And during my countless hours from being reborn, I didn’t just sit idly on my ass, of course.
Being a level 1, to survive in that Academy full of monsters, I had to be good at, at least, something.
“Let go! Let go! I SAID LET GO!!!”
“A man crying over just something like this?”
Level? Skill? Of course, they’re important in a fight.
But the survival skills that have now become my flesh and bones through my countless deaths,
They are enough to not get beaten by just a 2nd Stage bastard.
As a matter of fact, most of the enemies I had to face while I was still level 1 were 3rd Stage Awakeners.
“Here, I let you go so it’s fine, right? We have a lot to talk about, so let’s slowly discuss it.”
As soon as I let go, he tries to fight back.
He takes out a dagger from his pocket,
And immediately swings at me.
“Wait, that’s too much. You’re swinging a knife in a place like this? Are you insane?”
“How dare you humiliate me, you bastard?! Forget about the dungeon, you’re dead!”
I already knew he was crazy,
But I had never expected him to be this insane.
As far as I recall, I’ve always been so polite and obedient to this bastard,
But this is the shit he does just because I subdued him once with my hands.
Even when he would get branded a murderer if I was really weak and got killed by him.
“There could be people looking outside, so come in so I can beat you up a bit. You crazy bastard.”
“This fucker’s lost his… Ugh.”
As I completely evade his knife,
He can’t control his anger and just rushes at me.
Even if he looks like that, his strength attribute is probably higher than mine,
So I use his own strength against him, grabbing his arm and throwing him into the house.
Then the guy immediately loses his balance and falls to the ground, making a sound of bewilderment.
“This is self-defense, okay?”
“You fucking son of….”
The guy trying to say something.
However, he couldn’t finish his sentence.
With several sounds of breaking,
The guy is unable to maintain his consciousness.
It’s obvious, but I’m not just using my punches.
Since the difference in levels can’t be ignored.
Instead, to make it more painful, I take the knife he was holding and repeatedly pummel him with the handle.
If I use the edge, he wouldn’t be able to become my entry ticket.
“I said, let’s just talk. Why do you keep attacking me like that? I get scared so keep fighting back.”
“This mother fu…Ugh!”
Maybe he hadn’t come to his senses,
The guy keeps on acting like an asshole.
Guilt from hitting him?
I felt no such thing.
In the first place, when I think about all the money that these bastards took from me, someone who didn’t know anything,
This much is nothing.
One of the lessons I learned from the many deaths was this:
To get rid of any possibility of getting stabbed in the back.
I have to make this fucker think that he can’t beat me,
Even if my strength stat is only 1, I hit him with all my strength.
And after a long while,
“I’ll talk! We can just talk!”
The guy seems to have given in a little.
But I could still see him wanting to fight back,
So to get rid of that completely I hit him a few more times.
“This fucking bastard! I let you off easy and you…Cough.”
“You have to give me a chance to….”
“That’s none of my business.”
Fuckers like this need to be squashed once and for all.
Not just a momentary surrender,
I need to imprint in his brain that he can’t beat me.
And after a short moment he backs down.
“Hyungnim1Hyungnim: more respectful way of saying Hyung.? What are you doing? Why are you, to a bastard like that….”
And the guy that was standing next to him sees all of this happen and makes a confused expression.
Well, it was to be expected.
From what I remember, that guy is just a petty fucker that clings onto strong people.
That’s why he didn’t do anything when I was fighting the guy that’s now sprawled on the floor.
“Then, shall we speak peacefully?”
One day before enrollment at the Academy.
Even if it’s just to face that guy, I need to get as strong as possible.
…With these bastards.
“…But, does it have to be in this pose?”
“You said you wanted to talk….”
Inside the house.
To have a very peaceful conversation, I smile lightly and look at the two men.
“Lift your hands properly. And kneel down properly.”
Just to stop them from rebelling,
I make them assume a correct punishment posture2Korean parents and teachers used to punish their children by making them kneel down and keep their arms straight up before corporal punishment was outlawed.
“Now, 2nd Stage Awakener, you are Underling 1, and you are Underling 2. You don’t have any complaints, right?”
“You’re pretty obedient, aren’t you?”
They could have complained quite a bit,
Instead, they just give in quietly.
Had it been quite shocking?
But I’m sure these guys just remember me as a weakling…,
“You crazy fucker! How can we not be obedient when you’re swinging a knife like….”
It wasn’t my intention to threaten them.
Just to get used to this body,
I was practicing swinging this knife.
“Don’t worry. I have no intention of grinding you too hard.”
“Then it means you will be using us….”
“That’s obvious. Think about the shit you did to me.”
At that, Underlings 1 and 2 make expressions full of complaints.
They can’t show it outwardly,
But just at a glance, you could see how much they disliked this.
‘I should start giving them the carrot too.’
