Seo Ah-Young quietly stared at Park Seon-Duk’s hardened face for a while, before nodding her head.
“Perhaps I was too impatient.” (Seo Ah-Young)
She must have thought that no matter what she said now, none would get through mom’s defenses.
Seo Ah-Young willingly lowered her head.
“I’d like to apologise for my lack of consideration towards mother’s point of view.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“I did not say those words to hear your apologies.” (mom)
“Yes, I am well aware. However, I feel that I need to apologise, otherwise I would not be able to calm my own heart.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Park Seon-Duk didn’t reply to that.
Yi Ji-Hyuk trembled in terror as he watched his “usually screaming at the top of her lungs” mom keeping dead quiet.
Heck, the atmosphere alone would have killed someone already.
Or, maybe it was just Yi Ji-Hyuk who felt this way, since, you know, this was his mom and all.
The evidence to back that up was Seo Ah-Young, who remained relatively calm and composed even when subjected to mom’s intense glare.
“I believe it would be for the best to end things here today. The gift is unrelated to the matter at hand, so please accept it without hesitation, mother.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“No thank you. Please take it back with you.” (mom)
“Mother.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Looking troubled, Seo Ah-Young smiled awkwardly and spoke up.
“I too have parents. No, I used to have. They taught me that visiting a person’s home without an appropriate gift was not a polite thing to do. This gift wasn’t prepared to sway your mind, but to uphold the teachings my parents taught me. Please, don’t make me a bad daughter, and accept this small gift.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“….In that case.” (mom)
No, wait! Mom, no!
That’s not what an appropriate gift is supposed to look like!
Her parents were probably saying a basket of fruit or bottles of wine!
I mean, look at the brand name, for crying out loud… That’s blooming expensive, you know!
No matter how you look at it, that’s a bribe!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner screaming)
“It is indeed impolite to continue refusing a gift, so I shall receive it out of consideration.” (mom)
Wha? Heck, if we ended up accepting gifts out of “consideration” for second time, we might even get a car! (Yi Ji-Hyuk still screaming inside his head)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s lips pouted out at least a foot in front of his face, and mom’s withering gaze squarely landed on her son soon enough.
You better pull that piehole in or else. (mom)
Mom’s soundlessly moving lips imparted her kind words so clearly.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s lips pulled back in almost right away.
“We shall trouble you no more at this late hour.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Be careful on your way out.” (mom)
“And, also…” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young stood up from her seat, and bowed her head. Then, she made a final declaration.
“We shall come to visit you again.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“I believe I’ve made our position crystal clear. We do not wish to see you again.” (mom)
“I accept that I have made an error in judgement today. I sincerely apologise for offending you. However, I didn’t come here with an intention to probe you. If you are offended, then we will do our best to make up for that. We will continue to come and speak to you in the future. We can’t give up, even if we’re splashed with water and my hair gets pulled out.” (Seo Ah-Young)
What a leech like girl.
What a vindictive demon!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner cursing)
Yi Ji-Hyuk glared at her intensely.
But Seo Ah-Young didn’t even pretend to meet his gaze right till the end.
“I will not change my mind, regardless.” (mom)
“Mother, I’m not doing this just because I felt like it. It is for the benefit of the country and perhaps, even the world.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Mom smirked then.
“I would rather not have a country that wishes to sacrifice my son.” (mom)
Perhaps she finally read mom’s unshakeable resolution, Seo Ah-Young didn’t try to say add anything else.
“We will come again.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Goodbye to you.” (mom)
When Seo Ah-Young and Doh Gah-Yun left through the front door, Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly ran to his mom and embraced her tightly.
“Mooooommy!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What the! Stop, you’re creeping me out!” (mom)
“Khyah! Yes, that’s how a mom’s supposed to be! Right, mom!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Although he didn’t sound all that serious, Yi Ji-Hyuk was actually feeling several powerful emotions welling up inside his heart at this very moment.
No one tried to protect him while he was in Berafe. Not one person tried to defend him, either.
