Hammurabi Style – Chapter 3

How much time had passed?

“Krk, blargh!!”

Kimin Kim barely recovered consciousness and threw up the ocean water he swallowed.

“Huk, huk…”

‘I can breathe…? I’m not in the water..’

While floundering, Kimin Kim thought of the flashlight Dongsoo Choi used and groped his body everywhere. Thankfully, he felt the stick inside his pocket.

‘That button was for the awl… Is this the flashlight?”

Click.

Even though it was small, its output was pretty strong. He flashed around the place he was in. It was quite big and the wall was grayish pink. 

Kimin Kim thought, ‘I’ve been eaten by something. It must be huge to have this much space in the stomach. Also, it doesn’t breathe through gills since there’s air inside… A whale. There is a high possibility of an awakened whale.’

‘The wall’s movement is rhythmical… Is it a digestive organ?’

‘What should I do to survive?’

‘Isn’t this whale going to spit me out on land? Shit, of course he won’t..’

Then, some liquid fell from the ceiling onto Kimin’s shoulder.

Tsssssssssk!

“Arggggh!”

He felt a burning pain and grabbed his shoulder. 

‘Digestive fluid..!!! Fuck… What am I going to do?’

Kimin Kim stumbled and leaned on the wriggling wall. At that moment.

[ You can absorb the abnormal status. ]

[ Abnormal status you can absorb: Chaos evolution (Remaining time 15:49:23), Whale filaria, Cardiac insufficiency, Crust parasite, Barnacle root… ]

A message window popped up in front of him.

‘…’

He came to his senses.

His heart was beating just like when he got the powers the first time.

His dim eyes became clear.

He touched ‘Chaos evolution’ with his shaky hand. 

[ Abnormal status: Chaos evolution (Remaining time 15:49:02) ]

  • It follows the ‘Chaos’ route, different from other normal evolutions. You cannot know how you are going to evolve and you may atrophy. That is why it is classified as ‘abnormal status’.

Kimin Kim felt agonized.

‘Should I take it?’

The answer came out soon.

Chaos? Who cares. Evolution or atrophy was possible when he was alive. He didn’t have any other choice when he was about to melt down inside the whale’s stomach. 

‘Absorb Chaos evolution.’

Kimin Kim put his hand on the wriggling wall and absorbed Chaos evolution.

[ You have absorbed abnormal status: Chaos evolution. The Chaos spreads inside you. ]

[ The Chaos is deciding on the time to coil itself. Decided. The time is ‘Now’. ]

[ The Chaos coils itself. ]

[ The Chaos decides a target to evolve. ]

[ The Chaos steers it’s way to ‘Abnormal status absorption(A)(Lv. 0)’. ]

[ The Chaos decides the direction to evolute. The Chaos chooses ‘Evolution of skill grade’.]

[ The Chaos evolves Abnormal status absorption(A) to Abnormal status absorption(S)! ]

[ Abnormal status absorption(S)(Lv. 0) ]

“I will take your burden instead of you.”

“Then, you don’t mind how I use it since it’s not your burden anymore, but mine now, right?”

  • You can absorb any abnormal status from living beings.
  • ★S grade bonus: You can now release your abnormal status to the other living beings.
  • ★★Chaos evolution bonus: This skill cannot be found by other skills (Ex. Detection, Reproduction, etc)

It was a moment that the curse became a blessing.

– Wooooooaahh!!!

 However, Kimin Kim didn’t have time to be touched because the huge howl echoed down the whale’s stomach.

“!!”

The awakened whale had found out his Chaos evolution was taken so it got furious.

“Ugh!!”

The whale’s drastic struggle knocked Kimin Kim out far from where he was standing.

Tsssssssssssk!

“Argggh!!”

Kimin Kim fell to where the digestive fluid was sloping and screamed, then endured it while biting his tongue.

“Fuck!! Let’s see who wins.”

Kimin Kim tapped the wall with his half-melted hand and said with a shaking voice, “Release.. everything.”

