Chapter 203: What’s up with this chill (3)

Stephen Bosch mistook this situation as a staring contest.

When a person was about to establish a relationship with another person, the beginning of it all was the most important part. Depending on the first impression, you might end up looking like a dumba*s, or the other party would not know how to even talk to you properly.

The American knew very well that he’d not be able to deal with this guy named Yi Ji-Hyuk.

Christopher McLaren was a cold hearted b*stard, capable of making decisions to kill lots of people using various methods of torture over a cup of coffee. Yet, even he would break out in cold sweat whenever this Korean man’s name was brought up.

So, there was no way Stephen Bosch would not know of the gap between him and Yi Ji-Hyuk.

Not only that, he also witnessed several times Christopher McLaren, the man who came across as the Grim Reaper in his eyes, smiling awkwardly and acting all subservient and the like towards Yi Ji-Hyuk.

A man completely at home dealing with various types of people was acting like that. And that could only mean that this Korean man was scary beyond Stephen Bosch’s imagination.

Even then, he wasn’t planning to back down. If he did, then he’d be placed on an even lower rung than Christopher McLaren’s level. He would not be able to lift up his head in front of Yi Ji-Hyuk. That was why, this might be his only chance.

Thankfully, he did have a mountain to lean on right now. First of all, there were 300 of his comrades that would become his source of strength all around him.

And also, Yi Ji-Hyuk was accompanied by only two people currently. One of them was even a regular person, too. In a situation like this, he wouldn’t be able to do something rash.

They were supposed to form a ‘relationship’ under the guise of training, so if their positions were not properly established from the word go, then who knows how much degradation the Americans would be subject to?

Stephen Bosch quietly suppressed his pounding heart and stared straight into Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes.

….Until the Korean man gets p*ssed off. From that man’s perspective, it’d be like some insignificant ant glaring right back at him. So, he’d get angry from it.

Yup, get p*ssed off.

When you do, I’ll be the winner.

You start persecuting me over nothing, then my comrades will start feeling dissatisfied by the unfairness of it all. (Bosch’s inner monologue)

Stephen Bosch kept his eyes wide open while kicking his brain into next gear. Unfortunately for him, though – his opponent today was none other than Yi Ji-Hyuk.

*

‘What should I have for lunch today?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s dilemma, as usual, was quite serious.

For the first time in quite a while, he had finally managed to get out of the dreary ability user residential area. So naturally, the first thing he thought up of was to find something delicious to eat.

“Mister Choi Jung-Hoon?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes, please speak.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“What is this area famous for?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Excuse me?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Famous with what exactly?

“What do you wish to know? This area’s specialty products?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“No, I meant famous diners.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ah…..”

Choi Jung-Hoon wasn’t all that surprised.

Such a question would certainly be fitting for Yi Ji-Hyuk’s character.

Sure, today’s off-kilter banter started off on a strange direction, but still, it was a common occurrence for him to go off on a tangent utterly unrelated to the matter at hand, anyway.

“I wonder. I’m not sure what is…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“It’s the army stew.” (Seo Ah-Young) (TL note at the end)

The answer actually came from the other side of Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“……..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon stared at Seo Ah-Young, prompting her to avoid meeting his eyes and resolutely fix her gaze to the front.

“This area is famous for their army stew.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Ohh!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression brightened.

Yup, a Korean should eat Korean food.

Army stew, is it…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“By the way, isn’t army stew something that came out of American military bases?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“That’s what I heard, too.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“So, like, it kinda feels weird talking about army stew in front of these American folks, doesn’t it…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Well, now that you mention it, it does sound that way.” (Seo Ah-Young)

*

‘What are they talking about?’ (Stephen Bosch)

Stephen Bosch paid attention to the three Koreans, but he couldn’t understand a word they were talking about. Of course, he didn’t understand a lick of Korean to begin with, but he was far, far too curious as to what the three of them could be busy yapping on about over there.

‘Are they discussing a way to deal with me?’ (Stephen Bosch)

Seeing how serious their expressions were, the odds of that were pretty high.

‘I thought as much.’ (Stephen Bosch)

Obviously, that wouldn’t be easy.

Even if it was Yi Ji-Hyuk, even if that guy didn’t behave like a normal human being, they were American ability users. It’d prove to be somewhat difficult to lay a hand on them.

Christopher McLaren also did say that one needed to address Yi Ji-Hyuk in a straightforward manner, didn’t he?

‘I need to come out a bit tougher.’ (Stephen Bosch)

Stephen Bosch sniggered at Yi Ji-Hyuk. All he had to was to show that he was not afraid of the Korean man. That was all.