Not once had he felt the camaraderie of being with the so-called comrades, nor a sense of solidarity, unity as it were, while he was there.
And now, that lost sense was going through a miraculous revival!
“Let go! You’re really creeping me out, so let me go this second!” (mom)
But… he could’ve made a mistake on that one.
“Mom!! If those idiots come back again, you must refuse them, okay!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, that I must do, but…” (mom)
Park Seon-Duk made a difficult expression.
“But, I am a little bit scared, son. They are from the government, after all. I hope they don’t try something untoward against us…” (mom)
“Hahaha, mom. Really now, you worry about the weirdest things, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Still, they are the KSF.” (mom)
“Mom, rest easy. They are all morons.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You’re the real moron here!” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shrugged his shoulders.
He couldn’t tell whether there would be some unforeseen events happening in the future or not, but one thing’s for sure, they better not provoke him.
If things did go sideways, then he was more than prepared to go on an all out offensive, himself.
‘I’m not holding back because I’m intimidated, you know.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It would be a bit too much work, that was all.
However, if they did something and that crossed his ‘too much work’ bottom line, then who would be able to predict what might happen? After all, while he was in Berafe, he had no notion or concept of doing it in moderation. He didn’t know how to, nor did he care.
Well, back then, he had nothing and no one to protect, which meant that he didn’t care about a thing. And, since he had nothing to lose as well, he never failed to handle things in the full-on hard acceleration mode all the freaking time.
And well, the result from his reckless actions was… this.
Not only the world’s, but even the resistance and interference of the gods couldn’t slow him down; he even got to achieve what he had desired for so long.
‘That’s right. I am the Berafe’s…’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Besides all that!!” (mom)
“You, come and sit over here!” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shivered and quickly sat down on the designated spot.
“Y, yes, mom?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Park Seon-Duk picked up a paper bag resting near the front entrance and placed it in front of her confused son.
“What’s this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk reached in and started pulling the contents out from the bag.
And they were books thicker than his arm.
“What the, books?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He saw the titles on the cover, and his body began shaking uncontrollably.
[Learn to Ace the High School Graduation Exam in 30 days or Less!!] [I Passed the SAT Exam in 30 Days! And Now, You Can, Too!] [Easy-to-learn Exit Exam Information Tutorial, Basic Version] [The Methods to Pass High School Graduation Exam] [The Compiled List of Past High School Exit Exam Questionnaires]
“M, mom, this is?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Park Seon-Duk placed her hand on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s shoulder and spoke in an icy voice.
“You should at least graduate from high school, no?” (mom)
“Do you have any idea how embarrassed I was, when I said you’re a high school dropout?” (mom)
What the heck.
Mom, no one told you to mention that in the first place, you know…
So, why are you blaming me for that…? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s dumbfounded inner musings)
“You see, my son. I’m a logical person. I don’t expect to see you get a university degree or something like that. I have my morals. However, at a bare minimum, you should have a high school diploma, no? Don’t you think so?” (mom)
“No, hang on. Mom, I think…”
“You should not think. Leave thinking to your mother.” (mom)
Yes, dear mother.
This son of yours will not think anymore. (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Of course, one’s academic achievements aren’t everything in life. I’ve seen many outstanding people who have only managed to graduate from middle school, or even elementary, still make success of their lives.” (mom)
“T, that’s right, mom!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“However… that’s the story for them, not you! Those people succeeded in life regardless of their academic careers, but you are different! You are the type that would fail even with excellent education!! So, just what calamity would fall on you without a passable academic record of some kind backing you?!” (mom)
“Y, you… are right, mom…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That is why!!” (mom)
Mom’s eyes were set ablaze.
“You will pass, no matter what!!” (mom)
“Your desire is incredible, mom. Okay, fine. When is the exam, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Read properly on the covers.” (mom)
“….Passing in 30 days?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“There you go.” (mom)
“M, mom?! Don’t you know that impossibility exists in this world?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“From now on, the word impossible will cease to exist in your vocabulary.” (mom)
“But, but, still! At least I need time to prepare!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Other people passed with only a month of studying.” (mom)
“That’s other people!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“My son.” (mom)
Park Seon-Duk stroked her son’s head and spoke.
