Chapter 197: Who cares if they die or not (2)

“You asking me if I’m happy?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.

“Hmm, I’m not quite sure about that, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Is that so?” (Affeldrichae)

“Yeah.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk was being honest here.

He wanted to return to Earth not because he wished to be happy. No, he simply wanted some peace, instead. Should he say that the desire to return to the place where he should have been was rather strong?

It was naturally a difficult thing for a person to accurately diagnose one’s own emotions and desires. Even Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t clearly explain away why he wanted to return to this world.

“So, that was the case.” (Affeldrichae)

Affeldrichae studied Yi Ji-Hyuk with somewhat subdued eyes.

He was not even 20 years old, a still young kid, when he first found himself in Berafe. From the perspective of Affeldrichae, a Dragon, he was more like a fetus than a kid, though.

If it was someone else, his mind would have eroded away from all the events suffered in Berafe throughout all those years and end up becoming pretty much like a vegetable, instead.

However, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mind had been in a constant fixed state, and so, he got to maintain the sensibilities of a child for well over a thousand years.

When one thought about it that way, then perhaps the current Yi Ji-Hyuk was the most fitting sight for him.

‘However….’ (Affeldrichae)

The current Yi Ji-Hyuk was going through a change. There was no doubt about that.

The difference between the Yi Ji-Hyuk moments before his departure from Berafe and the one sitting in front of the computer right now was so great that it’d be okay to say they were two very different people altogether.

Sure, the fundamental aspect of his character wouldn’t change, but the detailed breakdown of his personality would reveal just how much change there had been so far. Affeldrichae had watched him from his side for a long time, so she could definitely tell this apart.

‘How will he change, moving on?’ (Affeldrichae)

The time he spent in Berafe had begun influencing his personality, and as of now, even Affeldrichae couldn’t predict how he’d change as he continued to live in the world where he originally was from.

Just as she was about to say something, Jeong Hae-Min swung open the door and strode right in.

“Ji-Hyuk-ah, Mister Choi Jung-Hoon says you gotta come to the office.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Annoyance quickly filled up Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face.

That guy, he’s not even a mother looking for her kid, so why does he keep losing his sh*t just because I’m not there?? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Argh, I’m not going!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Jeong Hae-Min watched Yi Ji-Hyuk’s whiny tantrum again and let a short sigh escape from her mouth.

Just when will his crappy temper go away?

There’s no answering him, is there?? (Jeong Hae-Min’s inner monologue)

She shook her head slowly and began pacifying him as if he was a little kid.

“Even then, we should still go and see what’s what.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Tell him I might go there later.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“No, you gotta be more aware of your situation. I’m telling you, you’re an important VIP now. You might have been one before, but you’re a lot more important now. There are too many things that won’t function properly without you present, you see?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Groan….”

Yi Ji-Hyuk roughly scratched his head.

He trained these people like his butt was on fire because he didn’t want this to happen, yet nothing had changed, had it?

“Is this not strange?” (Affeldrichae)

“Excuse me?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Jeong Hae-Min stared at Affeldrichae.

“If Mister Ji-Hyuk is such an important person, and no work can be done without him, then wouldn’t it be logical for someone in need to come see him, instead? He’s supposed to be a VIP, so why is he being ordered to come and go as they please?” (Affeldrichae)

“M-mm…..”

“After all, is it not common sense for humans to personally make their move if they need something?” (Affeldrichae)

“But, they are superior officers, though?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“I wonder. I’m not particularly sure about how the hierarchy system of humans work, but from where I stand, they certainly don’t look to be occupying higher positions than Mister Ji-Hyuk.” (Affeldrichae)

“Euh, euh, euh….”

Jeong Hae-Min took a small step back as if she was struck by a solid body blow just now.

If Yi Ji-Hyuk said those words, she could retort by saying that a young punk not knowing his place or some such, but it was simply impossible to say that to Affeldrichae.

For some reason, everything was far more difficult with this blondie.

“Groan….” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Just as Jeong Hae-Min fell into deep contemplation so as to come up with a sound rebuttal, Doh Gah-Yun suddenly half-emerged from the former idol’s shadow.

“Argh, what the hell?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk yelled out in surprise from Doh Gah-Yun’s sudden appearance.

“Can’t you knock before entering?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Knock?” (Doh Gah-Yun)

She tilted her head slightly, before pulling her hand out from the shadow and tapped on the floor.

“Ah….”

Seeing the spectacle of a disembodied hand suddenly jutting out from a shadow to knock like that made him realise that he’d rather prefer not to see such knocking in the first place.

That was straight out of a horror flick, that.

“Fine, fine! What is it now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Doh Gah-Yun didn’t say anything else, strode right to where he was, and grabbed his hand.

“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

And then, she reached out to grab Jeong Hae-Min’s hand, too. The latter grinned slyly, and activated her teleport ability right away.

“Uht?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Only the flustered gasp of Yi Ji-Hyuk was left behind in the near-empty room. Affeldrichae’s circumspect eyes stared at the spot where he used to be.

