Stagnant Water of Apocalypse - Chapter 219
Even though I confidently went sailing, all I knew about the sea was that the water was salty. So, it was entirely up to the scarabs on board to decide where to steer the boat. The three scarabs consulted with each other and combined all related factors, such as ocean currents and winds in order to decide the correct direction to go. I was literally just here to act as a machine that turned the steering wheel.
“It’s fine, though…”
The voyage was not that bad, perhaps because of the safety net that gives me a certain feeling of safety, the safety net called the dimension gate. No fear of death crept into me, so everything felt romantic and relaxing. The wind that was mixed with a fishy smell, the occasional waves that seemed to be able to swallow the boat, and the sea monsters chasing after me seemed okay in my head.
“What the hell is that? It looks like a turtle…”
It’s the first time I see a sea monster. It’s called Dragon Turtle, and it looked like a mixture of a turtle and a drake.
The guy spotted the boat and quickly chased after it. It spewed strong water streams from its snout that pierced even the huge and strong waves. Fortunately, the range wasn’t that long. With only a quick spin of the boat wheel, I could avoid it.
“Don’t misunderstand, you fuck. I’m not running away because I’m afraid of you!” Well, the truth is, I did run away because I was afraid. After all, fighting a monster that boasts the same size as a boat in the middle of the sea was equivalent to seeking death.
Suddenly, I received an unexpected note. Written on it was a notice that told me Ahn Geun-seok was calling me at the auction house. I went in to see what he was up to, and left a comment.
-What is this? Do you want to have an open audience?
-I’m a developer. Making this auction item only visible to you is nothing hard. The most I need to do is tweak the system a little bit.
I wondered if what he said was real, so I asked someone regarding the auctioned item, and they said they couldn’t see it. So it was some kind of a secret room.
Anyway, I wondered why Ahn Geun-seok wanted to talk. I bet it wouldn’t be about him surrendering.
-How do you feel about being alive after being in a state of neither dying nor living?
-It’s not too bad. I mean, at the end of the day, I survived, didn’t I?
Oh? This guy is surprisingly gentle?
Could it be that he had a change of heart after his death?
-For reference, I let you go not because you are pretty.
-It’s probably because of the conversation, isn’t it?
He’s pretty quick-witted.
-I’m just afraid that Giudecca, that bastard, would make something even worse If it lost you.
-Haha…that’s right. My master loves me very much.
-Your self-praise really knows no bounds.
-It’s not self-praise… I’ll correct it. He doesn’t care about me, he just loves us. Our humanity.
-Has Giudecca suddenly awakened the feeling of love for humanity? Stop talking nonsense.
-Have you heard of the word ‘purebred’?
-Go Ho-kyung had mentioned it several times. But what exactly does it mean?
-It means pure blood that has not been affected by ether. The Lotus continental people can be said to be hybrids in that aspect.
-Aren’t you a pure breed too?
-No. Purebred refers to you guys, the four stagnant water. Among them, you are the best. After all, you have been playing the game the longest.
-To think I would be treated as special just by playing games for a long time…
-Oh, you should feel far more special. Giudecca wants you.
-I should have just kept you in the dimensional warehouse forever.
Despite my sarcasm, Ahn Geun-seok’s attitude remained the same.
-Someday you will find out too. Our future-no, this world’s future… It depends on Giudecca. Look at what happened on Lotus… All that was left was ashes.
-When I looked it up, there were quite a lot for a heap of ashes on Earth too, right?
-Of course, 0.1 is not zero. But you’ll find that it doesn’t make any sense.
-You pretend to know something, but if you know so well, then how did you die to us anyways?
-I was just a little confused.
Well, the appearance of Seokhyun and Da-jeong at that time was an unexpected situation even for me, let alone for him. Therefore, he had no choice but to be beaten one-sidedly by Seokhyun.
Anyway, our conversation was parallel. We were both looking in different directions, so compromise was impossible.
-Burn to ashes, or whatever. I just want you to stay away from me. Since I already let you go, can I expect that much in return?
-In return for sending me back… I’ll send you a totem. Korea shelters will not be attacked by monsters for the time being.
-Thank you very much for that. I wish it wouldn’t be attacked forever, though.
-I’m sorry, but that’s above my paygrade.
-Let me ask you one last thing. I think I’ve asked you this several times… Why does Giudecca want me?
-I can’t tell you about it, but I can assure you that it is not a bad thing for you at all. I knew a lot of things about you, and it is definitely not a bad deal for you.
-If you knew, you should’ve calculated that I would never respond to it no matter what, right?
At that point, Ahn Geun-seok took his auction items down and I was kicked out. Thinking about what that Giudecca bastard could do by using me reminded me of something unpleasant.
Body… Level… Bloodline…
Hopefully my conjecture was wrong.
In May, Seoul turned into a dense forest. All the remnants of civilization began to be covered by any greenery ranging from the smallest to the biggest. Asphalt and concrete roads which were familiar to people have disappeared. It was the unique ecosystem of Lotus that took its place. Because of that, people were reluctant to go outside.
