Episode 8 – Emergency Defense (1)
「 Lee Hyunsung was dozing like an officer on duty, 」
Perhaps there would be such a description in Ways of Survival. And maybe there was this sentence.
「 Maybe Lee Hyunsung didn’t know. What would happen to him today. 」
“...Ah, hmm, I fell asleep for a moment. Dokja-ssi, are you well rested?”
“Yes, I’m fine. By the way, you were talking. Officer on duty...”
“Something about Second Class Soldier Lee Hyunsung...”
Lee Hyunsung’s face turned red.
“T-That... Just a trauma from my days as a soldier.”
“Days as a soldier? Isn’t Lee Hyunsung an officer?”
“That...I was transferred to the third unit when I was a corporal.”
“I heard these cases are rare. You must’ve been well-suited for the army.”
Lee Hyunsung laughed. It was a laugh that I could understand. There were few people well-suited for the army. The people who remained didn’t fit elsewhere.
Then it was time to throw a small stone.
“Still, I’m glad that Lee Hyunsung-ssi is here.
“I’m relieved when Lee Hyunsung-ssi blocks in front. It feels like someone is protecting me.”
“...Is that so?”
Lee Hyunsung smiled slightly. It was a weak smile, but it was certainly a comforting smile. After exchanging brief greetings, I separated from Lee Hyunsung.
In the original third round development of Ways of Survival, Lee Hyunsung experienced a character evolution by protecting the people at Gumho Station from the Cheoldoo Group. But Jung Heewon took that chance.
Now Yoo Sangah, Jung Heewon and Lee Gilyoung were approaching me. I faced them.
“Did you see the demonstration? Just do what I did.”
“Yes. Well...pretty much. But why do we have to do this?”
There was a reason for it.
[The character ‘Lee Hyunsung’ has started to feel responsible.]
Lee Hyunsung was currently wiping his shield with an innocent expression.
Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint was a scam. At least, as far as ‘characters’ went.
“I want to help Hyunsung-ssi. He looks a bit down these days. Won’t he feel better if you cheer him up?”
I said this for Lee Hyunsung’s sake. The innocent Yoo Sangah nodded her head.
“Is it the saying ‘dance like a while at praise?’”
“It is similar.”
“I understand. I’ll give it a try!”
Unlike Yoo Sangah, Jung Heewon had an uncertain expression.
“Dokja-ssi’s sponsor isn’t something like ‘One-Eyed Fortuneteller’, right?”
“...What is that?”
“You don’t know?”
Well, there was something like this. For a moment, I thought that Jung Heewon might be the writer of Ways of Survival. For example, Gung Ye was the ‘One-Eyed Maitreya.’
“It isn’t that. I have a special skill. It is a skill that understands people well.”
“...I don’t know if I want to ask, so I won’t.”
“But have you ever used it on me?”
I almost showed emotions on my face. It was fortunate that Jung Heewon didn’t have Lie Detection. I looked at Lee Gilyoung and said.
“I only use it on men.”
It wasn’t a lie. I haven’t read Jung Heewon’s heart. So far.
“Anyway, I am asking everyone to do this. First is Jung Heewon-ssi, then Yoo Sangah and Gilyoung is last. Please take it in turns to speak to him.”
“’Oh my, I really believe in Hyunsung-ssi!’ That type of feeling?”
“Please don’t go so far.”
“Sigh, I am really going to die.”
Still, she needed to do it. In order for this plan to succeed, Lee Hyunsung’s ‘attribute evolution’ was absolutely necessary. I would’ve planned a bit sooner if I knew Yoo Jonghyuk would act like this... but if we tried hard, I should be able to see the result today.
In fact, they seemed to be doing well.
“Hyunsung-ssi is really dependable. You are like a pine tree.”
“Haha, thank you Heewon-ssi. My favourite song is Green Pine.”
[The character ‘Lee Hyunsung’ feels proud.]
“I didn’t ask.”
[The character ‘Lee Hyunsung’ feels a bit sullen.]
“I don’t think I’ve seen a righteous person like Hyunsung-ssi.”
“Ah... that isn’t the case. Still, thank you. Yoo Sangah-ssi.”
[The character ‘Lee Hyunsung’ has started to worry about justice.]
“Hyunsung hyung has the best muscles.”
“Thank you, everyone.”
[The character ‘Lee Hyunsung’ has increased his self-esteem.]
It was fortunate that Lee Hyunsung was a simple person and such empty praises worked well. After repeating the same conversation several times like this, the system messages started to change.
[The character ‘Lee Hyunsung’ is waiting for a chance to evolve his attribute.]
Okay. It went smoothly.
Yoo Sangah asked in a slightly worried tone. “But I think Hyunsung-ssi is a bit burdened...”
Yoo Sangah was really nice. Even in this situation, she was concerned about someone else’s heart. I didn’t have that ability.
“Maybe a bit. But It is necessary. There are some people in the world who become stronger as they carry more burdens.”
“Don’t worry. And...Gilyoung, did you do what I asked?”
Lee Gilyoung replied from next to Yoo Sangah. On his head, there was a pair of small cockroaches like they were antennae.
“That noona, she is on B1.”
Lee Hyunsung was good. Now it was time to steal the power of others.
I walked up the stairs alone. The people of the Landlord Alliance welcomed me as I went up.
