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The time flew by quickly.
-Name: Kim Hyun-ho
-Mission: Rest until the next exam
-Time limit: 11 hours
“I’m going to go crazy.”
I feel like I’m going to lose my mind from the anxiety. I’ll fall asleep tonight and I’ll be called to the Arena to fight.
I’m so scared. Will I be able to survive?
After spending 10 days with family, my will to survive has grown even more.
Mom. Noona. Hyun-ji.
It wrenches my guts to think of mom, noona, and Hyun-ji leaning over my dead body and crying.
‘I will live. I can live. Kim Hyun-ho.’
I forcefully hypnotize myself and set out from the house.
Today, I have to do some shopping.
I go to the nearby outlet shopping mall. The reason I come here is to buy clothes to wear for my second exam.
I think back to the first exam. I floundered about in the forest in my underwear. And the lesson that I can learn from that is that you get called to the exam in whatever clothes you are wearing when you fall asleep.
So then what happens if I wear a full outfit and fall asleep with my shoes on? With that train of thought, shoes and clothes are important preparation. I have come here to buy combat attire now.
‘My army clothes are in the closet, but even if I die, I really don’t want to wear those again.’
If I die in the 2nd exam, my body will be found in my army gear. It’ll be so pathetic to die wearing army gear on top of dying at a young age.
I buy some shoes first. I picked trekking shoes that are suitable for multiple environments and are also waterproof. The price was a bit crazy, but I close my eyes and bought them.
For pants, I picked cargo pants with lots of pockets. I thought of tough jeans or sweats that would be comfortable to work in, but the perk of many pockets is the most important.
‘Oh. Should I buy some gloves and a hat too?’
Gloves for protecting my hands and a hat for protecting my head.
It is good to take whatever I can and all of it.
I return home and its already evening. The remaining time is only 3 hours.
I look over all my gear to check if I have forgotten anything. I sit down at my desk, pull out a pen and paper, and begin to write.
[To my loving family.]
It is in case I do not come back alive. I write about how much I love my family. I wanted to write it simply, but at the thought that this is the last goodbye, the words keep getting longer. The tears well up in my eyes. I cannot stop them so I cover my mouth and cry quietly. I put the letter in my drawer and prepared to go to sleep.
I put on three pairs of underwear and three pairs of socks. It is possible that the exam lasts for a couple of days.
The new pants and shoes. A shirt with a sweater on top and over that, an outdoor jacket.
‘This all makes me feel like a person about to go on a hike.’
I think maybe, and shove a Swiss army knife and lighter, a small pair of binoculars, a smart phone, and a bag of candy into my pockets.
‘I probably can’t take these items with me?’
Amongst the karma prizes, there was a ‘turn an object into an item’ option. So if I don’t use karma to turn things into items, I won’t be able to take them with me. However, you never know, so I pack them anyway. Because you never know.
‘Mom. I’ll be back.’
I turn off the lights and lay in my bed.
Darn…I’m so nervous, sleep does not come to me. It’s also because I’ve worn this and that and I’m very uncomfortable. I usually sleep naked.
-Name: Kim Hyun-ho
-Mission: Rest until the next exam
-Time limit: 27 minutes 41 seconds
“Damn. Time sure does pass by.”
I let out a scoffing laugh. I have never felt that life was so precious.
With my eyes open, I look at the time limit changing, 1 second at a time, on the board.
After the 27 minutes, the final countdown begins.
5 seconds, 4 seconds, 3…2…1…
At the same time it turns to 0, my consciousness becomes hazy.
Definitely, as expected, it is a system that when the time comes, you automatically fall asleep
“Welcome! Aren’t you glad to see me again?”
The baby angel always obnoxiously greets me.
“I’d be more welcome if you would put on some underwear. What is there to boast about that you leave it out to dangle like that?”
“Aww. I even gave you a special privilege and you diss me as soon as you see my face? I’m hurt.”
“A special privilege?”
“I gave you a special service because I approved of the fervor of which you prepared for the exam.”
“Look around for yourself.”
And then I finally see my appearance.
First of all, the training shoes, two gloves, hat, everything was as I had fallen asleep in.
“Yup. You come in the way you are dressed.”
“Yes. You may use what you wear, including your shoes. Other things, you cannot.”
And now that I look again, I don’t see my wristwatch. And then I look in my pockets, and the lighter and Swiss army knife that I had packed, are not there. But the bag of candy I had put in my cargo pants is.
“Your service is a single bag of candy?”
“Yes. It is only special this one time. Aren’t you thankful?”
“Yeah. Real thankful. You want one?”
The baby angel put out his two hands toward me.
I rip open the bag and give him a piece.
“How is it? This much preparation and I would say it’s a 100 out of 100.”
“I’ll give you a 98. You have done the best you could to prepare on your own.”
“Well what’s the missing 2%?”
“What do you think?”
The baby angel gleefully speaks.
“If you can guess it, I’ll give you 2 karma. Ok. Time limit 60 seconds. Start.”
