Episode 7: Tidal Wave of Monsters / Chapter 117: Alien Troops from Earth (2)
TL: emptycube / ED: Obelisk
Lankin glanced at Choi Hyuk’s sword.
‘What’s that? It’s not at the level of a Weapon of Calling. Is it a Weapon of Sentiment? But that’s also… Don’t tell me it’s a Weapon of Vow?!’
Now that he thought about it, he recalled that a middle-ranked warrior from the countryside, who had only just joined the alliance, had created a Weapon of Vow. Weren’t people talking about it for a while?
Faint lights flickered on Lankin’s red torso as if they were putting on a performance. It was the way Lankin expressed joy.
“What the? Now that I look at you, you’re a celebrity, aren’t you? What was your name? Cho… Che… Uh…”
“Oh, yeah. Choi Hyuk! Nice to meet you!”
Lankin placed his hand on Choi Hyuk’s shoulder again. His friendly attitude took Choi Hyuk aback.
“A middle-ranked warrior who has a Weapon of Vow! I’m excited. Now, the guys we have to fight are over there.”
Lankin turned Choi Hyuk’s shoulders around, towards a certain direction. It was the opposite direction from the blue flames spewing hellhound. Lankin gestured towards the hellhound with his chin and said,
“Don’t even look in that direction. They aren’t guys we can take. The higher-ups of the special task force will take care of them. We only need to block that place. You see it, right?”
He saw it.
Although he couldn’t see a single monster… He could clearly feel that it was unusual.
He hadn’t seen it since he had been focused on the hellhound and its blue flames until now. Like a pathway, there was a rift in time and space in a specific direction. It wasn’t simply time and space, but even karma was distorted like some jumbled jigsaw puzzle. The further away one looked from Choi Hyuk’s position, the more pronounced the rift became. Dark City, which was dark and transparent, was influenced by this rift and was shining strangely. The blue flames flickered above it.
“… Was this not the consideration of the alliance?”
Choi Hyuk tapped the ground he was standing on.
The dark matter that made up Dark City didn’t normally interact with normal matter. If it was like normal, those of lower levels wouldn’t be able to stand on the ground. In the past, even Richard had been submerged up to his ankles and had flailed about. However, even the lowest-ranked warriors at the 3-star level could stand on the ground without any discomfort now. Choi Hyuk had thought the alliance had arranged this.
“Yeah. Normally, the alliance would have done it… But there is no need to this time. Since those monsters need a ground to stand on, though I don’t know how they did it… They modified the dark matter. In this area, even if you’re not of the Dark Tribe, you can stand on the ground with no problem.”
Lankin stomped on the ground. The playful attitude he had until now had turned serious. The bright red color of his torso had subsided into a cold, darker tone.
“It’s not easy. These guys knew exactly what kind of place Dark City was when they came here. It’s proof that, through the long war, they’ve accumulated information about our universe and the alliance. In this situation, they launched a large-scale attack… It’s alarming, isn’t it?”
With a metallic sound, his Gun of Sentiment ‘Lankin’s Thrill’ combined with his hand.
“Our mission is to destroy those pathways as fast as we can. Every time they appear, continuously. Whatever they are planning, you just need to make it so that they don’t have time to play tricks. Then… Stay alert! It’s about to start!”
Even though he looked like a good-for-nothing, it seemed he had constantly been observing the situation. At the same time as Lankin’s warning, time, space, and karma re-assembled. It wasn’t to their former state, but into something completely different.
At first, the pathway looked black like a turned-off monitor. However, upon closer examination, it was a mixture of incomprehensible colors. It was an ominous mixture entirely comprised of colors he was seeing for the first time. It was like a foreign language you could hear but not understand. It was a color that he could see but was difficult to perceive. At a glance, it looked black. The color was so unfamiliar that his brain couldn’t process it. Perhaps, this was the color of death.
It became humid like an underground basement, and he could smell a disgusting stench of rotting corpses. Distorted karma crawled its way out of the pathway. Chills went down his spine because of how unfamiliar it was.
“It would be nice if we could destroy the pathway before it’s complete, but our research staff has yet to fully analyze it… So we can only destroy it once it’s complete. We can get ‘poja’ samples while we’re at it though.”
“You’ll know when you see it.”
Lankin gestured in front of him when Choi Hyuk asked. In the pathway Lankin gestured to, a gray object crackled like electricity as it wriggled out. It was an object interconnected by what seemed to be thin spider webs. It was as sticky and fluid as honey, and it came out endlessly.
“That’s poja. This is the first time it has ever appeared. It might be the best research object to figure out the creation process of monsters.”
Lankin raised his gun.
“We’re going. There are other people who are good at collecting poja samples so you guys focus on destroying the pathways. The trick to destroying these pathways is the same as Kahur Kabkuns. Push until the very end of the pathway and throw a Kahur Kabkun destroying bomb. Then… Let’s go!”
Lankin and his troops prepared to charge.
However, just before they could, Choi Hyuk wielded his ‘Choi Hyuk’s Imprint’.
“Flaming Wing Dance, Instant Void Annihilation.”
