“Heuaahh….” (TL: A zombie is making this sound.)
Jeremy stared dazedly at the zombie staggering towards him.
Its skin was ashen in colour, and there was nothing left in its eye sockets. It’s body wasn’t as grotesquely damaged as often seen in the movies, but anyone could tell that this thing was not a human being anymore.
Its speed was definitely slow, too.
Jeremy couldn’t tell whether its muscles had degraded or not for it to be that slow. But well, the instinctive fear he felt had to be coming from the inexplicable sense of disharmony, and not because the zombie was such a ferociously attacking creature. Indeed, it was walking far too slowly, after all.
Jeremy felt the cold puddle of water with his palms as he pushed himself off the ground.
He needed to get out of here, pronto. If there was a zombie here, then that meant other zombies would soon flood the place, too.
Information on zombies, as shown by various TV shows and internet forums for many days now, filled his head. Didn’t they say that, since zombies were slow, all he needed to do was to keep calm and run away?
“But, to where?”
A helpless groan leaked out from Jeremy’s mouth.
He spotted way too many zombies right behind him.
His front, his back…. He had no place to escape to.
Jeremy squeezed his eyes shut as the despairing situation closed in on him. He began praying all of a sudden. He knew that there was no way to avoid being ripped to shreds by these zombies, but still, he was praying to God that his end wouldn’t be too gruesome in nature.
Jeremy knelt down, and zombies soon surrounded him from all sides.
“Oh, dear Lord….” (Jeremy)
It was then, Jeremy suddenly heard an unimpressed voice of a man.
“If you have time to look for your god, then why dontcha struggle one more time instead, you dumba*s!” (?)
Pow, pow, pow!!
Along with a series of crisp-sounding punching noises, the zombies surrounding Jeremy were flung far away from him. However, the impact force must’ve not been fatal enough, because the zombies were soon shambling its way back in an unsteady manner.
Jeremy raised his head and took a look at the mystery man.
A rather impressionable Oriental man stood there. His copper-coloured muscles weren’t crazy huge, but they were packed so tightly that not even a needle would be able to penetrate his skin.
“But, who…?” (Jeremy)
When Jeremy threw that dumbfounded question at him, Park Sung-Chan replied with a grin.
“What’s the matter? Do I look like an envoy of god or something?” (Park Sung-Chan)
“What did you say?” (Jeremy)
Park Sung Chan chuckled bitterly as if he found none of this situation to his liking. He then grabbed the scruff of Jeremy’s neck.
“We’re getting the hell out of this place, so hold on tight, you hear? I mean, who knows? It’s like, God has heard your prayers and sent me here in the nick of time, right?” (Park Sung-Chan)
“I just don’t understa….” (Jeremy)
Park Sung-Chan didn’t bother to listen to Jeremy’s reply and simply jumped up to the top of a tall building.
Ignoring Jeremy’s stunned gasp, Park Sung-Chan’s withdrawn eyes calmly studied the horde of zombies slowly surrounding the city.
‘This isn’t good.’ (Park Sung-Chan)
Didn’t matter if there were hundreds of them, these zombies wouldn’t even be able to leave so much as a bite mark on his skin. Even if these things had forgotten their sense of self, their strengths weren’t all that different from regular people’s.
Indeed, Park Sung-Chan’s incredibly sturdy physique could easily withstand all of their attacks.
The problem was with the fact that… these things were still technically ‘alive’.
Research showed that these zombies still possessed beating hearts. And, if they were suffering from a type of contagion, then it’d be possible to cure them as well. That was what the researchers said.
Which meant that he couldn’t go out there and pummel them to death now.
However, Park Sung-Chan believed that this was a stupid thing to do.
Even as they wasted time dilly-dallying like this, the number of infected continued to grow. At this rate, this matter would only get progressively harder to deal with in the future.
Sure, ability users were powerful, but one hand couldn’t push back against ten. And, even if you managed to do that somehow, not many normal people would survive to see the next day.
“This is a problem.” (Park Sung-Chan)
Park Sung-Chan roughly scratched his head.
The thing was, ‘thinking’ about stuff was not exactly up his alley. No, he’d much rather prefer to smash things apart according to the instructions being given. He’d leave thinking to someone else.
“P, please, put me down!” (Jeremy)
Park Sung-Chan saw Jeremy still dangling in his hand, and put the man down as a slight smirk formed on his face. Jeremy coughed for a long time, before extending his hand out to properly greet his saviour.
