Episode 2: Exodus / Chapter 16: Encounter (3)
Edited: Myoni, Yoni
There were 37 Crooks left by the time Choi Hyuk slew 2 of them.
However, the formation of the suicide squad was on the brink of breaking apart. Though you could say what difference would killing 8 more make in this situation…
‘This one then that one.’
He had already picked the path and his targets so he just needed to place his blade in the right position.
This act closer to that of an art than a fight.
Kill the most dangerous in the cruelest way. Choi Hyuk sliced a Crook that was 1.2 times bigger than the others, the one that was definitely the leader, in two.
The bastard was split horizontally, splitting its upper and lower jaw. The ferocious Crooks were shocked as they looked over to see their leader split in two.
Choi Hyuk didn’t lose that opportunity.
He lightly cut the ankle of the next one. He then tilted his body where his head was almost touching the ground and used the monster as a stepping stone to shoot towards his next target.
He even chose the precise area to slice. When he sliced off a head, he made it so that it would hit another monster’s head. When he split a monster at its waist, he made it so it would obstruct the path of another.
The charging Crooks became tangled up and splattered with the blood of their comrades.
He even left wounds on some of them so that it would be easier for others to fight them.
After killing three with a single slash and wounding four, Choi Hyuk was already at the rear of the Crooks. He had charged in facing them and ended up at the rear. There was only one Crook in front of Choi Hyuk.
Choi Hyuk didn’t slow down as he raised his blade and the oncoming Crook tried to stop. But it was moving too fast that it was unable to.[Kuahhahhh]
The Crook raised both its arms and covered its face. No matter how you looked at it, it was scared.
Choi Hyuk let out his breath and swung his arm. The Crook curled up more pitifully. But Choi Hyuk’s blade didn’t touch the Crook. Instead, he used the power behind it to swing his body around.
Choi Hyuk’s foot stomped on the Crook’s forehead and jumped up. Instead of slicing the frightened Crook, he decided to use it as a stepping stone.
The mobility of the oncoming Crook doubled with Choi Hyuk’s powerful leg strength allowed Choi Hyuk to jump over the charging Crooks and arrive in front of them again. The flow of the battle reversed.
A horrifying sound sounded out twice. Choi Hyuk charged an additional two times. The fight ended with that.[Kuaahh…] [Kahhh…]
The vigor of the Crooks died out the moment Choi Hyuk cut their leader in two. Afterwards, Choi Hyuk’s merciless breakthroughs divided the Crooks and when the humans surrounded them, they were defeated one after another.
The Crooks who used charging tactics against the humans were, in reverse, defeated by charging tactics.
The Crooks that were still alive were bathed in the blood of their comrades and their own and were hurriedly being taken care of.
The flow of the battle had reversed in only a few minutes.
Choi Hyuk caught his breath.
He used more stamina than he thought. No… besides that.
‘I’m not recovering as fast.’
Though others might not be able to notice, Choi Hyuk was someone who could observe his body better than anyone else.
The penalty for using power that exceeded his Power and Speed stat wasn’t only a rapid decline in Stamina but also a temporary decrease in Recovery as well.
That wasn’t all. Choi Hyuk stretched his wrists and his ankles. They throbbed as if they were on fire.
‘I guess I need to rest the whole day.’
Overusing his Endurance stat put a strain on his body. His joints cracked. As even his Recovery stat decreased, it seemed he would have to rest the rest of the day if he didn’t want it to affect tomorrow.
[Klahahahah kuh heuk… kuhuk…]
With its throat pierced, the final Crook drew its last breath. During the operation, 97 people died. Considering they were on the brink of annihilation, it was a great victory.
The post-war treatment.
The item scrolls were similar to the effect of the Bonus Game. When they used the scrolls on dead monsters, a golden hammer would appear smashing the corpse and leaving an item behind.
They used a considerable number of the item scrolls in Shinmyung Middle School to change all 46 monsters into items. The sight of golden hammers falling from everywhere was magnificent.
“We were able to keep our lives because of you. Thank you very much. We, the Shinmyung Stronghold, won’t forget your kindness.”
Kang Dongsoo offered Choi Hyuk to choose 8 items of the 46. To come to this offer, Kang Dongsoo and the seven leader figures of the Shinmyung Stronghold (that was what they called themselves) gathered together and debated for 10 minutes.