The flames, which burned targets in the most painful of ways, and the slash, that could even cut time and space, combined. His Sword of Vow ‘Choi Hyuk’s Imprint’ added its deadly will onto his strike. Choi Hyuk’s concentration was at its peak. ‘Choi Hyuk’s Imprint’ added 600 points of karma to his strike.
Dark City, which had been lit by blue flames, now brightened with a scarlet hue. The poja, which continued to grow, was cut in half and instantly lit on fire. It shriveled like melting plastic.
Lankin shuddered at his power. This wasn’t a power a middle-ranked warrior could create.
“I’m in a bit of a hurry.”
Leaving a flustered Lankin, who had forgotten about charging, behind, Choi Hyuk rushed in. The earthling expedition followed behind him.
Perhaps it was because of Choi Hyuk’s attack, but the poja, which overflowed from the pathway, began to show a violent reaction. The poja swelled up and whirled around into monster shapes.
They heard the roar of a changed dragon. The monster that had just been created by the poja spread its wings. There wasn’t only a changed dragon. All sorts of monsters, from ones they had seen until now as well as ones they had never seen before, were created, wriggling in the poja.
Alexei frowned. The hordes of monsters being created within the squirming poja in front of him truly made him feel disgusted. When the squelching sounds of the poja and cries of the monsters were added on top of that, it was a literal hell.
Even as he frowned, Alexei lightly made his way through the poja. Starting with the Ring of Rebirth when he was a second-year middle schooler, Alexei had experienced various wars against the monsters. He didn’t spare his body.
It was disgusting? Then he would kill it because it was.
“Since you’re disgusting… Die.”
As expected of someone who followed Lee Jinhee, Alexei wielded two short gladii. With quick movements, he stabbed the necks of newly born monsters and killed the monsters that were being created within the boiling poja by cutting them into pieces.
There was no need to talk about tactics and strategy. Everyone knew their own roles as fighting monsters had already become a part of their daily lives. Choi Hyuk was at the very front, and Lee Jinhee’s troop was behind him. Ryu Hyunsung’s troop, Chu Youngjin’s troop led by Kim Honghyun, the Camilla Clan’s top military troop, the Executioners, and the top elite troop of the Jessie Clan, the ‘Extremers’, followed behind.
The lead, which possessed a powerful destructive power, would mess up their enemies’ ranks, and the rear would follow behind and completely restrain them. It was the tactic they used for Kahkur Kabkuns.
It was a tactic that made them penetrate through an unfamiliar, dark pathway into hordes of monsters. Although many humans had yet to experience this, the majority of the 5,000 low-ranked warriors and the 100,000 lowest-ranked warriors assigned to this expedition had experienced this multiple times.
That was why it was familiar, and that was also why they were sick and tired of it. They felt déjà vu when they fought against surges of monsters.
‘When did we start fighting?’ It even made them fall under the delusion that they had been on the battlefield since a year ago, no, 2 years ago, no, since they were born.
“Is there really an end to this war….”
Penelope from the Camilla Clan, who had recovered from her injury and returned to the battlefield, suddenly made a sad expression. She didn’t spare her body as she always fought for the happiness and survival of the people. She had constantly tried her best to get stronger so that she could defeat powerful enemies. However, the scale of the war stretched beyond her imagination. Weren’t they fighting a war on Dark City, a city 220 million light years away from Earth? When they had arrived, she thought to end this war quickly and save Dragonic… But after arriving here, she was overwhelmed by its scale.
‘Will humans die after fighting, scattered throughout this vast universe?’
A monster rushed forward. She blocked it and then killed it with a slash. However, when she killed it, another monster would charge at her. What if they cleared this place up? Even Dark City was considered a rural city in the entire scope of the alliance.
‘Where will we be called to next?’
There were as many monsters as there were stars in the sky… No, there were so many that they could cover the entire universe.
Reflected in her eyes-
Was Choi Hyuk’s surging flames. Scarlet, ominous flames. However, in that moment, she, for some reason, felt that this ominousness was welcomed and even longed for it. This Dark City, which was filled with unfamiliar things, was dyed in the familiar light of Choi Hyuk’s flames.
Ryu Hyunsung wielded his sword without rest. Befitting of a director who had become a middle-ranked warrior, every time he swung his sword, monsters would die by the handful. He even took care of the monsters the low-ranked warriors had difficulty dealing with. Especially the monsters that were reported previously, those were spotted occasionally. Although they generally possessed power similar to that of a middle-ranked warrior, their traits were different. There was one whose strength was strong, but its movements were slow or its endurance was weak, and it could be killed by low-ranked warriors, but that wasn’t the case for all of them. The difference between those individual monsters was large. Even their appearances were different. What they all had in common, however, was that they looked strange, as if they had been kneaded into their shapes.
“They are rough around the edges as if they were created as tests.”
However, there were some that were especially strong amongst them.
“Sho stoopudd. Keuhik!”
It mocked as it ripped apart a Berserker who had been charging at him fearlessly. Seeing as how it easily ripped apart a 4-star level low-ranked warrior, it seemed to be a legitimate middle-ranked monster. He had to wipe it out before the number of casualties grew.
