“Weird. Why do I feel so dirty?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk rubbed his face, hard.
It felt like this unknown dirty, sticky feeling was welling up from deep inside his chest. Why was he feeling so weird like this?
Yi Ji-Hyuk tried to ignore this uncomfortable feeling and stepped outside the front door of the NDF’s building.
He should be feeling refreshed after successfully taking down a spirit, yet it kind of felt like he had missed something, and that it was not over yet.
It was then, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes caught the sight of a certain blonde head gently waving about just over yonder.
That blonde head bobbing up and down ever so slightly behind the wall was…. How should he say it? Had it become a sort of cliché by now?
‘And why the heck is she here?!’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Besides all that, he had only gotten back from the States just now, so how did she even find out that he was here?
Was she waiting for him here without a plan?
While waving away the thoughts of suspicion and irritation, Yi Ji-Hyuk opened his mouth.
“What are you doing here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
With an excellent timing, a breeze blew in and lifted her hair up just a little. It kinda looked like she was greeting him that way and a smile leaked out of his mouth even before he noticed it.
“Heh.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Kim Dah-Som peeked her head out from behind the wall.
“You came to find your oppa?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kim Dah-Hyun should be inside the building, though.
“Should I call him for you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
At Yi Ji-Hyuk’s suggestion, Kim Dah-Som shook her head. Then, her previously bright expression hardened slightly as she presented her hand.
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head while looking at the plastic bag in that hand.
What could be inside that white bag?
Well, since she was offering it, why not….
Yi Ji-Hyuk took the bag and looked at the contents before a long groan escaped from his mouth.
Now let’s see….
This one is a health tonic, this one here is multi-vitamins, and… an energy drink for tiredness?
What about this black unidentifiable traditional medicine, then?
And this thing here….. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“….Viagra??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kim Dah-Som slightly turned her head away and avoided meeting Yi Ji-Hyuk’s gaze.
What the heck?
The others, fine, I get why, but what’s the meaning behind this viagra??
Isn’t this too good for a man?
Should I personally show…. Ah, hang on. That’s not right, is it? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Oh, uh, t-thanks.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Although, he wasn’t quite sure just why he should start feeling thankful for.
Yi Ji-Hyuk sorted out the contents of the plastic bag one by one.
Seeing that people were expressing their worries about him, and now having received stuff like these, he thought that he must’ve looked really pooped out lately.
He didn’t think he’d done anything too taxing, though….
‘No, hang on. That’s wrong.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It wouldn’t have been taxing for the past Yi Ji-Hyuk, but the current version would definitely find the last couple of events tough to handle.
Actually, he himself didn’t know just how far his current body could go, too.
“I’ll drink them later.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Please make sure you do.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression remained a bit complicated as he nodded his head.
“You going home now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes.” (Kim Dah-Som)
“Then, let’s go…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes!!” (Kim Dah-Som)
Kim Dah-Som formed a content smile as she looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk who volunteered to take her home, even though she didn’t say anything.
‘Her expressions have become a lot more varied now, haven’t they?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Well, when he first met her, she came across as someone who utterly rejected the notion of changing her facial expressions as if she was preserving some kind of an ancient tradition.
Now, she smiled more often and sometimes even displayed hints of anger, so that should qualify as a positive change, but….
‘For some reason, she kind of makes my blood run cold sometimes.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If he carefully dug through her family ancestry someday, maybe he might find that she carried the bloodline of some ice-element this-or-other.
It wasn’t too strange to think that way, since someone could’ve been dragged to another world and came back, just like how Yi Ji-Hyuk was dragged off to Berafe.
They walked for a long time without saying anything, before Kim Dah-Som suddenly stopped in her tracks.
“We’re here.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Hearing her declaration, Yi Ji-Hyuk raised his head to take a look around.
“What do you mean, here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“My home.” (Kim Dah-Som)
“Here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head in confusion.
Obviously, it’s not strange for her home to be here.
Any place can be her house as long as it’s inside the residential area. And, the date of her family moving and mine were pretty similar too, if I remember correctly.
But then….. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Wait, isn’t this pretty close to my own place?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Isn’t that house over there mine?
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s head continued to tilt this way and that.
Well, no, it’s still not strange that her house is near mine. Fine. But….
“When I took you home the last time, it wasn’t here, was it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When Yi Ji-Hyuk asked, Kim Dah-Som simply smiled brightly and averted her gaze once more.
“Hey, you…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Why should he even bother at this point?
Yi Ji-Hyuk could only spit out a long groan after seeing Kim Dah-Som smile refreshingly while still avoiding his gaze.
“Fine. Fine. Well, whatever. I’m going now….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Kim Dah-Som hesitated before opening her mouth.
“Please make sure to take one vitamin pill every morning. Your stomach might get upset, so please take it together with the stomach medicine I’ve prepared. Taking it after breakfast will be even better, I think. As for the traditional medicine, please take it in the evenings……” (Kim Dah-Som)
Yi Ji-Hyuk watched on as Kim Dah-Som proceeded to explain a lot of things for a long, long time, and he slowly closed his eyes.
