{ Chapter 19 – Building Self-Esteem }


“Thank you, Professor…”

Ariel said gratefully, looking at me from across the table as she sat down in the corner.

“Yes.
Enjoy your meal.”

“Yes.”

After saying that with a smile, she bowed her head once again and then started reaching out with a trembling hand for the food in front of her.

“…Ah, um.”

Suddenly, she looked at my tray and hers and appeared a bit embarrassed.

‘That’s a lot.’

I realized that she had taken a lot of food, almost twice as much from my plate, except for the hamburger steak that was handed out by the staff.

But I thought growing children should eat that much.

After all, people needed to eat well to be healthy.
And for active heroes, a good meal was very essential.

“Eat without burden.
Eating well is also a hero’s duty.”

“Then, I’ll eat well.”

So when I pushed her again to eat without feeling pressured, Ariel, who had been looking at me for a while, looked excited and started eating.

“Hmm…”

Ariel hurriedly ate food with her cheeks puffed up like a squirrel, and trembled with a happy expression without realizing it.

“Delicious…”

‘She really eats well.’

I looked at her cute figure with joy, and then quietly fell into my own thoughts.

‘…By the way, She is still in a very bad situation.’

Her protector, Justia, made huge profits as the number one hero, but her fortune was very small.

It was because almost all of Justia's assets were regularly donated to daycare centers and disaster-affected areas.

Justia was an absolutely great hero who devoted herself solely to others despite having overwhelming power.

‘But still, it makes no sense to her to be this poor…’

But even so, it didn't make sense for Ariel to be this poor.

No matter how much money was donated, Ariel would have inherited some of the property.

Then why did she starve for several days?

“Hmm…?”

As I was immersed in such a question for a while, I felt a gaze in front of me.

“……..”

Ariel, who had already nearly emptied her tray, stared blankly at the hamburger steak on my tray, then quickly looked away.

– growl…

At the same time, I felt a sharp pain in my stomach again.

“Well.”

'As expected, growing children needs more.'

“…”

“You can eat this.”

“Yes, yes? Ah, that’s…!”

“It’s fine because I hate hamburger steak.”

In the first place, the hunger I felt was fake hunger.
So when I passed the steak without hesitation, Ariel started looking at me blankly.

As I looked at her with a smile on my face, she, with her face dyed red, lowered her eyes and expressed her gratitude in a low voice.

“…Thank you, Professor.”

“Yes.”

Then, as if she was ashamed, she started looking at her smartphone while avoiding my gaze with the steak in her mouth.

‘You can’t digest it if you use your smartphone while eating.’

With that thought in mind, while looking at Ariel, and as she murmured while chewing the steak, I noticed a sudden change in her demeanor as she began to stare at the smartphone with a dark expression.


“……..”

Eventually, she stopped chewing the steak and stared intently at her smartphone.

“I…
Professor…”

“Yes?”

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

“…Of course, go ahead.”

Then Ariel quietly clenched her teeth, got up from her seat, and walked toward the bathroom.

“……..”

– Tiling, ding♪

When I was looking at her back with a worried expression, my smartphone started vibrating with a notification sound.

 [ Haha ]

It was Pandora.

Well, she was the only one who contacts me when I was not Kang Ha-neul, so I guessed that immediately.

Of course, I was not sure if hacking my smartphone and forcibly sending a chat was a way to contact or not.

[ I have contacted you with important news.
]

Anyway, as I was quietly looking at my smartphone, she sent me a chat with a serious tone different from usual.

[ The analysis of the monster that killed Justia has just finished.
]

I felt like my head was getting hot.

A while ago, after I learned about the existence of a ‘monster’, I had some thoughts.

A thought that the culprit might be a non-disciplined graded beast, a monster, also crossed my mind.
The confirmation of multiple monsters found at the site only added to my despair.

I wondered if the guy’s true identity wasn’t a monster.

[ A non-disciplined graded beast, the identity of the ‘Culprit ’ was a monster.
]

And my prediction seemed to have come true.

[ Not only that.
Traces of a number of monsters besides the beast were found at the site.
]

“…are you sure?”

[ Paradise infiltrated the site and confirmed it directly.
I’d say it’s 100% accurate.
]

My heated head began to cool down, but not as normal, the level of cooling was as cold as ice.

“I see.”

It was the feeling that the target of revenge, which seemed vague, was now clear.

“Then we must find and kill them all.”

'Find and kill all the monsters who killed Justia.'

