Chapter 2. The Mark of an Awakener, Part I
The second floor of the large supermarket, where a storm of blood and fury had finally passed, was quiet. The moment the tension was released, the fatigue came, and in the end, sleep followed. Some people slept without even knowing it, and some were so tired that they could not sleep, so they drank themselves unconscious.
By the time the large supermarket was filled with the sounds of sleeping people, Kim Tae-hoon was enjoying his coffee and the farthest from sleep. Savoring his coffee was really good. He breathed slowly through his nose after filling his mouth with lukewarm coffee, and he was different from those who simply drank coffee for the caffeine. It was his only hobby.
He always drank coffee before and after a fight. He prepared for the battle or organized the battle drinking coffee. It was not different now.
'Eight people, including survivors and dead, had a mark similar to that on my hand.' He immediately found those who had the same marks as himself after confirming the mark on his hand. He checked the back of their hands with a glance.
Including him, there was a total of nine: five men and four women, not found on young children, or on the elderly. Of course, there were not many things that could be sure, as there were still few samples.
'Some of them, not all of them, and the marks of Bang Hyun-wook's and my own are similar, but not the same.' This mark seemed to be as individual as fingerprints.
'If it's like a fingerprint, it's a mark that represents individual characteristics… But why does it happen to only some people, not all of them? Or is it an ominous sign? Is it an augmentation or a disease?'
It was Bang who solved the worries of Kim. Now, as if his body was cold, he wrapped up in his baseball jumper again, approached Kim cautiously, tapping his right hand with his left, and said, "Big brother, I've got a picture!"
"This is the stats, our stats!" Bang showed Kim a picture taken with his smartphone camera. The photo, which was taken with a screen-filled close-up of his hand, was accompanied by translucent characters that he had not seen before.
- Strength: 16
- Health: 13
- Energy: D Rank
- Defense: F Rank
When Kim saw this, he did not say anything.
Snap! He took a shot of his hand with the camera, and immediately checked the picture.
- Strength: 19
- Health: 21
- Energy: F Rank
- Mana: F Rank
- Telekinesis: A Rank
- Defense: F Rank
- Mana Resistance: F Rank
Bang, who confirmed Kim's ability, looked surprised. "Big brother, are you a psychic? The level of the rank is different. A rank is the best rank, right?"
However, Kim did not respond to such a reaction. He immediately started thinking with his coffee in his mouth while savoring the fragrance.
'It's like a game system.' It was not hard to understand. It was a system of abilities that anyone could see in the game. The meaning of Strength and Health was not worth worrying about.
What he had to worry about was energy and Telekinesis, which were two kinds of abilities classified as special abilities.
'Is Energy like the chi of martial arts novels?' Given the circumstances, Energy was likely to be the same as the chi in martial arts novels.
Mana was not different. It would be the fuel needed to use Magic, or something like that.
Telekinesis was the easiest to understand. It was the most easily recognized psychic ability of novels, movies, and comics to the public.
'Do I have this Telekinesis?'
The problem was that he now had such an ability showing on his hand. He was able to make something clear.
'It can't be all true...' He had no ability to use Telekinesis.
'I've never had Telekinesis at A rank. I can't even guess what it is, or how powerful it is. Of course, it is a new ability.'
'The world has changed, and I have also changed.'
At the same time, as the world changed, monsters appeared, and humans sought to change to fight against them.
To sum up, the mark on the back of his hand was a sign indicating those who succeeded in changing to adapt to the monster era.
'An Awakener...' It was a mark of an Awakener!
It was not wrong at this time to say such a thing would sound ridiculous, impossible. But as soon as the monsters appeared, existing reason and providence were instantly invalid. Therefore, he ruled out the old reality. He abandoned the values of being 'realistic'. What mattered was whether the ability was real or not.
"Bang Hyun-wook, have you ever used Energy?"
If it was real, how could it be used?
"I… might have used it." And Bang already knew how to use this mysterious Energy.
"Wait a minute." After answering, Bang disappeared somewhere and soon brought back two apples. One of them was thrown straight at Kim, and the other one was held in both his hands.
Frack! Bang cut it in half! Not a bad grip, mused Kim. Bang, who showed off his wonderful grip, looked at Kim after dropping the split apple on the floor. Kim threw the apple he had just received. Bang grabbed the apple with his right hand in the air like a baseball player and grabbed the apple as it was.
Smash! Bang's hand began to crush the apple like a paper ball.
The glitter of Kim's eyes changed.
"I thought it was an illusion at first, but I had a clear hand mark on the handle of my baseball bat, and I felt it. It's not an illusion, it's like the ability of a real hero."
"What kind of power?"
"I mean, I feel something wriggling in my stomach."
Kim carefully focused on his stomach.
'There is something in my stomach… I'm sure.' He felt something existed as Bang said.
"It feels like an eel."
However, unlike Bang's explanation, the size of the power Kim felt in his stomach was more like a loach than an eel.
'I guess it's the difference in the rank of ability…' Bang's Energy rank was D, while Kim's Energy rank was F. So, of course, there was a difference!
At that moment, Kim's eyes turned to a piece of apple that Bang had split in half a little while ago.
Everyone might have had the experience during their young school days: the experience of spending a lot of time thinking about moving something while looking at it with the idea that he might have some kind of telekinesis.
But now, Kim did something embarrassing even at a young age. He looked at the apple and thought about moving it. He tried to move the apple and wanted to crush it.
Smash! The apple began to crumble like tissue paper. The apple was crushed to the size of a table tennis ball. His eyes grew wide. His expression was more surprised than anything that had happened in the last ten years of his life.
"Huh!" It was amazing. It was so surprising. His heart was pounding at this nonsense.
'Just thinking, just by thought, I grabbed the apple with the intent to crush it, and I mashed it down to the size of a ping pong ball. This power... this is dangerous.'
He was not drunk. He has learned through his life that when he was drunk, he couldn't think straight.
He was annoyed to find a more important thing while ignoring his excitement and soon found it. 'The important thing is... finding a way to raise the figures and rankings of my abilities.'
What was the most important point now?
'It's like a game…' Here, he interpreted all of this situation as a game.
What if this was a game?
Many hypotheses came to his mind. He came up with a way to test the hypotheses right away. 'One of the biggest features of games is that when I fight a monster, I get experience value and items.'
In his eyes, the dead bodies of the monsters came in. He got up from his seat.
"Take the monster body and follow me."
Bang blinked his big deer-like eyes at the unexpected command. 'You want me to follow you with the monster body? Why do I have to handle that hard, annoying, bloody thing?'
But his embarrassment was short. Since their first meeting, he did not have the will to ask why Kim ordered things. At least here, he did not have any doubts about Kim's orders.
"Well, isn't it heavy? How can I carry it?" There was only one thing to think about, but he needed to know what the difficulties were when he tried to execute Kim's command.
"Put it in a shopping cart."
"Ah! Where do I need to carry it?"
Kim turned his head before answering and looked around. What he should do from now on was not something that could be done in front of everyone. But it was necessary to have specialized tools. Fortunately, there was something he needed on the second floor of the large-scale mart. His eyes stopped right there.
"The meat section."
"Bring it to the meat section."
"The monster body to the meat section… Huck!"
Bang realized Kim's intention, and his face turned pale.
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