Stagnant Water of Apocalypse - Chapter 228
Lee Beom-seok’s heart sank as soon as he heard the thump. His face then contorted as he swept around at the message window that appeared in front of him.
“Hero Defense? Are you kidding me?” Lee Beom-seok asked, dumbfounded by the fact that the villain which was designated by the system for this quest was him. “Why me…”
No matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t understand it. According to Ahn Geun-seok, the quest that appeared in the beginning shouldn’t be anything but mundane.
Are subjugation quests the kind of quest that was mundane?
“Perhaps, is it that guy’s doing?”
Lee Beom-seok’s jumbled thoughts quickly moved into Seongho. He’s a stagnant water in Survival Life and had been exploiting a lot of bugs up until now. Since that was the case, it wouldn’t be weird if he did it once again.
“A bug that even the developers don’t know about.”
Or did Ahn Geun-seok deceive him?
Anyway, there was a high probability that the hero in the quest was Kang Seongho. In other words, he and his 10 office worker friends have to run away from Kang Seongho for the next 24 hours.
“The other way is to kill him.” However, Lee Beom-seok doubted that would be possible. The guy was already over level 40 and was a monster who monopolized all kinds of items. He still vividly remembers the movement he made when he killed the ogre months ago. Compared to that time, he’s sure that Kang Seongho would be even stronger now.
“I can never win, never…”
Though, the result could probably change if he ate the terrible muscle tissue given to him by Go Ho-kyung…
Lee Beom-seok swallowed dry saliva without himself knowing. Even though he was siding with the monsters, the truth is, he didn’t want to be a monster. After all, he still had a desire to serve Jang Won-taek, a superior he deeply respected.
No matter what anyone said, something that had tentacles sprouting from their mouth and nostrils, was anything but human. That was why he rejected the persistent suggestions of Ahn Geun-seok and Go Ho-Kyung.
“I-I just have to win…” He had a ring containing Giudecca’s blessing with him now. Even though it wouldn’t make him strong instantly, It would enable him to grow rapidly. After all, it had the effect of increasing his overall stats and strengthening his body which would be translated into easier hunting. Therefore, the best plan he could come up with right now was to run away with the people and come back later when he’s stronger to rescue Jang Won-taek using his unique ability.
At that time, Ahn Geun-seok appeared from the wall with a puzzled face.
“This quest wasn’t supposed to appear now…”
“Even you, the developer, didn’t know about it?”
When the words of the critic came out, Ahn Geun-seok was embarrassed.
“We have a lot on our plates as a developer. Even though we tried our hardest to fix every bug, it’s hard to respond to everything since the stagnant waters were just too good at finding a new one.”
“So what is the solution?” Lee Beom-seok chided.
But there seemed to be no easy solution for him to escape this predicament.
“There’s only two ways to end the subjugation quest. It’s when either the villain or the hero dies. Or if the villain remains uncaught by the hero and other quest taker for the next 24 hours.”
“Since it’s impossible for me to beat him. I need to run away then.”
“Didn’t my secretary give you something before? You can win if you swallow it.”
“Didn’t those Chinese still die by his hands even after reaching level 50 thanks to that thing?”
“The muscle we gave to them was a prototype.” Ahn Geun-seok explained. “The one you got is an improved version. it had a way better performance then its predecessor.”
“I don’t want to become a monster yet.”
To be precise, he didn’t want to meet Jang Won-taek as a monster. Even if he decided to become one, it would have to be after he had completely taken possession of Jang Won-taek.
Ahn Geun-seok giggled and squatted down.
“Actually, I don’t want to be a monster either. But what if a bystander saw you now? Wouldn’t they say that you are already a full-fledged monster?”
“Of course… But shouldn’t the same thing be said to Kang Seongho?”
“Frankly speaking, he is not a monster, but a pureblood. You have to admit that point. After all, that’s the reason why Giudecca-nim took a special interest in him.”
