Volume 5 / Chapter 136
It has already been half a year since the opening of Mechanic City. What was once a ghost city is now a hot place for Lifers, where there is no interference from the world.
Nearly 2 years have passed since the 2nd round of Lifer selections, but there seem to be no signs of a 3rd round. Due to this, they are leveling.
2 years. There are no level E Lifers to be seen anywhere, and there are few level Ds. Whether through ability or bus, over 90% of Lifers have advanced to level C.
Mechanic City started with a population of 10,000 and has now reached 10 million. Even now, there is a spur of late comers.
There are over 100 million people from just the 1st and 2nd rounds of selection. Until now, the survival rate has been about 10%. Most died in advanced missions.
It is unknown how many people will die in the level C advancement, that even those with battle suits are scared of. What they do know is that buses are out of the question.
Only Cha Jun Sung knows this information, but contributions are added in starting with level C advancement missions.
It is a border that only those with the skills to can cross. No matter how much they ride buses, they cannot advance if they do not have the contribution points that the helpers deem them.
The 3rd round of Lifer selections will open once the level C wall is broken. That will probably be the day with the rankers succeed in their attempts. There is 1 month left now.
Rankers gathered to the top floor of Black City 5 months after what Blood King did during the auction war.
The purpose of the meeting is to converge everyone’s opinions and decide on the advance mission. Their lives are on the line. They cannot enter in anywhere without a plan.
Level C Lifers have not been able to advance, so they are externally similar then and now regarding items. That is the same for Cha Jun Sung’s group as well.
There needs to be something to buy. They have nothing left to buy in the level C store.
Rankers and Lifers who do well are preparing for the level B store. They are expecting each item to go for at least 1 million points. The mutants are level 7 starting in level B missions. They will need to fight against mutants that are nearly perfect.
‘There are few level B missions.’
If what is written in the notepad is right, there are less than 2000. It is because the population of level 7s has declined. The level of difficulty raises as they go higher.
How many Lifers will need to be brought in to complete 1 level B mission? Thousands? Tens of thousands? It could be even get to more than hundreds of thousands.
Cha Jun Sung listens to the rankers who are in a heated debate.
There is no conflict of opinion. They are choosing between goals of annihilation and attainment by reading the description details carefully.
“We’ll make the goal annihilation.”
Strategist chose the goal. According to experience, annihilation takes more time than attainment does, but it is easier than missions of the same difficulty level.
It is not a big difference. It is very subtle, but that subtle difference can make all the difference between success and failure. Everyone agrees.
They do not have to think, and just kill all mutants they see in their active area. It is more comfortable in every aspect.
‘Should I make a suggestion?’
Before coming to the meeting, Cha Jun Sung had chosen a mission he likes according to an extremely subjective criteria. Any how? Of course not. There is a reason for everything.[Level C Advance Mission: Public Underground] [Goal: Annihilation] [Description: Since the birth of the king, the clan of blood suckers raised their momentum from the ground and went north to pay back the shame they felt in the past. It is just that there were hundreds of thousands of cocoons left unborn in the empty cohabitation. Thus, subjects who were not recognized by the king were left behind. It is a deep and humid place. End the life of the cruel and savage evil that is coiled at the bottom of the abyss.] [Reward: 2 million points. Lucky box.]
It is a linked mission to Underpass. There will be a tremendous difference in the level of difficulty, but it is an atmosphere and terrain that they are used to. The keywords to Public Underground are mutation and evolution.
Keywords exist in other advance missions, but what they have seen and faced is only Underpass and Public Underground. Could that be why his eyes went to this first?
‘If it’s the king, it must be the Blood Lord.’
He recalls his memory of when he fainted. He will not faint if he hears a level 8 now, but he will experience severe anemia.
Under the level 8 Blood Lord, there is the level 5 Blood Sucker. The difference is just 1 evolutionary step, but the gap is large. Blood Parasites are extremely fertile and fight with numbers.
If the king took the military north, the subjects left behind must be Blood Suckers. Mutation, evolution. They are Blood Suckers, but there is a high possibility that they surpassed the limit of level 5s and advanced to level 6.
