Chapter 45: The Family’s Condition #1
Tae-hyuk took out the Demon Revealing Mirror in front of Big Mama’s pawn shop.
He felt tense whenever he had to meet her. Tae-hyuk checked his abilities every time he came here. He needed to know what he could do, and where it was possible. That way, he would have confidence while dealing with Big Mama.
After the Rosario incident, their relationship had become a type of partnership. However, he always had to be ready for any type of deception coming his way.
‘Then first, the crime skills...’
He tapped on the Demon Revealing Mirror and pulled up his current learned crime skills. Robbery, Spying, Voice Modulation, Forgery, Gambling, and Violence - all of these made up for a total of six skills. He also had 10 affinity points that could be used to strengthen those skills. Every one of them had a type of charm.
‘I’d like to raise them but I’ll save them, since I don’t know what I will need.’
Next, he confirmed his stats.
Stats: Stamina (59), Intelligence (47), Agility (24), Dexterity (39)
Tae-hyuk had used the Forgery skill quite a lot during the Hippo case. He also consumed an affinity point for a temporary special ability. His dexterity had gone up by five points. Three of his stats were close to the condition necessary for the upgrade. In the near future, he would be able to reach the second rank ‘Noble.’ As a Commoner, there were a lot of restraints on his abilities, so he wanted to reach the next rank sooner.
‘It is difficult with the abilities I currently possess’
Last night, Tae-hyuk had fought against the Hippo, and had to mobilize everything he had in order to win. The Hippo was a crazy guy, but just based on strength, he wasn’t the strongest on the blacklist.
Among the criminals he would meet in the future, there were those with superhuman abilities, or those who used bombs to kill hundreds of people. In addition, a pseudo-cult with thousands of followers.
Tae-hyuk would soon meet them. Prior to that, he should at least upgrade to the Noble rank.
‘I don’t know how much stronger a Noble is, but it should still be better than my current rank.’
Currently, he had met six people on the blacklist. Oddly, the counter raised, despite not causing Moonlight Flower and Big Mama to be arrested.
In the case of the Moonlight Flower, he caught Kim Sang-hyun. And after receiving Rosario from Big Mama, a notification had popped up on the Demon Revealing Mirror. It seemed like catching them wasn’t the only condition.
‘Anyway, there are 14 people left!’
To do that, he needed to maintain his close relationship with Big Mama. Anyway, the important thing was to find out about Park Jung-hwan’s death. Big Mama raised dozens of snakes in her belly. It was dangerous to believe everything she said.
“… Anyway, today I should clearly find out.”
Tae-hyuk firmly opened the door of the pawn shop.
“Omo. It is Tae-hyuk. Did you come for the part time job?”
Big Mama looked up and asked. Tae-hyuk's mouth twitched.
'Saying this after making such a bombshell announcement... Ohh. Indeed, a scary woman!’
"Let’s continue the conversation from yesterday. I want you to give me the proper information about Park Jung-hwan.”
It was reasonable to ask after paying the information fee.
“Ohoho. Of course I’ve prepared it.”
Big Mama went into a room in her store and came out with a paper envelope.
Tae-hyuk accepted it and confirmed the contents. It contained everything about Park Jung-hwan: Where he was born, what school he went to, his school marks, the names of his close friends, and even the university clubs that he joined. It was miraculous how Big Mama managed to investigate so much.
"It is a bit later than promised. I’m sorry so I arranged the important parts as a special service. Do you want to hear it?”
"Park Jung-hwan is a native of Gangwon-do. A so-called self made person. As you can see from the materials I prepared, he studied well and exercised hard. He was popular due to his bright personality. This style is called...”
"Mother’s friend’s son?” (Wiki link explanation)
“Yes. He is literally the perfect image of that type. However, Park Jung-hwan had one unusual characteristic. Listen to this.”
