Chapter 142: Why are you running away? (2)

“Not here!”

“No one’s home!”

“I don’t know either!”

Kim Jae-Beom furiously answered the incoming landline calls and the constantly buzzing smartphone, and repeated himself until he was blue in the face.

“Argh!! I’m telling you, there’s no one here! No one can go and help you out!” (Kim Jae-Beom)

It had been three days already since Yi Ji-Hyuk & Co. had disappeared into the Gate. And the phones were ringing off the hook with people desperately looking for Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“Hold on! I told you, I’ll inform him once he comes back! Please, you gotta stop calling this place! It’s been five times today already, you know! Don’t you understand the words coming out of my…. Eh? Me? ….I’m terribly sorry. I’ve lost my cool for a little while just now. Please forgive me, Vice Minister.” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Kim Jae-Beom felt like crying his eyes out.

How was he supposed to find someone who couldn’t be found in the first place? There was no method to contact him, and he was also not someone who’d show up just because you managed to get in touch with him, either.

Even those on the other side of the line knew that Yi Ji-Hyuk was a person beyond anyone’s control, but them constantly calling the NDF office like this? It could only be seen as them venting their frustrations.

“I really might die at this rate.” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Kim Jae-Beom spat out multiple groans and looked at the empty NDF office.

Even though he could barely have a breather for himself….

Something just felt so lonesome in here.

And because he was all alone, he kinda felt a bit chillier than usual, as well.

He had never noticed how large and empty the place was until now.

Back when Yi Ji-Hyuk & Co. were still here, he was dearly praying that he’d not get to see their faces, even if it was only for a day.

But this creeping chill, continuously pervading the air….

Was he coming down with something?

“Mm??”

Wait, wasn’t it really getting cold inside here? Indeed, there was a chilly air circling about….

“Uwaah?! What the hell!!” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Kim Jae-Beom turned around without thinking at all, and discovered a silent girl standing by the doorway like a ghost. Of course, he screamed out like a little kid.

Who the hell was that girl?! And when did she even come inside??

Hold on, wasn’t Oh-Sik supposed to guard the front entrance?

After Mister I’m-the-Foreign-Minister stopped by last time, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t want to see any more time-wasting Tom, Dick, or Harry entering the premises, so he ordered Oh-Sik to not let anyone unnecessary past the front entrance!

However, if she was able to enter, then either she was a powerful ability user capable of subduing Oh-Sik, or….

It was then, Kim Jae-Beom’s eyes finally landed on the mini Oh-Sik, busy rubbing his head against her leg.

“…………….”

Not understanding what was going on here, Kim Jae-Beom was about to begin the necessary thought process to figure everything out, but then, the girl opened her mouth before he could get cracking.

“Hasn’t Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk arrive yet?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Eh?”

Mister…. Yi Ji-Hyuk?

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Huh?

Kim Jae-Beom scratched the back of his head.

“Hey, by any chance, are you Mister Dah-Hyun’s younger sister?” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Nod.

Kim Jae-Beom stared at Kim Dah-Som with dazed eyes.

Riiiight. She was Mister Kim Dah-Hyun’s younger sibling, wasn’t she?

“Are you looking for your oppa? But, he hasn’t come back yet, though?” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Shake, shake.

When Kim Dah-Som shook her head, Kim Jae-Beom fell into deep thought. Why was she so reluctant to provide inf…. Ahhh, wait. Yi Ji-Hyuk, was it?

Didn’t she ask just now if Yi Ji-Hyuk was here or not?

“Mister Ji-Hyuk isn’t here, either.” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Using her foot, Kim Dah-Som pushed Oh-Sik slightly away as the Ogre rubbed his head against her leg, and asked Kim Jae-Beom.

“When is he coming back?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Well, that…. I don’t know. Well, he isn’t the type to tell other people what he’s thinking about, anyway.” (Kim jae-Beom)

Yup, he only knew how to boss other people around, that was all.

