It was ‘possible’ for Choi Jung-Hoon to be here. Since he was not seen as a civilian, no one would’ve stopped him even if he had stepped into an active area of operations. The code scanners wouldn’t have reacted to his presence, after all.
So, that explained how he was able to enter this area completely unawares. While the agents were busy evacuating civilians by locating them with the code scanners and establishing a barricade, he must have missed them by a whisker. Fine.
But, what about this youth?
Regrettably, there wasn’t much time left to worry too deeply about this lost youth anymore. The previously-blurry shape had gotten so close that its appearance could be deciphered properly now, and pretty soon, that thing would rush towards their position.
Choi Jung-Hoon studied the soon-to-arrive creature.
A shape of a person – no, if one was being fastidious, a shape of a giant.
Although it was as least 3 metres in height, and possessed a rough appearance of a human with two arms and two legs, no sane person would call that “thing” a human, not by a long shot. By flaying a person, pumping that poor sucker full of banned substances and bloating him four, five times the normal size, only then would you have arrived at the rough appearance of that creature.
What was the name of that creature?
“Was it… Jarchev?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
It was probably something similar to that. Wasn’t it named after the first person who discovered it? What an evil and cruel irony, to name a monster after its victim, who had most likely been ripped to shreds by the monster.
Strictly speaking, it was not a rare entity. That monster was quite commonly seen. It wasn’t enough to raise such a huge fuss about.
The problems it might cause wouldn’t be too serious. Didn’t they say that this monster possessed enough strength to rip apart a bear with its own bare hands, as if it was a dried up squid? And that the monster never gave up pursuit of a prey it spotted beforehand? What about the fact that, even with that hulking physique, its top speed was as fast as a cheetah’s?
All of those were only minor issues.
Out of the above mentioned things, the monster seemed to have picked Choi Jung-Hoon and the youth as its targets, but even that was a minor issue.
The most important thing here was… the fact that he was going to be ripped to shreds by that monster. Considering that, everything else was a minor issue, really.
Even the strange youth seemed to agree with his notion.
“Wow? What is that? Why is a thing like that here?”
As if he was mystified, the youth stood up, slowly walked towards the rapidly approaching monster’s direction, and stuck his head out.
“Gross!! Why the hell does it look so terrible? Hey, ahjussi, what is that thing?”
“It’s a monster.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“But, why is there a monster here? Since when?”
“Been a while.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Ah, but that’s no good. Did I come to a wrong place?”
Choi Jung-Hoon chuckled bitterly.
Since he was about to die anyways, he put his mind at ease. This was nothing new really, since his job demanded that he put his life on the line all the time anyways.
However, this youth didn’t have the same job as Choi Jung-Hoon. He also probably didn’t have much experience seeing a monster, but as if he had several dozen screws loose in his head, he showed not one bit of fear even when facing a madly-dashing monster.
“Don’t run and just stay there. When he catches you after chasing you down, it’ll definitely rip you to shreds, but if you stay still, there’s a chance that it might simply kill you cleanly in one shot.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Wow. So it attacks people? That’s so crazy.”
You’re the crazy one here, you b*stard. – Choi Jung-Hoon.
There was no more time for chit chat.
The monster got within a dozen metre or so, before kicking the ground. Its large body became airborne and the creature flew towards the youth. Its right arm was pulled back tightly and one could clearly see the exposed muscle tissues wiggling around in a grotesque manner. Even an elephant would die immediately after getting struck by such a mean right hook.
However, the youth didn’t flinch, even after witnessing that spectacle.
‘Does he have something up his sleeve?’
Seeing the youth’s leisurely posture, Choi Jung-Hoon began developing a sliver of hope, which he shouldn’t have. Maybe, that youth had something going for him. Especially considering those bright eyes of his from before, which no ordinary youths should possess.
Could he be an ability user? Not only that, a high-level ability user that could take care of such a weak monster in a blink of an eye?
The youth confidently raised a finger and with a somewhat suspicious voice that contained a hint of sneer, he spoke.
