Genius of unique lineage Chapter 181

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Strike and Strike Again (1)

The moment I felt pressure, I kicked the ground with my feet.

My thigh muscles inflated explosively, like steel.

Bang!

With a loud roar, the floor where I had been standing now had a hole in it.

Sharpened edges and fists had just passed through the space I occupied moments ago.

“Kak!”

The beast’s cry grazed my ear. I quickly ducked my head. A bulldog had made a slicing motion with his elbow where my head had been.

There was no time to take a long breath.

I took short breaths, inhaling and exhaling rapidly.

Everything in front of me moved in blurred afterimages.

Even within these fleeting moments, I read my opponent’s attacks.

Half-turning my body, a spike-covered stick missed my shoulder by a paper-thin margin.

The wind pressure soon turned into a pressing force. Shaking it off and dodging, I observed the blurry afterimages of my enemies and tried to understand their movements.

The exchange was so intense that there was no time for cold sweat, yet this did not mean I lacked the senses of an immortal.

The realm of five senses and the sixth sense.

I captured my adversary’s movements, imprinting them in my mind.

Bang! Bang!

The bulldog was proficient with his fists. His striking punches were top-notch. Though he had a diverse combination of moves, his bread and butter were his punches.

The Doberman wielded an axe. His feet were so quick that he swung his axe in the blink of an eye.

The Saint Bernard excelled at applying pressure.

He took control of the space, limiting the range of my movements.

He had anticipated my steps, my next position.

Aimed his weapon at places I had yet to dodge.

It was a savvy strategy, the domain of instinct honed through years of experience.

He wielded a short stick covered in spikes, solid as a single piece of iron.

And then there was the last, the Bull Terrier.

This bastard was the real problem.

His fighting spirit was exceptional.

While others had not reached the realm of synthesis, this one flirted with it.

He was a weapon personified.

Biting, clawing, kicking, slicing with elbows.

If there was an opening, he would even spit. This mangey dog.

Swearing came naturally, but there was no time for it.

All about the attack, defense was an afterthought. Everything was wagered on the offense.

He surrendered to his fighting instinct, discarding all thought.

This worked because the four shared a good synergy.

Even after transforming, they wield weapons, which meant they had honed their own techniques.

That also suggested they had diligently practiced their formations together.

A well-trained lot they were.

The four poured out their savage intent without reserve, pressing from all directions.

My Lime Orange bastards were giving no quarter.

Finding a weakness was difficult, but in such cases, one must create an opening.

If muscle was the cannon, skill was the ammunition.

Only when technique melds with the trained body does true power come to fruition.

Of course, it takes time to hone both body and skill.

Training the body, refining technique – normally, this would take years.

That’s what my shapeshifter training aimed for.

One year, that was the initial training plan.

Even that was just for the basics, as it was said.

“My own child, indeed,” my mother exclaimed in amazement.

“A nephew, not using any tricks, right?” my uncle doubted.

“From the start, hardware was your inheritance,” my wooden-log teacher nonchalantly commented.

I remember the stock market hit rock bottom that day.

What I had done till now wasn’t merely about transforming and bulking up – that was the point.

Thunk.

All cracks begin small.

I took in the sight of the four unruly dogs leaving only afterimages.

The senses of an immortal read my foes’ movements with clarity.

My mind felt hot, as if my brain was heating up.

It was like the time I faced Nophilus.

This wasn’t a practice fight.

Killing the opponent was permissible.

There was a difference from when I fought Nophilus.

Back then, I didn’t have the power of a shapeshifter.

Running at breakneck speed, feeling the pressure of killing intent, various weapons bore down on me.

The threat pierced my whole body. My sixth sense sent alarms.

Everything accumulated in my mind, layer by layer.

Predicting the immediate future, the outcome of the skirmish, I moved accordingly.

Ignoring the warnings of my sixth sense, I took a hit from the bulldog’s fist.

But not squarely; it hit my shoulder, and as it landed, I twisted my body, redirecting the force of the blow.

Minimizing the impact.

Despite the deflection, I was pushed back.

Staggering as if I lost my balance, I failed to step correctly.

I clumsily retreated backward.

At that moment, the Doberman aimed his axe at my head.

In that brief interval, I thought.

For the first time, the harmonized limbs of the four slightly skewed.

There was a discordant note.

The Doberman had moved ahead without syncing with the others.

A short gap, a slight fissure.

That was all I needed.

Just before the axe blade split my scalp, I moved on a lightning-quick inspiration.

I corrected the center of my weight as I had stooped forward. It all happened in the blink of an eye.

Having never shown such response speed in my dodges, the Doberman’s reaction was just a hair too slow.

