Genius of unique lineage Chapter 178

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177. She had planned to bite off the sore finger this time.

[Yoo Kwang-ik] Let’s do it together

It was an unexpected message.

Kim Jeong-ah thought that Yoo Kwang-ik indeed was not just any ordinary crazy person.

Previously, he had suggested they go smash Prometheus’s toenail.

Without bothering to question the nonsense, Kim Jeong-ah followed Kwang-ik and played the role of a turret.

There, she had blown off the head of a sub-organizational member of Prometheus.

It was the same as before.

The insane fast-promoter and record-holder for shortest tenure had called her again.

Tap tap tap.

She quickly filed a leave request on the intranet. A single electronic signature from her team leader and she was on vacation. There was no reason for it to be denied.

“Jeong-ah?”

Kim Jeong-ah immediately stood before Jung Bong.

Looking at Jeong-ah with half-closed eyes, sitting on his chair tilted backward, was Jung Bong.

“Taking a leave?”

Gi-nam’s ears pricked up from behind.

External Security Team 3 couldn’t get any new recruits.

Jung Bong continued to chew up rookies befittingly to his nickname ‘Blender’.

Ironically, Gi-nam ended up filling the vacant position.

Even though he wasn’t asked to, he volunteered.

Team Leader Jung Bong didn’t particularly object.

So the team was back to three members.

Even though they were three, the workload had decreased, making their days rather leisurely.

They had more than enough capacity even with just two.

Thanks to the halt in external tasks, Hwalim recently took on incidents happening in Seoul and its suburbs.

They also frequently traveled to provincial areas.

External Security Team 3 would only step in when manpower was short, so naturally, there weren’t many tasks.

But only Kim Jeong-ah was kept busy.

She was going around catching Prometheus’s minions and gathering intelligence.

She was a woman with plenty to do, harboring a purpose for revenge within Hwalim.

“Yes, I’d like to rest.”

Jung Bong knew Kim Jeong-ah well.

She wouldn’t be taking leave if it wasn’t related to Prometheus.

“Stop meeting that guy. You’ll get tainted.”

Jung Bong advised.

“Yes.”

Kim Jeong-ah answered and turned around.

They both knew who they were referring to.

Back at her seat, Kim Jeong-ah organized her to-do list in her mind.

‘Leave work, have dinner, meet Yoo Kwang-ik.’

Dinner could probably be with Kwang-ik.

She promptly sent a message to have dinner together.

After about 10 minutes, she got a reply.

[Yoo Kwang-ik] Don’t touch my man.

A question mark popped up in Kim Jeong-ah’s head.

What was he talking about?

Worrying about pointless things would only waste her energy.

Kim Jeong-ah ignored the message.

Another one came immediately.

[Yoo Kwang-ik] Yes, let’s do it together. Dinner too. Please forget the previous message. It was sent by a crazy kid.

After confirming, she wrapped up her workstation, then Gi-nam approached from behind.

“Going to see him?”

Gi-nam had extraordinary insight. With heightened senses and intuition, especially for those of the pure-blooded Jeong clan, it was natural.

Gi-nam was particularly keen when it involved Yoo Kwang-ik.

Previously, during an Invader extermination mission, he had asked.

“When you first operated with Yoo Kwang-ik, how many blind dogs did you catch?”

“I didn’t count.”

Kim Jeong-ah had replied briefly.

The operation was comparable.

The first operation with Kwang-ik was during the sudden gate status change, while the mission with Gi-nam was prepared with heavy weapons, knowing it was a Wave form.

That day, Gi-nam went berserk.

He took out twenty blind dogs with just a pistol and a knife.

Attuned to his senses, he shot and stabbed one after another.

He aimed for vital points with no misses.

It was an act near miraculous insanity.

But there really was no need for that.

It would have been over with heavy weaponry alone.

“Is he on meds?”

The second team’s deputy queried at the support call.

“Perhaps.”

That was Kim Jeong-ah’s response and a memory she preferred to forget.

Upon returning to the headquarters, Team Leader Jung Bong teased Gi-nam for being sexually frustrated.

Gi-nam ignored it cleanly.

“…That kid’s also gotten twisted in a different way, all because of that bloody bastard.”

Team Leader Jung Bong click his tongue at the sight of Gi-nam.

In some ways, it was appropriate to say that Gi-nam’s attitude was as challenging as Kwang-ik’s.

Anyway, that’s how Gi-nam adapted.

He also became the friend who memorized all the tasks Yoo Kwang-ik had ever done, studying them by heart.

“Right?”

“So what?”

Meeting Yoo Kwang-ik was to deal with Prometheus.

A discordant comrade wasn’t needed.

“Never mind.”

Gi-nam said and turned to leave.

His retreating figure looked frustrated, but Kim Jeong-ah didn’t bother with more thought.

It wasn’t her concern.

All she thought was how Gi-nam reminded her of a girl smitten with unrequited love.

* * *

“Hey, what are you doing with someone else’s phone?”

This child, Kang Hye-min, had bad habits.

On a brief bathroom break after leaving her phone behind, what sorcery was this?

Who’s your man?

“What is ‘Let’s do it together’? Are you hitting on someone?”

“It’s not hitting on, it’s about working together.”

“Don’t misrepresent it. Yoo Kwang-ik, I am watching you closely with both eyes.”

“…You.”

A little surprised.

“What?”

“You know the word ‘double entendre’? My tutoring wasn’t in vain after all. I thought I was pouring water into a bottomless bucket.”

Hye-min crossed her arms and looked at me blankly before speaking.

“Oppa sometimes seems like an old man.”

“What? Watch your mouth!”

Where did she learn those bad words, calling me an old nugget?

“Feels like a Topgol Park vibe.”

“What nonsense is this crazy kid spouting?”

“No, it really feels that way when you utter those proverbs.”

That was thanks to my father. Sometimes my father struggled to speak without throwing in famous quotes, proverbs, or idioms.

Mother called it ‘showing-off disease’, yet she also added that it was all fine because he was handsome.

And then she told me never to act like that when out and about.

When I asked why not, she moved her hand up and down my face a few times and said,

“Because the face is different.”

Memories of being hurt in the past.

Also memories from the day I doubted whether she was my real mother.

“Do you guys have to do this here?”

That’s Panda hyung. Leaning against a chair, he spoke with a gaze as if he was looking at the most pitiful person in the world.

Panda hyung’s house was small.

Putting computers and figure display cases in an already small home made it feel even smaller.

And because it wasn’t right for me to remain standing, I was teasing Hye-min.

“Why here, of all places? Really, get out, please.”

“People would think it’s weird if we do this outside.”

I replied logically.

“…Fine.”

It was still early, but soon it would be time to get ready for dinner.

“Let’s go out to eat.”

Today was the day to discuss the operation based on the intel Panda hyung had dug up.

More precisely, it was to notify me of the operation plan Panda hyung had created and then I had fleshed out.

“Are we not reaching out to the Dangun Group?”

As we stepped outside, Panda hyung asked.

“My mother dislikes it.”

Rather than really disliking it.

“Your maternal grandfather is not a good man.”

Is what she had said.

If I could avoid borrowing power from the Dangun Group, I thought I didn’t need to either.

“Support from the police is on the way. I’ve already synced up with Team PWAT’s Ji-hye noona.”

“What? Synced up with whom?”

Hye-min jumped in.

“Aligned our words.”

“Seriously, do you have to phrase it like that?”

Our Hye-min is not an Immortal, yet so overly sensitive.

“Yes, it has to be exactly like that.”

So I tease.

“I might just curse you.”

All talk. Just talk.

The three of us who stepped outside couldn’t take a car.

My sports car was a two-seater.

And I certainly couldn’t tell Hye-min to get herself a witch’s broomstick to ride here.

Vrooom.

Instead, a car arrived to pick us up.

An Audi Q5 pulled up in front of us.

The passenger window rolled down and inside, Mari spoke.

“Mari is here, Oppa.”

There was today’s chauffeur.

The car was a gift from my father.

He was so fond of Mari that he negotiated with the government, created her an identity, and bought her a car the moment she got her driver’s license.

He never bought me anything.

Is he really my biological father?

“Yeah.”

As I was about to get in the passenger seat, Hye-min cut in.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“If you get jealous even of your sister, you’ve got issues.”

“We share blood, we grew up together, we even have our family registries linked. Just because we call each other siblings.”

Well, that’s not incorrect.

Boarding the car, I thought about possibly needing to buy another house.

With the money I’d earned, buying the apartment I’m currently living in would be a stretch, but acquiring a small building and remodeling it seemed doable.

Would the budget be tight, though?

How much would buildings cost nowadays?

While I pondered all this, I recalled complaining about Seoul’s apartment prices several years ago, shocked by the less than 100 million won annual salary.

Thinking about it now, that wasn’t such a large amount of money.

Life-saving allowances, performance bonuses, and Hwalim’s decent salary aside, freelancing certainly brought in more money.

The only problem was the higher risk, the need for more preparation, and the fact that without skills, no jobs would come.

I tend to disregard all this as irrelevant.

If necessary, I could spend money to equip myself with gear.

My abilities had been proven sufficiently.

I’ve been receiving love calls from police departments.

“Are you available to meet the Commissioner?”

This was a message from Ji-hye noona.

“Hmm, the President would like to meet you. Please find some time.”

This was from Dangun Group’s physical powerhouse, So-jin.

And it didn’t end there.

“Oh, Yoo Kwang-ik, customer, you’re getting intense love calls from here and there, huh?”

This too was a message from Panda hyung.

Just two jobs in, and I had become the idol of the freelancer world.

So, if I were to do various jobs, I should buy a building first.

For renovation and other expenses, I might need more money.

Wasn’t my account balance 6.4 billion won?

“Money is never quite enough, is it?”

Just as I pondered aloud.

“The rich just get richer, don’t they?”

Panda hyung scoffed.

We arrived at the restaurant. It had private rooms, and we were to be a group of five today.

“Should we order first?”

Panda hyung, serious about eating, asked.

“They’ll be here soon.”

Hardly had I finished my sentence than Sister Jeong-ah arrived.

“Long time no see.”

Cheerfully greeting everyone.

Click.

The shooter just nodded as a greeting.

Once everyone was seated, Panda hyung was on my left, Hye-min on the right, with the shooter and Mari beside her.

Some knew each other, some did not, but all had their own unique personalities.

Mari and Hye-min were just looking at me.

Panda hyung was only looking at the menu.

The shooter stared silently at the corner of the table.

That corner is not Prometheus, Shooter.

To begin with, this rigid atmosphere wasn’t to my liking.

“Let’s eat first.”

It was an aged sushi specialty restaurant.

Except for the shooter and Hye-min, we were all big eaters of exceptional species.

Biting into a piece of rockfish dipped in sauce.

Putting wasabi onto a slice of flatfish and enjoying the meal.

After a wild feeding frenzy.

“Whew, I’m stuffed. Dong-hoon hyung?”

With a pat on the belly, I called out to Panda hyung, who promptly activated the holographic projector shaped like a wristwatch.

Soon, words and a few faces appeared in thin air.

“Here’s the question, how are Prometheus operatives able to do business locally and even attack Hwalim?”

“Because they’re crazy.”

I replied.

“They’re lunatics.”

The shooter added.

“I don’t know.”

Hye-min answered.

Mari just flashed an innocent smile.

“Are we all not going to use our brains?”

Panda hyung said, sighing then continued.

I wanted to tell him to wipe off the bean sauce on his mouth first.

“Internally, there were two known Prometheus executives. As far as we’ve discovered, that’s it. But someone had to oversee and manage everything, otherwise incidents like the Ability Stone or the Hwalim assault wouldn’t have been feasible, right?”

“So what’s your point?”

Let’s stick to the main topic.

“That’s the thing. I retraced the deeds they executed.”

Panda hyung’s self-praise time.

After a tedious explanation of how he tracked the information and reached his conclusion.

“If I’m correct, there’s a third executive within the country.”

There were said to be eight Prometheus executives.

I knew of two.

Choi Minam and Crocodile.

One was a shapeshifter, the other an immortal who could cast spells.

If Hye-min saw Choi Minam again, she vowed to make bugs crawl out of that inept spellcaster’s nose, but that would not be an easy task.

The challenge began with just trying to meet him.

Even my father had personally pursued Choi Minam and failed to catch him.

Meaning, even the government was eluded by his tracking.

“If my guess is correct, there’s a ‘Bridge’ operative here.”

The term ‘Bridge’ implied an executive who climbed the ranks through business means rather than combat.

“Have you pinpointed their location?”

I asked.

A way of harming Prometheus.

To undermine their key forces.

Since they considered drug addicts merely toenails.

This time, the aim was to gnaw at their sore finger.

“That’s hard even for me. Neither the government nor the police, nor even the Dangun Group would know. However, there’s speculation they might currently be in Seoul.”

Before I could even ask why,

“Why you ask? Obvious isn’t it? From the Other Side Ability Stone incident to the Hwalim assault, every operation they carried out in Korea has been a total mess. Usually, folks like them will search for the cause of failure.”

Panda hyung spoke confidently.

That might be one possibility.

Or maybe not.

Either way, it seemed worth pursuing.

“Alright then, let’s proceed with the operation I suggested.”

I declared.

“Really? We’re going with that plan?”

Hye-min questioned.

“Why not?”

Is there another way? If not, then that’s it.

“Leaving Crocodile as is?”

Panda hyung inquired.

Crocodile had bared his jaws nearby.

Signaling a beckoning sonata of temptation, to come and be caught.

That was my interpretation.

And I chose to ignore it.

“Yes, let’s leave him. Let him go play on his own.”

“I thought you’d rush to catch him.”

“Do I look like a fool to you?”

Why would I step into a trap that’s been laid out and waiting?

Sometimes I feel like the people around me think I’m really simple-minded and reckless.

Will Prometheus also see me that way?

It’s hard to guess.

The subordinate of the drug manufacturers had critical information.

It could have been a mere coincidence, but maybe not.

Crocodile isn’t my arch-nemesis.

There’s no compelling reason to pursue this lead, so I decided to focus on other matters.

That’s what I was doing now.

We would proceed to ransack Prometheus’s business establishments one by one, to startle the rabbit into leaping out.

Whether it would turn out to be an executive, as Panda hyung suggested or not, targeting their business would surely shake something loose.

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