Pusan Geumjeong District. Everything was silent.
The living dead that had just been all around them minutes ago had completely vanished from sight.
All that remained was a series of high-rise buildings, just like an urban forest.
The entire district had clearly fallen. In all likelihood, the survivors in the entire district were probably located in the areas where the two army divisions were located. Countless vehicles were parked along the roads, but most of them were already badly beaten up and in a state of disrepair. Some had banged up doors, while others had their hoods. Glass shards from the shattered windscreen and windows were strewn all over the floor, and the only traces of humans around were the bloodstains that they had left behind on the cars.
In fact, the only traces of civilization around these parts were the blood stains that were splattered all over the roads, walls and buildings around. Dark trails of dried blood remained where streams of blood used to flow. The scarlet hue of the blood appeared ever so striking, just like poppy flowers growing out of a war-torn zone.
The cold wind swept by, causing litter and scrap paper to rustle along the ground. Garbage bins were knocked over, while billboards were twisted and torn. The entire district appeared no different from a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
“This is nuts…” Even Qin Ye couldn’t help but sigh in exclamation.
How crazy was it to unleash the deadly Ouroboros in the heart of a city with a population size of over 30 million people?
How desperate did Liu Yu have to be to assent to such madness?
The trio walked slowly along the road. The only thing that cut through the deafening silence in the air was the occasional croaking of the crows flying high in the sky. No matter where they looked, there wasn’t a single living dead in sight right now.
That said, they couldn’t help but feel as though countless eyes were watching them from the shadows, scrutinizing their every movement. They would see nothing when they took a closer look, but they simply couldn’t shake off the niggling feeling that something was staring intently at them. It was an uncomfortable feeling.
“Child’s play.” Oda Nobutada sneered as Yin energy burst forth from his seven apertures. However, Qin Ye promptly held him by his wrist and shook his head gently.
Oda Nobutada froze, and then whispered back, “Are you afraid that we might attract Liu Yu’s attention now?”
Qin Ye responded indifferently, “Pusan is the location of the third part of the script of death, and also the location where the Train to Pusan incident happened. Liu Yu will definitely have his underlings stationed here. Hellguard-class Yin spirits are a rare sight here in Daehan. If you unleash your powers right now, I’m almost certain you’ll see a reaction in no more than three minutes’ time. In fact, we’ll probably see underworld emissaries, LSD agents, as well as the other expert cultivators that Cathay had sent to Daehan in support of their operations here.”
“There’s no need to be too concerned about the living dead right now.” Qin Ye walked along the road and glanced around at the dilapidated buildings situated all around them, “There are countless living dead trudging through the streets in Pusan right now. So what if we find them? Do we purge and kill them all? What’s more important right now is to locate Lee Jung-sook as quickly as we can.”
Wang Chenghao tutted softly, “I think someone’s really fallen in love--…”
“No…” Oda Nobutada responded after a short moment of deliberation, “I think I understand where Lord Qin is coming from. When the script of death is being drafted, not only does one have to consider the storyline itself, it would also be important to consider its impact on the mortal realm. And to that end, Ms Lee’s position of power and influence would undoubtedly put us in access to information about the government’s reaction to the occurrences here in Pusan. This way, we’d be able to corroborate the mortal realm’s reaction and the script of death itself and get a fuller picture of all that Tsar Arturo had orchestrated thus far.”
Qin Ye gave Oda Nobutada a deep nod of appreciation - Exceptional! Like father, like son!
It’s only been a year, and you’ve already begun to blossom beautifully.
Then, Qin Ye turned to give Wang One Tail a disdainful look - Can you please learn more from Oda Nobutada, you piece of trash?!
“My Lord… I’ve located her!” Just then, Kwon Kyung-ho’s voice resounded from the ballpoint pen with incomparable excitement, “She’s located at the southwestern part of the Geumjeong District, and it’s no more than thirty intersections away!”
“I want the specific location!”
The ballpoint pen grew silent for a moment, and then suddenly trembled violently. In an instant, the tip of the pen swiveled around violently and forcefully came to a halt in a particular direction, “Husaeng Middle School! It’s… the middle school that I was from!”
