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    Hi all!

    Sorry for the lack of chapters. Since the novel has officially finished, I will try to increase the update frequency from now on starting next week.

    That’s all from me, enjoy!

    The cable car was rising to -130m. It seemed that even when the cable car reached the 1st Underwater Base at -50m, it would still be difficult to properly breathe. It was a real mountain of obstacles. I understood why Shin Haeryang had insisted on escaping using the escape pod when we first had to flee from the 4th Underwater Base. Taking the escape pod heads directly to the sea surface fastest. There’s no need to painfully ascend via the 3rd, 2nd and 1st Underwater Bases. And whether you’re holding a gun or not, or with a patient or a fanatic, by taking the escape pod there’s no need to encounter anyone. There are no conflicts or complications in the escape.  

    If I hadn’t been a clueless newbie, I would have gotten on the escape pod at the 4th Underwater Base without hesitation. But then I might have been screaming as I sank back down toward the seafloor in a malfunctioning escape pod, pitifully begging the gods to let me rise back up again…hmm, my situation now is quite similar.   

    As my head started hurting again, I pressed my forehead with my hand. The headache could be from too much carbon dioxide. Or it could be another nosebleed coming on, or from sudden stress, or maybe some undiagnosed brain condition I didn’t know I had had just manifested.  

    I looked down at Baek Ae-young lying on the floor, then squeezed my eyes shut and leaned my body against the cable car wall. There was nothing we could do. We couldn’t control the cable car, and didn’t have anything to regulate the oxygen or nitrogen levels. All we could do was pray that the cable car properly reached the 1st Underwater Base.

    At some point I had leaned my head against the wall and was staring out at the ocean. The sea I had thought was merely dark now looked cobalt blue after gazing at it for so long. Shin Haeryang was also leaning against the wall with his eyes closed. I couldn’t tell if he was asleep or just resting with his eyes shut. Baek Ae-young also had her eyes closed. She looked far too young now. No matter her age she didn’t look a day past mid 20s. Shin Haeryang was the same. He was at most late 20s. They were people with a bright future ahead, much too young to die pointlessly down here in the ocean. Ah right, me too.  

    Please. I want to feel the sunlight on my face. I want to walk under the blazing sunshine. I heard they made incredibly realistic artificial beaches here in Daehando, I want to tread on the smooth sands with my bare feet, freely breathing and running around without constraints.  

    When I came to, thinking I had dozed off for a bit, it was already at -70m. If it weren’t for the decreasing numbers I wouldn’t have known we were still rising. I couldn’t tell from the surroundings either. Occasionally I checked that Baek Ae-young was still breathing, then I would gaze out at the sea, and when fear overcame me I felt someone’s eyes on me. When I looked at Shin Haeryang he was holding Baek Ae-young’s rifle after removing his own.  

    “Will you be able to carry Ae-young-ssi?”

    “I have to.”

    With a sigh, I stood to put those words into action. When I got up from the cable car seat my legs shook. I couldn’t tell if it was from exhaustion or shock. We passed -65m. I doubted if I’d be able to carry another person and walk given my condition. But there was no point complaining about the situation. If I had shot better than Haeryang maybe I would be the one carrying the rifle. 

    Haeryang carrying Ae-young while I pose dramatically with the gun like a movie actor. Dodging the hail of bullets to secure an escape route for the others, creating a safe getaway for Haeryang and Ae-young hiding somewhere to stylishly break out from under the sea…if so, would I have been able to rescue Jihyuk and Geum-yi too? Thinking that, I put the bag with the snake over my shoulder and with Haeryang’s support carefully hoisted the unconscious Ae-young onto my back. The weight of an unmoving person really is…I should have exercised more.    

    At -60m, Haeryang and I got ready to exit. If I make it out of here I’m never getting on a cable car again for the rest of my life. Won’t use stairs either. Or get in an elevator! Having that thought made me wonder if I could function in society, and I laughed softly. Haeryang looked puzzled at me suddenly laughing but soon turned to face the door with his gun raised. Then I heard a rumbling sound. I couldn’t tell if this was normal for under the sea, or if the materials used to build the cable car blocked external sounds, but the ride up had been so quiet all we could hear was each other’s breathing. Haeryang and I simultaneously looked up at the ceiling.  

    “Huh?”  

    “?”

    At the same time, my feet left the floor. I slid forward, colliding with something at chest-height. When I got my bearings I realized I had landed on top of Haeryang who still had Ae-young on his back. Using his own body as a cushion to protect Ae-young, Haeryang frowned up at the cable car ceiling.  

    “That’s…”

    “What…”

    Without a sound, the cable car rocked right, then left again. Like beans in a box, we slid and crashed into the chairs and walls as the cable car swayed. Luckily we were already down or it would have been more painful slamming against the walls while standing. What? What was happening? Through the chairs Haeryang pulled me and Ae-young into a hug. His expression was grave.

    “The cable on the side connecting to the 2nd Underwater Base just snapped.”  

    “What?”  

    “We’ll crash soon.”

    “Crash? We’re crashing?”

    The cable car abruptly started plummeting downward. I could tell because my body floated up. Baek Ae-young’s bag and bottles were plastered upside down on the ceiling. The only reason we weren’t slammed up there too was because Haeryang had his legs wrapped around the fixed cable car seats and was hugging me and Ae-young. I was also desperately gripping Ae-young’s legs on my back.  

    After what felt like an endless fall, the descending cable car suddenly jerked to a stop, as if the cable had caught onto something. With the cable car no longer dropping, all the items floating on the ceiling came crashing down on us sprawled on the floor. A soju bottle that had flown upward struck my thigh as it rolled on the ground. Tears sprang to my eyes. Funny how the bottle holding 50 year old alcohol didn’t break. Instead it felt like my thigh had shattered. Through the pain I barely managed to say to Haeryang,

    “Why did the cable snap? Is it made of rubber bands?” 

    “Based on the timing, it seems the collapse of the 4th Underwater Base caused a chain reaction taking down the other bases too.”

    “If one Underwater Base collapses shouldn’t the rest be fine?!”  

    “They’re structurally all connected.”

    “F*cking hell!”

    Right after cursing we plunged down again. Our cable car slammed onto other cable cars that had already sunk below us. Oh god. Goosebumps rising on my skin, when I raised my head in the darkness I saw cable cars that had been ahead of ours raining down on top of us. Someone pressed my head to the cable car floor. There was a literal boom, followed by a tremendous din, before I opened my eyes again.  

    Even in this situation my nerves, which refused to make me pass out, felt resentful. Next to my head I saw Baek Ae-young and Haeryang’s heads. I shook Ae-young’s shoulder and looked at the crown of Haeryang’s head saying,

    “Haeryang-ssi? Shin Haeryang-ssi? Baek Ae-young-ssi? Baek Ae-young-ssi? Get a hold of yourselves.”

    The interior of our cable car was completely warped, and the lower cable car’s structures combined with the cable cars dropping from above had mangled the floor and ceiling of our cable car. Seawater was flowing in through the shattered sections. As I crawled out from under them I realized a steel beam had pierced Baek Ae-young’s left chest and neck all the way through. There was a high pitched ringing in my ears. The sound dragged on before fading away. With trembling hands I confirmed Baek Ae-young’s death.  

    …it would have been instant. She wouldn’t have felt pain. Bawling, I pulled Shin Haeryang off of Baek Ae-young with my blood soaked hands, then immediately let go when he groaned. Only then did I notice his thighs and calves were drenched in blood. It seemed the shattering cable car glass had slashed Haeryang’s legs and waist. I saw the glass thickness for the first time then. It was over 10cm thick.

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