Yi Ji-Hyuk returned to his room and accessed the World Wide Web.
“Now then, let’s see….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If he wanted to make a quick buck, then there were lots of ways, without a doubt.
What was that? Was he trying to make fun of all those countless people who struggled every day of their lives to put food on the table?
Well, actually – the thing was, Yi Ji-Hyuk had struggled far harder than any of those people, for around 500 years longer.
Heck, at least on this side, there were stuff like labour laws and regulations!
Yi Ji-Hyuk typed ‘Most expensive’ on the Gogle search window. (TL: Yup, that was intentional.)
Most expensive pets?
Nope, not interested. Next.
Most expensive minerals?
Equally not interested. Next.
Most expensive food?
No need to even click on that one. Pass.
Like this, he skipped over those things that were already “thought of” by someone else, and after that, the remaining items of interest were…
“Fish?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expressions brightened.
He performed a quick and dirty search online, and it turned out that a certain specimen of the Chinese bahabe fetched as much as ₩200,000,000 at the market. (TL: Around $185,000)
“This, can’t I catch this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It seemed that the population number for this particular fish was quite low, so it’d be more like winning a lottery or something, when trying to catch one.
The probability was too low for his liking…
Suddenly, Yi Ji-Hyuk stopped browsing the net, and his eyes began quaking from pure shock.
“What? A single tuna fetched ₩1,800,000,000?!” (TL: Around $1.66 mil.)
What on earth… Wasn’t that more like catching a dang Kraken or something, instead of a stupid tuna?!
Just how could a single fish fetch such a sky high price?
From what he could find out online, it seemed that, even if he personally fished out a few decent tunas – not as high-quality as that ridiculous ₩1.8 billion one, though – he might be able to earn around 40~50 million Won each. (TL: ₩40,000,000 = around $370,000)
In other words, if he caught 10, he’d be able to easily amass 400~500 million Won.
Sure, there were pesky things like taxes and local laws to worry about, but he could resolve those one way or the other, so nothing to fret about there.
Indeed, there was nothing in this world that didn’t have a solution of some kind.
Of course, there were more ways to make money, if he so choose.
Even if those methods seemed impossible to normal people, he’d be able to succeed somehow, as long as he made up his mind on the matter.
Hell, if he decided to go beyond the scope of the law, then well, there would be even more naughty doors for him to pry open.
For instance, if he went out now and bought himself a mask and a pair of gloves, put them on and teleported to a city in America, and then, proceeded to rob a bank or something, would those Yankee cops be able to track him down at all?
Hell no. Not very likely.
Yes, it was definitely not the case of Yi Ji-Hyuk being unable to make money.
No, the only reason why he was lazing around until now was because… well, it was just too much damn work and he found it all too bothersome, so he just wanted to live off what the family already had.
However, since the fate decided to tackle him off this path, he’d have to find a solution now.
Yi Ji-Hyuk giggled to himself while browsing the net, before suddenly getting up from his seat.
He had already reaffirmed that there were many, many ways to make money.
However, there was one problem he had to solve first…
“I’ve got no Mana…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He trembled in bitterness.
With Mana, there was literally nothing he couldn’t do.
Sure, there was a limitation of him only doing things that wouldn’t attract any attention to himself, as well as keeping those annoying KSF flies from annoying him even further, but still, that was something.
If he simply flew around the Pacific Ocean, find and fish out an adequately fat and juicy tuna, then teleport it to Japan, he’d be able to earn as much as ₩1,000,000,000 in one go, easy as pie.
However… he had no Mana left.
No, actually, there was a tiny little bit left, but this amount was obviously not enough to do anything meaningful.
Currently, the best way to describe Yi Ji-Hyuk’s condition, was to compare him to a rechargeable battery.
If he didn’t get topped up with Mana after discharging some, then he’d be left with nothing but his hard-as-rock shell.
So, what should he be doing before anything else, then?
“Looks like I need to find a source of Mana.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The simplest method was, indeed, the ‘Gates’.
Wait around at a likely location until a Gate open up, and when the boys and gals of the KSF mop up the monsters, he’d simply pop in unnoticed and drain away all the residual Mana from the scene, and et voila!!
What a foolproof plan!
Yi Ji-Hyuk whistled cheerfully as he prepared to go outside.
“Where are you going now?” (mom)
“Just taking a walk, mom.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Don’t be late…” (mom)
Hearing mom’s powerless voice, Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked slightly.
“Mom.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Don’t you worry now. I’ll make lots of money real quickly. You’ll see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Sure, sure.” (mom)
“Wait, I’m serious, you know!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…..Yes, yes. Thanks.” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk wiped the corners of his rapidly-moistening eyes.
How could she not believe her own son that much?
However, if one thought about it seriously, then it kinda made sense.
After all, the only things he did since his return to planet Earth were mostly him playing computer games, while reading web novels as he lazily lounged around, the only form of exercise being scratching an itch down his stomach.
