Episode 159

Chapter 6. Kill The Duoexini (3)
3 weeks ago
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Kaaang.

The last orb shattered.

“Phew!”

“Satisfied?”

“Yeah. Finally, it feels refreshing.”

After reverting her transformation, Doul immediately dove into the hot spring, and I followed suit.

“Ah, it feels a bit better here. Are you okay, Director Do? You used a lot of magic power today.”

“I’ll recover with a day’s rest.”

“That’s if you soak in the hot spring for twenty-four hours straight, right?”

“…If I fall asleep and my face goes underwater, please pull me out.”

I submerged myself up to my shoulders.

‘I moved too much today.’

Humans had a durability limit, and mental strength could only do so much.

“I wish I could recover faster.”

“What about the ‘Pearl’ that the Chairman gave you?”

“That’s not strictly for restoring magic power. It’s for reducing mana consumption.”

“I see. I didn’t know that.”

“…But it only works for me.”

The Pearl was ineffective for the Four Executives.

The most effective method for them was merging with me, feeling alive as they lived within my body.

“Director Do, your magic power is really low. Isn’t there a way to increase it?”

“Soaking in the hot spring is to recover as quickly as possible.”

“But there must be other ways, right? Like using the Goblin Bat to steal magic power from ability users.”

“That’s a possibility.”

I knew plenty of techniques for stealing magic power.

But most were ethically troubling and repugnant to use with a clear conscience.

Like abilities that consumed others’ hearts to gain their magic and abilities.

Or abilities that drained others’ blood to absorb the magic within.

Several methods came to mind, but they were not topics for open discussion in a public space.

Besides, if such methods had been viable, I wouldn’t be in the hot spring trying to recover my magic power.

“Director Do? I found it.”

Brewer set down a plate of neatly sliced fruits beside me and Doul and handed over a tablet.

“Like you said, it’s the Bluebird of Aggression. When I searched for aggressive patriots, it popped up right away.”

“As expected.”

Even during the era of great transformation in 2000, by 2025, social networks were well-developed.

There was Bluebird, criticized as a brain-eating bird, Facewall, and others like Dico and Blind.

And there was a social network used mainly on the dark web, inaccessible to ordinary people.

Teragram.

This SNS, a blend of 140-character short messages and various SNS features, was only available to those who had stepped into the world of darkness.

“Good work, Brewer.”

“No big deal. Checking these things is part of my job.”

Exploring Teragram was like plunging into a sewer, but Brewer found the vilest garbage, the demon’s hidden side.

“What’s up? What’s the story?”

“I found Duoexini’s secret account.”

“…Secret account? What’s that?”

“It’s like pretending to be a businessman publicly while secretly cracking pumpkin seeds and spewing sinister comments. It’s full of nonsense and gossip about others. For example…”

Brewer picked up a fruit with a fork and extended it towards Doul’s mouth.

“If you look at the SNS of a librarian named Do Jihwan, it’s full of book-related stories, but secretly he uses the handle ‘Goblin’.”

“Isn’t that good?”

“And then posts stuff like ‘I want to transfer to another team because my boss works me too hard’.”

“Wait, did he really write that?”

Doul glared sharply at me, and I silently chewed on my pear.

“Brewer knows more than I thought.”

“Really?”

“I never talked behind anyone’s back on SNS.”

“Then?”

“I said it to their faces.”

“…….”

I was Do Jihwan.

A man who wrote 5,700-character reviews against those who immersed others in their novel’s world.

“Stop gossiping behind other people’s backs. If you’re going to criticize, do it openly and boldly. That way, ability users who hear the criticism won’t suffer mental damage.”

Talking behind anonymity? That’s fine.

But in such a world, yielding to these urges could easily transform ability users into demons, so I wished there was no such mental pressure on ability users here.

Take, for example:

“Like Solar Platina. If it weren’t for her, the demons wouldn’t have been purified so quickly, and the damage would have been greater…”

“Right?”

“…Speak of the devil, and she shall appear.”

Behind me,

Yumir emerged from an opening in space, wearing a grin.

“What’s happening?”

“Are you going to deal with Duoexini? Iseon told me.”

“…Yoon Iseon wouldn’t discuss such matters lightly.”

“She gave herself away when I pried just a little.”

Yumir was too astute.

“Um, Doul?”

“What?”

“We want to deal with Duoexini right now, but it’s not possible because this person is out of magic power, correct?”

“… It’s not appropriate to discuss the Goblin with someone outside the Secret Society.”

Doul bit into a pear and sat up.

“However, it’s different if you’re a trainee with the Secret Society.”

“Trainee…?”

“Find a concept distinct from Solar Platina, and if you can alter your magic power’s hue, shift it from gold to something like brown.”

Doul gestured towards Yumir and then pointed at me.

“By working as a trainee under Director Do and learning about the Secret Society, you can make an informed decision later about joining. The Secret Society is always looking for talented individuals.”

