From Yi Ji-Hyuk’s flame-like Mana, innumerable small projectiles of magical energy poured down on the gorilla-like monster that crash-landed to the ground.
*SFX for many things falling down*
The Mana projectiles peppered the giant monster like torrential rainfall and penetrated every part of it.
The gorilla monster writhed in pain and screamed out. But before it could do anything, the black Mana net descended on it and promptly swallowed it up. Yi Ji-Hyuk then activated the Life Drain once more.
*SFX for bones and muscles being crushed*
The monster’s screams, the noises of bones breaking, and flesh ripping apart, filled the air at the same time.
Unable to withstand the extreme pain, the gorilla monster continued to lash out with its fists, but the Mana net was as flexible and tenacious as it could get, as it quickly devoured the creature.
Soon enough, the screams ceased, and the Mana net became even smaller than a human’s fist as it returned to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
While sensing the Mana filling up inside, he took a look around at his surroundings. And he couldn’t help but frown at what he saw. In a word, it was pathetic.
Even though he had managed to resolve this crisis, more or less, the surviving combat force was far too busy dealing with the small fry monsters still emerging from the Gate to secure their wounded and deceased comrades.
He could see the dying men and women moaning out on the ground, as well as countless tanks and vehicles mangled beyond recognition. The acrid odour of expanded gunpowder miraculously covered up the equally acrid odour of blood.
It only had been for a few brief seconds, yet the scale of destruction was this extensive…
At this rate, the casualties would only see an exponential increase. If he continued to take care of Gates in this fashion, by the time he got to the last one, he might end up fighting in a desolate place that could no longer be called a city anymore.
– “It’s K5!! K5!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk lifted the phone and spoke to it.
“Mister Choi Jung-Hoon.”
– “Yes, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.”
“Tell me, out of all the Gates, which one’s located in the most open area? With sparse population density, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “….It’s K2.”
Mm. I even like that name.
Doesn’t it kinda feel like I’ll be fighting on the top of the mountain, no?
Yi Ji-Hyuk reached out to Jeong Hae-Min. Immediately figuring out his intentions, she ran towards him with all her strength and grabbed his hand.
“Hold up.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stopped her before she could activate her skill. She looked at him with confused eyes.
“What’s the matter?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“How good is your ability to teleport?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What do you mean by that? And why can’t you address me prop….” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min was about to retort as usual, but then, saw the intense light emanating from his eyes and shut her mouth up right away.
His usually arched-up and sharp eyes no longer displayed the hints of that annoying mischievousness from before, but instead, gleamed in a grave but dignified light.
“Be precise. How many can you teleport?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I haven’t tried so I can’t be sure. But, I think I can force myself to teleport 100 people if I try. Obviously, they have to be connected to one another somehow.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“What happens if you cancel teleportation in the middle?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Hmm… we’ll just end up falling in the middle of the way. I’ve only done it once, so I can’t be sure.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Okay, fine. Let’s go.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“To K2?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“No, to the nearest Gate from here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk turned around to shout at the other combatants.
“Since you don’t know what else might come out next, take care!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Right after than, Yi Ji-Hyuk and Jeong Hae-Min’s figures disappeared.
Soldiers stared at that scene with dazed expressions, before one of them softly muttered out.
“What the hell did I even see just now?”
Now that they were looking at the empty but destroyed land where the gorilla monster had been toying around with them only a minute ago – where not even a trace of the said monster’s corpse remained – they were all feeling something uncomfortable wiggle inside their chests.
“Is that what a true ability user looks like…?”
The ability users, psykers, whatever – those people that were called with various titles….
Right now, not one present here felt like calling them ‘humans’. Humans, that were the same as themselves.
What would happen, if an ability user like that youth, capable of blowing away a monster that the combined might of the military couldn’t subdue, turned hostile towards the rest of humanity?
Wasn’t this perhaps the clearest indication that the ability users were far more terrifying than the actual monsters?
Silenced by a question with no easy answers, the soldiers simply glanced around at the empty battlefield.
“There it is!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Teleporting into the sky once more, Yi Ji-Hyuk immediately spotted the large monster down below and quickly headed off to it.
“What the f*ck? Why are they all so big?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Whaa? Why are you going that way, with me in tow?!?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min cried out in alarm as they fell towards the large monster. However, Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t even pretend to alter the direction and fell straight towards his target.
