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Like the first exam, it’s a forest.
“Eh Nimi*, it’s the forest again.”
(TN: I have no idea what that is. It might be a typo by the author. I think he was trying to say ‘boss’ but I really don’t know.)
The thuggish guy mumbled.
We were all lost, looking around at our surroundings. I too, felt a strange energy looking around the forest’s environment; it wasn’t new.
Everyone stood where they were and continued to stare and so I picked up my courage and spoke.
“So was everyone’s first exam the red ape?”
The girl in her 20’s and the college kid spoke.
“What? So all of you had to fight that fricking monkey too?” asked the thuggish guy.
Instead of an answer, I just nodded my head up and down. It didn’t feel nice that he was using informal speech at the get go.*
(TN: In Korea, you usually use formal speech when first meeting people and progress to informal speech when you become friends.)
“So it’s that forest from then.”
The 30 year old guy, that hadn’t said a single word, spoke for the first time.
The girl and the college kid nodded.
So it is. This is the forest from the first exam.
“So I guess that means that this forest is the location where 5 red apes died?”
“I suppose so,” replied the college student.
“Then doesn’t that possibly mean that this exam, in addition to red apes, the mission is to survive for a week?”
At my words, the thuggish guy lets out a big grin.
“What. It’s not like that monkey thing was scary anyway. You just have to beat them to death as they appear.”
“It’s possible that tens or hundreds might come in bunches.”
“How would you know that, bastard?”
Ok. I really don’t like this ajusshi.*
(TN: Respectful term for middle aged men.)
“Monkeys and primates live in communities. The red apes live in communities and of those if five of them died here, might not their comrades come here for revenge?”
The thuggish guy had nothing to say to that so I continued to speak.
“So far that is only a speculation but nonetheless, I think we should stop standing here and move. We have to get water and food as well.”
“That makes sense.”
The college student agreed.
“I think so too.” The girl agreed in a cautious voice.
Indeed these two people have good cooperation. The problem is the thuggish delinquent ajusshi and the cold, wordless 30 year old guy.
“Well, since we have to find a safe place to stay put for a week anyway.”
The embarrassed thug middle aged man spoke and briskly walked forward, setting the way. He even just decides which direction to go in all on his own.
I get the uneasy feeling that as time goes on, this man will cause us problems.
But for now, there is no other way.
I follow in behind him and the others begin to follow suit.
“Ah, fuck, no cigarettes.”
The thug middle aged man dug through his pockets and mumbled. Walking a few steps and mumbled, another few steps and more mumbling. The thug man made us uncomfortable with his continuous swearing.
‘I wonder what all these people picked with their karma prize?’
I am most curious about that.
The fighting style will change according to what skills and weapons we have.
We have to know what each other’s fighting style is in order to synchronize/complement each other.
‘Now that I think of it, didn’t the angel say this?’
‘There are those here with great grades, modest so-so grades, and those with grave cause for concern.”
We are 5 people.
So, I can guess that there are two with great grades, two people with modest grades, and the remaining one person with a bad grade.
The bad grade was probably received by the 20 year old girl. Because, well, she’s a girl.
Then there are two with great grades. I am sure one of the two is me. So then who is the other?
‘I don’t think it’s the college student, but you never know. A guy like me got a good grade so I can’t judge by just by appearances.’
At the least it’s probably not the thuggish man. Because he’s too stupid.
Should I ask? What their skills and weapons are?
I was pondering these things at the time.
“I am Park Go-chan.”
The one who opened his mouth was the thuggish man.
“You mention Park Go-chan on the Gangnam night streets and nobody doesn’t know me.”
He’s definitely a thug.
“Spent 20 years on those streets and there are more than 10 people who met their fates with my hands. Unlike you guys, I am familiar with this kind of thing. So you all just trust me and follow me and you’ll be good.”
This chattering Park Go-chan suddenly put his hand on the shoulder of the 20 year old girl that had been walking behind him.
“Got it, miss?”
“Wha-what are you doing.”
The girl got flustered and brushed off Park Go-chan’s hand.
Park Go-chan brazenly grabbed her shoulder again and swooshed her into his arms and spoke.
“Miss, I know what you’re thinking. You are scared to be in this situation? I will protect you from now on. How’s that? Thankful?”
“Let, let go please.”
Paling in the daylight, the girl in a shaky and sad voice resisted.
The college guy, not knowing what to do just stared.
I feel the same.
Starting from a while ago, the passive behavior Park Go-chan began revealing his true nature.
This place, the Arena, does not have any laws to protect us, and Park Go-chan, having started to reveal his true nature, is bound to enact tyranny.
And when that time comes, it is clear without seeing what will happen to the girl.
‘It cannot be.’
I, too, am fearful of this Park Go-chan who says he was a gangster, but I can’t turn a blind eye to this behavior.
I have to continue taking the exam with that girl and if I don’t act now, I am approving of this Park Go-chan’s behavior.
I take the girl away from Park Go-chan and speak.
“Um, she is uncomfortable so let’s not do this…”
Puck! (Hitting sound)
I collapse, sitting onto the ground I grab my left cheek and moan.
“You fucking bastard. Who are you treating like shit? Tiny fucker!”
Park Go-chan kicks me in the side.
The air got knocked out of me. I grip my side and roll on the floor.
With the pain, the feeling of injustice comes flooding in. Why do I have to get hit by a shit like this? He thinks I’m weaker than him so he fearlessly throws his violence at me.
‘Should I summon Sylph? Should I threaten him with the gun?’
These thoughts race by my mind.