He is not sure. But after piecing bits of information together, he can see a shadow. What Cha Jun Sung knows is invaluable.
‘I’ll suggest it.’
Among rankers who are of comparative reputation and ability, Cha Jun Sung cannot come out on top if they oppose him, but it is worth speaking up. Who knows? If he can convince them, they might choose Public Underground.
“Can I say something?”
“Overload? Do you have a different plan?”
“I looked over all of the missions and there was one that my eye kept going to.”
“What is it?”
The rankers search Public Underground on their PDAs. He was going to share it with them, but they moved before he could do it. They are diligent men and women.
“It’s a unique mission. King? Subjects? The king must be level 7 or 8.”
Lim Si Hyun read the mission description and offered a brief impression of it. He got the main point, so the other rankers just listened.
Park Jin Hyuk reacts to Public Underground. Something is familiar.
“You get a feel for it?”
“Is this Underpass?”
“I don’t know either, but it seems like it from the feeling you get from it.”
“Overload. Can you explain it to us?”
Cha Jun Sung and Park Jin Hyuk were discussing the mission between the 2 of them. There is no way for the rankers to understand what they are talking about.
“Oh. What happened is…..”
Cha Jun Sung got Park Jin Hyuk’s permission to tell everyone about Underpass, how it is a repeat mission, what happened inside, and the types of mutants that live in it. When he was done explaining, Park Jin Hyuk added in a few words.
The rankers nodded in understanding. They cannot be 100% sure, but it all fits together perfectly. On top of that, the highlight was still to come.
“This guy wasn’t able to hear because he came back first, but I heard it. The roar of a level 8 Blood Lord that was just born. I passed out because of that.”
Fortunately, he had not been trapped in the mission because he passed out when the return was complete.
Glare Gun’s eyes widen. It is the level 8 mutant that he caught. Of the rankers, only he and Cha Jun Sung have caught the Blood Lord. In the virtual version, mutants beyond level 7 are not regenerated. It is over once they die. The ones that the 2 of them caught are different creatures in different habitats.
“The king is Blood Lord, the military is made up of Blood Parasites and Blood Devils, the army unit is Blood Suckers, the cocoons left in the Underpass are arranged for defeat. The powerful servant must be a Blood Sucker.”
“Isn’t a Blood Sucker level 5?”
Nuclear asks in response to Strategist.
“Think flexibly. It’s level 5, but the description says that it’s a powerful subject. We need to think of it as a level 6. And it’s an advance mission. It’ll probably be the top of its level.”
Cha Jun Sung was innately surprised. Strategist interpreted what he said with the mission description, and unraveled it perfectly.
“Do you think it’s just one?”
“Of course not. We need to expect that there will be at least 5 or 6 Blood Suckers as its subjects. Blood Devils and Blood Parasites….. How horrible.”
2 million point annihilation. They need to be ready to face dozens of them. The number of people on his side is 100 with battle suits. Level 1 Blood Parasites and level 3 Blood Devils are nothing to worry about.
The number of people who will be tied up with battling the Blood Suckers is important. Top of level 6 – they are an enemy that the strategists have not come across yet. It takes 10 rankers for even a lower class one. If it is top class and not mid or high, dozens of people will have to go up against one. They need to pay attention to the average Blood Suckers and the rest of the force needs to handle the rest of the subordinates on their own.
‘It’ll be a war.’
Cha Jun Sung could smell war from this mission. It feels like the blood suckers and Lifers would be putting everything on the line in this fight.
“If it’s hard to decide on a mission, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to go with the one that I suggested. This much information is better than going in somewhere without knowing anything.”
“If we complete this well, we might have an advantage while fighting the Blood Lord. We would be able to see the link in Underpass like you did, too.”
Cha Jun Sung knows a little more information on the Blood Lord, but he did not voice them because they have nothing to do with level C. It is not on trend to go too far ahead.
“I don’t think Public Underground is bad. I’m not forcing it. Let’s go with the majority.”
