Stagnant Water of Apocalypse - Chapter 188
“…” It’s heavy. Even without opening my eyes, I was 100% sure what is currently pressuring my body: Da-jeong’s legs. When I opened my eyes, I could see Da-jeong’s calf pressed on my chest. She’s really the woman with the worst sleeping habit in the entire world.
I carefully pushed her leg out and stood up. When I opened the door, the horizon beyond the sea near the shelter was slightly red.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a dawn sky like this…”
These days, I spend most of my time in the Great Labyrinth, so I don’t have much time to look at the sky. At most, I could only see it when I returned to the shelter. Even then, it was not for a long time, since mostly I went directly to bed after eating due to how tired I was.
I watched the calm morning sea from the cliff behind the hut.
“There’s another land somewhere beyond the sea, huh?”
The place where our shelter was located was in a peninsula protruding sharply to the southeast from the southern part of the Lotus continent. To the east, lies the sea and to the west, lies the land.
Referring to the map drawn by the Scarab Captain and Chief Stag Beetle, it was said that the land was about 60 km away from shore. It was an impossible distance to cover if we were to rely on rowing only. Well, I doubted that it would be possible even with a motor boat.
The reason I had this thought early this morning was simple. That place was the hometown of the scarabs.
“An unknown underground city…” They wanted to go there, but we couldn’t afford to do it right now. Occupying the Black Forest and blocking the way to the peninsula was our priority.
This peninsula was connected to the continent by a very narrow land. It was located near the volcano that Da-jeong went to. In other words, the area where the monsters passed through to get here was quite narrow. At most it would only be 2km. If we occupy and fortify it, we would be able to live more comfortably in the future.
“Though, once the gryphon appears, we will have to consider going there first.”
If Da-jeong manages to dominate a gryphon, two people would be able to ride it. With its flying ability, traveling 60km would be nothing but a breeze.
“Sooyeon also needs to kill one.” If possible, it would be good for other people to kill it too. Especially Mikyung. After all, with her field of view expanding, she would be able to use her Blink more daringly.
“Ugh.” I stretched out and walked through the silent shelter. After passing through the hut where Sooyeon and Mikyung were staying, a vegetable garden, a flower cage, and a hornbill cage came to my view. But, what caught my attention the most was a man who was already there this early in the morning.
“What are you doing here this early?”
“Oh! Hyung-nim!” Jiman said with a smile as soon as he turned towards me. My eyes then darted towards something his arms were hugging: The hornbill. Though, it’s not just one, but two.
“They already hatched, huh?”
“I had a strange feeling last night, so I came here and found them quaking when I arrived. They are now sleeping after I fed them.”
“By the way, do you know what they are? I mean, what species or something?”
“Few months from now, they are going to grow really, really big, to the point that we would be able to ride them around.”
“But they can’t replace motorbikes, can they?”
Jimin’s eyes squinted as if my words were nothing but gibberish.
“I heard from Gorgos that they are really quick, though?”
“The Chief Scarab’s name.”
Ah… Now that I know that he’s from a dwarf-like race, that name suits him well.
Anyway, the hornbill was quite widely used in Lotus Continent. It was said that they were also used for farming, so they were the equivalent to both horse and cattle in our world. But unlike them, hornbills can’t be used as a food source thanks to its meat’s terrible taste.
Jiman put the two hornbills into its nest and stood up.
“I need to release the wild boar, would you like to tag along?”
I was surprised at his words.
Why is he releasing it?
“Are you going to release the guys you’ve caught?”
“Yes. If we release them in the morning, they will find their own food and return in the evening.”
“Is that so…” That’s very strange. However, Jiman told me that it was possible because of his unique skill.
“Thanks to the additional effect I got, I was able to give instructions to animals. Though, it couldn’t be a complicated one.”
“Let’s go, I want to see.”
“Follow me.” Jiman smiled.
We were keeping a herd of wild boar in a dedicated cage. The purpose was obvious: To obtain a stable meat supply. Thanks to Jiman’s unique skill, the wild boar cub grew up quickly and did not run away. Management was a problem, but the diligent Jiman took care of it. According to Geom-in, Jiman’s daily life started with working and ended with working. Even when he told him to take a break, he said he’s fine and just keeps working.
The cage door creaked open and all of the wild boar turned towards Jiman. He walked inside and carefully brushed each one of them. I think they really like that brushing since their squeaking sound was getting louder the longer Jiman brushed them.
“Go out and eat well. Do be careful because there are many maned wolves in the forest these days.”
It was really strange to see the wild boars answering him in unison. When the barbed wire and the barriers were opened, the guys stampeded out. They would spend all day in the forest and return in the evening.
