Chapter 10 Relic (1)
Kim Tae Hoon was in the middle of doing some shopping at the super mall. Chocolate, seasoned salt, almonds, jam, jerky…. .. .
Of course it wasn’t unusual to shop for such items in the groceries section of the second basement level of the mall.
Except with the time swiftly approaching 2 o’clock and the shelves all toppled over like dominoes, he had to pick up the goods from off the floor and store them in a bag that still had its tags attached instead of a shopping cart.
Of course, he also had no intention of ringing the items up at the counter.
It was perhaps the most bizarre scene of a man shopping in the world.
“What do you plan to do now?”
While Kim Tae Hoon was wondering which of the five types of coffee beans in front of him he should choose, Ahn Sun Mi struck up a conversation.
Instead of answering Ahn Sun Mi’s question, he took a coffee bean from one of the ripped packages on the floor, put it in his mouth, and finely chewed it up.
He opened his mouth only after enjoying the fragrance of the bean.
“I’m thinking of leaving this place as soon as possible. As for the other survivors, they’ll figure out what to do on their own.”
“You’re going to….. that’s something I figured out just by watching you Kim Tae Hoon-ssi.”
“Well if you already knew then that’s that.”
“I was hoping you would give me a more definite answer. Like what you’re planning, where you’re going to go, and what long-term goals you have…..”
Kim Tae Hoon turned to look at Ahn Sun Mi before she could finish her thought.
His cold gaze bore straight into Ahn Sun Mi’s eyes.
Ahn Sun Mi’s words trailed off.
His eyes were cold, cold to the extent where it would be impossible for a normal person to have such a gaze.
She had a special role, her job was to be a doctor. She was an official who constantly came into contact with the boundary between life and death. She knew better than anyone when not to fight.
“It’s ok to be curious, but there’s no need for me to tell you anything.”
Ahn Sun Mi shut her mouth after having heard what Kim Tae Hoon said.
Kim Tae Hoon continued.
“What I require is absolute obedience, not a parasite that clings onto me thinking that I’ll keep it safe.”
Ahn Sun Mi reflexively opened her mouth, her face red.
“If there’s some give and take, then if it’s like the crocodile and the bird, then it should be ok. Of course you won’t actually find a symbiotic crocodile and bird relationship in real life.”
“You-.. .” .” .” .”
Kim Tae Hoon put out his right palm before Ahn Sun Mi could say anything. Ahn Sun Mi had a blank expression on her face.
Kim Tae Hoon flipped his hand. He revealed the pattern on his right hand.
As Kim Tae Hoon brought his hand back, Ahn Sun Mi rummaged around her pants pocket before fishing out her smart phone. She unlocked the phone and navigated to a picture before handing it over to Kim Tae Hoon.
Strength : 11
Stamina : 14
Mana : C+ Rank
Magic Resistance : C+ Rank
Physical Defense : F Rank
It was a picture of the tattoo on her hand, and after looking through the information, he opened his mouth,
“Become a lone survivor, or become my subordinate. Make a clear choice.”
Ahn Sun Mi remembered something.
She remembered the silent showdown between Kim Tae Hoon and the black orc, and her trying to run away with Kim Tae Hoon’s subordinate, Bang Hyun Wook.
That was the reason why.
It was because of what happened then that Kim Tae Hoon was so cold towards Ahn Sun Mi.
‘Magic rank C+. Three years into her residency. Well regardless, she’ll grow stronger if she joins me.’
He wasn’t trying to get back at her for what she did.
Kim Tae Hoon was fully understanding of what was going through her head at the time.
She was not his subordinate at the time, just a survivor, but as a survivor, she still had the courage to go back and try to get Bang Hyun Wook to escape as well.
It was obvious that she would urge him to run away instead of fight, but it also became a great opportunity for Kim Tae Hoon to see inside Bang Hyun Wook’s mind.
He could understand her wishes up to that point.
If she had done that while being his subordinate, he would have never forgiven her.
A friend who runs away from the battlefield is often times more dangerous than the actual enemy.
Anyways, the ball was in her court now.
Now the choice was hers.
If she chooses not to join him, they would just part ways.
If she does choose to join him, she’ll have to obey him, but they’ll move together.
“What are the conditions for me becoming your subordinate?”
Ahn Sun Mi slightly bit her lips.
“Fine, I’ll even gladly take off my clothes if you tell me to.”
“I don’t want anything like that, I just need to know that you’re determined. I need to know that you are resolved to leave your life in my hands.”
With that, Kim Tae Hoon rose up from his seat. In the end, he did not pick a coffee.
“Do you not need coffee?”
“Although I really want it, I can’t eat this stuff.”
Bang Hyun Wook’s voice rang out. He was carrying a whopping three bags, two hanging from his front and back, and another in his left hand. In his right hand was a brand new baseball bat.
He had been away on an errand for Kim Tae Hoon, and had returned with everything he had told him to get from the first basement level.
Kim Tae Hoon walked towards the escalator without any hesitation. It was now time to leave.
Receiving a bag from Bang Hyun Wook, Ahn Sun Mi slung it over her shoulder and followed after Kim Tae Hoon.
“Hey, hyungnim. Can I ask a question?”
” …… Are you going to do anything with the other survivors that are still here?”
The other survivors’ gazes perked up.
The survivors who had fled to the first basement level looked up at Bang Hyun Wook who was still picking things up off the floor on Kim Tae Hoon’s behalf.
Their gazes were despondent.
