Editor’s Note: This chapter seems to be a repeat of the events from the back half of the previous chapter, but with more details.
“Hmm…” Jae Ho studied the survivors around him.
The more he thought about it, the more he realized how lucky he was. As Yohan said, before they met Yohan, he and all the other members of Yohan’s group were in a similar situation as the survivors here. He realized just how amazing Yohan was. Not only did he put himself in danger to protect people, but he also guided them towards a future filled with hope. They fought not only just to survive the current day, but made progress towards a sustainable lifestyle. That was the merit that Yohan brought.
“You’re looking at me again with that expression.” Yohan waved his hand at Jae Ho, bothered by his stare.
“I respect you, leader.”
“Just don’t die,” Yohan replied bluntly.
However, he did care about Jae Ho. Was there anything more sincere than wishing for someone to not die and continue surviving? Jae Ho knew that Yohan had lost many comrades in the past and could sympathize with his pain. As they were chatting, a messenger appeared and guided Yohan to the principal’s office. Yohan told his comrades to wait outside as he followed the messenger inside. There, in the principal’s office, was the leader of Camp Chunhyang.
“Welcome, old man. And our new guest,” she said, excitedly. “I’m Shin Yeon Hee, the leader of this camp. You can call me Yeon Hee.”
“I am Lee Yohan.”
“That’s a unique name. Are you Christian?”
“No, but I grew up in a church sponsored orphanage.”
“I see,” Yeon Hee said, looking nonplussed.
Yohan couldn’t hide his surprise over the fact that Camp Chunhyang’s leader was a middle-aged woman in her 40s. This was mainly due to the information he had previously received about Camp Chunhyang’s unique composition. He knew it was a camp that didn’t have its own tech or production group. They only had combatants. They had to move their base camp several times and all of their non-combat members were killed by another survivor faction or were bitten by a zombie. The camp had managed to survive these life-or-death scenarios, no doubt thanks to this gentle-looking woman.
‘A strong woman.’
Shin Yeon Hee had a gentle face, but she was clearly not a pushover. There was an aura of strength and confidence around her. If he had to choose one word to describe her, ‘cool’ would fit pretty well.
“You look well, old man.”
“It’s been a while Chunhyang Mamma.”
“Jeez, I told you not to call me by that name.”
“How’s your daughter?”
“She is doing well.”
“Call her. I want to see her pretty face.”
“I don’t think that’s something you should say to a mother.” Yeon Hee grumbled.
“If I was 50 years younger, I would already be trying to woo her.” The old man joked.
“I’m really going to cut you in half one of these days, old man.”
Yohan thought that the two groups had only recently became trading partners, but the old man and Yeon Hee seemed like they were pretty close. It was a testament to the old man’s personality. Yeon Hee asked the messenger to find Hyo Jung.
Moments later, Hyo Jung arrived. As soon as Yohan saw her, he understood why the old man wanted to see her so badly. In a word, she was beautiful. She had an innocent looking face with milky white skin. She looked like she just stepped out of a painting. She was still very young, looking as if she was barely ready to go into middle school. Yohan thought that, once she grew up, she would be able to bewitch any man she wanted. Hyo Jung ran into the old man’s embrace.
“Ah, my Chunhyang is getting prettier every day. Do you want to be my granddaughter?”
“That old man is at it again.” Yeon Hee grumbled.
Hyo Jung’s cheeks flushed as she wrapped her arms around the old man’s neck. The old man chuckled and gave her a tight squeeze before picking her up and swinging her around, making airplane sounds. Finally, the old man put the young girl down and patted her on the head. It was such a docile domestic scene that Yohan couldn’t help but smile. Who would have thought that the stern old man had such a soft side for children?
“Seriously, this old man is ridiculous. Oh, young man. I heard you killed that awful Gae Baek Jung.”
Yohan turned to look at Yeon Hee and nodded.
“That’s really surprising…I heard it from the old man when we first met him not too long ago, but I didn’t believe him. Honestly, I still don’t believe it even now.”
“You don’t have to believe that I killed him. The fact that he’s dead is what’s important.”
“Can you tell me how he died?”
Yohan looked at Yeon Hee. Most likely she and her camp had encounters with Gae Baek Jung. He slowly told her about their first encounter with Gae Baek Jung, their battle, how both sides suffered damages, and how Gae Baek Jung ultimately fell into his trap and burned to death. As he got deeper into his story, Yeon Hee couldn’t hide her shocked expression. As Yohan described how he checked Gae Baek Jung’s corpse and went as far as to cut off his head just to be safe, Yeon Hee collapsed into her chair, looking as if all the energy had drained out of her.
“Ah…” Yeon Hee let out a deep sigh. “I’m so relieved. That bastard is gone, really gone.”
“Would you mind sharing what happened between you and him?”
“There’s nothing to share. It’s the typical story of the strong preying on the weak.” Yeon Hee explained, calmly.
Camp Chunhyang had built a reliable shelter near Yongsan station. They managed to survive for a while just by looting nearby discount stores. Suddenly, another group appeared and, whenever a camp member went out, they would either get killed or kidnapped. Yeon Hee wouldn’t stand for it and ordered her camp to fight back. She gathered her elite members and fought against Gae Baek Jung, but they lost and were almost completely annihilated.
In front of all his underlings, Gae Baek Jung raped her and, after that encounter, Camp Chunhyang was devastated. They lost practically all their combative strength and were forced to send supplies to the Seoul Survival Union every week. If they didn’t, Gae Baek Jung threatened to kidnap Hyo Jung and use her as a prostitute.
“Back then, I honestly thought about…commiting suicide and taking Hyo Jung with me. I thought it would be the best thing to do. However, I didn’t have the courage to go through with it.”
After they were put under the oppression of the Seoul Survival Union, Yeon Hee’s right hand assistant and some other camp members tried to escape. However, they were hunted down by Gae Baek Jung and half of them were killed. The other half succeeded in escaping to Yeongdeungpo-gu.
“The bastard didn’t chase them into Yeongdeungpo-gu. Shin Noah’s camp was too close to it.”
“Do they not bother the people of the Yeouido camp?”
“No, those bastards still searched through the Yeouido territory, but they encountered Shin Noah. That encounter cost Yeouido half of their combatants, but a good amount of Gae Baek Jung’s group died as well. After that encounter, Gae Baek Jung avoided them for some reason.”
Yohan thought back to his time in the Yeouido camp in the previous timeline, remembering a few faces that he sorely missed. Yeouido camp’s base camp was the I Mall and they were fiercely fortified against attacks from people like the Seoul Survival Union. Most likely Gae Baek Jung was making preparations to destroy the camp from the inside.
“And then, suddenly Gae Baek Jung acted like a man possessed and travelled out a long distance.”
“…He ignored the Yeouido camp?”
“Yeah. He went out to get you. Besides, everyone knows that the Yeouido camp doesn’t do anything outside their territory. So, he wasn’t worried. It was his mistake.”
“He’s that type of person. He can’t stand it when he believes something belongs to him, but is taken away.”
‘Especially when it’s his main concubine.’
“Those that were living in fear of Gae Baek Jung stayed put and trembled with fear but…he never returned. Weeks passed and then rumors started that he had died.”
“And then Noah made his move.”
“That’s right. That’s when Shin Noah started moving outside his territory. All the remaining Seoul Survival Union members that were managing the camps were killed. After that, he delivered punishment to the camps that sat on the sidelines and watched his camp get attacked. Most of the camps in the area were either annihilated or pushed out, including us.”
“…So that’s what happened.” Yohan was able to play out the scenario in his head. While the events unfolded differently than they did in the previous timeline, he was able to make solid assumptions based on what he knew of Noah’s personality. He knew that Noah wouldn’t just sit idly by and wait for Gae Baek Jung to attack.
However, the end result was not bright for Camp Chunhyang. Even though power had exchanged hands, there was still bloodshed. Even though they managed to survive thanks to Shin Noah, they were unable to actively support his crusade and, no doubt, Shin Noah felt betrayed.
Yohan knew that Noah was just that type of person. He valued loyalty above all else. If Yeon Hee had given some support to Noah, he would have paid them back. If Camp Chunhyang had agreed to fight alongside Shin Noah, they would have been enjoying a much better life than the one they were experiencing right now. They would have had the protection of a powerful camp and all the amenities that the Seoul Survival Union enjoyed.
It was sad to think that they were enemies now. Yohan wasn’t afraid of anyone, but he wasn’t confident in fighting Shin Noah. He wasn’t planning on losing, he just didn’t want to fight them at all. While he had been with his current group for five months, Yohan had fought alongside Noah for almost a year in the previous timeline. He could still vividly remember Noah’s voice, face, and demeanor.
