“You’re here.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Don’t greet me as if it’s the most obvious thing to do in the world!!
You ain’t even my security guard, you know! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head with a bit of mixed expression on his face.
“You’re a little later than usual today.” (Kim Dah-Som)
“….Uh, sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And, stop checking the time, too!
Besides, I… Today’s my off day, so who cares if I’m late or not? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Could it be possible that the person who knew the behavioural pattern of Yi Ji-Hyuk better than anyone happened to be none other than Kim Dah-Som?
After thinking up of this distinct possibility, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s entire body began shuddering involuntarily.
“It’s cold, isn’t it?” (Kim Dah-Som)
Now that he heard her, the weather did feel a bit chilly today.
Was it Winter already?
Could this girl be waiting for me all this time in this weather? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“….How long have you been waiting for me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I only arrived just now.” (Kim Dah-Som)
….Okay, then why are your cheeks all red and frozen? And I see your hands are stiff from the cold, too.
Just how long did this girl wait for me here? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
He always had felt uncomfortable being around her, but seeing her continue acting like this, he ended up with a wee bit of sympathy for her. Just a tiny bit.
“Here.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Kim Dah-Som presented him with a small gift box.
“I thought it’d look good on you.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Yi Ji-Hyuk awkwardly received her box.
Wait, hasn’t she given me waaaay too much stuff already?
As a man, I shouldn’t be receiving gifts all the time, though…
But well, since she’s giving me, who am I to refuse? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Rather than the consideration towards the dynamics of human relationships, his pauper tendencies occupied a far bigger slice of his mental capacity, it seemed.
So, Yi Ji-Hyuk wordlessly took the box and looked at it. It barely filled his palm. What could this be?
“Uh, thanks.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Just as he was about to stuff the box into his pocket, Kim Dah-Som shook her head and grasped Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hand.
“Please open it now.” (Kim Dah-Som)
“What, now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes. Please.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sneaked a glance at her eyes. And when he saw those determined eyes, he found it hard to mumble his way out of this one.
“U, uh. Okay.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What could this be? This strange sensation, where he felt small and powerless? Yi Ji-Hyuk cautiously opened the lid.
Inside this little box, something he didn’t quite expect was waiting for him.
Until now, he got stuff like a scarf, gloves, or things similar in nature, yet when his eyes clapped on the metallic object in the box, he couldn’t help but get a little bit flustered.
“What the heck. What is this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s a necklace.” (Kim Dah-Som)
I didn’t ask you because I didn’t know that, you know!
No, I was asking, why a necklace, all of a sudden?
Hmm. This, this is a bit more troublesome….
This is on a whole new level from a scarf or gloves, after all.
But then again, I even received a whole set of matching clothes from her, so to say I can’t accept this now is a bit awkward, too. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“I originally don’t like….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I thought that things like rings would get in the way of your work, so I chose this one.” (Kim Dah-Som)
“I thought that a bracelet might prove to be too cumbersome, so I asked oppa. He said that a necklace should be the best choice overall.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Kim Dah-Hyun, you fool! How dare you!
I shall cut your head off! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Even still, this is a bit….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Without saying a word, Kim Dah-Som gently stared back at him.
Indeed, it was gently.
Too ‘gently’, in fact….
Her focused, unwavering eyes caused cold sweat drops to form on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s forehead.
“No, well, uh, I don’t mind the others, but a necklace is….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kim Dah-Som remained still and silent as she continued to stare at him.
Those eyes were just too….
‘It’d be better if you just shout at me or something!!’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Stop staring at me like that!!
I can’t stop flinching because of you, you know!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Argh, fine. I got it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
In the end, Yi Ji-Hyuk declared his defeat and spat out a lengthy groan.
“Fine. I’ll put it on later.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He was about to close the lid on the box, but Kim Dah-Som grasped his hand again.
“…..What, now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Why is she wasting time here like this?
Just what is the Korean government doing, ah?
You should hire this girl as your diplomat, you know?!
Who cares about some documents and whatnot, just get her to your diplomatic meetings and she’d get you everything you need from the other side!!
Why can’t they recognise talent like hers?
….Ah. This girl’s still a high school student, isn’t she….? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“U, uh. Okay.”
Again, with a mixed expression, Yi Ji-Hyuk picked up the necklace and put it on.
“Are you happy now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
A bright smile formed on Kim Dah-Som’s face as she nodded her head.
Yi Ji-Hyuk momentarily thought that she looked just a tiny little bit adorable right now, coughed to clear his throat, and turned his head away.
“By the way, shouldn’t you be in school today?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What was that?
That slight and nearly imperceptible shudder? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Isn’t today a school day?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
No, hang on a minute. Of course it is!
There’s no mistaking it!
I mean, Ye-Won went to school this morning, after all!
So, how come this girl is standing outside my house at this time of the day, then? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“….You should at least do what you’re supposed to, right? Don’t you agree?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Of course, Yi Ji-Hyuk eminently lacked the qualifications to say such things, but it seemed that Kim Dah-Som still received a fair amount of damage just then.
The girl with a steely demeanour was flinching rather noticeably now.
“You… How do your grades look like?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Her blonde hair danced in the air according to her shaking head.
“….Well, sure thing. Even if you don’t study, you probably can survive without a problem.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seriously, with her looks alone, she should be able to do all sorts of things.
“If you become a celebrity, I’m sure you could make as much as that shorty does, probably.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“How preposterous!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Yi Ji-Hyuk turned around to face that rebuttal coming from somewhere behind him.
“And why are you here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kitted out in a white padded coat and a beret, Jeong Hae-Min replied to him while blowing her hot breath onto her frozen-stiff hands.
“I was on my way to work, you know?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“….You poor little thing.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Finally, it seemed that her career as an idol was over. Her manager didn’t even bother to come fetch her.
“What stupid things are you thinking of now?! I gained weight lately, so I’m taking a walk to get some extra exercise, you know!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Sure, sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Today, he’d at least try not to damage her pride.
“What the heck?! What is up with your expression?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“It’s nothing. It must’ve been hard to walk all this way with those short legs of yours. You worked hard.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“They are not short!! It’s my height that’s short! My legs are long for my body and as a result, they are of average lengths, I’ll have you know!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Yi Ji-Hyuk wordlessly walked towards Jeong Hae-Min, and placed his leg next to hers.
The sight of her pelvis just barely reaching his thighs was rather pitiful, really.
“Yup. Short legs.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Stopppp it!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min angrily shoved him away.
“Besides all that!! You think the world of celebrities is easy? It’s not a place where you get famous just because you’ve got a pretty face, you know! What can you possibly do with a kid who can’t even talk properly in the first place?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Sure, sure. Your life as an unknown hopeful must’ve been hard, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“T, that’s not it!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Sure, sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When Jeong Hae-Min began revving her engine, Yi Ji-Hyuk tightly grasped her head with one hand and spoke.
“You better stop. You shouldn’t do that in the morning. Where are your manners?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Okay, time to go.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk took large strides and walked away. Jeong Hae-Min shot a meaningful glance at Kim Dah-Som, and hurriedly ran after him.
Kim Dah-Som watched them walk away with a slightly unhappy expression. When the duo could no longer be seen, she slowly extracted her phone out.
A map appeared on the screen, and then, a slow-moving dot formed in the middle of that map.
Kim Dah-Som stared at that slow-moving dot with a content expression, before putting her phone away and turned around to leave.
Her steps as she headed for the school seemed so airy and cheerful for some reason.
“Oh. You’ve come.” (Kim Jae-Beom)
Kim Jae-Beom greeted Yi Ji-Hyuk first as the youth entered the NDF offices.
“But, I thought you were not coming in today?” (Kim Jae-Beom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sat down in his usual spot and proceeded to switch on the computer.
“Don’t mind me. I just came here to play some games.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What the frack?! Hey, you crazy as*hole! Who comes to work so he can play computer games?!
You think this is your living room or something?!
Can’t you see other people working their butts off in here? (Kim Jae-Beom’s inner monologue)
Utterly not caring about Kim Jae-Beom’s inner thoughts, Yi Ji-Hyuk booted the game up and connected online.
Choi Jung-Hoon quietly stared at that sight before spitting out a grand sigh.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Since you were enjoying your day off, I didn’t want to call you, but now that you’re here, I’d like to talk to you about some things.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Mmm, nope. Next time.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….It’s urgent.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Sure. I’m also urgent, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s really urgent, though…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyebrow arched up ever so slightly.
“This is what’s wrong with the nation of Korea! Right here, this thing!! What the heck. It’s my off day, so you should let me take a break in peace! Yet, you keep hounding me with phone calls, trying to make me work and whatnot, which means I can’t even get a proper rest and stuff! Seriously, there will always be urgent matters!! But, if you keep calling for me everytime something urgent happens, just when am I supposed to take a break?! Ahh?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Then, don’t show up at work, you cra…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Vice Captain!! You’re thinking out loud again!!” (Kim Jae-Beom)
Choi Jung-Hoon hurriedly assumed an awkward smile.
“…You ‘cra’ what?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ah!! Look! They are coming to gank you!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Where?! Where?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kim Jae-Beom couldn’t help but express his admiration at Choi Jung-Hoon’s ability to easily divert Yi Ji-Hyuk’s attention away.
As expected of the lone Yi Ji-Hyuk controller in the world.
“In any case. It is a serious matter.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk leaned against the chair and pulled out from the spot.
“Sub for me for a sec.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kim Jae-Beom brought his chair closer and occupied Yi Ji-Hyuk’s spot. The youth then stood up.
“Why don’t we chat while taking a smoke break?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon lit the cigarette up with his lighter and Yi Ji-Hyuk breathed in the unhealthy smoke.
Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly breathed out the smoke and raised his head to look at Choi Jung-Hoon.
“Okay, so. What’s going on?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We’ve received requests for assistance.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“From who?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon scratched his cheeks as if he was feeling rather troubled at the moment.
“For now, from the States, France, as well as Turkey.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“But, they are all bigshots, aren’t they?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Indeed, they are.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
The events unfolding there were so serious that these bigshot nations couldn’t deal with them and had to ask for assistance from Korea.
“How bad is the pressure coming from them?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s really bad.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Which one is the worst?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon replied with a collected voice.
“It’d have to be the USA. They are even showing signs of mobilising their military against us if we don’t help them out immediately.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“They should just use that military to kill the monster, instead.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You know that it doesn’t really work that way.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Of course, he knew that already.
There were ability users that could ably kill a monster that an army of a million soldiers couldn’t handle, but on the flip side, those same ability users would not be able to win against a traditional army.
This strange balance continued to exist and prevented a huge confrontation from taking place, but after Yi Ji-Hyuk made his appearance, that balance was teetering rather dangerously now.
The balance between monsters and the ability users was now broken…..
And the balance between the ability users and regular people had broken down as well.
One would have to wait and see just what sort of ramification that breaking down of balance meant for everyone, but without a doubt, it wouldn’t be good news at all.
“So, what will you do?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
If it was a month ago, he’d declare his unwillingness to go and help while throwing a mighty temper tantrum, but recently, Yi Ji-Hyuk had been resolving these situations one way or the other.
While pretending to be not interested and all, to boot.
‘Did he suddenly develop a sense of justice or something?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
….This Yi Ji-Hyuk did?
Choi Jung-Hoon couldn’t help but chuckle in disbelief, even though he was the one who came up with the notion in the first place.
This type of a guy would never make a move out of some misplaced sense of justice. No, he probably did possess a tiny little speck of righteousness somewhere in his heart.
It’d be on the level of solving those situations where people were dying right in front of his eyes by an event that he could easily take care of with his own powers.
Regardless of whether you were a good person or an evil one, you’d at least run towards the water’s edge after spotting a drowning child, after all.
However, expecting more than that would be an exercise in futility.
Choi Jung-Hoon shouldn’t even get his hopes up here.
Besides, there was no guarantee that Yi Ji-Hyuk having a sense of justice, righteousness, would be seen as important to those people, anyways.
“For now, well….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shrugged his shoulders.
“….Keep an eye out on what’s happening. For now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Hmm. Are you trying to make them sweat for a bit longer?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Tell them to offer up everything they can, and then some. I’m sure you know what to do.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“As long as I can use your name.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You have a free reign on that front.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Roger that. I understand.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head and turned around to leave.
“Let’s go back inside.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon watched the dying cigarette butt fly in the air and followed after Yi Ji-Hyuk.
‘Now that I think about it….’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
What an interesting turn of events this was, where the nation of Korea who was always on the receiving end of harsh, unreasonable demands was now being inundated with desperate appeals for assistance instead.
‘It’s all because of this guy.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Just one guy had transformed a country’s international profile.
This would have been unimaginable in the old world.
It was as if this lone man had stepped into the spotlight where even the most powerful corporations in the world or politicians with enough clout to shift the directions of several nations could not manage to occupy.
It was to the extent that the voices of all those requests coming through both the official and unofficial channels were rather polite in tone now.
“What an interesting turn of events, indeed.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What was that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, it’s nothing important.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon grinned brightly and followed after Yi Ji-Hyuk.
< 122. A guy who’s not blessed can’t achieve anything -2 > Fin.