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The World Ep. 2: Outlaw Diaries

Updated: Jan 19

Recreated with all credit to the authors at KQ Entertainment


A. INTRO

Prestige Academy


With his anxious face hoping that the members might help, they boy said, "Prestige Academy." Yun Ho smirked.


"That's perfect. We were planning to go there, too."


Prestige Academy. Boasting smooth, slippery walls like that of a spaceship, its curved buildings from an enormous circle enclosing a large quad in its center. When looked at from the sky, it appears as a fortress with buildings built tightly together like walls blocking outsiders fro entering.


And in truth, for an outsider entering this place is no easy task. After checking your entry ID at the main gate, you must pass through numerous inspection stations to finally enter. In a way, it's a system similar to that of the immigration offices used to move between countries in World A. While only a school, security is kept strict as only the most distinguished talents of World Z can attend the illustrious academy.


In this world, children are required to undergo various tests at a state-certified hospital within six months of birth. After six months of age, a child's natural temperament and talents reveal themselves and it is considered the parents' obligation to nurture their children according to their innate growth potential. The children who have been identified as 'talented' are able to enter Prestige Academy and are then placed in one of five classes depending on the results of their entrance examination.


  • Class 1 is raised to work in the government. They are the ones who will be responsible for researching and implementing systems for better efficiency and control of society in the future.

  • Class 2, which includes future Guardians, is trained to control people and punish those who defy control according to government guidelines.

  • Class 3 is taught to classify new humans following the system, and then educate them accordingly.

  • Class 4 is fostered to handle various tasks necessary for human survival. For example: overseeing new energy exchanges, charging control chips, or the supply and manufacturing of essential energy.

  • Class 5 is in charge of city management, sanitization, and organization, and therefore receives and eduction reflective of such.


The children enrolled in Prestige Academy are educated and trained in these five classes before being aptly deployed throughout society after graduation.


01

Their promise to save the boy's brother aside, as a key pillar supporting the systems of this society, Prestige Academy was the ideal target. By awakening the many children raised there, World Z's ruling class would be damaged from within - they could shake the system from its roots.


Dressed in security uniforms, Min Gi and Woo Young lead a group of freshmen who had just entered the school. With the help of hacking by Left Eye and the Black Pirates, the members were able to sneak into the school in disguise and scattered throughout the complex, each performing their own roles. Min Gi and Woo Young, who infiltrated the academy's security workforce, were acting as entrance guards after having divided freshmen into their respective classes to avoid suspicion from Guardians and others on the security team. Although they couldn't talk to each other, as they had to pretend to have no emotions, the two exchanged glances without anyone noticing, comforting each other's nerves.


Just then, they boy's brother, who they recognized from a photo shared to them by the boy, stopped in front of Min Gi. Min Gi let him pass, but was quick to send a signal to the group, tapping a transmitter on is waist before the next student came.


'He just entered the school.'


Receiving the signal, Woo Young chased after the boy's brother with his eyes. His uneasiness was clear even from just his steps. Through the transmitter hung at his belt, Woo Young sent a signal to the group as well"


'He's passing through the hallway on the right.'


The boy's brother went up the stairs. It was clear he was heading up to the classroom intended for the eldest grade of Class 2.


'He's going up to the classroom. Confirm contact timing.'


The boy's brother arrived at the classroom and sat down. Maintaining a blank face, he acted as stiff as possible. He placed his glass tablet in the center of the desk and his pen exactly 7.5 cm away in a parallel position as usual. Sitting straight upright as though he were a machine, he gazed at a blank monitor. So far no one seems to notice my emotions, the boy's brother thought with a sense of relief.


"Meet me in the restroom on the left side of the first floor."


