It all began with something small.
He worked his a*s off for over a month without taking a break, then suddenly found himself with some downtime. The nature of his job meant that he barely had any opportunity to take a break, to begin with. To make matters worse, the salary was low compared to what his job entailed, and rather than giving the workers time off, the higher-ups made up for that by paying overtime, instead.
All thanks to the NDF going overseas for their international commitments, the workload of the KSF had increased explosively, which led to work hours increasing far greater than ever before. Taking a day off was an unimaginable dream at this point.
What he did today was to enjoy a simple shopping trip to destress and stretch his legs a bit after working nonstop for a whole month.
Without a doubt, everything was fine during the shopping itself. The problem arose when he tried to pay for them.
Just like before, he pulled out his ability user-specific discount card at the till point. And the starting point for his troubles was the moment the cashier’s expression changing after seeing his card.
The cashier up until then had been the byword for a courteous customer service, but she became curtly sarcastic right afterwards, and since he had no idea what he did wrong, he ended up falling into a deep pit of confusion.
That was the beginning.
No matter where he went, the same thing repeated itself.
People who were so friendly and courteous all experienced changes in attitude as if they had a prior agreement right after they learned that he was an ability user.
“God d*mn it.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon swore angrily and stepped outside the shop.
Items he was planning to purchase were already discarded by the counter a long time ago. How was he to understand such reactions unless his discount card wasn’t working properly and it wasn’t paying out as it should?
“What have I ever done to you people, anyway??” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
As he was walking on the street, doing his utmost to calm his boiling head, his ears caught onto the murmurs of the crowd around him.
“What’s the matter with him?”
“He’s an ability user, apparently.”
“Oh. But, what’s wrong?”
“An ability user b*stard is using a discount card and is spending money like water, so who would think of him as a nice person? I mean, that’s all taxpayer money, innit? D*mn parasites leeching off on our tax money.”
“Even then, they risk their lives for our sakes, don’t they?”
“Risk their what now? I heard that they have fewer casualties than firefighters. Besides, do they look as busy as the real firefighters? How many Gates open up in a month, anyway? They laze around as much as they want, yet get paid like crazy, and enjoy all sorts of social benefits, too. D*mn politicians created stupid laws, that’s what this is.”
Kwok Myung-Hoon gritted his teeth.
Less number of casualties compared to firefighters?
Try saying that after comparing the overall number of firefighters and ability users in the entire country, first. If one were to look at the mortality rate alone, the two professions couldn’t even be compared at all. So, he wanted to smash that claptrap of the fool who didn’t know anything but decided to yap nevertheless.
What a fortunate thing it was that his comrade who died during this month’s mission didn’t get to hear this rubbish.
‘Just why did I work so tirelessly until now?’ (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Indeed, he didn’t even get to sleep properly nor took days off during the past month. It was true that he had no choice regarding the dangerous work that fell on his doorstep, but at the same time, he proudly endured knowing that his hard work had kept South Korea safe.
But to think, he’d be receiving such treatment.
How could clueless idiots who knew nothing be qualified to spew such nonsense in public?
When his colleagues complained to him after browsing the internet for a bit recently, he figured that this whole thing was a storm in a teacup and it would blow over soon enough.
Regular people would be worried and anxious just like them, after all.
However, this was way beyond that, wasn’t it?
‘This is on the level of hatred, isn’t it…?’
Just what did he do to deserve such hatred, though?
Was the prize for risking his life to carry out the mission issued by the government the public’s hatred?
Kwok Myung-Hoon bit his lower lip.
Even if they were regular people with no knowledge on what the processes involved in defending against Gates were like, shouldn’t they at least show the minimum level of respect towards those who worked for their own country?
“D*mn it.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Unfortunately, all he could do was to growl out a swear word and leave the vicinity as soon as possible.
As an ability user, he should not get into trouble with regular people. This was the rule that had been drilled into his brain countless times already.
In accordance with the Ability User Special Law, an ability user was treated the same as a normal person carrying a dangerous weapon. No, when looking at the seriousness of the punishment, it’d be far worse than that.
