Humans assigned ranks to different monsters.
The so-called monster scientists, recognised by the Monster Association, wracked their collective heads and assigned numerical values on a monster's vitality, combat prowess, its rate of reproduction, etc., and then the numbers are tallied up for the final assessment.
So, then. A two-star monster.
It was not as simple as '1+1'.
A two-star monster being at least twice as strong as a one-star was a given; more importantly, a two-star employed more varied strategies and abilities, so fighting one became that much harder.
'….Aaaand, all of those things are bull crap.'
Surely, the learned and wise scientists would argue with him until they turned blue in their faces, but for Choi Kahng-Sik, there was only one simple difference between a one-star and a two-star.
….Whether it possessed a long distance attack or not.
The level of danger posed to Hunters varied greatly, depending on whether they could safely attack a monster from afar or not.
Indeed, even this type of assigning ranks was from the perspectives of human beings.
It was roughly the same story for that d*mn monster busy shooting out ceramic shrapnel everywhere.
"Spread out!! I said, spread out, now!"
"Technique squad! Investigation squad! Find the location of that b*stard! Now!"
"Espers with ice elements, lower the temperature immediately!"
The Hunters had formed a defensive line at a considerable distance and didn't even try to get closer. The monster's ranged attacks were too difficult to deal with, never mind being incredibly dangerous.
If one of the ceramic shrapnel stabbed them in the head or their hearts, they would be dead in a second!
The insanely-high temperature could not be ignored, either. If one tried to take a deep breath, the hot air would end up cooking the lungs, instead.
All of these and the monster was rated as only a two-star.
Only one rank higher than one-star monsters, yet the threat level posed was on another scale altogether.
However, besides all that...
"Hello, everyone. Dear viewers? We meet again. I can only apologise for not coming from the dry sauna as promised. Excuse me? You knew that something like this would happen? Eii~. What can I do, when the world doesn't revolve the way this little MS wished it did?"
Should one praise Choi Kahng-Sik for not forgetting his main occupation even when the situation turned out like this?
Choi Kahng-Sik sought out safety, away from the battered car, and behind a far-more reassuring block of concrete. He then immediately began his live stream yet again.
Even the viewers were feeling speechless, relatively speaking, by now.
┖ Are you a monster summoner or something? ;;;
┖ First time seeing an MS like you! >0
┖ What kinda crimes did you commit in your past life? ㅋㅋ
"Hmm, hmm! Since I don't have a lot of time, let me get straight to the point. The monster appearing this time in the Monster Association is a Tot-st. As you may know, it's a two-star. It's fairly famous for having a really low defence around its Core."
Indeed, that was the case, but...
Approaching that Core was properly difficult.
The ceramic shrapnel rained down from the sky like hailstones, and from the ground, hot and debilitating steam rose up.
If there was hell, this had to be pretty close.
[A certain god is constantly looking around.]
[A certain impatient god is munching non-stop on popcorn.]
[Another god is utterly stupefied.]
"....This is a really precarious situation. This isn't the time to fight using popcorns and whatnots. The heat coming from the ground can't be lowered by something as simple as a fire extinguisher, like back in the incident with the Under-Dok. It seems that I gotta find a different method to get closer and beat that creature."
Choi Kahng-Sik ran towards the red fire hydrant installed on the street corner.
The Tot-st's seemingly never-ending barrage of ceramic shrapnel progressively rained down less and less the closer to the hydrant; when he got near it, there was not one piece of ceramic in the vicinity as if he was witnessing some kind of a bizarre miracle.
'I knew this would happen.'
Below this place, there was a water pipe coming from the main water supply; that was the reason for this anomaly. Since a Tot-st couldn't tell what was going on up on the surface, it could only mind where the water mains were underground.
Choi Kahng-Sik spoke while lifting his shovel high up.
"We are in the city of Seoul, isn't it? Looks like I'll have to borrow the strengths of you, the dear viewers! Everyone, let's teach that monster the terror of the citizens of this city!"
The baby Oh-Racle flapped its wings as if it was enjoying this, too.
Meanwhile, its left head remained unimpressed. Which was a good reaction, actually.
Choi Kahng-Sik swung the shovel down and cried out at the same time.
"Taste the might of our tax money!!"
The fire hydrant couldn't endure anymore after getting struck by the shovel and split in half.
*SFX for a huge burst of water*
And from there, a long spout of water exploded out.
The cold water doused all over Choi Kahng-Sik's body. It was very refreshing, like jumping into a pool of water after suffering through a hot summer day.
┖ Our tax money is leaking away, I see. ㅋㅋㅋ
┖ I still have plenty more bullets left!! (TL: bullets, as in money)
┖ Reported for vandalism. ^^
┖ The person above me, can you even live day to day? ;;
Choi Kahng-Sik quickly ran around the Association grounds and destroyed every fire hydrant he could find. Unfortunately, the water coming out from there just wasn't enough to weaken the Tot-st's heat.
'It's far less effective than I thought.'
It was like trying to pee on one's burning foot.
So, while running around here and there, he thought hard and tried to come up with new ideas.
[A certain impatient god has finally released his friend.]
[A certain god is questioning that god's idea of friendship.]
'….A friend, is it?'
Choi Kahng-Sik's eyes gleamed as an idea came to his mind.
"Just in case, is the 'dongsaeng' of MS Lady Kim Soh-Yun watching the broadcast right now? If you are, I'd like to ask for your help."
When he ran into her on the underground floor of the Monster Association, Kim Soh-Yun clearly told him that her younger sibling was a dedicated fan.
┖ ㅇㅇ Please speak. ^^
┖ Yes, I am the dongsaeng of the goddess.
┖ MS oppa? Did you call for me?
┖ Why are all these fakes coming out of the woodwork all of a sudden?