The boy's brother turned back in surprise at the low voice he heard from behind him. Was there always someone like this in my class...? He thought for a moment. Thinking back, he realized that in the 40 years of attending this school he had never once looked closely at the faces of the people around him. Without the need to exchange emotions, there was no reason to talk to one another face-to-face. And, for the first time in his life he made eye contact with someone other than his family or school faculty. Yeo Sang's deep eyes seemed to whisper to the boy's brother, 'it's okay.' Have I been caught?, he thought. As if in response to the boy's brother's confusion, Yeo Sang flashed the breaker in his hand with a small smile. The action said it all, Yeo Sang knew that he could feel emotions. It was then that Yeo Sang stood up and walked out of the classroom. The boy's brother, who didn't yet know if Yeo Sang was a friend or foe, watched him with a befuddled expression. He quickly turned back and looked around the classroom. He questioned, did anyone see me? But no one did. Just like the boy's brother had done before, the students sat at their desks either adjusting their set up or focused on their own work. Only the sound of objects chattering around, not voices, echoed in the classroom. That's right, no one here is interested in me, he thought and stood up as if he had made a decision.


02

In the corner at the end of the first-floor hallway, he could see a restroom with the lights turned off. Questioning whether walking around in the empty hallway in itself would be an action that seemed suspicious, the boy's brother paused for a moment in worry. Just then a long shadow appeared from behind.


"Don't worry. We're here to help you."


It was Seong Hwa. Seeming slightly relieved by Seong Hwa's smile, the boy's brother stepped forward carefully. Seong Hwa followed behind the boy, as if to protect him. He sent a signal to the other members,


'I've made contact with the boy's brother.'


When they entered the restroom, Yeo Sang was there to greet them. Seong Hwa locked the door just in case anyone else tried to come in. Now it was just the three of them: Yeo Sang, Seong Hwa, and the boy's brother. The room fell quiet. The only sound the boy's brother could hear was the pounding of his own heart. He put his hand over his chest. The boy's brother, who was never taught emotion, didn't know what to call the feeling of his heart racing. Is this 'nervousness'? He thought for a moment.


"Your younger brother came to the Black Pirates' bunker last night. He was worried that you might get sent to the Disposal Site and asked us to come save you. You know the Black Pirates, right?"


The boy's brother nodded slowly as if to say he understood the situation. My only way out of this is to follow them, but what does that make the last 40 years of my life? What have I been living for this whole time? And what if I do survive by following them? Then what? What comes next? What if following them leads to something worse? These complex thoughts tangled up in his head and bothered him. Yeo Sang and Seong Hwa knew the boy's brother was feeling conflicted, but there was no time to waste. They explained to the boy's brother that the Black Pirates planned to rescue him. ATEEZ and the Black Pirates' goal was to awaken as many people as possible at Prestige Academy and create the opportunity for them to choose their own paths. It was inevitable that the sudden rush of new emotions would cause some chaos and confusion.


"Emotions, confusion. Why would we need those? All it means is that a lot of people will have to go through the same thing as I am right now."


"Chaos. Pain. They're not necessarily bad things. You need to feel them to move forward, it's something all people go through. That's what growth is. What's clear is that the feeling of growing through pain is a new, precious experience of yours. It was the same for all of us."


The boy's brother stated at Yeo Sang's outstretched hand. His racing heart gradually started to calm down. He wondered what this emotion was called. The boy's brother didn't know what it was but he could feel the warmth flowing through his blood. He cautiously reached out and grabbed Yeo Sang's hand.


"Class will start soon, let's just go back to the classroom for now..."


BANG BANG BANG!


Suddenly the bathroom door shook. The three looked at the shaking door anxiously.


BANG BANG BANG! Someone outside beat hard on the door.


"Open the door right now. Otherwise, I will refer you to the disciplinary committee immediately."


The boy's brother, who was still holding Yeo Sang's hand, quickly pulled away and moved back. Then, with a painful sigh he recited, "Thunder..."


03

"Thunder?"


His eyes shook as Seong Hwa repeated the name back to him. BANG BANG BANG! As the door began to shake again, the boy's brother sprang up as if by reflex and unlocked the door. Outside stood a group of students in neat uniforms. One each of their chests was a symbol inscribed with the word 'THUNDER.'


"Why are the three of you all gathered here? With the door locked at that."


