After the gangsters swept through the mall, it was left in utter disarray. The little food that was left was plundered and the mall was vandalized beyond repair. To make matters worse, all of the women were taken away.
The remaining survivors had bruises all over their bodies, a witness to their futile struggle. The atmosphere was heavy and somber. It was natural since their family members and lovers were just kidnapped and they were helpless to stop them.
“What should we do?”
“We need to rescue them!”
The rescue leader had his little sister taken away. The others were also in a similar situation. They couldn’t let it slide because they knew what would happen to those women. Unfortunately, not everyone shared the sentiment.
“B-but, we’re outnumbered and they are much stronger than us.”
“Don’t you think this is too much for us?”
What they said was reasonable. While monsters were monsters, they were dealing with an organized gang here—low life scum who were adept when it came to fighting their own species. It was uncertain whether the men could even win against two or three of them.
“Even so, are we just going to sit by idly?”
“We don’t have a choice! Do we?”
After the dispute settled down and silence was restored, a man in the corner raised his hand. He was quite burly.
“Why don’t we ask for aid from outside?”
“Support from outside? Really now? Is there even help?”
“He’s right. The military and the police are both gone.”
The crowd raised their voices and the rescue leader had to calm them down. Being upset didn’t help the situation at all. After everyone regained their composure again, the rescue leader looked at the one who made the suggestion. He thought the man must have brought it up because he knew something.
“Could you elaborate a bit more?”
“Um… Before I joined this group, I heard of the Kwang Hwi Faction in Dongducheon City.”
“Kwang Hwi Faction? What the hell is that?”
Most people shook their heads, but some had also heard of the name. They were the few survivors who had joined much later.
“Ah, I’ve heard of them too. Kwang Hwi Faction is basically a military force.”
“I’ve heard about them from the radio broadcasts. Last time, they declared that they’ve conquered all of Dongducheon…”
The small group of men started talking about the Kwang Hwi Faction. Hearing their stories, people started seeing some light in the darkness.
“Is it really a military force? Then they should be able to easily wipe out those gangsters!”
“What can those bastards do in front of a gun?”
“How can we get in touch with them to ask for help?”
“Didn’t someone say that they did radio broadcasts? Why don’t we use that? Does anyone remember their frequency?”
“Ah, yes! It is 108.5 MHZ.”
The rescue leader thought to himself.
‘Were there any facilities nearby that had radios?’
He came to a quick conclusion.
The eyes of the people who were chatting among themselves gathered on the rescue leader.
“Let’s visit the fire station. If we use the equipment over there, I think we can find a way to save our companions.”
“A fire station? Isn’t the police station bet… Arg! Why hit me?”
“You’re so dumb. Did you forget that the gangsters are at the police station right now? Are you really asking us to go there?”
“T-then, are we abandoning the mall?”
“There’s nothing left here. They took all of the food… so we really don’t have a reason to stay. I think it would be better to move our base to avoid their eyes.”
“Then let’s hurry. There isn’t much time left until dawn.”
After packing up, the survivors left the mall in haste. Some looked back at it with lingering feelings. The mall was a reliable base that had protected them from disaster since day 1. Checking the time, the rescue leader urged the people to move forward.
“We don’t have much time left.”
Holding torches, the survivors walked in the darkness. If anyone fell behind, the rescue leader or the survivors next to them would lend a hand. As time passed by, the rescue leader felt increasingly anxious. The darkness which seemed to continue endlessly gradually gave way to the morning light.
“Please hurry, even if it’s hard!”
After being beaten to near-death by the gangsters, everyone was tired. But they had to grit their teeth and drag their exhausted bodies. At the very least, the healthier people helped the injured. Right before the sun rose, they stepped foot in the fire station. The survivors slumped down onto the floor, their ragged breathing echoed in the quiet building.
Soon after, an alarm went off. Everyone looked outside the windows vigilantly. As the sunlight banished the darkness, the city revealed itself. And so, the change occurred.
A loud boom deafened the nervous onlookers. The ground was shaking as a large mass of dirt started to rise across the city. Soon after, it took the appearance of a person. Naturally, they were nothing like an actual person.
Its entire body was made out of dirt, lacking distinct features of a person. Instead of fingers, all it had was a fist. The monster looked similar to a poorly crafted doll.
It was not alone, there was a whole heap of them. The dolls stretched their bodies like they were warming up. Every time they moved, a small amount of dirt would fall. This was the main reason why the survivors moved in the darkness. These monsters were only active in the daytime and were dormant during the night.
Compared to an average person, they were much grander in size. Blunt weapons or sharp blades didn’t affect them either. Even if they sustained an injury, they would recover soon after. People who tried to fight against them were either crushed to death or sent flying from a punch. There wasn’t a single case where someone had successfully escaped them. Contrary to their looks, the monsters were quite agile.
“It would have been better if they were active 24 hours…”
“That’s right. The gangsters wouldn’t have been able to do whatever they wanted.”
While others were looking outside the window, the rescue leader was fishing around the fire station.
“Here it is.”
As he knew where it might be, it didn’t take him long to find it. He grabbed the radio. People quickly gathered around and formed a circle. The leader turned it on and tried to establish contact with their potential knights in shining armor.