“That pureblood nonsense again! Is it really that important?”
“It is the most important thing for the current situation… It was the biggest determiner of Giudecca-nim’s future. Until when should someone as great as Giudecca-nim be stuck in the Great Labyrinth?”
Giudecca was seriously injured in the fight against the Empire. That’s not all, the Empire even sealed him in the Great Labyrinth to top off his misery. Therefore, It’s impossible to get out of the current situation in a normal way. The only thing that could fix his current situation was creating a new, sturdy medium. And the best ingredient to make that bowl was Kang Seongho.
It would be perfect if he had Choi Da-jeong as his partner to create the new medium, but there was no big problem even if they replaced her with a ghoul. They just had to make sure that the ghoul was in a state closest to a human.
Of course, Ahn Geun-seok didn’t even tell Lee Beom-seok about that. It’s simply useless to talk about this kind of thing with a disposable tool like him.
At Ahn Geun-seok’s words, Lee Beom-seok found a certain stuffy emotion creeping up on his heart. It was an inferiority complex.
‘I should have been the only one on the President’s side… But…’
Whenever something they couldn’t handle appeared, Jang Won-taek always looked for Seongho. Lee Beom-seok always agonized over it, sometimes straight up rejecting it and sometimes accepting it.
However, without knowing his feeling, Jang Won-taek always said:
-It would be great if someone like Seongho is by my side. What a pity…
In the end, it was clear for him that in the eyes of Jang Won-taek, Lee Beom-seok couldn’t replace Seongho. The reason Lee Beom-seok exploded a while ago was because he thought the President was protecting the Seongho and his group.
Aren’t they murderers? Aren’t they monsters?
Why are you defending them?
It was something he could not utter even though he wanted to.
‘I need to be by the President’s side.’
However, the President’s belief in Seongho was bigger than his belief in him. That fact made Lee Beom-seok suffer.
Ahn Geun-seok, noticing his state of mind, gently recommended him.
“Don’t you want to win? Don’t you want to get your boss out of Seongho’s clutches? Then eat it. For your information, you don’t have time. By now, Seongho should be already running here. After all, as someone who was designated as the hero, he will be given the ability to see where you, the villain, are.”
Lee Beom-seok’s expression kept turning from one to another at the revelation.
“Why did you create such a system?”
“After making it, I just thought that the hero should have a tracking system. It’s simply impossible to chase a villain without any tip whatsoever.”
In short, it was a setting in the game. And Lee Beom-seok was in a deeper predicament thanks to that game setting.
Ahn Geun-seok urged him again after looking at the quest window.
“You don’t have time. The number of your followers has now decreased to 8. Why do you think it was reduced?”
“If it’s him, we should have heard a heartbeat now.”
“If the murderer system was still active even after a subjugation quest was given, no one would be able to finish this quest. So I turned the function off for all quest takers when the subjugation quest appeared.”
‘Goddammit!’ Lee Beom-seok fumbled and stumbled to open his backpack. Once he put his hands inside and took it back out, a mass of muscle inside that squirmed like a worm could be seen on his hand.
If he ate that gross thing, he would instantly become level 50. But, he’s sure that level alone wouldn’t be able to make him win against Seongho.
Ahn Geun-seok spoke into his ear.
“Didn’t I tell you it was an improved version? Even though the Chinese were level 50, they couldn’t use all of their abilities. They are nothing but a level 50 goblin. But you are different. Aren’t you curious about what kind of additional effects will be added to your Blink skill at level 50?”
Lee Beom-seok gulped. If he was level 50, he would surely be stronger than level 30 Mi-kyung who Seongho bragged about so much. Funnily enough, Lee Beom-seok also harbored an inferiority complex towards Mi-kyung, who was the same age as his niece.
Is it because they have the same unique skill?
Lee Beom-seok swallowed the muscle tissue without a word. Then, he opened his mouth because of the searing pain that came.
