We Tried TLs Logo

Chapter 23

The Little Prince in the Ossuary


Translator/Editor: Ryuu

Discord: https://dsc.gg/wetried

◈ The Little Prince in the Ossuary

00023 <-- The Little Prince of the Ossuary -->


#High Risk, High Return, Paso Robles (10)

Houses shattered, flying as if hit by a storm. Amidst them, torn bodies were found. Grumble, in close combat pattern, demonstrated overwhelming combat power. Three punches were enough to send 30% of a single-story house flying.

Soldiers, who had taken cover by entering an empty house, scrambled out of the opposite window in panic. Some didn't make it out. It seemed there were mutants inside as well. They were dragged in. Blood splattered on the window. Getting bitten meant infection. Even so, life could be spared, but it was meaningless. The building collapsed as Grumble broke through the wall, burying everything under it, including the barely living.

Shooting was futile. Immune to physical shock, the creature had no weaknesses, except maybe its mouth. Still, a direct hit from a tank cannon or an anti-tank missile could crush it. But those were not available to the soldiers at the moment.

Grumble that emerged from the destroyed building entered a search pattern. The next action could be one of two: if it finds a heavy object, it would initiate the ‘Throw’ pattern; if not, the ‘Charge’ pattern. In either case, it would start with a wide-open mouth and a roar.

There happened to be a minivan nearby. The monster's grip crushed the vehicle's frame with a crunch. 


Seeing the minivan's ballistic flight, Sergeant Cohen trembled in terror.

"Is there really a way to deal with that thing?"

Where the car fell, the explosion of blood and scattered entrails was a mess. The monster, having easily killed a person, seemed drawn by the sound of a trailer's abrupt stop. The giant predator slowly turned its direction. Its fierce eyes fixed this way.

"Tell me there's a way. Please..."

"Back up."

Leaving these words behind, Gyeoul got out of the car. The distance was a bit far for a pistol to be effective. Gyeoul could see the creature switching from search to charge pattern. He aimed his rifle forward.

This tactic was useless when shooting skills were subpar. Slow aiming speed and low hit rate were the reasons. That's why there's an experience bonus for killing it early on, when skills are generally lacking. There are also achievements related to this.


[Thuk! Thud-thud-thud!]

[—Ack! Cough!]

The brisk clink of ejected casings. Of the seven shots fired in two bursts, five hit their mark. The monster, its mouth wounded by bullets, stumbled back. Gyeoul, maintaining his stance and aim, calmly walked forward, pulling the trigger whenever the beast opened its mouth. The accuracy while moving was astonishing.

The surviving soldiers, now regaining their senses, poured out their firepower. The monster didn't turn away. Due to its resistance, there wasn't much damage anyway. The most threatening opponent must be eliminated first. And that was Gyeoul.

Gyeoul walked steadily forward, firing twice more along the way. Managing mutants simultaneously was taxing his magazine. Estimating the distance at about 5 meters, he stopped, pulled the pin from a grenade with his teeth, and tossed it.

The target, a massive face, twisted grotesquely.


The grenade, thrown like a fastball, was gulped down by the dark maw. Unaware of what it had swallowed, the creature, with arms spread wide, began its charge at that moment.


The beast's body flashed. Light burst through its flesh. The giant convulsed. Blood and bits of entrails were violently expelled. Red tears streamed from the ruptured eyes. Still, since its olfactory senses remained intact, approaching was risky. As it roared in agony, Gyeoul fed it another grenade.

Boom. The once sturdy body shattered outward. From the gaping hole in the front of its throat, blood gushed like a small waterfall. The giant collapsed with a heavy thud. The behemoth lost its life like a machine powering down.

Gyeoul was satisfied with the experience gained. It seemed about time to elevate one of his main skills to the realm of genius. No need to decide right away.

For a first encounter, it seemed surprisingly easy.

Five dazed soldiers poured their bullets into the corpse. Unaware of the mutant sneaking up from behind. Attracted by Grumble's roar, mutants rushed in like starved dogs. There were two dangerous ones. Gyeoul raised his hands high, crossing them to form an "X".

“This one’s down! Watch your backs!”

Between the trees along the street and around the corners of buildings, more stinking creatures emerged in droves. Their numbers were overwhelming.

