The man was weak as his physique was quite small, and he seemed to have no real experience in dealing with violence. The only thing he did was shout for cops when he encountered a threat. Mick wrapped his arms around the man’s neck, and his body became limp in a few seconds. Based on that, there was a high possibility that he didn’t have insignias or skills for resistance.
The van came into the alley, then Mick dusted his hands off after putting the man inside the vehicle. I waited until he returned to give him instructions.
“I suspect he is one of the cats we’re tracking. Undress him and take pictures of his entire body. Also, bring all his belongings, including his social security card and driver’s license. Don’t miss anything.”
Mick looked back at the car in surprise. A few minutes later, I checked a picture of the man, but there was nothing on his chest. He had a tattoo on the back, but it had nothing to do with insignias. He also didn’t have any items that reminded me of the System.
Nevertheless, I suspected him because he had been looking at me obsessively as if he was looking at someone like himself. I remembered the moment right before he followed me to the washroom in the casino. Woo Yeon-Hee must not have felt his gaze since she was focused on blackjack, but he was also staring at her intensely. It was obvious that he debated whether to follow her or me until the last minute.
In F-class dungeons, scouts only had to check the location of monsters. However, in higher-class dungeons, scouts often determined the success or failure of the conquest as the monsters began hiding and the traps became more difficult to avoid.
I had been a scout not only because of my high Sense stat but also because I had the trait ‘Chaser.’ It allowed me to detect monsters and traps in dungeons and other Awakened during the smoldering enmities.
Since I wouldn’t be able to acquire it in this life my first trait was now the Man Who Overcomes Adversity, I suspected that he would have received ‘Chaser’ first as a reward for being Awakened or completing daily quests.
Mick ended his phone call with John Clark. He told me various personal information about the man that couldn’t be found in his belongings.
“And he runs a big fast-food chain in the east,” Mick said.
I guessed so since he had been wandering around game tables that required lots of money.
“There was no companion listed on the hotel book,” he continued.
I wondered if he was on vacation. We went back to the alley and confirmed that there was no surveillance camera. Since Mick had only choked the man, there were no visible wounds. Therefore, conditions for police intervention were not met.
“Dress him again and put his belongings back in the same place they were before,” I said.
I had Mick return everything to the man except for his driver’s license. The only way he could find me was through the CCTV recording of the casino, but the police wouldn’t start investigating without evidence and the casino wouldn’t provide the recordings. There was no problem even though I disappeared now. If I kept him under our surveillance, I would be able to confirm that he was a pre-Awakened with the trait ‘Chaser.’
If he was in need of money, I could hire him and place him in John Clark’s organization to use him to find other Awakened or train him as a scout for high-class dungeons. However, he was already rich and that made me concerned. I needed something else than money, and as always, violence worked wonders in peaceful times. Also, it needed to be intense, beyond his imagination.
We were inside my hotel room.
Woo Yeon-Hee’s voice rang out. She was staring at the man from afar while putting her hand on her thigh where the dagger was hidden.
“You…you told your guards to attack me. What have you done?” the man stuttered.
“Didn’t you do it to yourself? I thought you would mug me. I found out that you aren’t that poor,” I replied coldly.
“Isn’t that obvious?” he said.
The man looked around the room and had a mixed expression as he realized that he was in a penthouse suite. Then, I nodded to Woo Yeon-Hee.
The black aura gushed from her body to swallow him, and he flinched before his eyes became blurred. He got up and approached her to stare at her. To be accurate, Woo Yeon-Hee was staring at her face with his eyes. I threw a jam knife at him, and he began cutting his arm. I intentionally chose a dull one so that it would cause pain every time his flesh was ripped apart but not to the extent of killing himself. However, he didn’t groan as if he didn’t feel pain.
We moved to the terrace. It was warm compared to Seoul, but the wind was blowing fiercely as we were located on the top floor. The man stood on the edge of the railing and looked down. No one would be able to survive if they fell down from there. I told the man while looking straight at his face, “We can cover this up as suicide easily.”
