The Support Ate it All-Chapter 119: 7th Week Mentoring and Duel Battle (4)

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Chapter 119: 7th Week Mentoring and Duel Battle (4)

(TN: Hong Yeon-hwa has a wand, not a staff. I always translated as staff but a wand is totally different.)

***

“So, you got hit with a shotgun and went down in one shot?”

“……”

Kwak Ji-cheol kept his mouth shut at Dang Gyu-young’s question.

Even he thought it was ridiculous.

He had thought he was managing the match well, but then Seo Ye-in unexpectedly closed the distance and blasted him with a shotgun.

To have been defeated in close combat after two weeks of intense training, especially by a marksman, left him speechless.

However, Dang Gyu-young wasn’t angry or scolding him.

She continued to ask questions in her usual tone.

“Let’s hear it. What do you think went wrong?”

It was more constructive to reflect on where things had gone wrong than to waste emotions on what had already happened.

After thinking for a moment Kwak Ji-cheol responded.

“It seemed like things were going well until I set up the fortress.”

He quickly recovered the crystal, connected it to the sanctuary, and built an earthen wall for a siege.

At that time, this was the best strategy he could employ.

Dang Gyu-young gave a small nod as if encouraging him to continue speaking.

“Mhmm, and?”

“…I should have sensed something was off when the marksman approached so closely, but I was too focused on defense and reacted too late.”

Dang Gyu-young nodded her head.

“That’s right. When an opponent does something unexpected, you should try to understand their intentions and why they are doing it. It’s rare for someone to act without thought and plans.”

“I will keep that in mind.”

Hong Yeon-hwa listened to their conversation and thought to herself.

She gives more useful advice than I expected.

When she first started mentoring, Hong Yeon-hwa’s first impression of Dang Gyu-young wasn’t very good.

The first reason was that although Dang Gyu-young was a mage like her, she wasn’t affiliated with the Magic Tower Association but rather with the Guild Union.

The second reason was just her prejudice against those of the thieves’ club.

Thieves were often said to be excessively free-spirited and people who tend to handle tasks whimsically, according to their moods.

She was worried that the mentoring would be conducted half-heartedly if it became tedious after a while.

However, as the third week of mentoring approached, Dang Gyu-young was still diligently teaching the first-year students and was gradually earning their respect.

It seemed that this level of commitment was necessary to fulfill the role of a club president.

Dang Gyu-young carefully observed the mentees, including Hong Yeon-hwa.

“The feedback session is over, and now let’s switch roles. It just so happens you four are evenly split.”

In the first duel battle, Kim Ho and Kwak Ji-cheol had picked up the crystal first so they were on the charging and defending side,

While Hong Yeon-hwa and Song Cheon-hye had been a step slow in finding the crystal, making them the reclaimers.

The idea now was to reverse these roles.

As Dang Gyu-young stepped onto the teleportation magic circle, she casually threw out the instruction.

“Two at a time, follow me. First up, Kim Ho and Hong Yeon-hwa.”

Then she vanished inside.

Hong Yeon-hwa was caught off guard by the sudden situation, so she just stayed in her place and blinked her eyes.

…Huh?

Who with whom?

After repeating Dang Gyu-young’s words a few times, reality finally sank in.

Switch roles. Two at a time. One-on-one. Kim Ho.

Then her eyes met Kim Ho’s indifferent gaze.

“……”

Hong Yeon-hwa’s mood plummeted instantly.

Recently, her perception of Kim Ho has improved considerably.

Especially, the instances where she would shrink away at the mere sight of him had almost vanished.

But facing him one-on-one was an entirely different matter.

In her mind, Kim Ho had already established himself as a final boss-level opponent.

Even though it was just a sparring match, competing against an opponent she believed she could never defeat was far from pleasant.

Hong Yeon-hwa silently protested to Dang Gyu-young who had already entered the arena.

Why me?

Couldn’t I just spar with Song Cheon-hye instead?

Naturally, Dang Gyu-young didn’t respond but Kim Ho’s voice reached her instead.

“Let’s go in. She’s waiting.”

He was already standing on the magic circle and looking at her.

“……”

“Aren’t you coming?”

“I-I’m coming ….”

Hong Yeon-hwa began to move towards him.

Her pace was much slower than usual.

However, when she noticed the suspicious looks from Kwak Ji-cheol and Song Cheon-hye, she quickened her steps as much as she could to appear nonchalant.

It was in nobody’s interest for them to meddle in whatever was between her and Kim Ho.

As the two of them stood side by side, the magic circle emitted a light and suddenly their surroundings changed dramatically.

The next moment, they were standing in the middle of a forest.

Considering the first match had taken place in the forest, Dang Gyu-young had set the same terrain.

Something flew towards Hong Yeon-hwa and she casually caught it.

After receiving it, she checked and found that it was a fist-sized crystal.

[Crystal: 0%]

Next, Dang Gyu-young gestured towards the sanctuary with a nod.

