To Hell With Being a Hero!

Chapter 353. Choice (5)

Chapter 353. Choice (5)

Back in the days when Chi-Woo lived with his mentor to follow his mentor’s teachings, Chi-Woo begged his teacher to do a spirit possession ritual for him because he had an unfounded conviction that if he received a god and became a shaman, he would be able to escape this cursed fate by even a little. He had failed several times before, but he hadn’t completely given up on hope yet.

And his mentor always gave the same answer, “Stop pestering me. You think it’s easy to receive a god?”

“Ah, come on. You know you can do it for me.”

“This punk? Even if you receive a god, that’s a problem by itself. Who the hell are you going to take in?”

“Well, you know, someone like ganglim doryeong[1] or maiden bodhisattva.”

“Geez, what are you going to do after accepting them?”

Chi-Woo tilted his head at his mentor’s reprimanding tone because it felt somewhat like his mentor was belittling his choice of gods. Why? When he pointed this out, his mentor snorted.

“In our society, we divide humans into different ranks. Do you think gods would be any different?”

“There are ranks for even gods?”

“Of course. The gods you just mentioned are at the 4th or 5th celestial rank at best. Well, it’s no wonder those gods are famous because out of 100 shamans, 99.9 percent are only capable of receiving gods at those level.”

“What’s up with 99.9 percent instead of just 99 percent?”

“Because exceptions are very rare. I’ve only seen one shaman in life who received a god higher than 5th celestial rank, and that was a very long time ago.”

How could there be only one case in the history of shamanism that someone received a 6th celestial rank god? Even that was only possible because the shaman originated from Jeju, and the god she received was Seolmundaehalmang, who was linked to the myth of the birth of Jeju Island.[2]

“Wow, there must be a big difference between 5th and 6th celestial rank then?”

“What do you mean wow, you punk. You can’t even compare them. You need to at least be King Munmu, who became the Dragon King after firmly pledging to protect the sea even after he dies.”[3]

“Oh…” Chi-Woo’s curiosity was piqued by a story he had never heard before. “Then what about Jesus or Buddha?”

“Why do you ask so many questions?” his mentor asked sharply.

“I’m curious,” Chi-Woo responded with a grumble and continued, “If there’s 6th rank, there must be 7th, and 8th celestial rank as well. Then 9th…uh? Gucheon?”[4] Chi-Woo blinked mid-sentence. Anyone involved with shamanism would have heard the word gucheon before. “Since the King of the Underworld is King Yama…is he perhaps at the 9th celestial rank?”

The Jade Emperor was the supreme god of Taoism, and since King Yama was a Buddhist god at a similar level as him, Chi-Woo thought this theory might be plausible. However, his mentor didn’t answer and just sighed deeply; it seemed he didn’t want to discuss this topic in detail.

However, Chi-Woo could not withhold his curiosity. “Then is there a 10th celestial rank?”

His mentor flinched, and after a long while, he finally said, “…I don’t know.” Then he asked apropos of nothing, “What do you think a god is?”

“Of course, it’s…” However, Chi-Woo couldn’t find the right words once he tried to answer. “…I don’t know.” How could a mere human being accurately define a god?

“That’s exactly it. Gods probably see humans the way humans view ants.” Likewise, ants probably viewed humans the same way humans viewed gods, since gods had achieved an unimaginable level of development and civilization.

“And…the 10th celestial rank…” His mentor hesitated. “I don’t know. Maybe they’re an existence who look down on other gods as ants. That’s what I think.”

Chi-Woo’s jaw dropped. An existence that looked down on gods like ants? Wouldn’t they be the god of the gods then?

“I’ve decided.” Chi-Woo clenched his fist. “I want to accept a god at the 10th celestial rank.” As soon as he said this, he was ready to dash because he was sure that his mentor would hit him with a club and chastise him for his foolishness. To his surprise, however, he didn’t get clubbed or even hear a scolding. The only thing he saw was his mentor’s stiff expression.

“…Teacher?” Only then did his mentor’s face return to its original state.

“Haha, what a funny punk,” he said with a smirk.

Chi-Woo looked conflicted as he watched his mentor. Even after so many years, he still clearly remembered his teacher’s face. Unlike his mouth which was slightly smiling, his eyes were not smiling at all.

* * *

Information about the Sernitas flowed into Chi-Woo’s head as a form of consciousness. Although it was impossible to completely understand their mind and spirit from this extremely brief snippet of their history and beliefs, Chi-Woo could clearly understand who the Sernitas were and why they were wandering around the universe. When he opened his eyes, he couldn’t hide his surprise because of how idealistic and immense the Sernitas’ goal was. They traveled endlessly for only one reason: to surpass time and become an immortal that even transcended god. It was an impossible task. Anyone would think so—if they were an ordinary being. A normal being could not understand an extraordinary being. Startling examples of this could be found throughout human history.

