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Episode 7 – Landlord (3)
Yoo Jonghyuk was looking at everyone except for Lee Hyunsung. The three remaining people were standing together and I couldn't figure out exactly who Yoo Jonghyuk was looking at.
「…How is this possible? 」
Who was he looking at? I wanted to ask but I was afraid that my skill would be exposed. Yoo Jonghyuk still didn't know that I knew him.
However, I guessed that he might've seen the information of Jung Heewon. Jung Heewon saw Yoo Jonghyuk's gaze and confronted him.
“What are you looking at?"
Good job, Jung Heewon.
「 Kill… 」
"Yoo Jonghyuk." I quickly opened my mouth. "I was wondering about one thing."
He turned to look at me. His eyes were questioning.
"Why are you leaving Gong Pildu alone?"
"If you are a prophet, you should know."
"I don't know everything."
To be exact, I didn't remember everything.
[The character 'Yoo Jonghyuk' has used the 'Lie Detection' skill.
[The character Yoo Jonghyuk has confirmed that your words are true.]
He was thorough.
"…Indeed, I see. A prophet whose level of 'future sight' is low."
Think what you want.
Yoo Jonghyuk continued speaking.
"I need Gong Pildu alive."
"Is it because of a future scenario?"
Yoo Jonghyuk didn’t answer. It was like he was trying to gauge the information I knew.
“I know that you need Gong Pildu for future scenarios. But you only need Gong Pildu. You don't need the entire group that follows him.”
“Isn't it your style to remove what you don't need? Why are you just leaving them?"
「…How annoying. 」
"I have a lot to do." Yoo Jonghyuk stared at me quietly and said, “You will never understand."
"Wait! That isn't the problem. If you don't move now, most of the humans in Chungmuro will…!"
Yoo Jonghyuk's eyes were cold.
“It doesn’t matter."
I wasn't a humanist. I didn't believe that everyone in this world was worth living. The thing that was making me angry right now was Yoo Jonghyuk.
"Yoo Jonghyuk. Can I hit you?"
"If you have confidence."
I angrily formed a fist as I heard a message.
[The character Yoo Jonghyuk has used 'Strong Self-Defense Lv. 5'.]
I dropped my fist. Cowardly b.a.s.t.a.r.d.
"Are you finished?"
Lee Jihye flinched at Yoo Jonghyuk's call. Lee Jihye, who belated followed Yoo Jonghyuk, looked at me with confused eyes.
[The constellation 'Bald General of Justice' is impressed by your chivalrous spirit.]
[100 coins have been sponsored.]
Of course, it was completely misleading.
* * *
[There are 1 hour and 30 minutes before the third scenario is activated.]
There wasn't much time left and my mind was complicated.
[The constellation 'Bald General of Justice' is angry that people's lives must be risked.]
[The constellation 'Bald General of Justice' wants an uprising.]
Samyeongdang spoke loudly in my head but I couldn't think of a good way. The third scenario lasted exactly one week.
Maybe Yoo Jonghyuk was planning to gain some other advantage during the duration of the third scenario.
Of course, I couldn't let it go. I couldn't let it go…
[The constellation 'Prisoner of the Golden Headband' is wondering what you are thinking.]
"That jerk Yoo Jonghyuk."
[The constellation 'Prisoner of the Golden Headband' is satisfied.]
[100 coins have been sponsored.]
In fact, the problem in front of me wasn't Yoo Jonghyuk but Gong Pildu. In order to break through the third scenario, Gong Pildu's help was absolutely necessary. But if I couldn't get his help…
Suddenly, Jung Heewon looked up and smiled.
"Who is it?"
“You know, that person. The one you were talking to Yoo Jonghyuk about."
I immediately explained about Gong Pildu. Jung Heewon was unconscious so she hadn't been able to see Gong Pildu. I didn't mean to change the subject. Jung Heewon immediately reacted.
"…What are these sc.u.m? Taking the public facilities and making people pay to use them?"