“I remember your report cards very well. If I think about it, it’s a miracle that you managed to enter high school. They say that anyone can enter a high school, but still, I can vividly recall the face of your third year homeroom teacher from the middle school telling me that… for the sake of your future, I should consider making you work physically for a living, instead of sending you to a high school.” (mom)
“That man said what now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What the hell!! That Judas-like b*stard!!
He clearly told me that I’d do well if I put more effort into studying!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s angry inner monologue)
“However, there comes a time in a man’s life, when he has to soldier on, even if it seems impossible to succeed. One can’t live on while only doing things he can, after all.” (mom)
Eh? Haven’t I heard that from somewhere before? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s confused inner monologue)
“Even if you can’t do it, you must succeed!! No matter what!!” (mom)
Chang-Sik-ah, I want to apologise to you.
You must have been feeling the same emotions as me, back then. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s apologetic inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk reminded himself to treat Chang-Sik nicely when he’d see him later on.
“No, still, this is going a bit far, mom. I haven’t touched a textbook in over, uh, five years, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Actually, it was over a thousand years, but still.
“You avoided touching books before then, so nothing’s changed, hasn’t it?” (mom)
“Huh. Now that you mention it, I was like that…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Don’t you worry, son. If you study with as much dedication as you put into that game, then surely, you’d earn a doctorate before long.” (mom)
I’m truly sorry, mom.
Me… I actually get called a disabled fool even while gaming.
I am sorry for being such a useless son. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
It was then, the doorbell chimed again.
“Looks like it’s your father.” (mom)
Outside the apartment building, on the parking lot.
“So, how did it go?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
When Choi Jung-Hoon asked, Seo Ah-Young shook her head slowly.
“Like talking to a steel wall.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Choi Jung-Hoon grinned refreshingly.
“We already talked about this. There was no way this matter would’ve been resolved from the get-go like that.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“She was really determined.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“A stubborn mule.” (Gah-Yun)
Choi Jung-Hoon frowned slightly while staring at Gah-Yun after she added in her own thoughts
‘What on earth… Hasn’t her personality change a bit lately?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Is this really the right way? I mean, shouldn’t we approach them sincerely and build solid bridges first?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Choi Jung-Hoon shook his head.
“That’s the fastest way to failure. We are from the KSF. Anybody would grow suspicious if people from such an organisation approached them for no reason, and tried to get on their good sides. They wouldn’t be able to shake away that little bit of doubt nesting in their hearts, when we make our true intentions known later on. That is why being upfront is the best possible way.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Still, I feel like it’s too upfront, doing it like this. She didn’t look like she’d change her mind at all.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“The most important part will start from here onwards.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
They had let their intentions known.
There was a big difference between the other side knowing and not knowing what you wanted.
And they had never thought that things would resolve painlessly with just a few well-timed persuasive words, anyway.
The things they had prepared would start kicking into gear from now on.
Of course, none of those would be crossing Yi Ji-Hyuk’s perceived bottom line. They would have to play a delicate balancing act of always staying above that.
If they failed to do so, then, it’d lead to a huge disaster, after all.
It was a difficult operation, indeed. But Choi Jung-Hoon was determined to succeed, no matter what.
“…My grudge won’t let me fail.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Mm? Did you say something?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“It’s nothing.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon, the hottest property within the KSF’s ranks; a man with a promising career, and assuredly the best husband material out there; this man, possessing a handsome looks and talent acknowledged by others, was…
…A bit timid.
No, maybe it was slightly greater than ‘a bit’.
“We have laid the groundwork today, so it’ll be fine to retreat for now.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Really? It’s okay for us to back off?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Yes, it’ll be fine.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon’s lips sported a meaningful smile as he stared up at Yi Ji-Hyuk’s apartment from the parking lot.
“Soon, the first bombshell will go off. We will leisurely enjoy the chaos for a bit, before finding the right time to subjugate the target.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Well, let’s go home.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Seo Ah-Young suddenly grabbed the energetic Choi Jung-Hoon’s shoulders.