I am startled by the sudden quiz. 2 karma is the price of 100 bullets.
What is it? What did I miss?
I think hard. I squeeze my brain and an answer doesn’t come to mind.
‘Hold on. Didn’t that bastard just say it? That I have done everything I could to prepare on my own?’
And the answer suddenly comes to mind.
Without realizing it, I swear. It’s the result of my own regret.
“Have you discovered it?”
I grind my teeth and reply.
“…I was unable to meet another examinee.”
“Correct! 2 karma will be given to examinee Kim Hyun-ho. You must be happy?”
“Happy? My ass I’m happy!”
I had forgotten about such an important aspect. And there were plenty of hints!
‘I say again, but examinee Kim Hyun-ho received a really great grade in your first exam.’
‘Normally, examinees cannot do like Kim Hyun-ho has.’
The baby angel had not forthrightly hidden the fact that there are other examinees like me. But I had not realized as such. The very first thing that I should’ve done would have been to find and meet other examinees and receive information and tips.
“Hold on. Can I go around talking about the exam and the Arena and it doesn’t matter?”
“It doesn’t matter. You could do tricks with Sylph and become a YouTube star and it wouldn’t matter.”
Towards my frowning face, the baby angel pats me on the shoulder.
“C’mon now. Didn’t you just get 2 karma for free? And you have a bag of candy.”
“Can I use the 2 karma now?”
I call on the board and with the karma prize, I obtain 100 bullets. It is a relief that I have been able to get more bullets.
“Ok. If all your preparations are done, shall we find out a bit more about the 2nd exam?”
“It’s not like before where you don’t tell me anything and just drop me into it?
“Hee hee. I, too, enjoy examinee Kim Hyun-ho’s endless pondering, riding the poop rope.*”
(TN: According to Gampa in the comments: “Riding the poop rope” actually means “the poop rope is burning.” Basically imagine there’s a rope that’s connected to your ass(hole) that’s burning like a fuse. You would be panicking and running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, right? (just like our dear mc here)”))
My fists cry.
Can I use the karma prize and just slap this bastard on the cheek once?
“My face slaps are expensive.”
The baby angel read my mind.
“Anyway, the first exam was just a warm up. And starting at the 2nd exam, it’s the real deal.”
As so we returned to real talk. I tense up and concentrate on the baby angel’s words. I cannot lose a single word. Any passing word can become a hint.
“Starting now, you will carry out the exam with another examinee.”
So that’s why he gave me that quiz.
“How many people?”
“Apart from examinee Kim Hyun-ho, 4 other people.”
“What kind of people?”
“Look for yourself. They’re right next to you.”
“Who’s next to m-OOHHHH!”
I’m completely taken by surprise, I’m not alone.
“Wakk! Fuck, what is this!”
The other people around me all yell in surprise. The space where only the angel and I stood is occupied suddenly by four more people!
With surprise in our eyes, we stare at each other.
A girl, in her 20’s, in sweats and tennis shoes.
A man, who seems about 40, with an angry expression and a big build.
A young guy about college age.
And a guy, about mid 30’s, with a cold expression on his face.
After looking at the four people, I return my gaze to the baby angel.
The baby angel clapped his hands together.
“Now now, pay attention. You are all examinees who have just finished your first exam. There are those with impressive marks, those with so-so average marks, and those who cause grave concern. Regardless, from now on, you will be going through the exam together so good luck.”
With a flick of his finger, the exam door appeared.
“Hey, you rat shit sparrow bastard! You ought to explain a bit about the exam!”
The 40 year old man yelled out.
The baby angel made a happy smile.
“But I don’t want to?”
“Why this arrogant bastard…!”
“You want to get hit with lightning again?”
The angry man twitches. It seems he was also hit with lightning before.
Perhaps it is from his nasty speech and reckless behavior, but I get the feeling he is a thug. His expression is such and he doesn’t seem the type to get along with others.
‘Will it be okay? I don’t know if it will go well being teamed up with this person.’
I don’t think I am the only one thinking this kind of thought.
The girl in her 20’s and the college guy are both staring with nervous eyes at the angry looking, middle-aged man.
Only the man in his 30’s, with the cold unchanging expression, looks on without a blink.
Now is not the time for this. First I must verify what the exam is.
I retrieve my board.
As I do so, the others follow suit and say ‘board retrieval’. And for real, their boards were not visible.
-Name: Kim Hyun-ho
-Mission: survive until the time limit
-Time limit: 7 days
“One, one week?”
The girl and college student are surprised.
“Hey sparrow! All it is, is holding onto my breath for a week?”
The thuggish man asked the baby angel. The baby angel nodded his head and replied.
“That is correct. You’re annoying, so go on your way or I will hit with lightning. 1, 2, 3, 4…
“Oh fuck! I’ll go, geez, I’m going!”
Perhaps due to his fear of the lightning, the thuggish man opened the mission door first and left.
After him, we took our turns passing through the mission door.
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