"The sc.u.m are upstairs."
“I’ll go and throw them out.
Jung Heewon picked up the ground rat blade. That reminded me, I should change their weapons. There was a lot to be done.
"It is absurd."
“We can win if we join forces. Don't you remember Gumho Station?"
Jung Heewon's expression was confident.
It was natural. Jung Heewon had the Judgment Time skill as a trump card. She had good senses and was quick to adapt, so she would've already figured out her attribute and skills.
"Don't dawdle! Let's go and kill them!”
As long as her opponents were 'wicket', her Judgment Time boasted the highest power.
[The character 'Jung Heewon' has activated the exclusive skill 'Judgment Time.']
[The constellations of the Absolute Good system are silent at Jung Heewon's request.
[The skill has been cancelled.]
Jung Heewon's face filled with confusion.
"No, this…what? Is it broken?"
Jung Heewon tried to activate the skill again. However, the skill wasn't triggered.
“No…why isn't it activated? Aren't they obviously wicked?"
I laughed at Jung Heewon's question.
“That is what we humans think."
"…What are you talking about?"
“The constellations might be different. There is no guarantee that the good and evil they know is like what we know."
“Justice is always decided by the majority."
Right now, the majority of constellations have decided that they are 'good.' Humans no longer had the right to decide on justice. Humans were just the puppets of their sponsors.
I looked at the party members.
Everyone didn't say anything but they thought in a similar way to Jung Heewon. Lee Hyunsung wiped the iron shield that was scratched by the magic bullets, while Yoo Sangah and Lee Gilyoung sat next to each other on the ground, looking at c.o.c.kroaches.
This sense of despair, I could understand.
They thought they understood after getting rid of the gang at Gumho Station. However, there was an incomparable monster just three stations away.
It was time to start the torture of hope.
“That doesn't mean there is no way."
“It might be difficult but there is a way to defeat them."
They simultaneously looked at me. Lee Hyunsung asked.
“…Do you really have a way?"
"What is it?"
I looked around and lowered my voice.
"Get Gong Pildu out of the Armed Zone."
“What is the Armed Zone?"
"His stigma. It is optimized to defend an area."
Armed Zone. The reason why it was difficult to go against Gong Pildu was this stigma. It was a fraudulent ability that could build 'turrets' in an area.
Right now, it was just Armed Zone. Once the stigma evolved in the future, it would become 'Armed Fortress' and a siege needed to be prepared to catch him.
But Gong Pildu had an obvious weakness.
"His Armed Zone will be released as soon as he leaves his designated area. His mini-turrets will also become useless. Usually, there are many restrictions on such a wide defense skill."
At the same time, Lee Hyunsung and Jung Heewon looked at me with admiration.
“You figured this out after seeing it once? Is this Dokjssi's attribute?"
The same thing was repeated but I saw that the people had adapted to me to some extent. Yoo Sangah asked.
“But how will you make him move?"
“We have to think about that for now."
“Ah, I hate thinking." Jung Heewon complained.
Then everyone was silent for a while. It was Lee Hyunsung who gave his idea first.
“Attack when he goes to the bathroom…"
"Didn't you see the things next to the bench?"
Gong Pildu never moved out of his Armed Zone. His bench had everything he needed. There was a sleeping bag, blanket, food, basic with water to eat and sleep and even a place to p.i.s.s. Of course, the tenants provided him with them.
"Crazy. He is a complete shut in. No, is he not moving because he is hiding something good on the land?"
“It is the biggest 'room' in Chungmuro."
That reminds me, Jung Heewon still didn't know about the rooms. But there was no need for me to explain.
[There is 1 hour before the third scenario is activated.]
She would son find out.
“We also need to find a room."
The moment our party got up, the people around us flinched.
"D-D-Don't come closer!"
In particularly, the man with a knife who was protecting a single person room on the No. 3 line platform showed high vigilance. However, other people rushed towards him before we could approach.
"Get out, your f.u.c.ker!"
