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Split in Half. (8/8)
Numerous Deadman corpses littered the ground in front of the pile of rocks. I counted about 7, 9 arrows embedded on each of their foreheads. However, there was still many more Deadmans to dispose of. Seeing them stepping on their fallen comrades to get to me, it was like they really want to take a bite out of me.
“They are trying hard, really hard.”
Humming to myself, I let my hand reach into the arrow pouch for more, but I couldn’t feel anything. In the dark pouch, I only stirred the air inside before managing to scrape 2 arrows from the very bottom. I should really collect the spent arrows on my way back.
So far, not all the Deadmans have gathered yet. I could still see more Deadman in the distance, huffing and puffing to get to me, but I thought this was enough and it was time to leave. Even if three of four of the beasts were left to harass the party, An-Hyun will be more than be able to handle it.
Yet looking below, there were still Deadman with their mouth wide open, shaking their head as they howled ceaselessly. The sight was so funny, that I unconsciously copied its movement.
‘What am I doing right now?’
I reflexively covered my mouth, trying to cover my laughter at these things.
I think I am too restless. After I became a Sword Master during my first time in Hall Plain, I was emotionally dead inside. Especially before a battle, I tried to stay as cold as ice. Maybe that’s why in the most difficult battle that could be chosen, the Retaking of Atlanta and the Ragnarok Annihilation, I managed to survive.
Really, it has been ages since I felt like this. The me who did not even blink in the face of the overwhelming strength of combined forces was being swayed by this slaughter. Even now I couldn’t seem to control my emotions. It was not an unfavourable situation like back then, but this restless anticipation was melting all over me.
The more that I gazed at the monsters on top of the pile of rocks, the more it seems to spur my emotions that I jumped down and leapt toward the forest. These Deadmans were patiently throwing their bodies and groaned their way to the top when I jumped off they howled in anger at having climbed for nothing.
“Guys. There are too many eyes to finish this work here. So let us go a bit deeper into the forest.”
I don’t know if they understood what I said, but the Deadmans followed with a loud shriek.
I intentionally slowed my speed as I headed inside the forest. The original plan was to run at full speed and create a distance between them, but I changed my mind. I made it so that now they would keep up and would be able to follow me.
Seems like they were a bit starved as these Deadmans dropped down from the pile of rocks with a thud. I shot my crossbow at them. Those Deadmans that climbed the pile of rocks with such effort was shot dead without satisfying their hunger.
Checking their slouched head, I immediately turned and walked towards the forest.
Gureurung! Gureurung! Gureurung! Gureurung! Gureurung!
Having heard this howl enough times now, I think I have gotten used to it. I controlled my tempo to seem just out of reach, making for a mortifying sight. The sounds of teeth clattering just behind me made for a novel thrill. Then.
I think I was a bit excessive with my merriment. Having been moving in an S for a while nonstop between the trees, I suddenly felt something bite tightly on my left arm. Shocked, I lifted my left arm and saw a Deadman making a strange face as it bit into my arm. This couldn’t have been one of the bastards I dragged with me. Rather, it must have been one that was sauntering in the area and got lucky enough to sink his teeth in.
Truthfully, it wasn’t painful. Rather, the shock of being bitten by this thing was greater. That shock was quickly converted to anger. The thing was lucky, but still, it damaged my pride. With a petulant voice, I spoke to the Deadman that bit my arm.
“What are you looking at.”
“I was surprised…. You fuck.”
The Deadman that was biting on my wrist had an uncomprehending look in its eye. It was because even if it had bit me, it’s teeth hadn’t sunk into the flesh. Wasn’t this obvious. My Resistance Attribute was 92 points, did it think it could gnaw on my flesh? With profanity and anger, its head exploded as I slammed my right hand into it.
While I was wrangling with the beast, those Deadmans that were gasping at my heel had me surrounded. Few of these things grin at the thought that they had caught their prey. Having judged that I had run a reasonable distance from the pile of rocks, I flexed my wrist.
Gureurung. Gureurung. Gureurung. Gureurung. Gureurung. Gureurung. Gureurung.
Howling filled the air around me, but I had no fear. Having fallen to the depth of hell before, these things were cute compared to the Hell Lions I tussled with. I merely desired and desired, that these things might sate my urge.
“I will be in your care.”
As I gave them a friendly greeting, the Deadmans’ bared their teeth in response. Looks like these things didn’t know basic manners. The Deadmans and I acted at the same time. I did nothing but simply stretching my fingers at the head of the Deadman, who were pushing to get at me. Right, let me get the first bastard that’s in front.
How to describe the sensation of fingers piercing through the head, well, it’s not like a person’s soft flesh but more like piercing through a rotten log. Lifting Deadman that I pierced to the back of its head, it dangled on my fingers before it’s body collapsed. Having witnessed such scene, the Deadman stopped completely for a moment.
Fear. Would these monsters that always preyed on humans know fear? That they themselves could be hunted. I happened on an epiphany. Do these things run on instinct or have some higher mentality? These bastards that ran mindlessly whenever they chanced on a prey, had momentarily stopped at the presence I was exuding.
Commendable, but I wasn’t about to let them off. Lightly releasing magic on my hand, the monster’s head shattered completely. I motioned with my fingers, signalling them to attack. However, the Deadmans took a step back.
I wasn’t even going to use my long sword. I wouldn’t have any problem without it. I could immediately break off a branch or pick up a blade of grass and turn it into a deadly weapon. But I was thirsty for a slaughter and to relieve the thirst, I want to feel it with my bare hands. Cracking my knuckles, and grinned. A thought passed by. I think I finally realised why I couldn’t stop laughing.
I was suppressing my nature. Living by the sword for 10 years in order to survive, and repeatedly killing things seems to have bathed my character in blood. My mouth twisted as I saw these monsters slowly moving back.
“Hyung will pull through for us. Everyone get up, let’s jump the wall quickly.”
The forest that was prowling with monsters now became deceitfully quiet. Looking at the quiet forest, An-Hyun spoke with a spirited voice, however, the mood of the party had sunk. As An-Hyun stated, it looked like Kim Su-Hyun had successfully dragged these things with him. Just now, it had been swarming with them, but now, not a peep could be seen of these monsters. Apart from that, it seems like everyone was wrapped in hopelessness.
“Oppa…. Will he be alright? You know. We could right now….”
As Lee Yu-Jung spoke with a dead voice, An-Hyun felt prickly inside. But he could not show that. Su-Hyun had put his faith in him and told him to protect the party. He couldn’t betray that trust.
“We can’t. Stop saying nonsense and get up. What are we going to do if those things come back?”
“Aren’t you worried about Oppa?”
“I trust Hyung to pull through. He said it didn’t he, that he will definitely come back so don’t do anything stupid.”
Seeing An-Hyun reply confidently, Lee Yu-Jung closed her mouth. But seeing her devoid of energy, An-Hyun also felt helpless. However, he shook it off continued off with a comforting and strong voice.
“Let’s believe. I am going to believe in Hyung, who believes in us.”
Having finished saying his piece, An-Hyun stepped out and observed the surrounding. Fortunately, he could not see even one Deadman. As An-Sol cautiously followed suit, and Lee Yu-Jung stood up seeing no other choice. Just as Lee Yu-Jung was about to leave the hideout, she tapped on Kim Han-Byeol’s shoulder.
“Ya. Wake up. Why are you suddenly zoning out?”
Kim Han-Byeol had no answer. With a cold look on her, she looked at Lee Yu-Jung once and slowly got up. Having checked that everyone had come out of the hiding place, An-Hyun spoke as he looked to the stone wall.
“Everyone, cheer up. After we climb that wall, we are out of this dreadful forest. For now, we will move as one until we reach the wall. I will climb first as we don’t know what could be on the other side.”
An-Sol and Lee Yu-Jung looked uneasy as they nodded their heads At An-Hyun’s words. But Kim Han-Byeol was still tight-lipped. She was still staring at the forest that Kim Su-Hyun disappeared into. As if she felt An-Hyun’s blank stare she immediately turned her head and spoke.
What does she understand? An-Hyun held a deep sigh in his heart he didn’t show outwardly. When Hyung was here, everyone helped each other and moved well, but now that he was gone, things were unconsciously falling apart from the start.
“…. It’s not like I don’t understand your concerns. It’s the same for me. But if we go into the forest, than Hyung’s sacrifice would be in vain. Su-Hyun created this opportunity for us with his life. And Hyung asked me to keep you all safe. The only thing we can do now is to quickly jump over that wall and wait for Hyung’s safe return. Everyone come to your senses!”
Even after all those words, the heavy mood did not improve. A lie seen through once could not be covered up as easily.
Everyone knew that An-Hyun was trying his best, but they had all shut their mouth. The more The more An-Hyun tried to encourage everyone the more he realised how large Kim Su-Hyun’s presence was. A feeling of uneasiness that he did not know was slowly blooming up. An-Hyun finally closed his eyes in resignation.
The remainder of the party all remembered a composed man with a crossbow. It had only been half a day since they met, but he already had a place in their heart.
It was Kim Su-Hyun, who acted blazingly fast in the clearing, who saved the naive An-Sol from getting bitten by the monster. When the team was in danger of being divided by Park Dong-Gul. Fighting off the monster, and firing off his arrow in every dangerous situation. He was no different than a strong support that held up the fence in every importation situation
However, that fence was now gone. They didn’t know if he would ever come back. The survivors could all feel the emptiness that was left behind by him.
T/N: Merry Christmas, I will be giving away a random steam code to a random Disqus comment on this chapter. Draw closes on 23rd Dec, 2016.
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