There had been a precedence of a simple punch-up ending up being treated as a grievous assault with intent to harm, and if things got unlucky, it could even be treated as attempted murder.
On top of that, the courts weren’t all that friendly towards the ability users as well, so they regularly handed down the heaviest sentences in the book.
“What a crappy situation this is.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
They got paid a pittance, and rather than enjoying their rights as citizens of this country, they had far more ‘duties’ to carry out, instead.
“Besides all that, what the f*ck? Why do those b*stards get discounts, anyway? How can that make any sense? They get paid a sh*t load of money, so what’s the point of giving them discounts? I mean, what did they ever do for us?”
Kwok Myung-Hoon’s steps gained pace.
If he stayed here any longer, someone would try to be a wisea*s with him, without a doubt. Honestly speaking, though, it was more likely that he’d not be able to hold back before that. If something like that happened, then his life would be finished.
‘I shouldn’t have come out of the house today.’ (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Indeed, maybe he should’ve taken a shower and went to sleep, instead.
He told himself that, in the future, he’d only travel in less populated areas. Also, never to use this d*mn card again just for the sake of saving a few pennies.
He made the mistake by acting without thinking during these sensitive times. Kwok Myung-Hoon spat out a lengthy sigh and reflected on himself. Until these following words entered his ears, that was.
“Those f*ckers, they should’ve just gotten swept away by the monsters and died.”
He knew it already. He knew not to get shaken up by the mob mentality.
That fool was with a girl so he probably said those things just to look tough in front of her. If it was any ol’ times, he’d chuckle at the cowardly fool who wouldn’t dare to say something like that in front of him and let it slide.
However, he just couldn’t do that right now.
His mind fighting against the sky-high level of stress finally began letting go of his reasoning.
Kwok Myung-Hoon spun his head in the direction of the voice. A well-built young man with short hair met the sharp glare of the ability user and sneaked his own gaze lower as if he was taken greatly by surprise.
‘Let it go, man.’ (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon tried so hard to hold it back. What would change by him grabbing a dumb civilian and getting into a scuffle here? It’d be over if he just kept walking away.
Unfortunately, the situation didn’t develop the way he’d like to.
“Ohh, look at him glaring at us like that. Wowee, he might kill someone at this rate.”
“Hey, man, Watch your mouth. What will you do if he really tries to kill you?”
“If he wants to kill me, then I’ll get killed. If the high-and-mighty ability user-nim wants to kill someone, who can stop him?”
“Never mind. Let’s get out of here. If you’re p*ss drunk, you should go home and don’t bother people. Why are you picking fights with someone not related to you?”
“What the hell? Did I say something wrong?”
“Come on, man! Keep it down, will ya?”
Kwok Myung-Hoon spat out another sigh.
It seemed that today wasn’t his day. He tried to endure it, but he just couldn’t. He turned around and walked over to the crowd of people who were talking crap about him.
When Kwok Myung-Hoon made his approach, the crowd panicked and their complexion reddened instantly.
“What did you all say?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Now that an ability user decided to confront them straight-on, none of these regular people could say a word anymore. They were basically defenceless, while this man’s abilities made him far worse than him pointing a gun at them. So, what could they possibly say?
“N-no, it was just….”
Kwok Myung-Hoon stared straight at the short-haired young man.
“Didn’t you say you wish I was dead?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“Is that something you should say to another person? What did I ever do to you to deserve something like that?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Of course, there was no reply. There was only a young man with his head bowed down low.
‘You can’t even say it when in front of me.’ (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon didn’t want to blame these people. Because, he also talked trash about his superiors behind their backs. And he’d not be able to talk crap in front of them too, just like these people.
However, wasn’t this case a bit too different than that?
You talked behind someone’s back when that someone wasn’t around to hear you. Speaking trash behind the back so the person in question could hear it was no longer ‘talking behind back’, now was it?
Indeed, if they wanted to talk crap about him, they should at least do that when Kwok Myung-Hoon had left the area first.
“You should not bad mouth another person without a reason. Also, I fail to understand why you think of us that way when we clearly hadn’t done anything wrong to you, to being with.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“Y-yes, of course.”
