– “This is Yi Ji-Hyuk speaking, the man who put his life on the line to buy a new handbag.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Excuse me??” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “That’s how it is. Okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon easily guessed that something had happened after hearing the sullen tone of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s voice. But then again, one thing or the other kept happening around him anyway, so this wasn’t anything new.
“Sounds like something happened to you?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “Well, I’m in the middle of learning about the futility of life, that’s what.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
How dare this kid….!
….No, hang on. He’s not a kid, is he?? His mental age is almost that of a boulder’s, anyway. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Ah, I see.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon shook his head as he felt this rather awesome sense of disharmony.
– “Okay, so. What’s going on?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“A Gate has opened up.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “Why are you calling me over that as if it’s something huge? I’m coming to work anyway, so you could have told me then.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“This one’s a bit large.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk let a groan leak out of his mouth before shutting his mouth tight. If the size of the Gate necessitated Choi Jung-Hoon to call him on the phone like this, then that could only mean the darn thing had to be massive and his help was needed to take care of it.
– “Yes, yes. Time to work, I suppose. Yup, gotta work, so I can make more money. Make money, buy mom new handbags….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon closed his eyes.
He finally guessed why Yi Ji-Hyuk was being so sullen like this. Also, he felt kind of relieved about the matters this time around being simple enough, which meant that it’d be just as simple to fix the situation.
Also… didn’t Yi Ji-Hyuk sound a bit like a narrow-minded miser?
Just how much did he make recently?
Sure, his monthly wages might not be all that different from a pay cheque of a large corporation, but then, if one added up all the benefits and extra pay he had earned recently, then well, never mind a regular building, he might even be able to build a dang skyscraper if he wanted to. But seeing him being such a miser over a measly little handbag really ground Choi Jung-Hoon’s gears.
Of course, that didn’t mean he could come right out and say his piece….
“Well, how much can a bag cost for you to act like this? Besides, aren’t you buying it for your mother? It doesn’t make any sense to feel unhappy about spending that money, don’t you agree?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
But, he just couldn’t let this one go.
If he thought about it for a second, one might hold back on saying certain things regarding buying stuff for one’s girlfriend or little sisters. However, regretting buying a measly little bag for one’s mother was simply not cool. Really uncool, as a matter of fact.
Even though Yi Ji-Hyuk was at least hundred times older than Choi Jung-Hoon, the former didn’t get to spend as much time with his mother in comparison, so he didn’t seem to know the concept of filial piety all that well.
Since Choi Jung-Hoon was nominally an ‘elder’ in this situation, he needed to be strict and set the other man on the correct path.
– “But, that handbag cost me twenty million Won?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Was it made out of Dragon hide or something….??” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “You see?? See what I mean?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was very quick to latch onto Choi Jung-Hoon’s inadvertent muttering. What a blunder that was.
Choi Jung-Hoon quickly coughed to clear his throat and did his best to control his fluctuating emotions. Afterwards, he began his actions of persuading Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, with what you make every single day, that amount is just a drop in the ocean, isn’t it?? I mean, for the sake of making your mother feel good about herself, anyone could spend that amount of money, but what the hell is up with that handbag and its ridiculous price?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
He ended up spitting out what was in his mind again.
– “See? See?? Even you think the same, too!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Well, let’s be bloody honest here, why on earth is that thing so expensive?
How can a handbag cost as much as a brand new car?!
Wait, buying a car should actually be so much better, instead!
A new car will certainly make you look as if you’ve made it in life, but a handbag costing as much as a car….. What the freaking hell?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
Choi Jung-Hoon quivered uncontrollably for a moment there, before snapping back to himself again.
Ah! I shouldn’t be doing this!
I know that I gotta wake up, but…. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Can’t you, like, buy a car instead for her? With that money, I mean. If you add a little bit on top, I’m sure you can buy a decent mid-sized saloon car….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “Mom doesn’t have a driver’s licence.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon became speechless but he didn’t give up and searched for another way out.
“W-well, then let her get the licence! That’s not a problem, is it?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “But, the bag’s been already ordered online, you know? So, you want me to buy a car on top of that, too?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
I’ve got no answers.
What do you want from me, you dumba*s! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“It seems that this situation isn’t something I can help you with.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “Uhm, you know, I don’t remember asking for your help? What’s up with this meddling aunty routine?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“……………….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Okay, I’m sorry.
I’ve gone overboard trying to be a concerned aunty for you. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Let’s get back to the matter at hand.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “Sure thing.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
On the other side of the phone line, Yi Ji-Hyuk was shrugging his shoulders.
Choi Jung-Hoon sounded as if he wanted to help somehow, but in the end, he reverted back to talking about work-related matters. Indeed, even this dude acted like an undercover dumba*s sometimes.
