<Chapter 6. Establishment of a Clan (3).>
Kim Taehoon took a red stone into his mouth and swallowed it. The strong taste of blood mixed with his breath after he swallowed. Through that taste of blood, Kim Taehoon put in another red stone.
Behind him, Bahng Hyunwook made a long sigh.
“I can’t eat it anymore… really can’t.”
Bahng Hyunwook mumbled. He wasn’t really talking to himself. It was to make someone nearby hear what he had to say. That, someone, was Kim Taehoon.
Instead of replying to Bhang Hyunwook, Kim Taehoon just put another red stone into his mouth and swallowed it.
Like a machine.
Bhang Hyunwook shook his head as he watched him.
‘He’s so extraordinary. I could barely eat thirty of them, he has had almost eighty.’
Bhang Hyunwook recalled the most recent events.
After hunting the mud troll, Kim Taehoon had announced the establishment of a clan and took in volunteers. Well, it was ‘volunteers’ but was more like they were forced to volunteer. Nobody wanted to be thrown alone in this crowded world of monsters.
Then, Kim Taehoon made the nearby church their base camp and started to collect the monster stones. There were tons of monster corpses and it was difficult for them to collect all the stones in a short period of time.
There were also quite a few monsters still alive inside the base, therefore they could only collect the corpses that were nearby.
Even then, the number of monster stones they gathered was well over 100 and most of them were consumed by Kim Taehoon. He literally monopolized them all.
Anyone would say that Kim Taehoon was not only being greedy but also had gone too far.
Kim Taehoon knew it as well.
His throat was full of the bloody taste after he swallowed one of the remaining brown goblin stones. The bloody taste was because they didn’t clean the stones properly after collecting the stones. Kim Taehoon closed his mouth to hold back the gag reflex he was experiencing. He looked around while holding it in.
He could feel the stares of the soldiers… No, they were his subordinates now.
When Kim Taehoon tried to make eye contact with them, they would all quickly turned their heads. It was only for an instant that they would exchange glances. But it wasn’t so hard to read their thoughts.
‘They think of me as a greedy monster.’
It was certain that the ‘subordinates’ were not seeing Kim Taehoon as a respectable, trustworthy, or a great leader.
He could say that for sure. That he would be seen as skillful yet as a greedy tyrant.
And that was normal. So far, his actions were very self-serving, and he was being greedy.
‘This would be risky to attempt later…’
But him being greedy also meant he was analyzing the situation more accurately than anybody else.
‘Can’t do anything now.’
Kim Taehoon consumed the last monster stone in his hand and took a picture of his hand with the smartphone.
Magic Resistance: E
Dark Skin(level 6)
Troll’s Vitality(Level 6): With the ability of the mud troll, use Energy to increase recovery speed.
Strength, which was now 60 points, and the new ability [Troll’s Vitality] were noticeable improvements.
Kim Taehoon clenched his teeth after checking the numbers.
‘I can feel it.’
He could feel it without smashing anything. His power had exceeded the range of a normal individual. He could at least display a strength that would not make him lose in a fight against a beast.
It was the result of the monopoly. If Kim Taehoon had shared the stones with others equitably or with a reasonable calculation, this kind of result would never have occurred.
Of course, it’s not bad to share the stones with others. Nobody hated rational thoughts.
Most of the things should be handled with rationality. Anything irrational would only be distorted and eventually collapsed.
But the problem was, the situation Kim Taehoon found himself in was not very rational.
‘It was not enough yet.’
Humanity has faced a new enemy called monsters and the awakened have appeared to fight against them. To simplify it, the only way for humanity to survive was by the awakened fighting the monsters.
Of course, the awakened had to get rid of the monsters.
‘Dragon, this was still not enough to fight against that one…’
Dragon. A monster that left all living things paralyzed in fear by only its existence.
He wouldn’t have kept all the stones to himself and sought a more balanced strategy if he hadn’t experienced the power of the dragon’s very existence. He would have gathered all the awakened and enhanced their abilities equally to make an efficient monster hunting group.