[What? How can you beat 133 warships with only 13 ships? Are you kidding me?] [5]

People would wave their hands and shame an extraordinary individual for their ridiculous remarks. However, an extraordinary person would look at them and think, ‘Why not?’ ‘Why is it not possible? I think I can do it.’ And when they accomplished a task that everyone deemed impossible, they changed the way everyone looked at them into one of shock and fear. In contrast, the way these extraordinary individuals look at the world also changes. As they realized that they were special, they also became curious just how different they were from others. They wondered how far they could go and how much higher they could reach than others. Then eventually, they reached their limitations and fell into despair. To this day, stories like these were as common as the stars in the universe.

The same was true for the Sernitas—no, it almost turned out true for the Sernitas, but they managed to overcome their inherent limitations by becoming one, a feat that some might call madness. Chi-Woo became speechless. He couldn’t even think about how no matter what their intentions were, no matter how noble and sacred it was, it was absolutely unacceptable to invade and colonize other planets against the citizens’ will. There was only one thought in his mind: a paradox; they were a paradox that could almost be described as pure.

Their gaze was filled with countless emotions, but they only had eyes for one ideal. Chi-Woo even got goosebumps as he got a glimpse of the pure madness in their gaze. When Chi-Woo stood still for a while, Yunael tapped him and asked what he was doing. Only then did he come to his senses. His opponent was staring at him silently with their mouth closed. All kinds of thoughts crossed his mind, but Chi-Woo tried to focus on the present reality.

First, he understood what the Sernitas were trying to do. To paraphrase, they were trying to become the god of gods—the 10th celestial rank, and Chi-Woo was born with the destiny to become the heavenly king. An existence that tried to rule the entire universe, and a wish to establish a new order in the universe. In the end, the two were bound to clash. However, the Sernitas judged themselves to be incomplete, and the same went for Chi-Woo.

Therefore, it was way too early for them to get up on this stage called Liber. If they collided while they were both incomplete, all that would come about in the end was mutual destruction.

‘They fear the worst-case scenario.’ Or to be exact, the Sernitas were probably worried that he would go berserk like he did back then. The Sernitas’ prediction was correct; in fact, two of the three futures that Chi-Woo saw ended up like that—all that was left was ashes…if he thought about it like this, their proposal didn’t sound so bad. They said they’d take care of the Demon Empire and the Abyss and leave on their own. Then it was possible to achieve Liber’s salvation at least in the Middle World. Since there were still humans and monsters that survived, they would one day restore Liber to normal even if it would take some time. The Sernitas might come to him again in the future, but that was a story of the distant future; it might happen only after hundreds of years, no, tens of thousands of years.

At that time, Chi-Woo wouldn't exist anywhere, and his body would rot and return to the soil because he wanted to live and die as a human being and not a heavenly king. In short, he didn’t care what happened in tens of thousand years, and the present was infinitely more important to him because he was a human, not a hero.

“I accept your proposal,” Chi-Woo said. “We’ll take the toharis and withdraw quietly, and I won’t get involved with you in the future, so keep your side of the agreement as well.” He felt numerous gazes on his back, but Chi-Woo endured it. ‘I feel bad for Ms. Shersha but…’ It was okay even if Shersha cursed at him and was disappointed in him.

He was willing to bear any criticism, and all he had to do was hang in there for three years. Then he could go back home with his brother. Of course, the Sernitas could cause problems on other planets after they left Liber, and his brother might be dragged into their mess again. If that happened, he was going to stop it as if his life depended on it. If he needed to, he could blackmail them by saying he’d go berserk again. Yeah. That would solve everything.


Fortunately, their opponent seemed to accept his answer.

–Wise. Thinking it’s not necessary to take a risk of five out of ten chances.

…What was that supposed to mean? But it didn’t matter. It was more important to retrieve the toharis first and return safely.


Their opponent raised their arm and pointed at each expedition member while scanning them. By the time Chi-Woo felt some sort of ominous feeling from their behavior, the opponent’s index finger had already stopped twice.

–As a sign of mutual trust…

Once pointing at Evelyn, and once at Yunael.

–Two. Taking these two.

Evelyn and Yunael were shocked. It was like a bolt of lightning striking out of the blue.

“What do you mean?” Chi-Woo’s tone also became sharp. “Didn’t we agree not to lay a finger on each other?”

Their opponent stared at him blankly as if they couldn’t understand the problem.

–As agreed upon. On this planet, we won’t get involved.

Then they continued with a pause.

–With you.

At that moment, Chi-Woo realized that there was a serious misunderstanding between him and them. By not getting involved, they didn’t mean humanity or the Cassiubian League, but…

“…Just me? You meant that you won’t lay a finger on only me?” When Chi-Woo asked while pointing at himself. The opponent nodded as if this was obvious, and Chi-Woo let out a hollow laugh. If this was the case, he couldn’t accept the proposal. He really didn’t care at all about the future tens of thousands of years after he died and disappeared, but this was a completely different story when the future he wanted was for his expedition members and everyone around them to survive.

