risk my life, struggling for the independence movement on a special mission from Mr. Kim Gu, but as a comrade with the same will for independence, you can’t even cooperate with this much?”
“You see, Comrade Baek, I have my own-”
“Should I tell Lee Yu-ha that you know about us? Do you want to feel the taste of frostbite?”
Hong Ok-rye’s face turned pale. It seemed that she completely believed what I saw about Lee Yu-ha being a cold-blooded killing machine.
However, Hong Ok-rye started explaining that this task was really too troublesome for her.
“W-Wait. Listen to me. I couldn’t tell the Taegukdan the real reason why I failed my mission at the shrine the other day, so I made up an excuse to my comrades that I failed the mission because I ran out of acetic acid grass, the raw material for the explosives.”
I was worried that she might tell my lies to the Taegukdan, but she had made up this excuse.
“Well, well done. But what does that have to do with this?”
“Well…… You might know too, Comrade Baek, but I can’t bring a real explosive to school. So, when I was planning this shrine mission, I planned to use explosives made from the acetic acid grass I could get at school, but I made up an excuse to the Taegukdan saying that the school ran out of acetic acid grass, so……”
Hong Ok-rye continued talking. When I was starting to wonder why she was talking about this, what came out of Hong Ok-rye’s mouth was unexpected.
“Because of this, inevitably, it has been decided that I will be taking charge of going to Wonsan, the natural habitat of acetic acid grass. Go and meet some other comrades there, as well…… If I go tomorrow, it’ll probably take a few days.”
Wait, damn it.
But I couldn’t blame her. To begin with, I was the reason why Hong Ok-rye had to go to Wonsan for a few days, and also, asking Hong Ok-rye to do something that could potentially be dangerous made me feel guilty.
But I couldn’t meet Dr. Higashinori without preparing myself. So I would just wait on things pertaining to Dr. Higashinori until Hong Ok-rye returned, instead,
‘Should I check the computer first?’
The vacuum tube computer hidden in the underground air-raid shelter under the shrine. I wasn’t sure if I could find anything more about him from taking a closer look, so I wanted to dig up about Dr. Higashinori from behind him, but,
Since things had turned out this way, I thought it would be better to check the computer first. At the very least, I could determine whether this machine was being used just to keep the barrier at the school up or not.
It wouldn’t be too late to suspect Dr. Higashinori even after that.
‘I’m more bored today than yesterday.’
Morning common class, squad tactics period. As I watched the squads ahead of us fight, that was the thought came into my head. It was because most of the monsters that had been coming out were mainly weak low-level monsters.
Of course, there was a slight difference in the level of monster each squad faced, but in general they were quite similar.
‘Is it because Renka and I got rid of all the strong ones yesterday?’
The monsters that appeared underground yesterday were definitely raised in the practice monster stable. So, since we killed all the middle-level monsters like the Claw Wolves in the underground, today’s class would be again only low-level monsters.
And then, our squad’s turn.
‘Needle Mines. Now they were…… 「Harijirai」, I think.’
They were monsters we called Niddle Mines in the 21st century, and although they were big, they were considered low-level monsters because they had low levels of intelligence and were very slow.
‘They’re not dangerous as long as we don’t get too close, so I’ll just take a step back and see the level of my squad mates.’
They were low-level, but they were difficult to defeat if you didn’t know how to approach them because long range attacks were ineffective due to being covered in 60cm long spikes, and if you got close to them, they would raise their spikes by inflating their bodies.
The armor made of spikes just deflected Song Byung-oh’s mana bullets, and Lee Yu-ha’s frost wasn’t working either. As soon as its surface froze a little, it would just shake its spikes and the frost would fall off.
Yang Bok-ja shouted.
『Shirabayashi-kun! Let me try this time!』
『Yes, yes! I think I can do it!』
I tilted my head. I didn’t think this was the kind of monster that played the role of support through telekinesis could defeat. First of all, the mass itself was so big that she wouldn’t be able to move it with her telekinesis……
However, as Yang Bok-ja stretched out her hand and focused for a bit, the Harijirai stopped moving, and its spikes were sagging. I asked Yang Bok-ja.
『That’s mind control?』
『Yeah! I just learnt it!』
Abilities like telekinesis and mind control were part of the “ESPer” branch. It was common for a person to learn an ability, if another ability from the same branch was developed.
