Stagnant Water of Apocalypse - Chapter 170
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In the blink of an eye, the month changes to March. The cold faded away and new life began to wriggle to existence. However, it was not lifeforms from the old Earth before the apocalypse that occupied the land of Korea, but instead spores from another world that occupied it. It’s all due to the gates, which opened all over the place, sending spores to Earth. The amount was so great to the point the sun could not be seen properly for several days. Thanks to that, people were terrified and did not dare to go outside without wearing masks.
But what really mattered was what happened after. The spores settled down on every soil it could find and grew rapidly into something bizarre that Koreans have never seen before.
-Why the hell do those plants look so disgusting?
That particular comment went viral in the Auction House because so many people replied to it. Plants from another world ate up native plants of Earth and took up all the empty lands. Plants with thorns on their stems were the basic, some of them even had slimy or bloody parts growing on them. Of course, it’s not real blood, but a red-colored sap that has a strange effect on living creatures. However, even when the survivors know about the fact, the existence of those substances was enough to scare the hell out of them.
If it just ended at that point, it wouldn’t become that much problematic. But it’s not. The plants of the other world could grow to enormous sizes. And when they reached that point, some plants could even eat people.
Users who played Survival Life before then posted information regarding the plants on the Auction House.
-You’ll have to be more careful from now on. If not, you will be caught while walking on the road and get eaten.
-Imagine a plant that grew in the 3rd floor of a building suddenly wrapped you with their vines. What will you feel?
-What if I was dragged to the third floor like that?
-The main body of the plant was there. It has a body that looks like a large sunflower, and it will swallow you up and digest you verryyy sloooowwwllyyyy, giving you a slow, painful death.
-Fuck… It’ll be even more tiring.
-I heard that those plants had appeared somewhere in the region. If I’m not mistaken, it’s in Gyeongnam?
-Anyway, let’s be careful. Those plants could even kill monsters easily, so if we are caught by those plant monsters, it’s the end.
-It’s better to die outright than to die a slow and painful death.
Zombies that roamed in the street become good nutrients for these plants. After absorbing them, the plant monster would grow larger. In the most severe case, the plant would even erode an entire building.
The phase after that was where the ghoul plants bloomed. As it contained the spores which turned them into ghoul in the first place, it still retained the basic function of a ghoul: the capability of eating organic matter to get energy. Once it was full enough, the ghoul flower would explode, infecting all the monsters around it.
As a result, variants, such as goblin zombies and orc zombies, appeared. These variants had more strength and stamina than their original counterparts. On top of it, their agility is also quite high, and their numbers are also numerous; making the already hellish life of the survivors even more difficult than before. However, there was more important information than that fact: being bitten by these new variants would turn the victim into a zombie.
When the government shelter announced it, the Auction House turned upside down.
-Those spores must have evolved quite a bit while being inside the skull. Damn wicked bastards!
-We will turn into zombies one hour after being bitten? If someone around us is bitten by the new zombie monster, do we have to kill them?
-If they become a zombie and then bite you, you will become a zombie. So…
-Dammmit! Who said spring is the season of love? The world become an even more fucked up place!
Meanwhile, some people in the Auction House were kicking a fuss saying that they had discovered a new kind of drug.
-Guys, do you know? If you open the fruit around the ghoul flower, a white powder will come out. You can roll it up with paper and smoke it like a cigarette.
-What is the effect?
-I feel drowsy and a little bubbly. My senses also seem to be dulled.
-To think even drug addicts have appeared. The world had become a true shithole.
-Fuck you. I do drugs because it’s hard to live. Who’s going to say anything about that?
-Ignore him. It’s your choice. No one can say anything.
-I picked fruit from a plant monster… Can I eat this?
-Don’t eat it. They were all made by plant monsters to lure food.
-But this is very tasty. It looks like an apple on the outside, but tastes like a sweet orange.
