Chapter 6. Creation of a Clan, Part II
The flames on the Mud Troll's body did not burn very long.
Beneath the flames that had burned themselves out, there was only a hardened lump of mud.
It was a sight beyond belief.
No one knew that the weakness of the monster, which turned nearly a hundred soldiers, including officers and other soldiers, into headless corpses, was the flames produced by the gasoline.
It was also the fear of ignorance.
If they did not know, they would die. The Mud Troll was one of the symbols that told them that such an era had come.
"Ahn Sun-mi, try to treat the wounded with the flesh of the Mud Troll."
Kim Tae-hoon was an early adapter in this era. Of course, Kim Tae-hoon was making strong attempts to get rid of his ignorance.
"If there's any gas left, there might be a problem with the toxicity of gasoline."
"Most of the gasoline will have been burned away with the flames."
"But if there's a problem-"
"It's better to use the troll's flesh to test it than to let a man who's been bitten by a monster with excessive bleeding or infection die without proper treatment."
The Mud Troll's flesh had information that it helped treat wounds and improve recovery. Now was the time to get a better grip on this information.
As he said, ignorance is now death. It was time to learn things properly! His instruction was reasonable enough in that sense.
Because it was so reasonable, Ahn Sun-mi could not even raise a question toward Kim Tae-hoon's order.
"Lieutenant Kim Soo-ji." Kim Tae-hoon called out to Kim Soo-ji, who was standing upright when Ahn Sun-mi replied.
"Yes!" She walked forward as if waiting for an order.
"We're going to start treating the wounded. I want three soldiers to help Ahn Sun-mi."
"I understand." She immediately called over three healthy soldiers and gave them orders.
Three soldiers, of course, did not have any doubts about treating the wounded...
"I need that monster's body over there."
...until Ahn Sun-mi asked them to bring the flesh of the crumpled Mud Troll, now solid like a piece of pottery.
"Is she crazy? Why do we have to bring over the flesh of that monster? Why?"
"Isn't that alive? If we touched it, and it could come to life."
"... do as you are told. There must be something."
As Ahn Sun-mi and three soldiers moved to treat the wounded, Kim Soo-ji spoke up, "Can I ask you a question?"
"I'll hear and answer you."
"Did you see me at the Army headquarters five years ago?"
It was an unexpected question, but Kim Tae-hoon could come up with the answer.
"The granddaughter of Brigadier General Kim Jae-ryong?"
"You must have been the one with Major General Chang Young-sung at that time."
At that moment, Kim Tae-hoon's expression hardened, for two reasons.
"You have a good memory."
One was because of the name of Major General Chang Young-sung. The other one was because of the history of Brigadier General Kim Jae-ryong.
Brigadier General Kim Jae-ryong was the commander of the 60th division, the head of the capital defense command. The commander of the 60th Division under the Capital Defense Command was not a normal position.
At least, it was a position of power that could dispatch troops to save the granddaughter in Bucheon, not far from Seoul.
Of course, Brigadier General Kim Jae-ryong had retired three years ago, but the influence of those stars did not disappear easily after retirement.
'The granddaughter of a real power.'
Brigadier General Kim Jae-ryong was not in the wrong lineage. Command of the 60th Division was not a place where a man of the wrong lineage could sit.
Now, however, Kim Soo-ji had survived by her own efforts without such a background.
'Seoul is also in trouble.'
It meant that Seoul has not been properly defended under the existence of the Capital Defense Command.
'The worst imagination is a reality.' He had expected it.
When he saw the dragon flying from the direction of Seoul and heading for Incheon across Bucheon, he did not expect Seoul to play a further role as a capital.
But it was a different story to make an expectation, and to meet the basis for making such an expectation a reality.
"Does the army know about this situation?" Kim Soo-ji, who did not know the mind of Kim Tae-hoon, asked first.
"If I had known, I wouldn't have come here, and if the military had known, your grandfather would have called you home, Lieutenant Kim Soo-ji."
Kim Soo-ji closed her mouth tight. She had guessed that, too. Her grandfather's background was not something she could run away from.
"The emergence of monsters has been made nationwide, and according to expectations, the cities of Bucheon, as well as Seoul and Incheon, have been virtually paralyzed. Perhaps all the cities in the country are in a similar state, and the military is probably non-functional."
"Oh, my God," Kim Soo-ji blurted out.
For her, whose survival was the top priority, and who had barely completed the goal, the reality and truth facing her were terrible.
Kim Tae-hoon closed his eyes. 'Actually, the army now is not what I know.'
But there was hope. Hope that the military might play a minimal role in this situation through its own lack of communication.
'But now that expectation is meaningless. In this situation, there would be virtually no help from the military. 'In order to survive, we have to survive by ourselves and by our own hands.'
While Kim Tae-hoon was thinking about it, he looked at his right hand and the mark of an Awakener. And he remembered the dragon, the crazy monster.
'What we need now is not the army, but a monster that can hunt the monsters. We must become monsters before the monsters eat us.'
At that moment, Kim Tae-hoon's complicated thoughts cleared up.
"Lieutenant Kim Soo-ji!"
"Take the bodies around, collect them in one place, and bring all the survivors, including the wounded, together."
[The Crystal of a Mud Troll]
- Strength increases when ingested.
- Defense skill increases when ingested.
- You can acquire the power of Mud Troll at the time of ingestion [the Vitality of Troll].]
