"I've got a job for—" The God of Death burst into a certain redhead's room, impolitely breaking the window pane instead of using the door like a normal
hum— ahem, a normal
"No." The sole inhabitant of the room replied without thinking twice.
"Will you let me fin—" The nosy god complained, feeling wronged.
"NO. The last time you brought me a 'job', you sent me to a distant world with rabid people who worshipped the 'God of Heroes' who had a remarkable resemblance to me, and they didn't leave me alone ! One of them even followed me back! " The redhead snapped, pointing towards the window pane, you know, the one that was broken due to a certain someone who didn't know the use of doors.
The God of Death peeked outside and noticed something he had ignored while
room. Right outside the gates of the villa, was a
banner with "WE LOVE OUR GOD CALE HENITUSE" written in beautiful calligraphy. His eyes focussed on a person who was too far to be seen clearly, but they made up for it with their 'enthusiasm'. The God of Death saw the gleaming silver hair and the bright red robes the person was wearing and decided to buy some eye drops. What? A god needed some self care too, and this particular shade of red should be illegal.
"I swear that it's a nice job this time" The god pleaded.
Cale completely ignored him in favour of the more important things he was doing, also known as dissociating while staring at a wall. The redhead fondly liked to call it slacking off, but everybody knew that the poor 'slacker' didn't know the meaning of 'slacking off'.
The God of Death didn't really want to resort to this but…….. desperate times call for desperate measures.
"I'll pay extra."
Do not mistake Cale's nonchalant attitude for indifference. The death god knew him well enough to know that the redhead was interested and only wanted to test the waters so that he could get the maximum benefits with minimal work.
"You just have to heed the calls of children in need and solve their problems….and make sure that they don't get into any trouble…."
"You want me to babysit children?"
"I want you to babysit children for money . The happier the kids are, the richer you get."
It wasn't that the offer wasn't enticing enough...but…..
"There must be a catch."
"Not this time."
"That's what you said last time."
"This time, I'm serious."
"That's what you said—"
"You sound like a parrot."
"You made me a parrot."
The conversation came to a standstill, with none of them getting the upper hand.
".....I won't give you more tasks after this."
"Oh my god shut up , Cale!"
The redhead smirked. To be completely honest, he didn't really mind taking care of a few kids for money. But he was waiting for a certain something—
"Alright! I'll owe you a favour if you take up this task."
"That's absurd!" The frustrated god waved his hands up in the air. "Three favours." He tried to negotiate.
"Four favors and you get rid of that annoying fly outside."
"I can't owe you more than three favours." The God of Death pleaded. If Cale hadn't been the best person for this task, then he would've gone somewhere else by now. It was really tiring to work with cunning and opportunistic people. "And I'll get rid of your fanboy jumping outside since he was my fault in the first place." Faced with complete defeat, the god decided to be magnanimous.
"I'm glad you realise that." Cale smiled sarcastically. "I'll take up your offer but I have a question. Why do you want me to babysit people? Shouldn't this task come from somebody like the god of innocence or something? Who put you in charge of children?" He scoffed.
"All these children were touched by death in one way or the other." The god said cryptically.
".......I expect to be paid regularly." The redhead decided not to chase after the issue. He wasn't really interested in the reason. His experience said that the less he knew, the more he could slack off.
"Sure. Don't worry, you can believe in me!"
"No thanks. Now give me the details of the job."
"All the kids are in one world so you don't have to gather information about other worlds. I'll send you the details of the individual assignments in a while."
"Great! Now, get out!" Cale exclaimed mock-cheerfully, pointing towards the broken window pane.
The god of death pouted and repaired the glass with a wave of his hand.
"I'll leave now……." he said unwillingly.
"Don't forget to remove the banner when you take out the trash. " The corners of the unwilling hero's eyes crinkled and his lips stretched in a mocking smile.
If you had to live, then you had to run and run and run.
