Chapter 12.2

The afternoon had been a grueling session of document processing, but Yi-soo’s focused determination allowed her to leave the prosecutor’s office at the designated time. As she settled into a bus seat, the sky outside gradually darkened, indicating the approaching evening. 

The journey to Hyun-seong’s place from the Southern District Prosecutor’s Office would take about 30 minutes by bus. While it was convenient not to have any transfers, the drawback was the 15-minute walk from the bus stop to the destination. She wished she had her own car, but owning one was a luxury she couldn’t afford at the moment, especially since she hadn’t even obtained her driver’s license.

“I should have taken care of that earlier…” Yi-soo mused, leaning against the rattling window and closing her eyes. The past month had been a relentless stream of hard work. Throughout her four years of university, she had taken on various part-time jobs and then diligently passed the bar exam without taking any breaks. Three more years of intense effort had led her to finally don the prosecutor’s uniform. While her peers in their twenties were enjoying leisurely moments and traveling abroad, Yi-soo had pushed herself to the brink of exhaustion.

Yet, she couldn’t shake the feeling that getting her driver’s license earlier would have been a wise decision. Gazing at her phone screen, she made a firm resolution to obtain her license before reaching the age of thirty.

The clock on her phone showed 8:40 PM. Getting off at the next bus stop would ensure she wouldn’t be late. There was no additional message from Hyun-seong, which seemed odd. Suddenly, her mind wandered.

What kind of home would the heir of one of the major law firms live in? Being a lawyer, especially one from Yoon & Kang, he must reside in an impressive place. However, Yi-soo didn’t feel envious; she was merely curious about the environment he inhabited.

“The next bus stop is Towol Intersection,” the automated voice announced, signaling their imminent arrival. Yi-soo rose from her seat, tapping her transportation card on the reader with a distinctive beep as the bus came to a halt.

Turning on her phone’s map app, she mentally traced out the route ahead. Navigating wasn’t her strong suit; she wasn’t entirely directionally challenged, but it wasn’t her forte either.

“It seems I have to go through some alleyways,” she murmured, glancing at the rather intricate pedestrian path displayed on her phone. With a resigned sigh, she resolved to stick to the directions. Stepping off the bus, she was wearing casual shoes, perhaps suitable for the impending walk.

Her first steps in the alley seemed a bit unsure as she turned left instead of right, momentarily confused by the somewhat complicated route. However, once she oriented herself, the way forward became clearer.

Twisting and turning her phone screen, Yi-soo followed the digital guide, steadfastly making her way toward Hyun-seong’s office.

The minutes crept closer to 9 PM, and despite the summer evening, the sky had already darkened considerably. Yi-soo walked with her gaze fixed on her brightly illuminated phone screen, but something made her pause for a moment. A familiar sensation washed over her, the same unease she had experienced a few hours ago in front of the prosecutor’s office. The feeling crept up her skin again, sending tingles down her spine. Her eyes trembled slightly, reflecting her bewilderment.

“Is it just my imagination…?” she questioned aloud, turning her head to survey her surroundings. However, there was no one there, only a solitary green leaf rustling nearby. Her suspicions remained, and she resumed walking, quickening her pace. Her senses felt heightened, every sound and movement alerting her.

Thump, thump.

Yi-soo’s ears perked up, her focus honing in on the distinct sound. It was not the sound of her own footsteps; it was something else—rough and solid, clearly the footsteps of a man.

In that moment, her already pale face turned even whiter. She stopped again, and just like that, the unfamiliar footsteps halted as well. She felt a shiver of fear run down her spine.

No, it wasn’t her imagination. Someone was undoubtedly following her from behind. Panic gripped her, and a flood of thoughts raced through her mind. Should she turn around to check? Should she confront whoever it was? Fear and uncertainty battled within her as she weighed her options.

The internal struggle intensified as Yi-soo weighed the risks of turning her head against the potential danger of being caught in the same spot for too long. If the person following her noticed her awareness, it could escalate the situation further.

The dimly lit alley offered no solace. Her eyes darted around, searching for any signs of help or safety. Her phone screen displayed the remaining distance to the exit, a mere hundred meters. The entrance to the office stood just ahead, tantalizingly close.

“I need to think this through,” Yi-soo whispered to herself, trying to steady her rapidly beating heart. It could all be just her imagination, a baseless fear. Yet, the chains of her past experiences clung to her ankles, making her second-guess every step she took.

Summoning every ounce of courage, she made a resolute decision and dashed forward. Her breath hitched in her throat as she ran, covering the short distance with an almost desperate urgency. But strangely, the footsteps remained hauntingly close, refusing to fade away.

Her eyes darted anxiously around the surroundings, seeking any signs of security or assistance. The office should have security guards; they could help her if she encountered the person following her.

“Ah!” A sudden grip on her shoulder made Yi-soo gasp in shock, freezing her in her tracks. 



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