Chapter 193: I don’t need a reason to seek him out (3)

While Yi Ji-Hyuk was starting yet another peaceful day….

….Choi Jung-Hoon was struggling through hell.

“We’ve already helped you out so much, yet you want us to help you out even more?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

– “No one knows for sure how things will turn out, don’t you get that?! So, all I’m asking for is for your people to be on standby! I’m not asking for too much here, aren’t I??” (Christopher McLaren) (TL:I’m assuming it is him, as it’s not specified in the raw.)

“Ever since this crisis began, our agents have not enjoyed a moment’s rest and are working their a*ses off, even now. Besides, we still have Gates opening up locally, too. We are nominally the Korean defence force, so we can’t abandon our own country just to support the US all the time, now can we?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

– “I’m not saying that all of your people need to be here. If it’s not possible, just send that man over, that is all.” (Christopher McLaren)

“He’s practically our everything, to begin with, so what do you mean, that is all?! I have nothing more to say.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

– “No, please, listen to me, Mister Choi Jung-Hoon!” (Christopher McLaren)

Choi Jung-Hoon angrily slammed the phone’s receiver down and one-shotted the energy tonic contained in his sizeable tumbler.

“I’m too busy for this crap.” (Choi Jung-Hoon’s)

After Yi Ji-Hyuk went ahead with his ‘special’ plan, the zombie crisis began normalising at a rapid pace.

Just by pouring out the power of divinity on those small number of zombies coming out of the dome, almost a few thousands of them were purified every hour and got shipped off to the nearest available hospitals.

If this rate of purification was kept up, then everything should be over within a month from now on, mathematically speaking.

“Well, the problem is, will Roabell hold on until then?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

The thing was, Roabell’s schedule was being managed strictly and she was being rested whenever possible after it was discovered that the crisis wouldn’t end soon. So, Choi Jung-Hoon didn’t foresee any complications on that front.

Although, he did hear some reports of Roabell, as she was being carted to a hotel to take a break, often resorting to muttering out some rough stuff about ‘I’ll kill him’, ‘That abominable dark wizard this and that’, ‘I curse him, blah-blah’, etc., etc., which certainly didn’t suit that gentle and young-looking face of hers. But then again, that wasn’t something Choi Jung-Hoon should concern himself with right now….

Perhaps thankfully, those without the benefit of translation magic wouldn’t understand what she had to say, so it didn’t really matter at the end of the day.

“An Elf with a dirty mouth, is it….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Isn’t that like, a shy Dwarf or something?

I mean, man, the sense of disharmony is strong with this one. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon shook his head.

While he was dragged into solving the American zombie crisis, the documents he needed to go through only got taller and taller until they now almost resembled a mountain. In this age, when doing things electronically was as natural as one’s own breathing, it was indeed a shocking thing to see so many documents that required a manual signing-off by his hands being piled up so high before his tired eyes.

And well, it was also a terribly sorrowful thing that he couldn’t just look on at this spectacle with surprised and tired eyes as well.

“Why doesn’t my work decrease at all?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Why did his work only increase in volume, again and again?

Why did his work increase exponentially, when his salary was only creeping up even slower than a tortoise?

“Groan…..”

Choi Jung-Hoon spat out a groan and slumped into his seat.

It was only obvious that work would pile up, since he hadn’t been dealing with the local issues.

It was undeniably true that Gates continued to pop up in Korea even when Yi Ji-Hyuk and Co., were roaming the world and having a stellar time of their lives.

Instead, it was all thanks to the efforts of the KSF, with no help whatsoever from the NDF, that the whole country managed to carry on as it was.

“Isn’t this getting way too much….?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

It was now time for him to refocus on the matters of his own country.

They may have weathered the storm rather amazingly well, but in order to do so, the KSF had been operating at full capacity without its members taking a break once. If this persisted, either their level of dissatisfaction would explode into something rather ugly, or some people would start collapsing from overwork. One of the two.