There was an ear-splitting explosion, and then…
Leaving the final words of shield!! behind, the body of the hapless youth was flung away, and like a stone thrown by a Major League Baseball pitcher with all his might, skipped and bounced on the surface of the asphalt floor as if it was water until his head eventually got buried in the asphalt.
It was such a spectacular, bouncy event that, rather than feeling the dread and shock after witnessing the scene of someone dying, Choi Jung-Hoon simply muttered out an exclamation instead.
‘A human can fly around like that too, huh.’
Choi Jung-Hoon then prayed for the dead. He also prayed he’d die less painfully than that. Thankfully, he had learned something valuable before meeting his maker – even if one was crazy, be a nice crazy, so when one was to die, death would be nice as well.
‘He shouldn’t even tried to stand out in the first place…’
But that youth should find solace in the fact that, soon, Choi Jung-Hoon who had witnessed that Darwin Awards-worthy final moments, would also go through ‘evidence destruction process’ himself. No, was that supposed to be ‘witness destruction’, instead?
*SFX for a loud growling*
After blowing away the youth, the Jarchev turned its frenzied eyes towards Choi Jung-Hoon. He simply closed his eyes, and hoped for a painless death
It was then.
“Euha, ahahahaha!!! I nearly died just now!! I really, really almost got killed!! Wow!! I could have died, you know!! Dying!! Ehehehehe!! Wow. My shield didn’t activate at all. What a big shock, that was.”
From the far end of the street, the voice that could only be described as completely bonkers mad resounded out.
Choi Jung-Hoon opened his eyes in total disbelief
The youth that was bouncing around like a skipping stone on the water’s surface just now was walking closer while dusting himself off.
“What the… hell is going on?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Did it make any sort of sense to see someone so unscathed like this youth, after being flung around and bounced on the hard asphalt many times before landing head first into the ground?
Well, he wasn’t completely unscathed, though.
The youth had suffered a bloody nose. Two streams of blood dribbled down from both of his nostrils, but as if he was unaware of this, the youth was brightly smiling as he walked closer and closer in energetic steps.
It was as if… he was beyond ecstatic by the fact that he almost died after getting struck by this monster or something.
‘No, wait a damn minute here. What doesn’t make sense in the first place is him saying he almost died!!’
Choi Jung-Hoon was right, the youth should have been killed.
If one had any morals whatsoever, as a human it was his duty to die after getting hit by that kind of an attack.
*SFX for a loud growl. Again.*
The Jarchev monster too, lost his interest in Choi Jung-Hoon and shifted its gaze to the incoming youth.
‘You’re at a loss too, huh.’
Choi Jung-Hoon wasn’t sure how intelligent a Jarchev was, but if it had even the modicum of intelligence, surely it would be dumbfounded or panicking by now.
*SFX for an angry, loud growl*
‘Nope. It’s just p*ssed off.’
The Jarchev monster roared out suddenly and flew towards the youth. With an even more ferocity and speed than before, no less!
The youth stared at this scene and giggled as if he was really enjoying himself.
“Hey, ahjussi, did you see just now? I almost died back there. Euahahahat!! I can’t stop my nosebleed. It doesn’t want to stop!!”
‘Yes, yes, I saw it just fine. And now, I’ll also see you die for real this time…’
Choi Jung-Hoon ended up groaning out. He suddenly felt unhappy by the fact that his new friend accompanying him down the road to King Yama’s Palace was a crazy nutter.
“I mean, I almost died, you see… Eii, stop bothering me!”
Uttering some incomprehensible stuff out, the youth grew irritated by the Jarchev monster flying towards him. Regrettably, the Jarchev monster didn’t respect the irritation of the youth, and as if to finish its job properly this time, it struck with both of its large fists gathered together.
No, it should have struck.
But no such thing happened.
The youth simply took a step closer towards the descending Jarchev monster that had gathered both of its fists and lifted them way above its head. And then, as if he was waving a fan, the youth waved his hand towards the monster’s head.
