Genius of unique lineage Chapter 174

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Chapter 173: Corporate Secrets

As the morning dew settled, I busted the wrists and ankles in the cover of night. There were even those who sold drugs in broad daylight. They were caught and rectified. It only took two days to become the talk of the town.

“Do you know about the so-called ‘Fracture Man’ recently appearing in the city?” A pretty news anchor began her report as holograms of the groaning and fallen appeared in front of her.

“The Fracture Man has attacked the drug dealers who have been a growing problem. Who could they be? Some say it’s a secret government squad, while others whisper it’s the work of a major corporation. However, both the government and corporations have firmly denied involvement. If not the government, could it be a vigilante group protecting Seoul? These individuals operate outside the law, but is what they’re doing truly right? Nevertheless, there’s one thing—”

She paused and eyed the camera intensely before finishing her statement. “Their actions have significantly decreased the drug issues in the metropolitan area.”

I was watching the news when my mother spoke from the couch, an apple in hand on the tray. “Son, have you been breaking those punks’ bones at night?”

I stood there, holding a cup of water. “Mm, yes.”

Well, it’s not just me, but yes, I am the ringleader. Crunch, crunch. Apple peels fell onto the sofa table, stretching out long and thin.

“Want an apple?”

“Sure.”

It was a tangy, fresh one. I joined my mother on the sofa, nibbling on the fruit. It was sweet and refreshing.

“How about Mari?”

“Training.”

She never seems to pause for a breath in her training. Having sparred with her, I knew she had already surpassed the average level of our transformation lineage.

“Doesn’t she ever rest?”

“Look who’s talking…” I had been even more relentless in my own training.

“I’m not the lazy one, Mother.”

“Mari says she doesn’t want to be a burden to her brother.”

“A burden, huh?” I wasn’t sure if it was because of her traits as a transformed being or the teachings of a former gang member turned meticulous housewife, but Park Mari was definitely a monster. I could attest to that after numerous sparring sessions.

“Yeah, but with the ‘Fracture Man’ thing, the cops must be pretty peeved.”

My mother kept peeling the apple thinly without taking her eyes off the TV. “Yes, they might come looking for me already.”

“How would they know it’s you?”

“I left plenty of traces.”

“Why would you do that?”

“I’m not interested in playing Batman.”

The age for hiding behind a mask and playing the behind-the-scenes hero had passed. “Mom prefers Marvel. Shall we go with Spider-Man?”

“I hate spiders.”

Spider-Man would be fine, and frankly, I preferred Iron Man. But then my mother changed the channel. She wasn’t interested in the news anymore and switched to a variety show with the title ‘They Show You How to Have Fun, But You Shouldn’t Enjoy It Yourself.’

Laughing at the show, my mother didn’t seem worried about me at all. “Aren’t you worried about me, Mother?”

“Hmm, if you cross the line, I’ll straighten you out myself. You’re fine, son.”

My plans suddenly felt like they were drenched in a cold sweat. Ding-dong. The doorbell rang.

Living in a security-prioritized brand apartment means you need permission from the resident and the guard to enter. Verification of identity is a must, and it doesn’t end there. The security system even scans for the unique energy patterns of shape-shifters and is enchanted against them. Hence the astronomical cost of these apartments.

Pop. I checked the intercom screen. The PWAT police logo appeared briefly and was replaced by a red-haired woman. It was the PWAT team leader I’d met at the airport. Her hair color had changed, but her distinct charm remained, a combination of a sensual figure and sharp features.

“Long time no see.”

“You remember me.”

Pressing the intercom button, I projected her holographic image into the living room. “We’ve met a few times.”

I could feel my mother’s gaze shift from the TV to me. There was no point in hiding. “Let’s talk, Gwang Ik.”

“Is she your girlfriend?”

My mother called out from behind. “She’s a cop.”

It was clearly an exchange between an irate officer and a civilian. “A girlfriend candidate? An older woman is good. Experienced and comforting.”

The situation didn’t look like it would improve with my mother around. “I need to step out.”

“Be careful.”

My mother’s energy never faded. She was unusually serious these past days, but this was her true nature. “As always, I am careful.”

With my response, my mother scoffed at me. “My son, a celibate? Ha!”

Ignoring her teasing, I stepped outside. Only then did I realize my mistake. I hadn’t turned off the intercom. Ah, seriously. What a situation because of that absurd witch.

Outside, the thorough security meant it was easier for me to leave than for someone to enter. Beep. As I left, the PWAT team leader spoke.

“I’m here alone, but would you mind a date with someone eight years older?”

What was she on about? “My mother has quite the wit. Please forget it.”

We weren’t here for this kind of chat. Someone had been beating up drug dealers. Would the police appreciate that? Hardly. They must’ve been planning their own operations, which I upset the progress of. The police have a duty to uphold the law, and there are limits to being a brave citizen.

I went after the drug dealers with resolve, ignoring the law. This could cause the dealers to go further underground or even encourage crazier reprisals by them.

When I met the middle-aged Heung, I already knew the police were involved, and it was not just any team but PWAT, indicating a significant problem with a shape-shifter.

In short, I had anticipated this situation, just not an encounter with a familiar face. “You’re Gwang Ik, right? It doesn’t seem like you’re planning to deny it.”

“Yes, I am. When I was seventeen, I dreamt of a drug-free world.”

“So you intervened?”

“Yes.”

“Sigh, you’re driving me crazy, Gwang Ik. You shouldn’t do that.”

It was a casual remark, but the team leader took it seriously. As I blinked, she continued.

“I know you have a background in special services, but actions like yours can complicate matters.”

The tone was persuasive, something I had grown accustomed to handling from a young age due to my peculiar behavior.

Sometimes, certain individuals think I’m shallow and act without thorough consideration, as if my head is filled with noodle dough instead of brains.

Mr. Panda even seemed to regard me with such skepticism.

To get straight to the point, my intended outcome wasn’t this.

If the police were to question me, I had a reasonable proposition in mind. So why this reaction?

There was no point dragging it out. “Gwang Ik, I genuinely care for you like a brother, or even see you as a man. But since you are, indeed, like a brother to me, I have to say—”

“You’ve come to scold me?”

I cut her off. “Yes?”

“Not quite. We’re aware that you’re involved somehow, but we need to know what you’re planning. Whatever operation the police have going on, this complicates things. There might be more at stake behind the drug dealers. Don’t you kill them.”

“Yes, I won’t kill anyone.”

I had always intended to handle this in cooperation with the police. The discussion was over; I could have just left. But the team leader unexpectedly handed me her card—Lee Ji Hye.

“Ji Hye Noona, sounds nice, right?”

“Excuse me?”

“I’ll wait for your dating invite.”

“What?”

What nonsense was that? “Just a joke. Give me your phone number.”

Aggressive, yet without imposing. This must be what dealing with an older woman was like. I entered my number.

“How will you find them? They’ll all be in hiding, those who make and sell drugs. They won’t easily stick their necks out.”

“That’s corporate secret.”

I winked. Meant as a joke, but Ji Hye Noona looked at me intently before replying.

“I’d like to give you my security code.”

The conversation teetered dangerously on the edge. Skillfully manipulative, that’s what came to mind. And then I heard it—the voice of my corporate secret.

“Yoo Gwang Ik.”

“Let’s depart for now.”

Kang Hye Min, embodying my other corporate secret, approached with fire in her eyes.

“See you again.”

After sending her off, I turned around. “Have you been snagged by a breeze?”

Hyemin closed the distance in huge strides. “Let’s get it straight. I’m a dazzling solo; there’s no room for stray breezes.”

“What about our child?”

“Saying it so loud? That Noona isn’t immortal; she’s a special supernatural. She won’t hear us.”

As Hyemin glanced in the rearview mirror, the Noona revved her car and left.

Coming alone likely meant she had considerable authority. It went smoother than expected, probably because I’m a former SSP agent and my father’s influence. Plus, the Dan-gun Group was involved in the case, which she couldn’t be unaware of, so she must have considered it all before coming.

Well, thanks to that, my issue was resolved easily…

“Aren’t you just fretting over complications?”

Sometimes Hyemin’s sharpness scared me.

“Not at all.”

“You are.”

“No, why would I be burdened by you?”

“You’re showing off with another woman when you’ve been up all night working on tasks I assigned. After all I’ve done, including getting along with your in-laws and meeting your needs at night…”

“What nightly obligations?”

Hyemin was insistent, masterfully eliciting misunderstandings. “Forget that. Show me your power. Did you find it?”

As she spoke, she tousled my hair.

I looked truly tired, probably from having pulled an all-nighter. “Sleep is important for wizards.”

“You can sleep over at our place.”

“In oppa’s room?”

“Yes.”

She nodded. Finally, Hyemin let out coherent words.

“I found it.”

Wizards are valuable. Precious, because they are highly useful.

There was a big demand for wizards wanted for hire everywhere. Hyemin once referred to an immortal hunter as a half-baked wizard, boiling down to someone claiming to understand mathematics after giving up in middle school after doing just a few factorization problems. That’s how rare true wizards are.

I hadn’t tackled all the drug dealers in the capital region for nothing. I had given the mastermind behind them a choice: hide or show yourself. If they showed themselves, I’d catch and break them. And if they hid? I would search.

I had deliberately left their hands and feet free after a quick thrashing.

Hyemin had given me and the transformed team tiny seeds, resembling sunflower seeds, which we were to secretly attach to the insides of clothing. Mechanical tracking devices could be easily detected, but how about enchantments?

Would some small-time minion of Prometheus, living off drug trade, have a wizard capable of breaking such enchantments?

That was the intelligence I had gathered.

They were scattering, fleeing and hiding every which way. I expected some of their paths to intersect.

There, amidst the crisscrossing trails, had to be a route leading to the manufacturer and supplier.

The real and the fake are mixed, and it’s not up to me to sort them out.

My earlier comment to Ji Hye Noona about corporate secrets referred to two things: Hyemin and the bear.

Buzz. My phone rang.

“Hello.”

It was Mr. Panda. “Who am I? I am the greatest brain spawned by immortality…”

There he goes again. But it was clear. He’d found it.

The hub and the local Korean drug peddlers connected to Prometheus.

“Am I really sleeping in Oppa’s room?”

“Only for tonight,” I replied, seeing her smile. Somehow, I felt uneasy about the repercussions.

I had intended not to return home tonight.

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