Doh Gah-Yun’s mission was simple – to observe Yi Ji-Hyuk from the shadows, and to report immediately when he decided suddenly to leave his house. Oh, and also, never to clash with him.
Of course, she didn’t want to clash with Yi Ji-Hyuk in the first place. She only had one life, after all.
However, his somewhat unusual request was a difficult one to process. What he asked for, kind of felt small and unimportant to make the prompt report back to the HQ. But, well… at the same time, not reporting it would leave a bitter taste in her mouth.
‘First, take action. Report later.’ (Gah-Yun)
Doh Gah-Yun tasked other agents around Yi Ji-Hyuk’s vicinity with procuring a suitable vehicle. And then, she took him to the location where the Gate had opened recently.
As soon as he climbed aboard, Yi Ji-Hyuk pulled out his phone.
“Mom? It’s me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Doh Gah-Yun slightly turned her head to observe him in silence.
Now that she combed her memories, the target seemed to call his mother quite often. Could he be a mama’s boy?
“I might come home a little late… No, actually, I might not even make it back at all today.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
So far, his actions seemed sensible.
Yes, indeed it was sensible to call home and tell one’s parents that you’d be out for an extended period of time.
“No, hang on. It’s not like that. No, I’m telling you the truth!! I’m not going to a nightclub or something! Look, I told you I’m going to make money, didn’t I?! That’s why I’m… No, it’s the truth! What the heck? Mom, how can you not trust your son that much?! What? When did I ever make you trust me? Well, that is, uh…….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The sight of his facial expression gradually getting uglier looked really…. unsightly, actually. If this phone call carried on, he might really sink deep beneath the car’s cushions and disappear altogether.
“No, wait. Mom, it’s the truth….. Ng, but, I’m telling you the truth…. No, wait, please wait, no….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He continued to mutter ‘truth’ and ‘no, wait’ into the phone’s receiver. But before long, he ended the call with a downbeat face. For some reason, he then proceeded to lean his head against the car’s window and began muttering “I’m a human trash” over and over again.
Just what harsh words did he hear over the phone, that turned him into a depressed human wreckage resembling a soggy blanket?
To cause such a damage, wasn’t that on the level of a mind control ability user?
‘Evaluate his mother, too?’ (Gah-Yun)
While Doh Gah-Yun was thinking of unrelated matters, they finally arrived at the destination.
Without a word, Yi Ji-Hyuk climbed out of the car.
His slumped shoulders looked pitiful from behind.
“Okay, let’s see now…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sneakily surveyed the surroundings, and eventually, his eyes focused on one particular spot.
‘There it is!’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He could see a few places where lumps of Mana still floated about.
He leisurely walked over to one of the lumps and carefully studied it.
‘Yep, it is slowly dissipating.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Mana couldn’t mix with this so-called Ether, so it remained as a lump of sorts, but it seemed that, it did dissipate into the atmosphere if given a long enough time.
However, he still couldn’t figure out whether Mana was getting dispersed at the subatomic level after getting swept up by the laws of this world, or its nature was being forcibly changed to suit the new environment and then get assimilated instead.
Well, it didn’t matter to him right now, anyways.
He did confirm that Mana remained where a Gate had acted up, as well as that said Mana not remaining on the location for too long.
Which was too bad, really. If Mana did remain for a far longer period of time, then he could’ve just visited every single location where Gates had opened up, and sucked up all the juicy lumps of Mana. This wonderful plan of his would have to be shelved for good now.
And well, the remaining Mana in this location was much smaller than compared to the last time involving that Stone Golem.
‘But, still. This is better than nothing.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk giggled inwardly and activated a spell, ‘Drain’.
The lumps of Mana began to move towards Yi Ji-Hyuk, and then, got rapidly sucked into him.
Feeling something odd had happened, Doh Gah-Yun tilted her head slightly. It seemed like Yi Ji-Hyuk was doing something, yet she could not understand exactly what that was.
“Hey, you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When he called to her, she shifted her gaze towards him.
“Thanks a bunch.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
With those parting words, Yi Ji-Hyuk went poof! and disappeared from the spot.
Doh Gah-Yun scanned the area to find him, but she eventually gave up on doing that. Instead, she pulled out her phone and sent a text to the HQ. A thick vein was popping out on her forehead.
– Target, vanished.
She then stared long and hard at the words she just typed, before letting out a long sigh. She wordlessly climbed back into the car.
Early next morning, in the city of Pohang. (TL: Pohang is a seaport on the East Sea.)
