< Chapter 17. This is My Territory (2). >
“D-day is tomorrow.”
Everything worked out quickly and they did not have time to spare since the monsters had already started to move.
“Don’t forget to keep it a secret.”
But they did not forget the warning.
“Especially the fact that there is a green level monster, and there’s a possibility that it will be coming to Bucheon, you cannot tell that to other survivors.”
It was not long ago that all the survivors of Bucheon were horrified and under the influence of one black snake.
If they knew there would be a monster that was higher level than the black snake, not just a few of them were going to panic. And people in a panic were more likely to cause trouble, obviously.
After the meeting wrapped up with Jang Sunghoon saying to keep the secret,
“Bhang Hyunwook, follow me.”
Kim Taehoon called Bhang Hyunwook.
“Hyungnim, why did you need me….”
When they got back into the meeting room, Bhang Hyunwook couldn’t help but open his mouth.
“Why didn’t you speak a word at the meeting?”
Kim Taehoon answered back with a question. Bhang Hyunwook made an awkward smile to that.
“Is there anything I could say? I just do whatever I was told to do so.”
“Do you feel like you are falling behind?”
That comment. The awkward smile Bhang Hyunwook had disappeared to that one short comment.
“Bhang Hyunwook was supposed to be the right-hand man, but now you don’t feel like you’re not even a finger, does that bother you?”
Bhang Hyunwook was thinking for a moment.
‘Nah, what is that? You speak nonsense.’....himself saying such a thing.
But Bhang Hyunwook only showed his face getting stiffer rather than showing Kim Taehoon what he was thinking. His face was like he had his mind read.
“Is it obvious?”
He admitted it.
“The person who is used to competing with others who are trying to be in the pro baseball league would not change because of the monsters appearing.”
Kim Taehoon already knew about Bhang Hyunwook looking at himself differently.
The behaviors changed. At first, Bhang Hyunwook was like a dog that was waiting for its master’s command. He had a fear of the monsters but he was enjoying his power to fight against them.
At the same time, there were the subsequent things such as pride that came out of being the supportive partner of Kim Taehoon… How people treated him and respected him, he had a sort of satisfaction towards that as well.
But recently Bhang Hyunwook wasn’t behaving like that. He only watched Kim Taehoon fight, and the looks he gave Kim Taehoon weren’t confident.
Moreover, it started to show in his actions. The spirit he had towards the monsters was now gone.
“I don’t plan to pat you on the shoulders. I’m not that kind of person, and never have been.”
“I know that too.”
“And I’m also not planning to allow you to be downcast like this.”
This was why Kim Taehoon wanted to talk to Bhang Hyunwook in private.
What Kim Taehoon needed was the fighting power that Bhang Hyunwook could show.
He needed Bhang Hyunwook who could rush towards the monsters with full spirit and even make jokes sometimes during battle, not Bhang Hyunwook who was self-conscious with a sense of inferiority.
“Be the downcasted dog, or be the hunting dog. The choice is up to you.”
Bhang Hyunwook clenched his teeth and replied to what Kim Taehoon said.
“I’ll be the hunting dog.”
Bhang Hyunwook’s eyes were glowing with flames once again.
“You must cherish Hyunwook very much.”
It was Jang Sunghoon who came by to see Kim Taehoon after Bhang Hyunwook left the meeting room.
“At least he does not weigh about betraying or take advantage of me.”
“Right. He’s not that type of person. If he was he wouldn’t have groaned like that to take his crush with him. But there’s nothing moving forward with that. He could even get married tomorrow if he pops the question.”
Jang Sunghoon sighed a bit after that.
“...... So you are not going to tell others about the second dream?”
Kim Taehoon did not talk about the second dream he had to anybody other than Jang Sunghoon.
It wasn’t about how much he trusted Jang Sunghoon or not trusting others.
It was rather the difference in willpower.
Kim Taehoon was the hope and the savior to everyone who was there. Him being dead would also be a hard thing for other people who were following him.
“It wouldn’t bring out a better solution.”
He didn’t need to put another burden on their shoulders, what they had was enough already.
The dream wasn’t analyzed properly or clear yet anyway.
“You don’t have to be too serious with me, just ask if you have questions.”
“Predict why I died.”
Jang Sunghoon spoke his mind without hesitating a moment.
“The way I see it, there’s a high chance that you were murdered by the awakened.”
Kim Taehoon nodded. He had the same opinion.
Kim Taehoon had no idea why and how he died or even what injury.
But there were clues.
“The fact that Sunmi nunim looked perfectly fine when she rushed to heal you means she was not involved in any battle, there’s a very low possibility that the monster would have the virtue of attacking only you. Virtue is only for humanity, isn’t it?”
Kim Taehoon saw Ahn Sunmi once at the moment he died. She had longer hair but she had not seemed to have any injury or any evidence of being involved in a battle.
That meant she was excluded from the battle.
But there was no reason to remove her from a general battle with monsters. If she was excluded, it was possibly a battle with some limitation.
