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We ordered dinner from room service. Then we talked while drinking beer on the terrace.
I think Cha Ji-hye’s personality was one that hated useless chatting, but we actually got along really well as she chatted with me.
Her life story was just a winding rollercoaster.
“When I was young, my parents died in a car accident and I grew up in an orphanage. There was a gym owner that would often come by the orphanage for volunteer work and I learned muay thai from him. That was my one delight.”
“But he closed up his gym and moved to a different place and I became alone again. I had no money for college so I didn’t even dream about going and entering the military was the best path out of all the options I had. It fit my physical constitution as well since I had some training already.”
Cha Ji-hye was downing several cans of beers as she looked out at the terrace view.
She suddenly glanced over at me and smiled.
“It is just you, Mr. Kim Hyun-ho.”
“You are the closest person I have.”
At those words, I felt my heart skip a beat.
Was it because it was night time?
Was it because the relationship between Min-jeong and I already had a foot in the grave?
Or was it because I’ve been drinking?
Cha Ji-hye had always been beautiful, but today she looked especially beautiful.
“Now that I’m a dead person, you are the only person that knows I am still alive. Isn’t that strange?”
“Yes, it is strange.”
She said it in a normal tone of voice but I could feel her emptiness and loneliness.
I could emphasize with her too.
The only person that I could tell all my secrets to was her too.
The secret that I couldn’t bring myself to tell Min-jeong. I can tell it all to Cha Ji-hye.
She had already died once for me, she was the one woman I trusted the most in the world.
“What are you talking about?”
“That you died because of me.”
“But it’s not okay. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have needed to become an examinee, you would’ve just gone on living.”
“I do not know what it means to go on living.”
“I lived in reality for 29 years but didn’t know what it meant to be living. I just kept on breathing while I spent that in numbness.”
“That’s why I was so interested in examinees. When I started working at the Korean Arena Research Agency, I felt satisfaction. Next to people fighting against death, watching them, I felt what it was to be alive.”
Cha Ji-hye continued to talk as she opened another can of beer.
“To live is to fight impending death. I longed for that feeling which is why when I met death, I chose to become an examinee.”
“You’re saying you wanted it?”
“Yes, personality-wise I wouldn’t say I enjoy using skills but I do like the exams. It gives my life a purpose it didn’t have before, and for the past 15 years that I spent close to death, it let me feel that I am alive.”
I understand why I felt such a strength coming from her.
The courage not to fear death.
As a person that fears death and has a strong attachment to life, it was a strength I could not emulate.
“Then what are you planning on doing once you clear all the exams?”
“I do not know. First of all, in the real world, I have the goal of bringing down chief Kim Joong-tae, but I suppose that will be taken care of by the time I complete the exams.”
I nodded my head.
If the goal was just killing chief Kim Joong-tae, realistically that was completely doable even now.
It would be as simple as sniping him from a distance. It would just be difficult to navigate the backlash thereafter.
“Do you not want a simple life? To meet someone to love and get married and have a child, that kind of life.”
“I don’t have any desires for such things. I might even be too familiar with solitude now.”
Cha Ji-hye got up from her seat.
“I’m going to bed first.”
After Cha Ji-hye went into her room, I continued thinking about her on my own.
‘She’s definitely changed.’
I don’t think she realizes it herself.
But from my perspective, she is definitely different from before.
In the 15 years she spent in the Arena, she had become comfortable with her solitude.
It might even be that before she died and became an examinee, there was already solitude residing in her heart and it was just being expressed now.
‘If I keep doing the exams too, will I turn into this too?’
I too spent years on the Brown Mountain with the elves but I didn’t spend as long a time in the Arena like she did.
If I spend ages fighting, I felt that I too would become as lonely a person.
‘It doesn’t matter.’
As long as I live……
As long as I pass the many obstacles and survive in the end, I don’t care about things like being lonely. My life is too precious.
After spending four days treating Chairman Maglun, I got a call from chief secretary Lee Jung-shik.
-I have acquired the weapon you requested. It is rather a big item so it is hard to pass it onto you in a public space.
“I will go to retrieve it. Where should I go to get it?”
-The mountain cabin in Jincheon-gun in Chungbuk will be a good location.
It was a bit far from here in Incheon but oh well. I’ll just have to drive as fast as the wind.
After I told Cha Ji-hye that I’ll be going to pick up the weapon, she insisted that she would come with since she didn’t have anything to do alone at the hotel anyway.
We GOT in the Porsche Cayenne and I slammed on the gas pedal and we sped off crazily.
With the intent to pay any number of speeding tickets, I sped up.
A Porsche is indeed a Porsche. I had no experience driving other cars but with every step, the more I pushed, I felt the tantalizing sensation of the car shooting forward.
Cha Ji-hye, while in the passenger seat, no matter how much I sped up, couldn’t care less. She actually gave me a compliment.
“You are a good driver.”
“Thanks to the reflex skill.”
The superior level 1 reflex skill made me the best driver. I’m at the stage where I can maneuver the car as delicately as my own body.
After racing all the way there, we arrived at the planned mountain cabin.
It only seemed like yesterday that I was here hunting with Chairman Park Jin-seong.
“You have arrived?”
