Episode 2: Exodus / Chapter 14: Encounter (1)
Edited: Myoni, Yoni
My mother worked at a design company. She liked to make everything. The fans and mobiles she made would always be my toys. I wasn’t good with my hands. Instead, I would watch my mother as she made things. My mother would put snacks next to me as I watched her make pants and bags. I spent my childhood eating snacks while watching her quick hand movements.
When I was alone, I usually read books. Once I went into high school, my mother allowed me to use the T.V. and the computer… but I kept my habit in reading books. Although I read things like travel magazines, I would mainly read books on design, architecture and programming. Perhaps it was the influence of my mother but I wanted to be a person who made things when I grew up.
Choi Hyuk opened his eyes. Early morning. He slowly relaxed his heightened senses. He wrapped the Fang Saber and Predator’s Blade he untied yesterday and put on the Tireless Boots. He took out a toothbrush and toothpaste from his bag and roughly brushed his teeth. He checked his smartphone just in case but his smartphone still wasn’t working.
He stepped out into the hallway. He could smell something delicious.
And there was Jung Minji.
“You should eat before you go.”
She started to boil and fry the leftover food that she had eaten with her followers. Her followers returned in an orderly fashion.
The people who smelled the warm food naturally found their way to the cafeteria. Choi Hyuk followed Jung Minji to the cafeteria as well. All 452 survivors gathered in the cafeteria. Among them, 349 people were part of the Crazy Knight King Jung Minji’s troops and 103 were part of the Slave King Song Simin’s troops.
24 people deserted them at night and Kim Hyunbaek and his executives, in total 7, had died. The 98 people left from Kim Hyunbaek’s group were absorbed into Jung Minji’s troops. Above their heads was a symbol of a bloody knight.
7 of the deserters came from Jung Minji’s group, 15 from Kim Hyunbaek’s and 2 from Song Simin’s. Unexpectedly, Song Simin’s group had the least number of deserters.
While everyone was eating, an announcement appeared.[The 24 who didn’t return in the morning. Perished.]
People murmured to themselves. They would never see the 24 who had left yesterday night. And ‘deserter’… Jung Minji’s guess was right. They were making them into an army. Although, he didn’t know what the army was for.
Choi Hyuk just grinned.
Soon after, the mission for today was announced. No… a 30-day mission was announced.
——————–[Throne Game + Survive and Escape]
- All of Gangdong district has become a war zone. You cannot go past Gwangjin bridge in the north and the stadium in the south.
- On the 30th day, the location of escape code will be announced. Only the troop who has obtained the escape code may escape.
- The locations of places with living supplies will be announced.
- D Mart
- Herb Astronomy Park
The locations of supplies were all within 30 minutes of the school.
“Survive…? Is it telling us to have a free-for-all for supplies?”
Choi Hyuk bit his teeth.
The somewhat lively atmosphere became chilly. To survive and escape… it may be as hard or harder than yesterday.
In this atmosphere, Jung Minji made an announcement.
She was troubled over it during mealtime but after seeing the new announcement, Jung Minji made up her mind.
‘The rule about absolutely following king’s orders is gone. Unlike the test yesterday, this time, they want us to really show our leadership skills. Then, I need to clarify the issue about Kim Hyunbaek.’
So that she could justify herself if a controversy arose. Jung Minji announced.
“As everyone knows, yesterday, Kim Hyunbaek died. No, Kim Hyunbaek and 6 executives of the Heckler troop died. In their drunken stupor, they molested a female student and committed other devious acts. They ignored our restraining order and even launched a pre-emptive strike. All 7 died in the fight. I am sorry we couldn’t resolve it peacefully.”
The cold atmosphere of the cafeteria calmed down a level. There were many points of suspicion. Who was molested? Did the Heckler King really launch a pre-emptive attack? Luckily, the fight began after Kim Hyunbaek took his close friends to drink elsewhere. There were no witnesses. But who would speak out? After the survivors said so. They even said they were sorry they couldn’t resolve it peacefully.
Only Song Simin raised his hand and asked.
