Genius of unique lineage Chapter 206

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Genius of a Unique Lineage

10 hours ago

Within PWAT, there existed a separate team of elites, commonly referred to as the ‘Blue Team’. This nickname came from the blue epaulettes they wore, though their official name was Team 216, named after their founding day. However, everyone simply called them Blue Team now.

A member of this Blue Team, specialized in investigation and field analysis, had arrived at the site where the first wave from Hughes Gate was defended against. The major forces of the country were already gathered here, constructing a defensive line. A civilian control zone with a radius of 1 kilometer had been established around the black hole at the heart of downtown Seoul.

With one eye closed and kneeling on one knee, the Blue Team member scanned the ground with his hand. Lee Ji-hye followed by his side, on the orders of the chief himself. The man with one eye closed brushed his hand over the scraped marks on the asphalt, the rubble of buildings, and the jutting columns of concrete rebar.

As he rose to his feet, the grey dust clinging to his knees scattered in the wind. The weather felt dry; it had been days since the last rain, and the temperature was dropping. Winter was just around the corner.

“You said his name is Yoo Gwang-ik?” asked a member of the Blue Team with disheveled hair.

“He’s currently the person the chief is most concerned about. You’ll understand why once you see him fight.”

“He’s a hybrid?”

The Blue Team member muttered to himself. News travels fast. Rumors about Yoo Gwang-ik had already spread far and wide; they couldn’t be hidden if one tried. The hybrid of immortality and transformation. A specially bred being with overwhelming combat abilities.

“He managed to set up the formation all on his own and powerfully defended the front line,” Lee Ji-hye confirmed with a nod, whether it was intentional or not, the result was what mattered.

“Remarkable.”

“Yes, that’s true. I’ve never seen a specially bred being fight like that.”

“No, not that.”

“What?”

To Lee Ji-hye, the Blue Team member seemed unruffled.

“Such special beings capable of fighting to this extent aren’t common, but they do exist. With proper gear and preparation, even a Phantom could do as much.”

To belittle Gwang-ik’s achievements due to the lack of gear would be pointless. Yet why make such a statement? It was inexplicably irritating.

Was it because he insulted Gwang-ik? It’s not like they were personally connected. A few jokes exchanged didn’t make them a romantic item. And Gwang-ik had kept his emotional walls up high. Yet, hearing the Blue Team member’s words left a peculiar feeling.

It might be the difference between someone who had seen it with their own eyes and someone who had not. That’s what Lee Ji-hye thought.

“You would think differently if you had been there.”

“I was there.”

“You were?”

The Blue Team member had a talent for leaving people speechless.

“That’s my ability.”

He showed one hand as he explained. Psychometry, a kind of clairvoyance, but rarer. By touching objects, he could read the memories of events that had occurred there.

“Rather than that, there’s something more…”

He stopped speaking midsentence. Lee Ji-hye gazed at the Blue Team member intensely, curious about what he was about to say.

“It’s nothing.”

Sensing her gaze, the man shook his head, his unruly hair moving with the gesture. Although curious, Lee Ji-hye could not hear any more from him. He still appeared calm and unperturbed. But that was not truly the case.

‘Did he do it on purpose?’

The Blue Team member, reading the memories of objects, saw Yoo Gwang-ik’s actions from a third-person perspective.

‘He created a formation.’

He didn’t just randomly save whoever was in sight. He drew an efficient route of movement, which ultimately formed the defensive line.

Even with cracks forming and mini-holes opening, invaders coming out, he managed to do it. Could someone really act that way while keeping such a calm heart?

‘Was it a coincidence?’

Doubt and curiosity, the reasons why he was part of the Blue Team.

Afterwards, Yoo Gwang-ik flung himself into the front lines. Not out of exhibitionism or excitement, but because if he hadn’t, the damage would have multiplied exponentially. There were too few people to hold the defensive line.

If he hadn’t stood at the front and destroyed them, a few might have broken through and spilled into the vicinity. Un-evacuated civilians were just around the corner. There was also a small mart there. The capacity was barely a few hundred, but if the building collapsed and those few hundred died, one couldn’t simply say ‘just’. There were also those who hadn’t managed to evacuate, a major disaster was foreseen.

Had Yoo Gwang-ik not acted alone, that would have been the outcome.

Chills ran down his spine.

