The Returner - LightNovelsOnl.com
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"They are breaking through!" (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun's eyes filled with sense of urgency stared at the zombie horde in the distance.
These so-called zombies that had been standing still and swaying around for a while, suddenly began shuffling towards a certain direction as if a switch inside them had been flipped. And now, they were sprinting towards the barricade at a fairly high speed.
The zombies who couldn't use their legs properly fell to the ground and were trampled by the frenzied zombie horde's stampede.
"D*mn it!!" (Kim Dah-Hyun)
He didn't do anything wrong here, but obviously, it still didn't feel so good to watch people die like that right in front of his eyes.
"But, why are they doing this?!" (Kim Dah-Hyun)
No, hang on. Them hanging around like that was the strange thing, wasn't it?
They were originally like this, but the temporary lull only came about after the barricades were pushed back, didn't it? (Kim Dah-Hyun's inner monologue)
"What should we do?" (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun shouted at the smart.w.a.tch device on his wrist, and in turn, he got Seo Ah-Young's cold voice as a reply.
– "We leave the front to the barricade. We gradually shave the zombie horde from the back and purify them." (Seo Ah-Young)
"But, you know that ain't gonna be as easy as you say! Will they able to hold on?" (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Merely watching the million-plus, mindless zombies rush forward in a single direction was enough to send a terrified chill down Kim Dah-Hyun's spine, even though he believed that he was a hard man after having gone through all sorts of hards.h.i.+ps in his life.
Being asked to take care of them would make one feel not just flabbergasted, but even horrified, too - yet, how was one supposed to suppress them without inflicting a single wound?
How was that even humanly possible?
– "That's not what you should be concerned about, Mister Kim Dah-Hyun." (Seo Ah-Young)
What kind of irresponsible drivel was she spewing now?
– "You should do what you are capable of doing right now. Do what you were supposed to do first. If you worry about something that's not a part of your job, then you may end up messing up your own part in this mission. If you're that worried, then the best thing you can do is to quickly finish your job to reduce the pressure on the others." (Seo Ah-Young)
She was right.
Kim Dah-Hyun was able to escape from the state of momentary confusion thanks to Seo Ah-Young's cold but calm words. His own eyes became icy as he glared at the zombies.
"I'll believe in them, then." (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Indeed, he wasn't doing this alone.
Besides, if things were to become far too difficult to handle for them, then that guy staying way back and busy chewing on dried pollack would probably step up, instead. (TL: Dried pollack is white cod-like fish eaten by South Koreans. Also spelled as pollock. This saying simply means the person is wasting time yapping on and on.)
Yup, they had a final line of defence, hadn't they??
Kim Dah-Hyun believed that in his heart as he dashed forward.
Will he really help? Someone like him….? (Kim Dah-Hyun's inner monologue)
Kim Dah-Hyun remained rather realistic as he still couldn't shake off that one little tiny bit of suspicion in his head.
Rudra and Spitfire were both going through a tough battle of their own.
"G.o.d d*mn it, can't we just wipe them all off or something?" (Spitfire)
‘Spitfire' Yun Hyuk-Gyu complained bitterly, causing Rudra to sigh helplessly under his breath.
"You do that, buddy, and you'll be extradited as a wanted criminal because of the international politics. If I was the president of our country, I'd not hesitate to sacrifice you if that meant all of my problems would go away. When that happens, you'll probably get stuck with a ten thousand-plus year sentence and start singing ‘Circle of Life' with the criminal uncles in a jail cell." (Rudra)
"What do you mean, sing Circle of Life?!" (Spitfire)
"Do I really need to spell it out for you? Seriously?" (Rudra)
"….No. On second thought, it'll be for the best if you don't." (Spitfire)
For some reason, Spitfire felt his spine, no, a certain body part way below his spine suddenly pucker up.
Such a thing should not be allowed to happen, obviously.
"Still, this is honestly way too sh*tty, man!!" (Spitfire)
For these two men who were specialised in attacking the enemy, separating the zombie horde without injuring them was a really tall order to carry out.
It was a small consolation that the risk to their lives were on the low side, but that didn't mean there was totally no risk to them whatsoever, either.
It was also unproven that these folks reverting back from the state of zombie-fication would be able to regain their former personalities, too.
They were acting on the basis of that woman Roabell's a.s.surance, so how could they feel completely convinced? More importantly, the fact that the guarantor of her words being Yi Ji-Hyuk caused their confidence to plummet even further.
If they were to be honest with themselves, then they should blame the latter for most of their scepticism, though….
That man was evil enough to throw everyone else in h.e.l.l and leisurely walk away if that meant ending the annoying situation in one go.
In fact, these two felt fearful in their hearts, deeply worried that even though they had already tasted how far humanity could fall through that man's wickedness, it was possible that there was an even greater depth of depravity hiding within him.