『Isn’t it great?! However, I’m still at a low-level, so it doesn’t work on higher level animals and only works for a short time against lower-level monsters with low intelligence!』
Right. It was called mind control, but it took a lot of practice to get to the point of being able to mind control an intelligent target. This was only possible because that Harijirai monster was as intelligent as a goldfish.
When the Harijirai stopped moving completely, Murasaki stepped forward and said.
『Hmph! Pretty good, Fukushi.』
『Whaat, Murasaki-kun! I told you to call me Tomiko!』
『Anyway, is it fully asleep? ……Fufu, then there’s nothing to be afraid of.』
Murasaki frabbed his sword and slowly moved forward. Murasaki stopped in front of the sleeping Harijirai and held his sword up,
He shouted. I was dumbfounded.
‘How can someone be so stupid? Even if it’s asleep because it’s hypnotized, it’ll wake up if you do that!’
And unsurprisingly, the Harijarai was startled, and it got ready to inflate its thorns instinctively.
I immediately ran straight on. It was fortunate that I had applied hastening in advance just in case. The moment I kicked Murasaki to push him away, the spikes came flying at me. Yang Bok-ja screamed, from afar.
『Shirabayashi-kun! Be careful!』
I narrowly avoided the spikes and, while I did this, I thrust my sword into the Harijarai’s weak point, its breathing hole.
This could have been troublesome. I sheathed my sword, and sighed as I looked down at Murasaki, who was still on the floor from when I kicked and pushed him away. I said.
『Why would you yell at that point, you idiot? Even a dead man would wake up at that.』
But Murasaki just looked at me with a flustered look from the floor, and said.
『O-Oi! Shirabayashi, you……! A-Are you okay!』
I wondered why he was acting that way, so I looked down at my body, and my uniform was covered in blood.
It was blood from yesterday’s wounds. They were just light scratches, so they had already scabbed, but due to the hastening effect, my blood flow increased and the wounds that were about to heal seemed to have burst.
『AH AH! Shirabayashi-kun! Are you okay?! Gomen! Gomen!』
Yang Bok-ja came running at me once, also making a fuss. She probably thought I had been attacked by the thorns because her mind control had failed.
『You’re covered in blood! Aikawa-chan! Hurry, come here!』
『I’m telling you, I’m fine. These are just light-』
But Aikawa, too, was worried when she saw me,
『Y-You…… You do not look fine at all! It would be best to go to the infirmary right away!』
She said, nervously. Lee Yu-ha also approached me, looking at me with a worried look, and said.
“Why dost thou not treat thy body better? Canst thou walk?”
“No, it’s really o-”
“How canst thou say that thou is fine when thy body is in such shape?”
At this point, I couldn’t ignore what they were saying. After all, I couldn’t explain what happened yesterday honestly.
Yang Bok-ja went to Professor Kitamura, in charge of the squad tactics class
『Kitamura-sensei! We’ll take Shirabayashi-kun to the infirmary!』
She shouted, and then looked back at us and shouted.
『Murasaki-kun! Soo-kun! You guys stay here and help clean up! We’ll take Shirabayashi-kun to the infirmary!』
Murasaki and Song Byung-oh were left to clean up, and I left the practice area, getting pushed on and supported by Yang Bok-ja and Aikawa, and arrived at the infirmary located in the main building.
‘Well, might as well just get some rest since I’m here.’
But the girls stayed by my side, not leaving. Aikawa pointed at one of the infirmary beds and said.
『There…… Shirabayashi-kun, sit down here, please.』
『Why? You’re gonna heal me?』
I asked Aikawa. Now that I thought about it, the medical professor who was supposed to be in the infirmary wasn’t here.
『Where is the nurse, I mean, medical professor?』
『Well, you see, the medical professor is teaching the 3rd grade major class…… but it’s okay! I’ve got enough experience with my healing skills……』
The medical professor was the same professor of healing that taught Aikawa, but right now they were out of office for a class.
‘We’re lacking so much healing staff.’
Since there was only one professor of healing in the school, they were in charge of both being the medical professor and teaching the healing classes. Well, most of the healing Awokens were high-quality human resources, and most of them would probably prefer to open a private hospital or something like that instead of teaching in a place like this and getting a wage.
‘Even so, this is a Hunter Academy. Are they not going to expand their medical staff?’
