Past Life Returner 6
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Past Life Returner 6
I could say that I was a baby easy to handle, as I slept deeply during the day and did not cry without a reason at night. However, I existed because of my parents’ sacrifice for me during my childhood, before my return. As every child does, I had made my parents suffer for my sake.
I had nearly died from swallowing a piece of apple when I was a year old and made my parents worry because I did not talk until four, and had been hospitalized for more than two months because a motorcycle had hit me. Of course, I did not remember any of that, and my mother had told me of all these incidents. Things I remembered from my childhood were mostly about my ‘firsts’ rather than my wounds and illnesses.
Those memories were fragmented like old pictures, like when I watched fireworks with my cousin, the first day I went to play at a friend’s house, and the first day I went to visit my grandfather at the hospital. I didn’t remember about my parents’ sacrifices, which made me realize how selfish a child could be.
“Mom, mom, mom.”
This was the first time I said the word to my mother. It was not meaningless mumbles, and I spoke with our eyes meeting each other. While my mother could not know, this was my apology for having made her worry that I could not talk until I was four. The biggest reason, however, was because of a quest.
[Let’s grow up 1: ‘Mom’ successful.]
[You have completed the quest ‘Let’s grow up 1.’]
[You have received 5 points.]
[Accumulated points: 37]
My mother seemed not to care whether I called her intentionally, or I was mumbling, and she just enjoyed the moment. She lifted me and walked with me in her arms for a while before setting me down on the floor. The new compound quest was about linguistic development, which was amusing because it underestimated a returner like me. Except for my pronunciation, which was not yet complete due to my lack of teeth and awkward tongue, I did not have any language skill problems.
My next mission was to speak sixteen words, which is a piece of cake. Quests I had to risk my life for were now only memories of my past. The everyday quests I am doing are not what I was used to since there are no risks. Moreover, I gained five points for completing this quest when I had received two points for disposing of an F class monster. To think that moving my lips a few times with a body like this would have more than double the effect of killing an F class monster. I honestly could not hide my joy.
This would be the final quest of the compound quest ‘Let’s grow up.’
[Let’s grow up 5 (Quest) Mission: Choose a particular individual and speak more than ten sentences.]
My father was on a business trip, and I could not risk my mother’s peace of mind as a sacrifice for my quest. I first thought of the owner’s wife, as she was jealous and a mean person. She gave birth to a son, her third child, about the same time I was born. Therefore, she could not help comparing her son and me when there was a chance.
She scared my mother by saying that I would become a harelip if I were too quiet, and if I spoke out anything in response, she would denounce me, saying that I had been possessed by a ghost who died because it could not speak. She was someone who one could not stand other people and would even enjoy my mother looking uncomfortable.
There was another reason why that woman was my choice, and that was because she was a firm believer in shamanism. I had seen many talismans riding on my mother’s back, including ones on the front door, in the kitchen, and on the way to the owner’s floor.
I stood in front of the door that led to the front yard. Everything was big to a child’s gaze, and a simple door looked big as a massive and oppressive gate. The door would not open just by pushing, and I had to push after turning the doorknob and removing the spoon-shaped locking device set through the rings. I could see the spoon-shaped device and the doorknob by fully tilting my neck back. I could not reach them by jumping up and down with my arm outstretched.
My small heart began to beat faster, and I felt like when I had entered a dungeon. My spine chilled, thinking that my mother might be watching me. I looked around to find something to step on, and my gaze focused on the hard pillows piled in the corner of the room.
It was past midnight, and a suitable time since the owner was absent like my father. Jindol, the dog tied to a post in the front yard, wagged its tail when I appeared. The dog looked different from when I could look down on it from my mother’s back.
The large beast’s eyes glistened under the moonlight, and it would be me overthinking things that Jindol’s lead looked slacker than usual. The moment the lead broke or Jindol got loose, the dog would be like a boss monster in the wild mountains of Hwasung to me.
Wait. I stopped at that moment because I had just thought of something. My original plan had been to complete the quest using the owner’s wife by pretending to be a child’s ghost and terrifying her in the process. However, why had I only thought of talking to an adult?
It would be Chuseok when I would meet my cousin, who was four and would be able to speak. (EN: Harvest Festival, very much like Thanksgiving in America.) Chuseok was not far away to proceed with a plan that did not have the risk of waking my mother up.
“Why is my baby not smiling today? Are you shy, son?”
I wanted to nod and wanted to give Odin’s wrath to my aunts who were playing with my genitals. (EN: X_X ) There were many babies on Chuseok, and since my younger cousins were not born yet, everyone was older than me.
Jiae, one of my cousins, walked towards me. She was born three years earlier than me and was already pretty. While she did not like the small mole under her left eye, that was her charm. Her mole, vivid eyes, and a sharp nose reminded me of how she would look as an adult. My aunts moved so Jiae could come near me because they were curious how cute we would look during our first meet.
Jiae had beauty, the merits of being a graduate of a prestigious university, and the title of becoming a prosecutor after passing the bar exam. She had a golden future who would be the pride of the family, but Jiae would become missing on the Day of Reckoning and must have been attacked by monsters.
I wanted to advise my aunt to encourage Jiae to take up sports instead of studying, even if she showed great talent in the latter. While her physical abilities would not guarantee her survival, it would be an important factor. At the very least, her legal skills did not help Jiae.
People would need to train their bodies at least before the Day of Reckoning or have to go through a terrifying, brutal experience.
“He’s your dongsaeng, and please play and look after him like an older noona.” (EN: younger brother and older sister)
Jiae’s mother put our hands together, but Jiae hugged me instead and rubbed my hair this way and that with rough hands that were unused to holding a baby.
She had a cute voice, and I also gently whispered to her ear.
Jiae’s hand stopped moving in surprise. My mother and her other relatives were focused on other babies at that moment, and I quickly told her that I could only talk with her and not to call other adults. It was that moment when I finished the quest with cute sentences with Jiae.
[You have finally completed the compound quest ‘Let’s grow up.’]
[You have received a ‘silver box’ as the first completion reward.]
[Congratulations. You are the first one to complete all quests available in the tutorial.]
[You have achieved the conditions to skip the tutorial.]
[There are no quests available from now on.]
This was just the tutorial?
[Will you skip the tutorial ‘Infancy and Childhood?’]
I found a difficult choice in front of me, but I had to stick to my parents’ side for the next few years, which meant that my movements would be largely restricted. However, I was still hesitant because skipping meant I could not enjoy my parent’s younger days. But, my parents should not be surprised or scared because of my mistakes, like how the First Evil grew up…
I will skip the tutorial because the real one was waiting for me, which is the Chapter of Beginning.