“What?!” (Lee Tae-Soo)
The Regional Director of the KSF’s Gahng-book district, Lee Tae-Soo, pulled his head away from the phone and looked at its screen with a dumbfounded expression.
It said ‘Kwok Myung-Hoon’.
He initially thought that he had called the wrong number, but nope, it was the right one. Well, he was speaking to the ability user in question only up until a few seconds ago, so there was no way he got the wrong person, anyhow.
But that just showed the extent of how dumbfounded Lee Tae-Soo was right now.
The problem began with the d*mn news coming in from the higher-ups that said an ability user decided to use his powers and threaten regular civilians in the middle of a busy city street.
That alone would be enough to make him pull his hair out, but then the second problem came in the form of verbal abuse and unchecked nagging from the higher-ups, which ranged from why was his control over his subordinates so poor to how he’d never get to climb up higher in the career ladder if this incident grows even bigger in scale.
And right in this moment, the third problem had reared its ugly head.
– “Hey, I asked who the hell you are.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Hahaha….” (Lee Tae-Soo)
Lee Tae-Soo broke out into a dazed chuckle.
Who was he?
Wasn’t he the Regional Director of the KSF’s Gahng-book district?
Never mind a police station commander, even the police commissioner wouldn’t be able to speak so rudely to him like this. Indeed, unless one was on the level of a vice minister or undersecretary, one would never speak to him this way at all.
However, some punk answering the call meant for one of his subordinates was daring to speak without any honorifics whatsoever?
‘Is this guy insane?’ (Lee Tae-Soo)
He couldn’t even get angry here, just utterly dumbfounded.
“And who you might be?” (Lee Tae-Soo)
– “Hey, man. I asked you that first.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Hahaha, will you listen to this guy?” (Lee Tae-Soo)
Finally, Lee Tae-Soo’s anger level began rising up. He didn’t know who the person answering the call was, but judging from the voice, this punk couldn’t have been that old, it seemed.
However, he was behaving this badly?
‘Do I really need to show this punk what bitterness of life tastes like?’ (Lee Tae-Soo)
Lee Tae-Soo somehow managed to calm his boiling innards and enunciated his words as clearly as possible.
“I’m Lee Tae-Soo, Regional Director of the KSF’s Gahng-book district. I told you who I am, so let’s hear it. Who are you?” (Lee Tae-Soo)
– “Me? I’m Yi Ji-Hyuk.”
“Ohhh, so, you’re Yi Ji-Hyuk? Sure thing. So, why…. eh? Yi Ji-Hyuuuuk??” (Lee Tae-Soo)
The hands of the Regional Director began trembling like a wet dog.
What crazy bullsh*t is this?!
He said he’s Yi Ji-Hyuk? This Yi Ji-Hyuk can’t be THE Yi Ji-Hyuk that I know of, right???? (Lee Tae-Soo’s inner monologue)
When he thought about it quickly, something seemed off.
Unless Kwok Myung-Hoon had lost his marbles, he’d definitely try to snatch his phone back if some random punk tried to prank-call his superior officer. So, why would he be standing back and not do anything like this?
In that case, Lee Tae-Soo could only assume that guy holding the phone was either someone more than qualified enough to speak so curtly like this to him, or someone even Kwok Myung-Hoon couldn’t use his strength to pry the phone away.
Whatever the case might have been, neither situation would be a good one for Lee Tae-Soo. And, if the one on the phone was THE Yi Ji-Hyuk he knew, then both of those options would be met, too.
So, which meant….
“A-are you that Yi Ji-Hyuk from the NDF?” (Lee Tae-Soo)
– “Yeah.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…………………” (Lee Tae-Soo)
Argh, f*ck me sideways.
What should I do to save my a*s here??
Besides all that, why is this b*stard answering this particular call, anyway?! (Lee Tae-Soo’s inner monologue)
Lee Tae-Soo desperately racked his brain for solutions here. He knew not to get mixed up with this man.
He saw way too many times people vomiting blood after getting mixed up with this walking, talking human calamity. That Seo Ah-Young who often didn’t even look like a human being, or even that monster-like Choi Jung-Hoon, couldn’t deal with Yi Ji-Hyuk’s antics and became addicted to ulcer medication, didn’t they?
So, how could a powerless regular person like Lee Tae-Soo survive Yi Ji-Hyuk’s tantrums?
“Ha, hahaha… it’s a, uh, pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Lee Tae-Soo)
Lee Tae-Soo had no freaking idea what to say here, so he laughed and greeted the other party for the time being. It wasn’t important whether he accepted this greeting or not. No, ending this call was the most urgent priority here.
Just as his brain urgently kicked into the next gear, the voice continued to come out from the other side of the phone line.