"Let's hurry up with our jobs. Our records are the worst of everyone. I don't want to hear her nagging later on, you know? I'm sure you don't want to hear the Insane Witch shout at us, calling us useless b*tches and all that, right?" (Rudra)
"Stop saying something scary, will ya?" (Spitfire)
They were S-grade ability users in South Korea, so how could they see such a thing happen to them?
"Alright. Now, then…." (Spitfire)
Spitfire's flame cannon was fired at the ground.
The ground caved in and shook violently, and almost half of it blew away from the resulting explosion.
The zombies couldn't maintain their balance and fell to the ground. Rudra then whipped up powerful gusts of wind to suppress the fallen zombies even further.
"This might be inefficient, but we don't have a choice." (Spitfire)
Even if it was slow, all they had to do was to steadily work on it. If this was all they could do, they should just stick to it, then. Spitfire grinned and glanced at his colleague, currently keeping himself really busy.
"It's not like I'm all alone here, is it." (Spitfire)
Of course, excluding that man, obviously.
"Uh? By the way….?" (Rudra)
Spitfire quickly turned his head after he heard Rudra's fl.u.s.tered voice.
"Hey, over there, that place got breached." (Rudra)
He took a look in the direction Rudra was pointing at, and spotted an overturned armoured vehicle, plus the ma.s.ses of zombies using that opening to flood in beyond the barricades.
Surely, that couldn't be a good thing, right?
"What should we do now?" (Rudra)
Rudra asked, and Spitfire lifted his wrist up to his lips. Well, the job of thinking wasn't his, after all.
"Excuse me. I think the barricade got breached over there." (Spitfire)
– "Don't worry about that and continue with what you were doing." (Seo Ah-Young)
But, of course, she'd say that.
"Ah, sure thing. Got it." (Spitfire)
Rudra tilted his head.
"What did she say?" (Rudra)
"She says, carry on with what we were doing." (Spitfire)
"…Oh. Well, in that case." (Rudra)
Spitfire stopped worrying about the breached barricade and carried on with what he was doing a moment ago. However, a single question grasped his head and didn't want to let him go.
Thinking wasn't his job, for sure. Indeed, it was Seo Ah-Young's job to think, but….
"Wait, was Seo Ah-Young really that smart to give us orders and make correct decisions in the middle of an operation, to begin with?" (Spitfire)
Spitfire saw Rudra turn his head away without providing an answer, and began regretting the fact that he asked something he shouldn't have.
"Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?! Please, do something and stop them!!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon hurriedly cried out, but Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head slightly to the side in a crooked angle and replied with an unimpressed sounding voice.
"I'm off duty." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Off duty?!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
How could he claim ‘off duty' in the middle of one of the greatest calamities to befall this planet??
"Have you ever seen a firefighter claim he's off duty and walk away from a house on fire?!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"No, I haven't." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Yes, that's the obvious thing not to do, isn't it?!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"But, that's because that person's a firefighter." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"They are honourable folks and that's why they are willing to throw away their time off to rescue other people." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"What are you trying to say here?!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"Do I really look like a honourable person to you?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Holy moly, mother of G.o.d….
How am I supposed to answer that now?!
The only correct answer to say here is "Yes, you are", but the d*mn b*stard called my conscience is busy telling me, "Aigo, you rotten fool, I will never say that". Feels like the inside of my head is all going haywire! (Choi Jung-Hoon's inner monologue)
He had been lying through his teeth recently all thanks to what his job entailed, but even then, honestly speaking in a super-duper serious way, this would be his first time feeling this much of a guilt in his conscience.
"M-maybe?" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"Wowsers. I'm telling you, you'd do great as a politician. I'll sponsor you, so don't you wanna take on the world of politics?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Why don't you just insult me straight in my face?
No, hang on. That WAS an insult, wasn't it? (Choi Jung-Hoon's inner monologue)
Choi Jung-Hoon would've preferred to be openly called a moral-less trash of humanity. That'd be better for his heart, actually. But now that he was insulted in such a subtle, roundabout manner, he felt so indescribably soiled for some reason.
"This isn't the time to crack jokes!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"I wasn't joking, though?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"How can you claim off duty?! Just who decided that?" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"The NDF's director." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
She's the director only when it's convenient to you.
Usually, you'd call her this woman, that woman, an insane spinster, or whatever takes your fancy in that moment, but only in times like this you call her the director!
Besides all that, just what did Seo Ah-Young say to him that made him behave like this?? (Choi Jung-Hoon's inner monologue)
"What did the ‘director' say to you, then?" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"She said, she'll show me the cool sight of them taking care of this mess without me getting involved. She then said, I should not do anything and quietly stick my head in some dark, dank corner and suck on a can of cola. Something along those lines." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"….Seriously?" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"Yup." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Holy cow. Why did she have to say it like that?