‘Am I doing the right thing?’ (Affeldrichae)

She could only worry whether what she was doing right now was in fact the right thing or not. Could it be possible that Yi Ji-Hyuk inwardly didn’t want this?

Affeldrichae shook her head again.

It wasn’t as if something had started yet anyway, and she needed to observe how everything would unfold first.

She finished organising her thoughts and decided to follow after Yi Ji-Hyuk, but then, the door creaked open behind her. Affeldrichae tilted her head slightly at the appearance of an unexpected person through the open doorway.

“Mister Ji-Hyuk went to the office.” (Affeldrichae)

“I know.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“If so, is there something I can help you with?” (Affeldrichae)

She quietly studied Kim Dah-Som standing hesitantly in front of her. The young blonde girl’s lips bobbed up and down silently for a while, but she let a long sigh leak out of her mouth and forced herself to speak.

“Unni, you’re not a person from this world, are you?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“No, I am not.” (Affeldrichae)

“The abilities you use, they are different from what the people of this world use, yes?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“That’s correct.” (Affeldrichae)

There was no reason to hide the truth, and telling Kim Dah-Som would cause a trouble, to begin with. The girl probably had figured most of those out already, anyway.

“In that case….” (Kim Dah-Som)

Kim Dah-Som stared at Affeldrichae with pleading eyes.

“Can I learn that as well?” (Kim Dah-Som)

Affeldrichae tilted her head slightly.

“If you’re asking me if you can learn magic, then I should answer, yes, you can. Since Mister Ji-Hyuk has also learnt magic, it certainly isn’t impossible, but….” (Affeldrichae)

“Yes?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“The efficiency would be extremely poor, and if you start learning it now, you’d need at least ten plus years before you can put it to practical use.” (Affeldrichae)

“Ah…..” (Kim Dah-Som)

And that time frame was with Affeldrichae acting as the teacher, too.

“But, why do you wish to learn magic?” (Affeldrichae)

“I want to be of some help.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“I’d like you to explain more clearly to me.” (Affeldrichae)

“Other people fight alongside him and provide at least a little bit of help, but I… It’s like all I’m good for is to stay far back and spectate.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“H-mm….”

Affeldrichae formed an expression of understanding and nodded her head.

Yi Ji-Hyuk had been building his sphere of influence within this world, in his own unique way. And this sphere included the ability users of the NDF, including the likes of Jeong Hae-Min and Doh Gah-Yun.

However, there were two people occupying rather special positions within that said sphere. They were Affeldrichae and Kim Dah-Som.

The former had built up a connection with Yi Ji-Hyuk from way back in Berafe, and the latter was the sole non-ability user within the group.

Now it’d been normal for Affeldrichae to feel a sense of alienation in such a case, but as she was a Dragon to begin with, she wouldn’t suddenly develop a feeling of being left out just because her relationship with Yi Ji-Hyuk was different to what he had with other humans.

The remaining problem was with Kim Dah-Som. Her position in the group was neither here nor there.

She was close to Yi Ji-Hyuk, sure, but when compared to how other people had been tied to him, her bond was simply the weakest out of them all.

“You don’t wish to be alienated, is that it?” (Affeldrichae)

“No, not at all.” (Kim Dah-Som)

Unexpectedly, Kim Dah-Som firmly shook her head.

“It’s not that, but I wish to be of some help. Even if it’s only a little.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Hmm….”

Affeldrichae nodded her head.

It was not easy to understand, but at the same time, she could figure out what this human girl wanted. The issue here was with whether Affeldrichae wanted to perform a task with as low efficiency as this one or not in the first place.

“You can certainly learn magic, but it’s unknown how long you’ll need before you reach the level where you can aid Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk. Even then, do you still wish to do it?” (Affeldrichae)

“Yes.” (Kim Dah-Som)

Kim Dah-Som nodded her head as if there was nothing to even consider here.

“I see.” (Affeldrichae)

Affeldrichae acknowledged that there was indeed something she could get out of this ‘teaching Kim Dah-Som’ deal. And that would be: finding out the difference of magic compatibility between the humans of Berafe and of this world.

There was a precedence of Yi Ji-Hyuk, but he was a Dark Wizard.

In order for him to learn magic, he needed a high-ranking wizard to teach him all about controlling Mana. From the get-go, he lacked any tangible affinity with Mana whatsoever, after all.

Unfortunately, of all those worthy of teaching  Mana control to him, none were interested in doing so, and Yi Ji-Hyuk had no choice but to come up with his own plan.

However, the case of Kim Dah-Som would be different.

As long as Affeldrichae willed it, then she’d teach this human girl magic and solve her curiosity on what would happen to the humans of this world when affected by magic.

‘It’s not a bad idea, is it?’ (Affeldrichae)

She was a Dragon, but at the same time, a wizard as well.