“Thank you, I survived because of you.” (Jeremy)
“Not at all.” (Park Sung-Chan)
“By the way, your English is really good.” (Jeremy)
Park Sung-Chan grinned again.
“And I don’t look like I can, right?” (Park Sung-Chan)
“I didn’t mean it that way.” (Jeremy)
Park Sung-Chan threw a smile at Jeremy that implied “I know what you’re thinking, buddy”, before his thoughts reverted back to the zombie horde.
“How are we supposed to deal with this?” (Park Sung-Chan)
No one could tell how just yet.
Kim Dah-Hyun ran fast and hard, almost to his breaking point. And he spotted a woman running way up ahead.
He sharply braked to reduce his speed and hurriedly picked her up by her waist, before resuming his run again.
The blonde woman cried out, maybe thinking that she was being sexually assaulted right now. Kim Dah-Hyun relaxedly spoke to her in order to calm her down.
“Don, worry! Don worry!! Pine, dank you.” (Kim Dah-Hyun) (TL: Yup, intentional Konglish from the author.)
She must’ve realised that he was a human, because her screams stopped.
No, hang on. That must not be it. Her eyes staring at Kim Dah-Hyun was dreamy, actually.
‘Is she showing the early symptoms?’ (Kim Dah-Hyun)
No, wait. She doesn’t look like it…
Really? She really can think of such things in this situation?
Yup, it’s all my fault being so good looking. I admit it! (Kim Dah-Hyun’s inner monologue)
“Pon number?” (Kim Dah-Hyun) (TL: more intentional Konglish)
Kim Dah-Hyun smiled refreshingly as he presented her with his business card. She cautiously received the card while still stuck in his embrace.
“Call me during the day only, okay? My sister’s home in the evenings, you see?” (Kim Dah-Hyun) (TL: This bit’s in Korean.)
“Col! Dey! Sunrise!” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
The spell cast on the woman was instantly shattered in that moment, and she began staring at him with a crumpled expression. Totally oblivious to it all, Kim Dah-Hyun continued to carry the woman into the safe zone.
“Just how long am I supposed to carry on with this job?” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
He was busy rescuing trapped civilians for the time being as per the American government’s request. But well, something about following the American’s instructions, rather than a Korean’s, continued to poke at his pride a bit.
Seriously now, they even killed a demon king for these guys, so why were the NDF agents being forced to do something this minor, too?
If they were shown grace, then shouldn’t that be reciprocated? How dare they abuse their saviours in this manner??
He simply couldn’t understand what the Korean government was doing, letting the Americans get away with abusing NDF like this.
“We will see. I’ll just wait until ‘hyung-nim’ wakes up.” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun’s head was now filled with the thoughts of telling everything to Yi Ji-Hyuk as soon as he woke up.
“You all act this way because hyung-nim still hasn’t woken up yet.” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
These Yanks wouldn’t dare to abuse NDF to this degree with Yi Ji-Hyuk around!
Indeed, they wouldn’t even dare!
Kim Dah-Hyun put the woman down and sent her a wink, before turning around to leave.
“I wonder, are the other guys being kept busy like me, too?” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun spat out a long sigh and sprinted towards the zombie-infested land once more.
*[The American government has failed to disguise their inadequacy to deal with the bizarre situation that has been progressively spreading out from their Eastern Seaboard. As these scenes straight out of a horror movie continue to play out, the American government is still trying to come up with a suitable response…..]
“Ji-Hyuk-ah! What should we do?!” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk frowned deeply.
He had his family hiding inside the American bunker brought back home via Jeong Hae-Min’s ability.
Apparently, that place was so kick-a*s that their home now felt like a pigsty. According to them, that was. Not only that, Christopher McLaren feared getting on the bad side of Yi Ji-Hyuk so, he even ordered that all top class services, as well as various delicacies, would be served absolutely free for an ‘indefinite’ period of time as well. No wonder his family thought that they went on a luxury vacation.
“But, your son was working his butt off, you know!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“When did I tell you to do that?” (mom)
“….Uh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Wait, now that I think about, she’s right?!
Mom never told me to do any of that, didn’t she?
Even still, I’m supposed to be her child, so shouldn’t she at least show some concern over my well-being?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Mom.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Did Mister Choi Jung-Hoon or some other people tell you that I was really, badly, horribly injured?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, they did.” (mom)
“Okay, so why are you acting like this, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Park Seon-Duk clicked her tongue.
