Chapter 85: What will happen if we enter there? (5)

(TL: This extra chapter is brought to you by these selfless individuals: Kaung TWN, Tyler L, Eric G, and Tae-Ha K!! Thank you for your support! I really appreciate it.)


“Aigoo~. I can’t continue doing this no more.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk left the NDF building and trudged towards his house while spitting out multiple groans.

The life after his return from Berafe was relaxing and leisurely, yet, for some reason, things seemed to have become rather hectic of late.

At least, he got to resolve one of the main issues annoying him, so there was that….

“I guess I should take a break.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

The old saying mentioned something about a person needing to continue living the way he had been living until then. How could he be this tired only after having exerted a little bit of energy?

Hmm…….

That’s not it, is it? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk clenched and unclenched his fist repeatedly.

He didn’t sense anything wrong with his body. Meaning, he wasn’t fatigued physically. That only left him with mental fatigue as the culprit, then….

But, feeling mentally worn out only after going through so little?

“Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

It made sense, though. While he was stuck in Berafe, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mind, or his mental state, was constantly in the state of refreshment, or being reset, as it were. That’s how he got to maintain most of his sanity when he should’ve gone bonkers nuts already.

If mental fatigue also got wiped away during the reset, then that meant he’d never have experienced any form of fatigue in the past thousand years or so. He obviously would have no built-in resistance against such things, in other words.

‘Wait a minute here. What will happen if someone uses a mind control magic on me?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

In the past, he’d be immune to it. But now, he no longer enjoyed the influence of the absolute unchanging state. So, he could fall under the spell and end up licking someone’s foot or something in no time.

“Urgh. How scary.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

If he got done in by a charm spell, now that would be a total disaster.

Of course, it was true that Yi Ji-Hyuk’s wealth of magical knowledge, as well as Mana protecting him from the inside, pushed his mental attack resistance stat to counter stop. Unfortunately, though – ‘resistance’ and ‘immunity’ were two different things altogether.

How could he feel okay knowing that it might happen to him, even if the odds were only around one in ten million?

“What’s scary?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Hul!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk jumped in shock and hurriedly looked behind him, only to find no one there.

“Hey! Look down below!! I’m over here!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Ah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

When he lowered his sight, he found Jeong Hae-Min standing there, clearly fuming at him.

“You, you did that deliberately, didn’t you?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“I didn’t know you’re a mind reader.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Hey! You, you really have a terrible personality!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“And you, aren’t you too free for a supposedly popular idol?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

An expression of an unbridled shock appeared on her face as she stuttered out a reply.

“N, no, that, that’s not true. Y, you see, the original schedule was really packed, you know? But, but I asked for some time off….” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“What kind of a talent agency would give a popular idol some time off because she’s busy with something else?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“N, no. I’m telling you the truth….” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Besides all that, do the rest of your band know about you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Y, yeah.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“And they are still performing as we speak?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yeah.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Then, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Seeing that everything’s fine even without you being there, you’re no longer popular.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Nooo! That’s not true!!I’m still really popular!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head sagely.

“Right, you should still be popular, that’s true.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“That’s right!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“However, an idol around your age is nearing the end of her career. They let you tag along since breaking up the band wouldn’t look good as far as PR is concerned, but you’d only end up as the kind of a member that they never put in the middle of the stage, know what I mean?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Jeong Hae-Min stumbled on her feet.

Seeing that slightly frightened expression, Yi Ji-Hyuk softly clicked his tongue.

“Did I hit the bullseye?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“N, no. Not really?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Okay. When was the last time you stood in the centre of the stage?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….I’m not going to tell you.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Well, I’m sure you can’t even remember. Why? ‘Cuz it was an eternity ago, that’s why! You’ll have to dig really deep into the tomb of ancient memories, all the way down to the molecular level if you want to recover the faded and nearly-forgotten memory!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“It’s been two years, okay?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Hul. My word. A talent agency isn’t supposed to be a charity, but they let a grandma take the centre stage? Did you guys go on a tour of old age homes or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Liquids began forming in her eyes.

Her hands tightly clenched the sides of her pants as the breaking point of the dam rapidly approached. Meanwhile, Yi Ji-Hyuk thoughtfully placed his hand on her shoulder and spoke.

“Calm down, now. You shouldn’t be crying, you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Mm?”

