Chapter 29: Power Deployment #6
“I-I will kill both of you!”
Tae-hyuk didn’t shrink back an inch, despite there being a blade in front of his eyes.
"Try stabbing once. Have you ever killed anyone?”
A strange madness could be felt in his laughter.
The voyeur was overwhelmed and screamed.
“Use your fingertips to feel the other person’s heartbeat and the feeling of it slowly disappearing. Realize the feeling of taking someone’s life. Determination is needed to murder someone.”
Murder. It was the best and the worst crime.
Tae-hyuk had the memory of spending 10 years in a prison with the worst criminals in the country. He had met with dozens of murderers.
Therefore, Tae-hyuk was able to know that the voyeur absolutely wasn’t a killer. He was merely an accidental murderer.
Could he really kill anyone from now on though? He could never swing the knife.
Tae-hyuk took a step closer.
"You aren’t a murderer, so don’t hold a knife!”
The voyeur stepped back and his feet stepped on thin air.
It was a clear corridor. However, it wasn’t really a corridor.
The paper hanging from the ceiling collapsed, as it couldn’t withstand the weight of a human. As it fell, a hidden staircase was revealed.
Tae-hyuk had hung a painting of a corridor right before a staircase.
The voyeur rolled down the staircase, collapsing on the ground as he lost consciousness.
"I would like it very much if you go to prison.”
Tae-hyuk recovered the painting he installed.
The place where the opponent fell was the plan B that he had prepared. Thus, he put the operation, the one that he thought of ahead of time, into motion and succeeded perfectly.
Tae-hyuk rubbed his cheeks with his hands as he felt his sweat flooding down the side of his face. He inwardly sighed with relief.
‘I’m glad I didn’t have to use plan C.’
It was to use Robbery to steal the opponent’s weapon. Unlike his other plans, that one had a high possibility of a struggle. It was the one last bastion of self defence.
Tae-hyuk reached out to Lee Hana who was sitting down with a blank expression.
She blinked a few times and regained her spirit as she held Tae-hyuk’s hand.
“... Did you draw this?”
She was looking at the fake corridor that Tae-hyuk drew.
She was definitely an artist. She was more interested in the painting than the fact that the voyeur was caught.
"I still have a long way to go. If you look more closely, then you will find out that it is fake. What does Hana sunbae think?”
“Uhahat... Yes. It is really clumsy. However, I was still completely tricked. That, the voyeur... He was our school’s assistant principal. He threw himself on the stairs. It is really perfect.”
Hah! A man like that was doing such dirty things...
“Ah, it is a relief. Even Hana sunbae was deceived.”
Hana reached out to the voyeur who had lost consciousness.
"In fact, at first I thought he was going to kill you. Then, you got him to talk. I didn’t know that he would be so frightened. Yes, yes. I have to praise you.”
“Ahaha... He fell before I could stop him.”
Hana smiled brightly, as if she hadn’t just been threatened with a knife.
"I sympathize with you. It is like when I have bad luck in front of handsome boys... Ahu!”
“A voyeur who knows the structure of this school... If this fact is known, then the media would be noisy.”
"Ahaha... this school will become famous.”
"It will just become notorious.”
“Well... If fact, I think there is one more case of mistaken identity.”
Tae-hyuk said to Lee Hana. "You are mistaken.”
"I thought of you as an aspiring artist. But you’re not, are you?”
Tae-hyuk didn’t answer Lee Hana’s question.
But she reached an answer anyway.
"You are a forgery specialist.”
Tae-hyuk laughed. He realized that he couldn’t deceive her when it came to art.
“Aiyah, this person is still alive.”
Tae-hyuk checked the status of the voyeur who had fallen down the stairs. Despite losing consciousness, he was fine.
“Hana sunbae. I have a request. Please don’t tell my story to the police, and just say that the voyeur got excited and fell down the stairs.”
Lee Hana easily nodded without asking why.
"It is like talking about a painting.”
The artist and forger understood each other.
[You have tricked the opponent with a perfect imitation of reality.]
[The proficiency of the Forgery skill is now 99 points.]
[The proficiency can’t rise anymore.]
Tae-hyuk returned to the art room and erased his tracks.
Lee Hana called the police. They would soon come and find the trail of the voyeur. Before that, Tae-hyuk got rid of any evidence that revealed that he had been here.
Then he looked at the message on the Demon Revealing Mirror.
'The skill proficiency is 99 points!’
There was only one step left before he perfectly mastered the Forgery skill.