-Shall I pick it up and eat it too…
After plants, animals from other worlds, such as rabbits, deers, and wild boars also appeared. They all wandered through the street; a sight which normally couldn’t be seen in Korea.
The survivors who saw those animals cheered and hunted the animals. To them, who had been fighting against monsters almost everyday just to survive, animals were nothing but easy prey. The problem was, if they wanted to hunt the animals, the chance of being captured and eaten by the plant monsters would also increase. All in all, the world had become even more savage than before. Hunting and being hunted was now the norm.
After monsters and plants, even animals appeared in the Auction House, but the question of why humans, or other intellectual creatures from other worlds didn’t appear became an issue.
-Probably, they all died?
-A pity… I want to see an elf.
-I guess there are no elves in another world.
-What a stupid another world.
Anyway, people all have found their own way to live. Those who die will die, and those who will live will live.
We moved to the area suggested by Geom-in. The river on one side and seas on the other side became a natural shield for us, so the risk of being attacked by monsters was reduced considerably. On top of it, water was easy to obtain too. And since the site was a flatland, there was no difficulty in building the fortress.
After disassembling the sandwich panels, Geomin proposed a way to build a large warehouse by connecting them in a straight line.
-It would save us some space if we built it this way.
When we finished assembling it, to my surprise, it really did save a lot of space. At the same time, the shelter members started to build the fortress under the command of Geom-in. The size of the fortress was several times larger than my previous shelter, but the barbed wire could be laid without any problem. After all, there was a river and sea guarding the site on two fronts.
-The barrier will be our first line of defense, The barbed wire is the second, and we will build a wall with cement for the third line of defense.
Since the site was located on a hill, our view was not blocked even if the fortress walls were built a bit high. While the other members were working hard to build the wall, Yoohyeon concentrated solely on designing the water pump.
Meanwhile, me and the other stagnant waters were busy building a temporary dormitory by setting up a tent using the leftover sandwich panels according to the instructions of the Geom-in.
“It would be best to build a hut, but it will take a lot of time, so we have to make do with this for the time being.”
“Will it be okay? There’s no soundproofing at all.” Da-jeong said before went into the tent and made a lewd noise. “AH~ AH~ AH~!”
She then came out and asked the other members who just stood still, dumbfounded.
“Did you hear everything?”
“Wait a bit, Unnie… That noise just now… What kind of noise was it?”
“It’s my moan!!”
Everyone just looked at her before sighing. They had already gotten used to Da-jeong’s perverted nature, so they didn’t react as wildly as before.
After receiving their answer, she came to me and patted me in the ass. “They can hear all of it. So, if we want to do it, we should go to the dimensional warehouse.”
“People can’t enter that place.”
“Isn’t the portal like that too in the first place? I’m sure the restrictions will be lifted later.”
When I went inside, everything except me stopped, I was wondering what it would be like if other people could move there too.
After mulling about it for a few moments, I shrugged and got back to things I needed to do. I opened the dimensional warehouse and moved all the food inside. If this ability had come out a little earlier, I would have been able to pick all the short shelf life food I found. What a pity…
But if I always dwell on the ‘what should’ve been’, there would be no end to it. It was better for my mental health to be satisfied with the privileges I have been given and what I have in the present.
“These things are what I’ve been hoarding for months. To think I can move it all without breaking a sweat in one go…”
While I was working, Yoohyeon came to me.
“Hyung, is it enough for the tank to be this big?” He asked as he showed me a paper with the design of the water tank drawn on it.
“Since there are nine of us here, shouldn’t it be a little bigger?”
“In that case, the motor should have more output, wait a minute.” He calculated on the spot for a few seconds before smiling broadly. “This might be enough.”
“That’s a relief.” I said. But as I was going to move the supplies again, Yoohyeon opened his mouth again.
“But hyung, doesn’t it look like we are playing Cavecraft?”
“It’s Cavecraft; a game. As soon as we start that game, we will fall into a different world. There, all we do is dig, build a house, and survive.”
