Chapter 68. Finally a Tutorial (10)

He had a lot of divinity?

‘What do you mean?’

—What do you think divinity means?

‘Well…’ Chi-Woo was at a loss. He had been hearing this term constantly, but now that he had to put it into words, he didn’t know what to say.

—Divinity is a form of belief and a way of proving oneself. A hero has to live and swear by their conviction, and a god selects a hero whose conviction coincides with theirs. In the instance that a god and hero’s convictions align, a relationship is established. In short, a conviction could also be a form of a ‘promise’. A promise must be kept at all costs, and if a hero breaks the promise, the relationship falls apart. 

Ru Amuh had sworn to Shahnaz that he would be the goddess’ sword, rid this World of evil, and restore justice to this land. As long as Ru Amuh acted on those convictions, his relationship with Shahnaz would remain strong.

Oh, that’s right. Ru Amuh’s class was a crusader.’ Chi-Woo nodded with his mouth agape.

—People like priests and crusaders have especially close relationships with their gods. They have more restrictions as a result, but the power they gain is also greater. Of course, the same is true of individuals other than priests and holy crusaders. The connection between gods and heroes applies to all classes.

In other words, a hero might be restricted if they used the power they gained for purposes other than the ones they promised their god to serve; and in this way, the contract that they established with a god was binding. For instance, if a hero promised to defeat evil, but ended up corrupted and became a demon lord’s companion, or perhaps even the demon lord, the hero’s god would no longer support them, and the relationship between the god and the hero would end. In other words, gods would stop supporting a hero if they judged that the hero had failed to stay true to their conviction. 

—Thus, it’s very important for a hero to find a god with a matching conviction. If a hero formed a connection with a god with differing beliefs, they would clash frequently about every matter. In those cases, it would have been better for them to have not established a relationship at all.

Chi-Woo listened to Shahnaz with a serious look on his face. ‘I guess it really is important to pick the right god…’ Although Chi-Woo had come to this place with no expectations, he was gaining important information. Then he realized that he still hadn’t heard a proper reply to his original question and asked, ‘But what did you mean when you said I had a lot of divinity?’

—Didn’t I tell you? A conviction is a form of belief and a way of proving oneself. Haven’t you proven yourself plenty of times since coming to this World, as well as on your way here?

After blinking repeatedly, Chi-Woo let out a small gasp. It seemed Shahnaz was talking about the times he saved Ru Amuh and the recruits, and the enemies he had defeated on his way to the fortress.

‘Those things count too?’

—I should be the one asking you about that. Why would you think those things don’t count?

Shahnaz chuckled in disbelief.

—The beings you defeated were evils that brought chaos to Liber. Truthfully, you hadn’t accumulated much merit when I was revived and brought back to the World, but the lich you finished off more recently could be considered a great villain.

The greater the influence one’s actions had on the flow of the World, the greater their merits. Following the logic, it made sense that the merit of battering the lich with a club would be valued especially highly.

—It’s clear that your actions have contributed to the salvation of Liber. A hero is an existence who has to save a World. Since the things you have done are exactly aligned to this goal, for what reason would these actions not add to your divinity? 

Chi-Woo nodded. That made sense. 

—Of course, it would be a leap to call what you possess right now ‘divinity’. When a hero’s thoughts and actions coincide with the convictions they had sworn by, we call the result ‘merit’. When a hero returns with merits, a god converts them to divinity and grants it to the hero. Therefore, accumulating merits is basically the same as accumulating divinity. 

Chi-Woo finally realized why the heroes had gone out at the peak of dawn and why Ru Amuh said that he got a new task he must take on. If a hero wanted to recover their powers, they had to prioritize getting chosen by a god first. But for them to get chosen, they needed divinity, and to gain divinity, they needed to accumulate merits. The quickest way for them to collect merits in this situation was to defeat the evils that were messing up Liber. However, since the heroes would likely die if they went out in their current states, Zelit had requested help from Ru Amuh.

—Thus, right now, you have accumulated more merits—which can be exchanged for divinity at any point in time—than anyone else.

In summary, if a hero acted in a manner that a hero should, they became stronger as a result. Conversely, if they didn’t produce satisfactory results, their growth became stagnant; if they went a step farther in the wrong direction and failed to act in a heroic manner, they could even be weakened. These conditions were decided by a god, and in this way, the relationship between a hero and a god could be seen as transactional. Of course, collecting merits wasn’t limited to defeating evil.

