The reason there were so few empathic healers was not only because of the rareness of the ability, but because it was difficult for them to even survive.
The Eight Evils and Eight Virtues and other guilds all forcefully “recruited” empathic healers as soon as they were found.
The problem rose from there. New empathic healers were traumatised due to the Trial Tests and had to care for other new Awakened and those already Awakened. While the number of empathic healers were small, the number they had to treat was many.
The empathic link was considered an extremely dangerous phenomenon in psychology or psychiatry, as the empathic healer may be overpowered by the patient’s emotions and thus, unable to disengage from the patient’s mind. What is more, empathic healers directly touched their patient’s emotions and memories by their abilities, and those they had to treat were those already Awakened, who were hardened killers, and those newly Awakened, who were fresh born killers.
Their mental state was seriously unstable due to the Trial Tests, and most Awakened were thrown back to the world without a period of rest, freshly traumatized by the horrors of the Trial Tests.
It may have been inevitable that the minds of the Awakened were nightmarish hellscapes, filled with rage, anguish, hatred, regret, despair and suicidal tendencies. Empathic healers had to share such minds, which was unendurable. Therefore, after awakening, they tended to die out as empathic healers could not heal each other, as the mental damage they suffered was amplified when being shared with each other.
Yeonhee Woo, a pre-Awakened, would have to face the horrible torture that empathic healers had to face if she survived until the Day of Advent.
As I did not know her name, her life probably did not end well.
I met Yeonhee Woo again during homeroom the next morning. Usually, there was a shadow in her smile, but today was different. This change had come after our conversation, and other students also saw that change during the ethics class, which she taught. She seemed to be feeling that my session with her was effective.
I could not be certain since I had no idea how her ability worked, but she had no other reason to be that happy. She did not have a lover, friends, or good relations with her family, and her pay had not been raised.
It was the end of the school day, and students did not listen; however, she tried to quiet them down. Yeonhee Woo maintained her smile and tone.
“I will not tell you your next year’s class assignments unless you guys settle down.”
Yeonhee Yoo shook the paper she held in her hand, and my classmates showed various emotions as the class assignments were revealed from the first classroom to the tenth. Then, when my name was called, the room went eerily silent. Those in the same class with me were not happy, and while I did not know their names, I could see it in their faces.
Students did not fight in this class because of me, and those who strayed early on learned to spend their time in other classrooms during breaks away from my presence. And they were now in the same class as me. While normally middle school classes were designated so that the students in each class were at the same point in the curriculum, this arrangement had a different agenda.
Since other classes had their share of troublemakers, the school had decided to put the problematic students into a single class and put me in it, whom they could not fight against or talk back to…
Therefore, the class atmosphere brightened, as other students no longer had to worry anymore about the students who would be in the same class as me. Even in middle school, children learned survival instincts. Children may pretend otherwise, but they feared the strong and herded together for mutual protection.
In Trial Tests, it was between the Awakened, and after the test, it was between the civilians and the Awakened. Nothing really changed.
Those who were in the same class as me were busy avoiding my gaze, and spending time with such babies made me tired.
I thought middle school was my limit and wondered what good way would be to not to go to high school without disappointing my parents. (EN: Middle schools in South Korea consist of three grades. Most students enter at age 12 or 13 and graduate at age 15 or 16.)
“I’m happy that you guys are happy.”
I met Yeonhee Woo’s eyes, and she spoke in my direction.
“Stay safe during the vacation, and I’ll see you again.”
“Teacher, aren’t you in charge of the first grade?”
“I also became in charge of the second grade.”
Yeonhee Woo lightly answered the question, as boys would like anyone in a skirt. Moreover, Yeonhee Woo would look pretty in their eyes, like a small puppy. While she was cute, not beautiful, boys would not care. Yeonhee Woo took me to the staff room again afterward, and this was the reason there were strange rumors regarding the two of us. Because of those rumors, boys being boys, Yeonhee Woo became the object of sexual fantasies among them. I tried to mention that as I followed her.
“If you take me to your office whenever they are watching…”
Yeonhee Woo spoke before I could finish my sentence.
“I’m sorry, but I would not have to call you if your school life did not need my attention.”
She changed the subject.
“Are you interested in basketball?”
“However, I do need to tell you something. Seongil Middle School wants to see you during vacation. Do you know that there is a basketball team there?”
“I thought I told you before that I’m not interested in sports.”
“That’s a lie. You do chin-ups every lunchtime.”
“I’m not interested in competitive sports like basketball.”
“All of them?”
“You know that your physical abilities are amazing, and you’re even still growing. I want to meet your parents, and would that be all right?”
“My father and my mother are working.”
I saw that she found my words a relief in her face. If she showed her emotions like that, anyone could read her. Yeonhee Woo seemed to have been interested in my family affairs. Not about my interest in sports.
Since layoffs were everywhere during these times, it seemed that she wanted to confirm that my father was working. Yeonhee Woo brightened after that, and she stopped as I did. She then gazed at the CD that I took out of my bag.
“You play video games, too?”
She seemed surprised.
“Teacher, you don’t?”
“Not even once.”
I did not know what she saw in me that worried her, but she followed me to this school because she was worried about me.
“Then, try this when you’re bored. I heard that teachers rest during vacations.”
I ignored her polite refusal, and almost forced the RPG game CD on Yeonhee Woo.
“I will call your parents.”
She will install that game to understand and become closer to me and maybe she will learn how to call on the status window by playing.
I could intervene only this far in her life, and the rest was up to her.
Everyone wondered why the status window and abilities were similar to that of in games, particularly those with a loot box system. It was the most intuitive and effective way and that the absolute being watching took care of us by choosing this method. Of course, the Eight Virtues were the ones who put forth this argument.
My cell phone rang in my bag when I almost arrived at the office, and it was in my school uniform jacket I had changed in the subway station’s bathroom.
It was Jonathan.
<We got Blue Rock?>
<I bent my pride. The moment they asked for shares with THAT smile…I wanted to just raise my middle finger and end things there. Didn’t I tell you I’m from Texas?>
<Thank you for your efforts. I know that it was hard for you.>
<It took you this long.>
<The problems start from now. I have to give them work so they won’t be able to sniff out our secrets. Have you thought of something?>
<Wait. Did you solve other problems? What about the time leftover in their contracts?>
<There will be a lawsuit, but I got it handled.>
<Who will you give it to?>
<They do criminal law.>
<Let me finish. That legal Dream Team has a group specializing in Business Law, including contracts. I guess you’d call it the ‘Financial Partner’s Dream Team’. I’ll tell you the specifics later. I thought of something when these guys were whining at me.>
<We want to increase our firm’s size by buying the Bluestone Group.>
<That is correct.>
<How about doing it in the opposite way? Let’s grab the client funds that the Bluestone Group sold to the Blue Rock and buy additional client funds from other management firms.>
<There was something that met our standards in Pittsburgh.>
I immediately thought of one name at Jonathan’s mention of Pittsburgh, and it was ANC Financial! My eyes opened because Jonathan had thought that far.
<Sun, let’s take ANC’s client funds along with Blue Rock’s.>
Jonathan’s voice was brighter than Yeonhee Woo’s today, and he had to be seeing the same thing as I. What would happen after we bring in the client funds from Blue Rock and ANC? Jonathan seemed as excited as when we bet everything in Thailand and Hong Kong.
I could not stop him when he was stepping onto a bigger battlefield, as he had to regain his former self as quickly as possible.
<Can you come to that pub now?>
<I’m running there now. My classes ended for the day.>
Edited by Userunfriendly.