Just then, the roar of a rugged engine sounded. It was Cohen's trailer, as Gyeoul had instructed it to retreat earlier. It weaved through obstacles, rushing forward and then sharply turning. Despite swaying as if about to tip over, the vehicle miraculously maintained its balance. Cohen leaned out from the driver's seat.

“What are you doing! Hurry up and get in, you damn runts!”

The soldiers scrambled aboard in a panic. It seemed they were spooked by the rolling vehicle. They discarded their weapons and clutched their heads in a pathetic display, throwing themselves into the vehicle. The trailer's cargo space was spacious enough. Even with five soldiers gasping for air inside, there was still room left.

Cohen shouted as Gyeoul climbed into the passenger seat.

“Yeehaw! That was freakin’ awesome! Hahahaha!”

The vehicle veered off the road, speeding between houses. True to the spacious American landscape, there was enough room for a car to drive between buildings. Even if there were fences around the gardens, they were merely decorative, hardly a barrier. The vehicle, cutting diagonally across residential areas, came to a screeching halt in front of a clinic. The curses of those tumbling out of the cargo space were audible. Cohen just laughed in response. After all, just a few hours ago, he was bracing for death in isolation. Having reunited with some of his comrades, his mood must have been uplifted.

No other's help was needed. Corporal Ashford could walk on his own, and the drugs had probably worn off by now. Gyeoul went in alone to bring him out. Ashford, who was barely holding on when they came out, seemed to have forgotten all pain upon reuniting with his comrades.

As Gyeoul got in, the vehicle started moving again.

“Leaving them there doesn’t feel right.”

Though they had fallen far behind, unable to keep up with the car's speed, the sight of the hordes chasing after them was ominous. In the far distance behind, they swarmed in great numbers. Having lost their humanity, they wouldn't tire easily. Sergeant Cohen asked,

“What’s the plan?”

“There's a gas station nearby. Let's douse it and burn them.”

“Those damn Asians sure are sharp! Okay, let’s do this coolly!”

They stopped far ahead, considering the range the fire might spread. Even with careful spraying, there was a risk of the gas station exploding.

Gyeoul volunteered to set up the decoy. He was referring to the radio he had prepared earlier. Since they were beyond the blockade, there was no risk of only static on the disaster broadcast frequency. He turned the volume up to the maximum and threw it inside the wreckage of a Humvee. Two soldiers in good condition insisted on covering him. The rest found some cover a bit farther away and only exposed their gun barrels.

He sprayed the fuel. Clear gasoline flowed down the road, soaking it. Walnut Drive was an uphill stretch leading north from Creston Road. The gas station at the crossroads was slightly higher than the intended fire site. If it had been lower, there would have been various complications. Gyeoul, judging enough fuel had been spread, put the nozzle back in its place and asked the soldiers,

“Anyone got a light?”

“Don't you need a cigarette with that?”

Responding to Gyeoul's request with a sarcastic joke, one soldier tossed him a Zippo lighter. Gyeoul waited for the mutants to leap onto the soaked road. When the moment arrived, he sparked the lighter and flung it. The gasoline caught fire.

Whoosh! Bright red flames and smoke billowed up. The grill was set. Unlike heavy oil or diesel, which could be extinguished by throwing a match, gasoline could explode with just a spark in its vapor. The rushing heat wave was strong enough to push people back. It was so bright it hurt the eyes. One had to shield their sight with an arm.

Black shadows danced on the burning road. The cacophony of burning sounds and screams created a dissonant harmony. The soldiers scowled. Amidst the light and smoke, infected mutants emerged, undeterred by their flaming bodies, in a desperate struggle to spread their infection.

“Don’t fire. It’s a waste of bullets.”

Despite their rank, the soldiers followed the words of the young boy, Gyeoul.

Indeed, there was no need to fire. The burning muscles contracted involuntarily. That's why those who commit self-immolation always fall forward, and those who die in fires curl up like fetuses.

The mutants were no exception. Emitting the smell of cooking meat, their black bodies bubbled and boiled. They fell forward in their momentum and rolled on the ground, their flesh peeling away.

The infected mutants were not bound by pain. If they could run through the fire, they might pose a threat. However, once their eyes were seared, they couldn't distinguish directions and became disoriented. The newcomers met the same fate as those before them.

