Chapter 5 – Ring of Rebirth
Kang Minho. He had the most outstanding physical traits in school. His 181cm height that made Choi Hyuk look small, thick bones and muscles developed through regular exercise.
However, Kang Minho was also no match against the 175cm tall Choi Junsung who didn’t work out. From the start, Kang Minho didn’t have the courage to fight with Choi Junsung.
That’s right. Kang Minho with his incredible physical traits just didn’t have the balls in critical moments.
Kang Minho wanted to appear more manly and intimidating but that was only his wish. He was the type who, in the face of real danger, would stay back and read the situation.
He called out Choi Hyuk because he wanted both safety and reputation.
‘It’ll be embarrassing if I beat a small fry to death. So Choi Hyuk who’s big but weak is best.’
No matter how much of a loser Choi Hyuk was, it looked better killing him because he was tall.
At the same time, he thought.
‘But I don’t know how much stronger Choi Hyuk will get once he gets karma.’
Not long after he stood in the ring, he received something similar to a system message and karma was distributed to him. Because of this, he personally experienced how strong a body with karma truly was.
Kang Minho’s eyes became colder. He made up his mind.
‘I’m going to tackle him as soon as he gets in the ring and beat him to death.’
Kang Minho was planning on beating Choi Hyuk to death before he received karma and before he could adjust to his new strength. Since that was safer.
That was why, as soon as Choi Hyuk entered the ring with trembling hands.
The moment Choi Hyuk laughed, “Haha, okay.”
Kang Minho charged. His strengthened body flew out like a cannon ball.
The students spectating the match responded late. A tackle as fast as an Olympic gold medalist’s. Before Choi Hyuk could finish speaking, Kang Minho’s hands were already wrapping around his waist.
Kang Minho was assured of his victory.
‘What is this sound?’
However, at the critical moment, Kang Minho felt something was weird. A disturbing crush had sounded out too close to him.
‘Where did this sound come from?’
With his face smashed in, Kang Minho, along with that thought, turned to ash.
Choi Hyuk’s body reacted the moment Kang Minho lowered his stance and lunged. First, he firmly planted his left foot on the ground. Then used that momentum to twist his waist and his upper body was pulled forward. His right foot arched as he thrust his knee upwards and his right thigh exploded with power the moment it made contact with Kang Minho’s face.
He used his whole body to propel his knee up. No, it shot up. Choi Hyuk’s knee instantly smashed Kang Minho’s face. Even Kang Minho’s charge reinforced with karma was used against him as his face crumbled like tofu.
An explosive counter knee kick from Choi Hyuk who had never learned martial arts.
With that, it ended.
While absorbing Kang Minho’s ashes, Choi Hyuk let out a small sigh.
It suddenly started and ended before he could do anything.
The adrenaline pumping through his veins had nowhere to vent.
He was dumbfounded at the quick conclusion.
His guilty conscience of killing a man collided with his cynical ego that believed that those who intended to kill had nothing to say when killed. However, he didn’t feel it. It didn’t feel real. Instead, a sense of disappointment swept over him.
Choi Hyuk read the message that appeared in front of him. It was like a system message from a game.
[Great Accomplishment! You have killed someone with karma before it was distributed to you. As a reward, you get 10 points to allocate however you want. Your karmic stat has increased by 3.]
[You have entered the Ring of Rebirth. Karma has been distributed.]
[ You have killed someone! You have absorbed a portion of your opponent’s karma. Karmic point has increased by 1.]
Power: 5 +1 Up!
Speed: 7 +1
Control: 22 +1
Endurance: 7 +1
Stamina: 9 +2
Recovery: 10 +1
*Free Karma Points: 10
*Retribution Point: 4
On average, he had 10 for each stat. However, his control was extremely high to the point of being strange.
And the absorbed stats from killing Kang Minho were indicated on the side. Seeing how stamina was +2 while everything else was +1, it seemed like Kang Minho had high stamina.
The points would be distributed differently for each person.
And Choi Hyuk could feel the ‘thing’ had squeezed into his body. Something sticky like honey filled up his insides. It was an unfamiliar feeling but it wasn’t uncomfortable. It was probably ‘karma’ that was circulating his body as it bonded with his body more securely than his muscles and tendons and allowed him to move explosively.
His altered body. The adrenaline in his body. Choi Hyuk instinctively wanted to test his body, however…
‘That’s enough. Are you going just kill people now?’
His perseverance that he increased his whole life was barely able to suppress his instincts.
Choi Hyuk carefully examined the people surrounding the ring. Since he had killed someone, he could simply leave the room like Jung Minji. He just needed to step down…
His thumping heart grabbed at his feet. He wanted to fight more. He wanted to prove himself. On the [Ring of Rebirth], Choi Hyuk was unable to decide whether he would step off or not.
Just then, he saw Bae Hyunsung looking away. The last remaining bully.
How unlucky. His instincts started to justify cunningly.
‘He would probably kill someone and live… does that make sense?’