From the crowd of students came a girl's clear voice. The group parted to each side as a female student walked forward. Is this the student group the younger brother had mentioned? And she must be their leader, Yeo Sang thought as he recalled the frightened boy from the day before. The female student, who did in fact appear to be in charge of the group, stood in front of Yeo Sang, Seong Hwa, and the boy's brother.


The female student who looked as though she were the personification of 'cold,' stared at Yeo Sang with a fierce gaze. "You don't look familiar."


Yeo Sang handed over the ID card he had prepared in advance. When a male student nodded confirming his name was on the student list, the female student then turned to Seong Hwa. For a while now Seong Hwa had been staring at the girl with a look of disbelief. In other words, with a face revealing clear emotion. Panicked, Yeo Sang moved to block the girl's view.


"I think the door needs repairing. I never intentionally locked it, but it wouldn't open and it took me a while to grasp the situation."


The female student pushed aside Yeo Sang's shoulder and looked at Seong Hwa again, as if she no longer cared for an explanation of the situation. Seong Hwa was still starting at the girl and the boy's brother had his head down, his hands shaking. Emotions. These were clearly displays of emotion. The girl slowly approached the boy's brother. He swiftly tried to grab his trembling hands behind his back, but the female student grabbed them first. The girl looked down at his very slightly trembling hands with cold eyes. More and more the boy's brother was losing the ability to hid his emotions. His breath shuddered and his face was frightened as if he was on the verge of bursting into tears. At that very moment, when it seemed like it was all over even before the operation had really begun, Seong Hwa snatched the girl's wrists, "Why are you here?"


In Seong Hwa's question was a hint of nostalgia. The girl looked back at him with an unchanged expression. She wasn't able to understand the intent of his question. Yeo Sang was the same - he couldn't understand what Seong Hwa was thinking.


However, Yeo Sang did know that they needed to get out of this situation as soon as possible and he quickly thought up an excuse using the logic system of World Z. "It's inefficient for us to use our time without a good reason like this. Class will start soon, so would you please let us leave."


At Yeo Sang's words, the Thunder group turned to their leader. The girl raised her free hand signaling permission for them to go, and the group moved out of the way as Yeo Sang took the boy's brother out into the hallway. Pulling her wrist out from Seong Hwa's grasp the girl asked, "What exactly do you mean? Do you not know what kind of group Thunder is?" Seong Hwa snapped out of his confusion and looked at the girl. In this world, it was dangerous to harbor emotions. He touched the bracelet on his wrist, trying to calk himself down. The bracelet was engraved with the words 'Be Free.'


04

Hiding his turbulent emotions, Seong Hwa asked the girl again. "Is there a problem with us using the restroom? I don't think the other students and I did anything wrong, so why did Thunder come all the way to this remote restroom?"


Looking at Seong Hwa speaking with a steady expression, it seemed as if the female student's face shook very slightly. Is she...feeling some kind of emotion? Avoiding Seong Hwa's eyes, the girl said, "It's Thunder's duty to patrol the school. We need to keep an eye on anyone who might be 'emotional.' This is just one of the places in school we're required to check." Seong Hwa examined the girl's face without answering. He wanted to find confirmation of the slip in expression he saw before, but her face had returned to its original coldness. "Class starts soon, return to the classroom for now. I'll let you off with a warning this time but if you get caught again, I'll have to refer you to the disciplinary committee for an emotion test." The female student, the head of Thunder, turned and the rest of the Thunder members followed her.


Seong Hwa went out into the hallway, watching the back of the girl as she walked away. The strong, cold looking girl was the one that Seong Hwa had been looking for for so long. Though of course, the same girl in World A and Wold Z seemed very different.


