CHAPTER 145 – Remnants of Time (Part 8)
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“Have you retrieved the crystals?” In Gwangmyeong’s City Hall, Asura, who was sitting on a throne, asked his subordinate.

“Yes, Asura-nim!” The subordinate nodded. “The remaining two crystals were recovered, although the enemy still has four of them.”

“Have we confirmed the number of enemies?” Asura asked. Normally, he would just try to send over a few monsters he controlled to check on the enemy’s base, but no matter how many he sends, he never gets the information he’s looking for. The monsters are always hunted before they can gather something useful. He hasn’t been able to figure out who’s the one responsible for hunting his monsters.

“Yes, Boss. Currently, the enemy consists of the three that have been harassing us since a while ago, with five new members that I believe joined them recently.”

“I see. Make sure to keep them in a safe place.” Asura nodded, before dismissing the subordinate. 

“Yes, Asura-nim!” The subordinate salute him, before turning away to leave the ‘throne room’ where Asura usually resided.

‘Why would those three start hunting for the crystals so suddenly?’ Asura frowned. ‘They’ve been here for quite a while, almost a year. And this is the first time that they’ve got close to those crystals… why now?’ He tried to think of a reason, but nothing came to mind. ‘Maybe they were just waiting for the other five? But why? Is it because they’re afraid? Well… we certainly have quite a big group. Well, it doesn’t matter anymore. The only thing they can do now is come to fetch the crystals. And there’s no way they can just leave the girl without care.’ He grinned evilly.

Yi Yohan was a strong curse magician, and he managed to curse one of the attackers from the steel tower. With the concentration of magic power and the power of the curse magician, it won’t take long for her to die.

‘Soon, they won’t have any other choice than come barging through my doors. I’ll get them then. Kim Suho, Shin Jonghak, Cristopher.’ Asura's grin widened as his eyes showed a crazy glint. ‘My future certainly is bright. The three top cadets of Cube will all fall before me.’ If Cristopher was here, he would certainly comment something about an evil laugh missing.

***

Back at the hideout, as the days passed, Yeonha’s condition kept worsening. On the second day, she became emaciated. On the third day, her pupils withered out. On the fifth day, she could barely stand, and her movement became limited. Soon, she couldn’t even sit up on the bed. With Cristopher’s help, she could hold on, but it wasn’t a permanent solution, and time kept running, no matter how much he tried to slow down the process.

After their third attack, they tried again the next day, but it was already late, as the crystals were retrieved back into Gwangmyeong City Hall. And no matter how many times they scouted the site, not even a single enemy left the premises of the place. Even from afar, the cadets could see that there were quite a lot of guards and enemies present. 

‘Ha… This just got a lot more complicated…’ The most concerned was Hajin, who thanks to his Gift, was able to look into the City Hall. ‘How are there so many of them? There are almost a thousand people in there… attacking them will be a problem… Cristopher could probably dwindle them, but that would cost a lot of lives… even if they’re somewhat not real… causing a massacre would be too much…’ Hajin thought, a frown present on his face.

“What are you seeing?” Shin Jonghak, who was probably the angriest at the moment inside the group, asked.

“Almost a thousand fighting members.”

“That many…” Chae Nayun, who also came with them frowned.

“Ha… that’s just too much.” Olivia sighed. “I mean… he could probably take them…”

“Yeah, but you know him…” Hajin sighed.

“Who? Cristopher?” Chae Nayun frowned, while Shin Jonghak’s anger somewhat increased.

“Yeah.” Hajin nodded. “But let’s discuss that later. The people in there are not our only concern.”

As he said that, he turned around and went towards his bike, Chae Nayun following right behind him.

***

Back at the hideout.

“Mm…?” Yoo Yeonha slightly opened her eyes, looking around, only to find herself covered in a blue fire. Sitting beside her bed was Cristopher. “...The others?” She asked after staring at his frowning face for a moment. Her voice sounded raspy and fatigued; her body barely allowing her to speak.

“The brute, the chuuni, Olivia, and Hajin are scouting the City Hall. Father and Hero wannabes are hunting for food.”

