Welcome back, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren’s happy reaction only managed to elicit a pout from Yi Ji-Hyuk, instead.
“So, what on earth are you people doing here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s as you can see.” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a long sigh, not finding Christopher McLaren’s awkward expression to his liking at all.
“You do know those people can’t be saved, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, I’m aware.” (Christopher McLaren)
“In that case, you should also know that you gotta dispose of them as soon as possible, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Of course.” (Christopher McLaren)
“So, like, what are you doing?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Christopher McLaren helplessly scratched his head.
“Will our regular citizens believe us even if we told them the truth?” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression got steadily worse as if to hint that he hadn’t thought that far ahead yet.
“I know that is the only way. I really do. However, our situation doesn’t allow us the luxury to do that. Almost a million people have been infected by now. So imagine what would happen if you told the American public about there being no cure, and simply proceed to wipe out all of the infected – do you think the current administration will survive the fallout? Unless a nationwide state of emergency is declared, you’d definitely see countless violent riots rising up from all corners of the country.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Well, you have a point there….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Indeed, a mob of people tend to react like that.
“And also, it’ll be hard for us to publicly declare that there is no cure for the victims, either. If we were asked if we did everything in our power to find the cure, then well, we won’t be able to answer that. Most importantly….” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren scanned his surroundings cautiously, before lowering his voice even further.
“The commander-in-chief is trying to dump the responsibility for this crisis on someone else. Well, I’d have done the same thing in his shoes, anyway.” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head in agreement.
Even if there was no other way, you wouldn’t be able to escape from being blamed for causing a massacre of that massive scale. If something like this happened in Korea, for instance, the opposition party would raise the issue of culpability in parliament and in the blink of an eye, the incumbent would lose all of his political power.
No sane politician would want to take on such a ‘burden’. Never.
“Even then, this can’t carry on. You know that, don’t you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Of course.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren could only nod his head.
He understood where they were coming from, but at the end of the day, that was just about it. It didn’t mean he should accept it. (TL note at the end.)
Only the death and destruction waited at the end of this road, so he couldn’t worry about feelings of individual folks.
“That’s why, I was wondering…..” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren’s pleading eyes were now fixed on Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Please, can you help us?” (Christopher McLaren)
“This is no longer the crisis of one country, but the whole world.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Did you two rehearse together or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Excuse me?” (Christopher McLaren)
“I mean, you two guys are talking about the exact same thing as if you’ve rehearsed the lines together or something.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s because we’re telling you the truth.” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head.
“Well, it’s not like those things can cross the ocean anyway. And if you get technical about it, this is the American continent’s problem, not the world’s, you know? So, rest easy now. Asia and Europe will continue to stand strong, ensuring the future of humanity will carry on.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….If the US collapses, then both Asia and Europe will also collapse as well. The world is no longer restricted by distance, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk. No, it’s interconnected by commerce now.” (Christopher McLaren)
“How come?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Christopher McLaren was suddenly faced with one of the greatest challenges in his entire life. And that would be: How should he go about making this wackjob understand the intricacies of global finance?
Wouldn’t he have an easier time explaining this to a puppy, instead?
Just where should he even begin, so he might have an easier time making this dumba*s understand it all?
Even Choi Jung-Hoon, tasked with providing real time translation, could only stare at Christopher McLaren with an expression of a man lost at sea.
Yi Ji-Hyuk formed a huge frown after seeing these two men’s reactions.
“What the heck, you think I’m an idiot?! I know all about it, okay?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Really?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Really?” (Christopher McLaren) (TL: This line was written in English in the raw.)
“Urgh, Imma just! Pah!! Hmph!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Two men looked at him utterly stunned, and Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted at them in pure dissatisfaction as his reply.
How dare these two disrespect this great me?
Once upon a time, I used to be a business tycoon that controlled an entire continent’s economy, I’ll have you know! Sure, I did lose everything in the end, but…. Anyways, for a time there, I was the wealthiest man alive in that place, you know.
Yet, how dare these two puny fools discuss economy in front of this great me? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Well, whatever. That’s that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head again.
“There’s no point in wasting time with modern medicine, so you should tell those scientists to stop researching now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’ll be a bit difficult.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Why?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We still need to show everyone that we’re doing something, you see. What do you think others will say if we don’t do anything just because there’s nothing we can do?” (Christopher McLaren)
Yup, they’ll come for your blood, that’s for sure.
I get you. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Seeing that Yi Ji-Hyuk was nodding his head in agreement again, Christopher McLaren quickly carried on.