“Hello? Can you hear me? Kwang Hwi Faction? We’re from Uijeongbu. Kwang Hwi Faction? Hello?”
“Boss, we’ve received an SOS request from Uijeongbu.”
It was an unprecedented case as this was the first time anyone had asked for rescue.
“Along with the monsters, there is an organized gang that kidnapped their family members, especially women.”
“I guess their living condition isn’t so bad if they can fight among each other.”
“The survivors reported that monsters are only active during the day. People hide when the sun is out and fight with each other during the night.”
“It’s not a night owl but a morning owl?”
“What do you mean by morning owl?”
One of the men corrected Jackson.
“The word you’re looking for is diurnal.”
“Oh, right. Diurnal.”
“Boss, what do you plan to do?”
Everyone looked at Kwang Hwi, waiting for his response.
“We took a long enough break. It’s time to move out.”
The subordinates grinned in glee at the thought of the action.
|『Combat Force Info』|
Kwang Hwi Faction (View Symbol)
[Absolute Leader] Kwang Hwi Baek
[HQ] Dongducheon City, Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea
Yangju City, Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea
[Operating] K-9 SPG
[Operating] 3x APC Namer
[Operating] 10x Light Tactical Vehicle
[Operating] 2x Medium Tactical Vehicle
Dongducheon City Security Team
Power Plant Guard Squad
Farmland Guard Team
Recruit Training Center
There had been a slight change as the Light Tactical Vehicles found in the 26th Division were added to the <Equipment> category. The wounded soldiers from Yangju Armed Forces Hospital were also absorbed into their troops after rehabilitation and training. To account for the growing forces, Kwang Hwi had purchased another Namer.
Thanks to the increase in size, he was able to create a new unit called Yangju Detachment. Unlike Dongducheon, the entire of Yangju wasn’t fortified. Even though they had grown in size, they were still lacking the manpower required to defend two cities. At best, all they could do right now was to patrol the area. In the meantime, the 26th Division military base they had raided was being used as a garrison.
Kwang Hwi Faction moved in haste. Now that they had decided to get involved, they had no time to waste. Being swift and precise was their principle. The UAV Heron hovered above Uijeongbu. Based on the images taken, the men quickly formulated a plan of action.
“Are these those mud people? Don’t they look so weak?”
“The person who contacted was terrified of them.”
“I mean, can you blame them? They don’t have guns.”
Jackson ignored the unimpressive monsters, but Soo Min was of the opposite nature and offered a cautious opinion.
“The dirt can absorb shock, so it’s likely that regular assault rifles and machine guns wouldn’t be enough.”
Although the monsters had shown variance so far, all of them had flesh and blood. In those cases, an assault rifle or a machine gun was more than enough to inflict some damage.
However, the ‘mud people’ in Uijeongbu were different. Their entire body was made out of dirt and they had no internal organs or blood that could be observed. It looked like they would simply eat up all the bullets Kwang Hwi Faction shot. While they would receive some damage, it wouldn’t be enough to finish them.
“These are all conjectures. We would need to put them in practice through real battle.”
“Then, should we upgrade our weaponry?”
“Yes. I believe that would be the best course of action.”
“Boss, I think we should use at least a semi-automatic shotgun or a .50 caliber heavy machine gun.”
Even though Jackson looked down on the monsters, he didn’t mind getting his hands on some upgraded goods. Kwang Hwi opened the Merit Shop following their suggestions.
『K6 Heavy Machine Gun』
『An improved model of the U.S. Army’s M2 Browning. It’s much easier to replace the gun barrel in this one. Known for its long shooting range, it can be equipped on an APC or tank. It is also commonly used to defend checkpoints. Using .50 rounds, it boasts its anti-tank capabilities.』
On the floor of the Situation Room, a bunch of HMGs appeared out of thin air. With additional options, large red dot sights were added to the guns. The subordinates called in some soldiers to take them away. The incomers froze once they saw the arsenal. Even though they didn’t know the HMG weighed 40 kg, they could tell it wouldn’t be easy to carry it around from a glance.
“Move them outside.”
The soldiers responded hesitantly and went to pick up the new equipment. Although they hadn’t neglected their training, they struggled to carry the guns away.
“What should we do if the .50 HMG fail?”
Kwang Hwi waved his hand, telling Soo Min not to worry.
“We just have to shoot ‘em with something stronger.”
This time, they were planning to deploy two Namer APCs. The 30 mm autocannon on them provided sufficient firepower in most situations. If worst came to worst, they would receive assistance from the 155 mm SPGs.
“We’ve located the gangsters.”
“Where are they at?”
“They’re currently at a police station in Uijeongbu.”
Kwang Hwi and his subordinates looked at the image on the screen and they could immediately tell who the leader was. It was the tallest and bulkiest man amongst the crowd. Even from afar, it was hard to miss such a prominent figure. He was presently standing on the rooftop of the police station. As the camera zoomed in, they could see him biting his lips out of frustration.
‘Is he not an ability user?’
Kwang Hwi had some doubts, but it didn’t seem like he was one.
“How much gas do we have?”
“More than enough.”
While he could purchase gas from <Logistics/Transport> category, there was no need as he could plunder nearby gas stations and military bases.
“We’re leaving at 9 o’clock.”
— Ω —
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