I tapped his cheek and returned to the living room. Woo Yeon-Hee ended her skill, then whispered in my ear, “I cannot read his memories, and while I can do simple things on him like self-harm, I cannot force him to…commit suicide… That’s what I felt. Will this be enough?”
She looked distressed to the point that I felt sorry.
“That’s enough. He wouldn’t be able to know,” I said.
We turned our heads to the terrace, and the man came back, trembling. He was silent for a while, then suddenly ran toward the door.
I knew it.
[You have used the Medal of Restraint.]
A silver light flew from my necklace while Woo Yeon-Hee threw herself at him out of reflex. Her dress flapped when she jumped over the couch, and she aimed at his neck after quickly unsheathing her dagger.
“Easy, easy,” she said.
Her voice shook uneasily, and I gave her a signal that she could step back as the item was effective. I replaced her spot and showed him his driver’s license. He widened his eyes.
“Do you think running away from here would be enough? Well, you won’t be able to escape,” I said.
“I…I can explain,” he responded hurriedly.
I asked, “Explain what?”
“About why I followed you,” he answered.
I said, “Damn, stupid. If I were you, I would be speaking more respectfully right now.”
He stammered, “The…the reason why I followed you, sir, was…because…”
“Because of the ‘Chaser’ or a quest,” I ended his sentence.
He gulped as his eyes got even wider.
“You must have accepted your abilities and have used them to open up a chain. But that’s it. You’re not ready at all, and I’m so disappointed. You should consider yourself lucky that you are still alive,” I said.
He was putting his brain to work.
“There are quests that tell us to murder each other,” I continued.
There had been one in the past during the Trial Tests, so some of the Awakened could’ve gotten it already since the System was the same. Woo Yeon-Hee seemed to be as surprised as the man was.
“N…no…It wasn’t that. I’ve never heard such a thing. I promise,” he said.
I replied while I returned to the couch, “How can I trust you? And, why do I have to? It’s easy to kill someone like you and make a fake suicide note appear.”
Woo Yeon-Hee was glaring at him as she was shocked by the fact that murder quests existed. She seemed to have lost all her compassion and guilt. We remained silent until the Medal of Restraint ended its effect. When he could finally move, the man kept glancing at the door, but soon realized he had no chance of escaping since Woo Yeon-Hee was standing there. She was a tiny Asian girl, but he looked to be aware of her power. He didn’t have the guts to look both of us in the eyes.
“...You’re right. It was because of the Chaser, but that was it. You should trust me,” he almost begged.
“So why?” I asked.
He replied, “So…so that I can…be helpful to your group. With my abilities.”
“Have you seen other groups?” I questioned.
“Ye…” he hesitated.
“Don’t lie. She can see right through you. You’ve experienced it, right?” I threatened him.
He looked at Woo Yeon-Hee as she was holding the dagger with her lips closed. He was still looking for an opportunity to escape.
“No. I’ve seen a group, but not like yours. As you’ve mentioned, I have been lucky,” he said.
I pointed to the seat across from me with my chin, and he sat there.
“What about quests?” I asked.
“Just once, five years ago,” he answered.
“Then, you must’ve awakened back then,” I replied.
He was still shaking.
“Tell me everything from the moment you awakened until now.”
I also handed him a pen and a piece of paper.
Health: F (9), Strength: F (11), Agility: F (2), Sense: F (20)
Total points: 51
Leon had become an Awakened during his college graduation season. He had received Sense stats from his box and obtained the Chaser trait for completing a daily quest.
I thought that building a successful fast-food chain was his true ability rather than his shabby stats. He was smart and greedy, and guys like him had a habit of betting boldly when they got an opportunity. He did so now.
“I’d like to join the group, and I’ll do my best to help you,” he said.
He might have thought it would be the best way to escape this situation, could’ve been intrigued by the stories I told him, possibly realized that his identity was more special than he originally thought, or might've considered this as a great benefit for himself. There could be many reasons since a person’s mind was formed when a number of thoughts tangled with each other.
“Are you serious?” I asked.
“Then, will you hand over your property and business to the group?”