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Cube had a variety of artificial terrain created to allow for more efficient training: mountains, hills, limestone caves, volcanic caves, etc. Each environment had its unique puppet monsters, and naturally, there were also artificial Dungeons created with cutting-edge magic technology.
"Today's combat training is a bit special."
Just like Kim Soohyuk said, there were two cla.s.ses partic.i.p.ating in today's combat training. We were gathered outside of an eerie cave. The black tunnel-like entrance seemed to ooze ominous energy.
And indeed, the cave was full of traps and puppet monsters. Among them would be real monsters and lethal traps set up by Djinns.
I could already feel myself trembling.
"Today, you'll be entering this cave with another cla.s.s. As a joint training exercise, a team from each cla.s.s will join together to form a single team."
The name of this training was Mock Dungeon Trial. Cadets would form a team of eight and experience an artificial Dungeon.
Two hundred cadets would be inside this ma.s.sive grade artificial Dungeon, so one could only imagine just how large it was.
"Now, get in your usual teams."
I looked for Yoo Yeonha, who was staring at the cave entrance nervously. The fact that Yoo Yeonha was nervous showed how threatening the Dungeon's entrance seemed.
"Me too. Look, I have gooseb.u.mps on my arms."
Jin Hoseung and Hazuki approached, making a fuss. Other cadets also found their teams, and 200 cadets quickly formed into 50 groups.
"Next, we'll announce your team pair. For the record, the cadet with the highest grade was chosen to be the team leader."
Kim Soohyuk pressed his smart.w.a.tch, projecting a hologram of the team list.
Veritas cla.s.s - Team Kim Suho
World cla.s.s - Team Jo Yoon-Ah
Kim Suho became teams with a girl named Jo Yoon-Ah. On a side note, Jo Yoon-Ah was a generic filler character, whose sole role was to act haughty in front of Kim Suho before coming to realize his greatness.
But would the co-author allow it?
I approached Jo Yoon-Ah.
[Jo Yoon-Ah — Has a worse personality]
Thankfully, that was the only change. I prayed for Kim Suho who would suffer under her torment.
Veritas cla.s.s - Team s.h.i.+n Jonghak
World cla.s.s - Team Kaine
I didn't know much about Team 2. To be honest, I had never heard of Kaine.
Veritas cla.s.s - Team Chae Nayun
World cla.s.s - Team Sven
Team 3, which was formed just like in the novel's scenario, was the team to watch out for.
'Sven' was a dangerous character. On the outside, he was an international student from Germany who had a crush on Chae Nayun.
Sven was a star student in his country, who had walked on the path of an elite since he was young. On his plane ride to Korea, he likely imagined himself to be on the top of Cube's rankings.
But unfortunately, Cube was filled with heaven-defying characters. Sven couldn't come close to their talents, and now he was struggling with an inferiority complex and a sense of defeat.
His pent-up frustration would explode during this Dungeon trial.
Sven would come to sell his soul to a Djinn.
But that wouldn't happen today. He would only choose to form a contract after struggling with the decision for a day.
…At least, that was what was supposed to happen.
But my laptop was clearly alerting me of a change in his setting.
[Sven - Mental weakness intensified. Significantly increased chance of falling to a devil's servant during the Mock Dungeon Trial.]
The key word was 'during'. It meant that the incident would happen today.
This was a very serious problem.
I stared at Team 3.
"H-h.e.l.lo, Nayun. I saw you in the hunting club."
Coincidentally, Sven reached his hand out to Chae Nayun at that moment. His eyes were full of affection, but Chae Nayun replied with an apathetic look.
"Ah, yes, how old are you?"
"I, I'm the same age as you."
Other teams were being announced in the meanwhile, but my entire attention was concentrated on Sven. I wanted to advise Chae Nayun to not treat him so rudely like she normally did with others.
"Team 8. Veritas cla.s.s, Team Yoo Yeonha. World cla.s.s, Team Jayden."
At that moment, Team 8 was announced.
I felt like I had heard of Jayden before. I immediately looked him up on my settings book. Because he didn't play an important role in the story, there was only a quick summary of his character.
A typical strong in front of weak, weak in front of the strong character. About 7.5/10 in potential. Strong enough to get scouted by Essence of the Strait.
Jayden approached us with a hearty laugh. He had a generic Western look with deep brown eyes and a tall nose.
At the same time, an alert popped up on my laptop. Jayden's setting had also been changed.
[Jayden - Potential increased from 7.5 to 8.]
His potential had increased by a whole 0.5 points. Potential was a number I a.s.signed to characters to easily estimate their overall potential. It wasn't a number that was a part of this world.
Obviously, Kim Suho's potential was 10 as a main character's potential should be, while Chae Nayun's was 9.5.
Even if one worked their entire life, it was impossible to catch up to this 0.5 point difference. This showed just how important the potential rating was. And now, Jayden's potential had increased by a whole half a point.
"You must be Yoo Yeonha! It's great meeting you. I've heard a lot about you!"
"Ah, yes, nice to meet you."
Jayden held out his hand. I wondered if Yoo Yeonha would shake someone's hand in her first meeting. My question was answered in the next moment, as Yoo Yeonha readily took his hand.
"Next to me in order is Kim Jingyu, Oh Soojung, and Lee Shaung."
"This is Jin Hoseung, Hazuki, and Yi Hajin."