*

“So, which diner makes the best stew?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Should I g*ogle it?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“…Hang on, the lunch hour still far away so why are you so eager to find it, ma’am?! Director, please!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“No, well, it’s Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk who’s curious, not me.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“But, doesn’t it look like you’re the most happy of us three?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“You’re mistaken.” (Seo Ah-Young)

Seo Ah-Young immediately played possum.

“Uh-whew.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Just when will this woman grow up??

She’s been rolling around in this field for five years already, so what does she want from me by acting like this? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“What’s the matter? Is g*ogling something a crime now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…….”

Choi Jung-Hoon could only stare at the heavens above after getting struck by Yi Ji-Hyuk’s timely support fire.

If there was indeed a god up there, the benevolent one shouldn’t have done this. Didn’t someone say it before? That thing about ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. In that regard, giving great power to this man was easily the biggest mistake ever.

It’s completely, utterly inconceivable, you know!! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

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“You should’ve given it to me, instead.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Choi Jung-Hoon shook his head softly.

“300 people are waiting for us, so we should do something about them first. You can find a delicious diner or head to the US for lunch afterwards.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Yes, let’s do that.” (Seo Ah-Young)

Seo Ah-Young unhesitatingly replied, prompting Yi Ji-Hyuk to form a bit of unhappy expression.

‘Did that guy named Choi Jung-Hoon persuade Yi Ji-Hyuk not to go crazy just now?’ (Stephen Bosch)

Didn’t the flow of situation come across that way?

Stephen Bosch stared with tense eyes and went for the final spurt – and that was when Yi Ji-Hyuk finally discovered the American.

“Hey, that guy over there. Isn’t he glaring at us?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Who is?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“That guy.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk pointed with his chin and Choi Jung-Hoon followed that to spot Stephen Bosch glaring at them. Those eyes clearly belonged to someone asking for trouble.

“….You aren’t going to kill him, yes?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“What the heck! Do you take me for a dang mass murderer or something?! You think I’ll kill someone because he’s glaring at me? Do I look like a high school thug to you?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Although those words seemed about right….

Well, I am a mass murderer, and I didn’t graduate from a high school so technically, you can still call me a, uh…….. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk hurriedly shook his head.

Gimme a break, a high schooler, at my age?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Besides all that, why is he glaring at me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk looked back at Stephen Bosch with a puzzled expression on his face.

“Did I do something wrong back in the U.S.?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….I don’t think so?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Not just from the perspective of Yi Ji-Hyuk, but also from regular people’s point of view, he certainly hadn’t done anything wrong. If it was back in South Korea, the story might change a bit, but…

No, in all honesty, there should be lots if one were to dig deeper into the truth, but nevertheless, Yi Ji-Hyuk was a hero and saviour who rescued the United States of America.

So, why was that man displaying so much hostility right now?

“Maybe, he doesn’t like you, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Ohh, that must be it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head.

“Oh, well. Something like that can happen, I guess.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s nonchalant reaction immediately caused Choi Jung-Hoon to throw out a proving question.

“Aren’t you angry?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Why would I be?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Well, that guy is being so openly hostile and all that, isn’t he?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“But, that can happen, can’t it?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Isn’t this weird?

This guy isn’t someone like this, though? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“You’re planning to drag him to a quiet place later and beat the living daylights out of him, aren’t you? Let’s be all be open about this, shall we? I’d much prefer if you beat him up in front of other people, you know?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Hul…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I mean, if you beat someone up in front of other people, at least you will stop just before killing the poor man.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Seriously?! You think I’m some kind of a butcher or something?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk could only chuckle wryly in sheer dumbfoundedness. What dumbfounded him even more was with the fact that Choi Jung-Hoon thought he’d get angry from nothing more than some minor character glaring at him.

‘Does he think I’ve never been glared at before in my life?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

I’ve been glared at for over a thousand years, you fool.

It was even harder to find someone looking at him like a fellow man back in Berafe. At least, the non-human species looked at him with the eyes that said, ‘Oh, that’s a funny looking human’.

The same humans as Yi Ji-Hyuk all looked at him as if he was a monster.

Hostility?

Something like that was a given.

Humans of Earth would likely never know the feeling of being subjected to glares containing contempt, scorn, and fear. So, the American’s glare simply came across as a little child whining a bit to Yi Ji-Hyuk. He didn’t find it adorable, no – he simply couldn’t give a rat’s a* about something like that.

“You really are not angry?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“What’s the matter? Should I really get angry for you, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“My apologies.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon hurriedly changed the topic.

“Besides all that. What are your plans for these people?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Why are you asking me that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…..Eh?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Well, you’re the one who got this training commission, Mister Choi Jung-Hoon. Didn’t you say yes to it because you had something in mind?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, didn’t I say that the request was made to you, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“That you did.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“So, why are you saying that now?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted derisively.

