Chapter 22 - For That Handful Of Silver Coins (5)

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They entered securely via a crack in the debris and even descended underground through that opening.

“Huk–huk, where are we located?”

“Um. I came into contact with an angled iron piece on the way. I touched it, and it sounded empty, so it must be a metal junk can or a locker. If we entered the right path, we should be in a room with 30 protective suits I heard of.”

There was no light in the basement, but they had to be careful with lighting fire. Even now, the terrible stench and the groans of variants could be heard all around, though faintly, and the basement was full of Scavengers who didn’t like other competitors.

Two of them were desperate, following the path, holding their breaths, and could only have a proper conversation after opening the doorknob they accidentally touched. And they went in only to whisper in their ears.

Clack!

‘The air is cold. The floor is cold and smooth. A makes little to no noise.’

There came a familiar sensation they often felt when entering the bathroom barefoot at home.

“…the bathroom. Might be enough for some maintenance room.”

The groans that could be heard went silent inside, and the toilet is normally built at the end of any structure. It is much safer than other places where one has to look around before moving.

“Hey, Vex. Did you bring anything which can light up the place?”

“Kihehe, it is underground, so of course I brought it, but I didn’t know it would be of such necessity.”

Vex pulled out a torch from his bag. Something like a broken chair leg wrapped in oiled cloth. They couldn’t last more than 15 minutes with that not can turn it off when they want to

“Give it here.”

After receiving the torch from Vex, Gyosu disassembled it. An oiled cloth, wide to bind it, a piece of wood of arm’s length.

“Hepburn, what are you doing? Whatever unit you were from, we cannot see ahead. Without that, we might not..”

“Shhh”

Gyosu slowly traced the wall and looked at the bathroom. This is a wall, a structure that popped up out of nowhere, and a sink. Then the one ahead has to be a mirror.

Gyosu immediately got up and stretched his arms up. Fortunately, the ceiling didn’t seem so high as he could feel something being touched. While walking on that, he groped the ceiling and suddenly found it.

“… found it.”

Gyosu pulled out a small light bulb that could be felt by the tip of his finger, and he had to use a knife to unscrew it.

“What is this?”

“Bulb.”

“Why a light bulb? It doesn’t even run on battery.”

“of course, I didn’t bring it for that purpose either. What I want is this round glass.”

Twist the bulb’s back contact and pull it out, then gently break the narrow end of it to pull out both the filament inside with fingers and the glass. Put a little oil in the light bulb, which is now empty glass and roll up the long torn cloth and then put it, assemble the part and pull a little of the fabric-

Click!

Wheik!

After deflecting the rubble a few times with the back of the machete, sparks s.hone

“Voila. Simple lamp completed.”

“Wow… looks nice.”

“Not just ‘looks’ nice but is useable. I use it sometimes when I am at home and when I go out. Vex, you said it. This place is like a treasure trove. A title here, a piece of plastic, and even a light bulb here are valuable if they can be taken outside. We do not need to bring many items when coming to such a place.”

Gyosu finally ripped off the light bulb, placed it around the flaming cloth, and then weaved it with a wire.

“Because of the bathroom’s ceiling, a light collecting plate is attached to it. Can this be called a headlight?”

“T-this is the 14th special….”

“Because I couldn’t fight well and was treated like a burden, I had to show something useful to survive with them. The Special Operations Force was treated as a nuisance, so the supply unit wasn’t so good. I followed them around and did everything I could apart from combat. When food ran out to get locally sourced ingredients and if we had to die, dig a fort or tools for camping and weapons for plans… everything was done with things we could find around. That is why I managed to survive in a place I was sent to die.

At some point, the troops called me a supply captain. A person who could take care of all the things needed even when not provided by them.“

Well, after following along like that, Gyosu didn’t get to fight in the battle to some extent. Gyosu made another simple lamp and laughed.

14 Special Forces, I had no place to go after losing all the troops and coming back alive only because of the help of my father. Even though a couple of troops left, I had already pissed off the upper-rank people who ordered a retreat and left the unit in the danger zone, and the superiors who heard the news that my father had already been lost were not pleased to have me around. Because I knew about them and the right reason to have a grudge against them.

That is the reason why they sent me to 14 in the first place. As a child soldier who lacked combat experience and was young, they thought I wouldn’t be able to survive out there.

Click

“Here, if this is it, then we are good. It is temporary, so it won’t last long. The wire is short and isn’t too far from the top. Your eyebrows might burn if you are unlucky and put it too close to your face.”

“…”

“Um? What is with those eyes?”

Gyosu was trying to see if the wire harness would fit right but wasn’t Vex staring at him weirdly.

“No, it’s just… I thought life had to be crazy, but Hepburn doesn’t seem to fit it.”

“Nonsense words. Who among the people who live in this time wouldn’t have a story?”

Once the lamp was fixed, it was made into a mining hat, and Gyosu got up.

“Right now that we have a vision, let’s move slowly. I’d like to rip off the scraps here, but if I do, I won’t be able to take real money from down there.”

“Light?”

