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    Loves Error

    Deep Pivot Episode 61

    [Target spotted on the rooftop.]

    The man, relaying the message over the radio, glanced back and forth between Seo-joon and Yeon-woo.

    [Which one of them is the No-Named?]

    The Spanish-speaking man’s accent made it hard to determine his origin. Seo-joon assessed the man’s skill level based on how many daggers he wielded.

    Handling six or seven daggers simultaneously indicated at least a B-rank.

    It would be fortunate if the man was only a B or A rank, but if he were an S rank, he could also manipulate bullets, making it dangerous to shoot at him recklessly.

    [We don’t care about the guide. We just need to know which one is the No-Named.]

    [How are you so sure one of us is a No-Named?]

    Seo-joon pulled Yeon-woo behind him and asked. Typically, attackers would first eliminate anyone who didn’t matter to prevent interference.

    The man who had whistled shrugged his shoulders.

    [Well, we’ll find out.]

    With that, six daggers flew straight toward Seo-joon and Yeon-woo. But just before they reached them, the daggers fell helplessly to the ground.

    In the blink of an eye, organic tendrils shot out, binding the man’s body.

    [Urgh.]

    Within moments, the man was pinned against the rooftop railing, struggling as the tendrils wrapped around his throat.

    [What… is this speed… urgh…]

    The daggers on the ground twitched, repeatedly attempting to rise into the air but falling back down.

    [Grr… You guys train all day, huh… Damn it…]

    The tendrils split into smaller strands, wrapping tightly around the man’s hands, bones cracking audibly.

    [Aaaagh! Aaaah!]

    With the daggers losing all momentum and scattering lifelessly on the ground, Seo-joon’s tendrils shot through the man’s shoulders, arms, and sides, avoiding fatal points but causing enough pain to render him incapacitated.

    [Urgh.]

    The man slumped forward, coughing up blood. Even with immediate guidance, it would take him a long time to recover.

    Seo-joon turned to Yeon-woo behind him.

    “Yeon-woo, you trust me, right?”

    “What?”

    Yeon-woo looked at Seo-joon as he was pulled toward the railing. They were on the 10th floor of the safehouse. Even though Yeon-woo didn’t know exactly how many floors they had climbed, he knew it was a deadly height to jump from.

    But Yeon-woo didn’t hesitate. He and Seo-joon ran to the railing, stepped onto it, and leaped into the void together.

    ✽✽✽

    Inside the center, the atmosphere was tense. Hee-min, heading toward his lab, watched people busily moving about. He ran into Songhee, who had just stepped out of the elevator, and asked her,

    “What’s going on?”

    “It’s an emergency. The safehouse was compromised.”

    “What? So Seo-joon and Yeon-woo were attacked?”

    “Well, that’s why it’s an emergency, right? I don’t know the details, but I think they sent up a helicopter… Director Kang! Where are you going?”

    Song-hee watched Hee-min abruptly change direction and walk off. She clutched the board game she was holding and continued toward Jeong-woo’s hospital room.

    Jeong-woo had undergone several tests that were taxing for a child, and he hadn’t seen his older brother in days. Someone had to take care of his emotional needs. His brother seemed to be in a precarious situation.

    Hee-min quickly entered the secure conference room in the research center and made a call.

    “Connect me to the Deputy Director of IGTS.”

    —Please hold.

    A business-like voice responded, and after a couple of rings, someone answered.

    —Dr. Kang.

    “What on earth are you doing?”

    Hee-min shouted into the receiver, his voice echoing off the empty conference room walls.

    Given the room’s secure nature, its soundproofing was impeccable, ensuring that his desperate cry wouldn’t be heard outside.

    —Calm down.

    “I approved sample collection! What you’re doing now is no different than an assassination attempt!”

    —Collecting samples means we have to induce the No-Name’s transformation to extract them. That’s the only way.

    Unlike Hee-min’s angry tone, the response on the other end was calm and clinical.

    “Don’t be ridiculous! Sample collection was my responsibility, to be done with the No-Name’s consent. This has nothing to do with you!”

    —…

    “Cease the attack immediately.”

    —So you expect us to abandon our Espers who are there?

    “You sent them knowing they were expendable. You even sent Viktor with a timer.”

    —V requested that. We’re not that inhumane.

    “So, is attacking a No-Named in a foreign country like this your idea of humanity?”

    A pause followed Hee-min’s final question.

    —Dr. Kang.

    The voice on the other end began steadily.

    —Right now, somewhere on this Earth, there are places without gates and where days pass peacefully.

    Hee-min thought about the gate distribution maps he had studied countless times.

    Around Moscow, Belarus, and Ukraine—there was a gaping hole centered where the No-Namde had gone rogue.

    —Only there, on this entire planet, has there been no gate for over 100 days.

    A chilling realization ran down Hee-min’s spine. His face went pale as he rubbed his trembling lips and asked softly,

    “Is your objective really sample collection?”

    —…

    “Is it?”

    ✽✽✽

    ‘I trust you, Lieutenant.’

    The unspoken answer was conveyed through their gaze. Seo-joon opened his arms wide. In the moment of their plummeting fall, Yeon-woo was locked tightly in his embrace, unable to move.

    Strong arms wrapped around his head and body like a cocoon. Like a baby cradled in a warm embrace, Yeon-woo curled up and endured the terrifying descent.

    With a low groan from Seo-joon, they hit the ground with a heavy impact. The two bodies tumbled across the ground, rolling over each other.

    Rat-a-tat-tat! Tat-tat-tat! Without time to check on each other, they were hit with an onslaught of noise and gunfire.

    “Ugh.”

    A sudden, throbbing pain radiated through Yeon-woo’s shoulder. He gritted his teeth and swallowed a groan as he and Seo-joon scrambled for cover.

    With the surrounding area mostly mountainous, there weren’t many places to hide. Seo-joon shielded Yeon-woo’s head and led him to the back of a vehicle parked along the roadside at the mountain’s base.

    “Yeon-woo, can you drive…”

    Seo-joon turned to speak to him but noticed Yeon-woo’s shoulder.

    “I don’t have a license.”

    “That’s not the issue right now.”

    Seo-joon’s face went pale as he hastily pressed on Yeon-woo’s shoulder to stem the bleeding. Blood gushed through his fingers. Seeing the pained expression on Seo-joon’s face, Yeon-woo shook his head.

    “I’m fine, I think it only grazed me. This much is really okay.”

    “Yeon-woo, you’re… a person who…”

    Seo-joon, still looking stricken, opened his mouth to say something but stopped. Suddenly, the hood of the car Yeon-woo leaned against began to crumple. Seo-joon quickly shielded Yeon-woo and moved away.

    Crack, thud! The parked cars around them crumpled or flew away like paper. Another controller is here. Seo-joon felt his heart sink. If they could crumple multiple cars in a row, this controller was of a higher rank than the one they had encountered on the rooftop.

    As he continued to move, Seo-joon tried to gauge the positions of the Espers.

    A tamer who manipulates the corpses of dead aberrations would be useless in this fight, so he ruled them out. The fact that they hadn’t encountered a teleporter (blinker) suggested that there wasn’t one involved.

    That left a blood bomber who could make close-range enemies explode, a fire-wielder (salamander), a binder who could immobilize with telekinesis, and a cloud controller who emitted electrical energy.

    Feeling overwhelmed, Seo-joon began leading Yeon-woo up the mountainside. Tat-tat-tat! Rat-a-tat-tat! Bullets rained down like hail, following their path.

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