“I didn’t like you from the beginning. Trailing little bastard pretending to know shit and yammering on with your mouth.”
Park Go-chan is threatening to establish his power in the group. What kind of immature high school behavior is this?
He will probably assert his power and then boss the others around like servants.
“Huk huk huk…” (Crying/weeping sound)
As the situation explodes into violence, the girl begins to weep.
To get beaten to a pulp in front of a girl! It really hurts my pride. Based on my thoughts, all I want to do is call Sylph to pull out this thug bastard’s throat or shoot him with the gun.
“Please, please don’t fight.”
The young guy who looks to be in college steps up. But all it does is catch the mean eyes of Park Go-chan.
“And what are you, you shit.”
“I, I am…”
In Park Go-chan’s right hand appeared a sword. Having seen the blue tint blade, the alarmed college student takes a few steps back.
“What, what are you doing?!”
“Might as well do this now, let’s arrange a pecking order. Anyone with a problem with me, come on out.”
It became as quiet as a dead mouse. Of course, the girl and the college student also became like chicks eating honey.
‘He wants to establish a hierarchy by fighting? Is this guy crazy?’
Whether we like or hate each other, in order to survive, we have to be cooperating comrades and he wants to fight?
At first thought, I want to summon Sylph and my gun and intimidate him too.
But this guy is a thug.
Even if the fight were to become a stalemate, I don’t know what kind of vengeance he may carry afterwards.
On top of that, his head will be full of thoughts on messing with the girl. A man who has gone crazy with sexual desire will fail to keep his anger in check.
Perhaps because he thinks he has completely controlled us, Park Go-chan turns his attention to the response-less 30 year old guy.
The 30 year old guy shows no response. But he is expressionless without looking at anything. He doesn’t appear at all to be intimidated by Park Go-chan.
“What about you? You got a problem with me?”
“Fuck, give me an answer!”
You can cut the atmosphere with a knife.
The 30 year old guy shows no response or fear. And now due to pride, Park Go-chan can’t back down. Park Go-chan approaches the guy and shoves his face close.
“Why no reply? Are you a mute? Pissed your pants? If you can’t answer at least nod your head.”
If he nods, it seems it will be taken as a sign of surrender and this will all be over. Even Park Go-chan doesn’t want this to go to a fight.
And then at that moment.
The guys’ right hand moves like lightning and smacks Park Go-chan in the face. His pointer and middle finger are resting atop Park Go-chan’s eyes.
“What, fuck what is this!”
The startled Park Go-chan flails his arms and backs up.
“Fishing out eyeballs with fingers is very easy.”
Finally, from the guy’s heavy lips, came forth creepy words.
The guy spoke to Park Go-chan, whose face has firmly frozen.
“Men, women, old, young, it’s possible for everyone. Using five fingers, one is bound to poke the eye. However, not everyone who can do it will try.”
The guy’s masterful speech and strong accent was like that of a Chinese person or a Korean Chinese.
“What do you think of me? Do you think me a person that will hesitate to harm another human?”
“Sh-shit, what are you saying, you Korean Chinese bastard.” His speech is still threatening but his voice has gotten a lot quieter than before.
“Didn’t you say ‘let’s establish a pecking order’?”
“What, what if I did?”
Park Go-chan’s voice begins to shake.
A cold grin appears on the guys lips.
“Come at me”
“You, you bastard? You can’t see this? You think I’m joking?”
Park Go-chan once more waves his sword around for all to see, threatening.
“I see it. So I say, come at me.”
“This fucking bastard…!”
The volatile tension!
“Um, shouldn’t we be stopping this?”
The college student approaches me and carefully asks. I shake my head.
“Let’s leave them be.”
“He won’t go at him.”
I tell him about Park Go-chan’s type.
“This kind of person won’t fight if they think they’ll get injured. That’s why all they do is threaten.”
It’s just like the bullies from high school. They only bother the weaklings who can’t fight back. They never touched the students who had the courage to fight.
Even thugs don’t tackle the kind of average person that will call the cops and scream and put up a fight. They only suck the blood out of the people that are too scared to resist and use those people as targets.
“Damn. It’s not like I can kill you either. Consider yourself lucky.”
As expected, Park Go-chan puts down his sword and backs down first. Everyone lets out a sigh of relief. We all thought the situation finally came to a close.
“I said come at me.”
The words emanate everywhere. The surprised Park Go-chan turns around.
Am I hallucinating? I feel like there is a malevolent energy flowing from the guy’s eyes.
“This bastard, you really wanna go at it!”
“Shouldn’t you take responsibility for the words you spit out?”
The beads of sweat began to form on Park Go-chan’s forehead.
‘The words ‘I shouldn’t have touched this guy’ were probably running through his head.’
“Hey, right now, we shouldn’t be fighting each other, let’s just stop it here shall we?”
Park Go-chan speaks, trying really hard not to show his fear.
“I will count to 10.” The guy speaks. “If you don’t come at me, I’m going to pluck out an eye. I hate people who don’t take responsibility for their words the most.”
“Hey, hey now. I said let’s stop it here.”
“1, 2, 3, 4…”
As the numbers raced to 10, Park Go-chan’s face became awash with horror. Even as onlookers, we could tell.
Thug Park Go-chan is nothing. The real scary person is that guy
In the end, Park Go-chan, who couldn’t attack, held on to his sword, which was shaking like a leaf in the wind.
Staring at this, the guy spoke.
“This is your first and last warning.”
And then the guy turned around.
Park Go-chan’s face became blank, as if he had just returned from hell.
‘It’s that person!’
The one other person with the high score besides me. I’m sure of it.
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