I Became the Academy’s Genius Shikigami Summoner – Chapter 123

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟐𝟑

“Heh, you didn’t run away and instead crawled in here. I’ll commend you for your courage.”

As I headed to the promised location, Hwang Jin-chul and Hwang Se-jin had already arrived.

I took a quick peek and Hwang Se-jin really did come fully prepared.

I could sense some powerful energy from his fists, and he was using high-level talismans and spirit pills to support his spells.

「. . .𝘾𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙖𝙪𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙩𝙮𝙥𝙚, 𝙗𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚?」

Although he didn’t show it, he must have felt a significant sense of crisis during our previous clash.

Honestly, I would have preferred it if my opponent let their guard down, so it’s a bit disappointing.

As I locked eyes with Hwang Se-jin, Hwang Ji-hak, who had been following me, stepped forward and spoke.

“Although I don’t particularly like you, I suppose it’s fine for me to make a request since things have come to this.”

“. . .What are you talking about?”

“If you lose this duel, apologize for all the insults you’ve hurled at my sister.”

“You’re really getting on my nerves. Fine, whatever. What do you plan to bet?”

“If Han Kang-yoon loses the duel, I will resign from my position as the next elder of the Hwang family.”

Those words astounded not only Hwang Se-jin and Hwang Hye-yeon, but also Hwang Jin-chul and myself, who had been observing the situation.

What Hwang Ji-hak had proposed was an incredibly risky bet for such a trivial matter.

“Are you crazy?”

“It doesn’t matter to me. Han Kang-yoon will win anyway.”

“. . .Very well. Hwang Jin-chul will serve as a witness, so you won’t be able to go back on your word later.”

Suddenly, the weight on my shoulders felt much heavier. As I glanced at Hwang Ji-hak with trembling eyes, he simply smirked, not showing any signs of nervousness.

He seemed genuinely convinced that I would win the duel.

「𝙄𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙚𝙣𝙙, 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙟𝙪𝙙𝙜𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙖𝙘𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙚. . . . . . .」

I wondered how he could make such a judgment without knowing all of my secrets.

“I believe we have covered the basics. Now, let me explain the details of the duel.”

Hwang Jin-chul’s bet was simple.

Whoever caught the spirit beast residing on this Dohag Mountain, the Yellow Feather Bird, first would be declared the winner.

“Although it’s a rare sight during this season, it must have already begun its activities. There is no specific time limit. If you run out of stamina before the duel ends, it will be considered a forfeit.”

“When do we start?”

“Right now.”

As soon as Hwang Jin-chul finished speaking, Hwang Se-jin dashed up the mountain without looking back.

His attitude was like that of a real battle, and it seemed like he had no intention of letting his guard down at all.

「𝙒𝙚𝙡𝙡, 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙙𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙃𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙜 𝙅𝙞-𝙝𝙖𝙠, 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙛𝙪𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚 𝙧𝙞𝙫𝙖𝙡, 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙛𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙝𝙞𝙢.」

Unfortunately, though, Hwang Se-jin’s determination will not be rewarded.

In fact, the moment Hwang Jin-chul made this proposal, the outcome of the duel was practically decided.

「. . .𝘼𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙡𝙡, 𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙔𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙤𝙬 𝙁𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝘽𝙞𝙧𝙙 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙖 𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙖𝙞𝙣 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙡𝙚𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 3𝙧𝙙 𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨.」

To be exact, it was one of the tasks that one of the elders of the time gave to the main characters of the third installment, who had visited the Hwang family to train.

And since I had personally played that mission, I naturally knew every detail about the Yellow Feather Bird’s movements, hiding places, and habits.

If I really wanted to, I could catch it within an hour.

“. . .Then I shall depart as well.”

After traveling for several dozen minutes and settling down halfway up the mountain, I stopped searching for the Yellow Feather Bird, which I had been pretending to do, and turned my head abruptly.

「𝘾𝙖𝙩𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙔𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙤𝙬 𝙁𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝘽𝙞𝙧𝙙 𝙞𝙨 𝙣𝙤 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙗𝙡𝙚𝙢 𝙖𝙣𝙮𝙬𝙖𝙮.」

For now, I wanted to check on something that was a bit more concerning.

Whoosh.

“Rending Slash.”

Screech!

Clang!

An improved version of the Hundred Flower Heat Wave spell that I had previously taught to Yoo Ha-on.

