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Kwang Hwi carefully aimed his gun towards the faint sound he had heard in the fog. Jackson caught on fast and moved behind Kwang Hwi. As the footsteps grew louder, Kwang Hwi could hear the sound of gravel crunching underfoot.
‘Gravel. That means…’ Kwang Hwi quickly visualized his surroundings. The area he owned was a square piece of land, with a 2 meter-tall fence around the property. The ground in front of his parking lot, where the two men currently were, was full of gravel. With this knowledge in hand, Kwang Hwi readjusted his aim towards the sound’s origin.
Suddenly, he felt a tap on his shoulder, and turned to find Jackson staring at him, maintaining silence despite the tense situation. Kwang Hwi knew he was waiting for orders and gestured towards the house in response. Jackson’s pupils widened — obviously he was hesitant to leave his boss without backup, but Kwang Hwi simply nodded in affirmation. Despite his worries, Jackson trusted his boss’s skills above all else. He silently vanished into the fog without complaint.
The footsteps continued to grow louder. Whatever was coming was getting a lot closer.
Kwang Hwi could make out a shadow moving in the fog. Slowly, he moved his finger onto the trigger of his rifle and took aim. He was prepared to open fire at any moment, but decided to risk waiting for whatever was out there to come into view. He wanted to see it clearly.
A low growl emanated from the shadow in the fog. It was becoming increasingly apparent that this thing was not human. As it lumbered out of the fog, Kwang Hwi finally got a clear view of the creature. It had a humanoid build, but the rest of its features could only be described as alien. Its skin was dark blue in color and its large frame was bulging with muscles. A single blue eye was present on its face, glaring viciously at Kwang Hwi. However, Kwang Hwi was more focused on what the creature held, a large, one-handed machete. The monster brandished this savage looking weapon as it rushed straight at him.
With his curiosity more than satisfied, Kwang Hwi pulled the trigger of his rifle. A burst of light and a sharp crack accompanied the bullet as it erupted from the muzzle. The impact of the shot caused the monster to shudder — but not stop.
In the face of the monster’s inhuman vitality, Kwang Hwi kept his cool. If one shot couldn’t stop it, he just had to keep shooting.
Four more bullets pierced its chest, causing the monster to spasm and collapse, like a puppet whose strings had been cut. Disgusting black blood oozed from the monster’s wounds, seeping into the gravel beneath its body.
‘Persistent bastard.’ Kwang Hwi took careful aim at its head. Blood and brains exploded outward, leaving a gore-filled hole in the monster’s skull. ‘At least its head isn’t as tough as its body. One bullet’s enough, huh.’
『You are the first person in the world to defeat a Keku.』
『You have obtained 500 MP.』
“Boss!” Several voices called out in unison from behind, as the sound of urgent footsteps drew closer. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Kwang Hwi replied. He watched as several of his subordinates appeared out of the fog as they rushed towards him. All of them recoiled in surprise once they saw the corpse at Kwang Hwi’s feet. “Let’s head back inside. Also, we’re taking this thing with us.”
“Yes!” His subordinates responded in unison once again.
The monster’s corpse was much heavier than Kwang Hwi had anticipated. He knew that the dead felt heavier than the living, but even then, the monster easily weighed more than two fully grown men. Luckily Kwang Hwi wasn’t alone. He and his subordinates managed to carry the monster inside, where they were now examining its body.
“It doesn’t look like a human.” One of his subordinates said.
Another subordinate scoffed in response. “Obviously.”
“Has anyone seen something like this before?” Kwang Hwi asked while looking around the room.
Everyone shook their heads. Even with their vast combined experiences, nobody had so much as heard of a monster like this before.
“Why don’t we check the news again?” A subordinate suggested. “If we ran into such a monster, it’s likely that others have as well.”
Everyone nodded in agreement and they all moved to the TV in the living room, flicking it on and switching to the news channel. A news anchor wearing a grim, sober expression filled the screen.
– BREAKING NEWS! The appearance of the unexplainable fog is now confirmed to be a world-wide phenomenon. We have also received a small number of reports claiming that there are strange creatures lurking in the fog, attacking those who encounter them. Viewers are advised to take caution and remain indoors.
The group flipped to another channel. A Blue House spokesperson appeared onscreen.