After closing the barrier, Dingo and Dingsoon came running towards us while panting. Behind the two guys were the chaotic sixtuplets. They looked extremely cute because they were smaller than the size of Dingo when I first found him.
Jiman turned around and sported a warm smile at the family. He went down to his knees and let the sixtuplets jump into his arms.
“Hey buddy, hey buddy… Is that so? Aigoo stop waving your tail, you’ll fly.”
It couldn’t be more peaceful than this.
I went around the garden and harvested some ready buff crops.
When I checked the wooden bulletin board, I saw the schedules of others. Seokhyun and Da-jeong were on the 6th floor of the Great Labyrinth, Geom-in and Jiman were doing some shelter management, and the rest were monster hunting.
The schedule wasn’t something that was set as a rule by someone. Everyone just decided what they were going to do everyday.
I wrote that I’m going to visit the Korean Shelter in my name column. I was going there because I had something to receive from Jang Won-taek. But I was worried about some of the bulletin board comments.
-I looked at the Auction House and it seems that there has been an infighting in the Korea Shelter these days. Be careful. -Yoohyeon.
-There’s a lot of factions created, and they were somehow at odds with the President. -Yeowool
-Someone brought ecstasy to the Korean Shelter. But what does it taste like, really? – Mikyung
– They say it feels awesome when you’re having sex. – A cool older sister.
That fucking ectasy. I’ve told them several times not to even pay the slightest attention to it, but it seemed like I couldn’t stop their curiosity. I picked up the pen beside me and wrote the contents under Da-jeong’s comment.
-Those who use ecstasy will be kicked out of the shelter, so don’t even think about it. -Seongho.
Drugs make society sick. It was not for nothing that many countries designated drugs as illegal goods. The moment we think that it will be okay because our body is strong, drugs will lead us to ruin. It’s best to just not even care.
“Well, even if I say it like this, it’s a bit difficult to just expel them like that.”
Everyone was in a good relationship with each other, so if one of them were to be kicked out, the atmosphere would definitely change for the worse. For me, I had no choice but to hope that everyone made the right choice.
They’re not kids, so I hope they will do just fine.
As I was about to go to the workshop and watch the scarabs and stag beetles come out of the house, the sun suddenly shone on the shelter.
More and more people are waking up.
Breakfast at the shelter begins as soon as everyone gets together. Of course, each person had a different morning habit, but no one actually skipped it. After all, the shelter job was quite arduous. Even just walking around leisurely consumes quite a few calories, so if they want to tend the garden or even hunt, breakfast is a must. Even the one with the smallest body, Yeowool, ate three meals a day, and two bowls of food were common at each meal. Yet, she is still not gaining weight.
The ones who were on today’s dinner duty were Sooyeon and Yoohyeon. They rolled up their sleeves and started trimming the ingredients while I sneakily helped out.
Normally, the three stagnant water, including myself, were exempt from dinner preparation duty. But since I was free today, I thought I should help. Without waiting too long, seaweed soup simmered in a pot stuck in the brazier, and hot steam puffed out from the other pot.
When the meal was ready, we all sat down together. Seokhyun’s head was fuzzy as it had not been 10 seconds since he woke up. Meanwhile, Da-jeong blankly pressed his chin to my shoulder while occasionally pinching my thighs.
It seemed like he’s asking ‘why did you run away in the morning?’
Well, men didn’t always want to do the deed.
I handed out the dishes and asked the two of them.
“How far did you guys go on the 6th floor? You didn’t write it on the bulletin board.”
Da-jeong took the bowl and said, “There was a doppelganger room on the way to the 7th floor.”
“Yeah. It feels disgusting to see 2 RaPwi. So I just left.”
Well, seeing two humans who were neither rabbits nor princesses naked was indeed unpleasant. It even makes me shiver when I only imagine it.
Seokhyun said cheerfully, “Actually, we ran away. He’s very strong.”
“He has the same abilities as him.”
Well, that was the trademark of doppelgangers. They copy the appearance and abilities of other beings that approach them. They copy it to the point of almost identical, you can’t tell the difference until they begin to talk.
Anyway, listening to the two of them, it seemed that Seokhyun had traded a few hits with his doppelganger.
“Because the stats are the same, the fight is quite good.”
“Have you tried using firearms?”
Da-jeong sighed and opened her mouth. “I tried using the grenade launcher you gave me, but the fake rapwi just swatted the bullets away.”
Rapwi’s stats have increased tremendously due to the additional effect of body reconstruction. It’s even higher than me with all kinds of buffs activated. With that kind of stats, swatting grenades should not be the limit. He is probably able to dodge rockets too.