“You know, don’t you?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Looks like you were dreaming a happy dream.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Yes, it was enjoyable, even though it was only for a single moment.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Well, I’ll leave everything in your capable hands. I’m going home now.” (Seo Ah-Young)
From the corners of Choi Jung-Hoon’s eyes, the sweat drops of the heart, AKA tears, spilled out.
Right now, he didn’t mind not going home but he’d give anything to go and take a bath, at least.
‘It’s all because of that man!!’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
The antagonism towards Yi Ji-Hyuk soared ever higher in Choi Jung-Hoon’s heart.
The resentment born out of this extra work!
The resentment from being unable to go home!
Most of all, Choi Jung-Hoon would never forget the grudge born out of the the youth playing the game with great sentimental value, super dirty!!
Choi Jung-Hoon’s resolve towards the looming rematch burned brightly.
Mom’s eyes opened up wide.
Yi Chul-Joong’s face as he entered through the front door looked like he had seen a ghost.
“D, dear! What happened to you?!” (mom)
“What’s wrong?! Please, tell me!” (mom)
Mom’s urgent, worried voice prompted both Yi Ji-Hyuk and Ye-Won to run out of their respective rooms and come to the front door.
“Dear, I…” (dad)
“Please, say it, dear.” (mom)
“I… got fired.” (dad)
“They threw me out. I’m not going to work from tomorrow.” (dad)
Yi Ye-Won got startled by the sound coming from her brother and hurriedly turned to look.
Yi Ji-Hyuk was grinding his teeth.
‘Those sons of b*tches…’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He didn’t have to take a guess to know what happened.
Those KSF b*stards must’ve pressured dad’s company in order to pressure him.
However, they shouldn’t have touched his family.
‘I’m not going to let them off the hook…’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, why? Why were you let go? Didn’t you say you were to be promoted soon?” (mom)
Dad’s eyes were sorrowful as he gazed at his family members. His voice was smaller than a buzzing noise coming off from a mosquito.
“I, uh, they found out.” (dad)
“They found out.” (dad)
“Found out what?” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head while listening to the conversation unfold.
Wasn’t the direction this chat headed to a bit strange?
Dad replied as if he’d swallowed a whole heap of regret.
“I… I never intended to do that, but, uh, how should I say this… You see, it’s okay to take some and use when we need the extra, right? I, uh… I didn’t mean to take and forget about it. I was going to put it back in, and no one would’ve noticed…” (dad)
All the enraged strength accumulating in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s muscles leaked out in an instant.
So, what happened was…
“So, what happened is….” (mom)
However, mom’s voice began gaining enraged strength instead.
“I just shared it a little bit for us.” (dad)
“Please speak in terms normal people will understand, dear.” (mom)
“Well, that is… That’s got a bad connotation, though.” (dad)
Dad tried to smile, albeit awkwardly.
“They… found me taking the money off the books.” (dad)
Without waiting for another word, mom roughly kicked her husband.
“YOOOUUU!! You insufferable fool!! When my kids are like these, even you try to make my life a living hell?!?!” (mom)
“No, I’m telling you, that wasn’t my intention! I wanted my family to live well!! Besides, you think I spent that money for myself? Where do you think the money for this apartment came from?” (dad)
“Get out!! Get the hell out, right now!! Get out and go die somewhere else, you stupid fool!!” (mom)
“Ji-Hyuk-ah!! My son!! Do something and calm your mother down!! Soooon!!” (dad)
While chuckling bitterly, Yi Ji-Hyuk returned to his room. Then, he slowly closed the door while wiping the teardrops from the corners of his eyes.
‘What a soya powder family.’
He thought that his mom was a demon king of all demon kings, and now, it turned out that his father was a fraudster, too.
Yep, that’s why your daughter has gone down the wrong path. It’s all in the genes.
Oh, you wanna know about where my genes came from?
….I wonder about that, too…
< 38. You don’t trust your son that much? -3 > Fin.