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    The place Seon Jae-chan was suddenly confined to was one of the guest bedrooms at the end of the second-floor corridor in the same building.

    “There’s no use trying to get out. We’ll be guarding the door. It’ll also be hard to escape through the terrace.”

    Let’s get along well and not tire each other out. The burly guard with a stern face patted Jae-chan on the shoulder. He was right. A new lock that he hadn’t seen before was fixed on the terrace door from the outside.

    The door slammed shut, and Jae-chan stood there in front of it, reviewing the current situation.

    ‘Jae-chan, your mother’s been acting strange lately. She asked me to help her with a divorce…’

    He recalled his aunt’s urgent voice. It was true that the divorce was supposed to happen around this time. A year ago, he had already heard from Seon Eun-soo that their parents were preparing for divorce. He thought they were in the process of negotiating an amicable divorce with his mother’s side of the family, but judging from his aunt’s reaction, that didn’t seem to be the case.

    Why had his mother not asked her family for help this time, unlike before?

    ‘Because of Seon Eun-soo?’

    Since the Gu family, his mother’s side, was on par with Jae-chan’s paternal family, Seon Eun-soo, an A-class Esper, was his mother’s pride. For his mother, who was obsessed with keeping up appearances, divorce itself was already shameful. On top of that, Seon Eun-soo, unlike before, unexpectedly went abroad to study (it was actually facial reconstruction disguised as studying abroad) and upon returning, completely lost her former reputation. This probably made it difficult for his mother to easily ask her family for help, knowingly or unknowingly.

    ‘So she must have asked Aunt instead.’

    And it wasn’t surprising that his father was uncooperative with the divorce. Even before his regression, the two had nearly gone to court.

    After finishing organizing the situation, Jae-chan looked around the room.

    “…”

    Even though it was a guest room, it was familiar to him. He had grown up here since birth, and even after leaving on his own, he had continued to come in and out for a while, considering it home.

    He knew the exterior layout well. Beyond the locked window was a dense thicket.

    There were recently replaced tables and two cozy armchairs neatly placed in front of the locked terrace.

    Thump thump. Jae-chan nudged the furniture with his foot, gauging their weight, and quickly made a decision. He silently ran to the door and locked the doorknob.

    Then he ran straight back to the table. Without hesitation, he lifted the heavy table and smashed it against the window.

    Bang-!

    The window closest to the lock ring shattered with a loud noise.

    ‘…! What’s going on inside?!’

    Click click, the sound of someone belatedly turning the doorknob was heard, but Jae-chan ignored it and removed the remaining broken glass pieces with his fist wrapped in the curtain. He pushed his hand through the now clear gap to unlock the latch. It took only a moment for the terrace door to open wide with one kick.

    Jae-chan caught his breath as the cold wind blew in. Of course, even if he didn’t act now, his aunt or Woo-jin would help. But just waiting didn’t suit his personality.

    He rushed back inside and dragged one of the armchairs to the terrace. The carpeted floor made a harsh scraping sound as the chair was dragged.

    Thud, the armchair was thrown over the terrace, landing in the bushes below as a cushion.

    Bang!

    Click click, the violently shaking door opened forcefully. A couple of security guards with room keys belatedly rushed in. However, what greeted them was an empty room with only fluttering curtains.

    Seeing the furniture that had been thrown into the bushes to cushion his fall, the guards quickly radioed in.

    “Undeployed, undeployed…! Target has escaped! Check the garden area!”

    And after the guards disappeared, Jae-chan, who had remained in the room all along, deactivated his concealment state. As expected, it seems his father hadn’t yet informed the employees about his ability.

    ‘Well, there wasn’t time to inform them. And he must have been conflicted about it.’

    Jae-chan was an unregistered Esper. His father, who had already exposed many of the family’s private matters to the security company, it would have been hard for him to disclose Jae-chan’s abilities immediately.  He probably didn’t expect Jae-chan, who had only received normal guide training, to take action immediately.

    Anyway, the time was important. He needed to leave before they realized that the garden scene was a fake.

    Jae-chan carefully used his ability again, making sure not to touch the door. Fortunately, the hallway was empty, so he quickly deactivated his concealment ability. His ability was highly inefficient, so he needed to use it only when necessary.

    The place he headed to was his father’s dressing room located in the hallway across from him.

    Without time to examine the interior filled with expensive clothing and watches on display, Jae-chan opened a drawer attached to the wall. Inside the wooden drawer with visible grain, four or five car smart keys were neatly arranged on a velvet cushion. These were meaningless things to his mother, who did not have a driver’s license.

    He grabbed one of them and ran straight to his mother’s bedroom. It had been a long time since his parents had separate bedrooms.

