Episode 2: Exodus / Chapter 17: Encounter (4)
Edited: Myoni, Yoni
10:30am on the day when messages suddenly appeared. There were approximately 500, 000 people in Kangdong District. And in three days, only 350, 000 survived. Among those, the ones who hid in their workplace or homes numbered 120, 000 and 230, 000 gathered in the assembly areas. The assembly areas, large and small, numbered 54 places and there were troops like Jung Minji’s from other middle schools and high schools.
Only 3 days. Only a short time had passed. A situation where people locked themselves up with no hope. A situation where supplies were insufficient and where you have to face the dangers in front of your very eyes. 3 days was enough for people to throw off their masks and reveal their true face.
After an intense battle, Shinmyung Stronghold was definitely better off than others. Chaos ensued for 3 days in places where they weren’t able to defend against the monsters as well as Shinmyung Stronghold. The prejudice and fear they normally had exploded out.
“Fuck? Did you just say fuck to me? Who the hell do you think you are to swear at me?! Fucking bastard!?”
A situation where a gang of middle schoolers lynched a man they swore at occurred. One couldn’t simply ignore their strength after getting karma. Eventually, the beaten man breathed his last breath.
It was a shocking event. In a situation where they couldn’t rely on the police or the law, the adults recalled that ‘teens these days weren’t afraid of anything’ in the papers and immediately turned to frantic fear and anger.
Even in this situation, the teens didn’t behave properly.
“You killed someone?”
Just when another man ran up in surprise and asked.
“Fuck. What does that have to do with you, mister?”
Replied the immature teens. As if they hit a bee hive, the group began to stir up. “What, that bastard?” The fists of hot-headed men rained down. The middle schoolers tried to counterattack. Ackk! That moment, as if they added oil to the fire, a fight broke out. Fists punched out towards middle schoolers in every direction. A pitiful retaliation followed afterwards.
“Uackk! I’m sorry!”
“They are children! Stop it!”
“No! It wasn’t me!”
As it was with mob psychology, the target of their anger wasn’t clear. Their targets weren’t just the kids who lynched the middle-aged man but others around them. Teachers and parents got involved trying to stop the men who were engulfed in madness. Innumerable students were ripped apart. Afterwards, whenever students saw a man, they would lower their gaze. Irrational violence firmly carved itself into reality. Fear and taboos were created.
Each group had similar situations to this. Sometimes at selfish people who didn’t participate in the battle against monsters, sometimes at the director of the daycare who left the children and escaped by himself, sometimes at foreign laborers… an indiscriminate slaughter occurred and innocent people lost their lives.
The people realized.
That in this place, loners meant death. And even if it was rubbish, authority was needed. As only when they stood up for the chosen authority could they ensure their safety.
Fear and taboo created order. Quickly, ranks were being assigned. In some places, gangsters and company employees, others, local company presidents and even the women’s association, each with their own methods, dominated the people and created order and the people willingly accepted this. Also, depending on who and how they gained power greatly influenced the characteristic of the group.
It was like the age of civil wars. People who gathered in the assembly areas were busy establishing order and, like Jung Minji’s troop, those who started with a battle royale instead of an assembly area were trying their best to secure their first supplies and base.
During this time, there weren’t many who thought to investigate Kangdong District and figure out the secret behind this game.
“Can I go with you?”
Kim Chulho, who Choi Hyuk saved in the apartment, grabbed Choi Hyuk who was about to leave. Choi Hyuk shook his head.
“You’ll be a hindrance.”
Kim Chulho’s head drooped.
Choi Hyuk arrived at the ecological park. An intense battle was already going on.
A young man who looked to be in his mid-twenties held a sword and shield and was fighting monsters by himself. Though his movements were sloppy, he was strangely fighting well. As if he knew where the monsters would attack, the young man was steadily slaying monsters even as he stumbled.
