Episode 3: Age of Ghosts / Chapter 38: Consumables (1)
[Searching for the appropriate mission based on Retribution Points…] [Mission search complete. Mission start.]
They received the message during lunch. Choi Hyuk once again felt the uncomfortable feeling of his body being turned inside out.
‘It’s dimensional teleportation.’
When he looked around, he saw that it was the same for his followers.
Lee Jinhee let out a groan.
Her body was strangely twisting and stretching as it became transparent. It was the same for Baek Seoin and Chu Youngjin. Now, it became even more severe as their bodies started to split and shatter like glass falling to the floor.
It was a horrifying scene for regular people but it was so painful for the survivors that they were unable to notice these horrifying scenes occurring around them.
“Endure it. Let’s meet later.”
Choi Hyuk, who had experienced it before, was a bit more relaxed as he said that. Soon his vision blacked out. He was only able to tell that he was teleporting due to the nausea that gripped his stomach.
He then felt as though his body was flung high up into the air.
Slowly, his vision returned to normal. The severe nausea and pain made it feel as if his shattered body was being pieced back together again. The world looked like it was spinning.
‘No… I’m really spinning?’
5 small and large moons passed in front of his eyes. Then the dark sea, the sky and then back to sea.
His body was spinning high up in the sky.
He stretched his arms and legs. The atmosphere was thicker than back on Earth. He used the air resistance, that felt as though he could hug it like a balloon, to balance his body.
When he turned around, having heard that explicit sound, he saw Baek Seoin spinning in the air while vomiting.
“Ah! Damn it, Baek hyung! So disgusting! Eueck…!”
Lee Jinhee, who came back to her senses, grumbled as she grabbed Baek Seoin’s body so that he could balance himself. However, she retched as she felt a strong wave of nausea when she saw the vomit spinning in the air.
On the other hand, Chu Youngjin had barely regained his balance and was taking deep breaths with a pale face. One could feel his strong will of not wanting to vomit.
Looking at their struggling figures, Choi Hyuk became mischievous. So he shouted even more cheerfully.
At his cheerful warning, his followers, who had only then figured out their situation, expressed their confusion.
Their bodies that were rising up into the air had at some point started to lose their momentum and fall. Towards that distant ground.
The one who screamed was Baek Seoin. His struggling actions made him lose the balance he barely gained with Lee Jinhee’s help.
“Dummy! Spread your arms and legs and regain your balance!”
Lee Jinhee smacked his back and helped him regain his balance. Chu Youngjin somehow kept his balance by maintaining his stiff posture and pale face.
Because the air resistance was stronger than back on Earth, their falling speed was slower but the speed was still fast.
They weren’t the only ones who were free falling. Figures who looked to be humans were falling at a distance, and strange individuals were screaming as they fell nearby. At a glance, they looked like humans but when you looked closely, there were unfamiliar existences who had excessive hair, others who had a different skin color and even some who had antennas on their foreheads. They were armed in an unfamiliar fashion and wore unfamiliar clothes.
No matter how he saw them, that was the only description that came to his mind.
It was interesting but that wasn’t the problem. Choi Hyuk examined the oncoming ground with serious eyes. Heavy wind endlessly assaulted his eyes and breath. A chilly wind. If it wasn’t for his karma that did the work for a decent portion of his body, he might have died from hypothermia or suffocation.
‘Currently, everyone’s endurance is 2-star, including me. I don’t know about myself but it’ll be hard for the others to endure the impact…’
At first, he thought that there was an ocean as large as the Pacific beneath them. That was why he thought they would be okay, but as they came closer, he saw that rocks were submerged underneath. It might not be as deep as he hoped. If it was just a splash of water, it would be hard for his followers to completely reduce the impact of the fall.
Just then, the mission announcement appeared.
[100 monsters have absorbed the genes of the natives and are evolving into high ranked monsters. Deal with the monsters before their base karma is imprinted with the genetic information. Those with deferred judgments will receive a return code. Those who have dealt with their targets are able to activate the return codes.]
