Chapter 52 - Day 13, What to Eat?
After hearing her words over the phone, the public official in front of me wasn’t my main concern.
[Monarch privilege: Merger Rights (1 time).]
[It is possible to submit it to a conqueror who owns a territory and if the conqueror agrees, it is possible to merge territories. Once the submission is completed, all territories, citizens and vassals will be integrated into the territory of the monarch.]
[A vassal is basically a citizen and this right can be deprived at any time by the monarch. As long as a person has citizenship, they can stay in the monarch’s territory.]
[The Merger Rights can only be presented to those who own more than one city.]
It was a compensation I had obtained from clearing the ninth floor. If I used this then territories can be integrated and we could enter by the same stairs. We would surely meet again! But I didn’t know for sure what happened to Yoon Ji-hee. The only thing I knew was that the city was in Yang Su-jin‘s hands. If so, what would happen to Yoon Ji-hee if we merged?
"Are you listening?”
Director Oh Chang-shik, the middle-aged man who introduced himself with that name, sighed. Well. My actions weren’t very polite. Despite hanging up the phone, I was still thinking about that conversation. However, the information hadn’t passed by me.
Beyond imagination. Out of control. These words summarized the problem that Director Oh had.
Kim Tae-hyun was weak. He wasn’t my rival. Rather, he was only in the ‘explorer’ department and was therefore appointed as the administrator. Kim Tae-hyun’s assessment abilities were excellent. His bloodline allowed him a senior position and his ambitions matched with national interest.
“The situation was already a little shaky due to what happened yesterday.”
Director Oh said in a pitiful voice. Yesterday's ambush and explosion. Kim Tae-hyun used his authority to settle the situation, but his bosses couldn’t help questioning him.
"Although he might be able to handle a large number of people with his gun...”
The means by which Tae-hyuk controlled the explorers was authority, not force. Even so, the explorers might cause extraordinary outbursts, so he must have the power to control them. Although I had lured the one who attacked yesterday, it was quite possible that another person with such aggression would have attacked Kim Tae-hyun. In the end, Kim Tae-hyun had shown his incompetence yesterday.
“If there wasn’t enough, there was what happened last night.’ Apart from me, only one out of the seven remaining people gathered had survived. The one who survived had gone insane.
"The person who isn’t sane, is it Yoon Chan-hee?”
“... Do you know something?”
"We were on the same floor."
Director Oh paused for a moment. “If you were on the same floor, then the unknown risk factor has reduced by one... I am glad.”
Yoon Chan-hee and I were probably the only ‘kings’ placed on the same floor. In other words, there were five people who killed the ones chosen by the government. At first glance it wasn’t that different, but it was a pretty huge difference. First of all, nothing was known about them. Age, gender, profession and their values and thoughts.
Furthermore, they were strong. Not only did they managed to overwhelm the existing five people, they had gained strength by eating those five people. I couldn’t imagine the abilities they would have right now. I thought that all the strong people were gathered yesterday, but there were those who I couldn’t grasp.
To make matters worse, Kim Tae-hyun was left behind on the ninth floor. He was weaker in strength. There was no way to overcome it with social means. If one of those unknown threats committed a brutal murder, then the government would have no answers.
Let’s look at an example. I had gained manhwa like strength, it wasn’t that strong in the 21st century. Probably around a tank? If there was infantry platoon armed with advanced equipment and the conditions were right then I could be hunted down. But I was a human. Seemingly ordinary.
A human-sized weapon that held the compressed force of a tank and superior intelligence, plus random superpowers. This wasn’t an ‘open’ battlefield. It was a city crowded with people. I was a lurking being that was different from other humans. Frankly, the thought still gave me goosebumps.
“Besides, things have becoming complicated since yesterday.”
"Because of the explosion?"
Director Oh nodded. “Yes. I collected the CCTV of the fight in the hallway, but people are still suspicious. They don’t want such terrorist attacks to be overlooked.” The fact that I could cause explosions with both hands was better off being hidden in the future.
"I think it is time that you get to the point.”
"It’s simple. You do this work instead of Deputy Manager Kim.”
"What’s the price?”
I pretended that I didn’t understand. "I am a slave now?"
"I'm not talking about human rights.” Ah. It was just as I thought.
"I believe that you are well aware of the work that my department is doing. In addition, what you can get from us.” Of course, I knew it very well. It was inevitable that a reward would be given.
"Shouldn’t you present your side first?” I continued speaking before there was a response. “If you have a subject that needs to be controlled then I will run straight away to help you.”
“...Hrmm?” Director Oh raised one eyebrow with surprise.
Instead. "I will eat that target.”
I wanted the right to eat the target that I defeated, not just subdue or capture them. In addition, any damages or legal problems that occurred would be covered. Director Oh frowned as he thought about my words. "It is difficult.”
"Of course it is. But isn’t that normal?”
