Chapter 107: W, why are you coming out from there? (2)

[After failing to resolve the serial murder case and allowing the suspect to escape overseas, the KSF has been strongly criticised for their handling of this matter. However, both the National Police and the KSF have blamed each other, and in the meantime, angry mobs of citizens have gathered in front of the KSF’s headquarters to stage a protest….]

 

“Well, I guess the Director would be feeling really terrible right about now.” (Seo Ah-Young)

Seo Ah-Young grinned refreshingly while watching the news.

When she imagined that half-baldie staring outside his office windows with a mother of all frowns perma-stuck on his face, she felt as if all of her pent-up frustration was being cleared up in an instant.

“But that’s not something to rejoice over, ma’am.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Well, I’m just saying…… I do understand that.” (Seo Ah-Young)

She wasn’t happy about the public turning their backs on the ability users like this, of course.

“But, it’s not our fault to begin with, anyway.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“It’d be wonderful if everyone thought as magnanimously as you, but you know that humans are not like that.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

And besides, these protests weren’t about them letting the serial killer slip through their fingers. No, the things that had been bubbling under the surface over a lengthy period of time finally exploded out into the open, that was all.

Animosity.

Anxiety.

And finally, hostility.

They might have started off from the same point, but the two ‘races’ and their paths had gone on to their separate directions; some people had noticed this estrangement and now they were making their presence known.

“This… How should we fix this?” (Seo Ah-Young)

Choi Jung-Hoon smiled brightly.

“There’s nothing we can do.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“That’s so irresponsible, though.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“But, it’s not my responsibility, is it, ma’am?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

There were no one to blame for the current situation, of course. And, a human being could only do things that were within their capabilities.

“Okay, that’s that. By the way, what happened to that woman?” (Seo Ah-Young)

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“Didn’t I give you a report about it yesterday?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“….I can’t remember what was on it.” (Seo Ah-Young)

Ha…..

Is there a meaning in me giving you reports if you’re like this? Don’t just receive it and not bother to read it through! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“….She went to live at Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk’s house, ma’am.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“This is not a joke, right? How could she march straight into his house only after one day?” (Seo Ah-Young)

….That’s not it, ma’am.

It’s more important that Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t try to stop a woman from entering his place.

After all, if it was any other female, he’d kick them right out even before they got to step past his front door.

Yup, this is really strange. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon felt that there was this indescribable something between Yi Ji-Hyuk and the woman, ‘Richae’. What he couldn’t understand the most was that he could definitely feel those two sharing a strong bond.

The problem was, such a bond wasn’t something as weak-sauce as a close friendship. No, a bond like that could only form if the two of them had went through many, many things together.

‘However, in only five years?’

Yi Ji-Hyuk went missing for five years before returning home.

In order to form a bond that thick during such a short period of time, just what kind of crazy things did they do together….?

“No, hang on a sec.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Yes?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Ma’am, when you were there! You said that time was slower here!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Pardon?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“When you were thrust into that black portal thing, ma’am. You said that Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk sent you to a strange place.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“That’s right. We spent around half a year there, but when we returned, only….” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Ah!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Couldn’t this situation also apply to Yi Ji-Hyuk’s case, too?

If so, those five years may not have been only five years after all.

With this theory, that “youth” and his philosophical view on life, or his completely random bouts of violent tendencies, could be explained quite easily.

“So, is that what it was?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

If that was the case, then those things Yi Ji-Hyuk did when the two men met for the first time made perfect sense now.

Indeed. Sure thing. But…..

However, what did it matter now?

Yi Ji-Hyuk was still Yi Ji-Hyuk at the end of the day.

Even if Choi Jung-Hoon knew the truth, that fact wouldn’t change. If he knew the truth prior, then it could’ve helped him to come up with a suitable response, but now…..

‘Even if I know, what does that change?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon decisively stopped thinking about this matter. Time spent worrying about Yi Ji-Hyuk was equivalent to time utterly, completely wasted.

However, that didn’t mean he could escape from the person in question, though.

*SFX for the door suddenly opening*

The office door was flung open and Yi Ji-Hyuk entered with a face full of barely held-back irritation.

And why was he acting like this so early in the morning?

“Mm?”

The expressions of Jeong Hae-Min and Doh Gah-Yun entering the office behind him also didn’t seem quite right, either. But then, when Choi Jung-Hoon saw Affeldrichae entering the office behind those two girls, he couldn’t help but inwardly sigh.

Wouldn’t one get used to a person’s face after seeing it over and over again?

Choi Jung-Hoon had seen that woman’s face for almost a day, so he thought that he had gotten used to it, but then, just one look and he became dazed again. There was nothing he could do about this.

“Hello, everyone.” (Affeldrichae)

But, what was this?

Did she learn how to speak Korean in a single day?!

“I’ll be in your care from today onwards.” (Affeldrichae)

No, this wasn’t the level of fluency one would get from a single day of practice!

