Using the excuse of recuperating from his wounds, Yi Ji-Hyuk got himself a few days off. The first thing he did on the following morning was to switch on his computer.
No, actually – he tried to do that.
“….Aren’t you going to stop?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You know, I’m just wondering to myself here since you’ve been playing non-stop for so long, shouldn’t you be dead tired by now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
You’ve been playing since last night until this morning, so don’t you want to take a break or something?
Even I can’t do what you’re doing. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“I’m not feeling tired at all.” (Affeldrichae)
But, of course you aren’t.
It wouldn’t make sense if a Lord of all Dragons got tired from playing a handful of matches in a video game!
But you know as well as I do, that I wasn’t really asking you about your fatigue! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Is it fun?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m not doing this for the sake of having fun. I’d like you to stop misunderstanding me! I’m currently trying to decipher the human behavioural patterns as well as their thought process. This game happens to contain plenty of both! And so, I am diligently deciphering that. In other words, I’m not having fun. As a matter of fact, I feel somewhat insulted by your insinuation that I derive enjoyment from playing a game invented by measly humans!” (Affeldrichae)
“….I’m also a human, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Calling me measly?!
How dare this lizard woman!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Ah. That’s right. Forgive me. My head knows that you’re a human, but in all honesty, it’s hard to think of you as a human, Mister Ji-Hyuk. By the way, this person is supposed to come and lend his aid here, yet why isn’t he coming? I just can’t understand a human’s thought process at all. It’s very hard for me to keep my cool when others can’t seem to figure out something even a dolphin could.” (Affeldrichae)
Why don’t you just become a pro gamer, instead?
Why don’t you do it in moderation, ah? You’re just being too much here! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a long, long sigh and left the room.
He took a quick shower and picked up his phone afterwards.
– “Hello? What’s the matter?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“….Please get me a new computer.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “I…. Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk. I may not look it, but I am acknowledged as one of the high-value individuals. Meaning, I’m very busy at the moment. Do you even know what is happening right now?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“How much to you want for your troubles?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “100?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Deal. So get me one, please. I might really die at this rate.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “….Understood.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
That’d been sorted out, somehow.
Pulling that lizard woman off his computer was practically impossible now. Instead, getting another one would be far more advantageous for everyone involved.
Besides all that….
What’s wrong with the atmosphere of this house?
It’s like, really depressing for some reason. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk walked to the living room, and saw his mother sitting on the couch, watching the television.
“What are you doing, mom?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Park Seon-Duk shifted her gaze towards her son and spoke, her expression a little grave.
“You’re up, son?” (mom)
“Ng, mom. Gimme something to eat, please.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Food isn’t important right now. Come and take a look at this.” (mom)
How could there be a matter more important than food in this world?!
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s gaze followed mom’s pointing finger and landed on the TV screen, currently showing the horrifying sight of a destroyed city.
That sight of the Statue of Liberty with its side ripped apart sure sobered him up real fast. What a horrifying sight it was, with twisted and blackened steel beams jutting out every which way.
“What happened?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“A monster did that, my son.” (mom)
“Did they kill it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Park Seon-Duk shook her head.
“No, son.” (mom)
So, they couldn’t kill it yet? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
But, of course – if that Zombie Dragon had made landfall on the Korean peninsula when Yi Ji-Hyuk wasn’t around, a pure hell would’ve unfolded here, too. The nation of Korea would’ve fallen in less than a day.
Meanwhile, the TV screen was now showing the footage of several utterly destroyed cities. The images taken from the helicopter flying in the sky conveyed the scale of destruction quite clearly.
“That’s way too much.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Even Yi Ji-Hyuk began frowning deeply.
It seemed that the monsters hit the cities as the evacuation was still ongoing. Most likely, the majority of the civilians living in those cities couldn’t escape in time and….
The screen changed and showed Japan this time.
The sight of a city encased in ice.
The Zombie Dragon had been defeated already, but the layer of frost still remained even after a full day had passed by. The TV crew couldn’t get any closer and had to shoot from a fair distance away.
“What will we do?” (mom)
Park Seon-Duk sighed out in helplessness.
Those weren’t the only reminders appearing on the TV screen.
There was the Eiffel Tower, now lying on the ground with its side gone; several cities Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t recognise, laying in smouldering ruins.