“...Brute? …Chuuni? …Father and Hero wannabes?” Yeonha asked, confusion clear on her face, even with her withered eyes, emaciated face, and continuous weight loss. “I get the first two… but not the other two…”

“Oh well, it’s just stuff that I’ve been noticing recently.” Cristopher shrugged. “How are you feeling? Any new symptoms?”

“...I don’t know.” She coughed. “Keep feeling the same… but I’m certainly a step or two-*cough, cough*...closer to death.”

“Yeah, you certainly look the part.” Cristopher chuckled.

“...” Yeonha turned her face the other way and made a weird sound that Cristopher could swear was a failed attempt at snorting at him.

“Don’t worry.” After a little bit, the ghostly fire surrounding Yeonha disappeared, and Cristopher spoke to her again, getting her attention back. “We’ll get you healed in no time and you’ll be able to get back to eating as much fast food as you want.” He grinned at her.

“...” She got lost in his grinning face. He was an enigma to her. No matter how much she thought about it, everything surrounding him was a mystery to her. It was clear that she couldn’t trust someone like that, that’s what the world has taught her. But even against her own upbringing, she felt that she could trust him. A voice in her head constantly repeated again and again. ‘Trust him. Everything will be alright.’ Trusting her feelings, she nodded at him, a small, barely noticeable smile, now framing her own face.

“Rest. The scouts are back.” Cristopher stood up and went down to the first floor. Yeonha’s eyes fixed on his back until he disappeared from the room. Deciding that it would be better to hear him, she went back to rest. After all, she thought, there’s nothing much she can do in her condition.

“Well?” Getting to their ‘room of operations', he found the scouting team with dark faces. “Looks like you guys saw a Devil or something.” He chuckled as he sat down.

“How is she?” Jonghak asked.

“She’s holding on.” Cristopher shrugged. “But we need to be faster. She’s getting too weak, too fast.”

“Didn’t you say you could slow it down?” He frowned.

“I did, yes.” Cristopher nodded as he pulled his usual bottle out of who-knows-where to take a sip of what everyone knew wasn’t water. “But, that doesn’t mean I can make miracles.” Not as I’m now, at least, he thought for himself.

“...” Tapping hard on the table, Jonghak was, for the lack of better words, glaring at Cristopher. But that has been his usual mood lately, since Yeonha, his oldest friend, worsened.

“They have almost a thousand people in that hall.” Hajin said as he held swiped his hand through his hair. “And that’s without considering Asura’s Gift.”

“...” Jonghak turned to Hajin with a raised eyebrow. “What with his Gift?” He asked the question inside his and Nayun’s head.

“He can basically summon armies of monsters.” Cristopher was the one to interrupt.

“So it’s to armies that we would need to fight?” Chae Nayun paled at the thought. They were only seven cadets, against what could pretty well be considered a full-fledged army for them.

“...” Hajin just nodded. Understanding her worries.

“Tomorrow.” Cristopher said.

“Mm?” Everyone turned to look at him. “What with tomorrow?” Asked Olivia.

“We’ll attack tomorrow.” Cristopher simply said as he took a sip from the bottle.

The rest looked at him, exchanging glances for a bit.

“There are almost a thousand persons there… It will be too difficult for us to fight everyone.” Chae Nayun frowned.

“What? Are you scared?” Cristopher snorted.

“I-I’m not!” She shouted back. “I’m just telling so everybody knew what we’re fighting against! I’m pretty sure I can kill a whole lot of them.” She snorted.

“Anyways.” Cristopher said as he kept drinking from his bottle. “You all go. I’ll stay and protect Yeonha and the crystals.”

“Huh?” Hajin frowned. “I think it would be best if you go, I can stay and protect them in case someone comes to attack them.”

“No.” Cristopher shook his head. “You’ll be needed there. Against numbers, you’re the best support, and in some cases, the best attacker.”

“...” Hajin frowned. ‘That’s precisely why it would be better for me to stay… I’m sure that Asura would prefer to get the crystals himself.’

