Chapter 102: Why are YOU here? (2)

“Will you come with us, please?” (the agent)

“I don’t wanna.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Excuse me?” (the agent)

“I said, I don’t wanna.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

The black-suited American agent couldn’t help but sweep his gaze from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s head to toe after hearing that matter-of-factly reply.

There weren’t any muscles to be found on that slightly skinny frame of his. Seeing his body that looked like it hadn’t spent a minute inside a gym, the agent’s brows furrowed instinctively.

More importantly, though – it was written all over the youth’s face.

Didn’t the East Asians say that one’s face revealed a lot about one’s character?

If such a thing was true, then the agent could easily tell what Yi Ji-Hyuk’s personality might be like, without experiencing it first hand.

However, such a kid was….

The agent hurriedly pulled his phone out from his pocket and opened a certain app. And almost right away, he saw Yi Ji-Hyuk’s name in red appearing at the top of the list of information.

When the agent lightly tapped on the screen to access the file, he got to read about Yi Ji-Hyuk’s personal details and specific orders on how to deal with the youth.

Name – Yi Ji-Hyuk.

‘Hmm, so, he is…. one of the most dangerous individuals out there, currently ranked S-class.’ (the agent)

The agent couldn’t really pay attention to the wall of texts appearing on his phone’s screen. No, what his eyes focused on were the words at the very bottom of that said wall of text – ‘Exercise Extreme Caution’, and some more words below them.

 

[Anyone responsible for causing undue friction/hostility with this individual will be eating a burger through their nostrils.]

 

The agent silently put away his phone and raised his head. And then, spoke in a confident voice.

“Ehehe…. Please, sir, don’t be like that~.” (the agent)

“What the heck? Why do you sound so unmanly all of a sudden?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

‘Why don’t you try eating a burger through your nose instead, then?!’ (the agent)

You wouldn’t be able to complain like that, if only you knew that my boss likes his burgers extra large!! (the agent’s inner monologue)

“Please, you have to come with us. Otherwise, I will really get killed.” (the agent)

“Not my problem, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Argh, I’m begging you here! Please!” (the agent)

“What the hell. Why is your Korean patch this advanced? What version is this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Oh, that. Hehe, well, I…..” (the agent)

Those Japanese people should learn Korean from this version, too!

As expected of a first world country and their technological prowess! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“So, if you’d just come with us for a little while…” (the agent)

“I still don’t wanna.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….Annnnd, he still doesn’t want to give me a break. (the agent’s inner monologue)

The agent stood there studying Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mood for a bit longer, before shifting his gaze loaded with meaning over to Choi Jung-Hoon’s direction.

‘It’d be better for you to do something about this situation.’ (the agent)

“Mm…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

After receiving that poignant stare, Choi Jung-Hoon gravely nodded his head.

Now logically speaking, it was his group that illegally entered a foreign country. Just as important, he was an NDF agent, to boot. If the shoe was on the other foot, then when a foreign ability user illegally entered Korea and got busted, Choi Jung-Hoon wouldn’t have let that go quietly. Not at all.

Most likely….

He’d completely annihilate the said foreign ability user first and turn him or her into a nervous wreck, and then hold that hapless sucker as a hostage of sorts as he inundated the fool’s country of origin with piles upon piles of official diplomatic documents.

So, how would he feel if it was Korea on the receiving end of that treatment?

Even if he somehow managed to get out of here with his life intact, the higher-ups back home would want to play football with his freshly-severed head, instead.

Shudder.

Choi Jung-Hoon definitely did not want to see that happen.

“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Ahh, what now?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“How about going with them for a little while….?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“This guy, you trying to sell me down the river again?! You really on my side?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

But, I never was?

Why am I on your side out of the blue? I’ve never been on your side to begin with, you know?

Don’t arbitrarily make people your pals! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“And you, why are you threatening this guy instead of me? Ah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“M, my apologies.” (the agent)

Even though the American agent was apologising, his stare never quite left Choi Jung-Hoon.

“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Hey!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

*SFX for the American agent sharply drawing his breath*

With a slightly confused face, Jeong Hae-Min alternated her gaze between these three men.

What are these three doing? Is this the so-called triangular formation?

“Ahh, sh*t! This is annoying!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk got way too annoyed with this situation which was definitely going around in circles now, and found the only satisfying method of breaking the chain for good.