For a moment, I doubted my ears. Who's Yi Hajin? Was she doing this on purpose? I'm Kim Hajin.
In any case, Yoo Yeonha talked to Jayden affectionately while his teammates also listened in. I had no way of knowing whether she had already determined Jayden to be someone with potential and was managing her image, but it was an interesting sight nonetheless.
"I'm a sharpshooter. My main weapon is a bow."
"Mine's my fist."
"Mine is a s.h.i.+eld."
Kim Jingyu, Oh Soojung, and Lee Shaung introduced themselves. Hazuki, Jin Hoseung, and I then introduced ourselves.
"Swordsman. Typical, right?"
"I use an axe."
"…I use this."
I held up the training handgun.
Although I had my Desert Eagle, which was a much better weapon, cadets were prohibited from using personal weapons in exams to test their pure abilities.
Of course, I had my Desert Eagle stored in a convenient place - inside Stigma.
Since I could use Stigma's magic power as I willed, creating an extradimensional s.p.a.ce to store the Desert Eagle wasn't hard to do.
"Ah, you're that guy. The guy who chose a gun. I heard about you."
"It feels strange seeing you in person."
The three people's eyes kindled with interest, but as the target of their interest, I couldn't say it was a pleasant feeling, as their eyes seemed to say, "I'm at least better than this guy".
"Are you wasting your Gift? Or is your Gift not good enough?"
…But that was still better than brute honesty. I turned towards the source of the voice. As expected, Jayden was smiling slyly.
No one in my team, if it was only in name, defended me. I didn't expect much from Yoo Yeonha, but Jin Hoseung and Hazuki didn't say anything either.
It was a bit disappointing, but I understood why. The rumors about me going around Veritas cla.s.s wasn't at a joking level.
Things like using my position as Cube's cadet to blackmail or rape a girl, all the while staying quiet at Cube since everyone else was stronger, and going to Seoul every weekend enjoy women and drink alcohol…
I was practically a societal evil.
And after today, these rumors would surely spread to other cla.s.ses. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Well, at least my SP would go up a lot.
"Everyone, get ready."
Team a.s.signment had ended before I noticed, and cadets quickly began to move at Kim Soohyuk's words.
"Go in one by one starting from Team 1."
Kim Suho shouted valiantly and took lead. Jo Yoon-Ah followed after him with an annoyed face.
"Yoo Yeonhssi, I heard you were number one among this year's supporters."
"Haha, really? I heard a lot about Jayden-ssi. I think the instructors balanced the teams wrong. We're too much at an advantage."
"No, that's just how teams are. When there's one exceptional person… I'm sure you know the rest. It's easy to see that Yoo Yeonhssi has a baggage to carry."
Meanwhile, Yoo Yeonha and Jayden chatted. Even from my perspective, Jayden did a good job not going too far and keeping Yoo Yeonha pleased. He was a good talker unbefitting of a high schooler. Maybe I should have approached Yoo Yeonha the same way.
"Team 8, enter."
Kim Soohyuk signaled our team's turn.
The eight of us walked through the cave. The formation was perfect. Three warriors in the front, supporters in the second row, sharpshooters in the third, and a single warrior in the final row.
After walking for a while, we arrived at a fork. There were eight paths to choose from.
"Which path should we take?"
Yoo Yeonha spoke to me for the first time today.
"Jingyu, what do you think?"
Jayden also asked his sharpshooter. Once again, sharpshooters often acted as pathfinders.
"I don't know."
"Take the sixth path."
I walked up and stood in front of the sixth path. However, the sixth path would likely be difficult. In truth, the difficulty of the paths was in order.
In other words, the sixth path had a level 6 difficulty.
But Chae Nayun should have chosen this path, so I had no other choice. If Sven contracts a Djinn here today, Chae Nayun wouldn't be able to handle him alone.
"Let's take the sixth path."
No matter what, I couldn't lose a righteous character with a 9.5 potential. Not only would the future story become a mess, it would also be a huge loss for this world.
"Huh? Who are you to tell us where to—"
"Just do as he says."
Yoo Yeonha interrupted Jayden. It was nice to know I was trusted as a pathfinder.
"He might look like that, but his eyes are exceptional."
"Look like what? Do you have to put it that way?"
"…I'm praising you."
In any case, our team walked into the sixth path.
The path was completely silent with only dry wind from the entrance hitting our back. After ten minutes of walking in high tension…
We finally discovered a target.
"In front, there's a monster."
Flas.h.i.+ng its terrifying eyes and flickering its tongue was a monster known as the Salamander. By the size of its body, it seemed to be low-intermediate rank at best. But monsters that could wield the four elements (water, wind, earth, fire) were tricky to deal with, and Salamanders used the most destructive element, fire.
"You can see it?"
Yoo Yeonha asked.
"It's a Salamander. That should be the switch."
Once we defeat the Salamander, the scenery should change. A Dungeon was an extradimensional s.p.a.ce created with magic power. It might look like a cave at first, but once the switch was pulled, the interior could change completely. More often than not, a Dungeon's switch was a specific monster.
"…You can really see? I don't believe you."
Jayden muttered in doubt.
"I'm telling you about it because I can see it. Just listen to me, jacka.s.s."
He was starting to get on my nerves.
"What did you say?"
"…Tsk. Quiet, both of you. Get ready for battle."
Yoo Yeonha sighed audibly as she held up her whip.