The monster sensed the presence of falling duo, raised its head, and glared at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
*SFX for explosive burst of flames*
From its large wide-open maw, a flame ball erupted out.
Yi Ji-Hyuk activated the Shield spell and protected both him and his passenger as they broke past the dense flames, before he was able to place his hand on the skin of the monster.
“Teleport, now!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Eh?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“To K2!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Understanding what Yi Ji-Hyuk wanted from her, Jeong Hae-Min quickly activated her teleportation ability.
The large monster just went and vanished from its spot; the confused ability users and soldiers tilted their heads this way and that, as they looked around the suddenly-empty battlefield.
“What the hell just happened?”
As soon as they reappeared in the skies of the K2 Gate, Yi Ji-Hyuk kicked the monster and created some distance between themselves.
“Get away from me, you d*mn dirty monster!”
No matter how powerful a monster was, without wings, there was not a whole lot it could do against the effects of gravity.
After spotting the rapidly-descending giant monster, the combatants on the ground scattered seemingly to everywhere in an unbridled panic.
The impact sound was as loud as that of a meteor strike; the monster crash-landed on the ground and caused a deep crater to form.
“Oh, that’s a nice surprise.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Landing back on the ground, Yi Ji-Hyuk saw the scene unfold, and shrugged his shoulders.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young was in charge of the K2 location, and she began shouting out his name as soon as she spotted him.
Just what was this unhinged youth doing?
What was he thinking of by bringing over yet another powerful monster here, when she and her crew were already having a hard time dealing with just one? But besides all that…
How the heck did he even manage to bring that thing here? Was it teleportation?! (Seo Ah-Young’s inner monologue)
Having never thought of doing something as audacious as that before, Seo Ah-Young felt as if someone had hit the back of her head with a hammer.
‘What is up with this guy?!’ (Seo Ah-Young)
It was not that difficult to order around a thick-headed but physically strong person.
However, a smart person with the strength to match was a scary subject to contend with. Even more so, if a person was smart, strong, and quick-witted to boot… Now that, that would be an absolute nightmare.
Just like now. Whenever Seo Ah-Young got to see Yi Ji-Hyuk in action, a new facet to him emerged and confused the hell out of her.
As Seo Ah-Young gritted her teeth, Yi Ji-Hyuk began shouting as well.
“Tell them to retreat!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“I said, tell everyone here to retreat, right now!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“How can you even suggest that?! What will you do when those monsters decide to go somewhere else?! Can’t you see that we have civilian areas not too far from here?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Use your head, lady! Your head!! It’s not for decoration, is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Hearing Yi Ji-Hyuk talk like that was quite embarrassing for her, but soon enough, she got to see the reason for his suggestion.
The boss-level monster of the K2 location stopped attacking the human forces and diverted its attention to the fallen monster, instead. And it issued a threatening growl to the new entrant to its territory.
“When another male lion turns up in your territory, there’s no way you’d care about the ants near your feet now, is there?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He had already confirmed that these monsters had no sense of camaraderie during the incident of Oh-Sik crossing over. Since the Gates always opened up in disparate places away from each other, such conflicts had been avoided until now, but now that it happened, boss monsters getting ready to smash each other up was the inevitable result.
Sure, for those low rank monsters, it wouldn’t really matter. But it was only natural for the high ranking monsters to compete against one another when it came to asserting one’s dominance over its territory.
“Alright, next!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk turned his gaze away from Seo Ah-Young and grabbed Jeong Hae-Min’s hand.
“W, wait.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
As if she had spent more energy than expected, Jeong Hae-Min was staggering around unsteadily. The burden on her when teleporting such a large monster proved to be far greater than when compared to teleporting one or two humans.
Yi Ji-Hyuk frowned deeply.
“Can you do it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Yes, I can.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Right. Let’s do it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
There was no meaning in mouthing a few words of encouragement or to say that they could seek another method – such words were deeply irresponsible, considering that there were literally people dying all around them as they stood here talking.
“You should finish your duty first, then you can faint afterwards.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I know.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min nodded her head. He could spy determination burning in her squinting eyes.
‘Why is she trying so hard here, I wonder?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Was it because she had to endure many years of obscurity? Her mentality was unexpectedly tougher than she looked. A normal, pampered woman would’ve raised the white flag by now.
She doesn’t want to slow me down, is that it? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk chuckled softly, and squeezed her hand a little.
