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Chapter 17

The Little Prince in the Ossuary



Translator/Editor: Ryuu

Discord: https://dsc.gg/wetried

◈ The Little Prince in the Ossuary

00017 <-- The Little Prince of the Ossuary -->


#High Risk, High Return (4), Paso Robles

Gyeoul closely observed the bulletin board hanging in the hallway. There was a bloodstain on the dress code notice. Shorts or skirts must cover more than half of the thigh, the rest was unreadable, as if someone with a bloody hand had torn at it. Each time such clues were gathered, ‘Insight’ updated the possibility distribution of survivors within the school. The names and photos of the staff and an approximate number of students were also verified.

"This school emblem is quite unique, isn't it?"

It was Jin-seok who commented upon seeing the school emblem. A black concentric circle on a red background. Within it, a roaring beast was depicted. The spots made it resemble a leopard.

Hearing Jin-seok's thoughts, Je-jung tilted his head.

"Is that so unique? The emblem of Korea University also had a tiger."


Je-jung was older, so it was natural for him to speak down to Jin-seok. Once they got a bit closer, they started calling each other brothers.

"It seems difficult to find survivors in this building."

There were one or two mutant variants in each classroom. It seemed like they had come from outside, though it wasn't certain. There were no traces of students.

"With so many buildings, maybe... Shall we split up and search?"

Jin-seok's suggestion was full of confidence. Gyeoul shook his head. It was the worst strategy. It might drastically reduce the search time, but it was dangerous. If there were casualties, as a leader, he would incur a penalty because of a promise. Accepting the suggestion could anticipate Jin-seok's favor, but Gyeoul wasn't in a position to dwell on that.

He was also worried about the combat fatigue of each member during solo exploration. It wasn't just combat situations to be wary of. Fear or panic could increase at any time. Moving alone would naturally be frightening.

Jin-seok wasn't particularly outstanding or important, and there was no reason to accept his proposal.

"It's too dangerous. I think it would be better to start with the cafeteria or gym."


"They're suitable for a large group to gather. The cafeteria would be better because it has stocked food."


Yura and Je-jung agreed without any particular doubts. Jin-seok looked a bit sullen but was ignored. Gyeoul discovered the school map and pointed with his finger.

"The gym seems to be closer than the cafeteria."

Regardless of which direction, they had to pass through the outdoors to get there. They needed to go out the back of the building used for lectures and cross the court. The school was open on all sides. There could be unseen threats from the front that they hadn't checked.

"I'll take the lead. Jin-seok-ssi, please watch the left side, Yura-ssi the right side, and Je-jung-ssi the rear."

Crash! The glass doors towards the court shattered noisily. Five mutant variants intruded. Kyaaa! Screaming at the edge of the audible range, they charged. Three automatic weapons spat fire immediately. Jin-seok, Je-jung, and Yura in that order. Blood and flesh burst. The mutants became tattered rags. The waste of bullets was severe.

Gyeoul twirled the unused Kukri in his hand. Should he be angry? After thinking, he decided it wasn't the time yet. He turned around and gently admonished them.

"I understand you're anxious, but please, just watch the direction you're assigned. We might get ambushed otherwise."

The three coughed almost simultaneously, making their faces turn even redder. A minor shift in affection occurred. Not getting angry also resulted in a positive adjustment. There was no immutable correction. Well, that makes sense. An 'unchanging heart' isn't something that comes easily. A downgrade would surely be resentment. Perhaps they didn't want to be lectured by a young one. Pride is not a rational emotion.

Stepping outside, indeed, there were mutant variants. They reacted like beasts and charged like monsters. Gyeoul decided to handle it alone. With a pistol in one hand and the Kukri in the other, he shot several heads off, then broke through himself, drawing their attention. These low-intelligence creatures didn't utilize their numerical advantage, simply charging in.

Crunch. The sound of the blade cutting through the neck with a spin. He relaxed his wrist and spun around, the knife sliding out smoothly. Putting his whole body into it, he cut down the next one, and after two rotations, he used the rebound from stamping his foot to dodge and slash. Another one was beheaded.