Kimin Kim’s melted skin and bone were being regenerated. As for the burn scar, he didn’t know when that accident happened because he was too young, and it disappeared slowly just like it never happened before. The blood he lost from the torture was being filled up. Even his exhaustion was relieved.

It was more like a miracle.

However, it wasn’t like that for the monster.

– Urggggggh!!! Kirrrrrrrrk!!!!

It kept writhing madly.

It must be such an unfamiliar experience for the whale that it was being digested even though it wasn’t being eaten. Because of the strange pain, the monster twisted its body like fish that was out of water.

Also, Kimin Kim’s desperate fight was not over.

Tssssssssk!(Burning sound)

“Ughhh!!”

The fact that Kimin was still inside the whale’s stomach had not changed yet. However, there was vivid light in his eyes.

“Ok, do it. I will give it back to you twofold.”

His skin melted and regenerated again. Whenever his skin regenerated, the monster screamed and twisted its body.

***

After two days.

A man crawled outside of a huge whale monster that was driven ashore.

“Yuck, gross.”

Kimin Kim tapped his clothes that were melted everywhere and had become a rag. He looked like he wasn’t wearing anything because the clothes were too ruined.

‘Disgusting bitch. He endured this for so long.’

He actually stayed inside the whale for two days; however, he thought it was much longer than that since he couldn’t figure out how time flew. 

He stared at the dead monster he defeated, then turned his head to the land.

‘By the way, where am I…’

While the strong sunlight brightened his eyes, there was a very dense forest in front of him.

‘Am I… in Korea?’

He started sweating under the hot sunlight. He wiped the sweat dripping from his face. He stopped abruptly for a moment.

‘Ah…’

He felt his face properly again. This kind of soft skin wasn’t familiar. He felt his nose and eyes continuously. His nose wasn’t melted. It was fine.

Something was knocking deep inside Kimin’s mind. It was where he kept his many thoughts and self-hatred secretly since he was young.

He suddenly cried like a child.

***

The touching moment was short because he was an incompetent emotionalist. 

Kimin Kim leaned under the shade below the dead whale’s body to avoid the sunlight and was lost in thought.

‘I need to find the awl first.’

‘Also, it has to happen soon if I heard correctly.’

When the anxious Kimin stood up and hovered around under the broiling sunlight, the whale monster slowly became black powder and fluttered. Because it was too huge, the powder from the dead body looked like a black fog.

‘Just like what I thought. Good.’

Rumble.

Something rolled outside after the dead whale’s body totally disappeared.

A huge shining rock.

And a wooden stick.

“Found it!!”

Kimin Kim ran fast and picked up the thing. It was the wooden stick he had.

Click! Click.

The knife blade of the awl was fine even though it had rolled around in the digestive fluid. It might be made of some kind of strong metal. Kimin Kim couldn’t hide his happiness. This weapon seemed to be pretty useful for his survival.

However, that rock was…

It reminded him of the TV show he watched several times before.

‘Human beings are not the only ones who have awakened. It was fair to all the living beings on Earth.’

‘…to plants, insects, and also animals. Literally, the possibility of the awakening has opened.’

‘And we call them [monsters] except for human beings.’

‘Maybe humans are not the rulers of the world anymore.’

Kimin Kim’s recollection was clear.

‘The data screens ended after showing crowding cockroaches as big as bulls, a plant snatching a boar and dragging it, and a snake as big as a building using poison gas and melting a tank.’

His memory kept going.

‘Do you think we can defeat the monsters with guns?’

‘It is possible. Indeed, even skill users use modern weapons against each other quite often and use their skills as assistance. It’s the same. It’s not like… novels where military weapons don’t work for monsters.’

‘Right. if we can’t defeat skill users with guns, keeping public order probably would not be easy.’

‘Haha.’

‘I’m so relieved that modern weapons work.’

‘Yea, but it’s not that easy with the gun.’

‘If a gun works, don’t we need to just shoot? I think it means normal people can face monsters.’

