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Chapter 11

Hiding a House in the Apocalypse

Translator/Editor: TranslatingNovice

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Chapter 11: Chaebol (2)

The greatest damage caused by the war was not nuclear attacks, but sinister surprise attacks under the cold water.

South Korea, which depends overseas for almost all materials, is a structure that dies if sea routes are cut off.

When Chinese submarines attacked the trade routes, South Korea's sea routes were paralyzed and its economy was sentenced to death.

Papung could not be free from the fate of death either.

However, there was a possibility of surviving longer than other groups.

Among its affiliates were not only construction and distribution but also heavy industry and defense companies.

Perhaps that's why.

The equipment mobilized in the operation area was more splendid than imagined.

Five new armored vehicles equipped with flamethrowers and 20mm machine guns, three 40kg class quarter drones capable of air support in emergencies, one squad of foreign mercenaries who appeared to be former U.S. military personnel, and about two hundred support troops armed with various personal firearms.

There were not many young people.

Most were in their late 30s, with many in their 40s and 50s.

The person in charge of the operation was someone named Director Choi, who had been an army colonel but had no experience in monster operations.

There was an advisor who was a hunter, but he was not only unfamiliar to me but also not a proper hunter.

A 'proper hunter,' as I refer to, is someone who received systematic education and training at an 'academy' that meets international standards, gained over a year of practical experience under a verified hunter, experienced combat in the gate area in front of a rift for more than a year, and obtained a C-grade or higher.

People like my mentor John Lennon, who dropped out of school midway, are treated as D-grade among hunters.

However, this D-grade hunter was holding the lifeline of a chaebol group that once dominated South Korea.

"Hello, I'm Park Sang-min, an active member of parliament and a hunter. Nice to meet you."

This man, with his handsome and actor-like appearance, is a member of parliament.

Apparently, he entered the parliament as a proportional representative, emphasizing his background as a hunter.

I don't know what qualifies him to represent all hunters, but the Rose of Sharon badge sparkling on his military-like uniform looked quite impressive.

Although Director Choi was the nominal commander, the actual leader of the operation was Park Sang-min.

"There has been a massive outbreak of zombies in this industrial area, but according to research, the lifespan of a zombie is one month. After a month, zombies starve to death. We postponed this operation to avoid unnecessary battles with zombies."

His handsome face and gentle, trustworthy voice made even nonsense seem plausible.

"What do you think, dispatched hunter from the national committee?"

For some reason, he kept asking my opinion, but his intention was too obvious.

He was trying to crush me.

Because I'm a hunter sent from the national committee.

Currently, the parliament has no real power, in contrast to the NCMC.

His animosity turned into mockery towards me.

I could laugh it off. After all, the lifespan of this guy is at most three years.

The problem is, Park Sang-min might try to blame me for the failure of this operation which is doomed to fail.

That's not what I want.

I want to quietly, alone, cut off contact with everyone when the time comes and live freely.

“From my perspective, I think it’s slightly wrong.”

"No, you're mistaken. I think Mr. MP has misunderstood."

"I completely disagree."

So I tackled him on every point.

It was also hard not to tackle him.

After all, this guy only talks nonsense.

"I see it differently."

As the saying goes, even a worm will turn, and Park Sang-min began to counterattack after being hit several times.

"Do you see in 3D?"

That was his counterattack.

With nothing in his head, he tried to nullify my words with sarcasm and nonsense.

Ignoring him, I continued to speak.

"When zombies are about to starve to death, they will shut down. They fall into

a coma-like state, drastically reducing their metabolic rate. It's true that if they can't find nutrients for a month, they'll starve. However, zombies that have established a base in the city, away from the sun, need to be viewed differently."

"Ah, please, turn off your Ant wiki." 

Despite Park Sang-min's extreme rudeness, the expressions of the group's senior members watching our conversation were not bright.

Especially, the change in the chairman was noticeable.

Even an outsider could clearly see who was making more sense just by the context of the words.

The climax of the argument was about the method of entering the target industrial area.

Park Sang-min advocated for leading with armored vehicles, while I argued the opposite.

"No, Mr. MP. Have you ever seen gun-shooting zombies? Have you heard of them before? Zombies are sensitive to sound and smell. If we go with armored vehicles making engine noises and smelling of oil, it's just like advertising our location."

