A Player who eats Metal. - Chapter 10: Itaewon 2-dong, Gate Blockade Operation - 2
Chapter 10: Itaewon 2-dong, Gate Blockade Operation – 2
“5th Squad, listen carefully.”
In the transport truck to the operation site, Lee Hyun-wook gathered the attention of his squad members.
Lee Hyun-wook was the most senior enlisted of the troops aboard the front car. It was due to the fact that the platoon commander, who was higher ranked than Lee Hyun-wook, was in the passenger seat.
“As you may have heard, today’s target is a Kobold Dungeon.”
A small monster who lives in a pack. It was a goblin-like monster in many ways. However, a closer examination reveals that they are a far more difficult race.
“If you encounter a kobold, you must not let your guard down because of its appearance. They’re pretty clever.”
In the past, the war against the Kobolds resulted in more casualties than the war against the Orcs.
In terms of the death rate alone, the former would be overwhelming.
“They use all kinds of stingers, especially paralyzing stingers. So, with your arms rolled down and your neck collar upright, minimize the surface area of your skin. Park Joon-mo, I’m telling you. You don’t want your eyes pulled out while you’re still alive, do you?”
Park Joon-mo hastily put up his battle uniform collar.
“Since kobolds are born in burrows, they use the sewers to move around. Keep an eye out, since we don’t know when or where they’ll pop out.”
“So you’re saying we need to make sure to watch our backs since it isn’t a safe angle to ignore.”
“Yes, you must be more cautious than ever before.”
The nine members of the 5th squad looked into Lee Hyun-wook’s eyes and nodded their heads.
In 5th Squad, the tension of the room felt different from usual.It was a completely different atmosphere from what they were used to, and anyone could notice the difference.
The source of it, Lee Hyun-wook.
‘He has been speaking like a real squad leader since yesterday, even briefing us in great detail on what to do. He sounds like an expert.’
Maybe it was just a small change. That the leader has matured into a trustworthy individual. However, this alone had a significant impact on the organization’s atmosphere.
‘If it’s Corporal Lee Hyun-wook now, I think I can trust him and fight.’
Ahn Min-tae, who thought he was just a good older brother and couldn’t trust him in the past, was seeing Lee Hyun-wook in a completely different light.
Soon the transport truck stopped. It had arrived at the worksite.
Someone knocked on the car. It was the signal to get off.
“Come on, let’s go.”
Upon exiting the truck, he recognized the residential areas he was in, which was in Itaewon.
Military vehicles filled the parking lots in the local areas, and dozens of drones were in the sky.
This was the temporary garrison of the 2nd Battalion.
Shouts were heard here and there, and the troops moved in line.
“It seems that the 1st platoon is already preparing to enter.”
As Ahn Min-tae said, the 1st platoon arrived first. 1st and 2nd Squads stood at the entrance to the alley.
During any operation, they have always been the key force. Ever since the beginning.
On the other hand, the support squad…
“5th Squad! What are you doing? Unpack your stuff quickly!”
They were never more than servants.
“The 1st platoon has to go into operation within 5 minutes, so supply the detoxification potion kit as soon as possible!”
The Lieutenant approached and shouted.
He was the 2nd Platoon Commander, Lieutenant Lee Hee-min.
Listening to his orders, the 5th squad began unloading the truck.
That was then.
Someone called out.
“Lee Hyun-wook, where are you?”
It was the company commander, Captain Kwak Yong-jun, who looked to be in a rush.
“Sir, I’m here! How may I help you?”
“Lee Hyun-wook! The battalion commander is calling! Go to the temporary command post immediately!”
“The battalion commander?”
“Yes, he said that he needed something from you before the operation. Quickly!”
Kwak Yong-jun points over to the center of garrison, urging him away.
‘Why is the battalion commander looking for me? At this time, too?’
He was called right before the operation began.
Lee Hyun-wook had no recollection of an event like this in his previous life, and wasn’t able to think of a reason why he’s being called this time. It was possible that there was a new future due to his recent actions.
