spine of every listener present.

“Kang Jin-Hoooooo! Kang Jin-Hooooo!” Kim Hak-Cheol screamed out Kang Jin-Ho's name several times, mixing it up with incomprehensible curses.
Eventually, though, his yells turned into pitiful sobs.
“…Please, let me go.
Let me go, please…
I, I was wrong… Hik…

Noh Su-Bong just stood there; he could neither chuckle, get irritated, nor even lose himself to anger.
Even his habitual colorful language had left him.
He could only stand there with a pale look as he stared at Kim Hak-Cheol.

A part of him was shouting at him to do something—to get on top of this situation.
But what was he supposed to do here? What could he possibly do to get a grip on this situation?

Suddenly, Kang Jin-Ho stopped shielding his head and got up.

Noh Su-Bong sobered up quickly.
“H-hey, man.
You alright?”

“Yes, sir.” Kang Jin-Ho coolly nodded as if it was nothing.

“…I'm really sorry about this, Jin-Ho.
Let me apologize on that idiot's behalf.
I mean, you can tell he's not right in his mind, can't you? This was…
No, wait.
I know this will become a problem, but no high-ranking officers witnessed this scene, so…
Can you, like…
Just this once?”

Kang Jin-Ho chuckled at that.
“Don't worry, sir.
I'll keep my mouth shut.”

“…Will you do that? Thanks.
Let me apologize again.”

“Besides that, sir…”

“M-mm?” Noh Su-Bong was taken aback.
That smile etched on Kang Jin-Ho's lips came across as very…
Even though it was a bland smile, it…
It was weirdly ominous.

“Sir, Corporal Kim's health seems to have declined significantly.
You should tell him to take care of himself better, sir.
After all, there's still one more day to go.”

“…Eh?” Noh Su-Bong was puzzled by what Kang Jin-Ho had said, but he still nodded in agreement for the time being.
Kim Hak-Cheol could easily spend the day in a cell for this crap.
No, never mind that; he could even be formally charged with assault if things didn't go in his favor.
However, Kang Jin-Ho had promised to let it go, so Noh Su-Bong could only be thankful for now.

Just as Noh Su-Bong finished nodding, the members of the 1st Squad rushed inside the living area.
Noh Su-Bong quickly instructed them.
“Hey, you lot! Take that moron away!”

“Yes, Sergeant!”

Kim Hak-Cheol continued to mutter incomprehensible gibberish amidst intense sobbing as his squad mates picked him up and carried him away.
Noh Su-Bong supervised them, then left behind some words of gratitude and apology before quickly leaving the 3rd Squad's living area.

'…One day to go? What does that mean?'


“One day…
One day! …Just one more day…
One! One day! Just one more! One…” Kim Hak-Cheol kept mumbling like a lunatic.

He no longer resembled a human being.
Drool dribbled down the corner of his chin as he mouthed 'one day' repeatedly.
Looking into his hollow, sunken eyes no longer evoked sympathetic feelings in the bystanders as the scene gave them the creeps instead.

Noh Su-Bong glanced at one of his junior soldiers.
“When are they gonna take him to a hospital?”

The ambulance is scheduled to show up tomorrow.”

“F*ck…” Noh Su-Bong angrily shook his head.
“Damn it, why the f*ck do all transportation have to be restricted right now?”

The Battery Commander unhesitantly ordered Kim Hak-Cheol's hospitalization after discovering the latter's terrible state, but the inclement weather had thrown a wrench into that plan.
After snow began to incessantly fall early morning, vehicle entry and exit were restricted.

Thanks to this development, Noh Su-Bong had to watch Kim Hak-Cheol's descent into madness for one more day.

“By the way, what is that moron mumbling about?” Noh Su-Bong frowned deeply.

“Sir? I think Corporal Kim has been saying something about enduring one more day.”

“…One more day? You sure?”

“Yes, sir.
He has been repeating the same thing over and over.
That he needs to endure one more day.”

“…One day, is it?”

“That's what Corporal Kim said, sir.”

Noh Su-Bong rubbed his chin.
Didn't Kang Jin-Ho say something earlier about one more day to go? And Kim Hak-Cheol was repeating that for some reason? “…Hey.
Do you know exactly what happened when this moron charged into living area no.5 in the morning? Was he hitting whoever he could see or targeting Kang Jin-Ho specifically?”

“Well, sir.
I'm sure you also saw Corporal Kim losing his sh*t while shouting 'Kang Jin-Ho, Kang Jin-Ho!' back then, sir.”

Noh Su-Bong's brow creased deeply.
“…That is definitely suspicious.”


Kim Hak-Cheol's eyes were scarily bloodshot.

He had to endure tonight.
As long as he endured it…! The pain from his nails and teeth being pulled out were horrifying enough to rob him of his consciousness, but as long as he could endure tonight and survive! Then…!

Tonight was the promised seventh night.

Kang Jin-Ho smiled brightly at Kim Hak-Cheol's determined face.
“I'm honestly impressed.
Your mind is tougher than I thought.”

Impressed? Did he really say he was impressed after driving a person to this wretched state?

“Huhuhu…” Kim Hak-Cheol cackled powerlessly.
As for the tears streaming down his face, he couldn't tell if the pain was making him cry or if it was the joy of knowing he would no longer go through this torture from tomorrow onward.
“I, I'm sorry…”


“It was my fault.
I am guilty.
If I knew being tormented was like this, I…
I would have never done it.
I… I swear I'll never do it ever again…”

“Oh, I see.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
“It's fine either way.
Whether you repent or not, it doesn't matter.”

“I… I'm definitely repenting! I'm even crying tears of blood, y-you know! I'm telling you the truth! Please believe me.
Please, please!” Kim Hak-Cheol broke down and cried again.

‘Please, no more.
No more! I can't endure this anymore.
Please, please stop this…’

Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
“Well, a promise is a promise.
So, I shall give you freedom as promised.”

Kim Hak-Cheol's jaw fell slightly, and drool trickled down the corner of his mouth.
His expression was a mess of delight and despair.
As he coughed viciously, his body was shaking and convulsing.

Finally! Finally, it's over!

Finally, he had…

“Until tomorrow night, that is.”

“…?” Kim Hak-Cheol doubted his hearing just then, wondering what he heard just now.

Kang Jin-Ho replied in a creepy voice, “I shall give you your freedom.
Until tomorrow night.”

Kim Hak-Cheol raised his head to stare at Kang Jin-Ho in a daze, and there he saw a strange grin.
It was more cruel and devilish than any smile he had ever seen.

“Isn't it strange? Why do people think repenting makes their sins go away? Whether you repent or not, your crimes will still be there, after all.
Don't you agree?” Kang Jin-Ho muttered while reaching out.

Kim Hak-Cheol freaked out and convulsed violently when Kang Jin-Ho's hand reached him.
His face was already a mess of all sorts of liquids, making it unsightly.

Kang Jin-Ho flashed a toothy grin.
I am simply venting my anger.
Good or evil…
Such lowly sentiments have no place here.
So, take a good rest until tomorrow.
We still have so much to talk about, after all.”

“Euuuuh, euhhh…
Euh, euh…

The dim boiler room was rocked by the echoes of Kim Hak-Cheol's wretched scream and Kang Jin-Ho's maddened cackle.

A living hell…
had descended to this place.

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