The world was full of monsters, most of them dressed in human skin. And if you were weak, then you either ran or got devoured by them.
Choi Han had never thought of himself as weak. He was the descendent of a family with centuries of history in martial arts. He had always been called 'gifted' and 'the cream of the crop'. His parents had been proud of him, his brothers and sisters looked up to him and his grandparents praised him as a genius.
So how was it that he lost everything in one single night? Twenty four hours ago, he had been smiling and laughing with his family. Now, twenty four hours later, they had vanished in a crackle of fire and a wisp of smoke, and all he was left with was a half torn wallet.
The people from child services looked at him with undisguised sympathy. Those eyes had the same look his sister had when she looked at an abandoned puppy.
'But I am a human.', he thought to himself.
He was carted off to an orphanage at the age of sixteen, and everybody knew that he was not going to be adopted. This didn't make others hate him any less.
"We already have a shortage of resources, and they sent another one. Do they think we are sponsored by billionaires? Hardly anybody donates to such a small orphanage like ours, and now we have another mouth to feed." He heard an orphanage worker complaining to her colleague.
"He won't even get adopted. He's too old." Another one commented.
"Well, he wouldn't get adopted even if he was younger. He's got that look. I've heard that he bullies other children in the orphanage!"
"Poor children. It's true! I saw him fight with Song Min and his friends. He absolutely beat them up!"
"He's going to be a delinquent when he becomes an adult."
Choi Han was used to people gossiping about him like this. He had tried to make friends when he first came here, but he soon found out that it just wasn't meant to be. He had tried to be peaceful when the bullying first started, but as a result, it became worse. So he decided to fight back.
The rumors became worse, but it wasn't something he cared about. He'd never expected to be adopted in the first place. Even if somebody wanted to, he would never be able to let them into his life after losing his whole family in such a way. He had no friends to care about; all of them had left him the moment he had the label of an 'orphan' attached to himself.
"There he is! Hyung, you have to avenge us!" A lanky black-haired boy pointed at Choi Han. There were around 7-9 burly young men with colourful hair following the boy. Each of them had a baseball bat in their hands. It was pretty comical, to be honest.
"Are you sure, Song Min? He doesn't look like much" A man with a golden mohawk spat the toothpick he was chewing on and stared at Choi Han skeptically.
"I'm sure, Lee hyung!" Song Min nodded like a chicken pecking on rice.
"Hya young man! Look what our little brother is saying! You actually dared to beat him up?"
Choi Han looked at the small crowd in front of him. Technically speaking, people like them had the fighting power of a chicken. But while fighting chickens wasn't that difficult, it was indeed one hell of an annoyance.
"Well?" The mohawk people were getting angry.
The teen finally nodded to himself as if making a decision, turned around—
— and ran with the fastest speed he could muster.
These people really weren't worth a trip to the police station.
For a few seconds, thug Lee and his lackeys stood with their jaws almost touching the floor. Then they gave a battle cry and ran after the teen who was supposed to be groveling under their feet.
A chase had started.
"Ugh! I knew the god of death was not worth the trust!" Cale cursed a certain bane of his existence. The mischievous god had transferred him to the place of his assignment, except, he had 'a bit' of an oversight.
"It's clear that he's directionally challenged!" Cale complained to himself, resigned to walking the rest of the way to the luxurious villa he was supposed to have in this world. The problem was that he didn't know where he was, except the fact that it was a badly lit, narrow alley.
He stepped forward, trying to find somebody who could show him the way out of this creepy alley, but before he could do that, he collided with a black haired boy who seemed to be running away from something.
"Hey I'm lost can you show me the way?" Cale shouted at the fastest speed he could, afraid that this person would run away and leave him alone to find the way out. In hindsight, it would've been better to just let him go.
The boy stopped short, almost colliding into a trash can in the process.
