Stagnant Water of Apocalypse - Chapter 200
Just because all the Ghoul Flowers exploded in one stroke doesn’t mean the monsters’ situation became better. Afterall, from the remains of the flowers, enhanced ghouls would rise. Among them, there’s this one type of enhanced ghoul, which we called a crying ghoul.
These guys take on a human form just like any other ghouls. However, the most striking difference between them was that the crying ghoul was impossible to tell apart from normal humans. In most cases, they would pretend to be a naked, crying women. And when someone took it to their hideout out of pity, that’s when their nightmares begin.
“There was nothing like this back in the game. Because it’s easy to tell which ones are players, and which ones are the crying ghouls…” On top of it, as there are so few players in the game, it was rare for players to get confused.
“But in reality, it would be hard to tell them apart.”
“It is able to mimic human speech, albeit just a little. However, it’s still hard for people to get suspicious of them, as basic human instinct would just think that they have a mental disorder or something.”
Surprised by the information, Jang Won-taek, Lee Beom-seok, and Lee Sang-shin showed troubled expressions as they heard my words.
Wait, Soup Lover, why are you surprised too?
“You watched a lot of my livestream, didn’t you?” I asked him.
“Well, you know… I often sleep with your stream on. Your voice is moderately heavy and you don’t make a lot of annoyingly loud noises, so it acts as a lullaby that helps me sleep very effectively.”
His words hurt me a bit. But in fact, I know that a lot of my viewers were like him. Poor Man was the only person who faithfully watched my livestream from the start to the end.
“Anyway, the crying ghouls do not imitate women all the time. They also imitate injured men and children. They take their clothes and pretend that they are also a survivor. From now on, no outsiders should be allowed to enter. Especially an outsider who is alone.”
Jang Won-taek looked at the draft made by Geom-in and shook his head. “There is a lot of content that is not in the strategy book.”
“It’s because Geom-in can’t write down every situation. Moreover, it’s not important in the game, so he probably didn’t care.”
Other than crying ghouls, there’s a lot of other enhanced ghoul types, such as the screamers that… Well, screams and gather all the nearby zombies and ghouls towards it. Then, there’s the ambushers, whose hunting modus was for it to jump its prey suddenly after stalking it with its stealth ability. There’s also those who have the ability that resemble doppelgangers from myths.
Amidst the diversity, however, all of these enhanced ghouls have one countermeasure. It was to just completely reject outsiders that want to get into your shelter. In terms of attack power, they weren’t that great. The strength of a level 20 survivor was enough to deal with them. Though they were still dangerous for a non-combatant, it could be easily solved by getting help from people around them.
Jang Won-taek folded his arms and fell into thought.
“By the way, Seongho-ssi… did you hear? Americans had appeared in Gangnam and Songpa areas.”
“I know that they appear from the portal of Yatap Station.” He took the paper from Lee Beom-seok and handed it to me. He knew that we weren’t on good terms, so it was certain that he did that on purpose.
When I looked at the paper, the contents were quite serious. They were a bunch of crazy rednecks armed with guns.
Jang Won-taek gave an ambiguous explanation. “Most Americans who came to Korea this time are from Phoenix, Texas. The group consisted of mostly survivalists and preppers, who were actively preparing for the apocalypse. They built their own personal blast furnace, made their own guns and also made their own bullets as soon as the apocalypse happened thanks to the guidance of that ‘person’.”
(E/n Preppers = people who believe in the survivalism mindset, who proactively prepares for all kinds of emergencies that might happen within their lifetime (ex. Apocalypse, economic crises, virus outbreak, etc.))
“That person? Who?”
“We do not know. At first, I thought it might be just some random survivor, but their story is a bit… They say if you believe in it, it will give you eternal life or something…”
He seemed to be talking about the monster that was buried in the deepest part of the Great Labyrinth. Their modus operandi matched with what I heard. Which means, it confirmed that programmer Ahn Geun-seok could go to the other servers.
If we want to go to other servers, we have to go through the first floor of the Great Labyrinth, but it seemed like he had another way.
Jang Won-taek hesitated and asked. “I think Seongho knows something… Am I right?”
“I have a guess. But it wasn’t something that I can talk about here.”
“Looks like we need to gather more information. Do you have anything we need to work on?”
It’s convenient that he came out like this. Jang Won-taek seems to have decided to fully help me after going through the last predicament.
“First of all, we need detailed information about the Americans in Gangnam-gu and Songpa-gu. Their size, firepower, and even the Battle Royale battlefield information around the area. Moreover, Sangshin…”
Sangshin, who had been sleeping soundly, suddenly woke up.
