Past Life Returner Chapter 3
My growth did not progress according to my will, and my mother suffered for it all the more. She worried. She started to worry when I first started shaking, and her expressions of dread reminded me of when I first faced a dungeon. My movements were natural from suppressing pain, but she thought they were from epilepsy or seizures.
The doctor comforted my mother, saying that they were a temporary phenomenon resulting from a growth spurt, but she could not help fretting over the trivial things like all mothers.
There was no internet, and she had to learn how to take care of a child by herself.
I started to cry intentionally after I realized that crying made her worry less than when I trembled silently from growing pains.
Last night my mother had massaged my limbs after not being able to get a moment’s sleep because of me, and now it was morning.
“I’ll see you soon. Son, your father is leaving now. Honey, I’ll try to come back soon today if possible.”
My father went to work from the early morning, and as always, I could hardly believe I was seeing him again. The memory of being told my father had passed away was still painful in my mind.
Then, I realized that I heard my father’s voice clearer than usual, and I could focus on the outlines of the objects in my view. I had grown up more than when I first started the quest, but my babbling was the same. I could only say vowels that were easy to pronounce, no matter how hard I tried. I could say ahh, uhh, ohh, and nothing else.
“My son, are you singing?”
While I could not bring out the status window, I was satisfied with my mother enjoying herself. My babble gave my mother strength, and she smiled despite being tired to the bone.
“I know you came out of my stomach, but you’re too cute. Who do you take after to be cute like this? Yes, yes.”
My mother did not kiss my lips or cheeks, but she found my toes sticking out of the blanket and kissed them multiple times. She then raised her t-shirt naturally and lifted me up.
The quest would be completed after this feeding time, and my statistics were also increasing in other ways. This would be due to my growth, as babies around my age developed that much their first month from their mothers’ sacrifices, even if they did not have superhuman abilities.
However, points were a different matter, and it was a supernatural ability only the Awakened could accumulate. I sucked at my mother’s breast, and my taste buds were working better than before, along with my sight and hearing.
My mother looked at me with loving eyes as I swallowed her milk that tasted of coconuts.
[Be healthy 1: Drink breast milk 300/300]
I was full and though my lips kept moving from survival instincts, this should stop when I was a bit older.
[You completed the quest ‘Be Healthy.’]
[Your Health increased by 1.]
[You have accumulated 3 points.]
[Total points: 3]
[Quest ‘Be Healthy 2’ has started.]
The youngest memory I have was a day in 1988. I was watching the Seoul Olympic opening ceremony on TV, and I held a doll of the Olympic mascot often in family pictures. The only memory I have of 1988 is that single fragment, which felt like an old dream. Therefore, I only heard about what kind of life my parents had from 1985 to 1987.
My mother and father were said to have suffered a lot during their honeymoon days, and it was true. We lived in a single room and shared the bathroom with the owner’s family and used their kitchen when they were not using it.
It was a day when my mother had been working in the kitchen carrying me on her back. I saw fish cakes and knew today was the day. She had spoken of this day often, that she had stolen a few slices of the owners’ fish cakes because she wanted to eat them so much and did not have the money to buy them during the first few years of marriage.
The reason my mother had not forgotten that day was that she had been discovered by the owner’s wife, who had then violently berated her.
Things were happening according to history, as my mother glanced around and ate an uncooked slice of fish cake. She seemed to have wanted to eat only one, but her hand instinctively reached for another.
I had to cry as best as I could since while it seemed trivial, this day had become a traumatic experience for my mother. I cried out loud, and my mother’s hands reached for me instead.
“Hey, I’m sorry.”
My mother spoke with a teary voice and rushed out of the kitchen. She met the owner’s wife on the way, but nothing happened. This trivial matter will not change history, and even if it changed, I could live with that for my mother.
The news said that the current president, who was from a military background, visited America with a formal invitation from the American president. My mother could relax a little that month, as my growth spurts died down, and I could keep quiet. Also, my father had given her his first month’s wages.
I pretended to sleep as I lay down with my mother as I was being fed until she fell asleep. I stopped sucking from her breast when she started to snore. I twisted my body sideways as much as I could. While my limbs did not work as I wanted them to, I could toss and turn.
I turned my body after numerous tries, and finally found space where I could freely move my lips. People said babies started to speak after about eighteen months. However, I had rested enough for the past fifty days to wait that long.
I needed to be able to call on the status window more than I needed to control my limbs. My goal was to open the bronze box that was given as a bonus item the first time someone opened their status window.
I was fairly certain that the first person to open the status window would have incredible benefits, as the title of being the first always has been. If it was the title of being the first Awakened…
However, I only could babble vowels, and my s pronunciations sounded like wind coming out of balloons since I did not have any teeth. However, the System was generous enough, so a perfect accent was not necessary, and I just needed to be understandable. I started practicing again today, next to my sleeping mother.
The television was hectic after my mother turned it on. They were focusing on the results of the summit between South Korea and America, and the news highlighted the scene where details such as having agreed on direct conversations to take place between South Korea and North Korea, were explained to the three party representatives. It was as if the president had been a hero who had achieved greatness, despite the fact the current government was a military dictatorship. It was an era in which our government was continuously growing. The television only stated hopeful news such as the number of domestic registered cars was over a million, or that we had become a country great enough to provide humanitarian aid for our enemy North Korea and poor Ethiopia. The news hid the dark sides of this country, and I could not help but laugh.
It was because the history of this time, as well as the state of affairs in Korea or the changes in the world was unreal to me.
Humanity had not been prepared at all for the Day of Advent. I had been born and grown up in an era where the Cold War between two ideologies had just ended, and human beings were starting another battle under the name of capitalism.
However, our culture had so easily crumbled in the future as we faced supernatural events that were ignored as being unscientific. Our politicians, economists, and financiers all had been useless.
The most serious problem was that we had not stopped fighting against each other, and the results were the Eight Evils and Eight Virtues.
While there were those who were called heroes, there was no one who could be truly called heroic. The boundaries between good and evil blurred, and those closer to being S classes were considered virtuous, and those far away were considered evil.
At least, that was the future to me, and I was not too fond of the idea. After all that, to me, the sight of our president pretending to be solemn and the condescending expression on the American president’s face looked like a children’s play going on in an antique television.
Every trace of the lives you people had filled with ambition and greed will fall!
“Oh, my son!”
My mother seemed to have been surprised at me watching the television so seriously. However, she talked to me often because she had no one to boast of such things, and now the time I had been waiting for came.
My mother had fallen asleep feeding me as she always did, but I stayed awake with the television still turned on. Today, I felt something good would happen since I could hold my tongue when it had been like an eel before. It was the result of practicing whenever there was time.
I ignored my lisps and focused on completing the words. Status window, status window, status window, and status window. I started again when a vowel sandwiched unintentionally. I finally managed to speak the words, albeit misshapenly.
[Name: Sunhoo Na, Characteristics (1)]
That was all I could see, and while my Health, Strength, Agility, and Perception statistics had continuously increased, I still had a long way to go before those were added to the status window.
[You have received a ‘bronze box’ as a reward for awakening.]
I had expected this much, and the next step was the important one. Please pop up, please!
[Congratulations! You are the first Awakened!]
I had been right and felt jubilant enough almost to scream when I saw the sentence. My small heart was beating so fast that my chest shook, but the next sentence sent chills down my spine.
[You have received a ‘challenger box’ as the reward for being the first awakened.]
A challenger box! I knew that the first reward would be amazing, but I had not expected a challenger box. It was a reward all S classes craved in the future, and I had only handled one once. It had given me the chance to go back in time through an astronomical improbability. The time I spent saving points just to open one challenger box was an unimaginable ordeal. A two-month-old baby being given one scared me rather than making me happy.
I thought that I perhaps had twisted the System structure, or I had become one of the chosen ones like the Eight Evils and the Eight Virtues. However, I was now sure of one thing, and that was the fact I was now First in the Race.