It was obvious what the government would do with a captured explorer. In the first place, they were a person who had already caused trouble. Even if they were confined, they could enter the dungeon at midnight and become stronger. In the end, they would be fed to Kim Tae-hyun. It was because Kim Tae-hyun was their safest card.
continued. “I should take a few points as well. In the first place, aren’t I being a good citizen by catching these people? It shouldn’t be for free.”
“... You are mistaken if you think we will offer such rewards. Furthermore, you aren’t the only person I can ask.”
"Then this is simple.” I raised my palm and extended it to Director Oh. "It was a short meeting, but I enjoyed it.”
Of course, there was one more person. If the crazy Yoon Chan-hee was added then there were two people.
But they came to me. If I looked closer, then I could understand why they ran to me. I didn’t have a name or organization behind me. I was the cleanest. I had already completed a census once. They were already aware of everything. My profile wasn’t unknown.
I was the only child of an average low income family. There were zero relatives with power and money. I was also predictable and could be cooked whenever they felt like eating.
I didn’t know who the other person was. However, it was likely that they would be a few social classes above me, like Kim Tae-hyun. The conditions I presented were childish mischief. On top of that, only Director Oh’s department would be familiar with the ridiculous conditions.
Director Oh started speaking, “Your own position...”
"I know very well. I’ve always lived thinking about my position."
It was obvious what he was saying. He could try to bury me as much as he liked.
“I know very well.”
In order to ruin a human, there were many weapons that could be used. Just the CCTV from yesterday would show me doing a crime. The danger was that the person in front of me couldn’t get away. Even if I was willing to follow suit, I would be in a weaker position where they could control me.
Rather, there was no reason to be afraid. A weakness that couldn’t be overcome wasn’t a weakness. That was my basic framework.
"I am just a 23 year old going to school. So even a single red line means a life as a servant.”
“Your standards are too low.”
"I have a habit of wanting to live perfectly. So if that happens, you might end up losing everything.” I declared.
I felt something. Director Oh stepped backwards.
Ruin me? It sounded ridiculous. In the first place, these people wouldn’t have come to me without safeguards to control me. If I got eaten... There would be great consequences.
"If that happens.”
I grinned at his expression and placed a palm on my chest. "I would appreciate it if it stays like that for the rest of my life. I don’t want to become a nuisance to society.”
“... Is that a threat?”
“Did you hear me correctly?” I released some killing intent.
A sound emerged from Director Oh’s lips. It was a sigh. This person was quite great. He had heard beforehand from Kim Tae-hyun but it was different seeing it in person.
"It is appealing.” I pointed to the back of the alley. Kim Tae-hyun was watching from the car with his phone out... That's right, I had destroyed his phone. Anyway, Kim Tae-hyun was looking in this direction. “If I eat him, then I won’t be able to gain that much. In the first place, he was left behind yesterday.”
“...So... Do you want me to give you a ride?”
“At least one of us will keep growing bigger. That is the structure of the dungeon.”
Don’t bet on a helpless guy like that, bet on the big one in front of you. Anyway, I was a simple person. Without any background, I was just a person who existed alone. They could paint the background. I think I had given them enough hints.
"Well, I don’t think we have any more to talk about here. If you don’t have any more to tell me then I’ll be going now.”
I gave Director Oh a few minutes. He had nothing to say. I also needed more time to think. I was going to eat lunch with Yang Su-jin. I should also listen to Yoon Ji-hee’s story. I looked at my phone as I started walking away. It was because I didn’t think that Director Oh had anything more to say.
“... Do you mind giving me some of your time if you are free right now?”
"It is a completely different matter from what I’ve said so far. Think of it as a personal favor.”
What was this? I brought my phone to my mouth. Director Oh didn’t seem to want to say anything else.
"What do you want?”
“Get in the car and go somewhere with me. Or you can go back.”
I glanced between my phone that showed Yang Su-jin’s number and Director Oh. It was intuition rather than logic. I didn’t trust Director Oh, but he didn’t seem like the type to use a trick in such a short period of time.
Kim Tae-hyun saw this as he leaned against the car. He looked at my face with surprise and said.
"Get in. We are going to the bomb shelter.”
Kim Tae-hyun stared at my face like he wanted to say something. However, Director Oh just turned his head away and got on the passenger seat of the car. Between the front seat and back seat, a sliding plate was installed. As soon as the car started, Director Oh closed this up and made the backseats soundproof.
"As I said earlier. This isn’t official. There is no conditions for you But... I don’t think I can talk about the compensation at the moment.”
"I think you’ve succeeded.” Right now, everything was unknown. He had successfully stimulated my curiosity.
But it made no sense to go this far if it was a deception. The car headed to the outskirts of Seoul. It was only a few minutes outside of the city but the surroundings were green. At that bottom of a mountain, there was a tunnel that headed into a bomb shelter.
"I am going to show you an explorer.”
“... One more in addition to Kim Tae-hyun?”
"They aren’t a public servant... we aren’t even in a position to touch them.”
A person that couldn’t be touched. I soon realized that it had quite a few meanings.
"I want you to see her and tell me your opinion.”
A few minutes later, I faced a monster. In addition, another unique talent.