Before he could retrieve the extended blade, another one attached itself. It was caught. An ugly face at breathing distance. He fired a bullet. A pair of small copper bullets burst through two eyeballs and scrambled the brain behind. Thud. The mutant slumped down, leaning on the boy, with thin blood flowing from its eyes and nose.

Despite the warning, there was no improvement. The party still faced forward, only turning their gazes hastily to their assigned directions when their eyes met. After a brief silence, Yura's voice trembled faintly.

"I'm sorry."

Gyeoul didn't get angry this time either. It was rather a time for consolation. The automated AI's advice, responding automatically to conscious and subconscious thoughts, affirmed the boy's judgment.

「AI Advice (Insight Level 8): Initial skill proficiency increases quickly in an oppressive and violent atmosphere. However, this often leads to negative side effects, and the situation is different for later proficiency levels. For community leaders, such tendencies can be developed into a characteristic of the community. This enables rapid skill acquisition at the expense of community health.」

The underlying message of the advice was whether to prioritize the growth of members by accepting the later disadvantages or to secure a healthy community by accepting the initial disadvantages.

In either case, the accumulated weight of usual actions influences this. That's why paying attention to every single word mattered.

After informing the viewers of this, Gyeoul formed a gentle smile. Faking emotions itself was a challenging task for a boy who grew up in harsh conditions. The practice was worth it.

"Don't be sorry. I know everyone is trying their best."

A minor affection correction notification popped up. How much had it accumulated? Gyeoul led the party.

The gym was a stone building. Not properly made, but it seemed like stones were just placed on the surface. Still, it looked sturdy. From the perspective of those fleeing, it seemed reliable.

Somewhere, a strong smell of excrement wafted over. Indeed, it was a trace of people.

The main door was a regular glass door, but it was securely blocked with a barricade made of desks and equipment.

"If there are survivors, they would be here."

Everyone agreed.

"It's unlikely that this barrier was made by just one or two people."

Je-jung, being the elder, made the observation.

"Shall we clear it?"

"No, it would be too noisy. It would also take quite a bit of effort and time, which is worrisome. Besides, it would be a hassle to enter and then have to rebuild it. It would be better to look for another way in. Maybe an emergency exit..."

Indeed, there was one. Following the loud noise led them to it easily. A group of mutants was banging on it. The first one that arrived must have attracted more with its noise. Unlike the main entrance, it was made of steel and was unscathed. Only loud, but stained with blood. Blood from the hands of those banging on it. The bones were so damaged they were visible from the outside.

"There's quite a lot of them."

The boy's voice wasn't lowered, causing the group to burst into laughter. Je-jung whispered in a suppressed cry.

"Hey! Your voice! Keep it down!"

It was blunt due to urgency. Gyeoul reassured him.

"It's fine. With all that noise, do you think they can hear my voice?"


That made sense. Haah. The trio sighed in unison, a comical sight. Gyeoul then drew his Beretta M92, the standard-issue pistol of the U.S. military, abundant enough to be distributed without issue to refugees. Its design meant it didn't fit in a holster with a suppressor attached, so it was often tucked into the waistband.

Wishing for a dedicated holster...

"Let's do it like before. Aim for the head with precision shots. I'll handle any that don't die. Aim for the temples or behind the ears if possible. No need to rush, think of this as practice through real combat. Jin-seok, please keep watch behind us."

Gyeoul raised his right hand, holding the pistol at shoulder height, and supported the grip with his left hand in a palm-supported grip, effective for recoil management but less so for rapid fire. This stance was chosen to accommodate any inaccuracies from the group, easily adaptable to changing situations.

The three, without a clear signal, simultaneously pulled their triggers.

Low, thudding gunshots.

The heads of what were once humans burst open effectively. A direct hit to the temple could cause eyes to burst or dislodge entirely. One mutant survived awkwardly, an eyeball dangling by a nerve. Yura crouched, retching. Gyeoul fired, the bullet entering the empty eye socket with a thud. The mutant's head jerked, followed by its body collapsing. Only two or three remained, quickly dispatched by Je-jung's fire.