“Who’s in care of who?! You saw what you wanted to see, so go home already!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I don’t have enough Mana to open another Gate.” (Affeldrichae)

“What? Does that mean…. You’re not going home?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes.” (Affeldrichae)

“Then, just what were you thinking when coming to this planet in the first place?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I was hoping that Mister Ji-Hyuk could do something about it.” (Affeldrichae)

“You are really hopeless, you know that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Affeldrichae tilted her head slightly.

“Well, it’s not like there’s no hope. Actually, I thought that you’d have conquered this world by the time I got here.” (Affeldrichae)

That, that doesn’t sound like she’s joking, now is it?!

Cold sweat trickled down Choi Jung-Hoon’s backside.

No, not a joke but maybe that could have happened for real. If Yi Ji-Hyuk really decided he’d do that, then could anyone really stop him?

“How would I do that when there’s no Mana in this world?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I thought you’d have found ways to resolve that by now.” (Affeldrichae)

“I wanted to come home, not because I wanted to do something to this world, you know. Have you any idea how surprised I was to find all this monster-related shenanigans once I returned home? Wait, do you know something about this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“The gap between the dimensions has been split open.” (Affeldrichae)

“Mm?”

“The gap has been split open, and that’s why these Gates can be opened up. I can’t be sure of whether this was done deliberately or not, though.” (Affeldrichae)

“Is there a way to fix this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You just have to close the tear, but you know that’s not an easy thing to do. It’d be a hard task even for my original body, so the current me has no chance.” (Affeldrichae)

“Hmm…..”

Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head to the side.

The gap between the dimensions had been split open?

Could something like that happen often?

“Although there is a very low probability, it could happen.” (Affeldrichae)

“Did something like that ever happen back in Berafe?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Berafe is a world ruled by the gods. Even if there was a tear, they would mend it immediately.” (Affeldrichae)

“That’s how it was.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….Uh? Wait, isn’t that strange?

“You saying that there’s no god in this world? What about God-nim, Buddha-nim, Allah-nim…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….Wait, is it correct to refer Allah as Allah-nim? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“I couldn’t locate any divinity here. Well, it’s true that I can sense a very faint presence of something, but even I can’t tell whether this is divinity or not. Even if there was a divine figure presiding in this world, it could have disappeared a long time ago. Or, it’s such a mighty being that I’m not strong enough to sense its will.”

“So, it’s neither here nor there, eh….”

In that case, it was the same thing as no god existing in this world. Or, not that different from humans not caring about cellular-level organisms living in their bodies.

“Well, it doesn’t really matter. Whether there is one or not, it wouldn’t be of much help, anyways.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Meanwhile, Choi Jung-Hoon was smiling brightly to the side.

‘I’ve no idea what they are talking about, so I should just keep my mouth shut.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

With this, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s morning started anew.

 

*

 

With her eyes sparkling like a pair of jewels, Affeldrichae studied her surroundings with great interest.

She took a look at the different architecture of buildings and all sorts of items made out of metal. Without a doubt, this place was so much different to her own world.

When she first arrived, she did think that she had indeed arrived in a totally new world, but now, she could definitely feel this fact.

Most of all, she found the sight of Yi Ji-Hyuk sitting in a chair doing something definitely mystifying. The Yi Ji-Hyuk from her memories would do nothing but loaf about sitting on his throne, or do his best to endure the endless boredom.

But now, such a person was…..

“Argh, crap!! I Blink’ed, so how come?! Why didn’t it work? You’re driving me crazy here!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL note at the end)

“What the hell?! You thought you could use Blink in that situation and still survive?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“What? That, were you trying to say something to me here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I wouldn’t have said anything if you didn’t suck this bad!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“You saying I suck?! Hah! So what’s your tier, Mister Oh So High and Mighty?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“It’s gold.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“How dare a gold tier trying to nitpick with me?! A measly little gold tier? A pathetic gold tier who can’t even openly reveal his tier in a forum?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You!! You’re a dang bronze!! A bronze! Right at the bottom!! Not only that, you’re the worst player in the bronze tier, too!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Hah, it’s just that my hands haven’t loosened up sufficiently enough….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You’ve been loosening your hands for the last three months, so how much loosening do they need? You have Parkinson’s or something?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Ha-ah?!”

The glares of Yi Ji-Hyuk and Choi Jung-Hoon violently clashed in midair as sparks began flying off to everywhere.

“What is that you’re doing right now?” (Affeldrichae)

“It’s a computer game.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“A computer game?” (Affeldrichae)

All the ‘games’ she knew of, one couldn’t play by oneself like how Yi Ji-Hyuk had been.

“Is it like chess?” (Affeldrichae)

“You could almost say that, but, mm……” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Hah, how should I explain this to her?

As a matter of fact, once upon a time Yi Ji-Hyuk played chess with Affeldrichae and lost 1000 times in a row. He got p*ssed off so hard that the steam of anger vented out from his sweat pores, even. So, as a way of getting back at her, he taught her the game of go.

And then, once she figured out the basic rules, she slapped him in the face with yet another 1000 straight defeats.