{The guy is far stronger than in your novel. We’ve been here for months, Hajin. But we are not the only ones increasing our power during all that time. I would normally agree that you alone could defeat him, but that’s if it’s the version from your novel.}

‘Did this guy read my mind or something?’ Hajin thought with a frown, before using his Stigma to send a mental transmission. {Even more. I’ve also grown in power. No matter what he throws at me, while his Gift keeps being the same as in the novel, he can’t defeat me.}

{We’re not sure about that. Just leave that piece of shit to me, you focus on targeting the curse magician. With your anti-material rifle, you can take him out the fastest. Also… It’s possible that you won’t need to fight at all.}

“...” Hajin was visibly confused about that statement, but just sighed at the end.

“Perfect for me.” Jonghak stood up. “More bastards for me to kill.” He growled as he clenched his fists. Just as he said that Kim Suho and Yi Yeonghan entered the place.

“Took your sweet time.” Cristopher said as he turned to look at them carrying what seemed to be a deer.

“Sorry…” Suho smiled wryly as he scratched the back of his head. “Found a couple of monsters on the way.”

“Oh, right, those things show up from time to time.” Cristopher nodded.

“What were you guys talking about?” Yi Yeonghan asked.

“About attacking the City Hall tomorrow.” Chae Nayun answered him.

“Huh? Are we moving so soon?” Suho tilted his head.

“Yes. Yeonha won’t hold on for too long.” Cristopher said as he looked down. “It’s better if we take care of it soon.”

“...” Suho nodded as he took the deer to the kitchen.

“Anyways.” Olivia stretched. “We should prepare for tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy.”

“Why?” Yi Yeonghan asked with curiosity.

“There are almost a thousand enemies out there.” Hajin said with a sigh. “Without considering Asura who can summon an army of monsters.”

“...Eh?” Yi Yeonghan’s eyes widened. “Could you repeat that? I think I heard you wrong.”

“He said that there were almost a thousand enemies out there.” Chae Nayun said.

“...” Yi Yeonghan looked at everyone as if trying to find out a lie. “Are you guys serious!? And you want us there fighting almost a thousand enemies!?” He shouted as he turned to Cristopher.

“Mm? Pretty much, yeah.” He answered with a raised eyebrow.

“Are you scared?” Olivia tilted her head, a small mocking smirk could be seen on her face.

“...Scared? …Me? No.” Yi Yeonghan coughed at Olivia’s question, before crossing his arms and looking away. “I’m just making sure you guys understand the number of enemies. I’m sure they won’t be a problem for me.” He finished while faking another cough, causing everyone to think that it was a really similar reaction to Chae Nayun's. “Anyways, what if someone comes and attacks Yeonha while we’re fighting?”

“He’ll stay for that.” Shin Jonghak snorted and pointed at Cristopher with his thumb. “He needs to keep her from dying, anyways.”

“...R-Right…” Yeonghan nodded.

“Whatever.” Cristopher said as he stood up. “I’ll be out for a little while.” he then turned and went towards the exit. “I’ll be back by diner time to treat Yeonha.”

‘Mm… it somehow feels like he’s acting weird…’ Olivia thought for a moment as he looked at Cristopher’s back for a moment, before shaking her head. ‘Well, I’m sure he’ll be fine. Although… could it be that…?’ She stopped to think for a moment. ‘He… look at that. So he’s really affected by her situation… I’ll add this to the list of things to mock him with.’ She chuckled at her own thoughts.

***

After a little while of walking outside, Cristopher finally found what he was looking for. With a Quick Step, he appeared in front of a humanoid monster, an orc, and choked it as he raised it by the neck.

“I know you’re there.” Cristopher said with a glare. “And I know you can hear me.”

“Guhk!?” The orc was trying its best to push him away but to no avail.

“Now, listen here little shit.” Before the orc died, Cristopher lightened his grip on its throat. “I’ll be waiting for you, here at our base. Alone. The crystals you’re so in need of, are with me. So come and get them. And hopefully, you’re not a coward. Though, who knows? You’re probably just a little bitch and that’s why you can’t even raise through the Djinn ranks even after having such an overpowered Gift.” He said with a mocking grin. “See you tomorrow.” With those words, he broke the orc’s neck. Killing it immediately.

Looking at the corpse of the orc, Cristopher waved his hand, summoning flames that engulfed the corpse and burned it to ashes.

“Let’s see if your bravery is on par with your ego.” Cristopher muttered while looking at the burning flame in front of him before he disappeared, and once again, started hunting the monsters that patrolled around the city.

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