< Chapter 10. Enhancing the Armed Force (2). >
“Major, everyone is here.”
It was late at night. The sun had set and darkness filled its space as people gathered together.
‘No one opted out.’
The people were the survivors.
As soon as Kim Taehoon gave his permission, Bhang Hyunwook went directly to the survivors… especially for his crush Joo Hayeon and told them that Maek Clan would be taking volunteers.
If you pass the Maek Clan’s test we will be able to travel together.
All twenty-two survivors decided to sign up for the test after hearing what Bhang Hyunwook’s said. They had nothing to lose since the worst thing that could happen to them was remaining in the same position as they were now.
“I will state a few things clearly.” Kim Taehoon started to speak.
“First, our name is Maek, Maek Clan. Second, everything that comes out of hunting the monsters belongs to me, including monster stones, etc. Third, you need to absolutely obey my commands.”
Kim Taehoon stopped talking there. He didn’t even bother to add something like ‘Don’t even try to pretend later that you didn’t hear it’.
This was not an orientation session for new employees at a regular company. If they said something else later, he could just get rid of them without warning. They wouldn’t deserve to be treated fairly with that kind of mindset.
Kim Taehoon scanned the crowd as he finished speaking. He was looking at their eyes. Most of them had dead eyes. To be precise, eyes that had witnessed a lot of death. But not everyone had those eyes. There were people who were directly looking at Kim Taehoon with sparkling eyes.
Joo Hayeon, who had caused Bhang Hyunwook to make his move, was one of the people who was looking at Kim Taehoon.
‘At least her eyes are not looking dead.’
She was rather cute, with a cat-like face and short hair, her appearance would definitely have made her popular at school.
Bhang Hyunwook told him she was looking to be a celebrity on TV. She hadn’t made her debut to the mainstream media but she was a trainee at a pretty large entertainment company.
Although Kim Taehoon wasn’t impressed by it.
“Now I will start classifying you.”
His role in this situation was to sort out the hidden gems among them.
“Has anyone worked in the manufacturing or agriculture industry?”
Four people raised their hands carefully to Kim Taehoon’s question.
There were three men, one woman. The woman looked like she was in her 20s, the men looked like they were in their 30s.
“Well… I worked in a factory. Nothing very professional but I did this and that.”
“I, I worked on a construction site. I have quite a bit of experience. I don’t have any licenses but I am confident in using tools. I really am.”
“I’m a nurse. I don’t have much experience but I can do my best. Please….”
They didn’t have any energy in their answers. Nor confidence.
Everyone who was speaking had this suspicion in their minds: ‘would I be selected by saying this stuff?’.
But one of them was different.
“I’m a lawyer.”
Rather, he introduced his occupation with full confidence as if he was expecting to be asked such a question.
“For your information, I work for the Haesung Law Firm.”
Everyone could see the confidence he had when he added where he worked.
He was supposed to be confident. The Haesung Law Firm wasn’t the best but it was definitely one of the top ten law firms in Korea.
The yearly income the lawyer made would easily defeat the combined income of the other three. So it was okay for him to be proud of himself and he might deserve it as well.
“The three of you are accepted excluding the lawyer.”
If only it were a week ago.
“Wa, wait! Are you saying I’m out? Those three are in?”
Kim Taehoon seemed to have a hard time understanding the lawyer’s question.
“I don’t know why are you so confident.”
“No, I mean I work for the Haesung Lawfir….”
“I’d like to know why you would have to hire a lawyer against a monster. Please give me even one valid reason.”
The lawyer tried to say something but shortly gave up. His eyes turned dead very quickly.
Kim Taehoon ignored the lawyer and kept asking questions to the crowd.
“Did anyone serve as a gunner or tank driver in the military?”
“I was a gunner.”
“I was a gunner too.”
Two men quickly raised their hands.
It seemed they had figured out what kind of people Kim Taehoon was looking for. They looked like they were in their mid-to-late 20s.
“Anyone with a Level 1 driver’s license?”
“I do, I have it.”
“I know how to drive forklifts.”
As the questions continued fewer people raised their hands. Finally, when nobody could raise their hands to a question,
“Get ready for the test.”
Kim Taehoon signaled.
The soldiers moved, they aligned the saber-toothed wolves bodies one by one in a line.
It wasn’t just dead bodies. The bodies were butchered and had been slashed open to remove the hearts for the monster stone inside.
They were in a very horrendous condition.
The survivors’ faces turned pale when they saw the dead bodies.
Some of them with a weak stomach immediately started to vomit.
“The test is simple.” Within that mess, Kim Taehoon continued to speak.
“Cut off a saber-toothed wolf’s leg. It doesn't matter which leg. Front, back, left or right does not matter. If you bring one of them to me you’re accepted. One hour limit. The tool….”
Kim Taehoon took a butcher knife and threw it towards one of the dead wolves’ bodies.
The butcher knife pierced the skin of the wolf in the stomach very deeply until only the handle of the knife could be seen.
