Chapter 14 Comrades (Part 1)
“I am Kim Hyun-ho and up to a while ago, I was studying for the civil exam. What are your names?”
I ask this after we walk for a while in a tense and awkward atmosphere. You should at least exchange names, you bitches.
The college student with the good cooperation answers.
“I am Lee Joon-ho. I am a new student that was just accepted into Korea University*”
(TN: Korea University is the Harvard of Korea.)
He is indeed a college student. He did look young, but to think just a wee child of 20.
“Lee Hye-su…I was a company employee.”
The 20 something year old woman’s name is Lee Hye-su. Seeing as how she used past tense, it sounds like she quit. And because Park Go-chan had already gone wild with his introduction, the only one left is the 30 year old guy. But even if he said nothing, we had no intention of saying anything about it.
“Kang Chun-seung, a martial artist from Shanghai.”
A martial artist from China!
And so we found out why Kang Chun-seung showed no fear at Park Go-chan.
Park Go-chan’s expression became ugly. If he had actually attacked him, he would have lost all face.
After name exchanging was done, we once again continued to walk in an awkward atmosphere.
Lee Joon-ho was the only one who barely kept up a minimal conversation.
Company employee Lee Hye-Su replied with short comments to our minimalistic conversation, but probably due to the shock she received of almost suffering the abuse from Park Go-chan, her words dwindled.
“My throat is slowly getting dry. Where do you think the water might be?”
It was Lee Joon-ho’s words.
“I will try and find some. Sylph!”
After starting the second exam, I summon Sylph for the first time.
Sylph appeared in the middle of the air and rubbed her face against my cheek.
“Oh? What is that?”
Lee Joon-ho asked, completely surprised. Lee Hye-su, Park Go-chan, and Kang Chun-seung too were all surprised and looked in my direction. I explained.
“This is the spirit summon skill I earned with my karma prize. She is a wind spirit by the name of Sylph.”
“Spirit summon? Of the assist skills, there was that?”
At my words, many people reacted.
“Your main skill?!”
“That’s your main skill?!”
Lee Joon-ho, Park Go-chan, and even Kang Chan-seung all had a surprised reaction.
The Kang Chan-seung, who up to know had been of so few words, asked me.
“How much karma did you get from the first exam?”
Kang Chan-seung’s entire face is engrossed in shock. So it seems my score was significantly higher than his.
“Are you joking? How could someone like you get 500 karma?”
Park Go-chan starts the nitpicking again. I shrug my shoulders.
“I was told it was the result of evaluating potential rather than ability. Anyway, with that, I got the spirit summon and a rifle. If you can’t believe it, you want to see?”
I summoned the single shot magic gun and bandolier. The bandolier had an extra 100 lead bullets in it and was thicker than before.
“It doesn’t even make sense…”
Park Go-chan’s expression was seemed that this was difficult to believe.
Humph, now you see? I am not someone for you to laugh at or dismiss. At some point, I will make you pay back for having hit me.
“Sylph, look for water nearby.”
Sylph swiftly flew away.
In the meantime, I ask the others.
“What did you guys get with you karma prizes? I think we should know so that we coordinate better when we get into fights later on.”
“You really are amazing. On my first exam, I got 270 karma. All the main skills were 400 karma so I was unable to learn any.”
The cooperative Lee Joon-ho answered first.
“Without any other choices, I selected the secondary skill, ‘physical strength buff’ and learned it to level 2, and with the leftover karma I got a shield. I will show you.”
As he was speaking, Lee Joon-ho summoned a round leather shield. It seems he has no weapon.
“What is the physical strength buff?”
I hadn’t seen the assist skills and am curious.
“Just like it sounds, it enhances your physical strength skill. Entry level 1 makes your body that of a healthy adult man, and level 2 gave me a body with exceptional athleticism.”
As if shy about it, Lee Joon-ho scratched his head.
“I’m usually weak bodied, so I started with level 2 of it.”
Lee Joon-ho is rather short, but his build looks fit. But it seems that it’s thanks to the physical strength buff assist skill he learned rather than from lots of exercise.
“That is a really good skill. My body is not that good either; may I ask how much karma that cost?”
“The entry level 1 is 100 karma; entry level 2 is 150 karma.”
That is the revolution of the health industry.
I am a person with a complex from my ‘nothing-to-see skinny body.’ But if I get the assist skill, I wouldn’t even need to exercise and can be an moem-jjang!*
(TN: It doesn’t translate well into English. But it kind of means to be an awesome bodied person.)
