The moment he climbed out of the bus, Yi Ji-Hyuk sensed something rather chilly creep on his skin.
“Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He looked around, arrested by this sense of disharmony.
“Something feels off….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What is?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min asked, and he simply shook his head.
“I can’t put my finger on it, but when I look around here, I get this strange feeling.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jeong-Hoon interpreted Yi Ji-Hyuk’s moods for him.
“That’s because there are no artefacts of civilisation found around here.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Pardon?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“In the South, you’ll still find at least a power poll or some such even if you go to a remote location. You are feeling this odd sense of incompatibility because you can’t see anything like that around here.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Is that how it is?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.
To say that’s true, well, didn’t he previously live for a long time in a world where you often couldn’t find a single man-made artefact of civilisation in many of its locations?
And also, what made it a bit hard to take those words at face value was….
“Aren’t those your so-called artefacts of civilisation, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk pointed to the extensive line of North Korean soldiers stretching from left to right.
“Wow.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Even Choi Jeong-Hoon gasped out, genuinely impressed himself.
“I was told that they mobilised every available combat force, but well…” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
At least hundred thousand-strong soldiers had been gathered here, and he couldn’t even see their ends from where he was.
“Although I’d like to say this is an amazing sight, but…” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
If one seriously considered what these soldiers could realistically do to help, then this was simply an act of increasing potential losses of life, instead.
Majority of them were outfitted with firearms, and these weapons were designed exclusively for the purpose of interpersonal combat situations.
They didn’t even work properly against goblins coming out from a level 1 Gate, so just how were the North planning to stop the monsters coming out from level 6 Gates with such weaponry?
Sure, the South Korean army did rely on firearms during their own anti-Gate operations, but they were not used for the purpose of killing but as deterrents, instead. And the South Korean government wouldn’t send soldiers en masse to a location knowing that they would all get killed and waste precious human lives that way.
‘No, hang on. When you think about it….’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Maybe, these people weren’t thinking of using guns but humans themselves as meat shield in this situation.
“That’s horrible.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“What is?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, it’s nothing.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk seemed to know what Choi Jeong-Hoon was thinking about already, however, and smirked as he opened his mouth.
“Well, there should be lots of higher-ups here thinking that this arrangement is more preferable to their whole country going up in smoke.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I half-way agree, though. It should be common knowledge that, once your country gets swallowed up by another species, the remaining survivors would end up in a worse hell than before.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
To Choi Jeong-Hoon, such a world was too foreign to imagine. Yi Ji-Hyuk spoke nonchalantly as if he had witnessed such things many times already.
“Logically speaking, this isn’t a bad way to deal with this event, actually. The issue here is, though, have they really thought this through logically and created this defensive line? Well, even if the intentions were different, as long as the end result is the same….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jeong-Hoon felt this inexplicable persuasiveness from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s words. At the same time, he thought that you wouldn’t be able to say stuff like that as long as you held even a speck of respect towards the human race as a whole.
“In any case, it is a sheer spectacle, alright.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon hurriedly changed the topic.
“A spectacle, is it…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smiled softly.
Looking back to that final, decisive battle fought in Berafe where millions had been mobilised, this little number of combatants couldn’t even be counted as an additional combat force. Them being outfitted with their own firearms was a plus point, sure, but when considering the fact that every fighter summoned to Terra Latrel back then was some of the finest, elitist holy knights and sorcerers in existence, there was no guarantee that even the modern troops could emerge victorious in a direct confrontation against them.
Long story short, these soldiers could definitely not stop the monsters coming out from the Gates.
“….And that’s the conclusion, but….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk scratched his head.
He had lent a big help solving some of the biggest threats to face Earth. However, the majority of the incidents were stopped even without him stepping up to the fore.
When he did step up, the incidents would end a bit faster and with less casualties, but that was about it.
However, a whole country might really disappear if this incident wasn’t taken seriously.
With a slightly more serious face, Yi Ji-Hyuk scanned his vicinity. The darkness of the dawn still lingered, but it proved to be no obstacle in surveying the size of the troops that had gathered up here.
