Episode 6: Mafia Game / Chapter 96: At the Ruins (2)
TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk
In the blink of an eye, the sululacks burrowed into the crowd of colonizers. The monsters, which looked like someone had piled rags into a human shape, screamed, “Shaaaaah!” an unpleasant sound, as they stood there.
However, the nearby colonizers freaked out as they began to retreat.
“Karma! My karma is being sucked in!”
A fleeing colonizer screamed.
It was chaos.
Frustration surged within Choi Hyuk. Since they were told it was an opportunity to gain experience, each overseer had brought over all their combat-oriented colonizers. That was also why Choi Hyuk had brought millions of warriors himself. However, what could they do with numbers?
In Choi Hyuk’s perspective, they were pathetically weak.
Choi Hyuk dived in. He swooped down like a ghost and sliced a sululack in two. Sululacks would try to suck in karma, and the closer you came, the more quickly they would suck, however, it was all a farce that only affected low level warriors who lacked both control and Retribution.
Choi Hyuk gave the hurriedly fleeing small and medium-sized clans a pathetic look. Sululacks weren’t monsters that could be avoided like that. Instead, they were dangerous monsters that would leave a serious blow in your troops if you didn’t take them out the moment they appeared. Yet, these clans didn’t even attempt to attack the sululacks and were busy attempting to flee.
‘When will they be worth their salt?’
Choi Hyuk felt that they would only be appropriate to use when they were at the level of the Berserkers. When he thought about how long it would take for these clans to be of use, it felt so distant… yet, he currently had to save them.
Choi Hyuk jumped around as he took down the sululacks.
The Berserkers’ artillery focused their fire on the sululacks appearing in the distance and pre-emptively took them down.
Lee Jinhee’s troops, who possessed incredible mobility, jumped around like grasshoppers.
Yet, there were simply too many sululacks appearing around them.
“Quickly, quickly! Take them out before they explode!”
Baek Seoin shouted in an urgent manner.
Multiple sululacks would appear simultaneously whenever the monster of night blinked.
At the same time as their appearance, they would quickly absorb the karma around them and would explode that energy at some point. They were a type of suicide bombers. They were a nightmare in the current situation.
Ferocious explosions erupted everywhere. Normal explosions would spread out horizontally, but the self-destruction of the sululacks didn’t spread out like that, instead, they utterly destroyed the area around them as if it was contained in a sphere. The ground was completely shredded apart and vaporized. When the special surface of the Cayenne star, which absorbed the star’s intense heat, disappeared, the flames emitted by the star surged up like a storm. As the Endurance of the colonizers, who were swept up by the flames, was pitiful, not even their bodies remained.
“… Their locations are too good.”
Choi Hyuk frowned. Sululacks were already annoying middle ranked monsters, but with the support of the monster of night, they became truly irritable existences. They appeared like ghosts the moment the monster of night blinked, but of all places, they kept appearing in areas without any experts. Hidden from view, the monster of night clearly looked at the earthlings and stabbed at their weak points.
“Kuaah! Di… e… e…”
There was a courageous 2-star colonizer who attempted to take down a sululack before it exploded. However, he couldn’t endure the quickening pace of karma absorption as he approached and collapsed at the feet of the sululack. His body dried up like a mummy and scattered like dust. Only those above the 3-star level could barely endure the sululack’s karma absorption.
Eventually, the sululack, which no one could take down, exploded once it had collected enough energy.
Every time they heard that sound, the colonizers’ fighting spirit diminished.
No one knew who first started this method. However, there was also no reason to discuss it either. On the intense border of life or death, people would instinctively find a way to live.
Why did the completely unexpected attack emit an unfamiliar yet frightening sound? Surprised, the colonizer who had been attacked turned to look at his comrade with a pale face.
Without a trace of apology, his comrade looked back at him with spiteful eyes. The weapon he stabbed him with was a vassal starving ghost that had been held by a shadow teeth just now.
A sululack exploded from afar.
The man who stabbed his comrade was able to endure the explosion with the ‘barrier’ created by the vassal starving ghost. To survive, some gave up feeling sorry and rushed towards their comrades with a vassal starving ghost in hand. This occurred everywhere.
Those who could block the absorption of their karma, Choi Hyuk, his Berserkers, and the executives of the clans, hurriedly moved to take down the sululacks, but the sululacks, which were controlled by the monster of night, always found openings and exploded, leaving behind casualties.
Also… Traitors who killed their comrades to save their own lives remained as well.
Choi Hyuk, as he ran by, cut the necks of those he saw attempting to stab their comrades with vassal starving ghosts. However, he couldn’t control the entire mood by himself. It was also obvious for those who couldn’t endure the explosion and would die either way to choose the method that had even the slightest chance of survival.
It was like an endless nightmare for those who weren’t sufficiently strong. Comrades who tried to stab them with vassal starving ghosts. Should I stab first, or should I wait for someone to stab at me and act like I had no choice, or should I be honorable even if I die? If they didn’t want to die futilely, they had to make a choice within a few seconds.
Amidst this cruel choice, the sululacks kept exploding, and the nightmare seemed to be getting worse. However, there was soon an end to the nightmare. Perhaps the monster of night was tired, but its blinking became slower. Then, it stopped. When the blinking stopped, so did the attack.
Their first battle on the Cayenne star concluded.
