Past Life Returner 5

The man who had been cornered into announcing a peaceful change of the government and an end to the dictatorship was a historical footnote on the Constitution Day celebration ceremony. It was July seventeenth, 1985, the Korean Constitution Day, and the 140th day since I was born. The man shown on the television now was a deep wound for the 386 generation, who were born during the sixties and were university students during the eighties. He had left a deep mark on all Korean citizens, whether they had participated in the student movements and fought for democracy, or merely looked on.

(EN: I think that the author is refering to the June Democracy Movement against President and Dictator Chun Doo-hwan. However, the announcement promising free elections should be in 1987. Please Google for details.)

(EN: The 386 Generation is the generation who participated in the Democracy Movement of the 1980’s. A nod to the latest Intel 386 chip, it was in reference to people in their 30’s, who attended university in 1980s and were born in the 1960s.)

My father turned off the television with a rigid expression and lifted me. I could not move freely just because I grew faster than others. I had to maintain an appropriate level of development, so that I would not become an international sensation. Therefore, I floundered my limbs and mumbled my pronunciation, despite being able to say recognizable words and stand on my own.

“Apapa. Abuabu.”

My father worked on weekends but was home today, and my plans to complete the walking alone quest during the morning were squashed. My father held out his forefinger, and I knew what he wanted. Since my survival reflex movements didn’t occur on their own, I intentionally grabbed my father’s finger.

“Mom! Our son’s strength is amazing!”

I felt strange because I had seen my father only a few times in this life. While I was not used to seeing my father in his twenties, I was grateful for it since he was alive now.

***

I chose the day I was born as the point of my return because of two factors, the trait ‘The Man who Overcame Adversity’ and the rewards from being the First Awakened. Since I managed to get an S class skill, I began to be dissatisfied with the current situation. It was difficult to pretend I could not do things that I was actually able to do. Therefore, I slept during the day and waited for the night to come. My time began after my father came in drunk and fell asleep late at night.

An infant has a high temperature, and my mother had covered me with a light blanket on this hot early summer night. However, I was satisfied that the old electric fan’s creaking sound and my father’s snores were louder than usual since that meant I would be able to move more freely tonight.

I quietly crawled out after pushing away the blanket, and I moved like a cat since my mother was right next to me. The first thing I did was to change my diaper, because I could sympathize with babies crying when their diapers were wet, and the sogginess bothered me. While I grew up enough to stand on my own, my small bladder was still a problem. My diaper was already wet despite my mother changing it before she went to sleep.

There was a basket for my diapers since my mother washed a day’s worth at a time. Since there were so many, one or two more did not make a difference. I threw the diaper, and it went in the basket. Now was my time, and I had already finished standing up without support. I had marked a place that would not make a noise when I fell, and so I moved to the corner where my parents had stacked the blankets.

Seeing a baby change his diaper and practice walking at four months, late at night when everyone was asleep was a creepy rather than a proud sight, and people might feel fear. Since I had time, there was no need to hurry, and I began to practice, not waking my parents the priority. I promised myself that I would fall towards the blankets when I lost my balance. I didn’t pay attention to the time and repeated my movements until my infant body gave out.

[Strength is raised by 1 stat.]

[Sense is raised by 1 stat.]

[Agility is raised by 1 stat.]

This was not due to a quest, this was due to my growth, reaching a level that the increase could be measured and quantified. My grip had become stronger, and I had been feeling more muscle pains recently. I calculated that my senses were the highest because of the reward I had received from the bronze box. In my previous life, I could go against the Eight Evils and the Eight Virtues despite my low level because of my abnormally high senses since I had S class senses.

However, my weakness was that while I could harass them, I could not meet any of them face to face. My one encounter had been disastrous. My ideal growth was balancing all of my stats and yet maximizing my class advantages (and minimizing my class disadvantages), understanding, and training my traits and skills. An unbalanced growth would be viable only in the short term, and those whose abilities were one-sided were made fun of and then thrown out.

I straightened my posture and carefully balanced myself with my arms stretched out like I was on a tightrope. I finally took a step.

[Be healthy 5: Walking alone 1/10]

Two steps.

[Be healthy 5: Walking alone 2/10]

Three steps.

[Be healthy 5: Walking alone 3/10]

However, after the first step, I lost balance and fell with flailing arms, just missing the blankets. I hope my mother did not wake up.

***

I failed in completing the Walking Alone quest that day since I managed only to take four steps when the mission was ten. I crawled to my mother’s arms and buried my head against her breasts. This was something I could do only now, and my mother liked me snuggling against her. So, it was part of my filial duties.

***

I took ten perfect steps the next night.

[You have finally completed the quest arc ‘Be Healthy’.]

[Your strength increased by 1 stat.]

[You have received twenty points.]

[Accumulated points: 32]

A light burst.

[Congratulations, you have fulfilled the growth conditions necessary for independence.]

[You have received a ‘bronze box’ as your completion reward.]

I read the message over and over again. Another bronze box? While the bronze box was the lowest grade, it still took three hundred points to get one, and so it should not be this easy. My mind went blank from surprise, and I realized that I had been wrong.

I had thought that the Man who Overcame Adversity trait had made him the strongest individual alive since the trait was an SSS rank cheat that made S class skills into SS class skills. However, I realized that the Man who Overcame Adversity trait had been only a part of his strengths. It was an amazing advantage to start quests before the Day of Reckoning because of the plentiful time and the fact that the quests were aligned with a person’s growth process. I could accept that a challenger box reward was given for being the first awakened, but the bronze box that sprang out as a quest reward now was beyond my comprehension. The quests were simply part of the natural part of human growth, but the reward was a box worth three hundred points.

If the beginning was like this, who knew what would happen in the future? It had not been a coincidence that he had been the strongest since the Day of Reckoning.

[The bronze box has been opened.]

[Your strength increased by 3.]

I had planned to remove him before the Day of Reckoning, but now it became clearer. While I did not know much about him, I had to find him no matter the cost and removed him. He was a danger to humanity as he did not follow even basic human ethics. I should not be relieved that I had the power of being the first awakened. Unfortunately, the system was benevolent to those ranked second, and he will regain what had already been his soon in the future after he is born.

(EN: The “he” Sunhoo Na is talking about is the “First Evil”, the leader of the Eight Evils.  The author makes this clear in chapter 2, right after introducing the first Become Healthy quest.)

Editor: Userunfriendly

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