– “Why are you calling here, trying to cause a problem? What did this guy do wrong anyway?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Haha, well, that is….” (Lee Tae-Soo)
It was at this precise moment that he made his first mistake.
“He committed a crime by using his powers against regular civilians. It’s the same thing as wielding a deadly weapon against innocent people, you see.” (Lee Tae-Soo)
– “Ohh, really?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes.” (Lee Tae-Soo)
– “Oh, so that means it’s fine to do that against an ability user, is that it? So, where are you, mister?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…You can flip the story that way?” (Lee Tae-Soo)
Lee Tae-Soo covered his face.
The rumours weren’t wrong, as it turned out. Conversing with this guy would drive you up the wall, for sure. He simply had to resolve this situation as quickly as possible and speak to Kwok Myung-Hoon separately later on.
“Well, uh, that’s the regulation. I’m sorry, but may I speak to Agent Kwok Myung-Hoon again?” (Lee Tae-Soo)
– “I don’t know anything about some regulation or whatever, but…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
How can you not know that?!
You’re an ability user, and more than that, an agent of the NDF, so what the heck do you mean by you don’t know the regulation? (Lee Tae-Soo’s inner monologue)
Lee Tae-Soo hurriedly searched for a way out of this situation, only to be slapped in the ear canals by what sounded like a thunderclap out of the blue.
– “In any case, if I hear that this guy got punished or whatever, I’ll be paying you a friendly visit, understand? We cool?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It, it’s not my decision, you see?! The higher-ups want this done, not me! I’m a nobody, so how can I punish someone?? I’m just following orders, you know??” (Lee Tae-Soo)
– “Is it? Then tell the fool issuing punishments to give me a call first.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ah…..” (Lee Tae-Soo)
That… didn’t sound so bad?
Even Lee Tae-Soo’s superior wouldn’t argue at all and rubber-stamp the report with Yi Ji-Hyuk’s name on it. Because, that name was being treated like a master key capable of unlocking everything in the Republic of Korea by now.
“I-in that case, I shall do so.” (Lee Tae-Soo)
– “Oh, and you’ll be getting a phone call soon, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Excuse me?” (Lee Tae-Soo)
– “I’m hanging up.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And that’s how the call came to an end. Lee Tae-Soo wiped away the cold sweat trickling down his forehead and spat out a long sigh.
“Hah……” (Lee Tae-Soo)
Why did Kwok Myung-Hoon have to be right next to that crazy b*stard?? Was he trying to reduce his lifespan or something?!
“By the way, what was Yi Ji-Hyuk doing there, anyway?” (Lee Tae-Soo)
Of course, it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to say that Yi Ji-Hyuk just so happened to pass by the area, since the incident occurred on a busy street. It’d be still understandable to say that they ran into each other out of sheer coincidence.
The real hard part to understand was this, though – why was he protecting Kwok Myung-Hoon like this?
Just what exactly was happening here?
It was at that moment that his phone began vibrating.
“Mmmm??” (Lee Tae-Soo)
Lee Tae-Soo confirmed the name on the phone’s screen and his expression began to wane rapidly.
He didn’t want to answer this call.
No, he shouldn’t answer it. Like, at all.
Unfortunately, this call had to be answered, regardless.
Lee Tae-Soo powerlessly picked up the phone.
“Hello, this is Lee Tae-Soo of the KSF Gahng-book district speaking.” (Lee Tae-Soo)
– “Hello, this is Choi Jung-Hoon speaking.”
Despair quickly filled up Lee Tae-Soo’s face.
“Tsk.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk ended the call with Choi Jung-Hoon and while forming a wry expression, put the phone down.
“It’s done.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ah….” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon could only nod with a dazed face.
“Thank you very much.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
If Yi Ji-Hyuk wasn’t here, then he’d be stuck inside a holding cell by now, waiting for the inevitable punishment to fall in his lap. But because he was here, the situation got resolved without any problem.
“By the way, why are you helping me?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Kwok Myung-Hoon just couldn’t understand this part, so he had to ask.
“Because, it’s unfair.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Excuse me?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“It’s unfair to be punished like that, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, the regulation is….” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“If the regulation is crap, then we should change it. It’s wrong to uphold the crappy regulation, don’t you agree?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kwok Myung-Hoon nodded his head. Any ol’ ability user would’ve thought about something similar to that at least once before. No ability user alive would not know that the current regulations were completely disadvantageous towards them.
However, the current set of regulations were created by their government, and the ability users lacked power to face off against the might of one’s nation.
And, even if they did possess enough power, the ones occupying higher positions happened to be stronger ability users as well, so unless the reform began from the top, there was little they could do right now.