“What the heck? Oh, so when you sign up with a cram school after checking out who the director is, do you expect the director to start personally teaching you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…No, I don’t.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“So, entrusting me with 300 people means I’m supposed to train every single one of them?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….No, it isn’t.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Yi Ji-Hyuk got triggered and shouted out.

“You squeeze out all the benefits for yourself, yet you want me to train them?! Wowsers, will you look at this guy?! This here’s the true master fraudster at work!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I haven’t squeezed any benefits from anyone!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Yi Ji-Hyuk wordlessly approached Choi Jung-Hoon and whispered to the latter’s ear.

“When I search you and find even a single cent on your person, Imma strip you buck naked and hang you upside down in the middle of Gwanghwamum Plaza, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….I squeezed only a little bit.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Keuh….”

Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head, his expression one of satisfaction.

How admirable.

A truly excellent seedling of a politician is being germinated, right here.

He looks handsome and tidy, he’s got a silky tongue, and possesses a charisma that commands attention, too! And he even knows how to get his palms greased properly! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“A perfect future Presidential candidate, that’s for sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ahaha, well, you don’t have to praise me that much.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“But, I was insulting you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“……..”

Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head and walked up to the American group.

He knew full well he’d had to get hands-on with these folks. The question was – just how little should he be hands-on with them?

Yi Ji-Hyuk cast the translation magic on himself and opened his mouth.

“I’m sure the trip here have been rather boring, everyone.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….There was no reply.

“Can’t you hear me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Even then, no one replied back to him.

“Huh? They can’t really hear me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk shrugged his shoulders and stared at Choi Jung-Hoon.

“Excuse me. Can you call that Christopher McDonald or something on the phone?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Come again?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

This guy, what was he thinking of doing now?

If it were any other time, Choi Jung-Hoon would have immediately tried to talk Yi Ji-Hyuk out of it, but well, he suddenly got curious what would happen next.

So, he quickly dialled Christopher McLaren’s number and handed the phone over.

– “Why are you calling me again, Mister Choi?!” (Christopher McLaren)

“But, it’s me, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

– “M-Mister Yi, Yi Ji-Hyuk?!” (Christopher McLaren)

“Well, we’ve got ourselves a problem here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

– “What seems to be the problem?” (Christopher McLaren)

“These kids you sent me, I don’t think they can hear me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

– “Didn’t I send in an interpreter? I seemed to have made a mistake by not sending an interpreter along. I shall dispatch one right away.” (Christopher McLaren)

“No, no, no. I don’t think it’s the language barrier posing the problem here, you see? I mean, we’re conversing right now, aren’t we?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

– “….Oh.” (Christopher McLaren)

Yi Ji-Hyuk carried on with a tone that said, ‘Not a problem’.

“Well, you know. You can only train someone when you can communicate properly, don’t you agree?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

– “Those sons of b*tches! I shall immediately discipline them!” (Christopher McLaren)

“No, you don’t have to bother with that. I’ll just return the defective goods.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

– “Did you just say you’ll return the goods….?” (Christopher McLaren)

“Yup. If there’s an issue with the product, you’re supposed to return it, right? I’ll just return them back to you, so send over the replacements soon, okay? Oh, and I’m not interested in refurbished goods, so don’t send them back after ‘fixing’ the faulty bits, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

– “B-but, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk! Can’t you think this over just one more time? I will definitely fix this problem within a day! No, hang on! I’m coming there right now!” (Christopher McLaren)

“Hey, uncle?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

– “Y-yes, please speak.” (Christopher McLaren)

“Shouldn’t you be grateful that I’m willing to quietly return the faulty goods without a complaint and accept the replacements? Don’t you think so?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

– “That is true.” (Christopher McLaren)

Christopher McLaren’s voice became progressively smaller.

“Okay, so. Let’s do it that way. Why create more source of annoyance for yourself?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

– “I, I see. Understood.” (Christopher McLaren)

Yi Ji-Hyuk ended the call and shifted his gaze back over to Choi Jung-Hoon.

“Well, can we go and eat some army stew now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Do what you want, oh great one…. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon received his phone back and let a groan escape from his mouth.

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I don’t know whether I should say this whole thing feels gratifying or that no answers work on this guy….. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon couldn’t figure out his own emotions at the moment.

As for the Americans who had no clue what was going on, they simply stood around in a daze for a while after the trio of Koreans suddenly turned around and left.

< 203. What’s up with this chill -3 > Fin.

(TL: Army stew – or, in romanised Korean, budaejjigae – is a form of a cheap stew with sausage and/or spam as its main ingredient. It can be traced back to the American military bases set up in Korea after the Korean War. More specifically, military surplus foods like spam that found their way out of those bases. They were sold cheaply to the diners in the area and became ingredients of stews designed to satisfy as many hungry bellies as cheaply as possible. Now it has evolved into something of an art form, but well, that’s how it got started.)

- my thoughts:
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