'Now painting won’t increase the proficiency anymore.’
Tae-hyuk only needed to complete the last step now.
He already guessed how. He needed to deceive the original owner of the Forgery skill, Big Mama. After doing so, he would take back the Rosario that she had. He would be able to achieve his desired objectives.
“... Then, what are you going to do now?”
"The uninvited person has to disappear.”
Lee Hana, who was sitting on the desk of the art room, laughed.
"Indeed, you’re not a student of this school. I looked up the list of all students and there weren’t any transfer students on there.”
"I think that you are quite sharp.”
Lee Hana swung her legs, her ankle moving in the moonlight.
“Are you leaving now?”
"I got what I wanted faster than I thought. It was literally the best use of my abilities.”
“Uhahat! By the way, what is your name? Can you at least give me your real name?”
Tae-hyuk thought about it for a brief moment. It had been less than a week, but he had learned a lot from Lee Hana. She was his mentor in the ‘Forgery’ skill.
“... Seo Tae-hyuk.”
Lee Hana reached out.
"It is nice to meet you, Seo Tae-hyuk. Alas, good-bye as well. I enjoyed our nightly meetings.”
They exchanged their first greetings and goodbye at the same time.
Lee Hana finished her greeting and jumped down from the desk.
"Once again, thank you for everything Sunbae.”
The police sirens were heard from outside the window.
It was time to disappear.
* * *
Tae-hyuk looked at the Trail of the Sunset in front of his eyes.
Of course, it was a fake. It was a painting that didn’t exist in this world.
Big Mama had been looking for this painting for over a decade. She jumped into the world of imitation art and presented countless forgeries to the world, becoming the crime syndicate representing South Korea. In the end, after 10 years, Big Mama discovered the disastrous truth. The Trail of the Sunset had been burned.
That was the last piece of information that Tae-hyuk had on Big Mama. It was indeed an empty feeling.
Tae-hyuk knocked on the door of Big Mama’s store with a complicated expression on his face.
“Omo, Tae-hyuk came. You are a little late today.”
Big Mama was still busy working.
Tae-hyuk placed the covered painting he brought in front of Big Mama.
"What is this?"
"Mama, no. I will speak bluntly to Big Mama. Make a deal with me.”
Big Mama’s eyes widened. It was a face that showed she knew nothing. However, Tae-hyuk knew that this was a trick.
“Kim Sang-hyun stole Rosario. Big Mama has it?”
“Yes. But this must mean that you have something to replace it.”
Big Mama’s eyes narrowed. It was faster than she thought.
She used Tae-hyuk to get rid of Kim Sang-hyun. He had hidden many things during their transactions, so she deliberately gave out some faulty information. She didn’t know what method Tae-hyuk used, but he got rid of Kim Sang-hyun.
This opponent wasn’t an ordinary kid. Big Mama had planned to take advantage of Tae-hyuk as her assistant. She planned for him to stay for a year so she could watch his condition. Anyway, he had his own things that she wanted from him. He wouldn’t escape from her hands just yet.
That was what she had thought.
Tae-hyuk pulled off the cloth and showed Big Mama the painting.
Big Mama’s eyes showed astonishment.
She had been looking for it for several years.
“... The Trail of the Sunset.”
Big Mama started to check if the painting was authentic. However, no matter how much she looked, it was genuine.
"Where on earth did you find this? Huh?”
"Did you hear about how Yoo Cheol-ho was caught a while ago?”
"It is a famous story, so I can’t not know it.”
"He was actually caught through a tip that I gave.”
“Thus, I received his bounty. However, the prosecution wasn’t the only one to give the bounty - the Sungjin Group gave one as well. The daughter of the vice president was one of Yoo Cheol-ho’s victims. Therefore, I went to see them to get the bounty.”
“... You have been there. Then, how did you get this?”
"Isn’t it natural to bring a stolen item to a stolen goods broker?”
It meant that this was stolen.
“Ahaha! Tae-hyuk is right.”
She was a stolen goods broker. She bought stolen goods at a reasonable price.
"So, how much will you buy it for?”
Big Mama was confused.
“... I thought you brought it to make a deal for Rosario.”
“Aish, surely not. Isn’t this worth at least two billion?”
"Stolen goods can’t receive their original price. It will only amount to around 10% of its market price.”
"Wow, that is quite a massive profit.”
Tae-hyuk spoke naturally.
“I will take it as a down payment.”
He would receive money and the Rosario.
Big Mama laughed pleasantly.
“Ohoho! As expected, my eyes regarding people aren’t wrong. You will definitely be a big shot.”
“Thank you. Anyway... So what will it be?”
“... Rosario and 100 million.”
"Wah, you will give me Rosario and 100 million? Big Mama is incredible.”
“Well, I am also a storekeeper.”
This was a satisfactory deal. In fact, the price he had in mind was around 50 million won.
The Trail of the Sunset didn’t even exist in this world. But in the future, his fake would become the new genuine product.
A fake becoming real. It was the final gateway to mastering the Forgery skill.
"Then, will you make the deal?”
"Well. No matter how I think about it, I am losing profit. I will be satisfied with this.”
“Hahah... Is Big Mama really damaged by this?"
All of a sudden, Big Mama dragged Tae-hyuk into an embrace. A rich fragrance wafted out from her body as it became dark.
"Didn’t you fall in love with me at first glance? Let me answer you.”
Big Mama hugged Tae-hyuk harder. Tae-hyuk struggled for breath as his face was buried in her chest.
It was a happy moment.
"This little guy! You are still 10 years too early!”
Big Mama finally freed Tae-hyuk, who was gasping for air.
“... Pant pant. I thought I was going to die.”
His face was completely red.
"Then wait a few days for the money. I will give Rosario to you straight away.”
“... By the way, Big Mama. Can I ask one thing?”
"The quote for the painting was clearly two billion. 10% of that is 200 million. Perhaps... Is the hug you gave worth 100 million?"
“Omo. It isn’t that cheap. Don’t you think this is enough? Didn’t you even touch my chest?”
Tae-hyuk was at a loss for words. Indeed, she was a scary woman.
Big Mama pulled out Rosario from a deep place and gave it to Tae-hyuk.
"So, this is the down payment.”
“I will receive it well.”
"Then, I will prepare the money.”
The deal was established.
The fake Trail of the Sunset became authentic.
A message flashed on the Demon Revealing Mirror.
[Crime Skill: Forgery has been acquired.]
-You can create one item after the analysis has finished.
-The quality of the finished object depends on your dexterity stat.
-You are able to devote your mind to the artwork under the influence of the skill.
He finally got Forgery!
The temporary skills window was now free. He could get a new skill.
‘X-ray Vision! Something like X-ray Vision. X-ray Vision.'
"I will be back in a few days, so I will be going now.”
“Wait a minute.”
Big Mama stopped Tae-hyuk from leaving. Then she told him one thing.
"I guess the hug isn’t enough. There is a man who is after you.”
“... After me?’
"Yes. I have a picture.”
"I am grateful.”
She didn’t just describe the person, but showed him a picture.
Big Mama extended a small picture.
Tae-hyuk’s face stiffened the moment he saw it.
“Do you know this person?”
“... I know.”
A man in his early 40s was drawn.
Tae-hyuk never forgot that face. It was natural.
His name was ‘Park Jung-hwan.’ Tae-hyuk was sentenced to death because he was accused of killing him.
‘... Crazy. Why is Park Jung-hwan going after me? What the hell is this?!’
He didn’t express it because Big Mama was watching.
However, Tae-hyuk was inwardly screaming.
The smell of a conspiracy.
“Then, I will go now.”
"If you ever need a background check, then please ask Mama. Of course, it isn’t for free.”
Maybe this wouldn’t be the end of his relationship with Big Mama.
It was his hunch.
* * *
Tae-hyuk returned home and gave Rosario to his sister.
“....T-Tae-hyuk. How did you get this?”
“Noona. I am Seo Tae-hyuk. Noona’s little brother, Seo Tae-hyuk. Haha, that is a joke. Kang-suk hyung helped me.”
“I-I see. Kang-suk?”
At that moment, he heard Kang-suk’s score rising in Ha-ran’s mind.
'Speaking of Kang-suk hyung. He seems busy these days. Did something happen?’
Ha-ran suddenly hugged Tae-hyuk.
‘Ugh. Isn’t today the second time that I ran out of air?’
Park Jung-hwan had been hiding in seclusion since a few years ago. But what the heck was he doing now? Was he not just a simple murder victim?
Tae-hyuk’s head was filled with such thoughts.
"Noona is worried about you every day. However, it is good to work hard. Promise me you’ll take care of yourself.”
Tae-hyuk’s eyes reddened after hearing that Ha-ran was worried about him.
Ha-ran held Rosario in her hand and said.
"The most important thing that Mother left isn’t this Rosario.”
Then she hugged Tae-hyuk even tighter.
“It is you and Tae-min.”
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