When looked at objectively, he wouldn’t be able to argue against the label of “freeloading leech” placed on him.
Sure, his academic achievements were at the bottom of the heap, so to speak, but even after considering that fact, who would look at him in a favourable light when all he did was to laze around at home with that perfectly healthy body of his, every single day?
Only because he was mom’s flesh and blood that she tolerated it to a degree.
No, actually, if one thought about the obvious fact of pretty much every male in his age group either serving in the military, or studying in a university, then, the treatment he was getting from his parents could even be called rather generous/excessive.
He was more than well aware of this fact, sure.
Indeed, he understood this fact very much, yet….
‘A single moment can change a man’s life.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yup, as soon as he make a ton of money, the way his family treated him should go a complete transformation.
His life might not go through a world-changing transformation, but small things, such as his computer getting an upgrade, the chair he was sitting on might get swapped out for one with a softer cushions, etc, etc…
Wait, is that all?
What the heck. I really don’t need a lot of things, huh. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s bemused inner thoughts)
Yi Ji-Hyuk chuckled bitterly as he stepped outside the apartment.
Arriving on the foyer after a short ride on the creaky elevator, the first thing greeting him was the cold breeze.
“For now, I should…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Uhm, excuse me…”
“What the f#%@#ck?!?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
A voice suddenly came from his unguarded rear and Yi Ji-Hyuk jumped up in fright. He automatically clutched his chest, trying to calm down his frightened heart.
“Gee whiz, you scared me half to death!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When he hurriedly turned around to take a look, he found a somewhat familiar blonde girl standing there.
Now, who could this girl be?
Could she be an assassin? Whatchamacallit, the kunoichi, a female ninja?
She looked plain and normal, but how could she escape undetected from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s perception?
‘Is it because she’s a normal person?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yep, he correctly hit the nail in the head, there.
There was no way a lifeform emitting even a hint of Mana could escape from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s perception. Those ability users brimming with Ether in this world were also the same. Even if the emission itself was different, once there was a certain amount of it gathered, there would be a distortion in the space for him to detect it.
However, regular folks with little to no Ether proved to be hard for Yi Ji-Hyuk to detect.
Still, even after considering this fact, to approach him undetected while even keeping her breathing inaudible, now that had to be some kind of an abnormal talent or something…
“What the? How long have you been here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
While shaking slightly from the shock, Yi Ji-Hyuk asked the girl.
What was her name again? Was it Kim Dah-Som?
She lowered her red and wind-beaten face and carefully pushed something to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“What’s this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It, it’s just some cookies I baked earlier.” (Kim Dah-Som)
“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I, I thought you might not be interested in clothing, but would rather be happier with something edible, so…” (Kim Dah-Som)
“No, wait. That’s not the issue here…. Why are you giving me these?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s to show my gratitude from the last time…” (Kim Dah-Som)
“Oh. So, basically…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Basically, she was showing gratitude for him rescuing her from Ye-Won’s bullying last time. Something like that.
Sure, that’s fine. Good.
What a wonderful and kind hearted gesture this was.
Truly wonderful, indeed!
However, that was not the important issue here.
“Okay, how long have you been waiting for me out here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk should be considered as a being in the same category of a rare mob that appeared very infrequently in a field map.
His eventual appearance was a guaranteed event, but like that rare mob, no one would be able to exactly pinpoint when he’d show up.
However, she somehow coincidentally came today of all days, run into him at this very minute totally coincidentally, and get to hand over that cookie basket to him?
And at this rather late hour?
He called that a case of pure BS.
So, that only left one possibility of this blondie camping out here until he decided to head out. How should he describe this situation, then…?
‘That’s a bit scary…’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It hasn’t been long.” (Kim Dah-Som)
“Okay, so how long has it been, exactly?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Uhm, since the school ended?” (Kim Dah-Som)
At a bare minimum, around five hours, then.
She had set up a stakeout near the foyer of the building for Yi Ji-Hyuk for hours, someone who might or might not come out at all…
So, how should he call this? What was the term other people used to describe this event?
A stalking fan?
No, wait. That couldn’t be it.
Because, Yi Ji-Hyuk wasn’t a celebrity. So, no fans for him….
He slowly shook his head.
No, it was quite terrible of him to stick a kind-hearted child with an incorrect label.
Well, it could very well be that she was a reeeeeaaaaaally kind-hearted child who unfortunately failed to find an easier avenue to show her gratitude, and had to endure hardship until now.
Yes, that had to be it!!
Yi Ji-Hyuk smiled awkwardly and spoke to her.
“S, sure thing. I’ll enjoy them. Really, I mean it. You didn’t have to do this, though. Haha, hahaha….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
However, was it really okay to eat these cookies?
There shouldn’t be anything… uh, inedible in them, surely?
Most of the time, people would often find themselves latching onto, and obsessing over, a moment of hostility instead of friendship.
