Genius of unique lineage Chapter 190

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Genius of a Unique Lineage

I had resolved to refuse before even hearing anything more.

Giggles and laughter filled the room.

It was mostly Grandfather talking and me just playing along.

We laughed a lot; we talked a lot.

Now, Grandfather was explaining why Mother and Uncle had different surnames.

Like a true conglomerate head, he had multiple wives and concubines.

Giving them all his surname would be confusing, so he had them take Mother’s surname instead.

Grandfather was certainly a man of unique values.

When I asked if this didn’t cause fights among the children, he shook with laughter, saying, “Children grow up through fighting.”

My maternal grandfather’s name was Kang No-seok.

Mother was the daughter of an official’s wife.

Talking pleasantly about a conglomerate family’s sordid tale felt like discussing strangers.

“Why don’t you get along with Mother?” I inquired.

“Adolescence,” he replied.

The idea of my mother, with a grown son of her own, being in her adolescence!

“Or as they say these days, maybe it’s a fifth puberty?” he laughed boisterously.

Grandfather was always one to laugh.

I decided not to delve deeper into my mother and grandfather’s issues.

But then he nonchalantly said, “I told you to take over the group.”

“…What?” I was taken aback.

Leave home because I was told to inherit the group? It was a plot straight out of a soap opera.

As I stared in anticipation at Grandfather, expecting the next episode, he added indifferently, “He refused and left. Thanks to him, the rest of them had headaches.”

Just like that, the story ended anticlimactically.

Grandfather smiled, perhaps suggesting that what’s done is done. His demeanor was calm.

He was a man with an abundance of equanimity.

Though it didn’t seem like a laughing matter, I had a feeling there was more to the story.

I could always ask Mother later.

She seemed likely to tell me once I got back anyway.

If not, Grandfather wouldn’t have asked to see me now.

With that in mind, I sized up the man before me—owner of unique values, ever-laughing, and abundantly composed.

Add one more: inscrutable.

I had felt the same when I first met Nam Myung-jin, the company president, on joining Hwarim.

Now, he was just a familiar company executive.

Looking back at Grandfather, our eyes met.

Click.

I finished my tea and set the cup on the table. Raindrops began to fall against the windowpane despite the sunshine. A sun shower.

At the sound of rain tapping like background music, I asked Grandfather, “What will you do?”

“I want to see my grandchild’s talent,” he said.

“Talent?” I was puzzled.

“Think of it like New Year’s. Bowing and receiving lucky money in exchange.”

“Bowing for New Year’s?”

While our gazes locked, grandfather held out his hands.

Simultaneously, an intent to kill pierced me from all sides.

“Is the talisman hanging on the wall a protective spell?” I asked casually, lowering my hands.

“You’re quick on the uptake. Is that your father’s blood in you?”

“Perhaps.”

As we spoke, I kicked the table on the right side and sent it flying in a sharp motion. It was an act of aggression. Shadows lurking around lunged at me.

The table met one shadow, capturing it mid-air and hurling it aside.

I took the brief moment of distraction to leap up from my chair.

As I rolled backward, two thumping sounds marked where knives had embedded in the spot I just vacated.

Grandfather’s laughter brushed past my ears.

Whether his words were meant for me or the shadow that attacked me was unclear.

I pushed up from the ground with my palms, looking around me, ears alert, and senses sharp.

Masked assailants surrounded me—a total of three.

It seemed like Grandfather was testing me. A nasty hobby.

My mother and uncle often said, “Yes, that’s our father, but he’s a bit faint-hearted when it comes to humanity.”

“He judges people’s worth based on their abilities.”

When he called for me, I knew it wasn’t just to chew the fat about mother’s black history.

“Let’s see your New Year’s bow,” Grandfather said, smiling.

I shrugged nonchalantly.

“I’m not good at controlling my strength.”

In fact, I was very good at it.

This was a provocation, following what I learned. If you can provoke your opponent, you should strike and disrupt as much as possible.

“That’s not doing any harm, right?” I added provocatively.

The smallest of the masked individuals moved restlessly.

It seemed familiar.

In a tricky situation, I couldn’t very well thrash someone I might know.

The three masked figures tensed up, ready to pounce. Just before they could, I raised my palm out to them.

Their movements halted abruptly, like wind-up dolls running out of steam.

It was an opportunity to disrupt their rhythm—also because if I didn’t ask now, there wouldn’t be another chance.

“I suppose the grandchild can receive his New Year’s money first?” It was information I was after—one question was enough.

“Hmm?”

“Is it possible to forcibly open an Earth Blackhole?”

Earlier, I had asked the police chief, but now I was addressing the chairman of the Tangun Group, also the head of Exculacy in Korea.

He was certainly one of the most powerful people in the country, possibly exceeding the president himself.

If my grandfather didn’t know the answer, it was unlikely anyone else in the current situation would.

“Hmm,” Grandfather pondered, tilting his head.

“Not to my knowledge.” His tone was definitive.

Secrets always hold the promise of unexpected incidents, not just my own conjecture.

Once I broached the subject, I expected Grandfather to investigate on his own.

Now that I had given him a clue, I could proceed with the rest of the New Year’s pleasantries.

“Aaand here we go,” I said to myself as I put my weight into my right foot and sprung forward.

“Wind Edge Charge.”

Bam.

Though it was simply moving forward, the force felt like the entire atmosphere was pressing down upon me.

With accelerated velocity, I aimed my fist at the smaller masked figure’s chest.

As the figure twisted to react, I noticed sharp three-pronged claws extend from its wrist.

Claws.

I made my move simultaneously.

Sensing the sharp blades and heavy arsenal from both sides, my senses captured everything.

And in that moment, I knew this much: just three of them?

I channeled my energy into a tight fist, ready for impact.

I deflected the incoming claw strike with my fist.

There was a crunch.

The skin tore, revealing bone underneath, but the claw didn’t escape unscathed either—it twisted and bent out of shape.

Definitely not adamantium.

Using the deflection to my advantage, I surged forward, barging into the figure—rolling into the move that had defeated the table.

Behind me, a hammer and a knife missed their mark.

The knife’s tip grazed my back—a sting of pain.

Closing the distance, I used my head to strike the masked figure’s jaw, taking advantage of the momentum.

There was no time for the shadow to react. Short-range dash.

Crack.

A groan leaked out. Along with a headbutt to the jaw, I stomped on the figure’s foot.

Crunch.

The sound of a fractured foot echoed.

As I grabbed the figure’s waist with my arms, I threw it over my shoulder.

The one with the knife caught its airborne comrade and deftly deflected him aside.

“Nice reflexes,” I commented to myself.

The remaining two exhaled with ferocity, just before I intercepted them.

Instead of lunging forward as expected, I dodged to the side towards the wall bearing the protective spell.

While stepping forward, I twisted my body.

I stomped on the ground, channeling steel into my limb—melding the moves learned from the Shadow Clan into my flesh. I seized the moment when power condensed into a single point.

My left foot kicked the wall sharply once, while my right hand swung out.

Boom, bang!

In the blink of an eye, two impacts.

I once asked Hye-Min if it was possible to break a spell with physical force.

“It can be done if one is brutishly strong,” she had said.

Turns out she was right.

Had the wall not given way, I would’ve had to render the two remaining shifters almost crippled.

It felt quite demeaning, becoming a plaything at my grandfather’s beck and call.

“See you next time!” I left those words behind as I burst through the broken wall.

Dusting off concrete residue, I jumped from the second floor and landed lightly on the ground.

“Filming a movie?” A nearby couple watched in disbelief.

“Yeah, a low-grade family melodrama,” I replied instinctively and headed for the parking lot.

Who needs to perform for someone’s entertainment just because they want to see it?

I had enough on my mind without playing into some group recruitment or starting as a company grunt.

Determined to refuse before even hearing it out, I wondered where my car was parked.

No signs of being pursued. If there had been, I might have ended up in a pursuit right through downtown.

As I shook off the dust, the thought of dirtying the car seat crossed my mind, so I quickly stripped off my clothes in the parking lot.

Discarding my clothes into the trunk, I hopped into the car, started the engine, and sped away without a second thought.

Unseen by any observer—the tint of the car windows was that dark.

Perfect, indisputable perfection.

The sun shower was brief, barely wetting the ground.

The car treaded lightly upon the freshly damp earth.

* * *

“The grandchild is quite unpredictable,” the chairman tsked with amusement.

When provoked to fight, he simply busted through a wall and left.

“Shall we pursue?” asked the chairman’s friend and bodyguard.

“You were a good runner, weren’t you?” The chairman inquired knowingly.

“We have swift runners too.”

“Let him be,” he decided.

The individual had already gone. What was the point of catching him now?

Besides, there was no need.

If he ended up sheltered by his mother, that too would lead to the group’s embrace.

“Scan results?” inquired the chairman.

“All complete,” affirmed the hostess of the establishment.

“Much appreciated, Ms. Kkot-Nim.”

In her prime, she was a concubine, but now rendered infertile, she remained as part of the chairman’s inner circle.

A shapeshifter and a scientist, she had gained wealth and prestige by proving her worth through her expertise.

She catalogued the observations of Kkot-Nim while engaged in conversation with Kwang Ik, the result of scanning him with various devices developed by the Tangun Group.

“I will compile the findings for you,” she stated.

“I await them,” responded the chairman, resting his chin on the cane he held.

In the meantime, his friend, also a bodyguard, examined the punctured wall with a curious fist.

A show of struggle and competitive spirit, one of the defining traits of their kind.

‘Indeed, breaking it down in just two blows…’

Impressive. Actually, more than impressive—he was quite satisfied.

The two who had been fighting, excluding the one wearing a mask, positioned themselves beside the chairman.

“I’d love to hear your assessment,” he urged.

The two unmasked themselves—one, a man with a scar near his eye, the other, a woman with sharp features.

The chairman shifted his gaze momentarily toward the fallen masked figure.

The fallen friend had suffered severe injuries.

A shattered jaw, a broken metatarsal, and a contorted spine.

He hadn’t severed the spine but was certainly damaged.

‘He was the fastest among the three.’

The quickest of the shapeshifter agents.

“Hmm.”

The chairman pondered in silence, causing the two to hold their tongues, observing his thoughtful demeanor.

He recalled Kkot-Nim’s movements, which were extraordinary to witness.

The initial overpowering action and the agility that followed.

‘Ganggak, Cheolwon, Sulye taught well.’

He had mastered the two techniques in sync with his body.

Despite being a half-blood, his lineage hadn’t diluted.

He had inherited his mother’s blood in its entirety.

‘They say “The Blood of the Immortal” is rich.’

An irregular.

Internal evaluations from the Immortal Special Force were inaccessible, but rumors and exploits made judgment feasible.

Nothing remains hidden forever; a thorn in one’s pocket will eventually cause discomfort.

Where a thorn pricks, marks will certainly be left behind.

The chairman was well-versed in all that Kkot-Nim had accomplished to date.

That encompassed even the recent nickname bestowed upon him: “The World’s Strongest Special Being.”

He had wanted to witness it—the deeds of the past as well as potential for the future.

Both of which the group could aid.

He could assist.

He didn’t plan to repeat the foolish mistakes that led to his daughter’s loss.

‘If only he had carried pure blood.’

The Tangun Group adjudged members based on bloodline.

Nonetheless, he was well aware that bloodline wasn’t everything.

Even so, to harness the group’s power, one needed to be deserving.

An internal group ranking required a physique training score of at least ninety out of a hundred for the A grade.

Scoring higher would place an individual in the S grade.

The chairman lifted his head and met the eyes of the two.

The scarred man spoke upon the chairman’s prompt.

“He’s beyond our grasp with just three.”

He was known as ‘The Cold Blade,’ nurtured by the group to be a warrior—a shapeshifter whose cool detachment was his primary weapon.

“Is that so?”

“At minimum, a platoon armed with gear is necessary,” Cold Blade assessed, his forte being the ability to instantly gauge and strategize based on ally and enemy capabilities.

“Excessive.”

Admittedly, Kkot-Nim’s prowess was notable, but the chairman valued not only physical ability but also situational judgment and decisiveness.

Bursting through the wall was a result of judgment and immediate, unwavering action—driving to full force.

“Chairman.”

During the conversation, Ms. Kkot-Nim approached.

“The grade?” he inquired.

“I will collate the results and bring them to you,” she replied.

“I’ll wait,” stated the chairman, chin propped contemplatively upon his cane.

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