Stagnant Water of Apocalypse - Chapter 205
Ahn Geun-seok opened his eyes. He couldn’t breathe, but thanks to his body modification which enabled him to breathe through his skin, he felt okay.
“Dammit.” Ahn Geun-seok cursed while he struggled to get up. His body, which was attacked by an anti-tank missile, had not fully recovered. His skin didn’t form yet, revealing the muscles and rattling bones in his elbows and knees.
But he was alive. In exchange for fusing with a monster that boasts tremendous vitality, he had transcended human limits. It was by no means voluntary, but it was an unavoidable thing since he had come this far.
He got out of the bathtub and snatched the clothes from the waiting secretary’s hand. He had already become something beyond a normal human, but clothes still held some sentiment to him. After all, it was the only thing that made him feel humane after throwing away his humanity.
He glanced at his secretary, Go Ho-kyung.
“Are you angry?”
“I’m not. Rather, I felt it was a waste. Didn’t you tell me we could proceed a little more leisurely, before?”
Ahn Geun-seok’s lips twisted strangely.
‘Worships the God.’ they said.
However, the existence he saw in the Labyrinth’s deepest part was absolutely not a God. It was nothing more than a monster with an uncontrollable greed.
“..,I don’t have time. That guy has already acquired a griffon. Any time soon, he will explore the Lotus Continent.”
“Even if he searches all over the Lotus Continent, he won’t be able to find a way to deal with ‘Him’.”
“There is nothing absolute in the world… By the way, has Hyunsu returned yet?”
“He’s a little hurt, so he’s currently resting.”
“Tell him to come in here. Even if he doesn’t feel good because I already used it, tell him that it works great.”
“I will tell him.”
Ahn Geun-seok’s gaze turned to the root in the corner of the room. It was unbelievably thick for a root of a tree. From it, a sap was flowing and seeped into the spring. It was similar to the spring near Seongho’s base. The difference was, the one here was forcibly made. Thanks to that, Ahn Geun-seok’s subordinates all enjoyed the privilege of being resurrected without a resurrection scroll.
As Ahn Geun-seok went out into the hallway, Go Ho-kyung followed closely behind him. The 14th floor of the Great Labyrinth where they were located was a very mysterious place, as it was covered with living tissue and mucus. The two, who were once human, never got used to this atmosphere.
Ahn Geun-seok, who was taking the lead, opened his mouth.
“By the way, that guy… He has more than one portal. He, at the very least, has two.”
“Are you saying he could have three? ‘That person’ will be very delighted to hear that.”
“I’m finding out their abilities one by one, but it’s not enough… I want to find out about it all at once, is there any way?”
“How about using those who are on the 13th floor?”
Ahn Geun-seok stopped walking at his secretary’s words. On the 13th floor, there were beings which were raised by the owner of the Great Labyrinth with great care. They were once human, but now they had become something between a human and a monster. They were burning with endless hatred and anger towards the owner and Ahn Geun-seok who had brought them here.
Ahn Geun-seok shook his head.
“It won’t be hard to beat that bastard using them… But can we control them?”
Instead of answering, Go Ho-kyung pulled something out of her pocket. It was a ring with an aether stone embedded in its center.
“The domination unique skill is imprinted on this ring. The effect is absolute as ‘that person’ made it himself.”
“… Forget it. It’s too early to use them.”
“Didn’t you say you don’t have time?”
“I mean, even with that in mind, if we send out an incomplete guy and it goes berserk, Seongho will be the only one who benefits from it.”
Thanks to the fusion with monsters, if someone died, their skill could be taken away. This system was absolute that even the monster in the deepest layer of the labyrinth could not resist.
Then, Go Ho-kyung said,
“Then why don’t you try to take the Chinese under you? Their level is not very high, but their sheer numbers are outstanding.”
At last, color returned to Ahn Geun-seok’s face.
“They didn’t get along with Seongho, didn’t they?”
“More than 300 Chinese died in his hands. They promised that if they caught him, they would gut him alive.”
Ahn Geun-seok laughed at the statement, but it was clear that they held immense hatred and anger towards Seongho. Which means, they were good material.
“Test them before you use them. Who is their leader?”
“His name is Zhao Ziwei. A 33-year-old former gymnast. His unique skill is assumed to be acceleration.”
“Tell him that we will give him strength. If we also make some of his subordinates stronger, they’ll take care of him for us.”
“I will proceed with that plan, then.”
Go Ho-kyung disappeared after saying those words, and Ahn Geun-seok ignited his anger against Seongho.
“Not only did he make me consume a resurrection scroll, he also made me use the Spring….”
He wanted to see what Seongho looked like after he finished turning him.
He really wanted to see it.
I don’t know much about Texas. All I knew was a vague image of a vast land where cowboys herd their hundreds of cattle.
But James laughed out loud when I told him so.