Someone hurriedly deployed a defensive spell behind the bushes in response to the unexpected attack.

I had been sensing a suspicious presence following me since earlier, and now it was time to finally confirm its identity.

🔷🔷🔷🔷🔷🔷

Hwang Gwang-soo was a loyal subordinate of Hwang Jeong-wook, the current 3rd elder of the Hwang family, and a high-ranking exorcist close to the 1st-grade level.

And he had received orders from his superior, Hwang Jeong-wook, to monitor the participants of the current bet taking place within the family.

「𝙃𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙜 𝙎𝙚-𝙟𝙞𝙣 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝘾𝙝𝙚𝙤𝙡-𝙢𝙞𝙣, 𝙨𝙤 𝙄 𝙜𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙠𝙞𝙙 𝙞’𝙢 𝙞𝙣 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙜𝙚 𝙞𝙣?」

Hwang Gwang-soo’s first impression of Han Kang-yoon was, quite literally, ordinary.

To put it more generously, he was a moderately talented exorcist for his age. That was all.

「𝙒𝙚𝙡𝙡, 𝙝𝙚’𝙨 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙖 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙜𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙛𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙮, 𝙨𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩’𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙙.」

Hwang Ji-hak, the son of Hwang Jeong-wook, was also quite talented, but the talents of those who were called the next generation’s rising stars within prestigious families were truly unmatched.

For ordinary people, the starting point was so different that it might as well have been impossible to catch up.

Hwang Gwang-soo didn’t know why Elder Hwang Jeong-wook was interested in him, but orders were orders, so he had no choice but to follow them.

Without hesitation, Hwang Gwang-soo began to carefully observe Han Kang-yoon’s every move.

And soon enough, he noticed something strange.

「𝙏𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙜𝙪𝙮’𝙨 𝙨𝙥𝙞𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙪𝙖𝙡 𝙥𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧 𝙛𝙡𝙤𝙬 𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙗𝙡𝙮 𝙘𝙖𝙡𝙢.」

In fact, most exorcists tend to exude a certain aura even when they are simply standing still.

Furthermore, the greater the power one possesses, the more difficult it becomes to control it.

That’s why experienced exorcists consider it to be one of the key indicators of one’s skill.

「. . .𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚’𝙨 𝙖𝙡𝙢𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙣𝙤 𝙙𝙞𝙛𝙛𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙗𝙚𝙩𝙬𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙝𝙚’𝙨 𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙝𝙚’𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣?」

The implication was simple. Regardless of how much power he possessed, Han Kang-yoon had perfect control over it.

「𝘼𝙣𝙙 𝙄 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙝𝙚 𝙩𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙖 𝙨𝙥𝙞𝙧𝙞𝙩 𝙢𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙮𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙙𝙖𝙮.」

To have that level of control with a body that hadn’t fully absorbed the energy yet was an extremely high level of skill.

Intrigued, Hwang Gwang-soo moved a little closer to observe Han Kang-yoon more closely.

And he continued to do so even after the bet with Hwang Se-jin had begun.

「𝙃𝙖𝙨 𝙝𝙚 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙚 𝙮𝙚𝙩?」

It seemed like there was no need to hide his presence any longer, so Hwang Gwang-soo gradually reduced the intensity of his concealment spell and tested Han Kang-yoon.

About ten minutes passed like this when Han Kang-yoon, who had finally noticed Hwang Gwang-soo, fired a spell at him.

Clang!

「𝙄𝙨 𝙞𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙪𝙘𝙝? 𝙃𝙚’𝙨 𝙛𝙖𝙨𝙩, 𝙖𝙨 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙙.」

Hwang Gwang-soo, who had blocked the spell, was briefly taken aback by its unexpected power, but he quickly recovered his composure and spoke.

“Oh, you can detect my concealment spell at that age? As expected of the close friend of the young master.”

“. . .Were you sent by the elder?”

He figured out his identity with just a single conversation. Compared to other exorcist candidates his age, he was quite intelligent as well.

“Yes, that’s correct. I have no intention of interfering, so you can focus on the duel.”

“Thank you for your consideration. I thought you might have some other business since you suddenly revealed your presence.”

Even Hwang Gwang-soo couldn’t hide his surprise at those words.

「𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩, 𝙝𝙚 𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙚 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙗𝙚𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜?」

If that was the case, then he wasn’t just an exorcist with excellent detection abilities for his age.