“Start first.”

“……!”

Hong Yeon-hwa quickly grasped Dang Gyu-young’s intention.

In this duel battle, it was her role to charge and defend the crystal; she was to go ahead and secure a position.

“…….”

A glance at Kim Ho showed that he too had roughly understood the situation and he stood quietly while watching over her.

When their eyes met, he nodded slightly as if to encourage her.

Hong Yeon-hwa took a deep breath to steady her resolve.

Alright. Let’s give it a try, just this once.

Even if she lost, gaining something from the attempt would be enough.

A great flame burst forth from the ruby set in her wand,

Whoosh,

and the flame was completely absorbed into her body.

After enhancing her physical abilities with Overheat, she sprinted away from her spot.

Whoosh—

Soon after Hong Yeon-hwa entered the range of the sanctuary, a mystical light poured from the huge tree.

The crystal slowly began to fill with light.

[Crystal: 1%]

[Crystal: 2%]

Hong Yeon-hwa did not stop there; she moved further inward and quickly surveyed her surroundings.

This seems like a good spot.

She then chose a location that best suited her plan.

The spacing between the plants was sparse but it wasn’t entirely a clearing. It was more like a half-forest, half-clearing kind of place.

She positioned herself in the center and began to cast her magic.

Flash!

The ruby embedded in her wand emitted a powerful red light, and small magic circles began to etch themselves into the ground, one by one.

Hong Yeon-hwa continued to focus intensely and steadily increased the number of magic circles.

Her casting speed was exceptionally fast compared to others, which allowed the number of magic circles to grow at an unparalleled rate.

Only after the area was filled with numerous small magic circles did Hong Yeon-hwa stop casting.

Then she stared intently at the noise coming from beyond the forest,

Rustle,

And saw Kim Ho casually making his way through the underbrush.

He began to step forward but paused before lowering his gaze briefly.

He had spotted the densely packed magic circles on the ground.

At the same time, Hong Yeon-hwa snapped her fingers,

Boom!

One of the nearby magic circles turned red and violently erupted into a pillar of fire.

Fire Pillar.

Originally, magic of such a grand scale as these magic circles required a considerable amount of time for casting, but Hong Yeon-hwa had enlightenment while melting the millennium iron alloy in the blacksmith’s workshop.

Based on this enlightenment, after numerous experiments, what was ultimately completed was this significantly lighter version of the Fire Pillar.

Just moments ago, it was used simply as a threat, to demonstrate how she could utilize the magic circle and what would happen to those who approached recklessly.

Kim Ho looked down at the magic circles with a face that hardly showed any sense of crisis.

Somehow, Hong Yeon-hwa felt like she could read his thoughts.

– Should I just push through?

Recalling what happened in the placement test, he had taken a fully enhanced Fire Pillar head-on and not a single hair on his head was charred.

Such a lightweight Fire Pillar might just be ignored by him as he walked through it.

However, Hong Yeon-hwa was certain that Kim Ho would not do that.

After all, since it was a sparring session during mentoring with nothing to gain from winning and because he was known to adjust his level to his opponent during training.

As expected, Kim Ho nodded at Hong Yeon-hwa and accepted her challenge of a tactical advance.

Although he could take no real damage from the fire magic, he would engage in the sparring under the assumption that he would take damage.

Soon, Kim Ho took his first step and slowly started circling around the magic circles while looking for an opening.

The first strike came from Hong Yeon-hwa’s side.

Fwoosh! Fwoosh!

As she fired a series of fire arrows, Kim Ho swiftly moved left and right while dodging them effortlessly.

He then took a step forward, but—

Kwaah!

A pillar of fire erupted from the magic circle he had just stepped on but he quickly withdrew his foot and retreated.

He continued to circle around while looking for an opportunity.

Fwoosh!

Even though Hong Yeon-hwa knew that Kim Ho would not be hit, she kept sending fire arrows his way relentlessly.

Her intent was to keep him busy and on edge.

Occasionally, as Kim Ho stepped on a magic circle,

Kwaah!

She immediately activated the Fire Pillar from the circle which forced him to retreat.

And when Kim Ho dodged the fire arrows and skirted around the edges, he would sometimes breach the perimeter, and each time, Hong Yeon-hwa would force him back. This pattern repeated for a while.

The number of magic circles was steadily decreasing, but since they were so densely spread across the entire arena, reducing them one by one seemed endless.

Kim Ho would have to repeatedly step on and retreat from these circles several times before he could reach Hong Yeon-hwa.

[Crystal: 37%]

And there was a much higher chance that the crystal would charge up before he even got close.

A sliver of hope arose in Hong Yeon-hwa’s mind.

Could she possibly win this way?

Even though the conditions were heavily in her favor, could she really win like this?

At that moment, Kim Ho raised the spear in his hand and pointed it at Hong Yeon-hwa.

Whoosh—

“Ah—”

A gust of wind blew and Hong Yeon-hwa was helplessly pushed aside.

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