It was unexpected, but there was no reason to be concerned because this was his initial goal anyway. That is, to change the future in a way that creates a positive outcome and benefits him.
‘This must be one of the scenarios that’ll lead me there.’
“Until I return, you command the squad and finish the supply requests.”
“Alright, please go.”
A military tent had been built near where Car No. 1 was parked, and the battalion commander was there. He was looking at the map with his staff.
But next to him was a familiar face.
‘Black Tiger Unit executive, Warrant Officer Cheon Myeong-ho.’
Lee Hyun-wook couldn’t figure out why he was in this operation. More importantly, Cheon Myeong-ho was watching him instead of the map.
“Salute! Corporal Lee Hyun-wook, reporting as ordered.”
Kim Kang-seok looked up at Lee Hyun-wook as he looked at the operational map.
“Corporal Lee Hyun-wook, you’ve arrived.”
“You have another assignment today.”
It was a very sudden notice.
However, without any change in expression, Lee Hyun-wook nodded and looked at Kim Kang-seok’s.
“You will take over the role of the 1st Squadron leader, who is currently absent. Your objectives are to block the gate, and stopping the second and third waves while commanding the 1st Squadron.”
At Kim Kang-seok’s words, the staff was also surprised.
“Ba-battalion commander, what do you mean……”
“Area Magic Controller, please be still. I have my own plan.”
The staff around him naturally assumed that this would’ve been temporary and wouldn’t cause a drastic change to the mission. Under normal circumstances, commanding the Company’s 1st Squadron is far too much for a normal F-Class Player, even if the original leader, Sergeant Choi Young-jun, asked him to do so himself.
“Ask the first platoon commander for more information. You probably have an overview of the gate blockade operation if you’re reciting the AMT tactics manual in front of a battalion commander, right?”
Lee Hyun-wook nodded proudly.
“Of course I know. But, battalion commander, I would like to ask you one thing.”
“I don’t understand why I was chosen for the job.”
Kim Kang-seok placed his interlaced hand on his chin and nodded.
“Just this once, I’m going to evaluate you personally.”
Lee Hyun-wook understood Kim Kang-seok’s meaning with that one sentence.
‘Since the last meeting, you’ve been valuing me higher than I thought.’
Even though Lee Hyun-wook was classified as an F-Class Player, the expectations placed on him were high.
It was understandable.
He knew what kind of personality Kim Kang-seok found admirable, and recited lines that targeted his mindset.
‘And the man standing next to him, Warrant Officer Cheon Myung-ho…’
They must have had a discussion about Lee Hyun-wook. And as they discussed what they saw, their expectations of Lee Hyun-wook would have doubled.
It was unprecedented for an F-Class Player to receive the expectations of these big names.
However, this situation was not favorable towards Lee Hyun-wook.
He looked directly into Kim Kang-seok’s eyes and spoke.
“Battalion Commander, may I speak to you as the commander of the 5th Squadron?”
“Sure, go ahead.”
Kim Kang-seok nodded as if he had been waiting, with a twinkle in his eyes.
That was expected.
Having experienced Lee Hyun-wook’s replies once, he knew that his words contained fairly sound judgment. He was also evaluating Lee Hyun-wook at this moment.
“From the time I was deployed to the 5th Squadron until now, I have thoroughly learned the mission and technicalities to perform the support operation. As the leader of the squadron, I am currently playing one of the most important roles in the mission.
Lee Hyun-wook tapped his right shoulder and green epaulet with his left hand.
“I believe 5th Squadron would do their jobs perfectly without me. But vacating my role in actual situations other than training, and taking responsibility for the lives of other squads in such an uncertain state…”
Lee Hyun-wook paused for a moment and shook his head.
“…I don’t want to take this moment as an opportunity and do something that would endanger the two squadrons, or even the entire operation.”
Kim Kang-seok’s expression did not change in the slightest.
There was no answer.
He was just staring piercingly at Lee Hyun-wook.