Jeong Hae-Min nodded her head after understanding the signal, and activated her teleportation ability.
“It’s you, this time!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk deftly dodged the beam of ice, touched the monster responsible for firing it, and then, promptly teleported back to the K2 location. Then, just like before, left the monster there.
One, by one…
The more they teleported, Jeong Hae-Min’s condition got worse and worse; not only that, the casualties continued to pile on higher and higher.
Hell, one of the boss-level monsters had even broken past the defensive line and completely levelled a city by the time he got there.
Without saying a word, he touched it and teleported it back to K2.
After repeating this a few times, the boss-level monsters that were summoned to all corners of the country had been gathered in this location.
*SFX for monsters roaring at each other in a threatening manner*
There should have been a pure destructive chaos unfolding by now, but then again, the monsters were too busy minding each other, and didn’t dare to take the first step. And so, that dreaded chaos of bloodshed had been delayed.
As for Jeong Hae-Min, she even went around teleporting all the main combat forces to this location as well, and soon as she was finished, doubled over and began puking her guts out.
A popular idol puking may seem like something to be embarrassed about, but not one soul present found her disgusting nor unsightly to look at.
“You did well.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young gently patted Jeong Hae-Min’s back.
“I…. I said, I’m older than you…!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Eek! Don’t look at this way! I might get some on my clothes!” (Seo Ah-Young)
As she staggered about, trying to regain her balance, Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly grasped the back of her neck and picked her up.
“??? You!! You trying to throw me, right?!” (Jeong Ha-Min)
“Huh. A pretty keen power of observation you got there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Can’t you at least treat me a little better than this?! Haven’t I already proved myself as an important asset to you?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Yep, an important shuttle, no doubt.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk went poof! along with her, and then, reappeared far, far from the battlefield. Then, he put her back down.
“You might get hurt, so better stay here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You…. Can you really fight those monsters?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“….Ah! I nearly forgot. Uhm, yeah, so, like… Can you do me a favour?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Can you go and bring Oh-Sik here as well?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk resolutely left behind the staggering Jeong Hae-Min and her pointed glares, and reappeared amidst the NDF’s combat force.
“Okay, now let’s see….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk surveyed the eight boss-level monsters busy being wary of each other, still keeping a certain distance away and not moving.
“Huh. Kinda familiar sight, isn’t it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
To Yi Ji-Hyuk, it’d be more correct to say that he was lots more familiar with monsters instead of other human beings. Sure, half of the monsters currently present were foreign even to him, though, but whatever.
Besides, in the past, he had commanded thousands of monsters more terrifying than these fellas here, so there was no way he’d feel anything new or particular from this spectacle. Not at all.
Of course, the story was extremely different for everyone else.
“Just…. what should we do?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“What do you expect me to do about them?!” (Park Sung-Chan)
Seo Ah-Young and Park Sung-Chan spoke up at the same time with nary an ounce of energy in their voices.
They may only be eight monsters, but each one of them was on the level of a national disaster that required the full might of the military to stop in its tracks. And eight of such creatures had been gathered in one place.
All they could do was to stall these monsters with the help of military and other ability users, but now, they didn’t even have that luxury anymore.
“Do you have a way to deal with them?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young asked Yi Ji-Hyuk, her expression full of uncharacteristic fear and anxiety.
He looked back at her, and grandly sighed out.
Things might have been fine until now, but moving on, it’d become more difficult in the future. He just couldn’t let them be like this, calling out his name like he was some sort of a saviour whenever a serious disaster unfolded.
“Such a bunch of whiny weaklings….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Back in Berafe, being weak was pretty much the same as you giving up on the right to exist.
Yi Ji-Hyuk had crawled and clawed his way up from being the weakest of the weak, and climbed to the very peak of that world.
Although he wasn’t expecting these ability users to emulate his success or his drive, at least, they should have been able to utilise their powers to the fullest.
So, in other words….
Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly took a step forward.
I’ll show them.
I’ll show them the overwhelming power, so not one can complain later. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
As soon as the jet-black Mana erupted out from his body, all eight monsters stopped looking at each other and snapped their heads towards his direction simultaneously.
Their attention was stolen by a presence so overwhelmingly powerful, others simply paled in comparison.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s lips arched in a toothy grin.
Time to get down and dirty.
< 69. Stop trying to sell snake oil and let’s get started already -4 > Fin.