Chapter 47 – This is MY Land (3)
‘Damn it, damn it……’
A 5-story, desolate building.
A man was walking through a hallway steeped in darkness and devoid of any lighting.
The man was in dire straits.
Aside from the not knowing when was the last time he had washed himself, his exposed skin was torn by the cold winds, making his appearance look all the more ghastly.
“Seriously, what the fuck.”
His name was Kim Hyun Seouk.
Having turned twenty-six at the turn of the new year, he was a man who had taken great pride in his body and his good looks– at least up until a month ago.
In addition, he had been looking forward to exploring Europe and taking in the splendor of a new world soon to open up to him.
But everything changed on 31 December 2016. A new world war had begun.
‘Why is this happening?’
However, the new world that awaited Kim Hyun Seouk wasn’t what he had expected.
Monsters suddenly appeared in the world, turning the world into hell.
The monsters were quick to prey on humans, their palates changing and acquiring a taste for human flesh.
It was the same for the survivors. Looting, rape, arson ····· the humans had become monsters as well. Lunatics who ate flesh also began to make their appearances.
Hell couldn’t be worse than that.
However his thoughts were interrupted with the appearance of a furred crocodile.
‘It’s the end of the world.’
Huge crocodiles covered in fur– and not just one of them, not dozens of them, but hundreds of them, swept through everything like a tsunami.
There was even a giant crocodile, bigger than two buses, stood at the center of the herd.
It was a yellow-eyed, fantastical creature that spit fire out of its mouth!
Recalling the monsters, Kim Hyun Seouk trembled. He even recalled pissing his pants when he saw the monsters.
‘It’s over. It’s all over.’
Kim Hyun Seouk was in despair. He kept mumbling to himself, desiring to escape from this hell.
‘I would rather·····’
He was starting to wish for a silent, and quiet death in the building– to become just another unmarked grave.
Kim Hyun Seouk despaired at the choices before him.
However, his sensitive sense of smell as a result of days of starvation briefly distracted him from his anxiety. A slight scent tickled his nostrils.
The scent was coffee.
It was a scent that had long since disappeared from his mouth, and a scent that had long since disappeared from his life after the advent of monsters.
Before he knew it, Kim Hyun Seouk had started heading towards an unknown location.
His feet led towards an office that had once served as a calligraphy institution before the age of monsters.Under a translucent window inside the office was a man, calmly enjoying a cup of coffee under the sunlight that streamed in.
He looked very peaceful.
The scene itself detracted from the rest of the environment. Kim Hyun Seouk had thought that peace was a
concept that had long since fled from this world.
Kim Hyun Seouk stood there like he had been struck by lightning. He could do nothing but stand still in front of such a nonsensical scene.
It was only when Kim Hyun Seouk’s stomach began to grumble that he snapped out of his reverie.
Kim Hyun Seouk had been ingesting snow instead of eating for the past few days, so the smell of coffee whet his appetite.
Kim Hyun Seouk’s only grumbling stomach startled himself.
On the contrary, the man under the window took a calm look at Kim Hyun Seok.
“Ex.. excuse me.”
Only one word came to Kim Hyun Seouk’s mind at this time.
“D- do you have something I could eat?”
He had no shame.
It had been a long time since he had a proper meal. In fact, the last meal he could recall was some kimbap he had eaten from a convenience store 5 days ago.
“Please something····· please, I beg of you.”
The man stared at Kim Hyun Seouk as he made his request.
The man’s cold eyes stared right into Kim Hyun Seouk’s own desperate gaze.
It was at that moment that Kim Hyun Seouk started to become suspicious.
‘I, is that a monster? Is it a monster that transformed into a human-like shape?’
He became suspicious of the man in front of him. He began to suspect that the ‘human’ in front of him was a monster just as terrifying as the ones he had faced up till now.
“Are you a survivor?”
“Where are you from?”
Startled by the sudden start of a conversation, Kim Hyun Seouk recalled the question he was asked.
“Gwangmyeong City! I lived in Gwangmyeong City, my name is Kim Hyun Seouk, and I’m twenty-five····· no, twenty-six years old.”
In response, the man fished out a chocolate bar from his bosom. Kim Hyun Seouk’s eyes widened.
“Information. Tell me everything you know about what happened to Gwangmyeong, if I’m satisfied with your answer, I’ll give you another one.”
“The body is just over 3 meters. It looks like a crocodile, but its body sported wolf-like fur instead of its usual armor-like leather. They are herd animals, like wolves.”
Kim Tae Hoon looked up at the group that had gathered after he finished describing the new monsters he had encountered.