“You will get wrinkles that way. There’ll be no answering that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….*SFX for a very long and protracted crying*” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Trying to escape from the range of Jeong Hae-Min’s sonic attack disguised as crying, Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly distanced himself.

“Ouch!! My ears!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Many desperate NDF ability users attacked him non-stop, and none could damage him in the slightest. Yet, the measly little Jeong Hae-Min was able to force Yi Ji-Hyuk to his backfoot.

“Argh!! Hey! Did you lose your dang mind?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Unfortunately, Jeong Hae-Min’s crying didn’t stop even with his pleading.

Sure enough, Yi Ji-Hyuk could see countless windows and doors opening up all around him.

What with the explosion of the powerful noise bomb, people had to peek outside to see what was going on. Well, they were in the middle of the residential area, on his way back home, no less, so that was par for the course, really.

“What’re you all looking at?! Get! Pah!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

After seeing a small-statured woman lowering her head and crying, and a dude with an ugly expression on his face near her, the onlookers could only click their tongues and close shut their windows.

“Hey, don’t raise your head, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

If he let her identity of Miss Idol Jeong Hae-Min be discovered here, things would get rather annoying to deal with.

“….*SFX for a continuous wailing*” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Argh, stop crying, will ya?!?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….*SFX for a continuous wailing, but louder*

Argh, this is so…. Should I just leave her behind?

Now that I think about it, I didn’t ask her to come along, so why should I even care what happens to her?

Can’t I, like, just go home? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk began sneaking away from her, then.

He was indeed planning to drop her like a bad habit and….

Eh-hem!

“Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk.”

It was then, the windows creaked open slightly again, and the sounds of disapproval in the forms of clicking tongues and disappointed snorts came out from them.

“And he’s still a young man, too….”

“Looks like he’s planning on abandoning her here. Who’s child is he?!”

But, but, but, you’re all wrong!

It’s nothing like that!

Me, I’ve got nothing to do with that female over there, you know?!

Stop looking at me as if I’m a no good playboy, please!!

Look, I’m the epitome of fear and alienation, but never in my life have I ever received such stares before!!

Holy sh*t, wowsers. What the heck is this?

I might lose my crap here at this rate! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk never cared about what other people thought of him. That’s what he believed, right up until this moment.

The thing was, the ‘other people’ from Berafe and ‘other people’ from here felt somewhat different.

But, more importantly, this was the area he was living in!

Seriously, how embarrassing would it get when his mom opened up a eatery near here and she ended up hearing about a rumour of him being a no-good womaniser?

Yi Ji-Hyuk shuddered from dread and quickly walked back towards Jeong Hae-Min, who was still flinging ‘Sound Bomb’ attacks at his way.

“HEY!! Stop crying!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

That didn’t work.

“….Want some kkakka, little one?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL note at the end)

“….*SFX for continuous wailing*” (Jeong Hae-Min)

That also didn’t work.

“H, how about, uh, I’ll buy you a handbag! A handbag!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….SFX for an even louder wailing*” (Jeong Hae-Min)

She began crying even louder.

What should he do now?

He got used to resolving the issue of people crying with a simple but effective method of ripping out their vocal chords, so obviously, he couldn’t come up with a solution right now.

He needed to think, to come up with a less violent way….

“Keuheum. Cough. Uh, you see, from where I’m standing….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

The decibel of her crying lowered somewhat as she began glancing at his direction.

What a crafty little girl.

“Uh, well…. I think you’re probably the better looking one among them.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Who’s ‘them’?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Yeah, you know, well, uhm…. You are a bit more prettier than the rest of your band mates.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Really?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“That’s right. Who cares about a woman’s age, anyway? It’s the looks that count, am I right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Well, compared to demons or dragons, you or your band mates are nothing more than just a bunch of new-born hatchlings.

What use is there arguing about who’s the oldest among the baby hatchlings, am I right? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Really?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Yi Ji-Hyuk had no choice but briefly turn his head away right then.

What a wicked little girl she was!

He definitely remembered seeing her praising and talking up her band mates, saying their relationship was so wonderful, and that they were like siblings, etc, etc!!

Look at how happy she was, just because he said she was the prettiest one among them!

However, if he mentioned that, she might start crying again, so….

