Episode 6: Mafia Game / Chapter 98: At the Ruins (4)
TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk
“What do you think you’re doing?!”
The clan leaders were agitated and scared. ‘No matter how scary the doppelgangers are, to ask us to split our heads and show him our brains… Entrust our heads to someone’s sword? When I’m not even a doppelganger? To split my frontal bone without anesthetics and show him my brain? On top of that, you’re going to pour a mysterious liquid on it?’
Humans would unconsciously close their eyes and stand awkwardly when someone was about to flick their forehead. But to ask them to stick their heads out so that he could cut their frontal bone…!
“I, I have allergies…”
“That sword! Did you disinfect it?”
Because they were in such a hurry, the clan leaders said whatever came to their minds. However, Choi Hyuk didn’t listen to them.
“Now, now. It’ll be done in a jiffy.”
Choi Hyuk stepped forward.
Each clan ‘leader’ was at least a colonizer of the 3-star level, yet they freaked out and scattered in different directions. They scattered faster than the metal balls of an exploding claymore mine.
However, the elites of the Berserkers had already finished calculating the clan leaders’ expected escape routes the moment they began to awkwardly flee. On top of that, they had already been assigned their marks beforehand.
The fleeing clan leaders were blocked by the Berserkers and fell down.
Although they pitifully attempted to stand back up-
Choi Hyuk appeared like a shadow, sliced their foreheads and poured the medicine into their heads.
Even if they weren’t doppelgangers, they couldn’t help but freak out. They couldn’t roll on the ground, fearing foreign substances might enter their brains, and didn’t think to staunch their wounds as they spread their arms and crawled on their butts.
It was as if a tiger was released in a group of baby bunnies. Although the clan leaders tried their best to resist, Choi Hyuk skillfully stepped on their resisting arms and legs and cut their foreheads. He then poured the medicine before jumping and pressing down on another hurriedly fleeing clan leader.
Afterwards, the Berserkers standing by would rush forward and drag the treated clan leaders outside the encirclement. They put those who were so panicked that they didn’t know what to do at ease.
“Calm down. Calm down. It’s over now. To block an infection, you need to calm your heart and maintain a constant karma barrier. Take deep breaths and quickly make a karma barrier.”
“Ah… You crazy bastards, do you think I can calm down righ-“
“If you can’t maintain your karma barrier, you’ll have to be re-examined later.”
Through this incident, the clan leaders were able to recall what they already knew.
‘As I thought, words don’t work on those Berserker bastards!!’
Clan Leader Lumin touched his forehead. It had, at some point, completely healed without a scar. In fact, his head felt refreshed, however, he wasn’t sure whether it was because of Guardian Bae Jinman’s karma or because of the explosive amount of adrenaline produced from this terrifying experience.
What was clear was that when Choi Hyuk split his forehead, he really thought he would die right then and there.
After being dragged out of the encirclement by the Berserkers, creating a karma barrier, and forcing himself to take deep breaths, his thumping heart calmed down and he started to take in the scene around him.
It was quite a sight.
Leisurely looking at the scene from a distance, it really was worth seeing. Even though those gentlemen who acted refined, saying they were clan leaders, were currently fleeing for their lives, their struggle was so easily restrained, it was almost artistic, and they screamed when their foreheads were split. It couldn’t be any funnier.
Lumin watched this scene without any tension.
“Wait! Wait! Choi Hyuk! Overseer! I’m not a doppelganger! I’m not!”
Clan Leader Jiro was currently restrained below Choi Hyuk’s feet.
“Hey, hey! Cheer up, Jiro!”
Lumin unconsciously shouted due to his happiness. He felt refreshed that Jiro, who kept finding faults whenever he spoke, was suffering the same humiliation he endured. It was almost as if a non-existent comradery was budding.
‘Maybe I should have a drink with that guy tonight.’
Although Lumin thought such leisurely thoughts, Jiro’s situation wasn’t the same. No, in reality, Jiro no longer had the capacity to judge his circumstances.
As the true him had died a few days ago.
The moment Choi Hyuk poured the healing liquid into Clan Leader Jiro’s forehead, he began to flail crazily. It was a noticeably different reaction from the others up until now. Surprised by his desperate screams, the other clan leaders froze.
Lumin unintentionally stood up.
“Sit down. There is a concern that there might be a secondary infection.”
A Berserker blocked him with a nervous expression, indicating this wasn’t his first time seeing this.
