56. Taking Over Seoul
[You have defeated ‘Armor Lord.’]
[You have obtained 200,000 MP.]
[You have defeated ‘Mosquito Lord.’]
[You have obtained 200,000 MP.]
[You have defeated ‘Shorter Lord.’]
[You have obtained 200,000 MP.]
Alerts popped up one after another, notifying the demise of more than 10 Lord variants.
Although each Lord was only worth 200,000 MP, the number soon snowballed to over 2 million, as more than 10 Lords were eliminated all at once.
‘Looks like Jackson did it again.’
“Commander, the armored units are returning.”
The armored vehicles all safely made it back to the command base. There were a few close calls, but they were able to shake off the monsters thanks to the Dragonflies’ air support. Dark blood stains decorated the vehicles’ steel plates, a medal of honor for the troops’ mettle and relentless spirit.
The crew members dismounted from the tanks and APCs and collapsed on the floor with weary faces. The recent battle had been just too nerve-wracking. It was already commendable for these fighters to hold on until now. The medic on standby jumped in shock and rushed to check on the soldiers.
“Any additional enemy forces found?”
“We’ve deployed all recon assets for a thorough sweep of Seoul. As of now, there are no new forces.”
A low thumping sound attracted the attention of everyone on the scene as it rapidly got closer. All eyes went up. The gigantic Mi-26 was flying back towards the command base from Yeouido.
Amid the loud engine roars of the helicopter, the rear doors opened. A restrained Centi Lord was carried out on top of a gurney. Blood was still pouring out from its wounds, courtesy of the A-10.
The executives asked cautiously, “Why did you bring it?”
“For information, just in case.”
“Information? But how…?”
“I don’t exactly know how, but I was able to communicate with Armata. Perhaps the same can be done with the others.”
Perhaps it might not work, but there was no harm in trying. If they succeeded, they might be able to acquire valuable information about the current situation.
“The T3 structure is empty, right? Take it there.”
[T3 Cylindrical Tank]
This was the only untouched structure from when it was being used as an oil storage facility. Kwang Hwi’s soldiers carried the Centi Lord outside.
With a bang, the doors shut closed. The only people left in the tank were Kwang Hwi and his executives.
Kwang Hwi walked towards the Centi Lord. “Can you understand me?”
The Centi Lord forced its eyes open. Its eyes were half-loose with fatigue. The mighty Lord of the past was now at death’s door.
“You are… the leader of the humans?”
A twinkle flashed in Kwang Hwi’s eyes. It was the same phenomenon as the last time. Although the monsters’ words were strange, they were automatically translated in his head. The monster was also able to understand his language.
“Are there other monsters left in Seoul?”
The monster, staring at Kwang Hwi, slowly opened its mouth. Its speech was slow, with abrupt pauses here and there, but not difficult to understand.
“No… All L-…ords were gathered there… all… killed…”
A smile of satisfaction spread across Kwang Hwi’s face. If the monster’s words were true, it would mean 99% of Seoul was conquered.
‘I was going to take this step by step.’
He was able to get Seoul in a single battle thanks to these Lords. As a result, the number of assets used up was also minimized.
“How many came over?”
“I don’t… know.”
The Centi Lord’s breath was becoming heavier, and its flame of life was fading.
Kwang Hwi quickly asked the next question, “Where are the other 10 Kings?”
“Across… the sea…. so I’ve… heard…”
“Across the sea? Where is that?”
As of this very moment, the biggest threat to the Kwang Hwi Faction was the ‘10 Kings.’ Even though they had managed to dispatch Bone Dragon and Armata in Seoul without much difficulty, there was no guarantee that the rest of them would fall as easily.
The Centi Lord coughed out dark blood. It was hanging on its last breath.
A foul stench pierced Kwang Hwi’s nose, but he didn’t lose his focus.
“Across the sea where!?”
Kwang Hwi grabbed and shook its body violently. In these uncertain times, even a sliver of information was crucial. They lacked any substantial intel on the monsters.
The Centi Lord’s body shook like a ragdoll. There was no answer. Instead, a faint smile mockingly appeared on its face. It seemed to have sensed Kwang Hwi’s desperation.
“Keh… Keh keh…”
Its last words.
Squeezing out what little life it had remaining, the Centi Lord smirked, and then its body went limp. The blood leaking out of its wounds and mouth formed a small puddle on the ground.