The wind gently tousled her shoulder-length hair, causing wisps of them to run across her beautiful face.
Her beauty was practically indescribable. It was hard not to go overboard given how much of a rare beauty she was, and yet one would also run the risk of understating her beauty if one chose to err on the side of caution. Her appearances weren’t the kind that would astound the world, but rather… the kind that looked so pleasant that it was difficult to keep one’s eyes off her.
“Sister Jung-sook, what are you looking at?” A voice called out from behind, and a lady that was in her late twenties stepped out from behind and followed where her gaze was at.
They had a good vantage of the devastation that had torn through the entire district. Everything in sight was completely desolate and barren.
They also had a good view of the entire Husaeng Middle School, together with the soldiers who stood guard tirelessly at its borders in strict formation all day.
Countless talismans hung from endless chains on the outskirts of Husaeng Middle School. Meanwhile, she could also see people moving about and playing with each other on the playground within the Middle School’s grounds. The juxtaposition of the desolation on the outside and the vibrancy on the inside made Husaeng Middle School appear no different from an oasis in the desert.
“I’m just wondering when we’ll be able to leave this place.” Lee Jung-sook calmly retracted her gaze. The sun was just setting, and she could sense that the living dead hiding in the shadows were already beginning to stir once more.
The lady behind her sighed and sat down on the table beside her, “Perhaps… never in this lifetime…”
“At the very least, we’ll have to wait until the entire Pusan has been cleared of those monstrosities. And even then, the authorities would still have to check if we’re carriers of the virus…” The lady muttered wistfully, “Fortunately, the water and electricity around these parts are still running. Otherwise… we might not be able to live, even with the supplies that we have.”
Lee Jung-sook remained silent.
“By the way, your mother has asked me to ask if you’ve managed to secure the supplies. She’s hungry.”
“Got it.” Lee Jung-sook frowned immediately as she bent over, lifted the two boxes at her feet and began to head back from where she came.
The boxes weren’t small. Each of them were about the size of a small suitcase, and they contained three days’ worth of supplies. Everything that they needed for survival had been packed in these boxes, from laundry detergent to toothpaste and toothbrushes. Unfortunately, that also meant that the boxes weren’t light.
She lifted them up and carried them to the door of another classroom. The tables and chairs within this classroom have long been emptied out, and the room had been further subdivided into different areas by white canvases. There were varying sizes to these areas, depending on the number of family members staying within a single partition. She walked straight into the innermost partition. As soon as she opened the door to her partition, a dense stench of smoke wafted out, causing her to frown hard.
There was another middle-aged lady and a reasonably tall man already seated in the room. The lady was lying on the mattress on the ground, fiddling with her cell phone, while the man was smoking the cigarette in his mouth and messing around with his ipad.
“You’re finally back?!” The lady immediately tossed away her phone as she snapped at Lee Jung-sook. The anger and frustration of being cooped up in a single location, coupled with the loneliness of isolation and endless boredom caused her to explode like an active volcano. She pointed accusingly at Lee Jung-sook and berated her, “How long does it take to get the damn supplies? How could that short trip have taken more than ten minutes?! Are you being intractable just because you see that I'm getting old? How did I end up with such a heartless daughter-in-law like you?!”
Lee Jung-sook remained silent. She quietly set down the supplies in the corner and began to clean up the leftover instant noodles on the table in front of the lady’s bed.
“Hey, I’m talking to you!” Lee Jung-sook’s silence only seemed to stoke the frustrations in the middle-aged lady’s heart. At once, she pointed her finger directly at Lee Jung-sook’s nose and yelled at her at the top of her voice, “To think that our family has worked so hard to raise you, and this is how you repay me? Why aren’t you saying anything? Are you deaf or dumb?! My god! What kind of dumb luck does my son have to have married such a good-for-nothing like you?!”
Her voice grew sharper and shriller, so much so that everyone in the classroom could hear her accusations. At once, a buzz of whispers echoed out from the other parts of the classroom. Lee Jung-sook finally spoke, “Mum.”
