I'm not a Regressor - Chapter 2
Chapter 2: Scamming Bastard (1)
‘Heaven-defying Star? Regressor?’
‘What kind of bullshit is that?’
‘By Regressor… Is she referring to someone who has returned from the future?’
If that were the case, she was seriously mistaken.
Since, rather than returning from the future, he was in the immediate situation of not knowing if he was going to be alive tomorrow.
No, was there even a reason to think about lasting until tomorrow?
If this situation continued, the monsters surrounding him would rip him to shreds.
‘Stay calm. Let’s not panic.’
A person that wasn’t even an Awakener would need to think, comprehend, and decide faster than anyone else in order to stay alive in this fucked up world.
Gulp. He racked his brains while swallowing his dry spit.
The thing he needed to do first of all…
‘I need to comprehend the damn situation at hand.’
Ohjin glanced at the corpse of Lee Shinhyuk that had been completely burned to death.
A couple of hours ago.
The first time he met Lee Shinhyuk came to mind.
* * *
“Alright~ Let’s see if I can find just the right pushover for today.”
An afternoon like any other.
Ohjin stretched his stiff body and started to move his feet.
He headed towards the gate novice Awakeners frequently visited while looking around.
There were Awakeners hanging around in front of the gate, looking to find a party.
Among those people, one person stood right out in his eyes.
Thigh protectors with leather armor that had useless accessories hanging. In his hand was a two-meter long spear that seemed to be quite an expensive product, judging from the fact that it had a subtle blue light glowing from its blade.
Ohjin slowly moved his feet towards the one that seemed to be stating that he was different from the other ‘novices’ hanging around.
‘Has it already been eight years since I started doing this?’
Eight years ago.
Just after I had left that hell-like orphanage, I had searched for a job in order to continue living.
As if the heavens were pulling a mischievous prank, the entire world had become hell.
‘This world really has gone to shit.’
After the first fissure was observed in the North Pole, gates that connect to a distant space appeared worldwide—as if a dam had broken down.
Humanity was helplessly swept away by the monsters that poured out of the gates.
And around the time when over half of the earth had been taken over by monsters…
Transcendental beings called celestials appeared.
They granted stigmas that gave humans the strength to fight against the monsters;
those humans became the supernatural beings commonly known as Awakeners.
‘Although I couldn’t become an Awakener.’
A world of upheaval.
Inside the world of never-ending chaos and confusion, there weren’t many ways for an orphan child that couldn’t become an Awakener to survive.
“Oh my~ You, it’s obvious you’re not someone who should be in a place like this!”
‘I will continue to struggle.’
‘I will leech off the blood of others…’
“I’m Gwon Jinoh, a 1-Star apostle of Aquarius.”
“Did you say A-Aquarius?!”
The youth’s pupils enlarged.
That was an understandable reaction.
Among the hundreds of constellations, Aquarius was regarded as one of the top-grade constellations known as the ‘12 Zodiacs’.
“An apostle affiliated with the 12 Zodiacs… It’s my first time seeing one.”
“You speak too highly of me. I’m only a 1-Star apostle, even if it’s from the 12 Zodiacs,”
Ohjin rambled on with a friendly chuckle.
“May I have your name by any chance…?”
“Ah! I’m Lee Shinhyuk, a 2-Star apostle of Pyxis.”
“An apostle of Pyxis!”
Ohjin exclaimed loudly while clapping without reason.
“Kyaah! That’s so cool! The stigma that has complete freedom over direction and orientation! I’ve heard that Awakeners of Pyxis can handle any weapon—no matter how difficult—as if it were a part of their limbs!”
“Haha. It’s not to that point. Compared to a stigma of the 12 Zodiacs, mine is nothing.”
Even though he tried to hide it, Lee Shinhyuk’s rising grin could be seen.
‘That’s right, my one ability to analyze people is extraordinary.’
Looking at Lee Shinhyuk reacting just the way he expected, Ohjin couldn’t help but grin.
‘Now that I’ve decided my prey, should I start the operation in earnest?’
“Haha! Meetings like these can also be called having a connection; should we perhaps party up?
“You want to… form a party?”
Lee Shinhyuk had a flustered expression that said that he couldn’t believe an Awakener affiliated with the 12 Zodiacs would even think of proposing a party with him.
“Of course, I’ll welcome it, but for you, Jinoh…”
Jinoh, an alias created by simply reversing his real name.
You could say it was a sloppy disguise, but there was a saying: “The sloppier the disguise, the harder it was to notice.”
‘Right under one’s nose.’
‘Who would think of using such a sloppy alias to scam?’
‘And, above all.’
‘Most of the Awakeners that got ‘scammed’ didn’t even realize it.’
‘I’m only going to leech until right before I get caught’.
He opened his mouth towards Lee Shinhyuk, who looked towards him with a puzzled expression.
“Hmm… this is something that’s hard to say directly, but I don’t have the talent to become proficient with my stigma.”
Ohjin said this while scratching his head as if he felt embarrassed.
“To be honest… I’m in a situation where it’s hard to join other parties.”
“Ah,” Lee Shinhyuk spat out while nodding his head.
The strength of the celestial that granted the stigma was important, but how proficient you were in the stigma was just as important to Awakeners.
“That is why even though it has been a year since I have Awakened, I still remain as a 1-Star…”
Ohjin let out a deep sigh.
The rank of ‘Stars’ was what divided Awakeners.
It was a similar concept to levels.
An important factor of evaluation existed, a rank from 1-Star to 12-Star that determined how adept you were with the stigma.
“If it’s one year… that is definitely a long period of time.”
Lee Shinhyuk said while nodding his head.
On average, it took about six months to advance from 1-Star to a 2-Star.