I planted my fist straightly into his solar plexus.

Rotating half a turn on my left foot, the short uppercut landed with a heavy thud.

Bang! Woosh-crack!

“…Ghah.”

A groan escaped before it could manifest fully.

I drove another punch into his suspended solar plexus before his body could react and then reversed my momentum to deliver an upward strike.

Pop.

The sound of a tire blowing resounded.

The bastard sure had a tough body.

I had intended to make a hole right through him.

But that wasn’t to say he was alright.

Ribs and innards must have split apart.

Thump.

“Gurgling.”

Blood spurted from the mouth of the one fallen to the ground, carrying bits of his entrails.

Now only two remained.

“Playing tricks,” muttered the Bulldog, grinding his teeth as he stood frozen, watching the Doberman go down.

It was his fault for being fooled.

Adjusting reaction speed, feigning injury – these tricks.

Of course, to succeed, you’d need comparable physical strength to these bastards.

I was certain.

My power was only slightly less than that of five shapeshifter dogs.

A moment of gratitude towards my mother’s lineage.

My strength rivaling that of shapeshifters, I was indeed the thug of my kind.

If there’s no discernible difference in strength and speed, then the refinement of technique can decide the battle.

Especially given my more acute senses compared to theirs.

The result might have been inevitable.

I pretended to be struck by the Bulldog’s punch, exposing my weakness. They worked so in sync that they didn’t miss the opening, the Doberman’s axe struck accordingly.

The Saint Bernard preemptively took the spot I was supposed to evade to.

The others were ready to pounce, biting the moment the axe even grazed me.

But instead, I charged into embrace.

I never truly lost my balance.

I had only made it appear that way.

And this was the outcome.

“Grrr.”

The Doberman was knocked out, frothing with blood.

The Dalmatian, lured by my feeble movements, suffered a broken neck and was barely breathing.

So now, three remained.

“Grrrrrr.”

The Bull Terrier’s eyes rolled wildly.

“Don’t get careless,” said the Saint Bernard.

As if not being careless would change the outcome?

Thunk.

As I moved forward, the three flinched.

The muscles in my back and left shoulder, likely damaged, throbbed slightly.

I glared at each of them before rotating my left arm. After a few turns, the pain subsided.

The resilience of an immortal’s body – supreme.

The vigor of a shapeshifter – unparalleled.

I was fully recovered.

“Let’s finish this.”

I spoke and surged forward first.

I realized after trying,

These guys weren’t tough at all. Neither as seasoned as Nophilus nor as sturdy as a crocodile.

And certainly not as cunning as that damn team leader.

Easy.

“I’ll kill you, you’re dead.”

The Bull Terrier murmured.

But now they looked like three dumb dogs who couldn’t tell front from back.

* * *

Thump.

I snapped up the strong-jawed Saint Bernard with the tip of my foot.

The sound of hitting iron rang out, and with a bend and snap of my knees, I executed a rising dragon fist.

Cling.

The Saint Bernard’s body floated off from the strike of my fist.

Then he hit the ground with a thud, and as I looked into his eyes, they rolled back, showing only the whites.

“Phew.”

After a single breath,

Crack.

I realigned my broken arm bone.

It had been struck by the Bulldog.

Thanks to taking the hit and delivering a flying knee to his face, he was now lying next to the Saint Bernard, gasping for breath.

I didn’t have access to clubs, coats, gloves, or even adamantium wire knives.

I couldn’t openly declare that I was Yoo Gwang-ik.

So, this was purely a feat accomplished with my body alone.

Whether it was dogfighting or just scraggly dogs, all five were lying on the floor.

I could proudly tell my mother that I had taken down five shapeshifters with my bare hands.

Would she be surprised?

I don’t think so. She seemed to expect as much from me.

These five weren’t immortal hybrids; the injuries they had were not ones easily healed.

As I considered picking up Marina, my sixth sense kicked in.

Familiar. The aura response seen from special psychic species.

I turned towards the source of the reaction.

Nothingness in the air.

The atmosphere vibrated with an ominous tone, and ripples formed from nothing. I felt the intangible waves spread in concentric circles.

Then, right from the center of it, someone popped out.

“Marina?”

“Big brother?”

Huh? Teleportation? Marina appeared out of thin air. Surely I hadn’t sensed any sign before this, and there was no open gate.

“Did you awaken psychic powers?”

A rational doubt, a king-like gut feeling.

“No. The last one touched me, and suddenly I was spatially transported. I guess he relied on his psychic powers to take me on.”

Marina shook her head, confirming her suspicion.

Some bastard dared to grope my precious sister.

She continued.

