Chapter 112: I would never grease my palms only, you know (2)

Tokyo.

Woooung…

The empty air twisted around a little, and the figures of several people slowly emerged from the ripples.

It was Yi Ji-Hyuk and the NDF folks arriving in the city of Tokyo.

“…Too d*mn many!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Jeong Hae-Min suddenly shouted out.

“Don’t you know how hard it is to do one teleportation? I’m feeling really tired from ferrying around way too many people nowadays, you know!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Yi Ji-Hyuk took a sweeping look around him.

Himself, Seo Ah-Young, Choi Jung-Hoon, Doh Gah-Yun, Affeldrichae, and Kitamura Ren, who was brought/dragged along for the express purpose of translating.

This was ‘too many people’?

A girl who shuttled around various monsters, got tired from teleporting only five humans and a lizard?

Why was she exaggerating her pains, all of her sudden?

“Besides all that!! Why did you even bring him along, too?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s gaze lowered to the ground. And then, he grinned brightly after seeing Oh-Sik by his feet busy wagging his tail.

“You think only humans are allowed to eat? Oh-Sik should get to enjoy some Japanese pet food, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…..Teleporting people around is already hard enough, but now, I have to become a dog shuttle, too…..” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Uhm, he’s not a dog, though?

He’s an Ogre, you know?

Stop treating him like a dog, will ya? You’re gonna damage his self-esteem. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Was it tough?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ng~.”

What the hell, why is she whining like that?

Has she gone insane for real? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body shuddered just a little.

“Since you say it’s tough…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yeah?”

Yi Ji-Hyuk cracked and loosened his neck muscles.

“I’ve trained you that much the last time, but I guess that wasn’t enough, eh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Huh?”

“Should we go on another world tour?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“N, no!! No!! It’s not tough! I’m not tired at all! Really!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Then, why were you whining just now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…..Never mind.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Jeong Hae-Min stomped the blameless ground. What a clueless b*stard he was.

“So, we’ve arrived and all, but….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but recall the hardship they encountered the last time.

“That dang ramen shop, can you really, really take us there this time?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ng.”

“For real?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ng. For real, this time!! I can’t forget where it is, even if I tried!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Where did her confidence come from? Did she call a guide or something? She couldn’t even find the burger joint even with the help of navigation. But now?

“All we have to do is go over there!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his gaze in the direction Jeong Hae-Min was pointing at, and his head began nodding almost reflexively.

Ah, so that’s how it was.

I get it now.

No matter how stupid you are, you’d still find your way, what with that thing over there. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes captured the tall tower of the famed Skytree of Tokyo.

Even if you suffered from an extremely poor sense of direction, you’d never lose your way as long as that tall tower stood there as their marker and their ultimate destination.

As long as you were a human, that was!

“Okay, let’s go!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ng, let’s go over there.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Choi Jung-Hoon followed from behind, before speaking with a slightly anxious facial expression.

“If we go over there right away, it’ll be the same thing as us illegally entering the country, again. Can’t we stop by at the immigration control first?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Where is this immigration control, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Normally, at an airport.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“But, it’ll be a bother going back and forth, though.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Choi Jung-Hoon shook his head in resignation.

But, this was a serious problem. If things worsened even further, then it could even become an international incident!

Back when they went to the States, one wrong move from them and they could have landed in a heap of trouble, but to think, they would find themselves in exactly the same situation once more!

And right now, they were in the middle of Tokyo, no less!

‘If it was someone else, fine. But….’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

If the Japanese ability user department was run by people with functioning brains, then they would be monitoring every single one of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s movements in real time. And if they found out that he had appeared in the middle of their capital city, they would go absolutely mental, without a doubt.

Not to mention, they would know full well who Seo Ah-Young was as well. And then, there was a small matter regarding a certain Gate, too.

“Ha…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Now that things had come down to this, they gotta eat quickly and run away!

“Where is this ramen shop, by the way?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“It’s inside the Skytree.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Alright. Let’s get going, then.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon urged the group to get a move on. Trying to herd these group of accident magnets caused his stomach to lurch around rather painfully.

‘Ah, I forgot to take my medication.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon pulled out a bottle of ulcer medication and poured a couple of pills down his throat.

‘I might end up being a drug addict at this rate.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

If he wished to prevent his tax money spent on anti-drug abuse campaigns from going up in smoke, he had to somehow resolve the nonsensical irregularities of his job.

How regrettable, then, that Choi Jung-Hoon’s wishes would not be fulfilled today.

 

*

 

“What’s going on here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.

He could see a heavily-armed platoon of soldiers drawing a line on the ground. Meanwhile, a wall of police officers were blocking people from going beyond the line.

“What’s going on? Is there a protest or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Choi Jung-Hoon shook his head.

“Don’t you think that thing over there has something to do with it?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“What, you mean that over there?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

In the location between the tall skyscrapers where Choi Jung-Hoon was pointing at, the group could see a huge, reddish Gate.