“…That sounds intriguing. Collaborating with the Secret Society in a capacity that differs from Solar Platina.”

“There’s nothing new about being a spy under the guise of a trainee.”

“Um, Director Doul? That could be reckless…”

“What’s the issue? Director Do will assume the responsibility.”

“Ha.”

This was absurd.

“… We’re attempting to confront Duoexini, but as you’ve noted, my magic power is depleted. I need to fully replenish it to face him effectively.”

“I’ll restore it for you at once.”

“…What?”

“Director Do. Are you familiar with that old saying?”

Yumir shot a look at Doul, then slowly extended his hand and clasped my head with both hands.

“Patriotism is the best medicine.”

“…What are you doing?”

“One of my abilities is ‘Magic Power Supply.’”

“…….”

No way.

A possibility came to mind.

“Can you supply magic power that way?”

“Of course. In this great country, especially in Ulleungdo, why not?”

Yumir stretched her legs beside me and entered the hot spring.

“The spirits of the nation will lend us strength to deal with Duoexini, who has plunged our country into chaos. Right?”

“Why are you mentioning that while sitting cross-legged?”

“Ahem. Are you going to keep being clueless?”

Yumir covered my mouth with her hand.

“The most urgent thing is to deal with Duoexini, right? Doul, will you help me?”

“Don’t call me Doul; call me Hyeon Se-rin. You can call me comfortably since I’m your elder sister, for now.”

“…? Okay, sure. Then.”

Splash.

Yumir entered the water and approached me.

“I’ll fully charge your magic power in two hours, then let’s go deal with Duoexini.”

“…Brewer. The tablet.”

I borrowed a tablet from Brewer and wrote some simple instructions.

“Contact Yoon Iseon on her smartphone to convey the plan and seek cooperation. And as soon as you’re ready, send a ‘declaration of war’ to Duoexini.”

“In two hours?”

“…It might even end sooner than two hours.”

Now that it had come to this.

“Let’s finish it with a rapid charge.”

To deal with Duoexini.


At that moment.

Somewhere on Sejong Island.

Thud!

A young man tumbled down the stairs.

His legs gave out, and he rolled down the stairs listlessly, ending up motionless at the bottom with his neck twisted.

“…Ugh.”

Despite his twisted neck, the young man got up as if nothing was wrong.

Although his body was still wobbly, he was alive despite having rolled down enough stairs to have been killed instantly.

“Ugh.”

The young man slumped onto the sofa.

Then he reached for the remote control on the coffee table and turned on the TV.

What kind of villain was Duoexini?

“Tch!”

The young man clicked his tongue when he saw the news headline.

Chewing on a yanggaeng he had apparently taken from the fridge, he glared at the news panelists with disapproval.

“Don’t label me as a villain just because of the name Duoexini…”

The young man, Duoexini, picked up a tablet that was lying beside him.

Ignoring the various criticisms and condemnations from the news panelists, he went online to gather information about himself.

“Ah, the world is full of curses against Duoexini. That’s right. It’s a joy to be cursed by humans. Haha.”

Duoexini reveled in the displeasure of the people.

Even though that displeasure was a mix of disgust and hatred, he enjoyed these emotions even more.

“But then.”

Duoexini’s expression hardened as he browsed through other reactions in the community.

“These trash dare to insult the sacred Solar Platina…?”

A hero who deserved praise was being criticized.

Before Duoexini could cause a commotion, people were already insulting the existence known as Solar Platina.

“These crazy people! Solar Platina purified the demons; they should praise and worship him, not criticize! More damage? Trash, all itching to criticize!”

Duoexini trembled with rage on the sofa.

“I’ll find their email addresses and make sure to drop a demon there…! Daring to insult Solar Platina, the new hero of this country, who traveled from Ulleungdo to Daejeon through spatial movement to purify demons! Even…!”

Duoexini smiled ecstatically and fell backward over the sofa armrest.

“A foreigner, too! Ah, even foreigners are imbued with the spirit of our nation…! So magnificent! Wonderful!”

Duoexini clapped his feet together, and then his expression turned grim.

“Trash like that, who force criticism on a hero, shouldn’t exist. Right. Just like that. Those are the traitors selling out the country…huh?”

Beep.

An alarm sounded.

An alarm that should not have sounded.

A tweet popped up on the dark web’s back account notification.

“Wow, crazy. Crossing the line?”

Duoexini immediately sat up.

“I can’t leave him alive. Hey, where do you live?”

Duoexini’s thumbs danced rapidly, engaging in a fierce keyboard battle.

“…Sejong Island? Oh, look at you, a mere student daring to…”

His eyes flashed with fury.

[Was the accident Duoexini caused actually an attack by China on Korea, true or false? If true, Duoexini might be Du Wanyong, working for China to undermine Korea.]

“Lee Wan-yong sold the country to Japan, you ignorant kid who can’t even study history properly!”

Swiftly, Duoexini donned his mask and dashed outside.

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