As Chi-Woo’s mentor had repeated to him until his ears bled, if he wanted to go to a good place after he died, he should do a lot of good deeds. Having good thoughts was important, but carrying them into action was far more important, and that was the only way he could accumulate merits. It was the same in the Celestial Realm, as Chi-Woo recalled from his conversation with archangel Raphael.

[Just splurge.]

[Come on, kid. What do you mean you don’t have any money? You were born with not just a golden spoon, but an anti-matter spoon.]

[Yep. Of course. In terms of time alone, the Celestial Realm has been indebted to the Choi Family for the longest out of the families. Do you seriously think your family hasn’t accumulated any wealth?]

Like that, Chi-Woo had exchanged the merits the Choi family had accumulated for so long to gain special privileges.

‘I get it now.’ 

Chi-Woo suddenly felt a new sense of pride that everything he had done since coming here wasn’t meaningless. Every time he did something, it was accumulated for some intangible reward.

One more thing, I know you have the ability to cultivate seven stars that will shine on Liber. This ability could be said to be limitless, and as your stars accumulate merits, your contribution to their achievements would also be acknowledged. 

Chi-Woo let out an impressed scream. ‘Oh, Oh!’ This meant if he raised a hero well, he would be able to accumulate merits without doing anything later onAnd what if he had raised not one, but all seven stars well, and they acted on their heroic duty throughout Liber? He would be sweeping masses of merits just by breathing. 

‘Haha. Wow, what a goodie~ That’s some delicious information.’

—Hm? What’s with the sudden change in your way of speaking?

‘Ah, sorry. I was just too happy and forgot myself for a moment.’ Chi-Woo smiled brightly at the thought of having such a secure retirement plan. Then a new idea suddenly came to his head.

‘Wait a moment. Does that mean I can exchange my merits for divinity as long as there is a god?’

—Yes, are you finally getting it now?’

‘How much would I get? Take the time Ru Amuh was chosen by you as an example?’

—It’s enough for four people to get chosen.

‘Four people. Four?’ Chi-Woo crossed his arms and thought deeply.

—How is it? Are you finally ready to make the decision?

‘Me?’ He wanted to; he really did. But after his conversation with Shahnaz, he realized that choosing a god was a very, very important process.

—Well…you know…I’m not such a tough god to be with…I’m not telling you to go out of your way to choose me, but…

Shahnaz murmured.

‘Thank you for telling me all this. I will come to visit you again.’ Another sudden thought came to Chi-Woo at this moment, and he bowed politely before turning away. As Chi-Woo’s figure became more distant, Shahnaz licked her lips in disappointment. Finally, she burst out in frustration like she couldn’t keep her feelings contained any longer. 

—Why are most heroes so dense?!

The next day, Chi-Woo left home to exercise at the break of dawn. After finishing his run, he washed, ate, and walked around the fortress. While he wandered around, he watched other heroes with his spirit eye active. Ever since this ability evolved, Chi-Woo was able to read other people’s user information and access all the details

‘This is fun.’ Reading other people’s information was more fun than he had thought it would be, and time flew by as he did so

[It’s not right to abuse the spirit eye.]

[But since I know for what reason you’re using it, I’ll stop bothering you. You should be careful to not gain a special characteristic as a peeper, though.]

Mimi blabbered on as Chi-Woo watched. And two days later, Chi-Woo found someone befitting his goal. 

<User Information>

1. Name & Rank: Allen Leonard (☆☆)

2. Sex & Age: Male & 22

3. Height & Weight: 188.2 & 90.2kg

4. Class: -

5. Heavenly Title: Law of Mother Nature

6. Disposition: Lawful Neutral

<Physical Attributes>

[Strength C]

[Durability D]

[Agility D]

[Stamina C]

[Mental Fortitude B]

<Basic Ability (1)>

1. [Savage Fighting D]Martial arts inspired by seeing a fearsome tiger fight. He used to frequently use this skill, but after losing his power as a druid, he has only been imitating it.

<Innate Ability (1)>

1. [Trees’ and Grasses’ Blessing F]Blessed by nature. His physical abilities improve in areas where there are grasses and trees, but the effect is almost nonexistent after losing his power as a druid.

‘Oh! It had been worthwhile wandering around the fortress for two days. Luckily, it was someone Chi-Woo had talked to before.