‘It’s pretty big, isn’t it?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Just the size alone made Yi Ji-Hyuk think that it was the biggest one he’d seen by far on Earth. Even the Gate Oh-Sik came out from wasn’t as big as that one….

Growl….

“Mm?”

When Yi Ji-Hyuk looked down, he found Oh-Sik baring his fangs and growling at the Gate.

“Yo, yo. Stop that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Whimper.

When Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly tapped Oh-Sik in the butt, the mini Ogre stepped back slightly, before sticking very close to his legs.

And so, there was the Gate.

He did hear that there was one appearing within the city of Tokyo, but as he walked the streets, he could see the Japanese citizens going about their daily lives. Understandably, he wasn’t expecting to see the Gate in question to be right there next to their destination.

“So, we can’t go past?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes. No one can.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Is there a way to go around?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“It seems like the entire vicinity surrounding the Skytree has been cordoned off.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Mm, in that case…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

This turned out to be yet another waste of my time!!

I might as well make a stew out of this girl while I’m at it!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk angrily glared at the now-depressed Jeong Hae-Min.

“Just how is it possible that everytime you recommend something to eat, it always leads to problems?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….I also didn’t know, okay?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Ha-ah, seriously man.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Choi Jung-Hoon tilted his head.

Rather than building barricades like this, wouldn’t it have been far sensible to evacuate the area, instead?

Even though the history’s largest Gate was opening up soon, the citizens around the area went about their business as if it was nothing to fret about.

Were they all just too calm, or just too dumb?

He found it hard to understand the Japanese government not trying to evacuate her citizens, but then, he found it even more mystifying that the citizens themselves weren’t eager to run away from here.

“If I were to question it, then could it be because they trust their government implicitly?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Mm?”

“No, it’s nothing.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Maybe this was down to the differences in the national characteristics of the two countries, but whatever, Choi Jung-Hoon found it hard to understand.

In any case, they came here to have lunch, but this was….

Kitamura Ren stepped forward to speak to a cop, then shook his head.

“The entire area is off-limits.” (Kitamura Ren)

Yi Ji-Hyuk frowned deeply after hearing that.

“We can’t go through, no matter what?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes.” (Kitamura Ren)

“What if we just slip past them unnoticed?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“That won’t be impossible, but…. Since no one’s allowed to go in there, surely the Skytree would be empty as well.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

In other words, all the shops and restaurants had closed their doors, too. Which meant, time to forget about it and go home.

Yi Ji-Hyuk groaned and turned around to leave.

“Let’s go home.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

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It was then.

Suddenly, several men with big, hulking physiques blocked the path of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s group.

Choi Jung-Hoon’s expression hardened right away.

The way they acted, it seemed that they had a clear reason in doing so.

“Who the hell are you lot?” (Kitamura Ren)

Kitamura Ren did his job as the group’s sole translator and asked first.

“NDF?”

However, him translating didn’t seem necessary.

Anyone could understand those three alphabets, after all. Even though the pronunciation was slightly off.

Choi Jung-Hoon tightly clenched his fists.

They already knew?

It only had been a few minutes since they got here, but for the Japanese to have noticed their arrival already, the meaning behind that was not something he could ignore. It was akin to the entire NDF being under surveillance, after all.

‘Even then, they wouldn’t be able to observe the ongoings inside the building, no?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

They were spying on the NDF even within the restricted area? Even if the Japanese relied on the latest spy satellites, Choi Jung-Hoon and Co. made their move inside a building, so it’d be impossible for anyone to figure out where they could be. Not this quickly, anyways.

Which left only one possibility, and that was…. There was someone from the inside leaking information.

Choi Jung-Hoon’s brain hurriedly kicked into gear.

‘Who could it be?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

However, the answer didn’t come to him immediately.

“That’s right. So?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

And then, here was a guy with no answers, too.

‘What the hell? Why are you acknowledging that now?! Have you forgotten that we illegally entered this country?!’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

One should deny it even under the threat of death!

“Yi… Ji-Hyuk?”

“Kyah. I’m even famous in Japan too, eh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

You’re happy about that?

Is that something to be happy about in the first place?!

Can’t you see that they are not here with friendly intentions?

So, how can you feel happy about this situation?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Completely not caring whether Choi Jung-Hoon was quivering in his boots or not, Yi Ji-Hyuk sized up the big, hulking guys in front of him with a slightly pouting expression.

“Come. With. Us.”

As soon as one of them spoke in broken Korean, Yi Ji-Hyuk beckoned Kitamura Ren to come closer.

“Help them out, will ya.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Sure thing.” (Kitamura Ren)

He went to speak to those guys, before he returned with a bit of a sour expression on his face.

“They say we should quietly follow them unless we don’t want to get hurt.” (Kitamura Ren)

“Wanna die?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“What?! I didn’t say those words, you know!” (Kitamura Ren)

“I know, and I was telling you what I want you to tell them.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Uh, sure.” (Kitamura Ren)

Why did this exchange make Kitamura Ren unhappy, anyway?

