Stagnant Water of Apocalypse - Chapter 144
(T/N a little bit of insight into what Gyeryongdae is. “Gyeryong is a city in southeastern South Chungcheong province, South Korea. The city was created in 2003, by a split from Nonsan City, following prolonged local agitation.
Approximately half (47%) of the city’s inhabitants are either serving in the South Korean armed forces, or are family of service members. The city hosts several major Korean and international military conferences. It was around 1993 that this area, which was a typical rural area, turned into the best military location in Korea. A large-scale military facility was opened with the relocation of Gyeryongdae from 1989 to 1993, and military families from all over the country were introduced. In 1989, the Army and Air Force headquarters first moved to Gyeryongdae. Four years later, the navy headquarters was completed in 191993.”
The place’s basically a military city of South Korea, where people who have a family member(s) working in the army lives, while also being the core city for all military-related things in South Korea.)
Even though Da-jeong and I had just heard the fancy welcome roar, Gyeryongdae, for how big it was, was overall too silent. Only after we explored for quite some time did we understand why. There’s no survivor in this city at all.
“How can it be this deserted?”
“I know, right?”
Maybe it had something to do with whatever monster the roar we heard earlier originated from.
As the ray of sunlight dissipated from the sky, we went into a dormitory near the main office. Our real hideout was the shelter beyond the portal, so this dormitory was just a camouflage to hide the fact from whatever out there which could see.
Da-jeong shook off the dust on the bed and sat down.
“Looks like it would be fine for us to sleep here.”
“Yeah. But just don’t forget to cover the mattress with a blanket first before sleeping on it.”
“Okay.” Da-jeong nodded. “What are you going to do now?”
“I’ll go look for the restaurant and the PX. Since this place is big, there should be something left.” (T/N PX is Post Exchange.)
When Da-jeong heard my words, she chuckled as a fed-up face blossomed on her face. The moment Da-jeong stopped chuckling and opened her mouth, the very same roar we heard earlier could be heard again.
“Seongho. Have you ever heard that roar before?”
“No, this is my first time hearing it.” Normally, by just hearing the roar, I could tell what kind of monster it was. However, it is not the case with this one, even though I’ve heard and remembered countless different howls and roars from countless types of monsters from my 5000-hours-long playtime.
“I don’t think it’s an ogre, but it sounds a bit similar.”
“If it was ogre, it would be a mess.” I shook my head at Da-jeong’s words, hoping it wasn’t the case. Ogre was an enormous monster, so it could be easily seen from a distance. Along with its size, it was also powerful. Therefore, with our current state, there’s no way we could defeat it. So, we must run away if we even get a glimpse of it.
Though, it still makes me think. Can I win against it if I fight it with tier 3 skills and equip myself with tier 3 equipment?
But unlike back in the game, in this reality, I have guns too. The only question was how many bullets it would take to kill an ogre…
Putting my curious thoughts to the back of my head, I left the dormitory and headed to the main office. As soon as I walked past the entrance, darkness warped around me. I couldn’t see anything in front of me. Only when I ate the shadow grape was I able to see the surroundings once again, albeit only vaguely.
“The PX is… There it is.” I wandered around the room and picked out several useful things.
“There are a lot of cigarettes here, surprisingly.” Selling it to some survivors who are once smokers and yearns to have a smoke in the apocalypse would surely earn me a lot of points. Of course, I’ll give some to Hyung-jun Hyung as well. I packed all the cigarettes and put them inside the shelter. Other than that, there’s no something life-changing. At most, there’s just daily necessities, cosmetics, and groceries lying around.
“There’s some MSG powder too here, huh?” I smiled. It’s something which could turn a dish, no matter how bad the taste is, into something that is edible in the least. So, a great finding.
I took everything I could bring. And as soon as I threw it all into the portal, the store was empty.
No matter how many times I do it, it always feels the same…
“Farming is so much fun.” It feels really great to be able to get my hands on the last legacies of mankind. In a few years, no one won’t even be able to see some of these things… Except for me. Mankind would surely make a substitute for it, but it won’t be as convenient and useful as the items of the modern era.
“Where is the restaurant…” A building this large should have several restaurants. And since this building was a place where a lot of people with stars on their shoulders gathered, the quality of the ingredients should’ve been near the top of the spectrum.
Of course, most of them would’ve rotted already, but those which were sealed in vacuum-packaging had a long shelf life. So, there should be something I could get.
I wandered aimlessly around the main office and finally found the restaurant in the basement. Although no signs could be seen anywhere, anyone could tell that it was a restaurant just by looking at the arrangement of tables and chairs.
As soon as I entered the double door leading to the kitchen, there were quite a lot of vacuum-packed dry ingredients on the floor.
“…But what is this smell?” I wrinkled my nose and grabbed the vacuum-packed dry ingredients. The smell of rotting food was just so bad that my head went dizzy while I was taking the supplies. And when I was about to loot whatever that was stored in the warehouse, a terrible sight came into my view.
“…” In front of me were piles of corpses composed of various monsters such as goblins, kobolds, orcs, werewolves, lizardmen… and some body parts which I believed belonged to the keepers’, being piled up like a small mountain. My whole body froze.
“DAMMIT!!!” I screamed as I stormed out of the room. I could proudly say that I was very, very familiar with the apocalypse, but this was the first time I’d seen such a terrible sight. There was no way monsters would entered the warehouse and committed suicide on their own whim, so it was clear that someone, or something, had piled them up like that on purpose.
As I was about to leave the restaurant, the building shook. From the dark hallway in front of the restaurant, I could hear sounds of thumping. With every thump and vibration, the sound grows louder and louder.
Without thinking about anything anymore, I immediately opened the portal and threw my body inside. After several more sounds of thumping, the creature finally showed itself. It was a humanoid monster that was over 2 meters tall, with limbs so long that it almost touched the ground. From its opened mouth, a lot of jagged teeth similar to shark teeth could be seen.
“What in the f*cking world is that!!!” My eyes went wide at the monster. In my long playtime at Survival Life, it was my first time seeing such a monster. Judging by the fact that its eyes were closed, I could infer that it has very poor eyesight, or maybe none at all, which in turn would enhance its other senses. And as there were not even a single scar on his body, the guy seemed to have some kind of regenerative skills.
The guy walked around the restaurant as its nose twitched.
Did it smell me?
“Your name will be Sniffles from now on.” For an obvious reason, I would call it ‘Sniffles’ because it was sniffing around.
The guy went into the kitchen. After a while, a sound of something chewing on something could be heard. Seems like it was eating the corpses of monsters. The warehouse full of monsters might have been his food storage warehouse.
“If I attack it now… no.” This place was too small and enclosed. Moreover, I don’t even know what kind of abilities it had. My previous conjecture about its abilities was not enough to make me move forward confidently.
I cautiously left the portal. And then the room becomes dead silent. The sound of the ravenous eating stopped. It could only mean one thing: the guy’s hearing was also good, good enough to hear my small footsteps.
As I stormed out of the restaurant and ran up the stairs, I heard Sniffles running behind me. I climbed the stairs, ran to the entrance, and opened the portal at the same time. When I landed on the mattress in the cave and promptly positioned my body to look at the situation, I saw Sniffles sniffling the portal.
“Seriously!” I got fed up and closed the portal at the terrible sight. After a while, I opened the portal again and saw the guy walking around with its back turned against me. It seems like after some time, it loses track of the portal.
“I want to spank that butt.” As I couldn’t resist the temptation, I went out of the cave. I loaded the bolt into the ballista, opened the portal again, and aimed at him.
“Eat this, and let’s see if you can survive.”
When the improved trigger was pulled, the bolt fired at an amazing speed. As the bolt found its mark–Sniffles’ butt, the monster turned its head towards the portal.
However, contrary to my expectations, sniffles slowly rose to its feet and pulled out the bolt. The wound, which was around the size of a finger, healed at a considerable pace as it did so.
“This is crazy.”
Just how strong is its regeneration ability? With that speed, it was definitely not a normal regeneration ability, which could only mean that it was a higher level one.
Sniffles turned its body and walked towards my direction. I knew the portal wouldn’t break from the monster’s attack, but I was frankly afraid. As it stood in front of the portal, it began to look around. And then suddenly, it stretched out its arm.
I was startled and involuntarily took a step back. The guy touched the portal as if it was stroking something precious. Then, all of a sudden, thorns came out of its palm.
Fortunately, the thorns could not penetrate the portal and only pushed Sniffles away. The guy roared as more thorns came out from his entire body like a hedgehog.
I shut the portal down at that moment.
“…a really terrifying guy appeared.”
It attacked using the thorns coming out from its long arms. And its defense was also strong because of the thorns sprouting all over his body. If one was caught by it, whoever it is would be fatally wounded.
When I opened the portal again after waiting for a while, the guy was nowhere to be seen. When I was about to walk outside the portal, a thought which made me freeze on my trails, passed through my head.
What if it is hiding behind or in the blind side of the portal?
I felt goosebumps all over my body at that moment.
Instead of going outside straight outside, I went to my arsenal and took a rifle. I also went to the warehouse to take a single potato. Once I was in front of the portal once again, I threw it outside. As expected, Sniffles ran towards it.
