As the battle was just about over, Yohan started reviewing the events that had just taken place. The fact that he shot off one of the mutant’s arms earlier was a major factor in the outcome of their close-quarter combat. If the mutant had been in good condition during its third attack, it would have been difficult to block both claws. Even though this variant wasn’t very dangerous, it was still a difficult fight. Gremlins typically appeared in dark narrow tunnels and didn’t have a lot of fighting prowess.
Despite all of that, he still struggled. Yohan let out a soft sigh. He really wanted to avoid any fights that involved mutants. The military should be the ones that dealt with them, not him. Just thinking that the mutant that destroyed the nearby army base was probably still alive made his teeth chatter.
“Hey bro, you okay? You’re all covered in blood.”
“What’s the situation with the zombies?”
“I killed all the ones that I saw. There weren’t a lot.”
“And Ha Jin?” Yohan asked. Sweeper shrugged his shoulders.
‘Did he get killed?’ Yohan strained his ears, but couldn’t hear anything behind him.
“Hey! Are you alive?” Sweeper called out. After a moment of silence, they heard Ha Jin reply. He looked as if he had just gone through a tough fight. Similar to Yohan, he was covered in sweat and zombie blood. He must have been swinging his arms around a lot, as one of them looked quite swollen. It was too early to feel comradeship, but, at this moment, Yohan thought that Ha Jin was a very reliable partner.
“The back is clear too.” Ha Jin said, in a low voice.
“No one got bitten or scratched, right?”
The duo nodded their heads at the same time. Yohan wanted to check them over to make sure, but getting to a place with more light was a higher priority.
“Great. Good job.” Yohan let out another sigh, this time it was one of relief. The battle was officially over. He took the lead once more and started moving. All they had to do now was to sing a sweet song to lure away the zombies from the camp that he had worked so hard on.
* * *
“What was that grotesque looking thing?” Ha Jin asked. They were still walking through the subway tunnel. Ha Jin didn’t get to watch the end of Yohan’s fight with the mutant, so he had a lot of questions.
“A mutant zombie. It’s the reason why the military bases and government fell.” Yohan replied, offering no new information. Ha Jin tried a different question.
“Aren’t the zombies caused by some sort of virus? Like, humans would turn into zombies if they get bitten or scratched.”
“Then that… thing… you can’t scientifically explain it. How can a monster like that be created?”
“Can you scientifically explain zombies?” Yohan smirked.
“Not really.” Ha Jin didn’t really seem to like Yohan’s answer, so Yohan elaborated.
“I’m not sure what kind of answer you were expecting from me, but I’m curious about it too. I don’t know where or how these damn zombies came to be. As for the mutant zombies, I don’t know why or how they were created.”
If he combined both timelines, he would have had survived for a total of three years and six months, but he had learned nothing about the outbreak itself. All he could do each day was endure and survive.
“It could be the result of a private company or the government working on a biochemical weapon that went horribly wrong. Or mother nature could have devised it to purge the humans that were destroying the Earth. If not that, then maybe it’s the apocalypse prophesied in the Bible. However, what’s important is…” Yohan paused for a moment before continuing, “no matter what caused this shitty apocalypse, it’s not our job to find the cause and solve it. It’s up to the higher-ups to figure it out. Of course, that’s only if they’re still alive.”
Ha Jin and Sweeper leaned in, fully engrossed in Yohan’s explanation.
“Our job is to survive in this damn world, no matter what. Live. That’s it. Just like what we were doing before the apocalypse.” Yohan’s words made the duo contemplative. A heavy silence settled on the group.
In silence, the three arrived in Sinjung-dong Station. They entered a convenience store in front of the station and acquired some supplies. Yohan sighed before asking the two a question.
“I believe our time together ends here… so, what are you two going to do?”
“Well,” Sweeper was the first to answer, “I’ll probably go back to roaming around by myself. Nothing to it.”
“I’ll have to find a place to stay. I guess you’re asking this question for a reason.”
Yohan nodded his head. “I’d like to offer a place at my camp. Come with me. It’ll benefit you more than me since you’ll survive longer with me.”
The duo didn’t seem bothered by the brazen nature of Yohan’s statement. They probably believe it as well. They could feel that Yohan’s leadership and their teamwork would increase their overall chances of survival.
Truthfully, there was no reason to think twice about the offer. They were just surprised by Yohan’s sudden proposal, given how reserved he was so far. However, Sweeper needed to confirm something before he could agree.
“Who exactly are you, bro?”
“Didn’t we exchange names?”
“I’m not asking for your name. I survived six months in this apocalypse, same as you. But, in my opinion, you’re definitely not an ordinary survivor. It’ll be bad if you think that I’m an idiot. Who are you? How do you know so much about that mutant? Are you involved with this mess?” Sweeper asked some very specific questions, but they weren’t anything that Yohan could answer straightforwardly. He didn’t trust them completely yet, so there was no reason to tell them his secret. Even if he did answer truthfully, he was unsure if they would believe him or not.
