Chapter 23 - Criminals #5
Cho Kang-suk welcomed Tae-hyuk who had arrived at the police station.
Kang-suk pulled out a cup of cocoa from the vending machine and handed it to Tae-hyuk. He then poured milk in his coffee and drank it.
"Well. I see that you arrested Kim Sang-hyun yesterday?”
"Yes. Do you know him?"
Tae-hyuk thought about what to say to Kang-suk. In the end, he explained everything except for the blacklist and crime skills.
Kang-suk glared once he heard that a thief had robbed their home.
“Is Ha-ran ssi okay?”
“Yes. She is safe."
"That, if something like that happens next time, then you should call Hyung straight away!”
Kang-suk clouted Tae-hyuk with his knuckles. Fortunately, Robbery had failed.
“Ouch... I’m sorry.”
Kang-suk was sincerely worried about Tae-hyuk and Ha-ran.
Tae-hyuk knew that Kang-suk was currently meeting with Ha-ran every weekend. They went out to eat and watch movies. It seemed like Ha-ran didn’t hate Kang-suk. Despite the age difference, weren’t they a surprisingly good match?
Tae-hyuk decided to cheer on the two people.
"At any rate, are you sure you want to meet Kim Sang-hyun?”
“It’s okay, as there are a few things that I want to ask him.”
In the end, as a condition, Kang-suk accompanied Tae-hyuk to the interrogation room in order to meet Kim Sang-hyun.
Kim Sang-hyun was handcuffed and screaming loudly.
"I mean, it was an accident! Why would I even go to the chief of police’s house?”
Tae-hyuk sat on the other side of the table.
"Hello. Kim Sang-hyun?”
Kim Sang-hyun stared at Tae-hyuk who suddenly appeared and said,
“Who is this bastard?”
"It is nice to meet you. I have one thing that I want to ask.”
“What the? Are you giving kids a tour now? Has the police department gone soft?”
Kang-suk, who was standing at the door with crossed arms, approached.
"Sang-hyun. This friend is like my younger brother. Talk to him. Also, before answering, think about how much soybean paste was in the soybean paste stew that you had yesterday.”
Kim Sang-hyun turned pale at Kang-suk’s words.
“Hiik! D-Detective Cho Kang-suk! I understand!”
"You’ll have it for more than a week if I like what I hear.”
"Three, no four days! I’m sick of jajangmyeon!”
Most of the interrogated suspects were provided with jajangmyeon from a nearby Chinese restaurant. Kim Sang-hyun had already eaten it for all three of his meals. The detectives didn’t even bother to give him jjampong.
“Brat. That’s how delicious it is.”
Thus, Tae-hyuk’s interrogation began.
"Two days ago, did you steal an item called Rosario from a house in H-dong? Let me know where it is currently at."
Kim Sang-hyun whistled.
"There was such a thing... Do I remember?”
"You obviously stole it.”
“I don’t know!”
In the end, Kang-suk had to come over again.
"Sang-hyun. Do you want to eat pickled radish starting from today?”
In the end, Kim Sang-hyun confessed everything he knew.
"That, I handed it over to Mama! It was completely cheap! I haven’t even received the remainder of the money yet. Ah, damn. Surely, I didn’t get caught because of that?”
"Hey. Who is Mama? Your mother?”
Kim Sang-hyun flinched and replied.
"I-I can’t answer that, even if you ask! This is my life!”
“You bastard. I am Cho Kang-suk. Do you want to keep a secret from Hyung? Say it quickly.”
Cho Kang-suk and Kim Sang-hyun started to fight.
Tae-hyuk laughed after hearing of Rosario’s whereabouts.
"Hyung. I think I know where it is. The interrogation can stop.”
“I-Is that so? Is this really okay?”
Tae-hyuk left the interrogation room.
He leaned against the wall of the corridor and muttered.
“... That sly snake!”
Big Mama had Rosario.
Tae-hyuk couldn’t even laugh at the sheer absurdity of the current situation.
He was like Son Wukong playing into the hands of Buddha.
“... I asked for info on the thief who stole Rosario, so she technically didn’t lie to me. Hah. What should I do now?”
He thought about leaving it alone.
However, Tae-hyuk wasn’t the type to avoid a fight.
He came up with a very good idea to get revenge on Big Mama.
“Ohuhu... you took Rosario, and in return, I will take away your most precious thing.”
Tae-hyuk smiled slyly.
* * *
Big Mama welcomed him as he entered the pawn shop.
"Welcome. Omo, is it Seo Tae-hyuk? Did you come to leave something with me?”
Big Mama was still wearing black mourning clothes. Her long hair was neatly tied back. It was a style that exposed her white neck.
‘That good looking smile is a trap. A nine-tailed fox!’
Tae-hyuk looked around Big Mama’s store.
It was seemed like a common pawn shop; but in reality, it was a stomping ground for thieves.
Tae-hyuk had gone home to get his blacklist before coming here. He read the words he wrote down about Big Mama.
‘Is she still not big?’
He knew what she was interested in. He knew her purpose for staying here as a stolen goods broker, and stored those things in his head. Based on that information, he would be able to get what he wanted.
Tae-hyuk licked his lips.
"Nope. Actually, Mama is so pretty. Do you have time to go for a cup of coffee with me?”
“Omo! This child. Don’t play around with Mama!”
Big Mama covered her mouth with a hand and laughed.
Then, the smile disappeared from her face.
