“You are? Really?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Speaking so rudely to someone who’s clearly older than he is!
Does he think I can’t understand Korean well?
Even though I spoke so fluently just now? (Kitamura Ren’s inner monologue)
Ren snorted derisively, thinking that Yi Ji-Hyuk had to be a moron.
“Is this how Koreans treat a person coming to lend support? In that case, I shall simply go back and lodge a formal complaint.” (Kitamura Ren)
“Sure, do whatever you want.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk waved his hand around, totally disinterested.
Seeing that attitude that screamed Go away if you’ve finished saying your piece, Ren ended up biting his lower lip in annoyance. It was as if this guy took a class in how to be as rude as possible to a complete stranger.
“Do you not have any manners towards your elders? No matter how badly you have been educated while growing up, this attitude of yours is truly appalling.” (Kitamura Ren)
“Wow, this guy is really good in Korean, no? So, why did that woman show up the last time, I wonder?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m the one speaking right now!” (Kitamura Ren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk just smirked right back.
“Why don’t you just heal this guy first? Or have you found yourself enough free time to bicker with me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m under no obligation to heal anyone in a situation like this. I’m not just a simple healer – I’m carrying out a very important mission issued by my nation.” (Kitamura Ren)
“So what? You don’t wanna heal this guy, is that it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I shall think about it when you apologise to me first.” (Ren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk replied in a disinterested tone of voice.
“You can just leave, then. No real need to revive him, anyways.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Ren found this youth’s nonchalant attitude really odious, and could only form a question in his head that said, What is up with this b*stard?
It was then, Ren’s phone went off.
While feeling rather mystified by the fact that he could still receive calls in this remote location, Ren answered it.
“Yes, hello.” (Ren)
– “I’ll say this, just in case.”
“Yes, sir. Please speak.” (Ren)
– “In that location, you will find a man named Yi Ji-Hyuk.”
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, is it?” (Ren)
– “Under no circumstances, you’ll not clash with him no matter what happens. In layman’s terms, do not cause a trouble there. If you somehow end up in an antagonistic position against him, your nation will not forgive you.”
“I wholeheartedly understand, sir.” (Ren)
Kitamura Ren ended the call, and as his expression hardened with resolve, he asked aloud.
“Who is Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk among you?” (Ren)
Naturally, everyone’s stares pointed at one certain youth.
Really now, Korean’s way of answering is quite odd, isn’t it…?
So, then. This Yi Ji-Hyuk is…. (Ren’s inner monologue)
“It’s you?!” (Ren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk wordlessly nodded his head.
Without making another reply, Yi Ji-Hyuk pulled out his phone. He dialled a number he received not too long ago, and as soon as the call got through, began talking to whoever was on the other side.
“Hey, really now. Me asking for a healer isn’t all that difficult a request, is it? How can this qualify as treating me right? I mean, you guys can sure talk up nicely and all that, but you can’t even do this one little thing properly, so how can I trust you guys enough to start working for you? Don’t you agree? Seriously, this is nonsense, man! If I asked you for something really tough, sure, I wouldn’t be this livid, but this is just too much! Too much, I tell you!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Then, he ended the call right there. A bright, pure smile formed on his face as he stared at Ren.
And for some reason, cold perspiration began condensing on Ren’s backside.
Ren’s phone began vibrating just now.
With a sorrowful face, Ren pulled out his phone again.
Should I answer this?
But, I can pretty much tell what will be said, though. So….
So, should I really answer this call? (Ren’s inner monologue)
There were plenty of things in this world that Kitamura Ren wasn’t too keen on doing. And this thing, this answering the call right now, he felt especially not very keen on doing that.
Ren cautiously tapped the ‘answer’ icon on the phone. His expressions gradually became worse and worse as he listened.
While holding on to the phone with shaking hands, Ren made a stiff and formal-sounding reply, and ended the call with a deathly pale expression. Then, he carefully approached Yi Ji-Hyuk and made a polite inquiry.