“Everything in Texas is big. Land, guns, food, and women’s breasts.”
“I like the last one the most.”
“There is a saying that there is no such thing as too big for breasts. The bigger, the better.”
“That’s a bit…”
James and Sangshin were constantly chatting with each other while we broke through the Great Labyrinth.
Paige looked at his dad.
“It’s good to believe half of what the Texans say. But even better if you don’t believe it at all.”
From what she said, I realized that Texans have a tendency to brag.
As we broke through the Great Labyrinth, I couldn’t help but want to say something because I was bored.
“By the way, when we came here before, the Great Labyrinth wasn’t this quiet… Why is it like this, now?”
“Oh, it is because of him.” Sangshin pointed at me.
“Why? Are you saying that monsters are afraid of Mr. Kang?”
“All monsters around here have been smashed by him, so they won’t regenerate for the time being. Though, once we arrive at the open entrance in Texas, it will be crowded.”
“Oh my gosh…”
Paige looked shocked. It seemed that as her stay in Korea was a short one, she hadn’t heard of my notoriety just yet.
James nodded his head.
“Mr. Kang is a real man compared to Terrence, whose brain is full of muscle.”
He said it, of course, for Paige to hear.
To my surprise, she raised her middle finger towards her dad.
“I decide on my man. Terrence was an idiot, but he has great muscle.”
“So where is he now?”
Paige glanced at me and folded her arms.
“I think Mr. Kang is okay too. His muscles are great too.”
It became clear to me that she was the kind of girl who will fall for others easily. James looked back and grinned.
“It’s a pity that Mr. Kang already has an owner.”
“Uh… do you really have an owner?”
“Choi Da-jeong is a very nice woman.”
“Are her breasts big?”
Don’t people usually ask whether she’s pretty or not first?
When Lee Sangshin intervened and told her that she was a very scary woman, she shuddered and left. Then, she crossed her arms.
“Then, I’m fine with you.”
“Uh, I don’t have much muscle…”
“You can just build it in the future. Though, I don’t care because you are strong.”
“Shh, we have arrived.”
We approached the portal as we dealt with the monsters coming in. When we went outside, I saw a street encroached on by the ecosystem of Lotus.
“This is Crosby County, in the northeast of Houston. Our ranch is about 30 kilometers to the east from here.”
We had to go 30 kilometers from here? In this state of situation?
As I looked around, the area called Crosby reflected my preconceived notions of Texas. I mean, how can there be no mountains at all? At the end of my field of view, there was a horizon, which was a very hard sight to find in Korea. Dilapidated wooden houses and grass rolling in the wind added to the desolateness.
We entered a nearby wooden house and hid. The first thing to do was to scout the surroundings. When I opened the dimensional warehouse, James and Paige opened their mouths wide.
“Wow. What kind of door is that big?”
“It’s a little bigger than Texas!”
To bring a herd of cattle, the cooperation of James and Paige were essential. Therefore, I needed to open up to them about my abilities.
James stroked his beard and opened her mouth.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a psyker with a spatial ability. Everyone around me mostly had shooting ability or horse riding ability.”
“Do you call superhumans a psyker?”
“It’s the title that we used since they can use superpowers.”
Paige asked me.
“Can anyone enter this portal?”
“No one else can get in except me.”
“Wow, that’s incredibly selfish.”
This girl was so straightforward.
Anyway, the daughter hovered around the portal for quite some time, but she didn’t show more interest. Probably because she didn’t know what’s inside.
I went inside and got my drone and my laptop out. After a while, the drone flew and showed us the surroundings on the laptop screen.
We got together and watched the video.
“Looking from the sky, this is a real mess. I can’t tell if that place is a forest or a city.”
“Where is your house?”
“You can’t see it with this drone. It’s too far away.”
Paige said with a disappointed face, and I continued to move the drone to look around. Before long, we found a group of humans and a huge herd of cattle.
“Take the drone down. If we get close, we can know whether it’s mine or not.”
As I lowered the drone, he shouted loudly, “My cow!”
“Angus! That’s Angus, the leader of the pack! He was still alive!”
He seemed to be referring to a large black cow running away at the front. A herd of at least 200 cows were running behind it.
From the herd’s back, people were shooting arrows, but they missed every time.
“Ah… this won’t do!” James lamented. “That’s my cattle!”
“But it’s been a few months, hasn’t your ownership been revoked? There is nothing that you can use to prove it.”
“I can prove it by force, can’t I?”
James glanced at me.
But there was no need to fight the group of humans since there were 200 cows. We should just divide it evenly.
I told James.
“Before we get the cows, I want to set the allocation in advance.”
“My portion is 4, and Mr. Kang is 6. How about it?”
Not a bad suggestion.
“By the way, can I donate some of your cattle to the Korea shelter?”
“Of course. We have nowhere to put it anyway.”
It seemed that the father and daughter duo had decided to settle down in Korea, not Texas.
“Good. So let’s catch them. Please wait here.”
I opened the portal and entered the shelter. Jiman instantly greeted me with twinkling eyes as soon as I crossed over.
“Hyung, didn’t you say there were cows?”
“I just checked it, and there were probably 200 out there. I decided to take six.”
“If we raise them in this forest, they will be fine. There aren’t many monsters here anymore.”
The number of monsters around our area had decreased significantly thanks to the hard work of the shelter members. It’s a bit difficult to leave them completely in the forest for the time being, but it should be okay to just raise them inside the shelter fence.
I took Jiman and moved to the site on the forest side
“For the time being, I will use this place as their barn. With your ability, they can look for food themselves, right?”
“Yes, I can instruct them to go out in the morning, fill their stomach, and come back in the evening.”
There’s also a lot of grain for their food in the dimensional warehouse, so we could use it if it was really necessary.
Putting an end to the discussion, I took two motorcycles and Jiman with me. Before we went out, I stopped by the bulletin board to check the status of Seokhyun’s team.
Jiman stood next to me and explained.
“They have now arrived in the Ruat Kingdom. They said that the landscape was similar to that Chichén Itzá.”
“It is a relic of the Mayan civilization. They are Pyramids, but they lie in the jungle.”
Ah that… If I remember correctly, I saw it in a textbook once. Anyway, Jiman also told me that the nickname Chichen Itza was given by Seokhyun. Just like in the museum before, he seemed to know a lot about history.
“They also said that they met stag beetles’ kin there.”
Those temperamental and cold stag beetles’ kin?
However, Jiman explained that their kin didn’t look like stag beetles at all.
“The stag beetle that came with them drew a forest warrior with a stag beetle tattooed on their body. Those are the people who showed up.”
“Yes. You can check it out at the Auction House, Hyung.”
I opened the Auction House and checked the comments.
-Hey idiot, stop hitting people out of nowhere like that!
-Fists are a great way to communicate.
-I mean, when I throw a fist at the wary elves, doesn’t that mean we’re having a conversation?
-Shit… Seongho, if you see this, call us! Just now, Seokhyun hit an elf and caused a big accident!
They had arrived at the ruins, but a clash with the elves who were stationed there happened. It was said that the elves fired some arrows at them, but Seokhyun ignored them all and knocked them down.
I typed a comment hastily.
-Where did the elves go?
After a while, the Geom-in’s comment came up.
-It’s Geom-in. The elves ran away.
-Is that possible? Last time I checked, Seokhyun’s Perception stat was high…
-Don’t be surprised. The stag beetle told us that the elves have a great stealth ability. They are just like a chameleon.
-All of them?
-Yeah. That’s the nature of the elves living in the forest. Elves living in desert areas are different.
Anyway, the disaster was entirely Seokhyun’s fault. Those elves were people who could be helpful to us, but since he had thrown his fists at them, it would be difficult to procure their help.
At that time, Seokhyun broke into the comment section.
-I didn’t do anything wrong.
-Didn’t you hit them?
-Their stares are annoying. They keep staring at us with hostile gazes. Should I really leave those kinds of people alone?
If that’s the case, the story was a bit different. There’s no reason to not attack first when the other party is openly expressing their hatred. Had I been there, I would have attacked first too.
-If that’s the case, then well done. So, have you checked their location?
-Yeah. They live in a big tree in the forest. We are trying to go there now.
-Wait a minute, wait a minute. Let me organize my thoughts first.
I took my eyes off the Auction House and organized my thoughts. There’s no need to further escalate the accident. I wanted to put an end to it now if possible, but I didn’t know what the other side would think.
Should we send stag beetles as goodwill ambassadors there?
I called Da-jeong at that moment.
-What’s Chief Stag Beetle doing now?
-He’s currently biting Seokhyun’s ear.
Looked like he’s furious. Well, it’s natural to be angry when you see someone punch your kin.
-Calm him and ask him to let his ear go. If there’s something the elves like, please let me know.
-Are you trying to reconcile with them?
-I think it’s probably a misunderstanding. There’s no reason for them to hate us the first time they saw us, right?
-After listening to the stag beetle, it is clear that something bad happened with the Ruat Kingdom in the past.
-So, let’s find out a little bit about that. Conflicts should be avoided as much as possible.
-It’s so weird to hear you saying something like that.
-You go there to get information. What should we do if our only prospective source of information refuses to talk?
-Okay, Okay. I’ll talk to the stag beetle, so wait.
-I’m in Texas, America right now. I’m pretty busy with cattle. So, take care of the work there well.
-BEEF!!!!! I like beef!
-It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten beef.
-That’s why… Let’s do it well.
The three of them answered simultaneously with beef as the bait.
Taking care of them was like taking care of a little child.