21. 155 mm
— “Fire preparations complete! Ready to commence firing!”
A smile crept onto Kwang Hwi’s face. ‘It could withstand autocannon fire? Then how about this?’
— “Danger approaching! Firing!”
A roar sounded from the radio, giving out a warning. Kwang Hwi raised his voice and shouted a command.
“Get out of the stadium, pronto!”
— “Roger! Hold on tight!”
With its engine roaring, the APC that had been circling the stadium changed its direction. The abrupt turn caused the APC to drift in the middle of the field. The artificial grass and dirt were thrown into the air. A deep curved track was left on the ground as the showy APC pulled out from the stadium, leaving a cloud of dust in its wake. The enraged Blister Lord was also mid-stride, chasing the APC.
A sharp whistling sound came from the sky. Immediately on guard, the Blister Lord raised its head. Something black was falling high from the blue sky, a sharp contrast to the bright background. Three black dots rapidly grew in size as they neared. The Blister Lord whimpered in alarm and fear of the strange objects.
Three shells simultaneously fell towards the Blister Lord.
Time on Target coordinated firing! The shells were fired so that they landed on the target concurrently by adjusting the angle of the trajectory.
Separated by fractions of a second, the first shell blast shredded the Blister’s waist to nothingness with a loud bang. Without a waist to support it, its upper body began to tip backward as it lost its balance. Two deafening booms soon followed as the projectiles lodged themselves into the body of the monster. The shells, with a 50 meters kill radius, brilliantly shattered the Blister Lord’s body into giblets. The black crystals melted away without a chance to scatter, marking the end of the Blister Lord and the fierce battle.
『You are the first person in the world to defeat a ‘Lord.’』
『You have obtained 100,000 MP.』
『All Blisters that have lost their ‘Lord’ have become incapacitated.』
The unsettling shockwave shook the APC and a dirt cloud enveloped the APC in an instant. The driver opened his eyes groggily. Though the soot obscured fine details, faint outlines were still visible. The dust seemed to be endless, but eventually began to thin out. They weren’t able to stop until they travelled a sufficient distance from the center of the blast. The thick dust finally settled and the scene of the devastated stadium revealed itself. All that remained of the stands was rubble and stones. The athletics track and the center field had been replaced by a blackened crater. The Blister Lord, with its overwhelming demeanor, was nowhere to be seen.
— “Kill confirmed on the Blister Lord. Good work, everyone.”
The men who had been tightly gripping the handles inside the APC finally relaxed and sighed a breath of relief. Sitting in the car, they were almost crushed in the aftermath of that explosion.
Jackson looked at Kwang Hwi with a puzzled look. He didn’t know of any equipment in possession of Kwang-Hwi Faction that could produce this level of destructive power.
Under his questioning stare, Kwang Hwi answered matter of factly.
“It’s a 155 mm self-propelled gun.”
Before Kwang Hwi departed on the APC, he had hurriedly purchased an SPG from the Merit Shop and left it to the members remaining behind.
『K-9 ‘Thunder’ SPG.』
『A self-propelled gun developed and employed by the Republic of Korea. Powered by a 1000 horsepower diesel engine with hydropneumatic suspension, it has an excellent capacity for tackling rugged terrain. An automated fire control system and auto-loader allow the first shell to be fired within a minute of maneuvering into position. It boasts excellent firepower with its 155 mm howitzer main armament.』
Instead of another APC, Kwang Hwi bought this just in case. Thanks to the MP he had earned through recent achievements, he was able to afford them. Preparations also took some time as there were no trained personnel for it. But thankfully, it was ready when needed.
Kwang Hwi checked his balance. Killing the Blister Lord had initially netted him 100,000 MP. However, the actual amount earned was more than 300,000. Aside from those achievements, he was also given credit for killing ordinary Blisters.
“We’re returning to HQ!”
The APC’s continuous track began to move. The half-demolished stadium stood tall behind the departing APC Namer like a trophy, a witness to the battle and the destruction here.
Though there were some dangerous moments, it was not a bad day overall. All the Blisters had been eliminated and now there were only two species left in the city of Dongducheon: Keku and Black Wolves.
“Would the rest of them all die if we find and eliminate their Lords?”
“I mean, all the Blisters were left debilitated after we killed their Lord. Then the same could also hold true for Black Wolves and Keku.”
Soo Min’s conjecture seemed quite plausible.
With that in mind, Kwang Hwi had begun combing through Dongducheon with the Heron. Unfortunately, all their efforts resulted in nothing. Unlike the Blisters, no ‘Lord’ entity for the Keku or Black Wolves could be found. Even after redoubling their search efforts and going through the area with a fine-tooth comb over several days, not even individuals of unusual size were discovered.
“That’s unfortunate. If we can find their Lords, this would become much simpler.”
If a Lord was found, they would simply bombard the entire area and there wouldn’t even be a need to leave the headquarters. The whole Dongducheon area was within the range of the SPG.
“In the end, the only solution is the complete annihilation of the monsters.”
While it would be a hassle, every single monster in Dongducheon would need to be eliminated one by one. There was a problem, however. The current method of elimination was too slow. While Dongducheon was not an enormous city like Seoul, it was extremely difficult for the existing forces of the Kwang-Hwi Faction to cover the entire area. There may be another incident such as last time.
“Is it necessary for us to do all the searching?”
Everyone’s eyes turned to Jackson who had spoken. Curious, Kwang Hwi’s eyes narrowed.
“So? Are you suggesting that we just bombard the whole city?”
“What? No! Just what do you think of me?”
No matter how pretentious Jackson may have been, he would never suggest leveling the whole city.
There were quite a few survivors hiding throughout the city and there were still plenty of supplies waiting for them to salvage. It would also not be viable from a humanitarian perspective. The indiscriminate artillery fire would surely blow all the monsters away, but the supplies that the Kwang-Hwi faction needed would also disappear along with the monsters.
“Let them come. We bring monsters to us.”
“You are suggesting we lure them out?”
“We have the SPG now, don’t we? We just have to gather them all in one place and then bombard the area until we run out of the shells.”
The usually brutish and straightforward Jackson had put forth such an effective plan. The men began to whisper among themselves in amazement.
“This came from Jackson’s big head?”
“Did Soo Min actually come up with this?”
“Oi, I can hear you all!”
It was an elementary yet practical plan: Gather as many of them and then pepper them to the heavens. The Keku or Black Wolves would be obliterated by the power of the 155 mm shells that not even the Blister Lord could withstand. Those who survived the shelling would then be finished off with primary arms.
“It would be better to plan out the operation a bit more and tune the details.”
Soo Min agreed with Jackson. Kwang Hwi also nodded.
“Lets cut the chatter and form up.”
The men who had been chatting amongst each other quickly took their positions, forming up on Kwang Hwi. The rowdy, babbling atmosphere was instantly replaced by a solemn and stern one, showcasing the strict order and discipline of the men.
— Ω —
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