A mistake… Indeed, it was a mistake on Yi Ji-Hyuk part.
As he used to possess the body of an immortal, what happened just now was the as-expected side effect of that unusual condition.
He couldn’t die no matter what hit him, nor where the battle took place. And he spent nearly thousands years like that, so, even in the middle of a fight, he never got to feel the sense of tension, the urgency, the dangers of getting killed.
However, he was no longer an immortal.
As if some of his inner organs were damaged, bitter tasting blood continued to ooze out of his throat.
Yi Ji-Hyuk shoved the tentacle/arm of the monster away.
The killer whale monster couldn’t control its thrown arm and took several awkward steps backwards. The ground seemed to shudder every time that giant creature took those retreating steps.
“Are, are you okay?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young asked with worries in her voice. Well, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s torso was dyeing in the colours of blood, after all.
“Do I look okay to you?! Can’t you see all this blood?? Aigoo~! My precious blood-like blood!! ….Oh, wait. That’s not right, is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head slightly.
What should he say in this type of situation?
His precious gold-like blood?
That… sounded odd, so no.
His precious money-like blood?
That too…. well….
What the hell. That’s not the important thing right now, is it?!
“Seriously, man. That hurts like hell.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He was used to pain, but since his wounds healed right away, the pain would dissipate in an instant. So, this experience was a new one for him, what with the wound not healing up right away and him continuously feeling the agony of grievous wounds.
A normal person would’ve thought that it was only par for the course, but to Yi Ji-Hyuk, it was a whole new world.
“Step back unless you want to get caught in it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I said, step back!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When his voice became an octave lower, Seo Ah-Young’s expressions hardened and she quickly retreated away.
She had nearly forgotten it.
No, rather than forgetting it, it was more like she had failed to register it properly; after all, this youth was the type of a person that made you lower your guard, the more you spoke to him. Whatever her thoughts were, Yi Ji-Hyuk was still one of the most dangerous individuals alive today.
Meanwhile, Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly wiped the blood off his nose and then, shook his hand to get rid of the droplets of bloodied seawater.
He was certainly not feeling too good right now.
He silently glared at the hordes of monsters.
All they could do was to growl lowly as Yi Ji-Hyuk’s glare swept past them, unable to even think about attacking him.
He didn’t really care about their reactions, though. Didn’t matter to him one way or the other – the end result would be the same regardless.
Clenching his fist, he pounced on the nearest Lizardman.
Roaring out like a bunch of beasts, the Lizardmen greeted him with their weapons.
With his arms strengthened with Mana, he brushed away the tridents closest to him and penetrated a throat of the monster with his bare hands.
*SFX for flesh and bones being crushed*
He could sense his fingers digging through soft muscle tissue. He then threw the hapless victim towards its friends.
The corpse of the Lizardman spun viciously in the air and it collided with the others of its kind, sucking them in a deadly whirlpool of destruction.
Fountains of water shot up, followed by screams and roars.
What a nostalgic sound that was to his ears.
Black-ish clouds of energy leaked out from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body, then began to form several large lumps around him.
These ‘Mana bullets’ danced and wavered in the air like masses of flames, before shooting out towards their targets. What followed soon afterwards was a series of loud explosion.
*SFX for screams and roars of monsters*
The grating noise created from the malformed vocal cords of the monsters dug painfully into the ears of those who listened.
“Drain.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sucked in all the strands of Mana floating around him.
*SFX for Mana being sucked in*
The killer whale swung its tentacle/arm again at Yi Ji-Hyuk. He simply jumped back slightly to avoid getting struck the second time.
As if an earthquake broke out, the spot where he stood on exploded in a shower of debris and a fountain of water, as the monster’s tentacle arm slammed down, hard.
Landing back on solid ground, Yi Ji-Hyuk gathered both his hands in front of his chest, and quickly changed the absorbed Mana into black magical energy.
This was a task so cumbersome and difficult, a regular sorcerer might have taken days to get it going, but for him, he only needed mere seconds.
After easily converting Mana into black magical energy as if he was simply breathing in air, Yi Ji-Hyuk spread open both arms.
The black lump of energy gathered in front of his chest wriggled, as if it was alive.
It continued to wriggle and grow larger, until suddenly, it shivered for a moment. Then…. tens of black energy tentacles exploded out from it.
Every single one of these tentacles moved and wriggled as if they were alive, and impaled the defenseless Lizardmen.
Screams unique to lizard-type creatures reverberated out to the world. And almost at the same time, black tentacles began swallowing them whole.
The still-breathing Lizardmen tried to struggle and break free, but the tentacles were like vicious, hungry snakes with their mouths wide open. Monsters were eaten up, one by one. Without an exception.
Yi Ji-Hyuk placed his palm on the origin of all these black tentacles and uttered a word.
*SFX for bones breaking*
Accompanying the sounds of bones shattering and breaking, occasional screams could be heard as well.
*SFX for crunching bones*
Lizardmen, caught within the black tentacles of magic energy, were crushed by the immense pressure until not even a single scale remained.