Ryu Hyunsung’s sword fell vertically, aiming at the monster’s head.
The monster easily avoided his attack and stretched its arm out. A strange power was consolidated in its hand.
“Hmmp! Too simple!”
However, Ryu Hyunsung retreated back slightly as he raised his lowered sword. He didn’t approach close to attack. He lightly wielded his sword, aiming at the monster’s wrist. The monster’s wrist was sliced off. Even the power that had consolidated in its hand was cut and scattered. Among the talking monsters he had fought until now, it was the most balanced, but its attacks were simple like a child’s. It was far from being a match for Ryu Hyunsung, who was renowned as being the best technician in the Berserkers.
It seemed it didn’t see his sword swing up as the monster made a weird noise in surprise.
Then, as if it understood, it nodded its head.
It began to swing its remaining left arm back and forth. Its movements were similar to Ryu Hyunsung’s sword skills, his footwork unique to fencing and his quick slashes.
“… What did you…!?”
While Ryu Hyunsung was taken aback by the monster’s unexpected actions, it stretched its hand once more.
Ryu Hyunsung reacted to it reflexively. He took a step back and targeted its wrist once again. However, the monster retracted its arm before he could. It had anticipated his move. The monster smiled.
Ryu Hyunsung wielded his sword. However, the more they fought, the more refined the monster’s movements became. It seemed like the monster was studying Ryu Hyunsung. It imitated his movements and even imitated his emotions.
It became harder to fight him.
Ryu Hyunsung felt helpless. His confidence, which rose after becoming a middle-ranked warrior, wavered. Even though he possessed techniques more robust than anyone else, he lacked the decisive power that Choi Hyuk and Chu Youngjin possessed. This weakness was revealing itself right now. It was ‘studying’ Ryu Hyunsung. Ryu Hyunsung lacked the power to kill it with one strike.
His body felt heavier as if he had sunken into a swamp.
A bullet pierced the monster’s temple like lightning.
The monster’s head exploded like fireworks.
The bullet, which had pierced the monster’s head, let out a whistle as it freely flew up and returned to its owner, Lankin. Various colored bullets were swirling around Lankin.
“Get a hold of yourself! Either kill it quickly or bounce. What are you doing, giving information to the monster while fighting it?”
Lankin, whose red torso was unusually bright, warned Ryu Hyunsung once more as he passed him.
“Stay alert. They are a new type of monster. They imitate us. They can even talk. Although it seems like the majority are strange at the moment… What do you think will happen once they finish imitating us? Don’t give them too much information.”
An odd nervousness and fear were mixed in Lankin’s voice. Although he had exaggerated his happiness, he too was feeling fear from the fact that Dark City was being attacked as well as from the fact that a new type of pathway and monster, that they hadn’t discovered until now, had appeared.
Even he, who was a warrior of the Armored Soul Tribe, which was one of the top 4 strongest tribes, wasn’t optimistic of this war. When he became aware of this, Ryu Hyunsung felt gloomy for some reason. Even though he had thought he had become considerably stronger, there was no end in sight, like a nightmare he couldn’t wake up from. Though he had gone beyond Kangdong District, Seoul, Earth, and even Dragonic, there was no end to the war and the situation was always bad.
‘Is this a fight we can win? After repeatedly fighting like this, will I too die and disappear like my friends?’
Although he always acted otherwise, Ryu Hyunsung was weak-hearted and always fought against these thoughts.
Also, from what he knew, there was only one method to beat his weakened heart. Ryu Hyunsung glanced at the red sky. Choi Hyuk’s flames. When he saw them, his heart became calm for some reason.
He cleared his mind. He left his body to the fight. He didn’t think of the future nor did he look back to the past. He simply lost himself in fighting. Then there wasn’t an opportunity for his weak heart to burrow in, and it would disappear.
Lankin shrugged his shoulders as he saw Ryu Hyunsung charging forward without a reply, wielding his sword.
“… His fighting attitude is good.”
Then his gaze slid towards Choi Hyuk.
“I think I know who he learned it from.”
It wasn’t only Lankin. Every human had looked at Choi Hyuk once. Alexei did, so did Camilla, even Ryu Hyunsung looked at him.
Choi Hyuk. He was indeed the incarnation of the karma fate ‘Battle Addict’.
He fought without rest or hesitation.
His figure, which jumped into the middle of the poja, that fluctuated as if it were sky diving, and into the horde of monsters, was elegant.
The scarlet flames, which surged towards the sky, was like an orchestra. Choi Hyuk conducted his flames as he sliced newly born elite monsters in two. He didn’t have the slightest bit of hesitation. The smile on his lips was like the enlightened Buddha’s. He accepted the fight with his entire body and was enjoying it.
All fear and dejection disappeared in front of him.
Like the disappearing fear and dejection, the monsters obstructing his path melted away.
“No matter how I look at it, he’s not at the level of a middle-ranked warrior… Whether it’s because that Weapon of Vow is a monster or he is. Maybe it’s both…”
Following behind him, Lankin felt devout for some reason.