The liquid containing Bae Jinman’s karma was normally transparent. However, once it was poured in people’s foreheads, it would turn golden, heal the wound, and protect the brain from various impacts and infections. Yet, the liquid in Jiro’s head currently surged with a copper-red light. Jiro’s brain began to boil, and the thing that looked exactly like a brain writhed its body as it attempted to flee.
Only then did people recall the reason why Choi Hyuk was splitting their foreheads. Although they heard it through their ears, the story that they hadn’t felt was real or trustworthy had, at this moment, become a reality, making their hearts freeze.
‘Doppelgangers eat people’s brains, take their bodies, and act as the host.’
When Choi Hyuk flicked his finger, scarlet flames suddenly swept up the doppelganger that was exiting Jiro’s head as well as Jiro’s body, causing them to disappear without a trace.
Choi Hyuk, who had calmly watched that scene, raised his head and said in a tone which seemed like he was asking them to go have lunch,
“Now, shall we continue?”
The clan leaders were unable to flee or readily stick out their heads as they froze in place, reading each other’s gazes.
In total, he burned three corpses. Although it could be seen as though only three out of over a hundred clan leaders were infected… If they considered that they were all experts who were skilled enough to be clan leaders, it definitely wasn’t a small number.
The clan leaders’ expressions calmed. The cries of the doppelgangers kept echoing in their minds. Lies that seemed so true. Tears that looked real.
“Please… Please save me. There’s something in my head. However, I am still Clan Leader Raley. I am fine! You know me, right?! Lumin! You know me! Right?! Save me. I want to live. Please kill the bug in my head and save me. Please. Please.”
However, Choi Hyuk said,
“No. The moment a doppelganger invades your mind, it starts by killing your brain. Although it does take a while for it to fully absorb your brain, that doesn’t mean your brain is still alive. You have already died. Raley. No, doppelganger.”
The most terrifying scene was when they were dying. The doppelgangers never admitted they were doppelgangers until the end.
“Euuack! I’m not one of them! I’m not! What kind of bullshit is this?! This liquid is fake from the start, right?! You guys are just trying to eliminate those you don’t lik- Euaack!”
Even when bugs that resembled brains crawled out of their split heads… Their mouths kept shouting that they were innocent.
Although they were clan leaders who had overcome countless life-or-death crises, the scene in front of them was more terrifying than any gruesome battle. They still felt pity and became enthralled when hearing their pleas and seeing their expressions, even as they watched the bugs crawl out of their heads. This fact made them so scared that their limbs trembled.
The doppelganger was that kind of monster.
A monster of suspicion.
“But you said the doppelganger identification cube doesn’t work. There’s a limit to Guardian Bae Jinman’s karma reserves, we can’t just split millions of heads… How will we examine them?”
A clan leader asked as they left the basement that was used as the meeting room.
Choi Hyuk opened the door. As they were on a star filled with light and one without night, the moment he opened the door a bright light entered the basement.
As he exited the building, Choi Hyuk said,
“We need to find and kill the monster of night. That’s why we’ve gathered here.”
When they exited the building, they could see troops spread endlessly in the bright light.
“The reason why we pushed ourselves to advance to this point was not to quicken the subjugation but to gather all seven overseers together.”
Wherever they looked, they saw people. As each overseer had brought at least a few million warriors, once they gathered together, there were tens of millions of warriors gathered, surrounding the boundary of a particular city on the Cayenne star.
“You finally came out.”
Richard was waving his hand. Intelligent looking colonizers were lined up behind him.
“Reflect on yourself. Among the seven overseers, the only one who didn’t properly total the total number of participants was the Berserkers.”
Choi Hyuk simply shrugged at Richard’s scolding. Richard sighed as he turned his gaze towards Baek Seoin, who was standing next to Choi Hyuk.
“If your sovereign is like this, then shouldn’t you at least pay attention?”
However, Baek Seoin replied in a faultless voice,
“Administration personnel are almost non-existent in our clan. What can I do by myself?”
At his shameless reply, Richard grasped his forehead and gestured at the intelligent looking colonizers behind him.
“Yeah, yeah. Now, that’s why I brought over some intelligent people, so quickly put them to work. You need to assign teams.”
Baek Seoin brought the administration personnel and clan leaders to a different location.
As he looked at this, Richard said to Choi Hyuk,
“Please take care of me. You know it, right? That your role is the most important.”
“As long as you can gain their attention, there’s no problem.”
Richard nodded and stepped forward. While stretching, he said,
“Good. Then shall we begin the game?”
Richard described the game as a ‘Mafia Game’ to bring out the monster of night.