He was a one-way street kind of a guy.

“………….”

Kim Dah-Som swept her gaze around the office with a slightly pouting expression, before slowly walking towards a certain spot.

Ng?

What is she doing now? (Kim Jae-Beom’s inner monologue)

Kim Dah-Som arrived at Yi Ji-Hyuk’s pigsty of a desk and quietly stared at it for a moment or two. Then, without saying a word, she began tidying up the desk.

“Oh…..”

Did this girl have a thing about Yi Ji-Hyuk?

Kim Jae-Beom suddenly felt envious of him.

I’m so envious of such a beauty coming to visit him, yet as it turns out, she even has such a considerate personality, too!

Why is such a girl hanging around Yi Ji….. (Kim Jae-Beom’s monologue)

Kim Jae-Beom’s jaw dropped lower and lower as he finally figured out what she was doing.

H-hey, kid?! What are you doing?!

You can’t just dump that trash on someone else’s desk like that!

Besides all that, are you trying to tidy up his desk, or shift through evidence as if you’re a detective??

Why are you reading every single document from his desk?? WHY??

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And, and, and don’t switch his computer on!

That, that, that…. That’s not yours!! (Kim Jae-Beom)

“Hul…..”

Should I stop her?

Mister Dah-Hyun, just how did you educate your sister?

More importantly, your sister is obsessed with Yi Ji-Hyuk!

Hey, dude! Did you even know that? (Kim Jae-Beom’s inner monologue)

If Kim Dah-Hyun heard that thought process, he might have shouted out loudly ‘I know it already’ and hurriedly run off to somewhere, but perhaps fortunately, he was not present at the moment.

Kim Dah-Som finished ‘tidying’ up Yi Ji-Hyuk’s desk and used a mysterious mop of unknown origins to clean it. Then, she returned to the entrance and brought a box back inside with her.

Even before Kim Dah-Som could start wondering what was in the box, she began pulling this and that out of it and started decorating Yi Ji-Hyuk’s desk.

“…………….”

If he only looked at that action in isolation and ignored everything else….

It would’ve come across as a heart-warming scene, yet why did it give him the creeps?

She stuffed enough snacks into the top-most drawer until there was no more room left, and with a deeply satisfied face, stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk’s desk.

Perhaps she thought that the owner of the desk wouldn’t appreciate it if it was decorated too girly, because she paid extra attention and made sure everything looked neat and well-organised. Regardless of what, though, the whole set-up was a perfect reflection of her own tastes.

“Mm….”

Her content smile remained etched on her face as she lightly kicked Oh-Sik away as he tried to stick close to her again. Oh-Sik flew away in an arc and landed on the ground with a loud thud, before he ran back towards Kim Dah-Som and continued panting like a happy dog.

‘And just why is he acting like that now….?’

It was like, the Ogre was thinking of that girl as his true owner, instead of Yi Ji-Hyuk. And animals were supposedly far more sensitive towards the pecking order or something….

“Well….” (Kim Dah-Som)

“M-mm?” (Kim Jae-Beom)

“Here….” (Kim Dah-Som)

Kim Dah-Som pushed forward a piece of paper with a phone number on it, most likely hers, to Kim Jae-Beom.

“Please don’t forget to call me when he returns. Don’t forget.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“….Sure thing.” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Kim Dah-Som bowed deeply, turned around, and trotted away out of the office.

The endlessly-ringing telephones served as the BGM as Kim Jae-Beom watched her leave.

‘Sure, she’s really pretty, but….’

But, it was just that, pretty looks and nothing else.

‘Hang on. There are no normal women around that man, are there?’ (Kim Jae-Beom)

They said that when viewed from afar, life was a series of comedies, but when examined from up close, it would be a tragedy, instead.

Sure, there were plenty of beautiful women surrounding Yi Ji-Hyuk, but now that Kim Jae-Beom thought about it in some detail, it couldn’t have been all happy days and smooth sailing for the poor guy.

