Chapter 41: The Hippo Hunt
'First of all, draw the hippo to the prepared stage...’
H Aquarium was split into two areas. Area one was where various aquatic creatures could be seen underwater. It was what people imagined when they thought about aquariums.
Area two was a venue where shows of cute animals could be seen. The space contained an area where audiences could be seated, and the stage was where the handlers and animals would perform. In addition, there were underground facilities such as convenience stores, car parks, shops, and restrooms.
However, area two was meager compared to area one. The hippo was in the performer’s waiting room in area two. It was where the murder would take place.
‘Isn’t this turning out well?’
Tae-hyuk had installed more than 10 small cameras in three places. The hippo’s work was being recorded in 1080p high definition. It would perfectly prove that the Hippo was the serial killer.
The safest method was to retrieve the cameras and then help Jung Yuri escape. The police would then take care of the rest.
'The problem is that Yuri noona will be uncomfortable.’
There was no wheelchair in here to transport Jung Yuri. He would have to carry her somehow as he escaped. It was much slower than running alone, so he wouldn’t be able to run away from the Hippo that would chase in pursuit.
Even if he had the ‘Violence’ skill, there was a possibility that a dangerous situation would occur. If things went wrong, then Jung Yuri could possibly be used as a hostage.
That’s why Tae-hyuk lured the House over to his prepared stage with a plan to win over him there.
Tae-hyuk pulled a bunch of keys from his pocket. This was the master key for the aquarium. He would be able to open any door and go anywhere in the aquarium with this.
Tae-hyuk licked his lips in anticipation as he looked at it.
‘Yes. ‘Robbery’ was originally used for things like this!’
At first, it was a useless skill that just stole underwear. However, after the cheating incident occurred, it strengthened and he could steal the things he desired. Thus, this was possible.
Tae-hyuk stole the master key from the guard patrolling during the day. He quickly made a copy frame using clay and plastic. He was able to do it without much difficulty due to both the ‘Forgery’ skill and his dexterity.
‘Then I picked up the keys that had fallen to the ground and received the duplicate key.’
The material had changed from metal to plastic, but other than that, it was exactly the same as the original.
As Tae-hyuk was lost in thought, he received a phone call. He pretended to be unconcerned, but he was going to have to fight a crazy killer soon. It was strange not to be nervous.
The caller ID read ‘Seo Ha-ran.’ Once she saw that Tae-hyuk was gone in the middle of the night, she became worried and called. Tae-hyuk sighed and picked up the phone.
“Uh, Noona. Did you wake up?
-Yes, where are you? I got up and went to check on you. You weren’t there.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I went out for a walk.”
-I see... It’s good because I can hear Tae-hyuk’s voice. Hehehe.
Tae-hyuk realized that he almost never talked to his sister over the phone.
"I’ll be back soon. Don’t worry.”
-... You aren’t doing anything foolish are you?
Was this a woman’s intuition? Ha-ran was always showing her siblings a smiling face. However, she would occasionally say piercing things.
“Don’t think too much. Ah right, will you be free this weekend?”
"There will be something good soon.”
-Really? What is it? Should I look forward to it?
Tae-hyuk didn’t say anything as he inwardly thought. That smile couldn’t disappear from his sister’s face. Therefore, the Hippo needed to be caught.
Ha-ran suddenly said in a serious voice.
-Seo Tae-hyuk. Don’t forget that I am by your side no matter what you do, so don’t get a cold from staying out too long. Then, I will hang up.
Tae-hyuk closed his phone.
His sister’s words were still ringing in his ears. His sister was always on his side. Tae-hyuk had heard the same words from Ha-ran when she came to visit him in jail. He was able to endure the desperate situation due to those words.
Tae-hyuk coughed and slapped both of his cheeks. He could be emotional after catching the Hippo. He decided to only think about this right now.
After finishing the call with his sister, Tae-hyuk went to the broadcasting room.
'First, I need to make the Hippo leave his spot. Then, I need help Yuri noona to a safe place.’
Tae-hyuk imitated the voice of a security guard with the ‘Voice Modulation’ skill.
He changed the settings so that it would only be broadcasted to the area where the hippo was, and turned on the microphone.
"All guards. There is an abnormality in the drainage pipe today, and an inspection is scheduled. Please don’t use any water if you are in the building.”
He threw the bait, and now it was time to wait for a bite.
If things went as planned, he would be able to catch the hippo without anyone getting hurt.
Joo Hyun-ho was surprised as he arrived at the entrance of the aquarium. A familiar shadow stood in the area where his headlights shone.
Joo Hyun-ho parked his BMW and waved.
Cho Kang-suk replied with a face that showed he was tired of waiting.
“... You came. At least I don’t have to enter alone.”
"As expected of Sunbae. You thought of the same thing as me.”
Joo Hyun-ho explained why he came here and asked for Kang-suk’s opinion.
"No, my detective senses just told me that this place was suspicious.”
"At any rate, I don’t think anyone else is coming. Let’s go. By the way, did you send a request for support?”
"If we catch him then I’ll buy all of you dinner.”
“Hahaha! Then it needs to be a beef dinner.”
“Wah. There are 100 people. Furthermore, don’t you eat a lot?"
"Well, I have a lot of money. That reminds me, there was a cute new girl in the traffic department earlier. Please introduce me.”
