Chapter 11: Special Privilege (1)
Once the heroes entered the portal at the center of the stage, there was no turning back. Thus, before they were transported to another World, they needed to make some preparations; and most importantly, they had to go through an inspection. Most of the time, heroes were able to use their original powers in other Worlds, but there were some cases where they couldnt. And in those situations, special perks were prepared for them beforehand so that they could build up their strengths quickly in the new World. Yet, this time, they didnt have anything.
Laguel told them that they couldnt get a signal from planet Liber at all, and the temporary connection the Celestial Realm had established to Liber was very weak. They were only able to force a transmission, but even this connection was weakening as time went by. The heroes who went in the previous recruitments had failed to make much progress, and each recruitment had significantly fewer applicants than the previous recruitment. This meant that the Celestial Realm couldnt provide much support to the heroes besides maintaining the function of basic devices and sending them to the specific planet. They had to go into a new world with nothing but their own physical beings, leaving personal belongings that were basically an extension of themselves.
“Excuse me, could you give us your bag?” two angels politely asked Chi-Woo as soon as he approached the portal. Chi-Woo handed his bag to them, and one of the angels opened it, while the other angel carefully inspected his body.
“My gosh? I never had to do this before,” the hero who was inspected before him grumbled, but nobody could do anything about it. If someone secretly hid an item they werent supposed to and used up the maximum capacity the teleportation could handle, the members of the seventh recruitment could be shredded apart before they landed on Liber due to the unstable connection. Everyone was aware of how important this process was, so although some grumbled, they followed the inspection procedures thoroughly.
On the other hand, Chi-Woo wasnt too concerned. Not only had he lived an ordinary life, but he also thought he didnt have anything that could be considered an important weapon.
Just a club is fine, right? Chi-Woo thought. The angel inspecting his body didnt say much. He simply scanned Chi-Woos whole body with a white stick and moved aside, saying that he was cleared to pass. Yet the angel inspecting his bag had a completely different response.
“Uh…” The angel looked up at Chi-Woo with a shocked face. On the floor, there was a pile of items that he had squeezed into his bag. A pile of snacks that he brought to give to his brother if he met him. Then there was a Bible, a cross necklace, a club made from a jujube tree that had been struck by lightning, a bottle with chicken blood, a couple of religious texts, a bottle of salt, a can of red bean, a clump of talisman, and so on.
“Could I ask what all of these are, sir?”
“Ah, nothing much. You dont have to mind them,” Chi-Woo answered calmly when the angel asked.
“You cant bring them, sir.”
Chi-Woos eyes widened at the angels reply. “Sorry?”
“They arent nothing, sir.”
“Is that so?” Chi-Woo scratched his head. “I just carry these around for self-defense purposes…”
“Y-You carry these items for self-defense?” the angel stuttered with obvious surprise. “Wow, all these items have a strong repellent power against evil energy…you are truly amazing, sir. I admire you.”
Chi-Woo couldnt understand why the angel was fussing over these items this much, but he decided to think of it in a positive light.
“Still, you have to leave these items behind.” However, the angel didnt let go of this matter. It seemed he wasnt going to let the situation slide no matter how amazing he thought Chi-Woo was. Chi-Woo pondered for a moment.
Hm…its a bit. He didnt want to insist or whine about the matter. He knew it was a situation he had to accept, and he had to let these items go. However, words didnt come out of his mouth easily. Before he was discharged from the military and moved out, Chi-Woo had stayed in various places. He lived in a church, stayed a brief period at a Buddhist temple, and even settled down in a shrine; during his stay in these places, he picked up various items and carried them in his bag pack every day. There wasnt a time he left his bag behind, and there were many times when he was actually helped by these items.
Since he had carried these items everywhere with him, it felt like he was leaving his lifeline behind if he let go of them. It seemed Chi-Woo wasnt the only one feeling this way as he heard several commotions around him.
“I made these items with all I had. They are basically a part of my body! How can I leave them behind?” one hero shouted. The angels guided the hero who was making a fuss somewhere else.
What should I do? Chi-Woo wondered.
