< Chapter 11. The Lawless City (3). >
The snow that was falling to the ground started to get thicker and made the world even more white colored.
Kim Taehoon and Jang Sunghoon took care of the dead bodies and took the woman, Baek Jayeon, into a nearby sashimi restaurant.
The restaurant still had a fishy smell left in it and dead fish were scattered all over the place from the attack of the monsters.
“I will be on duty.”
Jang Sunghoon pulled out his rifle and stood on guard. Kim Taehoon brought Baek Jiyeon —who was only wearing pants and a jacket taken from the dead and was shivering to death from the cold— into the kitchen.
Kim Taehoon threw two hand warmers to her in the kitchen.
Baek Jiyeon blinked her eyes while catching those and started to rub her whole body with the warmers.
Her naked body was revealed while rubbing the warmers on since she was only wearing a jacket, but she didn’t have time to care about it very much. She only wanted to warm herself up to survive.
Kim Taehoon started to talk with her. “What happened on January 1st?”
Kim Taehoon stared fiercely at her instead of repeating the question.
Baek Jiyeon remembered then the three conditions Kim Taehoon stated.
“I’m not sure about January 1st, it was already at night when I woke up.”
He’d kill her if she hesitates to answer. That warning made it easy for her to open her mouth.
“Almost everyone was like me. Among the survivors, no one was in their right mind on January 1st. Awakened! Right, only some of the awakened were out there on January 1st. It’s not for certain though….”
Her words were pretty out of order.
The cold and fear were the effective factors in paralyzing her rational ability to answer the questions.
But it was worth listening for Kim Tahoon, at least.
Her words were rather undefined and unprocessed from her head.
‘The dragon had an enormous effect.’
It was confirmed that January 1st was a blank time in Bucheon.
The cause was obvious.
The dragon! The dragon was passing by and killed monsters and humans or made them faint. Even if there were people or monster who were able to move around, they wouldn’t have been able to move around after being exposed to that powerful fear.
The next important thing she mentioned was the word awakened.
Of course, it wasn’t like Kim Taehoon registered a copyright for the word. The origin of the word did not belong to him.
But if the expression ‘awakened’ was used inside the city of Bucheon, it was definitely a trace that Kim Taehoon left.
“Who started to use the word awakened?”
“The survivors who got out of the superstore next to the city hall. The rumor that you gain abilities if you eat monster stones also started there. And the rumor that the first hunter took the Black Orc down….”
As expected, it was the survivors who were at the superstore who spread the expression ‘awakened’.
“So what happened on January 2nd? Tell me the important things.”
“The people who survived from the superstore gathered in city hall and they started to form a group. They said they could fight the monsters if they formed a group with awakened among them, and they could catch monsters if there were enough monster stones. People started to gather around.”
“When did you join them?”
“I, I didn’t. I worked at a department store near Sinjung-dong station. I didn’t join them, they came to me.”
“Is The Messiah the name of the group?”
“Huh? Yes. It is the name of the group. No, I mean… It’s not the group of people from the city hall. No, they did kinda start from there but, but…”
She started to stutter. It seemed like her brain froze for a minute due to the overload of information.
Kim Taehoon stared at her now with a rather gentle look, but Baek Jiyeon was still trembling when she looked Kim Taehoon in the eye.
“I, I will tell you soon. Please don’t kill me…”
“Just answer my question. Who’s the person who created the Messiah?”
“A guy named Lee, Lee Jinsung.”
“What does he look like?”
“Well… I’ve never seen him before. I don’t know where he is.”
Kim Taehoon put more strength to his eyes looking at Baek Jiyeon to that.
“It, It’s just a rumor, nothing is certain but he has a sword, and that sword is… is powerful enough to cut a monster in half. It’s something I heard. I’ve never seen it myself. ”
“What was the date when they came to your department store?”
“That….. Was the 6th! Definitely the 6th.”
“To find the sacrifice…”
“To calm down the yellow devil inside the subway.”
“The yellow devil in the subway?”
“It’s a giant snake. It’s covered with black scales but the eyes were yellow and glowing… That’s why it’s called the yellow devil.”
“What do you mean by sacrifice?”
“To fill up the yellow devil’s stomach we need ten people every day. They throw ten people into the Sinjung-dong station. Ten every day…. They cut their Achilles tendons so they can’t run away..”
Baek Jiyeon’s body started to tremble even more and her eyes started to dim.
“I, I’m so sorry. I will answer, answer shortly…”
Kim Taehoon pulled out a chocolate bar and canned coffee, then gave it to Baek Jiyeon since he thought the questioning would not be meaningful from now on.
“You’re on break. Organize things inside your head.”
“Tha, thank you.”
