Yi Ji-Hyuk left his room and shouted at Yi Ye-Won.
“What the heck?? Didn’t I tell you to buy the dang thing?! So what’s your problem now??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
She shot him a glare and yelled right back at him.
“Where would you find a fifty thousand Won handbag?!” (Ye-Won)
“When did I tell you to buy that?! I told you to buy that two million Won bag, didn’t I?! Wait, is it not enough for you?? Should I buy a five million Won bag, instead?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Hah! You expect me to believe that you’ll spend two million just like that? Yeah, right! Gimme a break!” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ji-Hyuk flinched from his little sister’s response.
Why is she reacting like this?
Actually, I’ve been thinking that I wasn’t contributing much at all to the household other than bringing home lots of money. That’s why I said okay, but….. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Y-yeah, I can certainly buy stuff like that!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ye-Won’s head leaned to the side in a crooked angle. That was definitely a familiar response from her, yet why did it feel particularly harsh today, all of a sudden?
“When I told you I needed a replacement phone, didn’t you say that a high school student doesn’t need the latest model and told me to buy a ‘filial’ phone, instead??” (Ye-Won) (TL note at the end)
“….I’m not wrong on that one.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What would a top-end smartphone prove to be to a student other than a hindrance to her studies?! Besides, wasn’t him permitting her to swap her phone already a big deal??
“I’ve been repeating myself over and over again, saying that I need to change my phone, but didn’t you make me stick with it until it stopped working altogether?!” (Ye-Won)
“You’re supposed to use something as long as it works!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was forthright in his opinion. His logic was perfect, and he had not an ounce of shame.
“Then, why did you try to fool me into buying an expensive handbag if you knew I wasn’t gonna let it happen?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I thought that I’d be able to let it slide as long as I survived your tantrums! If, if only it wasn’t for mom….” (Ye-Won)
This girl, she was definitely not right in the head.
“Honestly, oppa? I really didn’t want say this to you, but…” (Ye-Won)
“Sure, you got a rotten personality, but never mind that. Why are you such a stingy, cheap and small-minded human being?” (Ye-Won)
Wait, did she just say ‘small-minded’??
What is this fool even on about?
Is she really calling me a small-minded person?
But, how could she?!
Don’t I possess a generous heart as large as an ocean?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“How dare you call me small-minded!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ye-Won began looking at him with eyes reserved for looking at an especially disgusting insect.
Holy cow, I feel so dirty right now!
Seriously, man! As far as that talent of hers is concerned, might as well admit that she’s a telepathic ability user or something!!
Yi Ji-Hyuk possessed an immunity-like defence against mind-control magic and hexes and the like. But for her to break his calmness with nothing but just a look, now that was one hell of an ability, indeed.
“Oppa. All the money you made, are you planning on taking it to the grave? You are supposed to spend it, you know?” (Ye-Won)
“It’s better to be frugal!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If it’s someone running a tight budget, sure, it’s fine to be frugal, but when someone rich does that, it’s just pathetic, you know?” (Ye-Won)
He had nothing to retort with.
He witnessed countless similar cases in the past and wondered to himself why they lived like that, but now, wasn’t he doing the exact same thing as them?
No, that wasn’t right.
He wasn’t trying to be frugal here. Yes, he simply hadn’t felt the need to spend money, that’s all!
“That’s why! I told you that I’ll buy it! I said it’s okay, so why are you behaving like this?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Two hundred thousand?” (Ye-Won)
“No! Two million!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“So little?” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ji-Hyuk began trembling in rage. Weren’t her balls getting too big now?
“Why would a high schooler need a handbag costing more than two million?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oppa, can I be brutally honest with you?” (Ye-Won)
“Yeah.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“In all honesty, a student doesn’t need a bag worth two hundred thousand.” (Ye-Won)
“…..Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What was she trying to say now?
“Actually, it’s not just the students but other people, too. We don’t really need a bag with a price tag of two million Won, you know? It’s not like a bag’s lined with bulletproof material or there’s a touchscreen display on it, and besides, why would anyone need a bag that expensive, right?” (Ye-Won)
What the hell. Where is she planning to go with all this logical, sound reasoning? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was getting more scared as sensible words started flying out of Ye-Won’s lips. Because, her being utterly senseless was her regular, normal state, wasn’t it?
“But then, can you guess why people still buy these expensive bags?” (Ye-Won)
“….No. Why?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Because, they are expensive.” (Ye-Won)
Doesn’t this sound like the cause and effect have flipped sides? Or am I wrong? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“People buy them because they are expensive! Forget about functionalities, forget about designs, forget about everything else cuz they are not important, okay? We buy expensive stuff so we can show off and tell the world that we are more than capable enough to carry around such things! Do you get it now?” (Ye-Won)
“I-is that so?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s right! I want to buy that bag because it’s expensive, but if you ask me why I want to buy an expensive bag, what do you think I’ll say back to you?” (Ye-Won)
….I’m sure you’ll be speechless.
