Chapter 72 - Huge Reward #1
The man loved dolls. To be precise, he wasn’t interested in humans.
Or rather, he was disillusioned. No matter how beautiful a person was, it was impossible for them to be perfect. If he looked closely, then there were always flaws somewhere on the human body.
In fact, the man wasn’t like that in the beginning. He was someone who loved a woman. She was L, a national actress. He only saw her on TV, but the man thought of her as the ideal woman.
However, the man’s love cooled down as there was a massive scandal that stirred the nation.
[Actress L’s sex video leaked. National Actress has fallen?]
The man grew desperate, and he couldn’t eat anything for a while. It had been two weeks since he was pushed into this corner.
Suddenly, the world’s interest in L disappeared, but the man couldn’t give up.
Then he came to a realization. If something went wrong, then he could replace it with something else. The man loved dolls, and his specialty was in repairing them.
The Christmas party at the orphanage was finally settling down. Everyone was playing happily, eating Tae-hyuk’s food, and watching Christmas specials on TV. Tae-hyuk laughed as he watched the way that the children were swarming to play with Santa Kang-suk.
"He is totally popular.”
He was so popular that little girls were standing in a line to marry him.
Tae-hyuk sat in a corner and drank his canned coffee with a tired face. He poured the can in his mouth and tasted a sweet liquid.
Tae-hyuk drank coffee with the atmosphere of a worker after a long night shift.
"Can I sit down next to you for a while?”
It was a young woman who seemed to be in her late 20s. She was a nun who cared for the children at St. Mary’s Orphanage.
"I am a guest here. Rather, I should be the one asking for permission.”
“No. Everyone who comes here is the owner. Hello, I am Viviana.
"Sister Viviana, I am Seo Tae-hyuk.”
She didn’t seem to be a foreigner, so it seemed like Viviana was a baptismal name. Viviana sat down next to Tae-hyuk and said,
“Praise Jesus. Thank you very much for coming today.”
"I just came to play with those two people. Kang-suk hyung said that he has already been sponsoring him for many years.”
Viviana laughed. It was a modest face without any makeup, but he felt strangely calm when she talked.
"I managed to operate this orphanage with the help of many people, and Cho Kang-suk is one of them.”
It was the first time that he had a conversation with a woman of this style. Tae-hyuk, who became uneasy, spoke gruffly,
"I don’t think you came here just to chat. What can I do for you?"
"Yes, in fact, I wanted to ask you something.”
"Well, if I can answer it then I will.”
At that moment, Viviana’s face came close to him. An oddly sweet fragrance was evident.
“Hum hum. I think your face is too close.”
“Ah, I’m sorry. The other children shouldn’t hear this.”
“Then it can’t be helped.”
Viviana spoke in a low voice as if it was a forbidden story.
"Do you perhaps know a girl called Kim Soo-bin?”
Tae-hyuk narrowed his eyes.
"Why are you asking me that?”
"Oh, there isn’t any strange meaning. I just asked because you seem to be a similar age.”
"Then I guess Soo-bin is a high school student.”
“Yes. A freshman. Ah, could you please wait a moment? A picture...”
Viviana rummaged through her pockets and found a piece of paper. Tae-hyuk coughed as he received the photo and opened it. A girl with a cheerful atmosphere was seen with Viviana. They looked like sisters, and were holding the V sign towards the camera. At first glance, Kim Soo-bin was a girl with a short haircut like a man.
"Do you know? Soo-bin is very pretty. If you see her then you would definitely remember.”
Viviana seemed to really care about the children here.
"I’m sorry, but this is the first time I’ve seen her. I’m sorry I’m not helpful.”
Viviana’s eyes widened and she waved her hands.
“Ah, no. I’m sorry. You must been confused since I asked such a sudden thing.”
Tae-hyuk wanted to know why she was asking such a question.
This was an orphanage. No matter how well the nuns took care of the children, they couldn’t feel parental love and a sense of belonging. There were those who wanted to leave here as quickly as possible.
In particular, the age of a high school student was the limit of staying in an orphanage. So Soo-bin must have left here earlier than planned.
"She must have run away from home.”
A shadow crossed Vivian’s face,
“Yes... Without saying a word to me...”
Suddenly, Viviana grabbed Tae-hyuk’s hand and spoke what was in her heart.
"If you see Soo-bin, then can your tell her that Sister Mom is waiting for her?”
She looked a little young to be called Mom, but he understood what she meant. Viviana thought of the children here as her children.
It was at that moment.
"Sister Viviana. You don’t have to ask it from someone like that. Soo-bin unni graduated from here.”
Viviana was filled with embarrassment.
Hye-mi was a girl who seemed to be a middle school student. She stared at Tae-hyuk like she wanted to eat him.
“I don’t like him. Are we beggars? Should I say thank you for buying chicken?”
She shook her head as if it was unacceptable. Viviana stopped Hye-mi and said,
“I-I’m really sorry. This child is called Song Hye-mi. She was close to Soo-bin so her nerves are sharp from Soo-bin’s disappearance. At any rate, I am very thankful for today. If you see Soobin then please tell her that Mother is waiting.”
Tae-hyuk scratched the back of his head. It seemed that the orphanage had complicated circumstances.
"Can I hear more about this story?”
A hard-faced Santa Kang-suk was standing there.
After leaving Ha-ran in charge of the children, Viviana, Tae-hyuk, Cho Kang-suk and Hye-mi gathered in the reception room. Before starting the story, Viviana spoke firmly with Hye-mi.
"Hye-mi. You should just listen. Don’t say anything to the detective. Do you understand?”