“It’s just like when I first came here.”
“What did you do back then, hyung?”
“After opening the portal, I found this forest. With a backpack on my back, I went looking around.”
“It must have been fun…”
“You really think so?” I laughed. “Did you know I met an owlbear in the valley and had to run away?”
“Oh… I forget. You didn’t even have a gun back then…”
I recalled the memories from that time.
“I hunt around the forest with a machete if I remember correctly. However, after discovering the cave and starting to hoard some supplies, things got a little better.”
After hearing my story, Yoohyeon pretended to dig the ground with a shovel.
“If we dig here, what will we get, I wonder? A mineral?”
“Follow me, I’ll show you what you will get.” I took him and showed him the ore warehouse.
“It’s really similar to Cavecraft… is there anything else?”
“Well… I found these things some time ago.”
Yoohyeon’s eyes widened when I showed the old leather backpack I found in the stone monkey’s nest to him.
“This isn’t something you made, Hyung?”
“Isn’t it too old for something l made? What’s inside…” I stopped and looked around the area for Geom-in. Once I found him, I continued. “Geom-in, come here for a sec.”
When Geom-in came to me, he instantly became excited when I showed him the old book.
“Did you find this here?”
“Originally, there’s stone monkeys around the shelter. I found it in their nest.”
“The letters used in this book are the same as those letters from books I found in dungeons back in the game.”
“Maybe it’s not the monsters who wrote it, but people.”
When I pointed my chin to the stag beetles working in the garden, Yoohyeon asked hurriedly.
“Are they people?”
“I don’t know well, since in the game, they didn’t exist. But over time, I’m starting to know a little bit about them. They are mostly vegetarians and like to grow crops. They also have a good relationship with Elderwood… They handle trees well too. What, or to be exact, who comes to mind when you hear about that?”
“If you go and ask them, I bet you’ll get bitten.”
Yoohyeon smiled awkwardly.
“Hyung, are you joking?”
“An elf… must be tall, white-skinned, and have long ears…”
It seems Geom-in has now entered the land of imagination.
“Well… They certainly aren’t. Though, I don’t know for sure whether they are really elves or not at this point.”
“No, looking at their attitude, it’s clear that they are forest elves, which were said to be a reclusive tribe, and would always be hostile to outsiders…”
Now he’s just writing a novel.
Geom-in and Yoohyeon urged each other to go and asked the stag beetle.
“You can decide with rock-paper-scissors.”
Once they were done, Yoohyeon was crying over his loss. With hunched back and careful steps, he walked to the garden.
After a while, a short scream was heard from the garden.
I told you they’d bite.
For helping Jang Won-taek with the national treasure matters, I was promised two things. The first one was 30% of the government shelter supplies. While the second one was the Yongsan bunker.
Jang Won-taek informed me that he would give me my shares after the Korean shelter was established, and I only waited without saying a word until now.
Few days after March came and the erosion started in earnest, I finally got a call from them. Lee Beom-seok came and guided me and Seokhyun to the warehouse.
While we arrived, Jang Won-taek was waiting there with a calm face. “Welcome. I haven’t been able to see your face these days…”
“Since there are more people now in my place, I am busy building more shelters.”
He smiled faintly at my answer.
“There are a total of ten people… No, since Hyung-jun-ssi is still in our shelter, so it’s nine? Anyway, it should be a fun time. It’s like camping with like-minded people.”
“It’s not that easy to the point you can call it camping.”
“Haha, since I’ve never seen it, my imagination is getting wilder. Let’s not waste anymore time. Come this way.”
The warehouse was almost the size of a playground, and all kinds of materials were stacked there. From what I heard from Geom-in, the first plan was not to build it this big, but it was clear that the plan had changed in the middle.
When Jang Won-taek’s hand pulled the tarpaulin covering something, at least hundreds of hard disks were revealed.