Kim Su Ji, Yang Jung Hwan, Lee Su Young, and Chang Sung Hoon.
The four of them looked at their smartphones with stiff expressions on their faces.
“And in the middle of the herd is this guy.”
Kim Tae Hoon took note of their stiff expressions.
They were looking at the photos that Kim Tae Hoon had sent them on their phones. The picture depicted a giant Crocodile Wolf that couldn’t be compared to a common Crocodile Wolf. There was even a picture of the monster spitting flames from its mouth.
The chief of the Crocodile Wolves, the Flame Spitting Crocodile.
“In addition, there is something like a midboss Crocodile Wolf. It’s weaker than the chief, but it’s stronger than the regular ones. Although it’s hard to differentiate it from the others, it does have orange eyes. When fighting the Crocodile Wolves, make sure to take note of their eyes. There’s quite a difference between the red ranked and orange ranked monsters.”
The presence of the other wolves were almost negligible in front of the Flame Spitting Crocodile.
“This herd of over four hundred monsters is currently heading towards Bucheon.
Having looked up from their phones, nobody present dared open their mouths.
‘It’s on a completely different level compared to the Black Snake······’
‘Over four hundred of them? I almost died just trying to look only at one Black Snake······’
‘If it arrives at Bucheon City, we’ll be forced to take losses.’
‘Even if each of the four hundred monsters were to consume only half a human a day, that would still mean two thousand humans at the end of ten days.
Bucheon was lucky. There shouldn’t be too many people left in Gwangmyeong City.’
Everyone knew that a yellow grade monster was heading towards Bucheon City. That was why Kim Tae Hoon was so quick to search for it.
However, he hadn’t expected that a large herd of monsters would be accompanying the yellow grade monster, completely unlike the Black Snake.
The current predicament was completely different than the time when they faced the Black Death.
That was the reason why he couldn’t really speak.
He had nothing to say that could solve the predicament before them.
“Any questions or comments?”
Kim Tae Hoon urged them to speak up.
The results were immediate. For those present, Kim Tae Hoon’s words carried greater weight than that of anyone else’s.
“We have no choice other than to utilize massive firepower to deal with this herd.”
The first person to speak was Kim Su Ji.
“What is the state of our current firepower?”
“We have a company currently transporting ammunition to us at the moment. Thanks to that, our ammunition supply should be sufficient. The problem is that we lack firearms.”
Kim Tae Hoon turned his attention to Lee Su Young.
It was her mission to retrieve firearms from the 17 Division.
“I’m currently mapping out a route.”
However, she still had yet to procure equipment from the 17th Division’s supply caches.
“As you know, the distance is fairly large, so the trip itself would take a long time, especially since we also need to cross a mountain.”
There were many reasons why.
For now, the largest reason was the large distance. The distance was quite sizable, and a mountain was also in the way.
Furthermore, they would be carrying firearms on the way back. If possible, she would have preferred to take a train or form a vehicle convoy, but the conditions of the road made it difficult to do so.
Therefore, she had been spending the past few days slowly advancing whilst securing the route. Essentially, they were clearing the road of cars and the surroundings of monsters. It was a time consuming task.
“Of course, I’m aware that these are all just excuses. If you give the command, I’ll take the risks and proceed swiftly.”
However, if need be, she was more than willing to charge on through with a large group.
The herd of Crocodile Wolves wasn’t something they could handle without taking any damage.
Kim Tae Hoon gave her one week.
“I can hold off the Crocodile Wolves for one week.”
Hearing that, Chang Sung Hoon immediately asked a question.
“How do you plan to hold them off for a week? Looking at their speed, it’ll take at most two days for them to arrive at Bucheon City. They’ll arrive at Bucheon City Hall on the third day.”
It wouldn’t be easy to stop a group of fast-moving four hundred Crocodile Wolves. In addition, they would be consuming other monsters and humans– advancing forward like a bunch of bulldozers.
Anyone who could come up with a solution would be admired for coming up with a brilliant solution.
“I alone will be enough to stop them.”
“What in the world······”
Everyone couldn’t help but look at Kim Tae Hoon with blank expressions.
“By yourself, boss?”
There was no reason for Chang Sung Hoon to accept that now, was there? Kim Tae Hoon simply nodded his head.
The group frowned again.
“Major-nim, to fight against a yellow-ranked monster, let alone a herd of 400 monsters, even for you that would be······”
“The Second Lieutenant’s words are right. No matter, even for you boss, it would be impossible······.”
