Chapter 101: Why are YOU here? (1)

Inside the NDF offices….

“Why am I feeling this chilly all of a sudden?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk shivered as a sudden biting chill crept up on him like an ill omen.

“You’re feeling cold?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

At Jeong Hae-Min’s question, Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head.

“Yeah. Got this weird chill crawling down my back.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Well, it’s getting a bit colder nowadays, but still, it’s not that bad, you know. You probably caught a flu or something.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Flu?

Was she trying to say he caught an illness?

But, there was no way that Yi Ji-Hyuk would….

Ah, wait a sec. I can now, huh.

My body’s no longer in the ‘fixed’ state, after all.

Hah, this sucks….

I guess the fixed state had its plus points, too. I never caught flu, didn’t get old, etc…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“But, still! I’m supposed to be an ability user, aren’t I?! What the heck is up with catching flu?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Well, it’s difficult for us to contract an illness like that, normally speaking. But, if your body’s not 100%, then it’s possible. Haven’t you gone overboard and strained yourself a little bit lately?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

I strained myself?

Huh. Hmm. Straining, eh…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

He still had some semblance of conscience left, albeit it being smaller than a rat’s tail, so he just couldn’t force himself to come out and say that he had strained himself.

Because, he didn’t do much anyways, to begin with!

Just what have I done to strain myself? Maybe this girl’s not right in the head, too? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“….I should just go home early today.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Hearing this, Choi Jung-Hoon shot up from his seat.

“It’s not even lunchtime yet!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“But, I’m not feeling too good, though.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Why don’t you just announce to the world that an elephant is a weakling, instead?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

….? An elephant? But…. I thought it is weak?

If I were to hit it lightly once, surely it’d vomit blood and keel over? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Okay, fine! Besides all that, do something about our lunch menu, will ya?! Why are we having the exact same thing over and over again?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

But, that’s the same story for every other salaryman  out there!!

And there aren’t any restaurants near our office, so what do you want me to do? You want me to hire a caterer and do a buffet for you?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

However, Choi Jung-Hoon conceded that the youth had a point there. Even he was getting somewhat sick and tired of eating the same thing for a while now.

Seriously, how many days did they eat nothing but ‘jjajangmyeon‘?

“Cool! Let’s go out and eat something nice for a change today!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“What the heck? Is the ghost of a starving pauper possessing you or something today? Why do you keep talking about food and nothing else?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“What’s wrong with thatttt? Don’t you know how enjoyable it is to eat good food?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“….Huh, I guess you do have a point there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Well, even Yi Ji-Hyuk did stuff his face like a loon as soon as he returned to this world, after all. No, hang on a minute – he was still doing that, even now!

He just didn’t gain any weight though, even if he constantly ate, and ate some more, like a farmyard cow or something. That was all.

“What the? What is this….?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk hugged himself and shuddered again.

What was this, this creeping anxiety?

Just what is going on here? I can’t seem to settle down at all, can I? Did… something bad happen?

I haven’t felt like this before in my whole life, even…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

This anxiety was different from the one born from fear or terror. No, rather than that, this was a feeling of unease, dread, one might experience when a disgusting insect crawled all over one’s toes or some such. And such a feeling continued to dig into Yi Ji-Hyuk’s heart.

So, where did this feeling come from?

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s pupils shook from worry.

His sixth sense, thoroughly honed from encountering countless dangerous situations in the past, was throwing up warning signals.

It was telling him that something rather troublesome had occurred somewhere.

“Hmmm….”

Yi Ji-Hyuk continued to fidget around for a while, before abruptly getting up from his seat.

“Ha-ah. I can’t stand this anymore. I’m going home.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“No, waiiiiiiit a minute! You can’t just decide for yourself when to leave work for the day, you know!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Wouldn’t the nine million-plus salarymen of Korea vomit blood when they hear this preposterous crap?

“I told you, I’m not feeling too good right now!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Then, please go get a medical certificate! Otherwise, what will I tell my superiors when submitting the monthly duty roster?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Well, why don’t you fire me, then?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

You think that’s as easy as you make it out to be?

If I could get rid of you at any time I wanted, then you’d be fired a long time ago already!!

I don’t particularly want to see your face if I can help it, you know?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner cries)

“Ha-ah….”

Yi Ji-Hyuk simply shook his head and headed for the outside.

“Where are you going now?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Going to lunch, where else?! Look at the time first before shouting at me, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Oh. Is it already lunch break?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon stood up from his seat while looking a bit embarrassed.

