The Gates resonated with heavy hum, before the warped spaces began parting in the middle, just like how ripples of water would spread out.
“It, it’s opening up!”
Someone shouted out in an urgent voice.
Even though the defensive lines were not completed yet, the ten or so Gates rapidly opened up and caused much confusion among the soldiers present. Their guns erratically pointed to everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
“Calm yourselves down!!” (Jeong In-Soo)
Suddenly, Colonel Jeong In-Soo shouted out loudly from behind the soldiers.
The original plan was to surround all of the Gates, but there simply weren’t enough personnel here to do that now. Meaning, there would inevitably be exposed gaps.
“Spread out as wide as possible! Cover as much ground as you can! Walk back and widen the distance among yourselves, you idiots!!” (Jeong In-Soo)
Unfortunately, no matter how hard the soldiers tried to cover all of the Gates, it proved to be simply impossible to accomplish.
“Screw this sh*t!!” (Jeong In-Soo)
Jeong In-Soo did his best to suppress the flurry of swear words trying to rush out of his mouth. Not all civilians from the surrounding areas had been evacuated yet, but these damnable Gates were almost ready to open up?
No matter how cleverly he tried to spread out the soldiers, all he and his men could do was to plug up one side and one side only.
So, what would happen to the other side, then?
Jeong In-Soo’s eyes looked up. Seeing Seo Ah-Young, peeking out from one of the apartment windows up there and looking at the commotion down here, made the veteran soldier really p*ssed off.
But, he didn’t even have to time to shout at her now.
Because… the Gates opened up in perfect sync and monsters began pouring out like crazy.
The only saving grace here was the fact that all the Gates were actually facing each other, so the monsters ended up landing in one area, resulting in them getting all tangled up.
“Fire, now!!” (Jeong In-Soo)
Signaled by Jeong In-Soo’s cry, muzzles of guns began spitting out lead.
Instead of MG50s that hadn’t been fully installed yet, grenades were hurled into the area where the monsters had gathered in great concentration.
Accompanied by the loud explosions of the grenades, the beastly roars of the monsters tore into the night sky.
The civilians saw this horrifying spectacle, and promptly abandoned their belongings to focus solely on escaping from this area.
And so…. different types of monsters began pouring out from those ten Gates.
From the giant lizard type monsters that spat out flames, to monsters with long, long tentacles that resembled an octopus; huge insect monsters with jet-black carapaces; massive beasts resembling wild wolves; even humanoid bipedal monsters with hulking physiques.
All these monsters pounced and ripped each other apart, as if they were trying to recreate a scene straight out of hell.
“Fire!! Fire!! I said, fire!! Like your life depends on it!!” (Jeong In-Soo)
Jeong In-Soo shouted out hoarsely with a pale face.
He could acutely tell already. The number of monsters pouring out from the Gates were easily double the number of them his soldiers had managed to take down so far.
No, wait, it wasn’t just some measly “double”!!
It was more like several times, instead!
There was no way he’d be able to manage this situation now.
‘You rotten sons of b*tches, will you do something already?!’ (Jeong In-Soo)
Jeong In-Soo’s urgent eyes sought out the members of the KSF in the vicinity.
Too bad, what greeted him was not the KSF, but the sounds of sharp screaming instead.
The powerless people confirmed the existences of monsters and began screaming at the top of their lungs. And that led the said monsters to turn their attention on the fleeing people.
Grunting and roaring in various octave ranges, these bloodthirsty monsters began changing their directions, one by one.
And then, like a tidal wave, they began rushing towards the apartment buildings that had no one guarding it, seemingly abandoning the frontline where the soldiers were desperately pouring their bullets at.
“N, no!! Fire!! Stop them!! Stop those b*stards right now!!” (Jeong In-Soo)
Jeong In-Soo cried out loudly.
Behind the apartment building, there were still countless of civilians yet to be evacuated. If his men failed to stop the monsters from advancing, then the world might end up seeing one of the worst tragedies post Black Monday.
“Stop theeeeem!!!” (Jeong In-Soo)
He cried out till his vocal cords nearly snapped in half, yet there was nothing he could do.
It was then.
As his hands were shaking from despair, Jeong In-Soo inadvertently looked up, only to see…. something.
Something was falling from the sky.
The asphalt below shattered and debris exploded into the air.
And within the shallow crater where the dust cloud rose up, Yi Ji-Hyuk stood, with unidentifiable black energy swirling around and wrapping around him like a living, breathing cloak.
Yi Ji-Hyuk glared at the variety of monsters madly dashing towards him and clicked his tongue in pure annoyance.
At the same time, black flames began their deadly dance on top of his palms.
All the Mana he had accumulated during the killing of the whale monster was flowing out of his hands and was rising up into the air.
Jeong In-Soo shouted out in a half-cracked voice.