‘He’s still at 0 stars, and his potential is 2 stars.’

[Since his powers haven’t awakened yet, of course, he is at 0 stars. Furthermore, let me remind you that 2-star heroes are not common…I hope you don’t think it’s a low rank.]

‘Yes, yes, of course.’ Chi-Woo remembered it clearly. Although two stars weren’t particularly rare, there were many heroes in that rank who were quite useful. Additionally, 2-star heroes could rival or even beat 3-star heroes under the right circumstances. 

[Ru Amuh is the exception of all exceptions, who could be considered top tier even among the 2 stars. Please don’t forget about that.]

‘I don’t have high standards. Don’t worry,’ Chi-Woo grumbled to Mimi to stop chiding him and sat nearby Allen Leonard. He wanted to talk to Allen right away, but Allen was swinging his sword ardently like he did every day.

‘He really is a hard worker.’ Chi-Woo was impressed. Allen was always training hard every time he came out to run in the afternoon

“Huff! Huff!” Allen stopped swinging his sword and wiped his sweat with the shirt he had taken off beforehand. Then he saw Chi-Woo sitting quietly in front of him and looked surprised.

“Were you waiting for me?”

“Yes.”

“You should have interrupted me.”

“But you were so focused.”

Allen smiled slightly with gratitude, and Chi-Woo smiled back. Chi-Woo had thought Allen was a beastly man through and through, but after spending more time with him, Chi-Woo was surprised to find a gentle side to this man.

“By the way, I noticed that you’ve been doing nothing but swinging your sword day and night.”

“Hm? Ah, yes, it’s because I’m not familiar with a sword.”

Chi-Woo was actually aware of this fact, but since he couldn’t let that on, he pretended to be surprised. 

“Because of the situation on Liber, I realized the necessity of tools and took up a sword. But I really can’t seem to get used to it.”

“Are you not going outside with the others?”

“It would be meaningless for me to leave the fortress in my current state,” Allen shrugged and said. “I heard Ru Amuh is taking charge, but he’s only one person. Since he’s apparently been taking turns in helping people, I’m planning to wait until it’s my turn.” Allen replied indifferently and took a seat beside Chi-Woo. “So, is that what you wanted to ask me about?”

“No.”

“Then what is it?”

“I have a favor to ask you.”

Allen pursed his lips slightly in interest. “This is making me nervous. Especially coming from a great hero like you.”

“I have a task I wish you would lend a helping hand to.”

“Please go on. Why, did the sixth recruits cause some problems again?”

“No, that’s not it.” Chi-Woo inhaled deeply and said, “I’m looking for a hero.”

“Hero? Who?”

“A hero who has the power of a druid.”

Something seemed to flick through Allen’s eyes, and Chi-Woo had to put great effort into appearing nonchalant. Allen observed Chi-Woo carefully and replied in a low voice.

“I don’t know why you are looking for such a hero…but that’s me.”

“What?”

“I’m a hero who has the power of a druid.” To Chi-Woo’s surprise, Allen easily admitted it. 

“Really?!” Chi-Woo acted surprised again and exclaimed in glee. “Wow! I’m so glad! That’s amazing! Can you help me then?”

“…Calm down. Could you explain the situation to me first?

“Okay, you know how druids are very connected to nature?”

“Um…I suppose you can say that.”

“Then, wouldn’t they be able to make plants like trees or grasses grow?”

“That is certainly possible,” Allen agreed.

“Then,” Chi-Woo’s eyes sparkled, “Would it be possible to revive the ground?”

“Isn’t that obvious?” Allen snorted. “Land is the foundation of nature and the mother of all things. Plants and animals alike can only live and walk in this world if there is land. Druids are not magicians, and they need a source like the land.”

“Oh, then…” Chi-Woo began to go into great detail, asking questions such as whether or not a druid could revive a barren land with their powers, and if they did, how long would that take. Although Chi-Woo had bombarded the man with a barrage of questions, Allen replied to each and every one of them sincerely, and most of his answers were positive.

“That’s perfect.” Chi-Woo clapped, and Allen looked at him like he had no idea what was going on.

“Let’s make a deal.”

“A deal?”

“Yes. Don’t you want to become a hero again?” 

Allen frowned, and Chi-Woo quickly added, “I mean that I can help you recover your original powers as a hero.”