What should we do? Since we used our item scrolls, we should take a fee and reduce it to 5, shouldn’t we? No, we can’t be stingy after such a dangerous situation. Let’s go big and offer 10. What are you talking about? It’s fine to give him the 8 he killed. No, that’s not right. There’s a need to show goodwill to people as strong as him. We can’t just give him 8.
After going through the pros and cons, they decided to allow Choi Hyuk to choose whatever 8 he wanted.
Although he wasn’t able to hear the specifics, Choi Hyuk thought the scene of their discussion was fresh. To hold a discussion in the middle of a field… to Choi Hyuk who had been through the [Ring of Rebirth] [Bonus Game] and the [Throne Game], it was something he couldn’t imagine. Didn’t the students who fought naturally end up creating dictatorships?
Their actions seemed cute in Choi Hyuk’s eyes, even a little heartwarming.
Anyways, the results were a bit iffy. It was better than killing 8 by himself but not by much. If it was like the school, they wouldn’t be able to say anything if he shouted, “The treasures here are all mine. Come out if you’re offended!”
However, Choi Hyuk didn’t feel like being greedy. He didn’t even need to. 8 E rank items were enough. If he took any more, he wouldn’t be able to use them all and just become baggage.
He willingly accepted their offer.
Choi Hyuk first picked an armor while he stretched.
The moment he encountered a Crook, he regretted not taking armor from the school. There was someone who had an E rank armor among those he killed but Choi Hyuk only put two rings in his bag and threw out the rest.
‘Since I didn’t know there would be monsters then.’
He thought that he wouldn’t get hit when fighting humans so an armor would only get in the way.
However, the current situation was different. The monsters were large and fast and had better fighting instincts than humans. The hit he took at the apartment and the few hits that brushed him during that battle, they were enough to make his body sore as if he had gotten into a car crash.
‘I need armor to fight more aggressively.’
That was why Choi Hyuk chose a ‘set of Crook Leather Armor’ first.
Besides that, he chose the ‘E rank, Flash Sword’ that was like the estoc he used in the past. He then chose 3 ornament items that could raise his stats, the ‘Handy Bag’,a magical item that could store more things, a chest of Recovery Potions that healed his wounds and a chest of Karma Recovery Potions the reduced the time he needed to wait before using karma again.
“There are even these items.”
Choi Hyuk’s mood became better after placing the potion chest filled with 6 potions in his Handy Bag. He was worried by the fact that today’s fight put a strain on his body but with these potions, he would be able to fight even harder. It was something that wasn’t any worse than the armor. And there wasn’t anything to say about the convenience of the ‘Handy Bag’.
“It would appear occasionally… huhu.”
Kang Dongsoo seemed to be sad at the loss of the potions as he looked at Choi Hyuk’s Handy Bag. However, he quickly changed his expression and energetically asked.
“So, are you planning on staying here?”
“No. After resting and collecting some information today, I will leave tomorrow.”
Kang Dongsoo was surprised. The outside with the Weakening Barrier would definitely be more hellish than here. He couldn’t understand why a young student would go out alone in a place like that.
Choi Hyuk bitterly smiled. This was the difference in perception.
Choi Hyuk thought.
‘Survive and Escape. But is this a game where you can survive by locking yourself up?’
Choi Hyuk’s senses told him. That that wasn’t possible. Wasn’t it already shown in the Bonus Game? They said that it was break time but hid weapons and rules throughout the gym.
The ‘ones’ who created this game would no doubt want the game to become more intense and desperate.
‘There is definitely something hidden this time as well.’
And to catch the attention of ‘them’, Choi Hyuk had to take the lead.
After choosing his items and investigating, Choi Hyuk was able to find a clue.
It was from a man who was barely able to escape to Shinmyung Middle School after encountering a monster on his way back from work.
“Shinmyung Middle School wasn’t the only assembly area. Dongjin Hospital, Hyunhae Department Store, there were people who said those were also assembly areas. And I saw this on my way here. I think I saw the monsters’ lair. Yeah. I definitely saw it. It’s where the ecological park is located. There is a dark hole-like thing there. A hole appeared in midair. I saw some monsters coming out of it. Not Crooks, something else.”
Choi Hyuk was able to find a clue on the location where monsters spawned.
The man asked after telling him.
“But why do you ask? Don’t tell me you plan on going there?”
Of course, he was.
Choi Hyuk loosely answered the man before returning to his spot and lying down.
