Chapter 145: Why are you running away? (5)

“Orya!”

Yi Ji-Hyuk jumped out of the Gate.

“You’ve finally come back.” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Kim Jae-Beom was truly happy to see him back. He had been suffering from the barrage of phone calls looking for Yi Ji-Hyuk, so he was feeling genuinely happy right about now.

Sure, the frequency of the calls had lessened lately, but at the same time, he hadn’t been sleeping properly for the last few days because of the lingering fear that a huge Gate might open up during Yi Ji-Hyuk’s absence.

“Why are you suddenly acting as if you’re my best friend?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“………”

Wow, how can anyone deliberately choose only those words that royally p*ss people off?

I mean, words picked out randomly wouldn’t be able to destroy anyone’s moods this fast, you know? (Kim Jae-Beom’s inner monologue)

“I’m just happy to see you. Honestly.” (Kim Jae-Beom)

“Oh? So how do you feel now? You didn’t feel it when I was here, but felt it a lot when I was not here, right? When I wasn’t here, it really showed, right? Now do you understand my importance?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Don’t know much about feelings and all that, but one thing’s for sure – maybe if you didn’t say anything, I might’ve gotten halfway to the state you’re talking about.

But then again, your mouth definitely makes sure that I stop before I even start thinking about that. (Kim Jae-Beom’s inner monologue)

*SFX for someone running in a hurry*

It was at this point that Yi Ji-Hyuk’s senses picked up on the presence and the sound of an object rapidly closing in on him.

A sneak attack?

Just as he turned his head, Kim Dah-Som jumped into his arms. He reflexively hugged her too, and asked her with a confused voice.

“What are you doing here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“……..”

Without saying anything, she tightly hugged him.

“What’s gotten into you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

When Yi Ji-Hyuk vacantly asked her again, Kim Jae-Beom retreated out of sight and began beating his own chest.

You helpless fool!!

That’s why you don’t have a girlfriend yet!!

….No, hang on. It’s not that he doesn’t have a girlfriend, he just isn’t interested in one, is it? (Kim Jae-Beom’s inner monologue)

Kim Jae-Beom became sorrowful for some reason and returned to his desk with a long, long sigh.

“Okay, okay. Calm down.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly grasped Kim Dah-Som’s waist, picked her up and put her down next to him.

“Mm?”

Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head after seeing Kim Dah-Som’s teary eyes.

He was already pretty much immune to tear attacks thanks largely to being around Jeong Hae-Min and her powerful wailing that occurred almost every single day. However, seeing a girl who didn’t look like she’d cry actually do that, he was beginning to feel a bit weirded out.

“What’s the matter? Should I look for your oppa?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Shake, shake.

She shook her head, causing Yi Ji-Hyuk to frown slightly.

“Okay, so what now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“………….”

“If you don’t say anything, I can’t figure it out what you want.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….I’m upset.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Mm?”

She’s upset? About what?

Since waiting a bit longer might yield more answers here, Yi Ji-Hyuk decided to wait for her to finish.

“I am not of any help.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Hmm….”

How should he put this into words, this scene of a pretty but tearful girl saying something like that….. Mm, so, like….

‘…….Awkward.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Indeed, this was way too awkward!! And such a thing was not good!

He thought about running away, but this place didn’t have any good place to hide.

“But, I never asked you for your help, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Even still.” (Kim Dah-Som)

Oho? Would you look at her talking back to me over everything?

Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked and patted Kim Dah-Som’s head.

“All you have to do is do what you are capable of doing.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Not just you, everyone else can do their best but none of that would help me in the end. I’m way too super for that, you see. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“But, isn’t the question of what you’re capable of an important part of that thought process?” (Affeldrichae)

Hearing that voice coming from behind him, Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t even turn around to retort.

“And I don’t remember ever asking you, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Mm, rather than me answering you, think of it as me following up on your words. Treat my grasp on the human language as still not being perfect, please.” (Affeldrichae)

Still not perfect, is it?!

So how come you win in every argument we have, then?!

You rotten lizard woman! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Kim Dah-Som wiped her face clean and reverted back to her previous emotionless state. She then wordlessly stared at Affeldrichae.

“Mm…..”

Upon receiving that stare, Affeldrichae’s expression hardened slightly as she took a step back.

What was this?

She didn’t receive any mind interference magic, or any physical attack for that matter, so why did she falter just now?

Affeldrichae began to panic slightly at this situation that could not be explained by logic.

This isn’t the first time, yet what is the truth behind this freezing chill?

She’s a difficult human to understand.

And there’s something about her that I do not find likeable. (Affeldrichae’s inner monologue)

When Affeldrichae’s and Kim Dah-Som’s glares collided in the mid-air, a war of nerves began unfolding all of a sudden.

Seeing this, Yi Ji-Hyuk sneakily beat a hasty retreat.

