Chapter 41. Fighting With Numbers
Unknown Cause [OFFLINE].
The Strategist frowned as he took a look at the red text in front of him. He deployed the man to buy some time, but to think he’d be killed in under a minute…
The opponent didn’t even use his power either. He had thought that the man would use it this time, but the man just overwhelmed Unknown Cause with his physical abilities alone.
‘Why didn’t he use his power? Or… has he already used it and I simply didn’t notice? Or could it be that he can’t use it? Because it’s not suited for battle?’
Not all powers were suited for battle. In fact, the number of powers that were suited for it were few and far between. Most actually possessed auxiliary powers like the strategist.
‘Bastard… Why did he employ me if he knew this was going to happen? Ah, is that it? I’m supposed to lose?’
Things wouldn’t have turned out like this if Chrono had told him about the enemy’s powers. But what Chrono wanted was to have the flow of time take its course, just like objects on a conveyer belt. Chrono was probably relying on a timeline where the Strategist lost.
When he thought about it, he could tell that Chrono only wanted to change the latter parts of the future. Because the future would change if the current events were to be changed from what Chrono had seen, Chrono refrained from telling anyone about the future. He was simply following the flow of time until the time of his death so that he could strike down his cause of death.
‘That would require history to take its course till the end. After all, any changes to it would distort the future.’
If one were to organize the events of this mission into the alphabet, the event that Chrono was planning on changing would be X. If the previous events were to be altered, the future might change, hence the reason why Chrono was planning on letting A through W take its course. He would alter event X in order to change the results of events Y and Z. The Strategist was able to see the limits of Chrono’s abilities through this.
‘If there’s a person who could see the future, the future becomes uncertain. Because a person who knows the future might as well change it. In the end, Chrono doesn’t know what will happen after the event X. This must’ve been something that the ‘me of the past’ had thought of as well.’
The Strategist sighed as he leaned back on his chair. As long as Chrono didn’t tell him anything, the future would take its set course. As long as the Strategist couldn’t get out of these shackles of the future, he would, in the end, be a puppet. No matter what happened, only Chrono could change the future. And the Strategist would always fail like an idiot, no matter how much he struggled.
‘What use is all this if the future’s already set? This doesn’t feel good at all.’
No matter what he did, no matter how hard he worked, nothing would change. As long as there was a person who could see into the future, he could not escape the web of fate.
‘If only Chrono didn’t exist...’
The pen in his hand broke as soon as he had this thought.
‘Oh dear… Just what did I… focus, focus! I’m a pro. I need to try my best no matter what the circumstance. For now, I’ll keep it a secret that Unknown Cause has died.’
One of the biggest problems that a group composed of powerful people suffered from was the fact that not many cooperated due to their pride and greed. After all, these people disliked jumping straight into danger. And this time, the danger was even something that forced a hero to hide. The fact that Unknown Cause was killed would turn their suspicions into absolute certainty. These people would escape the moment they determined that the situation was dangerous. Money was money, but life was more important, after all. The Strategist, therefore, was in charge of controlling information to prevent situations like this from happening.
‘Good. Using the police, I prevented the news from the town square from leaking, and the new faces in town that have been confirmed till 9:17AM number sixty. Three would be the killers that have disguised themselves, but who are the other fifty seven…?’
These people who had walked out of the forest were dressed up as tourists. Probably a result of some magic. These people were walking into the casino hotel in groups of eight or nine. One of the killers was in the town square, which meant that it was likely that the other two were a part of the tourist group. Of course, they could be hiding somewhere else as well, which was the reason why he requested the Observer to be on the lookout.
‘If we think about Chrono’s orders from the other side, the person in the town square would be the person who kills Chrono, and one of the other two would be the person making this killer close to being immortal.’
The Strategist nodded.
‘Is that it… I can only take out the one in the square once I kill the two in the hotel? And that’s why the one in the square hid the other two. So why did they all go into the hotel then? It would be more useful to play hide-and-seek by dispersing throughout the town. And the number of people here… Where did they…? For now, it’d be best to abide by the plans.’