"You're lost in the alleys?" He asked as if looking at an alien. But to be honest, the teen was certainly the more weirdly dressed out of the two. He wore a patchy grey t-shirt that looked like a black t-shirt that had been washed one too many times, and the trousers from a school uniform. He held a satchel to his side and worst of all, he wore a pair of bathroom slippers. It was a disaster according to Cale, who liked to look his best at all times.
"Of course I am!" The redhead felt offended. "Do I look like somebody who ventures into creepy looking alleys for fun?"
Indeed. He looked like a rich kid, dressed in a comfortable but branded t-shirt, a jacket that looked expensive as hell and designer jeans straight from the covers of a fashion magazine. Even the sneakers he wore would be enough to feed all the children at the orphanage for half a month.
"How did you get here?"
"I was kidnapped, of course." Cale replied as if it was obvious.
"........I shouldn't have asked.." Choi Han muttered to himself.
"ARRRGH FIND HIM!" a distant roar echoed in the empty alleys and Choi Han realised he had been running before he came across this weird person.
"I suggest that you run if you don't want to get in trouble" he tried to warn the redhead one last time.
"What do you think I am doing?" Cale retorted sarcastically, not realising the gravity of the situation.
"There he is!" A voice shouted, and Cale suddenly found himself surrounded by a bunch of weird people in nightmarish clothes and multi colored mohawks.
"Hya punk you want to be beat up too?" A thug sneered at the redhead.
"??" Cale felt a set of question marks floating around his head. It took him some time to realise that the dark-haired punk was being chased by these people for some reason. Well, it was all well and good, but—
"What does this have to do with me?" He asked in confusion to nobody in particular.
The multi coloured thugs stopped for a moment. This wasn't in the script! Wasn't the handsome looking man supposed to be the hero and save the skinny kid?
"Y-you are not saving him?" They hesitated.
"Do I look like somebody who can fight?" Cale scoffed at the idiots.
"S-so… we can beat him up?"
".........that question is harmful for my conscience." Cale contemplated.
Choi Han, who had been ignored till now rolled his eyes in secret. He didn't expect anything from this stranger in the first place. But this situation was a bit hard to believe.
"If you're going to intervene then we'll beat you up too!" A thug with a golden mohawk threatened.
Cale backed up, seemingly scared of the thugs and this action coincidentally brought him near Choi Han.
"What did you do to them?" He asked in a whisper.
"Absolutely nothing. They are just bullies." Choi Han whispered back.
"Then you have to trust me for now." Cale muttered while looking at the thugs with a shrewd expression, as if he was going to fight.
"......." Choi Han had thought that this person was an idiot. Now he realised that he was a self-sacrificing idiot.
"I have decided that I can't watch you beat up a minor in front of me. So we've decided to—"
Cale paused, probably for dramatic effect, and then took on a fighting stance.
"—RUN" He screamed at the top of his lungs and started running as if the hounds from hell were biting at his ankles. He didn't forget to drag the dumbfounded teen with himself.
Fighting was well and good but Cale believed in non-violence.
The twists and turns inside the alley were as confusing as it got. But somehow, they managed to find their way out. The good news was that they had reached a bustling street. The bad news was that their pursuers had caught up to them.
This time, the thugs had the presence of mind to surround them from all sides, leaving no way to run.
'Third time's the charm', Choi Han thought sarcastically.
However, this bout of cleverness was detrimental to their escape.
The black-haired teen looked at the wheezing young man next to him. He looked dead tired.
'I don't think he can go on…..' Choi Han thought. 'Whatever. I'll just beat them up. It's just wasting some time in the police station and foregoing one meal in the orphanage as punishment….'
The main point was that for some reason, the stranger beside him had covered for him, risking a beating just to give him a chance to escape (For this, Cale wanted to say "I hadn't. I didn't. I was just saving my own skin!").