“I thought so, you bastard.”
I pulled the rifle’s trigger and barraged the monsters with bullets. After the fifth bullet hit its body, sniffles whined. However, contrary to its voice, the guy looked to another place as if it had not suffered any fatal injuries.
With what it just showed me, I became certain that at the very least, it had 2 high rank abilities.
As if it realized that it wasn’t strong enough, it started to run away to the main office entrance.
It was proof for me that it had a semblance of intelligence.
One magazine was emptied, but after the guy ran into the main office, no more bullets hit it. It didn’t even show itself anymore.
“It’s a completely crazy monster.” The guy didn’t seem to have taken any damage even when it was shot, so I couldn’t think of a way to deal with it as of now.
Is there a skill that gives one the ability to take less damage from penetration attacks?
“But close combat is also dangerous.” The speed at which it reached with its arms was too fast. Ordinary people would be dragged and pierced by its thorns without even realizing it. I do have the Hard Skin skill, but I couldn’t be 100% confident that it would hold up.
“Let’s go back for now.” I waited a few more minutes, then cautiously got out and ran to the dormitory. Da-jeong was baffled as to why I came back so late, but her eyes widened when she heard my story.
“Has there ever been such a monster in the game?”
“No.” I shook my head. “And it looks like the main office is in its area, which is problematic for us, since the bunker entrance is in the middle of the main office too. We have to kill it if we want to get in.”
“Shall we send the ghouls?”
“Don’t. They will all die. Trust me.”
“Really? If nothing works, that means there’s no way to get in at all!”
Well, we just need to find a way to kill it starting from now.
Because the dormitory was too close to the main office, we decided to move away from it. And after settling down on the new hideout, Da-jeong sent a single reinforced ghoul of hers to look for the Sniffles. When the ghoul encountered it, Da-jeong couldn’t be any more surprised.
“What the f*ck is that? What kind of monster is that?”
According to her, the reinforced zombie was torn to pieces by the guy in the blink of an eye. Solidifying my conjecture that it was a monster which was incredibly agile and powerful.
“The entrance to the bunker is blocked by a three-layer security door. It will take quite a while to break through.”
“In the meantime, sniffles would be running around…”
“Reinforced zombies are too weak to even hold a ground against it, and ghouls don’t even last very long…”
The bulky ghoul and the few grasshopper ghouls might be able to survive for some time. But in the end, it will be torn to pieces–dead. They were hard to find and it would take a long time to nurture them to the peak of their ability, so we should not throw them away uselessly like that.
Da-jeong sent two more reinforced zombies to observe Sniffles.
“…Its arms are really long. Almost over ten meters long.”
It’s not some kind of rubber, so why is it so long…
“The thorns are also no joke. The reinforced zombie died in one shot.”
Which means, it’s questionable whether my Hard Skin skill will hold or not.
“The pepper bomb … is effective, but for only about 3 seconds.”
In summary, it was a monster possessing unimaginable agility, attack power, defense and a highly developed sense of smell and hearing. From the looks of it, paralysis poison didn’t seem to work on it either.
There’s no answer of how we should attack the guy, really.
“It seems like the reason why there were no monsters here was because the Sniffles killed them all.” Da-jeong muttered. Her voice was shaking, proof that she’s nervous. I don’t blame her. After all, we are in the position of an aggressor who was about to attack its territory in order to occupy the bunker.
It seemed impossible to kill him with the weapon he had. However, I still hoped that a heavy weapon could do the job.
“For example, weapons like anti-tank rockets…”
“Where can we get something like that?”
“There’s probably one in the bunker.”
I contacted the government shelter and requested a list of weapons stored in the bunker. It was the Chief of Staff, the guy called Lee Beom-seok, who answered my question by telling me that I would know as soon as I entered, but when I mentioned Sniffles, his attitude took a U-turn.
-Its name is Sniffles?
-I just named it so because the guy likes to sniff around. By the way, it isn’t a monster created by the government, right?
-What are you talking about! The apocalypse has nothing to do with us. Please wait a moment.
After a while, Jang Won-taek appeared in the comment section. I talked with this old man often these days. But since every time we talked, it can be said that I was always taking something away from him, our relationship couldn’t be said as a good one. Though, it was not a bad one either.
-To think that such monsters exist… You really haven’t seen such monsters in the game too?
-There are two stagnant waters in your shelter, right? Ask them yourself.
After a while, the aforementioned two appeared. As soon as he heard the story, Seokhyun’s enthusiasm raged. He declared he wants to fight it once by himself.
-Seokhyun… I think it would be hard to kill it, even if the four of us cooperated and attacked it together. We must have a tier 3 weapon or something else to beat it.