[You have defeated ‘Centi Lord.’]
[You have obtained 200,000 MP.]
[All monsters within Seoul city have been eliminated.]
[You have obtained 500,000 MP as a reward.]
[The Kwang Hwi Faction’s fame is spreading throughout the Korean peninsula.]
[‘Seoul City, Rep. of Korea’ is added to the Controlling Area category.]
[Security forces are already in place. Complete fortifications to better secure the area.]
With the Centi Lord’s death, the occupation of Seoul was finally complete.
A high school student was seated in front of Kwang Hwi. It was Jae Min, the student who threw Molotov cocktails at the centipede monsters out of vengeance.
“Boss, it was thanks to this crazy boy that we were able to find the Lords’ location.”
“Is that so?”
Kwang Hwi stared at Jae Min for a moment before reaching his hand out. Sitting there nervously, Jae Min flinched. Kwang Hwi’s hand rested on Jae Min’s shoulder.
Jae Min looked puzzled at the sudden expression of gratitude.
“Thanks to you, we were able to not only take care of the monsters but their leaders as well.”
“…Thank you, sir. It was because of you I was able to get my revenge.”
Jae Min’s lips moved slightly as he glanced at Kwang Hwi. From his expression, it was clear he wanted to say something.
“It’s alright. Our boss isn’t a bad person.”
Jae Min swallowed nervously and finally opened his mouth.
“I-I want to join the Kwang Hwi Faction!”
“Huh.” Jackson chuckled. “You see that? He’s a brave AND crazy boy.”
“Most definitely so.” Kwang Hwi nodded while staring at Jae Min with content.
“If you want, sure. But Jackson here won’t go easy on you.”
“I can… handle it.”
“You hear that, Jackson?”
“Right on, Boss!”
Despite their busy schedules, all executives of the Kwang Hwi Faction gathered together.
“I’m planning on moving our HQ to Seoul. Any objections?”
“Uh… not so much as an objection… but don’t we lack the manpower for that?”
After all, Seoul was a metropolis that once housed 10 million people. The Kwang Hwi Faction, on the other hand, had only 500 members, including civilians. Even their current HQ, Dongducheon, felt too big for them. Moving to Seoul, which was exponentially larger, could feel desolate and lonely.
“It might be difficult to defend the city with our numbers.”
He wasn’t wrong. Even if they used CCTV’s and other unmanned surveillance devices, 300 troops were nowhere near enough.
There were other opinions too.
“We’re scouting the entirety of Seoul right now. If we take into account the survivors we’re going to rescue, our numbers will naturally increase.”
“Dongducheon seems fine for now, but it’s too close to North Korea. We might not have enough time to respond accordingly if anything happens.”
Kwang Hwi listened carefully to his executive’s opinions. There were a few voices of concern here and there but no real objections. Overall, the audience was in favor of Kwang Hwi’s suggestion.
All executives here except Jackson were Korean. They knew full well what the city, ‘Seoul’, truly meant and symbolized. It wasn’t just a capital; it was the center of the nation’s culture, life, and economy. It was the first legal city of the Republic of Korea. To provide a glimpse of Seoul’s significance, in the year 1960, the U.S. ambassador said this,
– Seoul is not simply the greatest city in Korea, Seoul IS Korea!
“Seoul will be our new HQ.”
Hence, it was decided.
Now, it was time to enjoy the fruits of their conquest of Seoul. Kwang Hwi gave orders to each of his executives.
“Search all of Seoul for any remaining threats or uncertainties. Make sure you rescue any survivors and secure key facilities.”
“Where should we keep the rescued survivors?”
“We’ll put them in the World Cup Stadium across the road.”
The stadium had a capacity of over 60,000 people. It was more than enough to accommodate the survivors.
“Alright, let’s move out!”
The Kwang Hwi Faction officially began combing through Seoul. To announce their recent victory, a new message was added to the radio broadcasts.
– Survivors, this is 108.5MHZ, the Kwang Hwi Faction’s broadcast. The Kwang Hwi Faction has been waging war against the monsters in Seoul for the past few days. Fortunately, the Kwang Hwi Faction has succeeded in defeating the monsters and their leaders!
– The Kwang Hwi Faction is currently rescuing any remaining survivors in Seoul. If you see our troops outside your window, please reach out to us and seek help.