Seriously now, this blondie knew that he was Ye-Won’s older brother, so there was a certain possibility of a whole bottle of laxative or some such finding its way into the recipe.
What were the odds of this blondie enjoying the sight of him sharing these cookies with Ye-Won, only for the duo to seek out the safety of a toilet bowl like a pair of crazed madmen?
“Really, it wasn’t much.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Oblivious to Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner thoughts, Kim Dah-Som replied with a blushing face – most likely from the chilly winds more than anything else – and quickly bowed her head.
“Well, then…” (Kim Dah-Som)
“You’re going home?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes. I’ve done what I came here for.” (Kim Dah-Som)
“Okay. Be careful on your way back.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I will.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smiled and nodded, and Kim Dah-Som smiled back at him.
But, quite unlike her reply just now, she showed not one trace of moving from the spot.
“….Didn’t you say you were going now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at her for a while.
Although she was hiding it well below the surface, well, her strongly glittering eyes failed to fully disguise her real emotions.
Uhm, so, what should I say in a situation like this?
I thanked her already, so, is there anything else…?
“….You want me to accompany you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, no. It’s fine. I’m sure you’re too busy with your own matters……..” (Kim Dah-Som)
Please, stop blurring the end of your sentence like that!
You should speak your mind in full, you know!
Be upfront about it, so others can, at least, not misunderstand what you’re trying to convey!!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s exasperated inner monologue)
“Oh, is that so? I guess you want to go alone, then.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“……..Yes.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Hmm… Was that a real yes or did I hear incorrectly?
“Oh, well. I was going out anyways, so why not…. Okay, let’s go. Where to?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Defeated thoroughly by the blondie’s pleading eyes, Yi Ji-Hyuk asked her powerlessly.
“But, there’s really no need……” (Kim Dah-Som)
Her lips said those words, yet Kim Dah-Som’s body was already smoothly sliding to the position right next to Yi Ji-Hyuk’s. Not only that, she was deliberately walking slowly, as if he’d stop following her for some reason.
‘She’s… easy to read, huh.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yep, she was indeed very easy to see through.
And that was why she was even more scarier than before.
Now that he thought about it for a second, most people would dye their hair to another colour as soon as trouble came knocking on their doors. But, this girl endured it until she got eventually dragged away by a group of delinquents…. Yep, this girl was definitely not an ordinary human being.
No, hang on a minute. At this point in time, she had exceeded the level of being a mere ‘human being’ already!
Just which normal human being would wait hours and hours for someone who might or might not appear just to hand over some cookies…?
Suddenly, Yi Ji-Hyuk thought of something, and he decided to confirm it, albeit with a voice shaking quite noticeably now.
“Hey, uh… By any chance…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes?” (Kim Dah-Som)
“Were you waiting for me yesterday as well?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Well. He didn’t need to hear her answer to know.
The silence itself was the answer. No word spoken was the affirmation in itself.
Yi Ji-Hyuk barely suppressed the urge to turn around and run in the opposite direction as fast as he could, then cautiously studied the girl’s face.
Seeing that near-clueless facial expression of hers, which kinda implied that she had no idea what he was on about, a certain sense of bitterness rapidly filled up his head.
‘….I should refrain from leaving the house from now on.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Or, he could just fly out of the window. That could work.
And so, Yi Ji-Hyuk somehow managed to escort Kim Dah-Som to her home. That sure was awkward. After finishing up, he took a look around to make sure no one was around, and spoke up.
“Hey, come out for a second.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
*SFX for fabric rustling*
As if it was now a matter of course, Doh Gah-Yun slowly revealed herself.
Actually, both of these people were the strange ones, of course. The one following him knew full well that he knew she was there, yet still chose to follow in hiding with that stealth ability of hers. Meanwhile, the guy being followed knew he was being tailed, yet decided not to give a damn.
Strange people, indeed.
“How many Gates are there that’s close to opening up right now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Doh Gah-Yun tilted her head slightly.
Simply by checking online where the orders for evacuation had been issued, he’d be able to find the relevant locations, yet the person pretty much married to his computer didn’t know this, and was asking her instead?
‘Low intelligence.’ (Gah-Yun)
Yet another point of consideration had been added to the ‘list’.
“Currently, three Gates, in South Korea.” (Gah-Yun)
“Where are they?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Busan. Gyeongju. Naju.” (Gah-Yun)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a groan.
“They are all far away.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If they were all so far away, then his plans of waiting in the wings had to be modified slightly now.
Yi Ji-Hyuk thought for a bit, before his face brightened as a new idea popped in. With an energetic voice, he asked the impassive girl.
“Hey, what about a Gate that opened up recently near here? Except the one that you dragged me to.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Doh Gah-Yun tilted her head again, unable to figure out what he wanted this time.
“Preferably, one that spat out strong monsters.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s smile on his face at that moment… was rather creepy.
< 40. You don’t trust your son that much? -5 > Fin.