“One butcher knife. Let the test begin.”
“Arg, f*ck!” Screamed one of the guys who was attempting to cut off a wolf’s leg with the butcher knife.
“F*ck, arrrrggg! F******ck!” He made a longer scream out of pent-up anger.
The others who were doing the same task as the guy reacted to his scream.
Someone bit their lip, someone shed tears, another spat out as they cried.
Maek Clan’s soldiers were looking at the scene with stiff faces.
A few of the soldiers were thinking to themselves.
‘Does the test have any meaning to it?’
‘What would you be testing out of this?’
The scene in front them was brutal and horrible. But compared to the level of the horribleness of the scene the test seemed like it was not going to be that helpful in an actual battle with a monster.
Kim Taehoon wasn’t going to deny that either. Cutting a dead monster was not a meaningful thing to do. It would be more helpful for the battle if they practice how to stab intestines between the bones. But he made them do this for a reason.
‘There is no reason to accept anyone if they don’t have the spirit to eat the monster meat at least.’
Could they do it or not? That was what he was trying to see.
Kim Taehoon did not have much expectation for the survivors, to begin with. If he did it was just a vague expectation.
The thing Kim Taehoon was trying to see was their spirit. Spirit for doing or not doing?
If the person did not have the spirit and will to slash an already dead monster body, they were nothing more than an eating sh*tting corpse.
He did not plan to take in those kinds of people.
Fortunately, the survivors were full of a will to continue living.
No, they managed to meet the Maek Clan because they survived using that willpower.
Until now, on the way here it would have already been like a hell.
All twenty-two people were able to pass the test that Kim Taehoon suggested.
The survivors’ faces filled with joy and fatigue in response since they had struggled with the tough skin, leather, and bones of the saber-toothed wolf.
“Clean up the dead body.”
Kim Taehoon didn’t bother to congratulate them or try to shake their hands.
It was already late at night, the test was done. It was time for scheduled rest.
Also, Maek Clan had to make their move with the new day tomorrow.
They had to hunt monsters, get food supplies, clear the road and secure more relics.
They would have to repeat that multiple times. They had to prepare to face a new day that had no more hope than today.
‘Now it’s done.’
Especially, for Kim Taehoon, his death was expected within 3 to 5 years.
He will be dead. It was literally a time-limited life.
Kim Taehoon did not have time to congratulate or console anyone.
‘I need to find a way.’
He also wasn’t planning to accept his fate as it was shown in the dream.
The night started like that.
It was five in the morning but Jang Sunghoon couldn’t sleep. The cold weather was one of the reasons, but his mind was filled with the sparkles of the golden glass and that was the main reason.
‘It makes you dream the crisis….’
The golden glass of Napoleon.
It was shocking for Jang Sunghoon in many aspects.
‘It’s a tool to change the future.’
Knowing a future crisis meant you can also avoid the crisis and it meant you could change the future. It was like changing the world. It was shocking enough to know that those kinds of relic existed in the world.
‘The world is full of those relics now?’
But there was something even more shocking than that.
‘The world is going to be crazy… People will not leave those relics laying around, right?’
Jang Sunghoon was too young to be called experienced in society. There was not much of an age difference with Bhang Hyunwook, who was too passionate and immature in his behavior.
But Jang Sunghoon’s experiences were darker and deeper than other people. The world he was in was only filled with the word ‘greed’.
Jang Sunghoon had witnessed a lot of things there.
How greedy a person could be in front of an artwork, which could be totally useless sometimes. How a human could horribly change to get the art they wanted, not just with the money but completely ignoring the dignity of an individual.
The three basic needs of humankind would look rather pitiful compared to the greed that kind of people possess. Now, that art had gained additional value on top of its artistic value.
‘It’s like handing those crazy people the button for the missile.’
What was even more terrifying was that most of those artworks were already in the hands of the greedy people.
You could easily see it by looking at what was happening in the world.
The world-famous artworks, the historical artifacts were not in the hands of the common people. It belonged to people who were greedy and who knew how to meet their greedy needs.
Would those kinds of people try to achieve world peace with relics that now had greater value when fighting monsters?
Jang Sunghoon, at least, did not want to change his fate with those kinds of people.
‘Seriously this is a f*cking sh*thole.’
Jang Sunghoon eventually gave up on sleep. He had to get up soon anyway. It would be better to get up early and organize his thoughts.
Jang Sunghoon left the car straight away. The cold air of the early morning wrapped around his body.
Naturally, his eyes followed the glowing bonfire, which was still burning, to the guy who was in front of it.
Kim Taehoon was sitting in front of the fire while controlling an arrow in the air. Only the shaft and head remained on the arrow the feathers were all removed.
He was also sipping coffee from a mug in his right hand.
Jang Sunghoon walked towards Kim Taehoon.
Another conversation started just between the two of them.
<Chapter 10. Enhancing the Armed Force (2). > The end.