Even so, this was a school where students could very easily get hurt, so shouldn’t the school try to bring in more healing Awokens, even if they have to spend a lot of money? Are they saying that they don’t care even if some students get hurt or even die?
‘Typical Japanese people, not caring about human lives…….’
Well, whatever, let’s get healed for now. Even if they were just light scratches, it was better to get healed quicker, and this would also be a good opportunity to see how much Aikawa’s healing abilities had grown.
I sat on the medical bed, and as I tried to take my uniform top off, I told the girls.
“Lee Yu-ha and Yang Bok-ja, can just the two of you go out?”
Aikawa had no choice since she had to stay to heal me, but I somewhat felt embarrassed to show my bare body. Besides, this guy, Baek Cheol-yeon, although he had built up a bit of muscle lately, he was still very skinny compared to my 21st century self……
But, when I asked them to leave, Yang Bok-ja covered her mouth and laughed as she said.
“Oh my, Shirabayashi-kun! Are you ashamed?”
Of course I am. Lee Yu-ha approached Yang Bok-ja, who was still giggling at me, and scolded her.
“How canst thou say such shameful things to someone who is hurt like this? Come out with me. How dost thou expect Baek Cheol-yeong to get healed in peace like this?”
“I mean, we’re not even in the Ijo Period, and we’re all students, so why do we need to separate men and women (note: in the old Joseon, men and women were strictly separated)……”
As soon as Yang Bok-ja, who was groaning, and Lee Yu-ha went out to the hallway, I finally took off my top. Indeed, I was bleeding from wounds on my forearms and my chest.
Aikawa gulped and said.
『I-I will put my hand on you.』
As Aikawa put her hand to my wounds and put in life force into them, I closed my eyes to think, as I had nothing else to do.
I was thinking about the vacuum tube computer at the air-raid shelter under the shrine that had been bothering me since yesterday.
After hearing Hong Ok-rye, in the morning, tell me that it would be hard for her to spy on Dr. Higashinori, I stopped by the campus shrine for a bit when I crossed the campus to go to the morning common classes.
Maybe it was because of yesterday’s incident, but the shrine had a sign saying “under maintenance”, and there was even outside security personnel around it.
‘I can’t get in through here.’
As I wondered if there was some way to sneak in, I suddenly realized something.
‘Thinking about it, the monsters that appeared at the entrance of the air-raid shelter.’
The monsters that appeared out of nowhere as soon as the iron walls fell. The monsters would surely not be living or being bred underground, so they would have had to come from the practice monster barn.
‘Then that means that there’s a secret passage from inside the monster barn to the air-raid shelter.’
Just the way that there was a passage connecting the monster barn to the squad tactics practice grounds. There were no guards at the monster barn, so if I got in through there, I could get to the underground air-raid shelter.
But then, there was another problem.
‘But I have no way to sneak through a place full of monsters.’
I could, of course, just kill all the monsters at the monster barn, but then that wouldn’t be sneaking in anymore.
‘What do I do…….’
『Done……! Well, how do you feel?』
I opened my eyes at Aikawa’s words and looked down at my body. The scabs and bleeding scars were all gone as if they had never even been there in the first place. Aikawa was already skilled enough to heal small wounds like these.
It was the same with Yang Bok-ja. They had failed just now because of Murasaki’s stupidity, but Yang Bok-ja had managed to mind control the monster and put him to sleep.
I hadn’t been paying too much attention because of reasons, but it was quite delighted to see that everyone was learning and growing steadily in their respective majors.
‘Yeah, who else could I trust?’
I had been thrown into this world in the past that was almost as good as being an alien world for me, without a single person I knew, so the only people I could rely on were my squad members, people I shared my fate with now.
‘I’ll have to pay more attention to my squad members from now…… Wait.’
As I thought about this, I suddenly thought of Yang Bok-ja’s hypnotic ability. I could make really good use of it right away……
‘The practice monster barn.’
I was worried, trying to find a way to sneak in there, but I could just get Yang Bok-ja to put all the monsters to sleep.
Right now, there would only be low-level monsters left in the barn, so Yang Bok-ja’s ability to put the Harijarai to sleep earlier would be enough.
And to Yang Bok-ja, well, I would just tell her that I would let her meet Renka, a Japanese royal, and she’d be more than happy to help me.
‘Alright. I’m going in tonight.’
