The World after the Fall - Chapter 32[Updated at: 2021-01-11 07:15:46]
Chapter 32: Deadman (7)
Jaehwan took out his sword. This woman was a disruption. Jaehwan could not understand. Why was it when he looked at that woman, his skills were disrupted? Why did his memory try to come back? Everything wasn’t going well. He didn’t need feelings; they made him weak. The woman wanted him to kill her, so there was no hesitation. This was for her, and for Jaehwan.
Someone rushed up and held onto Jaehwan’s wrist.
“There might be a chance! Please!”
It was a middle-aged woman, the owner of the saloon. She was probably the one named Claire. She had evacuated at Karlton’s warning and had fortunately evaded the corruption. Just then, the paramedics from the fortress rushed into the saloon.
Gorgon Fortress acted quickly. The paramedics from the fortress quickly hauled Karlton and Mino outside. Jaehwan stared at Mino being carried away and asked,
“Will she live?”
“If she starts the ‘Morph,’ there’s no chance, but…”
One of the paramedics answered hesitantly. It seemed everyone was terrified of the ‘Dead Man.’
[Warning! Corruption level has reached 90%!]
It was the corruption measurement meter that Karlton had. Suddenly a siren sounded from somewhere within the fortress.
[WARNING- GORGON 4. THIS IS NOT A DRILL!]
[SMALL DEAD MAN WITHIN THE FORTRES.S]
[CITIZENS ON THE NORTHERN STREETS, EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY.]
The entire fortress plunged into chaos. Jaehwan felt it was a bit weird to be that scared.
‘Is ‘Dead Man’ that dangerous?’
There was various information about a Dead Man coming in on his [Suspicion]. Then he felt some strange whispers. Right after, red-clothed figures appeared on the rooftops of buildings around them.
[Anti-Evil First Squadron has arrived at the scene.]
[Second Squadron has arrived as well.]
As the reports ended, the red-clothed man in the center nodded and gave an order, “We will eradicate them before they finish the ‘Dead Man’ morph.”
Their hunt began. Most of them were higher than 3rd Stage Adapters. They were either as powerful as the Golden Sky, or even stronger. They all rushed into the saloon at once.
“Mino! Come back! Talk to me!”
Claire was feeding all the medicine in her possession into Mino’s mouth. It didn’t matter if what she had was valuable, whether it was uni or bihorn medicine. The doctor in the rescue team asked the paramedics, “How much medicine do we have?”
“…Not much, sir.”
“Why is that? Didn’t we have enough supplies?”
“It’s all been used up to ease the Master’s disease…”
The corruption level was increasing. Something seemed to be creeping into Karlton and Mino’s spirits, something so powerful that the unihorn or even bihorn powder could not stop. As they reached the hospital, the guard posted at the gate blocked them from entering as he looked at Claire.
“Karlton can enter, but the woman cannot. We do not have much…”
“I will provide the medicine! Just give us a spot!” Claire yelled.
“If you insist…”
The hospital was worse than Jaehwan thought. It was poorly equipped and the ‘building’ was just a tent. There were hundreds of beds with patients slumped in them, and they all seemed to be corrupted.
“Move away! Emergency!”
Doctors closed in quickly and got respirators on Karlton and Mino. It seemed that they were trying to force-feed the medicine via the respirators. Outside the tent, the saloon could be seen with smog leaking out from it. With the evacuation order, the saloon was closed down and the elites of the Anti-Evil squad stepped out to guard the saloon. From within the saloon, cries of woman employees who had turned into Dead Men were heard.
“Are you the man that Mino talked about?”
Jaehwan turned to Claire as she continued, “I sent her to hunt down the Red Fox Clan… never imagined she would come back with Death itself.”
“Heard you reject all laws here. You judge the world by your standards, and you measure humans.”
Jaehwan did not answer.
“I know a man like you. I’ve seen one.”
Claire placed her hand on Mino’s chest and checked her breathing before continuing. Jaehwan looked at Claire’s face. He had never met her before.
“If you live long enough, you get to see all kinds of people.”
Claire spoke as she looked at Mino once and then glanced around the hospital.
“People live here not because they’re fools. They have no other choice.”
It was voice full of lethargy. Then Jaehwan spoke for the first time,
“No, there’s always a choice. You all just have no courage.”
“Courage?” Claire retorted, “Why do you need courage?”
Jaehwan tried to speak, but stopped. He had seen Claire’s eyes, the deep eyes with regrets over her long life. She had lived with courage all this time and now had no more courage to do so.