“Please be more mindful next time.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“Including you, too.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon’s gaze now landed on the drunkard who obviously had one too many for his own good.
“What do you want, you son of a b*tch?”
Too bad, the drunkard’s response wasn’t as agreeable as the young man. Indeed, what would he fear when that much alcohol was circulating in his system?
He looked as if he’d grab the collars of the King Yama at the moment, even.
Kwok Myung-Hoon spat out a lengthy groan and turned around to leave. What would he gain by arguing with a drunkard, anyway?
However, he made a mistake by doing precisely that.
He felt something hitting him behind his head. Kwok Myung-Hoon couldn’t immediately decipher what just happened and stood there dazed, before turning around to look.
What on earth was happening here?
He turned around to find the drunkard staggering about while failing to regain balance, one of the man’s shoes now missing. And the missing shoe that should be on that man’s foot was rolling around on the ground right by Kwok Myung-Hoon’s own feet, instead.
“You….!!” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
There would naturally be a limit to a person’s patience.
Kwok Myung-Hoon’s face reddened up from anger. Too bad, there were those guilty ones who find it only obvious to turn the tables on their accusers in this world.
“You stinking son of a b*tch! Because of you ability users, my mother passed away!! You f*cking good for nothing as*holes with stinking pieholes! What you looking at?!”
Kwok Myung-Hoon gritted his teeth.
He was trying so hard to use his reasoning and logic, but it was getting so much harder to hold it back.
“If it was left to me, I’d just….” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
He wanted to crush that drunken b*stard right here. Kwok Myung-Hoon could feel his entire being shuddering from rage.
What did he do to deserve such a crappy treatment like this?
That wasn’t the only problem, however – now normally, these people would blame the drunkard for his terrible behaviour, but they were shooting unfavourable gazes in Kwok Myung-Hoon’s direction, instead.
“Why are you looking at me like that?!” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
It was a mistake. He wouldn’t have made a mistake like this.
Unfortunately, he was just too tired right now. Both mentally and physically, he was just too tired. So, his anger rushed up to his head unchecked after being subjected under this sort of crappy treatment.
“What the hell did I do wrong here? And why are you blaming me for your mom’s death, you stupid f*cker?!” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon shouted out, and that prompted the drunkard to roar out like a mad beast and pounce on him.
The friend trying to hold back the drunken idiot couldn’t do anything and tumbled backwards when the latter dashed forward with everything he had.
“Are you being serious??” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon gruntled in unhappiness and easily dodged the drunkard lunging at him, before pushing the idiot down on the ground.
Along with a loud commotion, the drunkard rolled ungainly on the ground.
“God d*mn it.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
….I’m going to get scolded at his rate.
Kwok Myung-Hoon thought about what he needed to do in order to mop up this spilled milk and that made him more irritated than before. Although this was definitely a case of justifiable self-defence, he still laid a hand on a civilian, so he should prepare himself for a reduction in wages or even a suspension.
That d*mn broken law, those d*mn broken regulations.
He was getting progressively more irritated by the fact that he was getting taken for a ride by the broken rules and regulations that punished those under the pretext to tarnishing someone or something’s prestige when they did nothing but sit still against a torrent of abuse.
It was then.
“Ahhack?!” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon cried out. He felt an intense bout of pain rushing up from his leg. The drunkard sprawled on the ground began biting him there.
“Let go!! Let go, now!!” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon smacked the head of the drunkard biting onto his leg repeatedly. However, the b*stard didn’t want to let go at all.
Only after landing a couple more solid blows did the drunkard finally release the leg and tumble away.
“Son of a….” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Swearing automatically leaped out of Kwok Myung-Hoon’s mouth. Seeing the trickle of blood oozing down on his leg, it was quite likely that the b*stard had taken a hefty bite just now.
Flames of rage roared on violently inside his mind. If he could, he’d just go and utterly beat up that d*mn drunkard right here and now.
But then, his ears caught onto a completely nonsensical utterance.
“Isn’t he going overboard there?”
< 231. Can’t even say it when in front -1 > Fin.