It’s not like there were no special beings with such physical abilities. If you looked around the world, you would find a significant number. Perhaps enough to count on one’s fingers and toes. Of course, some had only been heard of and not seen.

The Blue Team member was startled for a different reason. Not because of the physical abilities he witnessed, but for his decision-making and determination, the tactical skills he showed afterwards, that skill level, even without gear, was comparable to a Phantom-class in combat.

“Huh.”

He breathed out, seemingly having been holding his breath without realizing it.

“Aren’t you going?”

The woman team leader who was guiding them spoke up.

“Let’s go.”

The woman quickly turned around, and the Blue Team member followed suit. Surprised by her sudden change in demeanor, he also turned.

The special breed was astonishing, but there were more pressing matters at hand, so he put thoughts of Yoo Gwang-ik aside.

“There’s 48 hours left until the gate opens.”

That was the prognosis after analyzing the energy emerging from the gate. Two hours had passed since the first wave, and now two days remained. Another invasion by the invader horde awaited them, a recurrence of the 2011 catastrophe.

* * *

When fighting, or rather, when facing those cracks and mini holes, I did think. No, it was more accurate to say it was a natural decision. An almost instinctual judgement. I was confident that moving that way would mean no one would die. It wasn’t calculated.

It’s not like you calculate how much to extend your arm to catch a flying ball, or the exact moment to spread your fingers. To me, that situation was the same. So, I moved and raged that way.

There was someone who called me a hero, blinded by heroism. I heard it but ignored it. What did it matter?

I woke up with those thoughts. My usual ceiling, my room. After consuming kilograms of prime ribeye and sleeping for nine hours straight. I did dream, but I didn’t remember.

Stretching after getting up, I went out to find it was quiet. A handwritten note from my mother was on the dining table. (Went shopping, took Mari with me.) It was my mother’s handwriting. I wondered why she would leave a note instead of a message on my phone. When I checked my smartphone, there were several contacts. From the alarm that told me to take refuge in my own country to various other messages. After taking a brief look at the important ones and responding, I threw my phone on the sofa and started to stretch.

The sun was high in the sky. It meant I had slept in. My body felt stiff, perhaps due to yesterday’s intense activities.

After the first wave from Hughes Gate, the military, police, immortal special forces, Dangun Group, and the Psionic Association joined forces to establish a defensive line. It was a national emergency. Seongsu-dong was designated as a first-level disaster zone. It was Hughes Gate, after all, the nightmare of 2011. Thousands were casualties. The monument to its victims still stands starkly beside the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin in Gwanghwamun. It’s history, but too recent to forget. It was only ten years ago. And now Hughes Gate had opened again. How could anyone remain calm about that? However, the situation was different now. Was it because humanity had already experienced Hughes Gate once, or perhaps because technology, especially the use of gear and special troops, had advanced significantly since then? This time, the scale was smaller than before. The previous event was global. This time it was local, confined to Seoul, and the gate was reported to be smaller.

The decision was made to handle it domestically rather than form an international response team. My smartphone had been filled with such news.

“Let’s eat meat, son.”

Mom and Mari had returned.

“Sure, Mom.”

Meat is always welcome. It was pork belly this time. After setting up a smokeless grill and plugging it in, I started grilling the meat.

“Aren’t people hoarding supplies at the mart?”

“A few are, but who hoards meat?”

It’s the declaration of a first-level disaster zone. Following the events of 2011, it was unprecedented in the country. And it wasn’t a natural disaster but an event caused by a black hole.

It’s normal for people to feel a crisis and hoard goods. I poured sesame oil into a small stainless steel bowl, added some thinly sliced garlic until it piled up, and placed it onto the grill. Mari evenly sliced mushrooms and placed them in the corner of the grill. Her knife skills were impeccable as expected of a transformed species.

The meat sizzled, and only watching it cook was already enjoyable. Lettuce and perilla leaves topped with mom’s special ssamjang – it’s another fantastic taste. Carrots, onions, green onions are finely chopped, mixed with soybean paste, chili paste, sesame oil, sugar, plum extract, and almond powder to get the right consistency, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and finally a secret sauce for extra umami. That special ssamjang is picked up with chopsticks and laid on the meat.

A large spoonful of rice is eaten, followed by wrapping it with lettuce, biting into it.

Crunch crunch.