“You… you are the type who values a higher standard, higher justice…”
There were paramedics and doctors shouting from all around. Some with higher corruption levels were coughing black coughs. Claire continued, “It must be a wonderful thing. Too wonderful that people here cannot dare to imagine… You may be right. I may not have the courage, but because of that, I do not know what you may think. But I know one thing for sure.”
Claire’s eyes were similar to that of Mino’s.
“I know that YOU are dangerous.”
Jaehwan thought about what Mino mumbled to him before she fainted.
-I now know why I wanted to tag along with you. Why I wanted to stop you from leaving.
The words that Mino spoke earlier, and the words that Claire spoke now were mixed before it came to a conclusion.
“You must leave this place.”
-You must not leave this place.
“You will bring despair to the people.”
-You will bring hope to the people.
“You will make them think that nothing will change.”
-You will make them think that something will change.
“The young ones like Mino will like you. They will be tempted and shaken. And then they will die like her.”
-The older ones, especially those who have adapted here, will hate you. They will be jealous. And hurt. Many will die.
-Yet I still want to hold onto you.
Claire couldn’t continue because tears had started flowing from Mino’s eyes. Claire took out a handkerchief and wiped away the tears.
-Do not give up on this world.
That’s when the ragged door to the hospital opened.
It was Lieutenant-Captain James and the other guards. James glared at Jaehwan while a guard from before explained everything that happened. James became grim and looked at Karlton.
“Take out all the medicine we have!”
The Guards took out all their medicine, which were mostly unihorns and some bihorns. James even took out the trihorn powder he had saved.
“Even the trihorn isn’t working…”
One of the doctors moaned. The corruption level wasn’t going down. One of the guards then asked worryingly, “What do we do? If he becomes a Dead Man…”
“No one can stop him.” James spoke clenched his fist. That was when Jaehwan asked from a distance, “Is there any way to reverse it once someone becomes a Dead Man?”
A doctor nodded and Jaehwan glanced between Karlton and Mino. Then he suddenly grabbed Karlton’s collar and spoke.
“Hey, get up. I have something to ask you.”
Jaehwan began slapping Karlton’s cheeks. He hit so hard that Karlton’s cheeks turned red and the guards became furious and ran in.
“H-how dare you do that to our Captain…!”
However, Karlton did wake up.
The guards gathered around. Usually, guards hated their superiors, but the guards of the Northern Gate were all worried about their captain. Karlton must have been a good superior to them. Karlton murmured, “…Jaehwan.”
“…I have a favor.”
“Please kill me.”
Everyone wanted to be killed. Jaehwan frowned.
“You should be able to do that. Please, before it’s too late.”
Karlton looked at Jaehwan’s emotionless face.
“Isn’t it time to ask to be saved instead?”
Karlton grinned. “Gorgon Special Law Chapter 1 Line 4… Once the subject reaches 95% corruption level and the Morphing begins…”
Then Karlton started coughing hard.
Jaehwan couldn’t like him. He hated men like Karlton who were so devoted to the organization. But Jaehwan still respected Karlton for one thing. If the Tower of Nightmares had ten people who were like Karlton, or maybe even five, he wouldn’t have had to spend thirty years within the tower. Jaehwan slapped Karlton who was about to slip into unconsciousness again.
“Hey, let me ask you one thing.”
Karlton’s lips were trembling.
“In your Gorgon Law, is there a law that prohibits one from going back into the past?”
“What do you…”
“A law that punishes those who abandon the world and flees into the past.”
“I- I don’t get the quest-…”
Karlton’s eyes then rolled back as his body began to twist. His veins began to expand and his flesh began to swirl like worms. The morphing was imminent.
[WARNING! WARNING! Corruption level has reached 94%! Morphing IMMINENT!]
Suddenly, a group of men entered the hospital. The man in the lead was familiar. It was the leader of the group who fought the Dead Man in the saloon.
The best fighting group within the fortress.
The Anti-Dead Man group, Anti-Evil. The leader.
James’ face turned grim.
The commander eyed Karlton coldly. Some guards tried to hide Karlton’s body by blocking it with their own, but it was pointless.
“Move out of the way.”
He drew his sword.
“He is no longer the captain you know. You must know this.”
The guards still did not move away and the commander resorted to force.
“By the laws of Gorgon, Special Law Chapter 1, Line 4, I will now purge Guard Captain Karlton and the other person.”
It was an [Order]. Jaehwan felt it was ironic.
‘Stubborn man, the world you saved has now come to kill you.’
The guards kneeled as they could not resist the [Order]. It was the most powerful skill within the fortress that no one could withstand. The sword then swung toward Karlton’s neck. It was a strike that no one could stop.
Rather, it was a strike that no one could stop, until Jaehwan’s bare hand stopped it.
“You can’t kill him. I need to ask him a few things.”