YuWon slowly opened his eyes after having been engulfed by countless Clock Movements.
‘So my body didn’t return to the past. Instead, my time was rewound.’
His body felt light like a deflated balloon. Stats, mana—everything that strengthened his body was gone.
It was a shame. If he could have returned to the past with the powers he possessed, things would be a lot easier.
‘I guess that would have been much harder to make happen.’
Sending just the soul back in time versus sending a physical body back in time are two completely different sets of problems.
When a body is sent back in time, you need to deal with the problem of having two versions of the same person in the same time period, not to mention that it requires much greater energy to cross the timeline. So that would probably be an impossible feat, even for Chronos.
‘This means I need to start over from zero…’
Returning to the past felt like waking up from a long slumber. In order to find out how far back in time he went back, YuWon started observing his surroundings.
He felt a heavy impact on his face.
What a shitty moment to return to.
“Hold up. Gonna act like a big man?”
His blurry vision came back into focus, revealing a man in front of him.
A well-toned physique, a long nose, and an attempt at making a scary expression.
‘Who in the world is this?’
It happened so long ago, he couldn’t remember right away. That’s when YuWon noticed the clothes the man was wearing.
The man was wearing a letterman jacket from the university YuWon used to attend. His memories were fuzzy because it was such a distant memory, but looking at the letterman jacket helped him remember the fact that he used to be a college student.
YuWon was at one of the gyms on campus.
‘What was this guy’s name…?’
It was almost coming back to him.
When his punch missed, the man became visibly confused.
YuWon took a step back, muttering to himself, “Was it tomorrow, or was it today?”
“What’s today’s date? If you answer me quickly, I’ll forgive you for punching me since your weak punch didn’t even really hurt.”
The man’s expression turned extremely sour. He probably thought he was being mocked.
“What did you just say, bitch…? You lose your mind? What the fuck are you spouting? You even dropped the honorifics…”
The man’s head spun. The ceiling and the floor blending together was the last thing he saw before falling on his ass.
“I guess I don’t need your help. I’ve got my phone, after all.”
There was no point to YuWon’s question. In his pocket he could feel his smartphone, which would tell him what he wanted to know.
After checking the date with his phone, YuWon looked down at the fellow that was knocked out cold on the floor.
“School should be on break. Do you really have nothing better to do with your free time?”
He saw the man’s name in his call log.
He finally remembered. It was a guy by the name of Kim MyungHoon.
He was a grade above YuWon, and he was well known for being a garbage human being in the physical education department.
‘And here I was getting beat up without even knowing the reason.’
He really didn’t know why. The semester was over, yet Kim MyungHoon had called YuWon over to beat YuWon to a pulp. He had told YuWon to think of the reason himself.
“Then you deserve a hard time as well,” YuWon said to his unconscious body.
The date was December 31st, 2019. It was the last day of the year.
YuWon remembered December 31st as the day the Tutorial first started.
‘What perfect timing.’
It was a good date. Not too early, not too late.
There was no way to know if it was a coincidence or if Chronos set the date, but YuWon was pleased with his situation.
The time was 3PM.
‘So nine hours ‘til midnight.’
It wasn’t a lot of time to prepare and select a location.
“I guess I’ll be busy starting today.”
* * *
When Kim MyungHoon finally regained consciousness, it was late evening.
All the lights were off, and on the floor of the dark gym, MyungHoon was woken up by his phone vibrating.
He had plans.
7PM. He was supposed to meet up with his friends for a drink over dinner.
“God, fucking dammit…”
Remembering why he was passed out, Kim MyungHoon started swearing in anger. He got knocked out while lecturing his underclassmen. It was something he could never tell anyone out of sheer embarrassment.
‘I’m going to teach that asshole a proper lesson real soon.’
A lucky punch. That’s what MyungHoon brushed it off as.
He was pretty infamous for his fighting skills, while Kim YuWon had a smaller physique among the underclassmen, on top of being a pushover.
“Yeah, you called? Uh, yeah. I was just teaching someone a lesson. Where?”
After quickly grabbing his belongings, MyungHoon took a taxi to Hongdae.
Once he cleaned up the nosebleed and brushed the dirt off his clothes, he looked fine again.
Not only was it December 31st, it was a Thursday, so Hongdae was overcrowded with people excited for their four-day holiday.
“Damn, this is a lot of people.”
“Hey, here. Over here!”
“You’re late. We’re charging you a late fee!”
MyungHoon’s friends had been waiting for him. His fellow class of 2018.* They were all guys due to serve in the army soon.
*T/N: Korea labels college classes by year of admittance.
“Why were you so hard to get a hold of?”
“You’re an hour late. That’ll be 50,000 won*.”
*T/N: Approx $45 USD
“Cut the crap.”
They served MyungHoon a drink as soon as he sat down. Since they had already been drinking for an hour, one of them was flushed red.
“Hey now, why is this mofo being such a fucking downer?
“Didn’t you just get back from blowing off some steam?”
“I don’t want to talk about it. Just give me another drink.”
He felt the need to get drunk.
As per MyungHoon’s request, his friends mixed another glass of beer with soju. Thinking it’d raise his spirits, one of MyungHoon’s buddies asked him while handing him a drink, “So, what did you do with Kim YuWon?”