They attacked indiscriminately. As soon as the man was pushed out, the mark of the green zone changed. The owner had changed.
[Green Zone 1/1-> Green Zone 0/1].
The people were engaging in a b.l.o.o.d.y fight over the room. Someone was stabbed in the thigh while someone had their nose broken.
Jung Heewon frowned.
"Shouldn't we stop that?"
“Even if we intervene, the result will be the same. In the end, somebody will die."
“Why does someone have to die?"
“It isn't possible to avoid in this scenario."
I had just finished speaking while Bihyung emerged in the air.
[Now no, shall we start the third day of the main scenario? New faces have arrived today so won't it be fun? Hahaha!]
Bihyung glanced my way.
There were three dokkaebis in charge of the Chungmuro scenario. It seemed that Bihyung was temporarily the representative. It was a natural consequence of being the smallest of the three channels.
Then the third scenario arrived in front of us.
[Main Scenario #3 – Green Zone (Day 3)
Clear Conditions: Occupy the 'green zone' in the station and survive the monsters that emerge every night at midnight. This scenario will last 7 days.
Duration: 8 hours.
Compensation: 1,000 coins
Lee Hyunsung's eyes widened.
[It is simple. Occupy the green zone before other people. Of course, you can take away the green zone of others. By the way, you should hurry. If you don't have a green zone after the scenario starts, you will have a terrible experience. Haha, then everyone should try it!]
People's expressions hardened as they heard Bihyung's words. In the meantime, the screams of the people continued.
Peok! Peok! Peok!
“I-I'm not doing this because I have a grudge! I must survive…"
Maybe this was what everyone realized. The struggle in front of us was no longer a story. Yoo Sangah asked in a trembling voice.
“Surely we don't have to fight like these people?"
“We don't need to fight. Just find a room that can accommodate a large number of people."
"The size of the green zones vary by type. It ranged from fitting only one person to fitting 70 people like Gong Pildu's area.
“Of course, if there are any rooms left."
Jung Heewon opened her mouth at my words.
“Dokjssi is really talented at making people uneasy… then let's move right away. Maybe there are some rooms left."
“It might be faster to split up. Divide the team. Hyunsung-ssi will move with Sangah-ssi, while Heewon-ssi should take Gilyoung."
"I’m fine on my own."
I didn't have to say anything else. Everyone trusted me. Lee Gilyoung spoke first.
“Hyung, that…what if we can't find one?"
"If we can't find a room 20 minutes before the scenario starts, we will gather here again."
“I understand. Then I'm going."
The team scattered in an orderly fashion. Jung Heewon and Lee Gilyoung went to B2 while Yoo Sangah and Lee Hyunsung went to B3. I watched my companions leave before turning on the smartphone. As soon as I opened Ways of Survival, a sentence immediately popped up.
「 There were no rooms left in Chungmuro. 」
This fact was written clearly. It was likely that they wouldn't be able to find any rooms.
Then they could only choose one way. In order to survive, kill someone else and take their room. But could Lee Hyunsung and Jung Heewon do it?
Not everyone here was 'wicked.' There were some who exploited others, like Gong Pildu. But in fact, most of them bared their teeth in order to protect themselves.
Could Yoo Sangah and Lee Gilyoung bare their teeth to people like that? I would know the answer very soon.
Episode 7 – Landlord (4)
After the dokkaebi disappeared, dozens of casualties appeared on the platform of line 3.
Currently, there was only one room on the line 3 platform.
There was no one strong here, so the weak didn't back down and attacked each other.
[There are 30 minutes before the third scenario is activated.]
As pandemonium occurred around me, I was quietly reading Ways of Survival. Perhaps today's scenario would flow as I thought. In order to survive, I couldn't miss a single word.
[What are you doing now?]
Along with Bihyung's words, I could hear the messages of the constellations.
[The constellation 'Prisoner of the Golden Headband' is wondering what you are doing.]
