< Chapter 13. Territory Dispute (1). >
The third floor of a building.
It used to be an office for some company but now it had turned into a base for monsters.
The monsters looked like monkeys but were nothing like a regular monkey. They had sharp teeth sticking out of their mouth which looked more like the canine teeth of dog rather than a monkey’s teeth.
The monster looked like it had dog’s head on a monkey’s body, it also had terrifying red eyes beaming out horrifying energies.
The four monsters were having their meal. Today’s special was human flesh.
A man in his mid-twenties, his blood still warm since he had only been killed a few moments ago. The four monsters had each chosen a limb and were eating the flesh from him.
There were skulls laying around those monsters which were very clean, even too shiny.
There was no way the body had rotted until the flesh went away.
The monsters feasted until they could only lick the skull. That was terrifying fact that the skull displayed.
It was a man who walked into that thirty square meters sized office and interrupted the monsters terrifying dining experience.
The disturbed monsters immediately started to growl at the intruder.
But it was the man who initiated the attack.
A featherless arrow appeared and pierced one of the monsters in the head. The monster, who now had a hole in its head, collapsed to the ground.
Another monster collapsed to the ground like a stringless puppet with blood spewing out of its temple like a soaring fountain.
The remaining two monsters who had been very much furious up until now started to make fearful sounds.
Those sounds did not last long.
Once again the arrow arched in the air and the two remaining monsters were pierced in their heads and fell down to the ground.
The arrow which killed four monsters in next to no time became a calm butterfly and floated into the holster on the guy’s waist.
The man, Kim Taehoon, looked around again. His face wasn’t showing much happiness. He didn’t seem even a little bit satisfied with what he had done.
“Hyungnim, the first, second and third floors are cleared.”
Bhang Hyunwook said from behind Kim Taehoon.
“I don’t know about here…. Wow.”
Bhang Hyunwook let out a short whistle behind Kim Taehoon while witnessing the scene Kim Taehoon had just created.
“I feel this every time, but it’s terrifying. I’m so glad you’re not my enemy.”
Kim Taehoon gave him an order instead of responding to Bhang Hyunwook’s awwing compliments.
“Take the monster stones and hang a flag out the window.”
Bhang Hyunwook made a rather dopey salute at his command. It was his way of trying to ease the vibe but Kim Taehoon didn’t seem to relax even a little.
‘This is not enough.’
What made him have the long face was nothing but his own weakness and softness yet no one would believe him if he said it out loud. Kim Taehoon was overwhelmingly strong already.
The mark Kim Taehoon had on his hand was the proof.
- Strength: 92
- Stamina: 77
- Energy: E+
- Magic: E+
- Telekinesis: A
- Defense: E+
- Magic resistance: E+
The Basic and Special abilities were incomparable to the ones of the other awakened. It’s almost twice as much as Bhang Hyunwook’s who was the second strongest.
He didn’t even have to use his telekinesis against the weak monsters now. He also didn’t have to use the powerful relics, he could fight against them with his bare hands.
The abilities he acquired while eating up the monsters were also strong.
Him being weak? Unbelievable, it would appear like it was probably a joke.
But it would be a different story if it was about going against the monster he had to now face.
‘I can’t even earn time like this with the devil snake.’
The devil snake. It was that yellow-eyed giant snake that was practically ruling the city of Bucheon and using the subway system as its shelter.
And now it was the target Kim Taehoon had to hunt. But Kim Taehoon did not want to fight with the devil snake.
Rationally, Kim Taehoon wouldn’t want to fight the devil snake since he had put saving himself as the priority goal. But Kim Taehoon did not represent just himself anymore.
A window broke and a white flag was displayed out of it.
Kim Taehoon looked around and saw the other buildings. Many of the buildings around him also had a waving white flag outside of a window.
Kim Taehoon recalled back to a few days ago, the first sunny day after the snow storm.
Five people were standing with angry faces, three men, and two women, and staring at Jang Sunghoon with cold looks.
They were hostile looks. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that.
They already had power even though it wasn’t visible. The awakened, they had the power to go against the monsters. The power only chosen ones could have.
But Jang Sunghoon did not get affected by the looks. He had his boss behind him and his boss was powerful enough to win against all five of the Messiah’s leadership of awakened.
“Hey don’t look at me like that. We’re going to be in the same boat, you know?”
“No one said we were going to go under you. We’re still with the Messiah.” Said the middle-aged man among them.
He was a very muscular guy. Even though it was very cold weather he was only wearing a thin long-sleeve shirt so his ripped body was very noticeable.
It was on purpose, to show his Energy ability which made it possible for him to endure this cold weather and his primitive power.
Of course, his voice was strong as he was pretty much growling.
A strong will of not planning to back off could also be seen as well.
“So you’re planning to risk your life fighting our boss? That’s what I hear. Should I put up the ring for ya? All in?”
But the muscular middle-aged man had to back off because of the look of Kim Taehoon who was watching him from behind Jang Sunghoon.
Jang Sunghoon said to them.
“I think you guys haven’t done your math yet, but this is not a transfer market for baseball players! Do you think I came here to sign some contract with you?”
At the same time, Jang Sunghoon lightly flopped the military jacket he was wearing.
“Or does this look like a nice business suit to you?”
The five awakened looked at the soldiers holding guns and giving scary looks while standing next to Kim Taehoon.
