16. Campus Recruitment
The grunts of the monster sounded in his ears. The president was even able to smell the Keku’s foul breath up close. He felt like his end was nigh as the scene imprinted itself in his memory, never to be forgotten.
He was too scared to remain standing and his wobbly legs finally gave way. With a thump, his bottom kissed the cold, hard floor. In his confusion, he didn’t immediately register the sound of a gunshot. A sticky substance splattered across his face, jolting him back to his senses.
The Keku was knocked down. Having its skull crushed, black liquid spewed out like a fountain. That disgusting liquid had splashed onto his face but, strangely, he didn’t mind it at that moment.
‘A g-gunshot?’ his mind wandered. As if proving that he had not misheard, more gunshots rang. He felt as though the threatening sounds of guns in the past were like fireworks to his ears now, brightly lighting the sky and cheering up the viewers.
The student council president rose to his feet. The formidable monsters were now being swept away so quickly that he even wondered if he was hallucinating.
“What’s going on…?”
“Leader! Look over there!” A student council officer standing next to him pointed up ahead and shouted. In response, the president numbly looked over. Despite being far away, he could see a massive object in the distance. Having served the military, the president knew exactly what that thing was. It was an Armored Personnel Carrier. Next to it, he saw the Light Tactical Vehicles that were often called the Korean HMMWV. Whenever the mounted machine gun fired, the monsters would fall flat onto the ground. It appeared almost too good to be true.
He recalled that the military was rendered powerless in this catastrophe. Even so, it was certainly not a bad situation. They were finally going to be saved from this nightmare. Other survivors were also shouting in joy, happy to see the APC.
“It’s the military! We’re saved!”
As relief washed over him, the president collapsed onto the ground, too exhausted and spent to carry on.
“You’re permitted to use all firearms except the autocannon.”
Kwang Hwi’s order was simple: Eliminate all monsters! So, his excited men fired away, raining hell on the monsters. Unlike the earlier days, the men didn’t need to confront the terrifying creatures directly. They could safely shoot from inside the APC and the feeling was exhilarating.
Next to the APC, there were Light Tactical Vehicles that cleared the pathway. The Keku, who were able to withstand 5.56mm NATO rounds, were powerless against the stronger 7.62mm and could only fall down helplessly in front of the bullet shower.
『A fixed model of a general-purpose machine gun that uses 7.62mm NATO rounds. Developed by the FN corporation in Belgium, it’s a stable machine gun commonly used for military training in the USA and other countries. It can fire 550 ~ 650 bullets per minute and has an effective firing range of 800m.』
Whenever the guns fired, the monsters dropped like flies. Utilizing the frontal blade of the APC, the vehicle trampled over the monsters, leaving mangled bodies in its wake. It was excessive to use a 30mm autocannon for such a small threat.
None of the monsters could win against the APC. The Kwang Hwi Faction broke through the monster’s rear line with a violent force and momentum. Sensing the change, monsters in the front line started to turn around. However, their vision was impaired by the hundreds that were flocking together. Seeing the entire scene unfold from the UAV, Kwang Hwi grabbed the walkie-talkie.
— “Roger that, boss! Firing!”
Behind the APC, there was the Medium Tactical Vehicle. Jackson was standing on the roof, holding an MK. 47 Striker AGAL Grenade Launcher. An intense explosion swept through the surrounding area. Instinctively, the Keku covered their eyes with their hands, but the shockwave tore through their useless defense and ripped apart their bodies. Chunks of flesh that were torn apart violently rained down from the sky. It was too horrible a spectacle for an average human to witness.
『You have defeated 700 Keku faster than anybody else in the world.』
『You have obtained 4500 MP.』
『You have defeated 800 Keku faster than anybody else in the world.』
『You have obtained 5000 MP.』
『You have defeated 900 Keku faster than anybody else in the world.』
『You have obtained 5500 MP.』
Notifications were appearing in front of Kwang Hwi, extending above his retina. His vision was obscured so much that he could not see anything except the prompts. A faint smile hung around his mouth. His MP was rising quickly. He couldn’t ignore the amount of MP he had earned from killing monsters and completing the mission.
The battle continued, albeit one-sidedly. Naturally, the Kwang Hwi Faction was winning. In a short matter of time, the thousands of monsters were cut into half. As the soldiers fought even more fiercely, the number dwindled even faster.
A Black Wolf came into Kwang Hwi’s gun sight. It resisted until the very end by erratically flinging its body all over the place. Nevertheless, it couldn’t escape its fate. The asphalt road was soon littered with black blood and chunks of flesh from the monster.
“Heron #1, do you see any other monsters nearby?”
— “All clear! Boss.”
“Alright. If anything unusual happens, report back immediately.”
Kwang Hwi slowly walked up to the wall. ‘Not bad,’ he complimented himself internally while moving, feeling a bit proud. People looked up at Kwang Hwi with a favorable impression, perhaps due to his help and timely rescue in a dire situation.