Baek Seoin and Richard’s administration personnel displayed superhuman work performance. In a single day, they reorganized the Berserkers, numbering in the millions, into 10-person divisions. It wasn’t random assignment either. They had reorganized them into groups with people whom they were familiar with. It was essential to reorganize them with people they knew as questioning their past was an effective method for determining whether they were doppelgangers or not. Following their karma growth, not only would their physical abilities increase but their cognitive abilities as well.
As the other overseers had already reorganized their troops into divisions, with the addition of the Berserkers, all preparations were complete.
After those who had yet to have their brains inspected disarmed themselves, they gathered in their specified divisions.
The elites who already had their brains inspected were either dispatched amongst the divisions to dispose of those who broke the rules and discovered doppelgangers, or stood guard on the boundaries in case there was a sudden monster attack.
In this situation, Richard declared to the tens of millions of colonizers,
“There are doppelgangers among us. The characteristics of doppelgangers are confused memories and reduced abilities.”
He explained the dangers of doppelgangers and then explained what would happen now.
“After a vote in each division, the one suspected to be a doppelganger will be first bound and isolated. The observation teams will conduct brain inspections on the suspects within their capacity. Although you will be uncomfortable and uneasy, please keep in mind that, excluding the observation teams, we will not tolerate any violence or the leaving of your designated position.”
After this polite speech, Richard smiled coldly.
“Now, with information we collected beforehand, we will first conduct a public examination of those we suspect to be doppelgangers.”
When Richard declared this-
With a sound, a few people who had been blankly standing there had their heads split. Although this only happened to around ten thousand people of the tens of millions, these colonizers, who had great hearing and sight, had no trouble understanding the situation.
While everyone was shocked, the dispatched observation teams wordlessly poured liquid, created with their respective troop’s healers’ karma, into the heads of the first round of examinees.
Two-thirds of the first round of examinees were flustered but otherwise fine, however, the remaining one-third screamed as they rolled on the ground. The liquid surged with a copper light. They were doppelgangers.
They had been able to expose one-third because they had selected those who possessed the highest probability of being doppelgangers.
The colonizers, who had been sitting in circles of ten, suddenly stood up in panic. The person next to them had their head split by the observation team, but wasn’t there a brain-shaped bug crawling out of their head?
A physiological fear overwhelmed them.
“Now, now. Don’t be nervous. They are doppelgangers. If you don’t want to be infected, please calm your minds and create a thick karma barrier.”
Richard’s words were spoken with leisure. However, the observation teams around them maintained an unmatched viciousness. A viciousness that felt like they would kill them even if they moved a finger. Although they were feeling an astonishment close to fear due to the sudden situation, the observation teams were too menacing. The colonizers awkwardly sat down. They rubbed their goosebumps and massaged their trembling legs as they gulped their saliva.
Even as he watched this scene, Richard maintained the light attitude of a show host. Although it looked inappropriate at a glance, in reality, this was all calculated. ‘No matter how many die, I will eradicate the doppelgangers. We do not fear sacrificing our people.’ This was the message he was sending the doppelgangers and the monster of night with his easy-going attitude.
“Now, you understand what we need to do now, right? Let’s hunt doppelgangers. We will now start the game.”
Was it a coincidence? At the same time as Richard’s exaggerated declaration-
The world suddenly turned dark. The monster of night, which had been idle for the past few days, began to act now that the doppelgangers were in danger.
At the same time, Choi Hyuk concentrated.
This situation, where they had gathered tens of millions of people to track down the doppelgangers, was in fact somewhat of a show. It was a trap to make the monster of night make its move.
‘I need to find it.’
The one acknowledged as the strongest on Earth, and the one who possessed the best detection abilities, Choi Hyuk, was using the monster of night’s activity as a lead to track it down.
‘If you can’t do it, no one can.’
That was what Richard had said. Choi Hyuk thought the same as well.
‘I will make it blink countless times, so find the monster of night and kill it.’
He liked Richard’s request. What Richard was good at and what Choi Hyuk was good at, they were both doing things they were good at.
‘We completely cleared the monsters in this area while gathering here. Still, there will be monsters rushing in from afar. I will take down the monster of night before they arrive.’
It was a difficult situation. Choi Hyuk caught his breath and concentrated his mind.
The monster of night blinked again.
The doppelgangers, whose identities had been discovered, used this darkness as cover to find other hosts.
Choi Hyuk fumbled around in the edges of this darkness.
He began to track down this shadow to see where it led.