‘Hmm. This has higher efficiency.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He wondered what would happen if he absorbed Mana directly rather than going after what had leaked out from the dead bodies. So, he experimented with the spell ‘Life Drain’, and the result was that his Mana reserve filled up a lot quicker than before.
Since he was no different from a cheat OP character whose HP remained maxed out no matter what, he didn’t even bother to use a low-class spell like Life Drain before. But now that he had used it, it seemed that it’d give him a great tactical advantage in battles moving forward.
‘Nonono, hang on a minute! Battles moving forward?! Why am I thinking such horrible thoughts?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body trembled imperceptibly from the mental shock. Not too long after that, though, he spotted the only monster that remained standing and still managing to glare at him, the lone killer whale, and an ominous smile formed on his face.
Well, he felt happy, somewhat, by the fact that he had lost some of his blood. Why? Because, wasn’t it only right to pay back handsomely this debt of getting wounded, yeah?
“You….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The Mana emitting from his body danced and coagulated on his hands, then formed the shapes of long, sharp claws.
“….Better not think of dying easily today.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And then… Yi Ji-Hyuk shot towards the killer whale monster.
Seo Ah-Young was clenching her fists tightly.
It had been over five years since she started participating in the life and death struggle of subjugating the Gates.
She had witnessed many unbelievable things, and also participated in many horrible events as well, many of those times quite unwillingly, too.
She took pride in the knowledge that, she knew better than anyone what it was like to put one’s life on the line to fight for what she wanted to protect. And by now, she was convinced that nothing would faze her or make her completely gobsmacked.
However, the things happening in front of her eyes… That was just too far beyond her level of tolerance.
Right now, Yi Ji-Hyuk was using his hands to literally tear the killer whale monster into bits and pieces.
It wasn’t her exaggerating the situation. No, he was really tearing the monster apart, flesh by torn flesh, limb by limb, with his bare hands.
She could no longer see the original black-and-white hide of the monster, even if she wanted to. The killer whale monster was soaked in its own blood and completely overcome with terror. It mounted a desperate and pitiful resistance, but Yi Ji-Hyuk simply giggled hoarsely and continued to flay the monster alive.
‘So, this is what they meant by filleting a raw fish while it’s still alive…’ (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young’s gaze then shifted to Yi Ji-Hyuk next.
And she saw him, still giggling like a lunatic, but now, forcibly prying open the maws of the terrified monster.
‘He’s insane.’ (Seo Ah-Young)
That man, he definitely was not right in his head.
Yes, she knew that fact already. But now, that fact had taken a whole new dimension. Instead of screws loose in his head, he was…. His whole head wasn’t screwed down properly.
She had seen her share of countless lunatics and psychopaths before, yet not once she’d heard of, or indeed seen with her own eyes, one giggling in delight like that while ripping apart a monster into a gory mess.
If he had a countenance of a scary devil, then maybe, she wouldn’t have felt such a strong incongruity like now.
She recalled Choi Jung-Hoon’s warnings, the one he gave to her many times before.
Yi Ji-Hyuk. He was a dangerous man.
Her head understood this. But she had never taken that warning to her heart. But now… she could feel it. Right down to her bones.
That man, he was really, really dangerous.
She definitely didn’t want to become enemies with that man. She certainly didn’t want to end up like that whale monster, after all.
While casting her gaze down to the reddened foams washing up along with the incoming waves, Seo Ah-Young let out a soft sigh. She just saw the head of the whale monster, collapsed on the ground and barely breathing, that’s why.
Yi Ji-Hyuk landed one more kick to the head of the monster and killed it off completely. Then, caked head to toe in monster blood, he walked closer to Seo Ah-Young.
*SFX for water droplets falling down*
Yi Ji-Hyuk walked closer while cutting through the incoming waves. He then scooped up the seawater to wash the blood off his face and asked her.
“Do people eat raw whale meat?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Crazy b*stard.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Mm? Did you say something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, it’s nothing.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young’s expression wasn’t readable, as she turned her head away.
Yi Ji-Hyuk pulled out his phone, loaded a calculator app, and began tapping away.
“Now, let’s see. 122 frogs, dead. And one whale thingy, very dead.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon was frowning deeply to the side.
We aren’t even in a traditional medicine market or something, so why is this guy calculating as if he is working in one?!
Besides, those monsters weren’t frogs!! One should know how to separate lizards from frogs!
Isn’t this a totally messed-up thought process, that not even common sense can fix? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner stress level spiking)
Unable to shout out his inner thoughts, all Choi Jung-Hoon could do was pound on his chest in exasperation. He swore to go on a retreat to a bamboo forest or something and rest his weary soul, before all this stress caused a stroke and killed him.
The wise old they once said that the ears of an emperor was like the ears of a donkey, didn’t they!
While Choi Jung-Hoon was busy shouting inside his mind, Yi Ji-Hyuk simply looked at him and smiled somewhat sheepishly at the older KSF agent.
“Well, it comes to 1,320,000,000 Won. You know what, I’m feeling generous today, so why don’t I round off the 20 million? You can just hand over 1.3 billion.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL: just over $1.22 million)
“….How much?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“1.3. Billion.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
With a completely numb facial expression, Choi Jung-Hoon shifted his gaze to Seo Ah-Young.