Kim Tae-hoon looked at the orange jewel on his smartphone, a picture of the monster stone of the Mud Troll, and he looked at the orange jewel on his palm.
"All gathered." Lieutenant Kim Soo-ji said, keeping her posture straight as always.
As she spoke, the twenty-three survivors of the 1121 unit gathered together.
Looking at them, Kim Tae-hoon started talking with an orange jewel in his hand.
He started talking about the incident at the supermarket, of the mark of an Awakener, and of the monster stone, and the dragon.
"This is the reality we're in," he finished. Everyone who heard the story kept their mouths shut and remained silent.
'Is this really real? Is it possible? Am I dreaming?'
'Will Mom and Dad be okay?'
'Shit, I've got a month before I was discharged from the military! A month! Why would this ever happen to me?'
The present situation did not even give them room to be embarrassed, and Kim Tae-hoon did not give them time to think.
"I'm done with all the information, and I'll start with my personal story."
"I will take all the monster stones from the monsters that you hunted here."
The one-sided notice gave everyone a blank look. 'What is he talking about?'
"If it's a monster stone, it's an item that raises the stats of Awakeners!"
Kim Tae-hoon clearly told them the importance of the monster stones.
After dissecting one of the collected Goblin bodies, he removed the monster stone from its heart and took a picture of it on his smartphone and showed it to them.
He even said that monster stones would replace gunpowder in the future war.
He also said he would monopolize all the monster stones, which could be obtained from the dead monsters.
It was like telling them that a jewel was valuable, and he would take them all.
"Wait, wait a minute…"
"You just said that the monster stones were valuable."
"If it's a monopoly, you are going to eat all of them, aren't you? Clearly, the monster bodies in the military base were caught by us!"
Instinctive questions popped out all over.
"What is your life worth?" Kim Tae-hoon stopped their questions with a short word.
The soldiers went quiet. Kim Tae-hoon continued his speech, staring at them.
"This is the price of the information. If you raise your hand, I will give you the right to speak."
No one raised their hand, of course.
The value of their lives and this information was not cheap at all, and it was also clear that they owed Kim Tae-hoon their lives. It was not a time to be cheap.
"Do you need more time to raise your hands?"
But more importantly, it was the fact that the lives of those who remained now depended on Kim Tae-hoon.
Kim Tae-hoon was an umbrella.
If someone dropped out from under the umbrella because of antagonism, then they had to face the monsters on their own. If they faced a monster like a Mud Troll after leaving Kim Tae-hoon, it meant that the life he barely saved would become a wasteful lump of manure!
"I suppose there's no objection to my opinion."
Above all, only two of the soldiers who had survived, one of whom was Lieutenant Kim Soo-ji, had the Mark of an Awakener.
For the remaining twenty-one, monster stones were like a pearl necklace on a pig's neck.
A pearl necklace on a pig's neck means that a thief who coveted the necklace may catch and kill him at any time.
"Then there is no debt going forward."
Kim Tae-hoon gave final notice to the silent ones, and at the same time, he swallowed the orange jewel from the Mud Troll that he held in his hand.
"Monster Stone …"
It was a gesture that announced the deal was over.
With this, Kim Tae-hoon was now the owner of hundreds of monster stones that had been killed all over the 1121 unit. Whether he ate the monster stones or sells them, it is now at his discretion.
The survivors, in return, no longer need to owe Kim Tae-hoon a debt of life.
"What I am doing now is a new proposal."
Of course, the fact that they needed an umbrella of Kim Tae-hoon had not changed.
"From now on, I will be creating a clan, and I will be taking applicants who will serve as my clan members, not as soldiers."
Everyone was surprised at this proposal.
The same was true of Lieutenant Kim Soo-ji.
'What, what the hell!'
She thought that Kim Tae-hoon would act as their commander in the name of the army. But this way, did he want to start a private organization?
At that moment, Lieutenant Kim Soo-ji could only recall...
Five years ago, she passed the entrance exam to the military academy, visited the army headquarters and talked with her grandfather.
"That is Major General Chang Young-sung, who greeted me a little while ago. If you graduate from the military academy and become a soldier, avoid meeting him personally and publicly. There is nothing good with being tied up with him in any way."
It was the first warning that her grandfather, Brigadier General Kim Jae-ryong ever gave her.
"I ask you, what does the word clan mean?" she spoke out.
"It will be a private organization that moves with my orders and instructions, not the military's instructions or orders."
"And you mean ... you intend to use the military's weapons for your own benefit?"
"If it's in your private interest to work hard to survive, you can judge it that way."
At the word 'to survive', Kim Soo-ji had to keep her mouth shut. As soon as she was silent, no one else could speak. With their mouths shut, they fell into the agony of choice.
'Leave the army and join a private organization? A private organization using military weapons? What crime will be applied? Desertion? Rebellion?'
'I can't die like this. If I want to live anyway, I'd better take out a gun or a grenade.'
'But if I get caught...'
Accepting Kim Tae-hoon's proposal was actually a criminal act. It is a criminal act so great that they could not easily measure the sentence. They had no choice but to suffer over the choice.
However, Kim Tae-hoon did not even give them the opportunity to agonize over their choices anymore.
"Those who do not like my offer will be survivors, and they survive on their own."
At his words, no one was worried about the choice anymore.
The first Clan in Korea, consisting of 26 people, including Kim Tae-hoon, was created that way.
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