< Dokkaebi (2) >
Yerim went off for other plans and I sent Yoo Myeongwoo back up first.
When it was just the two of us, Suk Hayan and me, left, my heart fluttered a little. I didn’t know how long it had been since I was alone with a woman who had favorable feelings towards me. …Was it the first?
Even though Suk Hayan was full of passion for learning.
With her eyes shining, she drew a dungeon entrance on a piece of paper. She drew terribly.
“It’s surprising that you can guess a dungeon’s satuation state by calculating the entrance’s shape and mana distribution. Right now, it’s simply calculating the average, so from time to time, there are cases where attacks have to be started quickly. Since, there are only indicators that are green for dungeons that have appeared within three days, and red for dungeons that are one day away from a break.”
“It’s only a guess right now. There isn’t enough data to be sure. Especially since there aren’t a lot of dungeons in Korea.”
At my words, Suk Hayan sighed regretfully.
“That’s true! There’s too little. Ah, though I would be hit by rocks if I say something like that outside. Still, it’s a pity that I can’t investigate a few more dungeons.”
“If you investigate, compile statistics of many dungeons, you might discover something new.”
“Exactly! I mean, I don’t know why most countries don’t let foreigners investigate. It’s not like we’re saying we’ll do attacks, just search around. Honestly, shouldn’t the whole world cooperate for this? If we understand more about dungeons, people can become much safer!”
After yelling with pent up frustration, Suk Hayan looked at me with deeply moved eyes.
“Yoojin-ssi is the first who I’ve communicated so well with! The general opinion is the theory that dungeons are random disasters that are impossible to predict. But, to think that I would meet someone who says there are rules and that we should check and investigate, even research.”
She suddenly grabbed my hand and pushed her face closer. No, wait.
“Won’t you set up a lab with me?”
“Why? If it’s us two, we could definitely dicover many things!”
Like uncle, like niece; she acted similar to Suk Simyeong.
“I just work with my hands and know things superficially, so I can’t sit in front of a desk and rack my brains.”
“That’s okay. You can keep on working with your hands. I will take care of all the theorems. Statistics are my specialty!”
“I left high school with the GED, so my academic background is…”
“That’s not a problem. I have the qualification to be a professor. I was thinking of establishing a dungeon- or Awakened People-related department with connections. I will become the friendliest professor in the world for you. I just pass theses too!”
Saying she would establish a department with connections, she must be a young lady from an impressive family. Getting a college diploma for nothing was tempting, but I didn’t have any intention of studying now.
On top of that, if I was involved with someone who would become a dungeon studies expert for a long time, I would be robbed in a moment. Just acting like we know each other sometimes would be better.
“I’m sorry, but I have more interest in something else now, so I don’t want to research dungeons and Awakened People.”
“Yes. I’m thinking of studying about monsters.”
As I raised them, it would probably become studying too.
After faintly mumbling, Suk Hayan suddenly put on a tragic expression.
“Han Yoojin-ssi’s lab and my lab, let’s collaborate.”
“I don’t have a lab. I also don’t plan on making one. I’m just raising one magic beast.”
“You’re raising one? Already? Wow, definitely a researcher who works with his hands!”
It was when Suk Hayan was making a fuss about emulating me.
Suddenly, the lights went off. It was a basement with no windows and now that even the hallway’s lights had turned off entirely, you couldn’t see even one inch in front of you.
Was it a blackout?
“The lights must have gone out.”
“It seems so. I’ll turn on my cell phone flashlight.”
I took my cell phone out of my pocket and pressed the home button. As the faint light came on, I could see the face of Suk Hayan, who was standing in front of me.
More than being alarmed, it was a face frozen with shock.
Why was she suddenly like this? Looking at her in the cell phone light, she looked really frighte-
“Wh-what is it?!”
At the ear-splitting shriek, I was suddenly surprised. Startled, I reflexively turned and looked back.
A blueish bloody face was floating in a fog-like ambience. The eyes rolled to the whites met my eyes.