“Did you have to kill him?”
“There was no other choice.”
That was it.
Afterwards, their destination was decided. Jung Minji and Song Simin allied together and went to D Mart.
There were some who suggested visiting their homes but they were quickly shot down. As the sun rose, they could see the area in front of the school lay in ruins. Smashed cars. As if someone had gnawed on the bones, there were pieces of bones and flesh everywhere. It was unreasonable to split up and visit their homes in this situation. Besides one person, Choi Hyuk.
“Are you going to be fine by yourself? We don’t know what it’s like outside.”
Jung Minji wanted to be with the strong Choi Hyuk but once Choi Hyuk refused, she didn’t ask again.
Choi Hyuk left the still eating troops of Jung Minji and Song Simin and walked out of the school entrance by himself.
As soon as he left the entrance, he ran towards his home.
Just what happened? In a day, the city lay in ruins. The more he ran, Choi Hyuk’s worry for his mother turned to anxiety.
However, Choi Hyuk didn’t find any traces of his mother in his home. Looking at the sink filled with dishes, it seemed like his mother never made it back home yesterday.
‘Is this despair? Or hope?’
He couldn’t guess. That it was hopeful since she didn’t walk through the ruined streets. Or if she couldn’t return due to a catastrophic event.
His heart raged with a burning anger and anxiety. Choi Hyuk swallowed those emotions down.
He walked down the stairs because the elevator was broken. He left the apartment complex. And Choi Hyuk stopped when he felt a chill. A different air blew in the apartment complex. His 20/10 vision looked at his surroundings. There were one, two, three people looking down at him from the apartment windows.
And a disgusting smell.
He saw those people waving their hands, it was desperation. He could clearly see their meaning. ‘Leave! It’s dangerous!’
Choi Hyuk clenched his teeth. The reason why he decided to move alone was first to check if his mother was safe. But, that wasn’t all.
‘Throne Game + Survive and Escape, this time, two games are combined into one.’
If you only looked at the mission itself, you would think that this was mainly about the ‘Survive and Escape’ but it was definitely a continuation of the Throne Game. If that was the case, there was a need to faithfully uphold his role as the ‘King without Subjects’. To make the eyes of the creators who were hidden behind the scenes widen, to become the real winner, he couldn’t be lazy or compromise.
‘The fact that there is a rule about the King without Subjects means that there is a way to become the king of this game without any followers.’
Choi Hyuk threw away all the weak thoughts of ‘Maybe? Perhaps. Dangerous!’ It might even be somewhat overkill. However, the more he compromised, the more his goal would crumble.
Choi Hyuk jumped on top of a smashed car, much less ran away. He examined his surroundings with his keen senses. His eyes saw the ‘thing’ that was curled up between smashed up cars.
Someone’s scream. A sudden stench. Instead, Choi Hyuk raised his Predator’s Blade and charged forward.
A claw as sharp as a blade swept above his head. He still wasn’t able to clearly see the figure of the ‘thing’. However, it was big and fast. Ooze seeped out from its black skin. Even its smell was repulsive.
Choi Hyuk slashed the wall-like figure in front of him. Black blood spurted out. Choi Hyuk reflexively fell back and avoided the black blood. As soon as the blood made contact with the asphalt, it melted. Although he did try to avoid it, he was still splattered with blood. Perhaps, it was due to his 70 Endurance. The karma in his body grew hotter and evaporated the black blood. Though, his clothes were riddled with holes.
The wounded thing screamed. A very low sound. It wasn’t loud. The despair that sounded out below what a human could hear made Choi Hyuk’s body shiver.
At the same time, Choi Hyuk’s body bounced back. He was hit in the arm. Because he was reflexively able to avoid the claw, he was hit in the elbow. He was able to reduce the impact.
As he flew away, Choi Hyuk was able to see the ‘thing’.
It was big. It seemed to be 2m tall and 5m long. Its back was hunched like a ferret’s and its large head and horn was like that of a rhinoceros as well as ghastly claws and thick legs. Its killing intent filled his vision with red. It was literally a monster.