The soldiers had a very different look in their eyes compared with regular soldiers. It was neither too long, nor too short, yet the time they had to fight against the monsters gave them a fierce look in their eyes.
They looked like they were ready to fire against humans if needed.
“So, now, let me tell you once again. It’s simple. The awakened will be working as hunting dogs under the name of Maek Clan. If you do not like the name hunting dog, you can change it into hunter. You figure out the name yourself, but this is the important thing. You have to give Maek Clan 40% of the monster stones while you work as a hunting dog for the Maek Clan.”
Jang Sunghoon summarized the things he had said before.
The five awakened tried to avoid answering. They were peeking at Kim Taehoon at the same time.
It had happened all of the sudden. The night with the snow storm passed and the whole world turned white by the time the Messiah’s leadership located in city hall received the news.
That the leader of their group Lee Jinsung had passed away and that the Maek Clan’s leader Kim Taehoon wanted to negotiate with the remaining leadership of the Messiah.
Bringing them out for negotiation was pretty easy. No one was really loyal to Lee Jinsung, to begin with. Also, no one wanted to have a war with the Maek Clan when they didn’t even know who they were.
On the contrary, the leadership rather welcomed the negotiation. If the Maek Clan wanted to negotiate, it would also mean that they did not want to have a war against them.
‘This is not a negotiation. This is a treat.’
But the negotiation was very different from what the leadership was anticipating.
Jang Sunghoon who was representing Maek Clan required two things from Messiah.
First, the awakened from the Messiah would become the hunting dogs of Maek Clan.
Second, they had to turn over 40% of the monster stones they gained from hunting the monsters.
That was what Jang Sunghoon had come up with.
‘Bucheon is not a country, it was a large city with a population over 800,000. We need a system to rule over at least a few 100,000 survivors.’
Jang Sunghoon thought Kim Taehoon’s way of operating Maek Clan would not work after Kim Taehoon accepted his idea to take Bucheon as his base.
Until now, Maek Clan existed so far just for Kim Taehoon.
A group that could not resist whatever Kim Taehoon did.
A group that could serve the command of Kim Taehoon perfectly.
A group that could be controlled completely.
What made that possible was the size of the clan, which was less than 50 people.
However, it was a different ball game if you made the city itself a base and had to have all survivors under control.
It was impossible to completely control thousands of people. No one had done that so far and no one would do it in the future.
‘It’s impossible for the boss to take everything from now on.’
They needed a system to control the people who were called the awakened now. Kim Taehoon solely taking all the monster stones was now impossible.
“You guys don’t seem to understand what I’m saying since you’re silent, you just have to give 40% of the acquired monster stone. We wouldn’t care what you’d do with the monster corpses. We will be negotiating with you guys after catching the special monsters. You could even have the stone by yourself. Just notify us after eating the stone. Well, it would be a problem if you don’t report it then we find it out later with the phone camera.”
What Jang Sunghoon was trying to do was to make the relationship between Kim Taehoon and the other awakened simple.
“In easy words, give and take.”
Give and take. Even a child could understand that concept.
Jang Sunghoon was trying to take 40% of the monster stones that the awakened would be getting.
“40%... What do we get out of that 40%?”
To the awakened, the plan sounded unfair. That was the reason why they didn’t respond right away.
Jang Sunghoon explained to them.
“First, we will give your lives to you. You don’t wish to die, right?”
“What you mean…”
“It’s a joke, joke. Haha, if we wanted to truly kill you guys, we wouldn’t have this meeting right now. We could just shoot everyone with a mark on their hands.”
“... Is that a threat?”
Kim Taehoon stepped forward at that particular word.
Everyone got nervous. Not only the five awakened who were facing Kim Taehoon but also Jang Sunghoon who was standing in front him.
It all became tense. In that tense situation, Kim Taehoon spoke rather calmly. “40% is for rent. The rent to hunt in my territory.”
Someone very brave spoke against him.
“But this is not your land? Requiring 40% as rent when the land is not yours…”
Kim Taehoon did not get angry at that. Instead, he asked the guy, “Then whose territory is this now?”
The awakened were thinking. Who owns the city of Bucheon now?
The answer was obvious.
In this brutal world, the strongest one takes everything. The strongest one in Bucheon right now was the yellow-eyed devil that was based in the subway. It was safe to say that the surrounding area about 10 km from Bucheon City Hall practically belonged to the yellow-eyed devil.
But no one could easily say that out loud. Saying that out loud was like admitting that the earth does not belong to human but belonged to the monsters.
Also, it would be like admitting that they had nothing else to hold on to and were just dangling at the edge of a cliff.
But one person just said it.
“Around here would belong to the yellow-eyed devil.” Kim Taehoon was the only one who was able to say it out loud.
“But if someone was to kill that thing, it would belong to the devil slayer.”
And also told them what he would give to the survivors.
What Kim Taehoon wanted to give to people was the hope that they could get out of the fear of predators while they were located in the bottom of the food chain.
“40%. If you are confident enough to not get caught, I don’t care if you cheat the number or steal some. Just don’t get caught.”
The people did not have any questions anymore.
Kim Taehoon stepped back, and Jang Sunghoon made a bright smile at the dumbfounded awakened.
“There’s no contract. It’s a promise that is only based on the trust and credibility to each other. I will trust your willpower. The will for surviving even to the point you’d offer a human sacrifice to the monster. Your will to survive. You don’t want to die, right?”
< Chapter 13. Territory Dispute (1). > The end.