Besides, Seo Ah-Young's manner of speech isn't like…. No, wait. She has always been like that. (Choi Jung-Hoon's inner monologue)
Now that Choi Jung-Hoon thought about it, Seo Ah-Young was capable of saying those words for sure, and that left him unable to come up with a reb.u.t.tal right away.
"So, like, what can I do in this case, really? My superior officer gave me an order, you know? What if I end up in a brig for disobeying a direct order? Mister Choi Jung-Hoon, will you take responsibility for that?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"We don't have a brig in the NDF." (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"Oh, then it's straight to jail? To a jail, just like that?! I'm a weakling so if I end up in a horrible place like that, I'll probably die of suffocation, you know? Uh-whew, so dang scary." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"….Didn't you claim that a prison feeds you for free, gives you a bed to sleep on, as well as free clothing…. You said you wouldn't mind going there for a few years to take a break, didn't you??" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"I did? When?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seeing those sparkling, clear eyes of Yi Ji-Hyuk as he asked back, Choi Jung-Hoon was nearly overcome with the desire to poke those eyeb.a.l.l.s with his fingers and make them go pop. However, the superhuman level of patience designed specifically to deal with Yi Ji-Hyuk automatically kicked in and he was able to prevent a rather grisly event from taking place.
"No, hang on! This isn't the time to joke around! Please, do something! Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"What the heck. What does this ahjussi want from me now?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted derisively and continued on.
"You think I'm Dorae…." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Ehhei!!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"Oh, right. You think I'm some kind of a robot racc.o.o.n with a box of everything attached? Every time something happens, you come to me, asking me to do this and that! You're an adult, so aren't you ashamed of yourself? You should be taking care of your own c**p, you know??" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
‘But, I saw you trembling in anxiety because no one bothered to ask for your help earlier!!' (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon pounded on his chest in frustration.
I definitely saw with my own two eyes you busy chewing on your nails, anxious about things going wrong somehow, all worried like a mother hen about whether we can pull this off without you or not!!
But now that you're needed, look at you acting like an ent.i.tled brat all of a sudden?!
No, this is way beyond that now.
You can only act spoiled if you have something to gain from that, but this guy, he's just enjoying this situation, isn't he?? (Choi Jung-Hoon's inner monologue)
"Your character…." (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"Mm? Did you say something?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"….No, not really." (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon spat out a long sigh deep within his heart somewhere and began thinking about the best possible way to rescue this situation. First of all, he needed to soothe this guy and his sulky temper tantrums before anything else could be done.
Even though the thoughts of scepticism regarding why he should do that, even though he wasn't this guy's nanny or something, rushed in his head, there was nothing he could do about that now.
His current opponent was none other than Yi Ji-Hyuk, after all.
"You still need to stop that, don't you agree?! If you are unhappy about something, I'll apologise on behalf of everyone! So, like, please stop the zombies!! Please!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"Wow! Look at you, getting all angry and stuff! Aigoo~! Help me, my good neighbours!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Aaargh, seriously! Imma just!!" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"What was that?!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"….It's nothing." (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon stared at the heavens above and let a long sigh of lamentation escape from his mouth. Why couldn't he be an ability user, too?
If he had some sort of power, however small, he would've pounced on Yi Ji-Hyuk even if that meant he'd get beaten up in the end. But that was an impossible dream for a normal person with a weak body.
"I'm not being like this because it's annoying, okay?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Pardon me?" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk with a confused expression.
"It's not because it's annoying, but… Because, I shouldn't be stepping out here. That's why." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"But, why not?" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"I mean, I put them under special training regime and made them stronger, but I couldn't even put them properly to work because of that stinking demon king and whatnot. It's time they realise just how powerful they have become. If I keep wiping their bottoms for them, then they'd soon end up unable to do anything without me around, you know? You want that to happen?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Of course not." (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Indeed, such a thing couldn't be allowed to happen. If that did happen, then the NDF would never be able to escape from Yi Ji-Hyuk's influence, after all.
"So, they gotta do this when things aren't as risky. Or, they might really have to put their lives on the line just to realise that fact later on." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk's collected, earnest words made Choi Jung-Hoon nod his head. This guy, he sometimes had a way of seeing straight through the true nature of things.
And that would be one of the reasons that made dealing with this guy such a ch.o.r.e. However, if there was one thing that still got on Choi Jung-Hoon's nerves, then that would be….
"Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
"Yeah?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"You aren't saying that because you feel too lazy to move, right?" (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Why aren't you answering me?
Yi Ji-Hyuk avoided meeting Choi Jung-Hoon's eyes right until the end.
< 186.="" do="" i="" look="" like="" a="" honourable="" person?="" -1=""> Fin.