Chapter 6 – Awakening (3)
“Move and you die.”
With that warning, Kim Tae Hoon slowly took off his vinyl apron.
Drip drip. The sound of green drops of blood rolling off the apron and hitting the floor was more frightening than ever.
Bang Hyun Wook appeared after Kim Tae Hoon had already dropped his apron onto the floor.
When Bang Hyun Wook made his appearance, the disordered surroundings turned silent.
This kind of silence… it was different from the silence when the atmosphere of desolation had settled earlier.
It was a sense of oppression that couldn’t compare to anything before.
Like a promise of death, the sound of a throat swallowing saliva! The proof was the sound of somebody being beaten.
‘That punk is a downright monster……. ‘
Not even the four thugs were free from the pressure.
When Kim Tae Hoon arrived, they stuck closer together but at the same time, they remembered something.
‘What do I do?’
‘If it was anyone else but that guy we would have already beaten him….’
When everyone was struggling against the orc in the second basement level, Kim Tae Hoon had appeared with an axe and had struck down the orc.
His movements were very fast and accurate. During the fight against the orc, Kim Tae Hoon had split apart the orc’s head, then sprayed the orc on the eyes with black spray paint. While the orc was rubbing its eyes, Kim Tae Hoon then sprayed lighter fluid on the monster’s open head and lit it on fire.
There was one thing that the four of them knew for certain.
If they stood there as they were as time passed, nothing good could happen to them.
‘What do I do?’
‘Should I just ask for forgiveness?’
‘Shit, should I just beat him up?’
Like that, three of the thugs fell into confusion.
“Kill me? Try it! Try and kill me you son of a bitch!! “
Unlike the other weak-willed thugs, the one with a good build was the only one who bared his teeth at Kim Tae Hoon.
It was clear that not only was this guy strong, but he has the guts to go with his strength.
So, Kim Tae Hoon didn’t hesitate.
“Kuk, kuk kuk!”
Using telekinesis, Kim Tae Hoon grabbed onto the thug’s throat.
In that state, Kim Tae Hoon lifted the thug.
The values and concepts of the world and rational thought could not explain this.
“Wh, what is this? What’s going on!”
“G, Ghost?” [TN: Shraggy?]
The thug with the huge build became the scapegoat for the other three thugs, and it left them trembling and cowering in fear on the floor.
Kim Tae Hoon lifted the man 3 meters off the ground before dropping him.
A loud rattling noise resounded as the body hit the floor.
Another sense of desolation filled the room. A sense of horror and fear spread, and repressed any previous feelings of hope.
Everyone looked at Kim Tae Hoon’s face, who had a thoughtful expression on his face, while Kim Tae Hoon looked at the three thugs and said,
“From now on, the four of you have no voice in any matter. If you have any complaints, say it right here.”
Keeping their mouths shut, the four of them simply nodded.
Kim Tae Hoon gave no more thought to the four thugs.
After making sure that Park Jae Un and his family were safe, he turned to look at the wrist watch on his left arm.
After confirming the time, he said in a low voice,
“It’s currently 22:33. Although it’s late, I’ll now begin to explain our current situation.”
“We are currently located in the second basement level of a shopping mall. Emergency generators are functioning properly, but communication via smart phone and radio is impossible. There has been no success in contacting rescue operations or other survivors.”
Having said what he needed to, Kim Tae Hoon took a sip out of a can of coffee.
He could never not appreciate coffee.
No one asked Kim Tae Hoon any questions, nor did they complained.
After enjoying his coffee, Kim Tae Hoon opened his mouth to say something, bringing the quiet ambiance to an end.
“From a personal point of view, our current situation is obviously not that good. This place is not as safe as you might be led to believe.”
Hearing what he said, there were some people who began to doubt.
‘It’s dangerous here?’
‘This place isn’t a safe place?’
It had been 7 hours since the monster attack.
The thrill of the battle had long since faded, and all that remained was nothing but the aftermath.
Of course, the survivors had no desire to do anything.
They simply wanted to wait until the army or some rescue team to arrive.
And according to common sense, the second basement level of the shopping mall was more secure than anywhere else.
For one, the fire shutters make it impossible for anyone to get in, and in addition, food was more than plenty here. There was enough food and water for the survivors to last for half a year.
Although there might be an issue regarding hygiene and human waste, in a world where running water is used everywhere, it wouldn’t be too big of a problem.
However, this area that everyone was sure was safe, Kim Tae Hoon had just told them otherwise.
“Even though it has been more than six hours since the incident, not a single member from a rescue team has come.”
Hearing this explanation, there were still some people who were left suspicious.
“In such a situation where social infrastructure collapses, we as survivors must first look for food. If the route here was safe and secure, somebody would have made their way here. It wouldn’t even need to be a rescue crew. Whether it was for a pack of ramen or a new iPad, someone would have come.’’
After listening to what Kim Tae Hoon had to say, the three thugs who had their mouths shut were trembling.
Kim Tae Hoon savored the taste of coffee in his mouth again.
Again, there was a small break in activity. The crowd began to agonize over what they were to do during the time.
‘That person is right. If there was a rescue team, they would have found a way to come get us by now.’
‘Yeah, that makes sense …… if the way here was safe, someone would have reached us by now. Well if nobody’s going to come, might as well chug down some alcohol.’
The people began to realize that Kim Tae Hoon wasn’t wrong.
Tension began to pervade throughout the room.
After looking at the tension in the room, Kim Tae Hoon swallowed the coffee in his mouth.
“Furthermore, this current situation we are dealing with is different from anything you have ever seen.’’
