She could barely sleep. Yet, she was happy enough that she still helped someone out. For the first time, she came to recognize there was such a sense of justice within her. Acting out as the Magical Girl and talking nonsense was so entertaining.
In a way, her destructive activities was a method for her to resolve the stress she was getting from work.
Doing something good for the society was really just an extra thing. Every time she bashed the monsters down, Acacia was, in fact, imagining she was beating her boss to death.
Of course, nobody really knew what she was actually thinking so it did not really matter for anyone.
The life as Acacia had been going on for six months and although her stress was resolved, acting as Acacia had become somewhat of an obligation to her.
People expected Acacia to pop up on the scene and she had to sacrifice all her free time to get on the subway, keeping to that expectation.
It was tiring and her head was spinning inside all day yet it was doable. In fact, the moments when she was not Acacia had become more boring and meaningless for her.
However, the fact that her power was actually fuelled by her own life was something she could not believe so easily. Kang-Joon’s suggestions and warning were indeed startling yet she could not wholly trust someone she had only met for the first time.
‘He must be lying. I’ve seen the cases of management firms trapping hunters with fraud on news. He must be a fraud…’
The so-called ‘Slavery Contract’ done by some management firms is very famous even to the public. The blacklist of toxic managements which hunters should avoid is updated real-time, frequently.
Of course, she was only aware of the facts exposed to the public through the news media but she knew for sure that there are corrupted managements that rip off the hunters.
So she came to think that there was nothing good in trusting the words of someone she did not even know. With more concerns filling up her head, she blankly listened to the spreading sound of the siren along the road.
[Warning, Warning. There has been a C-Rank Core wave detected near Sindorim Hyundai Department Store. The unit in charge is on the move right now. Civilians and workers near the area, please be obedient to the control of the army within the operation zone. Warning, Warning…]
For the warnings below B-Rank, there is no evacuation order as the situation can be resolved fairly quick and easily. Even on the subway, there is only a warning announcement for such situations and the subway itself sometimes even stops at the stations without bypassing unless the Core zone is very close.
Due to the large population, an abnormal phenomenon in Seoul is frequent and if there is an evacuation order for every single situation, there is a possibility of the whole society being paralyzed.
The public got used to the phenomenon and the adequate systems have been setup.
However, Gi-Na has not done today’s good deed yet. No one knows what could happen if B-Rank monsters started flooding out of a Core with D-Rank wave like last time.
Speeding up her steps, she walked into a café nearby. After getting her drink, she fell right onto her table. The Magical Girl Acacia was still in action.
Resolving the situation was easy. Grabbing her drink which was half melted, she walked out and continued her way back home. Still, the soldiers and the hunters were appreciative of her help.
If she stepped into the Core distribution process and claimed her share, it would have broken out to a dispute regarding the trespassing and intervention of designated areas.
In fact, she well knew that the only reason why those management firms did not have any problem with her hunting in their areas was because she did not ever claim any of the rewards from the hunt. About that, she was rather skeptical.
Actually, there was no place where she was really needed. She knew that. Solving a problem that would have been solved one way or another was not really doing a good deed for anyone.
The situations at different places were resolved by other people yet she intervened like an unwanted guest, stomped on the monsters as she wanted and disappeared into thin air.
It was obvious that she would have to be in a conflict with the hunters in the area if she ever claimed anything
These days, her focus has been more on the fancy destruction than helping others. She did not like seeing herself shifting away from her original purpose.
With her head being filled with more thoughts, Gi-Na was walking back home. All of a sudden, she felt her head being very light. Next moment, something flooded out from her inside.
Stumbling down to the ground, she barely leaned onto a wall and held herself up. Opening her hands, she could see what came out of her mouth with a cough.
Her right hand was covered in red. Still feeling the last bit of the dizziness, she stood back up straight.
She came to think that maybe she was just being plain stupid. Nobody ever said they really needed her. She was just giving away free income to the hunters and enjoying the cheer of the people as if she was thirsty for their attention.
No one would say it was the wrong decision yet it could not be seen to be right as well. She did not quite know what coughing blood really indicated but it was obvious that there was something wrong with her body. She came to be reminded of Kang-Joon’s words.
‘Gi-Na, what you are doing now is dangerous. Both for your body and… society.’
She then came to think maybe she is just an unnecessary piece that is trying to shove itself into the already complete, well-functioning world. The world did not need heroes.
The words from Kang-Joon woke Gi-Na up. With the coughing of the blood, she came to see the paradox she had been carrying in herself.
‘What…should I do?’
Living as the Magical Girl, she was getting used to only destruction and killing. She was well aware of the danger that once she went one step wrong, she would turn into a mass killing machine and nothing more.
Even at that moment, the government was moving as quick as possible to find Acacia, the unregistered hunter.
Standing in front of the door to her room, she hesitated for a bit. Wiping the blood off her hand and onto her tracksuit, she picked up her phone then contacted Kang-Joon right away.
After a few signals, Kang-Joon picked up
“I need to ask you a few things.”
Even with the sudden phone call, Kang-Joon answered calmly.
“Can we meet right now?”
“Sure. Where are you right now?”
Disregarding all the management firm stuff, she wanted to ask someone what she needed to do. Ironically, the only person she could really talk to was not her family or even friends, but a guy who she had just met for the first time.
They met up later that night, they sat down at a café and talked for a long time. The next day was a Sunday so both of them had a lot of time in their hands.
Gi-Na opened up to Kang-Joon and came to confess all the agonies and struggles she had been carrying and why she had been hunting as the Magical Girl.
Kang-Joon did not say or advise much about anything. Just nodding his head, he acknowledged the struggles Gi-Na was going through.
‘Yea, I see.’
‘That must’ve been tough.’
‘I think that sometimes as well.’
His responses were simple yet he never stopped being open and positive throughout the conversation.
By the end of her confession, the outside was already brightening up. Gi-Na never really knew that she was a type of person who could talk that much and that long.
By the time all the talk was over, Gi-Na was just plainly looking into the empty cup of hers.
As she let everything that was building inside her flood out, there was nothing more for her to say. She was almost like a bottle that flooded out all the water it was containing.
Looking at Gi-Na, Kang-Joon put on a small smile.
“What if you became a real hunter?”
“Huh? Bu..but I’m scared to go into that managing facility…. Once they came to find out about me they even might sue me for all the things I’ve done as Acacia…”
“I know a way around this kind of problem, though.”
Grabbing his straw, Kang-Joon gave it a little spin.
“First of all, just register as a pure hunter. There is no restriction for anyone to submit a form. Once you resolve any sort of situation with No-Class hunter certificate, an F-Class one will come out right away. Since then, you are a legitimate hunter.”
“What should I do after that?”
“Once you get your first hunter ID, the classification for you is almost over. So even if you use your powers as an Awake, your hunter ID will sort of protect you from all the problems. The classification of the hunters in our country is pretty loose so they group the Knights and the Mutants together and the pure Hunters with the Awakes. After the Returners appeared, they have been pretty tough only on those people and the Awakes are kind of set loose.”
Once Kang-Joon pulled out his expertise in the field, Gi-Na felt her concentration all scattering away. Yet, she had to leave everything to him about this kind of industry-related problems.
Kang-Joon again put on a subtle smile at her.
“You will have to sign a contract first. If you are under a care from a firm rather than being a freelancer, the firm will represent you for most of the situations and you won’t really have to do anything.”
“I…might go to one of those massive firms. Why are you telling me all this?”
To Kang-Joon who was giving away the tips Gi-Na never knew about, she asked.
“Like I said. I’m the only manager in this entire country who can manage a person with The Avatar ability. I mean, if you are happy to regret…”
Kang-Joon was not lying this time and it would only be Gi-Na’s loss if she did not trust him.
Above all, she needed someone to diagnose her current state, especially after her vomiting up blood. Looking at Kang-Joon cautiously, she finally nodded her head slowly.
Then, she had to figure out how she would submit her resignation at work.
The next Monday, Kang-Joon turned up at the office with Gi-Na, who needed to urgently use her leave, and signed the contract.
Miss Seol still was not convinced that Gi-Na really was Acacia so she needed to use her ability right before Miss Seol’s eyes. Having appeared as the little Magical Girl, Gi-Na was embarrassed to death and looked at her sleeping self strangely.
Once the contract was done, Gi-Na said that her first real day at the firm would be a little later as she needed to tidy up her current job.
Gi-Na came back to her work and put the management on hold until her resignation was processed and her job was passed over successfully to the next person. Kang-Joon made sure he warned Gi-Na that she should never appear as Acacia anymore.
***(E/N: Flashback over)
Having listened to the whole story told by Kang-Joon, Miss Seol shakes her head left and right, still shocked by everything that she saw and heard. The Finance manager is still snoring in his seat(E/N: where do I sign up to be a “Finance manager), completely unaware of what is going on in the office.
Whether the Magical Girl who has been making the industry rather noisy is sitting right in his office or not, it seems more important to him that he makes up for all the sleep he missed out on.
“I don’t believe this…I really don’t…”
“It just doesn’t make sense that Acacia, that Acacia who every management has been longing after, just signed with us. This is one of your bullshit rights? Is this some sort of a prank? Man…Kang-Joon, what really are you? Did you really just bring in the Magical Girl into the office in ten days?”
“Well, I’m the manager you employed.”