It was Sang Joon Kim, one of the camp members. Yohan stabbed him in the head to let him rest in peace. He looked over to the entrance and saw that it was sealed shut. This meant that there was one victim, but they didn’t let the zombies in.
The trio opened the parking lot gate while clearing out the zombies. Yohan organized his thoughts. The zombies were on the first floor again. They had managed to lure a bunch of zombies away with a loud sound, but the remaining zombies and broken glass hinted at the chaos that enveloped this area not too long ago.
“This…” Sweeper and Ha Jin were mindful of their words. Yohan’s expression didn’t give much away, but there was no hiding the heavy feeling in the air.
“Cover me while I block the entrance.” Yohan requested quietly. He brought over an iron partition and used it to cover the broken glass door. It wouldn’t block out humans, but they could at least avoid attracting the attention of ordinary zombies.
The trio spent little time clearing out the zombies on the first floor and headed straight to the B1F emergency exit. There were a lot of zombies in front of the door. One of them spotted Yohan, but he kicked it over and began killing the zombies one by one. He was feeling anxious, imagining the worst case scenario.
Slowly, he turned the door handle. The door was locked. He knocked and yelled, but there was no answer.
“Sweeper, your axe.”
Yohan broke the door handle with Sweeper’s axe. The noise caught the attention of the zombies waiting for them on the other side of the door. Just yesterday, these were camp members.
The first thing that Yohan saw was Min Seo eating Byung Jin. Yohan’s expression turned cold. Memories of his time with the happy couple flashed before his eyes.
“Hey bro…” Sweeper started to call out to Yohan, but Ha Jin stopped him. Slowly, Yohan walked over and stabbed Min Seo and Byung Jin in the temple. After that, he stabbed the heads of the two elders that loved to play chess every day. Finally, he stabbed the mother and her three children, who had all turned to zombies. He could still remember when the eldest boy threatened him with a fruit knife and his mom threw soiled diapers at him.
Yohan turned his attention to Ki Moon and Sung Bae’s corpses. He was about to stab Ki Moon in the head, but saw that there was already a hole.
‘Yohan, my name is Ki Moon, not Mr. Diploma!’
He was a friendly and bright person. On top of that, he had a very valuable skill in automotive engineering. Yohan looked over to Sung Bae, who laid on the ground next to Ki Moon.
‘Yohan, you’re seriously a beast… it’s the first time my heart fluttered for a man.’
He was Ki Moon’s partner in crime. His ability to drift cars was a work of art.
Yohan let out a weak sigh. The grief he was feeling wasn’t tremendous. It was more that he had almost forgotten the emotional turmoil that came with losing a comrade. The tingling spread over every inch of his body. He wasn’t sure if it was because he had come to like these survivors in a short period of time or if it was because a camp that he had built from the ground up had collapsed.
Just then, Yohan realized that he almost missed something. There was a shortage of corpses. In total, there were nineteen dead bodies. Jung Hwan and Saeri were missing, as were Elder Park, Seo Jun, and Ji Hye. Even if they included Sang Joon, who they encountered in the parking lot, there were still ten people not accounted for.
Yohan’s footsteps fell fast as he raced to open the storage room door.
Behind the steel door was Elder Park and seven other camp members. The faces of the survivors lit up when they saw Yohan. They were like baby birds, desperately waiting for their mother to give them food. They looked at him as if he was their savior.
“You’re safe.” Yohan turned on a lamp and helped people stand up. They had been trembling in fear in the dark storage room. The majority of them were support staff, not fighters.
“The zombies outside have been taken care of, so you can come out now.” Yohan began filling the empty lamps with oil and lit them all up. The dark basement of the mall was now filled with the flickering light of their flames.
“What happened?” Yohan asked. Elder Park started describing how the zombies outside started screaming and a large number of them attacked the mall. The survivors abandoned the first floor and parking lot and fled to the basement, but Sung Bae and Min Seo were infected. Despite getting bitten by Min Seo, Byung Jin was able to hold off the infected, buying time for the other camp members to escape to the storage room.
“Where’s Saeri and Jung Hwan?”
“Jung Hwan couldn’t escape from the parking lot and told us to close the door. I don’t know where Saeri is, we assumed that she’s on the roof.” Elder Park replied. Yohan nodded.
“I’ll go to the roof now. I know it’s asking a lot from all of you, but please clean up the corpses again. Sweeper, follow me. Ha Jin, protect them.”
“Who are these…?” Elder Park asked, pointing at the two men.
“They’re our new comrades.” Yohan replied, nonchalantly. Sweeper and Ha Jin acknowledged Yohan’s instructions in their own way.
There were no zombies encountered on the way to the roof. Instead, a group of them were gathered just before the roof’s steel door. There was already a pile of zombie corpses with holes in their heads, but there were still more behind them that were active. Yohan fired a shot with his crossbow and undead eyes turned to face them. Yohan fired repeatedly at the zombies.
“Hey bro, it’s probably not my place to say this, but…”
“There aren’t any useful people at this camp?” Yohan finished the sentence for him. Sweeped nodded.
“There were a few in the group, but they died.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“I’m sure we’ll find more people. Still, the people here have something important, especially the ones that managed to survive this disaster.”
“Luck.” Yohan smirked as he said it. The camp had incredibly good luck. Sweeper frowned while Yohan fired one more crossbow bolt through the head of the last zombie. He moved the corpses out of the way and knocked on the steel door twice. There was no response.
