Chapter 6. Closed Dungeon (2)
“The world has changed a lot.”
Woojin looked out the bus window, and he mumbled as he looked at the scenery. The bus fee had increased by 300 won, but the most noticeable change that caught his eyes was the amount of cars on the road had decreased significantly.
The tv attached to the bus was talking about which subway stations and exits had been successfully attacked. It was going on and on about similar topics.
‘If the attack on the Dungeon is successful, we will be safe for at least couple days, and couple months at most. If we fail, the Monsters will be unleashed.’
The news continued to play incessantly. It started to narrow the gap between the reality regarding the past 5 years for Woojin. In the World News topic, they talked about the Monsters that had burst forward from the subway stations in Tokyo, and they had to mobilize their army to block them.
‘The areas around the Subway Station are old news.’
If the capture of a dungeon failed, one had no idea when the monsters would burst forward. It was like living next to a bomb, so no one wanted to live next to the stations.
Rather than living next to the subway stations, people would joke it would be safer to live next to a Nuclear plant.
Of course, Seoul’s population had significantly decreased, and the decreased population led to less traffic. The bus drove as if it was flying.
When the bus stopped, it felt as if the world in front of him had turned yellow.
The apartment, which was Woojin’s home, was gone.
He was so shocked that he was having a hard time speaking. The apartment Woojin had lived in was gone.
Originally, it was a 5 story high apartment. They always talked about rebuilding the apartment, but it had disappeared within 5 years. He would have never guessed an imposing building would take its place.
Even at a glance, he could tell it wasn’t an apartment. The structure looked like an office building, and it authoritatively shot into the air. Woojin was looking at the building from close by, and the security guard deemed him suspicious. So the security guard approached him.
“What are you doing?”
The security guard abruptly questioned him, and Woojin had to push down his anger. Woojin couldn’t kill him for not liking him, and he couldn’t damn his soul for the heck of it. Those actions were only possible at Planet Alphen.
This was Earth.
Woojin forced down his anger, and he pressed his hand against his temple. After a moment, it felt as if his anger had somewhat calmed.
“What happened to the people who used to live here?”
“The people who used to live in the apartment before this building was built!”
“No, I’m asking why are you asking me….”
The security guard, who had been glaring at him, avoided his gaze in surprise. How could someone’s eye become so scary?
“I..I don’t know. This place was in ruins before this building was built.
Woojin’s forehead was bulging with veins. The security guard let out a cold sweat at his chaotic expression.
Numerous people died 5 years ago from the Dungeon Shock. It would be correct to say everyone who was using the subway at the time had all died.
If a Dungeon can’t be cleared within a month, the dungeon will explode and the Monsters would pop out. Countless number of people were killed or hurt when that happened.
Seoul was too large and slow to deal with the sudden change. They even dropped missiles on locations where the Monsters broke out.
“When..when the monsters broke out, Jichun had been turned into ruins. So why are you making a fuss?”
Woojin controlled his anger inside when he heard the security guard’s words.
‘Calm down. Be calm.’
It wasn’t the time to lash out at anyone. His family was alive. They were alive. At those thoughts, he was barely able to hang on to the thread of his anger.
It would be ridiculous for him to become unruly based on an assumption. It was unbecoming of an intellectual mage like him.
“Whew. It’s only been 5 years. There are many ways to find them.’
He thought he had returned after twenty years, but only 5 years had passed. Yes, only 5 years. If he went to the borough office, their last known address should be there. He would know if they were still alive by looking at the family register.
‘Ah, I don’t know my social security number.’
He was assigned his SSN during his 2nd year in high school, but he had no idea where it was any more. He could go to his alma mater to get his SSN.
He’ll know it once he searched through the student records. If he was lucky, he’ll also be able to find out the hand phone number of his parents, which he had forgotten.
As his thoughts connected to make a plan, he felt a calm sensation.
Yes, all of his family was safe. He just hadn’t found them yet. It was already past 6 o’clock, so he couldn’t go back to his school to make the request. He was stuck.
