Ji-Won, who was rummaging through the draft for the exhibition with an insincere face, picked up the cell phone again in less than 10 minutes. Then he opened the secret folder of the photo album and looked at a single picture of a person in London for a long time.
“CEO, the background here looks pretty good. Do you want me to take a picture for you?”
“No. If I leave any mark of my existence here and there, it would be a hassle for people to erase them.”
Gaon, who refused sharply in a strange way, pondered something for a moment and murmured quietly to herself.
“Well, there’s no need to do that anymore.”
For some reason, it was a tone that made the listener’s heart sink. Ji-Won, who couldn’t bear to ask the reason for the melancholy tone, kept pretending to take pictures of the scenery, and managed to get a side photo when she was distracted looking elsewhere. The image was slightly blurred because his hands were shaken by the urgency of not being caught red-handed, but he didn’t dare to take it again.
“She likes things that are unexpectedly cute…. Look at this. People may not know, but she has different tastes than everyone else.”
Gaon in the picture, which he had been looking at for a week, stood in front of a souvenir shop that displayed cute items beautifully. Although she had an expressionless face, it was evident in Ji-Won’s eyes, who had carefully observed her for a few days, that she was interested in the items displayed there. What caught Gaon’s eyes, who was generally indifferent to everything, was the dainty tea pot with the London Eye* and the red double-decker bus.
[T/N: Located on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, the London Eye, is a cantilever observation in the UK. It can carry up to 800 people at a time over a complete rotation of 30 minutes. From its apex at 443 ft, you can see up to 25 miles of London’s glorious skyline. ]
“Do you like it?”
“Yes, it’s cute.”
“Do you want me to buy you one?”
Gaon, who couldn’t keep up with Ji-Won’s speed of taking out his wallet right away, shook her head a beat late.
“No, I don’t think I’ll use it. It’s an item that someone made carefully, so it should be gone to someone’s hand who will use it well.”
Of course, she won’t have to use the item herself, but if she likes it, she can just display it as a decoration. People sometimes buy useless things to feel good, and then regret it, and that’s how they live. Gaon, who was turning calmly with a face that had no regrets, remained in Ji-Won’s mind for a long time.
Throughout the flight, Ji-Won wanted to see various emotions in Gaon’s neat face, which didn’t change at all even when she was asleep. And he had to fight a constant battle with the desire of a fundamental question of whether he could be greedy for this person who was way above his league, literally.
There was no reason not to think rationally. The gap between the years of their living was so far away that it was hard to estimate, and the responsibilities and missions in Gaon’s hands were so great and dignified that ordinary human common sense could not dare to fathom.
However, the only reason why he gave up his personal feelings is that he lost his power helplessly in the face of one primary and intense desire. He never thought of himself as someone who runs on instincts. But it’s already better that he didn’t run to Gaon when he wanted to. What should I do? No matter how much I try to do something else, her face just pops up in my mind. What should I even do to keep myself focused? Ji-Won swept his dry face and stared at the calendar which only showed a few simple schedules for a long while. Of course, that doesn’t mean he could make a schedule that didn’t exist suddenly.
‘I really want to see her now…. The meeting of the guides is next Thursday, and psychological counseling is next week. Haa, why aren’t there any troublemaker ghosts these days? There’s no excuse to go to the headquarters. Would it look too shallow to go there and argue on the allowance calculation? Yeah, no matter how desperate I am, I shouldn’t show such a petty image. People would think I’ve gone crazy if I just stopped by out of boredom.’
Ji-Won kicked his tongue and rubbed his neck when suddenly, he felt a presence and glanced toward the door. It was Kim Su-Bin from the sound of the high heels. She should knock if she has something to say. But why isn’t she coming in and hanging around the door? Who knows what’s going on in her head to bother her so much.
“Come on in.”
“What? Oh…, yes.”
When Ji-Won raised his voice and gave permission, he heard an embarrassing reply from outside the door, and soon the door opened very carefully. Then Su-Bin, with a pale look on her face, entered the director’s office timidly. Ji-Won, who confirmed that Su-Bin was nervous by her severely fluctuating eyes, breathed a short sigh. She had not made eye contact with Ji-Won for half a year after the case of eradicating her ex-boyfriend who had a somewhat stalker’s temperament. It means that it’s not a big deal for her to come to inform him on her own.
“What’s the matter?”
“Excuse me…, director.”
“Th…, that’s…. About half an hour ago, an old lady came into the parking lot, but….”
Su-Bin blurred the end of her speech with a crying expression. Ji-Won stared at her and raised his eyebrows at once to indicate to her to finish her speech quickly. He was aware that he wasn’t being patient to a scared person, but he couldn’t help it because he was in a situation where he was running thin on patients and didn’t have enough reserves for other people.
“She keeps talking in the air.”
“Yes. She also makes loud noises…. At first glance, she seemed to be persuading someone to go somewhere…. Oh! She said something like Jungcheon.”
Ji-Won had his chin on his hand with a slightly bored expression. But as soon as the name ‘Jungcheon’ was mentioned, he opened his eyes a little wide and straightened up. If the woman was talking about Jungcheon…., That means she’s a guide. Come to think of it, there are so many mindless ghosts in the world. But even a dead man who has lost all his senses gets chills when he comes near the senior guide, that’s what he heard. Do they not have the least survival instinct? Oh, wait, they’re already dead. Do ghosts even have instincts?
“Which parking lot?”
“VIP parking lot. It was near where you parked your car.”