Chrono had requested that he ‘refrain from killing or destroying those unrelated to his battle’, despite the fact that this was something where his life was on the line. What the Strategist was planning on doing now was borderline terrorism. He had bought the hotel with Chrono’s money, and filled the building with soldiers, but these were people as well. Thinking about the amount of people that would die in this exchange made his shoulders feel heavy.
“9:45AM. Close hotel.”
Once the strategist confirmed that all the tourists had entered the building, he sent a signal to the three thousand soldiers in the building.
“Caveman and Orderless will go to the rooftop from the entrance. Fragile and Modeller will go to the basement floor from the rooftop. The duck hunt begins now.”
They were all pros. They were all prepared to die the moment they entered the mercenary business. The strategist deployed his troops and watched the hotel closely using the Observer’s CCTV-like ability.
The tourists were boarding the elevator now after checking in to the hotel.
A “ding” sounded out as the elevator came to a halt. The moment the door opened, the elevator was showered with bullets.
An excessive amount of bullets were fired at the elevator. The elevator instantly became covered with a crimson red color, and the bright flashing lights of the gunshots lit the area. The middle-aged man and woman inside the elevator fell down with blood gushing out of their wounds. Even after they fell down, the hail of bullets didn’t end. On the other side of the elevator were three soldiers in bulletproof vests. The weapons in their hands were semi-automatic shotguns. The three held the red-hot guns in their hands as they carefully observed the elevator. The two tourists inside had been turned to a mush of meat.
But the three soldiers didn’t go in to confirm the kill. Their opponent was the wizard. They knew better than to just approach the corpses. They threw grenades into the elevator and ducked under cover immediately.
The building slightly trembled as smoke slowly filled the corridor. The trio was using hand signals to communicate amongst themselves. Eventually, one of the soldiers got the signal to check on the corpses, and once he looked out from cover, a skinny hand latched onto his head.
It was a skinless red hand. The soldier in its grasp was dragged into the black smoke. A short scream followed.
Chomp, crunch, crunch.
The soldiers quickly moved away in surprise as they heard bones break and flesh tear. They could see a bloodied hand try to grip onto the walls, leaving a bloody imprint on it. What was revealed shortly afterwards was a peculiar corpse. It was a corpse puppet created out of Necro’s Gebesh and the Bone Collector. There were fifty seven puppets that were disguised as tourists.
One more was just added to the group.
The dead soldier slowly revealed itself to its former comrades.
It glared at the two with blood-red eyes. This wasn’t happening just here either. The corpse puppets were charging towards soldiers all over the building in order to infect them. All this was as Jin had expected it to go. Necro, who had managed to get inside his room disguised as a tourist, laid Morto down on a bed.
“Hey, hey, come back to your senses already.”
Her blackened, dead flesh didn’t even allow her to move. The state of her body clearly showed that Jin had been attacked. But what Necro was talking about was not the pain she was going through.
“Look at what’s in front of you properly. He’s not normal, you know? He’s a monster.”
Morto knew full well what Necro was talking about. Unease. This was what she felt whenever she faced Jin. All of his playful acts, all of his playful voices, were fake. What reflected in his eyes weren’t something human at all.
He was simply imitating a human.
One was able to tell that this was the case whenever he made a slip. What was inside was simply a machine that only sought profit. If he deemed it fitting, he wouldn’t hesitate in killing friends or family.
The saint let out a painful moan as she said this. She knew. As the person who was around him for longest, she knew this better than anyone else. The person she was dealing with was someone who wasn’t capable of understanding human emotions. If he deemed it profitable, he would snap her neck in an instant. After all, the only thing truly precious to him was himself.
That made her sad.
She acted like a friend to him because of that.
So that he wouldn’t feel alone.
So that he could change.
She was broken. She couldn’t be fixed anymore. But… despite that, she might have a chance at saving him before her inevitable death. Perhaps this was something only she desired. Perhaps Jin didn’t want this at all. That didn’t matter anymore.
Morto thought of Jin in the stables reading a book under the stars, and put her hands on her thumping chest.
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