I reflexively turned off my smartphone. There was something I hadn't thought of until now. Why didn't the constellations respond when I read Ways of Survival?
In the original Ways of Survival, the constellations discovered that Yoo Jonghyuk was a regressor and raised questions about fairness. It was normal for them to say something about the text I was reading.
[What are you doing right now with a blank notepad? All the constellations are going crazy with frustration because of you!]
I turned on the smartphone again. Ways of Destruction appeared on the screen.
"Is this what you are referring to?"
[Yes! What are you going to do with that notepad? You will die if you stay still! Ha, I believed in a guy like this and sighed a contract…]
I got gooseb.u.mps.
The dokkaebi couldn't read this 'text.' If even the dokkaebis, which managed the system, couldn't read it then the constellations were the same.
Then the writer who gave me the text…what type of existence was he?
The last scream rang out. Finally, the owner of the room on platform line 3 was determined.
[Green Zone 1/1]
"…Don't come any closer."
A boy was pointing a knife at me. Surprisingly, the winner was the boy who guided us earlier. I still didn't know his name.
“Don't worry, I won't take your room."
I spoke in order to rea.s.sure the boy. The moment I had this thought.
"Really? You are quite relaxed Ahjussi. Do you want to die?"
I didn't need to look back to see who was talking.
“It looks like you are quite free."
“n.o.body touches my room. I will send everyone who touches it to h.e.l.l."
Lee Jihye twirled a deep blue blade round and round. In regards to specs, there was no one who could match Lee Jihye apart from Yoo Jonghyuk or people from the Landlord Alliance. Lee Jihye watched me carefully and opened her mouth.
“I don't want Ahjussi to die. You were quite impressive against Master earlier."
“Don’t worry, I won't die. It won't die even if I don't find a room."
It was true. I wouldn't necessarily die if I couldn't find a room. There was an impossible man in this station who proved this. It was only three days ago.
Lee Jihye's eyes narrowed.
“Ahjussi, do you know what you are saying right now?"
“Ahjussi, are you strong? As strong as Master?"
Then Yoo Jonghyuk appeared behind Lee Jihye.
"Stop and go back to your room."
Lee Jihye obediently left and Yoo Jonghyuk turned towards me.
"Are you going to fight the monsters?"
“You will die. Your four companions as well."
“That remains to be seen.”
There was an unknown emotion in Yoo Jonghyuk's eyes as he glanced at me and left. I didn't use Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint. It wasn't always possible to expression emotions with words.
[There are 20 minutes before the third scenario is activated.]
There was the sound of people coming down the stairs. Lee Hyunsung, Lee Gilyoung and Yoo Sangah… looking at their dark expressions, the result was as I expected. Yoo Sangah opened her mouth with a gloomy expression.
"Room…there were non.:
"It is okay. Rather, where is Heewon-ssi?"
“She is trying to negotiate upstairs."
At these words, Jung Heewon jumped down with a terrible scream.
"One night is 2,000 coins? Are they joking right now? I am really going to hit them."
The agitated Jung Heewon snorted and said.
"Dokjssi. Do you know what is happening upstairs? No―"
“They suddenly raised the taxes right?"
"Eh…you already know?"
It was predictable. The tenants would die if they couldn't get a room in 20 minutes. It was no wonder that the owners would take the initiative to raise the taxes.
“Did Dokjssi find anything?"
“No, I didn't."
I examined their faces one by one. In the end, the time to choose had come.
"I have two ways."
The eyes of the party members shone at these words. But my methods would probably betray their expectations.
"The first way is easy for all of us to live."
Jung Heewon's eyes narrowed.
"Usually it is the second method… what is the other one?"
"The second method is very difficult. It is likely that some of us will die."
"Eh…that can't happen. Then I will choose the first way."
"What do the others think?"
Lee Hyunsung responded first.
“The first method will be good if everyone can live."
Lee Gilyoung nodded. Only Yoo Sangah hesitated.
“…Can I hear what it is?"
I nodded and lead them up the stairs to transit line 4.