“However, Seo Tae-hyuk. Didn’t you ask about Sang-hyun? Yesterday, he was caught trying to rob the police chief’s house.”
"You truly had no idea?”
Big Mama stared into Tae-hyuk’s eyes.
Her eyes were eerily piercing, like she was reading his mind.
"Not at all."
"I see. Then, sit down on the chair over there. I will prepare a cup of tea.”
Tae-hyuk felt sweat flowing down his back. They had only exchanged a few words, yet Big Mama had already discerned that Kim Sang-hyun was caught by Tae-hyuk.
After a few moments. Big Mama made a cup of green tea. It wasn’t from a teabag, but was freshly brewed.
Big Mama said with a smile.
"The information you told me was a lie. Moreover, you even thought about coming back here. You have more guts than I thought.”
"Mama isn’t much different, right?”
"I'm not a liar like Tae-hyuk."
The two people laughed, but the atmosphere was heavy with blood.
“I didn’t lie.”
Tae-hyuk took a sip of the tea and said.
“Hrmm. Mama, what do you think about art?”
Big Mama made a sound at the unexpected question.
"Hoh~ why are you asking such a thing?"
"In fact, I'm very interested in art. The artworks hanging in your store are quite famous.”
Big Mama’s eyes shone.
"I didn’t expect that Tae-hyuk would be interested in art.”
"However, aren’t they all forgeries?”
"No, they are genuine.”
Tae-hyuk swallowed his saliva. This was the most important moment.
"That's right. If you think of artwork as genuine, then they are genuine. If you believe that they are fake, then they are fake.”
Big Mama made an amazed sound. She never thought there would be someone who thought like her.
Tae-hyuk was delighted.
'It is natural. This is the motto of the Big Mama family.’
Big Mama looked at Tae-hyuk without saying anything.
'She is searching for my reason for coming here. I shouldn’t give it to her straight away, however.’
Tae-hyuk leisurely drank the green tea that Big Mama made him. The expensive tea leaves created a completely different scent.
A long time passed.
Tae-hyuk spoke in a tone that was neither too fast nor too slow.
"Big Mama, yesterday was the ‘Cyan Girl’ right?”
“Omomo! How did you know?”
The Cyan Girl was one of the hidden oil paintings by the baroque master Saint Germain. It was unknown to the public, but was traded among collectors for a fairly high price.
Tae-hyuk didn’t answer Mama’s question. He just continued his story.
"I really think that it is a tragedy for one person to monopolize such a wonderful piece of work. Mama, don’t you think so?”
Tae-hyuk pulled out a picture and handed it to Big Mama. It was an image of the Trail of the Sunset that she had been looking for.
The mask disappeared from Big Mama’s face as her hidden feelings were revealed.
She was shocked.
"Beautiful. Someone with a terminal illness saw this painting, and their mind could rest at ease, despite the fact that their illness wouldn’t get better. They looked at this painting until their last moments. At least, that is just what I heard. This painting was then stolen by a thief, and became a legendary masterpiece in the end. Obviously, any collector would monopolize it. So, I had a thought. Let’s paint this and distribute it to the people of this world.”
Big Mama was at a loss for words.
It was the same. The little boy in front of her was saying the same thing. How was this possible? She never told anyone her dream. A coincidence? Or destiny? What word could explain this phenomenon?
Big Mama liked art, but such art was mostly dominated by a handful of rich collectors. Thus, she entered the world of counterfeit art. She was living in an alley right now, but one day, she wanted to spread her ideals around the world.
However, how did this boy come to know all her thoughts? Furthermore, the Trail of the Sunset that her dead husband liked was the first thing she wanted to copy and distribute.
It felt as if all her clothes had been stripped off for the public to see. She was ashamed. It was the first time she felt like this.
Big Mama asked in a trembling voice.
"That, can you tell me where you took the photo? Obviously, you want to make a deal.”
"But we lied to each other.”
“So once again, I would like to offer a deal.”
"Please accept me as a disciple."
Big Mama’s eyes shook.
She was troubled.
Tae-hyuk had the Trail of the Sunset that she wanted. On the contrary, Tae-hyuk wanted her to teach him.
If she accepted this deal, then there would be a struggle to steal each other’s possessions.
Many questions surfaced and disappeared in a period of less than 10 seconds. In the end, she reached an answer.
Big Mama laughed and said.
"Then you should start with cleaning.”
* * *
Tae-hyuk confirmed the message on the Demon Revealing Mirror.
[Crime Skill: Forgery Knowledge has been learnt.]
-You can create one item after analysis completion.
-The quality of the finished object depends on your dexterity stat.
-Due to low proficiency, the quality of the goods made is poor.
-It has been registered in the temporary skills window.
'It is like I thought!’
He became Big Mama’s disciple and had learned a new crime skill.
In order to perfectly master it, he needed to use the new skill to deal Big Mama a big blow.
But was this really the only way to learn a crime skill? What if he learned how to make art for Big Mama here?
Experimenting would give him more information on the crime skills.
This skill was affected by dexterity, meaning that dexterity would increase as he practiced the skill. Just like how he learned to study from An Eun-young, he would learn forgery from Big Mama.
Naturally, he needed to improve his dexterity to upgrade to a ‘Noble’ status. And after he perfectly mastered the skill...
‘I will take everything away from Big Mama.’
Big Mama had Tae-hyuk’s Rosario. He would take everything away from her. Naturally, that included regaining Rosario.
Tae-hyuk stared at Big Mama’s back with sly, upturned eyes.
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