‘When this exam is over, I should get that right away.’
Not from my greed for a good body but because fitness is an important aspect, is all.”
“Ah damn, I got 250 karma. You saying I’m not as good as that dude?”
Park Go-chan whines and swears at the same time. The startled Lee Joon-ho draws back in fear.
“I received entry level 3 physical strength buff and a sword.”
“You think I’m the same as you guys? My fitness was originally good, bastards.”
Park Go-chan had originally a body that fit into the entry level 2 buff so he was able to learn right into level 3.
‘So if I have the fitness of a healthy adult male, I’ll be able to learn starting at level 2.’
I have learned a good truth.
Now it is Lee Hye-su’s turn. She paused for a second and then carefully spoke.
“With 100 karma, I learned physical strength correction entry level 1. Other than that I don’t have anything. I’m sorry…”
“Haha, that’s okay, miss. I said I’d protect you.”
At Park Go-chan’s devious comment, Lee Hye-su goes pale.
Right on time, Sylph returns.
“Did you find water?”
Sylph suggested a left direction and with speed wrote ‘293’
“Thanks. I’ll call you again later.”
I un-summon Sylph and speak to the group.
“300 meters from here there is water.”
We head off in the direction Sylph pointed. As we walked I asked Kang Chan-seung.
“What did you choose with your prize?”
“400 karma. Aura control, entry level 1”
400 karma. Lower than me.
I kind of get an idea of how everyone fought in the first exam.
The hiding red ape attacks but Kang Chan-seung, like a martial artist, quickly avoids it, retaliates, and knocks out the red ape I’m sure. Anyway, the aura control seems very fitting for a martial artist.
But then Kang Chan-seung’s words continue.
“Right now, I am entry level 4.”
“Even without karma, through training, it was possible to raise the level.”
It was a revelation worth a shock.
That you can raise your skill level through training and not karma!
‘Huh? But there would only have been 11 days to train the aura control?’
The question forms and I ask Kang Chan-seung.
“Did you raise 3 levels in 11 days?”
“Aura control turned out to have similar principles to Tai chi. I have trained in Baguazhang* and fanziquan* my entire life.”
(TN: Bāguà zhǎng is known for circle walking. It literally means ‘eight trigram palm.’ Fānziquán routines are usually quite short and very fast. It literally means ‘rotating fist.’)
I became terrified at Kang Chan-seung’s awesomeness.
In other words he just didn’t have the aura but from the beginning, he had the capability to start at entry level 4!
It’s to the point where I cannot believe he is an examinee who has just finished their first exam. I want to see him fight and see how strong he is.
Anyway, I have a basic idea of how we should fight in my head.
I will shoot from a distance, and the three men will fight in front and protect Lee Hye-su.
‘In the end, Lee Hye-su is the problem. Since she has nothing but the physical strength buff entry level 1. Then again, since she has the fitness of a healthy adult male, perhaps she will be the same or better than me?’
Lee Joon-ho has nothing but a shield so he will have to find a weapon.
‘I’m sure cutting wood into two spears should be worth something?’
According to my guess, if the opponent we fight is a red ape, then a spear will be sufficient enough.
I wonder how far we’ve walked?
We arrive at a trickling stream.
We can see a rabbit that had been drinking water quickly dash away.
Sylph is summoned.
“Catch the rabbit!”
Sylph fleeted by into the woods after the rabbit that left no trace.
A moment later, Sylph appears with the rabbit’s neck bit in her mouth. The rabbit bitten in Sylphs teeth just dangled in the air. For now I capture the rabbit by grabbing its ears. Then I ask Sylph.
“Can you make the wind as sharp as a knife and cut the rabbit’s carotid?”
Sylph nods her head.
I carry the rabbit to the stream/brook. I hold the rabbit over the stream and say to Sylph.
Using the wind like a knife, Sylph slit the rabbit’s throat.
Chwak! (gushing sound)
Blood poured out from the rabbit’s neck. The stream turned red in an instant.
The rabbit took its final breath and its body relaxes. I grab the back legs and flip it around so the blood all pours into the stream.
“Oh, she is quite useful?”
Park Go-chan is lightly moved.
Up to that point is okay, but then he adds useless words.
“From now on, you be in charge of food.”
My face grows an angry red.
‘That thug bastard. Who is he to be giving out orders?’
I already have a grudge from being hit before.
In my mind, I’m thinking that I want to slit his throat too.
‘Wait and see.’
My insides boil up.