While the physical losses were huge, the morale especially took a hit. There were many who died in vain. There were also many who lived by stabbing their comrades. Rage and hostility towards each other and the commanders began to burn.
Conflicts were erupting in various places.
“Fuck… You bastard! You stabbed Dongsoo?”
“What are you saying?! Who’s Dongsoo?!”
An agitated voice interrogated someone who stabbed his comrade.
“Did you see those Leo clan bastards? All their executives were busy running away while our clan’s executives were putting their lives on the line whilst taking down the sululacks. They got a free pass…”
“The hell you saying? And you didn’t run?”
Disputes between clans.
“No, those crazy… How could they drag over all these troops without a plan…?”
“To be honest, he’s an overseer. Why is he dragging people around on whim…? If he dragged us out here, then he should command properly!”
There were also groups quietly expressing their rage towards Choi Hyuk.
“… I felt this during the subjugation war, but aren’t they honestly too weak?”
And Berserkers scorned other clans.
The mood of the army was the worst.
In this mood, Choi Hyuk gathered the executives of the Berserkers and the clan leaders of each clan and held a meeting.
The moment everyone gathered, Choi Hyuk went straight to the point.
“The composition of our enemy is very different from what we had heard from Commander Mack. We’ll give up our current tactic. First, we’ll establish formations and tactics to face the monsters we’ve encountered. Also, we will prepare ahead for monsters that are likely to appear.”
Then Choi Hyuk explained the new formation. The gist was that each clan’s experts and the magician troop’s members would be equally scattered and prepared for the sululacks. Also, that he would create a detached troop that transcended clans to prepare in case jaksams appeared.
‘Clans have the autonomy to command for themselves.’ He completely retracted this plan. It was an inevitable choice. It was originally a command which reflected what the commander of the Virgo cluster and other warrior leaders had said, but currently, the situation was completely different.
“Then discuss with Director Baek Seoin about the details of the formation. Ah, also, there are people who survived by stabbing their comrades with vassal starving ghosts in this battle. Come up with a method to track them down. For the teams’ trust, we cannot leave them alone.”
After finishing the short meeting, Choi Hyuk stood up. Behind him, Baek Seoin’s expression seemed somewhat resigned.
“Excuse me! Overseer!”
A clan leader raised his hand. Choi Hyuk, who was about to leave, stopped. Baek Seoin grabbed his forehead with an expression that seemed to know what was to come.
“Do… you have no thoughts about retreating?”
At the clan leader’s courageous question, the other clan leaders nodded in agreement. Casualties aside, their morale had hit rock bottom. Although Choi Hyuk said he wanted to track down those who stabbed their comrades to restore trust in each other, the distrust wouldn’t heal easily with just that. The clan leaders felt that this situation was enough to consider retreating.
Yet, Choi Hyuk tilted his head as if asking what he was talking about,
A word expressing incomprehension. That was all. Leaving that word behind, Choi Hyuk made no other response and left.
It was a clear refusal, and from Baek Seoin’s perspective, an expected one.
‘The participating clan leaders might request for a retreat. Ignoring or pressuring them isn’t everything. They will hold dissatisfaction. There’s a need to comfort them.’ Baek Seoin had already warned Choi Hyuk, but Choi Hyuk’s reply was, ‘Dissatisfaction? Let them have that if they want. To be honest, they were so weak that they were pissing me off.’
Baek Seoin suppressed his urge to sigh. If they showed that the Berserkers weren’t on the same wavelength in this situation, it would only make things worse. Baek Seoin put on a face so cold that it looked like no blood would drip even if he was stabbed. Then, with a firm tone, he began to explain the details of the new formation to the dumbfounded clan leaders.
Although the clan leaders inwardly felt dumbfounded and enraged, perhaps it was because they recalled the ‘Demon King’ Choi Hyuk’s indiscriminate subjugation during the war that they didn’t express their emotions. They didn’t express their strife, and it only became even more deeply rooted.
When Choi Hyuk came out, he looked around at the collapsed buildings and the floating city.
“Will there be any gains?”
Lee Jinhee, with the artillery as an escort, left to explore the ruins.
Looking at the wreckage, there were suggestions that it hadn’t been long since it was destroyed, and the purpose of this exploration was to find clues within the ruins and gather information about the monsters. It was to prevent another instance of increased casualties due to unexpected monsters.
Casualties… When Choi Hyuk thought of the casualties, he felt his insides sour. He unconsciously shook his head.
“We can’t go on like this.”
Even if they considered that it was a sudden, unexpected attack, the casualties were higher than expected. He wanted to clear away the clans and fight with only the Berserkers if he could. However, Choi Hyuk was fully aware that he couldn’t.
‘For an earthling to enter the core of the alliance… It is impossible by myself.’
He became convinced of this thought after experiencing Laniakea. Earthlings were currently outsiders to the alliance. They couldn’t avoid being undervalued. If Choi Hyuk was to get stronger by himself in this situation, he would only become a useful tool.
That was why, whether he liked it or not, he had to make the millions of incomparably pathetic colonizers into elites.
When he thought this, Choi Hyuk heard a roar.
“Fuck! Yeah, I’m a murderer, you bastard!”
A scream erupted soon after.
He could clearly see the situation with just the noise. They hadn’t yet tracked down the traitors who had stabbed their comrades with vassal starving ghosts…
“… What a show.”
Choi Hyuk signed as he started walking in the direction of the scream.
There was a murder. As well as a brawl.