The reporters conveying these images too carried hardened expressions as they continued to explain the situation in a grave tone of voice.
‘So, it’s finally begun.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but think that the world was in some strange state of denial. That was the impression he got when he returned from Berafe.
Monsters were attacking everyday and people were dying in droves. Yet, life carried on as if it was business as usual.
Indeed it was true that various Gates had been defended against quite ably in the past, but he still thought the populace didn’t seem to be too aware of the crisis they were in.
Sure, the government utilised whatever means they could, in order to lighten the public sentiment and made superstars out of ability users, and thus alleviated some of the mounting tension, but none of those would’ve worked unless the populace itself actively ignored the current reality.
“This isn’t a game, you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Indeed, this was reality.
If a Gate no one could defend against opened up in front of your house tomorrow, everything would come crashing down.
Humans had this tendency to ignore and deny certain matters they couldn’t do something about within their own powers.
Even before these Gates started opening up, the world was full of nuclear arsenal, and those could’ve easily wiped the human race off in a matter of minutes. But no one tried to resolve such a dangerous situation at all.
‘It’s the same story with the Gates, too.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Humans would try to forget about it, since they couldn’t fix it nor understand it. No, simply telling oneself that this had nothing to do with them would make life that much easier.
And so, the cruel reality everyone tried to avoid until now had become a sharp knife that began cutting into skin and stabbing ever deeper into one’s flesh.
‘With this, everyone should realise it now.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The reality of Gates opening up was exactly like the blade thrust below the populace’s neck.
If so, what would happen next?
Yi Ji-Hyuk pulled a cigarette out and lit it up. The unhealthy smoke filled up his lungs.
He hadn’t encountered a situation like this one, so he couldn’t really make an educated guess, but he was still sure of one thing: there would be nothing more scarier than a mob of people facing a definite threat to their very existence.
Since there was tangible public order in this world, the expected fallout would not be as great, but it would not do to relax one’s guard, either.
“Well, it doesn’t matter to me anyways.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
As long as he was not affected by it, he couldn’t give a rat’s a*s.
“Oh. Mom, don’t worry about it. I’m sure it’s nothing major.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, still….” (mom)
“There won’t be a big problem.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I do not think the same as you, son.” (mom)
“It’s going to be fine, mom.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, I’m not fine at all.” (mom)
Something’s a bit off about this conversation, isn’t it? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
When he turned his head, he saw his mom glaring at him with her brows arched up exactly like how Yi Ji-Hyuk would do.
‘Ahh. So that’s where I got my brows from.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Well, she’s definitely my mom for sure, then.
100% definitely sure….
Just as Yi Ji-Hyuk felt the connections shared between the family members and wanted to express his admiration for it, Park Seon-Duk’s sharp voice dug harshly into his ears.
“Who told you that you can smoke in the living room?” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk became speechless and quickly pulled the cigarette out from his mouth all the while searching for a place to kill it.
Eh? But, there’s none here….
“I’ve been generous and tried to be as understanding as possible when you continued to smoke in this era of non-smoking, yet you even dare to light one up in my living room?!” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk realised that mom’s voice was getting progressively louder, so he wordlessly ran for the front exit.
“You fool!” (mom)
“Ahhh, noooo!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
His back received the mom’s palm strike, a first in a while, and his jaw nearly fell to the ground.
Was this how it felt like when a spine folds backwards?
Forget about some stupid magic, wouldn’t it be quicker to actually learn this instead? Just one hit would be enough to defeat a demon king!
Yi Ji-Hyuk tried to rub his painful back with one hand as he desperately ran towards the front door.
He must escape before another hit came at his way!
“Stop, right this instant!” (mom)
“Ah-ahck?! Mom!! Just how old am I?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You’re being noisy!!” (mom)
She grabbed the back of his neck with one hand, while her other one landed several consecutive palm strikes on his back, causing Yi Ji-Hyuk to vomit the figurative blood out.
Not even those infamous assassins from Berafe’s Tamah Mountain possessed such skills!
Yi Ji-Hyuk somehow managed to open the door and escape outside, but he could only shudder in fear from the voice shouting at him coming from inside the house.
He then muttered to himself.
“The world isn’t the problem.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Nope, it was his mom!
In the past, he used to click his tongue at those kings and emperors who were utterly powerless against their mothers and got whipped around. But now that he was in the same boat as them…. he had no qualifications to badmouth them at all!
