Episode 6: Mafia Game / Chapter 95: At the Ruins (1)
TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk
The Cayenne star.
They had imagined a fiery land akin to the Sun because it was a star and not a planet.
They had thought that for those at the lower levels, even if they had awakened karma, it would be difficult for them to endure the heat.
However, the reality was very different from their imaginations.
Lee Jinhee mumbled,
“Wow… What is all this?”
It was a star filled with life. Although it was very different from Earth… It could be called something close to an ecosystem.
The red and yellow flowers, which bloomed plentifully on the ground, absorbed the star’s heat energy and were composed of a mysterious material. The atmosphere, which allowed living creatures to breathe, was filled with gas and wavelengths that earthlings were unfamiliar with. There were also living creatures which consumed the flowers in this environment. The field was red like the sunset and transparent like dawn. The plentiful lights in the star split into countless wavelengths. An aurora with the colors of the rainbow fluttered in mid-air.
If they were to describe the temperature, it was hot enough for water to evaporate instantly. However, even still, there was a flowing river. A material, which had a boiling point of metal on Earth, created beautiful waves as it flowed alongside the field like water.
The earthlings, who had come to the star to go to war with the monsters, were momentarily stunned at the scenery. Earthlings had spent a lot of time looking for life out in space. To find life in space, they had looked for planets with a similar environment as Earth’s. A planet with water that orbited a star at an appropriate distance. A planet humans could survive on. However, in reality, alien lifeforms were born in environments unimaginable by humans, like the Flame Wing Tribe born from the Big Bang and the Dark Tribe born from dark matter. This place was the same. The fact that plentiful life existed on a star they had thought would be uninhabitable filled them all with emotion.
Handke, the artillery captain, said in a dazed voice,
“Wasn’t this a place invaded by monsters?”
This place was too beautiful for it to have been invaded by monsters.
Even Chu Youngjin, who didn’t express his feelings often, stroked his red sword, which had been reborn with a new name ‘Chu Youngjin’s Protection’, with complicated emotions. His expression looked somewhat bitter.
Said Choi Hyuk, who was the most emotionless out of the bunch, in an indifferent voice. There was only the goal ‘shocking mission completion ability’ in his mind.
As if waking from a dream, the Berserkers broke out of their daze and began to march at Choi Hyuk’s voice.
When they ran wearing the Shoes of Hermes, it didn’t take long for them to discover a city. No, to be precise, it was a ruin that was once a city.
“Just looking at the traces of the ruin, it looks like it was a civilization more advanced than Earth,”
Mumbled Ryu Hyunsung.
Bae Jinman expressed a different opinion,
“You can’t necessarily say that that’s the case since it’s a star with tens of thousands of more usable green energy than Earth.”
Being an elderly professor of medical science, Bae Jinman’s explanation got a nod from Handke, who graduated with a natural science degree.
“The ground is overfilled with energy. The flowers blooming in that field and the wavelengths that fill the atmosphere, if you know how to harness these energies, it might not be impossible for us to create a floating city during the industrial age. Of course, it’ll be difficult to make an ‘apples to apples’ comparison.”
That was right. The ruin in front of them seemed to be composed of the remnants of tall buildings, crashed floating city areas, and still floating city areas. At first glance, a high-rise floating city might seem like something from a civilization within the realm of parascience, but if there were tons of materials stronger than steel concrete, and if a random stone on the street possessed the energy of tens of liters of petroleum… it might have been much easier achieving this level of civilization than on Earth.
They looked around as they entered the city. Baek Seoin said,
“Hmm… It looks like they set up a line of defense here.”
Like he said, at the outer boundaries of the city, there were broken suit-like objects, numerous meter-tall barricades, and weapons similar to artillery.
No corpse could be found as if they had all been eaten.
When they made their way to the center, they began to see corpses of monsters amongst the wreckage. Crooks, mountain orcs, and bladed ghosts were among the other monsters they were seeing after a long time… They were 1-2-star low ranked monsters. Perhaps they were plentiful in numbers due to their low rank because they were monsters they had seen frequently.
“Were they annihilated with just these monsters?”
Lee Jinhee seemed doubtful. Especially since guns were somewhat effective against 1-star monsters, and as they could do significant damage to 2-star monsters with the help of heavy firearms. It seemed comical for a civilization, which had developed with high-energy as its foundation, to be annihilated by 1-2-star monsters even if they hadn’t awakened karma.
Baek Seoin shook his head.
“Or… It might be that the only monsters they could kill were these.”
He meant that since monsters above the 3-star level were immune to physical damage, they wouldn’t die in the first place, leaving no corpses behind.
“And it’s strange.”
Baek Seoin frowned. Lee Jinhee looked back at him,
“Why was it that there were no monster corpses at the outer boundaries of the city?”
When they heard that, it was strange. The outer boundaries had tons of wreckage of destroyed weapons, but they didn’t see any monster corpses. If only 1-2-star monsters invaded them, then those corpses should have been littered from the outside.
“Isn’t this more like the monsters appeared within the city?”
“Unless… Strong monsters destroyed the defensive line, leaving normal monsters to invade afterwards.”
While expanding on Baek Seoin’s opinion, it seemed like Ryu Hyunsung thought of something as he glanced towards Choi Hyuk. ‘Choi Hyuk shakes them up, and the Berserkers smash them apart.’ That was the Berserkers’ basic tactic. There was no reason that the monsters couldn’t use this tactic either.
Just then, the world temporarily became dark. It looked like it was becoming darker from afar, and then at some point, it was night. A complete darkness in which they couldn’t even see their own hands. Then, as if nothing ever occurred, it became bright again.
“Wha-what was that just now?”
People all around became confused. “Report!” “Report!” Shouting voices erupted everywhere. In less than three minutes, green flags were raised amongst the lines of millions of people. All clear.
“Huu… What was that? Was it a distinct natural phenomenon on the Cayenne star?”
While relieved, Baek Seoin didn’t lower his guard against the mysterious occurrence.
On the other hand, Choi Hyuk felt a sense of déjà vu. He had experienced this occurrence during his training.
“A monster of night…?”
The monster of night Choi Hyuk remembered was a monster with enormous eyes. It would scan an immense area with its large eyes and then figure out and share the distribution of karmalings and their weak points to other monsters. When it blinked its eyes, a darkness, so dark that it was impossible to see anything, fell on a targeted area, making it useful for sudden monster attacks. Not only that, but it also had the effect of restricting the effectiveness of karmalings’ detecting abilities.
“What the… My Mind’s Eye suddenly isn’t working properly?”
“It’s like there’s a fog in front of me…”
Were what the Berserkers were saying. It was the monster of night’s typical detection obstruction effect. Choi Hyuk was sure that a monster of night had appeared here. At the same time, he knew what was wrong.
He had learned that monsters of night were high ranked monsters along with doppelgangers during the new recruit training… It was a monster that shouldn’t appear in this supposed easy place.
Just then, a hologram of Richard appeared in front of Choi Hyuk. It was one of the convenient functions of the ‘military gate system’.
<Demon King. Was that a monster of night just now? I was surprised that it suddenly became dark as soon as I arrived.>
It seemed Richard arrived with his troops just now.
“It looks like it.”
<But it’s a high ranked monster? It looks like the information about the mission was wrong then. I think we need to report this first.>
Richard attempted to contact Commander Mack. Then, annoyed, he frowned.
<I can’t contact her. Now that I think about it, didn’t the monster of night also have a communication obstruction ability?>
Glancing at Choi Hyuk, he asked,
<What are you going to do? When we aren’t sure, retreating is an option.>
At Richard’s question, Choi Hyuk indifferently nodded his head as if this didn’t concern him,
“If you’re going to retreat, do it.”
Meaning he would stay and conduct the mission. Richard frowned. It was dangerous to recklessly conduct the mission without definitive information. However, he also understood Choi Hyuk’s thoughts. As someone whose priority was to take revenge on the Exalted Wings, Choi Hyuk couldn’t back down.
A massive number of troops crossed over using the ‘military gate system’, meaning they had already consumed an immense amount of karma. Even though the Virgo Cluster paid the expenses as it was an official mission, if they retreated their army without any gains in this situation, the Virgo Cluster would suffer a huge loss. And, after retreating, was he to make a request like ‘We witnessed a monster of night. There might be more high ranked monsters so please dispatch additional troops or take us out of here.’ Although it wasn’t like he couldn’t do it, it would be impossible to get promoted enough to approach the Exalted Wings’ side within a thousand years at that rate.
