She was shocked, shocked enough to make her brain go completely blank. Then, she realized why some passengers were tilting their heads as if there was something wrong with the announcement.
The announcement, in fact, was not coming from the speakers on the subway, but from Kang-Joon’s phone.
It was a trick exploiting the fact that she would only listen closely to the content of the announcement rather than trying to find where the sound source was and the 2nd subway line is always packed with people. Kang-Joon was not quite sure whether she would buy it or not…
yet she completely got fooled.
“Should we talk for a minute now?”
Kang-Joon then followed by a somewhat frightening statement.
“It’s related to your life as well.”
The full-grown Magical Girl, Acacia, opened up her eyes wide in shock.
They got off at the next station and went into the café nearby. They exchanged names and Kang-Joon got to know her name is Gi-Na.
She was always worried about the responsibility which she might have to face for the hunting activities and the damages she had done to the surroundings and infrastructure with no hunter ID whatsoever. Kang-Joon smiled at her, bringing two drinks from the counter.
“Mocha with whipped cream, right?”
“Huh? Oh, yes!”
Gi-Na answered as loud and clear as possible, all frozen up by Kang-Joon.
“No need to be scared. I’m not a cop.”
Kang-Joon thought it might be handy for him to get a fake police badge somewhere but that was something to worry about later. Gi-Na had a lot of questions for him.
How he got to her, what he meant by something related to her life, why he wanted to find her to start with and how he knew about her ability…all these questions were about to burst out of her head.
She had already forgotten about their encounter in the Core situation at Gangnam station.
‘Hmm…there’s a lot of questions I want to ask as well but…’
Kang-Joon also had so many questions popping in his head. Who this girl really was, why she would make no contact with the firms and decide to be on her own with no license…but he decided to talk about all that a bit later.
Now was the time for him to give her a shock. Whatever he was about to say, it would be easier for him to lead the conversation after he stirred her up a little bit.
“Gi-Na, if you keep doing this, you will die in five years.”
As Kang-Joon predicted, she indeed was dramatically stirred.
“……what…are you trying to say?”
“Do you feel any sort of a random headache or dizziness? Doesn’t your body feel lethargic when you wake up in the morning?”
“Yes….Yes…my body just feels really heavy like I’m wearing soaked clothes in the morning.”
Well, I’m sorry to say this but…since this is a serious topic I hope you understand. Your period has not been so regular right? You were losing your appetite at one moment then all of a sudden you went on a binge and stuff, right?”
“H…how did you! How do you know it that well?”
“That’s a side effect from excessive usage of Avatar. I think it’s more serious than I expected. With this pace, it’s probably not even five but three…”
With that, Gi-Na’s face was turning almost plain white. Kang-Joon had the most serious look on his face, making Gi-Na also very serious. She was almost tearing up, about to burst anytime soon.
Of course, those symptoms mentioned by Kang-Joon were simply from overwork and tiredness.
She must’ve had a day job then she got on the subway after the work. Especially on the weekend, she was staying on it almost during the whole day.
There was no doubt that she would be terribly tired. Hence, she was, in fact, suffering from the overwork and what Kang-Joon mentioned was merely a list of symptoms that could be caused by that. Even if it wasn’t overworked, everybody wakes up with a tired body in the morning.
Even before he actually began, he instinctively felt that she was almost falling over into his hands. He opened up his phone then started watching the video footages of Acacia.
Cutting through dimension with telekinesis and crushing the monsters with her cheap looking wand also using her telekinetic power was indeed something beyond normal.
Regardless of all that, Gi-Na was feeling so humiliated that she could almost bite her own tongue, watching the very footages of herself with another person. The reason being…
She was spitting out that kind of nonsense, with all of her heart and passion. As a contrast to the name ‘Thunderstorm’, she was making sparks from the asphalt ground by scratching it with telekinetic pressure.
It barely had anything to do with doing some damage to the actual target. However, Kang-Joon was still keeping his serious face. He did not sneer or make fun of anything. Instead, He opened his mouth again.
“The power you are using in these videos is at least S-Class or SS-Class at maximum.”
Gi-Na was doing what she could do and she made some unnecessary moves to show off. Having absolutely no knowledge of the hunting industry, she had no idea which class her powers would belong to.
“Don’t you find it weird, though? Even the Awakes with the best talents can’t use this kind of power on this scale without absorbing a massive amount of Aether. Have you ever absorbed Aether before?”
Aether crystals are used as power sources for weapons but the Awakes could absorb in into their bodies to enhance their powers.
“It doesn’t make sense that there is no cost for this kind of power. Right now you are using this power because you are burning your life as a fuel. With this pace, not too long after, the link between your body and your spirit will cut off which would make your spirit go on a rampage and your body die from heart attack. I have witnessed a few people like with Avatar ability and their end…was not so pretty.”
Kang-Joon frowned right after that.
Avatar ability is something very rare and hence Gi-Na could not find anything about her own power when she tried to search through the internet. There is a lot of secrets around the abilities of the Awakes but it is almost impossible to find nothing about even the type of power.
To start with, it is compulsory for the Awakes, once they came to recognize their ability, to be quarantined to the managing facility and have their power tested and measured in detail.
That’s simply because it is handier for the government to be aware of different types of people with powers.