“If you simplify it to the max, being weak lead you to death.”
Even if that wasn’t the case, the cause of death was obvious.
The laws of the jungle. The reason why Kim Taehoon died was because he was weak. There would be no reason for him to die if he were strong.
Anyway, being killed by an awakened was different from getting killed by a dragon.
That meant there would be an awakened that would be stronger than him.
“You said this world was like a game?”
“You get experience point for killing the monsters, you level up with those points. That kind of game.”
“Yes. A typical RPG game.”
“What if the number of monsters was limited, what happens to the game?”
Kim Taehoon did not let the things it meant through.
Jang Sunghoon thought of the games he used to play and thought about what happened when there were no monsters.
“The one who caught them first and leveled up would be the winner.”
Jang Sunghoon understood then.
“It’s a zero-sum game.”
What was the most important thing in this world for survival?
Yes, it was important to secure the relics, create the items and to secure the weapons. But all of them were just ways to attract more and stronger monsters.
That was what Kim Taehoon got out of the second death.
“It was our object to build a system to secure the city after the first dream.”
Now they had to change their goals.
“I suggested, you granted.”
Kim Taehoon’s goal was to be settled in Bucheon and protect the region.
But not anymore.
Just protecting the city would not do it.
“We now have to attack, not just focus on defense.”
As he spoke, Kim Taehoon looked at the map on the board they used for the meeting.
“If we kill the green level monster which is settled in Gwangmyeong, all the monsters there would be in our possession.”
“We gotta hit it before someone else does.”
“The problem is the someone else.”
“True. No way there wouldn’t be competition for you including the Colonel Lim Hyunjoon that was in your first dream. This is going to be a headache now. What about you becoming the commander-in-chief? You’re technically a Major too? Let’s get some stars now. Give me a position too.”
Jang Sunghoon tried to joke around to ease the tension, Kim Taehoon did not bring up the Gwanggaeto Stele and Sword of Goujian.
There was nothing anybody could do by telling him that China would be a major competitor with great military power.
It was only for Kim Taehoon to worry about that.
“But we have to first worry about securing our territory.”
“I will form a scout and figure out what that monster would be.”
“I’ll do it myself.”
Before Jang Sunghoon could say it’d be dangerous, Kim Taehoon colored his eyes black.
Jang Sunghoon swallowed what he was about to say and asked a question instead.
“Did you need anything?”
“Put an order into the workshop. To put together the black snake’s skull as it was before.”
“The skull? Do you want a museum to be built?”
“We will be setting it up in the way of the yellow monster’s path.”
“Setting it up?”
“They wouldn’t listen to me if I told them this was my territory.”
Jang Sunghoon nodded.
“Did you need anything else?”
“Put the water on the stove.”
Kim Taehoon smirked and replied.
“Your coffee is garbage.”
Jang Sunghoon also smiled and said.
“I know how to make instant coffee.”
The city located in the northwest section of the Hubei Province in China had car factories and Danjiangkou Reservoir— which was once the biggest dam in Asia— and was a gigantic city with a population of 3.5 million.
But Shiyan as a big city did not look the way it was supposed to look anymore.
It had some noise coming from it, as all the other big cities do, but it was noise that humans were creating by attempting to not get eaten by the monsters.
But there were people who were looking at the scene from far away.
They were soldiers. Yet they were not soldiers wearing military uniforms. Some of them did but the others were wearing armor that looked like ones from medieval and ancient China.
Like the history of China itself was standing in a line.
The two standing in the very front were women. About 170cm height, bodies like models, their figures were very beautiful and looked identical to each other.
One of them opened her mouth.
“I don’t know why we have to bother. Could we just drop a nuke and get the monster stone(怪物石)? It’d be better to die to the bomb than to a monster.”
It was rather a terrible thing to say.
The other twin did not answer.
The answer came from the other man who was wearing a military uniform near them.
“We came to protect the great land of China, not to destroy it.”
The woman who said the terrible thing before shrugged.
“Was just saying, Major Chinshian.”
The man with a rank of Major in the PRC looked at the woman who was now smiling at him, then looked at her identical twin sister who did not have any facial expression on her face with cold looks.
“Prepare to play.”
The lady without the facial expression held her lute. When her fingers touched the strings of the lute, something looking like a spring haze started to come out near the lute.
The moment the lady flicked one of the strings of the lute, the haze spread out to the surrounding and the people who were wearing the old armor had their eyes lit up in a golden color.
It was the same for the woman who was saying harsh things.
At the same time, the woman pulled out a bronze sword from her wrist and pointed it at the city of Shiyan and yelled.
With that yell, the characters that were engraved on the bronze sword started to glow.
越王勾踐 自作用劍 (The King of Yue made this sword for himself)
It was the sword of Goujian, the sword that the King of Yue, Goujian made for himself.
< Chapter 17. This is My Territory (2). > The end.
 怪物石 (Chinese) Literally means ‘monster stone’