“Those people seem to like over-exaggerating things. I mean, I took a good look at you, and you were perfectly fine. Doctors said the same thing, too.” (mom)
But, of course.
Doctors would say that I’m fine. I mean, my physical body has been completely restored back to normal, after all. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
The doctors of Earth would never be able to tell that Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body was deeply tainted with dark Mana, so they would see only the perfectly healthy outward appearance.
“By the way, why were those people shivering that badly back then? You know why?” (mom)
“Well, that’s because…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….Because, they saw me lose an arm, get a big hole in my gut, and get driven to the edge of death, that’s why, mom.
If you saw me back then, you wouldn’t be this nonchalant, too, you know! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Mooom! I’m telling you, I got hurt real bad!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ng, sure thing.” (mom)
“I even lost an arm, too!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, really? Good thing it got reattached again, somehow.” (mom)
What was this, this feeling?
The feeling of ‘it’s a relief that a mom didn’t get to see her son in such a horrible state’ and the other one of ‘at least show some concern, please!’ continued to alternate within him, causing this unexplainable strangeness!
I mean, I’m not asking for much here, just a little hint, even pretending to be concerned about me. That’s all I ask for, you know…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“No, listen. Mom…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, oh my gosh! Look! What’s happening over there?” (mom)
Park Seon-Duk pointed at the TV screen and cried out. And it was showing a huge horde of zombies flooding into an unknown city.
Body bunkers and buses were used to form makeshift barricades, but it was still impossible to completely block out the endless wave of zombies.
Water cannons and tear gas canisters rained down on the zombie horde, but they continued to advance forward, not getting affected in the slightest.
“H-mm…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at that spectacle and scratched his cheek.
The American army was responding like that not because they lacked the capability to handle the situation. No, right now, the American government saw those zombies as victims of a strange plague, and therefore, ‘citizens’ that needed to saved, instead. That’s why they couldn’t use firearms and had to resort to subduing the zombies while hurting them as little as possible.
“But, you won’t get anywhere in this situation like that….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
From the beginning, their approach of trying to fix this Mana-related problem with modern medicine was wrong, wrong, wrong. Seriously, viruses or bacteria weren’t the cause here, so they would never find an answer by trying to ‘research’ it in the first place.
The number of victims rising up was growing to be a big problem now.
Yi Ji-Hyuk picked up his phone.
– Lalala, lalala~~
The pop song ringtone played for a little while, before the familiar voice came out from other side.
– “Yes?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk lowered his voice.
“I want you to send a message to that American ahjussi.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Christopher McLaren was seriously contemplating retirement. He had no choice but to admit that he was getting far too old to accurately respond to the constantly-evolving situation.
It hadn’t been that long ago, when he used rather enjoy the feelings of wielding tremendous power as the mighty America stood as his backer. But now, all he could think about was to give up on everything, power or whatever be d*mned.
There was only one reason why he hadn’t done that, though.
Because, if he wasn’t here, the current chain of command would completely collapse in the blink of an eye, that’s why.
Barricades had been set up everywhere, with every public servicemen and women from the fire department, various law enforcement agencies, branches of the military, and ability users called into reinforce them.
Zombies still managed to slip past these barricades, and these things had to be hunted down and be taken care of. And it was Christopher McLaren’s job to do exactly that.
Neither the directors of CIA or FBI could do that. They lacked the authority to issue orders to the most important asset of them all, the ability users.
“As soon as this is over….!!” (Christopher McLaren)
I’m going to retire, and live my life to the fullest!!
His phone suddenly began ringing loudly. With a frown permanently attached to his face, Christopher McLaren picked the phone up. Every single call he’s been getting recently were all about crappy news, so there was no way he’d be feeling…..
It was from Choi Jung-Hoon!
Christopher McLaren’s complexion brightened as he answered the call.
“Did Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk wake up, Mister Choi??” (Christopher McLaren)
– “I’m giving you a call precisely because he asked me to do so. Where are you right now? We’ll hop over there immediately.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“We are at….” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren signalled with his eyes, prompting the adjutant next to him to send their current coordinates to Choi Jung-Hoon’s mobile phone.
– “Please wait for a moment.”
Right after the call ended, Choi Jung-Hoon appeared before Christopher McLaren with Yi Ji-Hyuk and Jeong Hae-Min in tow.
< 174. What’s this? You… don’t have a soul? -4 > Fin.