“The serial murder case?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Yes.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Seo Ah-Young tilted her head, feeling slightly confused.
The NDF wasn’t the police, so why did the request for cooperation on investigating the crime of serial murders come this way?
“But, why us?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“That is….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon smiled bitterly and continued on.
“There’s a good chance that an ability user is behind the murders, apparently. Well, you know that everyone and their cousins, including the news outlets, are going mad with this news, yes?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yes, sure, but….” (Seo Ah-Young)
Of course, Seo Ah-Young knew of the case well enough.
How could she not know, since it sure as heck felt like that, wherever she turned her focus to, be it the TV or the radio stations she listened to during her commute home in the evenings, they seemingly only talked about the murders and nothing else?
As these crimes had nothing to do with her, she didn’t pay it any mind. But, now that an official request had come her way, the story changed drastically.
“Is that why we need to cooperate with the investigation?” (Seo Ah-Young)
From the onset, one of the NDF’s main reasons for being established was to oversee and manage the country’s myriad of ability users. However, moving according to one’s own plans, and cooperating with the police after receiving their request were two distinctly different things.
Not only was there an issue with the reason for their mobilisation, but more importantly, there was also a problem with how others would perceive this.
If this were to be their first call to action over matters such as this, there was a real risk of others perceiving the NDF as nothing more than a division of the National Police.
“It is complicated, ma’am. I believe we need to help out, but our situation means we simply can’t act on this request willy-nilly” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“So, what are our options?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young’s question ignored everything else and flew in straight at Choi Jung-Hoon, and he could only dry cough in response. It seemed that, after going through half a year of hardship, her personality seemed to have changed somewhat.
“Let’s use our Joker.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Pardon?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“If they end up going through the absolute worst experience possible, they will think twice before asking us again.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
The absolute worst experience, and then, their Joker….
Could he be talking about…. Perhaps?
“Correct. It’s Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon broke out in a radiant smile.
“These a*sholes!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The seething Yi Ji-Hyuk was walking towards the NDF building.
These a-holes are busy ordering me around, aren’t they?
No, wait. Sure, they can order me around. Fine! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
After all, they were nominally his superior officers. So, they could call on him if an incident happened and it required Yi Ji-Hyuk’s attention in order to resolve it. So, that was understandable.
However, at least they should’ve contacted him personally!
How could they simply send a shorty who had no clue what was going on, and tell him to haul a*s?
“Maybe they aren’t fully educated yet? Hmm.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Especially, that Choi Jung-Hoon was proving to be a real pain nowadays.
The guy with an unmistakable aura of a super-elite, that seemed capable of handling pretty much anything thrown his way, was now nowhere to be seen, only to be replaced by the current version, the oily all-purpose handyman, instead.
Of course, Yi Ji-Hyuk was solely to blame for that transformation, but still.
When he was busy mouthing off on his intentions of scouting Yi Ji-Hyuk for KSF back then, could Choi Jung-Hoon have ever dreamed of such a thing happening to him?
“Hyung-nim, please calm yourself.” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
“Calm myself, my foot.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kim Dah-Hyun tried to pacify him, but Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted out in annoyance.
Now that he thought about it, this b*stard was also the same.
All good looking b*stards need to die. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk breathed out a lengthy groan. He just realised that not one person working for the NDF was to his liking. How can a man feel this lonely all of a sudden?
Seriously, even back in Berafe….!
He surrounded himself with plenty of those he found likeable….
….And they were all monsters and demons.
Ah. That’s right. I only had evil creatures around me even back then, huh. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Quite obviously, there wouldn’t have been a single ‘human’ near him. Every one of them either hated or feared him, after all.
He met people he thought were ‘okay’ some time around the mid-point of his stay in Berafe. By then, Yi Ji-Hyuk had become familiarised with the ongoings of that world, but hadn’t been labeled as the Bringer of Apocalypse yet. However, even those ‘okay’ people grew fearful of him, someone who could not die nor age, and began distancing themselves from him.
What the hell?
Nothing has changed since then, has it?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner cry)
Yi Ji-Hyuk despaired once more at the cruelty of his reality and looked at the entrance of the building.
Right. I still have Oh-Sik, don’t I?
Unlike with others, I have built up a relationship of trust with Oh-Sik, haven’t I?
Sure, the kid did try to rebel, but that much is nothing more than aegyo….
Huh? What… is that? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes caught onto something weird happening near the NDF building.
….There was more than one animal present.
There definitely were two of them, for sure. He could see that by the entrance to the building, two dogs (?) were sitting together and busy pouring out pink-coloured hearts at each other….
Yi Ji-Hyuk rubbed his eyes in disbelief and approached the two… animals.
“Hah. This son of a b*tch….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
A large, somewhat good-looking dog was busy licking Oh-Sik’s fur.