A single agent of the NDF could easily handle a large Gate that required an entire battalion of the KSF to deal with, so from the latter’s perspective, they had been filling up a hole the size of several army divisions large.

“But, for today at least, we take a break….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

In any case – Seo Ah-Young, feeling greatly buoyed by the feelings of a job well done, ordered everyone to take a day off bar the minimum amount of personnel required to escort Roabell around. As a result, only Choi Jung-Hoon and Kim Jae-Beom were manning the office right now.

“By the way, where is our day off?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon complained with a pout. Suddenly, Kim Jae-Beom and his gaunt, wane expression turned around and shot a completely, eerily emotionless in the former’s direction.

“….My bad.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

While Choi Jung-Hoon was out and about, it was none other than Kim Jae-Beom who had to guard the NDF all by himself, as he was subjected to a variety of work, hostile pressures, and pestering-related issues.

So, one shouldn’t pout in front of such a person. Oh no.

“Do you really want to take a day off, sir?” (Kim Jae-Beom)

“No, not really.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

A holiday sure sounded alluring, but when Choi Jung-Hoon thought about the amount of work that would be waiting after he returned from said break…. He’d immediately refuse if he were given some time off now.

“At least, what a relief it is.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Indeed, it was a relief that the office was so quiet today.

If it was like any other day, all those ability users with nothing better to do would slink around in the periphery of his vision while fooling in some corner over there with shooting arcs of electricity or something. And that would serve as a big distraction.

Slam!

Just as Choi Jung-Hoon’s thoughts came to an end, the door was abruptly slammed open and Yi Ji-Hyuk strode right into the office.

Not only that, snacks in one hand!

And in the other, Oh-Sik!

Choi Jung-Hoon became utterly dazed after seeing his very forthright footsteps.

“You know you didn’t have to come to work today, yes?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Yup, I know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“So, how come you’re here?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“…..Cuz, it’s warm and cosy here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Such a thing….

Does really happen!

Right, there are such people in this world!!

Yes, there are some people who can’t wait to go home but once they do, they have nothing else to do!

And on top of that, you will find even weirder people who, even though it’s their off day, would show up in their places of employment to see if there’s anything they are needed for!

However, why did such a person have to be Yi Ji-Hyuk?!

If it’s someone else, I could have said, don’t get in the way of my work, go back home, take a cold shower and hit the sack – but why did it have to be YI JI-HYUK?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“Ahh, so warm. It’s so cold outside.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Annnd, why are you here?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon watched Jeong Hae-Min relaxedly unfurl her scarf and spat out a grand sigh.

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Seriously. She’s not even a set item, yet I always find her right next to wherever Yi Ji-Hyuk appears.

Doesn’t she also have anything better to do?

Ahh, right. She doesn’t.

Of course she wouldn’t have any.

I mean, without events and filming, what else can a celebrity do?

It’s not like she’s going to record a new album or shoot a video, so she wouldn’t even have to go to choreography practice either. Yup, she’s got nothing better to do, alright. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon quickly wiped the corners of his stinging eyes.

“Unfortunately, we’re very  busy today.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Sure. Work hard.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

You think I can get any work done with you around?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk deflected away all the hints Choi Jung-Hoon sent his way with his already-existing mental shield and settled down in front of his powered-up computer.

And what an unfortunate thing it was, that computer’s screen being in full view from Choi Jung-Hoon’s position.

What was I saying in the beginning?

This position will be good for keeping an eye out on Yi Ji-Hyuk, because no one knows what kind of a mess he’d create?

Gimme a freaking break!!

Who could’ve guessed that he’d install a dang game on his very first day ‘working’ here and start playing away during office hours like this?

We should’ve assigned his desk waaaay over there in that dark corner where no one can see him! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“Ah….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

That’s right – he had something to say, didn’t he?

“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, the Americans have requested for assistance again.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Mister Choi Jung-Hoon?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Tell them that if they even think of muttering the word ‘assistance’ or anything similar in nature, I’m just going to grab some of those stinking zombies and drop them in all of their major cities, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….I’ll convey that message in full.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Once the Yanks hear that, they’d never think about asking for assistance ever again. Probably.