Hey, you dumb kid….
My brain can’t remember all that information, you know?
I think you’re overestimating me here. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“I hope you got all that.” (Kim Dah-Som)
“Oh, yeah. Sure thing.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Get what now?!
Why would medicines have rules to follow when taking them? All I have to do is just swallow them!!
Besides all that, I don’t need any of these, honestly!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Too bad, there were things that could never be said out aloud, no matter what.
“Okay, I’m going now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Take care.” (Kim Dah-Som)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out another groan and turned around to leave.
He could still feel a pair of pretty sharp eyes pricking his back, but he didn’t take a look behind him.
I took you home, so go inside already!!
Why are you standing around glaring at me like that?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Who knew that possessing super-perceptive senses would prove to be an issue when they could unnecessarily feel that gaze oh-so clearly?
Things other than monsters were becoming his problems lately.
No, these kids were the true monsters, instead. These dang kids….
“I’m home.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When Yi Ji-Hyuk entered through the front door, Park Seon-Deok nodded her head while still sitting on the couch.
“Are you alright?” (mom)
“Have you eaten something?” (mom)
“Of course not.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Why didn’t you? Making me work extra….” (mom)
Mom, I’m your son, Ji-Hyuk!
You weren’t like this to me before, you know.
It’s only been a few months since I came back, you know!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Park Seon-Deok felt her son’s earnestly pleading eyes and her expression crumpled instantly, before she angrily got up from her spot.
“Okay, fine, fine!! I’ll prepare something, okay?!” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk wiped the corners of his eyes.
Where did the older version of his mother go, when she used to prepare so much meat that the legs of the dining table nearly broke from the weight?
He was now making money and working hard, yet his treatment at home had actually gotten worse!!
Ah, the irony of life….
“What about Ye-Won?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“She’s upstairs.” (mom)
“Isn’t she going to take extra classes?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Which kids take extra classes nowadays?” (mom)
“Then, what about cram school?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What’s the point of sending her to one?” (mom)
“But, how come? If she wishes to get admitted to a university, she’s gotta study harder, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Please remember what she used to be like in the past before saying that, son.” (mom)
Indeed, he had forgotten all about it.
Right, our Ye-Won…..
Really now, our Ye-Won is……
…..Our Ye-Won, capable of making a local neighbourhood thug get p*ss-scared and run away from her mere presence! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Now that he thought about it, she sure was behaving herself lately.
Thud, thud, thud!
Yi Ji-Hyuk heard the thudding footsteps coming from upstairs and raised his head.
She wasn’t even a devil, yet she showed up whenever someone talked about her and all. It sure felt like that way to him.
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.
Why was she sulking like that now?
When Yi Ye-Won didn’t even cast a second glance in his direction and headed straight to the front door, Yi Ji-Hyuk called out to her.
“Where are you going?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“To a beauty salon.” (Ye-Won)
“Why?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“To dye my hair.” (Ye-Won)
She was starting again.
“Why?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Argh, don’t bother! Get out of the way! I’m leaving!!” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won shoved his hand away and walked off, causing Yi Ji-Hyuk to massage his aching forehead.
Not one day in this dang house went by in peace. Not one single day!
“Just what’s gotten into you now? Speak up, will ya??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
With her eyes ablaze, Yi Ye-Won pointed to herself.
“Take a look at me!!” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ji-Hyuk took a sweeping look at his sister.
Okay, so, what am I supposed to look at here?
Well, uh, what should I say? She’s kind of chubby so I think she looks rich and nice, so….
Mm, I see. Your clothes are really too tight for you, aren’t they?
I mean, I brought home all that money, yet she hasn’t gotten any new clothes for herself! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Mom!! Ye-Won wants new clothes!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s not it, you dumba*s!!” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won cried out at the top of her lungs.
“Look at how fat I’ve become because of you!! What am I supposed to do looking with this?! Who’s going to see me, when my figure is ruined like this?! If I knew I’d end up looking like this, I shouldn’t even try to live here, you know?! So, like, I’m gonna live while doing things I want!” (Ye-Won)
“Hey, you. You keep this up and pretend that you’re still going through puberty, then you might really get hit in the face by the thunders and gales.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL note at the end.)
“Why? You want to beat me up?” (Ye-Won)
He wouldn’t just end at beating her up, though….
“Ye-Won-ah? What’s the matter?” (mom)
Yi Ye-Won suddenly ran into her mother’s arms and began crying her heart out.
‘What the heck?! Now that was so out of the blue.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What’s wrong, my girl?” (mom)
“Mom, I can’t stand it anymore.” (Ye-Won)
“I can’t stand being well-behaved in that school, and I don’t have any friends here, too…. So, I hate it here! Can’t we go back to where we used to live?” (Ye-Won)
Park Seon-Deok’s eyes shook as if they were struck by an earthquake.
“…..But, Ye-Won-ah, that is…..” (mom)
What should she say here?
“And we have lots of money too, right?” (Ye-Won)
…..It’s not ‘we’, but ‘me’ who has lots of money!!