“I’m still envious, though.” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Kim Jae-Beom swallowed back his tears and settled back down in his seat.

“Besides all that, what are they doing right now, I wonder?” (Kim Jae-Beom)

It must be really tough over there, right?

Like, by a lot?

***

Inside an unknown cave, somewhere far away…..

“Uwaaaaah!!”

Park Sung-Chan cried out and viciously threw punches non-stop.

“You soooooon of a b*tch!!” (Park Sung-Chan)

A swarm of small, bird-like creatures were madly rushing at him. He had managed to strike down countless scores of them with his furious fists and their broken, exploded carcasses fell to the ground. These creatures littering the ground resembled spiders, but with wings.

Park Sung-Chan continued cussing like a madman as he flailed away at everywhere.

The bodies of these horrifying creatures constantly exploded and fell, yet more and more rushed at Park Sung-Chan, seemingly with no end in sight.

No matter how desperately he punched, there was no way he’d be able to defend himself completely.

Not so long afterwards, the spider things climbed all over his body and began biting down on him with their poisonous fangs.

“Uwaaah!!”

Park Sung-Chan screamed and rolled around on the ground in desperation. The fangs of these spider things easily penetrated his skin that boasted hardness rivalling that of concrete and accessed his flesh underneath.

“Godd*mn it!!”

Park Sung-Chan did his utmost best and slapped the spiders off his body, but once more, it was impossible to stop the waves upon waves of these critters that now looked like a living, pulsating black mountain.

“Kuooooar!!”

Before long, the spiders’ poison had paralysed his entire body.

“Keuk…. Keuhuek….”

Park Sung-Chan began to convulse. His body began to dye in a purplish colour as he continued to spasm. Blood vessels bulged beyond his skin as if they were going to burst open at any time now.

He couldn’t even leak out a pained whimper anymore.

‘I’m dead…..’

It was then – Park Sung-Chan’s eyes caught the sight of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s smiling face right in front of him.

“You went down too soon, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“……….”

With a wave of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hand, the spider things hurriedly dispersed away from Park Sung-Chan and retreated to a far corner.

“Keu-euheuh….”

“You got poisoned pretty badly. Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk poked the side of Park Sung-Chan a couple of times while carrying a bright smile on his face.

“Does it hurt?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Park Sung-Chan was silently quivering in pain from the sensation of his blood vessels squeezing tightly, but after hearing that d*mn question, his eyes flipped opened wide, flames of anger erupting out from them.

If only he could move his head, then he might try to bite the neck of this abominable b*stard right in front of his eyes!

Right now, he felt that as long as he managed to sink his teeth into Yi Ji-Hyuk’s neck, he wouldn’t mind dying afterwards.

“Now let’s see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk grasped Park Sung-Chan’s neck.

Suddenly, Park Sung-Chan felt something entering his body through his neck and as his consciousness flickered in and out, an indescribable pain washed over him.

“Keu-heuh…..”

The pain was so severe that his previously-immobile body began emitting gasps of pain all by itself.

Just what the hell is he doing to my body?!

“Hmm….”

Yi Ji-Hyuk let go of Park Sung-Chan’s neck and stared at the immobile ‘test subject’ with an unreadable expression on his face.

“It might be doable, I think.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“………”

“Well, you should get up now, you know? Can’t laze around the whole day!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk placed his hand on Park Sung-Chan’s head, and all the poison was sucked right out of the latter’s body.

Park Sung-Chan began quivering even more as he felt this icky sensation of things being sucked out of his head, but once he realised that he had regained his mobility, he bolted upright like a lightning and pounced on Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“You son of a b*tttttttch!!” (Park Sung-Chan)

Park Sung-Chan swung his fist as hard as he could in order to blow Yi Ji-Hyuk away.

“Whoa, there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly deflected the incoming arm with his elbow and proceeded to smack Park Sung-Chan’s chin.

“Keok!”

