< Chapter 9. The Golden Glass of Napoleon (2). >
Kim Taehoon had few habits. One of them was checking his left wrist as soon as he opened his eyes in the morning. He did the same thing right now.
The moment Kim Taehoon opened his eyes he checked his left wrist and realized that he was in the passenger seat of a car.
He could see the watch which he always wore but he was surprised while looking at it.
He was looking at a smartwatch.
Kim Taehoon never used a smartwatch.
To him, smartwatches were even worse garbage than handcuffs since it had GPS, couldn't go more than three days without needing to be charged, wasn’t waterproof, had very low durability, could easily break and was easily hacked. But now he was wearing one.
It was hard to understand. What was even harder was the next thing.
His body was not responding to his commands. He was trying to move his arms and hands to touch the smartwatch but his body did not respond to his wishes.
On the contrary, it started to move by itself. His arms remained still but his head turned to look at a guy approaching the window.
The guy approaching Kim Taehoon handed a cup to him inside the car.
Inside the paper cup was a mildly warm coffee.
“All we had was instant coffee. There’s no sugar in it, of course.”
Instead of a charming black color, the instant coffee had a muddy brown color.
It was the type of coffee Kim Taehoon hated. Instant coffee was an insult to Kim Taehoon’s one and only hobby, which was enjoying a good cup of coffee.
But it wasn’t the instant coffee that took Kim Taehoon’s attention.
It was the guy’s face that he was focusing on. The guy had a face filled with many scars.
There were especially three diagonal scars on his face that must have been from a terrifying monster and its claws.
It was fortunate that he was able to keep his face.
But Kim Taehoon was able to recognize him despite the scars.
The guy in front of him was Jang Sunghoon. He was a bit older than how Kim Taehoon remembered him.
Kim Taehoon tried to yell his name, but it wasn’t allowed to him.
Kim Taehoon was only allowed to be a bystander right now and could only watch what he himself was doing.
“One of your wishes came true, to have a cup of coffee before you die. Instant coffee is still coffee, right?”
Jang Sunghoon made a slight smile while talking.
At that moment, an enormous wind, a force that shook the world swept beside Jang Sunghoon and the car that Kim Taehoon was in.
Jang Sunghoon turned his head with a gasp.
“F*ck, it’s here already.”
Kim Taehoon’s mouth started to talk.
“You’ve done well so far.”
“Go to Gyeongju by yourself.”
“Meet Commander-in-chief Lim Hyunjoon there and deliver my words.”
The door of the car that Kim Taehoon was in opened.
Meanwhile, the bystander Kim Taehoon started to think about what he was seeing and hearing.
‘Gyeongju? Alone? Commander-in-chief Lim Hyunjoon, you mean Colonel Lim Hyunjoon?’
Jang Sunghoon stepped back as the door opened and Kim Taehoon stepped out of the car.
At the same time, the trunk automatically opened. Various types of weapons flew out of the trunk like a flock of birds and started to circle around Kim Taehoon.
Spear, knife, arrow, tombstone….
Kim Taehoon looked at each of the weapons and finally looked at Jang Sunghoon.
“Abandon Korea if I fail to hunt.”
“Sh*t, this does not make any sense. You don’t have to die! There’s no reason you should be dying! You said so yourself all the time! You’ve been fighting to survive! Because of those god damn f*ckers….”
Then, they heard the creepiest cry of a creature in the entire world.
That cry made Jang Sunghoon lose the light inside his eyes.
Jang Sunghoon collapsed like a puppet that had lost its strings, Kim Taehoon had to catch him and carry him to the driver’s seat.
As soon as the door was shut, the car started to drive itself.
At the same time, the giant shadow started to cover where Kim Taehoon was standing and the wind started to gain strength.
A strong wind that could even uproot a giant tree was blowing around Kim Taehoon.
Kim Taehoon lifted his head and looked at the thing that created the shadow amid the typhoon of winds.
The bystander Kim Taehoon also looked at the monster.