“We would like to avoid fighting with the Yeouido Camp as much as possible.” Yeon Hee said.
“We have to avoid it.” Yohan replied. “I can tell how strong you are, but it’s best to just avoid them and their territory as much as possible. They’re real fighters that aren’t even afraid of mutants.”
Yohan wasn’t thinking about fighting them. Rather, he was worried about them. There was a strong possibility that there was a Seoul Survival Union spy in the Yeouido camp right now. This spy would have played a huge part in the Yeouido camp’s downfall if they had fought against Gae Baek Jung. However, with Gae Baek Jung dead, the spy might have switched allegiance.
In the previous timeline, Kim Seol Hwa and a male Seoul Survival Union member played the role of spy in the Yeouido camp. However, since Kim Seol Hwa went somewhere else, there was a good chance that the male member went in by himself. If the spy was up to his old tricks, things would get rough for the Yeouido camp.
‘Should I try contacting them?’
They would be scary as enemies, but as friends, they would be irreplaceable allies. If he wanted to parley with them, he had to approach them alone no matter what. Noah was friendly towards individuals, but tended not to talk openly with groups. He was the cautious type. Yohan’s survival and camp rules were strongly influenced by Noah. In some ways, he could be considered Yohan’s mentor.
“Chunhyang, I’m going to talk to your mom now. Go and play.” The old man put down the young girl.
“Okay!” Hyo Jung gave him a polite bow, opened the office door, and stepped out.
“Why do you call her Chunhyang?” Yohan asked. Yeon Hee laughed.
“As soon as he saw her, he said, ‘she’s as beautiful as Chunhyang!’ and after that, he kept calling her Chunhyang.”
“Are you surviving okay?” Yohan asked.
“Ah, it feels nice to have a young man worry about me. We’re fine. We’re lacking a bit in food, but we can endure it. We can still get water from the lake and the 119 Fire Station.”
“Are you planning on settling down here?”
“After we rest up for a bit, we’re probably going to head out. I was thinking about going to Bupyeong, where the old man is located, but we don’t want to be a burden. He said they were having a hard time obtaining supplies themselves, so I’m still thinking about it.”
Yeon Hee scratched her chin while examining Yohan from head to toe.
“I was curious what you were like after hearing the old man talk about you so much. You’re just as he described. I feel like I liked you the moment I saw you.”
“Hey, we’re not here to flirt.” The old man said, interrupting the conversation with a frown.
“You’re right. If I was 20 years younger, I would’ve just pushed him onto a bed.”
“You’re a ridiculous bitch.”
“You’re one to talk.”
The old man’s forehead was already quite wrinkly, but more wrinkles formed on his brow and the ones that were already there became deeper.
“Hey kid.” The old man turned to Yohan.
“Yes, old man?”
“Don’t be flirting around. You’re already mine.”
“Oh my.” Yeon Hee clapped her hands on her cheeks. Yohan looked back and forth between the two senior leaders with an embarrassed and puzzled expression on his face. Suddenly, the old man started laughing.
“I’m just jostling ya kid. Don’t get too excited. I thought you didn’t have time for that stuff. Do you have time for such chit chat?”
“I was going to get to that.”
“You’re leaving already? Why don’t you rest up here for a bit?”
“Thank you, but we’re thinking about leaving now.”
“You’re too impatient, that’s not good.”
“This kid is a pretty impatient guy. So, please let us borrow your skateboards.”
“I don’t mind lending you the skateboards, but, I don’t think it’s a good idea to go into Seoul.” Yeon Hee said, her face filled with frustration and regret.
“I have to.” Yohan said, firmly. Yeon Hee glanced at the old man, who gave her a look back. Yeon Hee looked back and forth between Yohan and the old man for a while before nodding her head and sighing.
“He’s very stubborn, just like you said.”
“See, didn’t I tell you? He said something about a disaster coming. This whole apocalypse is a disaster, so I don’t know what else he could be talking about.”
“Great. Well, before you get on the Nodeul road, we’ll lure some of the zombies away. This is my way of repaying you for killing Gae Baek Jung.”
“Ah, thank you.”
“If you go downstairs, there’s a charging station. My young and handsome leader, please survive no matter what and let’s meet again.”
Yohan gave Yeon Hee a smile.
— Ω —