What a monstrous pervert.
The swordsman who had been listening asked.
“Can’t Seongho go alone and open the portal there?”
If it’s that easy, we don’t have to worry like this.
“On the 7th floor, there’s a containment layer.”
On the 7th floor, all abilities except our raw stats were blocked. It means that we have to break through the floor with pure physical strength. The same goes for monsters, but it was especially a disadvantage for me who uses the portal as means for defending and attacking.
That layer would be the first one among various layers scattered all the way down.
“Next time, use a rocket. You can kill Da-jeong first and then kill him.”
Da-jeong chewed her chopsticks at my remarks.
“Why did I feel like you’re referring to me?”
“I’m talking about the fake one.”
“Why do I feel the urge to hold you in a cage, I wonder?”
“Just what kind of cage can contain me?”
“Right?” she smiled broadly.
“Anyway, you two have worked hard. Since we can’t go to the 8th floor, the 7th floor will be the last.”
“How about you? What will you do?”
“I will go to the Korean Shelter. Let’s go together, Mikyung.”
From the rumor, it seemed like the Korean Shelter is a dangerous place these days, so it would be nice to have her blink to shorten the distance.
The talk ends here.
The meal started, and I scooped out the rice and soup and plunged it into my mouth. We are the only ones in the world who can afford such luxury.
Seaweed soup was indeed delicious.
Leaving the Great Labyrinth requires considerable effort. After all, there were so many people at the entrance. It would not be an exaggeration to say that all the surrounding buildings were filled with people. However, since there’s a totem erected around the entrance, no monster raid happened,
Seongho came out of the Great Labyrinth and instantly made everyone turn their head towards him. Then, he unexpectedly met two people. It was the very same people who split off from the gym group back in Busan. Their names were now vague to him, though.
“Seongho, how are you? Did you…”
Seongho only remembered the names of the two then. It was Lee Kyunghoon and Kim Bora.
“Ah… yes. Long time no see. Looks like you two also came to Seoul.”
Seongho’s words were devoid of any sincerity. It was because he had argued with them a few months ago, and now he had no feelings left regarding them.
Kyunghoon and Bora were also not expecting much. Once they returned to their camp after the brief greeting, the way people looked at the two of them changed. Just being an acquaintance with I Love Gimbap changed the power structure of the refugee camp.
When people proposed a party to the two of them, Seongho went somewhere else and took out his motorcycle.
Seongho opened the portal and called her. In a second, she jumped out.
“It’s a motorcycle… Are you going to ride it?”
“You said you wanted to ride it, did you not? Let’s go.”
She quickly got onto the back seat and wrapped her arms around Seongho’s waist. At that moment, she felt the Seongho’s fat-free waist and admired it.
“Oppa, you have lost a lot of weight.”
“Well, the past me can be considered fat, right?”
“It’s not that much…”
“It’s still fat.”
Compared to me, Mikyung’s body hadn’t changed at all. Her signature short hair was the same, and her white milky skin was also still the same. When Seongho pulled the rev, the 650cc motorcycle vigorously ran down the airport road.
Mikyung smiled pleasantly as her short hair was blown in the wind. The monster saw the two and started running with a roar. Meanwhile, they could see there’s a ghoul flower with holes in its body right in the middle of the road.
The world had totally turned into a magical world, and the smiles on people’s faces were gone. But Mikyung was still able to laugh. After all, there’s someone as strong as Seongho in front of her.
She clings to Seongho’s back and suddenly shouts.
“Oppa, should I grow my hair?”
“Why all of a sudden?”
“You’re pretty as it is now, so why!”
Mikyung, who heard Seongho’s answer, tightened her grip on his waist without replying back.
Then suddenly, something casted a shadow at them from the sky. The moment Mikyung looked to the sky above, her face hardened.
“Op-oppa!! It’s a gryphon! A gryphon!”
“Yeah, I saw it.” When the shadow turned to another direction, Seongho also entered a different path.
Gryphons had appeared. It probably had nested on the high place nearby. Now they were scouting around to find places with plenty of prey.
Seongho deliberately followed the shadow of the gryphon and pulled the accelerator.
“Oppa, the shadow is getting bigger! It’s coming!” Mikyung said, voice trembling.
Then, there was a sound of wind. Seongho sharply bent the motorcycle handle to dodge the attack.
The motorcycle slid and a giant Gryphon struck the place they were at just a moment ago. The guy sticks out his thick claws and then sprints back to the sky.
Seongho opened a dimension slot and pulled out a gun.
“Follow me, you bastard!”
The gryphon, which was on its way back to the sky, was not seriously injured by the shot. However, it was enraged.
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