The monster stones he gathered just now would have been distributed accordingly to strengthen the right abilities in the right people. But if he decided to make an efficient pack, it might take more than ten years to reach the ability to kill the dragon.
In the meantime, there’s no guarantee that the dragon would stay idle.
So it’s not efficiency that they needed at a time like this. They needed something extreme.
Not hundreds of well-made arrows, but one very sharp extremely well-made spear. That’s what they needed.
The clan Kim Taehoon created was a tool to forge that extremely sharp spear.
‘This amount was not enough.’
Kim Taehoon also planned to take most of the monster stones he would be getting from now on. He wouldn’t have had to make this kind of decision if the military was functioning properly.
‘Right now we can’t count on the government.’
Kim Taehoon had completely thrown away his expectations on receiving military assistance.
‘If the Capital Defense is down, most of the rear units would also be down. The frontline might have survived the battle with the monsters but they would be in isolation. If they can’t get the supplies they need, they won’t be able to stay alive for more than a month.’
Now was the time to think about the worst case scenario rather than having hopes.
‘If the front line collapses…’
The worst-case scenario.
‘...The monsters that destroyed North Korea would head south, we would be on the edge of a cliff the moment the front line collapsed.’
Kim Taehoon, after calculating the worst of the worst, looked at his mark of the awakened on his back of the hand again.
‘The only way to survive on the cliff is to climb up it.’
There’s something Kim Taehoon realized after going through multiple battles. Nothing was more meaningless than waiting for someone to reach out and save you.
Hoping for some hero of the century to save the world right now was like hoping to win a lottery when you hadn’t even bought a ticket yet.
‘If you want to live, you have to make your own path.’
So Kim Taehoon stood up.
At Kim Taehoon’s voice, everyone who had been avoiding him suddenly focused on him.
“After two hours, we will be clearing out the rest of the monsters inside the base. The first objective is to reach the armory. Supplies will be distributed after reaching the armory. The second objective will be clearing up the remaining monsters. Kill the monsters, gather the monster stones from the dead bodies. We will rest after that.”
Kim Taehoon looked at Ahn Sunmi after finishing the announcement.
“Ahn Sunmi, how are the injured?”
Ahn Sunmi was astonished while checking the wounds of the injured.
“They will not have problems with mobility.”
Even as she said that Ahn Sunmi couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
Just by applying the monster’s flesh, people who had chunks of flesh taken out, which would have left a scar lasting their lifetime, or wounds that would take forever to heal were cured instantly. That made her whole medical education, which she had spent most of her lifetime learning, into a laughable trick.
But Kim Taehoon didn’t care about her feelings.
“Lieutenant Kim Suji, do you have the key to the armory?”
“I have it.”
“I will take questions.”
For the first time, Kim Taehoon gave people the opportunity to ask questions. But nobody raised their hand.
They were soldiers. Soldiers don’t ask questions. They only receive orders and implement them. If they raised their hands and asked questions…
“I have one. What’s the plan after going into the armory and getting rid of the monsters?”
“Nothing’s certain now.”
“Then what about going to the Bucheon Sports Complex?”
…That meant the person was no longer a soldier.
“There’s a museum there. If there are relics like boss said, uh, can I call you boss? Anyhow, wouldn’t it have a better chance to find relics there? They also have an archery museum there.”
Kim Taehoon looked at the guy who asked the question. Lanky physique, mouselike appearance, the guy gave you a wary impression rather than a positive impression. He could see by his face that he seemed to be in his 20s.
“Jang Sunghoon. Since it’s the new year, I’m 22.”
His name was Jang Sunghoon.
“What did you do before the military?”
“Ah well… I did this and that didn’t have a fixed job…”
“Tell me three things you did.”
“Forged art, dealt stolen goods, and some smuggling.”
His previous occupation was as a criminal.
<Chapter 6. Establishment of a Clan (3).> The end.