The chairs and desks shook. The printouts on top of the lecture podium fluttered.
With Suk Hayan’s scream, I sank down to the floor. It wasn’t that I lost strength in my legs, but that I fell because the chair shoo… shit, how could you not scream! What is this… Ghosts don’t exis… There are monsters in dungeons so do ghosts exist…?
Wait before that, I had the Fear Resistance skill so why was my entire body trembling and why was I scared to the point of tear… ah.
I turned it off. I turned it off and didn’t turn it back on. Was I stupid?
I quickly reactivated the Fear Resistance skill. Immediately, my heart stabilized.
‘Was the poor condition in the morning also because I turned off the skill?’
The skill explanation was only coercion nullification, but since it was an L-Rank skill, the possibility of having other effects was high. And it was passive, so it might have been increasing mental strength in everyday life.
But I wasn’t originally mentally weak, so to think that I would be overwhelmed with anxiety just because I turned off the skill. Was that why they said you didn’t know what you had until it was gone?
I picked up the cell phone I dropped and turned on the flashlight and went towards Suk Hayan. She, who was flopped down on the floor, looked as if her soul had left halfway.
“Are you okay?”
As soon as I lightly shook her shoulders, she moved limply before completely collapsing. She was breathing normally, so did she simply faint? Holding her, I yelled.
There would be no way a ghost would appear, especially showing that exaggerated performance.
As soon as my head cooled, I thought of the suspect.
It was the Dokkaebi.
The dokkaebi that liked to play pranks, especially scaring people.
“Okay, okay. Don’t get mad~.”
An androgynous voice, that you couldn’t tell was male or female, playfully said. Then, the hallway lights and the classroom lights turned on.
“You said you wanted to meet me so I came.”
Snickering, a figure appeared on top of a desk. It was person wearing a red dokkaebi mask and a blue dopo. That guy was swinging around a model of bloody blue face.
“Was I a bit too harsh? I didn’t know she’d faint. Really. Usually, I adjust well but it’s been a while so maybe that’s why.”
“Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like she’s hurt, but…”
I looked up at the Dokkaebi. It was my first time actually seeing them. They weren’t particularly tall, but they weren’t short either. Eccentric and mischevious, but a virtuous person.
A Hunter with mid-range teleportation, hiding, and later ultra-long-distance portal, who wasn’t affiliated with anywhere.
I wanted it.
And now, when just these two were in front of me, if I could recieve that person’s help.
‘I could investigate dungeons.’
Suk Hayan didn’t need to go all the way to the U.S. and could discover the laws of dungeon formation here.
‘…The Dokkaebi that likes to play around. The Dokkaebi that scares people but is said to be trustable with your life.’
This was a chance.
I mockingly smirked and said provocatively.
“Why don’t you stop with that joke that isn’t scary at all?”
The Dokkaebi jumped.
“Not scary at all?! Even though you were so frightened you turned pale! Even though you collapsed because your legs lost strength and trembled so!”
“You must have seen wrong. Since it was dark.”
“No I didn’t? I saw it? I saw it all perfectly?”
Towards the upset Dokkaebi, I followed suit and put on a choked-up expression and deliberately stuttered.
“Th-that’s. I just didn’t expect it.”
“So you were scared! If you had expected it, would you have been scared? Scaredy cat~ scaredy cat~.”
“If I had expected it, then of couse I wouldn’t have been scared! Honestly, your joke is childish.”
“Childish! It’s a classic!”
The Dokkaebi stomped their feet. Should I slowly reel in the bait?
“Then should we make a bet?”
“A bet? A bet is good, a bet! On what?”
“If you can’t scare me, acknowledge that I’m more impressive than you! And hm… playing the part of my subordinate for 3 years.”
They were slightly childish words but the Dokkaebi seemed to like it. They shrugged their shoulders and laughed ‘hahaha’.
