Episode 2: Exodus / Chapter 19: Berserkers (2)
Edited: Myoni, Yoni
Baek Seoin asked.
“But leader, why are you trying to hunt the Wyvern of Destruction?”
“Because I need to get the attention of the ones who created this game.”
“… Is there anything good in catching their attention? Normally staying in the middle is the best.”
“I don’t know if my mom is alive or not. Kangdong District closed down at 10:30am. She should have been at work. I need to go to her workplace in Kwangjin District.”
“… Hopefully, she’s okay… But what does that have anything to do with catching their attention?”
“Once I confirm if she’s dead or alive, I have to either protect or avenge her. For that, I need to become stronger and more unique.”
Choi Hyuk was calm.
Like a criminal on death row accepting the verdict. No… like a judge who raised his gravel to announce the verdict. He rid himself of useless emotions and only looked at the result.
Baek Seoin felt slight shivers down his spine.
He realized that behind Choi Hyuk who purely enjoyed fighting was a frighteningly cold and sharp rage.
Groups were such a pain. If everyone was confined together and lived looking at each other face to face, all kinds of troubles were bound to arise. Not only were there simple complaints like ‘too smelly,’ or ‘too loud,’ but molestation, violence, isolation and other absurdities.
However, just because you didn’t like it didn’t mean you could just leave. Death would approach the moment you were alone. A monk who leaves the temple would live without a home or temple and eventually end up in a beast’s stomach.
But, even despite these circumstances, there would always be people who couldn’t stand to live among others while constantly considering other people’s feelings. And there were some who couldn’t endure it any longer.
That day, Lee Jinhee resolved herself not to fall asleep. She held two 30cm gladii in her bosom and waited for nightfall.
Her assembly area was the shopping center situated opposite of the Olympic Park Station. The monsters who were targeting this place, the [Shadow Teeth], were very unique. They stood less than 1m tall and their whole body was surrounded by a black fog. They possessed great stealth abilities so people didn’t notice when they passed by right in front of their eyes.
The only time they would show their appearance was when they slashed the neck of a sleeping person and drank their blood.
Every night, three Shadow Teeth would enter and each one would take one life and disappear.
Three at a time, one person each. That was the gist of it.
‘You turn away from monsters even after seeing them because you’re not a victim?’
Lee Jinhee ground her teeth.
The first day, no, up until the second day, there was a fierce battle against the Shadow Teeth. The Shadow Teeth wanted to slash people’s necks and drink their blood. The surrounding people who saw them would scream and raise their weapons. A Shadow Teeth who was caught once couldn’t hide again. However, even though they were small, they were monsters. If a fight broke out, the Shadow Teeth would at least take 5 people down with it on the road to death. The first person to noticed them would definitely be killed.
That wasn’t all. If the fight was drawn out, the Shadow Teeth would cry out a strange sound to call its comrades and its comrades who were waiting outside would enter and save the Shadow Teeth. There were times where people would die but they would be unable to kill the Shadow Teeth in the end.
There was no way to know how many Shadow Teeth were waiting outside. On the first night, they killed two but the next night, like the first, three entered the shopping center.
The second night after the chaotic first.
There was a disturbance that night as well but unlike the first, only two fights broke out. The other person died silently and when the people who slept next to him testified they didn’t hear anything, Lee Jinhee just thought that was the case.
The situation became clear the third night. No fights broke out that night. But it wasn’t like no one died either. Three corpses were found. And the ones who slept right next to them all testified saying they never saw the Shadow Teeths.
… It was a lie.
Just when did that rumor start to spread? She didn’t know how but somehow everyone knew in just three nights… The fact that three Shadow Teeth would enter and that each one would kill one person. People would look the other way even if the person next to them was dying. Because the moment they took notice of it, the chance that the Shadow Teeth would go into a frenzy and kill them as well was high.
However, Lee Jinhee couldn’t stand those people.
“I’ll kill them.”
Of course, she was scared that she would die as well. However, she was someone who always fought with and challenged fear. She was the type who thought it was better to die than become a coward.
In a dark shopping center. The room Lee Jinhee was in was originally a PC Bang. In a room with no furnace, people were lying on sleeping bags on the cold, hard floor. Lee Jinhee was sitting next to the door holding blades. Most electronics were dead but simple ones like lights were still working.
“Fuck… That’s scary.”
In the dark hallway, a green exit light added to the bleakness of the night.
The light would occasionally flicker and each time, the shadows would waver. Lee Jinhee endured her increasing drowsiness and looked out into the darkness. Just in case she saw the shadow of a Shadow Teeth. However…
A suppressed scream sounded out from inside the PC Bang.
Shiick…. Schiick…. Save…. Shiiick….