She peeled off the packaging of the chocolate bar with her broken nails and frozen hands and started to eat the hard chocolate bar.
Meanwhile, Kim Taehoon left the kitchen and approached Jang Sunghoon who was standing guard.
“Boss, any news?”
“A sad one is still a news.”
“Sad news? Is it really bad?”
“The awakened among the survivors formed a group and they are expanding their influence within the city. Their name is the Messiah.”
“The Messiah, pretty attractive name. Maybe we should have chosen an English name as well. People from overseas would only think of McDonald’s or Apple when they hear Maek, not the dream-eating creature. I saw McDonald's right around the corner of the Department store, now I crave a burger.”
“The Messiah’s are offering sacrifices to a monster to deal with them.”
Jang Sunghoon’s face turned pale while nodding.
“What? Sacrifices? Wait a minute, I didn’t hear it right? They are giving humans to the monster?”
“There is a monster called yellow devil inside the subway, they are giving ten people every day to the monster to keep it calm.”
“10, 10 every day?” Are they nuts? No, they are nuts. Mother f*ckers, how could you sacrifice living people.”
Jang Sunghoon’s face was full of frustration as he cursed the whole time.
“They are cruel, rather than nuts.”
But Kim Taehoon didn’t lose his mind.
It was certain that he was faced with unexpected facts but he also couldn’t deny that the group Messiah was organized and operated in their own rational and effective way.
“If you can’t kill the monster, It’s rather practical to give the monster what it wants.”
“But it’s wrong.”
“You wouldn’t say that so easily if you were one of them.”
“Sacrificing a minority for the majority. That might be the democracy of the new world.”
Jang Sunghoon kept his mouth shut.
Kim Taehoon continued talking.
“On top of that, the survivor group is formed with the awakened being the center and the other survivors depending on them. If the awakened say that they need sacrifices, it wouldn’t be easy for the other survivors to go against them. Not only is the sacrifice a way for survival for the awakened but also a way of maintaining their power.”
With a pale face, Jang Sunghoon just kept looking at the falling snow.
Kim Taehoon did not continue anymore.
Now it’s time for him to also be silent.
‘The Messiah and Lee Jinsung.’
He received two clues. The group called Messiah and Lee Jinsung, the head of the group.
The name didn’t really matter. What mattered was what they were doing.
‘Smart, cruel, and with prompt actions.’
It was understandable why the awakened were gathering together. It was natural for survivors to form a group. But offering a human sacrifice to a monster wasn’t something that would be done under usual circumstances.
It was not easy to think of such a method.
The monster at this point was something you should get away from, run away from.
When a powerful monster appears, most people would think of running away not feeding it to keep it calm.
Coming up with an idea that monsters had already formed their territories and they would not come out of it as long as they were well fed?
The idea wasn’t something you would come up with even if you watched a lot of National Geographic.
Lee Jinsung, who came up with the idea and made it into an action, wouldn’t be an ordinary man.
‘Uses sword, and an awakened who can cut the monster in half at once.’
Even if it were just stories, the guy was known to have the skills to kill a monster with a single strike of his sword.
Even Kim Taehoon could not do that.
‘Either he has a high Energy rank or Magic rank and has some relic to use that Magic rank properly.’
The guy must have started with high ability ranks.
‘What’s terrifying is that he created the Messiah with his plans.’
That guy did not misuse his powers. From the stories, the Messiah started from the group of survivors from city hall.
Lee Jinsung made himself useful step by step. He would have fought with the monsters without wanting any gratitude from the people. As soon as the group started to revolve around him, he gathered the other awakened and formed the Messiah, revealing himself.
Also, it wouldn’t be for a religious purpose for the Messiah to offer human sacrifices.
What makes the monster calm was just a process.
‘Their true purpose would be hunting the little monsters and growing their strength.’
If it were like a game, they were leveling up by catching little monsters but leaving the powerful monster alone.
At the same time, they would be expanding their territory. Attacking other survivor groups to secure the human sacrifices was the clear evidence.
While doing so they terrified people by beheading others.
‘If they kept going and reach division 17 near Songnae station and get their armories…’
The moment this kind of group gets firearms, they would be the new military.
They already had the foundation. Their size was already bigger than the Maek Clan.
Kim Taehoon had to choose now.
‘Go with them or get rid of them.’
He couldn’t leave the Messiah like this. Cooperate with them or get rid of them, either way, he had to decide now.
Kim Taehoon did not think much about this matter.
‘I cannot hold hands with them.’
It did not suit Kim Taehoon to go with the Messiah.
It wasn’t righteousness nor disgust that Kim Taehoon felt towards the way Lee Jinsung does things.
‘It’s not a sword that I can have under me.’