“Good, good. But I’m really talented and impressive! If it’s for 3 years, then you’re… an F-Rank, but since you’re Haeyeon Guild Leader’s hyung, I’ll specially discount it and make it into 20 years as a subordinate!”
It seemed like they knew about me too. Still, it seemed like they didn’t thoroughly understand all. Then again, no matter how impressive the Dokkaebi was, they only had one body. There was no reason to study a simple F-Rank’s every move.
Still, after getting involved like this, it might be better to be a little more cautious in the future.
“You have a contract, right?”
At my words, the Dokkaebi stopped laughing. They looked straight at me.
“A contract? Using even a contract?”
As expected, they thought it was childishly playing at being a subordinate. But, it couldn’t be like that. I had to do it right.
“Of course we have to properly use a contract. Why, are you scared?”
“No! But I don’t understand. It’s too suspicious? And too self-confident.”
The Dokkaebi’s body floated up to midair. They slid towards me, and then looked me over closely while circling around me.
“Resistance skills are passive so you wouldn’t have one; are you going to use an item?”
“I’m not. If you’re doubtful, you can add a clause against items in the contract.”
“Then a skill that increases mental strength?”
“I’m not using that either. Anyways my skills are 5% increase at most. It probably wouldn’t make a difference? I’ll add skills to the contract too. Not using mine, of course, and other people’s active skills – that should be okay, right?”
I said that, but the Dokkaebi still didn’t ease their suspicions. They were very sensitive.
“Umm, it’s weird, it’s suspicious. It feels like you’re hiding something! Even though you’d definitely lose? Even though just a while also you were really scared? Even though even your legs gave out?”
Of course I was hiding something. It seemed like I had to make that guy relax first. If this continued, their attitude was that they wouldn’t easily sign the contract.
“Truthfully speaking… I do have an ulterior motive.”
I pretended to be bashful and continued speaking.
“Since it’s a bet that won’t harm me even if I lose.”
“Won’t harm you?”
“That’s right. I’m an ordinary F-Rank Hunter, and you’re that famous Dokkaebi. If I win, it’d be amazing, but even if I lose, I would get the title of the Dokkaebi’s subordinate, right?”
This time I put on an embarrassed expression. Without trying to act, as soon as I thought of confessing to Kim Sunghan 30 times, my nape quickly became red. It was so embarrassing, shit.
“You’re… like you say, impressive, and… I’m um, a fan… or not to that point, but. Wh-what I mean is, if I become your subordinate, it’d be an honor… or something like that. Anyways, I don’t think you’re someone who would treat me badly. And…”
The Dokkaebi asked in an excited voice. It was obvious that their face would show a smirk if they weren’t wearing a mask.
“…It was cool. When you announced ‘I have all sorts of secrets bundled away’. It was really cool.”
“Well I’m pretty impressive and cool!”
The Dokkaebi snickered and shot up in the air. They might hit their head on the ceiling like that.
“I like you! If you had just said you wanted to be my subordinate, I would’ve laughed it off, but to think that you would provoke me and make a bet. How fun! I also like that you’re even thinking of making a contract!”
“I said I would be fine with losing, but I have confidence I’ll win, though?”
“Right, right, okay!”
The Dokkaebi held a piece of parchment in their hands.
The reeling was a success.
With the cheerful laughter, I shifted Suk Hayan in my arms. Now I just had to reap the benefits, so I had to do something about this young lady.
“Before that, can you take this person to the infirmary?”
At my words, the Dokkaebi readily nodded their head, and taking Suk Hayan, disappeared and shortly reappeared.
As expected, a teleportation skill was really great. I wanted it too.
“Okay, let’s fill out the contract!”
The Dokkaebi lowered the parchment they were holding on top of desk. It was an Association-guaranteed A-Rank-use stat decreasing contract.
‘Thinking of, how were the Dokkaebi’s stats again? Should I check their name too?’
If I saw their name, I might be able to know their gender too. As soon as I used the Seed-Leaf skill, the veiled Status Window of the Dokkaebi appeared.