    “… Jae-chan?”

    In the bedroom lit only by a night light, Jae-chan found his mother confined to the room, wearing a sepia-toned indoor dress. It had been less than 3 minutes since the initial commotion.

    On his mother’s thin wrist was an unfamiliar metal object. It was an ability control restraint.

    Jae-chan was able to guess several circumstances. His mother may have tried to escape several times by using her mental ability, or how the ability restraint itself could damage her face that she hadn’t attempted to escape since then.

    “Let’s go.”

    They had to move before his father could sort out the confusion and catch up. He might be coming up here by now. Fortunately, his mother gathered only her phone and wallet without protest.

    The two tiptoed out into the empty hallway and turned into the passage connected to Seon Min-yeol’s personal esper training room. The building’s grandiose structure, with one large building connected to several auxiliary buildings, made it easier for them to escape.

    After coming down to the first floor and going out the back door of the training room with the lights off, Jae-chan used his ability. The hired personnel searching everywhere didn’t notice them.

    “We’re going to the garage.”

    Jae-chan whispered, pulling the thin wrist he was holding. They quickly crossed the cold garden, which had already darkened due to the winter season.

    When the two successfully snuck into the garage, Jae-chan was breathing heavily. He had maintained his concealment state throughout the garden, and all his senses were already on edge.

    To make matters worse, someone seemed to have seen the only garage door opening.

    ‘Over there! I saw them go in!’

    Following the urgent voice from outside the door, the locked doorknob began to rattle. Bang! Bang bang! The commotion of someone pounding on the front vehicle screen door continued.

    In the meantime, the SUV’s headlights blinked as it recognized the smart key Jae-chan had brought.

    “Get in.”

    “Huh? Oh…”

    Gu Ji-young hesitated but climbed onto the high body of the car.

    Jae-chan started the SUV, ignoring the continuing banging sound from outside, and pressed a button on the wall. It was the front entrance opening device.

    As soon as he returned to the driver’s seat and locked the car doors, security guards crawled under the slowly opening screen door. They swiftly approached the car, banging on its body with their hands.

    And beyond the fully open garage, Jae-chan saw his father running directly towards him.

    Seon Min-yeol.

    A-class Esper, the Union’s greatest hero.

    The shield of the Union’s citizens who had protected the people from ability terrorist organizations in numerous national crises was now charging forward with the spirit of a seasoned warrior.

    However, strictly speaking, he was just a support type—a shield.

    ‘It might take quite some loading time.’

    Jae-chan held the steering wheel firmly and stepped on the accelerator.

    The SUV quickly shook off the guards and burst through the partially opened screen door. Ahh! As they came dangerously close to colliding with her husband, Gu Ji-young screamed reflexively.

    But Jae-chan swerved the wheel. Screech-! Scraping the side of the vehicle against the semi-translucent energy shield his father had half-formed, Jae-chan charged toward the lake.

    ‘Make it worth the money!’

    The SUV being driven was built using a military jeep as its base model and was a vehicle suitable for off-road use. Jae-chan personally chose the smart key after seeing the brand mark.

    Splash! A water bomb sprayed as the front bumper plunged into the lake. The car body shook violently, and again, his mother’s scream rang out as she grabbed the seatbelt. Despite his heightened senses from using his ability, Jae-chan held the steering wheel tightly. He pressed the accelerator and sped along the lakeshore.

    The tires crushed mounds of dirt, scattering artificial gravel everywhere. Guards were running towards them from a distance, but Jae-chan accelerated toward the main gate. Although his father’s intangible shield was as solid as a steel wall, it had the limitation of needing to be close to the caster himself, so putting distance between them was crucial.

    Thus, when Gu Ji-young, who had been clutching her seatbelt tightly, opened her tightly shut eyes, they were already in front of the main gate.

    “Jae, Jae-chan-aah!”

    Her attempt to dissuade her son turned into a scream.

    Crash-!

    It was because they had already crashed through the gate. As Jae-chan floored the accelerator, the speedometer rose frantically, and the lock on the pretty forged door with a harmonious combination of black and gold was completely shattered.

    “…!”

    Gu Ji-young froze as if her breath had stopped and then looked back in bewilderment.

    The gate, rapidly receding in the distance, was swaying pathetically wide open. The impact of breaking through the gate with the car body was less than expected. It seemed the car had shaken more when driving along the lakeshore.

    Meanwhile, Jae-chan, who had carried out similar operations numerous times while dealing with Black Swan as part of the intelligence agency, wasn’t surprised. He had carefully noted the gate’s structure and the weak point in the lock when they first arrived.

    Vrooom-! The SUV sped up, quickly crossing the driveway and leaving the area behind.

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