“Seriously, though. What a disgustingly large number they have gathered here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I shall take that as a compliment.” (Park Yong-Hui)
Park Yong-Hui appeared out of seemingly nowhere and walked over to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“These are people with not much meaning, in a certain sense.” (Park Yong-Hui)
He grinned and replied in a relaxed manner.
“Just how many of these people will come across half-way decent in your eyes, I wonder? Comrade Rhee Ji-Hyuk?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“H-mm.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“And from your perspective, Comrade Rhee Ji-Hyuk, does your comrades from South Joseon seem necessary to you?” (Park Yong-Hui)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t reply.
“Humans are all the same, aren’t they? Only seeing those you deem worthy as equal human beings.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“What is it that you wanted to say here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I heard that folks from South Joseon criticise us in the North for human rights and such.” (Park Yong-Hui)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s brows quivered.
“However, that is wrong, isn’t it? When you think about the money and power South Joseon’s wealthy elite possesses, is there any difference between us in the Democratic Republic and that of the South?” (Park Yong-Hui)
Yi Ji-Hyuk ended up smirking just then.
“Ahjussi.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, please speak.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“The systems created by humans can never be perfect, right? Humanity itself is imperfect, so there is no way that the stuff created by such beings will end up as complete.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You’re indeed correct.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“However, at least you can tell whether they were serious about building a better society or not.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Are you saying that it’s not the case with our Democratic Republic?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“I wonder. If you guys were serious about creating a paradise on Earth, then yeah, I guess not.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk formed a meaningful smile, causing Park Yong-Hui’s brows to quiver this time. The latter than turned his head away.
“I believe that you should be careful with what you say around here, Comrade Rhee Ji-Hyuk.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Let’s just stop with the loyal servant routine, shall we?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk cackled as he continued on.
“What’s the matter? Should we take you home with us? To the South?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What can I possibly do in the South?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Well, I guess staying here is a better option if you want to enjoy the feeling of power. You might not know when your head will roll, sure, but having power is better than not having it, no?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Park Yong-Hui quietly glared at Yi Ji-Hyuk. However, the latter returned the gaze without batting an eyelid.
“Comrade, I see that you’re a scarier person that I thought.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“I am?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Park Yong-Hui bit his lower lip as he stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
So, this young man wasn’t merely a simpleton with great physical strength, was it?
But then again, if he was a muscle-brained moron, the South Joseon b*stards wouldn’t have suffered so much hardship after failing to control him.
“Comrade, I thought that you’d be a naïve young man, but I see that was wrong. This Park Yong-Hui made a mistake.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Kekeke.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s cackle continued on.
“I haven’t said anything to warrant such praises, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s not what you said.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Mm?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s your eyes, comrade. I have seen plenty of monstrous folks in this line of work already. Those animals capable of using people like toys all have this different light in their eyes, you see.” (Park Yong-Hui)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t say anything.
“This could’ve been a huge trouble, then. But then, that makes sense, no? South Joseon’s greatest warrior being a naïve idiot wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, now would it?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Let’s not get bogged down on obvious topics, now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We don’t have anything to do until the monsters arrive, anyway. Isn’t this fine?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Now that you mention it….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Park Yong-Hui tilted his head.
“When are they supposed to show up?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I heard that it should be around one hour from now. Their movement speed is inconsistent so it’s apparently impossible to estimate their arrival.” (Park Yong-Hui)
One hour, was it…
Yi Ji-Hyuk frowned heavily.
“Don’t you have missiles or something? Instead of quietly waiting like this, isn’t it better to just pummel them with everything you guys have at your disposal?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Unfortunately, that isn’t up to me. The comrade commander will surely do what’s right for the situation.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head, evidently not happy about something.
The meaning behind not using the truly useful weaponry was clear – they wanted to preserve enough firepower so that they could continue aiming at South Korea after this event was over.
Of course, it wasn’t as if he could completely see through the North Koreans’ mindset, but still.
‘Something feels really off for a while now, though.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t give a rat’s a*s whether the North was thinking of doing something underhanded here or not. He was a man who didn’t care what the Americans were doing to begin with, so there was no reason for him to worry about the movements of a country called North Korea.
However, he simply couldn’t get rid of this unclean, dirty feeling for a while now. It wasn’t his reasoning acting up, but his sixth sense; it was busy shouting at him that something was grating against his nerves.
‘Well, it’s true that my sixth sense is trash. But still….’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s quiet, still eyes studied his surroundings.
Since this event was something he had caused, others shouldn’t have malicious designs on it at least, but for some reason, it felt as if he was moving like a piece on a chess board for a while now.
It was then, someone far away discovered Yi Ji-Hyuk and hurriedly rushed to this place.
“Mm?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He looked at this new guy and smirked derisively.
“Hey, haven’t I seen you before somewhere?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You stinking son of a b*tch!” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
The man who tried to get on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s nerves back in the DMZ, Rhee Jing-Cheol, was striding closer with a demonic expression on his face.
“You b*stard, how dare you show your face here?!” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
Rhee Jin-Cheol looked as if he was ready for a throwdown right now, prompting Park Yong-Hui to take a sneaky step forward and stand before Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“What do you think you’re doing?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Comrade Chief!” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“These are guests from South Joseon. Don’t be so impolite.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“But, Comrade Chief! Those b*stards, they!” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“Looky here, Rhee Jin-Cheol.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Can you stop those monsters if you’re willing to throw away your life? Can you answer me in full confidence?” (Park Yong-Hui)
Rhee Jin-Cheol couldn’t answer and simply gnashed his teeth.
“If Pyongyang is destroyed because of your pride, then how are you planning to wash away your sin? Wake up, man!” (Park Yong-Hui)
Rhee Jin-Cheol bit his lip without saying anything. However, he still didn’t forget to glare dagger in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s direction.
“This d*mn b*stard….” (Park Yong-Hui)
Just before Park Yong-Hui could raise his voice, though, Yi Ji-Hyuk started retorting sarcastically first.
“By the way, did you guys perform lobotomy on your ability users or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“W-what do you mean by that?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“I mean, if he wasn’t blind, he must’ve seen all he needed to see back then, so with what balls is he trying to pounce on me? While swearing and stuff, no less.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Park Yong-Hui became utterly speechless just then.
“After I returned to this world, I’ve been to those countries that people say are some of the mightiest on the planet. The thing is, though, I’ve never seen a dumba*s like him trying to fight me in any of those places. I don’t know whether that’s him being a retard, or just overflowing with bravery.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s snide remarks ignited flames within Rhee Jin-Cheol’s eyes.
“There, there, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon smiled brightly and sneakily pulled Yi Ji-Hyuk back.
“It wouldn’t do for an adult to get angry just because a child is angry, too.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“But, I’m not an adult, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What about your age….?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Eiii~, my mental state is still in the late teens, you know. I mean, I’m still bitter about being unfairly labelled five years older for no good reason even now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Come on, man! A person should have morals….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Pardon?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Looks like my inner thoughts popped out again. My apologies.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“So what now? You want me to ‘endure’ it, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, not that.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon smiled again and shifted his head towards Park Yong-Hui.
“Mister Chief of Staff.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“M-mm, do speak, comrade.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“If there is one more insulting remark made in Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk’s direction, then in order to ensure his safety, we will immediately withdraw from this location.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Right at that moment, Park Yong-Hui’s eyes shook visibly.
“Even our Mister President ordered us to be vigilant towards events that might threaten Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk’s safety. If the combatants of your nation continue to pose a danger to him, then I regret to inform you that, to ensure his safety, we will have no choice but to excuse ourselves from this operation.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Park Yong-Hui glared at Choi Jeong-Hoon, his complexion alternating from green to blue, but eventually, he turned his head towards Rhee Jin-Cheol and began shouting at the top of his lungs.
“What are you waiting for?! Apologise to him immediately!” (Park Yong-Hui)
Rhee Jin-Cheol looked as if he’d black out from all the fury. But then, Yi Ji-Hyuk stuck his tongue out to him.
“Beh~eh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jeong-Hoon watched this scene with a certain contentment.
Nice going, my child.
< 313. Pardon? Did you eat something bad? (3) > Fin.