“On for now. It is a type of Variant which is all rotten. It has been 5 years since they died, so the eyes must have rotted away too. Having enough time, the other scavengers should have gone up. No problem until the ones fighting at the entrance decide to come in.”

Following Gyosu lighting the lamp and leaving behind Vex and opened the bathroom door.


B1. Guard room with protective suits (presumably)

“Wooo…”

“Woahh…”

After turning on the lights and examining the inside properly, Vex and Gyosu couldn’t shut their mouths.

“Walls are all of the alloys, right?”

“Uh. Looking at the smashed part there, it looks like there is an alloy worth a fist thickness, right?”

“How much is all this….”

“If the Dome ones look at this, they will go crazy.”

To an average person, it would look like an empty, everyday locket, but to Gyosu and vex, everything on the ceiling, wall, and floor was money. The part with ripped marks on the wall is probably where the machine that kept the suit was.

Gulp-

“H-Hepburn. T-this isn’t needed, right? Should I take it?”

“Y-es, but my legs won’t move… this desk, this is chrome….”

As Scavengers pushing in from behind dealt with as they descended, there was no sign of variant around.

Tuk.

As he looked around, slightly lost, Vex tapped him on the shoulder and gave a hand signal. He had already turned the lamp off.

[Door/ large space]

‘It sounds like he found a way to the next area.’

Gyosu quickly put saliva on the finger and rubbed the wick off. In an instant, darkness fell all around.

And Gyosu placed the hand on Vex’s shoulder and followed him, and they arrived at a root that looked like someone had twisted it.

Twinkle-

‘Light!’

Both of them took a step back at the same time. In the distance, three flickering lights were moving slowly.

‘A torch, for sure. Three in number. There may be some who aren’t holding lights too, so it is best to assume to be 4 or 5.’

Vex and Gyosu fell down on the floor and began to crawl. Like previous ones, they saw the lights flickering on the cold tile.

‘Showerhead?… ah, Detox Room.’

Since the building was built during the nuclear war, it was natural for the facility to have an entrance that removes pollutants.

Holding their breaths, they moved little by little without making noises until a point where they could hear the whispers of others.

“… so. How long do we have to be here?”

“Leader told me to stay. While mopping the inside, if any rats come in, we were asked to kill them.”

“Damn it, I wanted to go inside too. But now this way.”

“I came down for that too, but sigh. I will feel like I will see this surrounding more often than the end goal.”

“Sign ‘F Mart’ was written in large letters on a yellow background in black letters, and I almost cried.”

“… fuck. Even if we were a little late, we would get our share, right?”

Hearin the mumbling of Scavengers, Gyosu nodded.

‘Come to think of it, I heard this was built inside an underground shopping mall!’

Listening to the conversation, this group seemed to like the presence of a mart more and wanted to leave. The guys ahead were guarding the entrance… rather than saying that, they were set up as an alarm to kill one fighting outside if they entered.

Shh-

Vex tapped the finger on the back of Gyosu.

[You/ left/ right/ me]

Gyosu, who understood it, got up slowly.

“Ugh, just thinking of it makes me hungry. I will get look at it and come back.”

“Still, kuak, I think the liquor section should be fine too. There must be loads of wines and more that are 7 years old, and alcohol has no expiration date, right?”

“The grocery section is also worth a look. Canned food has no expiration date. No, I heard that it is quite long….”

Tak!

“They say it lasts until seven years.”

“Ah, right! Than-um!”

Duk!

“Thanks.”

Gyosu, who sneaked in from behind, broke the neck of one of them and heard the sound of something falling from a distance.

A hand suddenly appeared from the darkness, and when two of the companions died, the scavenger who was left alone was so terrified that he began to walk back.

“Eikkk! S-spare me! I-I am not one! I’m just someone who lives by picking up trash around and eating anything—ugh!”

Gyosu covered his mouth before he got to speaking any louder.

“Hey, Vex, come here.”

“Hepburn, what are you thinking? No… you aren’t thinking of leaving him, right?”

“No, it has been too long since this happened in Wasteland. No one will think they will get saved.”

I am not sure about others, but I sure had a knack for chivalry.

Gyosu grinned at Vex and loosened the grip on the target’s neck.

“Puak! Ack!”

“Shh. Quiet. We are just friends here. And you know that living is possible only if you are quiet, right?”

“Um! Umm!”

“Right, right. If you survive here, then you can go out.”

“Uppp!”

“Um~ fine. Now, if you answer honestly to my questions about 5 minutes later, you will be back to breathing the air of Wasteland and the foul underground air, get it?”

“Um! Um!”

“Breathe, man, breathe. You are supposed to answer.”

“Puah! Thank you!”

Gyosu continued to ask questions ignoring Vex, who stabbed him in the side with a finger and asked, ‘What are you doing?’ with the eyes.

“Now, first question. Not the friends dead, but colleagues inside….”

“7! 7! Of them! Scraping dogs is our group of 10 people, and when we heard something huge is happening….”

Crack!

“Ahhhh! Um!!”

“Shh. I didn’t like that. wouldn’t it be a problem if you spoke too much and your other friends came to visit me?”

Gyosu broke a finger with the left hand and remembered 7 people inside.

“You, how do you plan to work?”

“L-leader is holding an AK limited edition, the leader’s wife has Uji, and the rest are armed with swords and arrows… ah, one man holds three Molotov cocktails!”

‘Guns. What kind of guy has so many guns in Korea?’

No matter how globalization reached its peak in 2050, people who couldn’t speak two languages were treated as illiterate, and there was no need to distinguish between Koreans and foreigners. It seemed that there were more items than expected during the war.

“Nice. You are doing very good. Um… name?”

“Dalton! Dalton!”

“Right! Dalton! Now the last question….”

“Yes! yes!”

“The thing you are stretching out your fingers for. Can you tell me what it is?”

“D-damn it!”

Crack!

With the sound of neck being swung, Dalton’s body shattered helplessly. Gyosu took the body of the fallen one and laid him to the side, and searched into the jacket.

“Ah, karambit knife. Were you trying to hold onto something this pretty?”

“I was shocked, Hepburn. I was afraid you were going to spare him.”

“Have you lost it? Yah, Vex, did you see this?”

Gyosu showed Dalton’s jacket, which he caught a glimpse of in the light. There were several rough marks there.

“Kill mark. Circles are women, and crosses are for men he killed, and if you look close, this child, there is no mark of men here; he went after women. he is nothing but an asshole. Damn it, I touched him”

Seeing Gyosu like this, Vex smiled. Gyosu was undoubtedly a good person, but he wasn’t stupid.

“Vex. Take the torches. 3.”

“… to deceive them?”

“Yes. The men are armed and better than us. I think we can be fine, but all we have are handmade guns, and there is an AK and Uji, which means a machine gun. I do not know how much ammo they have, but I don’t think trying to fight would be good. They have bombs too. If a fire broke out, we would die from exhaustion.

We need to be the most vigilant when we move to the mart, so let’s pretend we are them and pass over them, hand the torches where we can see them, and move away before they see us.“

If it is similar to the structure of a mart he knew, then the path had to go further down.

Thud!

It wasn’t sure if it was up or down, but the gunshots could still be heard.

Looking at Vex, who seemed regretful to pass the mart, Gyosu waved the torch.

“Do not dwell on little things. Our goal is shelter.”

A bomb shelter complexly built for nuclear war. Things would be better if it was made for the same environment as the current world.

“Generator, it needs to have an emergency generator.”

“Will that fit in the bag?”

“it depends on the size! We can put it on the back if it doesn’t fit in!”

Gyosu was determined to take it out at the thought of the debt being 2.4 million shillings. A generator that he had to sell. The latest generators had to be of 2050 time, which will surely be in the shelters of the rich.

‘That is the only way my life of mine will turn.’

And his eyes shone with will and passion.


Meanwhile, on the ground, the battle between scavengers continued to happen; as it reached a level, something new happened.

“Spit, damn it! No matter what I bring, I am not sure about getting the principal out.”

“H-hyun!”

“Those stinky ones, aren’t they them?”

“Um? How did you understand when I didn’t even tell a name?”

A black vehicle. A group of all-black gear tucked away In an alley two blocks away.

“Hye, since when have they been there?”

“I thought I saw them but then thought I was wrong….”

“Why are you telling me this only now!!!”

The eyes of Dine, the leader of the scavenger group ‘Wanderer’, were scared. If that swarm coming is what he was thinking them to be, then he had to do something before the fight happened

Swish!

“… we are fucked up.”

“W-what is the sound?”

“Mortar! They are bombing! Scatter out and enter the building!”

Kwakwakwang!

The scavengers who were almost dying from the bombing, which they didn’t know would happen, died, and the others pushed through.

“Kuak!”

“Ack… those fucking things!!”

Some were wounded and couldn’t escape who were wiped out, and a man in a coat began slowly walking into the place filled with corpses.

Tah!

“it is Raptor 2. Arrived at the entrance.”

“Click- Next response. How many enemy troops are there?”

“Raptor 2. Nothing in sight.”

Click-

“Good Raptor2. We do not have much time. Traces of Dome’s recovery force passing in front were confirmed. As of this time, the operation Raptor 2 was running was canceled and immediately put into securing the shelter. Lead the unit and rob it. after taking the most precious things, return to the main unit.”

“Raptor 2, confirm. What if the Dom arrives first?”

“Click= do it as always’

“Raptor 2 Confirm.”

Click0

The man who handed the receiver to another behind him unwrapped the watch on the wrist and pushed it into the coat pocket.

“if the main unit had said that, it means that those rats were getting faster information than ours.”

Incompetent bastards. If it wasn’t for him, who was operating closely, they would have been a step behind b,.y now

He stroked the gun with the white glove and said to the troops behind.

“Report.”

“Those who resisted were killed. The wounded and surrendered ones are taken as prisoners.”

“Kill them all. We will need a place to load things.”

Chak!

As soon as the command fell, the guns began to rage.

“Get the flamethrower. Take only what you can carry and burn everything else.”

Tak!

No answer, just a salute from the men and movement according to orders.

“Let’s pray that today will be a rewarding day, gentlemen.”

A fishy smile appeared on the lips of the man who led the troops inside.

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