Chapter 5: What a crazy bastard (1)
Manchester Airport, England
Hugo furrowed his brows when his phone rang again. His phone kept crying out as if it were nagging its owner to take the call. As he heard the sound again and again, his veins popped out on his forehead. To make things worse, his personal phone started ringing too.
‘Enough. This is the sixtieth call!
This mans best friend used to call him a charlatan fortune teller twenty years ago. He was one of the Twelve Zodiacs, the one who occupied the ninth seat. He was the Sagittarius .
Hugo Otiss blood pressure was so high right now that he felt like he needed to go to the hospital. The culprit was the barrage of calls on his phone today. When his phone had started blowing up, he had thought it was an emergency, but…
‘They are all reporters.
When the reporters suddenly asked him how he felt about Lee Gun, it drove him up the wall. This was the hefty price of being Lee Guns close friend. In the end, he told them that he would file complaints and lawsuits, and they finally quieted down. However, the silence lasted only a short while.
‘It has only been an hour, you bastards.
The reporters were even calling the number that only his acquaintances knew of. Of course, these reporters could find his private number even if he kept it a secret. In fact, not too long ago, a reporter had bothered him through his personal number. Unsurprisingly, the phone rang again.
An unknown number had been calling him non-stop for the past thirty minutes. Hugo was on the fence about picking up the phone, but he realized the number started with 1541. This meant it was a collect call from Korea.
‘These bastards even want me to pay for the call now
It seemed the reporters were trying every means available to them. Hugo looked at his phone as if he had spotted a mosquito early in the morning. The infuriating phone stopped vibrating, but another call came in right afterward.
“Jeez!” Hugo decided to block that number. He even powered off his phone. In the first place, he had no reason to answer a call from an unknown phone number, especially on his private phone. Moreover, he knew what the call was about, and that only dissuaded him from picking it up.
‘I never expected a conspiracy theory on Lee Guns survival. Ridiculous! He couldnt hide his displeasure at hearing the name after so long. At the next moment, he received a call from the government of his home country. He was still displeased, but he picked it up.
– Are you listening to what Im saying, Hugo
“Im sorry, but Ill have to decline the request of finding our thirteenth member.”
The person on the phone this time was the prime minister of Australia. As expected, the call was about Lee Gun. This pissed off Hugo.
“Do not speak the name of the dead. He was declared dead twenty years ago,” Hugo said.
– He might have been asleep…
“Why say that now” Hugo wanted to say that it was shameful for a prime minister to look for the hero Lee Gun like this, but he swallowed his words. In the past, Hugo had insisted Lee Gun was alive, but no one had listened to him. “Wasnt I barred from searching the tower back then because it was too dangerous”
– No, it was—
Hugo quickly turned his attention toward the sudden roar that came from the crowd. The roar was so loud that it surprised everyone, including the flight attendants, the ticket agents, and the baggage claim attendants. The sound had erupted from the waiting room. It was a roar one heard when ones team scored a goal in the World Cup finals.
– Surrender! In the end, England surrenders to the monsters!
– Their faith in Sir Oliver, the S-rank disciple from Europe, was for nothing! He failed in his raid attempt!
– This is crazy! As expected, only Lee Gun can accomplish that feat!
An electronic display in the waiting room streamed the news coming out of London.
– As expected, the Red Zone was too difficult to conquer. Sir Oliver spent a year trying to recover London, but it was all for naught.
– The disaster in London happened twenty-five years ago. London is infested with the monsters Lee Gun had cleared before. Is that correct
– Yes, youre correct. These monsters appeared during the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. At the time, Lee Gun had cleared them by himself. That was why the European Saint attempted this mission with confidence.
– The raid was a failure. In fact, he retreated before he could get past the entrance.
The veins on the reporters necks popped as they delivered the news. Of course, the news from London inevitably led to the news from the previous day. The screen quickly changed.
– Why do you think the raid failed this time
– It wasnt a failure. It was just a series of misfortune that happened to happen at once.
– The hero from Asia did it on his own twenty-five years ago. Of course, I can do it too. As you probably know, Lee Gun was the weakest among the initially awakened beings.
The Saint from Europe was having a hard time hiding his emotions as the interview continued.
