Pale-blue arcs of electricity buzzed threateningly in the air.
Kwok Myung-Hoon glared at his surroundings with bloodshot eyes, and utter chaos broke out in an instant.
“Uwaaah?! Run away!!”
Crowd of onlookers witnessed the electrical sparks dancing in the air and lost their collective sh*t, before running away in the opposite direction from Kwok Myung-Hoon.
“That crazy b*stard!!”
“This is why we gotta isolate ability users!!”
Kwok Myung-Hoon cackled on ominously.
“What do you think you’re doing?!”
A policeman cried out in alarm, but he or his colleague didn’t dare to come closer and subdue him.
“Did you just ask me what I’m doing?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon’s bloodshot eyes fell on the cops next as he roared out.
“You asking me that because you can’t see, you stupid sons of b*tches?!” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
You’ve been running your mouths off as if you are the experts in all things ability user-related up until now, yet you asking me what? What am I doing?
Let me properly inform you, then! (Kwok Myung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Please, calm down! Let’s all calm down first! Nothing good will come out if you continue like this.”
“It’s already not good anyway.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon gritted his teeth.
“I’ll do as you lot want. F*ck this. Yeah, I’m an ability user, you sons of b*tches! I’m gonna start a real bloody accident right now, so do your worst, okay??” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Electric bolts flew towards the fleeing crowd.
The cops’ screams resounded out sharply in the air.
It was unknown what would happen exactly if that electrical energy touched the regular citizens. Fortunately, though, what they feared didn’t come to pass.
Pop! Pop! Pop!
Three tentacles flew in from out of nowhere and stabbed into the ground, before absorbing the electrical energy to disperse it.
The fleeing people saw the tentacles shining in black colour and became rather speechless next.
Just where did those things come from?
“What are those?”
They shifted their gaze over in the direction of where they flew in from.
“What’s going on?”
They found a youth with a fairly mean-looking countenance trudging towards them.
“Argh, I’m out of breath now. D*mn it!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The youth was, of course, Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Hey, you….!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He was about to shout something, but then, rapidly breathed in air as if his lungs needed more of the stuff first. Only then did he start his foul-mouthed tirade.
Kwok Myung-Hoon dazedly stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk walking in closer.
Haven’t I seen him before from somewhere? (Kwok Myung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Hey, you crazy f*cker!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk started swearing without even holding back an inch and that snapped Kwok Myung-Hoon back to reality.
‘Who is this guy??’ (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Of course, it was true that he had nearly caused a huge incident just now. However, this guy began pouring insults out of nowhere when they didn’t even know each other, and more importantly, to someone who was clearly many years younger than him, too!
But then again….
‘This punk, I’ve definitely seen him before somewhere.’ (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“If you wanna die, die alone, you b*stard! You ain’t even a water demon, so why are you trying to cause a big incident here, you fool?! Imma grind that empty head of yours!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It was uncertain when looking at the face alone, but after hearing him swear his a*s off like that, there was no doubt about it now.
This man, he…. was Yi Ji-Hyuk.
Without a doubt, this guy was definitely Yi Ji-Hyuk, the ace of the NDF and the walking, talking rumour generator. Now that Kwok Myung-Hoon thought about it, he could faintly remember seeing him in front of a Gate in the past, too.
“Are you insane? Yeah? I’m asking you, are you mad?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….No, I’m not.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
If this youth was indeed THE Yi Ji-Hyuk, then Kwok Myung-Hoon was now facing the worst ticking time bomb in the history of the Korean peninsula.
Even if only half of the rumours he heard about this guy turned out to be real, no normal person alive would be able to deal with this youth, this monster of a human being. Whether it was his personality or his powers.
“So, why did you do it, ah? Why?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kwok Myung-Hoon couldn’t say anything.
Sure, he got carried away by his angry emotions, but he couldn’t really put a finger on why he became so emotional in the first place.
Yi Ji-Hyuk quietly studied Kwok Myung-Hoon for a bit, before waving his hand in front of the latter’s face.
“Y-yes?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon failed to understand what was going on and tilted his head, prompting Yi Ji-Hyuk to frown rather deeply.
“Tsk, tsk.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He then shook his head slowly.
And so, as these two began their ‘confrontation’, one of the police officers sneaked closer to Kwok Myung-Hoon and spoke in a timid voice.
“S-sir, we ask for your cooperation.” (cop)
He finally realised that, although the ability user was handcuffed right now, that act had no real significance in the current situation. Indeed, what point was there in handcuffing ability users in the first place?
