Necromancer Before Awakening Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Cataclysm (5)

A small bead and a gemstone were nestled within the Hound’s mouth. Kang Sa-hu looked down at the bead and gemstone with curiosity. The bead was the small kind often used in marble games. The gemstone was even smaller, so tiny that he worried he might lose it if it slipped through his fingers onto the ground.

Kang Sa-hu carefully extracted the bead and the gemstone from his mouth. As if they had completed their purpose, the reanimated giant Hound, once a zombie, crumbled into dust.

“Huh?!”

“Did you see that just now?”

The soldiers standing behind him and the bystanders, who pretended not to care but had stolen glances at their savior Kang Sa-hu, were visibly shocked.

Although Kang Sa-hu was equally surprised, the giant Hound behind him soon opened its mouth as if to offer its own bead and gemstone.

“…Wait a moment.”

Seeing a line of giant Hounds endlessly queueing up behind, he pulled a handkerchief from his left chest pocket. He adeptly fashioned it into a small pouch and placed the received bead and gemstone inside.

“This way, I won’t lose them.”

Click.

Click-click-click.

Click-click-click-click-click.

The giant Hounds, perhaps worried about losing the bead and gemstone themselves, clacked their jawbones in a moved manner as Kang Sa-hu cautiously observed his handkerchief.

“Enough. It’s noisy.”

As a necromancer, he could feel that this was their way of expressing pure joy. However, the sight of these monsters, which had only moments ago been attacking them, clattering their jawbones en masse was enough to strike terror into anyone.

Understanding Kang Sa-hu’s intention, the giant Hounds stopped their jaw clacking. They looked somewhat dejected, and through their connected consciousness, he could sense their spirits dampen, though he had no intention of allowing them to resume the noise.

As Kang Sa-hu finished his preparations to receive properly, the line of Hounds quickly diminished. Further, as each zombie-like giant Hound handed over its bead and gemstone and crumbled to dust, soon over dozens of them had vanished without a trace.

Only after all the giant Hounds had disappeared could Kang Sa-hu examine the beads and gemstones in detail. First, driven by instinct, he examined a gemstone and was startled by a hologram that appeared over it.

[Mana Stone]

– Description: A stone condensed with mana from a deceased being.

– Remaining Mana: 100/100

– Grade: Grade E

– Acquisition Source: Giant Hound (Grade E)

“This is…?”

He read the detailed description slowly, nodding his head. “Mana seems to be similar to Qi. But I haven’t confirmed yet if it’s exactly the same as Qi or if there are subtle differences.”

Seeking a clearer sense, he held one of the gemstones in his hand to feel the mana. Although his sensitive perception scanned through the mana, he felt an unusual Qi, confirming that mana wasn’t completely different from the energy used by necromancers. He nodded, not fully understood, yet confirmed that it was very similar to the Qi used by necromancers.

Next, he examined a bead. Inside the swirling smoky appearance of the bead, he sensed the souls of the vanished giant Hounds, even feeling the corpses crouched inside in their zombified state. A holographic window popped up before his eyes.

Curious about the soul and essence related items as a necromancer, he anticipated the detailed content in the hologram. “What’s this?” Hoping for a detailed explanation, he looked at the hologram, but for some reason, the text written on the hologram was corrupted. It was covered in special characters, making it unreadable as if opening an old, corrupted file.

“Is it a bug?” Disappointed, Kang Sa-hu who had been looking forward to understanding the artifacts related to his expertise, sighed deeply.

However, since the giant Hounds had disappeared leaving these behind, Kang Sa-hu carefully wrapped the bead and mana stone in the handkerchief and placed them safely in his pocket. “Thank you for waiting.”

Just as he put the handkerchief in his pocket, the platoon leader, who had disappeared after receiving a transmission, returned.

“What is your name?”

“I am Kang Sa-hu.”

“Yes, Mr. Kang Sa-hu. Please enter your resident registration number and address here.”

“Are you asking for my personal information?”

Kang Sa-hu asked, puzzled, to which the platoon leader nodded.

“Yes, Mr. Kang Sa-hu, as you are an Awakened, the government has declared a state of emergency, and we are collecting personal information of all Awakened across the country. Please cooperate.”

His eyes narrowed at the abnormally quick response. The soldiers seemed prepared for monsters to pop out of the hallways. Even in this chaotic situation, their determination to perfectly verify the identities of Awakened persons was evident. ‘Had the government foreseen this situation to some extent?’

Despite his explanation, Kang Sa-hu stared at him silently, prompting the platoon leader to speak in a slightly harsher tone. “As I mentioned, we are in an emergency situation requiring immediate action, and the power of Awakened persons is dangerous but necessary. Even if you do not write down the information now, we will find it by other means.”

Looking at Kang Sa-conversations-hu’s, the platoon leader noticed the name of a hospital written on his clothes. A normal employment would have involved filling out an employment contract, which would definitely include Kang Sa-articulated-hu’s personal details. Sensing his intentions, Kang Sa-hu shrugged.