‘That’s the one. The one that passed by that night.’
There was a giant dragon with navy colored eyes that glowed with rage.
Ahn Sunmi stood up and turned off the flashlight she was holding after checking Kim Taehoon’s eyes.
Kim Suji, Bhang Hyunwook, and Jang Sunghoon were standing behind her, waiting impatiently for Ahn Sunmi to start talking.
Ahn Sunmi said to them with a stiff look.
The three were a little bit confused with the answer.
“As I said. Mr. Kim Taehoon is having a good sleep, a very deep sleep.”
“You mean…. He’s having a good rest?”
Bhang Hyunwook made a dumbfounded face at his own words. The words good rest were not a suitable phrase for the situation.
“That’s a relief though. I thought he was going to die.”
Bhang Hyunwook immediately made a sigh of relief.
His reaction was a natural thing for people. Sleeping was not a negative thing to ordinary people.
“Do you think it is a relief to suddenly fall asleep? You don’t know when he is going to wake up.” On the contrary, Ahn Sunmi’s face was still stiff.
She clicked her tongue towards Bhang Hyunwook then started talking to the other two.
“It looks like he’s asleep for now but I cannot make any additional diagnosis other than this. I can’t get an MRI or CT scan for now.
But he didn’t fall asleep because he was tired. Since he consumed something weird and fell asleep we don’t know how long he’s going to be asleep…..”
When someone takes an unidentified liquid and falls asleep it was a pretty serious situation for her since she was a doctor,
Jang Sunghoon changed the subject.
“I just got curious now. Who is in charge when the boss is not around? Would that be you? Lieutenant Kim Suji?”
Kim Suji was going to answer the question but instead looked at Bhang Hyunwook.
The soldiers would follow her command but Bhang Hyunwook was in a different position. First of all, he was not from the military nor did he have experience with it. That’s why Kim Suji had never commanded Bhang Hyunwook to do anything.
On top of that, Kim Taehoon not being present made everything different.
Besides Kim Taehoon, Bhang Hyunwook was the only one who could fight against the monsters without getting affected by the fear effect.
Did Kim Suji need to give orders to Bhang Hyunwook? Or should Bhang Hyunwook make his own moves?
They never had any agreement on this matter.
That was the reason why Jang Sunghoon brought it up. Now was the perfect time to discuss it. They would not be able to reach an agreement once the monsters appeared out of nowhere.
‘Wait, If hyungnim is not here…..’
Bahng Hyunwook was able to understand the situation. Without Kim Taehoon, Bhang Hyunwook would be the most important military strength the clan had. It could mean that he would be in the same position as Kim Taehoon.
‘I would be his substitute?’
Bhang Hyunwook slightly turned his head. At the end of his look was a glowing light.
It was the bonfire of the other survivors driven out of the Maek clan’s area.
They were frightened by the threat of Kim Taehoon but it was impossible for them to completely lose hope. Even though Kim Taehoon was scary enough, it was an undeniable fact that the Maek Clan was the only light, however dim, under the current situation.
How could you turn away from the only source of light when you knew full well it’s only going to be darkness and despair if you turned away?
‘I’m the substitute for hyungnim……’
Bhang Hyunwook could recall the conversation he had with Kim Taehoon inside his mind while looking at the survivors.
He added a hypothesis ‘what if I were to substitute Kim Taehoon’ to the conversation.
“Hold on a second.”
Ahn Sunmi grabbed Bhang Hyunwook’s wrist who was starting to think hard while looking at the survivors.
“I’ll have a moment with him.”
Ahn Sunmi started to pull Bhang Hyunwook’s wrist and led him elsewhere.
She stopped when they reached a distance far enough that the others wouldn’t hear the conversation between her and Bhang Hyunwook.
“What do you want to talk about?”
Ahn Sunmi made a stern expression on her freckled face and started to talk to Bhang Hyunwook.
“Get your mind straight.”
