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    Loves Error

    Deep Pivot Episode 12

    Loud exhaust noise filled the silence. It felt like entering the belly of a roaring monster.

    “You had a fight earlier, right?”

    The woman, focusing on her cellphone, suddenly asked Yeon-woo.

    “Fight? Who?”

    “The new members of SAU. It seemed like they were fighting in the auditorium? Yeon-woo and some guy were looking fiercely at each other.”

    Before Yeon-woo could reply, the woman answered. Chung-oh glanced at her through the rearview mirror and turned the steering wheel as he asked.

    “Did our baby get hit by someone?”

    “It didn’t look like he was hit, more like the opposite?”

    Yeon-woo had not said a word yet, but strangely, the conversation flowed naturally.

    “It looked like that person was about to be hit by Yeon-woo. Wasn’t it? Or has he already been hit? Yeon-woo, you hit him, right?”

    “Uh, if he wasn’t hit, then it’s okay.”

    Chung-oh, resting his chin casually with his elbow on the windowsill, acted as if it were no big deal.

    “……”

    Yeon-woo had a lot to say. He hadn’t fought, hadn’t hit anyone, and he wasn’t a baby, so he wanted to ask not to be called that. But the woman in the backseat took over the response, causing him to miss the timing.

    While passing through the quiet streets, the woman who introduced herself as Jang Song-hee said she was an intern at the research lab. It seemed she had gone to the training center on business and happened to run into Chung-oh.

    She explained that Chung-oh had left his cellphone behind, and she had ended up bringing Yeon-woo’s along by chance.

    Hearing Yeon-woo’s age, she giggled and said, “You really are a baby.” Throughout all this conversation, she curiously never took her eyes off her cellphone.

    “Yeon-woo, wasn’t it tough walking all this way here?”

    “No, it was okay.”

    “Seriously, there should be a shuttle bus to District 1. It takes over 30 minutes to get from the lab to the guide training center. It’s really tough without a car.”

    Song-hee was busy tapping on her screen as she spoke. Ding dong. Ding dong. The incessant notification sounds from her phone seemed to bother only Yeon-woo.

    “Did you finally get rid of your cute little car?”

    “I left it at the mechanic’s. Crashed the side while parking.”

    “Again? Hey, you… You really need to make a lot of money, Song-hee.”

    “Right? To cover the repair costs.”

    “No, to hire a chauffeur. You shouldn’t be driving… There ought to be a law. A law that says Jang Song-hee shouldn’t drive.”

    At that moment, emergency alert sounds went off simultaneously on each of their phones.

    [Central Disaster Management Office]

    An anomalous creature has appeared in the western part of Hyoseok-dong, Seoul’s 7th District.

    Danger level: Grade 4

    Please refrain from going outside and move by vehicle if possible. Those currently on the streets should follow the controls and evacuate to the designated shelters.

    Shelters: Hyoseok RexTown Community Center, Samho Tower B-127 Underground Shelter, TH The First Class 2 Senior Welfare Center, Yuwon Building Underground Shelter, Hyoseok Cable Prestige Residents’ Health Center.

    Ignoring the alerts, Chung-oh showed no interest, unlike the other two who checked the message.

    “Which team was deployed here?”

    “Not us.”

    At Song-hee’s question, Chung-oh shrugged his shoulders and replied briefly. Just then, his phone rang. The timing was oddly perfect.

    “Oh, hello, Colonel Kwak.”

    ―Why aren’t you answering the phone!

    An irritable middle-aged man’s voice rang sharply through the car speaker.

    “I just picked it up.”

    Chung-oh took a cigarette from the side pocket and lit it, responding with a pressed tone.

    ―Captain Jin, don’t you know about the chaos in Hyoseok-dong?

    “I don’t know. I don’t watch the news.”

    He casually flicked his cigarette ash by the roadside with a no-smoking sign, laughing. Song-hee leaned forward, propping herself on the driver’s seat headrest, and showed Chung-oh her phone screen.

    ―Forget it, just come over now. Hyoseok-dong is a total mess because of these parasitic creatures.

