<Side Story 7 The Day of Rest for the One who Dreams of Being a Slacker (2)>
‘He seems to have figured it out, right?’
‘I think so.’
The two team leaders were finally relieved as they exchanged glances.
Director Ma was a bit of a terrible person, but he wasn't the type of person who would do something like this if he knew what day it was.
Director Ma let out some fake coughs while peeking at Kim Rok Soo, who was silently sitting there. Team 2 leader held back a sigh and started speaking.
“Director-nim. I know that you must be disappointed to not have Team leader Kim at the ceremony, but didn't he do a very good job with getting everything done? Team 3 leader and I are enough for the ceremony! You know we are reliable, don't you?”
“Ahem. I am very well aware of your abilities, Team 2 and Team 3 leaders. The two of you will be enough for the ceremony to proceed smoothly. Ahem.”
He continued to peek at Kim Rok Soo’s face.
“I was just saying that it would be great if Team 1, the pride of our company, and the team leader of that team would participate in the ceremony.”
Team 3 leader smiled awkwardly and nodded his head.
As they had expected, Director Ma was acting like this because the team leader of Team 1 was not going to participate in the ceremony. He probably would have said a thing or two if he, as the team leader of team 3, said that he couldn’t show up, but would not have called all of them here like this. He probably wouldn’t have cared much about it.
“Well, for the past year, you’ve worked very hard so I guess it would be good for you to get a good rest.”
Director Ma said that and looked at team 2 leader who held back another sigh and responded.
“Yes sir. I agree with you! Hahaha!”
“Right? Ahem, I know you must all be busy as well so you can go!”
Team 2 and Team 3 leaders immediately stood up and Kim Rok Soo followed them. The three of them bowed and left the Director's office.
Director Ma confirmed that the door was closed before immediately checking the calendar.
“...Tsk. It’s already that time.”
He didn’t like Kim Rok Soo very much.
However, he accepted that Kim Rok Soo was skilled.
“Yes. Nobody other than Team leader Kim would have been able to do so much in almost a year.”
Director Ma thought about last year.
Kim Rok Soo was the only survivor on Team 1.
He had carried on Lee Soo Hyuk's desires and became the team leader.
Team 1 was in ruins at the time.
Everybody thought that its reputation would crumble. Both people inside the company and outside thought that Team 1 without Lee Soo Hyuk and his subordinates would be nothing much.
However, those speculations were completely crushed.
In just one year, Kim Rok Soo made Team 1 not better but at least basically back to normal.
That was why people were saying that they truly were Team 1, and based on Team 1's pace, they were once again saying that they would be the company’s ace team again unlike last year.
“...He didn't even take a break when Team leader Lee passed away.
Director Ma had not liked Lee Soo Hyuk either.
However, he was disappointed at Lee Soo Hyuk’s death. To be more honest, it was a feeling of loss.
Most people who knew the guy probably felt this way.
They also probably had another thought. They all probably thought that it would be difficult to fill the giant hole from that loss.
Lee Soo Hyuk was a true leader.
Director Ma thought about Kim Rok Soo's face. He was still young for being a team leader but his expression had changed to that of a true leader in one year.
“They call you cold-blooded, but I guess you are human too.”
Director Ma let out a short sigh.
“...Is he only taking one day off?”
He clicked his tongue at the feeling of bitterness.
His gaze did not move from the calendar.
Nothing was marked on that date but Director Ma could not forget what happened last year on that day.
“It’s been one year.”
Tomorrow would mark one year since team leader Lee Soo Hyuk and his team members died.
The members of Team 1 were the people who were most aware of it.
Team 1 had a lot of newbies or individuals with not too much experience compared to the other teams. Of course, there were some team members who had a lot of years of experience outside of the company.
Regardless of their years of experience, all members of Team 1 were quietly doing their work and peeking at the door connected to the hallway over and over. This was different from their usual demeanor.
At that time...
The door opened and Kim Rok Soo walked in. They all quickly looked at their desks.
“Assistant Leader Ha.”
“Yes, team leader-nim!”
“Will you please come here for a moment?”
The middle-aged man Kim Rok Soo addressed as Assistant Leader Ha responded quite energetically and quickly unlike his usual self and walked over to Kim Rok Soo's desk.