“Of course.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk managed to control his facial muscles and answered her with a ‘warm’ smile. Right away, Jeong Hae-Min’s face lit up like a blooming flower.

“Hul……..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

What the heck? Why is she so ‘pretty’, all of a sudden?

This…. This is one weird feeling, no?

Indeed, she looks pretty nice, but…. Seeing her smile like that in this situation, she also kinda looks like a two-faced b*tch, no?

This…. What is the name for this feeling I’m getting?

How vague and mysterious!

“Okay, so stop crying and please go away! Ng? Just go away already!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Okay.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Finally.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

However, Jeong Hae-Min didn’t show any signs of going away, staying right by his side.

“Why aren’t you going?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I’m going with you.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“And why would you do that?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Because, I’m going to your house, after all.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Sure, you should be going home. Fine.

However, in a situation like this, you’re supposed to say “my house”, not “your house”!!

Eh? Wait a minute. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“My house?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yeah, your house.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“….Why? Why are you coming to my place?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I promised to hand over a signed CD to your mom and Ye-Won, you see. Since I promised, here I am.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Was she trying not to lose even a single fan or something….?

What a fearsome drive to make her fans happy.

“Then, just give it to me. I’ll deliver it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“No can do.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“And why the hell not?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I gotta take photographs with them too, you know. I mean, it’s a common practice nowadays to take a photographic proof that proves the signed CD is genuine.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“?? Why do you need a photo in the first place?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Who would buy CDs nowadays? It’s like, you’re buying one for souvenir purposes. With a photo, the value goes up.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Hah……….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

He gave up.

He couldn’t really understand it, but if he kept on saying no here, then she might start crying again, so he was out of options at this point.

Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a lengthy groan and trudged towards his house.

Just what kind of crime did I commit in my past life that I had to suffer through all that crap in Berafe and then, face just as crazy nonsense back here too?

What kind of heinous crime was it, for me to meet only the most deranged, unhinged females?

“Eh-whew….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Why are you groaning like that?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Don’t you know whose fault it is?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

When Yi Ji-Hyuk glared at her, Jeong Hae-Min placed her hands on her hips and admonished him.

“You, you should stop being so rude to a noona like me!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“….It’s too annoying to explain things, so will you just quietly let me hit you once?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“And what are you even on about now?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

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“Argh. I won’t feel good even if I beat up a shorty like her.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I told you, stop calling me a shorty!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

As they continued to bicker, they arrived in front of his house in no time.

“Okay, fine. Fine! Go in, do your stuff and have fun with mom. But, don’t you dare bother me, otherwise Imma throw you outside through the window. Got that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I’m gonna tell on you!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Tell what to whom?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“To your mom, obviously!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

And why would you prattle on me to my mom, you dumb little girl?!

Seriously, words aren’t getting through to her! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

It was right at this moment.

Yi Ji-Hyuk suddenly picked up on a bone-chilling and eerie aura coming from a spot behind him and his entire body shuddered involuntarily.

What could this be?

What was this chill that felt almost like the coldness he felt near the hidden chamber of the Demon Emperor’s fortress?

“Oppa?” (Kim Dah-Som)

After hearing that voice coming from his rear, Yi Ji-Hyuk immediately figured out the source of that biting chill and his entire body shuddered again in response.

He somehow managed to stop the shuddering and turned around to find Kim Dah-Som standing there, her eyes open slightly wider than before, while her hands demurely gathered in front.

“H, hello there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

What the hell?!

Why is my voice shaking like this?

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I’m Yi Ji-Hyuk!! THE Yi Ji-Hyuk, for crying out loud!

I’m a man who kicked a*ses of demons and gods alike, and a man in full control of his fate! So, why?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“….Who?” (Kim Dah-Som)

Kim Dah-Som’s eyes landed on Jeong Hae-Min next to him.

“Oh. Uh, a colleague. From work. You’ve, uh, maybe heard of her? She’s, uh, Jeong Hae-Min, an idol….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

For some reason, his words continued to cut off in the middle of the sentence.

Kim Dah-Som very slowly, agonisingly slowly, swept her gaze over Jeong Hae-Min, from the tip of her toes to all the way up to the top of her head.

That gaze was so slow-moving, Jeong Hae-Min couldn’t help but feel that a snake was crawling on her skin or something.