People who came out early in the dawn to get some exercise in, all stopped what they were doing and descended on a certain beach.
And on the place where all of their gazes were concentrating on, something large and dark was slowly approaching the coastline.
“What the hell is that?”
“Could it be a monster? A real monster?”
“Monsters don’t come out of the sea.”
“Well, what is that thing, then?”
“Kinda looks like a submersible…. Are they Communist guerrillas or something?” (TL note at the end of the chapter)
“Wait, isn’t that a whale?”
“A whale? What?”
When one of the spectators mentioned a whale, everyone else narrowed their eyes and focused.
It did indeed resemble a whale, but…
Just which crazy whale would try to get this close to a coastline?
Sure, those killer whales or orcas or whatever, riding on the waves to bite onto unsuspecting seals on the beaches around the country, as well as those dolphins playing near the island of Ulleungdo, were another story altogether. This was completely different.
Logic dictated that what the crowd was seeing right now didn’t make any damn sense at all. So, what could they possibly do in a situation like this?
Why, they all pulled out their phones and started taking pictures, of course!
“Gotta upload it to my SNS profile real fast.”
“I’m gonna get record clicks.”
The onlookers were giggling like a bunch of loons while snapping the photos of the whale.
However, that bout of giggling only lasted for a short while.
Because…. they all sensed something was not quite right with this picture.
“H, hey, it’s still getting closer, right?”
“….What the f*ck. How close is that thing gonna get?”
“This scene, it’s like I’ve seen this scene before. Didn’t that movie also have a similar scene like this?”
“What movie? J*ws?”
“No, not that one, It’s a local.”
“….What the hell. Now that you mention it, if we linger here, aren’t we going to become monster snacks at this rate? You know, like in that movie?”
Although those words didn’t sound all that serious, the ripples created from the underlying meaning were indeed catastrophic.
The crowd of onlookers began to inch away from the coast.
“We, uh, we should start running away, no?”
“But, doesn’t it look like a regular whale?”
“Why would a whale come near a shore like that, unless it’s gone crazy?! Wait, even if a whale has gone insane, it would still not come near a shore! I lived here for over 20 years and I haven’t seen anything like this before!”
“Well, maybe it’s dead and it’s simply floating towards here.”
“Sure, do what makes you happy. I’m running away.”
The mob mentality finally took over and people began to beat a hasty retreat. By then, though, the ‘whale’ had finally touched down on the shore.
“Wait a minute. It is a whale.”
“Why would a whale…?”
As the questions of the onlookers continued to pile up, a young man suddenly walked out slowly from behind the whale and plopped down on the ground. He was completely soaked from head to toe.
This guy fished out a soggy packet of cigarettes, frowned deeply after realising everything inside was ruined, and he chucked it away in disgust.
“Uh-whew. I thought I was going to die.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Of course, this man was none other than Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Hey, ahjussi.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk suddenly called out to the nearest person, as the crowd slowly gathered around him.
“Can you help a brother out with a cigarette? Mine’s all wet.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, uh, sure thing.”
The ahjussi fished out a cigarette from his own packet and lit it up for Yi Ji-Hyuk, all the while carrying a somewhat perturbed expression.
Yi Ji-Hyuk dragged in the cloud of blue smoke deeply into his lungs and let it out slowly, before lying down on the ground.
“Man, that sure was a lot of work…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
His original idea was a good one. But then…
It’d been so much better if he could teleport to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to fish one or two fat tunas, but since his Mana reserve was too low for that, he had to give up on that idea.
Well, the truth was, he didn’t know the exact coordinates, so teleporting there was impossible to begin with. And flying there with the aid of the flight magic required quite a bit of Mana, a lot more than he soon realised.
So, in the end, he decided to raid the East Sea, instead!
It was all good right up until he found a minke whale that came up for a spot of air. He didn’t have to fly too far away, which was nice, and he was able to knock it out with a single kick to its head. All good.
However, this whale turned out to be a lot more fiercer opponent than he had bargained for.
He wrapped it up with wires and towed it back to the shore, but then, when he got to around the halfway mark, he realised that his Mana reserve wouldn’t make it. So, he ended up pushing it the rest of the way with his own physical strength, while being supported, somewhat, by the remaining Mana.
Now that was one hellish trudge he’d never ever like to endure again in his life…. But!
The result was quite large and quite beautiful to behold.
“Hehehe.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked at the unmoving whale half submerged in water, and grinned in a rather creepy manner.
“So, that thing’s worth ₩100,000,000, huh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL: around $92750)
He read an article online that a fresh whale could be traded for a cool one hundred million Won.
