Chapter 44: The Hippo Hunt #4
Kang-suk was running through the dimly lit aquarium. Something was strange about this place. It took him more than five minutes to run to the other side, yet the path had yet to end.
“... What? Wasn’t this here earlier?”
Kang-suk was breathing roughly. After running around for a while, he realized that he had returned to his original place. There was clearly only one path among the tanks. He felt like a rat trapped in a maze.
While this was happening, the hippo might be killing another innocent victim. Kang-suk took a deep breath and started running towards the other side of the aquarium again. Colorful fish were swimming in the tanks. However, Kang-suk couldn’t afford to think about it.
“... Here again!”
There was a dreamlike coral reef tank in front of Kang-suk. He had once again returned to the starting point. He had to get out of this aquarium. But when he tried to go to the opposite passage, some mysterious power sent Kang-suk back to the origin.
"Is this the hall of the nine-tailed fox?”
Kang-suk suddenly recalled the old story about the nine-tailed fox. As someone walked through a dark mountain trail, a beauty appeared. The man followed her deeper into the mountain. By the time he recovered his spirit, he was standing in front of a deep cliff.
This situation was just like this.
‘It can’t be...’
Kang-suk shook his head. It was unlikely that this was the same as the legend. He was probably overthinking it. Now he had to just think about going through the aquarium that had become a maze. At that time, he heard a rustling sound.
"Uh, is this the sound of paper?”
It was coming from the other side of the aisle. It was a place that wasn’t blocked by the maze.
"There is someone in here!”
Kang-suk clenched his teeth and ran. The maze wasn’t the problem.
He just couldn’t delay any longer.
"Do you think this maze will stop me!”
Kang-suk decided to go to the other side of the aquarium, even if he had to smash through something. His senses were telling him that the hippo was there. In the end, there were around 10 incidents of vandalism. How many months salary would that be?
But there was no need to do so.
Kang-suk stopped moving. There was definitely a large tropical fish tank. However, it was still far away. He could also see someone collapsed on the far side.
“… Is this the real hall of the nine-tailed fox?”
Kang-suk pulled out the handgun that was hanging from his waist. He loaded it so that he could fire at any time.
The first round was a blank. But from the second round, there were real bullets. He was prepared to fire if he met the hippo.
"First of all, I will aim at his feet... Maybe I should accidentally miss? The groin...”
Kang-suk took a deep breath and stepped forward. He had worked for seven years in the field, but his fingers were shaking at this moment. The aquarium was dark so he couldn’t tell who the other person was until he got close.
A person tied up with clothes... The shadow was familiar. Kang-suk ran forward without thinking and confirmed the man’s face.
Why was he collapsed here?
Kang-suk could only think of one possibility.
“… Is he here to catch the hippo?!”
Kang-suk recalled that Joo Hyun-ho had asked for assistance from the police nearby. There was a high chance that Kim Jong-wook had come here to catch the hippo. First, he had to check if Jong-wook was alive. Kang-suk touched a finger to Jong-wook’s neck.
He found a vein and looked for a pulse.
He turned Jong-wook’s forehead and revealed something that had previously been hidden. There was something written on it. It was written with felt tip pen, and his forehead was sweaty so it was hard to read at first. But once he concentrated, he thought he could read the letters.
Kang-suk slowly read each character out loud.
“... This, bastard, H, hippo?”
Then there was a long arrow pointing to the mouth.
“It means there is something in his mouth.”
Kang-suk opened Jong-wook’s mouth and checked for what was inside. Jong-wook was completely unconscious so there were no signs of his eyes opening.
Everything would become clear once he checked the contents. Kang-suk pulled out his phone and tried to call Hyun-ho. By the way, there were a lot of missed calls.
“Eh? That Hyun-ho brat. He called me a lot.”
He had forgotten that it was on vibrate and hadn’t realized that there were calls.
“Aigoo... He will be very angry.”
Kang-suk sighed, entered Hyun-ho’s number, and pressed the call button.