A yellow arrow appeared on the horizon at the same time as the announcement. It was as if it was indicating the location of the target.
Only then did Choi Hyuk figure out the identity of those rocks.
The earthlings and aliens who fell from the sky like meteorites created quite the commotion. As if they were irritated by the noise, the ‘monsters’ that were curled up like rocks, raised their snake-like long heads. They were lengthy monsters that were about the size of a 3-story building.
There were some who landed before Choi Hyuk’s group. They didn’t reduce the impact and slammed into the ground. With that impact, the water was pushed out; the rocky formation underneath it shattered and shot up into the sky.
A few dusted off their heads and stood up with a limp, but the majority who were weaker than them had all been crushed. They didn’t even bounce as they had smashed into the ground. Various amounts of different colored blood splattered and dyed the ocean.
‘As expected, the water is shallow…!’
Choi Hyuk almost reflexively shouted.
“Target the monsters’ heads! It doesn’t matter if you smash into their heads or hit them! Just do whatever it takes to reduce your impact!”
It was better to reduce the initial impact with a bending neck than smashing directly into the shallow waters.
At the same time, he said as his orders, the real collisions had begun.
Crash, crash, crash, crash!!
It was like a bombing. The earthlings and aliens smashed down from above. Monster heads were bashed by the collisions. Blood and water spurted upwards.
Baek Seoin wielded his shield and smashed into a monster’s head. The head faltered and fell to the ground with a broken neck whilst Baek Seoin’s shield shattered. Baek Seoin bounced off its long neck, spun in mid-air and slammed into the ocean.
Chu Youngjin sheathed his red sword and swung his fist instead. He was worried that his sword would break.
The sound of something cracking resounded out as he slid down a monster’s neck and slammed into the ocean.
The only ones who landed properly were Lee Jinhee and Choi Hyuk.
Lee Jinhee stretched her two legs and landed exactly on top of a monster’s head. Its head bent like a bamboo shoot. Lee Jinhee matched the timing of her landing by crouching down like a cat and stabbing a gladius into its head.
She kicked the bending head of the monster and jumped. 7 elegant flips in mid-air. Splash! Lee Jinhee didn’t slam into the ocean but landed in it. The water was only up to her knees.
Choi Hyuk simply sliced a monster’s neck. He then released karma below his feet. The karma landed on the ground first. Whoosh! Like an airbag, it supported Choi Hyuk as his speed rapidly decreased and he landed softly.
Splash. Splash. Splash! Pucuak!
It was like the heart of a war. An endless number of earthlings and aliens fell from the sky. Their screams, the screams of the monsters on the ground, and the explosive sounds of the impacts were enough to deafen their ears.
His followers gathered with Choi Hyuk at the center. Baek Seoin and Chu Youngjin’s arms were both shattered and broken, but they were recovering after drinking Recovery Potions. Like a balloon being filled up with air, their arms quickly recovered to their original state.
Rain was falling from the sky.
“Fuck… to think that I would drop down from the sky after being discharged… without a parachute… fuck…”
Baek Seoin was once a Special Warfare Command soldier who had unsuccessfully pleaded to be excluded from the paratroop training, even going so far to say that he had an extreme fear of heights. He swore and sobbed, yet, even while complaining, he still took out another shield to replace the one he had shattered during the landing.
Monsters that were 4 meters tall and 7 meters long charged along the water. They had exoskeletons similar to that of scorpions and crayfish combined with the speed of a cheetah. Their limbs were like blades so they ran unhindered through the knee-level water.
The aliens shouted in an undecipherable language that was undeniably a swear before fleeing elsewhere. Green aliens sunk their lower bodies into the water as they quickly flopped away like frogs.
Lee Jinhee asked with a nervous voice.
“Leader, what do we do?”
Just by looking at the silhouettes of the enemies, he could tell that it wasn’t just one or two. And looking at their speed, they had the abilities of at least a mid-boss of the [Survive and Escape] game.
