Chapter 271. Mom, it’s your daughter-in-law (1)

“Oh, my goodness! Ji-Hyuk’s mom!” (TL note: In Korea, you address the mother/father of someone not as Mrs this or Mister that, but rather, as the mother/father of that person. Kinda like, say, you don’t call Trump Mister Trump, but as Ivanka’s dad.)

Madam Park Seon-Deok formed an elegant smile and greeted the lady walking closer with a warm expression.

“Hello, there.” (Park Seon-Deok)

“You came to shop for groceries today?”

She was a middle-aged lady wearing sleek, fashionable clothes. She also happened to be a neighbour that Park Seon-Deok got to know pretty well after moving to this neighbourhood.

“Ohoho, yes, you’re right. Well, I’ll have to prepare a suitable meal for my son when he comes back home later.” (Park Seon-Deok)

The neighbourhood lady stood next to Park Seon-Deok and spoke in an exaggerated excitement.

“Ah! Your son!”

The moment her son was mentioned, a warm, content smile spread across Park Seon-Deok’s lips.

“Preparing for his meal at this hour? He must be coming home from a long trip overseas?”

“Yes. He told me that he was travelling to America this time….” (Park Seon-Deok)

“America!”

If this was another district, then she’d have to explain what “Going to America” meant, but this place was none other than the special residential district for ability users.

Indeed, only those who could immediately understand why her son had to go to America while displaying a positive reaction lived in this place.

“Oh! My goodness! To America! Really, being an NDF member is a whole different kettle of fish, isn’t it? The furthest my son went to was just Busan, you know.”

“It’s not all wonderful news, unfortunately. I’m worried that my boy now has to constantly travel overseas.” (Park Seon-Deok)

“But, that only means he possesses great abilities! The way I hear it, your son has been greatly valued by the NDF, too.”

“I’m not too sure. I’m not too clued up on my son’s work, you see….” (Park Seon-Deok)

Park Seon-Deok subtly blurred the ends of her sentence.

Sure, there was a crap ton of things she wanted to say, but if she started gushing about her son in moments like this, she could end up looking like one of those unsightly women who didn’t know when to stop praising their own offspring.

Indeed, the other party would start talking about the matter in due course anyway, so there was no reason for her to open her lips first here.

“My son says he has a friend working in the NDF, and he told me that people there get really surprised when you mention Yi Ji-Hyuk’s name.”

“It must be a coincidence.” (Park Seon-Deok)

Park Seon-Deok smiled graciously.

“Oh, no, it can’t be. That’s just not possible. I mean, it’s related to his job, so he’s pretty knowledgeable, you know? From what I hear, your son’s tasked with the most important job in the NDF, too.”

“Well, the department head does sometimes come to visit my place, so my boy must be holding some kind of a position, I think.” (Park Seon-Deok)

“Oh, my! Goodness me! The department head comes to your house??”

An even more graceful smile spread across Park Seon-Deok’s lips.

This was it!!

This was precisely the ‘children battle’, for the pride of all married women!! A battle, where one would get to decide who had brought up their children better! The extreme battle that women would fight and reach its conclusion by totalling whose children were better looking and who earned more money!

Park Seon-Deok now carried a smile of a victor.

“Now that I think about it, Ji-Hyuk’s mom, you’re an amazing person, aren’t you? You raised your child so well, yet you still remain diligent even now. Your son must be raking in a lot of money lately, but you still cook him meals by yourself.”

“Ohoho~. My son is a bit fussy when it comes to his food, you see. He seems to avoid food not cooked by me for some reason.” (Park Seon-Deok)

She was lying, of course.

Yi Ji-Hyuk was a man who proudly boasted a trashy eating habit of even hoovering up bloated ramen if he found one by accident. A man possessing retarded taste buds who’d claim every single type of dish tasted good as long as it was made in Korea.

“I’m sure it’s because your skills are exemplary.”

“Eii, that’s not true. I only try my best to be as good as everyone else, you see.” (Park Seon-Deok)

“But, it still takes lots of effort to match up to some others, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Ohohoho~.” (Park Seon-Deok)

This neighbourhood lady sure knew how to buoy someone’s mood, it seemed.

Park Seon-Deok suppressed her shoulders from opening up even wider. At this rate, her head would flip back uncontrollably, too.

‘Praise me more!!’ (Park Seon-Deok)

Her husband had been doing well for himself, but a mother who lost her son wouldn’t have had much chance to boast about her child’s accomplishments.

But now, not only did that lost son come back home, he was even a very popular ability user, too.

Only now did it feel like all the puzzle pieces had fallen into their rightful places.

Of course, the Yi Ji-Hyuk others knew and the actual article were two very different beings. No, well, one should say that there were at least around thirty thousand light-years in the gap between the two!

All these people thought of Yi Ji-Hyuk as a successful ability user, and that was about it.