That, that guy!
That guy, didn’t he say his name was Yi Ji-Hyuk?!
“Do something!! You gotta do something!!” (Jeong In-Soo)
Fortunately for Jeong In-Soo, his wishes came true.
“You see, this here is the shortcut to Hades.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And so, Yi Ji-Hyuk reached out with his hands.
*SFX for flames erupting violently*
What fell on the world that day were tsunami waves, purely made up of black flames.
The waves of jet black flames flicked as if they were alive and burned everything they touched.
The seething, raging, boiling flames didn’t spare the hordes of monsters and devoured them all.
Near-metallic screeches – nay, screams, of monsters tore into the night sky.
The scene in front of the Defcom’s soldiers was so horrific, they couldn’t help but squeeze their eyes shut, having stopped firing their guns a long, long time ago.
The flames continued to devour the monsters.
The disgusting odour of burnt monster flesh filled the air, and the screams of pain, loud enough to make the listeners plug their ears in horror, continued to soar into the heavens.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression was rigid while watching this scene unfold.
“Enough is enough, already.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It had been a while, but for once, Yi Ji-Hyuk was carrying a serious expression. Why? Because his mother and Ye-Won were still behind him, having had not enough time to evacuate just yet.
So, he wasn’t going to take it easy and….
No, hang on a minute.
Where’s dad? Was he at the house?
No, wait… Could he have not come home yet?
How could a person have zero presence like that? How’s that even possible?!
While tilting his head in confusion, Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his gaze towards his home upstairs.
Did he see his father at home or not…? He couldn’t be sure anymore.
Yi Ji-Hyuk swallowed his tears, silently lamenting the fact that his dad had become totally invisible after his probably deserved firing.
This was why a grown-a*s man had to get a job.
He now understood completely the suggestion uttered out by Choi Jung-Hoon, that he was of the appropriate age to gain lawful employment or whatever.
Well, in any case….
He had completely destroyed tens of monsters in the blink of an eye, yet there were still literally hundreds more to go.
However, something funny happened among the horde of monsters.
Creatures that had recognised Yi Ji-Hyuk’s fearsome might began to back away in fear. But then, the newly-summoned monsters didn’t know what had transpired before, and they pushed aside the scared monsters and rushed towards Yi Ji-Hyuk’s location.
Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue again as he watched these clueless fools rush towards their doom.
That was why not being ignorant was good for your health.
Oh, no one told you and you had no idea? Oh, well.
“Then, just die.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Black tentacles shot out from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body and began swallowing bits of flesh, as well as the leaking Mana, from the surroundings.
The absorbed Mana was converted into that ominous black magical energy, which was rapidly circulated within his body. Sensing this welcome energy fill up his body, Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but shudder from delight.
No matter what the time or the occasion was, this sensation of Mana filling up his body felt oh so wonderful.
He felt like ripping apart and stepping on every single one of these trashy mob creatures in front of him, but….
But, he had to hold himself back, since he hadn’t accumulated enough Mana to do as he pleased. Not yet.
However, he figured he had enough.
From Yi Ji-Hyuk’s shoulders, dozens upon dozens of black clouds of energy rose up like snakes, and flew towards the rushing monsters.
And just like real snakes, these things split open wide their abyss-like maws and began swallowing up each and every monster coming in contact with them.
*SFX for bones being crunched into bits and pieces*
Those black clouds tightened around the monsters, crushed them and twisted them apart.
Absorbing every single bit of the crushed flesh and the leaking Mana, Yi Ji-Hyuk giggled in a really sinister manner, and he stood confidently before the cowering monster horde.
Swallowing over two dozen monsters in one go, he could feel his Mana reserve slowly filling back up. He took in a deep breath.
He felt the thirst tickling his throat.
Yes, the thirst.
Mana within him that showed no sign of getting full no matter how much he swallowed these monsters up, dried his throat and caused this thirst to irritate him.
He wanted more. More Mana.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes suddenly became bloodshot.
However, his feet stopped before he could take further steps forward.
He then took another deep breath to calm himself down.
‘Whew. I almost got carried away just now.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The greed for more Mana had taken hold of his self-control, but his escape from that state was just as quick.
His work, what he needed to do, was up to here.
He had to set a definite boundary. If he tried to do anything else from here onwards, then he’d be crossing the boundary he set for himself.
For now, his aim was to protect his family. The rest was not his concern. The rest… that was for someone else to take care of.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Hearing the urgent voice of Seo Ah-Young coming from the apartment foyer behind him, Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head slowly.
This event, this battle, was not his to resolve.
“Mister Choi Jung-Hoon is personally evacuating your family members as we speak.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Mm. Looks like I’ll owe you one.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, not at all. We should be thankful that you decided to block these monsters, instead.” (Seo Ah-Young)
This woman, why is she being so nice to me all of a sudden? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s confused inner monologue)
“So, the thing is, since I’ve mentioned it….” (Seo Ah-Young)
Ahhh, but of course. (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted derisively.
“What now? You wanna start ten million per monster thing again?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Can’t you see how many monsters are out there?! Are you trying to bankrupt the Korean government or something?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“If you aren’t willing to do that, then I suggest you stop asking me for any more favours.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Ignoring the grumbling Seo Ah-Young, Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly turned around to take a step back.
The thing was, people would end up expecting a certain amount of labour from a person all the time, if that person had performed up to that amount beforehand.
To simplify, now that he had done this much labour today, others would start grumbling unhappily if he didn’t perform just as much labour the next time.
That was why setting a boundary was so important.
He had to draw the line, and make sure it was clearly defined. So his centre, his core values, wouldn’t be shaken no matter what.
So, he had drawn that line here, today.
If a monster tried to run past him, then he’d massacre that fool. However, he wouldn’t even lift a single finger no matter what happened on the opposite side to where he stood. Not his business, basically.
Whether it was the KSF or the Defcom, they should take care of it by themselves.
Before long, the KSF agents quickly ran towards where Yi Ji-Hyuk was standing, and began “shoring” up the line he had drawn. Seeing them oh-so bravely fill up the defensive wall, he decided to take another step back.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“I’m leaving you in charge of making sure my home doesn’t come down in a heap. Okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young wordlessly gazed at him for a moment or two, before coolly nodding her head.
“Okay.” (Seo Ah-Young)
What’s up with her today? (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I want to thank you for your help. I honestly didn’t expect you’d make the first move before anyone else could.” (Seo Ah-Young)
But, that’s because my house was in danger, though? (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t really think too much of it, but from her point of view, what happened just now was incredibly important. If he didn’t jump out when he did, that terrifying monster wave would’ve entered the heart of the city right behind them.
If those monsters entered the city, then… Then, it would be difficult to imagine the sheer horror that might’ve unfolded.
In that single moment, although it was just one action of his, that very action had saved tens of thousands of lives.
To expect more from Yi Ji-Hyuk, who wasn’t a KSF agent yet, that was akin to her being an ungrateful brat.
On the other hand, Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but suspect something was fishy the way Seo Ah-Young didn’t ask for more, which was unlike her usual self. However, the current situation didn’t permit them to chat for a longer period of time.
Already, she had shifted her gaze back to the hordes of monsters, away from him.
“Huh…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
For some reason, she looked kind of dependable, right now.
While chuckling to himself, Yi Ji-Hyuk turned around to leave.
He had already helped out in creating an encirclement, so the rest was up to them from here on out. He fished out a cigarette from his pocket and lit it up.
‘So, let’s see now…’
Now, he should go and secure the safety of his family. It wouldn’t be very funny if an accident happened during the ensuing commotion, now would it?
Choi Jung-Hoon was definitely a trustworthy man, indeed. But it was always better to make sure….
It was then, an ominously cold feeling tickled him by.
Yi Ji-Hyuk hurriedly turned around to confirm.
And just in time, he spotted a group of monsters breaking past the encirclement of the Defcom soldiers and the KSF agents, to rise up in the air.
The lizard-type monsters unfurled their long wings, spat out licks of flames from their maws, and began flying up into the night sky.
As if they had never ever expected to encounter flying type monsters, the agents and soldiers were looking on at this scene with their slack jaws wide open from the shock, unable to do anything.
“….Wonderful. Just wonderful.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What a useless bunch of idiots.
Can’t you people take care of business the right way for once? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s exasperated inner thoughts)
Yi Ji-Hyuk could faintly imagine what might happen if he decided to throw in his lot with these incompetent fools.
‘Maybe I should rethink this whole thing.’
Indeed, they said that the environment where one worked was exceedingly important, didn’t they?
‘….Aren’t they all flying towards one direction? Huh.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but smirk after he confirmed the general direction where those airborne monsters were headed off to.
You see… the funny thing about human eyes was that…
Well, his eyes certainly recognised the car at the first glance. The car he had the pleasure of riding in a couple of times already.
That car, being driven by its owner as if he had stolen it…. it was the exact same type of vehicle Choi Jung-Hoon bought with his blood, sweat and tears.
It can’t be, right?
No way. It can’t be. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Unlike his inner thoughts, though…. Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body was already jumping into the air towards the car like a beam of light.
“Why the f*ck are you going that way!! Just why?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Well, he could see the head of a certain blondie through the window of the car. That was why, while screaming out several curse words that might even make the sea-hardened sailors blush, Yi Ji-Hyuk chased after Choi Jung-Hoon’s fleeing car with everything he had.
< 48. Can a high school dropout get a job there? -3 > Fin.