What a strange feeling this was.
He didn’t feel anything in particular when seeing other people being all lovey-dovey and stuff, yet when he saw this, for some reason, his frustration boiled over in an instant.
Even dogs were doing that, too!
Ah. Oh-Sik wasn’t a dog, was he?
“HEY!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik jumped up in fright after hearing Yi Ji-Hyuk’s voice, and quickly signaled to the other dog. And like a streak of lightning, the other dog ran away super-fast and disappeared from sight.
The whole thing reminded him of a pair of high schoolers being caught by mom in the middle of discovering love, causing him to feel rather peculiar.
“….Hey, you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik lowered his head and wagged his tail helplessly.
“….You got yourself a girlfriend?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…..Oh-Sik-ah. Hah….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Hey, you fool. You are not a dog, Oh-Sik-ah!
You are supposed to be an Ogre!
Why are you doing this? Remember who you are, man!
You weren’t like this before, too…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
After forcibly swallowing back the countless words that tried to break out of his mouth, Yi Ji-Hyuk wiped the corners of his eyes.
How could he blame this kid, anyway?
“Did you, uh, tell it that you’re not a dog yet?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik slowly shook his head.
“….Is that so. Okay, be strong.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Should he call this ‘forbidden love’ or something?
Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but feel this unknown sense of guilt weighing down on him.
“Should I revert you back to how you look?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik hesitated for a little while, before shaking his head. Seeing this, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s tears suddenly gushed forth. He sniffed and wiped his nose once, before patting the Ogre.
“If it gets too tough for you, don’t hesitate and talk to me, your reliable hyung. Okay? We’ll share a bottle of drink and talk about it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Good. I’ll tell the others to buy the most expensive pet food. So, you feed that gal well. And, if you need anything, just let me know, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“There, there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk wiped the corners of his eyes and patted Oh-Sik’s back, before heading inside the NDF building.
“Hyung-nim, what was that all about?” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
“Hah…. What would you even know about love?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Eh?” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Love, what effing love are you talking about? You wet behind-the-ears little punk! (Kim Dah-Hyun’s inner monologue)
Still oblivious of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s real age, Kim Dah-Hyun cussed out repeatedly in his mind.
When they entered the office, they were greeted by the brightly-smiling Choi Jung-Hoon.
“Welcome back.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What’s the matter with you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Pardon? I don’t quite follow?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Eii, seriously.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a lengthy groan and sat down on his assigned seat. He then placed his feet up on the desk and asked.
“Okay, so why did you call me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We’ve received a request for cooperation from the police.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What kinda cooperation?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“They are of the opinion that the current serial murder case is being perpetrated by an ability user. They are saying that with their ability, it’ll be impossible to apprehend the perp, so they want us to aid them.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Okay. Why are you telling me this, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Because, you need to know.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“And why do I need to know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I mean, wouldn’t you get angrier if you weren’t told in the first place?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You definitely have to know. I mean, after we agree to help them out and disappear for a while, wouldn’t you go on a rampage just because you can’t find anyone here?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Now that I hear that, that sorta makes sense, no?
Now that I finished swallowing up the NDF, I have to deal with an annoying side effect like this one?
So, in other words, if there’s something small like this happening in the future, I’ll be notified every single dang time?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Suddenly, Yi Ji-Hyuk recalled the time when he had climbed to the peak of bureaucracy way back when.
He received one report after another, then received some more, then more reports came in and he didn’t even have time to sleep, and then, more and more came in………..
….What the hell? Did I make a mistake?
What is this sh*t? Is this hell? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner panic)
“Mm, mhm, is, is that so? So, what are we going to do about it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It looks like there is no choice but to help them out. Well, at the least, we’ll have to go there and make it look like we did something.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Well, okay, sure…. So, who’s going?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That will be the person with least amount of things to do.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk promptly turned his head to look at Kim Dah-Hyun.
“Him?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Eii, hyung-nim. I’m busier than you think, you know….” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
“Oh, really?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
But, I always thought you were just lounging around sucking on thumbs everyday? What could you be so busy with, in the first place? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Oh, so handsome guys are okay with being busy, is that it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Eh? What do you even mean….” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
“Stare somewhere else.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes sir…” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Yi Ji-Hyuk suppressed his boiling anger.
Mom, why did you give birth to a son this ugly….?
“….Okay, so. Serial murders. Is it serious?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes. Very.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head slightly.
An ability user and the serial murder case….
If things went sideways, wouldn’t the worst possible situation break out?
It seemed that the situation was far too serious for him to remain as a spectator. Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head.
“Okay, fine. Let’s send someone. But who will we send? Don’t beat around the bush and tell me straight.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, take care on your way, then.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
That’s a strange answer, ain’t it?
Wait a minute. It’s me? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s correct.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk hurriedly waved both of his hands around.
