24. Command System
『Command System has been unlocked.』
『Using the system interface, you can now manage and supervise the members of the Kwang-Hwi Faction.』
Before Kwang Hwi could understand what was going on, another screen popped up in front of his eyes.
|『Combat Force Info』|
Kwang-Hwi Faction (No Symbol)
[Absolute Leader] Kwang Hwi Baek
[HQ] Dongducheon City, Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea
[Operating] K-9 SPG
[Operating] APC Namer
[Operating] 4x Light Tactical Vehicles
[Operating] Medium Tactical Vehicle
Dongducheon City Security Team
Power Plant Guard Squad
Farmland Guard Team
Recruit Training Center
『You can check the location and current status of the members and equipment in real-time.』
The Total Force category started to shine brightly as if it were asking to be clicked. Kwang Hwi drew his finger towards it, giving it a tap. The list collapsed, revealing even more information. It felt like opening a folded bamboo scroll, unfurling it to reveal the contents within.
Kwang Hwi Baek
Soo Min Lee
Dongducheon City Hall, Situation Room
Dongducheon City Hall, Situation Room
The names of all the members in the Kwang Hwi Faction were displayed on the screen. Not only did it include his subordinates from Africa, but also the newest recruits. It was a comprehensive list, indeed.
『Name, relationship with the commander-in-chief, health status, and their current location will be displayed in respective order.』
『This will enable more efficient management and control.』
While his oldest comrades had ‘absolute loyalty’ towards him, the new recruits were only ‘normal’, as should be expected.
“I think I get the gist of it.”
It wasn’t that difficult to comprehend, after all. With an intuitive interface, even if he didn’t understand something, the system would explain it in great detail.
It was truly an astonishing feature that even allowed him to know ahead of time if anyone harbored ill intent toward him. On top of that, it was possible to find their current location without using tracking devices or UAV. This would be especially useful for commanding a large number of troops, truly a god-send.
『You can designate a symbol of power.』
『Imagine the desired symbol to have it drawn.』
『Once designated, the symbol of power will automatically be imprinted on all weaponry and vehicles.』
Kwang Hwi had been neglecting it for a while, mostly due to his hectic schedule. The notification reminded him just in time. Every group had a symbol to represent themselves, even African warlords used them. He went into deep thought until an image suddenly popped up in his mind: a majestic, fierce lion with a fluttering mane.
He didn’t know why, but he really liked the image. It showcased his ambition of being a ruler and the majesty associated with it. The picture was drawn right before his eyes and, somehow, it looked exactly the way Kwang Hwi had imagined—dignified and splendid.
『Would you like to designate this symbol?』
『Once designated, the symbol of power will automatically be imprinted onto all weaponry and vehicles.』
Kwang Hwi nodded. He was very satisfied with the result.
『As a reward for entering the Second Stage, you have obtained 100,000 MP.』
『Engraving symbol on all equipment.』
Before he realized it, the white space disappeared and Kwang Hwi’s body returned to the Situation Room.
The surprised men hastily stood up, looking around vigilantly. Something was being drawn on their guns. It was as if there was a laser hidden from their eyes, shooting through the void and rapidly carving a symbol. And this was not all. On their military vest, the same symbol was being engraved: a lion with its mane fluttering.
Kwang Hwi quietly watched the scene unfold. He heard a small commotion from outside as well. Everyone was dumbfounded by the event. Everything purchased from the Merit Shop was now being branded with the new symbol. Guns, military uniforms, tactical vests, vehicles, APC, and SPG all had the same symbol!
『The symbol representing the Kwang-Hwi Faction have been engraved on all equipment.』
“Commander, what is…?”
“This is the symbol we’ll be using from now on.”
“A symbol, an emblem of sorts?”
The curious men looked at their equipment. Once again, all equipment had the same symbol engraved. This included the bulletproof helmets, combat boots, knives, and even their bullets! The members who were quick to understand carefully asked.
“Is this perhaps your ability?”
“Ah, I see.”
The men easily accepted the truth when they heard it was due to their leader as it was not the first time they had witnessed something like this. They believed nothing was impossible for him. Seeing them settle down, Kwang Hwi opened his mouth to discuss their future strategy.
“There’s still a lot of things we need to do. Only Dongducheon City has been cleared so far. Other areas are still being overrun by the monsters. There may even be stronger foes we have yet to face.”
The battles so far had been smooth. However, they couldn’t let themselves be caught off guard. They had to be on their toes and prepare for the worst.
“Remember, we have only won a single battle, not the war. The struggle has not ended yet. There’s much more to come.”
His men nodded with a solemn expression, understanding the gravity of the situation. Well, the mood did not last for too long. Jackson, clueless to the situation, spoke in a carefree manner.
“Come on, boss. Don’t worry. We will be alright, just like we have been so far!”
Soo Min, who had not interjected until now, glared at Jackson.
“Jackson, you’re the biggest problem.”
“Can you please be more serious?”
“What did I do this time?!”
Kwang Hwi and his subordinates shook their heads at the familiar scene.
“Stop it. It’s hurting my head.”
『Merit Points: 800,000』
After the brief meeting ended, Kwang Hwi opened the Merit Shop. It was time to go on a shopping spree and he was going to purchase some new equipment.