Because, I’ve got nothing to say, too. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“So, just shut up and buy me the bag! I also wanna walk around with my head held up high and tell people that I’ve got a well-to-do oppa making a ton of money and can afford to wear a bag like that! Can’t you just think of it as an investment and buy it for me already?!” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was rendered speechless for the first time in the last few hundred years. What should he call this now? A change of ideas?
“That’s why!” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won’s eyes began glowing dangerously now.
“Are you going to buy it for me or not?!” (Ye-Won)
“I, I shall gladly do so, ma’am….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
She jumped on Yi Ji-Hyuk and cutely clung onto his arm.
“Oppa, you’re the best!” (Ye-Won)
“Huh, huhuhuh…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What’s the meaning of this, this weird feeling of me wanting to cry?
My little sister’s really happy but why do I feel this massive burden in my heart? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“I knew it, there’s no one better than you, oppa!” (Ye-Won)
…. You’re gonna need a big a*s bar of soap to clean that mouth of yours after lying like that, you rotten little girl.
It’s not ‘no one better than oppa’, it’s more like ‘no one better than oppa’s wallet’. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“….Hang on a second. Shouldn’t you be asking your boyfriend to buy stuff like this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Of course not.” (Ye-Won)
“Eh? Why not?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oppa, you’re so dense. You don’t know if you’ll end up marrying your current boyfriend. Which means, his money is mine, right? What point is there to buy a bag with my own cash? Others should buy it for me.” (Ye-Won)
“….Oh. Is that so….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Should he call this being sensible or being senseless?
Should he call this being smart, or being a dumba*s?
Yi Ji-Hyuk simply couldn’t figure it out.
One could argue that he had spent way too long in Berafe and his personality changed as a result. If that was the case, then just what did this kid go through in the past five years to end up like this?!
For the first time ever, Yi Ji-Hyuk began wondering if Earth was more hazardous to one’s mental health compared to Berafe.
“A-anyway, I gotta go and run an errand, so….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Okay. I’ll deal with everything, so text me the security code later.” (Ye-Won)
“….Which one are you planning to buy now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Uhm, well. How about a five million Won bag?” (Ye-Won)
“The price’s gone up?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You being a small-minded miser again? Since you’re going to spend, why not spend like a man? I mean, I was even thinking of getting the same bag as mom’s but I held back, you know?!” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head helplessly.
For the price of not arguing with this girl no more, he figured that the extra three million was a cheap amount to swallow.
“Do whatever you want.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Now that the things had gone far, it’d be easier on his stress level to let her spend as she pleased.
He knew this fact.
He knew it, so why was he still feeling so d*mn unhappy about it?
“Hah….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And the wise old ‘they’ said that a man couldn’t live as he pleased in this world, too….
The phone rang without warning, and Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly answered it.
“Hello?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “I’m in front of your place. You can come out now.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Alright. I’m on my way.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Might as well go to work and escape from this place; rather than getting pummelled in his own home, he’d feel far more comfortable fighting against monsters somewhere else.
Yi Ji-Hyuk ended the call and spoke in a powerless voice.
“Your orabeonim is going to work now, so do what you want, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ng. Oppa! Go and make lots of money, okay!” (Ye-Won)
“….D*mn it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk walked towards the front door with slumped shoulders.
“Did something happen?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon began worrying when Yi Ji-Hyuk climbed into the car looking somewhat depressed.
“Mister Choi Jung-Hoon?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“….What is this thing called money?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Huhuhuh.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon broke into a gentle chuckle.
“You shouldn’t sweat over it so much. If you have it, then you gotta spend it – that’s what money is for. If you earn them but pile them up somewhere, when will you get to enjoy yourself? After all, aren’t you making money in order to enjoy your life?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I guess you’re right.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Indeed, he wasn’t wrong there.
If one were to get technical about it, didn’t Yi Ji-Hyuk’s plan of ‘Uplifting the Yi household’s living conditions’ involve him earning a ton of cash and making sure his family had no needs or wants for the rest of their lives?
The thing was, though – he deliberated seriously on how to go about making money and making sure the family was happy and satisfied, but never did he think about what being happy and satisfied entailed in reality. That’s where the current problem arose from.
“Why not buy a car, instead?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon formed a serious expression and spoke to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“You should never say that out aloud.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Excuse me? Why not?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If you’ve got money, then typically, they’ll make you do both, you see.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“….I see that I almost made a huge mistake just now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Indeed, this man is wise!