It was a horrific sight for the onlookers. Black shadows writhed in the billowing light, painting a hellish scene. Though transformed, the bodies were originally human. The screams they emitted resembled human cries. Explosions intermingled with the sound. It was the ammunition in the wreckage of the Humvee detonating.

Occasionally, the sound of an overheated body bursting like a balloon was heard.

The soldiers who had been taking cover approached closer, witnessing the massive cremation. One soldier, staring blankly, made the sign of the cross and kissed his crucifix necklace.

Gyeoul said, “Let’s go back. To the people waiting for us.”

Everyone silently agreed, their faces a mix of relief at surviving, a desire to rest, relief, and a faint sadness. Shadows stretched away from the fire. They wished they could gather some food, but that seemed too much to ask under the circumstances.

As the number of people had increased, they cleared the way and drove the car to the end. Although less than a day had passed, the gymnasium felt like they had been gone for days. Approaching the back door, they knocked.

It was Yura who opened the door, having waited eagerly. Seeing Gyeoul removing his gas mask, her eyes widened, and then, she threw her arms around him.

“I was worried... that you wouldn’t come back…”

Sergeant Cohen whistled lightly, but his expression turned serious as she began to cry. He awkwardly scratched his head.

Seven American soldiers poured in through the open door. The evacuees inside jolted in surprise. Some even aimed their guns, but the weary soldiers seemed too tired to care. Some collapsed before even passing the barricade, sighing heavily. Cohen and Corporal Ashford fist-bumped and chatted, while the others lit cigarettes, drawing deep breaths until their chests bulged.

Though there was no direct threat to the player, Gyeoul deliberately kept his distance. Since his time in his own body, he had detested the smell of his father's cigarettes smoked at home.

The soldiers laughed at this. 

"So fierce all the time, but still just a kid at heart."

Somewhere, the sound of clapping began. A lone child, pale from irregular meals and indoor living, clapped vigorously, tears in his eyes, looking directly at Gyeoul.

The clapping spread. Words of praise mixed in. The American soldiers, moved, stood and joined in. The quieted applause, mindful of the noise, felt all the louder.

Amidst this, Jin-seok felt a bitter taste. No matter how good the outcome, he couldn't accept the process. He still believed they shouldn't have gone out in the first place. And he might have felt defeated by Gyeoul, a minor, no less.

The success of a rival is always bitter to those with ambition.

Yura was still clinging to his arm, sobbing. As he comforted her, Corporal Ashford, the most senior among the surviving soldiers, approached. He saluted with dignity.

“I pay my respects to your courage. We owe you a lot.”

“Thanks are not necessary now. We can save them for when we get back."

The favor earned by saving lives was of high quality, mostly because it rarely diminished. Such immutable corrections are typically only offset by another immutable correction. Unless one does something drastic like harming a family member in front of someone, the benefits gained now would likely last indefinitely.

After Ashford returned to his colleagues, Gyeoul wiped Yura's tears with the hem of his clothing. The dirt on her face turned white along the lines of her tears.

Beauty is both a weapon and a weakness for women. That's why many women in the camp, in an effort to protect themselves, chose not to maintain their appearance. Therefore, even with adequate sanitation facilities, individual charm only shines through in a stable community. Looking at Yura, with her hair in disarray and her skin smeared with dirt, it was hard to imagine what she used to look like. As he continued to wipe her face, he thought that if she cleaned up, she might actually look quite nice.

Simultaneously, an alert sounded.

「A viewer quest has been assigned by KILL.」

Anyone watching the stream could place a virtual currency bet, known as ‘stars,’ to issue a quest to the host. This was known as a viewer quest. As Gyeoul comforted Yura, he glanced at the message. The content was outrageous.

「KILL's message: I want sex! I want sex! Seeeeex!」

The completion condition was simple: sex with Yura. There was no time limit or specific objectives. Just sleeping with her would yield 1,000 stars.

For a moment, the boy contemplated the star-awaiting flower.

He had started the stream with this very intention, yet he still couldn't shake off the discomfort.

"Let's give it a bit more time..."

The boy rejected the quest.

By the time they arrived, it was already late afternoon, so sunset came quickly. The fear among the crowd was significantly low. The exaggerated tales spread by the soldiers made the students admire the boy, and the adults were also significantly influenced. At this point, the minor penalty was meaningless.