“Could you go somewhere else with me, sir? We could discuss the matter in that place,” seeing that Chi-Woo was conflicted, the angel placed the items back into his bag and asked. The angel soon guided him to a private area hidden behind the shadows; if an analogy had to be made, it looked like a voting booth, only a couple of times bigger. An angel he knew was sitting in the area.
“Hello.” Archangel Raphael smiled widely and shook her hand. “I knew you would come. Quickly take out his stuff. Im curious.” Before Chi-Woo could reply, Raphael egged on, and the other angel took out Chi-Woos belongings from his bag.
“Wow—” Raphael responded exactly in the same manner as the angel who was in charge of inspecting the bag. “It reminds me of the time when we had a revolution. Are you going on some kind of war…ah well, you are,” Raphael answered her own question and smiled.
Chi-Woo looked confused. It seemed the angels and he had a vastly different understanding of these items.
“Okay, you can go out for now,” Raphael commanded, and the angel who guided Chi-Woo to this place backed away without complaints.
“Taking items of such high value to Liber is impossible. You must have heard the reason for it, too. You understand, right?” Now that they were the only ones left in the room, Raphael spoke bluntly.
“I cant take even a single one?”
“Yes, not a single one.”
“Why? What kind of items are they?”
“I mean, you must also know that these items arent commonplace goods that you see everywhere,” Raphael said with a prim look on her face. “Of course, since you lived such a normal life, you might not think of them as special, but these items are no joke, especially this one.” Raphael picked up the club that had been made by a tree struck by lightning.
“This could be considered a godly item.”
“A godly item? Seriously?”
“Even though it hasnt been around for that long, it looks to be at least a couple of centuries old. Im sure the maker of this club and the people who managed it werent nobodies either.” Raphael touched the club carefully. “Above all, an enormous amount ofbelief is embedded into this item.”
“Yeah, a belief of at least a thousand.”
Chi-Woo still looked like he had no idea what she was talking about, and Raphael clicked her tongue.
“What is this made out of?”
“I heard that its made from a jujube tree that was struck by lightning.”
“Aha, no wonder. With this much energy combined with lightning, theres no need for me to say more. What does your world believe when seeing a jujube tree that was struck by lightning?”
“What do you mean?”
“Im asking what your people think of when they see this. What do they expect?”
“Well, traditionally…people believe that it vanquishes bad energy and chases away evil spirits.”
“Yeah, thats it. Gods eat and live off beliefs and faith. Its the same for godly items,” Raphael said coyly and placed the club on the floor. “You would know only once you are there, but in a special situation, Im sure they will display an almost cheat-like power.”
If what Raphael was saying was true, there was not much Chi-Woo could do.
“But dont worry too much.” Chi-Woo was about to give up, but Raphael spoke with a cheery voice.
“Is there a way I can bring them?”
“Hmm. Maybe?” Raphaels eyes curved upwards. Chi-Woo had thought this before, but Raphael was really good at playing with people.
“The prophecy didnt ask for a change for no reason. Since weve reduced the number of heroes previously at maximum capacity, I dont think therell be a big problem if you take them, but…” Raphael continued, “Its a completely different matter for you to take them with you and for it to perform its proper function on Liber.” Raphael smirked and made a circle with her thumb and index finger. “What you need is money.”
Chi-Woo frowned; Raphaels words were completely out of the blue.
“Splurge. Just use a crap ton of money and become a complete wastrel,” Raphael said while rubbing her thumb and index finger.
Chi-Woo laughed because he was so dumbfounded. Where did she even learn to talk like this? “Please be honest with me, Archangel Raphael. What kind of relationship do you have with Earth—no, South Korea?”
Raphael snickered and replied, “I told you that I have some connections on Earth.”
“Anyway, I dont have much money.”
“Come on, kid. What do you mean you dont have any money? You were born with not just a golden spoon, but an anti-matter spoon.”
This was the first time that Chi-Woo heard his family was wealthy. “No way. Should I show you my bank account?”
“My goodness. Do you really think we want money from Earth? Im talking about your family, the Choi Family.”
“…Do we have a lot?”
“Yep. Of course. In terms of time alone, the Celestial Realm has been indebted to the Choi Family for the longest out of the families. Do you seriously think your family hasnt accumulated any wealth?”