To make them really loyal to me, I can’t only use the whip.
To keep them loyal,
I need to reward them when they show me loyalty.
One is a 1st Stage Awakener like me,
The other, barely a 2nd Stage Awakener.
They’re not particularly talented,
But if I raise them well, they’ll be quite useful.
They don’t have particularly good personalities,
If I give them a proper carrot, I’ll be able to make good use of them.
The Academy will only sustain considerable damage if we attack it in various ways from both inside and outside.
“Anyway, aren’t you curious? How this bastard became so strong so suddenly.”
“Well, of course…! How did a little bitch like you….”
Unlike Underling 2, who gets very angry after just a little provocation,
Underling 1 tries to listen calmly.
Is Underling 2 acting like that because he hasn’t been beaten up enough?
First, I hit Underling 2 on the head and then I continue speaking.
“To put it simply, I got an artifact that lets me look into the future.”
I don’t tell them exactly the truth.
I can’t completely trust them yet.
Mixing a bit of truth and lies, I continue with a story that might be able to tempt these guys.
“Don’t ask where I got it. This thing allows me to see between a few seconds to a few years into the future. That’s why this allowed me to avoid your attacks.”
“…And you expect me… to believe this, sir?”
“Believe it or not, it’s up to you. But it doesn’t hurt to believe me, right? Anyway, there’s no other way you could explain this.”
Faces as if they can’t believe a word.
Of the artifacts that have been released so far, not only have there not been any types that allowed one to look into the future,
They’re probably also wondering if they can just believe what I’m saying.
It’s actually a lie anyway, so it’s an excuse.
“Here’s the point. I won’t ask anything particularly big from you. Instead, I’ll make you guys a lot of money. How does that sound?”
“What the fuck are….”
“…How will you do that, sir?”
“What’s the definite way to make money by looking into the future? Stocks, of course.”
I didn’t memorize lottery numbers in detail,
But I know how the economy will move in, at the very least, the next 6 years.
And, especially, I remember all those that grew rapidly.
I’ve returned back in time, so I might as well take advantage of this.
“In the next 2 weeks or so, there will be a stock that will grow rapidly. It’s up to you whether you believe me or not, but if you do, you will get 200% in gains.”
“Do you mean… 3 times?”
“That’s right, 3 times. How about it? Isn’t it tempting? You guys like money, after all.”
Their faces shook a bit when I said it would triple.
But they still seemed unconvinced,
“Hyungnim, this must be a scam. How can we believe what a worm like him says?”
He stands his ground without wavering.
‘Not much I can do.’
I didn’t expect much.
Even I think it sounds too much like a scam.
However, these guys go crazy for money,
When they see the results in 2 weeks, their minds will change.
The issue is those two weeks.
I need to use these guys right now,
So, until then, I’ll control them with a whip.
“Ah. By the way, this isn’t a request. I’m just showing you a little mercy.”
“In other words, you guys don’t have a choice. After all, this won’t end until you guys say you like it.”
Showing them the knife I had been swinging until earlier, I talk to Underlings 1 and 2 with the brightest smile possible.
Although, of course, the expression on these two that were looking at me grew dark.
A morning like every other.
No, it should have been a morning like every other.
“Han Seo-ah! Wake up!”
The voice of her mother calling her from outside.
Even though they were words she’d heard every day,
For some reason, she felt like she hadn’t heard them in a while.
And with that, the strangely vivid memories that flow into her head.
Memories of her living at an Academy that she’s never been to, memories that shouldn’t exist, flow into her head.
“What… is this?”
Her breath grows heavy and her hands tremble.
These are memories of life at the Academy, something she always wanted,
But for some reason they only feel painful.
Why? Why is it that as the memories flow in, more people die?
A tsunami of memories that is too hard to accept in one take.
A feeling like her guts are being turned upside down is obvious,
But also, memories of what she presumes are of her death keep flooding in.
Moments that she can only call painful.
Even though they are just memories, the unbearable pains feels like it is being engraved onto her flesh.
In between the memories that feel painful,
There are memories mixed in that she feels she should never forget.
She feels like she should remember them forever.
A warm feeling comes over her head.
A man continues to constantly die to save her,
The image of that man who was always by her side when she died continues to permeate her.
Who is this man,
And why does he keep trying to save me?
Why does he continue to help me, through all that hurt, all that pain?
And why does her heart ache when she thinks of this person?
“Seo-ah, I told you to wake up, what are you …”
“Are you crying? What’s wrong, are you ill?”
Tears shed without even realizing it.
Even if she tries to stop them, she can’t stop them from pouring out.
She has no choice but to blurt out the emotions that rush over her.
- 1Hyungnim: more respectful way of saying Hyung.
- 2Korean parents and teachers used to punish their children by making them kneel down and keep their arms straight up before corporal punishment was outlawed
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