Allen’s eyes turned round, and Chi-Woo explained his plan to introduce him to Goddess Shahnaz. Chi-Woo planned to use a significant portion of his total merits to make up for the divinity necessary for Allen to be chosen. In other words, they were going to establish a contract through a third party.

“That’s possible?” Allen sounded doubtful.

“Yes, it is possible. I came after making sure,” Chi-Woo said excitedly.

“…So I’ll be in a similar situation as Ru Amuh,” Allen confirmed.

“Yes!” Chi-Woo nodded ardently. 

By forming a contract with a god, a hero could gain a support system to recover their powers; all heroes currently on Liber wanted this to happen for them, but since this was impossible for many, there were plenty of heroes who didn’t even venture outside due to their reluctance to take on the risk. Thus, it was unbelievable that Chi-Woo was letting him skip through the process and regain his power without risks. Chi-Woo had told him that he had a favor to ask, but hearing this, it sounded like Allen was the one receiving a favor. Thus, Allen had to ask.

“What do you gain from this?” It would be a lie if Allen said this wasn’t exactly what he wanted, but he desperately tried to remain level-headed. In response, Chi-Woo relayed to Allen what he had heard from Eshnunna and the natives. Allen looked stunned by Chi-Woo’s answer. He had expected something big, but to think it was all for the purpose of farming and solving the problem of food supply. 

“I know that one must be careful when making a contract with a god. Perhaps you wouldn’t get along too well or match with Goddess Shahanaz. I’m not trying to force you, but—”

“No.” Allen shook his head. If Liber was a normal World, there would have been merit in Chi-Woo’s words. But the situation was severely dire, and he didn’t really have the luxury to be picky with which god to serve. This was the time to grasp onto any straw he could find, and forming a contract with Shahnaz would grant him sturdy lifeline. 

“If it’s Goddess Shahnaz…it’s fine. It seems the goddess controls the wind…and since wind is also part of nature, I don’t think we’ll clash,” Allen murmured while looking at Chi-Woo. If Chi-Woo had made a personal request, Allen would have accepted it easily. However, Chi-Woo wanted to do this for the public and the benefit of everybody while shouldering most of the burden and giving up his most precious asset. Allen couldn’t understand that.

“Are you really going to use your precious divinity for such a simple reason?”

“What do you mean? We don’t know any other way to ensure our food supply.”

Allen knew the problem they were facing, but he still didn’t understand why Chi-Woo would go so far.

“I don’t want to starve again. Or are you fine with that, Mr. Allen Leonard?”

“Well, I…” Allen pursed his lips. It wasn’t the first time he had such a thought, but Chi-Woo sure had a talent for shutting people up. “To tell you the truth… I knew the severity of the imminent food shortage, but I didn’t really have the will to solve it.” Allen licked his lips and continued, “It’s probably more accurate to say that I’ve given up, and seeing that there was no way to solve the problem, I prioritized myself. The same probably goes for everyone else.” 

Allen could have accepted Chi-Woo’s offer easily, but his personality didn’t allow it. Then, he confessed his deepest thoughts. “That includes you. You haven’t been chosen by a god yet. You could’ve put yourself before others, but why…”

“Somebody has to do it,” Chi-Woo replied clearly and glanced at Allen with a smile. “What’s the big deal? Everything we do is for the sake of filling our stomach and surviving in the end.” 

Allen’s expression blanked, and it was clear from his gaze how taken aback he was.

“…Ha!” He burst out into laughter suddenly. “Ahahahaha!” 

‘Did I say something funny?’ Chi-Woo was also surprised.

“Ha! You’re right. That’s exactly right!” Allen laughed for a while and wiped tears off his eyes before nodding. “Yeah, we can only be heroes if we eat and survive.” Allen let out another peel of chuckle and asked, “So tell me, sir. What is your name?”

“Ah.”

“Why? Are you still unwilling to tell me?”

“No that’s not it.” Chi-Woo hesitated. If Chi-Woo had to state what he regretted doing the most since coming to Liber, it would be introducing himself to Ru Amuh as ‘Chichibbong’.

Have I not met your standards for knowing your name?” Allen asked only half-jokinglyhurt that Chi-Woo was still unwilling to tell him his name even after they had gone through many dangers together.

“You’re misunderstanding. That’s not the case at all. It’s just that…” Chi-Woo explained his reluctance without mentioning the name Chichibbong.