“Oh, come on now! I can’t do something like that! Don’t you know how shy I can get? It’s gonna get so awkward, meeting with people I don’t know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….You drew a bloody heart on the interrogation room’s one way mirror, remember that?
You should wake the hell up. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Since it’s official business, it’s not going to be awkward and all that.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“But, I’m still worried, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….It’s not you who should be worried, actually.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Mm? Did you say something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No. It’s nothing important.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
You shouldn’t be the one worrying, they should. Since a walking, talking bomb is headed their way…. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk pondered for a short while, before nodding his head.
“Okay, fine. I’ll go.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Uh? For real?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
What the? Weren’t you laying it on thick just now that I should go? What’s up with this reaction now that I said I’ll go? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s dissatisfied inner monologue)
“Are you trying to make fun of me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Of course not. That’s not what I meant. I simply didn’t expect you to so coolly agree to the request. It sure is strange to see you behaving so agreeably, since you never did….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
He said, ‘so cool’….
With a slightly stiffened face, Yi Ji-Hyuk snatched the documents containing information off Choi Jung-Hoon’s hands.
“Hmm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
After taking a look, he couldn’t help but feel something was very off here.
See, the thing was, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s sixth sense tended to be on the money most of the time. And in this case…. Well, it reeked like a rotting fish to him.
This feeling he had, it was telling him that this incident would lead to something even bigger down the line.
“Looks like I do need to look into this. Okay, so who’s going with me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That hasn’t been….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“It’ll be Mister Choi Jung-Hoon.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young’s declaration came from Choi Jung-Hoon’s rear, causing him to shudder in a nasty surprise.
“W, wait a minute, why would I….?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Oh, so you were planning to send Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk all alone? You think he’ll even bother to take a look at the evidence and the investigation reports?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Uhm, excuse me. I think you’re not aware of this, but…..
This guy here, his abilities are pretty scary, you know?
He definitely doesn’t need me, you know?!?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Even then, why would I….?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“It’s an important mission, so it’s only correct to send an important person over, wouldn’t you say?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“No, wait, why would I….?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Oh, and let’s send Hae-Min and Gah-Yun over as well. That okay with you?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“No, it’s not okay with me, though?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You’re a man, so stop complaining! Why don’t you just cut it off, then?” (Seo Ah-Young) (TL: Yes, that “off” is from the raw and is intentional.)
Cut what off?!
I haven’t even used it properly yet!! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“In any case, I’ve made my decision, so please prepare to leave immediately.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“….I understand.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung knew all too well that the results wouldn’t change no matter how much he complained after she made her decision, so he wisely chose to give up, instead.
“We’ll be ready within two hours.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Too bad, Yi Ji-Hyuk hadn’t stopped his complaining, though.
“Can’t we go tomorrow or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Of course, everyone just ignored him.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s group appeared in front of the National Police Agency’s glittering HQ building.
“Is that the one??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s jaw dropped after taking in the very impressive sight of the Agency’s exterior.
“Wow. It’s so much cooler than a certain building I work in….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….We only have a few elites, so….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Huh, just from the outside, you can tell the difference in size of the wallet, no?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We have been underfunded for a while, so….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
The corners of Choi Jung-Hoon’s eyes glistened momentarily.
“Uh, uhm… Is that so.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Hey, hey, hey… I don’t wanna see an old ahjussi crying, you know! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly ended the conversation before something happened, and hurriedly headed towards the entrance of the building.
“Let’s also go in.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon, Jeong Hae-Min, and Doh Gah-Yun, still hidden in the shadows, all followed him as well.
“Hold it.” (?)
It was then, some people blocked them from going further.
“What brings you here?” (?)
Before Choi Jung-Hoon could explain themselves, Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out his own slightly off-kilter reply.
“I’m here ‘cuz I want to?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The brows of one of the men blocking their way quivered a little.
“You ‘want’ to?” (?)
“What’s the matter? Do I need a reason to come visit the National Police or something? People can just show up if they wanted to, right? After all, wasn’t this place built using my tax money?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon shut his mouth up after listening to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
Now that he thought about it, it seemed strange for someone to block people from entering the police headquarters like this. It felt like they were only stopped because the other party knew in advance.
‘….Are they trying to pressure us?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Well, that would be a terrible mistake on their part, actually.
You see, in this world, there were some people you should never cross, no matter what.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yeah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon grinned widely and spoke.
“Please don’t damage the building. Taxpayers will have to bear the burden, after all.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
If they are trying to pick a fight with us like this….
You’ve just made a mistake.
Not only that, a colossal mistake, to boot. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
Choi Jung-Hoon cackled inwardly as the nuclear bomb he had been holding onto walked into the corridors of the National Police Agency.
< 88. A dirty world where only the handsome b*stards are treated nicely -3 > Fin.
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