“Haha, who is this? If it isn’t the illegal tenant.”
“You are coming up here after doing well. Did you really survive yesterday without a room? Did Yoo Jonghyuk help you?”
I ignored them and kept walking. The Landlord Alliance members kept talking, as if they thought I was scared.
“Isn’t it hard to live with Yoo Jonghyuk? Enter our alliance. Pildu-ssi said he would let you.”
I didn’t care and counted the remaining green zones on every floor. One, two, three... in order for this plan to succeed, I couldn’t miss a single one.
“Of course, under the condition that you bring both women.”
Now there were 11 green zones remaining. The number had reduced a lot after yesterday’s scenario. It was a close number to carry out the plan.
“Hey, are you ignoring me now?”
“I’m listening. Tell him I’m thinking about it.”
The alliance members looked at each other and chuckled at my words. They could laugh like that now.
I was walking up the escalator when a blade suddenly reached my neck. I felt very few signs it was coming... there was only one skill that boasted this type of concealed movements in the beginning.
“I’m disappointed, Ahjussi.”
Lee Jihye. A proud girl with outstanding fighting skills. She wasn’t chosen by the Duke of Loyalty and Warfare for nothing.
“Ahjussi, don’t you know what will happen to those women if you make a deal with them?”
“Do you really know? Yesterday, wouldn’t you rather die?”
“Put away the sword. Let’s talk.”
“Talk? You came to find me on purpose.”
Lee Jihye put away the sword. I followed behind Lee Jihye. Lee Jihye walked from B1 to the ticket barrier at the entrance. We seemed to walk for a while.
“What did you want to talk about?”
“But why are you standing there?”
“Master told me to defend this place.”
“That’s why I can’t let you pass.”
Lee Jihye touched the ticket gate and drew her hand across her neck. I looked at the passage beyond the ticket gate. There were exit numbers leading to the ground. But not all numbers led to the ground. At that moment, I had an ominous feeling.
...That Yoo Jonghyuk, surely he wasn’t trying that route?
If Yoo Jonghyuk wanted to protect this place, there was only one reason.
As the scenario was in progress, he was secretly trying to attack the ‘hidden dungeon’ of Chungmuro. Hidden dungeon attack. It sounded good. In fact, it wasn’t bad if the main character became stronger.
The problem was that this dungeon was a place that Yoo Jonghyuk couldn’t clear until the end of the third regression. It looked like I should finish this quickly.
“I need your help.”
“Today, I will shatter Gong Pildu’s party.”
“...Are you serious?”
Lee Jihye looked at me like she was trying to see my heart.
[Your understanding of the character ‘Lee Jihye’ has increased.]
“Ahjussi isn’t strong enough. You won’t be able to get rid of them.”
“Even if you help me?’
Lee Jihye’s head jerked like her pride was damaged.
It was natural. Lee Jihye had already challenged Gong Pildu the first day she came to this station. Then she ran away. If Yoo Jonghyuk hadn’t appeared to rescue her, she would be dead.
“I have a way. I can do it if you help me.”
“...Master told me to stay here.”
“If you don’t help, most of the people here will die.”
“People will die anyway.”
“Did Yoo Jonghyuk say that?”
Lee Jihye’s eyes shook.
“The boy we talked to yesterday is dead. Do you understand?”
“Maybe he could’ve lived. Then today, he would be rushing at us to tell us about Yoo Jonghyuk.”
“Yoo Jonghyuk killed him. He could’ve saved him.”
I felt complicated while talking. I noticed that I wasn’t much different from Yoo Jonghyuk. The subway, Gumho Station... I ignored people I might’ve been able to save because my safety was being threatened.
But hypocrites could speak plausible words.
“I saw the video of your scenario when I was on the subway.”
Lee Jihye’s small shoulders shook.
“It was a video where you killed your friend to survive.”
“In fact, you didn’t want to do that.”
[The character ‘Lee Jihye’ is greatly disturbed.]
“What do you know?”
“I know what I know. Of course I don’t know. I’m just talking to myself.”
“But since I am talking, I wanted to say this. If you turn away today, you will regret it for the rest of your life. Definitely.”
[The character ‘Lee Jihye’ has fallen into deep agony.]
I didn’t know the ‘human’ Lee Jihye but I knew the ‘character’ Lee Jihye. This girl was a loyal subordinate of Yoo Jonghyuk. But that was a story for the future, not now. She admired Yoo Jonghyuk’s strength but she was essentially different from Yoo Jonghyuk.
Lee Jihye opened her mouth a few minutes later.
“If I help, people can live?”
“Not everyone, but some will survive.”
“...What should I do?”
“I will start at 7 o’clock this evening.”
I told her the plan. In order to implement this plan, Lee Jihye needed to do the things I told her.
Lee Jihye stared blankly and opened her mouth.
“Are you sane? You will really do this?”
“...Honestly, I don’t think it will work. I’ll tell you in advance. I don’t think I can help.”
“The choice is yours.”
She said this but Lee Jihye would surely move. She was the person who was chosen by the Duke of Loyalty and Warfare.
[The constellation Secretive Plotter likes your impudence.]
[100 coins have been sponsored.]
[Lee Jihye’s sponsor likes you.]
[100 coins have been sponsored.]
Now all the preparations were finished.
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