Strategist wants to end these meetings today. It is better to spend less on making a decision. It could all amount to nothing if they just keep dragging it out.
“I’m for it.”
The rankers are in 2 categories. Those who actively participate in the meeting and those who think, ‘If you make a decision, I’ll follow.’ Weapon Master, Chamma Sword, and Ice Queen belong to the latter.
“Um….. Please keep in mind that my judgement may not end up being right.”
Cha Jun Sung took a step back. These guys are coming over too quickly. He is certain to an extent, but he is slightly taken aback by the way they agree with him without thinking it over.
“It falls together too well like tetris for us to say that you’re wrong. First, we’ll have to look into the blood suckers. Things like their habits. Our chances of succeeding raise, the more that we know.”
With those words, Cha Jun Sung recalled the Blood Suckers he faced in the virtual version. They are large creatures. High level, the same level as the Caicus they faced in Closed Area.
“I’ll take it that it’s been decided.”
Strategist is trying to wrap up the meeting. He will let them know of details and any changes separately.
The rankers scatter as they had done the first time they gathered here. A few speak to Cha Jun Sung and his party members. They have not met often, but have gotten fairly used to each other because of their encounters in the virtual game and the few times they have met.
“Overload, can you stay behind for a moment? Including the other people in your party as well.”
Strategist calls to Cha Jun Sung.
The 3 new rankers added to the world federation have not gotten up from their chairs.
“I have something to discuss with the people who are not in the world federation.”
“Just to us?”
“No. 2 more people are going to come.”
“The world federation Lifers have been together for a while now, so they are pretty cohesive. There could be friction or uncoordination during a mission.”
“You’re dividing us into factions.”
“The intent is a little different, but it’s basically the same.”
Strategist intends to have the rankers without organizations work together like the world federation rankers work together. With the 5 people in Cha Jun Sung’s group, the 3 new people, and the 2 who will be arriving soon, there will be 10 and a balance is forming.
“I’ll explain in more detail once everyone is here.”
Everyone waited with patience. It would be soon.
“Damn it. This woman has no sense of time or punctuality.”
In a cafe near Black City, a sturdy man is complaining as a cyborg serves him coffee. He is waiting for someone.
They had promised to meet at 3, but she is already 20 minutes late. It is an important meeting. They should have gotten there early, but she is late! She is always late.
The man turned his head to the sound of knocking on the glass. The woman he had been waiting for was waving to him without a care for her being late.
“You’re in full setting. To someone who doesn’t know better, you look like you’re going on a blind date.”
The man stood up and went outside. And at the moment he was about to say something,
“Ho ho! Don’t nag at me.”
“Uh….. Are you joking? Did you forget who we’re going to meet? Why do you look like that?”
Nine Tails is wearing a dress that is tight on her body. She spins around once to show off her body. She is attractive, but the man just looks annoyed.
“You’re going to go looking like that when there are all of those rankers there? That’s why you got that nickname Nine Tailed Fox.”
“I like it. The Nine Tailed Fox is a spirit in Asian stories.”
“What spirit. It’s a monster that eats people’s livers. It’s a demon in the west, a monster.”
“Shut up and let’s go.”
Nine Tails covered her eyes, said what she wanted to, and walked toward Black City.
“How could I have gotten close to that person?”
The man pulls at his hair. Mechanic City is a lawless zone for Lifers. With the number of people with the 4th stage of body modifications and battle suits increasing exponentially, they can be taken over if attacked out of nowhere.
Even still, Nine Tails dresses casually unless there are special circumstances.
“Stop looking, huh?”
The men staring at Nine Tails’ face and body are embarrassed and cough awkwardly.
They did not get into a fight. Black City is the world federation’s zone. It is the worst environment for a bad Lifer to act out in.
There is also a patrol that goes on watch frequently, so they can be disadvantaged if they act out.
“You’re not coming?”
“I’m going, I’m going.”
The man dropped his shoulders and followed behind Nine Tails. He loses all energy when he spends an entire day with that woman. She is wicked and knows how to play around with men.