Spectator - Chapter 10: Treasure
If you can’t afford to pay back by murder, the breaching of the contract is the only answer. However, he lacked the courage to be able to carry out either of those.
It is obvious how he will behave if left as is. He will ignore the issue till he can’t anymore. He is the kind of person who will ignore the project deadline till it comes knocking at his door. Only then will he start working.
Well, I knew this was going to happen. In the past, he looked away from reality and fully submerged himself into the virtual world. The place he knew till his death wasn’t the real world but the world of the game.
A life that turned away from real difficulties and longed only for dreams. It is clear that the courage and confidence that he had now came from the comfort of knowing the future.
I shrugged my shoulders.
“… … Really?!”
His face lit up in excitement. I felt bitter about what I was going to say, but there was no use mincing my words now.
“I will answer your questions but before that, I want to clear a few things up. Does the man with debt know why the other man wants him to go kill those certain people?”
“Whooo… I don’t know. What do you think?”
“Let’s think, aman had a grudge on someone and wanted that certain someone to be dead, but he didn’t want to do it himself, so he made the guy who he had lent money to previously do his bidding.
He wouldn’t want that someone to be killed unless he had some kind of ongoing conflict with him, right?
So it’s only logical for the man who is being forced to commit murder to try and find out what the conflict is. If the man were to solve the conflict, he wouldn’t need to kill that certain someone.”
I lifted my chopsticks.
“For example, this is my treasure and someone stole it from me. I looked around for it but couldn’t find it. At that moment I would want to kill the thief who took it from me.
Then again, do I want to find the treasure first or just punish the thief?”
“…Of course you want to find the treasure.”
Taejin said, almost like it was his eureka moment. I smiled, he was catching up to what I was trying to say.
“The same thing applies to the scenario you were talking about. If guy A wants guy B to be killed then there must be some incident that leads to the formation of a grudge between A and B.
It’s not like people are hostile for no reason. There must be a cause for their motivation.”
‘-Think carefully, Taejin’
“I don’t know what the incident that man got involved with was, but if it’s a treasure like you mentioned, it would make sense that he doesn’t need to kill anyone if he managed to get it back.”
‘-The devil’s condition is to kill the owner of the castle.’
‘-The key is that it never mentioned any person directly.’
While the situation is unknown, the condition, however, was to kill the “master” of “Sungryun”.
It could mean that the devil wanted the sex trafficking ring, ‘Sungryun’ to be disbanded. It’s a bit far-fetched to jump to this conclusion though. But…
If not, there is no reason to describe it as ‘the master of the castle.’
In other words, my reasoning was that the devil wanted to make the sex trafficking ring inactive. The killing was just the suggested means.
‘-Although I hope that the devil is able to generously allow some flexibility.”
Compared to plain murder, this method should be somewhat easier for Taejin to pull off
” If not?”
“… … Then it cannot be helped. I tried making the best choice in the current situation. If it misses, it’s not because of the lack of effort but a limit to our ability. We can do nothing but accept it as it is.”
I looked at Taejin’s expression.
Maybe he didn’t understand my words.
‘-If you can’t even understand this, you…’
Fortunately, he nodded as if he had understood what I meant.
As I passed him the bulgogi, Ilet out a sigh of relief.
Now it’s time to give this stupid guy the money he needs.
“Ok then, enough of the jokes and let’s get to the point.”
I pushed the table aside and said, taking out an A4 paper from the drawer.
“Believe it or not, I have gotten a bit wiser now. You came because you need money, right?”
“uh? How did you know that?”
He replied awkwardly. I skillfully wrote ‘borrowed’ on blank paper and spoke.
“Because all the people who came to me in this remote place have the same reason.”
The guy had a humble expression, he looked somewhat embarrassed. Still, I spoke my words, whether he was embarrassed or not.
“‘Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan doth oft lose both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.’” Said Shakespeare. It means that lending or borrowing money from a friend ruins one’s friendship.
That’s what I tell all the relatives that come here. But I can’t do that to you, can I?
After all, our friendship is a special case.”
I smiled while looking at him and handed him another A4 paper.
“Let’s brief it.”
“What? What does that mean?”
He picked up the piece of paper and asked what I was saying. I answered with folded arms.
“I guess you probably didn’t come here asking for spare change. If it’s a lot of money, then, it’s only fair that you tell me how you will be spending it and how long will it take for you to return it.”
“… … .”
Then Taejin opened his mouth and looked at me blankly. Looking at his dumb expression for so long made me laugh. He shook his head with a flutter and laughed, then explained his plans.
It was a story about the familiar New Century.
“Virtual reality game? Are you talking bullshit?”