    While Chung-oh checked the disaster alert, the heated voice continued through the speaker.

    ―Where did these larvae suddenly come from?

    “I’ve been completely drained dealing with the bereaved families of the guides who died at Myeongjeong Station Gate recently. If it’s a level 4 danger, it’s probably just small to medium-sized parasites. They can handle it themselves.”

    He calmly cut off the other party.

    ―What, you bastard? How dare a soldier argue with a superior’s order.

    “I’m not a soldier, you know? I’m a civilian.”

    ―This guy still hasn’t come to his senses.

    The shrill voice abruptly stopped. Chung-oh had unilaterally ended the call, and it did not ring again. Yeon-woo wasn’t sure about military ranks, but he thought it probably wasn’t appropriate for a captain to speak to a colonel like that. The sudden silence felt heavily oppressive.

    However, as if such calls were a routine, the two remained unfazed and continued with their respective tasks. Chung-oh, having smoked his cigarette down to the filter, threw it out the window and said while looking in the rearview mirror,

    “We’re almost there, Song-hee.”

    “Yes.”

    Song-hee, who had been glued to her phone the whole time, finally looked up. She rummaged in her pocket and handed something to Yeon-woo. It was a small bag containing colorful gummy bears shaped like bears.

    Yeon-woo, taken aback by the unexpected offering of gummies, bowed slightly and accepted them.

    “…Thank you.”

    “What? I did the driving, and the pretty boy gets the jelly?”

    “Would you like some of this too, boss?”

    As Song-hee dug in her pocket, Chung-oh waved his hand with a laugh.

    “It’s fine.”

    “See you next time, Yeon-woo.”

    She smiled and patted Yeon-woo’s shoulder. As Yeon-woo turned to say goodbye, a grumbling voice was heard beside him.

    “Don’t you have anything to say to Mr. Chung-oh?”

    “Well, thanks for the ride, boss.”

    “Sure.”

    After leaving a somewhat sour thank you, Song-hee got out of the car and waved at the two. The car, now left with just the two of them, was once again filled only with the rumbling sound of the exhaust. Chung-oh was the first to break the silence.

    “Kid, even if it’s the day of the initiation, should you be fighting like that?”

    It wasn’t a fight. That person is a bad person. They said that person harassed Lieutenant Ji Seo-joon. You can’t force someone who is clearly saying no during a test. It’s clearly a crime, and I don’t understand how they can boast about it so proudly. How troubled would Lieutenant Ji Seo-joon be if others talked like that? But I really didn’t hit that person. Everything that lady said earlier was completely wrong.

    “…I’m sorry.”

    Dozens of words jumped out in his mind. However, only one actually made it out of his mouth.

    It didn’t seem like a good act to tell another third party about someone else’s disgraceful incident. It probably wouldn’t please Ji Seo-joon, the person involved.

    “Guides are all…”

    Instead of expressing his feelings of injustice, Yeon-woo asked something else.

    “Why are… Espers treated badly?”

    “Hm?”

    Chung-oh chuckled and turned the steering wheel. The car, gliding down the road, was once again passing the training center they had visited earlier.

    “There are those types. Just like how some Espers treat Guides horribly. It’s no different from schools or workplaces. Jerks are everywhere.”

    “…”

    “Don’t worry too much about those guys from earlier. We’ve been short on manpower lately, so we just hired them. If I had known the Ducati Edition was going to show up, we wouldn’t have hired them.”

    Yeon-woo clenched his fingers and fiddled with his seatbelt.

    “So, were those people from earlier all assigned to Lieutenant Ji Seo-joon?”

    “Not just to Ji Seo-joon, but they do get deployed here and there in urgent situations… But yes, they were hired because of Ji Seo-joon. Ji Seo-joon is a bit… quite demanding. Once he’s upset, it usually takes about a dozen people to calm him down.”

    “…If I become Lieutenant’s personal guide.”

    Chung-oh, who had been focusing on the road ahead, turned his head slightly to look at Yeon-woo. The face, with eyes cast down meekly, was incredibly gentle, almost childlike.

    Chung-oh’s gaze dropped to Yeon-woo’s hand, which was clutching the seatbelt that crossed his chest, tense with strength.

    “Looks like no one else will need to guide the lieutenant, huh?”

    Chung-oh was about to answer when his phone began to ring again. He glanced at the caller and pressed the call button without hesitation.

    ―Team Leader Jin.

    Yeon-woo, who had expected it to be Colonel Kwak from earlier, suddenly turned his head when a different voice came through. The name displayed on the screen, counting the call time, caught his eye.

    “Yeah, Ji Seo-joon.”

    ―Where are you?

    The car’s speaker system was too good. Ji Seo-joon’s voice, unexpectedly surrounding him, was so smooth that it made his heart flutter. It felt like being enveloped in his voice.

    “I’m always in your heart.”

    Chung-oh, laughing with a markedly different tone from before, rolled down the window. An agent blocking the exit with a wand saw his face, stepped back, and opened the barrier.

    ―I’m out in Hyoseok-dong.

    “Ah…”

    Chung-oh sighed irritably and stopped at the signal. As soon as they left District 1, the midday traffic jam filled the roads. It felt like stepping out from a quiet, pleasant city into immediate reality.

    “Why are you going there?”

    ―Colonel Jin is also here.

    “Why does father go to a mere level 4 site?”

    Chung-oh frowned as if disgusted and honked the horn. The prompting sound made the car ahead nudge to the side. As he skillfully made his way through, the voice, still as precise as a news announcer’s, continued.

    ―It has just been upgraded to level 3.

    Beep, beep, beep. Simultaneously, the disaster alert notification sounded.

    [Central Disaster Management Office]

    An anomalous creature has appeared in the area around Hyoseok-dong, Seoul’s 2nd District.

    Danger level: Grade 3

    Travel between Hyoseok-dong and outside areas is strictly prohibited from this time onward. Please refrain from going outside and those on the streets should evacuate to designated shelters following the control measures.

    Shelters: Hyoseok RexTown Community Center, TH The First Class 2 Senior Welfare Center, Hyoseok Cable Prestige Residents’ Health Center

    ―It seems the eggs that leaked from Myeongjeong Station Gate have hatched in Hyoseok-dong. I don’t know how they leaked all the way there…

    The voice coming through the speaker suddenly stopped. Chung-oh switched the call to his Bluetooth earpiece and reached toward the glove compartment. Even with just a brief listen, the situation felt quite serious, but Chung-oh’s actions didn’t seem particularly hurried.

    Opening the glove box, a flashing light became visible. As Chung-oh continued the call, fumbling inside, Yeon-woo quickly took it out and connected it to the car’s socket.

    Before even asking, Yeon-woo had efficiently handled everything, to which Chung-oh said thanks with a smile.

    “Okay, we’ll arrive in 15 minutes.”

    After ending the call, Chung-oh suddenly became lost in thought, staring at Yeon-woo. Unaware of the reason, Yeon-woo simply blinked innocently, wondering if it was really possible to get to Hyoseok-dong in 15 minutes.

    Whatever conclusion he reached, a curious smile spread across Chung-oh’s lips.

    “Kid.”

    As he opened the window and placed the flashing light on the roof, he asked,

    “Do you want to go see Ji Seo-joon?”

    Beep― The emergency disaster alert sounded again.

    [Hyoseok-dong Disaster Control Center]

    Residents of Hyoseok-dong, please ensure you are familiar with the following:

    1. Absolutely refrain from going outside.
    2. Close all windows indoors and block any openings such as vents and drains that connect to the outside.
    3. If you encounter an unfamiliar insect inside your home, do not touch it and immediately report it to the disaster control center.
    4. In the event of the above situation, evacuate to a location as far from the discovered insect as possible and follow the instructions from the disaster control center.
    5. Residents living on floors 1 to 3 should come outside and follow the guidance to evacuate to shelters.

    T/N: It’s my first time translating a modern day novel, so I might have gotten something wrong. If there are mistakes, feel free to comment Ill edit them. Also, the places here are… not linked anywhere in real life believe me I searched them.

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