To Hell With Being a Hero!

Chapter 9: A Change (1)

epened. “Dont make it so obvious that youve been doing this for a long time. 5-time test taker—no, are you making a fuss as a 6-time test taker?” Raphael spoke with a cheery voice and lifted her index and middle finger before Giant Fist could start yelling. “Time is gold! Since youve been declared as unsuitable, you only have two options from here on.” Raphael continued while folding each of her fingers. “The first is to quietly get out of the portal and wait. The second is to quietly go back. Regardless of your choice, I wont stop you.”

Giant Fist stared at Raphael, who hadnt stopped smiling since they met. “…Ill wait.” Unlike his usual self, Giant Fist easily agreed and disappeared into the portal after a bow towards Chi-Woo.

“Good. Lets now…” After making sure that Giant Fist was gone, Raphael turned back towards Chi-Woo. “Shall we start the test for the protagonist weve all been waiting for?” Raphael gave him a wink and a bright smile.

Chi-Woo slowly moved towards the orb as Giant Fist did and stared intently at it. The bright light inside the orb turned cloudy.

“…”

It would be a lie to say he wasnt nervous. The test wasnt hard; he just had to put his hand on top of the orb. It was a task that even someone who had lived the life of an ordinary person like Chi-Woo could do. However, those who were revered as heroes were judged to beunsuitable without any room for negotiation. If even those heroes were considered unfit, was there any point for an ordinary person like him to try? Chi-Woo began to doubt himself, but he breathed several times and firmed his heart. Now that he had come all the way here, he couldnt turn back. Whether he made it or died trying, he needed to do something. Chi-Woo lifted his hand.

Raphael didnt say anything. Even though she had tried to make Giant Fist take the test as fast as possible, she didnt try to rush Chi-Woo. She merely looked at him with eyes full of curiosity. Even though he felt pressured by her attentive eyes, Chi-Woo stretched out his hand towards the transparent light. When he was about to put his hand on the orb—

—Stop. Stop.

A voice suddenly rang out of the orb, and its light quickly flickered.

—I request a suspension.

Chi-Woo stopped before his hand could touch the orb. A short silence followed. The orb continued to flash, and Chi-Woo stood frozen. When he turned around because his eyes hurt, he saw his feeling reflected on Raphaels face. Her mouth was still smiling, but her eyes widened.

“Whats the matter?” Raphael soon recovered and tilted her head. “Why…No, thats not it.” After organizing her thoughts for a bit, she asked, “Did you ask for a suspension because theres no need for him to take the test?”

—Thats half of it.

“Interesting. Whats the other half?”

—Its because theres a risk that I will stop functioning.

The smile on Raphaels face was completely wiped away. Chi-Woo, who had been standing still while looking confused, stared carefully at Raphael. It was the first time he saw her real expression rather than her perpetually smiling face.

Raphael intently stared at the orb and slightly lifted the corners of her mouth. “…Yeah. I was wondering why I felt compelled to come today.” She glanced at Chi-Woo and murmured to herself, “Even though Ive stood at the top of the Celestial Realm, rolled down to the abyss, and tried all my might to climb back up—this universe is still full of things I cant understand.”

She pushed back her hair with both hands and stretched out her arms. “This is why I cant quit working here.”

If Chi-Woo wasnt mistaken, Raphael seemed to find this incomprehensible situation extremely enjoyable. “Anyway, we need to hear the results, right? So what?” She was smiling again. “What is the reason why our cutie pie, Ms. Prophecy, decided that there was no need to test our earthling Choi Chi-Woo?” Raphael asked while staring at the orb straight-on.

“Because hes suitable to go?” Or. “Unsuitable?”

—His existence there is inevitable.

The orb—or Ms. Prophecy, as the angel called it—continued without an ounce of hesitation.

—Inescapable.

—And indispensable.

The orb replied as if it had been waiting to say these words out loud.

“…Indeed.”

According to the orb, Chi-Woo could not avoid or resist going to where his brother was, and he was an indispensable being there.

“An existence that cannot be stopped and is also indispensable,” Raphael stared at Chi-Woo with curiosity and said. “Good. You passed.” She smiled brightly and splayed her hand. A portal appeared in the opposite direction of where Giant Fist had left.

Chi-Woo looked perplexed as he asked, “So did it mean that I was suitable?”

“No.” Raphael bent her thumb. “Youre not a suitable candidate, but a successful candidate. Congratulations. Even your older brother wasnt able to get accepted as a successful candidate. For this matter, youre the first irregular.” After correcting Chi-Woo, Raphael pointed towards the portal. “Ill explain later. I dont fully understand the situation, either.”

Since Raphael was basically telling him to get out, Chi-Woo moved towards the portal. He had achieved what he wanted. Even though he had some questions, there was no reason for him to stay any longer. Soon after, Chi-Woo disappeared into the portal.

“Good.” After turning off the portal, Raphael folded her arms. “Now tell me, why did you say that your function would stop?”

—Before I reply, I request two corrections.

Raphael was unable to hide the surprise in her eyes again.

“Corrections?”

There was a change in the prophecy orb. The orb on top of the altar was not a machine, but an intelligent life form with its own consciousness. However, it had only been replying to the questions they asked, and it had always searched for the best path with the information given to it. But now, the orb revealed its will. A change had, for the first time, happened to a flow that had been repeating itself like a turning wheel. What could possibly explain such a phenomenon?

“…Ill decide after hearing what you have to say,” Raphael responded while she tapped the orb.

—First, I request a change in the composition of the number of suitable persons that were selected earlier.

“What?”

—Second, I request a change in the transmission point of the 7th recruits and the first achievement goal for this mission.

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