Kim MyungHoon’s hand that was raising the drink to his lips froze for just a second. He got lost in thought for a moment before smirking and replying.
“I beat the shit out of him. I hope he made it to the hospital.”
“C’mon, go a li’l bit easier. Or he might kill himself.”
“So what if he does? Doesn’t that fucker not have any parents? Who’s gonna come after us?”
“Eh, you’re right. Is it really our fault if he commits suicide? If he kills himself because he was beat up a few times, it’s his fault for being such a little bitch.”
Kim MyungHoon was pleased by his friends’ agreement. Everyone was partying. The bad memory from earlier that day was quickly fading away.
‘It’s fine. I’ll just beat the crap out of him later.’
As long as he did that, he could claim that today’s events never happened.
Round one and round two flashed by. After drinking just beer and soju, for round three, they decided to drink some expensive liquor.
“Why the fuck are there so many people!”
“It’s the four-day weekend.”
“What time is it?”
“It’s almost 2020.”
The cool breeze was gently sobering them up. When his head stopped feeling so hazy, MyungHoon threw his finished cigarette on the ground and started walking.
“Hey, let’s get a move on. We don’t want to sober up now, do we?”
“Hey, isn’t that Kim YuWon?”
“Oh shit, it is him.”
Kim MyungHoon froze over the words of his friends. He turned his head, pretending like nothing was wrong.
‘Why is that fucker here?’
It really was him.
In the midst of a crowd, YuWon was standing still, holding a luggage case in one hand. People just brushed past YuWon, who stood like a statue. He wasn’t moving, looking like he was waiting for someone.
‘Is this for real? Fuck…’
It really wasn’t his day. Meeting Kim YuWon here and now, before even getting the chance to properly get his revenge.
“Doesn’t he look fine?”
“Is he waiting for someone? What’s up with that carry-on?”
“Let’s go say hi.”
“Why greet him? What are y’all scheming?”
MyungHoon’s friends were already walking up to YuWon.
‘I’m seriously going to kill him.’
Kim MyungHoon ground his teeth in anger, remembering the event from earlier that day. Now that it had come to this, he decided to crush YuWon, even if it meant losing face in front of his friends.
“Hey, Kim YuWon!”
MyungHoon led his pack towards YuWon, a total of six people including himself.
When outnumbering someone, one naturally felt no fear. MyungHoon asked, baring his white teeth, “What business you got here?”
The six surrounded YuWon.
People started steering clear to avoid their threatening aura. It looked like a fight could break out at any moment.
Instead of answering MyungHoon’s question, YuWon checked his electronic wristwatch.
“It’s almost 12 o’clock.”
[ 11 : 57 : 12 ]
Once he had checked the time, YuWon took the watch off his wrist and threw it to the ground.
“Enjoy your last three minutes…”
YuWon opened up his large luggage case. He rummaged around, pulling stuff out as he spoke to them.
“Since it’ll be hell after that.”
They didn’t know.
The events that were about to unfold, the kind of world they would have to start living in.
That’s why they did not know what a sweet and precious moment these last three minutes were.
“Fucking bitch, what are you blabbering about…”
Kim MyungHoon walked menacingly towards YuWon, only to take a few steps back in fear. It was because he saw what YuWon pulled out of his luggage.
“Ahh, are you… fu-fucking nuts?”
The items he pulled out were all very threatening weapons. A sashimi knife, swiss army knife, machete, an axe… and a bag whose contents were a mystery.
YuWon hung the swiss army knife and axe on his waist and wielded the sashimi knife.
“Hey, a-apologize already!”
“H-How hard did you beat this kid up that he’s come to this?”
“Yeah, bro. You—you’re clearly in the wrong here!”
“Hey, YuWon. You shouldn’t be like this either! I get that you’re really angry, but…”
A crowd formed around YuWon, who was holding various weapons. People kept murmuring. MyungHoon didn’t dare approach YuWon, frightened by the sashimi knife. Some people even called the cops.
There wasn’t a lot of time left.
YuWon put the bag he pulled out of the luggage on his shoulder and looked around.
‘This should be enough people.’
Hongdae. It was one of the most populated places in Seoul, according to YuWon’s memories.
‘It was Anyang, previously.’
YuWon lifted his chin and looked up at the sky.
The clouds stopped moving.
Everyone was focused on the commotion. No one was paying any attention to the phenomenon that was occurring. They only saw the weapons YuWon was holding and that he was causing a ruckus.
In the midst of the chaos, YuWon checked the watch he dropped on the ground.
A noise rang in his ears.
The noise wasn’t exclusive to YuWon. The hundreds and thousands of people roaming the streets of Hongdae covered their ears. Some people even fainted from the sound that rang inside their head and eardrums. YuWon stood silent, watching the landscape morph around him.
The ground split apart, and never-before-seen plants grew from the fissure.
The color of the clouds floating in the sky inverted, turning black.
The electronic watch froze at 2020, 00:00 hours.
[POPULATION : 12,014]
It was a welcoming message. 12,000 people. Picking Hongdae was not the wrong choice.
The first things that could be heard once the ringing stopped were frightening roars.
“… They’re here.”
The roars echoed between the buildings.
YuWon, holding the knife in his hand, walked past Kim MyungHoon and his gang. They were still covering their ears.
[THE TUTORIAL WILL NOW BEGIN.]
“The three minutes.”