Like a motorboat cutting through the water, the sea of zombies fell as the figure moved through them. The man looked as if he was going to move forward, but then stepped back to lure the zombies forward.
“What are you doing? Do you all want to die? Come down and fight!” yelled the man, while killing the zombie in front of him. He took another step back, ensuring that he wouldn’t get surrounded by the zombies, and quickly eliminated a few more.
Gunn shook off his surprise and saw that there was a noticeable decrease in the number of zombies.
“Go down. We have to save Hyuk!”
The others in his group hesitated. Gunn ignored them as he started fighting back against the zombies that were reaching for them. The woman with the short hair, the one who was yelling at her friends for crying earlier, followed Gunn. She felt that she had a higher chance of surviving with Gunn, so she followed closely behind him.
Gunn and Hyuk took down three more zombies while the mysterious man finished the last one and began collecting his arrows. The man was completely untouched. Although blood was flying everywhere during the battle, his clothes and shoes were pristine, as if he had just finished getting ready for a date.
He definitely wasn’t your average survivor who was just lucky to be alive. He had two knives at his waist and both a crossbow and a regular bow on his back. After he collected all of the arrows, he quickly climbed up the display that the survivors were standing on in order to fire at the new zombies that were starting to approach them. It only took one arrow per zombie. He was skilled, calm, and on point.
Despite their efforts, there were still a good number of zombies roaming the area. The man took the lead.
He led them to the nursing room on the first floor. Finally feeling safe again, the people in the group sighed in relief.
“Thank you for helping us. My name is Gunn Kang,” said Gunn, with sincere gratitude. Yohan stared back at him for a moment before responding by nodding his head. In that brief moment, Gunn got the weird feeling that the man looked happy to see him, even though they had never met before.
“I’m Yohan. Hey you, take off your clothes,” Yohan said, pointing at Hyuk.
* * *
After hiding away for six months, Yohan headed straight to the mall. He did this specifically to meet Gunn Kang. Jung-dong Super Mall was the third survivor camp that Yohan had stayed with in the previous timeline. Gunn was already the leader of the camp before he arrived. He was a prominent figure that was strong and very chivalrous. After the outbreak, he managed to fortify the mall into a base and survive until the first major zombie wave struck. He was a Grade A survivor who had maintained a strong camp.
Honestly, when only considering his skills, he was a Grade A survivor. However, in Yohan’s eyes, he had a personality that could get him killed at any moment. He was an upright person who just had to help whenever there was someone in need. He would put his own life on the line, even to rescue just one friend. This was the Gunn that Yohan knew in the previous timeline. He kept this mentality right from their first meeting all the way until their final moments together.
Yohan could still recall the last memory he had of Gunn. The huge zombie wave, screams, zombies everywhere.
“Yohan!” screamed Gunn, while being bitten, “Live, you have to live. At least you have to live!”
Zombies poured in like a tidal wave and dragged Gunn’s body into the sea of rotting corpses.
“Yohan, live. Live without regrets. Please stay alive, my friend.” Gunn pushed Yohan away without any hesitation. Gunn’s last word was friend. Even though Yohan knew the meaning of the word, it felt strange hearing it at that moment.
Yohan liked Gunn.
Unlike he, who made his own safety the number one priority, Gunn Kang took care of all the people around him. That was what Yohan liked about him. That was why he had ventured out to find Gunn first. First of all, he had a life debt to pay. Second, Gunn was his most trustworthy friend. No matter how hard he tried, Yohan couldn’t think of another person that would have his back the way Gunn would.
And then there was his little brother, Hyuk Kang. Yohan checked over Hyuk’s body thoroughly. There were no wounds. Hyuk was beyond lucky. He was in the middle of a group of zombies for several minutes and escaped without a scratch. Originally, he was supposed to die today. However, the date of the apocalypse had already changed, so why couldn’t this change too?
When Yohan met Gunn previously, he was already living on without his younger brother. Four months before Yohan joined the camp, the survivors at the mall were running low on supplies. In order to obtain more, they planned on raiding the third-floor loading dock. On their first attempt, Hyuk was grabbed by the giant zombie and decided to sacrifice himself. He endured the wounds on his body and lured the zombies away, allowing Gunn and the other survivors to run to the emergency exit. However, the other survivors ran into more zombies at the emergency exit and were killed, forcing Gunn to return to the camp by himself.
This was the story that Yohan heard from Gunn when they originally met. This was what was supposed to happen today. There were a few discrepancies, however. One was the party members. In the original story of the first attempt, Yohan did not recall there being a female in the group. The other discrepancy was the timing.
Yohan did not plan to show up at the last minute. He actually wanted to arrive really early, but Gunn’s group had headed out for the loading dock a lot earlier too.
‘Can this be considered as being lucky?’
This event was originally supposed to happen seven or eight months after the apocalypse started. The results of the past would have repeated if he had been late even by a bit.
“Are you okay?” Gunn asked, looking worried as he gently examined Hyuk’s body. He looked relieved once he realized that his younger brother was safe.
Yohan had a vivid memory of Gunn from the previous timeline. They were fighting the zombies on the first floor of the mall and Gunn was crying profusely while killing Hyuk, who had turned into a zombie.
‘I saved your brother’s life, so consider my debt paid.’ Yohan felt free. The baggage that had been dragging down one side of his heart had now disappeared. He finished inspecting for infections and patted Hyuk on the shoulder.