Inside the envelope was a tape recorder. Tae-hyuk put the earphone into his ear and pressed the switch. Then he heard a conversation over a lot of noise. It was a conversation between a man with a deep voice and a middle-aged person.
-Can you tell me more about the habit of Park Jung-hwan that you mentioned before?
-...Yes. Jung-hwan has a habit. It can be called a type of tick? The sides of his mouth twitches when talking... Strangely, the habit doesn’t happen on test days or election days. Then the next day, it will occur several times in one minute...
Big Mama said.
“Listen to the next track.”
Tae-hyuk manipulated the tape recorder and fast forwarded through the conversation. This time, it was a conversation between the man with the deep voice and an elderly person.
-What do you mean, Park Jung-hwan often forgets things?
-So... He is very good at what he does. But after a few days, when I asked him about it again, he completely forgot what happened. He is already forgetful at such a young age. Ah, but his brain is truly great. He never missed being on top at school.
Tae-hyuk looked at Big Mama after listening.
"Those are interviews about Park Jung-hwan.”
“Yes. All of them have known him since high school. I became aware of a shocking fact. That is... Do I need to say it?”
"Two years ago, Park Jung-hwan died.”
“Yes. I learned of this fact by chance.”
“What exactly happened?”
Big Mama laughed and raised a finger.
“Tae-hyuk. Sorry, but the investigation is up to here. That was exactly 10 million won. If you want to know more, you have to pay extra.”
Tae-hyuk’s eyes twitched. He had to pay more money if he wanted to know? This wasn’t a three part porn ad, it was too much. Unfortunately, Tae-hyuk needed to know.
“... So how much more do I need to pay?”
"This is enough."
Big Mama emphasized the one finger that she had raised.
"Ten million won. Yes, I understand.”
He was glad that he had enough money saved. Although it was a large amount of money, Big Mama’s investigative abilities were worth it. In addition, the future report would certainly be beyond imagination.
"You set the limit too low. It is 100 million.”
“Huh? 100 million?”
"Think of it as the information having that much value. Right?”
Tae-hyuk narrowed his eyes.
Big Mama had really great insight. The information about Park Jung-hwan had to be obtained, even if he needed to pay a lot of money.
"I'm sorry, but I’ve spent the 100 million I received with Rosario.”
“Hoh. But you made some money from SY.”
Big Mama knew about it. However, he couldn’t do that. It was the money for Ha-ran. He couldn’t touch it.
"You will have to wait a bit for the money.”
Big Mama said with a soft smile.
"If I don’t receive the money, then there is no investigation. You should be aware of that.”
'That old lioness... !’
Tae-hyuk’s expression distorted.
No matter what, he needed the information about Park Jung-hwan. However, she might not give all the remaining information even after receiving 100 million. Unlike the Rosario incident, this time Tae-hyuk was caught on Big Mama’s rod.
Thus, Tae-hyuk decided to use a trump card.
“... By the way, let me ask you one thing. Is there any counterfeit artwork that you need?”
Big Mama nodded with a warm smile.
Kang-suk, who was sitting on the table, had a comfortable expression after a long time.Tae-hyuk asked from where he was sitting on the opposite side.
"It has been a long time since you came to dinner. Have you missed Noona?”
Kang-suk was startled and quickly replied.
"I came to see you!”
Tae-hyuk nodded with a convinced expression.
"I was super busy with an awful case. Somehow it was solved. I have some time to rest.”
“I don’t know what happened. Well, I’m glad that you did well.”
"Yes. In fact, I didn’t do anything. It is a little awkward since it somehow became my achievement. Tomorrow, I will formally report to the higher ups.”
Kang-suk's expression was serious.
At that moment, Tae-hyuk felt a knot in his chest. It was a serial murderer case with two bodies and one victim. Solving it would be a big achievement for a detective. However, Kang-suk was trying to kick it away with his own feet.
'Ah, that person! It is the dinner I worked hard to prepare for him. Why is he going to spit it out! He is so upright that he is damaging himself!’