The chatroom for the MS Cameraman's channel became chaotic due to the sudden influx of the self-proclaimed younger siblings of Kim Soh-Yun. From the way they spoke to the different gender, there truly were all sorts of them!
Some viewers even came out and angrily rebuked the fakes for throwing jokes around in this dangerous situation.
Choi Kahng-Sik didn't pay any mind to that, though.
'It's not like I'm trying to meet that woman's younger sibling, anyways.'
He was not interested in that person's identity.
He only cared about his message getting through.
"I'm not a fan of being ordered around like this, though."
A beautiful woman floating above the surface of the Han river muttered to herself while pocketing the smartphone. Her gaze shifted in the direction of the Monster Association, currently in the process of rapidly morphing into a furnace.
Meanwhile, several boats were approaching her.
"Stop! Stop the boat here!"
"Make sure the boat doesn't rock around too much!"
Three boats came to a stop around her, and the crew riding in them began moving around like a group of busy bees.
And then, they began shouting out one by one.
"First camera, set up complete!"
"Second camera, set up complete!"
"Mic check. No problems."
"Finished warning the Yeoui island of the incoming danger!"
Many lights and cameras mounted on the boats were directed solely on the beautiful woman silently floating on the surface of the water.
At that moment, one couldn't help but wonder if a water fairy would be as pretty as her.
After making sure everything was ready, the first unit director called out.
"Lady Kim Soh-Yun! You can start now!"
After finishing up her business on the underground of the Monster Association, MS Kim Soh-Yun was able to leave right away, quite unlike Choi Kahng-Sik who got held up by pretty much everyone. But...
A wry grin formed on her lips.
'I still couldn't find it.'
She couldn't find 'it' inside the Association, which meant that it was not in the Korean peninsula.
Rather than finding what she came for, she instead ended up getting a call from her dongsaeng.
"Hah... I got all hyped up because you called me for the first time in ages, but this... Was I expecting a little too much?"
"Lady Kim Soh-Yun...?"
Her drifting thoughts came back into focus as the staff members continued to stare and wait for her. Now wasn't the right time to reminisce and complain about the past.
'I made a promise, so time to keep it.'
A dependable smile of confidence formed on her lips as she looked at the people around her.
"Thank you for listening to my selfish request this late in the day."
Kim Soh-Yun acknowledged and thanked the staff for their hard work, and closed her eyes. Her arms slowly drifted down to a resting position. She began concentrating.
*SFX for waves gently rolling about*
She sensed the flowing river below and formed an image in her head.
Then, her eyes abruptly shot open. As if she was rowing a boat, she gently swayed her arms forward and shouted out.
"Sweep everything away!"
*SFX for waves rising up high*
Suddenly, the river Han's waters rose up and rushed towards the island of Yeoui like a tsunami wave. Just like she had ordered, to sweep everything away!
Kim Soh-Yun climbed aboard the boat and rested her fatigued body while whispering to herself in a coy manner.
"It'd be nicer if that guy gets swept away, too."
*SFX for boiling water rushing in*
The river water rapidly rushed in and filled up the dark crater.
*SFX for rapid cooling and rising steam*
Clashing against the Tot-st's heat, the river water evaporated and an incredible amount of steam exploded out. But of course, it was impossible to evaporate all of the incoming water.
The temperature of the area dropped in an instant.
How many seconds passed by, since then?
Accompanied by the loud shrieking cry akin to a hiss from a steam engine, a mighty water spout shot up from the crater. And from there, a monster revealed itself high up in the air.
It was none other than the two-star monster, Tot-st.
It was a monster shaped like a shellfish, its Core protected by thick shells created from countless ceramic fragments attached and layered over one another in the most secure and astonishingly scientific manner.
….That's how the so-called monster scientists chose to describe this monster.
What about non-scientists, though?
"The sandwich is soaked in water!"
"The sandwich has revealed itself!"
"Everyone, attack!! Attack the sandwich!!"
….To their eyes, it looked like two slices of bread stuck together. Hence, 'sandwich'.
Tot-st landed back on the ground, and just like a spinning top, began spinning around.
*SFX for fragments being fired in succession*
The ceramic shrapnel being fired from its shells accurately sniped the incoming Hunters. It was completely different to when the monster simply showered everywhere with the shrapnel from underground.
*SFX for flames burning*
On top of this, each fragment caught on fire and became even more dangerous than before.
The surrounding temperature rose up rapidly as well.
"Everyone, retreat!! Retreat!!"
"Increase the distance before attacking it!"
"When is our support arriving?!"
At the same time...
Choi Kahng-Sik was in the middle of exploring the depths of the underground, using his shovel to, uh, shovel his way forward.
┖ Mister MS? I can see nothing but a black screen. ㅡ.ㅡ
┖ There's a hunt going on the surface, so what are you doing now?
┖ I knew you'd be like this. Getting scared by a two-star. ㅋㅋ
┖ A guy can get swept away by the river water, you know. So, cheer up.
The response from the viewers wasn't so good at the moment. The MS who utilised one of his most dedicated fans to mobilise the most powerful Esper in Korea had unexpectedly made his exit from the battle for some reason.
Choi Kahng-Sik stopped shovelling for a second and spoke to the camera.
"Most of you viewers must think that I got careless and fell for my own tricks, and got swept away by the river water. That's only about half right. I came down here deliberately, actually. The things happening up top? Have you heard of the phrase 'an empty cart makes a lot of noise'? Continue tuning in while enjoying your late night snacks, everyone."
[A certain god is lightly patting his bulging stomach.]
[A certain impatient god is enraged by the empty plate.]
[Another god is reprimanding the impatient god for being too noisy.]
A good way to apply that.
< Chapter 26: Donations (2) > Fin.