To Hell With Being a Hero!

Chapter 24: I Take Refuge (Namu) (7)

Chapter 23: I Take Refuge (Namu) (6)

It was all Ru Hiana could do to think about Ru Amuh; hopes that he was well—no, still alive and the more realistic thoughts that it was already too late warred in her mind. As a hero, she knew she had to accept the reality of the situation. Still, Ru Amuh was also an outstanding hero whose skills she had personally witnessed by his side. No matter the danger or how dire the situation was, Ru Amuh had always managed to survive. Thus, Ru Hiana couldnt accept his death easily. She knew that the title of hero was meaningless on Liber, but right now, she simply wanted to run out of this camp. Whenever she thought of Ru Amuh, she felt like she was sinning by doing nothing. Now, however, after listening to what the nameless young man told her, Ru Hiana had to repress these feelings. But if she really….

She didnt know when she fell asleep. It seemed she had slipped into unconsciousness while shuddering in guilt.

—I…

Ru Hiana opened her eyes slightly. She had heard someone calling her name in her sleep.

‘Did I imagine it? Ru Hiana tilted her head and decided to close her eyes again.

–Ruana…

Ru Hiana opened her eyes wide. A red light flashed past her, and she jerked her head around.

“Ruahu?” she called out in a hoarse voice. No one answered. She turned her head sideways, but only saw people sleeping around her. She couldnt spot Ru Amuh anywhere. What if she hadnt imagined his voice, though?

“Ruahu…” Ru Hiana murmured as she got to her feet. She stumbled past the tent and staggered across the camp like she was possessed. “Ruahu, Ruahu….” She cried out continuously and stopped. Could it be—no, it couldnt. Ru Hianas eyes widened at the figure in front of her. The figure looked pale, and the edges of his eyes looked dark, almost purple. He had bloodstains all over his body, and he stared at her from afar with sorrowful eyes: it was Ru Amuh. Ru Hiana came to a halt.

“Ruahu.” An emotion she couldnt explain by words rose inside her. “Ruahu…!” Ru Hiana ran like mad. Questions like how he got here werent important at this moment. All she could think of was that Ru Amuh had returned, and he was alive.

“Ruahu!” Ru Hiana was about to run and hug him when her eyes widened. “Are you alr….?”

He was there just a moment ago, but now he was gone without a trace.

“Ru…!” Ru Hiana looked around desperately and saw Ru Amuh again. Like how she found him the first time, he was looking at her from afar. Ru Hiana approached him again, but she couldnt close the distance between them. He always got away, always out of her reach by a hair. Ru Hiana even ran sometimes, but it was futile. She didnt question this though; she wasnt in the mental state to think about anything else but the Ru Amuh in front of her.

“Ruahu! Ruahuu! Dont go! Where are you going! Please!” Ru Hiana shouted with all her might in heartache. In response, Ru Ahu opened his mouth slightly.

—Hel….

His lips twitched.

-Help…

As if he wanted to…no, as if he didnt want to keep talking, his face scrunched up. Finally, Ru Amuh shook his head sideways vigorously and completely disappeared. In a way, it almost looked like he had fallen over backward. As she ran desperately, Ru Hiana felt something brush by her ankles, but she ignored it. She found a pit where Ru Amuh had last stood. There was no need for her to think any longer. She had been enduring well until now, but with Ru Amuhs sudden appearance, her heart couldnt take it anymore.

Ru Hiana entered the pit. She stepped on the rocks protruding from the wall and made her way to the bottom. She soon saw the ground and got ready to jump down.

“Ah!” She suddenly felt something pull her by the ankles. By the time she realized it, her body had turned half a circle.

Flop!

She hit the floor hard before she could do anything.

“Ugh….” Ru Hianas eyes narrowed from the pain. Her face felt sticky, and she smelled the metallic smell of blood. It was extremely unpleasant. Ru Hiana looked up, perplexed.This is…? She got up slowly and looked around her. She had never seen this place before. She had trouble seeing clearly in the dark, but she saw enough to be confused about how she ended up in this unfamiliar space. Now that she thought about it, she had been chasing…Ru Amuh.

“Ah.” Ru Hiana finally regained her senses. It was like someone had poured water onto her and woken her up from her dream.

—Kkirik, kki, kki, kki, kki

She suddenly heard a series of strange noises.

“Ru-Ruahu?” Ru Hiana stuttered.

—Kkiugh, ugh, ugh!

She heard someone sobbing, or was it laughter deriding her? It was then the firelight coming from the inside of the entrance glimmered. It was only for a moment, but Ru Hiana saw them clearly—long, shadowy figures that flickered in and out of existence.

