Memorize Ch. 18
Split in Half 8/8
A number of corpses of the Deadmen could be found in front of the pile of rocks.. Each one of them had an arrow in their forehead, about seven in total. Of course, there were still more than double that number left to deal with. Seeing how they trampled and crawled over their own corpses, it seemed as if they would do anything to try and bite me.
“They're working hard, working hard.”
While humming, I poked my hand into my pocket for a bolt but it was only met with air. I fumbled around in my pocket until I felt the very bottom and was able to pull out two bolts. I told myself that I I should collect the bolts that I had already fired on the way back.
Not all the Deadmen were gathered yet. Though I could see the Deadmen in the distance were running hurriedly, it seemed about time to wrap things up. Even if three or four remain and go after the others, An-Hyun would be more than enough to deal with them.
Finally, looking down, I could see the Deadmen swinging their heads back and forth with their mouths wide open and shouting. At the funny sight, I involuntarily started to swing my head back and forth in the same way.
“What the heck am I doing right now?”
Looking at them, I smiled and instinctively covered my mouth.
It seems so exciting. When I was a first time user in Hall Plain, after becoming a Swordmaster, I had little emotional ups and downs. Especially before a battle, I always tried to be cold and cool-headed like ice. Because of this, I was able to survive the battles of Atlanta and Ragnarok, the most difficult battles ever.
It had truly been a long time since this feeling. I didn’t bat an eye when I saw the allied forces with their overwhelming power cars. That same me was now being swayed by the feeling of slaughter. Even now, it didn’t seem possible to control that emotion at all. Though it wasn’t a disadvantageous situation like before, this excitement and anticipation felt like it was melting my whole body.
The more monsters that I saw from on top of the stone, the more excited I became. I felt like I would explode so I leapt down towards the inside of the forest and ran. The Deadmen climbing up the stone cried out in a loud voice. They seemed furious after almost reaching the top to instead see me going down.
“Guys. There are too many eyes to do our business here. Let’s go a little further inside.”
I didn’t know if they understood me but the Deadmen cried out and followed after me.
I intentionally started to enter the forest at a slow pace. My original plan was to run full-speed and widen the distance in an instant, but I changed my mind. I will make sure they don’t lose me in the middle.
A starving Deadman reached the top of the stone only to fall down to the bottom with a loud thud. I shot my crossbow with ease in its direction. The Deadman who had worked so hard to climb up ended up with a bolt in his forehead. After confirming the poor fellow’s dangling head, I turned my body and started right into the forest.
Grrr! Grrr! Grrr! Grrr! Grrr!
It felt like I was getting used to that crying noise. Not worrying if I was caught or not, I ran while keeping my speed in check. Hearing the grinding of teeth right behind me was a fresh thrill. It was then.
However, I was too excited. For a while, I was weaving in and out between the trees in an S-shape when I felt something pinch tightly on my left arm. In shock I looked to the side and saw a Deadman with a strange face biting my left wrist. Most likely it wasn’t one I had lured away but rather one that was wandering around in the area and had luckily gotten a bite in.
Honestly, it didn’t hurt that much, but I was more surprised than anything. That surprise soon approached anger. No matter how lucky it was, this was a blow to my pride. I looked at the Deadman on my wrist and spoke in a disgruntled voice.
“What’re you looking at?”
“You surprised me…. You fuck.”
The Deadman clinging to my wrist had strange eyes. It had bitten me but its teeth hadn’t gone into my skin. Well of course. I have 92 durability points and you’re trying to chew my flesh? With anger and cursing, I swung my right hand and saw its head pop with a bang.
While playing monsters and gangsters for a bit, the Deadmen who had been following started to encircle me. Some of them grinned thinking they had caught their food. I glanced at how far I had come and deciding it was alright, lightly freed my wrist.
Grrr. Grrr. Grrr. Grrr. Grrr. Grrr. Grrr. Grrr.
I heard cries from every direction but I wasn’t afraid at all. Compared to the emissaries of hell I had faced when I fell into that bottomless pit, these guys were nothing. I hoped and hoped that they would satisfy my cravings even just a little.
“I look forward to your kind cooperation.”
I greeted them with a gentle greeting and they responded by baring their teeth. None of you have any manners. At the same time I aimed for the head of a Deadman pushing forward and stretched out my fingers. One down in the very front.
The feeling of digging my fingers through the head was, how should I put it? Not like a person’s tender flesh, but rather the feeling of piercing through a rotten log. As I look at the Deadman with its wound reaching the back of its head, I lift my arm up and suspend it on my fingers and dangle it there. All the Deadmen who had witnessed the scene stopped at once.
Fear. Would those who had always thought of humans as food be able to feel it? That they can be hunted singlehandedly. Still, I had a wonderful thought pop into mind. I don’t know whether it was thought or instinct. These monsters who would mercilessly chase their prey had stopped moving at my presence.