Kim Tae Hoon revealed his right hand to the crowd.
The crowd saw the blazing sun like pattern tattooed onto his hand.
“With the appearance of the monsters, some people will have received some sort of pattern on their right hand.”
Some people reflexively looked at their hands to confirm it.
A few people were surprised.
One of them opened their mouth for the first time.
“What is this?”
The first person to speak up was the freckled woman who stood up for Park Jae Un.
She was someone with a pattern tattooed on the back of her hand.
“I’ve been calling it the mark of awakening.”
“I don’t think any other term is appropriate for naming it. It’s quite obvious, but those who have the tattoo are given mysterious abilities.”
Kim Tae Hoon did not bother to show them his power again.
He simply didn’t need to.
His words were more than enough of an explanation. The others around him could still see the slumped over body of the thug that Kim Tae Hoon had knocked out.
“To decipher what your tattoo means, you can take a picture of your tattoo with your phone. When you take a picture of your tattoo with your phone, translucent glyphs appear with your information deciphered. It’s like a game’s stats window.”
Kim Tae Hoon continued.
“There are three categories, and raising your abilities is quite simple. After you kill a monster, take out its heart and tear it open. Inside you’ll find a gem of sorts. After you take the gem, you’ll raise your abilities after eating the gem. ’’
Having said that, Kim Tae Hoon extended out his hand.
After waiting for a bit, Bang Hyun Wook took out a thumbnail sized red gem out of his pocket, and showcased it by holding it out onto the palm of his hand.
Kim Tae Hoon put the gem in his mouth.
He had unhesitatingly swallowed it.
Everyone stared at Kim Tae Hoon’s throat.
“Like that, I’ve upgraded my abilities.’’
The people watching on had blank looks on their faces after listening to what Kim Tae Hoon had said and done. It wasn’t a very realistic story.
However, Kim Tae Hoon didn’t care and simply continued with his explanation.
“For reference, you can also see the value of your gem by taking a picture of it with your smart phone.”
Kim Tae Hoon took out his phone and showed a picture of the gem that he had taken before.
A close-up picture of the red gem that Kim Tae Hoon had swallowed earlier showed up. On the photo were clearly visible letters that were previously not visible before.
― Slight increase in strength once ingested.
That was it.
“This is the only information that I’ve been able to gather up till now.”
Kim Tae Hoon had stored all of the monster corpses in the meat’s section of the store.
‘‘This is all the information we were able to get after dissecting the monsters’ bodies after battle.”
It wasn’t very easy to get that information.
It’s not easy to slaughter a lot of monsters and it was definitely not easy to dissect all of them.
If you gave an ordinary person one day to work on a monster’s corpse, they still wouldn’t be able to properly dissect it.
It was a very valuable information, information that only Kim Tae Hoon and Bang Hyun Wook had known.
But that valuable information, Kim Tae Hoon had just told everyone.
Although they were grateful that he had shared the information with those present, they were still somewhat sceptical of Kim Tae Hoon’s words.
“Why are you telling us this?”
On one hand, it was valuable information that they should be grateful for, but on the other hand, he had no incentive to tell them.
Did Kim Tae Hoon have such a spirit of self-sacrifice?
Although there isn’t anybody here who has known Kim Tae Hoon for more than day, they could all tell that he was not a man full of sacrifice. Kim Tae Hoon just didn’t seem like that kind of person.
In reality, they were right.
Kim Tae Hoon didn’t intend to show his spirit of generosity by telling everyone the information.
“The world has changed. Monsters had somehow appeared in the world, and they are intended to fight against us. What happened today is just the first of many. “
Kim Tae Hoon had realized the crucial fact far before anyone else.
“In order to live through this strange change, we must be selfish, but not overwhelmingly so, but rather sensibly so.”
Human beings should be fighting against the monsters.
In this situation, it’s pointless to monopolize such basic information.
The more survivors there are, the more favorable it would be for Kim Tae Hoon.
Nowadays, many surviving males would have military experience. [TN: South Korea has compulsory military service for males once they come of age] It wouldn’t work so well if you gave them an axe or a kitchen knife, but if you gave them a gun, that’d be a different story.
“Besides, I’ve already received payment for the information. We’ve already eaten all the monster stones.”
More than anything, Kim Tae Hoon had been holding onto this information for some time.
Kim Tae Hoon had split the monster stones from the monster hearts with Bang Hyun Wook. In their current situation, the value of a monster stone was priceless.
They had eaten them all, so besides that basic information, he was privy to more information regarding the stones themselves.
It was a kind of give and take.
“Does anyone have any complaints?”
Any exchanges were done under Kim Tae Hoon’s leadership.
“Then I’ll take your silence as a no.”
The group around him started to get a notion for what he meant when he said ‘sensibly selfish’.
“Also, lastly, although I haven’t been able to confirm yet, I think the monsters are able to appear without any space constraints. It’s as if they’re just falling from the sky. The reason why I came up with this hypothesis is because…… “
Kim Tae Hoon stopped talking.
His eyes changed.
Everyone stared at Kim Tae Hoon with eyes wide open, meanwhile, Kim Tae Hoon took a sip out of his canned coffee.
Ggur ggek ggur ggek !
After ingesting the caffeine, Kim Tae Hoon let out a loud shout.
“RUN ! “
The fire shutters that had been blocking off the first floor from the second floor burst open like a bomb.
From beyond the fire shutter was a furious outburst of cries that came from nowhere.
The owners of the cries soon showed up.
“Oh dear God….”
What appeared was a massive 2 meter tall orc with black skin.