It wasn’t hard to prioritize what he had to do next.
He’ll have to find a place to sleep, and….
Woojin stabbed his hand into his pocket, and he touched the 5800 won he had. Woojin turned his head, and he was able to see a restaurant in a building across the street.
Woojin crossed the side walk.
“Ha. What kind of rice soup costs 6000 won?” (TLN: You get a soup and a bowl of rice + banchan. You basically flip the rice into the soup. There are restaurants specifically catered to these dishes.)
Woojin complained as he drank the cup ramen’s soup. Since he didn’t have the 200 Won, Woojin was treated like a beggar, and he was chased out of the Rice Soup Restaurant.
Of course, it wasn’t the shortage of 200 won that decided it, but his beggar-like outfit had a bigger role in the decision to kick him out.
“Chet. The darn grandma probably wouldn’t give me rice soup even if I was freezing to death.”
Woojin unnecessarily thought about the cold-hearted lady from the Rice Soup restaurant as he chewed on an onigiri. He felt sad since he didn’t have any money. However, he hadn’t had a cup ramen, and an onigiri in a long time, so it was delicious.
“Ah, where do I sleep tonight? Do I really have to go to the police station?”
He hadn’t done anything wrong, so why didn’t he want to go to the police station? He guess he did couple of bad things…several dozens of bad things. He had also killed a couple… He had kill countless number of people, but this all happen on the Planet Alphen.
The Earth’s Kang-woonjin was just a normal… He wasn’t normal since he had disappeared during his 3rd year of high school He was a child, who had returned after a 5 year absence.
“Ah, I guess they would ask me all sorts of questions if I go to the police station.”
Where have you been? What were you doing before you came back? Why didn’t you try to keep in contact? His head hurt when he thought about the report he had to make up.
He decided going to the police station was a last resort. Any ways, it wasn’t as if he didn’t have any other choice.
Even though the land prices had collapsed completely in Seoul, and the population had decreased significantly, Woojin still didn’t have a home to lay down in.
He was overjoyed at seeing a convenience store in 20 years, so he had bought hot bars, and drinks. In the end, all the money he had left was 300 Won. It was an amount where he wouldn’t even be able to enter a sauna nor a PC room.
Well, even the subway stations where the homeless go to are off limit now, so he had no choice but to greet the morning in the streets. At that moment, he heard the convenience store’s door open, so he reflexively turned his head.
As the convenience store’s door opened, Woojin’s eyes sparkled as he saw a familiar face.
This was fate. He was sure it was fate.
Do-jaemin. The school junior he had helped out in the evening was picking out an onigiri.
Woojin downed the rest of the soup left inside the cup ramen, then he stood up. He paid for his items, then Woojin quickly followed after him.
Jaemin turned his head, and he saw a pale ghost-like face. Woojin smiled from ear to ear.
“Haha. I was about to call you yet we meet again.”
“W…why? Why would you…”
Jaemin haltingly took a step backward.
“Is your parents home?”
“Why would you want to know that?”
Jaemin reacted in a sensitive manner. Woojin made a face indicating it wasn’t a big deal, then he put on his most trustworthy smile.
“Including the previous incident, I have a lot of things to discuss with them.”
“My parents have passed away.
“Huh? That’s goo… No, that is unfortunate. Are you living by yourself?”
Jaemin nodded his head with wariness filling his face.
“You lead the way.”
“Let me stay at your place for one night.”
Jaemin had a dumbfounded expression on his face. The strange uncle wearing a straw mat, who was frighteningly good at fighting, was trying to invade his home.
“Ah, it isn’t for free.”
He forced Jaemin’s hand open to place something in it.
Isn’t this the money he had extorted from him? Jaemin looked back with a dumbfounded gaze, and as if even Woojin was embarrassed, he grinned.
“Haha. I’ll pay you back anything I’m short on. Huh huh. Why is there a fly here?”
He slyly let fly a fist into the empty air like a boxer. No, he was like a Roused where the sound of the air splitting apart was produced.
Jaemin could only walk toward his house with a tearful face.