– “A Gate has been found in the city of Daegu.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Oh? What about in Daejeon, then? Nothing over there?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL: Another major city in South Korea)
– “Daejeon? What are you talking about?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You know. These Gates been opening up in Seoul, Daegu, and Busan, so I was wondering maybe it’s the turn of Daejeon next.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “I’m sure it’ll happen sooner or later.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head.
“Okay, fine. How big is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “It’s the biggest in the recorded history. I’d like to tell you its level, but we’ve never measured a Gate of such a scale before, so I’m not sure what to tell you. For the time being, the consensus is to call it a Level 8. However, the official classification will happen later on. The international standards needs to be amended first, after all.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What the hell??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Figurative flames erupted out from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mouth.
“There are other countries with bigger landmasses, so how come such Gates keep opening up in our tiny backyard all the time?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “I can’t answer that, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Is this land really cursed or something??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
To the south, there was an endless ocean; left, right, and up were surrounded by powerful nations who proceeded to bother and annoy him all the time!
Also, only the stupid, useless dinosaurs roamed on this spot of land so not even a drop of oil could be found here, too!
On top of that, the Gates opening up all happened to be of the most irritating kind, too! So, how could a guy not get p*ssed of about this situation?!
– “By the way, do you perhaps know why these types of Gates are opening up in our country more often than not?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“How should I know something like that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk flinched inwardly and got angry in order to cover it up.
Actually, he suspected that the Gates were opening up where Yi Ji-Hyuk was. In the beginning, anyway. However, such an occurrence ceased after a certain point in time, so he had forgotten about it.
‘Wait, could there really be a connection here?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It was far too vague to say that there was something there, but then again, it was also a bit too unconvincing to deny the possibility….
It definitely felt like there was this intangible connection of some kind.
– “You really don’t know?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I’m telling you, I don’t!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
In times like this, pretending to not know anything was the wisest move!
– “H-mm….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon didn’t sound all that convinced, but probably figured out that asking anymore would be a waste of time, because he switched the topic.
– “In any case, I understand. Can you mobilise right now?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Wait, do I really have to go?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Well, it’s not a must, but….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Oh? I’m not going, then.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Well, even if you ask other agents to deal with this event, it’s 100% guaranteed that things will get out of control and you’d have to show up in a hurry anyway. So, why not just go there now and relaxedly tour around the city until the Gate opens up, instead of going there in a hurry?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You and your slick way with words.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “It’s my only speciality, so….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk replied with a pout.
“I’ve been thinking that I’m being a fool lately.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “T-that’s simply not possible.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“It’s like, everyone takes me for granted and think I’ll do stuff for them. Come here and do this, go there and solve that, buy a bag for me, etc, etc….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “It’s about the bag in the end….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon was dead-certain of what the source of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s unhappiness was now. He still thought that the latter’s lingering ‘attachment’ towards this matter seemed a bit too excessive at this point in time.
Sure, that amount of money sounded like a lot from his perspective, but really now – that amount should be nothing more than some negligible pocket change for Yi Ji-Hyuk.
Choi Jung-Hoon heard from somewhere that most regular folks, once they got their hands on as much moolah as Yi Ji-Hyuk had, would suddenly be inflicted by the Nouveau Rich Syndrome and start spending as if there was no tomorrow. So, why was this guy acting like a small-minded miser even though he had that much cash burning a hole in his bank account right now?
‘….Hang on a minute. He doesn’t even own a car yet.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Well, the first thing any guy around that age do after finding himself with some wealth would be to buy a sleek European exotica, but…. This guy, wasn’t he still living the life of a pedestrian even now??
His attire was still the exact same blue tracksuit, too. As for his meals, it’s either the grub from the company cafeteria, or a bento from home…..
From what Choi Jung-Hoon heard, his main meal at home was ramen, because his mom couldn’t be bothered to cook. But, he didn’t mind that and still ate without complaints?
– “Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yes?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Be strong and don’t give up, okay?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What are you talking about, out of the blue?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “No, it’s just that, well, I got a bit emotional….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon couldn’t even begin to imagine how he should go about righting the twisted daily life of this ‘young’ man. The first thing needing to be fixed was the distorted common sense of Yi Ji-Hyuk, but then again, he was the king of ‘Not listening to anyone beside himself’ so there was no suitable answer for him.
– “Well, it’s not important right now, anyway.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Oh, what’s so important, then? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
– “For the time being, let’s go to Daegu.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You sound as if we going together has been decided already?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Of course we’ll head there together. I shall come and fetch you right away. Are you at home right now?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yeah.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “We’ve readied a helicopter on the landing pad next to the HQ. I shall come and fetch you at home, so please, wait for me for a little while.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What the hell? Since when did I agree to go?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “I heard that Daegu’s specialty called ‘mah-yahk’ cornbread, is to die for….” (Choi Jung-Hoon) (TL note at the end)
“You think I’m some kind of a glutton or something?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Well, uh, I am kinda curious, though.
