37. A Stronger Attack
The area where the don stood was utterly destroyed under the concentrated attack. The convenience store across the street from the police station was turned into ruins after receiving a few shots from the autocannon. The wall of the studio apartment right behind was knocked down, revealing its interior. As the grenades exploded, dust scattered through the air.
With a clank, a stray bullet hit the don’s head. It merely bounced off without doing much. He didn’t receive any damage besides flinching.
‘To think I was scared of these weaklings.’
After engaging with them, the don was ashamed of his past self. He started taunting the Kwang Hwi Faction.
“Kghaha! Is that all? I’m fairly disappointed!”
Then he slowly walked towards the soldiers. Passing by the countless streaks of yellow light in a carefree manner, he wanted to demonstrate the overwhelming difference in power to these chickens. Even the 30 mm autocannon barely startled him, so the don was confident that the Kwang Hwi Faction could not stop him.
— “B-Boss! The target is approaching us, completely ignoring our bullets! It looks like we’re unable to deal any damage to him!”
The gunner was unable to hide his fear while reporting. Kwang Hwi didn’t blame him. It was not unusual to be afraid of someone impervious to weapons.
— “I-it would be best to receive support from the SPG…”
Kwang Hwi shook his head. The SPG was indeed powerful. However, it was currently difficult to deploy it. The Uijeongbu Light Rail Transit was in front of the police station, so even if they fired the SPG, it would only hit the U Line. Delivering a clean hit from the current angle was almost impossible.
Even if he was willing to accept some casualties, there was no guarantee that damage could be inflicted. It was highly probable that explosives were not effective on this freak either.
“Slow him down as much as possible.”
The autocannon fired shells without rest. The soldiers followed as they pointed their guns at the don. The sound of gunshot and artillery fire intertwined in the background while Kwang Hwi hurried to open the Merit Shop.
『Merkava Mk. 4』
『Israel Defense Forces’ main battle tank primarily known for its electronic systems and defensive capabilities. Equipped with a 120 mm smoothbore gun and LAHAT missiles, it is possible to attack helicopters as well as ground targets. As secondary weapons, it has two 7.62 mm machine guns.』
『120 mm shells (48) included.』
『Price: 450,000 MP』
He was really fortunate to have enough MP to purchase the tank.
『Please confirm the location to deploy the vehicle.』
Kwang Hwi ordered the nearby soldiers to spread out and clear the area.
“Move away and make some space!”
Despite the sudden order, the soldiers fanned apart in an orderly fashion.
A tank appeared out of nowhere in the empty lot. It had a bulky turret and heavy layers of armor rarely found in its brethren. Even without it, the vehicle was massive.
“Jackson! Head to the loader!”
Jackson rushed to Kwang Hwi and the two entered the tank from the rear entrance. Merkava was the only tank to have a back entrance that led to the main crew compartment for easier access and additional storage capacity.
Arriving first at the loader, Jackson pushed a switch. Soon after, a shell was ejected from the protective container. Jackson carefully grabbed the projectile and inserted it into the loading dock. After swallowing the shell, the door closed to separate it from the main crew compartment. Confirming that the round was loaded, Jackson shouted.
Kwang Hwi operated the automated fire control system. The don was on full display—a person who looked more like a mutant Mud Golem than a human. While Kwang Hwi had questions nagging his mind, he needed to silence the target first.
Ballistics computer and laser rangefinder calculated the distance and displayed its specification. Kwang Hwi firmly pulled the trigger. A boom followed, and the thin and sturdy armor-piercing shell penetrated the don’s metal skin that was impregnable so far.
The don staggered and his nonchalant face crumpled as his body, which had withstood the autocannon, received a deep scar. The APFSDS was made to penetrate the thick armor of modern tanks, and it’s kinetic energy increased as the distance shortened. No matter how hard he was, it was a force to be reckoned with.
— “H-hit! The target has stopped moving!”
While the soldiers cheered on the radio, Jackson smiled and reloaded a new shell.