‘Well, hm. I should explain to let people who watch this TV show know that they shouldn’t try to challenge monsters. Monsters mostly awakened with special defense skills depend on their kind. For example… You saw the [One-horned snake] on the data screen, right?’

‘Oh, the giant snake. The name reminds me of a unicorn. Does it have a horn on its head?’

‘Yes, exactly. It has a characteristic horn. That was how it was named. Anyway, most of the snake kinds have the [Anti-bullet] skill as a side skill including the one-horned snake.’

‘Anti-bullet?’

‘When you shoot, many of the bullets bounce off. Also, arrows. Eventually, we catch the monsters with close-range weapons or special explosives.’

‘It’s terrible.’

‘Not only the snakes but also other animals… No, other living creatures that awakened and became monsters. Everyone has strong abilities. Indeed, there is a more scary thing than their abilities.’

‘What is that?’

‘When they awaken as a monster, there are often followers who are the same kind. For example, a snake becomes a one-horned snake, then other snakes start to follow him. Then, the followers can share some of the monster’s abilities.’

‘Wait, isn’t that unfair? Humans can’t share someone’s ability even if we follow someone.’

‘Indeed, haha. Awakening has many differences between humans and monsters. Anyways, what I want to say is, please try not to attack the monster group with a ridiculous gun. In reality, a joint operation between the military and skill users can barely exterminate the monsters.’

‘We need to be very careful. By the way, people who beat the monsters should be rewarded with something good after all the tough work. Does it have good income?’

‘Um… Let me explain what comes out when you beat a monster. First, a useless stone comes out.’

‘Oh, the stone that the Korea Ability Development, KAD, is researching at full speed…?’

‘Yes. They have been researching for many years, but they haven’t gotten any results yet. Academia has just a theory that a part of their bodies might become cancer.’

‘Have you appraised?’

‘Of course I did. Even if something came up with an appraisal, the media would already announce it. Have you heard any news like that? Also, if anyone finds out what it is, the theory that it might be cancer wouldn’t have come out.’

‘Haha. You are right. I haven’t heard any news like that. So, what else comes out other than the stone?’

‘There are several ingredients that can be extracted from a dead body, however, only [Butchery] or [Preservation] skill users can do that. The dead body gets disassembled and disappears instantly without those skill users. The stone stays for a little while and disappears together. There is a reason why the research isn’t easy. The stone has to stay so we can research it, but it’s not like a monster’s dead body can stay with the [Preservation] skill.’

‘What the freak. It is so useless. Then, it means the stones cannot be researched.’

‘I heard very few stones stay and they let the research continue. It is not easy though since even those stones get disassembled if we strike them, haha. Anyway, dead bodies that are butchered or preserved are quite worthy. The ingredients have a little bit of the monster’s characteristics.’ 

‘Wow… incredible. If we make a product with them, it is going to be remarkable.’

‘It actually is. Even if the product is cheap, its quality and price are going to have a huge difference. For example, it is common for many countries to have already remodeled, compounded, and assigned combat planes and tanks with huge snakeskin equipped with anti-ballistic skills.’

‘Oh, it’s going to be difficult for normal tanks to beat those tanks.’

‘You are right. There are several experimental results.’

‘Then the unique items on markets are not directly from the monsters.’

‘Yes, exactly. They are mostly processed by production skill users.’

‘I see. By the way, the Butchery and Preservation skill users are going to get paid well, right?’

‘By the looks of it, they are kind of in demand. However, their supply is not much… and basically hunting monsters is related to the government… What should I say? They can’t get paid as much as they work? So, many people get twisted. They shouldn’t though.’

‘Haha, right. It comes up with the government’s policy to control those black markets.’

Kimin Kim shook his head to let go of the endless images from his memory.

And he looked sideways at the stone.

Kimin Kim smacked his lips.

‘According to what I remember, this will disappear soon.’

He just pushed the big stone away with his foot.

Then.

“Huh?”

[ Abnormal status absorption(S)(Lv. 0) reacts to the transition stone. ]

[ You can absorb the transition stone. Will you absorb it? ]

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