Sure, Park Seon-Deok’s timely repackaging and added spices helped that perception along, but then again, such things were pretty much the same as adding MSG to one’s cooking, something everyone did, so it was all fine.

“I heard that your son is very filial? Is that true?”

“Eii~, he’s not like that. He’s just a bit scared of his mom, me, that’s all.” (Park Seon-Deok)

“Oh, my. You’re so funny sometimes. An ability user son wouldn’t fear his mother, now would he? No, he’s just pretending to lose to you because his mom is such a good person. In that case, he must be really a wonderful boy.”

But, I’m being honest….

Park Seon-Deok did feel a pang of guilty conscience when it came to this part.

If Yi Ji-Hyuk heard this woman, he’d explode in a fit of blood-vomit-inducing rage, telling her to live with his mother for a month or so first before saying that.

“In any case, you must be really pleased, having such an important son.”

“No, I’m just more concerned for him, that’s all. I worry that he’s being too conspicuous. I’ve been telling him to do it in moderation and not stand out from the others, but….” (Park Seon-Deok)

“He’s like an awl in a pocket, so it’s not possible for him not to stand out, you know.” (TL: Another old Korean idiom – ‘Nam-jong-ji-chu. Literally, an awl in a pocket, meaning a talented individual will always break through the ranks of their peers and shine.)

“It’s probably because he himself wishes for it.” (Park Seon-Deok)

With this, Park Seon-Deok got to recharge her daily supply of self-esteem. Her still-hands began moving again to fill up the shopping basket.

Maybe her self-esteem had been overcharged a bit today because all the ingredients finding themselves in her grip happened to be of the expensive, high-quality variety.

She never felt much of a need to select the highest quality products thanks to her son’s propensity to eat whatever was in front of him, regardless of the quality of the ingredients used, but at least for today, she was determined to give him a meal containing the best this place had to offer.

‘Because he’s a wonderful son when I think about it.’ (Park Seon-Deok)

It was indeed strange to hear about the preciousness of one’s child from someone else’s lips.

But, what could she do about it?

To her, her son lazing about in the house doing absolutely nothing came across as human waste. Even if he was her own flesh and blood, it was so, so awkward to see and hear other people treating him like some important ability user.

The guilty conscience of not being a good mother and causing her son to grow up as trash weighed heavily on the corner of her heart all the time, but such a boy was now being seen as indispensable to this world.

Something just felt uncomfortable about that.

She was wise enough not to expect him to act like a nice person. No, she simply hoped that he’d act sensibly and logically, but then, he failed to act his age and wanted to lounge around the whole day, he was super-lazy, and to top it off, he even brought a girl home and started something of a half-cohabitation with her, too.

What kind of an uncouth behaviour was this?

If it were any other times, Park Seon-Deok would’ve already experimented with her own two hands whether her son’s back was lined with reinforced steel or not. But the girl he brought home was so eyeball-poppingly gorgeous that she had no choice but to let it slide.

Well, it’d be a huge benefit to gain a daughter-in-law of that calibre by doing nothing but letting her stay in a room, now wouldn’t it?

Park Seon-Deok was constantly worried that, even though her son was talented, he’d never be able to get married because of his trashy personality. But seeing him bring home a girl that pretty, she began thinking that maybe the heavens had intervened just in time.

“Now that I think about it, isn’t it really strange?” (Park Seon-Deok)

You could only talk about a man and his abilities when said man was a normal person.

It couldn’t be all that easy for a reputable woman to be attracted to someone with a bankrupt personality like Yi Ji-Hyuk. Yet, he continued to bring home girls with extraordinary looks so at least when it came to sweet-talking the opposite sex, he seemed to have properly inherited his father’s genes.

“How ridiculous.” (Park Seon-Deok)

Even though she was saying that, a bright smile didn’t want to leave her lips.

Her son was being acknowledged for his abilities and beautiful potential daughters-in-law were lining up in a queue, so which sane-minded mother would be unhappy about this situation?

She was even on the verge of developing muscle ache because of her chest wanted to open up wider still, so why shouldn’t she be chuffed about this?

Joyful hums continued to leave Park Seon-Deok’s lips as she returned home.

“H-mm…” (Park Seon-Deok)

However, she realised that there was a problem.

The neighbourhood ladies making an adequate amount of money were all driving around in their own cars, yet she didn’t have one and had to lug her stuff around by relying on her two sturdy, still-healthy legs.

It wasn’t because her family lacked the means to buy one, just that she didn’t have a driver’s licence, that was all. The thing was, something that felt bad would remain bad regardless of reasons.

“I will get a licence soon.” (Park Seon-Deok)

Her hubby was making enough money.

Sure, he had to commit a crime to make some of that money, but well, he did earn quite a bit in the meantime, and after getting employed by a state-owned enterprise, he now brought home wages that were slightly less than before but still enough to make others gasp out “Heok!” when they see his paycheque.