“So Marina twisted his wrist, shattered his ribs, and was about to break his neck—”

That bastard, if he was one of the psychic species, is likely knocking on heaven’s door right now.

Incapable of even properly activating his forced displacement ability, he inadvertently dropped Marina right in front of me.

“Target clear, retreat,” came Panda hyung’s voice over the communicator.

“Shall we go together?”

I asked calmly.

“Yes, big brother,” Marina responded.

Holding hands and leaving would indeed look odd.

Looking outside, I saw the helicopter and the blaring siren of the police.

“Surrender peacefully!”

I could hear the police and SWAT team commander’s order.

Usually, in such cases, a negotiator gets ready to ensure hostage safety.

But the hostages had long been released.

Special forces must be awaiting the right moment to raid.

I left before they could enter.

I burst through the main gate.

Boom.

Shattering the glass door with my body as I exited, I was met with blinding lights.

The bright floodlights embraced me. I squinted through them, surveying my surroundings.

Gun barrels, patrol cars, SWAT vans, drones overhead, snipers likely in nearby buildings.

It wasn’t just the police here.

Paparazzi typically arrive as fast as the police at such events.

To them, I had to appear as a mad shapeshifter.

“Rawr!”

I roared loudly.

Marina followed suit perfectly with her timing.

“Kreung!”

Then, we dashed off.

“Huh? What?”

Let them try to catch us, snipers attempt their shots.

Dodging erratically through buildings and alleys, it would take Korea’s best sniper to land a shot on a shapeshifter moving this way.

Even I wouldn’t be able to hit myself.

Our pace wasn’t slow; both Marina and I had mastered the secret of shapeshifter physical training.

Bang! Bang!

Just our leaping was fast enough to challenge the tracking ability of any ordinary person.

And just like that, Marina and I escaped.

* * *

Kim Cho-myung, a reporter from Jangtae Daily, joined journalism out of a sense of mission.

He had been working on a special article for two years about the infiltration of a terrorist organization in Korea, insisting that they couldn’t be left unchecked.

Naturally, he was rebuffed repeatedly. The capitalist backing of the terrorist organization had deeply infiltrated the political sphere—a matter beyond what a single reporter could handle.

‘It’s all corrupt.’

He was halfway to giving up.

Yet, he hadn’t given up completely – he couldn’t.

He was simply hindered by the cold reality.

That’s when it happened.

An anonymous tip came in.

There would be an attack on a Money & Save branch.

‘The world is full of crazies.’

He thought just that.

The message contained threats against Prometheus, but taking on Prometheus was akin to suicide.

So, he listened and moved on.

But then came the real deal.

Kim Cho-myung was now in front of the Money & Save branch.

He had come just in case.

Honestly, it was a night where he was free from other commitments.

With no girlfriend and few close friends, work was his life.

Being treated as good as dead in the company, there were few willing to associate with him.

“Got it on camera?”

The police had begun to lock down the area, so getting a close-up was not possible.

Still, he couldn’t afford to miss the action.

A junior colleague pre-arranged a hidden camera inside and broadcast it live.

Not only them but with sophisticated equipment, broadcasting stations aired it live as well.

Through their lenses, they just caught a glimpse of two suspects running out.

“What’s with those lunatics?”

He saw figures wearing masks on their faces.

Their appearance was fleeting.

They roared, then vanished.

Kim Chomyeong, who blankly watched this, was perplexed.

‘Is the anonymous tip real? Or just coincidence? What’s with that transformer? Why wear a mask? Was the safe cracked open? Targeting Prometheus? Shouldn’t they say if that’s the case? Right now, it just looks like robbery…’

“Chomyeong hyung, that tip.”

His junior spoke up, clearing the chaos in Chomyeong’s mind.

“Where’s the car?”

They needed to move.

The anonymous tip hadn’t said they only targeted Money & Save.

Though live coverage of what would happen next might be difficult, a scoop seemed guaranteed.

“Let’s go. Looks like we hit the jackpot.”

The junior ran off first.

“This is crazy. Alright, let’s go.”

Chomyeong followed, thinking as he ran.

‘This is an opportunity.’

The anonymous tip had come in two emails.

One about what would happen today.

The other about the identity of Prometheus.

But what worried him was,

‘Will they allow it?’

There’s no recourse if the desk turns it down.

“Hey, do you have proof? Do you? Are you going to act like a trash journalist? Are you going to write an article just based on suspicions, and what if it backfires? Is this your company? If you really want to write it, bring the evidence. If not, save your salary and buy this company.”

It was said that if there was evidence, the article would be published.

‘That evidence.’

It was in Kim Chomyeong’s email.

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