“Yes, I was going to write it down. I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Realizing his mistake, the platoon leader’s expression softened from suspicion to apology. “Of course. We are only trying to understand the situation of Awakened individuals better and to prevent any issues, so please don’t take it the wrong way.”

“Yes, I understand. But you are incredibly quick in response, as if you had foreseen this situation.”

“As if you’ve already done something about it.”

“Yes, what?” The platoon leader stiffened at his words.

From shock to confusion, and then suspicion slowly rising in his eyes—Kang Sahoo spoke. “Just kidding. That would never happen.”

“…What?” The platoon leader was bewildered by his abrupt joke.

While the platoon leader was flustered, Kang Sahoo entered his personal information onto the tablet handed to him and passed it back.

“You were monitoring the situation over the radio earlier. Have you heard anything about Hwanwoong High School?”

“Uh? Oh, yes, one moment.” Although he sensed something unusual, the sudden question from Kang Sahoo caught the platoon leader off-guard again as he checked the tablet.

“Hwanwoong High School… Yes, the situation there has been subdued. Why do you ask?”

“I know someone there, just checking. Thank to you.”

Relieved, having already heard from his parents that they were safe, Kang Sahoo wanted to make double sure just in case. Yet, he was now eager to get home quickly, worried that his sibling might have been traumatized.

“I should go now. Under these circumstances, I can’t continue my work.”

From the funeral home to the hospital, soldiers had cordoned off areas, directing people to one location. No matter how proud he was of his work, he wasn’t out of touch with reality to declare he should continue his duties when even soldiers were involved.

“Are you leaving right now? You’re going home, right?”

“Yes, I plan to go home.”

As Kang Sahoo casually responded, someone in the crowd being led away by soldiers suddenly lunged at him.

“What are you doing!”

“Let go! Damn it, let go! Hey, hey you monster! This is all your doing, isn’t it?!”

Despite being restrained by soldiers, the man yelled at Kang Sahoo, calling him a monster. Choi Kyung-do was held down by three soldiers, unable to move but still cursing wildly at Kang Sahoo.

“You filthy corpse cleaner! You lowest wage earner! You caused this mess using your creepy monsters, didn’t you?! Now put them back!”

Amid the baseless accusations, Kang Sahoo calmly stared back at Choi Kyung-do, infuriating him further.

“Let me go! This all is his doing! He summoned those monsters!”

“Look, what you’re saying doesn’t have any proof or credibility.”

“No proof? All the monsters disappeared! He summoned them and put them back!”

As the soldiers looked on as if they were dealing with a madman, someone muttered from behind.

“Idiot. Talking like a monster himself. Ran away peeing his pants.”

“What, what?”

Mortified by the sharp words, Choi Kyung-do whipped his head around. There, a high school student he had tripped over during his escape looked at him dismissively.

“You little brat! What did you just say?”

“Enough, it’s embarrassing. Stop making a fool of yourself with your nonsense. Old man.”

“You, you bastard!”

As Choi Kyung-do turned to lunge at him, a well-built student smirked.

“Why? Come at me. I was afraid of monsters, not a coward like you.”

The student stared him down boldly, causing Choi Kyung-do to hesitate. Then, a woman stepped forward.

“These monsters came from the apartment area. What kind of logic says this man released them?”

“What…! The monsters came this way, and you heard him!”

“A person trying to kill monsters and save others? And the soldiers already told us, he’s an Awakened.”

Pointing at the platoon leader, the woman’s words sealed Choi Kyung-do’s mouth shut.

As his mouth clamped shut, trembling with rage, another man intervened. “I saw it too on NewTube, Awakened people gain superhuman abilities. He must be one of them. I get why you’re embarrassed causing a scene, but let’s move. Stop causing more trouble.”

“Please, let it go.”

“Are you kidding me? We can’t even move and all because of this?”

“If someone saved me from drowning and I slapped him, that kind of ingratitude stinks.”

“Isn’t that pee smell rather? This guy actually peed.”

“Oh, dear.”

One by one, as people stared daggers at him and spoke, Choi Kyung-do’s face turned as red as it could. He turned his head sharply and walked away, despite being watched impassively by Kang Sahoo.

“Uh, sir? Sir, please come this way!”

Though the soldiers were perplexed, the platoon leader waved them off. “Let him go. We’ve confirmed no more monsters are nearby.”

“Ah, okay.”

Following the order, the soldiers reluctantly led the rest of the survivors. But the mood was different now.

“Thank you, young man.”

“Really, thank you.”

“Thanks to you, I survived.”

As people passed by Kang Sahoo, each threw in a word of gratitude. Unaccustomed to such thanks, Kang Sahoo struggled to manage his expression, answering with a stunned nod.

“…This is new.”

It was a refreshing and pleasant change for Kang Sahoo, who had lived his life hiding his identity as a necromancer.



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