“By the way, we still have another request for assistance to get through….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“What kinda?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I did bring this up before. It’s regarding training their ability users.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“…Training, is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes. The US requested that we train their users and make them stronger.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Yi Ji-Hyuk tore his eyes away from the computer monitor and stared deeply at Choi Jung-Hoon.

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“Well, now. Wouldn’t that be somewhat interesting?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

A rather sinister grin slowly formed on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s lips.

***

“Off day, my a*s!!” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

The ‘Spitfire’ Yun Hyuk-Gyu currently found himself in Japan.

Japan sent a request for assistance to Korea after a rank 5 Gate opened there, and to accommodate them, Yun Hyuk-Gyu had been chosen through a rigorous and entirely fair selection process.

“Argh, god d*mn it! I should’ve picked the next one…..” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Drawing straws, obviously.

Ability users making bets was a recipe for a balance-breaking disaster, and so, Yun Hyuk-Gyu was the (un)lucky winner chosen through the most fair process of drawing straws.

“Couldn’t you at least teleport me or something?!” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Sure, Japan maybe be nearby, but still, shouldn’t he be teleported here?

What did she mean, she has no marker there??

What good is a teleporter without markers?! (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Yun Hyuk-Gyu inwardly grumbled and walked to the location. He could see a Gate dyed in a red hue in the distance.

“Okay, so. What has happened so far?” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

An interpreter quickly stuck onto him and began doing his job.

Annnd, this was yet another problem.

Yi Ji-Hyuk had cast some sort of a weird skill or technique so people could converse without a need for an interpreter, so how convenient would it have been to give that thing to a guy going on a business trip to a foreign country like this?

But, what did he say?

It’s ‘too annoying’??

Son of a b*tch! If it’s so annoying, how do you even bother yourself to eat food, then?? Why don’t you just stick an IV needle in your arm and live the rest of your life on a bed?!

Uh-Whew!! (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

“They say the Gate will open soon.” (interpreter)

“These d*mn Gates are always opening soon.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

“By the way….” (interpreter)

“Yes?” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

“They are also asking if Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk has come with you?” (interpreter)

In that exact moment, blood uncontrollably rushed into Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s head.

“What the hell. All these fools are busy yapping on and on about Yi Ji-Hyuk this and Yi Ji-Hyuk that! It’s just a measly rank 5, so why are these d*mn fools losing their minds for?!” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

“But, uh, a level 5 is enough to trigger a national emergency status?” (interpreter)

“It’s just a level 5, so what need is there for an emergency like that? Even the newbie NDF agents can deal with something like that solo.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

“What do you even mean…..?” (interpreter)

Eh-whew, will these folks even understand anything if I waste my breath explaining it to them? (Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s inner monologue)

“Wait, now that I think about it….” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Wasn’t it like only three months ago that people used to say it’s the end of their country once a level 5 Gate opens up?

Wow, lots of things have changed in the past three months, hasn’t it? (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

It felt as if there were lots more changes happening in those three months since Yi Ji-Hyuk’s appearance compared to the five years prior to that, when the first Gate opened up.

“Can’t tell whether this is for good or not, though…..” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Yun Hyuk-Gyu spat out a sigh and walked over to the Gate.

“W-wait, it’s dangerous over there!!” (interpreter)

“For me, or for the monsters?” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s head bobbed up and down as he studied the Gate beginning to vibrate in front of his eyes.

“Come out already.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Let me mop this up quickly so I can go home and take a break, too.

Yes, me!! (Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s inner monologue)

It was at that moment the Gate finally opened up.

Wuuuong….

The red Gate split open and he could see the portal leading to another world within.

“So, what will come out this time?” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Feeling a bit of anticipation bubbling up in his chest, Yun Hyuk-Gyu stared at the Gate, only for his eyes to grow bigger.

“Huh? Isn’t that…??” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

The interpreter watching the Gate from his side slowly crumbled to the ground.

“We’re finished.” (interpreter)

A voice thickly laden with despair leaked out of the interpreter’s mouth.

‘Well, yeah, sure. That might’ve been the case, but….’ (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Yun Hyuk-Gyu was feeling this strange discordance at the moment. The creature his eyes captured was the worst type of a monster to come out from a level 5 Gate, sure.

But then, why….

Why does it feel so intimately familiar?? (Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s inner monologue)

Krrrrooooaaaarr!

Yun Hyuk-Gyu was now swept up in this strange, unexplainable emotion as he stared at the giant Ogre roaring at the top of it head in front of the Gate.

How should he put this….?

Would it be similar to, say, seeing a dog very similar in breed as the one you keep at your own house, baring its fangs and barking at you from the next door neighbour’s yard?

“….Would Oh-Sik be happy if he learns of this?” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Right, that thing’s like a friend to Oh-Sik, so, uh, is it okay to kill it?

Will Oh-Sik be happy if I take back home alive? (Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s inner monologue)

While Yun Hyuk-Gyu was stewing in his dilemma, the Japanese ability users as well as the members of the JSDF surrounding the Gate began pouring out their combined firepower at the Ogre.

“M-mm….” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

The Ogre was not harmed in the slightest by the incoming bullets, cannon shells as well as shots of Ether. It issued another loud roar and pounced on the ranks of the Japanese ability users.

“M-m-mm…….” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Meanwhile, Yun Hyuk-Gyu couldn’t come to an answer, and in the end he had to pick up his phone.

“Hello?” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

– “What now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Well, uh, I’m calling you concerning about a situation developing here.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

– “Okay, what is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

This b*stard!

I must be at least ten years older than you, yet you still don’t address me like a senior?! What a rude b*stard. (Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s inner monologue)

Yun Hyuk-Gyu calmed his quivering rage and asked.

“I’m here to assist the Japanese, but then an Ogre came out of the Gate.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

– “Okay, so?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk))

“It’s Oh-Sik’s friend, so is it okay to kill it?” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

– “Huh. Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk took his time as if he was deliberating over something, before his cheerful voice came from the phone’s speaker.

– “Is it a girl?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Of course I don’t know that.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Yun Hyuk-Gyu couldn’t even tell the sexes of regular animals apart, so how could he even know where to begin looking in an Ogre?

– “Okay, then. Don’t kill it, but tenderise it just so and bring it home.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Got it.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

The interpreter eavesdropping on the phone call couldn’t hide his flabbergasted expression as he stared at Yun Hyuk-Gyu.

Did these people lose their marbles??

Don’t they know what an Ogre is? (The interpreter’s inner monologue)

This would be an obvious reaction from someone who had no clue what kind of a place the NDF was.

“Groan….. But, man. Not killing it is actually a bit harder.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Maybe, I shouldn’t have called?

Yun Hyuk-Gyu felt a bit of regret seep into his mind as he strode right up to the Ogre.

Keureuk?

Perhaps it sensed Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s presence, the Ogre stopped flinging away the members of JSDF and their equipment to take a look behind it.

“Hey, sorry about this. I’ve got no grudge against you.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Indeed, it’d be more like a favourable impression, instead. Out of all the monsters out there, he was the most acquainted with an Ogre, you see.

“But well, what can I do, eh? He says jump, and I say how high.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

Cannons of flames erupted out from the hands of the Spitfire and swept the Ogre up in their fiery embrace!

Kkwuaaaaahh!!

The pained scream of an unknown animal, along with the smell of its flesh being cooked spread in the Japanese sky.

“There, there. Resisting makes it hurt even more, you know.” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)

The interpreter stared at Yun Hyuk-Gyu figuratively beating up the Ogre, a truly powerful monster, as if it was a small kid and dazedly muttered to himself.

“Just who the f*ck are these people??” (interpreter)

This would be the moment that the renown of the NDF began spreading to the rest of the world.

< 193. I don’t need a reason to seek him out -3 > Fin.

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