I’m gonna go anyway, so might as well just let it slide…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Okay, fine. Fine! Hurry up.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Thank you very much.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Why was he saying thanks for?
Yi Ji-Hyuk ended the call and sat down on the chair of his room as thoughts swirled in his head.
He hadn’t given this much thought before, but well – didn’t Choi Jung-Hoon live his life to the fullest? Or, should that be, living his life to the busiest, instead? It didn’t look like the rewards for all the hard work he put in was worth it, but just what gave him such a drive to succeed?
“Did I also have a phase like that, too?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
I’m sure I did.
Back when I was in Berafe. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Once upon a time, there was a phase when he didn’t stop at nothing to achieve the goal of returning to Earth. His memories of those times had blurred a bit by now, though, and he was also way too terrified of recalling the desperation he felt back then.
Was Yi Ji-Hyuk being like this a result of not having a clear purpose?
Just before he could delve deeper into his psyche, the door to his room slid open ever so gently.
“Mm?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Uhm, oppa….” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won crept into his room with an awkward smile attached on her face. She began glancing at him hesitantly.
“What now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk replied with a pout.
“Oppa, I was being inconsiderate earlier. You worked so hard to earn this money and all….” (Ye-Won)
What is this? Feels like my conscience is being pricked!
Wait, I still had stuff like conscience left?
But, how sensitive is this remaining conscience for it to react so violently like this?!
I’m sorry, Ye-Won-ah.
All that money your orabeonim brought home? I got almost all of them through fraudulent means.
Heck, the money I got by putting my life on the line? It’s not even deposited into the bank yet…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“S-sure. So long as you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Obviously, I can’t say that out loud, can I?!
Besides, isn’t this already enough that I’m saying sorry in my mind? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“I get now why you were so angry. I mean, you worked so hard to make this money, right? I was too thoughtless trying to spend them, just like that. I’m really sorry.” (Ye-Won)
“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Why is this girl acting like this now?
She’s definitely not someone capable saying stuff like this, you know?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Other people might think ‘Ah, the little sister has finally grown up’ and start shedding emotional tears, but Yi Ji-Hyuk shared the same bloodline as her and he knew the truth.
‘Growing up’ was something reserved for other people. Yi Ye-Won would never grow up in this lifetime.
So, so many people would choose that ‘tech tree’ because that was the basics of all basics, but hell, Ye-Won’s class couldn’t unlock that tech tree even if she hacked the bloody game.
At best, she’d end up as one of those high-maintenance women. But, if things went wrong somewhere, then she’d become……..
“Y-yeah??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk woke up from his thoughts all thanks to Ye-Won’s calling and hurriedly shook his head.
R-right. Well, let me at least hear what she has to say first. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Okay, so what now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mm, so, like, you know….” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won formed one of those timid little smiles as she spoke.
“Can I, like, buy one that’s a bit cheaper? All you have to do is to approve the transaction, you know? I’ll take care of everything, and I won’t bother you again.” (Ye-Won)
Yup, he knew it.
“Right. That’s how my little sister should act like.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk formed a content smile and nodded his head.
Look, look! Look at all my goosebumps that I got from her acting all sensible and the like! Holy moly, they don’t wanna go down yet!
Anyways, now this is who Yi Ye-Won should be like! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk felt relieved that his little sister girl still remained as senseless as before and nodded his head.
“Fine. Okay. Buy it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, really.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Ye-Won must’ve found her brother’s response to be rather suspicious, because she began sneaking curious glances at him next.
“Oppa, can I, like, choose a two-hundred-thousand Won bag?” (Ye-Won)
“It’s fine if you want to buy a two million Won bag.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….In that case, should I choose a one-hundred-thousand Won bag, instead?” (Ye-Won)
“I said, it’s fine to buy a two million Won handbag.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…..Come on now. There aren’t any fifty thousand Won bags on sale, you know?” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ji-Hyuk began trembling yet again.
“What the hell?! You dumba*s! I told you to buy it! Buy the dang two million Won bag! Didn’t I say it’s okay?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ye-Won snapped back with a yell of her own.
“Forget it! I won’t buy it! You and your cheap a*s tactics!!” (Ye-Won)
The door was roughly slammed shut behind her.
Yi Ji-Hyuk stupidly looked on at this spectacle and muttered to himself.
“Did she really go insane?”
I’m telling her to buy, yet she’s still freaking out….?
I haven’t done anything wrong, have I?
Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t figure out what just happened here.
< 208. And they say there’s no one to trust in this world! -3 > Fin.
(TL: ‘Mah-yahk’ literally means narcotics. It’s a real bread being sold in a famous bakery in the city of Daegu. Apparently, it tastes so good that once you eat one, you’re addicted for life, hence the nickname ‘narcotics’. If you’re curious about what it looks like, google ‘마약 옥수수빵’)