'After that, I'll tear to death all the monsters that exist in this world.'

'That will be my most important goal from today.'

“……..”

While I was organizing my thoughts, holding on to my smartphone, I began to stare quietly at the spot where another most important goal had been sitting in front of me until just a moment ago.

“Pandora.”

[ Yes? ]

My other most important goal was to raise Ariel, Justia’s only blood relative, as the greatest hero.

In order to achieve that goal, it was necessary to know at least a little bit about Ariel’s current situation.

“Get some information about Ariel.”

[ Are we going to do it together later tonight? ]

“…Will you do it for me, please?”

She didn't agree right away and because of that, I signed the devil’s contract to play a 9-hour game in Pandora’s room all night, and files started to be sent to me in an instant.

[ Passbook details.jpg ]

I pressed the image file thinking that it was too fast, and then quietly frowned.

 [20**0326 Nursery $5,000]

[20**0327 Beast Damage Recovery Center $7,000]


[20**0330 International Medical Federation $11,000]

[20**0330 Retired Hero Association $3,000]

[20**0331 Justia Relief Foundation $15,000]

.
.
.
.
.

Huge amounts of money had been flowing out in the last few months.

They were like places that were all run by Justina’s donations.

“Is that so?”

Now I seemed to understand why Ariel was starving.

She distributed all of Justia's inheritance to the organizations that Justia was running.

She probably didn’t want to waste her sister's legacy.

Justia’s younger sister not just looked alike her in appearance but also in heart.

‘It’s stupid.’

But it was pretty similar to becoming a fool when she turned her eyes on justice.

'She is unable to live on her own right now?'

'I guess I’ll have to find a way to help her financially.'

“Pandora, check all the places that are pictured here.”

With that thought in my head, I immediately asked Pandora to do that.

Of course, since they were operated with donations from Justia, there would not be the case I was thinking about.

But in any case, if there was a place where people were playing around with her legacy.

I, no, Trauma had to visit it personally.

 [ egosearch.jpg ]

As my eyes were quietly shining, a large file came.

“This…?”

The moment I clicked on it without thinking, countless search records came into my sight.

[ Hero Academy freshman.]

[ Justia’s sister ]

[ Hero Prospects ]

[ District 17 Closing Incident ]

[ Ariel Everray ]

Looking at the record blankly, I frowned and whispered into my smartphone.

“Where did all this come from?”

[ I hacked the phone in front of you.
]

“No, this is not good for her privacy.
I just asked for information.”

[ In that sense, the account details are also private! It doesn’t matter because we’re villains.
]

After that, she sent a chat to the mail and started sending files over and over again.

[Title: Among the newly admitted students, who seems the most promising?]

It was a post in the Hero Gallery, where Pandora was frequently active.

[Justia (221.17): How about Ariel?]

[ㅇㅇ(117.11): What about her?]

[ㅇㅇ(52.39): Incompetent parachute that came through her sister’s name]

[Eustia (223.36): I don’t think that’s the case…]

[ㅇㅇ(16.34): Ariel arrest lol]

[*Liveless: I honestly don’t understand how a kid who didn’t even have the basics and failed the entrance test got into the academy]

I was about to press the back button in a slightly uncomfortable mood, but I hardened my expression at the content of the unusual photo and scrolled down.

[ㅇㅇ(17.26): Other kids are afraid that even if they train hard for 10 years, they will barely be able to get in.
Does it make sense for a kid who is not sure of her ability to suddenly change her aspirations and enter the academy a month ago?]

[Justia (221.17): Still, I heard she blocked Trauma alone…]

[ㅇㅇ(25.61): Do you believe in such news? What can a month-old wannabe hero do to block an A-class villain hahaha]


[ㅇㅇ(46.52): In terms of common sense, if she had the ability to do that, she wouldn’t have looked like that in the entrance test]

[ㅇㅇ(17.26): haha]

[*Libris: Eat a rock, aaaa]

The picture was cut off there.

[ Pandora: Here, the user named 'Justia' is Ariel herself.
]

“……..”

[ I’ve searched for myself dozens of times, but these posts are all the same.
]

‘I’m upset.’

Her heart was well understood.

One day, when one suddenly became a celebrity and began to attract public attention, people were bound to look for flaws in their reputation.

When Justia was just getting famous, there was a time when her self-esteem went down a bit after seeing strange articles floating around the internet.

Of course, she overcame it quickly because she was a strong person.

But Ariel, who had just become a wannabe, won’t be like that.

‘I wonder if this is the reason why I’ve been getting pain around my heart lately.’

With pressure to become a hero that surpasses her sister, her self-esteem only fell because of the gaze of the surroundings.

The ego-searching, which she started to fill up her self-esteem even a little bit, was rather eating away at her.

Although she seemed bright and lively from the outside, she was already quite crowded.

[ article.jpg ]

As I was looking down at my smartphone with a dark expression, the last file transferred.

[ This is the article Ariel just read.
]

“…ugh.”

As I looked through the article in the photo, I had no choice but to bite my tongue quietly.

– Ariel Everray, the hero of Area 17, is actually an illegal admissions student?

– Just because she is Justia’s relative, is it okay to admit…

[ He is a journalist famous for his negative stories.
Quite popular in the industry.
]

It was so absurd that I was just looking at the article without anger, and suddenly I could feel the pain in my eyes.

“……..”

My eyes reflected on the plate were red and bloodshot.

I felt Like…
someone who wanted to go to the bathroom right away. 

“Pandora.”

[ Yes? ]

I got up quietly, fiddling with the mask in my arms.

“The reporter who wrote this, can you track his location?”

[ Yeobo, do you know how difficult it is to track a location? Just like in a movie, if you open a few windows, tap the keyboard a few times, and mutter ‘give me the location’, it doesn’t end there! ]

“I’ll play with you until the second episode of the game.”

[ Tracking finished.
]

To bring back Ariel’s self-esteem.

I thought that would be the first mission of my ‘Raising a Hero’ goal.

.

.

.

.

.

That night, at the safe area of Navarre artificial island:

– Tackle… Tackle…

The news reporter Cheon Sang-myung, who was working hard on the manuscript in the room, took his hand off the keyboard for a moment and started to stretch.


“Today’s article is also well-received.”

The reactions to the article he wrote in the morning caught his eye.

Everyone was digging into the hot issues of ‘Justia’ and ‘Academy corruption’.

It had been less than a day since he posted it, and there had already been hundreds of comments.

“Ugh…”

Thanks to it, he hummed and looked at the comments, and then he frowned slightly.

Today, as always, the status of the comments was not good.

“Well, I’m just sharing the facts.”

Because of this, Cheon Sang-myung, who was quietly scratching his head, muttered like that and pressed back.

It was true that Justia’s younger sister was being accused of fraudulent admission, and it was also true that she messed up the entrance exam.

Written solely on the basis of such facts, his article was based on the truth.

It was up to the public how they interpret it.

In other words, there was no guilt in him, who was in the position of the reporter.

“And, I’m not guilty of views and recommendations.”

To be honest, Cheon Sang-myung was well aware of his provocative writing.

However, in today’s world full of surprises, his articles didn't get any attention unless they were written like that.

In that sense, wasn't he worthy of praise as a reporter who always delivered things of interest to the public?

– Tiriling♪

“Well?”

With that thought in mind, Cheon Sang-myung, who was about to start working on the manuscript again, looked at the phone that suddenly started ringing with a puzzled look.

‘…this time?’

There was no work-related phone call at this late hour.
Because he was always thorough in public affairs.

‘Is this a protest call?’

Occasionally, if not quite often, he would receive complaint calls or corrections.

Especially when the comments were burning like this.

“Phew…”

Cheon Sang-myung, who had a frown on his face for some reason, opened his mouth while answering the phone.

“Who are you?”

– News reporter Cheon Sang-myung, right?

Then he heard a phone call asking for his name.

“That’s right.
I don’t answer business calls right now…”

Cheon Sang-myung answered with a nervous expression on his face.

“Oh, you’re right.”

“……?”

For some reason, he turned his head, widening his eyes at the voice coming from the window of the room rather than his cell phone.

“What, what…!”

“Good job, Pandora.”

Someone wearing a mask that he had seen a lot in viral videos was sitting by his window.

“All, you! Where is this…”

Cheon Sang-myung, who looked at him blankly, got up from his seat and started to take a step backward.

“…Wait, about that mask?”

“Hey, I have a question for the reporter.”

Then, after noticing something, Trauma who was staring at him with his eyes wide open, asked a question in a low voice.

“Are you right-handed or left-handed?”

When Cheon Sang-myung crawled and couldn’t answer that question, Trauma muttered in a voice.

“Ah, you use both hands on the keyboard anyway.”

Thick drops of sweat began to trickle down from Cheon Sang-myung's forehead.

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