Kim Rok Soo needed people to support him in order to restore team 1 after the incident last year made him the team leader. Assistant Leader Ha was the person who came when they recruited experienced workers.
He was one of the rescue team members who had worked under Lee Soo Hyuk in the past at the Seomyeon, Busan shelter.
Assistant Leader Ha was the best person to support team leader Kim Rok Soo as he had interacted with Kim Rok Soo a couple times in the past as well.
But maybe because of those past interactions...
Assistant Leader Ha usually acted cheeky and relaxed.
“Did you need something, team leader-nim?”
However, he was quite quick right now.
Some of the team members shook their heads mumbling about how Assistant Leader Ha’s actions made it even more obvious, but he had no choice but to act like this.
Lee Soo Hyuk.
He was an extremely important person to Assistant Leader Ha. Although Lee Soo Hyuk was much younger than him, he was the one and only person Assistant Leader Ha had recognized as his ‘boss.’
That was why although he was staying in the Busan shelter with retirement on his mind he immediately dropped everything and came here after hearing that Team 1 was struggling because of Lee Soo Hyuk's death.
‘Boss, are the newbies that good?’
‘Yes. They’re really good. The two of them will surpass me someday.’
‘Oh come on. No way. You are one for the history books boss, you are historic!’
‘Historic my ass. Cut the crap. Anyway, I need to properly raise the two of them.’
Assistant Leader Ha suddenly remembered a conversation he had with Lee Soo Hyuk a few years ago.
“Assistant Leader-nim. Please just check these things tomorrow.”
"Ah, yes sir.”
Assistant Leader Ha took the documents from Kim Rok Soo and observed him.
‘...Boss. Kim Rok Soo is an amazing person as you mentioned. I am certain that he will become even more amazing than you.’
There had been no deaths or serious injuries on Team 1 since Kim Rok Soo became team leader. Although there were people who received minor injuries, nobody ever had to be hospitalized for a few days because of a serious injury.
Instead, the number of scars on Kim Rok Soo's body continued to increase.
“I will not be here tomorrow so thank you for taking care of everything in my place.”
“Please don't worry, sir! I will take care of everything properly.”
“However, if there are any urgent situations or you receive an emergency order to mobilize, you must contact me right away.”
Assistant Leader Ha was planning on not contacting Kim Rok Soo and taking care of things if possible, at least for tomorrow. However, Kim Rok Soo emphasized this part as if he realized that.
“You must. You must contact me.”
Assistant Leader Ha sighed. He then somewhat nodded his head.
“Yes sir, I will think about it and contact you.”
It was his usual cheeky response, but Kim Rok Soo knew that Assistant Leader Ha saying something like this meant that it was a promise to contact him during any emergency situations. He sent Assistant Leader Ha back to his seat and looked at the clock.
It was time to leave.
Kim Rok Soo thought about Director Ma, who called them just as it was getting time to leave work, and slightly frowned.
He stood up and peeked at the calendar.
He would go see his friends for the first time in a long while tomorrow.
“I will see you all in two days. Please call me if you need anything.”
Kim Rok Soo said goodbye to his team members and walked out of the office. He chose to take the stairs instead of the elevator down to the first floor lobby.
He didn't want to run into anyone while leaving work today.
He was certain that they would all act awkwardly around him similar to how his team members, the other team leaders, and Director Ma had acted.
He heard an extremely annoyed voice at that moment.
Kim Rok Soo looked toward the bottom of the stairs.
"Why are you coming down this way?”
The grumbling person was team 2's Park Kyung Ho.
He was the electric spear user who had joined the company at the same time as Kim Rok Soo and Choi Jung Soo.
“Then why are you coming up this way?”
Kim Rok Soo threw the same question back to Park Kyung Ho who scowled immediately.
“I always use the stairs. Do you know how much health benefits you can get by climbing the stairs?”
Kim Rok Soo subconsciously chuckled at this extremely un-Park Kyung Ho-like response. Park Kyung Ho snorted while looking at Kim Rok Soo.
“Hmph. It’s obvious why you are coming down the stairs.”
He grumbled as if he really didn't like something.
“You care so damn much about what other people might say.”
Park Kyung Ho basically stomped up the stairs.
“Hey, Kim Rok Soo.”