— “APFSDS loaded!”
Maintaining his aim, Kwang Hwi fired the second shot without hesitation. A small hole formed on the don’s chest. Compared to his massive body, it was a minimal injury. However, tiny shards of the shell had penetrated deeply into his heart.
If he was a true Mud Golem, he wouldn’t have received any damage, and it would have regenerated. Unfortunately, or fortunately, he was still a person. The don knelt on one knee as he failed to keep his unfaltering posture. Even the autocannon and HMGs he didn’t fear before were starting to hurt him now.
The third shot hit the skull perfectly. Flinging his head backward, the sharp metal made him groggy.
Unable to keep his mental faculties working properly, the don collapsed. His metallic skin, which had been reflecting the sunlight, turned into a murky black liquid.
『You have defeated ‘Jong Hoon Park.’』
『You have obtained 100,000 MP.』
Unlike before, the screen didn’t display a monster’s name. Instead, it revealed a person’s name: the don. After staring at the display screen for a while, Kwang Hwi tried to lean back and relax.
『You have defeated a member of the Armata family.』
『For such an outstanding feat, you have been rewarded 300,000 MP.』
Kwang Hwi squinted his eyes as he pondered about the new information.
‘Member of the Armata family? Outstanding feat?’
These words caught his attention more so than the additional MP he received.
— “Enemy neutralized!”
Jackson shouted at the top of his lungs out of sheer joy. Kwang Hwi removed his headset and exited the vehicle from the rear door. His subordinates were lined up neatly, waiting for him. They all praised Kwang Hwi and admired his unique ability once again.
Right at this festive moment, the HQ communicator rushed in with great haste.
“What’s the matter?”
“I’ve received reports that all of the Mud Golems are on the move!”
“Where are they heading to?”
Kwang Hwi looked at his men. They weren’t smiling anymore. Rather, they wore a grave expression, recognizing that they had to face more peril.
“Reload and get ready for another battle.”
The battle was not over yet…
A loud explosion echoed throughout the quiet city like thunder and the man covered in metal knelt in front of the Kwang Hwi Faction. Seeing that, the Armata frowned.
‘How? Even if it was done in haste…’
Armata did not have high expectations for him because he had given the mortal a small shard without proper preparation. It was a feeble power, like a small gift for his child. Especially when compared to his own power, it was nothing noteworthy. Despite everything, for insignificant monsters and people, it should have been an overwhelming power. Even then, his child died so helplessly.
Seeing the demonstration of power at the rooftop, Armata had some anticipation for the results. Nevertheless, he didn’t expect the battle to be lopsided. It only took three attacks to overpower the mortal who should have crushed others like playing with a toy. Armata looked at the Kwang Hwi Faction on Earth with newfound interest. The unfamiliar form of weaponry impressed him.
‘How did they get those?’
He was certain that the current world had all its weaponry rendered useless. That’s why they were able to settle in with little effort.
‘But what’s this?’
The weapon looked exactly like the ones that should have been destroyed. Therefore, he didn’t know what was going on. Even so, he knew one thing for sure: if things continued like this, they would take over his territory. He had to stop that at all costs. Armata slightly opened his mouth. He was saying something, but there was no sound.
“■■■■a■■■■m■ ■■t■■■■f■■■ ■■■■j■■■■ ■■■■l ■■■d■■ ■k■■■■k!”
A strange reverberation spread across the place. At the same time, unknown symbols were being etched to the mountain range surrounding Uijeongbu. In short notice, the symbols started to glow brightly. A strange phenomenon that couldn’t be scientifically explained was happening there.
With loud booms, heaps of dirt rose from the ground. Soon after, it took the appearance of a giant person. It was the Mud Golems Kwang Hwi Faction had previously encountered. Armata glared at the aggressors with cold eyes.
