Episode 2: Exodus / Chapter 22: Berserkers (5)
Edited: Myoni, Haku
Late at night, Hyunhae Department Store, employee’s break room.
A man woke up from his nightmares. The moment he woke up, his body bounced up and he slashed out with his sword.
The man broke into a cold sweat as he looked around his surroundings. The room was dark and no one was there.
“It was a dream…”
The man lowered his head and calmed his breath.
The man’s name was Ryu Hyunsung. He was the [Knight Captain] of the Korean National Sport University.
Ryu Hyunsung pulled out the sword deeply embedded in the floor. Nights like these were when he thought it was good that he decided to use a room all to himself despite the dissatisfaction among his colleagues. What kind of gruesome tragedy would occur if he slept next to others… even thinking about it sent shivers down his spine.
“How embarrassing… It’s not like it’s only happened once or twice…”
When he said that, he started. It wasn’t a day or two… but if he thought about it, it had only been a week.
On an ordinary day, monsters suddenly appeared. His colleagues, juniors and professors were driven into a corner and ripped apart.
Ryu Hyunsung was a national level sabre fencer. He lived half his life as a swordsman but had never even cut a chicken’s neck. That Ryu Hyunsung was bathed in blood again and again. If someone was to pick the top three people who killed the most monsters, Ryu Hyunsung would definitely be on that list. That was why it was more exhausting for him than anyone else. The times he didn’t know when or where fangs or claws of monsters would strike. In a completely nervous state. He clenched his teeth and fought against monsters that were stronger and faster than him.
But, the horrible and tiresome feeling only lasted for a moment. Ryu Hyunsung’s conscience quickly adjusted to this hell. However, occasionally, his unconsciousness would shudder at the terror and horror. The nightmares were proof of that.
Ryu Hyunsung stood up and hung his sword on his waist.
He became accustomed to examining the condition of his equipment in the morning as if he had done it his whole life. If he looked back, it had only been a week… but his university life of ordering jajangmyeon and baigan liquor seemed to be from a previous life.
Ahh, for that to be all.
“Is it human blood now?”
He bitterly laughed at himself as he stretched his body.
His body that was previously trembling from the nightmares had already become calm. Even his heightened senses were becoming dull.
It probably wasn’t a unique morning that only Ryu Hyunsung experienced.
As everyone did their best to calm their panic and confusion to endure this hell.
To anyone, monsters were entities that brought fear and horror.
Even the students who experienced the [Ring of Rebirth] and the [Throne Game] panicked and received heavy casualties when they first fought against monsters.
Existences that were larger and more experienced than humans. When facing their killing intent straight on, there weren’t many who could keep their minds straight. Perhaps the people who defended the assembly area while it was under the Barrier of the Weak were able to endure it but the students who didn’t have a designated assembly area and the exploration teams who went out to find supplies all fought with their lives on the line.
When they were finally able to calm down after enduring these nightmarish days, the people realized. In a reality where monsters were eating humans, humans weren’t necessarily all on the same side.
“Shh- Shh- It’s okay. It’s okay.”
Blood spurted out.
“Hey… You! Bastards! Are you even human?!!!”
“Woah! They were on their way back after collecting supplies. They have the Barrier of the Weak?”
What would people’s reactions normally be when they spotted a team of wounded people who fought monsters?
Of course, there were people who helped. However, there were plenty who ignored them. Among them, there were even those who ‘hunted’ them. They would earn karma as well as items. They were people who thought it was better than fighting monsters. Those who didn’t see others as fellow humans.
Because people were humans, they sympathized with each other. It was an instinct. However, just who was considered a ‘human’ depended on the individual.
It even happened during peaceful times.
There were many, many people who nonchalantly stole from others. And beat them. And could still stand tall and shout, “This bastard is unbelievable!” at the victims. Adults did, obviously, but there were even occasional cases where young students would kidnap someone weaker than them then torture and kill them.
The reason why they could do that? Because they were born psychopaths?
No. It was simply because these people didn’t consider others as fellow humans. Because ‘Us’ and ‘You’ were different. They were existences who could pour boiling water on you to see what happens but could also go crazy and even cry when ‘their’ friends bled even a tiny bit.
The assembly areas were deeply divided.
