Chapter 13. Territory Dispute, Part II
'Thanks to Jang Sung-hoon, your head won't hurt.'
Kim Tae-hoon, who finished reminiscing, settled the situation in his mind.
Now, Messiah's Awakeners had become Kim Tae-hoon's hunting dogs. From now on, the Awakeners must dedicate forty percent of their gains to him.
Of course, in return, Kim Tae-hoon should provide them with a safe hunting stage.
'He's a smart guy.'
This did not simply stop there. If Messiah's Awakeners became Kim's hunting dogs, ordinary survivors would also be forced to follow him.
The only way for ordinary people to fight against the Awakeners and the monster was with weapons like guns, which were owned by Kim Tae-hoon and the Mac Clan.
Of course, it was not perfect.
'It's not just him who's smart!'
Not everyone was happy with this system, and there was no way that the system could control everyone completely.
At this moment there had to be a group of people preparing for a scheme, and a few of them would be smart.
Surely there would be problems. There would also be some pretty serious problems, to the extent that people died, and the person who caused trouble in return would also die.
Jang Sung-hoon was also well aware of the facts. That's why he said, "It's necessary."
'All I have to do is kill the devil.'
A devil snake.
Its body would be the strongest symbol and shield.
Everyone who survived if Kim Tae-hoon captured the devil snake would be indebted to him, and they would have a sense of duty to protect his existence in order to survive in the future.
'All I have to do is kill it.'
That was why Kim Tae-hoon's thoughts were not so complicated. There was nothing complicated to think about. It was obvious what to do!
"Boss, boss! I finally made a video! I took a photo of him!"
It just wouldn't be easy...
The world was white from the blizzard, and that was all they could see. The horrible traces of the disaster that struck the world for several days were not hidden in the snow.
In other words, the places where there was no snow were still covered with terrible marks.
It was the history of the New Jungdong Station.
The station, which had impressive walls, floors, and ceilings, was nowhere to be found as if a mad herd of bulls had passed by.
The sound came from a huge monster passing by.
It was a snake.
It had black scales, darker then the lightless station.
But it was too big to call a snake. It couldn't be compared to the term 'a big snake'.
At the same time, it was incredibly powerful. When its body brushed the wall lightly, the bricks collapsed like a waterfall.
The snake that seemed impossible to stop, stopped in front of a mound of dead bodies.
It fluttered its tongue in front of the stack of dead bodies but did not start eating at once. Instead, it tasted the bodies with the long-forked tongue.
Its action of pulling its body back was the same as a little boy who was very picky about food.
In the end, it ignored the pile of corpses and moved out of the station right away, hunting living things with hot blood instead of cold bodies.
As it did, the sun fell on the snake as it left the stairs.
Its inverted triangle-shaped head appeared, and its yellow eyes appeared.
Its eyes were beautiful enough to be called gold rather than yellow, but they could not be thought of as beautiful by anyone who looked at them right now.
In front of those eyes, no matter how fierce the beast was, it would be a rat in front of the snake.
The wound on its solid black body was also apparent in the sunlight.
Initially, it had no intention of stopping. Its body gradually began to emerge from the dark.
Then a cold wind blew past.
At the touch of the wind, the snake paused. It soon turned away as the wind picked up.
Soon after, it began to swallow the pile of corpses.
The dirty pile disappeared, and when it the snake was gone, only the cameras were working quietly behind it.
At the end of the video, everyone who watched it was frozen.
Even though the image, and even the picture quality, was not clear, and there was only a vague shape of the being in the dark, its existence o overwhelmed everyone who saw it.
They were at a loss about what to do.
'Oh, God, we need to kill this? No way. This monster is entirely different than those we've hunted before! No matter how hard we try…! It's a monster that is no match for a Black Orc!'
"We can't kill this. We can't kill it." Bang Hyun-wook was the first person to speak out.
Shaking his head, Bang Hyun-wook's eyes trembled like they had when he first faced monsters.
His voice brought Jang Sung-hoon to his senses. His sober expression soon hardened.
'It's my misjudgment. I did not think it was that strong… I was sure it was a powerful monster, but if we used the grenades and claymore we have, and if we added the Telekinesis of the boss, it would be enough to win… '
It was Jang Sung-hoon, not just anyone who claimed to be able to hunt the devil snake.