He felt offended. For the man who tormented Yang Gilsoo and him to live? By killing another student?
“That makes no sense.”
Choi Hyuk knew. That he wasn’t an apostle of justice. That this was his self-justification to fight longer… he was aware of it. But before he knew it, he had already called him out.
“Bae Hyunsung! Come up here.”
“Sa…save me. Mm? Hyuk. I mean we were quite cool right?”
Bae Hyunsung went down to his knees and pleaded as soon as he got in the ring. But Choi Hyuk frowned.
He caught sight of black and red flashes reflected in Bae Hyunsung’s eyes. It felt sinister.
“I’m really sorry. It’s really all my fault.”
He was already in a bad mood because of the strange flashes of light but seeing Bae Hyunsung stoop so low, pissed him off even more. He didn’t call him up here for this.
“Come at me. You’re going to kill someone anyways.”
“I won’t! I won’t kill anyone. I will just stay here quietly!”
Even though it was obviously a lie, since Bae Hyunsung was acting like this, Choi Hyuk was at a loss for words. Killing was Choi Hyuk’s lifelong trauma. Ever since that incident, he avoided resorting to violence. His devious instincts enjoyed fighting not killing so when Bae Hyunsung begged for his life, even if he knew it was a lie, he didn’t have the heart to kill.
Choi Hyuk who felt stumped at what to do looked at the ceiling and sighed.
‘Should I just leave it and get off. But… why is he like that? Isn’t he planning on killing someone and leaving?’
He didn’t like this. He wished it would be Bae Hyunsung more than anyone else. If it was possible, he wanted to fight Bae Hyunsung who had suppressed him until now. However, looking at his state, he couldn’t act. While Choi Hyuk was troubling over this, a red light flashed in front of him.
A red light exploded from Bae Hyunsung’s body. Immediately after, Bae Hyunsung took out a carpenter’s knife he had hidden in his pocket and slashed at Choi Hyuk’s neck.
Bae Hyunsung prostrated and begged for this moment. He never expected Choi Hyuk to spare his life from the beginning. Since, if he was in Choi Hyuk’s position, he wouldn’t. He only waited for the moment his opponent let down his guard.
“Fuck! This fucking bastard!”
Bae Hyunsung swiftly slashed with his knife. However…
The knife missed its target and instead, Choi Hyuk’s fist slammed right in between Bae Hyunsung’s chin and throat.
He had stepped back to avoid the knife and pushed forward before throwing a counterpunch.
Stretched out legs, his rotated waist and shoulder and his wrist that had endured the impact.
Perhaps it was due to his control stat of 23 but he was able to slam his fist straight into his target without wasting even the slightest energy.
The stiffened Bae Hyunsung slumped down onto the floor.
“…What the fuck.”
The sudden flash of red light. He might have reacted slower because he was surprised by this light.
‘Just what was that?’
But the only person to see the light was Choi Hyuk.
Choi Hyuk gazed at the collapsed Bae Hyunsung. He hadn’t died yet. He hesitated again. It wasn’t a situation where he died from fighting but where he would have to purposely kill him. Choi Hyuk looked at his surroundings. Students were shaking in fear. The math teacher’s eyes were trembling.
Because his opponent crumbled so easily, Choi Hyuk’s actions looked irrational. Nothing had changed in 5 years.
He was a monster, a killer.
Choi Hyuk smiled bitterly. He strangled Bae Hyunsung’s neck.
A game where everyone had to become a killer to survive. Someone was going to kill Bae Hyunsung anyways. Or, Bae Hyunsung would regain his senses and kill. Perhaps it would be different if he didn’t call him out in the first place but he felt that leaving at this time would be more cowardly. Choi Hyuk strangled the unresisting Bae Hyunsung to death. It put him in a bad mood. He wanted to fight to his heart’s content but instead, he became more uncomfortable.
‘This is what you guys started…’
To brush off the uncomfortable feeling, Choi Hyuk made an excuse. Finally, Bae Hyunsung turned into ash as he was absorbed into Choi Hyuk.
[You have killed someone! You have absorbed a portion of your opponent’s karma. Karmic point has increased by 1.]
[Unique Skill ‘Eyes of Distinction’.]
Messages that made it seem like he did a good job. They made him more depressed.
‘I guess this isn’t the end?’
After looking at the messages, he didn’t think that this survival game would end in a day or two.
‘If it’s going to be this uncomfortable, I won’t feel happy about fighting…’
Then, his body stiffened as a sudden thought struck him.
‘Were we the only ones going through this damn game?’
Something felt wrong. Just how far would this supernatural phenomenon extend to? The school? Seoul? No…
‘…What about mom?’
Why didn’t he think of this sooner? Choi Hyuk’s mind was in a rush. She was probably at work right now. What if a ring like this one appeared there?
The hairs on his body stood on end. Choi Hyuk hurriedly got off the ring and ran out the classroom. The unpleasant feelings that wrapped around him evaporated as adrenaline poured into his body.
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