Yoo Yeonha opened her eyes. A patternless white ceiling filled her sight, and the sound of something being cut tickled her ears. She turned towards the direction of the sound.
Kim Suho was cutting an apple with a fruit knife.
"…What are you doing here?"
Yoo Yeonha asked dumbfoundedly. Kim Suho glanced at Yoo Yeonha before smiling bashfully.
"You're awake? It doesn't hurt anywhere, right?"
"The doctor said there's nothing wrong with your body."
Yoo Yeonha raised her upper body. She felt slightly stiff and sore, but it wasn't to the point she couldn't move.
"What I want to know is why you're here."
"We're taking turns nursing you. Me, Nayun, Shin Jonghak, and Kim Horak."
Yoo Yeonha asked genuinely curious.
"Well, it's kind of our fault…"
Yoo Yeonha fell in thought because of Kim Suho's incomprehensible words. How was it their fault?
But even after contemplating about what happened, she couldn't come up with an answer.
'Did they do something I didn't know?' Yoo Yeonha glared at Kim Suho, demanding an explanation.
"As members of the same team, we should have been more careful. We were too absorbed in caring for Nayun that we were too negligent…"
Yoo Yeonha became lost for words. Her brain seemed to freeze at the sheer stupidity of Kim Suho's statement.
It wasn't like they could have known she would get attacked. Not to mention, the investigation team had only met twice, and there was even a huge argument in the second meeting.
Yoo Yeonha chuckled at Kim Suho's bashful apology. If anything, she realized just how stupidly kind this man was.
"You don't need to be sorry. I got what I deserved."
Kim Suho scratched his neck and gave Yoo Yeonha a plate of sliced apples, which were shaped like rabbits. Yoo Yeonha smiled subconsciously. Being a girl, Yoo Yeonha liked cute things.
"They look nice."
Kim Suho laughed innocently. His handsome face seemed to shine. Yoo Yeonha stared at his face in a daze before suddenly remembering something and asking.
"…Oh right, um, did that person come?"
Yoo Yeonha couldn't say his name out loud. She had a conscience. She didn't expect him to visit her after what she had done.
She looked outside the window. There wasn't a single cluster of clouds on the East Sea's clear and blue sky. The world seemed particularly bright under the beaming sunlight.
Seeing this dazzling scenery, Yoo Yeonha fell in thought.
She learned many things today.
Of course, her 17-year-old personality wouldn't entirely change with just this one incident. Tomorrow's Yoo Yeonha might not be too different than today's.
But there were certainly many things she felt from the bottom of her heart. She wasn't sure whether it was self-reflection, introspection, or plain gratefulness.
Before she wrote everything down on her diary and pondered over it, she first picked up her smartwatch.
There was still something she needed to do.
I received a message.
[Thank you. I'll repay today's debts for sure.]
The sender was Yoo Yeonha. Seeing her name, the corners of my mouth curled up to a smile.
I wanted to say something cool, but the person sitting in front of me asked for another affirmation.
"Um… So I can just take this money? Really?"
I stared back at the man. Park Soohyuk has been like this for a while. I lost count how many times he asked if this was real.
Haa. I couldn't help but sigh.
It was my money I was investing, so why was he so hesitant? Just buy an HUV (hunter utility vehicle) and a proper magic pouch already!
"Yes, yes, yes. Please take it! Please!"
I stood up and bowed down at a 90-degree angle.
"Please take it!"
"Ah, um, I—"
"What, do I need to kowtow? I'll do it!"
"No, no! I'll take it! Thank you so much for investing in SH Agency!"
He finally put the signed documents in his suitcase.
How did such an easygoing person end up becoming the agent world's greatest giant? I was the owner who created this setting, but I just couldn't understand it.
After staring at him for a moment, I asked casually.
"By the way, how old are you?"
"Ah, you're more than a decade older than me. You don't have to talk so formally."
Talking casually would be better for our relationship.
"How can I do such a thing to an investor…"
"Don't think of me as an investor, think of me as a business partner. You know, like we're building SH Agency together."
"Don't worry, I'm fine with it."
A back and forth argument went around on the topic of talking formally or casually. Eventually, I defeated Park Soohyuk and he submitted.
"Okay… I won't talk so formally then."
I got up.
"Then let's go hunt. We'll stop at just two for today."
"Alright, then this Hyung will support you from the back."
Park Soohyuk laughed bashfully.
We left the coffee shop. Right when we were about to head to Field, I saw a convenience store.
"Um, Soohyuk Hyung?"
I was the one who suggested talking casually, but I felt shy now that I needed to do it.
"Hm? What's up?"
"We should buy a lottery ticket."
I pointed at the poster that said [lottery ticket on sale]. In truth, this was the first method I thought up to make money since I had an absurd level of luck. But because of my status as a 'minor without a guardian', I haven't been able to do it until now.
"Come on, lottery tickets are a waste of money. You might be too young to understand these things, but the lottery is a scam."
"It's not a scam. I have good luck, so I'll probably win something. I'll invest what I get on SH Agency, so give it a try."
"No, I'm telling you it's a scam…"
"Just follow me."