In an instant, with a sound reminiscent of a watermelon shattering, the Jarchev monster’s head blew up.
That huge body powerlessly fell down to the ground in a heap.
The youth spotted bits of blood and flesh stuck to his palm and freaked out a little, and started shaking his soiled hand towards the ground. And when the brain matter didn’t want to come off, he squatted down next to the headless Jarchev monster and wiped his palm on the broad back of the dead creature.
Choi Jung-Hoon’s soul escaped as he stood there, watching all of this.
‘What the hell did I just see?!’
Whatever it was, it was something really big.
He was so, so sure of witnessing something big just now. He saw that young man put down a scary and powerful monster with one hit, so indeed, it was a big something, alright.
But, Choi Jung-Hoon’s shock wasn’t simply because of that alone.
He had seen a Jarchev before. He also had seen the killings of Jarchevs before, too. The problem here was, he had never, ever seen any human being so easily waste a Jarchev, as if he was simply picking his nose.
No, if he was to get technical, then there were a few people who could kill a Jarchev just as quickly. With one gesture of hand, they would burn it, freeze it, blow it away, whatever.
The difference being, one could take a guess the process on how such a result would come about, especially if it was Choi Jung-Hoon doing the analysis. However, that youth simply waved his hand around as if to chase away an annoying fly, and the head of Jarchev was gone the next second.
Choi Jung-Hoon could not figure out just what happened between that flick of a hand and the resulting scenery.
“Uh? Ah… yes, sir!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Before he knew it, honorifics started jumping out of Choi Jung-Hoon’s mouth.
The youth quietly studied the older man for a bit, before speaking in a deliberately pained voice.
“I am kind of feeling thirsty right now, after being flung around for a bit, so would you be nice enough to buy me another can of Coke?”
“……It would be my pleasure.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon walked personally to the vending machine and politely delivered the can to the youth. The youth smiled loosely and popped open the lid before downing the cold liquid in one go.
Choi Jung-Hoon’s face showed a whole bunch of complicated emotions as he gazed at the youth. Well now, just what should he do here? Just what could he do now that might resolve this absurd situation without an incident?
What helped out the undecided Choi Jung-Hoon’s mind was the distant wail of sirens.
*SFX for police siren*
“And they finally show up.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon sighed out while listening to the sounds of sirens fast approaching him.
They were beyond late by this point already.
“Uh? What’s going on?”
The youth didn’t seem to understand what was happening and looked this way and that.
*SFX for a heavy machinery making way*
What arrived before their eyes was a wheeled armoured combat vehicle.
Several of these armoured vehicles that seemingly felt out of place in this urban environment forcibly entered the street from all exits and entrances. A squadron of armoured vehicles in the middle of a regular city – it sure was a weird sight to behold.
When the hatches of the armoured vehicles opened up, many, many soldiers armed to the teeth with guns rushed out and surrounded the two men.
“Ahjussi, did we do something wrong?”
Choi Jung-Hoon shook his head.
“Well, no, not really.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Then, what’s wrong with these people?”
“Oh, it’s nothing to worry about, as long as you go with them for a little bit.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon pulled out a slender wallet out from his inner pocket and brought it out in the open. There was a silver badge inside the wallet, reflecting the sunlight brightly.
“My name is Choi Jung-Hoon from the KSF. I need to investigate the matters that had happened to you just now. It won’t take long, so please, come with us.” (Choi Jung-Hoon) (TL: No explanation given by the author as to what the acronym stands for, but my guess is the Korean Special Forces.)
“Under the provision of the Special Defense Law, a person of interest deemed to be an ability user can be held up to maximum of 72 hours at the behest of an official with a level two clearance, provided there is a clear basis for the action.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Please, accompany us.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
With the end of those words, and followed by the sounds of guns cocking, the muzzles of those scary rifles trained on the youth.
The youth looked at this sight, tilted his head slightly, and replied.
“Take him.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
The youth was still tilting head in confusion, even as the soldiers were dragging him away by both of his arms.
< 5. Ah, Is That So? – 2 > Fin.