The signal connection and Hyun-ho’s excited voice was heard.
-Sunbae! Why are you only calling me now! Right here...
“Stop nagging. Come to the aquarium. I think I caught the hippo.”
Kang-suk hung up and looked up at the ceiling.
Something extraordinary had happened while he was wandering in the maze. Had the nine-tailed fox really appeared here?
Kang-suk couldn’t understand it.
"Hrmm so this is how he slowly killed his victims.”
“Oh! Son of a bitch!”
Kang-suk cursed as he watched the video on the SD card. Kim Jong-wook had trapped the woman inside the tank and tortured her.
Hyun-ho found the scene of the hippo killing someone very interesting.
"Kim Jong-wook is the hippo.”
The SD card was undeniable proof. Kang-suk narrowed his eyes as he glared.
"Hyun-ho. Can I hit him once? It will be fine if you pretend not to see anything.”
“Hold on, your hands will get dirty.”
"That bastard brutally...”
Kang-suk couldn’t stand his anger and made a fist. There was a loud sound as his joints cracked.
"Fortunately, the video was cut off in the middle. Perhaps the victim is still alive?”
“Yes. I found her and called an ambulance. She has hypothermia. However, there appears to be no risk to her life.”
Hyun-ho suddenly recalled something as he stared at the video and said.
“Ah, Sunbae. I figured out why he used salt water.”
“A-All of a sudden...? We caught the culprit so it is all over. We just need to write up a report.”
He didn’t want to hear any more horrible stories.
“Aren’t you curious as to why he used salt water?”
Kang-suk didn’t answer.
Hyun-ho started talking on his own.
“It turned out to be simple. People drink water to maintain the concentration of ingredients in the blood, such as sodium. On the other hand, if they drink too much water, then the kidneys can’t handle it properly. The concentration of components in the blood will become very thin. This osmotic phenomenon will cause the body’s cells to absorb the moisture and swell up. Then the organs and brain will fail!”
“Fuck. What does that mean? What?”
Kang-suk rubbed his knuckles against Hyun-ho’s head. Hyun-ho laughed and continued.
"In order to feed the person as much water as possible, he needs to feed them salt water in order to maintain the body’s salinity. A large amount isn’t needed. It's why the coroner couldn’t find the salt. The blood maintained the same salinity so he couldn’t find anything suspicious. It is because the hippo wanted to feed them to drink as much water as possible.”
Kang-suk spat on the floor. He felt like he wouldn’t be able to drink water in a while.
“Then... Who caught the hippo? Isn’t it the same person who saved the victim?”
First, he had to deal with the hippo who had been placed in the corridor.
"Anyway, let’s call the investigation headquarters. What would the inspector say after hearing that the hippo was finally arrested?”
"Won’t he look like a boiled octopus?”
"Sunbae, you just imagined it!”
Joo Hyun-ho held his belly and laughed. Kang-suk sighed. Even if he was skilled, Hyun-ho was too frivolous.
"But what do we report about how the hippo was caught?”
“Cough. That’s right. I’m going to report that something struck the hippo and suddenly disappeared.”
“But who are they? They realized the identity of the hippo before the Sunbae and I did. He was caught in a way I never imagined. Maybe he is the God of Investigation?”
Kang-suk slowly thought about the person. No matter how he looked at the evidence, he couldn’t tell who it was.
Then he said.
"No, he isn’t the God of Investigation. The video taken on the SD card was from a hidden camera. Also, look at the state of the hippo. He wasn’t caught in a legitimate way."
"Ah, I’d rather call him something else.”
"Well, did you think of a better nickname?”
“... God of Crime.”
“Puhaha! Sunbae! Have you been reading too much manhwa?”
Joo Hyun-ho chuckled again.
Kang-suk responded with a red face.
“God of Investigation isn’t the same?”
20 minutes after reporting, they heard the sound of sirens. Kang-suk and Hyun-ho’s work was over.