Lee Hyun-wook continued.
“Soldiers, in my opinion, are not only individuals. I believe that demonstrating one’s ability as a soldier is not always possible through personal contributions.”
“Thank you for looking out for me, sir. But I dare say that I don’t wish to be judged right now. Kobolds are cunning monsters with an intelligence level of 0.68 who use poison as a devious weapon. Someone will be harmed if the situation isn’t handled carefully.”
On top of his noble speech, Lee Hyun-wook added on some additional information about the enemy to thoroughly impress the soldier at heart, Kim Kang-seok.
Kim Kang-seok took a deep breath and leaned his back against the back of the field chair.
“Yes, that’s right.”
The role of the 1st squad leader.
It was definitely a great opportunity to take the place of Sergeant Choi Young-jun. Now that everyone’s eyes are on him, his stock price would have skyrocketed if he played the role of the 1st squad leader, the center of the company.
But he didn’t want to.
‘Actually, today’s key event will start from the rear, not the front.’
What he already knew from experience was that today’s ‘Bigfish’ appeared in the rear.
He couldn’t miss it.
“5th Squad leader.”
Kim Kang-seok did not call Lee Hyun-wook by name, but by his title.
“Corporal Lee Hyun-wook!”
“Yeah, do your original duty as you said. Since this is a real operation, do what you do best to perfection. Don’t delay the evaluation.”
“Yes, I understand.”
Lee Hyun-wook saluted and turned around.
As soon as he turned his back, Kim Kang-seok smiled. Then he looked at Cheon Myung-ho.
“Have you seen it?”
“Yeah, I had a great time. His movements, as well as his communication, are excellent. In any case, it’s surprising that the battalion commander heeded that guy’s request. Didn’t you put in a lot of effort to make sure this test was safe?”
He didn’t mean to push the F-class to the front lines. The platoon directly under the battalion commander, the ‘Attack Platoon,’ was also placed on standby just in case.
“What if I tell you the answer? I can’t say I’m wrong.”
A happy smile spread over Kim Kang-seok’s face.
“Lee Hyun-wook is a soldier rather than a warrior. He is a faithful and clever shepherd dog.”
Kim Kang-seok shows his admiration towards Lee Hyun-wook.
But Cheon Myung-ho did not give up. He slowly shook his head and smiled.
“However, if you watch him fight yourself, you will see him as more of a warrior. A shepherd dog… He wasn’t a dog, he was a leopard. He’s a seasoned hunter who thoroughly finds his prey’s flaws.”
“Hahaha… I want him, either way.”
The two people’s eyes were fixed on Lee Hyun-wook’s back.
– Chi-ik! This is the 1st Platoon, entering the Red Ground, over.
The voice of the 1st platoon commander came from Lee Hyun-wook’s walkie-talkie.
Along with him, the 1st and 2nd divisions of the platoon entered through different alleyways. A typical raid took place with a Damage Dealer in the front and a Healer in the rear.
The ‘Red Ground’ referred to the area where the gate was opened and an evacuation order was issued.
Now, the possibility that there were monsters inside it was slim. It was because the players belonging to the private guild, ‘Blue Flame,’ were guarding the gate entrance after blocking the first wave.
There was always a possibility of an exception occurring, so the soldiers were taught to never let their guard down.
‘Today is one of those exceptions.’
With the first wave, 32 Kobolds appeared from the gate and were immediately subjugated by the Blue Flame guild. They were the quickest to respond after the Gate occurrence.
‘They took care of everything that was initially seen, and there were only 32 of them.’
In other words, if any kobolds managed to get by them and hide themselves during the chaos, there wasn’t any way for them to catch the kobolds.
Ahn Min-tae opened the sewer lid.
A bad stench came up.
“It smells… Do kobolds really like to swim in places like this?”
“Depending on the situation, you may have to go in there.”
“Oh, I hope that doesn’t happen.”
“Hurry up and install the sensor.”
Squad members began installing motion sensors in the sewers around the temporary garrison. This was one of the Kobold response manuals.