“Should I start healing this man now?” (Ren)
“Go away.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I would like to perform my duties. I’m very serious.” (Ren)
“It’s fine. So, go.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“N, no! I dearly wish to heal this man! I can definitely do it! P, please, allow me to do this!!!” (Ren)
“What the. Hey you, you aren’t a Korean Japanese, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Cuz, you know, you speak Korean better than me and everything.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….That person will really die at this rate.” (Ren)
Ren became noticeably restless as he looked at the worsening condition of Yun Hyuk-Gyu. Yi Ji-Hyuk finally nodded his head.
“Okay, go and heal him.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
As soon as Yi Ji-Hyuk gave the go ahead, Kitamura Ren didn’t say anything else and just placed his hands on Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s prone body. He began pouring in Ether into the seemingly-dead man.
But, as he was doing so, a rather chilling announcement entered Ren’s ears.
“The thing is, healing that guy might not necessarily be the best thing for him, though.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t elaborate any further.
Not too long afterwards, all the wounds on Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s body miraculously disappeared as if they were never there to begin with, allowing the man to unsteadily stand up.
‘His healing ability is better than I expected.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Actually, Yi Ji-Hyuk made sure not to leave behind any ever-lasting damage to Yun Hyuk-Gyu, only causing some superficial wounds that only looked horrific with bits of blood oozing out and stuff.
Still, one would’ve needed a month’s stay at the best hospital out there to fully recuperate. To completely heal such a condition in a few moments could only point towards this Japanese dude being a very useful, high-level ability user.
At the bare minimum, he was around the same level of a high-ranking priest in Berafe.
Yi Ji-Hyuk wasn’t sure what the story might be for a large-scale healing attempt, but as for treating a single person, Ren was almost as good, if not better, as those high ranking priests.
Someone with this kind of ability would definitely be under a very focused and careful management of his respective nation, so for Japan to send him over at such a short notice, it showed how sincere they were about recruiting Yi Ji-Hyuk.
‘It’s good to have lots of lines to reel in.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Even if he wasn’t planning on reeling in every single line he had cast out, he’d lose nothing by holding on to a few. In the past, he’d seen countless instances of what seemed to be the surest, finest toughened steel lines being cut unceremoniously. Not to mention, there were countless times when the seemingly-useless and decrepit-looking line that hadn’t been thrown away for one reason or the other proving to be the true remaining lifeline.
Long story short, there was no need to push away those that came to his side on their own accord. Sooner or later, he’d find the right opportunities to utilise the line.
“So, you’re finally up?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spoke up while looking at Yun Hyuk-Gyu stumbling around a little.
Yun Hyuk-Gyu hurriedly avoided meeting the gaze and lowered his head, trembling like a patient suffering from malaria. Overall, he kind of resembled a puppy lowering its tail while shivering in fear.
No matter who saw this scene, they would have thought that it was a pitiful thing to see a man so full of energy and fighting spirit a few minutes ago being reduced to such a miserable state.
Unfortunately, Yi Ji-Hyuk was not included in the definition of ‘no matter who’.
“So, shall we get going again?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“N, no!! I’m sorry!! I’m so, sorry!! I’m truly sorry!!” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)
After witnessing Yun Hyuk-Gyu continuously mumble out “I’m sorry” thousands of times, Kitamura Ren couldn’t help but form a deep frown. He was able to deal with physical damage, but there was nothing he could do about the clear case of mental trauma the victim was suffering from.
Spitfire Yun Hyuk-Gyu needed an urgent psychological treatment, or he might end up as a mental cripple.
“You’re sorry?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes!! Yes!! I’m so very sorry!!” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)
“Huh. Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.
“About what?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I was simply proving myself, since you asked me to. So, why are you sorry because of that? Is there something between us that makes you feel apologetic?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“B, but….” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)
“Besides, don’t say you’re sorry.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Saying those words… well, those are some of the most scary words out there. You see, from my experience, those who say Sorry a lot, always ends up backstabbing you. I mean, the words I’ll get you back someday actually are less scary to me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What is he even on about?! (Kitamura Ren)
Ren tilted his head, completely mystified by this nonsensical musing. Meanwhile, Yi Ji-Hyuk walked straight up to Yun Hyuk-Gyu and grabbed the latter’s collars real tight.
“Well, in any case. That’s your choice, I guess. So, you can keep saying sorry over and over again. I’ll just carry on proving myself to you. That way, we both do what we need to do, so it’s all good, am I right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Only then did Ren figure everything out.
He still couldn’t 100% understand anything coming out of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mouth, but the atmosphere alone told everything he needed to know.
This guy…. He was totally nuts.
This ability user with a young-looking face, he was completely bonkers. Off his meds. Screws long gone somewhere.
The pale expressions of everyone looking on wasn’t because of this guy’s abilities, no. No, they were simply terrified of this man, who had seemingly went off the rails somewhere and probably didn’t even bother to get back on the correct path.
Completely not caring what Ren was thinking about him, Yi Ji-Hyuk proceeded to kick Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s thigh with his right leg.
*SFX for bones breaking*
Accompanied by a chilling noise, Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s leg bent at a weird angle.
Losing one of his supports, Yun Hyuk-Gyu naturally crashed down to the ground. Seeing this, Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head again.
“You should’ve dodged that, you know? I mean, that way, we can compare notes and I’d get to prove myself. If this carries on, then we might end up repeating the same thing as the last time.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yun Hyuk-Gyu couldn’t even answer and trembled like a wet dog on the sandy floor. Yi Ji-Hyuk grabbed his neck and pulled him up.
“However, don’t you worry now. We have a healer on standby. Which means, plenty of time for me to prove myself to you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The smile on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face was as bright as they came.
….His body was seemingly unscathed.
However, his facial expression was pale and dazed as if he had seen a real ghost or something. Meanwhile, not even a sound of breathing could be heard on this golden beach, no one seemingly noticing the sun beginning its descent below the horizon.
Yi Ji-Hyuk leaned his head closer to Yun Hyuk-Gyu sprawled out on the ground and tried to listen to the latter’s pained whimpers.
“S…. Save… me….” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)
“You want me to save you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk chuckled as if he was amused about something.
“I started this thing in order to save you lot. Because, at the rate you are all going, you’d be dead in the coming weeks. That is why I started this training course, so you will have a chance to survive. But, didn’t you come out and tell me straight to my face that you didn’t want to live anymore?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t really understand it. This guy implied that he was tired of living, yet why was he begging to be saved now?
“People will eventually die. However, that doesn’t mean you should go out without a bang, you know what I’m saying?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk redirected his gaze towards Seo Ah-Young and the others.
“Don’t you agree?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
No one answered back.
“I obviously can’t tell what your thoughts are. I dunno if you believe you’ll be able to keep living in the coming months with the same mentality you’ve all been having. However, I ain’t gonna stop you if you wish to kill yourself. Only that….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes narrowed to a slit.
“Only that, you better not get in my way or waste my time, capiche? It was you lot that pulled me in, don’t forget that. Isn’t it only logical that you’d clean up the mess you’ve caused in the first place? Just like the words of someone here, now that the country and its people needs my help, I will definitely satisfy that expectation.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….Although, the method of doing that wouldn’t exactly align with these people’s thoughts, though.
“So, anyone else need more proof?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Again, no one answered.
No matter who it was, no one would be able to answer that last question after witnessing the… ‘spectacle’ of someone repeatedly seesawing between almost becoming a corpse and then going back to being normal for half a day.
Yi Ji-Hyuk simply licked his lips in wistful regret.
