“Kyyaaahck!!” (Yi Ye-Won)
“Step on it!! Hurry!! They are following us!!” (Yi Cheol-Joong)
Choi Jung-Hoon gritted his teeth and stomped on the accelerator.
To think that the flight-type monsters would make their appearance!!
Why were all these world-changing events happening first in Korea? And more importantly, seemingly always around him?!
Now that the existence of the flight-type monsters have been confirmed, the anti-Gate subjugation protocol that had been built up painstakingly for the last five years or so now needed to be ripped up and thrown into the dustbin. A new one would have to be drawn up now.
If that deed weren’t done quickly enough, then the events like today’s would occur all the time, all over the freaking world!!
“That’s that, but why are they only chasing after us?! God damn it!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
He wasn’t a type to display his anger publicly. Yet, unchecked curse words were flowing out of him mouth.
Choi Jung-Hoon looked behind him. It seemed that his fast-moving vehicle had adversely stimulated those airborne monsters – a couple of those abominable things were sticking uncomfortably close to his pride and joy now.
Yi Ye-Won’s high-pitched scream stabbed painfully into Choi Jung-Hoon’s ears. And he could see the flicking tongue of the flying lizard monster sticking very close to his car via the rear view mirror.
As soon as a sharp corner entered his view, he violently yanked on the steering wheel.
*SFX for tyres squealing angrily*
The tyres scrapped on the ground and issued harsh auditory protest. He somehow pulled off a cool cornering manoeuvre without slowing down much, but too bad, he still couldn’t shake off those darn flying lizards.
Choi Jung-Hoon tightly clenched his teeth as he continued to wrestle the controls of his car.
“Oh no!! What should we do?!” (Park Seon-Duk)
Park Seon-Duk looked outside the car’s window, and cried out in alarm. In the blink of an eye, those monsters had approached the sides of the car.
And then, a heavy impact sound came from the roof.
Almost right away, the sound of metal tearing open accompanied the scale-covered paw as it penetrated into the interior.
“Kyyaaahck!!” (Yi Ye-Won)
“Euahahck!!” (Yi Cheol-Joong)
Yi Ye-Won screamed, and Yi Cheol-Joong also gurgled out breathlessly in terror.
Doh Gah-Yun pulled out a dagger strapped to her thigh and stabbed the monster’s paw swinging around wildly in the air a couple of times.
Spurting out blue-coloured blood, the ‘arm’ retracted outside the car.
“Calm down.” (Gah-Yun)
Seeing Doh Gah-Yun’s impassive facial expression, Park Seon-Duk and Yi Cheol-Joong couldn’t help but nervously swallow their saliva.
Although those monsters were scary, this young girl was just as terrifying as well.
“Why are you guys riding in this car too?!” (Yi Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won angrily shouted out at Gah-Yun and Kim Dah-Som.
“Escaping. Using car, simpler.” (Gah-Yun)
“And why are you here?!” (Yi Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won’s sharp eyes landed on Kim Dah-Som. Dah-Som pretended to not hear anything and she turned her head away.
‘There are too many in the car.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
There were six people riding in the car at the moment. Yi Ji-Hyuk’s family members, as well as Doh Gah-Yun and Kim Dah-Som hurriedly added to the escaping party, resulting in four people riding in the back, plus the front passenger and Choi Jung-Hoon himself behind the wheel.
The car felt incredibly sluggish, no matter how hard he pressed on the accelerator.
While gritting his teeth, Choi Jung-Hoon looked through the rearview mirror again. He saw several heads of his passengers bobbing up and down.
And behind them, a horde of lizard monsters and their bat-like wings unfurled and flapping as they continued giving chase.
‘Did the number of monsters actually increase?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
He took a quick look around, and found that there was no other moving car beside his on the road.
So, could it that his actions had drawn their attention to himself, instead?
Choi Jung-Hoon’s brain kicked into overdrive. If this continued, then it was a guaranteed thing that a huge disaster would happen to them.
And their predicament wouldn’t be resolved simply by running off to a location as far away as possible. No, he realised that it’d be smarter to receive help. He needed to go back to the location of the Gates. There were soldiers and the KSF agents there.
Since making a U-turn at this point in time would be suicidal, he had to quickly map out a route that would take them back to the beginning, so to speak.
It was right around there, when incredibly sharp claws penetrated into the roof and the sides of the car. Terrible, grating metallic noises shook the passenger’s ear drums.