Along with secretary Lee Jung-shik, there was several other men from the 3rd chief secretarial office.
From a large black van, they unloaded a large black case.
The weapon unloaded from the case……
I automatically let out a gasp.
The overall length looked to be about 1.5 meters, the heavy black rifle had a monstrous appearance.
“It is an item called the AW50F. I retrieved this one that was used by the police SWAT.”
At that, Cha Ji-hye walked ahead of me and approached and took the AW50F.
The man that handed Cha Ji-hye the rifle looked shocked as Cha Ji-hye effortlessly received the hand-off with one hand.
(TN: The gun weighs 15 kilograms/33 pounds)
“It’s an item used by the 707th special mission battalion. It is my first time touching one.”
Cha Ji-hye must be excited because she fidgeted with the gun here and there and folded and unfolded the butt plate.
I searched for AW50F on my smartphone.
The information from the search on the AW50F is as follows.
-Type/Action: bolt action
-Cartridge: 12.7 mm
-Caliber: 50 BMG
Feed system: box magazine, 10 rounds
-Length: 1350 mm
-Weight: 13.5 kg
-Effective firing range: 1,500 m
‘Wow, um, wow.’
On your average widely used gun like a K2 rifle, the bullet was 5.56 mm. but this uses bullets over twice as big, 12.7 mm!
‘Shooting a human with this would blow them into bits and pieces.’
It’s awful just to imagine it. I hope I won’t ever have to use this on a human.
“Try shooting it.”
At the coincidental timing, Cha Ji-hye spoke and it startled me.
“Why are you so surprised?”
“Oh, nothing. Give it here.”
Cha Ji-hye threw me the AW50F. Its weight was probably about 13.5 kg but I grabbed it easily with one hand. Sure enough, I could feel how much heavier this was compared to the Mosin-Nagant.
“Here are the bullets.”
At Lee Jung-shik’s words, the men brought over a couple boxes of bullets and magazines.
With Cha Ji-hye’s help, I put in ten.50 cal BMG caliber bullets.
I pulled on the bolt to load the gun and took aim.
‘Where should I shoot?’
After some pondering, I aimed at a nearby boulder.
It felt a bit awkward because this one had an attached scope that the Mosin-Nagant didn’t have.
Two spirits appeared.
The spirits already knew what to do and hopped on top of my shoulders and focused on the AW50F I was holding.
“Sylph, get rid of the gunshot, please.”
Sylph nodded her head.
An anti-material sniper rifle with bullet compensation, Sylph, and Kasa, this was the most powerful I could be!
I pulled the trigger.
Thanks to Sylph’s sound elimination, the sound of a gunshot didn’t ring out. But the heavy recoil and ripping sound of the bullet splitting the air sounded terrifying.
And at nearly the same time,
The large boulder shattered.
Literally, it shattered.
The boulder became tens of tiny rocks and rolled away in all directions.
At the power that mercilessly shattered the large boulder, I was at a loss for words.
Secretary Lee Jung-shik and his boys from the office also looked just as shocked.
Alas, the only neutral-faced Cha Ji-hye was able to calmly say/
“At the very least, no person shot by this will be safe.”
“Um. I suppose.”
I was in love with this AW50F.
No matter how long the distance, I have Sylph to make sure I have a 100% accuracy rate, I felt like as long as I had this, I was unbeatable.
The board appeared.
“I want to itemize this.”
Then the words twitched and changed on the board.
-AW50F: a bolt action anti-material sniper rifle. Uses large caliber bullets and thus has high power, also very durable. (-3,300)
*Effective firing range: 1,500
-Would you like to use 3,300 karma to itemize AW50F?
-Remaining karma: +4,000
3,300 karma! This was an amount of karma only that could be attained with a stellar performance on an entire exam.
I’m pinning it all on this one weapon.
‘But it is totally worth it!’
I gladly consented to the itemizing.
-AW50F has been registered as an item. Say ‘arm’ or ‘disarm’ in order to freely summon the item.
-3,300 karma has been used.
-Remaining karma: +700
The great anti-material sniper rifle called the AW50F was now my new weapon and I felt much better.
‘Now that I’m on it I should organize.’
I took out all of the 7.62 mm bullets used for the Mosin-Nagant and handed it all over to secretary Lee Jung-shik and asked him to take care of the disposal of them.
And I turned the Mosin-Nagant into karma.
I had gotten rid of the sight and front sight to itemize it for 200 karma so the exchange gave me back 100 karma.
Now the remaining karma was 800.
‘What skill should I raise with this?’
Even if I were to immediately raise the level, there wasn’t a skill that would really improve my fighting.
‘Hold on, the bullets are a lot bigger than the Mosin-Nagant?’
The.50 BMG caliber bullets used for the AW50F are extremely big.
The space bag I created with the skill synthesis is 100cm width, length, and height and is an ample storage space.
But including the fact that I have to store in the.357 magnum bullets in there that are used in the Neilson H2’s, I couldn’t safely say it was ample space anymore
‘Okay. I’ll increase the space so that I can store plenty of food and water too.’
I used all my karma on the space bag that was at entry level 4.
To entry level 5, then intermediate level 1, it used 700 karma to go up two levels.
But when the space bag reached intermediate level 1, an incredible change happened.
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