‘I’ve become a lot softer, huh.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If this was back in Berafe, he wouldn’t have done something this lame. No, he’d just open up a warp gate to the demon world and toss the offending fool in there. Then, all sorts of demonic entities would proceed to gnaw, rip apart and suck clean the poor sucker.
Not only that, they would do so veeeery slowly, and veeeeeeery painfully.
After going through such a process, all the useless things that initially clogged up the fool’s mindset would be cleansed away nice and easy. However, compared to that, Yun Hyuk-Gyu still could speak up, so that was something, alright. Oh, and he could even drool, too.
Yi Ji-Hyuk formed a troubled expression and then placed his hand on Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s head.
The latter man was still shivering on the ground and as soon as the contact was made, he began convulsing in seizure.
“Hey, hey. I’m not going to devour you or something. Don’t be such a scaredy cat, will ya?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk placed his palm on Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s head and whispered “Drain”. Then, the blackish aura leaked out from the latter’s head and got absorbed into the palm.
Yun Hyuk-Gyu’s hazy eyes regained their focus right away, and he stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk in a total daze.
‘Really, I’ve become waaaay too soft.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t do anything about the physical damage. After all, he was an existence that only knew how to take and steal from others.
His ‘mercy’ wouldn’t be considered help at all, but more like an act of evil, instead. For instance, he’d end up reducing a normal and healthy person into an undead. Things like that.
However, the story changed if it had something to do with mental side of things. He was a dark sorcerer whose foundation was built on casting curses and bewitchment spells.
His level of understanding towards a man’s psyche was far greater than even compared to those priests hell-bent on beautifying the world for their dear deities.
Especially so, when it came to the state of confusion and inflicting curses. He could easily break a man as long as he had some time on his hands. And conversely, mending a broken man back to ‘normal’ wasn’t all that difficult for him.
Yun Hyuk-Gyu would’ve become a mentally crippled man if left alone, but Yi Ji-Hyuk saw fit to personally repair him. Why? Because, even one of these ability users was a precious commodity at the moment.
Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue, and pointed with his finger.
“Go stand over there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Y, yes!” (Yun Hyuk-Gyu)
Although he had regained his senses, the mental trauma still remained; Yun Hyuk-Gyu spared no effort to run and stand alongside with everyone else.
Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at them for a while, before opening up his mouth.
“If I’m being honest here….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He took a second or two to draw out his words.
“I could massacre every single one of you in less than a minute. Right this moment.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“And even I’m beginning to think that the level of danger in the coming days are getting higher, so do you all still think it’s fine and dandy to waste time like you’ve been doing until now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Then, Yi Ji-Hyuk frowned deeply.
“Anyone unwilling to train?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Obviously, no one replied.
Yi Ji-Hyuk accepted their collective silence as consent. He then lightly snapped his fingers.
“In that case, let’s begin.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk watched on as his monster slaves rushed towards the ability users as the evening sky descended on them. He slowly raised his head and stared at the darkening heavens above.
Even he had no confidence whether these people would prove to be useful in the long run. However, he was sure of the fact that, as long as he got around to successfully subduing this lot, he’d be taking his first real step towards completely subduing the…. rest of the world.
His belief here was simple; no matter what he was planning to do, hitting the head of the problem should happen first.
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a long groan.
“Still a long way to go, huh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Nevertheless, it had begun.
From today onwards, these people wouldn’t even be able to meet Yi Ji-Hyuk’s gaze anymore. Things might get a bit lonely then…
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yeah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When Yi Ji-Hyuk turned around to look, he found Choi Jung-Hoon decked out in an apron staring at him with a slightly sulky expression.
“Yeah? What is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Would you like to eat supper? What about leaving work and going home?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Home?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Hul, what time is it now?!
Yi Ji-Hyuk checked his watch and began trembling from the realisation. He shouted out loudly.
“Jeong Haaaaaaae-Miiiiiin!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The designated shuttle ran towards him in the speed of light.
< 76. Anyone unwilling to train? -1 > Fin.