Chapter 2. The Mark of an Awakener, Part III
"If you move, I'll kill you." After the warning, Kim Tae-hoon slowly took off his plastic apron. The green blood on the apron, dripping as it hit the floor, sounded creepier than ever.
"Big brother!" Bang Hyun-wook showed up after Kim dropped the apron he had taken off on the floor. When Bang appeared, the surrounding area of people, again grew silent. But this silence was different from the time the previous time. There was a sense of pressure incomparable to before.
As if they had made a promise, the four men swallowed together!
"'He is the monster…" The four men were not free from this pressure. They froze as they saw Kim, and they remembered what he had done.
"What do we do?"
"If it hadn't been for that damned bastard, we'd have fled…"
Kim had appeared when they had been struggling and shouting against an Orc on the second floor, and he had killed the Orc with the ax he was holding. Quickly he had sprinkled something on the Orc's eyeballs after splitting its head with an ax, and then had poured lighter oil on the head of the Orc, which was rubbing its dark eyes with a shrill cry, and then had lit it.
The four were sure of one thing, things were going from bad to worse.
'What do we do?"
"Should we just ask for forgiveness?"
"Shit, should we have just fled?"
Three of them were waffling, unsure of what to do.
"Kill me? Kill me!? Kill me, you bastard!?" Unlike his colleagues, the big man revealed his hostility to Kim. It was proof that he was quite a strong man, with fighting spirit and courage.
However, Kim did not hesitate. He used his Telekinesis to grab the neck of the big man and then lifted the man up. A scene that could not be understood by normal reason unfolded.
"Huck!" "What, what? What!" "Go…, ghost?" The three remaining men, stunned, sat down on the floor in horror, knowing their friend had become a victim.
Kim lifted the man up three meters high and then released his Telekinesis. There was a gruesome sound, like a corpse falling to the floor.
The silence spread again, and now beyond the harshness and the pressure was horror. Everyone looked at Kim with a deathbed face, and he looked at the remaining three people before the eyes of the crowd.
"From now on, the four of you have no right to speak in anything. If you have a complaint, spit it out, right here, right now."
Three of them shook their heads, their mouths tight.
Kim did not give them any more attention. Kim confirmed that Park Jae-woon was with his family, and Kim turned to the watch on his left wrist.
After checking the time, he said quietly to everyone, "It's 22:33, but I'm going to start reporting on the current situation from now on."
"Our current location is on the second floor of a large mart; an emergency generator is operating normally, and communication using smartphones and radios is impossible. No attempted contact with rescue teams or external survivors has been successful."
He took a sip of canned coffee. His tasting was not brief, but no one asked him or complained about it. He resumed speaking after savoring coffee to the end calmly.
"Based on the circumstances, we are in a bad situation, and this area is not as safe as we think."
Some of them immediately doubted his judgment. "Dangerous?" "Isn't it safe here?"
It had been about seven hours since the monster raid. The heat of the battle was now sufficiently turned off, and instead, there were only the aftereffects of the battle.
Naturally, the survivors did not want to do anything anymore. They just wanted to wait here until the rescue team or the army came to their safe place and rescued them. By the common sense of these people, the second floor of the large mart was safer than anywhere else.
This was mainly because of the fire shutters, making it impossible for outsiders to come in without warning, and the food was very abundant, with enough food and drinking water to last the survivors half a year.
The main problem was that there was limited space for washing their body or urinating, but it was not reasonable to seriously worry about that problem in a world where monsters were going crazy.
However, Kim said that the space which everyone judged safe… was dangerous! "Once the incident occurred, not one outsider, including the rescue team, has come here, even though it had been more than six hours."
The crowd still looked suspicious at this explanation.
"The first thing survivors do when social infrastructure collapses is to secure food. If the route to this place had been secured to some extent, someone would have come here, if not a rescue team, then for Ramen… or to loot an iPad."
At the end of his last words, three men who kept their mouths shut trembled.
He once again enjoyed his coffee. Again, a short time of savoring passed, and the crowd began to get anxious during that time.
"He's right if it had been really safe . . . I'm sure someone would have come here."
"Yes, if it had been safe ... I'd have come here already to get a drink."
