Chapter 72: We’d like to scout you, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk (2)

“You wanna scout me, huh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk uttered out, and the woman nodded her head in confirmation.

“This one is named Ito Sana. I have received orders from my nation and have come to scout you, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (TL: Jap names are written in the same order as in China/Korea – surnames come first.)

Kim Dah-Hyun shouted out with a hardened expression.

“What kind of bullsh*t are you people trying to pull here?!” (Kim Dah-Hyun)

For his troubles, his back hair got snatched and yanked down by Yi Ji-Hyuk rather unceremoniously.

“Hey, who appointed you as my agent, ah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Naturally, Kim Dah-Hyun couldn’t find an appropriate response to Yi Ji-Hyuk’s curt words and he silently crumpled to the side.

“So, let’s see. Scouting me, eh….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“That is correct.” (Ito Sana)

“What’s your offer?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“We promise the best treatment on the planet.” (Ito Sana)

Hearing this, Yi Ji-Hyuk simply yawned out.

“I’m asking you, what is included in that so-called best treatment on the planet?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Financial security is of course, and as for your family members, they shall receive treatment equalling that of foreign diplomats.” (Ito Sana)

Yi Ji-Hyuk looked over at Kim Dah-Hyun and asked the blonde man.

“What is this treatment equalling that of foreign diplomats thing?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I think, she means that you won’t end up in jail even if you do something wrong.” (Kim Dah-Hyun)

“What the. Why is she saying something so simple, in a complicated and roundabout way?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Well, she’s a foreigner, after all….” (Kim Dah-Hyun)

“Oh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

With a strange expression on his face, Yi Ji-Hyuk took a sweeping look at Ito Sana from head to toe. Inevitably, she shuddered ever so slightly as his gaze swept past.

What was this feeling just now? Could it have been humiliation?

Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue in annoyance, totally disregarding her emotions.

“Hey, you. You in charge of this ‘scouting me’ thingy?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Of course.” (Ito Sana)

“In that case, what is up with you and your crappy negotiation skills?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I, I don’t understand?” (Ito Sana)

“This is kinda like negotiating for an annual salary package, so, aren’t you supposed to come up with stuff like, how much you will pay me, how much bonus you’re willing to give, how will we work out the schedules for my off days, or even, how long will be my working hours?! Or, even things like how you will guarantee the livelihood of my family members if we move there! I mean, isn’t it the basic of all basic negotiation tactics to show how much better your terms are, compared to the ones offered by my current employers?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…..Uh, uhm….” (Ito Sana)

Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly shook his head.

What on earth, what is this girl even thinking?

Seriously, though. No one’s dumb enough to fall for this kind of unprepared rubbish. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Looky here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes?” (Ito Sana)

“You go back home, and tell your head honchos this.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk straightened his back and declared out loudly for the whole world to hear.

“You wanna scout this Yi Ji-Hyuk? Then, do your research properly. Get your sh*t in line first! And then, don’t forget to send someone who knows what they are doing. If you were planning to waste my time like this, then don’t even bother.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, we were just…” (Ito Sana)

“Hold it!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

A breathless voice came from right behind her. And behind her, Choi Jung-Hoon was half keeled over, his hands gripping the knees and drawing heavy, harsh breaths as if he had run the marathon of his life or something.

“We, pant, pant… did not permit you to make contact.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Oh, my? Was there a condition like that?” (Ito Sana)

“We’ll be grateful if you leave the country, today. We’ll definitely lodge an official complaint through the proper channels regarding today’s incident as well.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“It is very regretful, but we can’t help it, it seems. Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, we shall bid farewell at this moment, but I will look forward to us meeti….” (Ito Sana)

“Nope! That’s not how it works, you dumba*s!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Huh?” (Ito Sana)

“You’re supposed to give me your business card or something! You think I’m gonna suck on my thumb while waiting for you to call me first?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“……………..”

Ito Sana stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk in a total dazement, before finally snapping back to her senses. She hastily pulled out a business card from her purse to hand it over.