The meat juices sing, and the ssamjang dances. In the mix, the white rice adds a touch of synergy that makes you want to dance with joy.

“This is the taste, Mother.”

“Even Mari is moved.”

It’s a taste that impresses every day.

Then it’s dipped into cut pepper paste with anchovy extract, next with a dab of wasabi, enjoying the meat and having a pleasant chat while eating.

“Only about thirty hours left now.”

“That’s less than two days, what will you do, son?”

Flipping the thick pork belly, Mom asked.

“Well…”

More than half of the contacts were requests for me to fight under their banner. Police, immortal special forces, Dangun, psychics. Steven Choi even contacted me on behalf of the Psionic Association since I had no ties there.

The sound of the meat cooking was comforting. Watching it cook, I answered.

“I’m a freelancer.”

There’s no particular reason for me to fight under anyone’s banner.

“Then Mom should go as a free agent too.”

“Will you go together?”

“Would I send my son to the frontline and be at ease here?”

No, I didn’t think you would be at ease.

I stopped eating and scratched my head with a nod. I’ve seen my mother fight. It would be helpful, not to the point of hindrance. Moreover, she’s this strong even without transforming.

“Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like any Named beings will show up.”

The scanning technology has changed since 2011. It’s reached the point where they know what kinds of invaders will appear and their forms.

“Hughes is all about waves. There might not be Named, but there will be plenty of mutants.”

Mom said while making a wrap. Mutants are modified invaders, not at the level of Named. Like a Goblin that spits fire or an Ogre with two heads.

“I’ve never seen them,” Mari observed, mixing her stew with rice and eating spoonfuls.

“I’ve only seen them once.”

“Have you seen them?”

“Yes, back when I was on missions in the Other Side.”

“Ah, when you lied to your mother and were enlisted in the immortal special forces?”

She pinpoints the detail.

“I’ll say it was because of Father. Speaking of which, where is he?”

“He’s on alert, so he’s out.”

“Is he eating okay?”

“He sent a photo eating a steak.”

Mother answered with a chuckle.

The art of conversation surely learned from Father. This is what you call oratory skills. A technique to bury an unfavorable topic.

“Freelancers, meaning those volunteering special species fighters, are to gather in ten hours,” I continued, putting down the chopsticks.

We had eaten heartily. Intensely.

Naturally, one should eat well to fight well. The calm before the storm, the silence before the war. That’s the time to eat well.

I was full. My stomach was bloated.

“Here.”

Mari raised her hand and spoke, looking at the two of us.

“I want to go with you.”

I had accepted the situation calmly, but that didn’t mean I was unaware of the danger. It wasn’t called a first-level disaster area for nothing.

No matter how much technology has advanced, being bitten by an invader means death. If hit by a Wheel Knight’s lance, the body explodes.

And she wanted to go to such a place.

Before I could answer, my mother nodded first.

“Would you like to?”

“Mom?”

“You brought Mari into danger first, son.”

“Is this the same?”

“If I were to stop Mari, I would have stopped you first.”

Mom cleaned the remains of the meal from the table as she spoke.

There’s no parent who can win against their child, but why do I always seem to lose to Mom? On the other hand, seeing Mom’s calm attitude was also reassuring.

For no reason, it just felt solid.

“Mari, your knife skills are first class.”

And with that, I went back to sleep.

Upon waking, I only stretched. I didn’t use my body otherwise; it wasn’t the time for training.

It was the time to conserve energy.

When I woke up, Uncle Geumnak had sent a combat suit. It was a recent development from the Dangun Group, a suit with basic bulletproof and stab-proof features, and could carry various weapons.

There’s an official name, but everyone calls it the combat suit.

Five suits were sent. Just wear it over tight clothes, a vest, and pants, and then fit the arms with special fabric protectors, and you’re done.

The fit was convenient. Different indeed from what a big corporation creates.

“Let’s go.”

I left the house with my mother and Mari.

When I arrived at the scene, Hyemin was waiting for me.

“Hello, madam.”

Seeing my mother, she acted all cute.

“Hyemin, long time no see.”

Mom greeted her simply, and soon, even Panda hyung joined. Somehow, we became a team unit.

10 hours left until the Hughes Gate opening and the second wave. The battleground was already set, with every weapon humanity had indulged in from the Other Side, from cannons and beyond, all gathered here.

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