However, Choi Hyuk was calm.
“What do you mean what do we do? Go through them. To the place the arrow is directing us.”
[Those who have dealt with their targets are able to activate the return codes.] was the mission message they received. From their experiences until now, the rules were absolute. Unless there were hidden rules, you had to follow them.
The rule this time was simple. If you couldn’t deal with your target, you might forever be stuck in this alien world without the possibility of returning.
Choi Hyuk raised the Predator’s Blade.
A 5-meter long blade of karma extended out. Bang! Choi Hyuk dashed forward so quickly that he left an afterimage. He planted his left leg into the ground with a crash. Water splashed up to the point you could see the ground below. The energy from his lower body transformed into a rotational force at his waist and naturally extended to his arms through his shoulders as he swung in a large arc.
The falling rain split apart like a curtain.
His blade of karma collided with the exoskeletons and sliced off two monster heads. However, Choi Hyuk knit his brows for two reasons.
It wasn’t as hard as the Wyvern of Destruction but it was still harder than the mid-bosses he had faced previously. And most of all,
‘You dodged it?’
A monster jumped up and avoided it. He had never experienced this before. With its quick jump, it stabbed at Choi Hyuk’s forehead with its sharp legs.
Choi Hyuk, who had originally planned on rushing to the next one, reacted a bit late.
“Wow- Even leader makes mistakes!”
Baek Seoin had somehow placed himself between the monster and Choi Hyuk and miraculously reflected its front leg with his shield.
Soon after, Lee Jinhee stepped on its nape and stabbed with her gladius. However, it only left a deep scratch, it didn’t penetrate through. Its exoskeleton was so hard that Lee Jinhee who had a Speed stat of 48 (★★) and a Power stat of 0 (★★) couldn’t pierce it with a single stab.
“Why is it so hard!”
Chu Youngjin charged forward instead. Looking at how red lights streamed out of his eyes, it seemed as though he had already activated the trait of the Berserker. His Power and Speed doubled as they approached the limits of 2-star stats.
Chu Youngjin’s red sword didn’t carve into the monster but ripped it apart. The rain and water followed his attack and splashed up like whirlwinds.
Choi Hyuk smiled. ‘Hey, they fight pretty well?’ He fixed his posture that was slightly crooked and jumped forward. Swish! He didn’t swing the blade of karma as widely this time. Just by moving his wrist, he was able to cover quite a large area with a 5-meter long blade.
These swift monsters jumped each and every way to avoid his attacks but he would at least take down a leg each time.
Choi Hyuk rushed past them.
“Don’t get left behind! We rush at full speed!”
“Yes~ Yes~ If you get in danger, I’ll help you.”
Baek Seoin said teasingly.
“I’m fine without your help.”
Choi Hyuk said in a huff.
“Yes~ Yes~ Of course, you are.”
Choi Hyuk decided to just keep his mouth shut.
“Euahh! I can get one too! Speeding Blade!”
It seemed that not killing a monster had hurt her pride as she even used her skill to pierce through a monster’s forehead. Lee Jinhee’s Speed stat that she had increased again and again applied as her Power. The moment that the water seemed to splash, with a bang, she had already pierced through a monster’s body.
“You’ll get tired out. Don’t work too hard from the beginning.”
Chu Youngjin criticized her with polite speech.
“Shut it! Why don’t you!”
Lee Jinhee’s competitive spirit rose as she thought Chu Youngjin as her rival. She was unexpectedly a year older than Chu Youngjin.
Even while bickering back and forth, Choi Hyuk’s group quickly broke through the monsters. They emphasized breaking through. They didn’t kill each and every monster. The most important thing was their target. However, even the monsters didn’t bother to chase after Choi Hyuk’s group when they passed them. There were countless monsters and countless earthlings and aliens who invaded from the sky anyways.
This was the monsters’ headquarters. The middle of the tiger’s den.
Everywhere, both earthlings and aliens who invaded from the sky began their fight against the monsters. Survival and capture. Individual battles in the rain.