“It sure is getting stuffy in here…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Right now, Yi Ji-Hyuk was being squeezed flat like a dried up squid by the crowd of people pushing him on both sides.
“Just hold on for a bit longer.” (mom)
Mom’s disapproving voice sounded rather harsh.
Obviously, she wasn’t feeling too pleased by this development as well.
Well, an obvious thing would stay as an obvious thing, no?
There was no way anyone would enjoy being packed into such a tight space with this many people like a can of sardines, after all.
“How much longer do we need to stay here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Until the evacuation order is rescinded.” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked around him for a bit.
The faces around him showed much anxiety and dissatisfaction, but not one tried to voice them out – nor were there any brave souls wanting to venture outside the emergency shelter.
‘Really now, things have changed.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
This was an unimaginable feat only a few years ago.
But, after Gates opened up everywhere and monsters began pouring out, the masses must’ve realised that following the government’s advice/orders would increase their rate of survival just a tad more.
Could these people have been living under the strain of constant fear, all this time?
And the society was functioning as it should, somehow?
The collective desire to survive looming large over all else, not to mention the society at large being stuck in a kind of a rut, had masked everything for now, but there was little doubt in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mind that beneath all that, the festering wounds of deep-seated anxiety and the subsequent psychological trauma would simply be incredibly dangerous.
And when the time for all that to blow up comes…
“It’s none of my business.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Did you say something?” (mom)
“Not really.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
From what he could gather, it seemed that a Gate had opened up nearby. Not only that, it must’ve been at such a short notice that the authorities failed to adequately prepare themselves in time.
‘Then, will those yangbans show up too?’ (TL: A “Yangban” is a person of nobility in the old Joseon Kingdom. Now it’s used more like a snide remark to denote a variety of people – like, holier-than-thou types, or someone born with a nicer spoon in mouth, etc, etc…)
The KSF. Well, he certainly didn’t have any bad impressions of them. No, they were rather interesting people, that’s for sure. Just that, he had no desire to get mixed up with them, that’s all.
*SFX for a baby/very young child crying*
From a distant corner, he could hear a young kid bawling his eyes out.
The kid’s mom was doing her best to pacify the irate child. But, there was no way a young kid would be able to endure being stuck in a stuffy place for hours, something even adults found difficult to withstand.
The problem was, though, the adults who knew this fact were also reaching the end of their ropes as well.
“Excuse me, please quieten that child down.”
“Too damn noisy, really!”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
The kid’s mom apologised and apologised to people around her, but in the end, she failed to pacify her child.
And when one kid began crying, it started a chain reaction; the sounds of more crying piped up from here and there now. To make the matters even worse, these crying kids then caused the entire shelter to plunge ever deeper into the state of panic.
“Mom, just how much longer do we need to stay in here for?” (Ye-Won)
“Let’s hold on for a little bit longer, okay?” (mom)
Even Yi Ye-Won must’ve felt scared, as she gripped mom’s hands tightly. Of course, she didn’t even put Yi Ji-Hyuk in her eyes.
Yi Ji-Hyuk frowned deeply.
‘I can go home, probably, if that damn Gate gets shut down somehow.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
That would be the sure-fire method of leaving this large hall AKA the emergency evacuation shelter. Of course, that would be dependant on the condition of all the released monsters being taken care of first.
Although he knew the way, he held not one speck of desire to do something about it.
The reason for that was rather simple.
‘I’m not crazy.’
If he knew he had to put his life on the line this side as well, then in the first place, he wouldn’t have been crazy enough to go through that much pain in Berafe, all for that one chance to return to Earth.
The reason for his return?
Why, so he could enjoy a relaxing life with zero conflicts, that’s what.
And then, greet his eventual demise at the end of his road.
Although that did sound rather weird, he only returned to Earth so he could die of old age. So, why would he suddenly decide to confront the monsters, as if he had developed a sense of some misplaced altruism?
Obviously, ‘Hell No’.
Plus, there was another reason, one that was even more crucial in his decision making process.
It seemed that Seo Ah-Young and Choi Jung-Hoon had mistakenly believed he was concealing his true powers.
Their thoughts were, Yi Ji-Hyuk had employed some sort of special ability or technique to avoid getting his measurement taken, and that he had hidden what he could truly do…
In all honesty, he wasn’t hiding anything at all, really.
His body was that of a regular person, through and through.
From the moment he went to Berafe until his return trip back home, the ‘regular Joe’ Yi Ji-Hyuk hadn’t changed one bit.
The values averaging 800 or so was the accurate reflection of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s current status.
The sole reason why Yi Ji-Hyuk could survive in Berafe wasn’t because he was strong or anything, but only due to his ability of absolute regeneration that was pretty much the definition of “perfect preservation of the original form”.
Without that regenerative ability, he’d have died within three hours of his arrival in Berafe.
“I’m gonna die here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When Yi Ji-Hyuk returned to Earth, he lost that miraculous ability to revive and regenerate. Now, he was no different from an exceedingly-unimpressive walk-in Extra no.1.
Of course, he had accumulated countless skills and innumerable experience during his stay in Berafe, so he was quite a bit more proficient in a combat situation than a regular person, but that was about it, really.
He wasn’t a suicidal lunatic who would voluntarily jump into a situation where a single little scratch might end up killing him.
And, truth be told, he could’ve died for real as soon as he landed back on Earth, when that Jarchev or whatever monster hit him. With his nearly depleted Mana reserve, he couldn’t activate the Shield spell, and if he didn’t instinctively activate the body reinforcement technique at that very moment, his head would’ve been blown away.
Back then, he was beside himself with joy at the realisation that he could die at any moment, but now that he ‘meditated’ upon it, that was way too close for comfort, that.
So, why should he start picking fights with monsters now? He wasn’t crazy.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s only wish was to spend the remainder of his life, whether it was ten years or twenty, in front of his computer and relaxedly kick back to his heart’s content. That was it.
“Please everyone, calm down! The situation will normalise soon!!”
The officers from the local police station dispatched to this shelter were doing their best to calm the crowd.
Even though the complaining crowd was still full of dissatisfaction, they displayed restraint and understanding.
Post-Black Monday, the government’s powers had become undeniably greater, and that alone was able to suppress the dissatisfaction of the masses somehow – on the surface, at least. Of course, stopping children’s crying was still beyond them, though.
“Kids will be kids.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
But the real issue wasn’t with those kids, but Yi Ji-Hyuk himself.
‘I’m really thirsty and I need my injection of sugar!’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Only if he could drink that yogurt smoothie or whatever it was called!
So what if they had dropped in a couple of banana pieces! It’s nearly this abrasive, inconsiderate little girl’s fault!
Whatever, he needed to acquire and absorb sugar, now!
Unfortunately, before he could search for his sugar hit, a new problem arose.
A fairly soft sound of something hitting the metal door was heard by everyone.
All the attention of the anxiety-laden evacuees were focused there in the blink of an eye.
The shelter’s massive steel door – that’s where that noise came from.
As if a bigger impact hit the door, it vibrated slightly while raising a bit of a dust cloud.
The faces of the police officers began to pale.
The government felt a rather urgent need for emergency shelters after learning that the Gates could open in the middle of the capital city.
However, there were only a finite number of shelters built for the wartime emergency, and they were obviously far too lacking in order to accommodate over 15 million potential evacuees residing in the capital.
So, the politician went on a brainstorming session, and came up with a plan that some had called completely insane: to turn all available basements into emergency shelters.
What they did was to designate all spaces underground, such as subway stations and underground shopping malls, as shelters, since the Gates only opened above ground.
Unexpectedly, this scheme worked quite well.
First of all, it became rather easy for anyone to locate the shelters. Plus, as long as monsters didn’t try to bore a hole into the ground, all the entrances to each of these spaces could be reinforced and blocked off, which was more than enough a defensive measure against the otherworldly threats.
Too bad, under the current circumstance, it had morphed into an inescapable corner for everyone, instead.
The weapons and steel barriers located by the entrance were rendered utterly useless now, and this very shelter, built underground to store emergency rations, only boasted minimum amount of defensive capabilities.
Regular human beings wouldn’t be able to breach those steel doors, but, as far as the monsters were concerned…
The steel door twisted and the once-sturdy steel beams broke apart like a bunch of potato crisps, flying off to everywhere.
And through the gap of the wide-open doorway, three Builder Monkeys dashed in.
Fear and despair dyed the faces of all who watched this unfold.
“S, save me!!”
Just as screams began to pour out…
*SFX for three consecutive hits landing*
Accompanied by three clean impact sounds, the Builder Monkeys flew out of the doorway much faster than when they tried to rush inside.
A thick silence descended on the crowd.
And at the spot where everyone’s gazes had focused, only Yi Ji-Hyuk stood there while frowning quite unhappily.
Yi Ji-Hyuk then hurriedly forced the open door shut, and took a look around his vicinity.
He spotted the boxes containing emergency rations and water to the side.
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He lifted two boxes and dropped them in front of the doors. Then, he turned around towards the crowd with a taciturn face and spoke up.
“What are you all waiting for?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When the police officers heard him, they hurriedly began shifting the boxes to block off the doorway as well.