Only when he slammed into a ruined car did he stop. If it was like any other day, the impact would have instantly killed him. However, his 70 Endurance let him avoid any big injuries. He lifted his aching body and ground his teeth.
‘It was hiding that much killing intent?’
The killing intent it was emitting was like a sunset as it covered his surroundings with a red light. But, when it was hiding between the cars, nothing was reflected by his Eyes of Distinction. Fucking bastard.
It roared as if it was trying to pressure him. But because of the low sound, it wasn’t very loud. Instead, his whole body vibrated.
The nearby windows shattered.
Choi Hyuk’s body leaned forward as if it was about to fall and he put strength in his ankles before shooting forwards. It just seemed unfamiliar because it wasn’t human. Choi Hyuk had already understood its body structure.
Its right claw missed once again. At the same time, it raised its left.
“I already saw that.”
Choi Hyuk slipped through the armpit of its lifted arm. The Predator’s Blade sliced its armpit and drank its blood.[Graaahhhhh!!]
He didn’t pay attention to its scream and continued slicing its side. The monster jumped at him wielding its claw. Choi Hyuk avoided the claw with a paper-thin margin. Choi Hyuk didn’t lose his balance nor did he fall back but stood there as he watched the monster jump at him.
It jumped 5 meters into the air. Choi Hyuk met its eyes. Their killing intents tangled together.
Its heavy body fell to the ground. It wasn’t really an attack. More like a landing. But normally you would avoid whatever was falling down from the sky. Let alone a claw-wielding monster.
But Choi Hyuk used his keen senses to find an opening. He found a path where he could avoid being hit and picked a location where he would be able to endure its weight with his Power and Endurance.
Choi Hyuk jumped.
A flesh wrenching sound was heard.
A 31-year-old unemployed Kim Chulho who lived in an apartment plaza was in despair. Another person died. He even shouted his lungs out to warn him of the monster but he died.
The monster that appeared yesterday night, the ‘Crook’. Ignoring the message in the morning was the source of his troubles.
Location. Shinmyung Middle School.
The attack of the Crooks is approaching. Gather and wait at the assembly area.
“I am seeing things.”
Kim Chulho snorted as he turned on his computer.
“What? Why isn’t it turning on?”
And the television didn’t work either. He should have thought something was weird then. However, Kim Chulho went to the manhwa store to borrow a manhwa and rolled about in his home. He then ate food and slept early. And in that state, he was isolated in his home.
When night fell, hell broke loose. Kim Chulho woke up from the roars. They weren’t loud. But whenever they roared, the apartment would shake. Although it was a strange day where his phone and television didn’t work, there still were people walking and working like a normal day. And that day was destroyed in the end.
People were eaten while still inside cars. One would die with their every step. Even their screams were overwhelmed by their roars. Their souls might have even been eaten. His parents never returned. And the day brightened.
Kim Chulho felt like everyone besides him had died. Dread. Loneliness. It was when he was like that he saw a man. He felt so happy to see him. On top of that, he was really, really strong. He fought with the Crook. He even wondered if he was really human. The two swords at his side were strange and some sort of black flag like thing lingered above his head. But what did it matter if he was a human or not? Anyone who resisted the monster was on ‘his side’!
But… he was squashed by the Crook. Kim Chulho despaired.
The body of the Crook which seemed to weigh a few tons started to lift up. A boom sounded out and a human popped out from underneath. It was Choi Hyuk.
In the apartment complex quiet as death, even the sound of someone spitting could be heard clearly.
Choi Hyuk cleaned the blade stabbed into the body of the Crook and shouted.
“Up there! Come down!”
Of course, no one answered. Kim Chulho foolishly stood there thinking, ‘He survived? He killed the monster?’
Then Choi Hyuk cut the Crook’s heavy head off and lifted it up high before throwing it on the ground. Its head was so big that it looked like it weighed half a ton…
A sound of an explosion sounded out. Choi Hyuk stood on that head and shouted again.
“It’s dead so don’t worry and come down!”
Before he knew it, Kim Chulho was already on his way down.