No, all plans made by Jang Sung-hoon were based on the fact that Kim Tae-hoon hunted the devil snake.
Of course, he thought the chance of winning was good, as it was Kim Tae-hoon, and he had the power of Telekinesis.
Telekinesis was a very good combination with weapons, such as guns and bombs.
If he controlled something like a grenade with his Telekinesis, he would never miss the target. The Mac Clan now had better firepower than a rifle, such as grenades, machine-guns, and claymores.
He had thought, 'We can't kill a dragon or something, but isn't it enough firepower to kill a big snake?'
But it wasn't that much when he saw it. 'I'm wrong. This is not a guy we can hunt right now.'
Major Kim hunting it was like a good-looking mouse that hunting a cat.
If he was lucky, he'd bite it, but eventually, he would be a prey.
"Boss, let's give it up for a while. Once you look at its patterns of behavior, it doesn't like the cold. Therefore, if we keep throwing dead bodies…" Jang Sung-hoon quickly modified his plan.
Kim Tae-hoon did not respond to Jang Sung-hoon's urgent remarks. Instead of answering, he played the video again in his mind.
When it was exposed to sunlight while coming out, its image was taken by a camera he had installed. He recalled the look of its body.
'Its level of protection is beyond that of a Black Orc's.'
It was not a vague guess.
The abandoned subway station was very dangerous. Walking around the station with bare skin was like going naked on a thorny path as a human being.
Even if it didn't get hurt deeply, it would get scratched.
The devil snake, however, had lived for several days in the ruins of the station, and still boasted its beautiful body, just as clean as a glass, not showing a speck of damage.
But there was a scar on its body.
'The Sword works.'
The Sword of the Imperator, which coveted blood and with an unknown master, had proved that it had hurt the snake.
'The conditions themselves are much better than those against the Black Orc.'
Furthermore, Kim Tae-hoon had various weapons to use against the devil snake.
The power of the Sword of the Imperator and Sun-sin's Arrow need not be questioned, and mundane firepower was also sufficient.
Above all, Kim Tae-hoon himself could set the battle stage this time.
It was not a sudden battle, and it meant that he could fight where he wanted to after practicing and preparing.
Yes, the conditions themselves were incomparably better than those fighting the Black Orc.
There's only one thing left.
'If I can handle my Telekinesis properly.'
Kim Tae-hoon's ability to take advantage of this situation was the only thing he can do. If he was capable enough, there would be no reason to fail when hunting the devil snake.
"Jang Sung-hoon, how much time do we have?"
"Yes?" Jang Sung-hoon was frightened. "Are you going to hunt the snake?"
The time Kim Tae-hoon referred to was the time the Awakeners who came under him could afford to wait without implementing their agenda.
"Boss, we can't fight that! We can't!" Jang Sung-hoon tried to stop his plans again.
"How many days are left?"
"It's…," Kim asked repeatedly, Jang Sung-hoon answered, "I'm not a psychology major, but as you know… we're getting the monster stones once a week from now on. For them, they'll pay you without any doubt. No, they'll pay you for now, as they don't want to be suspected. But if you don't do anything by the second payment, they will start to doubt."
The world was still unstable now.
Under such circumstances, if their trust and hope in Kim Tae-hoon were gone, some minority would act out of desperation.
It would be a catalyst for collapse.
"First payment in three days, and another week from there, so ten more days from now."
"That's a limit. No, it's not a limit. There may be a stir, but if you explain…"
Even though he is saying it was not a limit, there were only dark things to see in Jang Sung-hoon's mind after ten days.
'It hates the cold, but if the cold breaks, it won't look at the dead bodies. At that time, we have no choice but to sacrifice someone… and then, we will be finished.'
Above all, the only way to control the devil snake was to sacrifice a living being. In order to earn time, they would have to do the same thing as Lee Jin-sung did, which was the worst.
And Kim Tae-hoon knew the fact better than Jang Sung-hoon.
"What they want is not an explanation."
Patience didn't really matter to the hunting dogs.
"We will begin training for the hunting of the devil snake."
"Stability is the most important thing for the time being. Don't be too hard."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you for saving me."