As discussed, the rescued survivors were sent to the World Cup Stadium located across the street from the command base. The troops inside the base weren’t idle, either. The number of survivors was multiplying within mere hours of the search.
“Th-There are too many people!”
Most of the Kwang Hwi Faction’s forces were deployed outside. Naturally, they became short-handed. However, Kwang Hwi easily took care of the problem.
“Call for help from the civilians in the HQ.”
By running through pre-acquired background information of civilians in his faction, Kwang Hwi picked out members with relative experiences to help as staff.
The Mi-26 landed in the enormous stadium. The rear doors opened, and the staff recruited from Dongducheon stepped out. All of them had a temporary ID card on their chests to differentiate them from the regular civilians.
The newly-recruited members were put to work in the stadium without a moment to lose. The executive in charge of the temporary camp gave out orders.
“If they still have their identification card, use that. If they don’t, then use their name or fingerprint to process their background information.”
The survivor classification kicked off in full swing. All the equipment used in government offices, such as fingerprint scanners and ID scanners, was put to use here. The Kwang Hwi Faction’s soldiers handled the equipment, while the civilian staff members assisted them at their side.
The civilian staff worked hard to aid the soldiers. Although the soldiers might receive better treatment, the civilian members weren’t being exploited by any means. Instead, they were proud of their work and took responsibility, despite being civilians.
They were, in fact, also members of the Kwang Hwi Faction and felt fortunate. That emotion intensified when they saw the rescued survivors. It wasn’t long ago that they, too, were in that same exact state.
The survivors also vaguely noticed this point. They had suffered a lot in order to survive the apocalypse. Bad crowds stole food from them and sometimes even worse. However, the Kwang Hwi Faction was different from such wretched bullies. The soldiers were cold but polite, and the civilians looked content and bright. Their confidence in the Kwang Hwi Faction naturally increased.
“Next person. Please put your thumb right here.”
A man with a tattooed neck reached out his thumb. The scanner displayed a picture and text on the screen.
[Yook Jung Kwon]
[751205 – 1234567]
[Seoul, Dobong District…]
[Criminal Record: Sexual Assault, Armed Robbery]
After comparing his face with the data on display, the soldier pressed the bell at the side. The troops in charge of security ran towards the man and aimed their guns at him.
The tattooed man shouted in shock, “What the hell is this?!”
“Your criminal record was confirmed. Take him away.”
Realizing his situation, the tattooed man attempted to run away, but he was already surrounded. No matter how big and scary he might look, he was helpless against a gun.
“He-Hey! Let go of me!”
While the criminal was being dragged outside, a soldier calmed down the anxious crowd.
“That man was an ex-convict committed for crimes including sexual assault. There’s nothing to worry about.”
“An ex, ex-convict?”
Once the survivors’ data were checked, they were directed to the passage leading into the World Cup Stadium. At the end of the passage, the staff flown in from Dongducheon were handing out supply packs. It included military rations, which the Kwang Hwi Faction had plenty of, basic toiletries, a sleeping bag, and paper towels, etc.
“You will be staying here for the next few days! If you are in need of a doctor or anything else, please let us know! All bathrooms are functioning normally and can be used freely!”
At the center of the stadium, the soccer field, soldiers in charge of keeping order were stationed.
A list of temporary rules was being broadcasted from the speakers to the survivors.
– An announcement from the Kwang Hwi Faction. Please obey the following rules during your stay in the temporary camp.
– Number one, do not steal another person’s supply pack. If you need something, please make a request to the central headquarters.
– Number two, do not engage in activities deemed criminal by conventional social norms. If found, you will be detained or punished accordingly.
– Number three, please obey and follow all orders from any members of the Kwang Hwi Faction. This is so that operations will run smoothly. Please observe these rules.
A makeshift medical office was set up to the side. Doctors and nurses from the rescued survivors agreed to work with the faction’s medical team as requested by the Kwang Hwi Faction.
Any required supply was being dropped off by the Mi-26. It was making frequent trips to and fro like a diligent workhorse. Since the stadium was open, it was easy for the chopper to lift off and land.
[List of Acquired Resources]
In front of Kwang Hwi was an organized list of resources acquired from Seoul.
“Let’s have a look, shall we?”
— Ω —