That girl he had once encountered back in World A. He came across her by chance, on a day when the rules of life, logic, and efficiency were weighing down his thoughts. She danced freely, letting her body move along to the music playing on the street. After meeting her, Seong Hwa came to realize many things, and everything changed. But on the day he finally decided to muster up his courage and speak to the girl he had been observing from afar, she was gone. Only a bracelet engraved with 'Be Free' was left in the spot where she had once danced. For a long time after, Seong Hwa would often go and wait for her there but she never appeared again. What should I cal this feeling? Is it admiration, gratitude, or curiosity? He wondered. Although still unsure what his feelings were, he continued to look and wait for her. But Seng Hwa never expected that he would meet her in World Z, as the head of the student group Thunder, a group considered elite even within Prestige Academy, which only the best talents of World Z - and the ones most loyal to the system of control - could join. He didn't know whether to be happy or sad. However, just as she had changed his life and set him free that one day, Seong Hwa was determined to save her from this world.


05

That afternoon, taking advantage of the empty campus while the students were in class, the members installed various devices they had prepared in advance throughout the academy. They hid smoke bombs in places they had scouted out, just in case on an emergency.


The class bell rang and the members were waiting in preparation for the upcoming performance at each of their locations when an urgent signal came: 'The boy's brother has disappeared!'


It was from Yeo Sang. When the class bell rang, the boy's brother bounded out of the classroom like a bullet before Yeo Sang could talk to him. Yeo Sang quickly chased after him, but he had already disappeared into the crowd of students that had moved out into the hallway.


Seong Hwa, who was moving down to the first floor with the younger brother, was flustered by the signal and stopped. The boy asked in surprise, "Who disappeared? My brother?!"


At that moment, one of the students heading towards the quad shouted.


"What are you doing up there?"


At the same time, the members received another alarm signal. It was Woo Young, 'It looks like he's going up to the top floor!"


As a thought crossed his mind, Hong Joong looked at Min Gi and San worriedly. Just then, the boy shook off Seong Hwa's hand and dashed out into the quad as if he knew what his older brother was thinking.


Woo Young hurriedly climbed the stairs up to the top floor. Wind blew in from a broken window in the middle of the hallway, bright red drops of blood falling from the broken pieces of glass. Looking up, Woo Young saw the boy's brother standing on a narrow railing attached to the window. The boy's brother looked down at his feet. Students gathered in the quad under him and the dizzying buildings. The looked up at him with dull expressions.


"I had only one day left before graduation. Just one day and my 40 years of schooling would be complete. But you Sense Offenders have stirred up people and influenced my brother, and now you've made a mess of me, too. My life is ruined!"


"No life is ever ruined! This won't solve anything!"


"If I don't pass the test, I'll be dragged away to the Disposal Site. If that's not a ruined life, then what is?!"


He shot at Woo Young with intensifying emotions. As he looked back at Woo Young, his foot, which had barely been fixed on the ledge, slipped, swinging in the air before it caught. the railing again. The boy's brother's breathing was unsteady.


"At the very least I was confirmed for Class 2. I could have been an Guardian! But now...but now...now everything's all wrong."


"Until now you've lived within the guidelines set by the government, believing that's your limit. Listen to me, you're just confused. Because this is your first time feeling emotion. That confusion is something that everyone goes through as a part of their lives. By going through it, you're choosing your own path for yourself. You've been a puppet so far, but from now on you can live your own life. I guarantee it, and we'll be there to help you."


"Yeah, maybe you guys are right. But even if you are, I don't want to live a life that's different from everyone else."


Tears streamed down his face. With one of his hands that had been gripping the window frame, he wiped the running water he felt on his cheek. Water is coming out of my eyes? What is this? I knew something was wrong with my mind, but I guess my body is broken now too, he thought.


"Brother!!"


A familiar voice came from below. The boy's brother looked down at the quad and among the dull faces there was only one that showed emotion. It was his younger brother. He could tell it was him even from a distance. The same water was flowing down his brother's face. In the midst of all those same, achromatic faces, his younger brother's face which was full of emotion, seemed to shine. It was as if his brother's feelings were being projected on him. He closed his eyes tightly.


06

"Is this really what you want?"


Yun Ho, who had appeared without him knowing, stood next to Woo Young and called out the boy's brother. Yun Ho was panting as if he had run up in a hurry.


"How should I know? I've never felt 'want' for anything before. I'm just trying to finish everything before I'm dragged off to the Disposal Site."


"What about your brother? Do you think your brother wants you to die?"