Cale wondered if he should just blast away these people with his ancient powers and risk being taken away by the magical police if this place had one in the first place. He really didn't like being hit. However, he was a bit too late. The skinny punk who had been running with him rolled his sleeves and beat up the ever-loving shit out of these small time thugs.
'Good. I didn't want to be a hero saving the damsel in distress anyway.' he nodded, feeling some pity for the poor mohawk weirdos who would probably have more than a few broken bones—and ruined mohawks.
"What's happening here?!" An authoritative voice exclaimed from far away. Somebody had called the police.
'About time.', Cale thought, but he had to sigh when he saw the black haired punk flinch a little. It seemed like he still had to save somebody. What even was his life?
He gritted his teeth and stood in the path of a wayward fist from a thug who was a bit slow on the uptake.
"AIGOO LOOK AT THESE PUNKS! BEATING UP INNOCENT PEOPLE IN BROAD DAYLIGHT !" Cale screamed, staggering dramatically. Then he spit out a mouthful of dark red liquid that looked suspiciously like blood.
And thus, the policemen who just arrived, got to see the heart-touching scene of a good samaritan rescuing a bullied young man.
"So you're saying that you were kidnapped by some bad people and taken to an alley and you somehow managed to escape their clutches, only to run into these thugs who were bullying an innocent highschooler for money. They noticed you and decided to give chase since looting you was obviously more profitable. You somehow managed to escape again and ended up on this street and these thugs started beating you up. Am I right?"
The police officer asked, half in disbelief and half in awe. What was this? A fanfiction?
"Yes. This is exactly what I am saying!" Cale clapped happily. 'Great! You had your statement, now let us go, I am hungry!' he pleaded in his heart.
The punk who had tagged along was being questioned a few metres away. After asking, he turned around and walked towards Cale with a concerned expression on his face, like a puppy worried for his master.
"Are you alright?", He asked, looking at the blood-stained stranger in front of him.
"Their statements match! Also, these people with colourful hair already have a record in the police station. They are famous for their delinquent behaviour. " The policemen nodded at each other, handcuffing the thugs to cart them to the police station.
"Are you…..alright?" Choi Han asked the person who could be considered his saviour.
"Of course! What would happen to me?" Cale couldn't understand the thought process of the teenager in front of him.
"....this...this blood… should I take you to a hospital?" the teen asked with a guilty conscience. If he had been a bit faster then this person wouldn't have gotten hurt.
Cale blinked at Choi Han, feeling a bit confused, until he realised what he was talking about. He rubbed at the dried blood at the corner of his lips.
Yes, it was his own blood. No, he didn't have the perverted habit of carrying around a pouch of fake blood wherever he went. Neither did he have a condition that allowed him to vomit blood whenever and wherever he pleased. The reason he vomited blood was actually the fault of the god of death, who yeeted him into a different world without letting him make the appropriate arrangements. This, coupled with the fact that he had to run around after the harrowing journey when he already had an internal injury from interdimensional travel, made him vomit blood.
"It's not your fault. It was my kidnapper." He assured, internally cursing a certain god to Oblivion.
Well, at least, Cale thought he was being reassuring. However, his words actually had the exact opposite result than what he had intended.
Choi Han thought back to how the weak-looking young man had dragged him while wheezing, probably feeling miserable due to his internal injuries, and felt even more guilty. He opened his mouth to thank the person before him and realised that he never asked for this person's name.
It somehow felt really awkward to ask for his name now, but it was even more awkward to never know his saviour's name just because he felt too awkward to ask for it. Caught in this dilemma, the innocent teen stood rooted to the spot, impersonating a sad mushroom.
There was a brief silence, and Cale found that this punk was getting more and more sulky for some reason. Feeling a bit vexed, Cale decided to introduce himself.
"I am Cale Henituse, by the way. What's your name?"
"I am Choi Han." The teen answered, feeling relieved.
"........come again?" Cale almost started cursing the God of Death out loud. Wasn't this name the same as the name of the kid he was supposed to babysit?!