Chapter 49.1

“Meow!” The cat’s plaintive cry pierced the room, as if the disinfectant had transformed into a searing torment. The pitiful sight tugged at Yi-soo’s heartstrings, prompting her to tenderly caress the tiny feline’s head with her fingertip.

Fortunately, the treatment proceeded swiftly. The cat, visibly drained, sprawled across Yi-soo’s thigh. Prior to applying the bandage following the disinfection, Jin-won directed his attention to the injured area.

“It appears to be a cigarette burn… See the scar here, it’s distinctly circular,” he noted.

Yi-soo shook her head in disbelief. “It’s unfathomable that someone would commit such an atrocity. Are there any surveillance cameras in this vicinity?”

“Even if they’re apprehended, the chances of them facing meaningful consequences are slim,” Jin-won muttered, his disappointment palpable. The legal repercussions for animal cruelty were often inadequate, especially when the victims were stray animals without owners.

Who could perpetrate such a heinous act? Undoubtedly, it was the work of a person plagued by deep-seated feelings of inadequacy and defeat. The amount of suffering that this young life had endured was outrageously unjust.

Jin-won carefully began to unwind the tightly wound bandage. “In truth, for better ventilation, it’s advisable not to wrap the bandage so tightly. However, given that it’s a stray cat, it’s wiser to keep it wrapped. If it wanders around, the gauze will come off quite quickly.”

Yi-soo inquired, “You’re quite proficient at this. Do you happen to have a cat, Attorney Kang?”

He smiled warmly, his eyes softening with a genuine fondness for animals. “Oh, I used to have one back in my hometown. A dog and a cat, in fact. The cat was the complete opposite of this little one, all white. It’s been over ten years since it passed away, but I had it for a good while, so I’m accustomed to handling animals.”

Observing him, it was evident that he embodied the quintessential intellectual: well-mannered, kind, and intelligent, someone who would naturally draw people to him.

However, on a personal level, Yi-soo didn’t find him particularly appealing. She recalled a conversation she’d had with Hyun-seong in the car not too long ago. He had warned her not to get close to individuals of questionable character. Yet, the Jin-won she had encountered seemed far from fitting that description.

Of course, there was always the possibility of a facade…

Could Mr. Shin Min-yeol have worked as this person’s secretary? The case she had set aside for a while suddenly resurfaced in her thoughts. Though it wasn’t a formal procedure, she considered the idea of asking Jin-won about Mr. Shin Min-yeol’s past. If they had been colleagues, he might possess valuable information.

Just as Yi-soo was about to speak, Jin-won, having just finished securing the bandage, glanced at his wristwatch.

“The time has flown by… I apologize, Prosecutor. I need to be on my way.”

Yi-soo replied, “Certainly, and thank you for your assistance. I’m unsure about what to do with this little one…”

The cat had nestled comfortably on Yi-soo’s lap while she was pondering. Regardless of species, young animals tended to spend a significant amount of time in slumber. It was a difficult decision to disturb the cat’s peaceful rest and send it back into the world. Jin-won, rising from the bench, appeared similarly concerned.

“Given its familiarity with human contact… I wonder if it would adapt well to life on the streets. Prosecutor, have you considered taking it in?” Jin-won inquired.

Yi-soo hesitated. “I would like to, but… I’ve never raised pets before. It feels like taking on a sudden, profound responsibility…”

“True, it can be overwhelming,” Jin-won acknowledged, nodding as though he understood. He then directed his gaze thoughtfully toward the cat and extended his hands slightly toward Yi-soo.

“For the time being, I’d be willing to offer temporary shelter. I happen to have a friend seeking to adopt a pet. If that doesn’t work out for any reason… well, I’ll consider it fate and coexist with Muyeon. Please, entrust her to me, Prosecutor.”

“Um… Are you sure? You’re already quite busy with Yoon & Kang, and…”

“I might not have a lot of free time, but it’s still better than living on the streets. I’ll make sure she gets the care she needs at the vet until she recovers.” Jin-won smiled, gently stroking the cat’s head with his fingertip.

Yi-soo’s respect for Jin-won’s sense of responsibility grew stronger. It was evident that he was someone she could trust with the cat.

“Yes, I’ll entrust her to you, Attorney Kang. Just be gentle; she startles easily.” With a slight nod, Yi-soo passed the sleeping cat into Jin-won’s arms. However, as soon as the cat woke up, it emitted a sharp meow and puffed up, displaying clear signs of caution.

Perplexed, Yi-soo blinked. Jin-won cradled the cat gently, seemingly undisturbed by her reaction.

“It appears the person who harmed her was a man… In any case, I have my next appointment, so I should bid you farewell for today. Until we meet again, Prosecutor Seo.”

“Of course, I should head back as well. Take care, Attorney Kang.” Yi-soo, her gaze alternating between the cat and Jin-won, retrieved the coffee she had placed on the bench. The once steaming hot beverage had now cooled to a lukewarm state.

Eventually, Jin-won turned and headed in the opposite direction. The cat continued to meow sharply, clearly in distress.

‘I hope she grows up healthy and without any more pain. Today was the first time I saw her, but my heart goes out to her.’

“…She’ll be fine. He’s cared for animals before,” Yi-soo muttered to herself, pushing her worries aside and raised her head, her thoughts returning to her work.



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