The Golems started moving on the command. All of them, including the newly created Golems, were heading towards a single target. Hundreds of Mud Golems moved in unison, causing deafening rumbles. Whenever they took a step, the ground would tremble under their weight. While they looked daunting, Armata looked bored, as if he wasn’t impressed by their appearance. In spite of that, he was confident that the Golems were more than enough to take care of the mysterious army.
‘It won’t be easy to take down my children.’
To make Golems, he needed material. The core material of the Mud Golems was ‘dirt’, and his territory had plenty of that. The entire area was surrounded by mountains. The tip of Armata’s fingers melted away. Even at the frightening scene, he was unfazed and only clicked his tongue.
“I’ll need to find a better doll.”
The ‘doll’ he made was nothing noteworthy as he had picked a random human passing by. He couldn’t even display his full power, let alone attack others. Soon after, his doll crumbled into a fistful of dust and scattered into the air.
Not noticing that Armata was observing him from above, Kwang Hwi was busy preparing for the battle. Based on the reports from the UAV, several hundreds of Mud Golems were approaching them from all directions. They were encircling the Kwang Hwi Faction currently located at Uijeongbu Police Station.
“How are the SPGs?”
— “SPG-1, secured firing data!”
— “SPG-2, ready to fire.”
“Let them loose. Soo Min, take over from here.”
— “Roger! All vehicles, fire!”
A sharp swishing sound split the sky as the shells fired from the SPGs fell in a parabola. The strong explosions swallowed the Mud Golems. Those who were directly hit by the shells returned back to the earth, while the nearby ones were blown away. They struggled against the aftershock that followed, trying to restore their original form.
However, despite all their efforts, they lost when the second shell landed amidst them. The Mud Golems that were trying to regain their balance flopped once again. Losing its cohesion, the pile of dirt drifted away in the air.
The APCs broke the walls of the police station and then stopped, adjusting their aim. After securing their surroundings, the autocannons spat fire. Their shells destroyed Mud Golems approaching from afar. Guided by the automated fire control system, the gunner changed his target. After one fell, he immediately fixated on the next one. While there were only two APCs, it did not have any issues handling the Mud Golems. As support, the tank was also deployed.
“NE 20! 1720 away!”
Once the gunner confirmed a target, the loader hurried to insert a new shell. With a dull clank sound, the shell was sealed inside. Confirming the cartridge was loaded, the gunner pulled the trigger and the Mud Golem approaching from the northeast was smashed into pieces. The 120 mm had caused fatal damage to the metal-plated don, so it was impossible for a weaker Mud Golem to resist a single shot.
The heavy machine gunners focused on pushing away the Mud Golems that got closer to the tank and APCs. When a Mud Golem found its way in, the HMG would slow it down, and the APCs would suppress it soon afterward. After firing non-stop, a few HMGs went silent.
— “Turtle-3 is out of .50!”
— “Namer Turtle-2 only has 140 bullets left!”
The soldiers who were carrying bullet containers left in a hurry. Since rifles were ineffective, most of them were tasked with supplying ammunition and changing the gun barrels. Among them all, Kwang Hwi’s role was to make the necessary ammunition or equipment. Even while issuing commands, he had the Merit Shop open on one side to make purchases.
『30 mm rounds (1000)』
『Would you like to purchase?』
A large container full of autocannon shells appeared out of thin air. The soldiers who were waiting in front of Kwang Hwi carried them away in a flash.
“Commander, we need .50 cal…”
Kwang Hwi flicked his finger to purchase the .50 caliber shells for the HMGs. Once again, the troopers received the containers and ran off. Without a rest, Kwang Hwi looked at the screen connected to the Heron.
“SPG! Destroy the light metro line at 125!”
A few minutes later, a shell accurately landed on top of the U Line. With a loud explosion, chunks of concrete tumbled down on the road. Underneath it, Mud Golems reached out their hands towards the falling concrete. However, they were crushed into dirt paste as they could not withstand the weight. Some piles of dirt wriggled underneath the concrete but stopped soon after losing its strength.
— Ω —
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