The monsters here were weaker than the Crooks. They were [Bladed Starving Ghosts]. They were about waist tall, ran on two feet and instead of hands, they dragged 1.5m long blades behind them.
When the giant blade of a Bladed Starving Ghost struck down, the young man would do whatever it took to deflect it with his shield. As their blades were huge, a large opening would follow the Bladed Starving Ghosts’ attacks. The young man would use those opportunities to stretch out his sword and stab them.
“…He’s strangely good at fighting.”
Choi Hyuk remarked. 7 Bladed Starving Ghosts lay on the ground. Even though he said they were weaker than the Crooks, the young man’s abilities were incredible. However, there were still 8 Bladed Starving Ghosts left. On top of that, there was a 2m tall monster behind them looking at the fight as if it was amusing. When he looked at the monster, a message popped up saying [Bladed Ghost].
On the other hand, the young man was completely exhausted.
The young man suddenly yelled.
Choi Hyuk was quite surprised that moment. Choi Hyuk didn’t reveal his presence and stood behind the young man. However, the young man had sensed Choi Hyuk’s presence without looking back.
At the young man’s request, Choi Hyuk unsheathed his blade and charged forward.
Choi Hyuk rushed in a step quicker than the Bladed Starving Ghosts’ blades. When he instantly killed five, the Bladed Ghost, who was sitting at the back, stood up.
2m tall with 2 legs and 4 blades instead of hands.
As if trying to pressure him, it screamed unpleasantly and charged at Choi Hyuk with its arms spread.
Choi Hyuk reflexively dodged the first slash. He couldn’t even see the blade. Choi Hyuk was barely able to avoid the second and the third as well.
Choi Hyuk admired.
It was the strongest monster he had faced until now.
Its physical abilities made it seem like it would easily slice up 10 Crooks. Its Power and Speed were much greater than Choi Hyuk’s. Its continuous attack with 4 blades was like a saw with no opening.
Choi Hyuk’s lips lifted up by themselves.
It was different from his past opponents where he could avoid by looking at their obvious movements. He had to have total concentration to avoid its attacks. It was too late if he couldn’t predict its attack pattern from its movements. Every time the blade dangerously passed by his cheek or knee, his spine would tingle in excitement.
Choi Hyuk fell into a trance as he avoided and deflected its attacks. Steam expelled from the monster as it attacked more ferociously. Choi Hyuk became more absorbed into the fight and was able to see 2, no 3, 5 steps ahead and narrowly avoided or blocked them.
The monster had increased its pace. However, after it let out all its steam, its vigor died down. On the other hand, Choi Hyuk had already read his opponent’s attack pattern.
The exhausted Bladed Ghost kept wielding its 4 blades. That moment its first and second blade struck down and when it was about to raise its third. Due to exhaustion, its speed had slowed down a little. Choi Hyuk’s eyes flashed. He squeezed out the karma in his body and slashed out with his Fang Saber with the shortest distance and quickest speed. A quick draw where the saber momentarily hung in its sheath before shooting out. The slightly curved Fang Saber exploded out of its sheath.
A sound of cutting air.
He struck at the monster’s neck with a focus on speed over power. However, just before making contact, a strength that felt like it would shatter the saber was added.
Choi Hyuk instantly added all his strength into his slash.
The Fang Saber ripped apart the Bladed Ghost’s neck.
If the physical size wasn’t too different, it only took a moment to be victorious.
[You have exceeded 100 Retribution Points. First to succeed in upgrading your Retribution Points! You have received another Qualification to be a Sovereign.] [You have dealt with a mid-boss. Granted 3 additional Retribution Points and 2 free karma points.]
[Qualifications of a Sovereign 2/3 Effect]
Applying the effect of the King without Subjects.
-You can have 5 followers. Your followers’ karma will increase by 20%.
-You can hide the symbol above your head.
He finally upgraded his Retribution Points. Choi Hyuk poured his remaining free karma points into Stamina. This time, his free points were applied without penalty.