“Okay. I’ll check it out, so go to your work.”
Ji-Won sent Su-Bin out, who looked visibly relieved and raised the blinds of the window overlooking the parking lot. The VIP parking lot behind the gallery building is open only to customers who make appointments in advance and visit to purchase expensive works, so most of them are empty except for cars of Ji-Won. It was the first time since the opening of the gallery that the population density was high in the parking lot with few people, or ghosts standing there.
“One woman and three deceased…. Oh, the regular guide has guts. Those ghosts look like normal ghosts, but what if they have hidden power? If they can’t be persuaded by words, she should leave quickly.”
Ji-Won looked at the middle-aged woman who was sweating a bucket with a haggard face. He looked at the faces of the deceased one by one with a careful look. Even after their death, the faces of the deceased showed twisted impression, which was the evidence that they have committed evil deeds. It’ll be easy to deal with them.
“Maybe the guide entered my gallery with a sense of duty. But why did the ghosts flock here together, huh? They seem so courageous. Other deceased don’t dare to come near the gallery when I’m present.”
Ji-Won took out a notebook and quickly sketched the faces of the dead, before opening the door to the emergency stairs and running down. At the moment, the guide and the deceased were sharply confronting each other, but they turned their heads in surprise when another presence, stronger than them, was felt. The deceased, who instinctively sensed that Ji-Won was different from the woman in front of them, began to seek an escape route by rolling their eyes. And Soo-Hwua, who chased nine blocks until they reached their limit to prevent them from running away, distorted her face in frustration.
‘I’ve found dead people with high success benefits for the first time in a long time…. The job is almost done…. But why would I meet a senior guide here? I feel like I’m going to cry. I’m upset.’
“Do you know me?”
Soo-Hwua couldn’t hold back the spontaneous sigh and nodded slowly. There is no way not to recognise one of the three superior guides in Korea. She heard he’s a man of ability to send the dead to Jungcheon in a moment without even touching them. Now seeing the young him wearing clothes that look so expensive, she knew his ability is no joke. The world is so unfair.
Ji-Won closely watched the despair on her face, and cast a casual glance at the deceased who ran away. Well, he was not in a hurry because he just had to burn the picture he had already drawn. Yes, enjoy the last freedom of this world to your heart’s content. It won’t be that long.
“Mrs., are you a guide?”
“Yes, I’m Lim Soo-Hwua.”
“I’m Cha Ji-Won. Mrs. Lim, where did you chase the deceased’s from?”
“From Sengkang Hospital….”
Ji-Won’s eyes grew a little bigger in response to the answer that far exceeded his expectations. If she chased all the way here from Sengkang Hospital…, Even if it’s the shortest distance, it must have taken an hour and a half. Ji-Won, who looked over her barefoot and torn slippers, kicked his tongue inside. He heard there’s a guide who works as a guide for her daughter who became a vegetarian in a car accident. The woman in front of him must be her. No wonder. He thought she was too desperate, but knowing that she followed the deceased for a long time even though she knew it was too hard to do because she just wanted to add a penny to the hospital bill. Ji-Won, who roughly guessed the situation after his evaluation, tried not to make a sympathetic expression and smiled broadly.
“You must have had a hard time. I drew their faces, so Mrs. Lim just needs to burn them. You told the deceased about the rules, didn’t you? May I lend you a lighter?”
“What? No… That’s what Mr. Cha did. How can I….”
“No. Mrs. Lim’s hard pursuit was the reason that I was able to draw their faces. Please take it. If I burn it with my own hands, it will be recorded as mine, but I’m not the kind of person to bully others by snatching their work.”
Even though Ji-Won brightened his face to the fullest, So-Hwua was not willing to accept his favor. He could understand that she’s a diligent person. She risked dealing with three dead people who had died more than five years ago, because it would help her pay at least 15 days of hospitalisation.
“If you feel really uncomfortable, please buy me a cup of coffee after your daughter gets well.”
“I have a good memory, so I wouldn’t forget the deal. I’ll be waiting.”
Ji-Won’s smile grew a little darker when she accepted the portrait, and whispered a word of gratitude in a deep voice. As the woman burned the three sketches, he thought to himself; I’m doing it because I have an ulterior motive, so you don’t have to be so moved.
“You must have walked for a long time, right? It’s so hot here. Please go in and have a cup of cold tea.”
Ji-Won served a cup of cold tea to So-Hwua, who looked extremely reluctant, and sat down at his desk with an expectant face as soon as he returned. When he sent Park Jae-Kwon to Jungcheon last year, it took about an hour and 20 minutes for the headquarters to gather his personal information and send someone to visit him in person. How long will it take this time? Ji-Won stared only at the cell phone on the desk with his arms crossed and expectant eyes. A wide smile bloomed on his face when the long-awaited call finally popped up.
“Yes, it’s Cha Ji-Won.”
[Hello, Director Cha Ji-Won. I’m Deputy Ahn Lee-Jun from Zanice’s Security Management. Fifteen minutes ago, guide Lim Soo-Hwua escorted three dead people to Jungcheon, and in the process, the director’s spirituality was found to have interfered.]
“Really? I saw a guide dealing with the deceased a while ago, but I didn’t really do anything…. Should I come to the headquarters and check the situation?”
[Can you do that?]
Of course I can.
“I’ll be right there.”
T/N: Eid Mubarak everyone! Another chapter is released to celebrate the Eid! Readers with membership can also read advance chapters for free! And the offer is available till Sunday! Hurry up and be a member to read ahead of everyone!
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