“What? Is that true?”

“Yes. If I revealed my name in such a serious atmosphere, it would be ridiculous.”

“That makes me more curious.”

“I’m never going to tell you.” 

“Just tell me. I swear to you that I won’t laugh.”

“No, I don’t want to. Many had promised the same thing, but they all ended up laughing.”

“Hah! Seriously?” Allen chuckled and shook his head, not expecting such a story behind Chi-Woo’s name at all.

“Okay, then I won’t ask anymore. But since it’s weird for me to keep addressing you as ‘you’, I will call you ‘teacher’ instead. That’s how I feel about you.”

“But I’m not a teacher.”

“No, in my perspective, you are certainly worthy of the title.” Then Allen recalled the conversation he had with Chi-Woo before coming to the fortress. “You also said you weren’t a commander…” A soft smile formed on his face, and he muttered, “It was hard to believe you then, but I can certainly believe you now.”

“?”

“I am saying that you are worthy of respect.”

Chi-Woo looked at Allen in confusion, baffled by Allen’s sudden good mood.

“Let me ask you one final question. Granting your request isn’t a difficult thing for me to do at all, and once I become a druid, putting nutrients into the dirt would be a piece of cake. But I want to remind you that the divinity that you offered to pay is very difficult to collect in our current situation. It is very rare and precious. In other words, what I’m giving you in return would be worth much less. Will that be all right with you?”

“Um…Are you sure that you can do what I asked you to do?”

I give you my word!” Allen exclaimed and finally agreed to the proposal. ”I swear to you, Teacher. Whatever my relationship with you or anyone around you becomes, I will take care of this land with all my heart until I die.”

Allen extended a hand, and Chi-Woo grabbed it. Allen’s hand was rough and tough, but his firm grasp conveyed his steadfast will.

“So, when are we doing this?” Allen asked. 

“Let’s strike the iron while it’s hot and go immediately.”

“I like the sound of that. Let’s go right now.”

The two got up from their seats and went to where Shahnaz’s statue was. Chi-Woo introduced Allen to the goddess and asked her to choose him. Shahnaz was disappointed by the fact that Chi-Woo wasn’t asking to be chosen himself, but she didn’t have any complaints. Actually, she welcomed it. A god was an existence that lived off of beliefs, so each and every believer was precious in this situation, and someone at Allen’s level was welcomed. After Allen reawakened his power, Chi-Woo and Allen both returned to the fortress. 

They soon found Eshnunna and the other natives scuffling around an empty plot of land. Chi-Woo pushed Allen on the back, encouraging him to go forward while watching from afar. Allen kneeled on one knee and stayed still for a while before he got up. Noticing a change, the natives scooped up handfuls of dirt in their surroundings, and their eyes widened. Soon, a bright smile bloomed on all their faces. Chi-Woo wasn’t sure what had happened, but it seemed everything had gone well. Like Allen had promised, the atmosphere brightened significantly

The natives crowded up to Allen and asked him a barrage of questions. Eshnunna also looked at him with surprise and approached him. Chi-Woo couldn’t hear the conversation they were having, but Allen turned to Chi-Woo and smiled. Following this exchange, Eshnunna also turned around and spotted Chi-Woo. Chi-Woo gave her a thumbs-up when their eyes met. Then Allen walked to a different location as a group of natives followed him. Eshnunna trailed after them as well, but she kept glancing back at Chi-Woo. Although she didn’t say it out loud, her eyes shone with deep gratitude. Just like that, another problem had been solved. Well, the problem wasn’t officially solved yet, but Chi-Woo had provided the basis to solve it.

‘I should go back to running now.’ Chi-Woo stretched and walked out of the fortress. Then he ran with everything he had.

‘I feel good today.’ He didn’t know if it was because he had solved a pressing problem, but his body felt especially light and energetic today.

‘Maybe I should raise my speed.’ 

Like Shahnaz said, proving one’s convictions wasn’t limited to fighting in battles. Even the smallest and most trivial good deeds would be acknowledged, and the act of ensuring a community’s food supply was no small deed. Thus, Chi-Woo had surely lent a great helping hand to the salvation of Liber. In other words, the more people his good deed today had influenced, the more merits he would accumulate in the future.

“One, two! One, two!” 

But of course, Chi-Woo had no idea about this as of now.


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