[Awakened Person – Yoon Yoon
Current stat rank B
Possible Awakening stat rank B
Optimized Initial Skills
Guess Who?(S) Acquired
Cloud Steps(B) Acquired]
…What kind of name was that? Like a dokkaebi, it was strange. And you couldn’t tell if they were a woman or a man.
Their stats were on the higher side with B, and surprisingly, there wasn’t a single one related to teleportation among the optimized initial skills. Guess Who? was probably the hiding skill and Cloud Steps was a relatively common flight skill.
“You’re not going to fill it out? Did you maybe change your mind in the meantime?”
While I was looking at the Status Window, I was looking blank for a moment, so the Dokkaebi urged me. Their character was hasty.
I took out a pen and wrote down the conditions on the empty places on the contract.
“It’s vague with once, so do it three times~.”
Looking over the contents I was writing, the Dokkaebi interrupted. Wasn’t it for their own amusement that they increased the number of times, not because it was vague?
“If you get scared just once, I’ll raise to you subordinate number 1!”
“You have other subordinates?”
“Three counting you!”
Then again, they needed right-hand men so that if some unfortunate incident occurred to the Dokkaebi, their people could release the bundle of secrets or whatever in their stead.
I wrote down the game result conditions and the skill, item unallowed, etc. while occasionally getting interruptions. With the Dokkaebi carefully going over it, we might run out of space.
Unlike the impulsive attitude, they were surprisingly meticulous.
“The part where it says that the loser won’t listen to irrational commands, absolutely needs to be detailed. And it probably won’t happen, but if I happen to lose, write down that you won’t ask about other people’s secret information!”
“I definitely won’t ask about that. I don’t intend to do something dangerous to you.”
They were a valuable person so I had to treasure them.
After ending with choosing the bet period to be one week, we finished by signing.
“It’d be a nuisance for others, so if possible, don’t bring in other people. And it’d be great if you kept a minimal amount of my privacy. For example, not in someplace like a bathroom or a restroom.”
“Don’t worry! I’ve never! Secretly gone in a restroom or bathhouse! Or thought of doing something like that!”
At the confident Dokkaebi’s words, I was certain.
They must be a woman.
There was no way a man with a hiding skill wouldn’t peek at a women’s bath even just once. At minimum, they would’ve thought about it.
“Then, take care of me from now on.”
After carefully putting away the contract, I gave a warm smile to my future subordinate.
 lit. ‘she acted similar to SSM as if/in case someone would say they aren’t uncle and niece’ where the 2nd half of the sentence is a commonly used metaphor, but it doesn’t tl as well in eng. I mean, I could tl literally and it’d be understandable, but it wouldn’t really sound natural, like it should be.
 lit. ‘run with body’ to mean ‘use one’s body to do things or work’ and lit. ‘lick outside of watermelon’ to mean ‘know things superficially/shallowly’
 ‘ahgassi’ but I doubt it’ll show up often, like ahjussi does, so I’m just using ‘young lady’
 lit. ‘my heart suddenly collapsed’ which means he was surprised/startled, but i don’t think it means the same thing in eng?
 i think it’s also used metaphorically to mean ‘frightened’ but it’s prob just means the color here? (does not ‘frightening’ hence why this is just in a footnote)
 bc of the lack of pronouns I’m not really clear on who the subjects are in this & the following sentence. From the context of the later convo w the dokkaebi, I assumed it at least included YJ, but it also might have been ‘we’ or ‘she’
 same word as the stat I’ve been calling ‘Mental’ so he might be talking about the stat too idk
 a men’s outer robe worn in the olden days
 idk what he wants actually bc lit. all it says is ‘[I] want/desire/covet’ where even the ‘I’ is implied. Probably the skills + freedom
 lit. ‘slowly pull on the fishing rod’
 there are no spaces in names in krn so idk if this is a surname + first name, or just one name
 the subject wasn’t specified but I can’t just leave out the subject in eng so I made do