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    Chapter 1

    Sijin’s hardships began approximately two weeks ago, on the day he first arrived at the F12 Center.

    On the first day, Sijin loaded a heavy suitcase into his car and headed to the F12 Center. It was the largest Center in South Korea with the highest number of special forces with abilities, and it had achieved the most remarkable results.

    Ironically, Sijin was just an ordinary person going there. He couldn’t materialize the power of nature like an Esper or freely manipulate the flow of energy like a Guide.

    However, Baek Sijin was an essential presence for these Ability Users. In the F12 Center, which focused a lot on eliminating monsters, the rate of those who lose out of control among affiliated Ability Users was high. To somehow reduce this rate, the Center’s director employed Sijin, an Ability User doctor, as a diagnostic examiner.

    ‘No matter what, I didn’t expect the probability to be this high.’

    It was only today that Sijin learned about the rate of those who go out of control at the F12 Center. It was said that one Ability User goes out of control every month. In other Centers, the average was two to three times a year. But here, it was once a month.

    ‘I guess that means my life is at risk every month…’

    Sijin was consumed by a sense of professional responsibility. The first image that came to mind when he thought about his situation was quite clear.

    When one watches a sci-fi movie, there is always a character who is the first to be sacrificed after someone awakens their power. It was usually the researchers managing the experimentees next to them. Oh, should it be the graduate students…?

    Anyway, Sijin felt like a sacrificial lamb now. Managing Ability Users who could go into an out-of-control state at any time, he might be the first sacrificial lamb to be engulfed by that power while managing them.

    Nevertheless, Sijin was determined to do his best to manage these Ability Users. After parking, Sijin made a solemn vow alone and tightly gripped the round platinum pendant hanging around his neck.

    Thud.

    Having finished his thoughts, Sijin got out of the car. Before him was the F12 Center, which was much more beautiful than he had anticipated. As the second largest Center in South Korea, its large buildings were as prominent as a campus.

    Sijin dragged his heavy suitcase and walked towards the center.

    The landscaping of the Center was well-maintained, but there were occasional signs of burnt trees or a statue turned upside down. These marks, like memorials, were traces of accidents caused by Ability Users playing around. Seeing these signs, Sijin finally realized that he had truly arrived at the F12 Center.

    And here, there was Ham Geonwu, who had saved him in the past.

    ‘My heart is pounding for no reason.’

    Taking a long deep breath, Sijin calmly made his way to the security checkpoint. In the refreshing month of May, the spring weather was clear and warm, contrasting with Sijin’s tense state.

    After a simple inspection, Sijin headed towards the large building he was directed to. As he entered, the first thing he noticed was the administrative office and a lobby that carried a sense of history and the passage of time.

    And in the middle of the lobby, Sijin locked eyes with a well-dressed, handsome man.

    Strangely, the man was staring straight at him.

    ‘Why is he looking at me?’

    Sijin looked at him in confusion, but then thought that he might be looking at something behind him and tried to walk past.

    At that moment, a clear and friendly voice came from behind.

    “Hello, you must be Dr. Baek Sijin, right?”

    Someone grabbed Sijin’s wrist. Turning around, Sijin had to look up at the tall man. It was the man who had been standing in the lobby.

    The man, also wearing glasses like Sijin, had a neat and tidy appearance. It seemed like he had been waiting for Sijin, as he smiled slightly and reached out for a handshake.

    “I’m here to guide you from the Administration. Nice to meet you.”

    “Ah… Nice to meet you too. I’m Baek Sijin.”

    Sijin politely shook hands and smiled. As he looked closely at the man in front of him, he found himself staring blankly.

    The man’s naturally flowing chocolate brown hair and well-balanced, handsome features were impressive. Although he appeared cool and composed overall, there was certainly an air of seriousness about him. He exuded an attractive confidence, and his light brown eyes seemed increasingly mysterious the more Sijin looked at them.

    However, noticing the slight redness at the tips of the man’s ears, Sijin sensed a hint of nervousness.

    ‘Did they deliberately send a good-looking person?’

    Even Sijin, who normally didn’t pay much attention to appearances, couldn’t take his eyes off him and found himself pondering. Moreover, a pleasant scent of soap emanated from him, which further endeared him to Sijin.

    Surprisingly, every time the man moved, the solid muscle contours beneath his suit were revealed, making Sijin wonder if he was really an administrative staff member.

    The staff member, after scrutinizing Sijin for a moment and noticing Sijin’s puzzled expression, quickly began to follow the procedures.

    “Dr. Baek, you look much more impressive in person than in photos. I’ve been waiting for you and almost didn’t recognize you.”

    “I don’t think that’s something I should be hearing… but thank you. Are you going to guide me personally today?”

    “Yes, but first, let’s do a fingerprint verification before you tour the Center.”

    The staff kindly offered the pad, as expected in an Ability Center, where security procedures were in place. Sijin obediently placed his palm on the pad as instructed by the staff. Soon, Sijin’s information appeared.

    [Diagnostic Examiner Baek Sijin]

    [Assignment Center: Incheon F12 Center – Ability Diagnostic Team]

    [Assignment Date: May 12, 2031]

    ‘I’m already listed as a diagnostic examiner.’

    Sijin thought to himself as he read the words. Sijin held a doctorate in Ability Studies.

    Diagnostic Examiners, usually individuals like Sijin with a doctorate or medical degree in Abilities, were assigned to each Center. Therefore, people often referred to Diagnostic Examiners as doctors or physicians, mixing the terms freely.

    “Thank you for confirming.”

    The staff said as they manipulated the pad for a moment. Sijin felt a bit annoyed as he saw his face photo, age of 33, height of 177cm, and weight of 66kg displayed below. It would be embarrassing if this information popped up every time he entered a place.

    “This physical information only appears during the initial check.”

    Whether he noticed Sijin’s reaction or not, the staff adjusted a few options. As a result, only Sijin’s affiliation and face photo appeared. It was a picture taken just a week ago.

    Sijin gazed at his own photo for a moment.

    In the photo, a gentle-looking man wearing glasses was visible. His slightly wavy jet-black hair was neatly swept to the side of his forehead, and his somewhat pale face appeared tired and delicate. Sijin didn’t like the picture much, feeling that his face looked too pale.

    As the staff finished manipulating the pad, he politely guided Sijin.

    “If you’re ready, I’ll start the tour. Oh, would you like me to take your carry-on bag?”

    “Yes, thank you.”

    The staff placed Sijin’s carry-on bag inside the Administration area. Sijin briefly caught the staff paying attention to him, but the staff quickly focused on his work. Sijin felt puzzled. For some reason, it seemed like he was deliberately pretending not to notice.

    “Shall we go?”

    “Ah, yes.”

    Sijin began to walk following the handsome staff member. The staff first showed Sijin the exterior view of the main building where they were. Outside, various buildings were erected around a beautiful and large lake in the center.

    “The Center looks really impressive. There’s even a lake…”

    “Yes, the view is quite nice, isn’t it? This place was originally built as a university campus, but the sea monsters suddenly overflowed, so the school’s president sold it to the government at a low price. It’s a good thing for us, though. Well, sort of.”

    The view somehow felt refreshing. Sijin had only seen dreary and closed-off Centers before, but this place was the complete opposite. Looking around, Sijin asked the question that had been on his mind.

    “Is there a separate facility for training Ability Users here?”

    “We have training facilities up to the 3rd basement floor, and there’s also one behind the building, although you can’t see it from here. The underground training facility here is larger than the main school branch.”

    Sijin nodded and followed along. 

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