「AI Advice (Insight Level 10/Perception Level 10): People now believe that with you here, everything will be alright. You have become the spiritual pillar of the temporary community formed by the people here, and your mere presence reduces the fear among the crowd. According to your Insight, the current crowd fear level is 19%, with a margin of error of ±2.8%.」

Gyeoul pondered over the distribution of newly acquired experience points.

Investing experience points in core Leadership skills like ‘Insight’ or ‘Perception,’ which were frequently used, seemed worthwhile. He also upgraded the ‘Movement’ skill to Level 5 to facilitate easier navigation in environments full of obstacles, enhancing synergy with other skills.

In terms of combat skills, he acquired ‘Throwing’ and ‘Shooting Mastery,’ each up to Level 5. ‘Throwing’ was a precaution for future encounters where grenades would be extensively used. It would also be helpful in situations where throwing weapons like knives was necessary.

‘Shooting Mastery’ broadly enhanced almost all ranged combat skills, including ‘Firearms Mastery,’ ‘Heavy Weapons Mastery,’ and ‘Archery.’ However, it required a significant expenditure of experience points for relatively modest effects.

He then raised ‘Firearms Mastery’ by one level to 11, reaching the threshold of genius. Even in the later stages of the apocalypse, this level would be unparalleled.

After adjusting his skills to leave some experience points as a reserve, Gyeoul accelerated time. After all, returning to the camp would bring additional rewards for completing the rescue mission. He could readjust then if needed.

At dawn, the earth roared magnificently. Time acceleration automatically deactivated.

The ground-shaking was due to the sound of helicopter rotors. Simultaneously, a call for survivors came through. Ashford, exchanging glances with Gyeoul, picked up the radio to respond.

According to the conversation, attack helicopters had been deployed due to reports of special mutants. Most of the U.S. airpower was preoccupied with blockade operations, fire support for other camps, or logistics missions. The arrival of four attack helicopters was an unusual occurrence. The pilot revealed their mission was to collect samples of the special mutants, accompanied by CDC and U.S. Public Health Service troops, along with a large transport helicopter.

When they reported having independently taken down two entities but were unsure if more were present, the response was one of audible surprise. The tone of voice changed immediately. Utilizing the ‘Map Navigation’ skill, they provided a rough estimate of the direction and distance from the gym.

The Apache squadron combed through the city, eliminating the infected mutants, and concluded no more special mutants were present. Following this, Bravo Company arrived from the camp, marking the end of the rescue mission.

The convoy proceeded north along the highway, escorted by the squadron of attack helicopters. From a distance, a horde of mutants, attracted by the sight of the vehicle convoy, charged frenziedly towards them. In response, two Apaches shifted to a hovering stance, pivoting to unleash their machine guns.


The voracious attack helicopters, guzzling over 70 gallons of aviation fuel per hour, demonstrated their formidable destructive capabilities. They spewed high-explosive rounds, each with the potency of a grenade, at a rate of ten per second.


The spectacle of explosions and smoke racing in a straight line was truly a sight to behold.

As the vehicle convoy neared the camp, within visible distance, the helicopter squadron dispersed in all directions, obliterating any groups of mutants in sight before disappearing into the distance. This strategic dispersal was for safety reasons. Had they headed straight back to the camp, the immense noise from the helicopters could have potentially drawn hordes of mutants to the camp's vicinity.

--------------------------- Author's Note ---------------------------

1. The existence of the TOM (Theory of Mind) organ is still hypothetical. While it's speculated in human cognitive structure that such an organ might exist, its exact location and form remain unconfirmed. Just consider it an interesting hypothesis for now.

2. When I began serializing this novel, I hadn't anticipated such uniformly positive feedback. Hmm.

If you found this novel truly enjoyable, please recommend it to those around you.

For instance, you could approach a cute child and say, "Hello? Hehehe. Would you like to see a fun story this uncle has? How about we go together for a bit?"

Maybe that's not such a good idea.


[1] Bravo Company: In military terminology, companies within a battalion are often designated by letters (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc.), with "Bravo Company" being the second company. This naming convention is used by various NATO and NATO-influenced armed forces.

Join our discord at https://dsc.gg/wetried

We Tried TLs Logo
All rights deserved. Website coded by Heaning.