< There’s a Reason Why the Crazy Survive (1) >
Zin had lived for a very long time. And it was not strange for him to have dementia. Even though he didn’t appear old on the outside, his core was considerably aged, and it would not be a surprise to find that his brain wasn’t normal.
“Did I age to the point where I need to worry about dementia? What a blessing.”
Although Zin didn’t do it often, he spoke in a monologue. Zin tried to laugh it off, but he just couldn’t smile naturally.
It was very obvious, but it wasn’t easy to remember something that was forgotten. Zin walked helplessly.
And at that moment—
—a loud engine noise reverberated from far away.
Zin immediately hid in the bushes.
The loud noise was coming from a couple of miles away, and it seemed to be getting closer and closer. Zin slowly moved from the bushes. He stayed still and observed the horizon.
He spotted several beat-up cars approaching.
The noise was coming from beat-up reactor cars.
The car bodies were made up of scrap metal.
The tires were made up of pieces of rubber tangled with wires.
These reactor cars sometimes had three, two, or even four wheels.
Some had driver’s seats, and some didn’t.
These cars had different looks, and they were like ticking time bombs that could blow up with the drivers at any moment.
It’s impossible that someone in this peninsula would even build that crazy piece of junk… Perhaps it’s from the continent.
The junkwagon imitated the vehicles from the past, but they had pretty good speed even with a crappy reactor since they used a powerful fuel, the blue chip. Just as Zin handled firearms, other people had technical skills in a world where the use of such skills was rare.
And just as a hunter invested all their money and technology into hunting weapons, there were those who focused their energy on vehicles. They were the crazy group of individuals who were the enemy of all people.
They had the traits of a robber, murderer, thief, raider, and looter. Even though they were not monsters, they enjoyed murdering people more than a monster would, and no monsters or humans remained alive on the paths they passed.
Slaughters were obviously cruel in nature, and the junkwagons moved at a speed faster than a person could walk.
From time to time, some wanderers would steal these junkwagons to travel.
However, Zin did not prefer to ride on junkwagons.
One of the junkwagons seemed to hit a bump on the road, jumped up, and exploded in mid-air. A junkwagon was literally made with junk, and they were very unstable and unsafe. It was not Zin’s preference to ride on a ticking time bomb. And a hunter was in a position to detect enemies first, but not in a position to alert others with a loud engine noise. In any case, a junkwagon was something that Zin really hated.
The Slaughter inside the exploding junkwagon flew and hit the road, dying a horrible death on the spot.
As soon as the head of the Slaughter group shouted, all the Slaughters stopped at once. It was not hard to spot the leader of the Slaughters. They either led the pack or rode nicer junkwagons with ornaments like skulls. Among the group of about thirty Slaughters, there were three leaders. On one of the car-like junkwagons, there were dozens of skulls dangling on its hood. Zin observed the group from the bushes.
They don’t have guns… but they have high-powered weapons… they are not from the peninsula.
Zin made an analysis by observing the leader and the group’s weapons. Inside the trunks of the junkwagons, there were a bunch of rocket launchers.
“Did that dude just die?”
“I think so, sir?”
“Go take the engine and parts! If there’s useful scrap metal in the next town, we’ll build a new one.”
As soon as the leader finished speaking, a couple of Slaughters ran towards the dismantled junkwagon. They were not interested in their dead companion. Stroking his beard, the leader shouted at the Slaughters looking at him.
“Who’s got no car?”
As soon as he shouted, ten Slaughters raised their hands. The leader grinned and pointed at one of them.
“You! You already have a car!”
“Boss! It’s shameful to even call this a car. You can consider me car-less!”
“I don’t think so! Hey, over there, Boong-Shik, you’re up next.”
“Oh! Boss, thanks! Thank you!”
Boong-shik, the Slaughter, was so happy that he screamed at the top of his lungs. As soon as the Slaughters put the usable parts into their junkwagons, they started their engines.
Before leaving, the leader grew mad and shouted at the Slaughters.
“You piece of crap! If you think your car’s about to explode, stop! Don’t die like an idiot! If a bomb went off, we’d all be dead! Be careful! Understood!?!!”
“Didn’t you just tell us that if we stopped, it would disrupt the formation?”
“Oh, never mind! Let’s go!”
“You moron! Let’s go! Who knows, we might find something valuable like liquor during a stop?”
“Even if we did, wouldn’t you, boss, drink it all? What’s the point?”
“Now, you little punk… I’m going to get you!”
“Oops, I’m going ahead, Boss!”
“Stop, you punk!”
Revving their engines, the group of Slaughters left. The things they left behind were tire marks, scrap metals, and a corpse. Zin waited behind the bushes until the Slaughters left, and stood up.
Slaughters are so noisy wherever they go.
The Slaughters appeared to be idiots goofing around, but one shouldn’t take them lightly. For the victims, they would rather not encounter Slaughters who talked jokingly about whether they should kill people by cutting off their arms or legs. The Slaughters were cruel. And Zin tried not to pick a fight with the Slaughters, avoiding them at all cost. There were many reasons for it, with the following four in particular:
1. Slaughters usually formed groups. And confronting them would require using a lot of ammunition.
2. Slaughters were humans, and he could not extract chips from them.
3. The junkwagons’ loud noise attracted beasts.
4. When Slaughters thought that they were losing the battle, they would self-destruct with their junkwagons. They would rather die than give up their chips.
Zin hated fighting against Slaughters because it wasn’t cost-efficient.
Wait a minute. That way…
The Slaughters had gone over the curvy roads and were no longer visible, but he could still hear the sound of their engines. Zin was heading north, while the Slaughters were heading south. Ard Point was on their way. It was very likely that they wouldn’t find Ard Point, but the junkwagons had limited routes in terms of the roads that they could operate on. Just as Zin had taken the northern route, they would also take the southern route.
That would mean that the Slaughters would eventually reach Ard Point. Zin started heading north with a hardened look.
A hunter did not act as a person of justice. A hunter worked for the number of chips he could get. Similar to how a hunter would start shooting without hesitation when he encountered wanderers and refugees in the wilderness, a hunter displayed no emotion during the hunt. Hunters were not good people, and Zin did not care about the villages that he had no more business with.
And so, Zin kept on heading north without turning back, even though he knew what would happen to Ard Point. Zin neither thought nor said anything during this time. He only kept walking forward like a machine.
Zin walked for an unknown period of time.
Now I remember.
Zin turned back. Turning from north to south, Zin started heading down the southern route.. The reason he turned back was simple.
He finally remembered what he’d forgotten about.
As soon as he figured it out, his thoughts became clear, and he was able to set his destination.
I didn’t get my reward.
He didn’t recover the 500 chips from Leona.
Zin headed down south to recover the chips. Zin was thinking that the chips were the only reason he was heading back south.
Zin had never made such a mistake in the past.
It showed how quickly he’d left Ard Point. He’d left in a hurry, to the point that he forgot about getting the reward.
Zin had walked eighty miles north for two days. Zin walked without sleeping, so he’d traveled a fair distance.
And it took about ten hours for Zin to head back the same way. Zin ran at a very fast pace—his stamina was monstrous.
The sky turned dark, as well as his surroundings.
Zin paused; he was near Ard Point and could see the moonlight illuminating the prison wall.
That was all he said after running for ten hours. Instead of resting, he observed the walls of Ard Point.
It was too quiet.
It must already be over.
Zin was able to see what happened. He stared at the walls of Ard Point and stood still.
It wasn’t hard to figure out what happened.
The gate is broken.
The heavy steel gate was crushed. A Slaughter’s rocket launcher would be enough to destroy the gate. It seemed like there was a battle, and Ard Point had ended up overtaken.
Zin didn’t have much feeling about the fact that the Slaughters had overtaken Ard Point. The guards of Ard Point were only armed with arrows, while the Slaughters were heavily armed. Ard Point had no chance. Although all the people would be dead, Zin came back to retrieve his share of the reward. The unclaimed reward would still be there even though the people were dead. And Zin was going to take back his chips, even if they were taken by the Slaughters.