Power: 13.3 (+10) (★) Speed: 14 (+10) (★) Control: 23.1 (+20) (★)
Endurance: 2.6 (★) Stamina: 26.7 (+10) (★) Recovery: 12.9 (+10) (★)
*Retribution points: 1 (★)
With the items he earned in Shinmyung Middle School, his stats became much more outstanding. However, Choi Hyuk felt a bit bitter.
“It was just getting fun…”
Choi Hyuk glanced over the Bladed Ghost with regret and stabbed its heart with the Predator’s Blade.
A message that never appeared before showed up for the first time.
[The Predator’s Blade absorbed the blood of a worthy opponent. Evolution 1/100]
It was a message that never showed up when he fought the Crooks or the Bladed Starving Ghosts. It seemed like you had to be at the Bladed Ghost’s level to be a match for a D rank weapon.
The Predator’s Blade quickly absorbed the Bladed Ghost’s blood and the mummified Bladed Ghost turned to dust.
The dust passed through the portal it was protecting and scattered.
“That… You have to destroy that.”
The young man, who was there first, pointed at the portal. He had finished off the remaining 3 Bladed Starving Ghosts and sat his wounded body against a tree. The wounds would heal over time due to his Recovery stat.
Choi Hyuk didn’t reply as he examined the portal.
The portal floated above a black altar. It was like a cave had opened up in mid-air. As he peeked into the portal, information appeared.
——————–[Long Distance Teleportation Portal]
A portal leading to the E rank Bladed Starving Ghosts’ habitat. Revitalized every midnight.
‘A destroy target…’
An ill-natured intent. There was nothing about destroy targets in the announcements. You could only find out on your own.
Choi Hyuk wielded his Predator’s Blade and split the altar.
With a vibration, the portal turned into smoke and disappeared.
[First to destroy a target. Granted 2 additional free karma points.]
——————–[Additional Rule Revealed]
Every night, the number of monsters that cross over the portal increase by 20%.
“Oh my god…”
While Choi Hyuk was still processing the meaning of the 20% increase, the young man screamed. It seemed like he saw the same thing. The young man started to mumble something.
“1.2 to the power of 29 is around… 200. 5, 000 monsters should have crossed over the first day… then on the 30th day… a million?”
The young man despaired.
“Fuck! I’m already depressed with just the ‘Wyvern of Destruction’! You’re telling me that hundreds of thousands are going to pour in in 15 days?! There are only 500 thousand people in Kangdong District!”
Choi Hyuk thought as he looked at the despairing man.
‘He’s quite fast at calculating.’
Then he turned around. The young man, who was despairing by himself, called out to Choi Hyuk.
“He… hey! Where are you going!”
“…Going to hunt monsters.”
Choi Hyuk absentmindedly replied. If he could, he wanted to fight one that was as strong as the one he fought just now. Only then could he take the lead. And could he evolve the Predator’s Blade.
It seemed like he would have to look for more information on portals as he ran around.
“Wait! Let’s go together! I know the way!”
The young man shouted.
Choi Hyuk did stop but he was a bit doubtful.
It was only the third day and he was finally able to find one. He didn’t think that there would be anyone who explored Kangdong District (and was still alive) more than him. But he knew the location of another portal?
“Intuition! My Unique Skill is Intuition! I already knew that you would come here! You have to go together with me!”
The questionable young man shouted more doubtful words.
However, Choi Hyuk saw the white light (goodwill) shining out of the young man.
‘He had good intentions. Is he not lying?’
If he had a unique skill called Intuition like Choi Hyuk’s Eyes of Distinction… it would be an incredibly valuable skill in situations like this where he lacked information.
Choi Hyuk decided to listen.
Though he didn’t speak kind words.
Either way, the young man’s urgent expression became a shade brighter.
And that was how Choi Hyuk met his first follower, Baek Seoin.
It was on the third day when people gathered in assembly areas didn’t know that death was approaching by the minute.