“It’s all my fault for being incapable.”
“That isn’t so, Jinho. Hasn’t it only been one year? There are cases of people having a rough start and having a large promotion in one go after all,” Lee Shinhyuk said consolingly.
“Haha. Thank you.”
Ohjin bent his head down while brightly laughing.
His concealed eyes shone sharply.
‘Well, if it’s this much of an excuse.’
‘Now that I’ve said this much, even if I’m not much help, I’ll be able to gloss over it easily.’
‘Let’s see… I should continue the operation a little more.’
“When I first saw you, Shinhyuk, I could feel it immediately.”
“Khmm. W-What feeling are you referring to?
“From you… I could feel that you have a special talent that is different from other Awakeners.
“Yes. Even though I’m in this state, I’m confident I have talent for judging other people.
“Ha, haha. Well… I did promote to 2-Star a bit… just a bit faster compared to other Awakeners.”
“Indeed!! I knew it would be like that!!!!”
While Ohjin clapped his hands every time he made a compliment, the corner of Lee Shinhyuk’s mouth going up could be seen.
Even if they were supernatural beings that had been granted stigmas from celestials, they were essentially still humans.
If they heard compliments, of course they would feel happy and get excited.
“Then how is it? Will you form a party together with me?”
“Hmm. Before that…”
With an embarrassed expression, Lee Shinhyuk turned his head.
Usually, the first time Awakeners partied up with each other, they performed a sort of ritual action.
A bit of an embarrassing ritual to do between adult males.
“Should we confirm each other’s stigmas?”
Ohjin took off the armor around his chest.
It was an implicit rule between Awakeners to check the stigma on top of each other’s chest before joining a party.
“Yes, let’s do so.”
Lee Shinhyuk took off his leather armor and pulled down on his clothes.
The stigma of Pyxis could be seen under his left collarbone.
“I’ve confirmed it.”
Now, it was his turn.
Ohjin also pulled down his shirt towards his shoulders.
Under his left chest, the stigma of Aquarius could be seen clearly.
“Wow… so this is a stigma of the 12 Zodiacs…” Lee Shinhyuk’s heavy exclamation flowed out of his mouth.
Watching Shinhyuk exclaim, Ohjin couldn’t help but grin.
‘That’s right, considering how hard of a time I had inscribing it, there’s no way you would be able to notice.’
It was a fake stigma he had cut into the skin of his chest with a knife when he first decided to get into this field of work.
At least, there was no way you could tell by looking at the surface.
“Haha, it’s kind of funny how we’re checking each others’ stigmas just to enter this low-level dungeon,” Lee Shinhyuk said after fixing his clothes back to their original position.
“Even if it’s just a low-level dungeon, it’s better to be careful since we are Awakeners after all. This much is a given,” Ohjin answered while shrugging his shoulders.
The dungeon they were heading to was filled with mostly 1-Star and very occasionally 2-Star monsters fitting that of a low-grade dungeon. However, if you were taking fatality rates into account, it would be considered a very dangerous dungeon.
‘Since the new Awakeners who frequented the dungeon often ended up dying after running around.’
Still, Lee Shinhyuk wasn’t an Awakener that was that inexperienced.
“Then, let’s enter.”
Ohjin, who had just created a party with Lee Shinhyuk, went through the gate.
The scenery suddenly changed into a very dark forest.
A forest with a gloomy atmosphere and thick otherwordly trees could be seen.
Ohjin could hear the sound of the bushes shaking. Glowing eyes watched them from the foliage.
Lee Shinhyuk lowered his stance while holding onto his spear.
“Please wait a moment.”
Ohjin held onto Lee Shinhyuk’s shoulders—who seemed to want to pounce right into the monsters.
Lee Shinhyuk looked at him with doubt in his eyes.
“I’ll cast a buff before you enter combat.”
Awakeners that have received the stigma of Aquarius rarely entered direct combat and instead were specialized into either healing or buffing supporters.
Lee Shinhyuk nodded his head with an expression fitting of ‘Oh, that’s right!’.
“Yes, then I’ll leave it to you!”
“Celestial of Aquarius, heed my call.”
Closing his eyes with the most serious expression in the world, Ohjin started to recite his chant.
A bright light started to shine out of the stigma on his left chest.
‘Though it’s only a micro-LED I’ve hidden inside my clothes.’
‘Well, it should look like mana is flowing out of the stigma for the spectators.’
“Please shine a starlight that brightens up the dark road for this humble apostle.”
After sending the prayer, he spread his arms out wide.
He sent the sparkling star powder towards Lee Shinhyuk’s direction.
“ 《The Daylight of the Lake》 “
A spectacle appeared as if shining glass powder was scattered into the air.
‘It really is just glass powder mixed with luminescent powder.’
The glass powder mixed with the glowing blue powder appeared brighter than normal against the forest’s darkness.
“Phew. This is the most basic buff. How is it?”
“You might not be able to feel a big difference right now, but—”
Lee Shinhyuk looked towards him with a serious expression.
He repeatedly gripped and released his grasp on the spear and continued with a low voice.
“The change… I can feel it.”
“My throat stung a bit at the start, but now my body feels like it’s starting to burn up.”
‘Oh, he swallowed the glass powder; that can’t be good for your health.’
‘’As if each one of my cells is coming to life, this mysterious feeling…”
‘Is he sick somewhere?’
“This must be… the power of the stigma of Aquarius that I’ve only ever heard about!!”
‘No, it isn’t.’
“Thank you for the buff, Jinoh! Now it’s my turn to show my strength!!”
T/n : The constellation Pyxis got its name from the magnetic compass that navigators and seamen used, which is why it is said to have freedom over direction and orientation.