‘Hmm, isn’t this going to be interesting?’

“Why don’t you take a seat over here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Pardon?” (Affeldrichae)

“Sit down over here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk got up and pointed at the chair he’d been sitting in.

“Alright.” (Affeldrichae)

Affeldrichae didn’t say much and did as Yi Ji-Hyuk told her.

A grin formed on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s lips.

“Allow me to teach you all about the zenith of the human civilisation.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Pardon??” (Affeldrichae)

She could only tilt her head in confusion as she had no idea what was going on here.

 

***

 

“Heu-euh….”

The man shivered after sensing that cold aura coming from behind him.

In order to survive, he joined hands with this group of people. No, he thought he had. But, it didn’t take too long a time for him to realise that he was nothing more than a little dog with a leash around his neck.

‘Was this the right decision?’

Of course, if he didn’t follow these people, he wouldn’t have any future at all.

Still….

Even though he was aware of this fact, these people were scary enough for him to continuously regret making that decision.

In these people’s eyes, his ability to teleport as well as to conceal himself would amount to nothing more than some throwaway skills to use and discard later on.

So, they would definitely try to use him as much as possible.

‘I will let you use me for a while, but I’ll just escape from here later.’

He was an ability user that no one could come after if he decided to earnestly make his getaway.

For now, the surveillance on him was a bit too tight, but if he continued to display a subservient attitude for a while longer, surely their vigilance would weaken….

“Looks like you’re thinking of a lot of useless matters.” (Alpha)

The serial killer’s body shuddered.

That voice had a certain quality that automatically made people anxious for some reason.

“It’s not always good to dwell on unrelated matters too much. Your determination will suffer when you do. So, please. Concentrate on your job first, and think about everything else later on.” (Alpha)

“Y, yes.”

The serial killer.

The one who was referred to as the worst murderer in the history of the Republic of Korea, Nah Jang-Ho, couldn’t help but fall into a slight dilemma.

Should he ask, or should he not?

However, he didn’t hesitate for long.

“Alpha.” (Nah Jang-Ho)

“Please speak.” (Alpha)

“Why did you bring me here?” (Nah Jang-Ho)

He expected to hear a rather obvious answer, but he just had to ask the question. Because…. he could sense a certain level of contempt in the way Alpha looked at him, that was why.

If he was to become an object of ridicule, then what would be the point of bringing him here?

“The reason for bringing you here…. Well, I wonder. How should I go about explaining it?” (Alpha)

That was surprising.

Nah Jang-Ho thought the answer would be a simple “Because we need you” but he was surprised to see Alpha wanting to explain in depth.

“Mm… Truthfully, I am not much of a fan of you.” (Alpha)

“Is it because I’m a murderer?” (Nah Jang-Ho)

“No, no. Not that. It’s not because you’re a murderer, but because you’re still a murderer.” (Alpha)

“Eh?”

What was he even talking about? Nah Jang-Ho couldn’t understand it.

“I’m not a fan not because you killed a few people, but because you’re still being called a murderer.” (Alpha)

“What do you mean by that?” (Nah Jang-Ho)

“Hmm…..”

Alpha sheepishly scratched his cheek.

“It seems that talking to someone with a lower level of intelligence than myself is a tough and inefficient task. If I were to simplify further…. Mm, that’s right. Do you consider Hitler a murderer?” (Alpha)

A murderer?

Hitler?

Nah Jang-Ho frowned deeply.

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He had never thought about such matters before, but now that he did, there was little doubt that Hitler was a murderer. Not only that, a pretty serious one, too.

“When a murderer crosses a certain threshold, he or she shouldn’t be considered a murderer anymore. From that moment onwards, that person would no longer be ‘bound’ to such a trivial matter as a murder. Well, you wouldn’t really become cognisant of the obvious things you do everyday, would you?” (Alpha)

So, what Alpha meant was….

The only reason why Alpha wasn’t Nah Jang-Ho’s fan could be boiled down to the fact that he was just a trivial little serial killer?

But, he had already killed close to 100 people?

Alpha smiled brightly.

“So, allow me to remove the fetters still tying you down with these.” (Alpha)

Alpha extended his hand out.

With a slightly dumbfounded face, Nah Jang-Ho received the objects Alpha handed over.

“These are?” (Nah Jang-Ho)

On top of Nah Jang-Ho’s upturned palm, there were five blue-coloured gemstones.

“They are my gifts to you, so you may leave your mark in the annals of human history.” (Alpha)

Alpha began smiling ominously.

 

< 107. W, why are you coming out from there? -2 > Fin.

 

(TL: This line gave me a lot of trouble while TLing. The author used the term ‘점멸’ which literally means flickering/flashing of light, but it could also mean ‘gradual annihilation’. Naturally, I thought it was the latter since I don’t know anything about LOL, but even then, I figured that such a spell made no sense in a competitive pvp game like that. So I ended up doing a lot of research to find what that exactly was. After about an hour of solid googling… it turns out, it was just Blink…. sob.)

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