“No way, right? Captain, you’re not seriously thinking—ah.” Yunael was about to jump in fright, but relief washed over her when she saw Chi-Woo’s face; his expression had completely changed.

“…There seems to be a mistake with the scope to which we’ve agreed.” With a stiff expression, Chi-Woo continued in a low voice, “I’ll clarify my terms.”


The opponent tilted their chin as if they would decide after hearing him out.

“I’m not the only one who you shouldn’t lay a finger on. It’s us.”

–Asking for more clarification on the exact scope it covers.

“Humanity and the League. By humanity, I mean not just the Liber natives, but all the heroes from the Celestial Realm, and for the League, I mean all the tribes that live in the Cassiubian Mountain Range.”

The opponent’s eyes narrowed.


An immediate answer came. Chi-Woo expected it; he now understood why they were willing to easily pass over the toharis. The most important thing for the Sernitas was their purpose. As long as it didn’t hinder their purpose, they were willing to back down and give in. Considering that they could also rule out the threat that posed the greatest danger to their purpose, they were more than willing to hand over the toharis. In that sense, Chi-Woo’s request should have been a very minor one; when it came to the whole universe, his condition amounted to but a speck of dust. However, the Sernitas had no intention to accept it.

They left their hometown and were wandering in space for one single purpose. Their belief was far beyond an ordinary conviction, and Chi-Woo couldn’t even guess the extent of their determination to carry out their purpose. Normally, under any circumstances, they wouldn’t have considered introducing an exception. However, as there was no such thing as absolute, they must have offered this non-aggression proposal after great deliberation in their own logic, but…that didn’t matter to Chi-Woo. Was he going to stand back on the sidelines and watch the whole house burn down? Chi-Woo had no intentions of doing so.

“Then I guess it can’t be helped,” Chi-Woo said with a slightly tense tone. If they weren’t willing to hand over the toharis peacefully… “We have no choice but to take them by force.”

“Uh…I don’t really know what’s going on because that guy keeps talking in snippets, but—” Jin-Cheon took a step forward; he had been waiting for this moment. “Anyway, there’s no deal, right?”


While Jin-Cheon spoke, their opponent glared at Chi-Woo and couldn’t hide their irritation.

–Even in the worst case scenario…our winning rate is about 53 percent.

In other words, Chi-Woo’s chance of winning this fight was about 47 percent. Of course, this was assuming a scenario in which he went berserk and not as he currently was. On the other hand, this was entirely a probability calculated by only the Sernitas.

–Are you sure?

Their opponent asked again. Only then did Chi-Woo realize what his opponent had meant earlier. It wouldn’t be a favorable decision for him to take a chance of four or five out of ten. However, this didn’t mean he wasn’t going to fight. He was just going to make the best possible choice and judgment at this very moment. There was no concession or compromise for his goal.

“Everyone.” There was no need for Chi-Woo to hesitate anymore. “Get ready for combat.”

Whoosh! The glove on his hand changed into light and transformed into a club. Then the opponent’s neutral gaze turned hostile at once. There was only one opponent, but Chi-Woo didn’t let his guard down. Hawa had said she felt more than one presence while they were wandering upstairs; that meant the possibility of additional reinforcements. Above all, he felt a foreboding and powerful energy rising from this opponent.

–Preparing for full-scale defense… Time required…

Their opponent began rattling while muttering to themselves. Their body trembled all over before their chin suddenly jerked up. They looked up into the air with wide eyes and opened their mouth wide.


An unintelligible, high-frequency sound echoed in the cavity. The expedition members scowled in pain as the piercing sound gave them serious tinnitus. Then the next moment they could clearly see—Cracccck, cracks appeared on the surface of every glass tube hanging in the air.

Crassssssh! Then the glass broke into pieces, and what was inside poured down like a shower. The unknown solution soaked the dry floor and went up to their ankles. And the figures falling in quick succession began to twitch intermittently as soon as they hit the ground. They wriggled for a while, and then beings from humanity, the Cassiubia League, the Demon Empire, and Abyss—even beings outside of these four factions—all rose simultaneously. Innumerable lifeforms of different origins filled the whole cavity and more.

Even before Chi-Woo shouted, everyone was already stepping back and getting into a formation around Evelyn and Eshnunna, and the different lifeforms looked at the expedition members with eyes so wide that all the whites were showing. Soon, they all opened their mouths and roared with all their might. Chi-Woo felt the whole space shake and suddenly recalled Mamiya’s warning. He clenched his teeth. ‘This is—’

Their ordeal had begun.

1. The most famous grim reaper in Korean mythology. ☜

2. A giant goddess who is said to have created Jeju Island in Jeju Island mythology. ☜

3. King Munmu was the 30th king of the Korean kingdom of Silla. ☜

4. The word for 9th celestial rank is gucheon (gu means nine and cheon means celestial/heaven). Gucheon can also mean a place where people die and their neoks go (like the underworld). ☜

5. Reference to Admiral Yi Sun-Shin’s victory at the Battle of Myeongnyang. ☜

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