Both Kim Su Ji and Chang Sung Hoon spoke up to try and convince Kim Tae Hoon to not do something so foolish.
If this was a decision that Kim Tae Hoon had come to out of his own arrogance and conceit, then the results could only be disastrous.
Fortunately, Kim Tae Hoon’s track record showed that he had never made any decisions based on pride.
“I plan to carry out guerrilla tactics with a small troop of soldiers.”
Instead, his decisions were often times based on a level-headed and rational logic. He had no choice but to judge things coldly.
“That’s my specialty.”
This was what Kim Tae Hoon had done in the past.
“I have no reason to stay in town.”
In the end, cities were created for the sake of humans and for the sake of easy living in the world.
In other words, this world was not for monsters.
“Are there any more questions or comments?”
In the face of Kim Tae Hoon’s confidence, no one could speak.
A crocodile tried to push its large head through a door.
The entire scene of the crocodile trying to fit its head was strange.
Its body was about three meters long.
Its entire appearance was just like that of a normal crocodile, but its whole body was covered in fur instead of the typical armor-like leather.
Its legs were longer than those of regular crocodiles as well, giving the ability to run faster than normal crocodiles.
It was the same this time as well.
The large Crocodile Wolf’s steps were so calm and steady, that it was as though the beast was without presence.
In fact, the sound of its long anteater-like tongue, flicking in and out of its mouth was louder.
The monster’s red eyes began to glow as it licked up the blood on the floor.
The aroma of the blood was like a drug.
Since the blood was still in its liquid form in this cold weather, then that could only mean that the bleeding person in question had only recently come by.
The Crocodile Wolf immediately set off on the trail of blood without hesitation.
Just like from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, the Crocodile Wolf followed the blood like a trail of breadcrumbs.
As the Crocodile Wolf approached the end of the trail, what it met at the end of the trail wasn’t an injured human it could call a prey, but rather a man holding a silver colored thermos dripping blood.
The Crocodile Wolf stared at the man and flicked its tongue. It was excited to see a live prey for the first time.
That was the last time it ever fought against anything.
The Crocodile Wolf’s head fell onto the ground with an eerie sound. It died with its tongue out.
The blade that cut off the Crocodile Wolf’s head returned to its sheath that was hung on the man’s back.
Meanwhile, Kim Tae Hoon stooped down and collected the gurgling blood from the Crocodile Wolf’s neck in his silver thermos.
As soon as his thermos filled up with the Crocodile Wolf’s hot blood, he closed the cap of the thermos then ripped open the Crocodile Wolf’s stomach, fished out the monster stone from within its heart and swallowed it.
He was adding onto his tally the amount of Crocodile Wolves he had killed today.
‘It should be eleven.’
Thinking of the amount of Crocodile Wolves he had killed, Kim Tae Hoon recalled a memory from two years ago.
Two years ago, Kim Tae Hoon was in Syria.
When the IS rose to power within Syria and the region was plunged into civil war, many countries dispatched special forces to monitor the situation.
It was the same for Kim Tae Hoon and his unit. They disguised themselves as mercenaries and carried out their orders in Syria.
Their directives were as followed:
Kill as many IS insurgents possible within a specific city.
Their intention was to strike fear into the IS by exposing them to the deaths of their colleagues so as to deter insurgents from leaving the city and thereby make time for operations to go forth elsewhere.
Kim Tae Hoon had carried out his orders splendidly.
In other words, he killed many people.
It was to the point where the countless number of IS agents started to call him a monster.
‘This is no different from that time.’
Kim Tae Hoon’s current course of action was no different from what he did two years ago.
Kim Tae Hoon was hunting down independent Crocodile Wolves who had separated from the pack in search of food.
Thus far, the method had worked out just fine.
It was a simple matter to avoid a large pack of monsters.
However, this pack of Crocodile Wolves was not a simple pack. A clear hierarchy and chain of command existed.
And on top of that, the reason why they were migrating was because of the trespassing of a green grade monster.
It was imperative for the pack of monsters to stay vigilant of the shifting surroundings.
In fact, because the number of Crocodile Wolves had dwindled as a result of Kim Tae Hoon’s search-and-destroy tactics, the monsters had slowed down their progress in order to spend more time on scouting out their surroundings.
It was proof of their increasing levels of alertness.
But it was nothing but a simple wake-up call.
They were not yet afraid.
It was imperative that Kim Tae Hoon strike fear into the monsters so as to entangle them. Just like how it was two years ago in Syria against the IS.
And at the end of the road, Kim Tae Hoon will stare down this pack of monsters and proclaim:
This is MY land.