Though admirable, I had no intention of letting the Deadman go. Lightly releasing some energy, I shattered the monster’s head into pieces and relaxed my fingers. Despite giving a cue for them to come at me, the Deadmen took a step back.
I wasn’t thinking of using my longsword. Not having it is not a problem. In my hands, I can break off a nearby twig or pluck a single blade of grass and turn it into a lethal weapon. However, I was thirsty for carnage and to quench that thirst I wanted to have a taste. I cracked my knuckles and deeply smiled. Suddenly, a single thought flashed through my head. I figured out why I couldn’t stop laughing before.
I was hungry for my instinct. As I repeatedly slaughtered with the sword for 10 years to survive, it seems that before I knew it my very nature was drenched in blood. As I watched the monsters gradually move backwards, I twisted the corner of my mouth.
“I think hyung did well. Everyone get up. We need to cross over that wall quickly.”
The forest that was teeming with monsters until now became silent like a lie. Looking at the quiet forest, An-Hyun spoke with a strong voice, but the atmosphere of the group was still down. As he said, Kim Soo-Hyun had succeeded in dragging all of them away. The swarming monsters that were there just a second ago had vanished without a trace. But apart from that, it seemed a hopeless feeling had wrapped itself around everybody.
“Soo-Hyun oppa….think he’s okay? You know what. We can still….”
Lee Yoo-Jung spoke in a discouraged voice that was not like her at all. As soon as An-Hyun heard the words, he felt a sharp pain inside. But he couldn’t show it on the outside. Soo-Hyun hyung had believed in him and told him to protect the others. He couldn’t betray that trust.
“That’s not possible. Enough with the nonsense. Get up quickly. What’re you going to do if they come back?”
“Don’t you worry about oppa?”
“I believe in hyung. He said so too. Don’t be a fool and come back.”
Lee Yoo-Jung closed her mouth at An-Hyun’s calm words. But when he looked at her helpless expression, An-Hyun couldn’t help but feel the same. However, he shook his head and hastily came to his senses. He reassured himself and spoke with a strong voice.
“Let’s believe. I’ll believe in hyung the same way he believes in us.”
After he finished speaking, An-Hyun stood up and went outside and looked around. Fortunately, not one Deadman was in sight. An-Sol carefully got up to go outside along with Lee Yoo-Jung who had no other choice but to follow. Just as she was about to leave the hiding place, Lee Yoo-Jung tapped Kim Han-Byul who was sitting absent-mindedly on the shoulder.
“Hey. Wake up. Why are you suddenly spacing out?”
There was no reply from Kim Han-Byul. She looked at Lee Yoo-Jung with the same cold face as before and slowly got up and walked out. After checking that everyone came out, An-Hyun looked at the stone wall in front of them and opened his mouth.
“Hang in there everyone. Once we get over that stone wall in front of our eyes we can finally escape this damn forest. For now, we’ll go together to the front of the wall but after that I’ll climb over first. We don’t know what other dangers are outside.”
An-Sol and Lee Yoo-Jung, both with an uneasy look on their faces, nodded and agreed with An-Hyun’s words. However, Kim Han-Byul was still silent. For some time now, she was staring at the forest that Kim Soo-Hyun had disappeared into. As if feeling the stare of An-Hyun, she immediately turned her head and spoke.
What does she understand? An-Hyun sighed inwardly but didn’t express it on the outside. When Soo-Hyun hyung was here, everybody helped each other and moved well together, but now that he’s gone, it felt like everything was falling apart from the beginning.
“I know how you all feel. I feel the same. But if we go back into the forest like this, it means that hyung’s sacrifice would have been in vain. This is a chance that Soo-Hyun hyung made putting his life on the line. And hyung asked me to keep you all safe. All we can do now is quickly get over that wall and wait for hyung to return safely. Everyone get it together.”
Even so, the depressed atmosphere did not improve. A morale that has fallen once does not recover easily. An-Hyun was trying his best in his own way, but everybody kept their mouths tightly shut. The more An-Hyun talked, the more he realized how big the gap was that Kim Soo-Hyun had left. Without reason, an uneasiness crept up inside. An-Hyun finally closed his eyes to the pressure of the burden.
The others reminisced about the man with a crossbow who always had a calm face. Only half a day after they met, Kim Soo-Hyun had taken a place in their hearts. Kim Soo-Hyun was the one who quickly got them out of the empty lots, rescued An-Sol from being bitten by the monsters, was there when the team was in danger of being divided by Park Dong-Gul, and shot a bolt whenever there was danger while fighting the monsters. Always in every important situation, he was the fence that firmly supported the party.
But now that fence was gone. He may not come back again. The rest of them felt the emptiness of the void he had left.
‘Monsters and gangsters’ refers to the game ‘Cops and Robbers.’