And so, a calamitous storm descended on the family.
Getting angry was one thing, but well, the reality remained as grim as ever.
The crime had already been committed. The real problem they had to face now was, how they should continue from here onwards.
“So, it’s the end with you simply getting fired?” (mom)
“Of, of course.” (dad)
Judging from the way her husband was avoiding direct eye contact, mom could pretty much tell something else was up.
Park Seon-Duk spat out a long sigh and spoke.
“Just tell me everything there is to tell.” (mom)
Yi Chul-Joong checked the mood of his volatile wife, and slowly opened his mouth.
“You won’t get angry?” (dad)
“I’m sure my anger will be the least of your worries when I eventually find out!” (mom)
“That is true, too…” (dad)
Yi Chul-Joong took several deep, deep breaths, and cautiously opened his mouth.
“They won’t report me to the cops on the condition that I regurgitate every cent I ate up.” (dad)
“….And how much will that be?” (mom)
“It’s a bit, a lot…” (dad)
“Just tell me how much it is already!” (mom)
He sheepishly replied.
“Around ₩400 million…” (dad) (TL: Around $370,000)
Park Seon-Duk wordlessly got up from her seat.
“D, dear?” (dad)
Yi Chul-Joong became rather flustered when his wife did not get angry as he had been expecting.
She remained wordless as she walked to Yi Ji-Hyuk’s room.
Sensing something ominous was about to unfold, Yi Chul-Joong decided to sneakily follow after her.
Meanwhile, she violently slammed open the door to her son’s room.
“Argh, what the!! Mom, please knock on the door first!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ji-Hyuk-ah, switch on the internet for a minute.” (mom)
“Mm? What’s the matter, mom?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I want you to search online, for what convicts need nowadays inside a prison!!” (mom)
Yi Chul-Joong’s soul got frightened out of its shell and nearly jumped out. He quickly ran towards his wife and desperately clung on to her.
“Nooo, dear, no!!” (dad)
“400 million?! FOUR HUNDREDDDDD!!!! You think that amount will fall from the skies, just like that? Instead of you not getting reported to the authorities by paying that amount off, it’ll be cheaper for the whole family, if you spend ten years behind the bars!! Call the nearest police station and tell them you are turning yourself in!!” (mom)
“No, dear! I know money is important, but how can you even think about sending your own husband to prison?!” (dad)
“That is why I’m getting ready to support you when you’re inside!!” (mom)
“How the heck did you even arrive at that part already?!” (dad)
“No need for a lengthy chat. Just think of yourself as a Gireogi Appa and rest easy for a few years inside. Don’t worry about the kids. I’ll take care of everything.” (mom) (TL note at the end.)
“Forget about the kids, worry about me for a second. Me!!” (dad)
“What gives you the right to raise your voice at me, you idiot?!” (mom)
“N, no, it’s not a right or anything…..” (dad)
“I should’ve known the moment you brought in all that money. You said that work at the company was going really, really well…. If you were a man with that much ability, we wouldn’t have lived so poorly ever since we got married!! Aigoo~~~. I didn’t even know the truth and blabbed my mouth to everyone, telling them my husband was making a lot of money…. How will I even show my face in public now?!” (mom)
“D, dear…” (dad)
Unfortunately for dad, Yi Ji-Hyuk seemed to spectacularly lack common sense.
“Mom, I finished searching online.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Hey, you fool!! Stop adding fuel to the fire!!” (dad)
“Dad.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk replied to his dad’s anguished cries with a dignified face.
“It’s better to minimise the family’s sacrifices.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….It seemed that, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, indeed.
In the end, mom still fell into a morbid state of despair after learning that, even if dad did go to prison, the family still had to pay back the stolen money.
“Four hundred million….” (mom)
It wasn’t as if they had a stash of free cash hidden under the mattress or something; just where would they find such an enormous sum of money?
Also, no one would be willing to loan them a single dime when the world was in such a dire strait already.
What with the number of “accidents” involving monsters on the rise, the conditions for lending money became very strict, and chances of getting a loan without a collateral was as good as the mission: impossible.
Sure, the number of victims did decrease after the anti-Gate measures were put in place and consequently, the strictness of getting a loan had relaxed a little bit. But the truth was, not one sane institution would loan money to a person who just got fired from his place of employment. Besides, even if they did get a loan somehow, paying that back with interest still remained an unsolvable quandary.
It seemed that they had to resort to selling all of their current assets, even.
“Even if we sell this apartment, we won’t get 400 million…” (mom)
Wouldn’t they have to sell the house and the car and everything else besides?
If things went further south, then Park Seon-Duk might even have to sell her restaurant, too.
Then, what should they survive on?
As she continued to despair, her eyes landed on the paper gift bag Seo Ah-Young left behind.
She hasn’t even taken the gift out of the wrapping yet, and since it’s from a famous brand, it should fetch a fair bit of coin. She figured that, she might as well hawk it off and add a bit to the coffers instead.
Park Seon-Duk weakly reached out towards the bag.
Well, she needed to confirm what kind of gift it was in order to sell it, after all.