“I got a bad feeling about this too.” Sweeper commented, implying that Saeri was probably dead. Yohan shrugged and knocked harder. Moments later, the door opened and Saeri and Jung Hwan peeked out. As soon as Saeri saw Yohan, she ran towards him and hugged him. Sweeper’s lips formed into a large ‘O’. He raised his pinky finger and wiggled it at Yohan, but Yohan shook his head. Saeri turned her head to yell at Jung Hwan.
“I told you, idiot. What kind of zombie knocks?”
“Who said it was a zombie? I said it could be an enemy. Yohan, you’re late.”
“We had some trouble. Anyways, you guys owe me your lives.” Yohan replied calmly. A dumbfounded expression crossed Saeri’s face.
“If it wasn’t for me, you would’ve starved to death.”
“Is this the right time to joke around?”
“I’m just saying that you should pay me back. And I don’t mean ‘that thing’. Something else. Something that I’ll actually like.”
“Don’t be so full of yourself.” Saeri mumbled, as she walked past Yohan.
“Pay back? That thing? What are you talking about?” Jung Hwan asked.
“Kids don’t need to know!” Saeri scolded. The 27 year old Jung Hwan looked victimized as the 23 year old Saeri yelled at him.
Saeri stomped her way to the exit. Just then, a zombie on the floor wriggled, struggling to get at her. It had an arrow through its nose, barely missing its windpipe. Saeri cursed at the undead and stomped on its head until it exploded. Then things were quiet.
Sweeper let out a low whistle, watching Saeri.
“Bro, let me rephrase what I just said. There’s a really beautiful female warrior here. A sexy and tough one.”
Yohan tried to hold in his laughter. He couldn’t agree with the sexy part, but she was definitely tough.
“Jung Hwan, give me your report before you leave.”
Jung Hwan didn’t have much of a report. He was abandoned at the parking lot and gave up on getting through the basement emergency exit door. Instead, he headed up to the roof, where there was drinking water, and encountered Saeri, who was on her way down after hearing the noise. Jung Hwan grabbed her and they both camped out on the roof.
Yohan applauded Jung Hwan’s decision to stay where there was drinking water. Since the water tank was here, they could survive at least four days on water alone.
“As expected of a zombie otaku. You’re definitely living the life of a successful otaku.”
“Stop joking around Yohan. I thought we were going to die. Seriously.”
“I know. Good job. Let’s go down and eat.” Yohan patted Jung Hwan on the shoulder and sent him down.
It took half a day for the camp to settle down and clean up the corpses. Yohan introduced Sweeper and Ha Jin as the combat team and the camp members looked relieved. This was because the camp had lost a number of young men in the recent incident. Yohan knew there wasn’t much they could have done about it. Before the zombie wave, there were too many people in the camp. Because of that, it was necessary to split the camp, but the people were too comfortable here and wouldn’t agree to move so easily. It may seem a bit harsh, but it was a good thing for the remaining survivors that their numbers had dwindled.
After seeing the stacks of supplies in the storage room and the loading dock, Sweeper and Ha Jin started to understand why Yohan had said that the camp was lucky. It had been over six months since the start of the apocalypse and they still had a large amount of supplies left. The fact that the mall and the streets outside were filled with zombies deterred scavengers, which helped. Additionally, the camp’s previous leader, Gunn, had thoughtfully managed the supplies.
There were less people now, which meant it was easier to maintain the camp. Yohan split the remaining 13 survivors into two teams: eight people formed the combat team while five formed the support team. From this point on, anyone that knew medicine, cooking, engineering, electricity, or similar skills would be added to the support team. Anyone else would be tossed into the combat team without exception. They will receive combat training and be expected to perform.
“A weak comrade that can’t even kill one zombie is bound to become a zombie at any time and put the rest of us in danger.”
‘If they can’t fight or support those who are fighting, then they’re useless to the camp. This isn’t a merciful place where we can afford to take care of useless people.’
Yohan’s explanation made sense and no one argued against him. One reason for this was that the people who didn’t like Yohan were already dead. The other reason was that the camp was saved by Yohan twice and no longer felt like they had the right to go against him. After Yohan freed them from the dark storage room, his words were like gospel.
Yohan appointed Jung Hwan, Elder Park, and Seo Jun as managers of the combat and support teams. Even though some of his previous managers had died, he didn’t appoint new ones to replace them. He, Sweeper, and Ha Jin, formed a third team, the recon team.
“The recon team will frequently patrol the streets to look for survivors and supplies. We’ll first go back to H Mall and see if there are any survivors. We’re also hoping to obtain the gangster’s guns, walkie talkies, and supplies. If there are any of them left, we’ll probably eliminate them.”
“I want to be part of the recon team too. I want to see if my sister is alive. Also, it’s suffocating being inside all the time.” Saeri interjected. Yohan shook his head immediately.
‘Who knows what can happen if an inexperienced person goes out into the streets?’
“Why not? Let’s take her with us.” Sweeper seconded Saeri’s proposal, causing her expression to light up. “It’s better than just having three guys roaming around. Hey sweetie, you know how to fight, right?”
“She can barely do one person’s job.” Yohan said, firmly.
“Jeez, don’t you think you’re being a bit too harsh?”
“It’s the truth.” Yohan had all but made up his mind, but Ha Jin also cut in. He reasoned that having a female in the group would help to reassure any female survivors they encountered. Yohan’s felt like his head was throbbing. He conceded to the pair and included Saeri in the recon team.
“I’m sorry to say this,” Elder park said, laughing, “but the group has a better vibe around it with Saeri there.”
“Yeah, you guys looked like a bunch of thieves before,” said Saeri.
The trio awkwardly realized that she was right.
— Ω —
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