“Ah… I forgot to tell you that it would hurt a bit… Anyway, if you endure that, you will…”
“Looks like it hurts a lot… His vitality stat is also dropping fast… I need to note this down. Nothing beats an actual test, really.”
Ahn Geun-seok left those words and disappeared. All that was left was Lee Beom-seok wriggling on the floor.
After recovering his mind and body, Lee Beom-seok ran quickly to find Jang Won-taek. The office was, as expected, locked. There was a lock on the clumsy door, but Lee Beom-seok did not feel the need to break it.
Because of his ability of course. However, Lee Beom-seok decided to not do it. Instead, he called for his superior beyond the door.
After a while, the old man’s voice was heard.
“Is that you, Chief of Staff?”
“Yes, It’s me. I’m here to see you, sir.”
“I’m sorry, but I must refuse your visit.”
“I have tried to contact you through my telepathy several times, but I get no connection at all. The only thing that can explain it is the fact that you’ve become a different being…”
Lee Beom-seok was startled and stepped back from the door. The unique skill of his superior was called Conductor. He could send telepathic messages and give buffs to anyone who trusts him. But that ability didn’t work for him.
Lee Beom-seok gritted his teeth and said,
“It doesn’t matter. You must go with me.”
“Where to? Must be the place where the monsters are waiting.”
“It’s not that kind of place yet.”
“Meaning it will be like that soon. Just go alone.”
“Them forgive me. I will have to take you there by force.”
“You… have really become a monster, huh?”
Lee Beom-seok, who was about to touch the lock, withdrew his hand at that moment. He felt that his mood went down considerably after hearing his superior’s words.
Without minding his feelings, the number of his followers in the quest window continued to decrease. There are now only 6 followers left…
There is no time.
Lee Beom-seok closed his eyes tightly and tried to rip the lock. However, he hurriedly backed away at the eerie feeling that ran through his shoulders. Moments later, something fell off and it turned out to be his own arm.
At the same time as the indescribable pain came, Giudecca’s protection was activated to decrease the pain. Lee Beom-seok then glared at Seongho, who slowly approached him with bloodshot eyes.
“I knew you would come here, villain.”
“Who is the villain here…”
The bloody mithril blade in Seongho’s hand was pointed at him at that moment.
“Nonsense! It was all part of your plan. I know you are also the one who prevented everyone from going outside of the shelter.”
“I didn’t know the quest would come out tonight.” Seongho shrugged. “I also didn’t know that your men would steal the supplies tonight. In a word, I was just lucky.”
At his mocking words, Lee Beom-seok let out a tearing scream.
“Aaaaaagh!” Tentacles sprouted from his severed forearms.
“Is that the path you choose?” Seongho’s eyebrows creased as he threw him his question.
“Yes! I chose this! Why? Are you sad that the tentacle doesn’t come out of my nostrils?”
“Well, once you master that power, it will come out of your nostrils too, don’t worry.”
Seongho sighed. The words that come out from a person who was cornered were always the same.
Lee Beom-seok’s body disappeared at that moment, and Seongho could not follow his traces. After all, in an instant, his traces completely disappeared.
The tentacle hit Seongho in the face and he was pushed back.
Lee Beom-seok was bathed in joy thanks to the blow he just gave him.
‘I can win!’
He tried to attack again, but when he saw the tentacles that stretched out from his arm, he was forced to close his eyes. He never thought that things would turn out like this when he first met Go Ho-kyung.
‘It can’t be helped!’ He shook his head. When someone decides to ride on the back of a tiger, they must hold onto it until the end, no matter what happens. Otherwise, they would just fall off and get eaten by it.
Lee Beom-seok extended his tentacles and attacked Seongho once he made peace with his situation. However, the guy held up much better than he expected.
He also had the leeway to keep his mouth blabbering.
“Did you throw your Blink ability away and decide to just fight with tentacles? Mi-kyung will laugh at you.”