Kwok Myung-Hoon lowered his head dejectedly.
“I’m sorry.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
The cops formed somewhat of conflicted expressions and tried to arrest Kwok Myung-Hoon. He too, must’ve regained his reasoning, because he was willing to follow their lead, as well.
However, there was a certain someone who decided to interfere, anyway.
“What’s this? Why is he handcuffed?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It was none other than Yi Ji-Hyuk. He looked at the shiny handcuffs locked around Kwok Myung-Hoon’s wrists with narrowed eyes.
“Oh, that… It’s just that, we thought there might be an issue during transport, so….” (cop)
“What incident did he cause, anyway? Tell me first.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Excuse me?” (cop)
“I said, explain to me the situation that made you slap the cuffs on him like this.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spoke in a flat tone of voice, and the cops could only form troubled expressions. Truthfully speaking, the person in question didn’t resist arrest and was willing to cooperate, so there was no real need to use handcuffs here.
“Well, what happened is….” (cop)
After listening to the rough overview of what transpired here, Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at the cops with a criticising look on his face. The officers subjected to that glare began perspiring cold sweat drops almost immediately.
This guy, he carried a different atmosphere. If Kwok Myung-Hoon’s could be described as an aura of an ability user, then this youth, he thickly emitted this odour of a street thug.
The cops had seen enough criminals in their combined lifetimes so far, so they instinctively understood how troublesome a person Yi Ji-Hyuk was.
“I get it, so you can go now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The cops tried to leave with Kwok Myung-Hoon in tow, but Yi Ji-Hyuk opened his mouth again.
“No, I’m saying, you can go without him.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…Excuse me?” (cop)
“I’ll take care of that dude, so why don’t you focus on mopping up this situation, instead?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The cops looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk, utterly flustered now.
“What are you suggesting us to do here? What authority do you have to order us around?” (cop)
“We do have the authority, actually.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
This time, Yi Ji-Hyuk wasn’t the one providing that reply, but Jeong Hae-Min. She strode right next to him and pulled out her identification card to show to the cops.
“I’m Jeong Hae-Min, from the NDF. You must’ve heard by now that the NDF has priority on investigating all ability user-related criminal activities. I hereby request that you hand this individual over to us.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
The cops slowly nodded their heads.
They had been notified before in the past, so they at least remembered that the NDF was the ability user-related organisation.
“Can you wait for a moment, please? I’m not sure what to do in a situation like this one, so I’d like to confirm with the higher-ups.” (cop)
“Please, go ahead.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min relaxedly nodded her head.
The cop finished the call and spoke with a bit of an unconvinced expression.
“We shall hand over the suspect according to the regulations.” (cop)
“Alright, thanks for your understanding.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min grinned brightly, and Yi Ji-Hyuk leaned in closer to quietly whisper into her ear.
“There was such a thing?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Stop embarrassing me and don’t say anything. Just be still and keep your mouth shut.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“…Sure thing.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smiled innocently.
What am I supposed to do about things that I don’t know?
Is not knowing a crime now? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
From the get-go, Yi Ji-Hyuk wouldn’t have known that NDF possessed the power to investigate. Because, no one told him….
“By the way, how did you know that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I heard from someone.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“But, why didn’t anyone tell me that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You really think someone will actually ask you to investigate something in the first place?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
H-hey, you. You aren’t supposed to smile so brightly while saying stuff like that, you know??
You’re making me feel really, reaaaally awkward here, you know?!?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly thought up of a way to get rid of this awkwardness, however.
“Hey, man. Want me to treat you to a cup of coffee?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kwok Myung-Hoon dazedly stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk in silence.
“So, that’s why….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a groan.
“….That’s why you went crazy just now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes….” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon must’ve felt embarrassed as well, because the ends of his words blurred a little.
The group had changed the venue back to the cafe of earlier. Yi Ji-Hyuk sat on the opposite side of the crestfallen ability user as they conversed.
“You know, you should’ve held back.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m really sorry. Even I don’t understand why I got so angry like that. Punishments, penalties, whatever, I’m prepared to pay for my wrongdoings.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“Uhm, well, no need to go that far.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked at Kwok Myung-Hoon with a bit of sympathetic expression on his face. It wasn’t as if he couldn’t understand where this guy was coming from. The reason why Kwok Myung-Hoon got angry was not his fault.
Technically speaking, sure, it was his fault, but the actual fault lied with this country’s government that failed to provide any adequate mental care for him.
“I mean, you fought for that long, so there’s no way your mind’s in the right place.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue.