At the auction house, there was a constant cry from the survivors regarding the situation they were in.
-Why! Just Why!!! It’s fine if only the forest appears. Why are plant monsters coming too?
-It’s really stressful to think we can get ambushed while hunting…
-Have you guys seen zizektree? It’s a fucking tree monster, so be careful. No one knows it’s there until it moves.
-I heard that zizektree is very weak against flame cans.
-Is it because it’s made of wood?
-Is it that easy to get a flame can? On top of that, you shouldn’t use them carelessly in the forest just to kill a single zizektree.
-If the fire burns all the forest, we are all doomed.
That was the problem. Plant type monsters were usually vulnerable to fire. However, humans were also vulnerable to fire. Since all remnants of civilization were covered in vines, if something went wrong, their hideout would also be up in flames.
In that respect, the safest place in Korea was currently the Korea Shelter. It was one of the few places in Seoul where the ecosystem of Lotos didn’t encroach. They were also well-equipped, and there was a perception that everyone could survive peacefully just by entering.
However, Korea Shelter was still accepting no one after suffering a major internal dispute. Instead, in place of the old recruitment system, several hideouts in Yeongdeungpo-gu were selected as district 2 and people were sent there. Of course, most of the survivors from other countries also settled there.
“Let’s call the old Korea Shelter area as District 1 and that new area as District 2. District 2 can only survive if it looks good in District 1.”
“It’s because they depend on District 1 for supplies.”
“What if that situation continues? The people of District 1 will consider themselves superior.”
“There may be complaints about why we have to provide supplies.”
“That’s why we need to be very selective in our recruitment. The reason I agreed to do this was because there is no other choice right now. But it shouldn’t last long.”
The so-called power of connection was gradually becoming a problem. The number of people pretending to be close to Seokhyun and Da-jeong increased exponentially while they were in Korea Shelter. Up to that point, there wouldn’t have been any problems, but there were people who tried to profit from that meager connection.
Jang Won-taek read the trend report and frowned.
“This guy approached a woman by claiming he’s Seokhyun’s friend? It can turn into a problem real fast.”
“If we think about it, his so-called connection with Seokhyun probably starts and ends with a simple ‘hello’.”
“And the woman gave her heart and body to him without knowing whether his words were true or not. So she wants us to punish the man?”
“Is the liar the problem, or is it the one who gets lied to, I wonder?”
Jang Won-taek laughed bitterly and scolded his subordinate.
“It is a bad thing to blame the victim for being tricked. But it’s a bit sad. She could find out just by going to Seokhyun and asking.”
“Well… Seokhyun’s personality is a bit…”
“To be exact, that’s how people know him. To me, he looked like a shy young man.”
“A shy young man?”
In any case, it was difficult for him to deal with the problem of connection as it is now, so he put the problem back for now and focused on the task at hand.
“These cracks are so minor that it’s easy to ignore them even if we find it right after it happened. But we shouldn’t do that. Call them over.”
While there was a serious discussion regarding the operation of the shelter in Jang Won-taek’s office, some members of Seongho’s shelter, including Seokhyun and Da-jeong, were playing in the forest in Yeongdeungpo-gu. But they were not alone. They were also accompanied by the six young wolf pups and the hornbills.
“Hey, look at him! Leggy is fast!”
“How can something so small jump so well?”
The two hornbills, Leggy and Beaky, excitedly ran through the forest, catching people’s attention. Despite their small size, they were incredibly fast.
Seokhyun, who was mesmerized by their speed, appealed to Jiman, the owner of the hornbills, if he could ride them.
“Hyung, if you ride them, the hornbill will grow up having a hunched back. You can’t ride them yet.”
“Should I go on a diet? If I starve for a month, I can ride it, right?”
“I don’t think that will work, though…” Although the growth rate of the two hornbills was terrifying, it’s still nowhere near enough to take anyone on a ride.
Da-jeong was also charmed by the hornbill that ran through the forest at great speed.
“You guys like more fun than my guys…” At first, Da-jeong admired the gryphon a lot. However, as time passed, the regality of its flying speed dropped to zero. On the other hand, the hornbill looked to be quite interesting.
“H-how about me? C-can I ride it?”
She pushed her face towards Jiman in excitement. But the answer she got was the same as Seokhyun.
“Noona can’t ride it too because you are too heavy.”
“No, I am a woman! I don’t have much weight!”
“It’s clear you are heavier than Poor Man. You should go out more often.”
“Do you want to die!”
Seokhyun got a kick in the butt by Da-jeong in return for talking nonsense. At that time, Yoohyeon and Yeowool, who were scouting the sky, delivered happy news for them.
“Everyone! There’s a gryphon flying over here.”
“Let’s go right away!”
Da-jeong climbed the tree and saw the gryphon that flew nearby. The guy was interested in the people huddled in the forest, but he didn’t come down.
“I am delicious! Come down quickly!”
Da-jeong screamed loudly, but the guy just pretended to see her.
“Looks like he’s not hungry!”
When Seokhyun screamed from below, Da-jeong gnashed her teeth and came down.