I can trust him to get things done!
It’d be so much better if we were related by blood, not just through work-related matters, right?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
‘I wonder, will he be able to withstand Ye-Won’s daily budget threshold?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
No matter, he needed to make sure this man brought home a solid amount of moolah every month, which would ensure the everlasting stability for his little sister’s future family!
“….What are you thinking about?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“It’s nothing important.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon was suddenly being overwhelmed by this inexplicable chill crawling down his back after seeing that suspiciously content expression on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face while the latter was staring back at him.
What could this be?
He did his best to ignore it and drive the car, but he just couldn’t switch his attention away from that content expression and those eyes of Yi Ji-Hyuk looking at him.
Choi Jung-Hoon felt the cold sweat soaking his back and stepped on the accelerator even harder.
Soon, the duo arrived at the helipad. Yi Ji-Hyuk climbed out of the car and frowned a bit after spotting Jeong Hae-Min standing next to the helicopter.
“And why are you here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m going there to leave a marker behind. As soon as I’m done, I’m coming back home.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Then again, there wouldn’t be a need to use a helicopter if it weren’t for that dang zombie crisis causing Jeong Hae-Min to throw away all her previous markers.
“But, man. Do I really have to go?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“A lot of our people have been dispatched overseas, you see.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“It’s not like we’re operating a charity organisation, so how come we’re so dead-set on solving other countries’ problems?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We’re getting quite a bit of coin as compensation.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You won’t be able to spend that money when war breaks out, you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head.
Did Choi Jung-Hoon and Co. think that all the compensation they were earning right now would prove to be an asset later on? At the rate the world was revolving, there was a good chance that all that ‘compensation’ would turn into a bad cheque not even worth the paper it was printed on.
He thought that, in a few years’ time, Gates would open up every single day and every single hour, so what possible meaning was there in any of that?
“The important thing right now is to nurture the next generation of talents. Since we can’t defend everything every day, we need to buy ourselves time to nurture new ability users. If we don’t do anything, all of our neighbouring nations would cease to exist before long and we will have no one to stop the Gates opening around us.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Those words weren’t wrong, either.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s head understood it all too well, but he was simply getting irritated by the fact that his workload had potentially increased by it, too.
‘Really, man. I keep feeling irritated about something.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Where was this dissatisfaction of his coming from?
Now that a bit of time had passed already, he should be feeling better, but his dissatisfaction level was constantly on the rise. With things being like this, it had already went past the level of him feeling ‘bad’ about something.
Yi Ji-Hyuk stood there tilting his head, prompting Choi Jung-Hoon to point at the helicopter.
“Let’s get onboard.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head and entered the vehicle.
For now, I should just focus on what’s in front of me. I won’t get any answers just because I wrack my brain. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Soon, the helicopter carrying Yi Ji-Hyuk and Co. rose up into the sky.
“….What the hell is this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Even the one and only Yi Ji-Hyuk was taken by surprise. Now he finally understood why this Gate couldn’t evaluated and ranked by the traditional means.
That’s how gigantic this Gate in front of his eyes was.
The thing was, he had seen his fair share of portals this big before. As a matter of fact, Gates he created while in Berafe were far bigger than this one.
However, there was something called the natural flow of things.
Until now, people thought that the Gates would progressively get bigger at a certain rate. But then, this Gate broke that mindset by being at least twice the size of the previous record holder. So, how could anyone not feel this ominous foreboding?
“Will Gates like this one keep popping up in the future?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a lengthy groan.
Without a doubt, this portal did require his personal touch.
He needed to confirm just what sort of creatures would pop out from this particular Gate. If the defence was left to other agents and then, they end up fighting against creatures that they couldn’t deal with, the surrounding areas would become the land of death in the blink of an eye.
“I did read it in the report, but it’s even bigger than I thought, now that I can see it with my own eyes.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I’m sure it is.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk glared at the Gate with eyes full of dissatisfaction. For some reason, he was getting this bad feeling that this portal could not be called a simple irregularity.
A strong sense of disharmony, as if someone or something was behind this Gate. That’s what he felt.
‘What could this be?’
As Yi Ji-Hyuk began pondering on the identity of this disharmony, a voice called out to him from behind.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.”
He chased after that voice and looked behind him.
< 209. And they say there’s no one to trust in this world! -4 > Fin.
(TL: this ‘filial’ phone thing seems to be unique to South Korea and China, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar exists in Japan, as well. Basically, it’s a mobile phone designed for old people who aren’t as tech-savvy as younger generation. Both Samsung and LG make them. Basically, they are flip phones like the old Motorolas, but with modern functions. Google ‘Samsung Galaxy Folder2’ if you want to see what one looks like.)