Chapter 23 - For That Handful Of Silver Coins (6)

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“No matter how much I think about it… th—th—the thing we passed….”

“Market?”

“Right! Market! Wouldn’t it be better to have something in moderation and fall out?”

“Tch tch. Vex, we cannot do that.”

Gyosu and Vex were traveling down the elevator line to the second basement level, passing the market populated by the scavengers.

“I clearly said with this mouth that this is an amazing ‘golden’ opportunity.”

“You did.”

“Then, instead of the amazing ‘golden’ opportunity if we get 10 to 15 gold coins, wouldn’t it be a loss or not?”

“Umm… still, it is something we gain, right?”

“No! There is only one opportunity, and that is the huge one!”

“Ah! Hepburn! Do not push!”

When I put my feet up on Vex’s shoulders, he began making weird sounds. I measured the distance between me and the open elevator door. This seems fine.

“Falling down… I remember seeing you yesterday flying on the power lines. Do not be shy, and help me out now. We need to jump and cross over there.”

“Ack! The door! It is open! You can just move on as recoil! If I stretch my arm out, I might reach it! Just grab the end and climb!”

“Uhhh… l–I understand, hyung. Just hold on tight.”

“Every time I need you to help—ack!”

On Vex’s shoulders, Gyosu landed quite a distance from the elevator door with a stylish stance.

“Oh my! It has been a while!”

“Buddha once said, ‘A wise man points to the moon, and a fool only looks at his fingers.’ Look at this now; I knew this was going to happen.”

Gyosu pulled out the machete, lighted the torch, and then approached the elevator opening that they had unlocked.

“Uhh, Vex…”

“Wait! You went ahead! Here!”

“No, look at me.”

As Gyosu lit the lantern close to the floor, a thin shining trip wire was shining.

“It is a booby trap. If ran, both of us would have been rags.”

“!”

“Um… usually there is a tensioning technique and a release one, but here there is the wire only for the tensioning alone, which means they did it urgently. Then it is easy to disassemble.”

Ones with the tension technique explode when pulled, and tension-release ones explode when disconnected. One must follow the line, find the explosive at the end, and release the tripwire attached to the trigger. The explosive was a tin bomb made of gunpowder, glass, and iron pieces in a metal can often found in Wasteland.

‘This fairly high-end product compensates for a bomb’s shortcomings regarding controlling and safety handles. It must have been made from the disassembled parts unexploded grenade.’

“Um… the worth of this place is already coming? A tin bomb and trip wires.”

Wiggle!

Vex came over with a slight recoil and looked at where the tripwire was.

“Wow. It was just a place where the knees of anyone would touch when jumping.”

“It was made using precious explosives, so they made it right.”

“It is hard to see such things on the outside; even in the bloody fight outside, we didn’t see it.”

“Because the situation doesn’t change it. It is much more profitable to get another good sniper point than lay one of these in Area 45, where waiting for the enemy to come is a waste of time. Most of them don’t even have materials to make cheap bombs.”

But it is different here. It is narrow and dark, and the path is only going down. Having a trap like this is very effective in this terrain.

‘There’s someone in the scavengers who knows to make these.’

“Vex, calm down.”

“I have been doing it since I came here.”

“Not that, do it with the feeling that you are going to die and do it hard!”

Because the ones who did this are bound to be really amazing ones.

Gyosu turned off the torch, thinking about the fight upstairs.


Tuk-tuk

The sound of water dropping could be heard through the cracks in the ceiling.

‘Underground water… I am not sure if it was like this before we came in or if it has been so since we came in, but this building will not last long.’

As they went further in, a large room with round tables was seen.

“This… seems like a restaurant?”

“Um. Right, it looks like it. With the fork and knife…”

Gyosu said, wiping the stained dishes from his clothes and putting them in his pocket. Stainless steel is precious iron; of course, it sells at a high price.

“But we can see ahead, right? Even if we got used to the dark, shouldn’t we still be unable to see without light?”

“Then it means there is light. It has to be coming like sending sunlight to the ground or something. Like the Underdome.”

“Hepburn. You have been to Underdome?”

“… it just happened so.”

The two looked around quietly. Traces and variant corpses of enemies that have passed all around and

“Kuaaaa-”

“Uhhhh…”

“Uh. This is a bit.”

“Well. I don’t think people lived happily here.”

Both of them groaned.

They saw a variant on the hook in the place that somehow looked like a kitchen. Judging by the puncture marks, it appeared that it wasn’t a recent one but had died and turned to a variant.

“Is this… how it is?”

“Probably. A shelter of this size would have been made with food for all… was the meat lacking?”

“Doesn’t this look like some kind of ritual? There are a lot of people like that here.”

“… or maybe there was enough entertainment for the rich guys.”

Whatever it was, it was self-evident that something had happened here. Gyosu looked at the vartian that was hanging on the hook and struggled.

‘They went for the hands, feet, and head. This is generally done when dealing with immortal variants, particularly when they cannot afford to burn them… But what about those who were hooked? Maybe they weren’t threats? Even by just looking at the scars, the people who were wounded in the wrist, ankle, and chin all had gunshot wounds.’

They are meticulous enough to reliably neutralize such immobile variants, or they are just regular scavengers who prefer to pound lead bullets into living things. Clearly, neither of them was the one who didn’t feel burdened with ammunition consumption.

“The booby trap seems to have killed quite a several people judging from the footprints here, but there is plenty of ammon—Vex, do you have any weapons?”

“One Kukri, three throwing daggers, one flash grenade, five rounds of a decorative pistol with two rounds.”

“What, decorative? Where did you even get that? is that an effective range of 10 meters?”

“What do you mean? It is still useful when in a hurry.”

“You mean when you want to commit suicide?”

‘I guess there are no ranged firearms on Vex’s side.’

Gyosu thought of the 24 rounds shotgun in the vest. They wanted to avoid going into battle as much as possible, but it seemed difficult to completely avoid fighting as he sensed the increasing frequency and a roaring noise from afar.

‘Then we will have to defeat each other.’

“Vex, did you mention throwing a dagger? Is it useful?”

“Well. It is convenient. More than guns to kill people, for me at least.”

However, this place is more specialized for sneak attacks than all-out war.

Thud!

Explosions echoed through the hallway, giving an unpleasant sound in the ear. This was a lot closer than before.

“… it looks like they have caught up.”

“Ho! Do we avoid this time?”

“… No. They are using a lot of explosives, meaning they are dealing with variants. Go quietly behind them and watch them fight hard for us, and if the path opens up, then we-”

Shhh!

Gyosu pretended to cut the throat, and Vex said, “Kihehe! Sounds like my thing?”

It seemed like Vex liked such things.


5 minutes after that…

The happy delusions of Vex and Gyosu began to shatter.

“Kuaaaa!!”

“Achhhh!!!!”

“Vex! Vex! Step back!”

“Shit! What is this?! There are only a few pieces of trash here!”

Clack!

“12 feet! Fight back! Fight! We cannot kill them all!”

“Ahhh!!!! Damn it!”

Stealth was fine. Vex was being really silent, and they were confident to walk around.

The incident happened when a flash of gunpowder came in from a distance.

Flash!

“!”

“!!!”

Broken glass pieces.

They were moving with their lights out and couldn’t afford to look for even the smallest fragments beneath their feet if they stepped on them.

Tuk!

“[Stand back]”

“[Forward/Enemy]”

At the signal of Vex, they looked ahead and saw a variant wandering nearby who heard the sound as they walked.

Clack!

“!”

“!!!”

As they began to move, the sound of stepping on the pieces of broken glass began to rise with every step they took.

“[Front/ fragments/ All]”

“[Trap/ trap/ Trap]”

“[Escape/Retreat/ Enemy/ Reinforcement]”

“Yah! I understand! I get it!”

“Hepburn, it’s a trap!”

“I know!”

‘There may be shards of glass, but it is unnatural for the shards to fill the whole path like this! Someone deliberately did this to lure variants!’

Clack! Clack!

As if to validate Gyosu’s thoughts, the sound of banging against empty cans could be heard from the variant that began to arrive.

“Shit! Among the friends I went with before, there was a guy who was good at shooting!”

Whoever did this is a clever person.

From the two’s viewpoint, they just shattered some glass from the restaurant ahead and then threw it down on the floor as they passed. Any passing variant will tread on it when it occurs, attracting the other variants. It might also be used as a warning sign or a barrier.

‘The alarm must have gone down naturally as the variants had gathered enough to fill up, making it difficult to move. In this state, we ended up making the sound. Right outside them!’

“Shit! Vex! We need to get out of here!”

“Hepburn! The back is blocked!”

“Shit! Did they do the same thing at the back? They heard the sound from there and flocked there!”

Front and back. There is now only one thing left, a space covered by a door across the hallway from which gunshots and riots could be heard.

‘From the noise, it looks like the place is big. Much more coping than this narrow hall full of variants!’

Gyosu pulled the trigger of the shotgun that he had been saving as much as possible.

Shoot!

“23! Vex! Clear the way!”

“Impossible! Look closely. There are over 100!”

“Not all, just until the door over there! Let’s go to where the others are fighting!”

“What? We cannot do it with them! Think they will leave us?”

“They have been fighting since a while back! It is a back-and-forth one!”

Shoot!

The clumsy shotgun was reshot, and a couple variants got pushed back. In the first place, the material was scarce, so it was made with only the exception of force rather than lethality.

Ammunition and firepower to deal with this large number of variants.

“We do not have time! If we stay, we die!”

“Ugh… damn it! This is why I said we had to rob the mart!”

“Ah, look ahead! Ahead!!!”

“Kua!!!”

“Ackk!”

They kept on shooting.

“11 feet!”

That is how things came to this point.

“Door! Door! Burst through it! There are so many variants!”

Shoot!

“11! If you have time to talk, get in quickly!”

“It is locked!”

“Smash it!!”

Kwak!

After pushing them away with a shotgun and kicking the big door a few times, the door was utterly shattered, possibly due to the moisture, and revealed an open space.

Bang!

“Euk!”

As soon as the door opened, their faces were red in heat.

“Kuaaaa! Ughhh!!”

“Hepburn, do not get bitten!”

“I know, jerk! I just… There were more crazy people around than I thought!”

Initially designed for events or gatherings, the large plaza with high ceilings was like a battlefield. Traces of explosive fragments were left everywhere, and the fire was here and there, as the brightness, like the broad daylight, and full of corpses of variants had exploded to death.

Pung!

“There! There is someone over there!”

“How many?”

“One!”

He was puzzled for a moment that there was only one person but then didn’t think much and ran ahead. Variants were stuck together, trying to come in through the gap, and now they were slowly pushing in.

Gyosu looked at the person on the other side as he ran.

‘He looks big; he is strong… and has two shotguns in hand? The clothes and equipment are good for a scavenger? There are no human corpses around. Then it means he was the one who came in the riot or made the noisy mess?’

Something familiar caught his eye as he constantly tried to judge if the opponent was an ally or an enemy.

“Uh.”

“What?”

“Vex, do you know him?”

“Uh. I am not sure; I heard a rumor about him. Hepburn?”

“…I do not know much. If we try calling, we will know, right?”

“An acquaintance? Then it could be a friend!”

“No, it isn’t necessarily like this….”

At that time, he began to turn the gun to their side, and perhaps he noticed them running toward him.

“What are you doing! Call him! on the battlefield with a limited view. If you approach without identifying the foe, you get shot!”

“No, that… I don’t know.”

Gyosu shouted, paying attention to the shotguns turned to them.

“Hey! Doomgay! The guy who put a consignment sale on the marketplace! Direct deal!”

Flinch!

[420 shillings! An antique double-barrel shotgun!]

Shoot!

The man’s shotgun was used, and the variant approaching Gyosu from behind flew away.

‘SxS type (horizontal twin) with barrel on the side, a double trigger with two triggers and a wooden butt, and even scratches! It is the gun that Koduro had shown me on the purchase list!’

It cannot be worn. He would remember the things always in fear of being scammed.

The man with the gun was silent and then laughed.

“Ku-hahaha! This one, what scavenger bastard is coming to this body to die again.”

“H–Hepburn he—he!”

“Shit! Get down!!”

Shoot!

Bang!!!

With a shock as if the building was collapsing, the man who blew up the variant greeted them lightly as he raised the hat.

“Excuse me, it was rude of me! We made our customers come to visit us! Hahaha!”

“You crazy thing….”

“Vex, what do you know about them?”

“It is strange to not know if you live in the 40s. That guy is that Special Price’s ‘Metal Jaw’ Ian!”

“Richtig (correct answer).”

The man who came down the stairs humming like he was out to place grabbed Gyosu’s hand.

“So, what happened to our customer, that he came to the place which wasn’t the promised meeting point and found this metal human?”

Perhaps his jaw was blown away in the past. Half of his teeth looked metal. He raised the sunglasses up and smiled brightly, which seemed so bizarre.

“I-I came to get a refund….”

“… you, trash?”

Clack

Seeing his impression, it seemed that the thought he had just made wasn’t great. His smile was nothing like an angel.

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