Seo Ah-Young and Jeong Hae-Min appeared inside the NDF’s office. The agents already waiting for them turned their attention right away to the new arrivals.
The fatigued-to-the-bones Seo Ah-Young spat out a helpless groan and looked back at everyone else. The expressions of dissatisfaction were writ large on their faces, but not one of them complained.
‘Just how did it come to this?’ (Seo Ah-Young)
She was so full of ambition and confidence when she created the NDF, yet it was now being manhandled by a single man.
Even if such a thing happened, she thought it might be either herself or Choi Jung-Hoon doing the handling….
Who would’ve imagined that a devil-like b*stard rolling in like a gust of wind managed to wrestle the reins away like this?
*SFX for the door suddenly flinging open*
The office door opened and Yi Ji-Hyuk made his entrance with Oh-Sik in tow.
“Is everyone here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yep.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon stuck very close to Yi Ji-Hyuk while making his report.
‘What the?! You are supposed to be my second in command, though?’ (Seo Ah-Young)
He shouldn’t be standing next to that b*stard like that!!
Yi Ji-Hyuk stood in front of everyone and opened his mouth.
“My dear comrades.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Comrades, my a*s!!
You Hitler-like b*stard!! (Seo Ah-Young’s inner monologue)
“I can not hide this wretched sadness in my heart anymore. At this very moment, a callous serial murderer is on the loose, causing all sorts of mayhem throughout the country. In other words, this horrendous criminal is violating our motherland, completely unchecked!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And when did you start giving a d*mn about such things?! (the author’s monologue this time)
“The pride of the Korean republic and the NDF is at stake here. Apprehending and prosecuting this criminal will be the fastest method to ensure the continued stability of our nation, as well as to prove the worth of the NDF!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Aaaand, how will it?
So many questions filled up their minds, but not one present in this office could speak up. Why? They certainly did not wish to see that black hole coming out of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s right hand ever again, that was why.
If one thought about it, throwing someone in there was perhaps the best punishment available, since it left no visible physical wounds on the body of the victims – meaning, no one could sue this mothereffer simply because proving that they were tortured by this youth would be next to impossible.
It was at this point that Choi Jung-Hoon took over.
“Actually, this issue has become a big problem.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
The briefing started for good, then.
“Currently, dissatisfaction against the ability users is at an all-time high at the moment. Although the mainstream media has not reported on this yet, the rumours regarding the current serial killing being the handiwork of an ability user is spreading fast, all stemming from several online websites. Thanks to that, the public opinion is reaching a boiling point as we speak.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Park Sung-Chan raised his hand.
“Yes?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What does that got to do with us?” (Park Sung-Chan)
“Well, you’re ability users, after all.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Park Sung-Chan’s expression crumpled in anger.
“What the hell. So, if a regular person is the murderer, can we blame the entirety of regular people, then? It’s not like there are only one or two users out there in the world, so what the hell is up with trying to assign blame on everyone?” (Park Sung-Chan)
“Logically speaking, that is true. However….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
If humans were logical beings to begin with, then their history wouldn’t be blighted by the records of warfare in the first place.
No, human beings were existences that acted on emotions while still trumpeting logic and common sense. And, if a mob mentality was involved, then….. Well.
“That is the reality of this situation.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon switched the projector on, which shined on the wall and displayed several comments taken from various internet sites.
And these were the kinds of dirty, sweary sh*tty comments that were filled to the brim with hate and resentment. The NDF agents reading them showed various reactions, their brows furrowing and complexions reddening in anger.
“The f*ck?! How is that our fault? Why are they blaming us for something a twisted motherf*cker has committed in his spare time?” (Park Sung-Chan)
Park Sung-Chan swore out after reading some of the comments that quite openly cussed and wished harm upon the KSF and all the ability users out there.
“Well, the truth is, this isn’t simply because of this murder case.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
No, this was simply an ‘opportunity’.
Humans originally tried to alienate and isolate others different from themselves.
Just how long did humanity need to accept different skin colours? Not to forget, nationality, race, sex, and even, different areas from within the same nation.
It was a human’s instinct to find something, anything, to separate oneself from the others and disparage them.
But, to claim that the two distinct categories of people – normal, powerless people and that of ability users – were existing in harmony with no trouble whatsoever?
What a funny notion that was.
No, the division had been suppressed up until now.
The mainstream media continued to package the ability users as heroes, as idols, as protectors of the powerless populace that shielded them from the monsters coming out of the Gates.
….Just like how it was with Jeong Hae-Min and Seo Ah-Young.