Since when did the notion of money being ‘our’ property came to pass?? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Even before Yi Ji-Hyuk could spew out words of anger, mom sensed her son’s rising aura and quickly sent her glare in his direction to shut him up in an instant.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body began trembling from her incredible ability to make him understand her glare that contained the following message ‘You utter one more word off that claptrap of yours, I’ll sew it shut, you hear me?’
Meanwhile, Park Seon-Deok gently patted Ye-Won’s back and tried to console her.
“There, there, my little Ye-Won. You’ve had it so tough, haven’t you! Mom had no idea.” (mom)
“Sob, sob…. mom…..” (Ye-Won)
“There, there. If it’s too tough, we can go. Okay, so should we go back to where we used to live?” (mom)
There was no answer?!
While Yi Ji-Hyuk was panicking somewhat at the rapidly-changing atmosphere of the living room, mom’s eyes began gleaming dangerously.
“Yes, our little Ye-Won has behaved herself so well. Indeed. Mom is really happy.” (mom)
And why did she behave like that until now?
“….My son. Ji-Hyuk-ah?” (mom)
“That gentleman from the last time, he isn’t coming around anymore. Why is that?” (mom)
….Was she talking about Choi Jung-Hoon?
Yi Ji-Hyuk immediately understood what Park Seon-Deok was trying to say here.
“H, he’s a bit busy lately, you see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Even then, he used to come around to our old house often, didn’t he? Ever since moving in here, he has not shown himself once, no? Yes, it’s true that entering the bathroom and leaving it afterwards makes you a different man, but still, don’t you think this is too much?” (mom)
“…..She’s right, you know.” (Ye-Won)
Hang on a bloody minute?!
I thought I heard a small voice just now?
So, was this what you were aiming for?
Was this your end game?? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s entire body shuddered.
So…. the point of all this madness was because Choi Jung-Hoon hadn’t come around lately, was that it?
“Mom, that…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Honestly, I think he’s a fine person. I wish he was my son, but well, as you may know, I already have a son.” (mom)
“…..I apologise for being this kind of son, mother.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk wiped the edges of his rapidly-moistening eyes.
He would be considered not too bad looking no matter where he went, yet just why did he have to be compared to that Choi Jung-Hoon?
Just who in the Republic of Korea would win in a comparison against Choi Jung-Hoon??
‘He’s more like a walking, talking real-time squid generator, you know!!’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“However, there is another way to live together with him even if I can’t make him my own son.” (mom)
“Pardon me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Could that way be…..
“Mom. Even still, the age gap is….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s only ‘Tti-dong-gap’ so it’s nothing to worry about.” (mom) (TL note at the end.)
It’s more than that!!
She’s only a high schooler, you know!!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Eii, still, it’s too much……” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“There are lots of men who prefer younger women.” (mom)
Now normally, wouldn’t the parents be the first to get up in arms, wanting to beat the living sh*t out of the older guy when their daughter wishes to bring home a tti-dong-gap?
To think, this mother was trying so hard to send her daughter away to someone who was way past the tti-dong-gap threshold….
“Mom, so, like….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
‘….You being for real?’
When Yi Ji-Hyuk looked on with half-disbelieving face, Park Seon-Deok slowly nodded her head with a resolute expression.
She then whispered softly.
“Where would your sister find a better man than him? Knowing what she’s like?” (mom)
“You’re her oppa. Aren’t you?” (mom)
He was an oppa.
Ye-Won may be like this now, but once upon a time, she used to cry and jump into his arms whenever there was a lightning storm, saying she wanted to be with her oppa!
After recalling a really pleasant memory from the past, Yi Ji-Hyuk felt his heart ache profoundly, so he took another look at Ye-Won.
No, that’s not it!!!!!
That Ye-Won and the Ye-Won from my memories are the same person!!!!
Stop denying that truth and start accepting it, you rotten brain of mine! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk gritted his teeth.
“That’s how it was. The happiness of my little sister is my own happiness. I’ve almost given up on a wonderful dream in the name of reality for a short time there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s right, son. An oppa will do anything for the happiness of his little sister.” (mom)
“….That’s a bit incorrect, mom.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You don’t want to eat anymore, then?” (mom)
“….That’s not true, mother. In any case, I shall come up with a suitable plan.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And so…. in this small corner of the Yi family’s living room, a dark and sinister plan to ensnare the top bachelor of South Korea began to unfold its wings.
…..And the sacrificial lamb in that dark plot suddenly sensed a deathly chill creep up on him as he tried to navigate his way out of the piles of documents surrounding him. He quickly took another swig of his favourite health tonic and spoke up.
“Wha-what the heck was that just now?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Why did it feel so…. ominous?
< 131. You’re her oppa. Aren’t you? -1 > Fin.
(TL: ‘Jil-poong-no-do’ It’s a Hanja idiom denoting one going through one’s rebellious adolescent phase, but the literal meaning of the letters is ‘thunders and gale-force winds of life’. Our MC used this word as a pun in the sentence, repeating it twice. I did what I could there…..)
(TL: Tti-dong-gap – it’s a Korean slang term for the specific age gap of 12 years, i.e. 36 years vs 24, 48 vs 36, etc.)
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