At the end of the thought, the moment everyone realized that his words were not wrong, everyone's face was white. The air grew tense. He confirmed the tension and swallowed his coffee.
"And the situation is quite different from what we have seen or have assumed."
He showed the back of his right hand to everyone with his words. The crowd opened their eyes wide at seeing the mark of the burning sun.
"With the appearance of the monster, some of you have a similar mark on your right hand."
People reflexively checked the back of their hands. The minority was surprised.
One of them spoke up for the first time., "What is this?"
The woman with freckles on her face asked about it; she was the woman who came out to save Park Jae-woon. She had a mark on the back of her hand.
"It's called the mark of an Awakener."
"I couldn't think of any other expressions, so I'm saying it, and I'm sure the people with these marks have a mysterious ability."
He did not show what his mysterious ability was. He didn't have to. It didn't have to be. It was enough to explain, and he looked at the big man laying on the floor like a dead man.
"For reference, the mark of an Awakener can be decoded by taking a picture; if you take a picture with your smartphone, the mark will be printed out, and it is similar to a game ability window," he continued on.
"There are three major types of abilities, and it's simple to raise your Stats. You just cut out the heart of a monster, acquire a jewel in it, and then eat it as it is."
With that word, he held out his palm. As if waiting, Bang also quickly pulled out a thumbnail-sized red jewel from his pocket and put it on Kim's palm. Kim put the jewel in his mouth and swallowed it. Everyone stared at him.
"Now my Strength is up."
The crowd looked blank at his explanation. It was not a realistic story. However, Kim continued his explanation without any concern.
"Note that the jewel obtained from a monster can also be valued by taking a smartphone photo."
Kim pulled out his smartphone and showed the picture he had taken. The close-up of the red jewel he had eaten a while ago showed clear characters that were not seen before the jewel was taken a picture.
[Crystal of Orc]
- A small amount of Strength increase when ingested.
"This is all the information I have now." The information Kim prepared after butchering the monster bodies in the meat department was not easy to get.
"This is all I have now, from dissecting of the monster's body after the battle with the monster." It was not easy to butcher dozens of monster bodies! The public would not be able to butcher a monster even if they were given a day. It was valuable information that only Kim and Bang knew about. Kim told everyone what he had learned.
In fact, the crowd was grateful to him, but at the same time, some doubted his intention. "Why are you telling us this?"
They gave him thanks, but Kim did not have the obligation to inform others about this.
Was Kim armed with a spirit of sacrifice and service?
There was not one person who had known Kim for more than a day, but everyone could assert that he was not a human being full of sacrifice and service spirit. He was never that kind of person. And it was true. He did not tell them to show off his kindness and generous spirit.
"The world has changed, and monsters have emerged. If Awakeners are to fight the monsters, it means it's not a one-time, single event." He had realized that before anyone else.
"If you want to survive this unspecified change, you must be selfish, and wisely selfish."
From now on, mankind must fight the monsters. In such a situation, it was meaningless and worthless to monopolize this basic information. The more survivors, the more favorable it was for him.
Most of the adult Korean men who survived had experienced military service. It would not be impressive giving them an ax or a knife, but if he could give them a gun, the story would be different.
"The price has already been paid because we ate all the monster stones." Most of all, he had already collected the information fee. He shared the monster stones from the hearts of the monsters with Bang. They ate them all, so there would be no fee for the information. It was a kind of give and take.
"Do you have any complaints?" All of the giving and receiving was done under the unilateral leadership of Kim.
"I take it there is no complaint."
The crowd could guess what it meant to be wisely selfish.
"The last thing I know is that this is an unproven hypothesis, but the monsters appeared without any space constraints as if they came out of nowhere. The reason for this hypothesis is..."
He stopped talking, and his eyes changed. While everyone was opening their eyes wide at the change in him, he threw back the coffee in his hand. He immediately shouted after injecting caffeine into his stomach, not even tasting it, "Get away from those doors!"
Bang! As soon as he cried out, the fire shutters, which were blocking between the second and the first floors, exploded like bombs.
"Kaaaah!" Beyond the fire shutters that had been blown away, a fierce cry that could not be compared with anything earlier burst out. Soon after, the owner of the fierce cry appeared.
"Oh, my god..." It was an Orc, over two meters tall and black skin!
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