– The proof is the fact that Lee Gun was unable to do anything as the twelve Saints killed Red Eye.
Hugo had been called in to clean up the mess in England, so his eyebrows twitched. Everyone kept stating that Lee Guns status had been elevated as a hero because of his death, but Hugo knew the truth.
‘He was the strongest amongst the thirteen. Hugo didnt think this just because he was Lee Guns friend. He had fought alongside him, so he was sure of this. Without Lee Gun, clearing the Devils Tower wouldve been impossible. However…
‘Theres no way he couldve survived in that place by himself. Of course, Hugo hadnt witnessed Lee Guns death, nor had he watched Red Eye die. At that moment, he had been temporarily sent outside of the tower. Monsters had been converging on the tower like ants, and he had been tasked to stop them.
The other members of the Twelve gave testimonies that Lee Gun had sacrificed himself for them. However, Hugo knew that it was bull**. ‘He hated the Twelve. He would spit out food whenever someone brought up the Twelve during a meal.
Lee Gun was a glutton, yet he would put down a chicken leg if someone mentioned the Twelve. Moreover, he was a shameless bastard who used to steal Hugos chicken legs. There was no way Lee Gun would die in that fashion. Therefore, Hugo had spent over a dozen years investigating Lee Guns death. He had even gone against all opposition and entered the tower. However, as soon as he stepped into that place, he had come to a realization. There was no way someone could come out of that hell hole by himself. There was no one insane enough in this world to pull that off.
‘Moreover, he fell into the worst type of trap.
Hugo Otis had given up all hope. After ten years, his tears had dried up. It happened at that moment.
– Hugo! Do you know whats happening right now They are…
“Yes. I already know the Korean government is putting a significant amount of effort into finding him.” He got out of the airport and took a taxi. The sky of England had darkened due to all the dust in the air. Hugo continued, “Anyway, please dont be stupid. Dont try to find someone whos already dead. This is a fake scheme hatched by someone. If anyone is trying to profit off my friends name, I will…”
– You got it all wrong, friend!
The prime minister sounded desperate.
– That phone rang after twenty years!
Hugo Otiss complexion instantly changed. “What”
– Im referring to the direct line we created for Lee Gun. Its the line that guaranteed he could contact his government!
“!” Hugo immediately yelled, “Stop!”
The surprised taxi driver stepped on the brakes. He became flustered, but Hugo didnt care. The Archer asked the prime minister, “Did you contact me on my personal phone around five minutes ago”
– You unloaded on me when I called you on that number last time. Dont you remember That is why I never call you on that number.
‘This is nuts! Hugo was sure of it. It seemed they had missed the call, but it was the number only Lee Gun knew. ‘This means… The collect call…!
Hugo yelled out in haste, “Please turn around and head toward the airport! I have to get on a plane heading to Korea right now!”
The taxi driver was baffled by his words, while the person on the phone freaked out.
– Wait a moment! Korea Arent you in England to clean up the mess You cant just leave.
“Who cares I dont care about this island nation! They made this mess themselves! Do they think Im a pushover Hmm” Hugo was in a hurry. When the taxi came to a stop, he quickly ran toward the airport. As he did so, he turned on his personal phone.
‘Is it you, Gun The hand holding the phone became sweaty as he switched on the phone.
“!” Hugo couldnt believe his eyes. He had received a new text.
[One voice mail has arrived. Press the call button to listen to the message.]
“…!” Hugos hands shook as he checked the voicemail. The first word he heard…
– Oh Taeksoo!
That one word made his eyes turn large in disbelief. However, it lasted only for a moment.
– I will find you, and I will kill you.
His face froze.
– Good Luck.
In many ways, his face was full of fear.
* * *
“Oh Taeksoo, youve grown a lot. You got guts to ignore my call.” Lee Gun, who had left the voice mail, had a bright smile on his face. The teen in front of him shook in fear. It had started around thirty minutes ago when Lee Gun had called a number. Lee Gun had started with a smile, but his eyes had turned sharp when the recipient didnt pick up the phone even after thirty minutes. It wasnt just about his friend ignoring the call.