Kang-suk was truly a very nice person. However, such a person would only receive loss in the world. It seemed like Tae-hyuk would have to do some work behind Kang-suk.
Tae-hyuk spoke cautiously so that he wouldn’t be heard by Ha-ran who was cooking in the kitchen.
"At any rate, is now the time? When are you going to ask for a date?”
"D-D-Date! C-Cough! We are just going to play...”
Tae-hyuk sighed. It seemed like he wouldn’t be able to ask for a date until he was an old man. In the end, Tae-hyuk acted.
“Noona! Kang-suk hyung wants you to hang out with him this weekend!”
“Ya, ya, hey!”
Kang-suk was embarrassed but Ha-ran looked at him with an expression of astonishment. Then she looked at Kang-suk like she was waiting for something. In the end, Kang-suk surrendered and asked Ha-ran to go out.
“Uh, ugh... That's correct. Ha-ran. Do you have time to go somewhere with me this weekend?”
Ha-ran clapped with pleasure.
“Wah...! Hang out together? Then I’ll prepare a lunch box!”
Tae-hyuk sighed as he glanced at Ha-ran and Kang-suk.
It was their first date since first meeting each other three months ago. How long would it take for them to become a couple?
Maybe he should help them a little bit.
The Hippo incident passed in a flash.
Tae-hyuk lay down on his desk in the classroom and groaned.
“... I need to make some money. I also need to support Kang-suk hyung. Ohh. Should I just skip school?”
An Eun-young heard Tae-hyuk’s complaints from her seat next to him.
“T-Tae-hyuk... You can’t skip school. Go home after school finishes."
“Ugh. Did you hear?”
An Eun-young said with a serious voice.
"Next week is the final exams. Have you prepared well?”
Tae-hyuk stared dumbly.
Recently, he had been so busy that he didn’t care about studying. The proof was that his intelligence stat hadn’t risen.
"I guess not. You did seem strangely busy... If you take the test properly, didn’t you say that you would be first in the school?”
"Well, I can give you special lessons again this time...”
An Eun-young was strangely hesitant.
It seemed like there was something she wanted to say.
"Is there something?”
“Ah, no. Let's study together like last time. Will you come to my house this weekend?”
Tae-hyuk realized that An Eun-young was asking for help.
"Eun-young. Is something going on? If you don’t mind then I am willing to listen to your story.”
An Eun-young looked at Tae-hyuk with deeply touched eyes. Then she slowly explained the situation.
“T-Tae-hyuk... That... You know...”
An Eun-young had an older sister.
However, she recently got involved in a multi-level scheme and ran away from home.
Tae-hyuk was troubled after hearing the story. His head was about to burst just from his own matters. But now he needed to help An Eun-young’s family matters as well? What benefits would there be?
Tae-hyuk bit his lip.
He realized that he always made calculations before moving. It was the same with Big Mama. When he used the crime skill, he had the mindset of a criminal.
He had received enormous help from An Eun-young. Thanks to her studying skill, he could tremendously increase his intelligence stat. He could finally become a model student.
An Eun-young was now asking for help. How could he refuse just because there were no benefits?
Tae-hyuk thought for a moment. He was currently ranked third. Until he went to university, he needed An Eun-young’s studying skill. If he helped her now then he could use her studying skills in the future. He was moving for An Eun-young’s studying skill.
Tae-hyuk came to this conclusion and said to An Eun-young.
"If you don't mind then I will help you. Let’s talk about the details in your room.”
“Uh, yes... T-Thank you, Tae-hyuk.”
An Eun-young was sincerely thankful. At that moment, Tae-hyuk felt something like a needle stabbing into his chest.
‘Then there are three things that need to be solved. I’ll be quite busy in the future.’
Tae-hyuk quietly looked at An Eun-young’s face. He was really glad to see her smiling expression.
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