Suddenly, the steering wheel became unresponsive.
The car was lifted up off the ground. And then, it fell back down, and bounced around like a bumper car. This happened a couple of times in a row.
Claws dug in even deeper and the car became airborne again.
Sensing the vehicle rising up in the air, the passengers began screaming. Even Choi Jung-Hoon despaired as he couldn’t feel any feedback from the steering wheel.
*SFX for metal being torn apart slowly*
As the weight of the car was added to the hole caused by the monsters’ claws, the torn metal creaked and broke apart more and more. As a result, the entire roof section of the vehicle was violently ripped off. No longer caught in the monsters’ grips, the car fell back down to the ground.
Like a scene straight out of an action movie, they landed back on the ground. The whole car bounced around unsteadily, before shooting forward again almost completely out of control.
Choi Jung-Hoon gritted his teeth, slammed on the brake, and pulled on the steering wheel.
‘This better work!!!’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
He somehow regained the control of the car in the nick of time, avoided colliding with the trees lining the street, and steered themselves back on to the road. He continued to gun it, as hard as he could.
He could hear someone spitting out a sigh of relief. However, only the beads of cold sweat were traveling down Choi Jung-Hoon’s back.
It was still too premature to feel relieved, that’s why.
They still had to fight off the monsters trying to attack them from behind. But now, without a roof to provide a temporary shield!
When he briefly turned his head around to look, he could see the swarm of the lizard monsters flying towards his car, now an accidental convertible.
Doh Gah-Yun stood up while clutching her dagger.
“Can you stop them?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Two or three, at most.” (Gah-Yun)
“More than that?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“We die.” (Gah-Yun)
Choi Jung-Hoon spat out a hollow chuckle.
Indeed, they were going to die like this.
After all, the number of lizard monsters giving chase easily exceeded a few dozen. Choi Jung-Hoon gripped the steering wheel tight with one hand, and with the other, he reached into his jacket and pulled out his pistol.
“I can’t die before I taste the sweetness of going home on time at least once in my life!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
While depressing the accelerator with one foot, he raised his body and turned towards the rear. Seeing how his beloved car was now missing its roof, tears rushed up into his eyes.
“You sons of b*tches!! I haven’t even finished paying the monthly installments yet!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Blam! Blam! Blam!!
The pistol containing all of Choi Jung-Hoon’s anguish spat out bullets nonstop. Unfortunately, these bullets were too small to penetrate the thick scales of the lizard monsters.
Emptying his magazine in less than a single breath, Choi Jung-Hoon slunk back into his seat while letting out a long groan of defeat.
There was no way to stop them like this.
Doh Gah-Yun was doing her best to threaten the flying monsters that got too close with her dagger, but she was not a direct-combat ability user to begin with.
In other words, they were not much different from six regular people, trapped in a moving car. Defending against dozens of monsters was simply an exercise in futility.
He tried hard to swerve the car this way and that in order to shake off the monsters from getting too close, but….
But then, Choi Jung-Hoon’s eyes focused towards the distant front, and another hollow chuckle escaped from his mouth.
There were dozens of lizard monsters directly up ahead on the road as well.
As he focused on going back to where the Gates were, he somehow circled back to the spot where there was a concentration of the flying monsters that didn’t chase them in the beginning.
The attention of every single one of those creatures were now firmly fixed on the approaching vehicle. And then…
As if it was the most obvious thing in the whole world, they viciously pounced towards the car.
“I haven’t even written my will yet….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
….Although, he did write his resignation notice a long time ago.
And as the sense of resignation settled in Choi Jung-Hoon’s expression, Yi Ye-Won realised the direness of their situation and hugged Park Seon-Duk tightly in terror. Park Seon-Duk too held her daughter really tightly.
A lizard monster broke past Doh Gah-Yun’s attempt to block it, and its deadly claw headed towards Yi Ye-Won and Park Seon-Duk’s direction.
Yi Ye-Won squeezed her eyes shut and cried out.
“Where are you, Yi Ji-Hyuk!!! You rotten as*hole!!” (Yi Ye-Won)
“Why won’t you call me Oppa already?! You dumb girl!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The reply was sudden, and his reaction was even faster.
Yi Ji-Hyuk landed on the car like a flash of lightning, and super-kicked the lizard monster trying to reach out towards his little sister.