“H, here….” (Ito Sana)

“Hey, does this business card have the number for international callers?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“N, no, it d, doesn’t…..” (Ito Sana)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes narrowed to a slit.

“Why don’t you write it down, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I, I….. don’t have a pen…..” (Ito Sana)

Ito Sana hurriedly searched all over herself to find a pen, before her pleading eyes landed on Choi Jung-Hoon’s, neatly tucked in his upper breast pocket.

“W, what now?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Let’s live while helping each other.” (Ito Sana)

“What? What are you even on about?! We’re not supposed to ‘live while helping each other’, you know!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“But, that’s how human relationships should work, no? I’ve heard that Koreans are supposed to be a very caring bunch, but I must’ve heard wrong somewhere. Really now.” (Ito Sana)

Tilting his head, Yi Ji-Hyuk whispered to Kim Dah-Hyun next to him.

“What the hell? How come she’s so fluent in Korean all of a sudden?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I was wondering about that, too. Why did she speak so funnily like that until now?” (Kim Dah-Hyun)

Ito Sana successfully pried the pen from Choi Jung-Hoon’s unwilling grasp, and she finally got to write the contact number on the back of the business card. She then handed it over to Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“Here it is.” (Ito Sana)

“….Your superior officers must worry about you. By a lot.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“B, but…. I’m capable….” (Ito Sana)

“Just gimme another business card first, will ya?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

She didn’t ask why he wanted one, but still took it out and gave it to  him. Yi Ji-Hyuk wrote something down on the reverse side and gave it back to Ito Sana.

“Here’s my email address. Mail me your terms there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“!! I, I understand.” (Ito Sana)

Choi Jung-Hoon shouted out urgently from the side.

“Hul?! Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!! What do you think you’re doing?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“What now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

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“How can you act in a manner that betrays your own mother nation in front of these people?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted derisively.

“No matter who you are, you are free to choose your country and your workplace, right? Why are you asking me for something so bleedingly obvious?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, still!! Regardless!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Hah, if you’re scared of them offering me better terms, why dontcha improve my working conditions, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

What the f*ck?!?! You want what now?!

You showed up for work for only three days during the last three weeks, yet you want what?!

If you don’t want to come to work in the first place, why don’t you just be honest and say that, instead of this!!

What do you expect us to do here? Arghhhh!! You immoral b*stard!! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon turned around, looked up at the clear blue sky and began crying out in anguish without making a single noise. Meanwhile, Yi Ji-Hyuk bade Ito Sana goodbye by waving his hand.

“Hey, you. Make sure to put in a good word about me to your bosses, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ohhh, uhm…. Yes, I shall….” (Ito Sana)

As soon as that exchange was done, the hidden KSF agents popped out from seemingly nowhere, rushed in, and dragged the Japanese trio away. Even as she was being dragged away, she couldn’t take her eyes off the man named Yi Ji-Hyuk.

‘What a strange and peculiar man.’ (Ito Sana)

However, her mission for today had been accomplished , somehow partly in thanks to the target himself. Now, she just had to wait for the next opportunity to come around.

A smile slowly bloomed on her lips.

 

*

 

Inside the KSF’s conference room.

“Yi Ji-Hyuk…. He’s named Yi Ji-Hyuk, huh….”

The man sitting in the middle locked his fingers in front of his nose and grandly sighed out. And two other men sitting either side of him began their harsh tirade on poor Seo Ah-Young.

“Why haven’t you reported something like this until now, Director Seo?!”

“Report what, sir?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“The existence of this Yi Ji-Hyuk! That’s what!”

Seo Ah-Young feigned confusion and tilted her head.

“Since when did you show interest in one of our regular active agents? I thought such matters are things I should take care of in my own capacity.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Regular agent? Did you just say he’s a regular agent?!”

The man stood up abruptly and threw the documents up in the air rather theatrically.

Seo Ah-Young didn’t even flinch or blink once as she simply stared at the dancing papers in the air.