There is a lot of creepy rumors around that facility. Most of them are on an urban myth level, such as ‘they dissect the brains of the Awake at the facility’. Yet, they were more than enough to make Gi-Na scared. Hence, she decided not to register.
Kang-Joon knew very well about this kind of people. A power too strong is easily seen as a threat, and the person with such power was kept away in the facility, forced to live under restricted conditions until they were confirmed to have complete control over their power.
Should they be considered to be not able to control the power properly and hence there was a risk of them being a threat to the society, there were cases where they have locked away in the facility forever.
Like any other myths, the rumors did not come from nowhere. Gi-Na’s fear of the facility was entirely normal and natural.
So, The Magical Girl Acacia, as well as a hero to the public, was an unregistered Awake which the government was chasing after. With such a cute nickname, she was almost a dark hero.
“Wh, what do I do then…?”
“Well, I guess we can start talking now.”
Kang-Joon pulled out his business card. Miss Seol made them for him in hopes that they will be useful sometime later.
“I’m actually a manager at Hero Management Inc.”
Gi-Na then finally came to doubt Kan-Joon’s motives. It was a known fact that different firms were trying day and night to get to her and her, of course, knew it.
There was so many managers who were trying to promote themselves to her with a big amount of deposit. As she came to think that the man in front of her was no one but a manager who was trying to get her in for the sake of his company, she could not hide her feelings but be disappointed.
“Managers obviously take care of hunters. You are using your power way too uncontrollably. I do not know what kind of motivation you have been hunting with and I do not want to know or judge your decision. But, things are dangerous for you like this.”
Kang-Joon gave her a serious look.
“You do not yet know about your power well. I have witnessed a few people with power like yours and I know the secrets and the problems of it. I, for sure, can tell you all that. You need somebody to take care of you right now. Also…”
Kang-Joon, with a confident look, moved on to confirm his statement
“I don’t know about other countries, especially Canada, but you got to know that I am the only one who even knows about this ability in entire Korea.”
Then, he opened his wallet, pulling out his hunter ID.
“I’m working as a manager now, but a B-Class hunter at the same time.”
Gi-Na could not really decide whether or not she should believe this guy who smelled like fraud head to toe.
“Please, have a think about it and contact me. What you have been doing is dangerous. For your body and for the society as well.”
After the last words, Kang-Joon left his spot only to return seconds later.
“Oops, almost left my coffee.”
To Gi-Na, Kang-Joon indeed was weird in a lot of different ways.
After meeting Kang-Joon, Gi-Na headed back home with heavy steps. Just like any other day, she took the subway. When she met him, although she was fooled by a wicked trick, she had no choice but to admit what he said was mostly true.
Above everything, she was surprised that he noticed her true ability which no one ever knew about. Also, after hearing it from him, she was thinking maybe she really only had maximum five years, minimum three years of her life left.
At first, she thought it was a dream. Being able to use those supernatural power is indeed a daydream for most of the people.
In the dream, she was walking through a small park near her house and swayed her arm towards a streetlight, thinking she wanted to have a supernatural power.
When she did that, the very streetlight right before her eyes got bent like a spoon in a split second. The feeling was so real that she woke up right away started.
When she later checked, the streetlight was really bent and broken. She came to recognize her ability as if she was dreaming and finally realized that her ability was something very odd.
It took a fair bit of time for her to get to the point where she could use the power whenever she wanted with a little concentration. She used to glide through the air using her Avatar.
It was still scary for her to register herself at the managing facility. Since she could find nothing about her ability anywhere, she feared that she might really be locked in the facility forever as an example. Because of that, she told nobody about her power.
After graduating from a university in Seoul, she did a few internships at book publishing companies and became a full-timer not too long after. She was a part of the accounting team which had barely anything to do with books and publishing, so her daily job was just a boredom for her.
She used to wonder if this really is all there is for her life more than ten times a day. Even if she quit, someone else would fill up her spot right away. She felt like a cog in a giant machine called society.
She had always been trying to become something but before she even realized, she had already become something else. So, she felt like there was no longer a chance for her to become someone different.
Like a finished statue, she thought she would just get older and older with nothing really changing in her life.
Having nothing to expect of the future was miserable. She could not even open up her worries towards those friends of her who could not even find a full-time job.
To them, it was obvious that her worries would just sound like a spoiled child complaining. Happiness was subjective and so was unhappiness.
The only entertainment in her life was to summon the Avatar to walk through the night, fly in the air and try out her powers.
Deciding to hunt down monsters was a simple thing. There was a Core Situation around her place and she popped up crushing the monsters with her Avatar just for fun.
The disgust was nothing compared to the realization of her great power and the acclamation from people. That’s when she came to notice what she needed and what she had lacked
She wanted to feel alive. Killing monsters and seeing people cheer was enough for her. Doing good deeds for people could really make her feel alive. Hunters make money off such activities but she chose not to.
Getting the appreciations from the soldiers and the hunters was just enough.
So, she decided to change the appearance of her Avatar. Letting her Avatar look exactly like her could lead to people noticing her. That’s why she changed it to her childhood self.
Then, she came to think maybe the concept of Magical Girl would not be too bad and eventually…
Acacia, The Magical Girl was born.