A hoarse cry for help was barely able to escape from the victim’s ripped throat. She could hear him struggle with his suppressed body. A Shadow Teeth had passed by Lee Jinhee, without her noticing, and had gotten on top of a victim and slashed his throat.
Lee Jinhee got up abruptly. And she saw it. A person who was lying next to the victim waving his hand telling her to sit back down.
She ground her teeth.
She jumped swiftly like a cat. She grabbed the partition with her hands and jumped over it. She stretched her arms out holding onto the next partition before jumping over it as well. In two jumps, she had approached the Shadow Teeth. She held her two gladii in her hands and shouted out loud to wake the surrounding people.
The Shadow Teeth looked at Lee Jinhee and screamed.
“You scum! You fucking bitch!!”
The man next to the victim, who waved his hand at her previously, stood up in surprise and swore while running away. The people who were still lying down didn’t pay any attention to the commotion.
The Shadow Teeth’s claws and Lee Jinhee’s gladii tangled together. A scream. People who were still half asleep ran away in confusion.
The Shadow Teeth was cunning. As Lee Jinhee’s attacks were tough to deal with, it jumped up like a cat and attempted to escape, “Hak!” “Urk!” while piercing the necks of the escaping people on its way.
However, Lee Jinhee was quite formidable. Her awakened karma added to her energy. In two jumps, she leaped over people and blocked the path of the Shadow Teeth.
Lee Jinhee ferociously slashed her gladius at the flustered Shadow Teeth. The Shadow Teeth blocked it and
Lee Jinhee’s foot stepped on it.
“You’re only a monster bastard…”
Lee Jinhee suppressed the Shadow Teeth and stabbed its neck with her blade.[Grrk… Grrr….]
Lee Jinhee had gone outside on the excuse for reconnaissance and was even victorious against three Crooks. The weaker Shadow Teeth was no match for her.
Lee Jinhee let out a breath and stretched her back.
Soon after, criticism poured down on her.
“What the hell were you doing!!”
The man, who was lying down next the victim, shouted.
If a student who experienced the [Ring of Rebirth] saw this, he would be surprised. The strong in this situation was Lee Jinhee, not the man so the student wouldn’t be able to comprehend the man who lashed out.
However, this place was a normal assembly area. A place where no one had committed murder. A place where even fighting monsters had a limit. There were still lingering signs of everyday life.
It was the same for Lee Jinhee. She was slightly taken back so she replied.
“What am I doing? I saved a person and killed a monster.”
“Save? What the fuck do you mean by save! Don’t you see there are wounded people because of you?”
The man who saw the flustered Lee Jinhee inwardly felt delighted.
‘I have to take this opportunity to take her down a notch!’
Vigor was half the battle. The man flapped his arms as he increased his vigor.
“What are you going to do about the wounded people?! Huh?!”
There were many people who were wounded and were bleeding. They, too, looked at Lee Jinhee in resentment.
Lee Jinhee was at loss for words.
She knew there would be people unhappy with her actions but she never imagined someone so full of themselves that they would confidently lash out at her.
“… Then, are you telling me to let someone die?”
“So did you save him? Huh? Did you?!”
The man shouted at the top of his lungs. But it was the truth. The first victim who had his throat ripped by the Shadow Teeth had already died from shock.
“… So… What are you saying? Since you gave away someone else as food, the end? Are you saying that we are to shut up and let it happen?”
“What? This greenhorn bitch… Who are you to be so self-centered? You who walked around saying that you had to do parkour or whatever… What did you say yesterday? That you think we need to destroy some sort of portal? You crazy bitch, if you want to die, die by yourself. Why are you harming others in the process?”
The man let out all the animosity he accumulated. He felt disgusted by the young woman who kept going outside raising her voice. He couldn’t forgive her useless sense of justice that almost led to his death.
While he was taking it out on her, he meticulously packaged his selfishness as consideration and her conviction as selfishness.
Lee Jinhee was unable to get out of the man’s wasteful dispute.
“… I already told you! If we stay stuck in here like cowards, we’ll die!”
“What? Cowards? Listening to this bitch… Do you think everyone here stays still because they have no courage? Don’t you see because of your high and mighty justice that others are dying? That’s not justice but simply you having no sense whatsoever. You bitch!”
Lee Jinhee felt like her energy was escaping her. If you looked at it mathematically, it was true. If everyone stayed still, only one person would die, while if they fought, many would die. But…
“Mister, currently one person dies at a time. But will that be the case in the future? When we have lost our will to fight and when our numbers are much less than now? Will they still only kill one person at a time then? Do you have no brains?”
Lee Jinhee became agitated.
However, the man didn’t tolerate it.
“What? Haa… This dumb bitch, do words not get through to you?”
If it was like any other day, the man would have grabbed her collar at this time. However, he knew very well that he wasn’t able to overpower Lee Jinhee. So he looked at the surrounding people and urged for their responses.
“Isn’t that right? It’s not just me who thinks this, don’t you all think this as well?”
As soon as he looked around, people who came to be on friendly terms with the man over the past few days all spoke.
“Young woman, your words are too harsh.”
“Just stay still. Stop inserting yourself into matters.”
“Why is she like that? Is she just looking for attention?”
All kinds of criticisms fell on her.
The man knew a lot about these people who stood for so-called ‘justice’. These kinds of people were weak against the pressure of many. They weren’t able to use their power. ‘Idiots…’
The man was experienced with the power of authority and Lee Jinhee was still young so she held onto upright values.
Her body trembled as her blood boiled but she didn’t go out of control. She suppressed her boiling anger in her chest. You couldn’t kill someone just because you were angry. That was what she thought.
‘… Okay. Then just live like that. Thinking that you’re safe because the person next to you died.’
She put away her gladii without another word. The man flinched when he saw her actions. Lee Jinhee revealed a grin as she packed up her things.
“… I just need to screw off right?”
“Look at this bitch? Compensate us before you go!”
As if he was dejected by his sudden flinch, the man forced an unreasonable demand.
‘Like hell, I’ll give you compensation…’
Lee Jinhee ignored him as she left the shopping center.
“Fucking bitch!” his voice that was filled with a sense of victory followed her out.
Lee Jinhee was boiling with anger. Still, she was able to barely contain it.
She let out a sigh.
She started to dash forward.
She crossed the street and went down the tens of steps of the Olympic Park Station in a single leap. She didn’t let out a sound. She used the cat’s technique to alleviate the shock at the last moment and used her athletic ability to kick the ground and charge forward.
She had to run like crazy. If not, she felt that she would turn back and stab the man’s forehead with her gladius.
Lee Jinhee screamed as she jumped down from the subway station.
She was 20 years old.
She was experienced in parkour since her first year in middle school. An exercise where one would jump from one building to another and climb walls a few meters tall and lightly land on a palm-sized post. A freerun where she would instantly overcome all obstacles. A life enjoying the wild feeling of hitting the limits of human ability and leaving the territory of ‘safety’ behind. An experience that allowed one to look at the city from a whole new perspective.
She was so immersed in this feeling of freedom that she went to Seoul as soon as she graduated high school. It was to simply enjoy and practice parkour with more people.
She who wanted to be freer than anyone else. She who resented the fact she was unable to follow the male crews’ explosive dashes as a woman.
She was currently using the power of karma to exceed her limits. She was able to steadily increase her karma by killing monsters. There were no rough movements in her run.
She arrived at the underground in a single breath and was running along the tracks. As she ran jumping over 5, 10 ties at a time, she was finally able to cool off.
She stopped and sighed. As her head cooled, she became embarrassed.
“Ah… damn… What do I do now?”
She was happy she left after losing her temper but she had no plans. No place to go.
“Ah… Why did I come here?”
In a straight tunnel like this, it was difficult to escape from monsters. On top of that, she had shouted out loud as if she was advertising her location.
Fortunately, there were no monsters around her but it was a situation where she could have died. She felt chills going down her back.
Her mother’s words were repeatedly playing in her mind. “You, you! You’re going to get in big trouble because of that temper! This girl.”
Lee Jinhee scratched her head.
She had no choice but to keep walking.
It was too late to go back now so she thought she would look for another assembly area at the next station.
“Do I have to stay quiet there… Ah… I can’t just kill them all, what do I do?”
She kept walking while thinking pointless thoughts.
She suddenly heard noises and smelled the distinctive stink of monster blood.
At the same time, in the darkness, sounds of fighting and shouting approached her.
“Leader! I’m dying!”
“Leader!!! Leader!! Say something… Uak! Ah damn. You there, not leader! You! Behind there! In hiding! You’re there right? I think you are. I get that feeling! Hey! You hear me? Can you at least help me!”
It was an earnest cry for help. Lee Jinhee hesitantly stood up.
‘What the? Don’t tell me… he’s calling out to me?’
That moment, as if he had heard her thoughts, she heard the faint voice again.
“You! You! You’re right! No… You are correct! Please save… Gak!”
As if he was hit at the last moment, he let out a suppressed cry and she heard banging and sounds of something getting jammed.
Though she wasn’t sure what was happening,
Lee Jinhee instinctively ran towards the sounds.
 Baek Seoin was speaking casually in the beginning but changed to formal to beg for her help.