Besides, his catch was beyond the level of “fresh”.
Heck, technically speaking, that thing was still alive! A live fish!
No, wait. Whales were mammals, not fish.
So, hmm. A live mammal?
No matter, that thing was still a living, breathing whale!
As he was pushing it along towards the shore, he didn’t forget to kick it in the head and knock it out every time the whale gained some consciousness.
Yep, he had dragged the poor whale that was minding its own business forcibly to the shore that way.
He figured that its lungs might collapse if he dragged it all the way up to the shore. That was why he left it submerged in the water. What he had to do now, was to auction the sucker off and pocket the cash.
“Hey, ahjussi.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Where should I go if I wanna auction a whale off?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“An auction, you say?”
“Yep.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Probably at a seafood market, but… You wanna auction that?”
“What, is there a problem?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, the thing is…”
The man was eyeing Yi Ji-Hyuk with a difficult expression on his face.
“Make way. Make way!”
It was then, a handful of police officers made their way through the onlookers and arrived near where Yi Ji-Hyuk had plopped down.
“What’s going on here?”
“Excuse me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“This whale, did it get beached by itself or something?”
Suddenly, Yi Ji-Hyuk became super alert.
What did he mean, it got beached by itself?!
Didn’t he know how much Yi Ji-Hyuk had to suffer to bring it over here?
Yi Ji-Hyuk openly asserted his rights over the mammal in question.
“I caught that thing.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The police officers looked up and down at his soggy appearance with unconvinced expressions.
“Are you an ability user?”
“No, I’m not one of them, but I did catch this whale.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You aren’t even an ability user, but you still caught this huge whale by yourself?”
“Well, if you put it that way, it does sound a bit weird, but…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tucked his legs under him to get more comfortable and continued with what he wanted to say.
“Yep. I caught it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What the. What on earth were you thinking, young man!!”
Hearing this loud shout, Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but tilt his head sideways.
What was this officer on about now?
“Don’t you know that whaling is illegal?”
“Huh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s against the law to hunt whales! Wait, isn’t this common sense? Doesn’t everyone know this already?”
“It’s illegal?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was utterly flabbergasted as he tried to mount his defense.
“Wait!! If that’s the case, then where did the whale meat I ate until now come from?! Heck, I even saw an auction for the whale meat when I went to the local seafood market, you know!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That is called Incidental Catch, young man.”
“Eh? Incidental what now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What can you do, when you cast the net and things you didn’t intend to catch get caught up in it? Such instances are allowed, but deliberately trying to catch whales is going against the law. Do you understand the difference?”
“….What kind of a law is this broken?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You can argue legality in a courthouse, but…”
The police officers grabbed Yi Ji-Hyuk’s arms.
“For now, come with us to the police station.”
“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Please, stand up.”
“Hul………” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young’s brows were quaking quite violently.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, her eyes were firmly fixed on Yi Ji-Hyuk, currently deposited in a dark, dank corner of a holding cell like a wimpy little kid.
Could you even imagine how flabbergasted she was, when she received a call from the coast guard?
Hell, she even thought she had the misfortune of receiving a prank call, when she heard that a loon who illegally caught a whale was looking for her.
However, if it wasn’t for the word “loon”, she might not have realised it.
Well, she did have her hands full searching for a certain loon that made his grand entrance in her jurisdiction not too long ago, after all.
After some doubt crept into her mind with that word ‘loon’, she checked who it could be, and the result was…. Yup, as she suspected it, it was ‘her’ loon.
Stiffly, Seo Ah-Young changed the direction of her gaze.
And she spotted Choi Jung-Hoon to her side, double facepalming while groaning out grandly.
‘Do we really need this guy to join us?’ (Seo Ah-Young whispering)
‘What can we do?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon whispering back)
‘This is just way, waaaaay too much, you know.’ (Seo Ah-Young)
Choi Jung-Hoon lifted his gaze and stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk, still crumpled in the corner of the holding cell. Judging from that pathetic sight, clearly his soul had abandoned him some time ago.
“Please, have some common sense!! I beg you!!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Wordlessly, Yi Ji-Hyuk dropped his head low.
“Why?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
And finally, Seo Ah-Young opened her cannon, AKA her mouth, as well.
“Just what were you thinking? What?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Again, without a reply, Yi Ji-Hyuk became even smaller at the corner of the cell.
Seo Ah-Young began clenching her fist.
Just what would she give, for a single punch to his face? Just one!
She’d have nothing to wish for, if she could just land one single punch to that man’s mug!!