While continuously feeding the public with the line that the world would have been destroyed a long time ago if it weren’t for the presence of these ability users – but, many restrictions were placed upon the same ability users, and they were constantly being monitored.
The balance that had been treading precariously on thin ice was now being tilted to one side, however.
Already, the unthinkable event of ability users overthrowing their government has happened overseas. Or, them being involved in hate crimes had become the norm by now.
And now, an opportunity in the form of a serial killer has been thrown into the volatile mix of South Korea, the nation that managed to somehow maintain its status quo.
The thin ice was breaking under pressure, and that in turn caused the surrounding ice to break loose as well.
“This is no longer the issue of logic or not. No, the real issue is with how great the ripples will be, instead. If we fail to close this case as soon as possible, it’ll be difficult to imagine how bigger the problem might end up becoming.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Park Sung-Chan spat in a low voice.
“It’s already godd*mn annoying to be ordered around like a slave, but now, I have to bear the brunt of such bullsh*t, too? I haven’t done anything to deserve such treatment!” (Park Sung-Chan)
No one responded to Park Sung-Chan’s utterance. Of course, Choi Jung-Hoon could acutely sense that everyone else was silently agreeing with those words.
Perhaps, that was because he was the only non-ability user present in this office….
“Mm, mm…. For now, this is all the information on the killer uncovered so far….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Once Choi Jung-Hoon’s briefing came to an end, the expressions on the ability users hardened even more.
“We don’t have a clue who he might be, we have no suspects, yet this guy appears wherever he wants and kills someone. But then, even if we show up during the crime itself, we can’t catch him because he’ll simply go poof, and teleport away?” (Park Sung-Chan)
“….Something like that, yes.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“And you want us to catch this guy? From the beginning, this isn’t what we signed up for. Why do we need to do something that’s obviously a job for the cops? Aren’t we supposed to provide them with some info and help them out here and there?” (Park Sung-Chan)
“The police will never be able to apprehend this suspect.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I know that, but still, this isn’t our job.” (Park Sung-Chan)
At Park Sung-Chan’s words, Choi Jung-Hoon wordlessly shifted his gaze over to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
You think I don’t know that?
That ‘thing’ wants this done, so what do you want from me? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
After spotting Yi Ji-Hyuk’s obviously unimpressed facial expression, Park Sung-Chan quickly realised what was going on and tried to subtly redirect his words.
“Well, sure. We probably can catch this killer. I do want to help out, since this is about stopping a bad guy. But, really now, how are we supposed to catch him? We don’t even have a single clue….” (Park Sung-Chan)
“First of all, we have to fortify our borders.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“With just us? You think this is the Jeju island or something? No, wait a minute. With us alone, maybe you can try to defend the Ulleung island or something.” (Park Sung-Chan)
Choi Jung-Hoon wordlessly looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk again.
A refreshing smile formed on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face as he passed down his equally simple and refreshing judgement.
“You should just jump when I say so, yet you talk too d*mn much.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“This thing here, it’s going to help all of yous out, so just do as I say! Hell, has anything ever gone wrong when you did exactly as I told you to do?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
No, you should be asking whether anything turned out right, instead!!
Yes, ask that instead, you sh*tty b*stard!!
As a human being, don’t you have a speck of conscience?! (Park Sung-Chan’s inner monologue)
“In any case! Don’t get bogged down by your personal feelings! We gotta catch this a*shole for the sake of everyone! Think of it that way!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Do we really have to?”
“I mean, this crazy fool is apparently targeting only the blonde girls!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
But, what did that got to do with anything?
Right now, it was getting real hard to tell just who was the crazy fool in this place.
“Blonde giiiiiirls?!?!” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun shot up from his seat while crying out loudly.
And what the hell is up with this crazy fool now? (Park Sung-Chan’s inner monologue)
Park Sung-Chan slowly facepalmed. He’d be treated like a crazy fool outside of these walls, but when he was in here…. As soon as stepping foot inside this place, it sure felt like he had become the sanest person in the room and that fact made him very sad.
“Where is that motherf*ckerrrrrr?!” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
….We’re sitting here because we don’t know that yet.
Please, please, think before you speak, man!! (Park Sung-Chan’s inner monologue)
While looking at the overly excited and heavily breathing Kim Dah-Hyun, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression became weird. The youth spoke in curiosity.
“What the…. You don’t have a particularly good relationship with your sister, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“This and that isn’t the same, you know! It’s like, I’m the only one who can badmouth her and no one else! So, who the hell dares to touch my little sister!!” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
It turned out, he was a siscon.
