“…In any case, that’s why I couldn’t approach the police. To be honest, I probably shouldn’t be revealing this to you either, but you just seemed so sympathetic…” Su- bin muttered.
“Ms. Jeong Su-bin, a trial is on the horizon, and scarcely any evidence remains to support the claim that Gi Dong-yeong was assaulted. To establish Seo Jae-young’s culpability for the harm inflicted, your testimony is imperative. Would you be willing to recount the details you’ve shared with me in a court of law?”
Su-bin’s response was accompanied by a startled expression, a reaction born out of unexpected surprise. Yi-soo understood that coaxing someone who hesitated even to visit a police station into testifying would prove to be an uphill task.
Nonetheless, Su-bin stood as the sole eyewitness at this moment. Yi-soo adopted a determined tone to persuade her further.
“Without your testimony, Seo Jae-young might evade conviction. Despite the unambiguous assault with a golf club on Gi Dong-yeong, he could evade any repercussions. Gi Dong-yeong sustained a serious injury—a fractured arm—as a result of that attack.”
“To that extent? But… what should I do?”
“I implore your assistance, Ms. Jeong Su-bin. Your presence in court and a concise account of the events is all that’s needed. It won’t consume much of your time. A single word from you could emancipate Gi Dong-yeong from this unjust situation.”
Su-bin’s countenance betrayed her indecision, her eyes reflecting her inner turmoil. There remained time until the trial. From her possession, Yi-soo extracted her business card and positioned it on the table. Securing this eyewitness was of utmost importance.
“Here’s my business card. Take your time to ponder this, and feel free to reach out to me. If, by chance, I’m unavailable, you can also contact me at room 1604 of the Southern District Prosecutor’s Office.”
“I recognize that this is a difficult decision. Your assistance would mean a great deal.”
Ensuring Su-bin had received the business card, Yi-soo stood up from her seat. While still within the confines of a labyrinth, it felt as though she had discerned a faint route of escape.
Unbeknownst to her, the sun had descended beyond the horizon, casting the evening sky into darkness.
As she struggled to keep pace with the swiftly passing time, her breath felt constricted in her throat. A memory resurfaced—words her senior colleagues had shared—of the day they donned the prosecutor’s uniform, a tacit acceptance of a life devoid of proper meals and rest for at least three years.
On the morning of the trial, Yi-soo entered the prosecutor’s office, her weariness evident.
“Good morning, Prosecutor!”
“You seem quite tired, Prosecutor. Another night of inadequate sleep?”
“Chief, Ho-yeon. Good morning to both of you. I did manage to get some rest, but I had some rather fragmented dreams…”
Though she couldn’t recollect the specifics of her dream, the drop in the quality of her sleep was palpable. Despite the exhaustion coursing through her body, Yi-soo was determined to conceal any signs of fatigue from her colleagues.
Forcing a smile, she hung her bag on a coat rack. Chief Choi, meanwhile, approached her, carrying a vitamin drink from her desk.
“Take this and bolster your energy, Prosecutor. May I share some good news?” he said.
“Thank you. I’ll certainly have it. And what might the good news be?” Yi-soo asked.
“Well, yesterday, right after you left the office, Jeong Su-bin called. She expressed her intent to appear in court today. We were considering sending a summons, but thankfully she reached out to us in time.”
“Really? I was concerned, but now I feel relieved.”
As Yi-soo accepted the proffered vitamin drink from Chief Choi, a sigh of relief escaped her lips. There existed legal means to compel a witness to appear, but she harbored hopes that Su-bin would attend willingly.
While she hadn’t been able to incorporate Su-bin’s testimony and evidence list beforehand, their presence today was bound to have a positive influence on the trial. Almost involuntarily, a faint smile curved on Yi-soo’s lips.
“Our Prosecutor is finally showing a brighter expression. You have no idea how worried Ho-yeon and I have been these past few days, seeing how stressed you appeared.”
“Heh, my apologies. It seems I caused undue concern. Should I consume this drink now?”
“Yes, go ahead. Finish it all in one go.”
Yi-soo unscrewed the lid and began to drink the concoction with resolute determination. Laden with caffeine, the beverage might offer a slight energy boost. Given that it was offered with Chief Choi’s warmth, she ensured not a drop was left, disposing of the glass bottle in the trash without a trace.
“Oh, right!” Ho-yeon exclaimed. “Prosecutor.”
“The deputy chief called earlier. He asked you to head to his office as soon as you arrive. Sorry for not mentioning it earlier… You should go up there right away.”
The deputy chief? Yi-soo blinked at Ho-yeon’s words. Unless the matter was urgent, there’d be no reason to summon her before her workday even commenced.
“But why would he call so early in the morning? Prosecutor, you didn’t do anything that might land you in trouble, did you?” Ho-yeon asked.
“Oh, come on, why that assumption? He probably just has some information to share.”
“No, sharing information could have waited until after lunch. I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Well then, I’ll head up. I’ll catch up with both of you later.”
She bid farewell to the duo who appeared to be engaging in a conversation as if they were speaking different languages. Yi-soo felt she understood the reason why the Chief Prosecutor wanted to meet her so early in the day. Probably… yes.
After tidying her appearance, she promptly vacated her office. The morning had proven to be quite draining in several respects.