“I’m saying this because now is a very important time. Bhang Hyunwook, get your thinking straight. Are you planning to bring the survivors with us?”
“I object to the idea”
Objection, Bhang Hyunwook had to shut his mouth hard at that word.
On the other hand, Ahn Sunmi did not stop talking.
“I don’t think you understand the situation still. Who do you think was more relieved when the boss told the survivors not to come any closer to us?”
Because the situation was different now.
If Kim Taehoon did not wake up, the fate of the Maek Clan would be in Bhang Hyunwook’s hand.
Bhang Hyunwook was that strong. He consumed the second most monster stones next to Kim Taehoon and his Energy rank, which was the most effective in the battle with monsters, was higher than Kim Taehoon’s rank.
But the problem was, that was it for Bhang Hyunwook.
“It was our soldiers. The soldiers were most relieved by that statement.”
Bhang Hyunwook knew how to fight, but he knew nothing about leading people around him.
“Getting more survivors? Then who do you think will be in the most danger? Who do you think will carry more burden? To be honest, it’s not going to be harder for you or the boss. The fighting is going to be the same.”
The clear evidence of that was Bhang Hyunwook sympathy for the survivors.
“All the other issues will be taken by the soldiers. Also with taking risks. You and the boss are always going to have bigger risks since you guys go up against the stronger monsters. Yeah, I will give that to you. Having more survivors will not increase your risk. You will not be thinking about the others when you have to take down something like the Black Orc.”
Kim Taehoon mercilessly said no to the survivors. To the point that he would even threaten them, and did not give them any kind of hope.
“But ordinary people are different. They will be fighting to protect the survivors from the monsters. What if the soldiers die because of that? Will you regret it then? Or are you confident enough not to regret it?”
Kim Taehoon had made that harsh decision not just for himself. It was to bring up the possibility of survival for the whole clan.
What was right or wrong was not at all important to Kim Taehoon. What was important was that the action Kim Taehoon took was best for the clan, and if you were part of the clan you had to follow it.
If you do not like it, you could just leave the clan as Kim Taehoon said.
Bhang Hyunwook couldn’t say anything in response to Ahn Sunmi.
But he wasn’t immediately agreeing with her nor changing his mind.
He was too young and puerile to be like that.
Ahn Sunmi could understand his point of view.
The boy was not even 19 yet. He did not have one year of any kind of experience.
So Ahn Sunmi tried to be the adult and tried to give him a piece advice.
“We don’t need survivors who will only take from us. Keep that in mind. We don’t need survivors just to protect.”
Jang Sunghoon yelled at the very moment.
Bhang Hyunwook and Ahn Sunmi turned their heads at the same time to the yell.
They could see Kim Taehoon standing up from where he was.
Both of them rushed to reach Kim Taehoon.
“Major, are you alright?”
“Boss are you okay?”
Kim Suji and Jang Sunghoon who were near him were the first to ask how he was.
But instead of replying, Kim Taehoon checked his left wrist and saw the G-shock watch he was wearing then sighed.
‘It was a dream.’
The white steam of breath he made passed through the dark sky.
‘No, it wasn’t.’
But the breath wasn’t very deep.
‘Crisis…. That’s the crisis I will be facing one day.’
There was no time for a deep breath.
‘That was what it meant to dream the crisis. It meant I will be dreaming about the day I’ll die.’
“Boss! Boss!! Wake up. Should I slap you?”
Jang Sunghoon kept talking to Kim Taehoon who was deep in thought.
The moment Kim Taehoon saw Jang Sunghoon’s face complex emotions started to get tangled up in his mind.
It felt like someone else’s emotions were filling his heart, not his own emotions.
But those emotions faded away like a mirage as soon as he recalled the dragon.
All the other emotions were gone but fear and despair remained.
Kim Taehoon was the most desperate for it at this moment.
“Could anyone do me a favor. Whoever could, please bring me a cup of coffee.”
For a cup of coffee.
< Chapter 9. The Golden Glass of Napoleon (2). > The end.