Woo Young grabbed Yun Ho's shaking shoulder. He knew very well just what a brother's death meant to Yun Ho.


The boy's brother's eyes shook at Yun Ho's words. He looked down again. His younger brother looked up at him with a saddened face and shouted, "Brother, no! Please!! I just wanted to help you!"


Just then, Guardians ran out of the building into the quad, heading towards the younger brother.


"No..." The boy's bother called out quietly. "The Guardians will take my brother away, save him - "


Hurriedly turning back towards Yun Ho and Woo Young, the boy's brother's feet slipped before he could finish his sentence. His body fell into the air and his hand, which had been desperately grasping the window frame, finally slipped. It was only an instant, but every moment seemed to move slowly as if time was being dragged out. With nothing to rely on, his body fell and he struggled to seize hold of something, but with only the air around him, it was all to no avail. Woo Young, who was watching in shock, stretched out his arm towards the boy's brother, but only touched his fingertips - he was already too far away to catch.


The younger brother, Hong Joong, San, Min Gi, Jong Ho, Seong Hwa, and Yeo Sang, who were watching the scene from below in the quad, could only shout in a stunned manner. Seong Hwa, who was standing closest to the younger brother, quickly covered the screaming boy's eyes. It was at that moment, a light shined behind Woo Young's body that was half stretched out the window. The Guardians, who were running towards the younger brother, stopped at the flash and looked up. One of the Guardians called out,


"Quantum Energy...It's the Cromer!"


When Woo Young looked back, Yun Ho had disappeared along with the flashing Cromer. Yun Ho reappeared in the air for an instant, snatching the boy's brother's waist when he was only five meters from the ground. With a flash of light, he disappeared again before materializing in front of Seong Hwa and the boy. With the boy's brother, of course.


"Brother!"


Seeing his brother safe in front of him, the boy burst into tears and, as soon as Seong Hwa let go of his hand, ran to hug him. The brothers hugged. They held each other close, shedding hot tears. Through each other they felt a desperate sense of relief, love, and what "life" was.


07

"What a relief. Or...maybe not."


Jong Ho said, as he approached the other members who were watching the two brother's warmly. As the members looked at Jong Ho, he struggled pointing behind him with his chin. Having caught news of the Cromer, Guardians were rushing in from all over. Seong Hwa made eye contact with the female Thunder leader standing among them. On the surface, there was no change in her expression, but Seong Hwa felt it. It's like she was smiling.


"Guess it can't be helped." Min Gi shrugged and smiling playfully "Let's go!!!"


The group looked at each other and shouted together as they dispersed to their respective positions using the Cromer. Woo Young, who had come down to the quad half a beat late, called out as if he was upset at the members who had already disappeared.


"Are you going to do this without me?"


A Guardian stretched out his arm towards Woo Young's back, but there was a spark! With a flash, Woo Young disappeared to his position.


Beep! With the sound of a loudspeaker, groovy music starting with the sound of a rough, low bass guitar filled the air. Along with the music, a large black tent covered the building. A blinding darkness overtook the people for a moment. Then, colorful neon-colored paintings appeared around the buildings and tents. A splendid fantasy world unfolded around the A marking inscribed in the center of the ceiling. Breakers fell like shooting stars from above the impassive people. As if bewitched, the emotionless students and faculty reached out and grabbed the breakers like they were catching falling stars. Those who brought the breaker up to the chip under their ears were flooded with waves of emotions. It was nauseating at first, but they were soon amazed by the beautiful world that unfolded before their eyes. As ATEEZ and the Black Pirates appeared and disappeared in the dark, the Guardians could do nothing but jump after them helplessly. The paintings that filled the dark world then disappeared in an instant, and a ball filled with light fell from the ceiling to the center of the quad. Everyone's eyes were on the ball. The moment it touched the floor, the ball shot out beams of light, exploding like a light bomb. The light reflected on the walls of the building, and then shining walls showed people's reflections much like a mirror. Those who had regained their emotions walked slowly towards the mirror-like walls of the building. As if they were unfamiliar with their own faces, they touched their hands to their reflections and actual faces, comparing the two.