“These hard disks contained dramas and entertainment programs we got from the broadcast station directly. There are also movies. But, we downloaded it from a torrent.”
I asked while smirking.
“Isn’t that illegal? Can the government do that?”
“Do you want it or not?” Jang Won-taek smirked too.
I said frankly.
“Of course I want it.”
Unlike the other materials, there was a risk that the hard disk would not work if I didn’t take it now. I want to take as much as possible, but to do so, I need to reveal additional effects of my unique skill.
Seemed like I couldn’t help it. On top of it, There’s also no harm in revealing it here…
Jang Won-taek and Lee Beom-seok’s eyes widened as I opened the dimensional warehouse.
“What is this big door?”
“It is a dimensional warehouse that only me can enter. Time does not pass inside.”
“Time? Does that mean that nothing would change inside at all? Physical changes? Chemical reactions, like food rotting and other things like that?”
“I tested it with warm water and it worked. It didn’t cool down at all when I put it inside for some time.”
Jang Won-taek caressed the door as if he couldn’t believe it. Then, he asked. “By any chance, the treasures from the museum?”
“Except for things that are too big like stone pagodas, it’s all inside.”
“Well done. You’ve done a splendid job.”
In the spur of a moment, he grabbed my hand and shook it. It was not a big deal, but being thanked wasn’t bad at all. Good job, past me!
At that moment, Lee Beom-seok whispered something in Jang Won-taek’s ear.
What is that guy doing? Don’t he know I can still hear him?
“President, are you planning on giving all this to him?”
“Yes. Why? You disagree?”
“I’m not in a position to disagree with you, but from my point of view, you are giving too much…”
“In this case, we should give him much. After All, he had helped us to preserve our culture.”
Jang Won-taek looked at me and smiled. “Seongho’s ability is definitely great. I had a headache a while ago, but now I feel better.”
“It’s because of the stories going around in the Auction House these days. People said they had found drugs…”
“Drugs? AH… Those things?” I had heard about it too. When a ghoul reaches its final stage, it would transform into a flower. This flower produces a white powder inside the fruit it makes to lure its prey. In the game, I didn’t pay much attention to it because the effect only made the screen shake and made it hard to control our character.
However, when it appeared in reality, the white powder was surprisingly effective. Rumor had it that there’s also an idiot who gets caught while approaching the flower and gets eaten by it.
The flowers and the plants were all written in the walkthrough pamphlet. And even though I had spread the information through the Korean shelter, it seemed like people still didn’t take it seriously.
Jang Won-taek had a very serious face while opening his mouth. “There are also some groups of survivors which concern us greatly. It was the Chinese survivors in Bucheon and Incheon, which are said to be gathering all Chinese from all over the country. They also used humans as bait to gather those drugs…”
That was a solid proof of how the apocalypse can drive everyone crazy, without any exceptions.
Jang Won-taek asked me. “And amidst the chaos, a battle royale will take place?”
“Yes. It will probably happen after the owlbears appear.”
“A battle royale on Earth… Which means, everyone has to live apart from each other. I’m worried if they’ll follow my guidance well…”
At his words, I remembered a man who asked Jang Won-taek why he was not allowed to carry a weapon around.
“I have a question, why did you accept all of those guys? When the battle royale event begins, those guys will definitely cause an accident.”
“I admit it was the old way. But I believe that when people come together, they will get stronger. A single branch is easily broken, but when several branches are put together, it isn’t as easy to break it, doesn’t it?”
At that time, Seokhyun, who was working on moving the building materials, suddenly stopped on his track. It seems like he felt challenged by Jang Won-taek’s words. He walked towards a piece of wood used as a pillar and then broke it into two with his bare hands.
Jang Won-taek’s mouth hit the ground at the sight. It seemed like he was at a loss for words when a piece of wood almost as thick as a human waist broke at once.
Then he said timidly, “It seems like there are times when it’s better to be alone if you’re strong enough, heheheh.”
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