“Nice to meet you Hyuk.” The greeting was unexpectedly warm. Hyuk looked puzzled for a moment, but then smiled brightly at him. Just as he was told, Hyuk was a cheerful kid.
“If any of you are injured, please say so now.”
The other three survivors looked at each other and shook their heads. Yohan looked at them doubtfully, but dismissed his suspicions after inspecting them.
“Do you live here?” Yohan asked, wiping blood off of his arrows and knives.
“Yes. We live on B1F and B2F,” answered Gunn. It was obvious that Gunn was completely at ease with Yohan after he saved their lives. Yohan couldn’t help but smirk. This was part of the issue he had with Gunn Kang. He was too accommodating. They had argued several times before because of this. Having an overflowing sense of justice was good, but it could put others in danger. It was a trait that Yohan had to correct.
“How much supplies do you have?”
Gunn didn’t reply immediately. He must have thought that Yohan intended to steal their supplies.
“Let me ask you something first.”
“No need to talk so formally. Go ahead.”
“Oh, we’re probably around the same age. Ok, I won’t speak so formally. Yohan, are you a part of a group?”
“No, I’m by myself,” replied Yohan immediately. However, Gunn looked doubtful.
“Where have you been living all this time?”
“Home. I have a lot of supplies stored up.”
There was another moment of silence. Gunn still looked doubtful, but Yohan knew that he was easy going. If he spent a bit of time with Gunn, he could earn his trust.
“Let me ask you something. Why did you venture out when you still have supplies?”
“How did you…?”
Yohan shrugged and said, “if you didn’t have supplies, you wouldn’t have hesitated at my question before.”
“We don’t have a lot of supplies. There’s a loading dock on the third floor of the parking lot. There’s a lot of zombies in that area, making it hard to approach. I thought there would be a lot of supplies there, which is why we were making our way there.
Yohan nodded thoughtfully. It was just as he had surmised.
“Just as I thought. You’re right, there is a lot of water and boxes of ramen at the loading dock.”
“What!?” Gunn looked surprised.
“I already looked around the building before I met you. However, there are too many zombies. They’re everywhere on the second and third floor of the parking lot, as well as the emergency exit. It’s impossible for a small group to move the supplies.”
“I’ll help you clean up.”
“Let’s get rid of all the zombies inside the building. If you let me stay at your camp, I’ll help you clean up.”
Gunn and the other survivors looked incredulous.
“That’s impossible. Zombies will keep coming in if we make noise inside the building.”
“There’s only three entrances into the mall. Before we start cleaning up, we can block the entrances. I already blocked Exit Two when I came in. We just have to block the front door and the parking lot entrance.”
“We can talk about the details later. I want to check the condition of your camp.”
The survivors looked at him as if he was a monster, but Yohan ignored their stares. He fully understood what they were thinking. It had only been six month since they settled here. They were still afraid of the zombies. This scouting party, which originally had eight members, were now only five. If Yohan hadn’t save them, they could have all been slaughtered.
And yet, the man before them was saying that he would get rid of all the zombies. Gunn glanced at the two knives and the crossbow on Yohan’s back. He gulped.
While enduring their stares, Yohan noticed something odd. One of the girls, who had introduced herself as Saeri Yun, was staring at him. She was wearing tight leather pants and a jacket. She had a bob cut hairstyle and strikingly large eyes. This was the first time that Yohan heard this name. Saeri was someone that was not a part of the camp in the previous timeline.
Things were indeed changing. Major events were still the same, but small details were different. Yohan frowned. Saeri’s stare was different than the others. She didn’t shy away from his glance, but instead glared back. It was as if she was challenging him. Yohan stared back, he didn’t avoid her gaze. They stared at each other for a long time in silence before Yohan turned to Gunn and asked, “What are you doing? Aren’t we leaving?”
* * *
There were 33 people at the camp. The number of men and women were about the same. There were 10 seniors that couldn’t fight and two children.
‘There’s too many.’
The building itself was big and sturdy, a zombie wave wouldn’t be able to break through. But if they had to fight, they would die from the endless horde pushing through. Eventually supplies would run out.
Luckily, there were a lot more supplies than Yohan was expecting. It was strange, with the amount of ramen, dried food, and canned food, they could last at least another two months. Their food management was amazing. Starting with refrigerated food and moving on to frozen food, they consumed the perishables first. There was still time before they needed to consume the ramen and canned food. Their situation did not seem so desperate that they needed to venture out for more supplies.
Yohan looked at the internal facility directory board hanging on the wall next to the escalator. Inside the mall, B2F was where the food was located. B1F contained household supplies. The first floor sold electronics, cosmetics, and other items. The second to fifth floors were all for parking. The loading dock was located on the third floor of the parking lot.
The layout of the mall was unique. B2F and the first floor were connected but, in order to go to the parking lot, one would have to use the emergency exit or ride an escalator up to the first floor, walk to the other side of that floor, and then use the emergency exit or escalator there.
Since the first floor was filled with zombies, unless they found a way to break through, they would be unable to go outside or visit the upper levels. It seemed like they were isolated, but it also made the base well-protected. There were only two ways to enter the camp and one of those entrances was even blocked with furniture. Yohan inquired about the blocked escalator.
“When the zombie outbreak started, it seems the survivors isolated themselves in the household supplies section in B1F.”
— Ω —
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