Spearman Park Kyung Ho did not call Kim Rok Soo by his title but spoke even more freely than when they were same level colleagues.
Team 2 leader said something about it, but Park Kyung Ho refused to listen and said the following to Kim Rok Soo.
‘I will be the second fastest person to become a team leader. You just wait! You got that?’
Kim Rok Soo did not get angry at Park Kyung Ho.
He knew what the guy was thinking on the inside despite all the grumbling.
“I can’t go tomorrow.”
Kim Rok Soo chuckled at Park Kyung Ho’s grumbling voice and responded.
“Is that why you went today?”
Team 2 leader had told him that Park Kyung Ho had taken a half day today. He probably came back to the company at the end of the work day despite taking the half day because he had things to take care of.
Park Kyung Ho glared at Kim Rok Soo. He then walked past him and climbed higher up.
“...Call me if you need a drink tomorrow.”
Of course, he left a leaving remark in place of a goodbye.
Kim Rok Soo also did the same thing.
Park Kyung Ho stomped even more in annoyance as he climbed the stairs but Kim Rok Soo did not care as he walked down.
It was time to go home.
It would also soon be time to go meet his friends.
* * *
There was something people started saying once monsters appeared and the world started to change.
‘We'll be lucky if we can at least find the corpses.’
Kim Rok Soo had this thought right now.
Was it really lucky?
Yes, it might be considered that way.
If nothing was left, the people left behind could only long for them with their memories.
However, Kim Rok Soo's memories were too clear.
That was why he could not even think about coming here.
The ashes or some possessions belonging to those who left this world while working for the company were placed or stored in this park.
Of course, it was not a requirement; the families could choose not to keep them here.
“Long time no see.”
Kim Rok Soo, who entered one of the many ossuaries in the park, looked toward the direction with quite a lot of flowers and gave a short greeting.
< Lee Soo Hyuk >
< Choi Jung Soo >
The names of his lost friends caught Kim Rok Soo's gaze and wouldn't let him go.
Kim Rok Soo stared for a long time before finally managing to close his eyes.
Closing his eyes made the memories pop up.
That was why he could not get complacent, stop, or rest. There was something he had to do.
“Anyway, team 1 is rolling along well.”
This phrase was representative of everything Kim Rok Soo had to do to prepare to come to this place.
That was why that was all he could say.
Kim Rok Soo stood there for a long time.
In the silent area...
He could not hear any sounds. It was so quiet that he couldn't even breathe in peace.
However, Kim Rok Soo's mind was full of numerous memories more than any other time.
The weight of the memories reaching out at him through the silence was too heavy to handle.
Kim Rok Soo let out a short sigh before standing up straight.
“I will go now.”
That was his goodbye to his team members before he turned around. He then had a thought that made him turn back to look at Choi Jung Soo's spot.
“I’ll be able to go where your family is located soon.”
The village where most of Choi Jung Soo's family lost their lives... A small hill from where he could see that place...
Kim Rok Soo thought about a memory from the past before leaving after making that single comment.
He walked out and looked up at the sky.
The sun was high up in the sky.
It was noon.
There was still so much time left until this day was over.
Kim Rok Soo ended up walking back home.
He turned the light on.
It was quiet here too.
Kim Rok Soo silently sighed before lying down on the floor.
He needed to change and clean the house but it was too annoying.
All he did was slowly breathe in and out.
He focused on his breathing.
That made his chaotic mind slowly calm down.
Kim Rok Soo sat up after hearing a noise.
< Emergency Mobilization >
He immediately stood up after seeing the message from Assistant Leader Ha.
“This is actually better.”
Although his day off would be over if he went to the company and out into the field...
Kim Rok Soo thought that this was better for him.
He opened the door and walked out of the area that was only filled with silence.
* * *
Cale realized that he fell asleep and slowly opened his eyes.
“Human! Open your eyes!”
“He’s opening them now, nya!”
“That’s right! He is opening them now, nya! We were ready to break the bed if you didn’t wake up!”
“...That doesn’t seem like a good idea, nya.”
Raon, On, and Hong’s conversation slammed against Cale's ears nonstop.
Their voices were so distinct and their conversation so hopping that it would be considered loud if he chose to think of it that way.