“Hey, why aren’t you all doing something?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And now, all grown men among the crowd rushed out to carry the boxes to block the door. When over a hundred men started moving, it only took the proverbial blink to completely block the doorway.
However, Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t stop with his imitation of a drill sergeant searching for a way for his trainees to move past the blocked pathway, and continued to nag on and on.
“What the?! Are you resting now because you think a single layer of this wall can stop those damn things? There are lots of other ways to die, so why are you trying so hard to die in this annoying fashion? Hah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
His words were very disrespectful, but they weren’t wrong, either.
Men rushed back and began piling the remaining boxes up to form a barricade twice, three times thicker than before.
“Put more in the middle, in the middle! There, move those desks here, too! Ahjussi, why are you taking a break already?! You don’t want to live anymore?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
All these men busy moving under Yi Ji-Hyuk’s nagging/orders, suddenly came to a realisation.
‘Why am I listening to a pup like him?’
What an odd thing this was.
Now that they have stopped and thought about it for a second, this young pup was busy waving his fingers and playing around, while he had moved only those two boxes in the beginning.
Questions and dissatisfaction were building up, but not even one person dared to stop moving.
Well, Yi Ji-Hyuk was a man who commanded an army of thousands with nothing more than his expressions.
He should be considered as the max-level OP character who had unlocked all skills and Traits regarding commanding an army, if such a thing even existed. He could order around a hundred or so men with consummate ease with nothing more than his fingers. Of course, his method would have to be a bit different from before, though.
“Eh-hey!! Over there, boxes are going to fall down if you put them like that. Look, look. See? Look at them falling over. C’mon, ahjussi. Haven’t you been to the army yet?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
…Of course, Yi Ji-Hyuk himself hadn’t been to the army yet.
That was, if one didn’t count his experience in Berafe, obviously.
However, even though Yi Ji-Hyuk was taking charge while busy pointing his fingers around, it didn’t mean he was feeling good inside at the moment.
‘Now I’ve done it.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
This idiot body of his seemed to possess faster reaction than his brain did.
Just as soon as he sensed something trying to breach the shelter, his body reacted even before he could formulate a plan, and he found himself busy kicking the monsters out by the time he had realised what he had done.
Dang it, at least, his body should’ve pretended to listen to his brain!
It wasn’t as if he was chasing away annoying houseflies or something. But, how could his body subconsciously fly out and perform Samyeon-gak all on its own?! (TL: Samyeon-gak is a really cool triple roundhouse kick topped off with a somersault at the end. There’s a youtube video on it. Search “삼연각”)
It may have looked rather cool during the process, but well, he sure as hell did not like the results one bit.
“S, son!!” (mom)
Speaking of which…
“Just how did you do that?!” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk let out a groan.
What should I say now to gloss over this one? Should I use that amnesia BS as an excuse again? Wait, I might really end up losing my memories from the resulting beatdown from mom, instead… (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Mom, let’s take care of this one first.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“R, right.” (mom)
For now, let’s delay everything to ‘later’.
Delay today’s problem until tomorrow!
Then, delay tomorrow’s problem until the day after!! Yes.
Continue delaying it over and over again, till the day I die. That should solve the problem. Well, there’s nothing to it. (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
For the time being, the construction work was finished.
However…. could the hastily-repaired and barricaded door somehow stop those monkeys from entering the shelter?
Since the broken doorway looked somewhat, you know, empty, he decided to block it up, but it seemed wholly unrealistic to expect a handful of boxes filled with water bottles, to stop monsters capable of blowing away a steel door apart.
No, hang on – that might not necessarily be true. He saw a documentary a long ago, which said that four balloons filled with water could stop a bullet. So, perhaps, three layers of boxes filled with water should be able to stop bullets fired from a rifle, at least.
If he were to estimate the amount of water in the newly-erected barricade… Each box contained around 24 litres. Since there was a total of five layers, the whole thing should weigh at least around four tons, even if the ration boxes wedged in between weren’t counted.
No matter how strong those monkeys were, they wouldn’t be able to push around four tons of barricade, so he probably could breath a little bit easier for now.
Kkang! Kkang! Kkang!!
As expected, the sounds of the door being pounded on could be heard from the other side.
And well, the makeshift barricade was doing its job. Even a steel door couldn’t keep them out, yet the barricade was blocking out the monkeys while only shaking around a little bit.
Looks like I can just sit tight and wait for the rescue party to arrive now, no? (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Too bad, his thoughts proved to be very wrong in this case.
In a single moment, accompanied by a loud explosion, water boxes disintegrated into a shower of debris, shooting out towards pretty much everywhere.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body turned around in a flash to grab his mom and Ye-Won, before pushing them down to the floor.
< 22. The price for disrupting my leisure time will be huge -4 > Fin.