I dragged Park Soohyuk to the convenience store. I grabbed ten instant lottery tickets on the counter, and with Park Soohyuk's clearly aged face, the clerk didn't even ask for his identification. After buying the ten tickets, I brought them over to a nearby table.
"I need something to scratch them with."
"Oh, here's a coin."
Even though he just said lottery tickets were a scam, he gave me a coin with anticipating eyes.
"I'll start then."
Shashak. I started scratching on the silver foils on the ticket. The first one was a fail. I immediately moved on to the second. Another fail. I scratched the third ticket. Another fail.
Park Soohyuk had already lost interest and yawned. Unperturbed, I continued scratching. Fourth, fifth, sixth…
While Park Soohyuk walked around the cup ramen aisle, I scratched the tenth lottery ticket.
"You won? How much?"
Park Soohyuk asked casually after picking up a cup ramen.
"20 million won."
Park Soohyuk then started walking towards the counter before suddenly stopping and tilting his head. 'Did I hear that wrong…?' murmuring so, he turned towards me.
"…Can you repeat that?"
"20 million won. Looks like getting the first place jackpot is asking for too much."
First place was 100 million won.
I showed Park Soohyuk the lottery ticket. His jaws instantly dropped.
"W-What, is, is this real?"
"It's real, so take it."
I handed him the ticket.
"W-Why are you giving this to me?"
"Oh, didn't I tell you? I'm still a minor, so I can't claim the money. You can take it. It's an additional investment, so send me a modified contract."
Park Soohyuk stared at me in a daze. His gaping mouth didn't think to close. The cup ramen he was holding could probably fit in his mouth. It was sure was big.
Park Soohyuk quickly put the lottery ticket in his pocket. Next, he quickly looked around himself and began to sweat as though he had just committed a crime.
"You can put down your guard. No one is going to steal it. "
"No, you don't understand how scary the world can be…"
Moonlight shone through a broken window, but it only lit up dusty ruins and absolute silence. Vines and moss were the only living things in this desolate place abandoned by humans.
A factory in Suwon abandoned after Outcall, this was Chameleon Troupe's temporary hiding place.
A voice rang out in the empty space. The call awoke an existence sleeping in the darkness.
The existence slowly opened its eyes. The revealed pupils glistened like jewels yet carried a threatening aura.
—Those bastards started moving. The Packhorse Master. They just listed themselves on the stock market.
The ownerless voice notified the existence of this information.
The existence replied briefly. Not even a hint of emotion could be felt in the dull voice.
—What should we do next?
The existence put off answering the question and slowly raised its body. Meanwhile, a full moon revealed itself from behind the clouds. A brighter moonlight infiltrated the window and lit up the existence's body. The enshrouding darkness instantly melted down.
—That aside, Boss is beautiful as always.
Long black hair seemingly weaved out of shadows, full pink lips, and a smooth white skin adorning a graceful figure… A woman, who seemed to be the manifestation of modern beauty, spoke without the slightest change in her expression.
"Do you have a death wish?"
A dark blue magic power crackled from her hands.
—I'm kidding, but it's not like I can say Boss is ugly. Forgive me.
The threatening magic power akin to an erupting lava calmed down.
—Anyways, what are we going to do? The Packhorse Master is making its move.
"We will only steal. We won't care about anything else."
It was an apathetic answer, but her command was clear.
—Oh, by the way, there's someone buying Packhorse Master's stocks en masse.
—Yep. At first, I thought it was just a small investor, investing 3 million won first and 10 million won second. But suddenly, he threw in 250 million won on top of that. A small investor randomly investing wouldn't do something like that.
—Mm… 95%, I'd say. But Boss, the other 5% is what I'm concerned with. There's no reason to buy this stock. Packhorse Master doesn't even have a guild page yet.
The guild stock market was riskier than the normal stock market. Thus, without a proper source of information, few small investors invested in new guilds. And there was no way that there was a source of information on Packhorse Master.
"Don't mind it. We only have one job."
—Mmm… If you say so. I'll tell the troupe members that.
With that, the voice disappeared. Then, it quickly came back.
—Oh right, a few interesting pages appeared on Violet Banquet.
The woman tilted her head.
—Artifact Search Corp, Jonggak's Dog Meat Soup, and Truth Agency.
"Are they of any use?"
—The first two are slowly building their reputation, but I don't know about Truth Agency. I just included it because of how confident it introduced itself. Since it's boasting in Violet Banquet, I'm sure it has some skill.
"Take it out."
—Come on~ You know how things are. It wasn't just once or twice that seemingly ordinary pages were the jackpot. I'll give you the page number later, so take a look. It says it'll answer any question. Who knows? Maybe it can help us find that son of a bitch.
However, the woman remained uninterested.
"That doesn't happen often."
—Still. Alright, I'm going. See you later, Boss~
That seemed to be the end of the conversation.
But the voice came back once again.
—Oh, one more thing, Boss.
Veins popped up on the woman's white forehead.
—Cube's exams start next week. You'll go watch, right?
The woman sighed before replying.
"Yeah, I will."