Kim Taehoon just did not have the ability to do so. In fact, Kim Taehoon had never compromised or used the same methods as the men in power in the underworld.
He only got rid of them.
So if you had to measure Kim Taehoon’s capability, he did not have the ability to place a bloody pick called Lee Jinsung under himself.
Lee Jinsung was the kind of person who decapitated people as a warning to others.
Those kinds of people would never lose their ambition to take over.
It was certain. The sword you couldn’t handle was only a weapon that would hurt yourself.
So there was only one answer left.
Kim Taehoon looked over the broken glass of the sashimi restaurant. The snow started to get stronger.
“Jang Sunghoon, we’re going back to the base.”
“Okay, sir. What about the woman…”
Kim Taehoon did not let Jang Sunghoon finish but turned around and walked towards Baek Jiyeon who was still holding the hand warmer pouches.
And then said to her.
“You have two choices. Become a regular survivor and figure things out yourself, or become our prisoner and do whatever I say. Let me make this clear. You do not have any value as a hostage. Do not expect me to treat you as one.”
Baek Jiyeon’s answer was very clear.
“I, I will be your prisoner. Will do anything.”
The library which was now the Maek Clan’s base didn’t seem like it changed much.
But it was now ready to repel any intruders and was equipped with booby traps, etc.
Be it monsters or humans, if anyone tried to invade the place they would pay a price.
On the other hand, it also meant that the place was one of the safest places to stay in the city of Bucheon.
Kim Taehoon was getting ready to leave it.
“I’m going alone.”
Without any company.
It was Kim Suji who immediately reacted.
“Major, do you think you can do it by yourself?”
She had already heard the story. And the plan.
Kim Taehoon was planning to get rid of the Messiah.
Including Kim Suji, Ahn Sunmi, Jang Sunghoo, Bhang Hyunwook, nobody had any doubts about getting rid of the Messiah. Offering human sacrifices to a monster in order to save one’s ass was not acceptable and had to be punished.
Also, the Messiah was the closest obstacle that Maek Clan would soon face.
Morally, strategically, it was natural for them to have the Messiah removed.
“If the Messiah doesn’t have any firearms, it would be easier if you bring the soldiers.”
The matter was how. Since the Messiah did not possess any firearms, they wouldn’t be a match to Maek Clan.
They would definitely surrender as soon as there were three or four people who were shot.
Nothing was different for awakened. No awakened would be relaxed in front of a gun right now.
But Kim Taehoon did not put that into consideration.
“Messiah does not get rid of the monsters, they control them with human sacrifice. So their territory would be filled with monsters. It’s too much of a risk to have the soldiers in there. The monsters will flock together as soon as they hear the gunshots.”
He did not like the fact that their territory was not safe since they shared it with monsters.
It was the same thing with the monster called the Yellow Devil.
According to Baek Jiyeon’s explanation, the sword of the leader of the Messiah, Lee Jinsung, was the only thing that could hurt the monster’s body.
If the monster only gets a slight wound from the hunter’s sword, a sword that could easily cut a regular monster’s body in half, there was no way bullets would penetrate its body.
They would need something more powerful than guns, like claymore or grenades, to take the monster down.
There was also the possibility that firearms wouldn’t work. Then the Make Clan would have to face its death.
“It’s no good to have a war of attrition.”
It would only damage Maek Clan.
It would always be like that.
Both sides always took damage in a war, the ones who take the hit, the ones who give the hit.
Therefore the side that has more firearms and bigger size always had to operate itself in the least damaging way.
“On top of that, this is what I’m good at.”
That was why Kim Taehoon appeared the most efficient figure in the whole scene.
It would be a much much safer bet just having one specially trained monster soldier such as Kim Taehoon pulling the trigger than using expensive jets, tanks and firearms, and spending a lot of money on a battle.
“Current time January 10th 19:22.”
Also, Kim Taehoon deserved to be called the No.1 in assassinating outlaws in a lawless city.
“If I don’t return by January 11th, 5 am, be on maximum alert, all rights to command would go to Lieutenant Kim Suji.”
So no one around him right now including lieutenant Kim Suji, was worried about Kim Taehoon going alone.
“I wish you the fortune of war, Major.”
“Hyungnim, see you soon.”
“Boss, get me a Merona on the way back.”
“Oh, then I’ll take World-cone.”
“I wish you come back alive. I don’t want to put my life in these two idiots hands.”
“Hey, that was harsh.”
“Right, no one would wish to get married to you with such a potty mouth.”
They were just sorry for the people who had to face Kim Taehoon.
< Chapter 11. The Lawless City (3). > The end.
 Merona: an ice cream brand. It’s a joke Koreans say “Get me a Merona on the way back.”
 World-cone: an ice cream brand.