As they were doing so, military trucks lined up inside the temporary garrison.
It was a follow-up.
“It’s the 2nd Company!”
Min-tae Ahn, who was installing a sensor by attaching cow meat and lowering it into the sewers, turned his head to the voice yelling that.
“So, did the Goddess come with the 2nd Squadron? Is it Sergeant Lee Se-hee?”
The 2nd Company was all-female soldiers.
As a Player of Korean nationality, serving in the AMT according to the ‘compulsory duty period’ was also applicable to female Players.
“Everyone is wearing a mask, so it’s hard to tell.”
The 1st company, made up of only men, rolled their eyes like high school boys who met high school girls on a school trip. The female soldiers of the 2nd company noticed this.
“Ahn Min-tae, what did I say before we went into operation?”
“Yes? Ah! That’s it! What are you guys doing? Roll your eyes only when you’re on the lookout for a fortune!”
“Ahn Min-tae. You were the first to turn your head.”
“Ah, Because the movement was detected, I’m checking at the border level. Haha.”
Meanwhile, the female soldiers of the 2nd Company began to disperse to the perimeter to form a barrier.
“2nd Squadron, we’re falling out! Lee Hyun-wook, have you finished installing the sensor?”
Lieutenant Lee Hee-min, 2nd platoon commander, calls out to him.
“Yeah, just one install and we’re done. Everything is working fine.”
He opened his eyes and watched over the 5th Squadron at work.
‘No matter how you look at it, it looks like he’s trying to get a hold of it.’
Lee Hee-min was originally such a person. The so-called ‘main enemy’ executive who doesn’t let his subordinates sit still.
Moreover, he was close with the other senior enlisted who enjoyed abusing their power, such as Oh Sang-guk and Kwak Jin-cheol. He would see Lee Hyun-wook in a negative light because of this.
However, it was just a matter of savoring the fact that he couldn’t find a problem that could be caught in particular.
“Hmm, yes… Now, move to the middle point.”
– Chik- 2nd Platoon, we are moving towards the middle point, over.
After utilizing the radio, Lee Hee-Min raised his hand.
The 2nd platoon, including the 5th squad, drew attention to him.
“2nd platoon, move!”
About 5 minutes after the 1st Platoon entered the Red Ground, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th squads belonging to the 2nd Platoon entered the alleys of the residential area. They moved along the road where the 1st Platoon had already scouted out.
Squad 5 entered through in a column formation, with Lee Hyun-wook leading from the back.
“Pay attention to the other guys.”
Lee Hyun-wook walked forward and closed his eyes.
‘I’m sure there is and I can find it.’
With his eyes closed, he used his powers to locate the metal around him.
It is no exaggeration to say that the human world is made of metal.
Their weight, mass, and shape were drawn in Lee Hyun-wook’s mind. Therefore, even with his eyes closed, he clearly recognized the geography of the area as if reading a map.
‘It’s not on the ground. Under the ground, deep down.’
He moved his senses under the ground.
Pipes, wires, and all sorts of rubbish, filled his detection.
He skimmed through them.
‘A little further down, into the sewer.’
And at that very moment, it was captured. Metal pieces moving one by one.
‘They’re kobolds. 14 in total.’
The remaining monsters that were not caught during the first wave were moving under their feet.
“Your lightning skill, how many times can you fire it?”
Park Joon-mo harnessed the ability to fire lightning as his weapon.
However, the method was very different from the general wizard series, in which electricity was stored in the body and then released. And since he was an F-class Player, his mana capacity was very small.
“Ah, I can only use it four times…”
Park Joon-mo answered with a gloomy tone. This was the normal reaction with F-classes, when questions related to ability came in, confidence was bound to decline.
“But if I really exhausted my mana I can do it five times.”
He scratched his head and looked at Lee Hyun-wook.
And saw it
Just like what he witnessed a few days ago.
Lee Hyun-wook flipped the safety switch on his gun from ‘safe,’ to ‘semi.’