As she lifted up the bag with not much strength behind her arms, something small fell out from its inside.
“A business card?” (mom)
And it was a business card with Seo Ah-Young’s name as well as her office number clearly printed on the surface.
Now that she thought about it….
“The best treatment available.”
“Not just to Yi Ji-Hyuk, but the rest of the family members included in the welfare benefits and financial aids.”
Didn’t Seo Ah-Young say the contract documents contained all the relevant details?
Too bad, she took them with her as she left the apartment.
In that case…
It was then, Yi Ji-Hyuk exited his room while sighing out grandly.
“I can’t seem to find a day of peace in this place. What should I do about…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Inevitably, his eyes met his mother’s.
Park Seon-Duk’s right hand was holding Seo Ah-Young’s business card, while her left hand was pressing a smartphone to her ears.
“Mom?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk called with a trembling voice.
“WAIT!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Wha… what? What now?” (mom)
“Who were you calling just now, mom?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, it’s just, you see….” (mom)
“Mom?! Were you trying to sell me down the river just now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk started protesting with a pair of teary eyes that could only be seen on a cow headed off to an abattoir. Mom hurriedly waved her hands and denied everything. Well, not everything.
“I just wanted to ask her about something, you see…. I’m not trying to sell you, I promise!! I was just going to ask her something, that’s all!! Just a couple of questions!!” (mom)
“What the?! Have you ever seen a person not intending to sell asking others how much the item should go for?! Mom, why u do dis?! It’s me, Ji-Hyuk!! I’m your son!! Didn’t you say something about no mothers wanting to see their children fight monsters not too long ago? Don’t you remember?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Of course, I remember.” (mom)
“Then, how could you even think about doing this, mom?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Too bad for him, mom was as confident and forthright as always.
“But, I thought about this for a moment, and…” (mom)
“And?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That place, that KSF place, there are lots of people working there already, no?” (mom)
“Uh… I guess?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If you look at this logically, all those people also have their parents, no? And those people, well, they accept the fact that their children are out there fighting monsters, so, I’m thinking that maybe I’m the strange one, you know?” (mom)
Yi Ji-Hyuk crumpled to the floor as the weight of despair squashed him down.
And they said there was not one person you could trust in this cold, cruel world!!
To think, he’d live long enough to see the day his own mother tried to sell him off!!
Was this how a son being sold off to work in the distant farm during the times of famine felt like?
“W, who said I was selling you off? I’m telling you son, I was just trying to ask her a couple of questions!!” (mom)
Seeing his mom get angry for no reason whatsoever, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s suspicions changed into a definite yes.
If he was late even by a second, there would have been a deal made under the table where he got sold off without him being aware of the transaction itself.
Yi Ji-Hyuk snatched the business card and tore it to shreds, and then to make sure, he even took away mom’s phone and erased the saved number for Seo Ah-Young’s office.
“You think I’ll let myself be sold off like that?! I will never work for them, so don’t even dream about it!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I didn’t even say anything, though.” (mom)
Mom grumbled under her breath and entered the main bedroom.
“….It’d be the end after asking to exchange it.” (mom) (TL: I don’t get this line either. TLed as is.)
“Ng?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, it’s nothing. It’s already getting late now, so go get some sleep! Work is work, but you still need to get proper rest.” (mom)
“You aren’t going to sell me off while I’m asleep, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Who’s going to sell you off!! Just who?! I said, I was just making a phone call!” (mom)
“How can even I trust you after this? My trust! Hah, dear lord.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Still, I gotta trust mom.
She is my own mother, after all…
But, could she, really? (Yi Ji-Hyuk talking to himself)
Yi Ji-Hyuk felt cold sweat drip down his spine.
“There’s no one to trust in this world, it seems…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
In the end, an event where mom sold off Yi Ji-Hyuk or something of that nature didn’t happen.
Although it kinda looked like her resolution got rattled somewhat, mom still didn’t let the temptation of sending her son off to a death zone to live off on his earnings creep into her mind. And thanks to that, Yi Ji-Hyuk could escape the sinister net of the KSF for the time being.
However, the issue was…
“We’re selling the house.” (mom)
“Hul.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We’re selling the car, too! Mom will put the restaurant up for sale as well, and I’ll have to move to a much smaller place.” (mom)
The whole family was present in this emergency meeting. Dad was looking down on the floor like a convict next to mom.
Oh well. What could he possibly say at times like this anyway?
Yi Ji-Hyuk ended up clicking his tongue.
“Dad, you really should’ve done it in moderation, you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I wasn’t planning to carry on for long…” (dad)
Yi Ji-Hyuk let off a long, long sigh of disappointment, but he also didn’t feel like berating his own father, either.
Such things changed according to the time in history as well as the circumstances surrounding you.
Watching the world pass by for a thousand years or so, he had witnessed the strictly upheld values of one society or the time period become as worthless as poo crapped out by a stray mutt, as the years rolled on. So, he didn’t feel one way or the other about this whole subject.
So, from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s point of view, the real issue wasn’t that his father was a criminal, but that his family found themselves in a serious financial bind.