Shudder. Goosebumps popped up all over her body. A heavy silence abruptly swept the place, and she could neither hear nor see anything. However, she could feel it, a terrifying and menacing malice. And this intangible yet ominous aura engulfed the entirety of the empty space until there wasnt a corner untouched. At this moment, a memory flashed inside Ru Hianas mind like lightning. She reached for her belongings and pulled out a finely woven red silk thread that flowed out like waves. Ru Hiana lifted the silk thread high in the air and stopped. It was like she had suddenly stopped while dancing happily.

“Ha-ah…Ha-ah…”

Ru Hiana quelled her trembling breath and tried to understand the situation. The silence didnt last long.

Dddddddddddu!

The whole area began to tremble. Dirt and sand fell from the ceiling, while the ground shook so intensely that Ru Hianas legs were vibrating. The red silk thread was also shaking along with everything. No, it wasnt just shaking. It fluctuated wildly like it was full of wrath and ready to tear their opponent apart madly.

Ru Hiana felt a sudden pull from the other side of the silk thread and lost her grip. Rather than grabbing it from the ground, she remembered an instruction she was given and quickly turned on her hologram. She was surprised to see that her hologram was connected. She quickly clicked it with her finger.

‘Please… please…

She called one of her saved contacts and quickly sent a message. When she looked forward again, the red silk thread was already in tatters. The mysterious being had been so enraged that even the nearby ground had slash marks all over it. The silk thread had been split in half and scattered into pieces like it had been shredded by a razor blade. The cloud of dust dispersed all over the place and suddenly settled down. Ru Hiana backed away with a fear-stricken face; it felt like a mysterious being with murderous intent was glaring at her.

‘Please! An entirely different sensation hit her. It felt like the being was going to swallow her whole. She squeezed her eyes shut intently. ‘Come quickly…!

* * *

A couple of hours earlier.

“Lets go in first and sleep.”

“What?”

“Of course, not without doing anything.”

Chi-Woo had told her to wait and went into the tent for a short while before returning to her.

“Could you tie this to yourself first, please?”

Ru Hiana looked at the rope Chi-Woo handed her. It was the rope that had been used to tie her up. “This is…”

“You promised before,” Chi-Woo said while wiping the sweat on his forehead, “That you will do anything to save Ru Amuh.”

Ru Hiana looked taken aback and stared at Chi-Woo contemptuously. “I dont want to.”

“What do you mean? You definitely said youll do anything.”

“No. I cant do it. Ive never done anything like this, and until you save Ruahu…” Ru Hiana trailed off when she saw one of Chi-Woos eyebrows slowly go up.

Ru Hiana saw his reaction and asked to make sure, “Did I just misunderstand you?”

“Yes. But I did say it in a way that you would misunderstand. Im sorry. Its because Im tired.” True to his words, Chi-Woo was completely soaked in sweat. He continued, “You dont need to tie up your whole body; just tie it to a certain area—it can be your arm or ankle.”

“Thats not going to be very difficult, but…” Ru Hiana looked at him with suspicion. “Are you doing this because you think Ill secretly run off by myself?”

“Ive already considered that possibility in my plan.”

“Hm? What?”

“Lets first get some sleep and rest a bit. Well head off once the sun rises.”

Ru Hiana had heard this before.

“Its a simple plan. However, it was made on the premise that I would be able to successfully borrow the statue.”

“What if you cant borrow it?”

“Then it cant be helped. When that happens, I wont stop you from leaving.” In other words, Chi-Woo would wash his hands of this whole situation.

Ru Hiana hesitated for a while and finally spoke, “You know…Ruahu…is probably dead, right?”

Chi-Woo stared at Ru Hiana with slight surprise. He thought she would say something like,What if you cant borrow the statue, and Ru Amuh dies in the meantime!?

“I dont know that,” Chi-Woo replied while scratching his throat.

“Huh?”

“Well know when we get there. I dont think I can jump to conclusions, but theres a high possibility that hes alive.”

Ru Hianas eyes widened. In her perspective, Chi-Woo was a hero with an extremely cold personality. She had expected him to declare Ru Amuh dead without hesitation. “But…you said that you were able to get out because of Ruahus soul.”

“Dead people arent the only ones who have souls.” Chi-Woo let out a wide yawn. “Its possible for a living persons soul to emerge. We call that a living soul.”

“Are you saying this for real? Youre not trying to comfort me, are you?”

“Have you only been tricked all your life? Its not like this has never happened before. You just need to be extremely strong-willed and have a powerful enough wish.”

Of course, Chi-Woo knew for sure that Ru Amuh was going to be alive until at least tomorrow, but he couldnt just reveal this information without any evidence. “Lets get back to business. If I successfully borrow the statue and fulfill one more condition, Im going to change the plan.”

“One other condition?”

“Yes.” Chi-Woo paused for a bit and continued, “The condition will be fulfilled when you go to that place by yourself.”

Ru Hiana slightly frowned. “What do you mean?”

“You may end up making your way there even if you dont want to.”

“How? Is someone going to forcibly transport me there?”

“No. Hmm. Well, for example…” Chi-Woo shifted his eyes around. “You may fall asleep, and when you open your eyes again, youre suddenly there.”