“Besides all that, our situation has devolved into one giant mess now. If I tell the d*mn eggheads to take a vacation, well, that’s gonna p*ss me off a lot, know what I mean? Shouldn’t they join in my suffering by spending a few sleepless nights tearing their hairs out trying to solve something that can’t be solved by their abilities?!” (Christopher McLaren)
Oii, this uncle…. he’s got a bit of a rotten personality, no? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk suddenly felt as if he’d found a kindred spirit here.
“Well, okay. You do you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….Okay, but now, why did I even bother to come here if there’s literally nothing I can do for them? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Just as Yi Ji-Hyuk realised that he wasted his precious time making this trip, Christopher McLaren threw out a question to him, his voice sounding rather expectant.
“By the way, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Christopher McLaren)
“Do you have a solution in mind?” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t immediately reply and kept his mouth shut. Christopher McLaren tried to press him further for an answer.
“Didn’t you come all this way because you have a solution?” (Christopher McLaren)
Wasn’t this ahjussi far too sharp for his own good?
“Please, just tell me, what should we do?” (Christopher McLaren)
Choi Jung-Hoon whispered to Yi Ji-Hyuk from the side.
“There isn’t a problem from telling him, is there?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Well, yeah. It’s not like we were planning to hide it from him, anyway.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk let off a groan and continued on.
Choi Jung-Hoon too carried on with his job of the faithful interpreter again.
“Those guys can’t be cured or be dealt with modern medicine or any other scientific methods you can think of. To be honest, even I don’t have any way to solve this.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Then, what are we supposed to do?” (Christopher McLaren)
Even the one and only Christopher McLaren ended up blurting that out. That’s how badly he felt at a loss by this crisis that seemingly had no solution or a way out in sight.
“That’s why we’re trying to bring someone who can deal with this situation.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Someone who can deal with this situation?!
He said that medicine or science couldn’t solve this crisis, yet there was someone capable of actually saving them out there?
“Who is this person??” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk confidently declared.
“I dunno.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Christopher McLaren dazedly asked back. Yi Ji-Hyuk shrugged his shoulders and turned around to leave.
“We’re going now. Do your best, okay!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“W-wait a minute, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk! Mister Yi Ji….!” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t even bother to respond to Christopher McLaren’s desperate cries and, after grabbing Jeong Hae-Min and Choi Jung-Hoon’s hands, went poof! from the spot.
Christopher McLaren could only groan in helplessness. He just couldn’t figure Yi Ji-Hyuk out at all.
Feeling the signs of ulcer painful poking him in his stomach, he slowly shook his head.
“You guys finally came.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked at Seo Ah-Young sitting all by herself in the NDF office and tilted his head.
“Where’s everyone?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“They’ve been dispatched.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Dispatched? To where?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“American government requested for our help, you see. Their president actually called ours. Should I say that they played it smart this time…. Anyway, our President issued the executive order and they are in the States as we speak.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“On whose authority?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young could only scratch her head after hearing Yi Ji-Hyuk’s increasingly irritated voice.
“Well, there’s not much we can do when the President issues an executive order. He says “jump”, and we ask, “how high”. I mean, we’re basically half military, you know.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted derisively.
Back when Yi Ji-Hyuk was working as the captain of a knight order, no one was allowed to wrestle the control of the knights away from him, not even the king himself. No, that authority had been bestowed to Yi Ji-Hyuk, and him alone.
And the NDF was Yi Ji-Hyuk’s current ‘knight order’. The mere fact that the NDF agents were being told what to do without his consent really riled him up for good.
“Call all of them back home.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Do it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young flinched slightly at Yi Ji-Hyuk’s unusually firm voice.
Whenever she found a chance, she’d flip out and try to push his boundaries as much as she could. But, even then, she made sure to pick the right time to do so, as well as to never cross a certain tolerance threshold.
Indeed, she knew very well that she should not go against his words when he sounded really irritable or came across as gravely serious.
“What should I use as an excuse to call them back in? I mean, they have already started providing support in official capacity, so I’ll need a good enough reason to bring them back, you know?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk replied to her with his almost-trademark unimpressed expression.
“The reason is simple.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What is it?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Tell them it’s me who wants them back.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You need another reason? Tell them I want them back, and that’ll be the end of it!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, wait! That’s not a rea….” (Seo Ah-Young)
“…..No, it’s fine.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Although he looked a bit dumbfounded, Choi Jung-Hoon still nodded his head.
Indeed, that excuse would work perfectly. Technically speaking, you only needed a ‘reason’ in order to convince the other party involved. And who in their right minds would be stupid enough reject the reason of “Because Yi Ji-Hyuk said so”?
Besides, even if someone didn’t want to accept that reasoning, were they brave enough to tell that to Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face?
They didn’t want to get killed, after all!
Heck, Yi Ji-Hyuk wouldn’t even have to personally go and punish those people, either. He’d simply form that unimpressed face of his and shake his head the next time those people come begging for help. Horrible things would naturally happen to them all on their own, in other words.
So, who would dare to poke at Yi Ji-Hyuk’s irritable personality?
“Well, I guess it’s possible. Although, I think the person feeling the most pressure from this won’t be the American leaders, but….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
….Our own top office holder, most likely? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
Choi Jung-Hoon was overcome with worry as his thoughts reached that far.
“If it’s not going to be a real problem, why don’t we just let them be for now?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“And why should I?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I mean, this situation is going to get resolved soon enough, so is there a reason for us to get all worked up over this matter?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head slightly, before shaking it immediately.
“Nope. Call them all back.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mister Choi Jung-Hoon.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon inadvertently ended up replying because of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s brooding voice rattled him somewhat.
“You must be mistaken about something here. Here’s the thing. You accommodate someone once, then he would try asking you again, and sooner or later, he’ll form a habit of doing this.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….I understand.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon did understand that Yi Ji-Hyuk wasn’t wrong about this and could only nod his head in agreement.
“An amicable relationship can only be maintained by two equal parties. I don’t need to do that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You’re right.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Because, this guy was THE Yi Ji-Hyuk.
Only he could say something like that and get away with it.
Because, Yi Ji-Hyuk was….
“Because, I’m a b*stard.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yup, he’s a bas…. Wait a minute, that’s not it!!
You aren’t supposed to say that in this case!
That was the perfect timing to say something cool, you know! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“I’m a b*stard, so they need to understand that they shouldn’t get on my nerves. Because, that would make everyone’s lives that much easier.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…..That sounds rather agreeably logical to me.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was about to say something else, but instead, turned his head away towards a certain direction. A red Gate suddenly began materialising there all of a sudden.
“Is that a monster Gate??” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon stared at that unfolding spectacle with a dumbfounded face.
‘How can one even open up in here?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Nope, that ain’t it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly corrected Choi Jung-Hoon’s wrong assumption.
What do you mean, a monster Gate?
No, it’s just the lizard woman opening one up so she can get back here. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
The Gate vibrated powerfully, before its middle split open to reveal a pathway connecting to the other world.
Affeldrichae walked out of the portal as a long sigh escaped from her mouth.
“So, did you bring one over here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….I thought it was the correct human etiquette to say ‘Welcome back, you did well’ first in this situation?” (Affeldrichae)
“Oh, sure thing. Welcome back. You did well. So, did you bring one over here or not?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae helplessly shook her head.
From a thousand years ago, she realised that it was a waste of her time to expect this guy to behave like everyone else. Undoubtedly, it was her fault for getting her hopes up this time.
Humans learned from their mistakes, but Dragons ‘remembered’ for an eternity. So, for her to make another mistake like this, well, what a sorrowful thing that was.
Affeldrichae spat out a sigh again, and then formed a slightly mischievous smile.
“Yes, I brought one.” (Affeldrichae)
She then pointed to the interior of the Gate. A silhouette of a person slowly walked out from other side of the red-coloured portal in a measured gait.
It was a rather memorable-looking man wearing a water-coloured priest garb. (TL note at the end)
“….Huh?! It’s you?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s jaw slowly dropped to the floor.
What the freaking hell? Did this lizard woman lose her sh*t?!
Why did she bring this one over here?!
Out of so many holy men and women over that side, you just had to bring this one?? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk continued to stare in utter astonishment, prompting the ‘this one’ to slowly open his mouth to greet back.
“It’s been a long time, oh Bringer of Apocalypse.” (?)
Annnd with that, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face began crumpling like there was no tomorrow.
< 175. What’s this? You… don’t have a soul? (5) > Fin.
(TL: I had a real trouble TLing that line. The raw didn’t make it clear just who could understand who’s what-what, so I did my best to make it as vague as possible. Apologies if it makes no sense.)
(TL: Yes, it said “water-coloured” in the raw. It could have been azure or blue or something else, but I wasn’t sure what the author wanted to say, so I left it as is. Also, the gender wasn’t specified. I assume it’s a dude.)