In order to send heroes to another world, they needed cosmic energy purified in the Celestial Realm. Raphael explained that the intangible contribution the Choi Family has accumulated so far would be exchanged for cosmic energy to create a separate channel for him.
“Is this a special case?”
“Yep, its an extremely special case, but there are always exceptions to everything.”
“Im asking this out of concern.”
“I know, but its not like this never happened. Well, its also a problem that exceptions like this are only made for the twelve families in the Celestial Realm.” Raphael pointed her thumb at Chi-Woo. “By the way, your brother also did the same thing.”
After hearing that his brother also went through the same process, Chi-Woo felt relieved. “Then please do as you said.” Chi-Woo readily agreed to Raphaels suggestion. He didnt know how it would work, but it was clearly beneficial for him.
“I like how easy-going you are, but taking all of them with you is a bit wasteful—why dont you just take this, this, and this?” Raphael pointed at the club, talisman, and cross necklace in order.
Chi-Woo stared intently at Raphael and fell into thoughts.I dont know… Since he had come this far, he couldnt turn back. If he was going to do it, he should go all out.
“All of them.”
“Not just those three. Would it be possible to take all of them?”
“Ah, um?” It was a rare occurrence, but Raphael was flustered. “Uh…Its not impossible, but seriously, even the emergency food?”
“Yes, even the snacks.”
Caught completely off guard, Raphael tried to dissuade him by saying, “Umm. Im saying this because I feel like I tricked an innocent kid but…” Raphael smacked her lips and continued, “I said to splurge, but just so you know, this is not a very effective method. For example,” Raphael picked up one snack, “How much did you buy this for?”
“I bought it for 1,500 won.”
“If you want to bring this to Liber, youll have to pay 10,000 times that price.” Chi-Woo would be paying 15 million won for just one snack.
“Do you still want to bring it?”
“Yes. Ill bring it.”
“Wow, how ballsy of you! Are you for real?”
Chi-Woo responded with a confirmation without thinking any longer; there was no need for him to really ponder about this.
“Can I ask you why? Im just curious.”
“Theres no one else who can use the Chois Familys money except me anyway.”
“So youre just gonna use it however you want? Without thinking who and how they gathered it, and how much all of it is worth?”
“No, its not like that.” Even though Chi-Woo spoke sharply, his voice didnt waver. “Even though this wealth is shared property by the whole Choi Family, you told me that everyone retired except for my brother. And my brother doesnt seem like he can use it right now, so if I disappear, whos going to use it?”
Raphael blinked her eyes.
“Rather than letting it go to waste, its better for me to just use it; and its not like Im using it for myself. If I explain it well to my brother later on, hell understand.”
“Now that you say it like that…” Even though there was something strange about Chi-Woos words, there was nothing much to say against it. “Okay. Do what you want. given the way things have turned out, there must be some kind of meaning behind all of this.” Raphael raised her shoulder and looked at the items near the bag. “Good. Just leave these items here then.”
“Dummy. What would the others think if they all left their belongings, while youre the only one carrying a bag?”
“Ah.” Chi-Woo expressed his gratitude for Raphaels careful consideration. “Thank you.”
“Its nothing. I should be the one to thank you. Youre going anyway, whatever your reason may be.”
Whatever your reason may be. Chi-Woo felt like Raphael had seen through his thoughts.
Raphael smiled brightly and got up from her seat. “Lets go do our respective jobs. Ill go complete your request, and youll be on standby.”
Raphael walked softly and winked at Chi-Woo. “I hope what you wish for comes true. I dont expect you to save Liber, but Ill appreciate it if you could normalize it.” Then Raphael said she needed to immediately get on with his request to complete it in time, and she disappeared like the wind.
Left on his own, Chi-Woo let out a long sigh. He felt strange since he had to go to a completely new environment soon. He had no idea what he had to do there or what he was supposed to do. It might be more accurate to say that this whole situation still didnt feel very real to him. If he went back home right now and had a long sleep, everything would feel like a dream. Of course, Chi-Woo had no intentions to go back without achieving anything.
Well, I should just think of it as going on a special trip.
Chi-Woo hardened his resolve and was about to turn around when—
He saw the curtain lift, and a shadow crept in.
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