“Hey, you!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

When Yi Ji-Hyuk glared at the American agent, he flinched and reflexively nodded his head.

“Tell that person to come over here. Why the heck does he want me to go there, when he can just come here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

‘….Wait, that… kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?’ (the agent)

Indeed, the agent had no reason to actually drag Yi Ji-Hyuk away at all. The order simply said to secure the youth. That was all.

“In, in the case, will you be waiting for us here?” (the agent)

“No, obviously not. You, hold up….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes?” (the agent)

Yi Ji-Hyuk suddenly exchanged hushed whispers with Jeong Hae-Min before looking back at the agent.

“You know where this ‘Shake Burgers’ joint is around here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Eh?”

 

*

 

Tears were welling up in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes.

Just what the hell is up with this dang burger?!

Is this thing worth almost five hours of getting lost in a foreign city for? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk wiped the corners of his ears as he stared at the meal set of the burger in question.

“Imma kill you real slow if this thing tastes bad. Seriously now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….It’s going to taste good. I think.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Perhaps realising her guilt, the depressed-looking Jeong Hae-Min began distancing herself from Yi Ji-Hyuk even while mumbling some words as her defense.

“Come over here right now!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Why should I?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Yi Ji-Hyuk reached out to catch the escaping Jeong Hae-Min, only to have Kim Dah-Som sneak her way in and sit on the empty seat next to him.

She placed the burger box in front of Yi Ji-Hyuk, opened it, and then, even proceeded to present a large cup of Cola to him as well.

“Oh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Which was good, since Yi Ji-Hyuk was feeling a bit troubled because the accompanying drink just so happened to be a milkshake. With a huge grin on his face, he picked the Cola up and gulped it down.

Meanwhile, Kim Dah-Som smiled contently as she pulled Yi Ji-Hyuk’s milkshake towards herself. Seeing this act, Jeong Hae-Min’s eyes narrowed to a slit.

“You really know how to act like a sly little fox, don’t you?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“I’m not sure what you mean by that?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Oh, my gosh. Look at her pretending to not know what’s what.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

And as the two females began a subtle war of nerves, Doh Gah-Yun silently rose up from shadows and settled down on the unoccupied seat right next to Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“G, Gah-Yun-ah!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Even though Jeong Hae-Min cried out in a sharp voice, Doh Gah-Yun remained impassive and chose to silently pull closer her own share of fast food in front of her.

Jeong Hae-Min breathed heavily in unhappiness, but she had no choice but to settle down on the opposite side of Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“You two, you gonna keep going like this?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

When Jeong Hae-Min growled menacingly at the two girls, they both simultaneously avoided meeting her gaze and concentrated on finishing their meals, instead.

“You think I’ll take this ly….” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Argh, you’re being noisy! Let’s just have a meal in peace! Please!!!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Hul. Telling a noona that she’s being noisy!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Will you act your age, then? Miss Ahjumma.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“A, ahjumma?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Teardrops began forming in Jeong Hae-Min’s eyes, and in response, the corners of Kim Dah-Som’s lips curled upwards ever so slightly.

“You’re smiling?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Seo Ah-Young, watching this scene unfold from another table, suddenly spat out a long sigh.

Surrounding the table where the four of them were having a… “good” time, a cordon of black-suited agents were standing stiffly like some kind of a hefty, immovable human wall.

The nerves of those girls must be made out of pure, grade-A hardened steel if they didn’t care about all those people staring at them as they went about their business.

However…

‘Isn’t that…. Isn’t that like, a battlefield over there?’ (Seo Ah-Young)

Seo Ah-Young could definitely see those three females surrounding Yi Ji-Hyuk locked in a heated war of nerves.

“What on earth….?” (Seo Ah-Young)

And all three of them were quite pretty, too….

One of them was a famous idol, another one was so pretty that she’d completely trounce any ol’ celebrity into oblivion, and even Gah-Yun wouldn’t lose out to anyone in the looks department, no matter what the occasion was.

But, why did it have to be Yi Ji-Hyuk?

He didn’t have a nice-looking face.

Hell, he didn’t even have a nice personality, either.

He had taken his manners out back and shot it all to hell a long time ago, he was beyond lazy, and his mouth was so filthy, no soap could ever cleanse it, yet….

Wasn’t he, like, the worst possible boyfriend material?!

However, seeing three such pretty girls surrounding such a rotten as*hole, Seo Ah-Young couldn’t help but to release yet another long, long sigh.

‘Well, compared to a b*stard like him….’ (Seo Ah-Young)

Seo Ah-Young shifted her gaze towards Choi Jung-Hoon sitting in front of her, and saw how full his mouth was with the American burger as he oh-so industriously chewed on it.

“Yep?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

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“…It’s nothing.” (Seo Ah-Young)

This guy wasn’t like this in the beginning, yet as time wore on, he was clearly becoming worse and worse, too.

Did it start after Yi Ji-Hyuk entered their lives?

“This is good, actually. Have some.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“….Yes, I will.” (Seo Ah-Young)

Seo Ah-Young picked up the burger and bit into it.

It was actually, surprisingly good!

It must’ve tasted good, since she and the group had to go through so much crap just to get here. However, she found it hard to enjoy the meal, what with all those eyes constantly staring at her and all.

“How can you eat in peace with all these people staring at you?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Mm? Should I make it bit more peaceful, then?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Eh? How?” (Seo Ah-Young)

Choi Jung-Hoon got up from his seat, went over to Yi Ji-Hyuk, and whispered something to him.

Suddenly, Yi Ji-Hyuk raised his head and angrily glared at the American agents.

“What the hell? How dare you lot spy on my mealtime?! Turn around right now!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

As soon as those words came out of his mouth, every single one of the black-suited agents spun around on their heels and looked in the other direction.

“Che, can’t even have a meal in peace, I tell ya.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk complained before settling back down on his seat to munch on the burger. In the meantime, Choi Jung-Hoon returned to his seat.

“So, is it better now?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

What a scary person he was.

To be able to utilise the weapon called Yi Ji-Hyuk like that, that had to be some kind of an ability as well.

It seemed that Yi Ji-Hyuk, who normally didn’t listen to anyone else, would more than likely listen to what Choi Jung-Hoon had to say.

What a strange and indescribable relationship that was.

In any case, it was definitely better than before.

Now that no one was staring at her, she could finally relax and savour the taste of the succulent burger.

Unfortunately for her, though, she wasn’t given a lot of time to enjoy the junk food’s rich, aromatic taste.

A part of the black-suited cordon parted to make way for a middle-aged man with a dignified expression.

This man didn’t even bother to look at Seo Ah-Young and walked over to Yi Ji-Hyuk’s table, where the youth was in the middle of trying to shove the burger down Jeong Hae-Min’s throat. The man offered his hand and began speaking in English.

And the agent standing next to him offered up the translation in real time.

“Hello there. My name is Christopher McLaren, the current director of the CPO.”

Yi Ji-Hyuk glanced at the man for half a second, before returning to his task of shoving the rest of the burger down Jeong Hae-Min’s struggling mouth.

“So? Is this tasty to you? Ah? I’m asking you, you think this is good?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Euph, euphhh?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“It’s just too dang oily, man! Son of a…. Can’t I just go and have bulgogi or something instead?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Jeong Hae-Min managed to spit out the burger and angrily shouted at him.

“What am I supposed to do when your palate’s so unsophisticated?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Should I demonstrate to you what real ‘unsophisticated’ tastes like?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…..My bad.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Yi Ji-Hyuk was finally done with tormenting Jeong Hae-Min, and turned his head around to stare at Christopher McLaren.

“Chris… what’s his name again?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You can just call me Chris.” (Christopher McLaren)

“Okay, so. What now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk. If you were planning on visiting us here in the States, you should’ve given us a call beforehand. We might have been able to provide you with far better services than this.” (Christopher McLaren)

“We just came here for a meal, you know? No need to call you and all that, right? Besides, isn’t there any other place other than this one? This burger is just too oily for me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Christopher McLaren pulled out his own phone and accessed the file on Yi Ji-Hyuk.

 

[Operates on his pace. Does not listen to anyone else regardless of what. Impossible to hold a normal conversation with.]

 

That description was utterly on the money.

Christopher did not know who investigated and compiled this dossier, but he thought that the unknown agent deserved a suitable reward, maybe even a paid vacation, for this very excellent work. He then smiled and looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“If that’s what you want, we will make sure that you get to enjoy the finest cuisine this world has to offer. After all, you will be able to find every delicacy from all over the globe in this country.” (Christopher McLaren)

“In that case, take me to a Korean restaurant that serves doenjang stew.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…………”

Hey, you dumb f*ck?! You’re a Korean, aren’t you?! Why did you come all the way to the States just to eat Korean food?!

Go and stuff your face back in your own house, will ya? (Christopher McLaren’s inner monologue)

“Well, uh, maybe you can eat that back in your own country….?” (Christopher McLaren)

“Well, I like Korean food, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“That’s why, I’m telling you to eat that crap in your own godd*mn house!” (Christopher McLaren)

The agent in charge of translating stared at Christopher McLaren with a dumbfounded face.

How could he translate this? Could he be…?

“D, director? Sir?” (the agent)

Christopher quickly regained his composure and coughed to clear his throat.

“Tell him, if he likes Korean food, then we shall provide it.” (Christopher McLaren)

“Y, yes sir.” (the agent)

When the translator relayed the message, Yi Ji-Hyuk made his reply in Korean while looking supremely unconvinced.

“What did he say?” (Christopher McLaren)

“…..Uhm, he says, he can’t be bothered and is going home now.” (the agent)

“What the hell, you dumba*s?!” (Christopher McLaren)

“What the, sir?! I didn’t say those words, though?!” (the agent)

“Oh, that’s right.” (Christopher McLaren)

Seeing Yi Ji-Hyuk yawn like a full-bellied puppy dog, Christopher took a several deep breaths to calm himself down.

Indeed, it proved to be impossible to hold a proper conversation with this individual. There was no need to get p*ssed off here.

Then, Yi Ji-Hyuk said something else, again in Korean.

“Okay, so, what did he say this time?” (Christopher McLaren)

“….He’s asking us if we can get him plane tickets.” (the agent)

“Why does he want plane tickets, when he has a teleporter in his party?” (Christopher McLaren)

“That is…. He says that he’s never been on a plane before, and he wants to ride in one. He even asked me if he’d get to eat a free meal in the first class, sir.” (the agent)

“Who’s the guy in charge of these people….?” (Christopher McLaren)

I ain’t gonna let that guy live!

Choi Jung-Hoon, who was listening on the conversation unfolding in English, sneakily hid himself behind Seo Ah-Young.

“Ng?”

Tilting her head in confusion, she stared at him.

“Ehehe.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Using his jovial grin to disarm her in the blink of an eye, Choi Jung-Hoon then began studying the current development a bit more seriously.

Let’s see.

Is that Christopher the one I know of?

Is he THE Christopher McLaren, the head of the America’s ability user department?

He’s the biggest of all bigshots, isn’t he? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon’s eyes narrowed to a slit.

Out of all the powerful ability users and people related to the field, this man was among the top three as far as his political influences went.

So, how should Choi Jung-Hoon go about interpreting this situation, where such a powerful man personally came down to speak to Yi Ji-Hyuk?

Meanwhile, Yi Ji-Hyuk was ignoring Christopher while picking up the burger to bite into it one more time.

Argh, it is really oily and all that, but…. This taste, it’s surprisingly addictive, isn’t it? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Munch, munch.

“You like it?” (?)

“More or less?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, you never really liked such food, though?” (?)

“Well, I don’t mind it, since I’m in another country and all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

…..Eh?

Who did I speak to just now?

Her voice…. It’s really familiar, isn’t it? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk sneakily turned his head to the side and found the woman who spoke to him just now.

“….Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Right away, the burger in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hands fell and rolled on the floor.

Naturally, everyone’s gaze was directed towards Yi Ji-Hyuk, and the woman standing in front of him with a bright smile while looking back at the youth.

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hands began trembling, nay, quaking violently, before he pointed at her.

“You, you, you….?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Her hair seemed to shine in the brilliant golden colour of the sun’s rays.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it been?” (?)

“You!! Why are YOU here?! Why?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“That’s because….” (?)

The woman smiled softly and gazed at Yi Ji-Hyuk with warm eyes before opening her mouth.

“I came to find you, of course.” (?)

Seeing that indescribably beautiful and gentle smile of hers, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s entire body quaked hard, before he cried out loudly.

“NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

His loud voice reverberated to high heavens.

 

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< 102. Why are YOU here? -2 > Fin.

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