A crisp impact noise resounded out, one that kind of sounded like someone kicking a football. The lizard monster flew away like a cannonball and slammed into other flying monsters, knocking them all out of the sky like bowling pins.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Her face completely caked in tears and snot, Yi Ye-Won started shouting at him.
“How can you be so late?! Why! You idiot b*stard!” (Yi Ye-Won)
What the hell?! Even now, this kid dares to…?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Just as Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body began trembling in anger, he spotted Park Seon-Duk and her tear-soaked eyes.
Naturally, his expressions distorted in fury.
What if… what if, he had decided to not to come back… if he did that, would his mom and his family be subjected to such dangers like today?
No, what if he had acted with a little more urgency, with a little more care in his actions before today?
But, before all that….
“How dare you, you annoying insects!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Jet-black Mana oozing out from both of his hands gathered above his head.
As if the Mana itself had been converted into electricity, the strands of it coiled and collided with one another and the resulting black sparks flew everywhere.
“Spread out!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He reached out with both hands; the accumulated ‘electricity’ spread out like branches of a tree.
The black lightning flew in between the horde of airborne lizard monsters and burned them without sparing a single one.
Accompanied by the acrid smell of flesh being cooked, boiling liquids exploding out from the burning monsters showered down to the immediate vicinity.
Yi Ji-Hyuk deployed a layer of Shield and deflected the incoming fragments of dead monsters away.
“Mom, are you okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….I’m too exhausted even to say anything…” (mom)
“Hey!! What about me?!” (Yi Ye-Won)
“It’s fine if you’re not okay, you ungrateful kid.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Even under this kind of situation, Ye-Won was still shouting at him.
Sure, she was his little sister, but even he had to admit that this girl was definitely not right in the head.
Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue.
“By the way, son….” (mom)
Park Seon-Duk was about to say something, but instead, replaced her words with a weak sigh.
She wanted to ask him where he had learned to fly. She wanted to ask about that black lightning, too.
There were so many things she wanted to ask him about, but no words wanted to come out of her mouth. The still-pounding heart and heavy breathing weren’t helping, either.
“Aigoo! Mom! Look, you’ve got a fever!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk raised an exaggerated fuss and began massaging mom’s shoulders.
It was then, someone tightly grasped Yi Ji-Hyuk’s arm.
“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When he turned his head around to look, he found Kim Dah-Som and her pale face, clinging onto his arm with her entire body while trembling like a wet dog.
“What are you doing here? You okay? You don’t look so good.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kim Dah-Som continued to tremble in her shoes and weakly nodded her head.
“Tsk. You must’ve been frightened, huh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When he lightly patted her back, Kim Dah-Som seemed to have calmed down a bit and began breathing more normally.
That was all good and well, but….
Why wasn’t she letting go?
And before asking her about that….
What are you doing here, girl?
Were you at the foyer of the apartment again? (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Feeling a bit creeped out, Yi Ji-Hyuk tried to sneak his arm out, but then, Kim Dah-Som clung to him even tighter than before.
“Uhm…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And as Yi Ji-Hyuk looked at Kim Dah-Som with a difficult expression, Yi Ye-Won’s eyes began spitting out angry light.
“Hey, you!! Let him go, now!” (Ye-Won)
Without even muttering a single word, Kim Dah-Som turned her head away and ignored Ye-Won’s threatening words.
“Have you lost your damn mind?!” (Yi Ye-Won)
Ye-Won was about unleash the full range of her mighty fury when her mother lightly poked at her side.
Ye-Won looked at mom with confused expression, and when she saw Park Seon-Duk using her eyes to point at Choi Jung-Hoon… Well, Ye-Won reverted back to the most demure and well-behaved child in the world once more.
‘Oh god!! Stop that! That’s horrifying!!’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Holy cow! That’s scarier than a real spectre!! Seriously!
Stop with all that flushed cheeks nonsense! You devious little girl! (Yi Ji-Hyuk screaming inwardly)
Yi Ji-Hyuk repeatedly spat out lengthy groans with a tearful expression.
‘Seriously now…. not one female around me has her head screwed on properly…’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Ah, except mom.
With the exception of….. mom…. Probably… (Yi Ji-Hyuk trying to convince himself)
Meanwhile, Choi Jung-Hoon looked at him with a pale face of his own and opened his mouth, his hands never leaving the steering wheel.
