“There are more pictures in the envelope.”
Sungyoon searched through the envelope again.
Aside from the documents, he found several pictures that had been blown up to the size of an A4 paper.
Jiyoon gasped. The picture depicted a scene that was too horrifying for a normal person to stomach.
“Is… Is that a heart?”
A Connector’s heart didn’t resemble a jewel, but it didn’t look like a normal human heart either. The picture in front of them showed a red heart with a red jewel embedded inside it.
Either blood vessels or connective tissues were spread out from the jewel. Whatever it was, the picture was a creepy sight. The reaction of a normal person like Jiyoon was understandable.
Moreover, this picture wasn't just one of a kind. Multiple pictures of the same heart showed it from different angles, and some pictures even showed its dissection.
“These pictures depict the heart of the Connector you killed. We also confirmed it with the Connectors that we killed. Most of their hearts are like this.”
“Most? Are there other cases?”
“Some of these Connectors had normal hearts. The Rejected does have some real Connectors. They are the Connectors who awakened late, after they were thrown away by their parents. It seems they hold an unbelievable amount of grievance toward society even though they eventually became Connectors.”
Sungyoon glanced at the pictures once again.
“If they can create Connectors at will, this is a big problem.”
The Mayor quelled Sungyoon’s worries.
“We questioned a few that we were able to capture alive. The success rate of this experiment was very low. Moreover, even when the process was successful, these people suffered side effects. Their lifespan became shortened to the extreme.”
“Why are they going through with the experimentation knowing that outcome?”
“Their anger toward society and Connectors is that large.”
Sungyoon thought about the Connector he had killed not too long ago. When he had declared himself one of the new rulers of this world, his voice had been full of deep resentment.
‘I can understand why he went through with the experimentation if his enmity was that deep.’
The Connector had gone through with it despite knowing he could lose his life.
“Anyway, the Rejected received orders from Lee Dongin, so he should know the exact size of the organization. He’ll have a rough idea on how these artificial Connectors are created.”
“No. He has no idea.”
“… He doesn’t know?”
“Yes. He's clueless. To be precise, what he knows differs way too much from reality.”
Jiyoon tilted her head in puzzlement. However, Sungyoon understood what the Mayor was saying, and he frowned.
“The Rejected weren’t under Lee Dongin’s command in the first place.”
“That’s right. Lee Dongin became enraged when he realized the same thing. He was the chairman of Fabion, but the true power within the company had shifted toward Hyunwoo Sung. He and his group had already shifted their allegiance to Grenoid. Grenoid and Hyunwoo Sung were the ones who really propelled Fabion to such a height. They reaped profits while hiding behind the front called Fabion. They are parasites!”
The Mayor sounded incensed as he slammed his fist on the desk.
When Jiyoon flinched, the Mayor quickly brought his anger under his control.
“We did receive some guidance about the artificial Connectors from Ms. Plu-El.”
“What did my mother-in-law say?”
“This is a form of Flesh Gem, but it differs from the Flesh Gem used by the descendants of Planote.”
The Mayor explained while pointing to the Jewel embedded in the heart.
Sungyoon had heard about the Flesh Gems from Plu-El in the past, and he could see that the jewel embedded in the heart differed from the one in Plu-El's description.
Afterward, the two of them continued to talk for a while.
With the conversation coming to an end, Sungyoon said his goodbye and left the Temporary City Hall.
“Was it instructional for you?”
Sungyoon asked Jiyoon as he drove the car.
Jiyoon's notebook was full of words as she manipulated the tablet. His words surprised her.
She understood the meaning behind his words a beat late, then nodded.
“I’m trying my best, but it's hard.”
Dark circles had appeared on her fine features. Unlike her normal self, she was wearing more makeup than usual. It was an attempt to hide those dark circles.
“Why don’t you take it easy for a while?”
Normally, Jiyoon had a hard time expressing her opinions, yet she flatly refused his suggestion.
“I'm an employee in charge of the Knight. I’m not arrogant enough to say that I won’t make any mistakes, but I have to do my best to minimize the number of mistakes I make. If I make a mistake, it'll tarnish your and the company's reputation.”
“The reputation of the company is important, but you don’t have to worry about my reputation.”
Jiyoon was forceful once again as she contradicted him.
“Mr. Sungyoon, I’ve always noticed that you're very indifferent when it comes to anything regarding yourself.”
“I'm selfish in many ways, but fame and reputation are not what I desire.”
He had his precious daughter and a beautiful wife, who would wash away his daughter’s wounds. Moreover, he had more than enough money to support his family.
“I have my family, and I have enough money to support them. That's enough for me.”
“… You're a very family-oriented man.”
Both Sungyoon and Jimin weren’t the type to excessively express their love for each other.
To be precise, they showed so much love toward their daughter that people became envious. In contrast, the two of them almost showed zero outward expression of love toward each other.
However, Jiyoon had seen the two of them at the company. A comfortable and stable atmosphere always surrounded them. It was clear that the feeling of love flowed between the two even if it was barely visible.