Hyun-ho said with a smirk. Even though he was going to arrest a murder suspect, he acted like he was going to an amusement park. Kang-suk made a disgusted expression and put Hyun-ho into a headlock.
“Cough! S-Sunbae! Spare me! By the way, what if the Hippo is in the aquarium right now?”
Kang-suk laughed and pointed to his waist.
There was a gun in a holster.
Hyun-ho raised a thumb.
The two men entered the dark aquarium. Then they stopped at a fork in the road.
"... What do we do?
H Aquarium was divided into area A and B. It was too wide to search through the whole thing.
“It can’t be helped. I'll check the aquarium side. You will take the venues.”
"Yep. Should we use our phones?”
“Is that possible? My battery died so I ended up buying a portable charge from the convenience store to charge it.”
That’s why Kang-suk stood at the entrance without going inside.
“Hahaha! I understand. Then I will contact you if I find the Hippo.”
Hyun-ho felt his heart beat faster. It had been almost seven years since he worked with Kang-suk.
"It is the return of the strong alliance after a long time.”
The two of them had won a program called Mafia Game. Whenever they teamed up, they would be called a strong alliance and would become an object of fear. The one who captured the criminal in the Mafia Game was always Kang-suk. Even after seven years, Hyun-ho was still dissatisfied with this. Thus, he decided to catch the Hippo by himself this time.
"Let’s start the Hippo Hunt.”
Kang-suk hit Hyun-ho on the head.
"Hey. If you don’t move then I will catch the Hippo.”
"Then I’m going to hunt.”
Jung Yuri’s temperature was going down due to the ice cold water. The current weather was cold, even when she wore clothes. She had been in cold water without any clothes for almost an hour now. It felt like she would freeze to death at any moment.
A narrow tube was in Jung Yuri’s mouth. It was her only lifeline since her entire body was covered in water. She could barely breathe using it.
But that was it. The kidnapper was probably blocking the tube at one minute intervals, preventing her from being able to breathe. The terrible thing was that the time intervals where he blocked the tube was different.
10 seconds. 40 seconds. 5 seconds. Sometimes it would be over a minute. At that time, her head would turn blank, and she really couldn’t think.
There was something even more terrible.
Someone was watching her suffer. They would often laugh at the sight.
She had goosebumps.
Jung Yuri was covered in water with her hands and feet bound together. She couldn’t even scream out. She was going to be killed. She was going to be murdered by that man.
It happened just when she found the courage to walk alone. She had decided to live for her sister who died miserably, but all of that was now wasted.
Tears welled up in her eyes as she thought about it. However, she desperately fought to hold the tears back. If she cried, then it felt like she would be broken.
Once again, her breathing was stopped. How long would it be this time? 30 seconds? One minute?
Jung Yuri was going crazy with fear at the thought of the death that would approach her at any moment.
However, she didn’t get the help that she hoped for.
After 70 seconds, she was able to breathe again.
'D-Die... This is really...’
It was at that moment. Jung Yuri heard the sound of a broadcast.
-All guards. There is an abnormality in the drainage pipe today, and an inspection is scheduled. Please don’t use water if you are in the building.
The man, who had been laughing, clicked his tongue.
"Sheesh. There are still people left? Well, I guess I have to kill them.”
Jung Yuri was blindfolded, but she realized that the man was looking at her. He was licking his lips.
There was the sound of footsteps fading away.
'Kill me now... I said to kill me!’
How many hours would he keep her alive? When she thought about it, the tears that she had endured came pouring out.
‘I’m sorry Unni... I’m really sorry.’
Had her sister felt like this when she was killed by Yoo Cheol-ho?
Once again, someone’s footsteps were heard. This time it was getting closer, not further away.
‘Did he already kill them? Then this time... Ah, p-please!’
The footsteps stopped. Then she felt someone touching her body in the water tank.
A soft touch. It didn’t feel the same.
Then she heard a different voice.
“C-Cough! I have no choice but to do this to pull you out. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not touching because I want to.”
“Ah, I’ll release the restraints.”
Jung Yuri realized that he was pulling off the restraints one by one.
Was she being rescued?
"E-Even taking off the clothes... Ah, I'm going crazy. I should’ve thought about bringing a towel.”
The unknown voice didn’t seem that old. At most, he was in his early 20s or so?
"Y-Yuri noona. I closed my eyes. I didn’t see Noona’s naked body!”
Why was the voice so familiar? Who was it?
Yuri slowly opened her eyes and looked at the man who saved her. Black hair and a leather jacket. One hand was holding a thick pipe.
Jung Yuri remembered where she had seen him before. The high school student who came to collect the bounty on Yoo Cheol-ho. He was unusually quick and clever for his age.
"Have you recovered your spirit? P-Please wear this.”
Tae-hyuk took off his leather jacket and handed it to Yuri. He was unable to look straight at Jung Yuri due to her nakedness.
Yuri turned red the moment she realized that she was naked.
She never imagined that he would come to her rescue.
Tae-hyuk was still looking away from her as he spoke.
"I captured Yoo Cheol-ho last time and got a reward. I felt a little sorry that I only received a few portions, so...”
"This is the Hippo service.”
TL Note: I actually felt better a few days ago but being sick has made me fall really behind on my schoolwork. There is still a bit left, so the schedule for the rest of the week will be irregular. Basically, whenever I finish a chapter. The regular schedule will resume starting from next week.
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