When it came to the matters of satisfying her curiosity as well as her scholarly ambition, then she’d not lose out to any lifeform out there.

“Alright, let’s give it a shot.” (Affeldrichae)

Kim Dah-Som grasped Affeldrichae’s hands tightly with a bright face.

“But, it’s too early for you to rejoice like that.” (Affeldrichae)

“Excuse me?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“You see, I’m not as lenient as Mister Ji-Hyuk.” (Affeldrichae)

A rather suspicious smile slowly bloomed on Affeldrichae’s lips.

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***

“…………….”

Utterly lost for words, Choi Jung-Hoon simply stared at Jeong Hae-Min.

What the freaking hell?! I asked her to fetch Yi Ji-Hyuk, not summon a p*ssed-off demon king!!

How am I to deal with that face full of discontentment?? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

The first thing Yi Ji-Hyuk did upon arriving in the office was to freeze up the ambient temperature with nothing but his deeply p*ssed-off aura. Choi Jung-Hoon saw all that, and could only spit out a lengthy groan.

‘I’m screwed.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

It was already unknown whether Yi Ji-Hyuk would agree or not when talking nicely to him, but then, how was Choi Jung-Hoon to bring the topic up now with an atmosphere like this?!

He shot a resentful glare at Jeong Hae-Min, but she simply waved her hands around to signal it was not her fault and pointed at Doh Gah-Yun.

“Groan….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon immediately realised that it was impossible to get a proper explanation from Doh Gah-Yun. He formed an awkward smile and spoke to Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“Excuse me….. Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Yeaaah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“………..”

The enunciation sounded a wee bit wrong there.

Thinking about how distorted with rage this guy’s innards must be right now, Choi Jung-Hoon could sense cold sweat forming all over his body.

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“I, I don’t know what exactly happened, but for the time being, why don’t we calm down your anger first…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Anger, is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk stared straight at Choi Jung-Hoon, his head now leaning at a crooked angle.

“….No, well, I guess it’s for the better that you get angry, instead.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Yup, that’d be much easier for my stress level.

God d*mn it! It’s not like I’m a member of a d*mn bomb squad or something! How the heck am I supposed to keep living this way?? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon wordlessly reached into his inner pocket and pulled out a bottle of pills before chucking its contents into his mouth.

Crunch, crunch….

Pills of ulcer medication turned into gritty powder in his mouth and painfully slid down his throat.

He had initially used those gel-type liquid medications, but began thinking that he was filling his stomach up with them as if they were food, so he reverted back to pills now.

“I mean, what reason is there for me to get angry? It’s possible that you’d call me here if you need something from me, right? Well, even if I don’t want to, all you have to do is to just ask a teleporter to kidnap me here and all. Why should I get angry in the first place?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ha, hahaha….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

After quickly figuring out what might have happened, Choi Jung-Hoon kept leaking out an awkward laughter.

“Kyah, this neck of the woods must’ve changed by a lot while I was away, I guess? In the past, it was normal for those in need to go and see the other party, but nowadays, it’s the other way around and people in need are busy telling the other party to come and go as they please. So yeah, it’s reaaaally changed by a lot.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Hahaha….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon had nothing else to say. All he could do was to laugh awkwardly like this.

“And so, like, if it’s not too much trouble, may I hear the reason for kidnapping someone all the way here? I mean, I feel so apologetic for stealing away the valuable time of folks who are so, so, so busy and stuff.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Ahh, this was how it’d been like.

That manner of speech was the norm not too long ago, wasn’t it? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon was briefly inundated with the less-than-rosy recollections of the past and opened his mouth.

“Do you still remember, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk? The Americans want to entrust the training of their ability users to you.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Ahh, that one?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head and spoke as if it was no trouble at all.

“Tell them to come, then.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Excuse me?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon was taken by surprise and hurriedly scanned Yi Ji-Hyuk’s complexion. But, wasn’t he going to throw an almighty tantrum and yell out “No!!” at the top of his lungs?

“Well, this is excellent.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….Excellent?

What is? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“I was beginning to feel a bit peckish anyway. Tell them to hurry up and come already.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“H-hang on a minute.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Why did it feel like he had heard something quite strange just now?

“Well, it’s not uncommon to see someone get destroyed during training, or even end up kicking the bucket. So, you should definitely drive home that point in their heads, okay? Tell them, it’s not our responsibility if some of their kids return home a bit disabled.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“………………”

The matter at hand had been resolved.

It indeed has been, but….

But, can I honestly say it is a good resolution?? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“….Who cares if they die or not?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk formed a sinister smirk and muttered to himself. Choi Jung-Hoon bore witness to this sight and realised that the matters had become even more complicated than ever before.

For some reason, the muscles in the back of his head were cramping up.

Will this be fine?

I mean, seriously, will this really be okay?

Choi Jung-Hoon’s suspicions, and Yi Ji-Hyuk’s wicked nature were heading towards the unwitting Americans.

< 197. Who cares if they die or not -2 > Fin.

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