Even those who had not yet used the breaker, upon seeing so many people in the same space do so, began to follow suit. With so many people awakening at the same time, the Guardians were confused, and unable to decide who they should catch. Just then, the tent disappeared and ATEEZ reappeared among the students.


The music changed and the members danced and sang joyfully. People gathered around then, cheering, singing, and dancing along with the group. It was almost like a concert hall that could only be seen in World A. In World Z, where music, dance, and art had disappeared long ago, this type of scene was something from centuries past.


The boy and his brother, standing at the front of the crowd, looked up and smiled brightly at the members. For the first time, their smiles were so bright. Like flower petals in the air, ATEEZ leaflets scattered in all directions. The students picked up and read the leaflets. Within minutes, the world at Prestige Academy was completely changed.


The Guardians, trying to get a hold of the situation, rushed toward the members. Their leader called over the radio, "Catch anyone who's awakened. We need hostages."


The Guardians caught the awakened in front of them at random.


"The awakened caught now will be immediately disposed of without replacing their chip. If you want to save them, put down the Cromer and come here slowly."


08

Caught in the arms of the Guardians, the awakened struggled to get away. The members stopped dancing and looked at each other, troubled. No matter how important their goal was, they couldn't risk to the death of innocent people. The members slowly approached the Guardians with their hands up, holding the Cromer. The music faded. Just then, when the boy, his brother, and the newly awakened thought it was all over after seeing the members surrounded - Boom!


Smoke bombs detonated throughout the campus with an explosive beat. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, a rainbow of smoke bombs burst and spread out in beautiful harmony with music, obstructing people's view. The members, who had used the chaos to rescue the students caught by the Guardians, opened the escape route they had secured in advance and ushered people outside. Everything was as planned. The members gave each other high-fives and smiled.


Then, a scream came from behind. Seong Hwa looked back reflexively, and through the thinning smoke he saw the younger boy caught in the grasp of one of the Guardians. "Where's the boy's brother?"


The members, who were already stepping outside, turned back in confusion at Seong Hwa's question, shouting through the thin smoke.


"He's outside!" "He's with me! Let's get out of here!"


When Seong Hwa didn't answer, worried, San and Yeo Sang returned to the quad. They could see Seong Hwa's back walking into the smoke. Past him they saw a Guardian half-hidden by the haze carrying the boy. San and Yeo Sang went to help them but were held back by people who couldn't escape and were grasping aimlessly in the chaos. They needed help too.


Seong Hwa, who had been running toward the boy, stopped abruptly. Yeo Sang and San, while working to get the remaining people out, looked at Seong Hwa bewildered. Seong Hwa stating at someone who had grabbed his arm. It was her. The female leader of Thunder.


Seong Hwa followed the girl as she pulled him along. The two of them disappeared into the different-colored smoke, All too late, San and Yeo Sang ran into the smoke that the Guardian and the boy had disappeared into, but no one was there.


No Sogn Hwa, no boy, no female student.


There was only Yeo Sang's voice anxiously calling out to Seong Hwa.


Z. OUTRO

The secretary stepped out of Z's office and opened the door. The principal of Prestige Academy and the Guardian leader, who had been waiting outside, walked into the office. Z sat back in a large throne-like chair.


Z. There's not much to say. The principal should take responsibility for this situation.


The principal, whose security protocols for the school were breached during the attack by ATEEZ and the Black Pirates, had no excuse. He was prepared to be demoted and waited for his sentence without a word.


Z. Has a replacement been found?


"Yes. A replacement was found and is on standby to start working right away." Z nodded at the secretary's words.


Z. Originally, I was going to send you off to a sanitarium, but as an individual in an important position such as 'principal', I've decided to dispose of you quietly so as not to create another excuse for the Sense Offenders.


"That you." The principal repeated the greeting to Z without really knowing what it meant to be grateful.


Z. Take care of it.


The Z-Only Guardians deployed to protect Z immediately took out their guns and shot the principals head and heart. The principal died instantly on the spot.

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