Theory of Paradise - Chapter 9
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The boy’s eyes grew wide. Yoo Eun Woo quickly pulled the gun from her holster. She hit her opponent’s head with the pistol handle as hard as she could. While the male student stumbled, Yoo Eun Woo got up and grabbed the doorknob. She turned it with all her might and felt the door unlock.
In an instant, Yoo Eun Woo was pushed to the floor with tremendous force. Beyond the protective barrier that vibrated slowly, she could see the male student approaching. He kicked Yoo Eun Woo’s right hand, and she let go of her gun. The metal rattled on the floor, and the gun slid away.
“What did you learn from the military? Don’t you know the basics of never letting go of your weapon?”
The boy laughed lightly. Then he pointed his gun at her again.
The protective barrier made a loud noise. Crack. A little more and it would be destroyed. No matter how strong the third stage was, it could not stand a series of blows. In addition, the opponent was skillfully designing the ON* (*the power output from the gun). He was no ordinary student. The surrounding air was not disturbed at all, and it was really shaped like a bullet – so it was able to apply a finishing blow with little elasticity. Out of all things. Yoo Eun Woo clenched her teeth. She tried to get up, but the male student stomped on Yoo Eun Woo’s head and pressed it down. Her head hit the floor. It was terrifying.
It was like gentle water drops were poured over her body which washed away the barrier. The protection design was broken. The phrase, “three-stage protection strategy in operation’‘ had disappeared from the IF, which was still on and only Seo Jae Hee’s name was left on the display. The safety device put on by others had disappeared, and only the life of the other person whom she was responsible for was displayed.
The male student took his feet off Yoo Eun Woo’s head. He was still aiming the gun at her, so Yoo Eun Woo could not move recklessly.
There was only one possible reason he was after her. This crazy guy must be enemies with Seo Jae Hee. Maybe he found out that Seo Jae Hee’s life was tied up with hers, so he thought that he would be able to kill her. Yes, she could still be injured, but not totally killed. Vowing not to lose her composure, Yoo Eun Woo strained her whole body. Once again, she checked the location of the door.
The male student touched Yoo Eun Woo’s bag with his foot. Books and notebooks poured out of the bag that she dropped earlier. The boy kept his gun trained at Yoo Eun Woo as he picked up a notebook. That son of a b*tch. She wanted to shout at him to get his hands off her but the situation she was in was too complicated. While the boy flipped through the notebooks with one hand, Yoo Eun Woo stood up very slowly. Every area that he hit earlier was stinging, but it was bearable. She rolled her eyes. She deserved to be a weapon after all….
“You’re crazy. What kind of strategy did you say you were planning?”
The male student burst out laughing. He laughed out loud, as if he had heard a funny joke. Then he stopped.
“I should have killed you then.”
He said quietly. Yoo Eun Woo could not tell if he was looking at her or beyond her. For a moment, memories assaulted her mind.
‘That’s too bad. He’s too rough to handle, but he’s a great talent. Why does he want to go to school all of a sudden? There’s nothing to learn at school. First of all, there was no problem in the procedure, I fixed it, even though I have no idea why it didn’t work. It would be better if you go and hang out with other children and change your personality. Yoo Eun Woo, don’t you remember? The Elite Army of the City Federation who first discovered you, Kim Seo Hyuk’s direct subordinate. He’s one of them. Kim Seo Hyuk stopped him from trying to kill you.’
“Jung Yoon Hwan.”
Yoo Eun Woo exhaled. Jung Yoon Hwan was startled. But it only lasted for a while. He tilted his head and smiled beautifully.
“Wow, how did you know? I thought you wouldn’t remember. Did you hear my description from Seo Jae Hee? Did he want you to be careful around the most handsome guy in school?”
It was real. Jung Yoon Hwan. Tuning rate 82. With a damage rate of 35% and a strategic rate of 65%, he was a natural strategist. He was one of the few talented people who could fire jointly on equal footing with Kim Seo Hyuk.
It had been 5 years since Yoo Eun Woo was rescued by the City Allied Forces. During the first three years, she suffered under the researchers by undergoing erosion treatment and memory search day and night. Her memories of that time were vague. Just as her consciousness was about to return, a man named Jung Yoon Hwan said that he was leaving the military to go to school. Because everyone kept mentioning ‘Jung Yoon Hwan is going to school’ all the time, Yoo Eun Woo, who still had problems with her memory, was forced to remember those facts.
For the next two years, she completely forgot about it, as she was busy working as a member of the military and studying design really hard. It seemed there was one more special admission student at the school.
“But, why are you doing this to me…”
Yoo Eun Woo was speechless because of the absurdity of the situation. Why was he doing this to her? Was it okay for a person who eventually went back to Kim Seo Hyuk’s team after graduating from school to treat Kim Seo Hyuk’s trophy like this? He was not the child of a family who had a grudge against Kim Seo Hyuk like the other students, so why was he doing this to her? In terms of affiliation, wasn’t she an ally?
“Why are you studying design strategy?”
“Why are you studying design strategy? You have design dyslexia. Why are you doing useless work? You can barely read nor write.”
“…I can do it, if I work hard.”
Yoo Eun Woo would actually listen to him if she was afraid that she might die. She was going to do it anyway. That was her one and only solution after all.
“I can do it.”
“On what grounds?”
“If you were born with it, it can definitely come back.”
“Didn’t you hear what the researchers were saying? You just can’t. From birth.”
“As I remember, Choi Sung Wook was already hurt even before I was captured by the Elite forces. I broke his leg and cut off his ear. If I could not design on my own, I could not strike him that delicately. And then I heard that I was also using body strengthening. At that time, I was able to design. I think the dyslexia happened after I moved to the City Allied Forces. I don’t know if it’s because of the side effects of the erosion treatment or brain damage, but anyway, it might be possible to get it back.”
“The researchers have told me that the rebels must have pre-populated you with a gateway system.”
“The researchers also added that it was too sophisticated to be believed for the design strategy to be created by someone else.”
Jung Yoon Hwan did not respond but bit his mouth instead. His expression was odd.
Eitherway, Yoo Eun Woo was upset with herself. Her situation had worsened. The opponent was no longer an ordinary student, but a former elite member of the City Federation. The current special admission student might not care about Seo Jae Hee even though he was worshipped at school, especially if they had the same position like Jung Yoon Hwan. When she saw his nonsensical attitude and his disposition that screamed that he did not care about what other people would say, she thought that she might just die there.
The worst case was if Jung Yoon Hwan broke the pairing between her and Seo Jae Hee. Judging from Jung Yoon Hwan’s reputation, unpairing others would have been ridiculously simple for him.
“You don’t even know your place and you think whatever you want.”
Bang, Jung Yoon Hwan fired his gun again. As Yoo Eun Woo tried hard to avoid the gunshot, a hole was created on the floor of the storage room. He was playing with her. She felt a chill in her spine. He could kill her in one shot, but he did not. Did he know that she was the person that Seo Jae Hee needed, that’s why he did not kill her? It would be nice if it were true….
“You’re pretty good at evading. It’s true that Kim Seo Hyuk raised you. Even though it was only for 2 years, he worked incredibly hard.”
The smile faded from Jung Yoon Hwan’s face. He grabbed his gun indifferently.
“But he ended up throwing you away.”
Yoo Eun Woo shouted,
“Why are you doing this to me? What did I do wrong…”
“The one who did the wrong thing was me. Let’s get rid of your pairing first so we can talk.”
Jung Yoon Hwan’s finger slowly pulled the trigger. She felt a tingling sensation under her ear. Under her feet, the pattern that Seo Jae Hee had engraved just the other day showed a rare appearance and slid towards Jung Yoon Hwa. He was determined to undo the pairing. When she couldn’t avoid it anymore knowing that it was useless, Yoo Eun Woo took a step back until her back touched the wall.
It was then that the door was forced wide open and someone came in.
Seo Jae Hee. He was out of breath as he had been running for a while. He looked at Jung Yoon Hwan and closed the door. His clothes, which had always been neat, were messy. On the screen that appeared above Seo Jae Hee’s IF, Yoo Eun Woo’s name was written in gold. Below that, the notice ‘Tracking Pair Location’ was flashing. Did he come here knowing that the protection design was broken? Yoo Eun Woo looked at her IF. The notice ‘Tracking Pair Location’ was also flashing. She did not see it because she was busy panicking earlier. She tensed up again as the strength of her body was about to give out. It was too early to feel relieved even though Seo Jae Hee had arrived. There was no one who could relax in this kind of situation.
“Jung Yoon Hwan, Yoo Eun Woo made a pair with me.”
Seo Jae Hee’s voice was so calm that Yoo Eun Woo wondered if she heard it wrong. Jung Yoon Hwan snorted. He did not move the gun that was aimed at Yoon Eun Woo. Seo Jae Hee continued,
“What do you gain by hurting Yoo Eun Woo? Aren’t you going back to the military after graduation? Yoo Eun Woo is Kim Seo Hyuk’s trophy.”
“It’s an abandoned trophy.”
“The military is still in control of the trophy registration number. And she is also a student at our school.”
“Why did you pair with her?”
“As the dispatch manager, I want to protect the special admission student from being bullied by you and the other students.”
“How interesting. Even though you have Cha Ye Won, you are walking around like this?”
“Student executives have a duty to protect students. The same applies to you.”
Jung Yoon Hwan stared at Yoo Eun Woo and replied,
“She is not a student to me.”
“Keep in mind that she and I are a pair. If you touch even a tip of her finger…”
“If you really don’t want to die as a pair, then break the pairing. If you don’t, I will force you to release it.”
“Put the gun down.”
Seo Jae Hee reached out and tried to stop Jung Yoon Hwan’s arm which was pointing a gun at Yoon Eun Woo. Yoo Eun Woo thought that this could lead to a physical fight. But before Seo Jae Hee’s hand could reach him, Jung Yoon Hwan put his gun back into the holster and folded his arms. Obviously, Seo Jae Hee came running and Jung Yoon Hwan had lowered his gun, but the tension did not disappear. Rather, it merely changed in a different direction.
Between the two of them, there was a tense atmosphere that seemed to explode if one of them uttered something incorrectly.
Taking advantage of the stand-off, Yoo Eun Woo moved carefully. However, a strong pain pierced through her stomach which had been kicked earlier. Yoo Eun Woo went into a fetal position as a reflex reaction. She bowed her head, clenched her teeth, and waited for the pain to subside.
Seo Jae Hee strode up to her and helped Yoo Eun Woo with as little contact as possible. Yoo Eun Woo’s face was hot. It was both resentful and embarrassing to be hit without being able to counterattack.
“Can you move?”
Her right hand, which was kicked by Jung Yoon Hwan, was bleeding and she had severe abdominal pain, but Yoo Eun Woo tried to be as calm as possible. She comforted herself that she was not seriously injured because nothing was broken or cut. It was a miracle that Seo Jae Hee appeared.
Yoo Eun Woo picked up her gun that was kicked into the corner and put it in her holster. She also picked up her books and placed them back into her bag and brushed off the dirt from her clothes that had been ruined by rolling on the floor. She hit it hard before, so the pain in her lower back rose. She gritted her teeth and endured it. When she looked up, Jung Yoon Hwan was looking at her. She clenched her teeth harder. That shameless fool…
“Your hands are bleeding. You don’t know where the on-campus hospital is, don’t you? Shall I take you there?”
Seo Jae Hee was looking at Yoo Eun Woo’s hand without any expression. Even if a passerby heard it, it was clear that it was only a formality.
“I will go alone. I know where it is.”
“Can you do the test? You only have 30 mins left until it starts.”
“I will go right away. I can still do it.”
Seo Jae Hee reached out his hand as if to support Yoo Eun Woo again, but when Yoo Eun Woo stood up with her back straight, he removed his hand.
“I’ll give you protection again.”
Seo Jae Hee pulled a gun from his holster and fired one shot toward the floor. At the same time as it made a sound, the pair position tracking was released in their respective IFs. Seo Jae Hee’s gun was immediately followed by Yoo Eun Woo’s. Bang. The protection wrapped around Yoo Eun Woo once and disappeared. It was bluer than before.
“If it’s level 5, it can possibly stop everything.”
Seo Jae Hee looked a little tired.
“It doesn’t matter if you are acting up.”
Jung Yoon Hwan stood crookedly behind Seo Jae Hee and laughed. Seo Jae Hee did not look back and said in a low voice,
“Jung Yoon Hwan, if you just stay still, no one should be able to break this.”
“Other students will poke it and if they hit it a few times, it will break.”
“Is there a student who dares to do that to my partner? Even the idea is amazing.”
“You are pretending to be nice as usual.”
Jung Yoon Hwan smirked. Seo Jae Hee looked at Yoo Eun Woo’s bloodied right hand and at her stomach. He did not try to say anything to Yoo Eun Woo, but looked straight at Jung Yoon Hwan.
“Jung Yoon Hwan, Don’t touch Yoo Eun Woo. Seriously, I warned you.”
Jung Yoon Hwan answered without any sincerity. However, since Seo Jae Hee arrived, he no longer attacked Yoo Eun Woo. His tuning rate was far higher than Seo Jae Hee’s and had proven his skills. However, he was demonstrating self-control in front of Seo Jae Hee. Even with a five-level protection design, if it was Jung Yoon Hwan, it could be destroyed immediately. The fact that the three-level protection was broken several times earlier was seen as if a wild beast was playing around with its prey.
Just the thought of walking around without a pair sent chills down her spine.
“Go to the hospital, get some first aid and go to the test room,” Seo Jae Hee said. Yoo Eun Woo grabbed the doorknob, then turned to look at Jung Yoon Hwan. When their eyes met, Jung Yoon Hwan raised one eyebrow.
“Why did you try to kill me…”
Deep inside, she wanted to swear at him, but she could not even say a word because she was afraid of retaliation. Nevertheless, she had to address the unfairness.
Jung Yoon Hwan laughed.
“That’s what you wanted to ask? You wanted to know why you are still alive?”
No matter how many times the others had mentioned it, she was still speechless of his confidence that it was natural for her to be dead. She couldn’t even know why he was doing this to her. Yoo Eun Woo stared at Jung Yoon Hwan. Something sparked in Jung Yoon Hwan’s eyes. But before Yoo Eun Woo even picked it up, Jung Yoon Hwan grinned.
“I haven’t seen anything so dirty. We need to clean up the trash. After all, you are a waste of resources. A failed project. You can’t even be recycled. I’m talking about you, yes, you.”
This translation is presented by Nocturne Translations.
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