Contrary to many people’s misconceptions, Ivan is an extremely practical person.
Just as terrorism at the academy’s entrance ceremony is considered common sense. This world was filled with people who lacked common sense and doubted such common sense, like uncivilized pre-modern citizens.
However, Ivan does not blame them. It’s because he is a cultured modern individual with an open mind.
Instead, he grabs an axe and a pistol.
Most of the time, actions are more helpful in resolving situations than persuasion.
This was the catalyst for Ivan getting involved in the Frechenkaya bombing incident.
The incident begins with the usual tailing of Ecdysis.
As always, Ivan was following Ecdysis. The tailing was perfect, the target would be safe, and there were no other threats around. It was just another ordinary day.
She eats cookies often. Ivan decided to seize the opportunity to explain the problems generally associated with fat, carbohydrates, and sugar found in chocolate cookies.
Ecdysis still had excess fat in certain areas. While it might not pose an issue for a musician, if she ever needed to wield a weapon in the future, it could be a significant disadvantage.
Let’s prepare some dried carrot chips as a snack replacement. Ivan nodded and followed Ecdysis.
After a while, Ivan suddenly felt a gaze and turned his head.
“What are you doing, uncle?”
Isabelle, who was staring at him with a very stern look, appeared.
She slowly turned her eyes and frowned upon seeing Ecdysis in the far distance in front of Ivan.
For some reason, something unpleasant seemed to have happened. But there was no need to worry.
Ivan runs an orphanage. It means he has the skill to soothe a child whose judgment has been distorted for some inexplicable reason. Besides, he has never done anything to upset Isabel.
“Why are you looking at Essi?”
“Essi. You’re stalking on her, aren’t you?”
“It’s a misunderstanding.”
He wasn’t stalking. He’s doing his job, and he’s doing it proudly.
Your passage is clear, but here’s a refined version for smoother flow:
“The only thing he didn’t expect was to see Isabelle, who was supposed to be in class right now, on campus.
“I saw you outside the window… No, I mean, is my class important right now?”
“…? Of course, it is. I don’t want you to miss class.”
If she were a regular student, he wouldn’t have forced her into the classroom. Did Isabelle forget that her home country was paying for her entire education?
Ivan clicked his tongue.
Ivan said with a sigh, “If you’re not a full scholarship student, you should focus on your classes. Jan’s University is an expensive school.”
“Well… Ugh! That may be true! No, why do you keep changing the subject?! Why were you spying on Essi?”
“That’s none of your concern.”
Isabelle wore a deeply hurt expression. It was incomprehensible. Why would she be hurt by advice to focus on her studies rather than paying attention to his security duties?
However, Ivan, being a kind person, knew how to comfort a teenager going through confusion (not puberty).
For a teenager facing inexplicable problems, the most necessary thing is some alone time. (Of course not.)
As a considerate adult, Ivan nodded and stepped back, deciding not to lecture her about returning to class.
“No, where are you going? Explain, at least explain! Make an excuse or something! Ugh!!”
Leaving the panicked Isabelle behind, Ivan quickly escaped. Isabel, still in shock, stared blankly at his retreating figure, then sighed in disappointment.
“Where should I tie him up? Maybe I need to tie him up and teach him how to talk to people….”
Seeing him by the window during class, she slipped out and found him quietly following Ecdysis, jotting something in a notebook.
Considering his personality, he might be doing something, but still.
“I’m boldly approaching, and he’s following my friend…?”
Isabelle chuckled, then rinsed her face a few times.
A goal has been set.
“The realm of superhuman? Yeah. Does that mean I have to enter that realm to barely contend with that lunatic and beat him somehow?
As quickly as possible, step into that realm, rise to the level where I can defeat that man.
Capture and neutralize him, tie him up. Slowly. Thoroughly. I’ll have to teach him the basics of common sense step by step.
Volunteer work. Yeah, with the heart of doing volunteer work. If I don’t, who else will rescue that poor elderly person (not really)?
Ecdysis was once again wandering, unable to find the rehearsal room today.
The orchestral rehearsal, which included group performance evaluations, was her most dreadful class. No one willingly included her in their group.
So, she walked sadly, muttering to herself.
“The rehearsal room lacking one member is Room 154.”
Suddenly, Ivan popped up next to her.
“Your class is [Ensemble Practice 1]. Isn’t it getting precarious with more absences?”
“How, how did you…?”
“Now is not the time to worry about that.”
Ivan pulled out a mysterious notebook from his pocket and spoke quietly.