Their eyes gave off an air of desperation, but they did not know what to do.
Bang Hyun Wook could not bear the weight of their stares.
So it was Bang Hyun Wook’s intent to make Kim Tae Hoon a hero.
“They’ll just have to rely on themselves.”
“If you want to take them under your wing, feel free to do so. But don’t expect any help from me.”
Kim Tae Hoon had no intention of becoming a hero.
No, even if Kim Tae Hoon really wanted to be a hero, he would have greater reason to abandon the survivors here.
A real hero would sacrifice the few to save the many. [TN: I’m not sure how abandoning them would save the many. Maybe sacrificing these survivors would allow him to save more people around the city?]
Bang Hyun Wook was troubled over Kim Tae Hoon’s words.
However, such controversy didn’t last long.
If he didn’t follow Kim Tae Hoon, then his fate would be no different from these survivors here.
“I’ll follow you hyungnim.”
“Thinking to use the cooking oil was a good idea.”
Kim Tae Hoon briefly praised him.
Bang Hyun Wook laughed a little at the fact that Kim Tae Hoon had praised him for the first time.
“It was, wasn’t it? At first I thought it was a stupid thing to do. If I had used my head the last time during a scouting, I would have been nominated by a pro…… no wait, I wouldn’t have met you if that had happened …….”
“More than that, what do you plan to do from here?”
Knowing that Bang Hyun Wook would not stop talking, Ahn Sun Mi quickly cut in.
She couldn’t bear to listen to Bang Hyun Wook ramble on when she still hadn’t received the answer she wanted.
Unlike last time, Kim Tae Hoon answered her question.
“For now, our priority is to leave this place.”
“And the reason for leaving?”
“Do you want the long answer or the short answer?”
“Um, I guess the detailed answer……”
“As soon as the sun rises, this place will become hell on Earth.”
That word made Bang Hyun Wook and Ahn Sun Mi’s face stiffen.
” ……Are there going to be more monsters?”
“Even if no monsters appeared, it would still be hell.”
When they reached ground level, a man approached them.
“Ex, excuse me…….”
There was no vigilance.
The one to appear was none other than Park Jae Un.
Having somehow muddled through the turmoil, he had carefully approached Kim Tae Hoon.
“W, what should I do now?”
Behind him was his crying daughter and his embarrassed wife.
Kim Tae Hoon gave him a short bit of advice.
“You should stock up on five days worth of foodstuffs that are high in calories and easy to store, like chocolate. After, the safest place to be is probably the city hall which isn’t too far from here. Also, make sure that you keep a close watch on your body temperature. Don’t move around in a vehicle, in fact, carry around tents instead. Lastly, it would be a good idea to secure some sort of harness you can use to carry your child just in case.”
It was a surprisingly friendly advice.
However, to Park Jae Un who was listening, it sounded more like cold words coming from his mouth.
After all, it had to do with his survival.
Park Jae Un’s face was white.
It was in response to the fact that he had to somehow survive in this new world with his wife and daughter where monsters ran amuck, and society had collapsed.
Regardless, Park Jae Un turned his white face to Kim Tae Hoon.
“Thank you. Thank you for saving us.”
He did not forget to return some common courtesy. If it weren’t for his common decency, he would have already abandoned his family and left.
That was why Kim Tae Hoon had even bothered to give him even the smallest bit of advice.
At least the way Kim Tae Hoon saw it, Park Jae Un deserved to survive.
Park Jae Un looked at the outgoing Bang Hyun Wook and Ahn Sun Mi with a pitiful look on his face.
‘Yeah, I suppose hyungnim is right. This is the way to go.’
‘ …… The emergency room will be quiet, I can feel that it’ll be cold and lifeless’
Before yesterday, who would have even imagined this scene.
But what was more frightening was how unexpected it was, there was absolutely no way anyone could have imagined that this would have happened.
Kim Tae Hoon’s eyes were cold. He could calmly foresee the dangers that he might have to face.
“The population of Bucheon is about 800,000. When the atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima, the casualties were around 70,000. Even during that overwhelming disaster, the death toll was still less than 100,000. So, although this is a disaster beyond the scope of anything that has happened throughout history, the number of survivors in Bucheon should exceed 700,000.”
Kim Tae Hoon explained while keeping a calm and steady posture.
“In other words, it means that there are 700,000 people cowering in fear in Bucheon without any electricity, communications, gas, police, firefighters, and other city provided services who are also waiting for sunrise.”
It sounded like there was a soul escaping from Ahn Sun Mi’s mouth.
There was an image drawn before her.
When the sun rises, what kind of scene will unfold in Bucheon?
“A lot of the monsters are currently just as confused as we are and are either hiding or stalking preys. At some point, an even stronger monster might appear as well.”
Obviously it would be a depiction of hell.
“Also, it’s highly likely that this catastrophe isn’t specific to just Bucheon, otherwise we would have received help from other cities like Seoul or Incheon. The whole world might be like this as well.”
But the most important thing to take into consideration was the fact that this was only the beginning.
“Anyways, in order to survive in this situation, there are two things that you should know.”
Kim Tae Hoon had experienced many things in many places.
In a situation where the government doesn’t exist, how do you think humans would behave?
“Common sense loses value and leads the way to violence and force.”
And the most effective way to deal with it?
“I’ll tell you what we’ll do from now on. There’s a police station nearby. Once we arrive, grab a weapon. From there, we’ll head east.”
“We’ll get better weapons from the military base there.”