Park Sung-Chan collapsed on the floor like a doll with its strings cut, all the while the sound of a balloon deflating leaking out of his mouth.

“No, no, no. That won’t do.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You…!!”

Park Sung-Chan still somehow willed his tottering body to get up and attacked Yi Ji-Hyuk once more.

However, Yi Ji-Hyuk simply kicked Park Sung-Chan’s head, causing the latter to fly away like a ball.

Meanwhile, the culprit clicked his tongue in unhappiness.

“I’m trying to help you here, so why are you baring your fangs at me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Just kill me instead, you son of a b*tch.” (Park Sung-Chan)

“If I do that, then all I did up until now would all go to waste, you know? So, stop exaggerating and get up already. They are coming back again.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Euh, euh…..”

Yi Ji-Hyuk snapped his fingers, and almost right away, the hellish buzzing noises could be heard coming from the distance.

“And this time, do try to last a bit longer, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Along with those parting words, Yi Ji-Hyuk went poof! from the spot and disappeared.

“….You stinking….” (Park Sung-Chan)

Park Sung-Chan gnashed his teeth as he watched the swarm of the spider things rushing towards him.

That b*stard had to be a demon. If not, he wouldn’t have pushed a fellow human being to such a degree for over a week!

Grit!!

Park Sung-Chan’s tightly clenched fist slammed into the cavern wall.

RUMBLE!!

The spot where his fist landed caved in rather deeply, and the loud reverberation echoed throughout the interior as if the cave was going to collapse at any moment.

‘….Yeah, I have become stronger.’ (Park Sung-Chan)

He didn’t know how, but indeed, he was getting stronger.

Park Sung-Chan clenched and unclenched his fists a couple of times, before raising his head to take a look at the swarm of spiders and shuddered in disgust.

It was a good thing that he was getting stronger, but he really, really hated doing it in this fashion. He couldn’t stand it.

“I hate spiders, you f*cking son of a b*ttttch!!” (Park Sung-Chan)

Yi Ji-Hyuk began giggling hoarsely, listening to the scream coming from a distance.

“You seem to be enjoying yourself.” (Affeldrichae)

When Affeldrichae stated her observation, Yi Ji-Hyuk shrugged his shoulders.

“Other’s pain is my happiness.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“As usual, you speak as if you don’t care, even though you pay such meticulous attention to them.” (Affeldrichae)

“I pay what now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You’ve been expending a great deal of your mental energy in order to make sure none of them dies here. Or did I see it wrong?” (Affeldrichae)

Well, I could’ve said that you’re utterly wrong, but then again, you’re a stupid Dragon to begin with, so I can’t. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a short sigh and looked away from Affeldrichae.

“This method will certainly take a lot of time, and you know this.” (Affeldrichae)

“Sure, I know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“And there should be many other, faster and easier methods, too.” (Affeldrichae)

“Yup, I know that, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Then, why persist with this method?” (Affeldrichae)

Yi Ji-Hyuk scratched the back of his head and waved his hand around.

“I’ve got a plan in mind, so let me be, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“If you say so.” (Affeldrichae)

Affeldrichae smiled gently.

“Tsk.”

That smile of hers that said “I know everything” really got on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s nerves.

Efficiency and results weren’t everything. Because, he was a human now, that was why.

“Just take care of my head before it gets too mired in dark Mana, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Leave that to me. I can handle a task of such a scale. However….” (Affeldrichae)

“Mm?”

“What about my compensation?” (Affeldrichae)

“…Compensation?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression became rather dazed.

Compensation, was it? Compensation….

“I heard that it was normal in human societies to ask for appropriate compensations when performing tasks given to you by others. Am I wrong?” (Affeldrichae)

“….No, you’re right.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk pouted and looked at Affeldrichae.

“Okay, so what do you want?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“What I want is something simple, really.” (Affeldrichae)

Affeldrichae’s smile had this triumphant air about it.

< 142. Why are you running away? -2 > Fin.

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