“Where will we live, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What else? We need to move.” (mom)
“To where, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“For now, we will have to find an area with cheap houses. If not… well, we will have to rent.” (mom)
Yi Ye-Won looked completely startled as she piped up.
“Are we going to leave this area?” (Ye-Won)
“I wonder, but that could very well be.” (mom)
“I have to transfer the school?” (Ye-Won)
“I don’t wanna!” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won shouted out angrily.
“I’m not transferring! If I swap school at my age, everyone there will single me out! Don’t you get it?!” (Ye-Won)
‘Huh, is that why you acted as a boss lady when singling out that blondie girl before?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yep, this child needed tough love.
Only the painful beatings from tough love could wake this child up from her stupidity.
“Others change school all the time. Besides, our family is going through such a difficult period, yet why do you act like this?” (mom)
“I don’t care! I’m not going. I’ll never ever go!! Dad caused this, so dad, you fix it!!” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won screamed out and stomped back into her room.
“Just when that girl will learn to grow up…” (mom)
Mom clicked her tongue in regret.
“In any case, dear, this will be our plan so you need to find new employment quickly.” (mom)
“Mm. I will.” (dad)
Although he had said that…. Even though his transgressions hadn’t been made public, just which sane person would want to hire a man accused of stealing from his company?
More than likely, the rumours about him must’ve spread around within his field of expertise. And even if the potential recruiters haven’t heard of those rumours, they would still guess the reason why he was seeking a new place of employment, from the very fact that a man lined up for a promotion was let go quite inexplicably.
Placed under such situation, looking for a new job would be harder than finding a specific needle in a stack of similar-looking needles.
Obviously, Yi Chul-Joong couldn’t voice his thoughts out aloud.
After all, those thoughts were not something he should express when he was about to lose his house, his car, pretty much everything worth something.
“And you!” (mom)
Meanwhile, mom’s sharp eyes were directed at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
He got startled by the sudden change of target.
“Y, yeah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You too! It’s time for you to stop fooling around and find a job!” (mom)
“What?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was ready to show his desperate resistance.
What do you mean, work?!
Mom, what are you saying to your son? Work? Me?
I didn’t return to this world so I can slave away at work, you know! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“You weren’t seriously planning to waste time by playing computer games the whole day, when our family is on the brink of complete ruination, were you? You are the eldest child, so show some responsibility!” (mom)
“Mom, I’m a high school dropout. No one’s gonna hire me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Get a part-time job at a convenience store, then!” (mom)
What a funny notion that was – he lived like an emperor back in Berafe, yet now, he was asked to serve customers in a convenience store?
“There is no way I’ll let this family be ruined like this. Even if it takes many years, we will rise up again. To achieve that goal, son, you need to help your mother out.” (mom)
Of course, what she said was correct. Indeed, it was. However…
Yi Ji-Hyuk was brutally forthcoming with his opinions.
“Mom, I’m telling you from experience, it’s not that bad being dirt poor. You have less things to worry about, for instance.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yes, he was talking from his vast experience in the subject matter. His valuable experience!
Heck, the South Korea’s poorest of poor wouldn’t have lived as poorly as Yi Ji-Hyuk had done way back when.
If he combined all those years he had to live a life worse than a pauper, always worrying about where his next meal would come from, then it’d easily shoot past one hundred.
So, his opinion was coming straight from his considerable experience, yet…
Mom didn’t share the same train of thoughts as her son.
“Son, it’s true that you won’t starve to death in the modern day Korea. Am I correct?” (mom)
“That’s right, mom.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“However, when you’re poor, there are many things you have to give up on. For example, your favourite, meat, will have to go poof from your meals, your snacks and sodas you love to chow down while gaming will decrease, no, disappear completely, and most of all…” (mom)
Mom’s thunderous declaration finally crashed down like a lightning bolt.
“The first thing to get cut off will be your internet connection, so remember that.” (mom)
That, that is?!?!?!?!
That was even more scarier than hearing his own death sentence.
If his snacks and the computer-related activities disappeared from his life, just why did he even come back to this world in the first place?!?!
No, hang on… Uh, I think there was another reason. Probably? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
In any case!
“Mmmm. That is a really, seriously, really terrible problem.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Finally realising the severity of the situation, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expressions hardened as he spoke up.
“So, our biggest problem is, we don’t have enough money right now, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, so you finally figured that out.” (mom)
“Okay, that means when I earn some money, things will return to normal, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk broadened his shoulders.
The intimidating aura of the one and only Bringer of Apocalypse oozed out and caused mom to take a step back inexplicably.
“Well, I just have make some money, then.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
With what methods, you ask?
Why, there are loads!
< 39. You don’t trust your son that much? -4 > Fin.
(TL: Gireogi Appa is a relatively new term coined around a decade or so ago. There’s a whole Wikipedia page in English dedicated to this, actually. Basically, it’s an amalgamation of two words, the first Gireogi means “goose” while the latter Appa means “Dad”. A father who remains in Korea while sending his kids and wife overseas for the children’s education is called a Gireogi Appa. There’s a few variations of the term as well.)