Of course, she avoided his gaze right away.
“1.3 billion?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Wha, why are you looking at me for?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Choi Jung-Hoon’s eyes began spitting out figurative flames.
“Captain! Just what are you trying to achieve here?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Then, what would you have done? Many people would’ve lost their lives if I didn’t make the decision! They are more important than money, no?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Of, course, she was right.
Indeed, her thought process was correct, but…
“No, still!! Isn’t that amount too much?! It’s 1.3 billion!! Billion!! Where am I supposed to squeeze out that amount of money from?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“That, I, uh, I’ll leave it to Mister Jung-Hoon….” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Excuse me?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Although Seo Ah-Young did say what was in her mind, she must’ve recognised her own fault in the matter as well, since her shoulders shrunk back noticeably; also, she was sheepishly shuffling away from Choi Jung-Hoon.
Too bad for her, though – Choi Jung-Hoon was one tenacious customer.
“Hah? You think 1.3 billion will just fall out of the sky when you snap your fingers? How do you expect me to respond when you pull a stunt like this without consulting me first?! How am I supposed to report this to HQ now?! Just where am I supposed to deduct 1.3 billion out from?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I, I’m really sorry.” (Seo Ah-Young)
As if he had finally found the outlet to relieve the accumulated stress, Choi Jung-Hoon poured out all his dissatisfaction on the cowering Seo Ah-Young.
“Hey. So, like, it’s fine for you to argue back and forth, but…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Quite surprisingly, the person rescuing Seo Ah-Young from this sustained scolding was none other than Yi Ji-Hyuk.
Not even bothering to ask for the permission, he reached out and took away the packet of cigarettes from Choi Jung-Hoon’s jacket pocket, retrieved one, and lit up for himself.
“…But, why dontcha continue after you give me my money first?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“M, mister Yi Ji-Hyuk…” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon smiled awkwardly as he opened his mouth.
“She made a promise, so we will definitely pay you. However, please understand that government finances work in a… somewhat particular manner, so I can only furnish you with the promised payout after I submit the approval documents to the appropriate entity and receive the confirmation first.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“How long will that take?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If we’re lucky, around half a month or so.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“And if we’re not lucky, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If things get… delayed, it can take around six months. There have been cases in the past where complications delayed payments to nearly two years, but, hahaha, surely such a thing wouldn’t happen to you. Surely, not….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Huh. Hmm. Six months to two years, eh…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly turned his head towards the carcass of the killer whale monster, still aimlessly floating around on the water.
“Do you like sushi?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And just how was Choi Jung-Hoon supposed to interpret this question now?
His brain kicked into overdrive just to solve this quandary.
What would be this youth’s reason to ask that question, while gazing at the shredded gory mess of the monster?
Actually… he didn’t want to figure it out. But hell, his brain naturally ended up figuring it out anyways.
The blue smoke escaping Yi Ji-Hyuk’s lips slowly scattered into the air. Choi Jung-Hoon instinctively felt that, depending on how he answered here, he could get scattered just like that cigarette smoke.
“I’ll do my utmost best. However, since this matter is handled by another department unrelated to ours, I can’t do much to speed up the process, so….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“So, I guess you like sushi, huh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…….I’ll do my best to deposit the money before the end of today.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk formed a refreshing smile.
“I knew it. You are indeed a talented man.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
‘You rotten son of a….’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
The saddest thing about not being an ability user was that, one was unable to voice out what he wanted to say.
Fortunately enough, Choi Jung-Hoon was a true professional.
A smile remained on his face as he spoke up.
“We have zero casualties, and not one bit of infrastructure was destroyed in today’s incident. Taken as a whole, today’s subjugation effort has been a big success. So, how about it? Would you like to accompany us and enjoy a refreshing drink or two to celebrate?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head slowly.
“No, it’s fine. Thanks for asking, but I gotta get back home first. I might need a ride, though. You know where’s the nearest bus terminal?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Let me drive you home.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Oh, it’s okay, no need to trouble yourself. I’m sure a bus will take me back in no time.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s a five hour drive from here to Seoul.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Eh? It’s going to take that long?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Since he was flying around before, his sense of time related to distance had become somewhat distorted. Only now did he notice it.
“Don’t worry. I’ll take you home. Please, climb aboard.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“But, uh, looking like this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked down on his clothing. Seeing that wet tracksuit, soiled by dirt, mud, blood and seawater, Choi Jung-Hoon became convinced of one thing. And that was….
“I’ll task one of our agents to bring you a new set of clothes.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
….He had to protect the seats of his car. Definitely.
Well, do you have any idea how much I had to pay for that sweet ride?! (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“It’s a service, I presume?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…..Yes. It is…. a service.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Oh, thanks a bunch!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk chuckled, obviously pleased with this development. Meanwhile, Choi Jung-Hoon stared at the youth and let out a long sigh.
What a difficult man to figure out, this youth.
< 44. Please, have some common sense! -4 > Fin.