‘Why the hell would I write a will saying Ill hand over my fortune to the Twelve when I die
He didnt care about the others. His friend mustve known something was off with the will. This almost made him suspicious that his friend had betrayed him in greed. Of course, his friend couldnt betray him for such a petty reason.
Only one person amongst the Twelve Zodiacs had refused Lee Guns fortune. It was Hugo Otis. He was the only person who hadnt received his share of Lee Guns fortunes. He had said he wasnt worthy of receiving his friends fortune because he was unable to save him. It was a moving story, but it only enraged Lee Gun, the subject of the story.
‘That bastard shouldve just taken it! Is he looking down on the lands I owned in Seoul My house shouldve gone up in price by a couple hundred million Won in twenty years!
He just had to kill them to take back his fortune, which had been passed on as inheritance! Lee Gun firmed his resolve as he seethed with anger.
‘Ill slaughter every Saint I find. He used to be destitute because he always had to pay the Twelve to fix his body. Now, he no longer had a reason to be cautious around them. As soon his money returned to his bank account, he would live a different lifestyle.
‘However, this will be a bit problematic. In truth, he had already lost a vast amount of his money; he didnt care about losing his fortune. The problem right now was the fact that he didnt have any place to call home, and on top of that, he didnt have any money for living expenses. His country had indeed provided a villa for him, but…
His house had become a shrine where people worshipped him! Lee Gun couldnt believe what he was reading in the article. He was thankful that people deified him in death, but…
‘They perform a memorial service every year It became a holy ground where people visit This was beyond embarrassing. He had never felt such a feeling in his life. Lee Gun would have preferred the fate of the frozen American hero, who was put in a museum.
‘Who the hell came up with this idea He was mortified as soon as he saw it. This was why he hated ideas that came from pencil pushers. In any case, he couldnt live in a place where people performed memorial services for him.
‘Also, theyll think Im crazy if I insist Im Lee Gun. He loved the fact that he had regained his youth, but the appearance gap between his previous self and his current self was too large. He did have other ways to prove his identity.
“Wow! The press around the world is going nuts. Has such an occurrence ever happened before”
“Its to be expected. We are talking about Lee Gun. This is nothing. Itll become an absolute circus if they can find a piece of his armor.”
There is no way Lee Gun would tell the reporters that he was back. ‘They didnt even give me time to eat ramen. He had suffered a lot due to the reporters harassment in the past. He had once shoved a reporters head into a bowl of ramen. It had been a waste of the lobster he had ordered to put in the ramen.
‘In my current situation, the reporters would probably not believe my story either. This was a problem. He had to find those who had betrayed him, yet he couldnt contact those who knew him. Hed have to sleep out in the open for the near future.
‘What should I do Should I rob a bank in a nearby country Should I take someones money It was a joke that wasnt really a joke. Just when everyone exited the store, a voice rang inside Lee Guns mind.
[Caution! Someone is monitoring you!]
Lee Gun flinched when he heard the voice. He furrowed his brows when he felt a familiar presence. It was faint, but he was sure of it. ‘One of the gods… Then he heard a sound.
“Really Lee Gun. Lee Gun. They are all so noisy.”
“Thats what Im saying. All the top news organizations around the world are only talking about him. Hes only a has-been that became deified over time.”
A young couple dressed in nice clothes walked toward the restaurant. Judging from the magical energy they emanated, anyone could tell that they werent normal people.
“The news that a high-rank Saint came out of our Shrine was buried because of that.”
“Lee Gun is only elevated because he worked with the Twelve Zodiacs. These idiots dont know any better.”
“Thats what Im saying. Even if he shows up, hell be inferior to us.”
At that moment, the couple met eyes with Lee Gun. “What the hell Is he trying to imitate Lee Gun” Their faces crumpled. However, their ill humor lasted only a moment. For some reason, they started to snicker. They spoke out loud as if they wanted everyone to hear their voices.
“Idiots! They really think Lee Gun was amazing. I heard rumors that he was a low-rank User.”
“Thats right. I heard he died while he hid behind the Twelve in the Devils Tower.”
“Well, its to be expected. Lee Guns fanboys are clueless.”
As the man passed by, he purposefully exhaled cigarette smoke in Lee Guns face, and the smoke spread across Lee Guns face. Lee Gun laughed at their foolishness. ‘They dare act this way toward me