"Enough!"

Park Sang-min waved his arm.

A fierce-looking aide tried to block me and shut me up.

Shaking them off, I continued my point.

"We should first send experienced scouts to survey the formation. It’s not too late to decide on the method of entry then. You know, in a fight, planning is 90%. The remaining 10% is personal skill. If the plan is a mess, how can you expect to win?"

"This bastard keeps saying this and that. Fuck."

Park Sang-min's patience ran out.

"You insect-like bastard, do you see a member of parliament as nothing? How dare you constantly talk back to me?"

The group members separated me and Park Sang-min.

Fortunately, the person who took me elsewhere was also the reason I was here.

"Are you President Ji Chang-su?"

"Yes, that's correct."

"I have a request from your daughter."

"From Yeong-hee?"

Yeong-hee.

It was a model name. That woman.

I briefly explained the risks of this operation to Ji Chang-su, supplementing it with my knowledge and experience.

As expected of someone who managed a company with over 3,000 employees. Even though he's a subcontractor, Ji Chang-su seemed to carefully consider my words.

I delivered the finishing blow to erase his doubts.

"In fact, I'm not D-grade. Not to boast, but I'm in a different league from that parasitic brother."

However, invisible ties were still holding his heart.

"But Chairman..."

"What about the chairman? Honestly, isn't the group and everything else already over? Are you still doing business? Or is there even a business deal left?"

Ji Chang-su shook his head.

Although he shook his head, he gazed into the void with a deep and serious look that older people often have when lecturing juniors.

"You're still young, Hunter Park, so you might not understand. But relationships between people aren't so easily formed and broken. Especially for people like us who have shared the same time and experiences..."

"I think I understand."

I've had similar dilemmas myself.

"Besides, what can we do if we run away from this collapsing group? In blunt terms, aren't we just refugees from the Papung Group?"

"You have a family waiting for you to return alive."

"..."

"I don't have a family waiting for me."

I left the place first.

"When I give the signal, run without looking back."

"But the chairman!"

"Don't worry. The chairman will also flee."

The outcome of this operation is obvious.

The armored vehicles led the way, and zombies swarmed in.

The momentum was good.

Until we advanced to the center, creating a wall of corpses with flamethrowers and machine guns.

Soon we hit a limit.

Zombies surrounded us from all sides, blocking our retreat, and to make matters worse, the entity I feared the most appeared.

A 3-meter-tall creature with a matte, ash-grey surface devoid of luster, floated in the air, looking down at humans.

It emitted shockwaves that rippled the surroundings every time it released them, almost like breathing.

It was more like a statue, or rather, an idol, than a living creature.

All humans present were captivated by their own fear and awe, looking up at this being.

In the silence, I grabbed Ji Chang-su's wrist and said,

"Let's escape."

It was humanity's enemy, a monster.

Humans cannot defeat monsters.


Results of the battle..

Most equipment was destroyed, and all mercenaries were lost.

Director Choi also died in action.

Of the 200 employees who came as support troops, only half survived.

Park Sang-min survived but attributed the cause of failure to Director Choi's incompetence and Papung Group's lack of preparation.

It doesn't matter to me.

Ji Chang-su survived.

"With this, the chairman's stubbornness should be somewhat reduced. Thank you for your cooperation."

Kim Da-ram greeted me with a smile, but that woman didn't really seem happy.

She had no choice but to arrange this matter.

I understand.

In a world where everything has collapsed, it's hard to ignore the demands of powerful individuals.

"It wasn't a pleasant task. But why did you do it? I can guess the gist of it."

"There were two playgrounds, and one playground broke down. The most popular kid from the broken playground came to the other one but the kids didn’t include him.”

"That's a motherly analogy."

"Anyway, be happy. I won't bother you anymore."

Kim Da-ram sent me a congratulatory message along with an unexpected gift.

That gift was a personal identification number.

Now, I can enjoy a special status in the world of military frequencies.

"By the way, that chairman wants to see you again."

"I don't want to meet him."

"It’s up to Sunbae whether to meet him or not. Now that he's lost all his power, he doesn't have any resources left to influence anything."

What made me meet Jae Pung-ho again?

Looking back, I think it was curiosity. .

Who wouldn't want to see the end of a fallen chaebol, at least once, especially if you're Korean?

Jae Pung-ho met me on the 3rd floor of his corporate building.

The construction elevator that used to take me up to the 55th floor was no longer operational.

The luxurious bathroom was pervaded with the stench of urine.

Jae Pung-ho was waiting for me with a meal prepared.

The main dish was steak with truffles, and the drink was some top-grade wine, Château something.

The mushrooms and wine were excellent, but the quality of the steak definitely fell short compared to what I had stored in my bunker.

"Hunter Park."

He greeted me with a bright smile.

His face wasn’t much different from when I saw him back in the soup kitchen.

"I've looked into your career. I did some background checks. You're quite the big deal."

"I'm washed up now."

"Just like me."

Jae Pung-ho's eyes sparkled.

"Didn't you say you were unmatched compared to the likes of Lee Sang-hoon? You were part of the same team as the half-legendary saviors Kang Han-min and Na Hye-in."

"..."

The taste of my wine suddenly soured.

I heard names I didn't want to hear.

Names I had almost managed to erase from my memory.

"Why did you call me here?"

"Looks like you're planning to refuse whatever I say, right?"

"You know well."

"To get straight to the point, I'm thinking of taking on that industrial complex again."

"It won't work. You saw it, didn't you?"

"I know it won't work, but there are times when you have to do it anyway."

Jae Pung-ho, with his eyes half-closed and shining unusually bright, stared intently at the glass of red wine as if filled with regret.

"I was the child of a mistress."

"..."

"My official mother is listed as Jang Mi-suk, but she's not my mother. My real mother couldn't even leave her name. When I was born, there was a 0% chance I would inherit the group. But I did."

Jae Pung-ho's eyes deepened.

To be exact, he just opened his narrowly opened eyes wider, receiving more light from the ceiling lamp, but I mistook it for an increasing intensity of his gaze.

"I made it so that my father had no choice but to choose me by bringing down and trampling over everyone who stood in my way."

He had the spirit to do just that.

"I'm 69 now. It's time to challenge again."

"I won't do it."

"Just tell me how. How can I defeat that monster!"

I couldn't refuse that request.

Well, I owed him a favor.

A warm bowl of beef rice soup and a shot of soju.

"....It's called a Necromancer type. As you saw, it mutates dead people into zombies. It creates a reflective field around itself when attacked, but it doesn't reflect organic materials like living beings. It's very difficult to approach, but if you can get close, you can try to take it down. And there's one spot without the field, only as big as a coin......"

Jae Pung-ho, like a child returning to his youth, nodded his head vigorously and eagerly jotted down my information in his notebook.

After the conversation ended, I asked him.

"Why do you go to such extents for that place? With your wealth and connections, you can surely make enough preparations, can’t you? If you settle in a decent place, you can more than protect your family and people around you."

"How can I do that?"

He asked back, almost in tears.

"What about the tens of thousands of Papung employees who only trust and follow me?"

Now I think I understand why his eyes shone strangely.

He was a boss to the bone.

Someone who leads people, who makes people follow.

Or maybe he identified himself with Papung.


Jae Pung-ho's last challenge ended in failure.

The absence of the woman's father who spoke to me from the list of the deceased was a minor satisfaction.

The food center ambitiously set up by Jae Pung-ho turned into a den for drug addicts and is now an abandoned eyesore that no one visits.

This is the end of a chaebol I knew.

Thanks to that, I was able to transform from a perennially unpopular user to a user of some merit who wrote a popular post.

But it seems the story of Jae Pung-ho isn't over yet.

About a year and ten months after the war broke out, a photo was posted on the community.

gijayangban: Found this photo on Failnet. Doesn't it look familiar?

The photo showed a horde of zombies.

Apparently active in the provinces, they formed a massive group of thousands.

But the zombie leading them was a familiar face.

No doubt about it.

The zombie in the shimmering suit was Jae Pung-ho, the chairman of the Papung Group.

While most chaebols abandoned their groups and settled in castles with a dozen or so family members, this prominent entrepreneur is still leading thousands of followers, roaming the ruins even today.


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