“It’s just that the queue today was a little bit longer than usual…”
“A little bit longer? Who are you trying to kid? I can tell that you’re just not willing to treat me with respect and serve the elderly!” Lee Hyomin barked back, “What’s the matter? Do you think I’m mistreating you? Do you think I’m nit-picking on you? You’re only in your twenties, and yet you’ve just been living off the fruits of Dae-jung’s labour. Open your eyes! The circumstances are different now! Do you really think you can get by without working properly?! Dae-jung has really spoilt you!”
Lee Jung-sook bit down on her lips - It shouldn’t be this way… Her mind throbbed in pain. A little voice within her mind told her that this couldn’t be real. But whenever she tried to probe a little deeper, she couldn’t recall a thing of the past.
“Look at yourself! What’s a young demure girl like you doing covering yourself in tattoos?! Just look at what you’ve become! You--...”
“Shut up.” Just then, the man playing with his ipad in the corner of the room finally interjected, “Do you want everyone else in the classroom to hear you? Have you gone mad?!”
“You!” He spat the cigarette between his lips onto the ground as he raised his chin towards Lee Jung-sook, “Clean this up, and then go get a bucket of water for the house.”
Lee Jung-sook sighed in resignation, “My feet hurt…”
She hadn’t had a proper break since the morning.
She couldn’t understand how Lee Hyomin could have so many orders for her that she couldn’t even catch a breather between tasks.
Has this how my life has been so far?
Lee Jung-sook stared at Lee Dae-jung and his gruff beard. He was looking at her with a bright gleam in his eyes. And then, she turned to glance at her mother-in-law who was lying on the bed like a sleeping Buddha, nit-picking at every single thing she was doing. She simply couldn’t accept the reality before her eyes.
“Your feet hurt?!” Lee Dae-jung tossed his ipad onto the mattress at once and slammed the table angrily, “Why didn’t it hurt back then when you were practically living off me? And did it not hurt when you got all those tattoos of yours?! Or are you trying to tell us that we should be the ones serving you?! Get lost!!”
Lee Jung-sook gritted her teeth, picked up the bucket at the corner of the room and walked out of the partition.
The remaining two continued to use their phone and ipad until Lee Jung-sook left the classroom altogether. Then, Lee Dae-jung looked up and complained to his mother, “Mom, why are you always nit-picking on her?”
“What do you know?” Lee Hyomin laid back lazily on her bed with a snicker, “This lady looks amazing, and she even has an air of dignity about her… If not for the fact that I found her completely passed out in the garbage dump, do you think you old good-for-nothing would have been able to marry such a fine lady?!”
Lee Dae-jung gulped nervously, and his breaths grew ragged, “Then… when can I… consummate the marriage with her? She’s not even willing to lay on the same mattress as me!”
“Then shut up and stop interfering with my plans!” Lee Hyomin glared at him fiercely, “Look at her right now! Do you really think you’ll be able to consummate the marriage with her as things currently stand?! You’ll have to first properly educate her on what being a lady is all about, and then make her life revolve around you! You have to be heaven to her!”
“We’ll tame her first, and then see to it that you two have a formal wedding once we’re out of this god-forsaken place. Be mean to her now so that she’ll be kinder to you later on. Nobody understands women better than I do, especially these princessy types like her. If you don’t scold and beat her into submission, she’ll climb all over your head.”
“I don’t know where that little lady has come from, but this is practically a godsend to you. I was the one who saved her life anyway. How can she complain that I’m nit-picking on her? I’m just training her to become a good daughter-in-law! If not for me, she would have starved to death in the garbage dump a long time ago!” With that, Lee Hyomin clasped her hands together and respectfully prayed, “Bless us, God…”
Meanwhile, Lee Jung-sook lifted the heavy bucket of water and slowly trudged back to the classroom.
She didn’t want to go back at all.
But… where else could she go?
Life like this was far worse than death itself.
When she first came to her senses, she already had a mother-in-law and a husband. They experienced an onslaught of the living dead soon after, but neither of the two did anything. In particular, Lee Dae-jung… was a man that made her sick in the guts.
I shouldn’t be here… She rubbed her temples, trying desperately to remember where she had come from, but to no avail.
This isn’t who I am… This isn’t me...Previous Chapter Next Chapter