Inspector Kim Do-shik rushed into the aquarium. His eyes shone as he heard that they caught the hippo. In particular, his face turned red after hearing that the hippo’s identity was a policeman. Kim Do-shik was more agitated than usual as he tried to calm his excitement.
"Hahaha! Detective Cho! Investigator Joo! I knew the two of you could pull it off! Well done! Bravo! Hooray for Detective Cho! I’ll make sure to tell the chief that Detective Cho resolved this case!”
“Ah, thank you. Still, the criminal is a police officer...”
"Well, the media doesn’t have to know. We can handle this quietly. You have suffered a lot in the meantime. Take a rest for the next few days.”
“Yes. I understand.”
The incident was resolved, but there was a bitter aftertaste.
Hyun-ho, who had been watching Kim Jong-wook, approached Kang-suk.
“Sunbae. I want to talk to you for a bit.”
“Eh? Really? Inspector. I'm sorry but...”
Kang-suk followed Hyun-ho to another place. Once they arrived in a place with no one present, Hyun-ho opened his mouth.
"The hippo gained consciousness, but his words are a bit strange.”
"What did he say?”
"A person who didn’t die when stabbed with a knife. Changing the voice at will. An iron pipe appearing out of thin air. What the hell is that? The contents are really strange.”
It was all ridiculous. If all of that was possible...
“The person who caught the hippo would truly the God of Crime, Sunbae.”
Tae-hyuk was watching the police from a place far from the aquarium. With this, Cho Kang-suk would receive tremendous acclaim as the one who arrested the hippo. As the identity of the hippo was a police offer, it wouldn’t be known to the mass media but it was certain that he would get a promotion.
Tae-hyuk was reminded of his sister Seo Ha-ran. She became the head of the family at a young age. She gave up her dreams to take care of her family. Rather than love, she had to do the housework on the weekend. He wanted to find a good partner for such a sister. He would do anything to see the two people living happily.
In order to do that, Kang-suk’s status should rise a little more. Simply catching criminals in the field was insufficient.
Principal investigator... No, shouldn’t he at least be a police commissioner?
Tae-hyuk laughed. That seemed too far in the future.
"Shouldn’t they go on their first date first? Ahu. How can I turn the bear into a gentlemen?”
Kang-suk’s dating plan was created in Tae-hyuk’s mind.
At the same time, a vibration was heard in two places. Tae-hyuk checked the Demon Revealing Mirror first.
"Oh, 10 affinity points! A-Amazing!”
He acquired 10 affinity points all at once. Tae-hyuk grinned from ear to ear. With this, he would be able to strengthen two skills.
"Then the phone...”
The smartphone was cracked due to the hippo’s strikes. Still, it was possible to receive calls.
-Uh, Tae-hyuk. Sorry for calling you late at night. It is Mama.
The caller was Big Mama. Tae-hyuk lowered his voice.
“... Did something happen?”
-This is about your commission from the other day. The results are out. But it is a little strange so I called to deliver the results right away.
Tae-hyuk had commissioned information from Big Mama three weeks ago.
It was about Park Jung-hwan, whose death Tae-hyuk was framed for. Then he found out that Park Jung-hwan was prying into Tae-hyuk. It was strange. So he wanted to find out where Park Jung-hwan was and check it out for himself.
What was the reason? He felt like there was a huge hidden conspiracy. Therefore, he had given 10 million won to Big Mama to find Park Jung-hwan’s whereabouts.
It took a bit long but the results had now come out.
“... Where is Park Jung-hwan now?”
-He is dead.
-It occurred two years ago...
Tae-hyuk dropped his phone.
Park Jung-hwan was dead? He was framed four years later for killing Park Jung-hwan. But now he was already dead?! It was also two years ago? What the hell was this?!
Then who was digging for information on Tae-hyuk? It had clearly been Park Jung-hwan.
Tae-hyuk stared at the sky with a bemused expression. The truth, which he thought would be uncovered to a certain extent, just got further away.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter