Chapter 227: Isn’t there anything that can be done? (2)

“You’re here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk formed an awkward smile after spotting Kim Dah-Som, waiting for him by the front entrance of his home as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Her reaction after seeing him was a brightening complexion, plus hurriedly jogging towards him like a cute puppy dog.

Didn’t she look a lot more outgoing than before?

In the not-too distant past, she carried around this image of a bitter wintry blizzard blowing down from the North Pole, but now, she did seem to have warmed up a lot in recent times.

She stared at him with sparkling eyes like a puppy waiting for a pat, so Yi Ji-Hyuk tried to change the topic of conversation in an awkward manner.

“How is your older brother doing?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“My older brother?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“I mean, Kim Dah-Hyun…. Wait, didn’t he come home yet?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“He did. Is there something wrong?” (Kim Dah-Som)

Kim Dah-Som tilted her head slightly, wondering what on earth he was talking about here.

‘Huh. Would you look at that guy?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

He was injured that gravely back in London, yet…

It seemed that that siscon didn’t tell her of the incredible hardship he went through, then.

‘What a strange guy he is.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Judging from his everyday actions alone, Kim Dah-Hyun was definitely a man’s man, but when taking into account his behaviour towards his sister, one couldn’t really view him in such a favourable light…. What a talent that was, making people fall into an unnecessary dilemma like this.

“Groan…. Fine. Never mind.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

In any case – since he didn’t say anything, it didn’t right for Yi Ji-Hyuk to step forward and start gossiping about the matter. If that’s what the person in question wanted, then he’d respect that wish.

Besides, nothing would change just because he spoke about it, anyway. Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head in helplessness.

“Okay. So. What about your own body?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I’m fine now.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“I hope Affeldrichae hasn’t made your life miserable.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“……………”

Ahh, so you can’t answer me.

Then, why did you do it?

You threw a tantrum, saying you’d willingly jump into the fire…. What a foolish little girl. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head again.

The Affeldrichae he knew was a cold-blooded lizard that didn’t give a hoot about compassion or one’s circumstances. Well, if she had even a speck of compassion, then she’d not have tried to stand in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s way in the past like that.

It took nigh-on one thousand years for Yi Ji-Hyuk and her to develop any humanistic feelings towards each other, such as consideration, or even a passing form of interest.

But well, Kim Dah-Som and Affeldrichae got to know about each other only recently, so there was just no way that dang lizard woman would hold any consideration towards the human girl.

Indeed, the Dragon was probably abusing her like there was no tomorrow. Because, that would be the most optimum way of extracting raw data, after all.

“Do your best, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….I will.” (Kim Dah-Som)

The girl full of lively energy suddenly lost all vitality and became depressed in an instant. Yi Ji-Hyuk got flustered after seeing that scene as it felt like he was at fault somehow.

“O-okay, then! Should we get going? Or you want to go home?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes, I’d like to go home now.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Should I accompany you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“No, it’s fine.” (Kim Dah-Som)

….What’s gotten into her?

“Aren’t you busy with work?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Uh? Yeah, I guess. A little.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“In that case, you should concentrate on your work.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Ohh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head slightly.

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Was her personality originally like this?

It’s like, something about her changed, but why?

Wait, did her personality change after she suffered at the hands of Affeldrichae? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Here.” (Kim Dah-Som)

Yi Ji-Hyuk received the can of refreshment she pushed at him.

Chui-eeek…

She even popped the lid off before he took hold of the drink, too.

‘This thing…. She didn’t put anything extra in it, I hope?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

He believed that she wouldn’t really go that far, but having seen how differently she came across today, he couldn’t help but worry a bit. Even then, she was giving him something to drink, so how could he not take it? She even popped the lid for him, too.

Feeling conflicted inwardly, Yi Ji-Hyuk brought drink near his lips.

“Thanks. By the way, why don’t you want me to take you home today?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Well, I’ve been thinking….” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Okay.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk took large gulps of the drink.

“I thought that, interfering with the work of the husband isn’t what a devoted wife is supposed to do….” (Kim Dah-Som)

Pu-wuuooooot-!!!

It was at that moment that the soda flew out of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mouth like an exploding fountain.

“Kkyahck!!” (Kim Dah-Som)

Kim Dah-Som cried out while dodging the spray of cold drink.

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“….I, I’m sorry.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Not sure if I’m supposed to apologise here or not, but well, let’s just say sorry for now.

By the way, what did she say to me just now? (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head and stared at Kim Dah-Som. She simply smiled bashfully, though.