“What, what? What about me?”
“Go around the area and get some information.”
“Can’t we just use the drone or a paper airplane to do that?” He asked.
“There are things we can’t get with that since our opponents are humans. Just slightly probe them and see their reaction.”
Sangshin was the only person here except for me who has the ability to fly. Which meant, a messed up road was no hindrance to him. Now that I think about it, telekinesis was a really good unique skill.
“Ugh… that’s a pain in the ass.”
“I’ve been feeding you a lot of soup, so shouldn’t you finally pay the tab?”
“Okay, okay… but I want to eat beef head soup next time.”
“Just where can we find cows in the current world?”
“If you go to Hoengseong, wouldn’t there be wild cows there?”
“Do you think the monsters would be stupid enough to just let some free food wander around?”
Sangshin grunted and tried to get out. However, I grabbed him and handed him some items.
Jang Won-taek and Lee Beom-seok’s eyes widened at that moment.
“The options are awesome… Where did you get this?”
“It’s not me, but Geom-in who got it. You know that he went through a hard time lately.”
“Ah, that’s where he got it, huh? This is my first time seeing all-stat items.”
“It’s my first time too.” The number of times I saw an all-stats option from an item could be counted in one hand while playing for 5,500 hours.
“It’s a great item, the stats are also good. I’ll go say my thanks to Geom-in later.” Sangshin blushed and wore the bracelet.
As he disappeared, Jang Won-taek said cautiously.
“It seems that many things are still happening inside Seongho’s portal. Haha.”
“Well, yes. By the way, this is the lunch box Jiman packed for you…”
I took out two lunch boxes from the dimension slot and placed them on the table. Jang Won-taek quickly opened the lid and his expression quickly changed.
“Jiman carefully prepared it for you. He said it was especially made for you who are having a hard time.”
“Hahahaha…” A delightful laugh escaped his lips. He probably didn’t expect that there would be people who think about him like that. I bet that my thoughts were correct as I could see the edge of his eyes become red.
His wrinkled hands wrapped around the lunch box.
“Tell him that I will eat it well. This looks like a flatfish… it’s been a long time…”
“It is a species called sand flounder. It tastes much better than flatfish from our sea.”
It was also bigger than the normal flatfish. The one served in Jang Won-taek’s lunch box easily surpassed 5kg.
Once all things were done, I said goodbye to both of them and left the meeting room.
As commanded, Lee Sangshin trod around the shopping street in Jamsil. Although numerous buildings were swallowed by the ground due to the massive earthquake, quite a lot of them had remained standing. Those very buildings were where the rednecks stationed themselves.
“Aren’t they just nothing but lunatics?” Lee Sangshin muttered at the sight of the Americans. After all, they all carried guns that looked like they were handmade, and often just fired it into the air for no reason. It’s questionable whether their act was driven by the ecstasy from the ghoul flowers or if it’s the influence of something else.
‘It’s strange… Why are there no monsters here?’ It was common sense that the more people concentrated in one area, the more monsters would flocked into them. However, there were no monsters around the shopping street at all. He thought that there’s a possibility that they were using the totem. However, he quickly denied it, as even the improved version could only repel zombies and normal ghouls.
‘They are really suspicious.’
Rumors from the Auction House said that the Americans came here through a portal opened in Texas. Though, it was a mystery why they came to Korea, instead of staying in their home country in the first place.
‘SInce some of them are prepper, wouldn’t they have a good chunk of supplies at their place?’
Prepper. They were people who thoroughly prepared for their survival in case something happened. Although their presence was weak in Korea, they were a well-known group in the United States. There were quite a lot of people who turned their basements into shelters and seriously studied food preservation.
(E/n oh they explained it here)
‘Now that I think about it, Seongho also can be considered as a Prepper.’
Back to the Americans, Sangshin thought It was natural for them to come to Korea if something happened in their country. But he still couldn’t understand what makes them able to feel so carefree, making a lot of noises, running around like idiots, without being afraid of monsters or sorts.
Did they want to attract all the surrounding monsters?
‘Maybe they have some strange special abilities…’ After all, the amount of strange abilities out there was as many as stars in the universe.
Then a paper plane flew over the shopping mall. Sangshin was currently pretty close with all the shelter members, so he could easily tell if it’s Yoohyeon or Yeowool who piloted it. If the movement is drastic, it was Yeowool who piloted it.
‘She should have been born as a man.’
While observing from close range was important, it was still uncomparable to scanning through a paper airplane. After all, it’s a drone with an infinite battery that never breaks down.