In the end, whether the information was wrong or not, Choi Hyuk was planning on remaining here and completing the mission before returning. Although it could be considered reckless, Choi Hyuk always surpassed the limits of humanity. This might also be an opportunity to gain attention.
Richard nodded his head.
<Okay. I’ll cooperate.>
Only, Richard left open an escape route as well.
“Ed. Go to the Virgo Cluster, report the situation and request for the dispatch of an investigative team before returning.”
Richard sent one of his followers to the Virgo Cluster.
<Now. Reporting done. Let’s try to raise our performance as much as we can.>
Unlike the monsters on Dragonic that only wanted to protect their territory, the monsters on Cayenne were proactively aggressive. Was it because the monster of night told them their location? They crowded together in an instant.
However, the Berserker troops weren’t very nervous.
“What the? Only bladed ghosts? Shadow teeth?”
The monsters they saw from afar were only 1-2-star monsters. Even the small and medium-sized clans could slaughter them, let along the Berserkers. When the monsters rushed towards them, creating deep rumblings sounds, veteran colonizers weren’t very nervous.
When the monster of night blinked consecutively, the situation changed.
The moment the monsters attacked the earthlings, the earthlings lost their vision, and the monsters penetrated their ranks.
Then, something incomprehensible occurred.
“What?! What’s wrong?! How could a 1-star monster stab a 3-star colonizer?”
The daggers the monsters held could pierce through veteran colonizers’ endurance. It was an incomprehensible situation. Then, those veteran colonizers, who wouldn’t die from such wounds, stood rigidly and screamed, unable to break free from the shadow teeth.
“Get lost, you bastard!”
A colonizer, who stood next to a victim, attacked a shadow teeth that was pushing its dagger further, but-
His sword bounced off.
“Vassal starving ghosts!!! The daggers they are holding are 3-star monsters! If you get stabbed by them, all your karma will be stolen! As the karma is been drained away, it creates a barrier around it! Attacks aren’t very effective until the victim is dead! You can’t get stabbed by them!!”
Executives, who had learned about middle ranked monsters from Baek Seoin beforehand, shouted out loud.
“Haa… Shadow teeth. This brings back memories.”
Lee Jinhee, who had been chased out of her group after fighting with the shadow teeth in Kangdong District in the past, was engulfed by a strange emotion. Although she was able to meet Choi Hyuk because she was chased out… As expected, she especially didn’t have good feelings towards the shadow teeth.
“They piss me off whenever I see them.”
The shadow teeth were using their characteristically fast movements and stealth abilities to increase the number of victims every time the monster of night blinked its eyes.
Of course, the Berserkers weren’t scrambling about just because they had lost their vision.
“Spread your karma out! If something enters, swing at it without hesitation!”
Because of this, Lee Jinhee’s advice and support were directed towards the participating small and medium-sized clans and not the Berserkers.
A flaming karma sword surged from Lee Jinhee’s sword. Lee Jinhee’s weapon was purchased from the Laniakea Supercluster. Although she didn’t personally pick it out, it was a weapon Baek Seoin and Chu Youngjin had carefully chosen for her. It suited her well.
Lee Jinhee split the barrier made by a vassal starving ghost and stabbed the shadow teeth within.
When she forcefully tore off the vassal starving ghost from the victim’s chest, he slumped to the ground, panting.
“Take him to the guardian!”
The colonizers nearby helped the victim get up and retreated.
Lee Jinhee’s expression turned serious.
“The casualties of the small and medium-sized clans are large from the beginning…”
The Berserkers fought well without needing any advice. When it became dark, they would spread out their karma, and if something approached them, they would attack immediately. They didn’t even worry about mistakenly attacking the comrades near them since this wasn’t their first dogfight. However, the small and medium-sized clans had the tendency to be slow and clumsy.
The monster of night blinked again.
“Where the hell is that monster of night bastard?”
Grinding her teeth, Lee Jinhee stabbed out with her 40cm long, silver sword. She split a shadow teeth’s head without even looking.
Their surroundings became bright again.
Then she heard Baek Seoin’s voice.
“Sululacks! Artillery! Focus fire!”
His voice sounded urgent.