Chapter 53.1

It didn’t take even half an hour to retrieve Park Su-jeong’s immigration records, and it was exactly as Yi-soo had anticipated. Su-jeong, who had departed for Singapore in May, had only recently crossed borders, with no previous entries into Korea. The authenticity of the international call with Yi-soo was confirmed.

The assertion of a visit to a mental health clinic during a period when Su-jeong wasn’t even in the country raised suspicions. Detective Ahn, sensing deception, promptly probed the medical receipts, unveiling tampering in the hospital records. The named doctor lacked proper licensing, and Su-jeong had never been prescribed any medication.

Someone had manipulated Su-jeong’s medical history and strategically placed sleeping pills in her vicinity. Further investigation revealed that her covert social media account had been hacked and altered. The IP address of her last post traced back to the Philippines, not Singapore.

It was an intricately woven puzzle, and when Yi-soo learned the truth, shock overcame her.

The day after separating from Hyun-seong, Detective Kim, who had investigated the scene, contacted her.

〈Oh, Prosecutor… If it weren’t for you, it could have been a disaster. We almost hastily concluded it as a suicide case, but the evidence was too clear. The victim didn’t even have life insurance, and, well… as you’ve seen, there were many posts on SNS indicating mental distress. The victim’s parents also said there was no one they particularly suspected.〉

〈…No, it’s alright. It’s fortunate that it’s been revealed now.〉

〈So, the thing is, it seems we should perform an autopsy on the victim. I was planning to hang up and contact her parents, but you know… getting consent for an autopsy isn’t an easy task. What if you, Prosecutor, could say something beforehand?〉

Autopsy. Although the admission had been delayed, the thought of wielding a scalpel on the body of someone already deceased left an unsettling feeling. Prosecutor Yi-soo, doubling as a detective in the Criminal Division, couldn’t fathom that Su-jeong’s parents would readily consent.

However, acknowledging that Detective Kim had a valid reason for broaching the subject, she sighed and responded with understanding. Yi-soo promptly visited Su-jeong’s adoptive mother. In just one day, her countenance had transformed into a mask of grief, with dry tears encrusted on her cheeks. Yi-soo’s heart felt uneasy as she cautiously proposed the idea of an autopsy to the mourning woman.

〈…It might not be suicide. If it turns out your daughter didn’t take her own life, we must uncover the truth.〉

After Su-jeong’s mother grappled to find words, the permission surprisingly came forth succinctly.

〈Since that day, she hasn’t shown her face once, but last night Su-jeong appeared in my dreams. She said something to me… I can’t remember exactly. But it seems like she wanted me to relieve her of some injustice.〉


〈Let’s thoroughly investigate so our child won’t feel unjust on her journey to the afterlife. I burdened you with such a heavy load. I’m sorry, Yi-soo. My heart is breaking…〉

As those words escaped her lips, Hee-ae couldn’t hold back the flood of tears. Yi-soo, overcome with a poignant sorrow, enveloped the delicate woman in a comforting embrace.

Although their bloodlines remained separate, their familial connection was forged by the shared bond with Park Su-jeong. Two weeks had already passed since that moment. Save for a brief respite of just one day, Yi-soo found herself compelled to resume her duties at the prosecutor’s office. The incessant stream of cases left her with little time for proper meals.

Concerns from her peers in the Criminal Division were voiced, urging Yi-soo not to bear too heavy a load. Despite the well-intentioned advice, she clenched her jaw and threw herself into her work, tirelessly poring over case files, directing every ounce of her concentration to the printed words before her.

During suspect interrogations, Yi-soo made a conscious effort to shield herself from emotional turbulence. Until the autopsy results were revealed, she strived to live as if Su-jeong had faded into oblivion, believing it to be the only way to maintain a semblance of normalcy in her daily life.

Yet, beneath her composed exterior, Yi-soo grappled with her humanity. Each night, an overwhelming sense of loneliness seized her, casting a pervasive shadow over her being. Sleep eluded her, leading to an increasing reliance on sleep aids in the early hours. As thoughts of her sister surfaced, she swallowed back tears repeatedly, though no amount of swallowing could quell the transparent lake of sorrow pooling in her heart.

Hyun-seong reached out to her daily. Despite his capability to visit the prosecutor’s office or her doorstep, he restrained himself, choosing only to contact her once a day. Whether he was respecting boundaries or avoiding disrupting Yi-soo’s grief remained a question unless directly asked.

It wasn’t that he didn’t wish to see her. On the contrary, his presence stirred her mind as much as Su-jeong’s did. Nevertheless, Yi-soo suppressed her desires, lacking the confidence to confront Hyun-seong in the current circumstances. Hoping time would gradually mend the wounds, she endured a challenging fortnight.



not work with dark mode