“Shut that mouth of yours!” Tentacles stretched out, filling the corridor as he screamed. However, Seongho still did not suffer much damage. His Blue Scale skill counteracted the tentacle’s attack, and his Super Regeneration skill activated, regenerating his skin.
Thanks to those skills, Seongho was able to buy time. Enough time for Jang Won-taek to make his decision.
‘It’s understandable because it’s a decision about killing a subordinate he deeply cares about, but…’ It was impossible for Seongho to endure like this forever. On top of it, it was highly inefficient. The monster in front of him was someone who didn’t even know how to fight properly. Once he fully understands his true strength and is able to use it properly, he would be no match for the monster in front of him.
A tentacle squeezed through the dimensional wall and struck Seongho in the chin. His body floated and Lee Beom-seok was finally able to smile.
“You are fucking nothing! Try to play around again and let’s see!”
“…” Seongho tightened his grip on the mithril blade and cut off the tentacle that came to him again. There was really no end if he kept doing this. He had to kill the main body, but with his current strength, it was difficult to do so.
He could use a gun to force a breakthrough, but if possible, he wanted to try to establish a countermeasure for the future enemy by experimenting with Lee Beom-seok.
If whenever something happened he solved it with a gun, he would soon stagnate and eventually get weeded out.
While Seongho was doing his little experiment, Jang Won-taek’s telepathy finally came in.
-Please kill him.
-There is no room here for him who has become a monster.
-Before he rampages any further… let him go without pain.
-I beg you.
As soon as the telepathy ended, Seongho’s body was enveloped in golden light. It was one of the effects of Jang Won-taek’s unique ability, Buff.
Seongho’s stats instantly exploded. Meanwhile, Lee Beom-seok, who knew the current situation well, just watched him with his eyes wide open.
“No way… no…”
“Your boss just gave me his permission to kill you.” Seongho said calmly and put on his bracelet. The transformation began and Lee Beom-seok could only shake his head at the sight.
“No! It can’t be! Jang Won-taeeeeeeeek!”
When the tentacles tried to break the fragile door, the Abomination appeared. Seongho pushed his urge to roar down and used it to grab the tentacles coming at him and dragged Lee Beom-seok’s body towards him.
That was it.
When a dull sound echoed through the corridor, dozens of tentacles dropped to the floor. After all, a person whose heart was destroyed couldn’t live any longer. Even more so for those who have had their hearts pierced.
Lee Beom-seok just stared at the thick forearm piercing his chest as blood trickled down from the corner of his mouth.
Seongho thought he would be resurrected, but he didn’t. At that moment, light disappeared from Lee Beom-seok’s eyes.
Seongho cocked his head to the side. The guy must have questioned why the resurrection did not happen to him.
When Seongho pulled his hand away from Lee Beom-seok, the lifeless body fell to the floor. He didn’t let his guard down right after though. After all, he felt that something was strange.
He just died like that?
Where’s the resurrection or the tentacle?
While Seongho was contemplating, the wound on Lee Beom-seok suddenly began to regenerate. He slowly rose back to his feet.
Seongho’s punch flew again at that moment, and Lee Beom-seok’s body fell helplessly once again. Not stopping there, Seongho’s gigantic Abomination’s body lunged at it.
Lee Beom-seok’s fragile body quickly turned into mush from the relentless punching. But he still didn’t die. Even when all the bones in its body were broken, its muscles turned into paste, and its body became as shapeless as a rag, it was still alive.
In the end, Seongho grabbed him by the neck.
His head was bent at a strange angle, but soon after, it corrected itself. By this point, Seongho had realized what had happened and threw Lee Beom-seok’s body against the wall.
Giudecca, is it you?
Lee Beom-seok’s shattered jaw clenched and let out a trembling voice at that moment.
“King of All Beasts, Harbinger of The End…”
Seongho’s fist completely broke Lee Beom-seok’s head before it could even finish speaking.
* * This translation was hosted by Nocturne Translation * * *
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