However, Jeong Hae-Min was a professional entertainer. Unlike in certain other matters, she could proudly boast a top-notch immunity against other people’s gazes.

“Who is she?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Uh, she is…. Actually….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

How should I go about introducing her, then?

A stalker?

A friend of Ye-Won?

Or, Kim Dah-Hyun’s younger sister? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner dilemma)

“She’s a friend of my little sister, as well as Kim Dah-Hyun’s dongsaeng.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ahh. Yes, I can see her resemblance to Mister Dah-Hyun, now that you mention it. Hello there. I’m a colleague of your brother, Jeong Hae-Min.”

Jeong Hae-Min greeted with a stiff professional smile on her face.

However, something seemed a bit off about that smile. Showing such an unrefined smile in front of a complete stranger, even Yi Ji-Hyuk had to question whether this Jeong Hae-Min was the same one who’d go totally batsh*t insane trying to appease fans.

“Is that so? First time finding out. Nice to meet you.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“You haven’t seen me on TV before?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“….Doesn’t ring a bell. Still, nice to meet you.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“….Yes, me too.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Kim Dah-Som’s face was expressionless as she removed her gaze from Jeong Hae-Min. She then turned to look at Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“Then, why would you be coming home with a colleague from your work?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“E, eh? She has some kind of business with my mom and Ye-Won….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….Odd. Why am I explaining this? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Business?” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Giving away a signed CD.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Is that so.” (Kim Dah-Som)

Kim Dah-Som studied Jeong Hae-Min with an expressionless face once more, before pulling something out from her inner pocket and presented it to Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“Again? ….This is?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“It’s a pair of gloves.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“You shouldn’t keep giving me presents like this. I only helped you out once before, you know. You’re putting me on the spot here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Almost instantly, Jeong Hae-Min’s jaw hit the ground.

What was that?!

What were those words and actions that seemed even more shocking than a off-the-cuff revelation of a lion hating meat?!

Yi Ji-Hyuk was being courteous!!

“I’m still grateful for your help, that is why….” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Even still, this is a bit….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Don’t worry about it and please accept it.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“S, sure….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head and cautiously accepted the gloves, prompting Jeong Hae-Min’s head to snap towards the Western skies.

She just had to confirm whether the sun was setting on the correct direction or not.

‘It is!’ (Jeong Hae-Min)

Which meant that, she definitely did not just imagine this scene.

Who was this girl that possessed the might to make Yi Ji-Hyuk surrender so quickly?! Maybe, she wasn’t even a human being?

“Well, then….” (Kim Dah-Som)

Still maintaining her expressionless face, Kim Dah-Som turned around to leave, only to stop mid-way.

“Excuse me.” (Kim Dah-Som)

“Y, yeah?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“When will you be leaving the premises?” (Kim Dah-Som)

Jeong Hae-Min’s hands trembled a little just then.

“W, why are you asking me that?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Well, just curious….” (Kim Dah-Som)

“I, I’ll be leaving very shortly. Y, yeah, that’s right.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“….I understand, for now.” (Kim Dah-Som)

Jeong Hae-Min found herself unable to get past the ‘for now’ bit.

Kim Dah-Som continued to sneak a glance behind her as she disappeared into the distance. Only then, Jeong Hae-Min felt all the built-up tension leak out of her. She slowly opened her mouth and asked Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“….Hey, uhm, can’t I sleep in your sister’s room tonight?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Are you insane? What for?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I’m kinda scared to go back on my own.” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“You’re a teleporter, so why would you even think about sleeping in someone else’s place?! Sleep in your own bed!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ah, right. I’m a teleporter aren’t I?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Haaah, seriously now!

What a blithering idiot!

But, uh, it’s not like I can’t sympathise with her, though.

….Even I’m feeling a bit chilly here, too.

Hmm. I wonder why.

Argh. So cold….

 

< 85. What will happen if we enter there? -5 > Fin.

 

(TL: “Kkakka” is a Korean slang for junk food/snacks, the kind that little kids enjoy, such as cheap ice cream you can buy from your local corner store. More importantly, though, the phrase “Want some kkakka/should I buy you kkakka” is most often used by either parents or grandparents to calm their crying children/grandchildren. I’m sure you get the joke by now. Hopefully.)

(TL: Remaining amount till the next sponsored chapter: $25)

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