“Just how senseless can you be, to think about catching a whale, of all things?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk avoided all the heated gazes locked onto him and pretended to not hear the questioning remarks.
Even though he was doing that, he really had nothing smart to say this time around.
“And, besides that!! I don’t care if you were out catching whales or sharks or whatever!! But, why do you keep involving us whenever you find yourself in a jam, instead of solving it yourself?! What’s your deal here? You said you don’t want to work with us, yet when it’s convenient for you, you want us to help you?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Well, uh, the thing is….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk began sweating profusely.
“You could’ve called your family! You have legal guardians now, don’t you? So, why are calling people as busy as us to come and bail you out?! What is your damn problem?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s trembling eyes were directed towards Seo Ah-Young.
His expression was so pitiful, even she couldn’t help but feel her anger cool down instantly.
“Mom, she will….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mom will?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Mom will kill me if she finds out…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Mom told him, in no uncertain terms, not to cause an incident, after all….
If she found out that he got thrown into jail after illegally fishing a whale, she might really snap his spine backwards.
“I understand what you’re saying, but…” (Seo Ah-Young)
Suddenly recalling the intimidating aura of madam Park Seon-Duk, Seo Ah-Young found herself nodding along.
“Still, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk! We’re really busy people, don’t you know that by now? We have too many things to attend to!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk continued with his pretense of not hearing her and fidgeted around in the corner of the holding cell.
“We’ve been bending over backwards to accommodate you, but, shouldn’t our exchange be more like ‘give and take’? I mean, if you keep asking us for favours, yet you give back none, so at this rate, we are not going to enjoy this at all, you understand? Not even once or twice, just what do you expect us to do? Hell, if you were planning to get our help, you shouldn’t even have chased us out back then!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“I’m really sorry.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
From the mouth of Yi Ji-Hyuk, an incredibly rare thing called ‘apology’ leaked out.
“Hmph!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Now that she was about to grasp the victory flag, she decided to drive in the final nail in the coffin.
“You think we can help you now?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Fat chance! You committed a crime. We have no jurisdiction here and there’s nothing we can do for you in this case. You gotta solve this by yourself.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Hul……..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Now let’s see. Wasn’t the punishment for the offense of illegal whaling either the fine of ₩30,000,000 or three years in jail? Well, you said being in prison is nothing to you, so enjoy your time inside.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Despair dyed Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face in a pale colour.
Now that she was seeing such an expression, a victorious grin found its way into Seo Ah-Young’s lips.
“That is why, you shouldn’t make fun of…..” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Excuse me, Captain?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I mean, if it was left up to me, I’d, really, seriously….!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Excuse me!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
When Choi Jung-Hoon’s voice became louder, Seo Ah-Young replied with her own high-pitched shout out of frustration.
“What now?!?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Without another word, Choi Jung-Hoon pointed towards the vast blue ocean beyond the window. And then, spoke up.
“A Gate isn’t supposed to open up in a sea, yes?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Automatically, her head snapped towards the ocean.
From the distant sea, countless somethings were creeping ever closer to the shore.
Seo Ah-Young clenched her fists real tightly.
Anybody could tell from the things’ upper bodies exposed above water, that those creatures didn’t belong to Earth.
Seo Ah-Young’s brain quickly spun into gear.
Monsters were almost at the proverbial doorstep. However, by the time military support arrived, this whole city would’ve turned into hell on earth.
And the only agent from the KSF that could enter the battle was her.
Unfortunately, it was practically impossible for her to fight against that many monsters all alone.
And, the only other available combat force was….
Seo Ah-Young snapped her gaze back inside the holding cell.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Seo Ah-Young)
And from within that holding cell….
With a facial expression that seemed to have gathered every little bit of resentment and anger existing in the whole world, Yi Ji-Hyuk replied to her in the most cantankerous manner humanly possible.
“Whatcha want now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young facepalmed right then.
‘I’m screwed.’ (Seo Ah-Young)
< 41. Please, have some common sense! -1 > Fin
(TL: Only the South Koreans of certain age would’ve caught onto this little reference. I too had no idea. Back in 1968, 120 North Korean agents sneaked in through the coastal regions of Uljin and Samcheok of South Korea and for the next two months, went on a guerilla warfare. Very Red Dawn-like, if you ask me. Or should that be Invasion USA, instead? Out of the 120, 7 got caught and the rest were KIA. I made none of this sh*t up. It happened for real. Too bad, there doesn’t seem to be an English Wikipedia page for this incident; it’s only in Korean.)