‘Well, she really is a pretty girl, that’s for sure.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

She might be a bit strange in the head, but as far as her looks were concerned, there was no doubt about it. She was a looker. Yi Ji-Hyuk crushed the empty can and chucked it away before shaking his hand.

“Okay, well. I’ll be on my way now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes. I’ll see you after work.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“M-mm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Those words of ‘See you after work’ came across as rather sinister and goosebumps broke out all over his skin. With a begrudging expression on his face, Yi Ji-Hyuk waved his hand and walked towards the NDF building.

Why did it feel like the rest of the day would be just as rough, too?

*

Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head this way and that while looking at the spectacle laid out before his eyes.

‘M-mm….’

The small dog over there was without a doubt, Oh-Sik. And another small puppy-like thing next to him was, also without a doubt, the Ogre that got caught not too long ago as Oh-Sik’s girlfriend.

Yi Ji-Hyuk had sucked out the right amount of Mana and reduced that Ogre’s size down to that of a puppy. According to Oh-Sik, that particular Ogre was on the pretty side – for an Ogre, obviously – and he seemed to really like this arrangement.

So, in that case….

….Just who was that third dog in front of the two, then?

“Looks like they are fighting?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Oh-Sik’s ‘girlfriend’ was busy woofing and growling with bared fangs at that mystery dog, while Oh-Sik himself had his head drooped low to the ground looking rather despondent.

‘Haven’t I seen this scene pretty often somewhere else?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Replace ‘dogs’ with people, and one would get a… a bit of an awkward situation straight out of a TV drama, this.

Groooowl!!

When the atmosphere descended to the point where they might start biting each other, Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly coughed out loudly to clear his throat.

“Keuh-heummm!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Of course, the gazes of the dogs landed on him next.

“…Hey you, come over here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Oh-Sik trudged with barely no energy towards him.

“Okay, what’s going on here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

The Ogre kept his head down and didn’t show any signs of raising it back up. Well, Yi Ji-Hyuk expecting an explanation from a dog was a problem in itself, too.

Ah, Oh-Sik isn’t a dog, is he? (the Author)

“H-mm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

He didn’t really need to hear an explanation to figure out what happened, but then again, just where did that mystery dog come from?

Didn’t that thing look like a real dog, too?

“…..Ah.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s brows suddenly shot up as he glared at Oh-Sik.

“Right! You already had a girlfriend, didn’t you?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Whimper…

“You two timing fool!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at the mini Ogre with a dumbfounded expression.

When the Ogre crossed over to Earth, Oh-Sik was jumping up and down in joy when he asked it if he should go and catch that creature. And when its gender being female was revealed, Yi Ji-Hyuk thought that Oh-Sik’s jaw would tear open from how wide the smile was.

Heck, he even got stunned by the fact that a puppy-like mug could produce such a wide variety of emotions back then!

But now that he thought about this, how dare this b*stard two-time his girl like this?!

“Hey, you. If you cheat on your wife that shared all the bad times with you, you are going to get punished by the heavens, don’t you know that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Whimper….

“Hah, this b*stard….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

I get you.

What can you do about being a different species?

No matter how ‘urgent’ one is, a person can’t go out with an ape, and just like that, an Ogre can’t really date a dog now, am I right?

So, yeah. I know. I get you. I really do.

I do, but this…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

‘The situation has become way too complicated, hasn’t it?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

He didn’t exactly have the leeway to mind the love life of his pet, but still, it didn’t feel good to continue walking on by after seeing this mess. Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his head and stared at the only dog in this place.

Maybe because a dog was, well, a dog, he couldn’t easily read its expression, unlike with the Ogres.

However, I’m sure it’s pretty p*ssed off right about now.

I’d feel the same if I was a dog myself, so… (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Keuh-hmm. In all honesty, me saying stuff like this doesn’t feel right, but….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Suddenly feeling like a potential mother-in-law opposing her son’s marriage, Yi Ji-Hyuk began a long-winded speech.

“You and this kid are from different species, you know? This is a love that can never be. So, how about you waking up now before it’s too late and searching for another good-looking dog?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Of course, a dog wouldn’t really understand human language. Even then, Yi Ji-Hyuk continued to talk to the dog as if he wasn’t convinced about something.

“Besides, when you look at it, this kid isn’t even good boyfriend material, you know? He’s way too violent, loves meat too much, and although he looks cute on the outside, he’s actually a savage beast inside, too. So, like, you should stop….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“What are you doing??” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“…M-mm??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk turned his head around and looked up. He found Jeong Hae-Min staring at him with a face that said, “What on earth are you doing??”

“Mm, uh, well, I…. The thing is….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

So, how should he go about explaining this situation?