"This is the first method."
The party members looked at where I pointed. There was a group of five men and women shaking.
[Green Zone 5/5]
"They room they occupy has exactly five s.p.a.ces. But their individual abilities isn't that high. Honestly, if the five of us…"
“Yes, kill them and take their room."
Their trembling increased at my calm voice. Jung Heewon made a deeply wounded expression.
“…Who doesn't know about this method?"
"If Hyung says so, I can do it."
Lee Gilyoung spoke first.
“I'm not afraid. I will do it."
Yoo Sangah grabbed Lee Gilyoung's shoulder. I deliberately looked uncaring.
"They would've also killed someone to take that room. Honestly, we can't overcome future scenarios if we can't do this."
"Dokjssi." Jung Heewon interrupted. “I killed people at Gumho Station. I killed because I wanted to and I don't regret it. But."
Jung Heewon had a pained expression on her face.
“Just because I am a murderer doesn't mean I want to keep killing. I don't want to be a monster.
“…Dokjssi, I would like to know about the second method."
I closed my eyes for a moment at Lee Hyunsung's words.
"I understand your thoughts."
Yes, this was enough.
"Let's go the second way."
The expressions of the party members seemed to brighten. In fact, I was going to use the second method from the beginning.
Killing was an easy way to survive, but I could never attract the attention of the constellations if I chose the easy method.
However, the second method required considerable determination. It wasn't just me but everyone. Thus, I needed to check their determination. I had to know what these people were really thinking.
Jung Heewon laughed.
"…I thought so. Why are you talking when you were going to go with the second way?"
"I wasn't trying to test you. Whatever choice you made, I would've respected it."
I stroked Lee Gilyoung's head, who was looking up at me with uneasy eyes. Yoo Sangah sighed and opened her mouth.
“Dokjssi is really spiteful."
“I'm sorry I'm not a good person."
"What is the second method?"
"There is no need to kill anybody with this method. But it is very difficult."
At my heavy tone, the expressions of the party members became determined.
“If you choose the second method, please unconditionally follow my instructions. Please trust me, even if it doesn't make sense. If one person doesn't trust me―"
"We will all die."
Someone gulped. The party members nodded almost simultaneously. Lee Hyunsung said.
“I believe in Dokjssi. I have survived up to here because of Dokjssi."
[There are 5 minutes before the third scenario is activated.]
"Then follow me."
I moved with the party members along railway line 3. We pa.s.sed through the broken screen door and stood at the entrance of the tunnel leading to Euljiro-3.
Inside the dark tunnel, I saw a glowing 'red zone.' Perhaps the monsters would be created over there. They would sweep over line 3 and go up each floor towards the ground.
Lee Hyunsung asked nervously.
"…Then are we fighting the monsters here?"
"No, we aren't fighting. If we fight here then we will die."
It wasn't possible to fight against the terrifying monsters and survive until dawn without the green zone.
This time, Jung Heewon asked.
"…Then will we run towards the Dongdae area?"
"That won't work. Once the scenario is activated, we will automatically die if we leave Chungmuro."
“This operation needs to be shared. Lee Hyunsung-ssi, Yoo Sangah-ssi and Jung Heewon-ssi. Once the monsters appear, run straight in the direction they are coming from."
"Understood? Just run towards them. Just before you encounter them, be sure to look at the left wall. Then you will know that I mean."
The people didn't understand my words but there was no time to explain to them.
"Just trust me or you will die. Don't forget to look at the left wall."
"I understand Dokjssi." Yoo Sangah seemed to understand what I meant and answered first.
“I am telling you in person. You must run after the monster appears."
I picked up a stone and threw it towards the tunnel. Then stone sparked as it hit something and fell. Lee Hyunsung and Jung Heewon nodded as if they understood.
“What about Dokjssi?"
“I'll find another way with Gilyoung."
This method couldn't be used unless my party members believed in me. Who would go against common sense and commit a suicide attack by rushing towards the monsters?