Hwang Gwang-soo asked Han Kang-yoon a question to make a more accurate judgment.

“Can you guess when I started following you?”

“. . .I first sensed your presence when Elder Jin-chul was mediating the duel between us.”

Hwang Gwang-soo’s expression hardened at that answer. It was practically from the very beginning.

「𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣’𝙩 𝙢𝙮 𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙡𝙩𝙮, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙄 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙣’𝙩 𝙣𝙚𝙜𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙮 𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢 𝙚𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧.」

That meant that Han Kang-yoon’s skills were truly exceptional. He was definitely someone that Hwang Jeong-wook would be interested in.

Hwang Gwang-soo spoke again, his voice filled with admiration.

“That’s impressive. It seems like this might not be an easy fight for Hwang Se-jin.”

However, Han Kang-yoon replied to Hwang Gwang-soo with a meaningful expression.

“Hwang Se-jin will never win this duel.”

“. . .Are you really that confident? Although his evaluation is currently divided, Hwang Se-jin was once considered one of the greatest talents of his generation.”

“Yes, it will be fine.”

What Han Kang-yoon said next was truly unexpected to Hwang Gwang-soo.

“In fact, I’ve already caught the Yellow Feather Bird.”

🔷🔷🔷🔷🔷🔷

At the foot of Dohag Mountain, where Hwang Jin-chul, the witness of the duel, and the spectators, the Hwang Ji-hak siblings, were waiting, an unexpectedly long silence had fallen.

And then, Hwang Ji-hak suddenly broke the silence.

“Who do you think will win the bet, Elder?”

“My, my. To think that you would ask such a question.”

Hwang Jin-chul stroked his beard and chuckled softly before continuing.

“Honestly, I’m not sure. I’ve only ever talked to Kang-yoon about business-related matters, so I’ve never seen his skills firsthand.”

However, his words also implied that he couldn’t be sure of Hwang Se-jin’s victory, despite not having seen Han Kang-yoon’s skills.

“He’s a truly peculiar fellow. I thought he would get rid of the Black Jade Stone I gave him within a few days, but he completely overturned my expectations.”

“I heard that he used it as a material to create a shikigami.”

“Indeed. How could I not be surprised? He’s definitely an individual with many mysteries.”

Just the fact that he was preparing for the 2nd Night Parade of a Hundred Demons with such confidence was proof of that.

Han Kang-yoon might be a dreamer, but he was certainly not an ordinary dreamer.

As the two of them nodded in agreement, Hwang Hye-yeon, who had been praying silently, carefully spoke up.

“. . .Ji-hak, what do you think?”

Her eyes were filled with anxiety and nervousness, and Hwang Ji-hak replied to his sister with a smirk.

“I wouldn’t have made such a bet if I thought I would lose.”

“. . .No matter how I think about it, it was too much. Don’t ever do something like that again.”

“I understand. I’m sorry.”

About two hours after the bet had begun, the presence of someone approaching from the foot of the mountain could be felt.

Hwang Ji-hak turned his gaze in that direction, and Hwang Jin-chul, who was standing next to him, yawned and spoke.

“Don’t waste your energy and just wait patiently. Even your father didn’t succeed in less than half a day when he was your age.”

“. . . . . . .”

Just as Hwang Ji-hak was about to give up and turn his head back, Hwang Jin-chul’s expression changed.

It was a look of agitation that was rarely seen on his face, despite all the ups and downs he had experienced throughout his life.

“W-What is this.”

“. . .Huh? Isn’t that him, over there?”

At Hwang Hye-yeon’s words, Hwang Ji-hak hurriedly turned his gaze as well. Sure enough, the first person to appear was Han Kang-yoon.

And following behind him was Hwang Gwang-soo, his father’s subordinate whom he had often seen before.

It was as if they had seen something indescribable.

Han Kang-yoon, who had returned to the entrance of the mountain, was not holding anything in his hands.

As Hwang Jin-chul looked at him with a questioning expression, Han Kang-yoon slowly raised his right hand to shoulder height.

Immediately afterward, the sound of intense flapping could be heard, and a huge bird flew in and landed on Han Kang-yoon’s hand in an instant.

『Screech!』

Flap─!

And in its beak was the Yellow Feather Bird, frozen stiff with terror in front of its predator.

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