“It is taking so long. I hope Baek Cheol-yeon will be fine……”
In the hallway outside the infirmary. Lee Yu-ha looked out the hallway window, and then looked at the infirmary door as she said this.
“Well, daijobu desho? Remember Shirabayashi-kun is fast. Even if he got stabbed, it’ll only have been a light stab.”
When Yang Bok-ja, who was standing against the wall right next to the infirmary door, said this, Lee Yu-ha looked at her and said back, with a slightly sharper tone.
“Thou speak as if this had nothing to do with thee. If thou hast done it properly, this would not have happened.”
“Hmph! Listen to yourself. Do you think I’m not feeling sorry myself? Still, I thought it’d be okay since it’s Shirabayashi-kun……”
As she finished speaking, Yang Bok-ja took out a hand mirror, fixed up her rajiomaki (ラジオ巻き) hair, while Lee Yu-ha looked out the window without saying a word for a while.
It was Yang Bok-ja who broke the silence first and opened her mouth.
“It’s taking so long. What’s Aikawa-chan doing?”
Then she jumped up and peeped into the infirmary through the window. And then, Yang Bok-ja suddenly burst out laughing,
“Maa, Shirabayashi-kun is susprisingly karada ka ina-”
She was surprised because he looked so skinny superficially, but he had a better body than expected. Lee Yu-ha, who was also standing in the hallway, heard what Yang Bok-ja and scolded her saying.
“Doest thou feel no shame, looking at the body of a man-”
But Yang Bok-ja wasn’t someone who would lose in an argument so easily.
“Well, some of the faster girls I went to middle school with have already done yomeniiku (note: become a bride) and had children, so what’s so wrong with looking at a man’s bare body?”
Her logic was that there was nothing wrong with seeing the naked body of someone of the opposite sex since her peers had already married and had children. However, Lee Yu-ha couldn’t tolerate what she was saying. Lee Yu-ha started raising her voice.
“If they are married, that is another story, but this is so different to sneaking a peek at the body of just any other man! What hast Baek Cheol-yeon done for thou to be doing this to him!”
However, Yang Bok-ja responded as if she didn’t care.
“Heh, there’s people as pure as you in this enlightened society? I’m not completely sure, but I bet Shirabayashi-kun is quite the uwakimono (note: playboy) himself.”
“Baek Cheol-yeon is not such person!”
Lee Yu-ha shouted. However, Lee Yu-ha, even as she was defending Baek Cheol-yeon, had something on her mind that kept bugging her.
What suddenly came to her mind was Shimazu Renka, the Japanese aristocrat girl. What in the world was her relation to Baek Cheol-yeon? There were quite a few strange things for them to just be friends.
Lee Yu-ha had seen that Renka, a Japanese aristocrat that had nothing to envy, kept on trying to approach Baek Cheol-yeon, a Joseon person, and she had also seen Baek Cheol-yeon react coldly to Renka.
But even so, she saw them being together so often. And then, why was Renka monitoring Baek Cheol-yeon through one of her subordinates?
Lee Yu-ha couldn’t wrap her head around it.
And then, the other day, what she saw at the school shrine.
When Lee Yu-ha and Renka were looking for Baek Cheol-yeon, he came out of the shrine’s warehouse with a healthy-looking, reddish-brown ponytail haired girl.
‘That girl, Hong Ok-rye, was it?’
They hadn’t had much interactions, but she was a Joseon girl in their class. She was just relieved that nothing had happened to Baek Cheol-yeon so she hadn’t realized anything strange at the time, but now that she looked back on it, it certainly was bizarre that a man and a woman came out together out of a secluded warehouse.
Not just that, this morning she saw Baek Cheol-yeon leading Hong Ok-rye somewhere after the morning assembly was over.
‘Could it be……’
However, Lee Yu-ha shook her head and thought.
A playboy? No way. There was no way Baek Cheol-yeon was like that.
Although he was accused of being a traitor due to his parents and his birth, on the inside, he was as upstanding as a bamboo tree, and he was a colleague and friend who leaded and supported her whenever she made a mistake.
There was no way that Baek Cheol-yeon was a man who would misbehave.
As Lee Yu-ha was thinking this, the infirmary door opened and Baek Cheol-yeon came out. However, as soon as Baek Cheol-yeon came out, he quietly approached Yang Bok-ja and said.
“Bok-ja, are you busy tonight?”