“You still have a great sense of timing.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“And you! Did you paint yourself with honey and gold or something? Why didn’t you drive more carefully when you’ve got a car full of passengers?! Why did you speed up and draw attention to yourself?! Ahh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
But, I drove like my a*s was on fire, so I could save your family…
What an ungrateful SOB… (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
Choi Jung-Hoon wasn’t expecting a normal display of gratitude, but still…
Well, Yi Ji-Hyuk wasn’t the type of a person to display a logical, normal sort of reaction, so Choi Jung-Hoon decided to not to make a retort here.
“In any case, it’s good that no one’s been hurt….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stopped speaking and frowned slightly. He spotted thin line of blood on Doh Gah-Yun’s right arm.
“Looks like you’re hurt.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m fine.” (Gah-Yun)
“Let me see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m fine.” (Gah-Yun)
I’m telling you, not one normal, sane female around me. Not even one! (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
With a frown still stuck on his face, Yi Ji-Hyuk grabbed Doh Gah-Yun’s arm.
He could see a long, bloody scratch mark.
“Fine, my a*s.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Unfortunately, he wasn’t all that proficient in healing magic. Also, there was this lingering uncertainty of what might happen, if he tried to heal someone with his black magical power, or with Mana absorbed from the dead monsters.
Hell, he might end up turning this girl into an undead with some weird curse, instead of healing her wounds!
Seeing the trickle of blood slowly seeping out, Yi Ji-Hyuk let out a sigh and he ripped some fabric off his sleeve. He used that to tightly wrap around Doh Gah-Yun’s arm.
“I’m fine.” (Gah-Yun)
“Yeah, yeah, I heard you the first time so keep quiet for a sec.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk raised his voice briefly to show his impatience.
Now normally, it was not his business whether these people got hurt or not. But this girl was injured while trying to protect his family. Although he behaved like an a*shole most of the time, he at least possessed some sense of responsibility, you see.
After tightening the fabric to stop the bleeding, Yi Ji-Hyuk began to yap on and on, sounding more like a concerned grandma in the process.
“You gotta go to a hospital, understand? You better go, or else you’ll get a scar! I’ll even pay for the treatment, okay!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Well, I have lots of money now.
Thinking of all that mountain of cash sitting pretty in his bank account, Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked nonchalantly. Then, out of the blue, a hand appeared right in front of his nose.
“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
A hand, with a very small scratch on it that seemed to get magnified because of the smooth pale skin, was waving around slowly before his eyes.
“H, hm…” (Kim Dah-Som)
With a resolute face, Kim Dah-Som was busy showing off her tiny little nick to him.
“………” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You don’t really need treatment for that, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“……………….” (Kim Dah-Som)
Unable to overcome the pressure emitted by Kim Dah-Som’s pleading eyes, Yi Ji-Hyuk ended up rubbing the ‘wound’ a little bit.
Kim Dah-Som looked satisfied by this result. She lowered her hand and then hugged his arm tightly again.
‘Seriously! Not one sane female around me. Not even one!!’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
However, when he thought about it a little deeper… it was the same story back in Berafe as well. So, uh…
*SFX for a car’s brake squeal*
The messy, overloaded ‘convertible’ came to a stop.
“Finally, we are at a safe location….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Just before he could finish his sentence, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes widened in shock.
What the hell?
Why am I seeing another Gate?
Did another one open up here, too? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s confused inner monologue)
Realising something was amiss, Yi Ji-Hyuk began glaring at Choi Jung-Hoon.
Choi Jung-Hoon smiled sheepishly and trotted out his excuses.
“You see, I was planning to receive help by coming back here….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk let off a long, long groan after he heard that. He turned his head to look at the chaotic battle unfolding between the monsters, soldiers, and the KSF agents.
Currently, the defensive line set up by the Defcom had collapsed, and the scores of monsters were entering the city beyond.
“You better take care of business at your own end, yeah?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“O, of course, I will…” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
And as Yi Ji-Hyuk and Choi Jung-Hoon exchanged meaningful glances, someone’s rather weak voice leaked out from the backseat.
“I’m also hurt over here… Is it too much to ask for some help?” (Yi Cheol-Joong)
It was truly one of the saddest voices you could hear in the modern age.
< 49. Can a high school dropout get a job there? -4 > Fin.