Ahn Sun-mi laughed bitterly at the appearance of a man bowing repeatedly toward her.
'Stability? That's funny. Who can be stable in the world now?'
A woman came up beside her. "Doctor, we have an urgent patient. He's been bitten by a monster. He's an Awakener."
She was the woman who introduced herself as a nurse a few days ago among the survivors of the Mac Clan.
Now she was serving patients with Ahn Sun-mi, and she called Ahn Sun-mi 'doctor'.
It wasn't just her. Ahn Sun-mi was working as a doctor.
"Where is he?"
For once, she wanted to see him, because it was the only talent she had that would save her life.
It was also a very important part of the Mac Clan.
There was virtually no proper medical service in the world. Since there was no medicine on hand, they might have to risk their lives to get medicine. There were many people dying due to lack of fever reducers and antibiotics.
In such a world, it was a tremendous thing to have a medical service and a place to visit when they were sick.
"Arrrrgh… please, please save me."
"What kind of monster were you bitten by?"
"A dog… no, a monkey dog bit me."
"Is your arm the only place you were bitten?"
Moreover, it is no exaggeration to say that the value of their life was everything for the humans who had a supreme task to survive.
Insurance and health care were no longer meaningful. It was time to give everything they had for their life. Even more so for Awakeners!
"Yes? Yes, only my arm was bitten." Ahn Sun-mi's gaze turned to the right arm of the patient lying on the cot.
The wound was serious, and it would normally be better to just cut off his arm in a place like this without proper medical equipment.
"Prepare the tools."
However, as Ahn Sun-mi confirmed the wound, she immediately went to treatment without hesitation.
"A brush and a knife."
She even took out a brush and knife instead of a scalpel and scissors. It was a mysterious thing to do.
But she wet the wound with the Water of Therapy she had created, and also applied the flesh of the Mud Troll with a knife.
The serious wound began to be healed itself at a remarkable rate.
"The price is eight monster stones." The treatment was over in a flash, and the settlement was required immediately.
"Oh, yes, here…" The Awakener's colleague immediately paid eight red monster stones for treatment.
When the treatment was over in such a short time, the people waiting for treatment looked surprised at those who left with clean scars instead of serious injuries.
Jang Sung-hoon appeared in the stillness.
"How was your business today, sister?"
Ahn Sun-mi looked sullen at his words.
To her, Jang Sung-hoon was like a younger brother who had entered college and had no money. There was no sister who would show a happy expression at the appearance of such a younger brother.
"What brings you here?"
"We found a Mud Troll or more like a Mud Troll nest. Three were identified this time. They made a five hundred-unit apartment complex a grave of dead bodies. It will take some time for the Goblins and the Orcs to eat all the bodies."
"Are you here to let me know that?"
"No. I'm here to listen. So what happened?" Ahn Sun-mi said with a firm expression to the question.
"Nothing, nothing special about the body."
It was a story about dissection. The dissection of an Awakener.
By eating monster stones, an Awakener becomes stronger. If the Awakener died, was there a stone in the heart of the Awakener?
Everyone doubted it, but there was no chance to answer the question. They had never got the body of an Awakener who had been steadily eating monster stones.
So, the body of Lee Jin-sung and his aide were clues to solve the question.
Naturally, they dissected both men.
But there was no result. Monsters died and left a stone, but an Awakener died and left nothing.
"Humans only know how to use something, but they don't know how to leave something behind, even now that the world has changed."
Ahn Sun-mi threw a sling bag with filled monster stones toward Jang Sung-hoon, who was speaking more nonsense.
"Why, why is this?"
"Give it to the boss."
"You earned it, didn't you?"
"It would not be useful if I ate it."
"Boss suddenly became a pimp. The Lieutenant and you, both of you, bring in their own hard-earned gains… in this world, a strong man is the best, I suppose. But this is not the usual competition… no, he doesn't need to insist on monogamy, so who's his real wife? Is there a problem?"
Ahn Sun-mi immediately asked a question to prevent Jang Sung-hoon from speaking more nonsense, "So, what's the situation of the boss? Can he really kill that monster?"
Jang Sung-hoon smiled lightly at the question. "We're so lucky. Really."
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