“What?”

“Im saying you can be bewitched.”

Ru Hiana still looked befuddled. ‘How could they bewitch her?

“Thats how those beings operate. I dont know about that specific spirit, but the ones I know bewitch and trick people through all kinds of evil methods.” Chi-Woo pointed to Ru Hiana with his thumb. “What if Mr. Ru Amuh suddenly appears in front of you and asks for help?”

Ru Hianas face stiffened.

“What if he lures you into his den by asking for your help?”

“Thats impossible. Ruahu will never do that to me.”

“Thats precisely what theyre aiming for. Those evil spirits utilize the weakest and deepest parts of the human mind.” Chi-Woo clapped his hands. “Anyway, the important part is that if something like that happens, Im going to just leave you be, Ms. Ru Hiana.”

Ru Hiana blinked and exclaimed, “Ah! Youre saying that while that thing is tricking me, youre going to save Ruahu, right? Thats why you gave me this rope.”

“No, of course not.” Chi-Woo snorted. “Please accept this first.” Chi-Woo searched through his bag and took out something. It was a beautiful skein of red silk.

“What is it?”

“Dont ask me where I got it and listen to me carefully from now on.” Chi-Woo calmly continued, “While youre being bewitched, you wont be able to think about anything clearly. If you have an extremely tough mentality, you might be able to gain consciousness by yourself, but Im not very hopeful about that, which means youll have to regain consciousness using whatever means possible. Ill help you with that, though; you dont have to worry about it too much.”

Chi-Woo raised the hand holding the end of the rope and continued, “When you gain consciousness, please dont try to do anything and just lift this silk I gave you up so that the spirit can see it well.” Chi-Woo explained everything quickly, and Ru Hiana nodded with a startled face.

“Is that all?”

“One more thing. After this, just tell me what happens to the red string.”

“What? How?”

“You know our devices can send messages, right?” Chi-Woo spoke nonchalantly.

“I know that. Messaging works fine here, but how do I contact you when Im outside—ah.”

“Thats why Im going to borrow the statue.”

Ru Hiana looked at the red silk string in her hand. “Can I…ask why I have to do this?”

“Because I need to confirm something,” Chi-Woo replied simply. “If what were facing is the thing Im familiar with, hell probably go crazy for it.”

“Go crazy for it?”

“Yes. But you still have to be careful. That string is just a means to confirm my speculation, so the only thing itll do is stalling for time.” Chi-Woo warned her again. “You dont have to tell me in detail. Please just send me a brief message on what happened to that red string.”

“That wont be difficult, but what if it doesnt react to it?”

“Then run as fast as possible,” Chi-Woo said clearly. “I dont know if youll be able to survive, but you have to give it your best. By the way, if I dont receive a message, Ill also be running away.”

Ru Hiana bit her lower lip. Even though she had said that shed do everything, she still had her suspicions. However, it couldnt be helped. She had to grab onto any straws for Ru Amuh, who might still be alive. But most of all, she had already witnessed Chi-Woos ability earlier.

“…I got it.” Ru Hiana spoke with a determined face and held out her pinky. “Lets first register each other as contacts. Ill do as you said. If you save Ruahu, Ill keep my promise.”

Chi-Woo stared at the hand that Ru Hiana held out and presented his left wrist. Her pinky and his wrist touched, and a message that said,one registration request received popped up. Since the interface was similar to that of a phone, it wasnt difficult for Chi-Woo to use it.

Ru Hiana asked, “What do you want me to save your name as?”

“Whatever you want.” After registering Ru Hiana in his database, Chi-Woo let out another yawn. “Im going to rest. Please dont forget what I told you just now.” Chi-Woo tightly rolled the ends of the rope around his wrist.

Ru Hiana stared at him. Letting out a sudden sigh, she tied the rope around her ankle. She then went into the tent and sat in a corner, burying her face in her knees.

And then…

* * *

Pachichichichicihi!

At the same time, the sound of electricity crackling hit Ru Hianas ears.

—Kyaaaaaaaaaaaaakh!

A chilling scream assaulted her, the horrifying sound sending shivers down her spine. Then she heard a familiar voice.

“Good. You did very well.”

Ru Hiana held her breath as she slowly opened her eyes. She saw a bizarre and grotesque black figure in front of her.

“Please just stay put now.”

She saw the back of the young man standing in front of the black figure. The person blocking the figures path was none other than Choi Chi-Woo.

“…What?”

Cracccccckle!

Chi-Woo looked at the quickly burning talisman with surprise. “Look at this punk.” He shook off the ashes of the burnt talisman and reached into his bag again.

“I didnt know your response would be this enthusiastic. If I knew—”

At that moment, Ru Hiana clearly caught the expression on Chi-Woos face.

“I would have beat the crap out of you in the storage room before.”

Chi-Woo had a graceful smile on his lips.

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