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Chapter: 183


Episode 183

"Mister…"

Lee Jae-hak widened his eyes at the voice.

"Mister, you can’t sleep in this place. Go back to your house."

"…"

He knew the man before him was joking, but Lee Jae-hak couldn’t laugh.

"You…" he muttered.

"What?"

"I thought you were a zombie."

"Huh?" Yoo-seong brought a hand to his own cheek. It felt painful, not only to his hand but also on his cheek. "Well… I must have done something to deserve it. Come on," Yoo-seong reached out to Lee Jae-hak. Jae-hak took his hand and allowed himself to be pulled up. That was when Yoo-seong noticed his severed left arm.

"Your arm…"

"Ah, this one? As you can see… it’s an honorable wound."

"…"

Without speaking, Yoo-seong raised his own severed wrist. Lee Jae-hak couldn’t help but bite his lip at the sight.

"As you said," Yoo-seong muttered, "it’s an honorable wound."

Coincidentally, their injuries were both on the left side.

"We look like a couple with matching injuries," Lee Jae-hak joked.

"That’s a bad one."

"Well, I said what I said," Lee Jae-hak chuckled. Then he added, "However, it would have been better if we’d lost a right and a left hand. That would have made it more meaningful; they would have complemented each other…"

Lee Jae-hak put his remaining arm around Yoo-seong’s shoulders, supporting him. Yoo-seong, who was severely exhausted, allowed his body to rest against Lee Jae-hak’s.

"S-Sorry," Yoo-seong mumbled, a little embarrassed.

"It’s alright. I saw a lot of these scenes in comic books. Two boys, hugging and such…" Lee Jae-hak answered.

"Comic books? Were they Un-seol’s?"

"Yes. Ever since we were in middle school, she’s had a liking for those."

"…"

Soon, Yoo-seong allowed himself to be fully supported by Jae-hak as they walked. He could sense no monsters anywhere around them.

‘It’s done,’ he thought. ‘It’s really over.’

"Let’s go home. You don’t look good. I’m not kidding," Lee Jae-hak said, worried.

"Wait a minute." Yoo-seong tried to lift a finger. "We still have to capture…"

"Capture? What do you mean?"

At that point, Lee Jae-hak looked around.

Corpses of monsters were piled up around them. The accumulated by-products they could collect from the corpses would be enough to buy them a high-rise building in the middle of Seoul.

They were far too valuable to be left behind.

Lee Jae-hak nodded.

***

Jongno Street.

The place where Lee Jae-hak and Oh Yoo-seong had last been seen before they went to the alien world.

The crack they had gone through still had a very tiny opening.

‘-I don’t know what will happen later…’

The reason for that was simple.

‘-I really hope this will be the last crack in Korea.’

With that thought in mind, Yoo-seong had left a small space, the size of a palm’s span, open.

Rather than tearing a new crack when they came out, he had planned to stretch this tiny space open and use it to exit before sewing it completely closed.

It had been a purely sentimental and impractical move, but no one could say anything about it.

"It’s funny," one of the hunters guarding the barrier line suddenly said to his partner. "In a way, he’ll be making us unemployed for the time being."

"Well, honestly, I don’t really believe Oh Yoo-seong…" his partner responded.

"Right? No matter how much you think about it, it seems impossible."

"For example, the pioneering base… huh?"

The hunter who had started the critical conversation about Yoo-seong suddenly paused. His eyes were being drawn to the sky. Somehow, to him, the tiny crack seemed to be growing slightly.

‘Am I seeing things?’ He doubted his eyes. However, it wasn’t an illusion.

"Ah uh uh uh uh???!!"

In seconds, the groaning turned into an alarmed yell. The crack had grown large enough for an adult male.

Soon, two people, looking badly injured and bloody even from afar, popped out.

"Falling! Look out!"

The hunters around the blocking line began running.

Curiously, before the two men began falling, the crack that spat them out had been completely closed.

Without a doubt, the two figures were Yoo-seong and Lee Jae-hak. Therefore, the two hunters began sprinting without hesitation to catch them.

It wasn’t just them. Every hunter who saw the falling figures began running. Their goal was to save the heroes, to contribute even a little to this moment that would remain in history forever.

Unfortunately, a single person would enjoy that glory.

Doo-woong-!

With the sound of rubber being stretched, an invisible web caught the weight of the two falling men. It was a cushion that had been prepared early on. With skillful movements, Sung-wook secured the two bodies with his thread.

Then he set it down so gently that the two men within couldn’t feel even the slightest shaking. An ambulance quickly arrived with sirens blaring.

Yoo-seong’s eyelids trembled.

When Sung-wook’s thread had caught him, he had already been on the verge of fainting.

Lee Jae-hak, on the other hand, had already lost consciousness. Nevertheless, Yoo-seong didn’t immediately close his eyes, even as he was carried into the ambulance.

He noticed someone he wouldn’t have expected to see.

"Director… what are you doing here?" he mumbled.

"…"

Director Yang Chang-guk was staring at him with both relief and disbelief. He could not believe that Yoo-seong had been able to come back.

"Yoo-seong… first, I have to say you did a great job, but… that, inside the crack…"

"A nuclear warhead fell. I stopped it."

"Huh… uh…"

"Don’t ask me how. I don’t know."

Yoo-seong struggled to get up from the stretcher. The rear door of the ambulance had a small window that allowed him to see outside.

"Is that… lightning?"

What he saw outside the ambulance wasn’t the cityscape. Instead, multiple flashes of light rained on the ambulance’s door and window, making Yoo-seong even dizzier. Tens of thousands of flashing lights poured in through the window.

When he sat up to look out of it, cheers erupted like thunder.

-Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

It was as if the crowd was engaged in a contest of who could scream and cheer loudest for their hero.

In the meantime, the ambulance began slowly making its way past the blocking line. Yoo-seong saw the streets of Jongno and the people who had waited for him to come back. They had prayed intensely for hours for the hunters to return safely and quickly. Now, everything was finally over.

No more rifts would open in this country.

From now on, only a bright future remained.

"Oh Yoo-seong!"

"Please look over here!"

Camera flashes came from numerous broadcasting stations and print media. They weren’t all local reporters. International media companies had sent their journalists, and foreign reporters had arrived by plane in droves a few hours ago to witness this magnificent homecoming.

"….."

Several minutes passed under the bombardment of non-stop light and sound.

Yoo-seong silently closed the ambulance door and stared at Yang Chang-guk, who was still frozen in his spot inside the ambulance.

"I thought you would say something nice to them," the Director remarked.

"…I tried," Yoo-seong chuckled. "But I couldn’t. It doesn’t make sense to me."

"What doesn’t? That you’re a superstar?" Yang Chang-guk chuckled as he shook his head. "In the end, you did fantastic, even without a victory speech," he added.

"…."

Yoo-seong pulled something out of his slot as he lay back on the stretcher.

"Ah!" Yang Chang-guk’s jaw dropped as he recognized what it was.

"I think… if I close my eyes now, I’ll fall asleep for a week," Yoo-seong groaned.

At Yoo-seong’s own request, Yang Chang-guk had given special instructions to the technical team to convert a drone from the Special Defense Agency into a model that could be put into a Slot and operated within a crack.

Yoo-seong had just handed over the data chip that recorded everything that had happened to them.

"I’ll leave the editing to you, Director."

The problem now was whether they could believe what they would see on the video.

"So goodbye, for now."

With those words, Yoo-seong closed his eyes.

***

The sore muscles of his back woke Yoo-seong up.

"Ugh!" he groaned aloud.

‘I must have been lying for too long now for my back to hurt this much,’ he realized.

His nose caught the familiar antiseptic smell of a hospital room.

He opened his eyes and reached out to a table next to his bed. There was a cup of water on the table, but it was empty.

When Yoo-seong turned to grab the pitcher…

Thump-

Water filled his cup. Someone was pouring it for him.

"What a surprise," Yoo-seong said upon recognizing who it was.

"……."

"I never thought I’d see your face here…" After saying so, Yoo-seong quickly emptied the glass.

"Nothing’s changed," Lee Un-seol, who poured him another glass, remarked.

"Hmm?" Yoo-seong was confused. "Are we talking about that?"

"What, what is it?" Lee Un-seol also looked confused now.

"No, I don’t have to say that… Of course, I owe Jae-hak a lot, but his younger sibling…"

"….!"

"During the license exam… and before you went to China. You tried to defeat me, but…"

Lee Un-seol’s ears turned red. He had been defeated disastrously in two face-to-face battles and hadn’t even made much impact against Yoo-seong. However…

It wasn’t for that business that Lee Un-seol had come now.

While Yoo-seong traversed the rifts with Lee Jae-hak, a lot of changes had happened in China.

Hwang Ga-ryun, a generational swordsman, had held third place in the Ship Zone for twenty years. He was a master who belonged to the generation of Jin Wei-baek and Yang Jeong-cheon. He had been Lee Un-seol’s master in China.

Hwang Ga-ryun was also a descendant who had lived in China along with Jin Wei-baek, but unlike the old man, he was not involved in any organization and had been doing freelance activities for twenty years.

Now, he had finally taken action and headed for the Chinese Communist Party.

With his reputable character, the Swordsman had conveyed the problems with the current situation to the leadership.

-Currently, we need a solution for the direction that Tenz is taking.

The situation was quite difficult even for the Chinese government. At first, they had been in favor of Tenz, who had turned against Jin Wei-baek and Oh Yoo-seong as enemies. However, Tenz had not done anything significant so far with their new leadership.

On top of that, the incident in which Hoil-cheon and Ryang Lyung had gotten caught attacking Yoo-seong in a hospital had caused China to suffer tremendous diplomatic damage. The Tenz leader, the Number One in the Ship Zone, had engaged in a violent riot in Korea and been shamefully overpowered.

Now, the giant Red Dragon Society had left China for Korea.

In this situation, in the public’s opinion, Korea and Oh Yoo-seong were not the enemies.

In addition to that, Yoo-seong’s declaration about closing the cracks forever and pioneering the alien world had captured the hopes and imagination of the Chinese people and their hunters.

‘-Hwang Gar-yun is right.’

‘-It seems that Tenz has crossed the line.’

Even within the Tenz leadership, the rational heads had begun to change their minds.

Now, with an iconic Swordsman taking the lead, a wind of revolution was blowing through the Chinese industry.

Tenz’s resistance was weaker than expected. Although not officially announced yet…

The Jin Wei-baek was rumored to have been seen with hundreds of masters, including Yang Jeong-cheon and the Swordsman himself.

While Yoo-seong had been asleep, the continent had been getting cleaned up.

Thousands of Chinese hunters and masters were waiting for him. The Chinese and Korean governments had also started negotiations.

Lee Un-seol’s return to Korea was for the sole purpose of acting as a spokesperson for the Chinese side.

All that was left was for Yoo-seong, the most important party, to wake up and stamp his stake.

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