The only thing left was their determination.
[The third main scenario is enabled.]
The barrier that was blocking the tunnel to Euljiro-3 disappeared.
The three people started running the moment I called out.
The monsters started to be created in the red zone. It was mainly the grade 9 ground rats. Then the middle ranks were filled with the intermediate grade 9 underground species, the 'groll.'
A monster with a black mane that was in the shape of a bear. The sharp horns on their foreheads was threatening.
One was relatively easy to deal with. The problem was the number. The crowded columns was already not suitable to be called a 'group.' We would die if we hit that wave.
The moment Lee Hyunsung encountered the first groll, I shouted.
Yoo Sangah found it first. Green tiles shimmering on the wall.
The enlightenment was instant The moment Yoo Sangah's hand touched the wall, it emitted a bright light.
[Green Zone 1/3]
The agile Jung Heewon immediately touched the wall behind her.
[Green Zone 2/3]
However, Lee Hyunsung missed the timing. It was because the ground rats clung to Lee Hyunsung's shield.
"Hyunsung-ssi! Catch it!"
Lee Hyunsung grabbed the 'thread' that Yoo Sangah threw him. Thanks to the strength of the two women, Lee Hyunsung flew through the air and reached the wall.
[Green Zone 3/3]
The monsters stared at them but once they entered the green zones, the monsters couldn't attack.
Yoo Sangah called out to me but there was no time to look back. I was already running with Lee Gilyoung on my back.
「 …In the third main scenario, there are several hidden green zones. This is activated on a specific wall and the green zones on the wall won't appear until after the scenario starts… if you think about it, humans were the ones who thought of it as the concept of a 'room'. 」
In Ways of Survival, Yoo Jonghyuk went through numerous regressions and found some secret green zones in Chungmuro.
On the platform of line 3, there were two such green zones.
A few ground rats chasing after me bit me in the thigh. The blow wasn't big because of my high strength, but these small things could acc.u.mulate.
Lee Gilyoung hit a few ground rats with a blunt weapon from his position on my back. But there were too many of them. In addition, the groll were fast.
A dozen metres away, the boy was looking at me with terrified eyes.
[Green Zone 1/1]
It was cowardly but I was tempted to take the easy road for a second.
[Hahahaha! This situation is fun. Then like yesterday, should there be a penalty?]
A dokkaebi spoke followed by the system messages.
[A scenario penalty has been added!]
[Some existing green zones will be disabled.]
"N-No! Uack, aaaaack!"
Screams rang through Chungmuro Station. The closest scream came from the boy.
As soon as the green zone disappeared, the boy's small body was shredded by the ground rats.
Thanks to the boy's body buying time, I was able to run into the pa.s.sage. However, the monsters that came from beyond the broken screen door blocked the path.
I hid Lee Gilyoung behind me and pulled out Unbroken Faith. The blade of White Pure Star Energy quickly pushed back the incoming monsters.
But the numbers didn't go down at all. The person who fought with these monsters until sunrise, Yoo Jonghyuk was a monster. I wasn't sure it was possible for me, even if I changed all my coins to stats.
At this moment, Lee Gilyoung spoke.
"Hyung, you know."
"Don't talk now. I'm busy."
"You can just leave me here."
"I really don't understand it. Why are you helping me, Hyunsung hyung and the noonas? If you are alone… you would be able to survive better."
He could calmly speak such words before his death. Maybe this kid’s mind was already dead.
"Yes, you are right." Another ground rat fell to the ground with its head cut off. “It is comfortable to live alone, eat alone and survive alone. But…"
Why was I acting this way? If anyone asked me, I couldn't exactly explain. But I could say one thing with certainty.
"I know one novel that developed in such a way and was ruined."
I thought it every time but I wasn't a protagonist. I wouldn't be a hero or a savior. But…
Lee Gilyoung's eyes were shaking. I lifted him onto my back again and said.
"Hold on tight."
I wouldn't let Lee Gilyoung die. At least, not today.