“I am Kwang Hwi Baek!” The eyes of the remaining survivors in the university were all on him as they looked at him with expectant and reverent expressions.
“We are an armed force based around the entire area of Dongducheon. Currently, we have dozens of survivors working together to tide over these difficult times.”
Kwang Hwi explained slowly, but his voice was full of confidence. The first thing he did was to inform the survivors about the current situation.
“It is difficult to determine if the government still exists as the military and the police force are nowhere to be seen. The authorities have made no response in such dire times, which is a statement in itself.” Kwang Hwi smacked his lips and looked around the crowd before continuing.
“So far, based on what has been confirmed in the military base located at Uijeongbu, all firearms have been destroyed, rendering the army useless even if they were here.”
He waited for a moment to let his words sink in. He could see the fear and nervousness in the eyes of his audience, but he ignored the emotions and went on, “Desperate times call for desperate measures. Therefore, we have decided to make our own armed faction to band together and follow the most basic instinct of humanity—survival!”
The people in the university were visibly shaken by his proclamation. As they had been hiding in the university from the monsters since the beginning, they did not know the situation outside. Moreover, on the second day, all communications were cut off. While some left to go find their family members, most stayed in the university waiting for a rescue team.
“You may be surprised, or rather—shocked, but this is the reality. It’s difficult to say when the rescue team will arrive. Perhaps, they will never arrive.”
The crowd remained silent, perhaps too terrified to make a response. In such a large pack, not even a peep could be heard.
Kwang Hwi’s voice shook the survivors, jolting them back to their minds. Even the survivors who were mentally exhausted pricked up their ears to listen. Everyone’s heart started beating a bit faster with anticipation and hope for the future.
“Based on what you can do, we will be assigning appropriate tasks to everybody. Just know that our base is safe and there will be no monsters to haunt you at night. You can have a sound sleep.”
People started to look at the student council president. They needed someone to represent them at this moment. The president checked on everyone’s expression. While no one was speaking up, it was easy to tell what they were thinking. They wanted to stay safe from the monsters.
In front of him, Kwang Hwi and his subordinates stood tall like mountains, unshakeable and steady. The men proved they were strong, sweeping up a thousand monsters. The president organized his thoughts.
‘I feel the same way.’ While he had willingly taken the role of the student council president, he did not have the courage and ability to take responsibility for the livelihood of everyone.
“If others are fine, let’s join them.”
Even though his heart was just about to burst out from the overwhelming pressure, the president felt at ease after speaking these words. There was a sensation, as if a boulder was pushed away from his shoulders.
Kwang Hwi accepted them with wide, open arms.
In the Shinhoo University Dongducheon Campus, 70 survivors had joined the Kwang Hwi Faction. Amongst them, over half were healthy, active adults in their twenties to thirties. If trained properly, it was possible to get a decent-sized armed force.
Furthermore, the amount of talent that came from the university was an asset to be reckoned with. Students majoring in specialized fields and professors with useful knowledge were all crucial resources. Manpower was much needed in such tumultuous times.
With some reluctance, a small number of people refused to join. It was impossible to tell why. Perhaps it was because the faction wasn’t affiliated with the government or some other reasons. Many people were still stuck with the ideas of the past. Nothing could be done to wake them up to reality.
Kwang Hwi didn’t stop them. There was no reason to force them to join if they didn’t want to. Doing so would only ruin the mood and atmosphere of their camp.
‘Naturally, I can’t guarantee your safety if you go alone,’ he lampooned inwardly. His militia was purchasing a bulletproof APC and military vehicles because of the monsters. Yet, these unarmed people wanted to go back home barefoot or with a bike. It clearly wasn’t a wise choice but rather a ridiculous one.
After the reluctant ones left, the willing ones remained standing there, looking left and right. Kwang Hwi got those people into the vehicles. There was no shortage of seats as he had estimated the number of people ahead of time using the UAV. On top of the added manpower, he was able to secure more food. While it wasn’t an amount that could feed everyone for more than a week, there wasn’t any good reason to leave it behind.
— “Boss, we’re ready to leave.”
“Let’s go back.”
The vehicles started moving, with the APC leading the way. It was a fruitful day with a bountiful harvest. They had absorbed an entire group of survivors, making the militia bigger. And there was even a new change.
『You have defeated more than 1,000 ‘Keku.’』
『From now on, you will receive additional Merit Points for every ‘Keku’ defeated.』
『Unlocked Artillery category for a more effective mass destruction.』
Additional MP was nice, but Kwang Hwi had also unlocked the <Artillery> category that he had never seen before. The message that appeared with it was also significant. ‘A more effective mass destruction, huh…’ He imagined the carnage he could cause with the new weapons. The ability he had acquired was pushing him to fight against the monsters even harder.
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