“Midterm results: Ensemble Practice D, Chamber Music C, Vocal and Aural Training B+, Chamber Music C, String Ensemble D, Harmony and Counterpoint B+. Generally, theory evaluations seem better than practical ones. But having an average grade in the mid-2 range is a problem.”
“Why did you apply to the music school?”
Ivan looked at Ecdysis with a stern gaze.
Because she never imagined hearing such words from the man she thought was just a stalker, Ecdysis swallowed nervously and lowered her head.
Why? Well, because she wanted to.
Not with weapons, but with musical instruments.
Ecdysis chose her words carefully, fidgeting with her fingertips.
“Instruments, instruments are… they connect people like a bridge.”
Surprised by the unexpected laughter, Ecdysis’s eyes widened.
She stared blankly into Ivan’s face, then gasped in surprise.
That low, husky voice. And those softly curving, stern eyes.
Familiar, so familiar.
She lifted her hand involuntarily. Palm open, slowly.
Covering the rugged, attention-grabbing beard with her palm, leaving only the bridge of the nose and the eyes visible, she peeked.
In that moment, Ecdysis’s trembling eyes and Ivan’s deep gaze intersected.
“No way…? No, but. My uncle is dead….”
“Take care of your health.”
Efficient as he was, Ivan didn’t waste time entertaining Ecdysis’s speculations. What this kid was thinking was a secondary concern. There were more important matters at hand.
Even if it meant preventing more absences to salvage her dismal grades.
Leading Ecdysis to the rehearsal room of the Music Department, Ivan, still with a vacant expression, handed her a lunchbox.
It contained a snack box with dried carrot chips.
“Take care of your health. Einar is more concerned about your health than your studies. But that doesn’t mean a student should skip classes. It’s late. Go in.”
Ivan pushed the still dazed Ecdysis into the string ensemble rehearsal room and checked his watch.
By the time the ensemble class would end, Mord’s lecture would also conclude. Then, there would be no need to guard Ecdysis any longer.
It was going to get busy.
Ivan chuckled and moved on. Now, after guarding Isabelle at night, he could finally finish work.
It was just another ordinary day.
A day like any other, the third day in a row.
Guarding Ecdysis during the day, patrolling near Isabelle’s house at night – the peaceful routine of a security guard.
But on this day, the Frechenkaya Central Bank, the Satera Circular Theater, Jan’s University, the Cathedral of Saint Cherehta, and the North-Prachenko Central Police Station all exploded dramatically at the same hour.
That night, the city burned bright white.
Ivan walked slowly, conscious of the gun in his arms.
For three nights, he had been patrolling in front of Isabelle’s house.
When he circled her house for the third time, he noticed encountering a passerby for the third time.
At roughly the same distance from Isabelle’s house, each time from different points.
‘Center of gravity leans to the right. Right-handed, armed with a gun on the left hip, judging by the bulging chest, it seems a bulletproof plate is inserted.’
Ivan casually passed by the passerby, turning his gaze.
‘Inserted a bulletproof plate, meaning no line-of-sight detection. This guy is on the ground.’
The suspicious man scanned the surroundings, then disappeared into the darkness of the distance.
Slowly concentrating, Ivan closed his eyes quietly.
Chasing a highly vigilant target from directly behind is beneath him. A trained agent never pursues in such a manner.
Magic coursed through Ivan’s body. Slowly, with a sensation that wrapped around his nervous system like a chain.
When he opened his eyes again, he had taken a step into the slow-motion sensation of falling leaves.
Slowly, deeply inhaling, the activated senses began to break down the scent in the air.
It is said that mice can perceive all the animals on a mountain slope through the wind rustling among the leaves. The sense of smell that usually belongs to animals. It surpasses the density of human olfactory epithelial cells.
But a superhuman can approach it infinitely closely. It’s the ability to forcibly activate sensory organs and break down and understand each awakened nerve organ beneath a coma.
Not all supernaturals can utilize this sense. This is not a talent but an area of training. Most awakeners focus their training on combat abilities rather than using their senses in this way.
But Ivan is different. He is more specialized in this field than any other supernaturals.
Or, to be more precise.
He honed and polished his abilities in this direction more than any other supernaturals.
Exhaling the drawn breath slowly, Ivan moved on.
The urban breeze flowing through the city buildings carries numerous scents.
Extremely developed senses induce empathy. Ivan, now in the darkness, was walking, gazing at the ‘scent trail’ shining vividly.
Slowly, without hurrying.
Straight towards the prey.
Within Frechenkaya, once a target is encountered more than once, it can never escape his senses.
Ivan moved with firm steps.
Until the target crawls into his heart, patiently like a snake in the darkness.