“You see these? All of these are the so-called official requests from other nations, wanting to know more about this Yi Ji-Hyuk!! Hell, these documents aren’t even from their intelligence agencies! They all carry the official seals of their respective heads of state! You understand that? Other countries are already hauling their a*ses trying to uncover more information on him before we can do something about it. But, how are we supposed to answer these requests?! Should we tell them that we don’t know either?”

“That’s not my fault, isn’t it? Blame the inept intelligence agencies.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“You!! Seo Ah-Young!!”

“That’s enough!” (the man in the middle)

Just as the voices and tempers were flaring up, the man in the middle unlocked his fingers and raised his head.

“Director Seo.” (the man in the middle)

“Yes.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“I see now that you have an agenda of your own, as well. Fine. It’s a welcoming sight for me, to see you aiming for one or two things on your own, especially when you occupy a position as tough as yours. However….” (the man in the middle)

“……….”

“Things have gotten out of control. Being discovered hiding a nuclear bomb wouldn’t have caused this much uproar, I’d wager. A weapon of mass destruction surpassing our worst imagination, one that even we didn’t know about, has been discovered nesting in our homeland. As you might have guessed, the upper management is in utter disarray as we speak.” (the man in the middle)

“So what, sir?” (Seo Ah-Young)

The man in the middle cleared his throat.

“Can you handle Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (the man in the middle)

Seo Ah-Young couldn’t help but chuckle softly under her breath.

‘Handle’ him?

Once upon a time she did believe such a thing was possible.

But now, the best she could do now was to keep him by her side and never let him out of her sight, at all times. That was the extent of what she could do.

“Do you believe such a thing is possible, sir?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Mm. Yes, I guess it is impossible. Indeed, it’s impossible.” (the man in the middle)

He didn’t even need to think too hard to figure that one out. If ‘handling’ Yi Ji-Hyuk sounded like an easy prospect, then they wouldn’t even have received some official papers asking for a bit of info on the youth. Definitely not.

The nations possessing a far greater might than the measly little Korea were cautiously inquiring about Yi Ji-Hyuk’s details. Yet, the government of that little Korea wished to ‘handle’ him?

What a funny joke that was.

The real power had this ability to easily transcend even that of a nation’s reaches and means.

“What kind of a man is he?” (the man in the middle)

“He’s the hard-to-figure-out type, sir.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“What about his desires?” (the man in the middle)

“He doesn’t have any.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Then, what does he want?” (the man in the middle)

“He also doesn’t have anything he wants. Not particularly, anyway.” (Seo Ah-Young)

Even as she said those words, Seo Ah-Young couldn’t help but feel just a bit strange. Did he really not have any desires and wants?

Could she be 100% sure that Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t have a single wish, that he didn’t want a single thing in this world?

No, she only based her opinion on what she had seen so far. So, was it fine to answer as confidently as she had done just now?

Realistically speaking, was there anyone on this third rock from the Sun  who knew what Yi Ji-Hyuk was cooking inside that brain of his?

Suddenly, Seo Ah-Young realised that she was a fool, trying to answer those questions. One little careful comb-over of her memories, and it became abundantly clear that Yi Ji-Hyuk was a man full of unanswered questions.

It was nigh on impossible to predict what he was thinking at any given moment, and his past was also shrouded in mystery, as well. More importantly, it was hard to tell what he was planning to do next.

And here she was, trying to say that she knew a lot about such a man.

“If it’s impossible to handle him, then at least, keep a close eye on him at all times.” (the man in the middle)

A wry smile formed on Seo Ah-Young’s lips.

Even this man in the middle came to the exact same conclusion as she had done. This order being issued, with these people present, was no different than declaring publicly that, as a nation, they had no real method of dealing with the problem called Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“I understand.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“I won’t hold you accountable for the last incident. No, you and your team created a miracle, so you deserve medals, instead. We’ll have suitable rewards ready. You did well, Director Seo.” (the man in the middle)

“You’re flattering me, sir.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Well then, meeting adjourned.” (the man in the middle)

After Seo Ah-Young left the conference room, the man in the middle leaned against the back of his seat and groaned out.

“Yi Ji-Hyuk….. Yi Ji-Hyuk, huh.”

Why did a monster like him have to appear here, of all places?

“I’ll have to revise everything from the ground up.”

What an extreme change in the situation this was.

In any case, if one were to map out a new plan of action, one needed to figure out the disposition of the new chess piece…

“Just what is he thinking about right now, I wonder?”

 

*

 

“Excuse me?” (Seo Ah-Young)

Seo Ah-Young tilted her head in confusion.

This guy here, what was he trying to do?

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“You want a large open space where it’ll be fine to pour out your abilities?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Yep.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head while shoving snacks down his gullet.

“I’m sure there are… places like that, but why?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“I need one.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….I’ll ask around. But, why do you need one?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Why? To toughen up, obviously.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Toughen up? Who will? You?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Nope. It’s you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“………?”

Seo Ah-Young’s head tilted to the side even further.

I’ll toughen up? Me?

“You want to toughen me… up?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Not just you, but all of yous.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…What are you even talking about?” (Seo Ah-Young)

Yi Ji-Hyuk deeply smirked.

“Stronger monsters will continue to pop out in the future, so how long were you planning on remaining a burden?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“A, a burden….” (Seo Ah-Young)

Seo Ah-Young shut her mouth shut. His words made her angry, nay, furious, but the truth was…. He was right.

Even if she was being generous, all her and her agents could do was to desperately delay the monsters until Yi Ji-Hyuk came to rescue them.

“So, what now? You want us to go on a secluded training or something?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Hah, you think that’s gonna help?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Then, what?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“You gotta taste suffering for a while. There’s the answer.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“……Eh?”

Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked ominously.

Rather than traditional training, one needed to suffer untold hardship until one arrived at the point of wishing for a quick, swift death, instead.

Then, one would naturally strive to become stronger, just so one could grasp that slim chance of survival. Well, that’s what happened to him anyways.

If he could’ve killed himself, he’d have done so a thousand years ago already. But, by failing to do that, the fate somehow led him to this precise moment in time. That sure was something, in a way.

“In any case, you in or not?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Seo Ah-Young lightly tapped on her cheek, her face showing her deep deliberation on the matter.

Her pride was definitely hurt from his piercing words, but still, she knew that he was right. She needed to become stronger, somehow. Unfortunately, if one’s abilities were that simple and pain-free to power up, then everyone would be doing precisely that, right now.

“Can you really make me stronger?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“But, of course.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Please, do remember that not everyone is like you, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“If you were capable of reaching my level, then I’d be breathing a sigh of relief by now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Excuse me?” (Seo Ah-Young)

Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly shook his head.

“Nope, that doesn’t matter! In any case, you’re the boss lady, so you decide! Decide, whether to do it or not.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

The figurative licks of flames burned in her eyes.

“If it means I can become stronger, I’m in.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Well, then. Use your authority to round up other ability users, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“We don’t have that many, though?” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Doesn’t matter. Bring everyone with you. What’s the point if only you get stronger? Am I right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Fine. However, that promise of you making us stronger…. Swear on it.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Of course, I will. But, promise me in return that you’ll do as exactly as I say. Deal?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“If it’s only that much…..” (Seo Ah-Young)

Hearing this, Yi Ji-Hyuk leisurely leaned back on the chair.

‘Hmm, I guess it’s time to slowly devour them.’

Now that he was more or less used to how the NDF operated, it was high time that he turned these folks into his agents, all for the purpose of doing his bidding.

It wouldn’t be easy, but then again, he figured that it wouldn’t take that long, either.

Kek, kek, kek, kek….

A deeply creepy smirk formed on his lips, as Yi Ji-Hyuk thought about the future plans.

Seeing that smile, a chill crawled up Seo Ah-Young’s scalp, but unfortunately for her, she had no idea that she just committed a grave error in judgement just now.

She should’ve never agreed to listen to Yi Ji-Hyuk’s orders.

The gates leading to the depths of hell had began swallowing her whole, and she wasn’t even aware of it yet.

 

< 72. We’d like to scout you, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk -2 > Fin.

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