After he translated Yi Ji-Hyuk’s words, the expected reply came in pretty quickly.

“They say, they will hurt you if you don’t come quietly.” (Kitamura Ren)

“You really wanna die, you dumb jjok-ppari hick?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL note at the end)

“Obviously, you were not talking to me, yes?” (Kitamura Ren)

“But, I was?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Eh?”

“Just kidding. It’s a joke.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….But, that didn’t sound like a joke to me, though?

Why am I getting badmouthed like this after I was dumped into this little group? (Kitamura Ren’s inner monologue)

Kitamura Ren began to resent the heavens above, but the heavens didn’t lend a helping hand even then. The one to do so was someone else, however.

“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon hurriedly got closer to Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“Yeah?”

Seeing how the youth’s reply sounded a bit crooked, without a doubt he was ticked off a bit already.

Choi Jung-Hoon, AKA the only Yi Ji-Hyuk specialist in the world, expertly figured out the subtle change in the youth’s mood and immediately started his operation to enlighten the atmosphere.

“Ahahahaha. Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, We came out here to have some fun, so there really isn’t a reason for these small fries to sour our moods, is there?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

He didn’t forget to send the desperate eye signals to Seo Ah-Young in the meantime. Right away, she stepped in between Yi Ji-Hyuk and the group of big, hulking guys.

“But, I will answer anyone trying to pick a fight with me!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Eheii. Is there a reason to get worked up over something this small? I mean, there’s no need to use a cow-butchering hatchet to kill a chicken, right?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“But, I only use one for everything, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

But, that’s not what I meant, though!

I can’t figure out if this guy’s really smart, or really stupid sometimes!! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“In any case, leave this matter to us.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon spoke confidently, his facial expression full of bold determination and trustworthy-ness, Yi Ji-Hyuk replied with an admiring tone of voice.

“Ohh. So you want to rip off more money from them?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….No, I’m not going to do that.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“I’ll be watching you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Sure thing.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

….Scary b*stard.

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Choi Jung-Hoon shook his head and walked past Seo Ah-Young to arrive before the group of men.

“Who’s in charge?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

One of the men stepped forward after studying Choi Jung-Hoon for a moment or two.

“Hello there.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon reached out for an introductory handshake first, and the hesitant Japanese man grabbed the offered hand and shook it.

“So, what is going on here?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Kitamura Ren began translating once more.

Choi Jung-Hoon could speak Japanese enough to hold a decent conversation, but he didn’t want to show off his language skills in a tense situation like this, when the nuance of each word spoken carried volumes of meaning.

Because, Choi Jung-Hoon was a cautious and meticulous man, that was why.

Kitamura Ren was speaking much longer than Choi Jung-Hoon expected him to. When he eavesdropped, it seemed that Ren was explaining to the other party who Choi Jung-Hoon was.

‘Doing something unnecessary….’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

This could have been an occasion where not revealing information about oneself might be for the better. In any case, he needed to resolve this situation to the best of his abilities and get out of this country, pronto.

“Ha, hajime masite. Douzo yoroshiku!”

It was then….

POW!!

The Japanese man making his greetings flew into the sky.

“Ah. Ahhh….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

With a pair of despairing eyes, Choi Jung-Hoon stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk and his long leg stretched to where the Japanese man used to stand.

“How dare he cuss at me, that stinking b*stard!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

That was not cussing, you crazy fool!!

Ask first before you kick someone!! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

The atmosphere worsened in an instant, and the remaining Japanese men directed their hostility at Yi Ji-Hyuk. Of course they would do that, since they just witnessed one of their own fly into the sky like a balloon full of gas.

“Oh, really now? Wanna have a go?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk creaked and loosened his neck muscles, before loosening his hands, too.

“Fine. Come, then. You dumba*ses. Let me exorcise myself a bit today!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL: Yup, it said “exorcise” in the raw, not exercise.)

“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!! Wait!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Yi Ji-Hyuk shouted out as he plunged into the group of men in front.

“For the Korean independence, manse!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL note at the end)

Don’t use that slogan in situations like this!!!

As always, Choi Jung-Hoon’s heart cried out in despair.

 

< 112. I would never grease my palms only, you know -2 > Fin.

 

(TL: “Jjok-ppari” is a derogatory Korean slang term used to call unruly Japanese men. And yes, it is a wee bit racist, I agree. However….)

 

(TL: ….Here’s one of the reasons why that term came to be anyway – the slogan “Korean independence, manse!” (대한 독립 만세) came about during the occupation of Korea by the Japanese. It’s a long story that I can’t fully explain here, so if you’re interested, you can google “Korean independence movement” as well as “March 1st movement” to get some of the perspective. The “manse” bit is Korean equivalent to “hooray”.)

- my thoughts:
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