“It’s not a lie, virtual reality games are coming soon. It’s an excellent game that will dominate the world as well as Korea.”
“So you’re asking for money to play?”
“It will really come out! And when it does I will be the number one in that game.”
“… … You done eating? Bye then.”
“Hey. It’s real! Can’t you believe me? This is a real game!”
It sounded vague, but his game life and plans were well organized. The guy kept the same argument and justification and repeatedly said that he will succeed with a virtual reality game. Finally, I gave up and with a sigh and handed him the money he needed.
“Don’t spend all of it at the same place or in a single go.”
“You won’t regret it. How about we start playing it together?”
“I will think about it.”
After sharing some more useless small talks, I saw him off.
As he walked away, I quickly put on my hat and glasses and quietly followed him very, very carefully while maintaining my distance.
And when I came back at dawn, my hands were covered in ashes.
It was a trace of the ‘castle’ that Taejin removed.
Just by thinking about it, I got a cold sweat. Did I really follow the same Taejin?
Looks like that bastard took my words to heart, he pursued the three set targets all night and stole something from them. After collecting all the items, he proceeded to burn them in an alleyway.
But that wasn’t the most concerning detail that I noticed that night. It was the fact that his movements had completely changed. He had unhinged precision in his actions as he knocked each of the three men out cold.
Not only that, but he even skipped over a two-meter fence to enter a single-family house.
Those weren’t the movements of an ordinary human.
‘-It was dangerous.’
It’s a shame because he only grasped the concept of “Returning the treasure” and ignored everything else that I said.
‘-The owners of Seong-ryun who he tracked down were also ordinary people.’
They were no criminal masterminds or leaders of some sex cult nor were they exorcists who could interfere with the devil, but rather were passers-by who were pickpocketed.
… … damn.
‘-Things have gotten just more confusing.’
Anyway, Taejin, who finished all the work, burned the ‘treasure’ and scrapped the remaining ashes and went home.
‘-I’m glad anyway.’
For the first time, I offered a prayer of thanks to a God that I didn’t believe in.
Thanks for helping me.
So far the only things I could put together after the night’s venture were that:
Taejin has a body that is ‘strengthened’. It could be because of all the martial arts training or it could be related to the regression. Secondly, he had taken care of the ‘Three masters of the castle’ as of now, there was no reason to believe that he was unsuccessful till proven otherwise.
If you are safe from contract, then I, who may be bound together with, am also safe.
As the tension eased, pleasant fatigue came. I put a bunch of ash on the chair. Then wrapped the blanket around my body and fell asleep.
The world is turned upside down. Was it because of the presidential election? Close, but no. News, newspapers, and all kinds of broadcasts were showing a lively video;
“It was a big leap forward for Z&F, but they were as silent as before. It was about the world’s first and commercialization of virtual reality, which was considered impossible”.
Shin Jin-kwon, the chairman of Z&F, became a celebrity overnight. His life story was being broadcasted in all media outlets for the entire day.
All sorts of famous scholars came out and spoke about the ripple effects of this enormous technology, saying “the new era has come.” In addition to that, there were a lot of quarrels and doubts about this impossible ‘miracle’.
‘-There is not much change in reality.’
As we have experienced in our past lives, virtual reality technology will be limited to [New Century]. The idea that the VR tech will branch out into different mediums will be proved false soon enough.
This is because humanity does not know the secrets of capsules and virtual reality technology as it is impossible to think that there is a touch of a devil behind all of it. Because such thoughts are deemed to be irrational.
So what’s worth me now is the high-margin Z&F stock.
The 270 won stock had become 180,000 won. Of course, this stock will grow more, but I sold it at this point. The profit isn’t as high as possible but there isn’t much to gain by attracting unwanted attention from the chairman right now.
Afterwards, I finished the morning by buying stocks of the planned company, putting on Half Mitten-type fashion gloves and arranging the computer wires on the small gyoza table one by one.
It was time to present a computer in return for keeping the promise.
I put it in styrofoam and then prepared the box. Since it was difficult to lift it all across the alley at once, I first carried the monitor, then the main unit, and placed it all in front of the main gate.
“Mister, this is Sanghyun. Are you inside?”
“Yes. It’s open, so come in!”
I opened the door and lifted up the box. As I went down the stairs, I saw a small cave-like room with a low roof about my height.
The kitchen was connected to multiple rooms, it acted as the cross section of the house.The house itself looked haphazardly constructed. Rooms were possibly made out of cement whenever required rather than being built together following a predetermined design in mind.
Inside was a middle-aged man, washing his hair with one hand. He opened his eyes to the white foam and welcomed me as he finished soaping.
“Please wait, I will be there in a sec.”
“Take your time. I’ll be installing it first.”