As they needed to fight monsters, there was a side who wanted to unite everyone’s strength even if it was hard and a side who took an uncaring attitude as if nothing mattered as long as they were alive and safe. On top of that, there were villainous cockroaches who only took care of their people and saw others as people who existed only to give them karma and supplies.
And like always, the bad became more eye-catching and grew at a faster pace than the good. There were cases all around where people killed others and in less than a week, assembly areas no longer trusted each other.
This situation became a major obstacle for Choi Hyuk and Baek Seoin who needed to unite everyone to hunt the Wyvern of Destruction.
On top of that, a newly discovered rule.
[Supplies will reduce significantly every 10 days.]
The currently insufficient supplies would become even smaller. Then, the number of people would inevitably get smaller.
Who would be left behind? There were suggestions of throwing out the weak but that was rejected. If they started to cast out people who were on ‘their’ side, cooperation would become forever impossible.
Then what solution was there that would reduce the number of people but still keep themselves united?
There was one.
So Choi Hyuk thought.
‘All the better.’
“These bastards are unbelievable! Just who do you think you are to come crawling here like that?”
The ones who came and held Choi Hyuk and Baek Seoin, who came to get the supplies, back were a group of gangsters who took the KTT building near Gildong Station as their base. An assembly area with an especially large amount of gangsters. They dominated that place and ruled as kings.
“Oh? Someone else came. Then let’s split it evenly.”
Said Baek Seoin.
That was Choi Hyuk’s group’s rule. It didn’t matter who found the supplies first, they would always split it evenly with everyone. However, the gangsters had a different rule
“Ha? What? Look at these fucking bastards.”
The gangsters surrounded Choi Hyuk and Baek Seoin. Choi Hyuk clearly saw the dark red light they were emitting. They planned on killing Choi Hyuk and Baek Seoin from the start. To steal their karma and items.
“… What the. We’re in a dangerous situation but my Intuition isn’t activating.”
Baek Seoin laughed.
Choi Hyuk laughed as well and looked at the symbol above the gangsters’ heads. A symbol of an axe. It seemed like there was a leader who earned a Qualification to be a Sovereign.
Choi Hyuk counted his opponents. Twenty people.
Who would he keep alive and get information from? What path would be the simplest?
That moment, another party appeared. They were old men whose assembly area was quite a distance from here but perhaps they came all the way here because they lacked supplies.
“Hey, you punks. Put your hands away.”
Around ten grandpas. The Association of Comrade in Arms. War veterans who fought in the Korean and Vietnam War.
“Who are these fogies?”
Even though the gangsters swore, their spirit died down. They too have heard about the bravery of these grandpas.
“Now, now. You, civilians, leave. Think of yourselves as lucky. And you punks. We knew that your assembly area was near here but since we came from a long way, let’s split it evenly.”
A grandpa wearing sunglasses offered.
They weren’t intimidated even though they knew they were close to the gangsters’ headquarters. Well, they were men who lived their whole lives like that. People who have walked down Jongno Street all knew this. These old men who went through hell never shied away from anything.
The team leader of the gangster exploration team thought. This was their territory and that if they backed down now, it would be incredibly humiliating. So he allowed them to use ‘them’. The things they stole from the empty police station.
“It has nothing to do with you so go on your way.”
The gangsters took out their guns. If one reached 1-star stats, they would have physical abilities close to that of a superhuman’s but it wasn’t to the point of blocking or dodging bullets. They would still be affected by bullets.
But the grandpas just laughed.
From their Handy Bags,
They took out pistols and even a makeshift flamethrower created by remodelling a rifle and a gas tank.
When all hell broke loose and people were panicked, the ones who robbed the police station and the reserves before anyone were these grandpas from the Association of Comrade in Arms.
The grandpa wearing sunglasses said craftily.
“What did you say? I couldn’t hear properly cuz I’m old!”
“Can’t you speak? Then I’ll say it again. You civilians quickly run away. And you, we split the items 2:1, of course, we’re 2. Okay?”
And that was how the gangsters and the grandpas started to negotiate again.
Choi Hyuk who was looking at them laughed.
Instantly, everyone’s gazes fell on Choi Hyuk.
Choi Hyuk disappeared. Their eyes widened.
A method to reduce the number of people while internally staying united.
There was a historic method. That was, go to war with powers who were preventing unification.
 Jajangmyeon – a common Korean Chinese noodle dish. Baigan Liquor – Chinese Liquor