This place even had a sleeping bag. No matter how he looked at it, this place had it much easier compared to the games the students had to endure.
‘… Well, that’s good.’
Choi Hyuk lied down and opened his status.
Power: 5.8 (+5) (★) Speed: 5.5 (+5) (★) Control: 0.6 (★)
Endurance: 0.1 (★) Stamina: 1.1 (★) Recovery: 10.4 (+10) (★) *Currently overused karma: 99(+10)
*Free karma points: 12 *Retribution points: 84
- Eyes of Distinction
- You have killed someone with karma before it was distributed to you!
- Qualifications of a Sovereign 1/3
- First to kill a monster in a 1-on-1 fight!
Following his Stamina, the rest of his stats passed 100. The moment they hit 100, they were refreshed and a star appeared next to them. Instead of increasing in quantity, it seemed like there was a qualitative change.
‘Will there be another star if I pass another 100?’
The feeling of the karma that wrapped around and support his body was very pleasant. He felt like he would become addicted to it. Choi Hyuk called his previous stats ‘no star’ and his current stats ‘1-star stats’. He believed that since there was one, there would be another and more after that.
‘How much could karma strengthen a human?’
Choi Hyuk was excited.
‘I guess I need to hunt a ton of monsters.’
From what he tested at school, a 1 star stat wouldn’t increase anymore by killing other humans.
‘Though I don’t know if it’ll always be this way or if it’s because I am the only with 1-star stats.’
Anyways, if he wanted to raise his stats in the meantime, he had no choice but to hunt monsters.
However, even if he killed monsters, the increases in his stats were too small. When he had no stars, his power would increase by 5 while his other stats would increase by at least 3… but after getting 1 star, it felt like his stats were increasing by 0.1, at most 0.2. At least his Power, Speed and Recovery all had integers next to them due to items or else it would have looked too pitiful.
Choi Hyuk decided to test something out.
‘The stats increased by items are the same. Then I wonder what will happen if I invest some of my free karma points?’
Choi Hyuk invested one of his free points into Stamina.
[Retribution points aren’t able to match the grade of the stats. The effectiveness decreased to 10%. Stamina 1.1 points -> 1.2 points.]
“…Should have told me before.”
Only a 0.1 increase. Choi Hyuk felt bitter but he decided to just think of it was the price for the lesson.
He didn’t know what it was for but it seemed like it really did have a purpose.
Because of this, he was able to decide his next goal.
‘First, let’s increase the grade of the Retribution points. Will it increase when it hits 100? Until then, I won’t use my free points.’
The first time he hunted a Crook, he received the [First to kill a monster in a 1-on-1 fight!] accomplishment and received 2 free points and 3 retribution points. From then on, he only received 2 retribution points per Crook kill.
‘8 more. After that, let’s investigate the location where the monsters spawn. And tomorrow, I’ll check Hyunhae Department Store as well.’
Choi Hyuk planned out what he would do tomorrow.
While everyone was busy trying to survive, he would look beyond that.
“Ohh god… Sungjoo! Ohhh…! Sungjoo’s dad!!!”
That moment, a sad cry sounded out from somewhere. A familiar voice. It was the middle-aged woman he came to Shinmyung Middle School with in the morning. Kim Chulho and the woman had been hiding and had joined Shinmyung Stronghold.
However… it seemed like the woman failed to reunite with her family.
She wasn’t the only one. Shinmyung Stronghold, which won the fierce fight, was like a mourner’s house that night.
It was to the point where there were people who threw a tantrum and walked out.
Choi Hyuk briefly thought of his mother in this commotion.
What would it be like if his mother was at an assembly area like this one? Unlike the [Ring of Rebirth], there was a higher chance of her being alive.
‘It could be… but might not be…’
He only thought to there when he closed his eyes. Because he couldn’t let his resolution waver. Because there was no way to know right now.
‘I will catch their attention more than anyone else.’
He fell asleep hypnotizing himself. Though, it was not a very deep sleep.
His whole body tingled pleasantly.
 Koreans tend to be called ‘XX’s dad/mom’ when they have children.
TL/N: The places the author mentions are real and while some, for example, Shinmyung Middle School, haven’t been changed, the names others, Hyunhae Department Store, Dongjin Hospital, were.
Hyunhae Department Store -> Hyundai Department Store
Dongjin Hospital -> Dongshin Hospital