When Sangshin kept observing from a roof, his surroundings suddenly became noisy. He noticed that a few rednecks had come up to the roof of the building across from him and shot their guns at the paper airplane.
Black smoke coming out from the muzzle. The paper plane hurriedly ascended into the sky to avoid the gunfire, but it crashed before long.
“They really have a bad personality.” In fact, it was only natural for them to do so since they knew that someone was spying on their shelter.
Sangshin glanced through a telescope at a man who was making a loud noise and giving instructions.
‘Is he the leader? Wow, that guy’s big.’
The man was more muscular than Seongho. He was wearing sunglasses and a cowboy hat, and he was constantly chanting something nervously.
Then he looked exactly where Sangshin was.
Sangshin was frightened and took his eyes off the telescope, but unfortunately, things didn’t end there.
“A rat! Shoot him!”
Immediately, bullets started raining on the roof where Sangshin was. Since it was shot from a handmade gun, the accuracy was far from perfect. However, it still did its job to scare Sangshin away.
Sangshin immediately jumped down. Splinters of concrete around him flew to the air.. Sangshin’s eyes widened as he glanced back. From a distance, someone held a rocket-like thing on his shoulder and aimed at him.
“Those crazy yankees!”
Without paying his scream any heed, the rockets flew and blitzed towards him.
Sangshin hurriedly jumped down.
Even though his body was unharmed, some of the shards hit his foot. Hurriedly, he hid in his alley, and gunfire from the rednecks poured out.
It didn’t seem like things would be resolved easily.
Strange rumors circulated around the Auction House. It was a dark rumor that said that if someone go to Gangnam and Songpa, they could have sex for free.
Everyone thought it was bullshit, but one or two people who had nothing to do actually bought it and went there.
-That white woman’s ass is no joke!
-Did you really do it with the white people? How did you become friends?
-They said it was their first time in Korea, so they asked where they were and I got to know them that way. After that we do it right away!
All sorts of gossip went around. In the apocalypse, men had no risk whatsoever to sex. But it was different for women. Avoiding the worst risk of pregnancy, most women were very conservative about sex. Of course, there were exceptions like Seongho and Da-jeong.
Thanks to that, most male survivors were dying to do it. So, when an open-minded white woman appeared, a lot of men thought that she was an angel of salvation. Some people were excited and eager to go to the Gangnam area immediately.
This is iffy… If it’s in the Songpa area of Gangnam, it’s the area where Sangshin was attacked. It was a place where more than 100 rednecks were stationed, so it was concerning that a woman appeared there alone.
“This sounds like a sex propaganda…” I muttered. Sex could be said to be a very effective weapon for male survivors. After all, in the apocalypse, women were a rarity, which made a lot of men couldn’t find a mate. Of course, the relationship between men and women was not only made up of sex, but it cannot be denied that was one of the most important reason.
“It’s just a bait for now, and I’m sure they have a way to attract them all at once…”
From what I’ve heard, the rednecks also have quite a bit of food. So, it wouldn’t be strange if the survivors who eat shop bread everyday and drink purified river water fell into that temptation.
“There’s a guy called Ahn Geun-seok behind him.” And behind him was probably the monster dwelling on the deepest part of the Great Labyrinth. I don’t know what their ultimate purpose was, but one thing was certain. It was to seduce people.
At first, it was just hiding somewhere and experimenting with humans and monsters, but now they have decided to come to the light and do their activities openly.
“They are a tough enemy.” It’s a conclusion I drew since I still couldn’t see the end of their ability. Bringing more than 100 American rednecks to Korea was a hard endeavor if done in a normal way.
On the Americans’ side, they were nothing but a rag-tag bunch in my eyes, but their guns and rockets were concerning. The battlefield around them were also still present, so if he approached them prematurely, one of the resurrection spells he got would be used in vain.
“But if I do nothing like this, they will attract more and more people who are hungry for sex.” If you think about it rationally, you know it’s dangerous, but men were creatures who most of the time let their instinct talk.
What should I do here…
The stats and unique skill would be limited if I go there, so infiltrating inside was as hard as picking a star in the sky.
I rummaged through the backpack Geom-in gave me and pulled out my cloak.
「Leather cloak: motionless movement, stealth」
With this, I would be able to move freely without leaving any traces. I couldn’t use it in various ways because there was no additional effect, but this was enough for me.
I put the cloak on and looked up to see only the wallpaper in the mirror. No matter how much I moved, I couldn’t even feel my presence.
“I just have to be careful.”
I put the gear in my backpack and got ready.
It’s time to infiltrate the redneck shelter.
* * This translation was hosted by Nocturne Translation * * *
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