‘It’s for the best that I don’t get involved in a catfight.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Especially so if he didn’t want any claw marks on his face, that was.

It was at this point that an existence capable of changing the situation finally appeared.

“Groan…..”

A helpless, powerless groan leaked out from the Gate, and Choi Jung-Hoon managed to crawl out from it.

The Gate was floating slightly up in the air so naturally, he crash-landed on the office floor with a thud. He grabbed his waist and began glaring daggers at Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“Just why did you have to take me there with you?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Yi Ji-Hyuk remained unmoved even after being on the receiving end of Choi Jung-Hoon’s scathing cry.

“We ride together, we die together.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL: LOL, a Fast and Furious reference FTW.)

“I’m not an ability user!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“A world without discrimination.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I can’t be of any help even then!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“I shall cheer for you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Are you in a business of creating movie slogans?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

If only you didn’t have that mouth of yours!

No, even if you didn’t, you’d still be a hateful b*stard! Honestly! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon gritted his teeth.

Other people might get stronger through harsh training, so they might be able to deal with it all, but Choi Jung-Hoon wasn’t like that.

So, how could Yi Ji-Hyuk even think about dragging a weak non-ability user like him to a place where he’d get knocked around by a monster every dozen steps or so, or he’d run into a monster hiding inside water when he tried to quench his thirst!

“Even then, well, you still didn’t walk away empty handed, so it’s fine.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Groan…..”

Choi Jung-Hoon became speechless and spat out a long groan.

“Oh, well. It wasn’t that crazy for me compared to others, anyway.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“EHHH??” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Kim Jae-Beom’s disbelieving eyes swept across Choi Jung-Hoon’s entire body.

It had only been a week, yet that handsome face was as gaunt as one could get. It was as if he had been through a war or something. Yet, he was saying that it wasn’t as bad as the others??

“Then, where are the others??” (Kim Jae-Beom)

It was at that moment, a small lifeform jumped out from the Gate.

“YOUUUU!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

And that small lifeform made a straight beeline at Yi Ji-Hyuk with scarcely believable ferocity.

Grab!

The wildly-dashing lifeform got caught by Yi Ji-Hyuk’s right hand and began her violent struggle there.

“Let me go!! Better let me go, or else!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Kim Jae-Beom powerlessly called out to her.

“Miss Jeong Hae-Min….” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Right, she… was an idol, wasn’t she?

Now that I think about it, among all the calls looking for Yi Ji-Hyuk, there were a few from Jeong Hae-Min’s manager searching for her whereabouts too, weren’t there?

Well, that’s not something I’m supposed to care about, anyway. (Kim Jae-Beom’s inner monologue)

Kim Jae-Beom quickly wiped those memories of Jeong Hae-Min’s manager and that person’s voice off his head. Well, it’s too late now, anyway.

Besides all that, Yi Ji-Hyuk was truly someone without a plan. He spirited away a currently-active idol for over a week without telling anyone, so he shouldn’t be too surprised if someone reported him to the cops for kidnapping.

“How can you do this to me?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“What, what? Whatcha want now?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You’re truly awful!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Kim Jae-Beom stared at the two with a complicated expression on his face. Right now, Jeong Hae-Min seemed to be genuinely upset. It did feel kind of different to her regular complaining mode.

Besides, there was that thing about Choi Jung-Hoon nodding his head to the side as if he knew this would happen.

‘Just what on earth happened in there?’ (Kim Jae-Beom)

Everyone at NDF knew Jeong Hae-Min was Yi Ji-Hyuk’s official number one “fan”, yet since she was acting this way, something pretty serious must’ve happened in there.

Seriously, wasn’t she someone who’d smile gently like a proud mother even as Yi Ji-Hyuk went around and openly did some scummy things??

“You dumb idiot!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Sure, sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk waved his hands about in irritation and chased Jeong Hae-Min away.

She continued to throw a tantrum like a upset small lifeform, but then, Yi Ji-Hyuk grabbed the scruff of her neck and dangled her in the air.

“Shoo, shoo.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Better let me go, now! You!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Sure, sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk dug his ear canal and shoved Jeong Hae-Min to a far-off corner somewhere. Watching this spectacle unfold from the side, Kim Jae-Beom was overcome with this oddness and just had to ask Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“By the way….” (Kim Jae-Beom)

“Yeah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Where is everyone?” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Yi Ji-Hyuk replied as if he was talking about some insignificant matter.

“They went to earn their keep.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Pardon me?” (Kim Jae-Beom)

“A person should work for their food, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Pardon me??” (Kim Jae-Beom)

Utterly failing to understand what he was saying, Kim Jae-Beom dumbfoundedly looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk.

***

Somewhere in China.

Xui Feng was glaring at the border between his country and that of the neighbour’s, his face full of nervous tension.