This wasn’t the issue of power!! Not even that!
Just because you had some power, what could you possibly do to your own mother with that?
Yi Ji-Hyuk squatted on the ground and tried to reach behind him. Too bad, his hands wouldn’t reach that far!!
Oh-Sik had roughly surmised the current situation and hurriedly trotted closer, before tapping his owner’s back with his small front paw.
“Keu-heuph.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
My wonderful little Oh-Sik.
It’s true – you’re the only one I can rely on! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk now realised the true reason why a man would become enamoured with pet dogs as he grew older. And he tightly hugged Oh-Sik after he was overcome with emotions.
The fact that Oh-Sik pushed forward desperately with his two front legs against Yi Ji-Hyuk’s chest kind of ruined the moment, but this much was nothing, really.
Yi Ji-Hyuk lowered Oh-Sik back to the ground while feeling a bit touched as well as disappointed at the same time.
Now that he was safely back on the ground, Oh-Sik began scratching his doggy bowl. It resembled more of a drum than an actual dog bowl, though!
If he wanted to, Oh-Sik could swim in it full of pet food, even.
What the hell. I bought you plenty of pet food, didn’t I? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“….Wait, you need more?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Being on the receiving end of Oh-Sik’s “puppy dog eyes” attack, Yi Ji-Hyuk was beset with this suspicion where the pet food wasn’t actually for the mini Ogre’s consumption, but for some other creature, instead.
“What the heck. Are you actually running two households right now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik then began avoiding meeting his gaze for some reason.
Well, this was a tough world after all.
This was a world where one couldn’t even get a date with a girl if one couldn’t afford a handbag from a name brand, so it shouldn’t be too different with dogs, too.
‘Ahh, wait. Oh-Sik… isn’t a dog, is he?’
Yi Ji-Hyuk opened one of the pet food bags piled up to the side of the yard and poured the contents into Oh-Sik’s bowl.
He resolved himself to buy the poor thing pork ribs or something when he came back home later. Well, this little guy was a carnivore, so it wouldn’t do to continue feeding him with pet food only, would it?
“Watch the house, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
With this, isn’t he more or less a wonderful puppy now?
Sure, it’s all wonderful and all, but…. What is this… how should I say this…. This complicated, strange feeling…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk patted the head of Oh-Sik and spoke up.
“Do you want me to change you back?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Even if it was for a short while?
Oh-Sik shook his head.
Yi Ji-Hyuk was even more weirded out after realising that the Ogre was serious.
He didn’t want to revert back to how he was? Or, did he simply give up?
Wait, now that I think about it, this guy and I are pretty much similar, aren’t we?
I mean, we both could have lived like kings, yet we end up living like this, our powers gone and all.
Isn’t he just a bit too pitiful? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk resolved himself once more while looking at Oh-Sik. He then turned around and began retching all of a sudden.
He pressed his stomach with one hand, while the other covered his mouth…. He began dry coughing rather laboriously.
Yi Ji-Hyuk retched and dry heaved for a while, before grasping something in his hand that came out of his mouth. He then tied this object on the dog collar attached to Oh-Sik’s neck.
“Hey, Oh-Sik?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Here is the Mana crystal, so if you sense danger or you think you gotta do something even when I’m not around, swallow this. Then you should revert back to your original size. There’s just enough Mana left in it for that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik’s eyes began trembling.
Wait a minute. This…. I saw where this thing came from, yet you want me to swallow this?!
What the hell is this sh*t? A new type of torture?
Just how far are you planning to torment me, you rotten owner of mine!! (Oh-Sik’s inner monologue)
“There, there. No need to be moved that much, you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Moved? What the hell are you even on about?! (Oh-Sik’s inner monologue)
The misunderstanding between the two lifeforms was deepening quite accidentally.
Yi Ji-Hyuk patted the back of Oh-Sik, and got up to leave the front yard.
As soon as he opened the front gate and stepped outside, he felt the rather familiar presence nearby. He then spotted the blond head bobbing in and out of the top of the brick wall ever so slightly just over there.
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked there and asked aloud.
“So, hey. I hope your hard work today has been incident-free so far, Miss Poltergeist of my front gate.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kim Dah-Som peeked her head out.
< 121. A guy who’s not blessed can’t achieve anything -1 > Fin.