– We want to make it clear that the rumors and reports of unidentified and hostile entities attacking people in the fog are indeed true and that their number is currently unknown. We strongly urge you to remain indoors as much as possible. You should also ensure that you have access to enough food and supplies to survive indefinitely. Also, please immediately take any defensive measures you can.
“Damn. This isn’t good.”
“Eh?” His subordinates turned to Kwang Hwi with puzzled expressions. It seems that they didn’t fully grasp the severity of the situation.
“It seems like the government has been rendered useless,” Kwang Hwi explained.
His answer only served to confuse the men further. They knew Kwang Hwi was serious — he didn’t joke — but what he was saying didn’t make any sense to them.
“But how, boss? Our country’s standing military is half a million strong and we’ve got 150,000 police officers on top of that.” Several of the men nodded in agreement. They had all served as mercenaries with Kwang Hwi overseas and they all knew that the South Korean military wasn’t to be taken lightly. If anything, the absurd military strength of neighboring countries like China made South Korea look weak simply by comparison.
“Did the government spokesperson say, ‘Wait to be rescued?’” one of his men asked.
“No.” Kwang Hwi answered. “They told us to take defensive measures if possible.”
“…What does that mean?” Someone asked in confusion.
Kwang Hwi let out a sigh. “Has the government ever, in its history, told us to arm ourselves?” At the very least, Kwang Hwi himself couldn’t recall such a drastic measure ever being implemented. The South Korean government — or, more specifically, its high ranking officials, were heavily opposed to giving private citizens access to weapons. In all fairness, it was mostly to protect the people from themselves. There was also the fact that, since the people of South Korea couldn’t arm themselves en masse the government didn’t have to worry about a citizen’s uprising, unlike gun-friendly countries such as America.
Which meant that if the government was now encouraging people to ‘take defensive measures,’ then the situation had indeed gotten very bad. Kwang Hwi turned to Jackson. “Jackson, tell them what happened in the car.”
“Yes, boss.” Jackson carefully explained how they had gone to retrieve his hidden pistol, only to find a rusted gun and useless ammunition.
“We can probably expect the same situation to have played out across the country, which means that all the guns the military have are now useless. At this point, we can’t be certain that guns are the only things affected by the fog.”
His men all wore grim expressions now. Humans hadn’t dominated the earth because of some superior physical prowess. No, the strength of humanity had always come from its ingenuity, the ability to create a tool for any and every situation. But what if all the tools that gave humanity its edge disappeared? What if something stronger than humans appeared after they lost their trump card?
Everyone looked down at the monster’s corpse again with uneasy expressions. A single glance made it clear. This monster’s physical capabilities surpassed humanity’s by leaps and bounds. Few humans were trained in close quarters physical combat. Even if someone had trained to the extreme, this monster looked like it was on a completely different level.
Having realized all of this, one of his subordinates finally spoke. “The situation isn’t looking too great for us.”
The tension in the air was palpable.
Kwang Hwi clapped his hands together, drawing everyone’s attention. “Thankfully, I have a solution,” he said, lifting up the HK416C he had bought from the Merit Shop. Fortunately, the gun worked perfectly, even if he had no idea why. “Now, listen. This is going to sound crazy, but here’s what happened…”
Kwang Hwi didn’t bother hiding any of the details. The men gathered here were his comrades, people he could trust more than anyone else. “…Even I have no idea why this happened, or how I got this ability. What I do know is that it’s essential to our survival.”
They couldn’t be certain, but in the worst case scenario, the entire country of South Korea… no, the entire world had just lost all of their firearms.
‘Only I can get a gun?’ Kwang Hwi almost snorted in derision. It was like a bad web-novel title.
One by one, he looked each of his subordinates in the eye, and then spoke. “It looks like it’s time to get the band back together, ya hear?”
At his words, surprise quickly changed into elation; excitement was written across their faces. Were they too used to life on the battlefield? Anxiety, concern, fear, all of these would have been more normal reactions. Yet these men looked excited more than anything else.
“As expected, boss. You’re one wild mofo!” Jackson guffawed as he broke the silence. The others quickly chimed in.
“Hell yea, boss!”
“Ha! Never expected our one year reunion to end up like this!”
Their reactions were incredibly abnormal. But for them, it was to be expected. They’d always had a few screws loose.
— Ω —
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