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    Baek Aeyoung activated the partition inside the dormitory building. According to the numbers, the dormitory that could accommodate up to 500 people now had partitions descending every 50 rooms. Before going down the intermediate staircase located between rooms 50 and 100, the wall automatically measured the pressure. The pressure the partition was enduring was displayed on the wall next to the door that Baek Aeyoung was knocking on.

    When asked why she did this, Baek Aeyoung laughed and said, “Well, if I don’t do this and open the door without checking, it might flood the entire corridor in an instant if we’re unlucky. Turns out we can go down. It’s not completely submerged in water.”

    Shin Haeryang put the child down on the floor and took out an emergency ax from the wall. With his handsome face and holding the ax, he looked like a serial killer from a movie.

    Holding the ax, Shin Haeryang spoke to Baek Aeyoung, “Open all the dormitory doors.”

    “The computer shows that they’re all open, but I’m not sure if they’re actually open. The power is out from room 61 to 120.”

    “Seo Jihyuk.”

    “Yes, yes.”

    Seo Jihyuk took off his cardigan and threw it on the floor. He hesitated for a moment before taking off his shoes and even his socks, becoming barefoot. Then, he punched the wall beside him hard. A panel next to him fell off, revealing tools such as a screwdriver, flashlight, and insulating tape.

    ‘Do all engineers hide their tools all over the walls?’

    Shin Haeryang was wearing clothes similar to a wetsuit like Baek Aeyoung, but he didn’t seem to need to take it off. Instead, he began to untie the bracelet on his wrist.

    “What’s that?”

    “It’s a parachute cord.”

    What’s that for? Why is it on his wrist? I swallowed my trivial question. Instead, I gently placed the two backpacks I had been carrying on my back on the ground. I decided to take off my shoes after some consideration.

    Seeing me, Shin Haeryang shook his head and said,

    “Jihyuk and I will go alone. Please stay here, doctor.”

    Of course, I wanted to stay here comfortably. But I was the one who first suggested rescuing the researchers in the main control room. I had enough conscience to not just wait while only the two of them swam through the water and rescued the people.

    “Are you sure you two can manage, considering there are five people in that room?”

    At my words, Seo Jihyuk looked at Shin Haeryang and said, “If there are children or injured people, we might need more help. Wouldn’t it be okay for him to come along?”

    After thinking for a moment with a frown, Shin Haeryang looked at the child lying on the floor and nodded. As soon as the partition to the dormitory was opened, Seo Jihyuk shone his flashlight downward. The rising water could be seen in the darkness.

    I followed Shin Haeryang and Seo Jihyuk down the stairs and into the dark water. As soon as I confidently entered the water, I regretted not staying obediently above when Shin Haeryang told me to, a mere three seconds later. It was understandable since it was extremely dark. There was not a single speck of light as the electricity had gone out. As soon as I stepped down the stairs and submerged myself in the water, I felt as if all my body heat was drained, and the water level rose up to my neck.

    Considering I am 175cm tall and the water barely reached my chin, I looked around and saw that for taller people like Shin Haeryang and Seo Jihyuk, the water only reached their shoulders, so they just walked as usual. My regret intensified. Seo Jihyuk led the way, holding a pen-sized flashlight in his mouth.

    We began to move, sticking to the wall, not knowing whether we were walking or crawling along the wall. We continued to walk, using the doors as a countdown. I brushed aside the floating water bottles near my face and pushed away chairs and pillows that were caught underfoot. Seo Jihyuk, who arrived first, knocked loudly on the closed door of room 77. Screams burst out from across the door.

    ‘Weren’t all the doors supposed to be open?’

    “There are people here! We’re trapped! Please save us!”

    “Step away from the door.”

    Shin Haeryang took a deep breath and took the flathead screwdriver that Seo Jihyuk had, by going underwater. Seo Jihyuk quickly shone his flashlight into the water.

    Watching Shin Haeryang’s actions, I asked Seo Jihyuk, “Why won’t this door open?”

    “It could be because the power is out, or it could be due to a pressure difference, or something could be stuck in it. There are many possibilities.”

    “Shouldn’t we help team leader Shin Haeryang?”

    “The team leader? It’s more helpful if I don’t help.”

    Following the movement of the flashlight, I saw Shin Haeryang make a few axe-like strokes at the bottom of the door in the water, then push in the screwdriver. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, but when the man came out of the water, the door now had a 5cm gap.

    “Grab the door and push it with force!”

    We slipped our fingers into the small gap. Six hands were attached to the door, pushing it to the left with all our strength. One, two, three! Heave-ho! The door, which usually opened automatically, was so thick and heavy that I almost cursed. As I was thinking about how this could cause airtightness, a small hand came out from the door I was holding.

    As the pale, small woman’s hand that emerged from the dark room touched my fingers, I let out a different kind of scream. Aaah! Aaahhhhhhh! Seawater entered my mouth, and my scream disappeared underwater.

    The three of us, all the size of a door, clung to the sliding door, which slowly receded into the wall. As it opened just enough for a person to barely squeeze out, we let go of the door, our hands already losing strength.

    As Seo Jihyuk shone his flashlight into the room, there was only one person inside. The light briefly swept across a small-framed woman’s face. Even though I knew there was someone there, I was more surprised when the light shone on her. Her face was drenched, whether from water or tears.

    Recognizing her face, Seo Jihyuk asked, “What’s going on? Is Ga-young the only one here?”

    “Didn’t you say there were five people?”

    As I asked absentmindedly while looking at the empty room, Kim Ga-young sobbed and said, “······I’m the only one. I’m sorry.”

    “Let’s go.”

    Hurriedly, as if we couldn’t waste any more time, Shin Haeryang urged us on. Then, he picked up Kim Ga-young, who was precariously standing on a chair, and hoisted her onto his shoulder. The water had already risen past our chins and was now at our mouths. Seo Jihyuk, Shin Haeryang, and I turned back towards the stairs in that order.

    To be precise, I was lagging behind more than Shin Haeryang, who was carrying someone. No matter how weak one might be, a woman would weigh at least 60 kg, but how could he walk so well while carrying her in the water? Is he a robot? I stuck close to the wall, desperately trying to keep up with Shin Haeryang, who was five steps ahead of me.

    I walked, bouncing as if I was swimming or jumping, and occasionally swallowed seawater when I couldn’t time my breaths properly. As the water rose to my mouth, I raised my head slightly and walked, but it was terrible.

    If I get out of here, I won’t go to the beach for at least ten years. Da*n it

    As Shin Haeryang shouted something, Seo Jihyuk, who was leading the way, came back and gently pulled my collar up. My nose barely stayed above water. I was so envious of his height, which was over 190 cm. Seo Jihyuk, the only one in this rescue team with a light, spoke with a flashlight clenched in his teeth.

    “Why are you drinking all the seawater, doctor?”

    “I’m trying to get rid of it by eating-Urghh!”

    I tried to make a joke in response to Seo Jihyuk’s laughter-filled voice but suddenly felt nauseous and threw up.

    “Ugh! What’s wrong with you!”

    I was really sorry for vomiting on his arm, but it wasn’t my intention. After swallowing a basinful of seawater, everything in my stomach came out. Shin Haeryang, who waded through the cold seawater over 175 cm deep in the dark, finally stepped on the stairs and put Kim Ga-young down.

    Then, he turned his head towards me. At that moment, Seo Jihyuk, who was holding my collar, tripped on something and fell forward. The flashlight beam vanished instantly. A person slipped into the dark water, and with my collar grabbed, I was dragged into the water and slammed down.

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