“And also…. I wasn’t planning to save you originally, plus there was an extenuating circumstance, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Pardon?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t reply, choosing to sip the newly-ordered coffee through a straw, instead.
It was a rather common thing to see soldiers involved in near-endless warfare to suffer from various stress-related illnesses. It was only natural that a person constantly exposed to life-or-death situations wouldn’t be able to function properly among the regular people while sharing the same sort of ideals and emotions as them.
Even back in Berafe, where the absolute method to cure everything called ‘divinity’ existed, it wasn’t all that uncommon to see soldiers lose their marbles and go on a violent rampage.
However, the ability users of the present were exposed to a much higher level of stress. They had to wait patiently in front of a Gate which no one knew what would come out from, for monsters that would appear without much prior warning, and they also had to resolve themselves to lose their lives from even the most tiniest mistakes.
So, how could any one of them be able to maintain sane, properly-functioning minds?
It was the job of the government and all the related organisations to provide care for such things. What Kwok Myung-Hoon did today was wrong. No matter what his story was, one could argue that him using his abilities against regular civilians couldn’t be excused.
However, the ones that drove him to do something like that was his government, as well as the KSF. That is Yi Ji-Hyuk’s opinion.
‘If I’m being honest, it’s p*ssing me off, too.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He really didn’t like the fact that these people, running away from danger just because they were ‘powerless civilians’, dared to jeer and criticise those who fought for their sakes.
Well, it was possible that Yi Ji-Hyuk was thinking this way because he had a closer relationship with ability users, but still…..
In any case, after hearing what had transpired so far, he certainly didn’t feel like blaming Kwok Myung-Hoon here. If there was something that needed to be changed, that it was not Kwok Myung-Hoon, but the KSF that let someone like him go uncared for.
That’s what Yi Ji-Hyuk thought.
“….Hey, the movie has already started!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
And also, this girl needs to get her head examined, too!! Who cares about some movie or not at a time like this?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“….Well, I think it’s fine for you to go now. And don’t start another incident while on your way, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Can I really go?” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“What, you want to go on a date with me, then? Sorry, I’m not into guys, so what can we do?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, you aren’t interested in women, either.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Huh, now that I hear that, I guess you’re right.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kwok Myung-Hoon stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk with a slightly bewildered expression his face. He heard a lot about this guy, and although it wasn’t for long, they shared a bit of a chat, too. And that made him arrive at a strange conclusion.
‘This guy… isn’t he a good person?’ (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
Well, this man, he…. If one looked at it logically, then he stopped the incident Kwok Myung-Hoon was about to cause, he didn’t lose his cool even once and resolved the situation smoothly, and then, he even stopped the potential fallout, too.
Where would you even find a guy like him?
If so, why were other people busy issuing warnings not to get close to a person like him? Someone this kind and good-natured? Maybe, the people of this world held a seriously warped perception?
“In that case, I shall be on my way. Thank you for everything.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
“Sure thing. Take care.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk waved his hand.
“…..Once more, thank you for your help.” (Kwok Myung-Hoon)
This guy, wasn’t he a really good person??
While Kwok Myung-Hoon was seriously wondering about why only the bad rumours about Yi Ji-Hyuk had made their rounds, both his phone and the latter’s smartwatch began issuing loud rings.
Yi Ji-Hyuk spoke with a disinterested expression.
“Looks like a Gate opened up, no?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s red colour, so it must be an emergency. Did they discover one that has been hidden until now? Hey, isn’t it nearby here?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Yi Ji-Hyuk heard Jeong Hae-Min’s words and confirmed with his smartwatch. He tapped on it a couple of times before forming a bright, innocent expression.
“This thing… How do you check with this little thing, anyway?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….You, don’t do anything. I’ll confirm it myself.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Okay.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It feels like this kid has been looking down on me a bit recently…. Am I mistaken? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk glared at Jeong Hae-Min with sharp eyes, but she didn’t even care one jot about that and checked the smartwatch, only for her expression to harden considerably as she shook her head.
“It is really close.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Where is it, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mm, it’s seriously close by.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Okay, so where??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Over there.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min pointed outside the cafe’s window.
His gaze drifted along with her outstretched finger and eventually discovered the Gate over yonder. It was so huge that one might even make a mistake thinking that it was right in front of his nose.
“It sure is big.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ng.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“It sure is close by.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ng.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Ohh, it’s opening up.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ng.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Yi Ji-Hyuk helplessly dropped his head.
Let me take a d*mn break for once! A person needs to rest, too!!
Uh-whew, this god d*mn situation, really now….! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk powerlessly forced himself to stand up.
“Aigoo, my sad, sad life.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Taking a break? As if.
< 234. Can’t even say it when in front -4 > Fin.