『 Would you like to purchase?』
『Medium Tactical Vehicle』
『Would you like to purchase?』
In an instant, half of his Merit Points disappeared. Kwang Hwi did his best to soothe the agony he was feeling. Now that they had grown in size, he had to get more transport vehicles. Otherwise, it would be too cumbersome to move around.
Now, he had two APCs and five Medium Tactical Vehicles, bringing up their transportation resources to suit their numbers. After purchasing all the equipment he needed, he had exactly 400,000 MP left. Since he had already prepared guns and combat gear for the new recruits, he could spend the rest on other things.
‘Should I buy another SPG?’
SPGs boasted overwhelming destructive power in numbers. The South Korean military sought after producing 1,000 SPGs to bolster their firepower and carried out projects to improve the older models, signifying their importance and effectiveness. If their weaponry had not been corroded, the situation would have never turned this bad. Once a dozen cannons were lined up, the monster horde would have been easily wiped out. After a moment of thought, Kwang Hwi closed the Merit Shop.
‘I don’t need to buy anything immediately.’
He didn’t lack firepower. Thus, he had the leisure to purchase it when the need arose. Kwang Hwi chose to delay the purchase in case he needed to buy other resources.
|[▲ Dongducheon City]|
The faces of the people who were running for their lives distorted with hopelessness and fear. A burst of low, shrieking laughter could be heard behind them. They were sweating profusely after running for hours.
A man at the rear turned around to look. Not too far away, there were monkey-like monsters chasing after them. They were jumping over rooftops and using utility poles to launch themselves into the air.
A curse naturally spat out from his mouth. He turned around, thinking they had lost them. However, their plan evidently didn’t work.
‘At this rate, everyone will be in danger.’
The distance was quickly shortening as the monsters closed in on them.
‘200 meters… 120… 80…’
Soon, it would be near impossible to lose their pursuers. They had to somehow buy some time to give them that last bit of hope. If they continued like this, even that bit of hope would be lost to the fangs of the monsters.
“Everyone, just run without turning back! I’ll buy us some time!”
The man stopped running and ignored what others said behind him. He mentally prepared himself for a final showdown.
‘Just run faster!’
He aimed his crossbow at the monkeys and pulled the trigger. The arrow pierced the closest monkey, setting off a jet of blood. The monkey, with its small body frame, was unable to withstand the brunt of the force and was flung to the other side. Having an arrow penetrate the heart, it couldn’t have survived and died with one hit.
Seeing the swarm rush forward, the man narrowed his eyes, gritted his teeth, and continued to pull the trigger, quickly firing arrows non-stop. The enraged monkeys continued running towards him, not caring one whit for their fallen brethren; they weren’t scared at all. The monsters he had hoped to stall were already nearing him.
With such a short distance left, the man could not keep his composure and his perfect accuracy was affected. Thus, a few arrows missed their targets. Soon, he had no more arrows left. Without hesitation, the man threw his crossbow. The unlucky monkey who was hit on the face shrieked and faltered. Using that window of opportunity, the man started sprinting again.
“Brother! Please hurry!”
Sensing a monster right behind him, the man dropped down in a hurry and rolled on the floor. The monkey’s sharp claws swiped across the air and a few strands of hair that could not escape its trajectory were cut off. His knee scraped against the asphalt floor several times and started to sting. However, ignoring the pain, the man quickly got back up and ran towards Dongducheon.
“Brother! Just a bit more! Please, run just a bit more!”
The colleagues he had urged to leave first were waiting for him. They each held weapons such as iron pipe spears, fire axes, and kitchen knives. All of them had determined looks while cheering him on.
“You idiots! I told you to leave me behind!”
Reuniting with his colleagues, the man scolded his comrades. However, they only responded back with smiles, warming his heart.
“How could we leave you behind, brother? If we’re going to die anyway, it’s better to do it together.”
“That’s right! We’re only alive thanks to you!”
“It’s not too late, so—”
Before he could finish his sentence, a dozen monkeys caught up to them, baring their fangs. It was far too late to escape now.
“It’s too late, brother.”
“Haa… Ah, screw it!”
The man reached out to his waist and took out his weapon. Pressing a button, the baton extended. The two groups stared at each other. Even though there were some meters in between them, he knew such distance could be narrowed in an instant.
Saliva drooped from the mouths of the monkeys as they stared at their prey. It appeared as if their sharp claws had become even more razor-sharp. Sensing his body tensing up, the man took a deep breath to calm down. It wasn’t like there wasn’t any hope. Since their bodies weren’t immune to knives, it was possible to defeat them. The problem, however, was that they were extremely agile and greatly outnumbered them. The size of the swarm was three times their group.
The man noticed that the monsters were about to make a move, so he spoke to warn everyone.
“Everyone, get ready…”
The abrupt roaring sounds of an engine throttling at full speed drew his attention. The man trailed off and didn’t finish his warning as a result. He looked sideways toward the origin of the noise. The accosting monkeys naturally followed suit.
Spotting the group, Jackson blinked in wonder. But soon after, he waved his hand in excitement and smiled brightly. He was just as clueless to the dire situation as usual.
— Ω —
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