Not to forget, what Yi Ji-Hyuk made was simply mind-bogglingly big, too.

She would sometimes take a look at his bank book in order to manage his expenses, and every single time she did that, her eyes would spin nearly out of control after seeing the amount recorded in it.

The wealth accrued so far was so great that the family might not be able to spend it all in their lifetime, yet it was still climbing higher. Naturally, she even began worrying about what her boy was doing out there.

Since there was absolutely no question regarding the identity of the depositor, her son shouldn’t be earning the money through less than reputable means, but still, the amount meant for an individual seemed suspiciously huge, regardless of how talented the boy was deemed to be.

“He couldn’t be….” (Park Seon-Deok)

No matter how rude Yi Ji-Hyuk was, and that he had inherited his father’s blood, he wouldn’t dare try defrauding the government, now would he?

She might have been a ‘hands-off’ type parent, but she was certain of not raising her child to be that reckless and foolish.

“In any case!” (Park Seon-Deok)

First thing’s first – she made her mind up on getting the driver’s licence.

With a car of her own, it’d become easier for her daughter, Ye-Won, to commute to her school, and also, it’d prove to be convenient in many other ways, too.

Not just for her sake, but for her family’s and Yi Ji-Hyuk’s status. The mother of the household could no longer afford to shop for groceries on her feet anymore.

Now that she thought about it, didn’t her son also commute on foot, too?

At that moment, Park Seon-Deok reflected on her behaviour.

Indeed, she shouldn’t place the priority on herself.

Even if her boy was the type to do whatever he pleased in his own pace, he still brought home such a huge amount of money every month. Yet, it pained her greatly after realising that she hadn’t done anything about him still being a public-transport user.

Was it that difficult to buy a new car?

She thought about it some more, and she also realised that Yi Ji-Hyuk simply accrued wealth and didn’t seem to know how to spend it, other than to buy a packet of cigarettes every now and then.

Until now, she used to think that he was a good son who shied away from overspending unnecessarily even though he made good money. But when she looked at it from a different perspective, wasn’t he too disinterested in spending money to the point where he came across as a stingy miser instead?

Even then, she and Yi Ye-Won bought expensive handbags.

“I heard that there are blood-sucking leeches of parents, but this….” (Park Seon-Deok)

It seemed that she had become one, didn’t it?

“This won’t do.” (Park Seon-Deok)

Park Seon-Deok bit her lower lip.

No matter what, she had decided to drag her son, whose back seemed to be glued to the floor of the house, and cover him top to bottom in proper clothes this Sunday.

She swore to throw away all those stinking blue tracksuits.

She had been trying to be more understanding, thinking that ‘If my boy likes them, then it’s all good’, but now, she had reached her limit.

At this rate, she’d end up as one of those Makjang parents who leeched off her son’s back and lived a good life while sending him off with nothing but some worn-out tracksuits.

Actually, her current lifestyle fit that assessment pretty well, though.

Park Seon-Deok reflected deeply on her mistake and began making plans for the Project: Yi Ji-Hyuk’s Exterior Rehabilitation as she reached her home. That’s when she saw it.

She saw a large group of people standing in front of her house, that was.

“Ji-Hyuk-ah?” (Park Seon-Deok)

“Uh, mom? You coming home from somewhere?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I was buying groceries in a supermarket, but well, what’s going on here?” (Park Seon-Deok)

“Ng?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk looked behind him and replied nonchalantly as if it was nothing to fret over.

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“Oh, them? Something happened, so I temporarily brought them here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Something? Like what?” (Park Seon-Deok)

Park Seon-Deok tried her very best to suppress this rising tide of worry in her heart. Whenever her son said something like that, it’d be well after he had already caused yet another incident, that’s why.

“Ng, well, it’s nothing much….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk chuckled sheepishly and pointed to a certain woman standing on a corner.

“Oh my goodness.” (Park Seon-Deok)

Park Seon-Deok couldn’t say anything else, her jaw simply hitting the ground.

Just what on earth was… she?

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Was she actually a human being?

How could any human posses such otherworldly looks as her?

Up until now, she couldn’t bear to chase away that foreigner lady named Affel or whatever because of that girl’s incredible looks, but this new woman was on another level.

Simply put, she was head-spinningly beautiful.

Just how on God’s green earth did this son of hers find and bring such females home?? Even those ladies on TV with the titles of the most beautiful in the world wouldn’t be as beautiful as this woman!

“W-who is she?” (Park Seon-Deok)

Unable to answer her Yi Ji-Hyuk simply grinned awkwardly.

Well, now. How should I phrase my answer so that my mom won’t collapse from shock?

What a dilemma this is.

< 271. Mom, it’s your daughter-in-law. -1 > Fin.

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