Just as Yi Ji-Hyuk was feeling troubled by this situation, Jeong Hae-Min didn’t even bother to wait for his reply and decided to resolve this matter in the most effective manner.

“Why are there so many dogs here? This isn’t even a pound, you know! Scram! Shoo!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Jeong Hae-Min lightly kicked the mystery dog in the butt and the creature quickly scampered away with a whimper.

“Kkeuh-heuk.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk watched on and swallowed back his gushing tears.

Please forgive me.

It’s my fault for forgetting about you. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“And what is wrong with you?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“There was this sad story.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“What are you talking about?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“It’s better that you don’t know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk got up from his position and proceeded to roughly kick Oh-Sik in the butt.

“As for you! No food for you for a week! You d*mn fool!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

WHIMPER!!

Oh-Sik hurriedly escaped to a far-off corner somewhere while whimpering loudly, and Yi Ji-Hyuk simply shook his head and headed straight into the NDF building.

Seriously, man. Now some weird crap is getting on my nerves, too.

Uh-whew.

*

“Up until now, ability users were only deployed to defend against the Gates.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“That’s right.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“But now, they are being deployed in wars between nations. Not only that, almost simultaneously around the globe, as well.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“H-mm….” (Seo Ah-Young)

Seo Ah-Young tilted her head in confusion.

“Why would that be an issue?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Because, it’s war, ma’am.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Like, I’m asking you why that’s a problem?” (Seo Ah-Young)

Choi Jung-Hoon’s expression hardened seriously and stared at Seo Ah-Young for a while, before replying to her with a heavy, grave tone of voice.

“A war is fought against other human beings, ma’am.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“….Eh?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Meaning, ability users are now attacking ‘regular’, powerless people. Can you not see what that signifies?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Only now did her expression mimic his and harden significantly as well. She had no clue what going to war even entailed, but now that she heard Choi Jung-Hoon’s explanation, even she could now tell how grave this situation was.

“Until now, ability users had been targets of envy and jealousy, but never were they the objects of fear and terror. However, that story will drastically change once wars start and they are thrust into combat situations. People will finally realise that the ones protecting them all along were actually weapons capable of turning on them at any given moment.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Aren’t you going a bit too overboard with your words?” (Seo Ah-Young)

As an ability user herself, Seo Ah-Young didn’t like the word ‘weapon’ at all.

“Hah….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon shook his head in helplessness.

“There’s no use even if I don’t say it. Most people would be thinking along that line by now, anyway.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Oh….” (Seo Ah-Young)

“It’s not too late now and maybe we could salvage the situation. However, if the footage of ability users attacking regular soldiers emerge, then we will never be able to rescue this situation. I can’t even begin to imagine the magnitude of the impact that would have.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Seo Ah-Young closed her lips shut.

Regular citizens watching the footage of the ability users attacking soldiers and killing them?

The mood of the current society was so bristle that when a foreigner murdered someone, the hatred towards that guy’s country would surge up with no good reason. And with the current atmosphere being like that, how would people react after seeing such footage?

“We need to stop it somehow….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

It was at that moment that Yi Ji-Hyuk opened the door to the office and walked in.

“We need to stop what?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon looked at him and cried out.

“Isn’t there anything that can be done?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head.

“Nothing at all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I knew it….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon was grasping at straws out of sheer urgency, but even Yi Ji-Hyuk wouldn’t have a way to salvage this situation. This was not a problem that hard work could solve, after all. Nor was it a problem with an easy answer, either.

“The thing with this problem is, people around the world now recognise the fact that ability users can be used as killing weapons. Even if we somehow stop the current events, similar things will keep happening in the future. And even if we manage to stop those too, we still won’t be able to change the negative public image.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“M-m-mm….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon sucked in his cold breath while looking at Yi Ji-Hyuk. Every now and then, this guy made people mistakenly believe that he was some kind of a genius.

“Meaning, there is nothing much we can do.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Mm…” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Yi Ji-Hyuk sat down in his chair and scratched his head.

“For the time being, we should just focus on the Gates. Just report to the higher-ups and tell them to be extra hands-on with managing the public image.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Even that is not going to be easy, unfortunately.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Why not?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Sure, the public image of ability users had gotten worse recently and unemployed folks like Jeong Hae-Min had popped up, but if the top officials understood the severity of the situation, they should definitely be doing something by now, so what gives?

“Thanks to the events in London, the situation has become a bit more complicated.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at Choi Jung-Hoon with a puzzled expression.

< 227. Isn’t there anything that can be done? -2 > Fin.

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