The monster appearing in India had been constantly moving eastward without rest and finally, it was about to breach the Chinese border.

The entire nation of China was in a state of emergency. And every single ability user in the country that could be mobilised had been brought to the defence line set up by the Tibetan mountains.

The monster had crossed India, had roamed straight past Kathmandu, and was about to enter Tibet. (TL: Again, this “map” is straight from the raw.”)

‘A shame about Nepal, there.’ (Xui Feng)

Nepal’s capital city was completely obliterated by the monster’s rampage, so it’d be impossible for them to recover any time soon. As for India, that country enjoyed a huge territory, plenty of people lived there, and none of the cities that formed the heart of Indian commerce got too badly destroyed, so they should recover in no time at all, but the same could not be said about Nepal after its capital was wiped off the map.

‘And there is no guarantee that the same thing won’t happen to us.’ (Xui Feng)

Why? Because, for some inexplicable reason, Beijing lay right in the middle of that monster’s predicted path of destruction.

“Has there been any contact from the Koreans yet?” (Xui Feng)

“They say that ‘he’ hasn’t returned yet.”

“D*mn gaoli bangzis.” (Xui Feng) (TL: Chinese derogatory slang term for Koreans.)

Xui Feng gritted his teeth.

The Chinese requested for assistance as soon as the situation took a turn for the worse, but then, the Koreans continued to refuse to heed their call with an excuse that Yi Ji-Hyuk was not there.

That much was fine, sure. But, how could their follow-up excuse of not knowing where he went make any sort of d*mn sense?

Just from seeing the Korean government beating around the bush like that to avoid openly saying “We don’t want to help you”, Xui Feng could pretty much guess how pathetic their diplomatic skills were.

‘We’ll see after this crisis ends.’ (Xui Feng)

He’d show them what true revenge looks like!

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Xui Feng gritted his teeth once more and shifted his glare back to the frontline.

As far as the combined might of their ability users were concerned, India was certainly not a country to be taken lightly of.

The abilities ‘given’ to human beings were completely random, and it was also impossible to artificially strengthen those abilities, as well.

And that was why the overall combat strength of a nation’s ability users was seen as proportional to its population numbers. The more citizens you had, the better your ability users would be.

There were only two countries that were the exception to that rule, though. And they were the USA and Korea.

The American government systematically researched many different methods to artificially enhance the powers of their ability users, and around two years ago, had managed to build themselves the world’s most powerful army of ability users.

That was the inevitable result of throwing an exorbitant sum of money at the problem. However, the other country didn’t even have to do that.

“D*mn Joseon b*stards.” (Xui Feng)

The Republic of Korea.

Not too long ago, Korea was an insignificant little player as far as their national power was concerned. But recently, they had rapidly become the centre of the world.

They gathered the attention of the world by taking care of the level 5 Gate crisis that unfolded there, and then, confirmed themselves as the nation where the planet’s greatest ability user called home by killing the monsters that were laying waste to the US and France.

“Yi Ji-Hyuk….” (Xui Feng)

And the man standing right in the middle of all that craziness was Yi Ji-Hyuk.

The greatest ability user in the world, codenamed ‘Mine’ by the Americans. He was deemed to be powerful enough to win single-handedly against the entirety of America’s army of ability users.

A rumour always contained an element of exaggeration. But, even if half of that rumour proved to be real, then none could deny the fact of that man being the greatest ability user in the world.

That was the problem.

Just why did someone like that had to appear in such a weak little country? China was right next to it, so why?

“Those d*mn Joseon b*stards.” (Xui Feng)

“Wanna die, you little punk?!” (Seo Ah-Young)

“…..Mm?!” (Xui Feng)

Xui Feng flinched and quickly turned around to look, only to find a woman that looked like a beggar standing with a visibly massive chip on her shoulder.

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“What the hell is this?” (Xui Feng)

How did an unknown person manage to enter the operation zone?

“Get her out of here!”

As soon as he shouted out, the ability users surrounding Xui Feng rushed towards this woman.

However!!

*SFX for flames erupting out*

It was then, a wall of feral and violent flames rose up all around her.

Scared away by the intensity of those flames, the Chinese users quickly retreated. She then loudly shouted out with an distorted expression on her face.

“All of you lot, wanna die today?!” (Seo Ah-Young)

This was the perfect time to vent her anguish on these fools! (TL note at the end)

The super-p*ssed off Seo Ah-Young began raising the temperature of her flames even higher.

< 145. Why are you running away? -5 > Fin.

(TL: This line was nigh on impossible to TL literally. If I did, none of you – ok, maybe some of you – would have understood it. But, here’s the literal translation, anyway. “It should taste the best to unwind my cheek that got slapped in Jong-Ro by the Han River”. Yup, I told you it makes little sense. Basically, it means taking all the anger built up from one thing and pour that out on something else.)


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