Moreover, Jiyoon had caught them exchanging light touches with each other. She knew this was how they showed affection to each other. Jiyoon was in college, and when her friends dated, they made sure everyone saw their affection for their significant other.
Although she didn’t think that it was bad, she didn’t want the intense affection shown by her friends. She preferred the calm and mature feeling between Sungyoon and Jimin.
In the beginning, Sungyoon only showed his love and affection to Shinhae.
However, it changed after he married Jimin. Sungyoon’s love was like a calm wave, and it washed over Jimin without him realizing it. Jiyoon could feel it being near the two.
She wanted that wave to wash over her too. She wanted to be a part of it.
This was why she didn’t want to cause any trouble for Sungyoon.
“Please don’t worry about it. I won’t do anything unreasonable.”
Sungyoon no longer brought up the issue.
“How’s your father’s business doing?”
“Not well. He is no longer receiving his supply of moonstones, but he's doing his best. My father dreamed of running a large company, so he's working hard to find different streams of revenue.”
“He is that kind of a person. If he needs any help from me, he just needs to ask.”
The two of them continued to converse in a low voice, and the ambient sound of the car didn’t bother them. There was a level of peace that could be felt between the two.
Jimin took out the tofu from a black plastic bag. It wasn’t boiled or fried, but an uncooked piece of tofu.
She wielded it like a weapon as she shook it in front of Woosang and Woosung.
“Open your mouth.”
Woosung resisted, but his protests didn’t work on Jimin.
While Woosung was having a hard time fending off Jimin, Woosang looked toward his mothers for help.
However, both women were amused by their antics, and they didn’t stop Jimin. They folded their arms as they watched the scene unfold.
Woosang looked at Sungyoon as a last resort, but Sungyoon just shrugged. He felt tempted to move his eyes toward Shinhae and Soyoung, who stood next to Sungyoon, but his pride wouldn’t let him ask for help from the two girls.
In the end, Woosang shut his eyes, let go of the strength in his body, and opened his mouth.
The soft tofu crumbled inside his mouth.
Woosang put his hands up to catch the crumbs as he chewed on the tofu.
“Noona! The investigation found that we committed no crime. We are prisoners who just finished… Oohp!”
Jimin ruthlessly shoved a different piece of tofu into Woosung’s mouth.
If Woosang and Woosung were to resist in earnest, Jimin wouldn't be able to commit such atrocities against them. However, the two refrained from doing so.
In many ways, the three siblings were close to each other. After Jimin finished feeding the tofu to each of her brothers, Hweeyoung and Aiin approached their children. They hugged their sons as they commiserated with the hardships they suffered.
Sungyoon had rented a large vehicle for today and driven everyone to a nearby expensive restaurant. Aiin and Hweeyoung wanted to do this because their sons probably didn’t get to eat good food in recent days.
It had been a while since the whole family was able to meet like this, so everyone was happy. However, things started to become weird when they started talking about Soyoung.
“So you're saying this child is our dongsaeng?”
Woosung looked at Soyoung, and Soyoung flinched a little.
“Why are you scaring the kid?”
Woosung was a bit sad that his dongsaeng looked a bit afraid of him on their first meeting. As if to make things worse, his mother berated him too. He grumbled.
Woosang was more patient compared to Woosung, and he approached Soyoung with kindness.
Soyoung stammered as she slowly started to talk to Woosang, and this scene made Woosung more frustrated.
“Did you say her name is Ms... Plu-El? Where’s our new mother?”
“The descendants of Planote are still in the process of settling on Earth, so she has a lot of work to do. Unfortunately, she couldn't make it here today.”
Sungyoon answered Woosang.
“Ah. Is that so? We should go greet her sometime in the future.”
Woosang and Woosung were used to these scenarios as Connectors, and they held no suspicion toward the existence of a new mother.
After having a party to celebrate the addition of a new family member, the group returned to Hweeyoung and Aiin’s house.
The sun had already set, and when they arrived at home, Shinhae and Soyoung were sound asleep.
“As expected, this house is the best!”
Woosung was in his feelings as he stood in the front yard and opened his arms wide. Aiin slapped him on the back, and the others laughed when they saw this exchange.
“Ah! Elder brother-in-law...”
For a brief moment, Sungyoon had no idea who Woosang was referring to. He quickly realized that Woosang was talking to him.
“Uh. What is it, Brother-in-law?”
Sungyoon sounded a bit flustered, but he also used the correct title.
“Thank you very much.”
Woosang bowed at a ninety-degree angle.
“We learned about what happened to our father thanks to you.”
Silence descended in the surroundings.
“If you weren’t in our lives, we would've continued to believe that our father died fighting monsters. We would've continued to call those bastards ahjussi, and we would've been under their thumbs. Moreover, we wouldn’t have been able to meet our new mother and our cute dongsaeng.”
“The one who didn’t give up until the end is your noona. You should give your thanks to Jimin.”
“Of course, I'm going to thank her. However, she wouldn’t have been able to achieve her far-fetched dream without you. You helped her make her dreams come true. That's why we would like to thank you, Elder brother-in-law.”
Woosang bowed even deeper.
“Thank you very much, Elder brother-in-law.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter