Chapter 24 - Power Deployment
Two weeks had passed since Seo Tae-hyuk received a month long suspension due to Park Sung-kwang’s efforts. By the way, it was much better than when he went to school every day.
In the morning, he did homework and helped Ha-ran with her household chores. Then, he ate lunch and went to work in Big Mama’s store. He completed chores according to her instructions until late in the afternoon. In the evening, he went to An Eun-young’s house to study.
He was so busy that it felt like there were 36 hours in a day.
His cognitive abilities increased considerably.
‘Shall I check it?’
As Tae-hyuk cleaned Big Mama’s store, he took out the Demon Revealing Mirror to check his stats.
Stats: Stamina (61), Intelligence (25), Agility (24), Dexterity (34)
‘Intelligence has increased by 11. Dexterity by three.’
The studying skill was indeed a big help, and Intelligence was the one stat that was rising the quickest. An Eun-young was amazed by his performance.
‘... By the way, stamina decreased again.’
Stamina was steadily decreasing compared to his other stats. His stats needed 50 points for his ranking to be upgraded to ‘Noble’.
His stamina was overflowing. However, his stomach hurt when he saw that his stats were decreasing.
‘I should exercise.’
Studying also needed stamina. It was the real thing.
He was able to see his stats after obtaining the Spying skill. He knew the direct numerical values, so it was more efficient to train his body.
“Tae-hyuk. Please clean this up.”
"Aye, aye, Sir!"
Tae-hyuk removed the dust in the store according to Big Mama’s instructions.
She didn’t teach him any skills as soon as he became a disciple. Big Mama gave Tae-hyuk a job and started forging artworks.
'Just watching her is increasing my skill proficiency.’
[You have watched a master craftsman work.]
[Proficiency will increase rapidly.]
[Forgery skill 17%]
The skills that he learned could be elevated by raising the level of proficiency.
'Although I can’t learn any other skills since there is only one temporary skill window, this isn’t that bad.’
He was able to raise his dexterity stat. Although it was currently lower than stamina, it wasn’t a bad performance.
‘The most important thing in forging art is how it looks.’
There were artworks at least several hundred years old. There were just as many that were under 100 years old. In order to make fakes of such things, the perfection of the work was a basic thing. It was important for the artwork to look as old as the original year. If a 300 year old painting was as smooth as if it was painted yesterday, a child wouldn’t be deceived.
‘Applying a specially prepared solution to the surface of the painting will make it age fast! Isn’t this really good? Uh, wah! From the stains to the insect marks!’
It took a long time to create a counterfeit artwork. A person could take a week to a month. However, Big Mama completed a perfect quality work in only three days.
He couldn’t help but feel admiration.
'Uh, my proficiency has gone up by one.’
Once his proficiency level reached a certain level, he could know the meaning of what Big Mama was doing.
Tae-hyuk’s eyes shone.
He decided to do his own forgeries once his proficiency increased a bit more.
There were two weeks remaining until he had to go back to school. Based on the current rate that his intelligence was rising, he would be able to achieve his desired grades.
He first decided to concentrate on acquiring the Forgery skill.
* * *
Cho Kang-suk clicked his tongue.
He was a homicide detective, and had 10 years of practical experience before achieving this rank. He was familiar with seeing these things.
Even so, he frowned as he saw the body in front of him.
The body was odd.
He couldn’t say anything.
Cho Kang-suk skillfully ordered his men to form a blockade around the building. Signs that prohibited access were put up and the crime scene was closed.
Inspector Kim Do-shik, who arrived late, asked him. He would be the person in charge of this case.
“Detective Cho! Did you call the coroner?”
"Oh, Inspector-nim arrived? He’ll be here in a minute.”
Kim Do-shik pulled back the tarp covering the corpse.
He couldn’t help but moan.
“What is this...?”
He raised a finger and pressed it firmly against the skin of the corpse.
"I don’t think she was drowned.”
The corpse still seemed alive.
“Yes... The coroner can only know after conducting the autopsy. It is likely that she was suffocated.”
“Hrmm. Is it strangulation?”
"No strangulation injuries were found on the neck.”
Kim Do-shik quietly covered the body with the tarp again.
Cho Kang-suk reported what he had found so far.
“A female. Her age is in the early 20s, and her clothes have yet to be found. I have pulled the fingerprints to check her identity. The person who discovered it was a student who lived nearby, and I have someone taking care of them. After their shock has subsided, I will check the exact circumstances of the discovery.”
"But Detective Cho, it is still too premature to say. Have you ever seen a body like this?”
Cho Kang-suk shook his head.
"The stomach... is her stomach full?”
“... Yes. It is like she is pregnant.”
The two people’s faces darkened.
No matter how long they worked, they still couldn’t get used to this.
“Ah! The coroner has arrived!”
“Yes. First, let’s see what he has to say. But really... This body is odd.”
Cho Kang-suk couldn’t answer properly. He was more qualified to beat up a gangster than to do something like this.
"Then, tell me when the results come out.”
Kim Do-shik sighed again.
"This world is really going crazy.”
The case proceeded quickly. The identity of the body was revealed and the signs were also accurate. However, their questions weren’t completely answered.
Detective Cho Kang-suk asked the coroner.
"Min-soo. How did she die?”
Park Min-soo was a similar age to Kang-suk. In addition, they worked closely together so they were close friends.
Park Min-soo touched the glasses he was wearing and said.
“There are two signs. First, her intestines ruptured from drinking more water than they could tolerate, causing a blockage. She suffocated.”
Kang-suk’s face turned white.
“... She was tortured with water.”
Park Min-soo shook his head.
"It doesn't seem like it. Do you know what happens when someone is tortured with water? In the beginning of the torture, they take some breaths. Eventually, the brain won’t receive enough oxygen and they will lose consciousness. Then what would happen? The human body would somehow try to breathe in order to live. They will take a deep breath. However, there would be no air so eventually, water would get into the lungs. This breath is the end... It is over. The lung cells are destroyed. The body will die, and any artificial respiration is useless.”
Park Min-soo spoke calmly. However, the contents were creepy.
Cho Kang-suk asked.
“So why isn’t it water torture?”
“If someone was tortured with water, then they would naturally get water into their lungs. However, there is no water in her lungs. Therefore, this means that she drank a lot of water, but of her own will. And... The body didn’t lose consciousness until the last minute.”
It was cruel.
She drank water until her stomach expanded and she died.
But she didn’t lose consciousness? Even until the moment she died from suffocation?
Cho Kang-suk bit his lip. He bit too hard and blood came out.
Park Min-soo approached Cho Kang-suk and whispered.
"Ah right. There were no signs of rape. It isn’t a rape killing.”
Kang-suk’s face distorted.
He muttered quietly.
"Please, I wish that this body is the first and last.”
Park Min-soo also nodded.
"Yes, I wish that as well. Kang-suk. Let me look at that crazy bastard’s face. Please catch the culprit.”
Kang-suk replied with cold eyes.
"I will catch them... I must!”
* * *
After hearing about the body, Kim Do-shik called this the ‘watering hippo’ case.
That day, a special investigation headquarters was created.
Among the team members, Cho Kang-suk was included.
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