"Bah. Sister Mom doesn’t have to worry. Am I a child?”
Kang-suk removed the beard on his chin and said,
"Sister Viviana. Soo-bin is gone, what happened?”
Viviana’s voice trembled as she spoke. Because she was so desperate, she told the story to Detective Kang-suk.
"It has been around a month since the day that Soo-bin went to school and didn’t come back.”
Kang-suk had already been doing volunteer work here for a few years and he knew most of the children. He had known Soo-bin since she was a child,
"Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?”
Kang-suk asked angrily.
“T-That... I contacted Gangdong Police Station but you weren’t there, so she was reported as missing.”
“Ah... It was around that time.”
Kang-suk sighed and leaned back in the chair. A month ago, he had been unbelievably busy due to the Hippo case. There was no way to get in contact with Kang-suk when the police station was called. He gave his phone number exactly for situations like this. Were they sorry about contacting a busy person?
"The next time this sort of thing happens, please contact me straight away. It is absolutely no trouble. Hah... I heard that there were a lot of disappearances happening these days, but I didn't know it would happen around me.”
Tae-hyuk, who was listening to the side, interrupted the two people.
"If it was last month, was it after Actress Ryu Myung-hwa disappeared?”
Kang-suk looked at Tae-hyuk with an expression of great interest.
“How do you know so well? That's right. Since then, the number of missing people have increased.”
He never dreamed that he would be involved in this incident.
Ryu Myung-hwa was one of the top three actresses. She disappeared in the wake of a private video leaking. There was speculation that she was staying quiet until the case was settled. However, her agency then reported her missing.
From then on, the frequency of missing girls increased dramatically. It was the Werther Effect, so to speak. It was similar to the phenomenon where a spike in suicides occurred after a celebrity committed suicide. It was a word derived from the sorrowful protagonist of Goethe’s novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, that was published in 1744.
He committed suicide after a tragic love. It was so popular that Napoleon also carried the book with him. All over Europe, suicides started to spread as they imitated Werther. The total number of deaths was over 2,000 people.
At present, the development in the media meant that it wasn’t hard to find the Werther effect.
Tae-hyuk bit his lip.
‘If I remember correctly, this isn’t just a simple missing persons case. Maybe...'
He had a bad feeling. For the first time, Tae-hyuk hoped that his thoughts were wrong.
Someone’s phone ringing interrupted Tae-hyuk’s thoughts.
"Ah, I’m sorry. It is my phone. At such a late time...”
Kang-suk pulled out his phone and confirmed who it was from. He picked up the call and walked to a corner.
“Yes, this is Cho Kang-suk.”
"M-Mutilation... What is this...?!"
He couldn’t be sure of the conversation due to the distance. However, Tae-hyuk didn’t miss the words spoken by Kang-suk.
Mutilation murder. Tae-hyuk bit his lip.
‘Damn... It actually is that case.’
His bad feelings were always right. Cho Kang-suk approached them and said.
“I’m sorry but it seems like I have to go to work. I'm sorry."
"Ah, it's nothing."
"I will come back tomorrow for more details. Tae-hyuk, Sister-nim, and Hye-min, I will be going now."
Tae-hyuk spoke to the leaving Kang-suk in a quiet voice.
"Hyung. Have you discovered a clue regarding the missing people?”
“…Ah. I’ll tell you if there are more details.”
Tae-hyuk didn’t miss Kang-suk’s shaking. The phone call was clear: A mutilated murder victim was found. There was no harm in checking the identity against the missing people files at the police station. Of course, the probability that the body was Soo-bin wasn’t high. However, it wasn’t necessary to talk about the mutilation murder and make people uneasy.
This was why Kang-suk went to check without saying anything.
Tae-hyuk was immersed in his thoughts as Kang-suk left. This was a prelude to the brutal killings of a madman called Doll Play, but that was the extent of Tae-hyuk’s knowledge on the matter.
Seo Tae-hyuk had memories of the future. Until now, it had been easy to catch criminals using those memories. However, this mutilation murder case was different.
'In the end, the killer of this case wasn’t caught.’
It ended with many victims. Tae-hyuk only knew a rough outline of what was reported in the news. The victims were only remembered with the initials A, B, and so on as they appeared in the news.
‘There was an orphan among the identified victims...’
Tae-hyuk felt like puking.
This was the first time. The events so far had been easily solved using his memories of the future. However, this time was different. He knew nothing, and he couldn't do anything. A sense of hopelessness filled Tae-hyuk’s body.
Then an amazing thing happened. Tae-hyuk gazed at what was written on the Demon Revealing Mirror.
[New mission: Find Doll Play.]
[The following rewards can be obtained by clearing the mission.]
-10 blacklist points
-20 stat points
‘Wait. What? I can get all this by finding Doll Play?’
It was literally a huge reward!
Blacklist points was one of the upgrade conditions. He got one point every time he secured one member. In half a year, he had only collected 10 points. In addition, stat points? He could use it to raise his stats as he wished. If he got all that...
‘I can clearly meet the conditions to upgrade my rank! I can be a Noble!’
Tae-hyuk remembered something that he had forgotten for a bit.
He had two weapons. But he had forgotten about one for a while.
‘Yes, I have the crime skills!’
So far, he had only caught criminals that had already been arrested. However, what about catching a criminal that hadn’t been caught?
It was perfect for Tae-hyuk’s purpose of changing his fate. If this was possible, he would be able to change their fates.
Tae-hyuk’s eyes started to blaze with passion.
The God of Crime started to move in order to catch the strongest enemy that he had encountered so far.
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