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    More reveals about Moohyun’s background in this chapter…

    In order to lower Yoo Geum-yi’s blood pressure, which was spiking due to a grip of frustration, I stepped in.

    “While studying about sharks, I learned that Greenland sharks, as far as I know, live in the North Atlantic, right? Why are they causing chaos at a North Pacific underwater base?”

    “They also live in Canada.”

    His response was laughable. *Chuckle*. This guy could work as a comedian or help lower the blood pressure of hypotensive patients. I tried to recall past memories.

    “In a religion… there should be objects of faith, priests, followers, scriptures, and temples, right? Let’s say the object of faith is an octopus, priests are sharks, followers are squids, money is seashells. Is there even one temple? Do you own any real estate? In front of the three elevators at the second underwater base? Or is it the Dragon Palace wedding hall? The first underwater base? Or do you sleep homeless on this beach?”

    “You fools. We are a very old religion. Temples exist in any country, city, and sea. Your home is already our field.”

    Baek Ae-young must have thought that she had warned enough. Without saying a word, she slapped the man’s cheek with a gun from behind.

    At the sudden violence, I gaped, and Yoo Geum-yi-i, who was behind me, was shocked enough to step back. The man’s face almost turned 90 degrees. It looked like his teeth had been knocked out. As the man licked the inside of his mouth with his tongue and tried to spit out his teeth, I reflexively blocked his mouth with my palm. Startled, I stammered.

    “Don’t spit out your teeth, leave them in your mouth… you need to have your teeth for the treatment.”

    “…Are you the new dentist?”

    Whether it’s ceramic or gold, nothing beats one’s own teeth, whether in the past or now. Growing them with stem cells takes too long. Moreover, there is no equipment here. The man’s speech was a mess with blood and saliva and teeth in his mouth, and I did not answer. Then the man spat his teeth out onto the floor along with his blood, cackling with laughter.

    The man spoke to me, spraying blood. His pronunciation was unclear, but strangely, I heard it well.

    “Your younger brother is a university freshman now, right? Your father committed suicide, and your mother was hit by a drunk driver and can’t use her lower body, right? She’s literally crawling on the ground?”

    My heart began pounding in my ear again. A chill ran down my back as if I had been hit on the back of my head.

    Everything he said was true, and instead of being angry, I wondered how he knew all this. The man, spitting out blood from his mouth, said.

    “Did you think I wouldn’t know? We’ve already investigated you and your family. You have a lot of debt, right? Fool! If you don’t immediately join our Infinity Church, not only the life and death of your family, but you won’t survive in this underwater base—.”

    Yoo Geum-yi gasped for breath. The man was neatly knocked out by Shin Haeryang’s punch that flew in. It seemed like he had broken the man’s nose and philtrum with one punch of his right hand. The man, who was kneeling with his hand on his head and sneering at me, rolled straight onto the floor.

    Hitting the man’s philtrum, the opponent’s nose and two front teeth were broken. Shin Haeryang simply shook off the blood dripping from the back of his hand to the ground. I stared blankly at the man who had fallen to the ground. Given the extent of the trauma, he would need to visit not only a dentist but also an otorhinolaryngologist and a plastic surgeon.

    I picked up the teeth that had fallen onto the floor, dazed. People’s teeth don’t fall out this easily.

    Do you know how much strength you need to pull out a wisdom tooth? The same goes for these front teeth. Can human teeth be so easily pulled out? Do you know how much time and money it takes to treat this? While I was out of my senses, touching the white teeth, Shin Haeryang lightly tapped my shoulder.

    “Let’s move.”

    I flinched at the touch on my shoulder. Without asking anything about what had just happened, he just helped up Seo Jihyuk, who had been sitting on the floor. Yoo Geum-yi-i trudged along, quietly calling out, “Moohyun.” Like a swinging pendulum, I began to move, too. Like snatching a cat bag from Yoo Geum-yi, I slung it over my shoulder and helped Seo Jihyuk.

    Baek Ae-young said she would bring up the rear and told us to go ahead. Yoo Geum-yi, not knowing what to do, followed us at Baek Ae-young’s glance. I saw Baek Ae-young, dragging a dead person with a pair of scissors stuck in their neck.

    The puddle of blood, the teeth rolling on the ground, the disfigured face, and the blood were all too vivid. There’s no need to hit like that. There’s no need to hit a person like that. I touched the teeth that I had grabbed in shock and murmured. If I didn’t say something, I felt like I was going to cry.

    “······There was nothing particularly wrong with what the man said earlier. If this cult has investigated my family, my family might be in danger now.”

    Blood and violence, dead bodies and injured people, cults, armed personnel, a leaking underwater base. As I was saying this with my fist shaking with anxiety, Shin Haeryang, who had been listening quietly, nodded his head.

    “Ignore it. There would be no more effective method to recruit the current Moohyun-ssi than that kind of threat. And if they’ve investigated a person who’s only been hired for five days to that extent, they’ve likely already investigated all of us as well.”

    It was a weighty statement that left no room for any anxiety. That made me feel a little more relieved about the cult’s flickering pupils and voice. There was a bloody tooth in my hand.

    I really hate this. I didn’t know that seeing a tooth that had fallen out outside of the dentist’s office could be so horrible. The anxiety that had been pounding like a storm had now started to rain lightly. I barely managed to suppress my emotions that felt like they were about to explode. It felt like if someone pushed me, I would burst into tears.

    Seo Jihyuk hesitated before saying, “That… earlier, he was spouting bullshit when the doctor wasn’t here. So don’t worry too much.”

    “…Yes.”

    It seemed that Seo Jihyuk believed that I wasn’t shocked because I’d witnessed a violent act, but rather due to the contents of what the cult member had said. I had never seen someone being beaten up, let alone beaten someone myself.

    Yoo Geum-yi kept glancing behind us. As Baek Ae-young was now out of sight, she seemed to be worried.

    “Ae-young-ssi isn’t coming?”

    “Oh, don’t worry, Geum-yi-ssi. She’ll be here soon. You remember she walks faster than us, right?”

    We were walking back past the sandwich shop toward the convenience store. Once we’d returned to the point where we could see the body of Hai Yoon laid on the ground, Baek Ae-young had somehow managed to end up at the back of our group. Yoo Geum-yi, walking ahead, asked Shin Haeryang.

    “Where are we going?”

    “Somewhere that religious cult group won’t find us.”

    “Is there such a place? From here to the second undersea base, we can only get there by taking one of the three elevators, including the central one, or the two escape ports.”

    “There is one more.”

    “There’s one more? But the guidebook, the maps, and the blueprints don’t show that?”

    I don’t even know how many elevators are here. Yoo Geum-yi, who has lived here for over a year, and Seo Jihyuk and Baek Ae-young, who have been here even longer, were all puzzled about where Shin Haeryang was leading us. But Baek Ae-young didn’t ask, and Seo Jihyuk, being dragged along by others due to his injured leg, didn’t seem pleased with his situation and started grumbling again.

    “Team Leader? Team Leader? I think you’re upset because of that lunatic spouting nonsense earlier, but calm down. How about we somehow take the central elevator? We could sabotage the elevator at the second undersea base so the door doesn’t open. Or, we could just have a gunfight. Isn’t it better to escape quickly by elevator than dealing with those damned escape pods?”

    As Seo Jihyuk was speaking, Shin Haeryang, who was supporting him, stopped. This caused me, who was also supporting Jihyuk, and Yoo Geum-yi, who was walking behind us, and Baek Ae-young, who was last in line, to stop as well. Shin Haeryang asked me and Yoo Geum-yi.

    “There are two options. A difficult journey to the second undersea base without encountering any people, or an easy journey there, but with a 100% chance of running into those armed cult members. Which do you prefer?”

    “I prefer not running into people with guns, even if it’s hard.”

    At Yoo Geum-yi’s words, Seo Jihyuk laughed heartily. I remembered the previous situation and shook my head.

    “I don’t want to meet those guys.”

    I no longer wanted to be with Shin Haeryang, Seo Jihyuk, or Baek Ae-young. Emotionally, I just wanted to lie in bed all day, vomiting and hiding. But I couldn’t bring myself to admit it. Was I raised too weakly? No… After my father’s death, I had lived as a commoner among commoners in Korea. I thought I had grown like a field of grass, but now I realized that the field had unexpectedly been inside a greenhouse.

    How many times have I seen someone die from a knife to the throat in my life? That madness. Speaking of another’s misfortune with blood-soaked nonchalance, people punching others and teeth flying out…

    The less I see of those cult members, the less I’ll have to witness such scenes. Baek Ae-young didn’t answer Shin Haeryang’s question. Shin Haeryang asked Yoo Geum-yi again.

    “Have you ever shot a gun?”

    “No.”

    Shin Haeryang turned to me, and I also shook my head again. Seo Jihyuk said in a nagging tone, “This is the problem since the implementation of voluntary military service. Men who don’t know how to shoot guns…” Baek Ae-young, who had been standing guard with a gun, looked at Seo Jihyuk, leaning on my arm, with disbelief and said with contempt.

    “Yep, big problem. A man who knows how to shoot ends up getting shot.”

    Baek Ae-young nudged Seo Jihyuk’s bandaged left leg with her toe, causing him to flail his hand about in pain, not daring to scream in case he was heard.

    “Ouch! Baek Ae-young! Wait till I get out of here!”

    “Ha, go ahead, kill me. Kill me here. Idiot.”

    While Baek Ae-young teased Seo Jihyuk, Shin Haeryang seemed to have decided that the less dangerous route was the best. The smell of bread wafted around the convenience store, as we were close to the bakery. We began to move further away from the center, seemingly heading for a corner.

    Haeryang seems to know more about the base than others… I wonder if he’s got something to hide?

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