Yura stood up after spitting out a few times, her expression dark, more due to self-loathing than the gruesome sight she had just witnessed. It was her repeated disappointing displays.

Gyeoul, accustomed to picking up on subtle cues from a young age, almost certain of her feelings, asked gently.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm sorry. I keep letting everyone down... I shouldn't have come along..."

"Everyone has their moments of inexperience. What matters is not to waste your skills once you've become adept. Come on, stand up."

Extending a hand to help her up, Gyeoul shared a few more words of encouragement.

"You're already admirable for your courage alone, Yura-ssi. You volunteered for such dangerous tasks. Have confidence in yourself."

"...I'm embarrassed."

She never specified what embarrassed her. It wasn't a bad feeling; perhaps she was embarrassed to keep receiving consolation from Gyeoul.

However, Jin-seok looked clearly displeased, probably thinking Yura was a burden in various ways. If Yura saw that look, it could undo the comfort Gyeoul had just provided. After locking eyes with Gyeoul, Jin-seok eventually looked away, a stubbornness felt between them. Though it might seem like a hindrance now, Yura's potential contribution to the community, even in non-combat roles, would be enhanced by her combat experience, considering the psychological impacts members have on each other. This effort wasn't in vain.

Gyeoul recalled a story.

In times when wild beasts roamed near human dwellings, goats were mixed with sheep during grazing. When predators attacked, the sheep scattered, but not the goats. Having goats among the sheep made the flock gather around them, making it harder for predators. Clever wolves, knowing this, targeted the goats first. This was a true story related to a wolf named ‘Lobo’ in New Mexico, known as ‘The King of Currumpaw.’

In a way, Yura could be like the goat among sheep. It would be best if she became a fighter, but it wasn't necessary.

Pause. Viewer messages were flooding in with complaints about Yura, some harshly suggesting to "ditch her!" Gyeoul explained his intentions. The viewers might have been frustrated, but they understood. Resuming the narration, Gyeoul urged them to move on. After hastily clearing the scattered bodies, he knocked on the blood-dripping door in a sequence: three short, three long, three short. Even to the uninitiated, it was an unmistakably deliberate pattern, and to the well-informed, it was the Morse code for SOS.

Not a plea for rescue, but merely to signal human presence. Acquiring ‘Telegraphy’ or ‘Code Knowledge’ might allow for different signals, but it wasn't necessary. It would be a waste of experience points.

After repeating a few times, the awaited response came.

"Who's there, outside?"

"We received a transmission that teachers and students were trapped here..."

"Oh, thank God. Thank you!"

The door opened with a voice full of relief.


[1] Lobo, The King of Currumpaw: Lobo was a legendary wolf that lived in the Currumpaw Valley (now part of New Mexico, USA) in the late 19th century. He became infamous for his intelligence and ability to avoid traps and hunters. Lobo and his pack were responsible for significant livestock losses, leading to a bounty on his head. Ernest Thompson Seton, a British naturalist, set out to capture Lobo using various methods. Seton eventually succeeded by using Lobo's affection for a female wolf, Blanca, against him. The story of Lobo's capture was detailed in Seton's book "Wild Animals I Have Known" (1898) and has been considered one of the early sparks for wildlife conservation movements in the United States. Lobo's tale highlights the complex relationship between humans and wildlife, showcasing themes of respect, intelligence, and the harsh realities of survival in the wild. It serves as a poignant reminder of the impact of human activities on ecosystems and the importance of coexistence with nature.

[2] Beretta M92: This firearm has been in use since the 1970s and has seen service in various military and law enforcement agencies worldwide. Its widespread use makes it a common choice in military fiction.

[3] Morse Code: Invented in the 1830s by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail, Morse code was an essential form of communication in naval and aerial operations, especially before the advent of radio telephony.

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Chapter 17

The Little Prince in the Ossuary


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