“I have to catch that. Where is the albino now?”
“She’s hunting in the Great Labyrinth with the foreigners.”
Da-jeong grumbled at that answer.
“Our albino’s skills have improved a lot. She’s even hunting with the others now.”
In fact, the skills of all the shelter members were higher than average. They would instantly be recognized as a leader if they go to Seoul. It’s just that they haven’t had the chance to show off their skills because they were often by the side of the stagnant waters or Sangshin.
Da-jeong’s shoulders drooped.
“Since Seongho and Sangshin aren’t here too, there is no way to catch that.”
Then, Jiman pointed at a tall tree.
“Didn’t you play the catapult game a lot back in the game? How about using it to attract the gryphon’s aggro?”
Seokhyun and Da-jeong looked at the tree and their eyes lit up.
“Ah, yeah! Give me the gloves quickly.”
“I’m the one riding it?” Seokhyun’s face was as bright as a child as he said that.
After a while, the tree which was tied to the elderwood rope began to bend thanks to Da-jeong’s pulling.
“Yoohyeon! Yeowool! Check the direction of the gryphon!”
“I don’t think that will work.”
“It will! The gryphon will be interested when Rapwi’s flying!”
“Unnie! Turn right a little!”
After a while, Seokhyun climbed the tree like a monkey. And Da-jeong continued to control the direction of the tree with a rope.
“Is it still far away?”
Yeowool exclaimed urgently.
When Da-jeong let go of the rope, the bent tree returned to its original position and sent Seokhyun flying.
The gryphon was startled when a human suddenly emerged from the forest. It tried to escape by flapping its wings, but Seokhyun was already close.
There was a dull sound echoing and both Seokhyun and the gryphon crashed into the forest at the same time.
“YES!!!!!” People watched in amazement as Da-jeong raised her arms and ran towards the direction of the falling pair.
A few days after starting my journey, I finally arrived at the southern coast of the continent.
“Velond Forest should be around the north of this area.” It’s been a long time since civilization had been destroyed, so there were no traces of humans at all in the area. The only trace left was a dilapidated building site which I saw here and there.
“I won’t have to go to Velond Forest…”
They had to go to Ruat Kingdom, where Griffin was waiting for them, but there was no way. According to the scarabs’ guess, if we go a little further from here, we would be able to see a continental road. By the way, looking at the fact that they had well paved roads, it looked like their civilization level was higher than Earth’s middle-earth civilization.
“Wouldn’t it be possible for me to ride a motorcycle here?”
Two scarabs raised their claws at my question. It seemed that these guys often wandered around the forest with Seokhyun.
After wandering in the woods for hours, I finally found the road.
“With this width, shouldn’t it be fine?”
According to the scarab, these roads were designed to be able to accomodate a carrier that was pulled by two hornbills.
“The hornbill sets the standards of the road, huh?”
I took the motorcycle out and started driving. I replenished gas whenever it ran out, and when I was tired, I slept in the Korea Shelter. In the meantime, I found out that Da-jeong got a gryphon. It was something they got after a ‘Seokhyun’ missile shot it down.
“You are lucky that you got it in one try.” I laughed.
Seokhyun asked me.
“Where are you now?”
“Uh… I’m passing through the southern part of Ruat Kingdom as of now.”
“You are almost there. I think the lake should be that way…”
Of course, his finger pointed in the wrong direction.
I moved his finger and moved it closer to the lake’s direction.
“If I keep driving at the current speed, it will take about 3 or 4 hours. Tell it to Da-jeong when she comes later.”
I entered the portal once again and rode alone on a deserted road. The closer I got to the capital of Ruat Kingdom, the more intact the buildings were. Now, I could clearly see that there used to be a village there.
“Are they all dead…” I stopped nearby for a while to look around, but no one was there. Well, there’s no way they survived when monsters were swarming around.
“Is there anything left?” I roughly searched around the village, but only found old furnishings. I was a little disappointed and drove the motorcycle again.
And when I went up near the lake, I found an unexpected village which was inhabited by people. It was located beyond the hills to the north of the lake.
Looking through the telescope, I saw several people in old clothes leaving the village. What they arrived at was a cave at the foot of the mountain.
One of the men unpacked a piece of meat and placed it on a rock.
“Why did he do that?”
He seemed to be offering a tribute.
After a while, the people backed away in fear. What appeared from the cave was a surprisingly small ogre. He sniffed the chunks of meat that the people had offered up, chewed them in a few bites, and swallowed them.
“Even if you make an offering, do you have to do it for a monster?”
To me, ogres were just monsters possessed by killing instinct. I watched as there seemed to be circumstances, but to my surprise, the ogre and the people started talking.
It was a typical vertical relationship conversation, with people nodding their heads whenever the ogre opened his mouth.
“It’s really crazy.” I said as I took my eyes off the telescope.
* * This translation was hosted by Nocturne Translation * * *
Read 10 chapters ahead starting from $6 a month by becoming our Patron
Or donate to us for extra chapter for every 9$ donation.
You must log in to post a comment.