However, Yi Ji-Hyuk did feel a strange sense of kinship with him.
So, Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head gravely and grasped Kim Dah-Hyun’s hand.
“I understand how you feel.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
His little sister might be the worst, rudest human being out there who took her manners and dumped it somewhere else a long time ago, not to mention she was a basket case full of anger issues. Oh, and she only abused her oppa for her own personal gains, too. But, still….
Still, he could not sit and watch someone else dare to hurt his little sister!
It’d be akin to seeing his family dog getting beaten up by someone else!
“Do you have a plan, hyung-nim?” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
“But, of course.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked ominously.
“In the end, there’s only one problem to solve, isn’t it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We don’t know who the killer is. And we have no means to pursue him if he decides to run away.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, that’s not one problem, though?” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
“Shush!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Sorry.” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
Kim Dah-Hyun quietly averted his gaze.
“Solve that, and everything else is just a cakewalk.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“However, aren’t they the most difficult puzzles to solve?” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
“Why would they be? They are the simplest.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Hearing that nonsensical declaration, everyone stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk in bafflement. The first one to fire away was Choi Jung-Hoon.
“Do you really have a plan, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yep, that I do.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“And what could that be?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nonchalantly picked up Oh-Sik loitering near his feet.
“It’s him.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Him. You know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon’s eyes caught the sight of Oh-Sik and his exposed tummy as Yi Ji-Hyuk dangled the mini Ogre in the air.
An Ogre? What could one possibly do with him in this situation?
“You saying that Oh-Sik will catch the criminal?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“It’s only proper and correct to hunt your prey with a hunting dog, no?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked again.
Oh-Sik’s olfactory senses were sharp enough to differentiate people by their hometown. As long as they could pick up on the criminal’s scent as he moved around the major cities, there was no way the b*stard would be able to escape.
Even if he chose to run to another country, since they also had a teleporter in the midst, escaping was still impossible.
After all, they only had to teleport to the nearest marker and continue the pursuit.
“Hey, Oh-Sik-ah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik tilted his head as if he had no clue what was going on here. Seeing this, another ominous grin spread on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s lips.
“You do this one thing properly, and I promise I’ll find a way for you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You know, that thing. Your little lady friend.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Suddenly, Oh-Sik’s tone of voice changed.
To think, a sound like that could come from such a small body.
Almost everyone present began inching away as soon as spotting flames of something bellowing out from Oh-Sik’s eyes.
What could that raging desire signify?
Just what on earth was this little lady friend?!
“In any case, we gotta find who the heck this b*stard is first, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk leisurely whistled out a tune.
Meanwhile, in a deep, deep mountainside somewhere….
A tiny little Gate was opening up.
This Gate was so small, even a Level 1 Gate would have been bigger. As a matter of fact, it was only big enough for a small child to barely pass through.
Only because the location was deep within the forest, and that the Gate itself was so tiny, no one had discovered it’s presence, nor it completely opening up, even now.
Finally, the Gate fully opened up, and the figure of a small child slowly emerged from the portal.
Among the vine-like tumbling, weaving hair, a pair of red eyes could be seen.
The child clenched both fists and opened them several times, before clicking out loudly with a crumpled expression.
“It’s only this little….?”
Although lots of preparations had been made, jumping through different dimensions was nevertheless not an easy thing to do.
For low-class monsters, they could cross over just fine without losing too much of their original strength, but still, the gateway connected to this world wasn’t complete enough to send a high ranked creature such as this child without a penalty.
If things went according to plan, then the child would have waited for a little while longer, though….
Since the situation had become a lot more urgent, there was no choice but to cross over, even if that meant paying the penalty with the form of a child.
“So, he’s here, right?”
….The 99th Demon King, Yi Ji-Hyuk.
Just by recalling the mug of that man, the child’s tail curled up. The entire figure of the child shivered from a certain emotion. Before long, though, the child successfully regulated the wayward breathing.
That man was no longer Yi Ji-Hyuk of before.
No, the 99th Demon King Yi Ji-Hyuk was no more. The only thing remaining was nothing but a trace of the once-feared demonic entity lingering on a measly little human.
“And such a little human is getting in the way…..”
So, the thing that needed to be done was as clear as day.
The child surveyed the dense surrounding foliage, before slowly closing the eyes.
Should I go look for one first? A pawn that I can use, I mean.
A pair of jet-black wings sprouted out from the child’s back, taking this small figure into the sky.
< 92. What is the grim reaper doing? Isn’t this dereliction of duty? -2 > Fin.
(TL: Remaining amount till the next sponsored chapter: $50.)