Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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The insects acted as if they were a single entity.
Choi Jung-Hoon trembled in disgust as well as terror from this spectacle. He had seen so many monsters over the years, but it was his first time a reaction like this ever happened.
No, he couldn’t even be sure if those things qualified as monsters in the first place.
“Euh!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon flinched and took a step back.
He might not have felt any true fear when he was looking at the giant or the Zombie Dragon; even then, the sight in front of him had this certain something that caused him to feel a whole heap of repulsion instead of fear.
Seo Ah-Young gritted her teeth and lit up her flames.
“Get back! Mister Choi Jung-Hoon!! What are you doing?! Take care of those two!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Ah! Yes, ma’am!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon replied loudly, then grabbed Park Seon-Duk’s hand with one hand, and with his other, pulled Yi Ye-Won in an embrace.
“This way!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon rapidly calculated the most safe spot that was also well out of Seo Ah-Young’s flames.
“Please, let me down!” (Ye-Won)
Ye-Won wasn’t embarrassed or something like that. No, she knew that running on her own two feet would be more helpful, instead.
However, Choi Jung-Hoon’s thought process was slightly different.
“Call Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, right away!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Tell him to come over here right away!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Without answering back, Yi Ye-Won yanked her phone out and dialled Yi Ji-Hyuk’s number.
He might be an oppa who was a dumba*s, too lazy for his own good, seemingly played games way too much, didn’t wash himself properly, and ate way more than humanly possible, but….
But, he was the very first person she’d think of whenever there was danger afoot.
Yi Ye-Won hurriedly called him on the phone.
(TL note at the end)
“Looks like there’s some kind of commotion over there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spoke while slouched against the chair. His stomach was bulging out greatly.
“….Are we going to continue staying here?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Well, just whose fault was it?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When Jeong Hae-Min grumbled out loudly, Yi Ji-Hyuk angrily shot a glare at her.
So, the event unfolded in this fashion.
He was okay with these girls having a full-blown competition and shoving all the food they bought into his mouth. Something like that, well, it could happen. Sure.
The problem was with the amount they fed him with, because that had managed to exceed Yi Ji-Hyuk’s stomach capacity.
The undigested food filled him up to his throat, and naturally, Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t move anymore, thus he was now sprawled out on the same spot. The rest of the group couldn’t leave him behind to go and have fun on their own, so they also had no choice but to set up camp here.
“Groan….” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min reflected on her careless behaviour.
I shouldn’t have done that….
We came here to have fun, only to waste time on a park bench like this. What a sorrowful and inefficient way to spend my day this is.
I mean, I don’t even have that many off days to begin with, too. (Jeong Hae-Min’s inner monologue)
“Oh, by the way. Your idol job…. How is that going for you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….We might disband soon.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Uh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk raised his eyebrows.
Her idol group was supposed to be the most popular in South Korea, so what was this about disbanding and stuff?
“Why are you disbanding?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, that is….” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min spat out a helpless sigh.
“After that incident, not many producers come looking for us, and we aren’t getting invites to perform at events, too. So, like, we were thinking of doing a concert, but then, we’ve been told that it’ll result in a big financial loss, so we won’t do that, either. So, we’ve been doing nothing like a flock of swans, really.” (TL: I don’t get this swan reference at all. TLed as is.)
“How can popularity cool down so fast like that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Celebs live or die on their public image, after all. If your public image tanks, then there’s no way to claw it back, you know. It’s not just my group, but other ability user groups, too.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.
“But, that doesn’t sound right, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ng? What do you mean?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression became a bit more complicated.
The government was largely responsible for the unnatural popularity of the ability user idols. The Big Brother had controlled the mass media with an iron fist, and continued to propagate the images of friendly, dependable ability users, which in turn led to regular people being amicable towards them.
But, just because of one single incident, every broadcaster out there under the thumb of the government turned their backs on the ability users?
“You don’t get any requests?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, I think we still get one or two here and there. But, some of us who did go out to perform got jeered and had things thrown at them on stage, so there’s not much we can do now.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min’s expression became tearful now.
Even when she was wallowing at the bottom of the broadcast world, she endured it all with a singular purpose of becoming a top idol. Although she hadn’t said it out aloud, the mental shock she felt had been substantial.
“H-mm…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It seemed that, for some reason, the government’s support had decreased, and on top of that, the wrath of the public that had nowhere to go was directed to the idols, instead.
This could also be the adverse reaction of enjoying unnatural popularity until now, so Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t feel all that sorry for her, though.
Indeed, if she, or anyone else, benefited greatly from the goodwill of the public towards ability users, then it was only obvious that she and others should have been prepared to pay the price of the ill will towards the ability users, too.
“That’s why, I just wanted to let my hair down and just go all out, unwind and get rid of of my stress today, but this…!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Well, now normally, people your age would stuff their faces with liquor or go to a nightclub and shake their a*ses the whole night to relieve their stress.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I don’t like liquor, and nightclubs are too noisy.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“You think they’ll let a shorty like you in? Ah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m a big time celebrity!! What’s your problem?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Aren’t you getting fired because you’re a child actor?!” (Yi ji-Hyuk)
“HEY!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min loudly cried out and pounced on him in anger, but Yi Ji-Hyuk simply shoved her away as he fell into a deep thought.
So, the level of hostility the regular people held towards the ability users had reached to this point already?
He had been staying put inside the special residential area for the users so he hadn’t really felt the severity of the situation, but now that he heard it from the horse’s mouth, it did kinda sound bad.
“So, can we go now, and have some proper fun? Please??” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Do I look capable of moving to you?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Jeong Hae-Min glanced at Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mountainous belly that looked so puffed up, she couldn’t help but suspect that he was pregnant with a child at the moment.
“So, why did you eat all that food like an idiot?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“And just who was it that kept shoving crap in my mouth even before I could tell you to stop?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Wasn’t me.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Imma hang you up on the top of that castle over there!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It was right then, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s phone began vibrating noisily.
“Mm?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk pulled his phone out and checked the display.[The Miss Delinquent]
“And what on earth has gotten into that girl?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The event of Yi Ye-Won calling him on the phone may or may not happen once every month. Immediately sensing that something bad was afoot, Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t tarry and tapped on the answer icon.
“What happened?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Oppppaaa! Hurry, here!!” (Ye-Won)
The moment he heard Ye-Won’s sharp cry coming through the phone, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body was already soaring in the air.
He spun around to check out the unfolding situation. He then confirmed the existence of a black-cloud like something in the direction over yonder, and immediately, shot forward like a streak of lightning.
As soon as he realised that Yi Ye-Won was in danger, his body reacted before his brain could process the information. Yi Ji-Hyuk’s speed increased explosively, his mind spinning at a rate of knots.
Yi Ji-Hyuk landed on the hardened concrete floor, causing the ground to cave in like soft earth, while the cracked pieces jutted up into the air.
“Ye-Won-ah! Mom!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly took a look around him. He spotted his family being protected by Choi Jung-Hoon as they stood behind Seo Ah-Young.
“What the hell is that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk pointed at the black cloud-like thing and shouted out.
“It’s an insect horde!! Insects are acting as one!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Insects?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head and shifted his gaze over to the ‘cloud’.
And as it turned out…
When he took a closer look, that cloud thing was made up entirely of beetles the sizes of pinky fingernail coagulating and sticking together.
“Euh….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seeing that many bugs forming a giant mass, even he was beginning to feel a wee bit disgusted. But, what made him even more uncomfortable was the simple fact that he had never, ever seen those types of bugs before in his life.
‘Also, this feeling….’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The ominous, eerie feeling he got from those bugs definitely didn’t belong to this world, too.
“….From the demonic realm, huh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Although he couldn’t be sure where these thing came from, he could definitely pick up on the ‘negative’ energy from them. That sticky, icky negative energy was not something this world could produce.
Only undeads or demonic realm could.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s brows shot up as he looked closer at the insects.
“Try to attack them first!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Roger that!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young had been gathering her flames while surveying the unfolding situation until then; she roared out and fired her flames at the insects.
Flames the size of a house flew towards the insect cloud.
However, the insects scattered and easily evaded the flames.
Seo Ah-Young gasped out in shocked confusion, and meanwhile, the flames shooting right past the insects continued in its trajectory and struck the giant castle in the middle of this famed amusement park.
Along with a deafening explosion, over half of the castle was blown away. Even the remaining structure quickly caught on fire and and burnt to crisp in no time.
…..B-b-but, that’s not it?!
I wasn’t aiming to do that, though?! (Seo Ah-Young’s inner monologue)
“Ah….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon looked at the scene and spat out a resigned sigh.
“You mustn’t go on a rampage in someone else’s country, you know!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I didn’t do it on purpose!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Please, just commit accidents that I can actually take care of!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Keuh! That hateful little man!!
However, that’s not important right now! So, I must! (Seo Ah-Young’s inner monologue)
Seo Ah-Young gathered flames once more. If a concentrated attack didn’t work, then she’d spread it out, instead!
Flames rose up all around Seo Ah-Young; and then, it cast its wide fiery net over the bugs above.
As soon as the flames rushed at them, the insects all rose up even higher in the air and avoided getting burnt altogether.
Seo Ah-Young dazedly looked on that spectacle.
“Ah!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon screamed out.
“Nooooo!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Sure enough, the now-scattered insects then all went on their merry ways and separated from the horde completely.
“Ah, ah…..” (choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon powerlessly stared at that sight and spat out a sigh of hopelessness.
“What the heck? What am I supposed to do now with them scattering like that?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young also found this event rather absurd to behold as she simply stood there, unmoving. How would she even go about killing all those millions of little bugs when they had scattered around like that?
“What happened here?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min and Co., managed to arrive just then and asked them this question, but there wasn’t anyone present that could provide her with a satisfying enough answer.
“This is….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.
“Well, it would’ve been a big problem if they had remained in a horde, but with them scattering like that, aren’t they just insects now? Maybe, we don’t need to sweat over them that much, no?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’d be nice if that’s true, but…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon couldn’t finish his sentence as this creeping chill of anxiety encroached over him.
“What can a single bug do, anyway? If you’re worried, then tell them to increase the production of the electric flyswatters.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL: Yes, “electric flyswatter” is a real thing, if you didn’t already know. Google it.)
“H-mm….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Just before Choi Jung-Hoon could nod his head….
They all heard a scream coming from the distance.
What was that?
“Let’s go!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s group hurriedly ran towards the location where the scream had come from.
And when arriving there, they discovered people lying on the ground, their bodies dyed in a sickly blue colour. It wasn’t just one or two people, either.
“….Poison?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk walked in closer to check these people’s conditions.
“Mister Yi Ji….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“….Don’t come closer!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s loud yell prompted Choi Jung-Hoon to quickly grasp other people around him to push them back.
“Tell everyone to get as far away from here as possible!! Tell them to quarantine this place right now!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What is going on?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
From Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mouth, an uncharacteristically powerless voice leaked out.
“It’s contagious….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“N-no way….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly lifted his palm off from one of the heavily-panting victims on the ground. The ends of his fingertips were changing colour to sickly blue, as well.
Choi Jung-Hoon sucked in cold breath right away.
In such a short amount of time?!
“I don’t know how it works, but it’s definitely contagious. I can’t even tell whether this is poison or some kind of plague. What I’m sure about right now is that, people bitten by the bugs will end up in this state, and those coming into contact with them also will end up in the same state.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Which means….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon felt dizzy all of a sudden.
Which meant, millions of insects possessing this unknown contagion had just spread throughout the world, and those who got bitten by them would start spreading this… plague around as well?
What was he, or for that matter, anyone, supposed to do in this case?!
If a monster capable of destroying this world in one go had descended instead, then at least, he’d try to do something about it.
However, wasn’t this on another level altogether?!
“Are you alright?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk simply swallowed up this foreign ‘thing’ entering his body with his Mana. Anything related to darkness would only simply be a tasty snack for Yi Ji-Hyuk, actually.
“I’ll be fine. But….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk glanced at the crowd on the ground.
These folks were beyond help now. If he tried to use his Mana to suck out the poison, they would die from the pain first rather than the plague itself, instead.
Seriously, even ability users found it hard to endure, so how could a normal person expect to endure the process?
“All we can do now…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk bitterly muttered out.
“….Is to return to Korea.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seeing how powerless Yi Ji-Hyuk looked for the first time ever, Choi Jung-Hoon realised that they were now facing an unprecedented crisis, the likes of which he hadn’t encountered before.
< 159. However, is that a good thing? -4 > Fin.
(TL: Well, it seems that mister author has completely forgotten about our MC calling the American agent over to have a chat in chapter 157. That’s sloppy. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about it, except to translate as is and move on.)