-Something else like what?
The one who asked was Geom-in.
Instead of answering, I pushed Jang Won-taek about the list.
-I’m trying to kill the Sniffles here, so give me the list quickly, Mister President.
-We are looking for it now. Can you please share more info about the Sniffles with me in the meantime?
This guy was trying to get the information for free from me. I wanted to refuse in all honesty, but since I had a lot to gain with this transaction, I decided to just share the information.
-That monster, Sniffles, was much taller than a human… and its arms can stretch like rubber, up to probably somewhere around ten meters long. It doesn’t have eyes, but its sense of hearing and smell was very well developed. Its stamina is also something to note…
When I talked about its strength and characteristics, everyone in the conversation lamented. Seokhyun was the only one who was different; he still showed his eagerness to have a bout with it.
-Seems like it was really strong. I want to see it!
-You’ll die. You should save some points.
-Seongho, I have put the list on the Auction House.
When I went back to the list of the auctioned items, I found that the document was priced at 100 points. Those guys really… They were true money-pinchers.
When I bought and read the document, a smile bloomed on my face without me knowing. Da-jeong, who looked at me from the side, tilted her head.
“I don’t know much about guns since I’m a Miphil. So please tell me..”
“But you are a woman?”
(T/N: Miphil (miphilja) a man who is exempted from his military duty.
This word has a negative feeling and meaning. In Korea, all men do their military duty and they have to serve in the military for 2 years unless they have any critical physical or mental disorder. So many Korean men think that if someone didn’t do their military duty, they have ‘something wrong’ and are weak men.)
Hand grenades, grenade launchers, and anti-tank weapons stood out in the list. Considering Sniffles’ ability to block bullets as if it was nothing, a grenade wouldn’t be enough. Thus making the hand grenades and the grenade launcher out of the option.
I’m sure an anti-tank weapon will do the job. The problem is that, to use such a powerful weapon, I would have to break through the triple security door first.
-Is there any way to pass through the security gate besides breaking it?
-I’m sorry, but there isn’t.
-I mean, why? Besides being built so strongly, the entrance itself is hidden…
-We have a lot of dangerous firearms inside, so we need it to be strong. Wouldn’t it be a problem if some civilian took it?
My conscience was pricked at Jang won-taek’s words because it sounded like he was talking about me.
-I really want to fight it! Can you do something?
Well… At this point, making Seokhyun come here and letting him enter my shelter was a good option. But there’s no need to make him come this far…
Or maybe there is…
I needed someone to buy time for the scarabs to break through the three layers of protection. The ghouls were not enough, so it would be great if Seokhyun came forward. But there’s no way he could get here from Seoul alone…
At that moment, I remembered someone: Mikyung. The world was still too dangerous for her, but with Seokhyun, she would at least be safe.
-Seokhyun-ah, can you call Mikyung? No no no, sorry, that’s a mistake. Let Geom-in do it for you
-Uh, wait a minute.
Sigh… It’s a big incident avoided.
After a while, Mikyung came and told me that the three had moved to another place. Jang Won-taek and Lee Beom-seok must be upset. But oh well…
We changed to our ‘item’ and started the talk.
-You want me to go to Daejeon with Seokhyun ahjussi? But it’s still cold…
-Not in Daejeon, but in Gyeryongdae. Seokhyun will carry you out of Seoul. And from there, you can blink until you arrive here.
Her blink’s range was about 1km. It couldn’t be used consecutively, but since Mikyung was pretty high leveled, I thought it would be doable for her.
She pondered for a long time before answering.
-If I work harder than usual, I think we will be able to get there in one day.
-Give her a solar apple. I’ve been fighting with her, and having them will help her.
-What is a solar apple?
Seems like she doesn’t know about it. I proceed to explain what a solar apple is and its relation to her blink’s drawback. Once I was done, I picked some solar apples and winter strawberries, and put them up for auction.
-Wow, what a strange strawberry…
-If you eat it, you won’t feel that cold. And eat the solar apple when you’re feeling tired.
-Oppa, will you cook me something delicious?
If that’s what I should do to get her help, I would surely do that. Thankfully, I still remembered what she liked.
-I’ll make tteokbokki for you.
Though it wouldn’t be an authentic tteokbokki since I don’t have any rice cake and oden stored in my warehouse.
-Seokhyun ahjussi, let’s go now!
-Shall I go too?
Well… Even if he could keep up with Mi-kyung, his strength wouldn’t be helpful in the fight, to be honest. So I think it’s not yet his time to hunt with me.
When I declined his offer, he seemed a little disappointed.
-Let’s hunt together later.
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