“I have nothing to say. You wouldn’t believe me even if I told you. Would you believe me if I said I came back from the dead?”
“Or that I am a prophet sent by god? Or an oracle that could look into the future?”
“Or maybe a government official from a biochemical laboratory? Maybe that’s more believable?”
“Of course not. I’m kidding. You’re so naive. I’m just an ordinary survivor. I simply experienced a lot in a short amount of time. If you’re curious about my experience, then join me. You’ll learn what I know even if you don’t want to.”
Sweeper looked like he had made up his mind. Yohan turned to face Ha Jin.
“What about you?”
“I’ll join.” Ha Jin replied without hesitation. He already believed that he owed his life to Yohan anyways. From the beginning, he was planning to stay by his side until Yohan kicked him out.
“What’s your plan now? Do you have a plan? I don’t think you intend to spend every day like this.” Ha Jin asked. Yohan was impressed with their questions. They were definitely Grade A survivors. Ordinary people were surprised by Yohan’s ability and experience and would follow him without question. However, not a lot of people would notice that Yohan was preparing for the future. The question surprised Yohan, but he decided to answer honestly.
“I’m going to create a wide district organization.” Yohan said. Ha Jin frowned, the answer was still too vague.
“Can you explain it to me simply?”
“I’m going to gather survivors and, after training them to be pros, I’m going to create different camps, like an organization, in Bucheon City. The organization will have three goals. First, be safe from the zombies. Second, create a sustainable system where people can obtain supplies and survive on their own. Third, gather enough power to protect the organization from malicious outsiders.”
Yohan planned on creating several small camps, each consisting of around 20 people. They would all work together as part of one large organization. This organization would last around two years. After that, he had something else planned.
“Malicious outsiders? Like Gold Moon?” Ha Jin asked. Yohan sneered.
“No need to worry about dumb, third-rate villains like them.” To Yohan, Gold Moon was a shitty low-tier gang that barely qualified as a group. They were lacking organization and quality members. Sure, they managed to catch him and put him in danger, but that was more bad luck due to the encounter with Sweeper and the mutant causing the zombie wave.
The real enemy on Yohan’s mind was on an entirely different level. These enemies wouldn’t rely on low-key, shallow violence to control their camp members. They used religion. After members become blindly loyal to them, they could drive them to their deaths or rouse them into a frenzy and turn them against groups outside of their organization.
These enemies would also create a hierarchical structure and, in exchange for their safety, people would accept violence and exploitation into their lives as if it was just. Still, no matter the method, creating a tight knit group was the basis of an organization. Once united, they could shock and awe their enemies. Battles with these kinds of groups were inevitable and inscrutable. They will definitely clash, but it’s difficult to deal with them without any consequences.
“You’ll eventually meet people who have thrown away their humanity, such as cannibals that hunt people for meat, and they’ll make the Gold Moon bastards look third-rate.” Yohan spoke with a smile on his face. The other two kept their mouths shut tight.
“I’ll assume that both of you are joining me. I’ll explain more as we go. Oh yeah, one more thing to keep in mind. From now on, I’ll think of you two as comrades. I expect you guys to have my back. But, if you betray or sellout a comrade, I’ll kill you without hesitation. If you don’t like it, you can leave now.” Yohan spoke, with brutal honesty. The two men suddenly felt like they were in the presence of a savage beast. Yohan was blunt and nonchalant about killing them, which gave them chills.
Still, neither backed out. Yohan took the lead and the two followed. The group moved from Sinjung-dong Station to Bucheon City Hall Station. The road was fairly empty and quiet now. It was as if all the zombies headed to H Mall, as not a single zombie could be seen outside.
The first thing they had to do right now was to get rid of the zombies near their camp. The easiest way to do that was to lure them with sound. Zombies responded to sound, so if they create some loud noises, they would gather here. The trio got closer to Bucheon City Station and picked out a suitable car.
Since the streets were quiet, a car alarm was enough to lure zombies away. Yohan smashed the window of a fancy import car with the butt of his rifle. Soon, loud beeping echoed throughout the streets. The trio found two more import cars, broke their windows as well, and then quickly ran into an alleyway.
It would have been great if they could lure the zombies even further away from the camp. However, in order to do that, they would need sound equipment. But that was a pipe dream. All Yohan could do was with simply drawing the zombies away from the entrance of the camp and he had to be satisfied with that.
As the zombies chased after the sound, Yohan entered the mall parking lot. There was a bunch of zombie corpses at the entrance. Some zombies from the zombie wave must have came this way. Yohan’s expression turned grim.
There was a pile of zombie corpses on the outer side of the truck barricade. On the inner side, a handful of zombies were roaming around. On top of the truck, Yohan saw a zombie that was howling sadly. It was unable to move as one of its arms and legs were bitten off.
The face of the zombie was familiar to Yohan.
— Ω —
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