I’m Not a Regressor
[Translator – Maccas ]
[Proofreader – ilafy ]
Chapter 176: Living Armor (1)
“Hmm… I never knew a place like this existed in Korea.”
He arrived in the Yonghegong-dong neighborhood along with Isabella.
The debris of collapsed buildings and trash were spread out on the ground. The street gave off a thick, unpleasant scent and looked rather distant from the definition of a ‘Safe Country’ that Korea was deemed to be.
“Well, It’s not like damage wasn’t dealt to Korea, it was just comparatively less,” Ohjin said as he looked around the dreary street.
Even if the place looked different from how people imagined Korea to be, he was fairly used to that kind of thing.
After all, the mood of the street he lived on before becoming an Awakener was exactly the same as the one they were on.
‘Maybe this kind of place feels a bit unfamiliar to Isabella.’
Isabella was an esteemed daughter of one of the most prestigious families in Europe, so it wouldn’t be strange for her to be unused to an apocalyptic scene.
“You’re not used to this kind of place, right?”
“Hm? Ah, no, that isn’t so.”
Isabella smiled brightly and shook her head.
“I frequently visited places like this while doing volunteer work.”
Ohjin had momentarily forgotten that Isabella often volunteered for the Romanians because what he saw after was too much of a shocking sight.
“Actually, this place isn’t that bad in comparison.”
“...This isn’t that bad?”
“It’s gotten a lot better now… but the situation in Italy was more severe than this.”
‘Italy’s situation was worse than this ghost town’s street that’s littered with trash and filth?’
“The whole nation was ruled by the mafia soon after the gate incident took place in Italy.”
‘Is she talking about the Marco Family?’
“Not only was there filth and trash in streets like this… there were even corpses ranging from children, to adults, to the elderly.”
He could thoroughly understand why she said that the situation was more severe.
Ohjin continued walking with a bitter expression and stared at the side of her face.
Was the expression she was wearing a mask in order to act as the ‘Saintess of Rome’, or was that her true face?
‘I really can’t tell.’
When he thought about it, there was barely anything he knew about Isabella. She was the Saintess of Rome and Queen of Leeches, but he didn’t know much of her as the woman, ‘Isabella Colagrande’.
“Why did you decide to join Guardian?”
“Hm? Didn’t I tell you back then? I offered to join after I heard that you were going to be a part of Guardian.”
“What I’m asking is why you decided to join because of me alone.”
There was one question that constantly remained on his mind…
Why was Isabella showing so much interest in him?
Naturally, he knew that she was extremely obsessed with his ‘blood’. However, was that reason alone really enough to justify her actions? To be frank, if that was the only thing she was after, there was nothing he could do if she kidnapped him and extracted his blood as much as she desired.
“It’s because I wanted to see you. Is that reason not enough?”
Isabella’s smile was as beautiful as the stars.
Ohjin was at a loss for words due to the smile that he couldn’t have imagined being from a blood-crazy witch.
“It was the first time.”
“The first time someone protected me like you did.”
Isabella raised her head like she was reminiscing on her past and looked up at the cloudy skies.
“Didn’t you have the people of your household?”
In the first place, it didn’t make sense for Isabella to say ‘the first time someone protected her’ when she even had a professional bodyguard.
“Hmm. Those people only protect me because they receive something in return, but that wasn’t the case for you, was it?”
“That’s true, but…”
“You were the first person… The first person to protect me without wanting anything in return.”
Isabella’s eyes showed how happy she was.
‘I was the first person, huh…’
A question naturally surfaced in his mind.
“...What about your family?”
Isabella lightly chuckled while covering her mouth with her hand because she found what he said somewhat funny.
“Well, I guess you don’t know much about my family.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“The Colagrande House doesn’t provide any protection to their children. Not until they ‘survive’, that is.”
He felt an unpleasant tone in her voice.
Ohjin narrowed his eyes and asked for an explanation.
Isabella opened her mouth with a bitter expression.
“The children of the Colagrande House are exposed to dangers such as assassination and kidnapping from a young age.”
“But the family doesn’t provide any protection?”
It was basically no different from the parents discarding their children from the moment of their birth. No, it could actually be expressed as worse in one way. Ohjin at least didn’t have to grow up with the danger of being assassinated or kidnapped.
“You can only receive the protection of the family once you are ten years old. From then on… you also need to survive somehow until you’re chosen as an ‘heir’.”
“What a fucking dumb family.”
Isabella’s eyes widened due to the unhinged evaluation that left his mouth.
“It… It’s nothing. It’s just my first time seeing someone curse at my family that way.”
She mumbled the curse Ohjin said in a small voice several times.
“Fucking dumb family… fufu. Ahahaha!”
Isabella eventually exploded out in laughter.
Amongst the laughs he had seen from Isabella until then, that one seemed the most ‘real’.
“You’re right. They… really were incredibly stupid people.”
Considering the fact that she used past tense, all of them might’ve died from the gate incident.
Perhaps she killed them herself.
Isabella rubbed her eyes once tears started to form in them as she laughed so much and nodded.
“What happens to the children that aren’t chosen as the heir?”
“They are all forcefully deprived of their family name and kicked out.”
“Without a penny?”
“Penny? Oh, you must be talking about money. Yes, you’re correct. They are quite literally thrown away on a street in a distant foreign country so they aren’t able to return.”
A chuckle left Ohjin’s mouth on its own.
There were all kinds of crazy families in the world.
“Then, Isabella, once you became the heir…”
“Yes. My sister was also thrown away by my family.”
He felt a sadness that could not be concealed in her calm voice, but soon after, Isabella slyly pulled Ohjin’s arm with her usual innocent smile.
“Hehe. Do you understand why I look forward to the days of meeting you now?”
Ohjin felt a soft sensation rise up from his forearm and groaned.
Everything about her appearance could just be a facade to put him at ease.
‘Isabella’s identity is an Executor of the Black Star Organization.’
For as long as he didn’t know the goal of the Hirudo faction, he couldn’t let his guard down.
“Well… I understand.”
—he thought that maybe it’d be alright to trust her at least once.
“Then let’s start our hunt for the demon beast!” Isabella shouted in a valiant voice and strode forward.
Ohjin chuckled and followed her steps.
“Is it alright for a supporter to take the lead like that?”
She briefly exclaimed while her face reddened.
“I… I got a bit ahead of myself because it was embarrassing.”
“You were quite aggressive considering that.”
“D-Don’t say that!”
Isabella floundered and stuttered.
Ohjin shrugged his shoulders and took the lead.
Since they’d finished chatting, it was time to start the hunt for the demon beast as she mentioned.
* * *
Translator - Maccas
Proofreader - ilafy
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* * *
‘There are no traces that stick out.’
They looked at every nook and cranny in the alleyway, but there was nothing that seemed to be the trace of a demon beast since the street was heavily damaged in the first place.
“I wonder what type of demon it is.”
“Hmm. I don’t think that it’ll have a large build since it hasn’t left any traces of such a thing behind.”
If it was a demon beast with a build ranging from 10 to 20 meters, it would've been impossible for it to go around without leaving a trace.
‘Even at its largest, it should be around the size of a human.’
It was probable since it wasn’t uncommon to see demon beasts with builds similar to those of humans.
“Let’s look around a little longer.”
“Ah, has there been no contact from the other groups?”
It had been 30 minutes since the beginning of the hunt, but the communication marble hadn’t flashed once.
“We should try contacting them after continuing for 30 more minutes.”
Isabella smiled brightly and nodded.
He unconsciously put a smile on his face because of the way she looked like a puppy wagging its tail.
Like that, he searched the area for 30 more minutes with Isabella.
Around the time they were nearly finished with the area they were in charge of—
—they could faintly hear a sound.
A frightening sound of gas leaking out of a pipe hissed out in the dark alleyway.
Ohjin took out a short steel rod from his belt.
The steel rod turned into the shape of a spear once he imbued mana into it.
“I’ll give you a buff!” Isabella yelled as she raised her staff.
The gold gem stuck to the end of the staff emitted radiant golden light and permeated Ohjin’s body.
Energy started to enter his body that had internal injuries which weren’t completely healed yet.
‘It’ll be tough to make up entirely for my internal injuries with this, but…’
It was possible to gather enough mana to fight.
The sound of screeching metal reached his ears.
Ohjin turned his head in the direction of where the sound was coming from.
Tension settled in.
He could feel the demon beast’s movements from across the other alley.
Blue lightning blazed on the tip of his thrusted spear.
Like air escaping from a balloon, the sound started to grow distant.
Ohjin frowned and quickly dashed to the other alley.
Was he hallucinating?
The sound from the dark alley disappeared without a trace.
‘Where did it go?’
Furrowing his brows, he ran forward.
He chased the demon beast through the complicated alleys.
When he jumped over a crumbled wall while chasing after it for around a minute—
—he heard the sound of a sticky liquid.
A familiar, fishy smell stung his nose.
There was a puddle of coagulated blood when he looked down.
In the center of the coagulated puddle of blood was—
—half of Jegal Soyoung’s head.
“O-Ohjin, this is…!”
Isabella trembled with a pale expression after arriving late.
It looked like she was trembling out of fear on the outside, but Ohjin noticed the coldness in her eyes.
‘It… can’t be, right?’
An ominous thought crossed his mind.
Ohjin’s eyes naturally headed to Isabella.
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