“Seriously. The higher-ups of this country think people are expendable commodities or something.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
This man couldn’t even take a proper break for a month while being dragged around here and there so he could fight and then, fight some more. On top of this, he even witnessed multiple times the deaths of his colleagues, too.
So, how could such a guy be of a right mental state?
If the higher-ups of this country possessed even a speck of brain cells between themselves, they would’ve done something to alleviate the possible problems associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, none of the b*stards knew how to think properly and that was the bitter reality of the Republic of Korea.
What a serious problem this is, when they didn’t know the stuff even Yi Ji-Hyuk was aware of.
“Hey, you. Doesn’t KSF have a PTSD program or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mm? What’s a PTSD whatnot? What’s that?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Never mind. I’ll rather shoot myself first….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What a scarily stupid country this was.
The higher-ups shoved people into an endless conflict with monsters over and over again yet didn’t even show any discernible concern for their welfare.
They didn’t seem to give a d*mn about people getting addicted to fighting or the side effects of adrenaline hypersecretion at all. So, it wouldn’t be all that strange to see ability users displaying signs of aggression at this point in time.
“Hey, uncle?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes? Ah, yes!” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon replied properly as the spirit of military discipline re-entered his psyche.
First of all, the NDF agents enjoyed a far higher rank than the KSF.
Secondly, Yi Ji-Hyuk happened to be the hottest… ‘commodity’ in South Korea, nay, the entire world, so he simply couldn’t be lax with his etiquette.
“You haven’t done anything wrong, so go home now. And, I don’t care whether you decide to meditate or do yoga, you gotta do something to relax your mind, okay? Otherwise, you’ll end up causing something really big pretty soon.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….You want me to go home?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“Yup. Why? You don’t have a home?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“N-no, that’s not it. I mean, even I think I’ve done something wrong today, so will it be fine to let me go like this? Getting punished can come later, but will it be okay to not arrest me right now?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“What do you mean, arrest?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Being sent to a jail cell, you dumba*s!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.
“Did someone get hurt?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“A drunkard got…” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“But, the way I hear it, that was self defence so who cares about that. Besides that one, did anyone else get hurt or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Didn’t I attack unarmed civilians?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“I stopped that, so no problem on that one.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Even still….” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
It was at this point that Yi Ji-Hyuk began growling in irritation.
“Urgh, so what the heck do you want me to do, then?? Is there a crime called attempted assault?? There is no such crime, is there??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Y-yes, there is no such crime, but…” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon just couldn’t get this bitter taste out of his mouth. He didn’t feel too good right now. No one got hurt, sure, but without a doubt, he attacked with full intention to harm other people.
So, was it alright to gloss over this event as if he wasn’t guilty of anything?
Somehow, a rather odd situation began unfolding, where the guilty one wanted to get punished for his wrongdoing, but the person that caught said guilty one didn’t want to punish him.
“Argh, it’s fine. Fine. Just go home, will ya.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“B-but, still….” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“Argh, god d*mn it!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nearly exploded from anger, causing Kwok Myung-Hoon to flinch and hurriedly lower his head. Forget about who was in the right or wrong here, he didn’t want to get in the bad books of this man at all cost.
Wasn’t there a saying among the Korean ability users that went along the lines of ‘It’s preferable to fight an Ogre head-on, rather than getting mixed up with Yi Ji-Hyuk’?
“Am I really free to go?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“Argh, yes, I’m telling you, go!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk got really irritated and Kwok Myung-Hoon slowly stood up from his spot. The thing was, though, what had happened would’ve been reported to the higher-ups by now, and he’d get punished later, anyway.
Him going home now wouldn’t change anything, in other words.
Sure enough, his smartphone began ringing off the hook.
“Hello, this is Kwok Myung-Hoon speaking.”
As soon as he answered the call, he was greeted by a torrent of cursing coming from the other side of the line.
‘Yup, I knew it.’ (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon spat out a lengthy sigh. He could hear a mixture of words containing prison this and sentencing that. Just before he could say that he was turning himself in right now, the phone ever so smoothly left his hand and entered Yi Ji-Hyuk’s grasp.
“Eh?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
But, what did he want with the phone, now?
Even before that question could be asked, Yi Ji-Hyuk placed the phone against his ear and spoke.
“Who the hell is this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kwok Myung-Hoon’s expression crumpled in a hard-to-describe manner.
< 233. Can’t even say it when in front -3 > Fin.
(TL: The water demon reference has something to do with the Korean folklore about a wrongly drowned woman who turns into a demon/phantom that starts drowning others when they approach the spot of water where she died.)