“Okay, let’s take a break for lunch.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Those who’d order a takeaway would do so. Not minding them, Choi Jung-Hoon simply shifted his gaze over to Seo Ah-Young, and she vacated her seat right away.

And so, four people left the NDF building: Yi Ji-Hyuk, Jeong Hae-Min, accompanied by Seo Ah-Young and Choi Jung-Hoon.

“So, what should we go for?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I want a burger.” (Seo Ah-Young)

When Seo Ah-Young declared so, Yi Ji-Hyuk began frowning slightly.

“What do you mean, a burger? And, in the middle of the day, to boot?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Since when was there a rule saying that you can only eat burgers in the evening?” (Seo Ah-Young)

Who in their right minds would come up with such a dumb rule?

“Hey! Who’d eat burgers in the middle of the day? Am I right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I don’t mind.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Yeah, I want a burger, too.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“………………”

What the heck? Could they have conspired against me before coming out here? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Hey.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

When Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly tapped on the ground, Doh Gah-Yun’s head peeked out from his shadow.

“You also want a burger?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Nod.

Hah, this bunch of idiots!

Words aren’t getting through to them! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Okay! Let’s go and have ourselves some burgers, then.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“But, from where?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“At the ‘Shake Burgers’.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“….And just which country did those burgers come from now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“The US.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Uh? It’s really from another country?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

That’s not what I meant when asking that question, though…. I only asked cuz I’ve never heard of a burger like that…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Wait a minute. Don’t tell me, you can only find that burger in the US, too…?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, that’s how it is, though?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“………..”

For some reason, they didn’t seem to be on the same page as far as this conversation was concerned.

Just before Yi Ji-Hyuk could say something, Jeong Hae-Min landed her counter attack first.

“Doesn’t matter if it’s the US or not! We can just go there if we want, right?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Huh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Wait, she got a point there, doesn’t she? I mean, she’s a teleporter, after all.

Hang on, as long as she’s around, can I go to Turkey, China, or even Paris for my lunch?

Hey, isn’t this unexpectedly cool?

“As long as you’re here, doesn’t that mean I can go to China and eat jjajangmyeon there?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You dummy, there aren’t any jjajangmyeon in China.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

What rubbish is she spewing now?

You can buy a bowl of jjajangmyeon in a Chinese restaurant, so why wouldn’t I be able to find one in China?

In any case, why is she this stupid? (TL note at the end)

“Whatever. Let’s just go.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ng! Take my hand.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Yi Ji-Hyuk first grabbed Jeong Hae-Min’s hand, and then, with a somewhat troubled expression, grasped Choi Jung-Hoon’s.

“….What is up with that expression?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“I’d rather not hold another guy’s hand, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I’d also rather not do that!! Me too!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“In that case, don’t come to this side, then. Argh, really. How dirty.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Oh my dear lord.

Please, allow me this one chance to hit him in the face with everything I’ve got. I’ll do anything for that. I’ll even sell my soul to you. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Too bad for Choi Jung-Hoon, the dear lord in heaven wasn’t someone who’d answer his wishes just because he offered a prayer.

“Come on now, why are you wasting time like that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Groan….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

It was just then.

Grab.

“What the?! Hell, let go, right now!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

A hand appeared out from nowhere and grabbed Yi Ji-Hyuk’s shoulder.

“What the hell!! It’s you?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk freaked out and shouted at the top of his voice.

Kim Dah-Som had appeared out of literally nowhere and had grabbed his shoulder, with an innocent smile etched on her lips.

“What are you doing here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I came to give my oppa his lunch box.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Your oppa?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes.”

….Did Kim Dah-Hyun ever eat home-made lunch at work?

In any case, let’s say he does. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Okay, fine. So, what do you want now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I’m also peckish.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“What, you too?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes.”

Sure. Well, if you’re ‘peckish’, then fine, go and have something to eat. But still, why are you intruding on our group? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Don’t you have your own lunch?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Nope.” (Kim Dah-Som)

Then, what is that thing dangling in your hands?

Yi Ji-Hyuk lowered his head and stared at the lunch box in her hand, before raising his gaze back up. He then spotted Kim Dah-Som already looking away, pretending to not notice.

What a thick-skinned girl.

“….And what the heck do you want now?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Suddenly, a chill descended in the air.

Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his gaze to his side and found Jeong Hae-Min glaring at Kim Dah-Som with a pair of narrowed eyes, which was something one would not see from her that often.

“Who do you think you are to butt in?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Wowsers, look at her aura, man!

Is this the rumoured tone of voice an entertainer would use when putting unruly juniors in their places?

Yeah, I’ve only heard the rumours, but it’s no joke, eh.

This girl must’ve made a few of her juniors wet themselves, no? And they say a woman acts differently to another woman compared to when she’s with a man…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“I thought that me accompanying you would be better for you all.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“And why is that?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“How were you planning on placing your orders?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Ng?”

“Do you speak English?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“………”

Jeong Hae-Min’s expression became unreadable.

Up until now, it was her manager who did all the ordering, so just when would she get the chance to do that?

“I thought none of you knows how to speak English, so….” (Kim Dah-Som)

Jeong Hae-Min became rather deeply irritated by Kim Dah-Som’s words trailing off like that, so she spun around and glared at Seo Ah-Young.

Too bad, Seo Ah-Young did her very best to avoid meeting Jeong Hae-Min’s expectant gaze and only showed to everyone what the back of her head looked like.

Swish.

Jeong Hae-Min lowered her gaze to the ground, which then led to Doh Gah-Yun’s peeking head submerging back in the shadows.

“What a bunch of dumb idiots.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

You don’t have the right to say that, you know! (The author)

“We still have Mister Choi Jung-Hoon, right?! Yeah, Mister Choi Jung-Hoon?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

When Jeong Hae-Min pointed at Choi Jung-Hoon, a subtle grin formed on his lips.

That’s right, you uneducated peasants.

You bunch of useless fools who can’t even speak a lick of English even though it’s 21st century!

Acknowledge this great one’s abilities, and praise me. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“He said his TOEIC score is 990! Obviously, he knows how to converse in English!” (Jeong Hae-Min) (TL: TOEIC = The Test of English for International Communication)

“Hahaha. Yes, indeed I ca….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Kim Dah-Som’s gaze slowly shifted in Choi Jung-Hoon’s direction. Then, a weird, stifling silence seemed to brush by the group, before Choi Jung-Hoon struggled to open his mouth.

“….Tests and having an actual conversation are two different things. I’m not very good with English.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“You liar!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Liar, smair!!

I want to live too, you know! Didn’t you see those eyes just now?!

Wowsers! Holy cow!!

Staring at Yi Ji-Hyuk would be far more preferable than being looked at with those eyes!!

Just how can a pair of human eyes shoot out deadly lasers like that?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“So, that’s how it is. Let’s just take her along.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“You…….” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Just as Jeong Hae-Min began gritting her teeth, Yi Ji-Hyuk finally opened his mouth.

“….I don’t care either way, so let’s just go and find something to eat, okay? I might die of starvation at this rate.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ng.”

Jeong Hae-Min smiled brightly and grabbed Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hand again, before making the final confirmation.

“Is everyone holding on?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Jeong Hae-Min even confirmed that the hand coming out from the shadows was holding on to Yi Ji-Hyuk’s leg, and then, activated her ability.

 

*

 

“So, this here is America, eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk surveyed his new surroundings. Even he could tell there was something different about the hustle and bustle of the new city.

Seeing those buildings that looked a bit different from those found in Korea, he could really appreciate the fact that he was in foreign soil now.

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“I’m sure it’s over that way.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

When Jeong Hae-Min took charge and began walking in a direction, smiles formed on the others’ faces as they followed behind her.

To come to America so easily for a burger like this!

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Could anyone even hope to do that for their own lunch breaks? Of course not!

Yes! The teleporters should be praised! Indeed, teleporters, hooray!

 

*

 

“….I’m gonna kill you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Anger boiled over in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes.

“No, wait, uh, but, it was this direction before! I’m sure of it!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Meanwhile, Kim Dah-Som was twirling her hair while going, “Tehee.” on the side.

“Arghhh! I should just, like, really! Arrrgh!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

When Yi Ji-Hyuk raised his fist in a threatening manner, Choi Jung-Hoon hurriedly clung on to that arm while cold sweat drops fell in bucket loads.

If you try to hit her, even a slight tickle will kill her!!

“Ehheiii!!! Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk! Things like this can happen, you know!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“It ‘can’ happen? It can? Ah?! What the hell? Can’t you see the sun setting over there?! You blind?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Of course not, you dang fool!

Still, how can you even think about killing someone over this?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“Seriously! You wanted us to eat burgers, but aren’t we busy eating nothing but air right now?! How is this a lunch break? We’ll end up having supper instead, at this rate!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL note at the end)

“But, that’s so strange. I swear the burger joint was in this direction when I came here before…..” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s glares then shifted over to Choi Jung-Hoon.

“And you! Why can’t you find us the way, Mister Ahjussi?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Why are you blaming me for this?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“I mean, I thought you can do pretty much anything, right? Aren’t you the famous Choi-raemon? Where is your navigation skills, man?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Sure, I can find where our destination is by checking the navigation.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“So? What’s the problem?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I don’t know where we’re at the moment.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“….Oh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (Another TL note at the end)

Choi Jung-Hoon began shedding the sweatdrops of the heart, AKA tears, inwardly.

To think, I’ve got such a bad sense of direction!!

How unthinkable it is for me to have such a weakness!! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Just as Choi Jung-Hoon began despairing inwardly, Kim Dah-Som spoke in a disinterested tone of voice.

“Unexpectedly useless, isn’t he?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Did you just say something?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Oh, my apologies. I was only talking to myself…. I guess you overheard me there.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Hah?! What the hell?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

It was then, the fed-up Yi Ji-Hyuk angrily shouted out.

“Is this the right time for you to start fighting?! Dang it! Let’s just go back home! Might as well just have a bowl of jjajangmyeon, instead!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, but, I think I can find the place if we just….” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“You’ve been saying that for the past three hours already! Where is a needle when you need one?! I really wanna stitch this little girl’s mouth shut!! Dang it!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

It was then.

Out of the blue, a huge group of people began surrounding these starving and tired people.

Every single one of them was decked out in matching black suits and equally black sunglasses. They collectively emitted a dangerous aura.

“What now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.

Meanwhile, Choi Jung-Hoon spat out a lengthy groan.

“What’s going on here? Did we commit a crime or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Well, you could say that.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“What? Getting lost and wasting time also count as a crime nowadays?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“We entered their country illegally, after all.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Eh?”

“Do you have a visa to enter this country? I sure don’t.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“What the hell? So, like, the last time we went around the globe, that was also a criminal act? What the! This woman, she’s gonna cause a big trouble, isn’t she?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“It’s you who wanted to go around in the first place!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“You’re being noisy!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk decisively ignored Jeong Hae-Min’s protests and stared at the cordon of black suits surrounding them. He was in a dilemma of sorts at that moment.

Should I just blow them away and go back to Korea?

But, they haven’t done anything remotely threatening yet, so, like… huh.

Should I just wait and hear what they have to say?

Well, if things go sideways, I can just get the eff outta here, no? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Ah. Ohh…. Mm. If it’s an international diplomatic issue, then….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

This dude will sort out everything, anyways. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

One of the black suits stepped forward and walked towards Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“Are you Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?”

“Uh, oh, h, hello? Pine, dank you? When you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL note at the end)

“……………..” (Everyone)

Choi Jung-Hoon slowly facepalmed.

Annnnd, he even gets that wrong. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“It’s fine if you speak Korean.”

“Ahh, okey? Wha, what?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

STAHP IT!!

Please, stop!! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner cries)

The black suited man stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk with an unreadable expression for a second or two, before lightly shaking his head. Then, he continued in Korean.

“There is someone who’d like to have an audience with you, sir.”

Mm?

With me?

“What the?”

 

< 101. Why are YOU here? -1 > Fin.

 

(TL: Here’s the thing – the Korean “Chinese restaurant” isn’t actually Chinese restaurant at all. Meaning, you won’t find traditional Chinese cuisine in these Korean Chinese restaurants. Jjajangmyeon is uniquely Korean invention, and yes, you won’t find it among the Chinese traditional dishes.)

 

(TL: Yeah, this author seems to lack the basic understanding of how different time zones work. Not only here, but back in the “training” arc, he got confused with the time difference between the Maldives and South Korea, too)

 

(TL: Groan…. Like, this author doesn’t seem to know how GPS navigation works. You just whip out your phone, check for your coordinates, then type where you wanna go, and et voila! Even my mom knows how it works, yet this guy……..)

 

(TL: this line in broken English is actually written like that in the raw. The American agent is speaking in Korean, but Yi Ji-Hyuk continues to mutter out in broken English. The very last line in the chapter, “What the” is also written in Konglish.)

- my thoughts:
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