Chapter 46: Can a high school dropout get a job there? (1)

Wuuoonng…

The Gates began to resonate quite ominously.

Yi Ji-Hyuk glared at them with his cold, narrowed eyes.

“Hmm….”

Well, now. It seemed that the current situation was already well beyond the stage of finding out the ‘reasons’ or ’causes’ and into the ‘crap hit the fan’.

It’d be silly for him to remain unconvinced when these stupid Gates kept on popping up wherever he went to. And now, he was facing nearly ten of these damnable things, surrounding him from all sides.

No doubt, he had to place top priority on resolving this annoyance first.

It would’ve been wonderful if it was possible to interfere during the Gate’s formation stage and thereby cancelling it outright. But, too bad, even Yi Ji-Hyuk wouldn’t be able to do that if a transcendental-level being infused its will into the creation of these Gates.

If he was in his top condition, then he might have utilised a crazy method of turning the affected space into an empty void of nothingness, by pouring unimaginable amount of Mana there. But, that was only if he was still stuck in Berafe. Where would he possibly find the supply of such enormous amount of Mana in this world?

That meant he had to stand around and observe this situation unfold….

There was naught he could do but to let these Gates get baked (?) into the ripe and ready colour of red, at least for now.

Groan~.”

Suddenly, Yi Ji-Hyuk let off a long groan towards the Gates, and turned on his heels to leave, heading towards his home instead.

He could hear the distant wails of approaching sirens, and he clicked his tongue.

“It’d be fine if we stop running into each other already….”

It felt like he was seeing those guys way more frequently than his own dang family at this point.

Those rotten SOBs at the KSF, that’s who.

 

*

 

“Mom~! I’m home!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Unlocking the front door and entering the house, the very first thing greeting Yi Ji-Hyuk’s return was a flying TV remote. Aimed at his face.

“Hut!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Naturally, Yi Ji-Hyuk caught it quite easily.

Of course he would. Such things were nothing to him now. People shouldn’t take him lightly!!

“How dare you to stay out overnight?!” (mom)

“Come on now, mom!! Just how old am I?! I can stay out if I wanted to!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“So you can end up not coming back for another 5 years?!” (mom)

“Eii~. That’s not going to happen….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

For now, Yi Ji-Hyuk chose to ignore the facial expression of his mom that showed a mixture of anxiety and anger. Instead, he pulled her by arm so they could take a seat on the couch.

“Mom, mom! That’s not important, but this is!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“What is it?” (mom)

“Look, look! Take a look at this!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“What’s gotten into you?” (mom)

He pulled out his phone and pointed at its screen. Mom tilted her head in confusion and shifted her gaze towards the contents showing up on it.

There, she spotted Yi Ji-Hyuk’s bank account information.

“What is this?” (mom)

“It’s money, mom! Money.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Money?” (mom)

If that was the case, then how many digits were there?

One, two, three…..

As if she was standing on a ground going through a 8.0 magnitude earthquake, her eyes shook violently from the shock.

“O, one point four billion?!” (mom)

Mom Park Seon-Duk grabbed her son’s arm and she strengthened the grip unconsciously. Seeing her shocked reaction, Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but smirk.

“Are you pulling a prank on your own mother? You’re going too far, son.” (mom)

“No way, mom. Look over here. This is the banking app you installed on my phone, right? I’m not pulling a fast one on you, you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Huh. It is real.” (mom)

As she confirmed the legitimacy of the app several times, Yi Ji-Hyuk straightened his back, feeling rightly proud of himself.

“You see, mom? I am capable of this much.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ji-Hyuk-ah!!!” (mom)

“Yes, mom! Now, praise me, your eldest son!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Just what kind of rotten things did you do?!” (mom)

Eeehhhh?

Hang on a minute, why is the conversation heading this way….? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s confused inner monologue)

“But, I just earned this money the right way, though…?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Just what kind of a job lets you ‘earn’ this much money in a single day!! What did you do?! Out with it! Did you do bad things again?!” (mom)

Something was definitely wrong here.

“Nonono. I didn’t do any bad things. I swear.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Then where did this money pop out from?! You better be honest with me, you hear?!” (mom)

Mom’s eyes were full of disbelieving questions.

How odd.

Why do I feel like I’m being interrogated right now?

It’s almost like I’m being treated as a criminal here, too…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s embittered inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk realised he needed to resolve this misunderstanding as quickly as possible.

“I got the money after killing a couple of monsters.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Mom’s eyes trembled in shock again.

“What, did, you, say?” (mom)

The tone of mom’s voice… sounded rather ominous.

Sensing the shift in atmosphere towards a bad direction, Yi Ji-Hyuk began inching away from her.

“It’s money I got from defeating a few monsters. I swear, mom! I didn’t do anything bad! I’m telling you the truth!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You defeated a ‘few monsters’?!” (mom)

Her eyes set ablaze now, madam Park Seon-Duk moved so fast she looked like she just teleported behind her son. Then, she proceeded to let him feel the might of her palm of destruction on his unguarded back.

SLLLLAAAAP!!!

*SFX for a whimper of pure shock and pain from a person getting hit by an attack containing an unstoppable force. In Korean, it’s only two syllables, but dayum.*

This…. this hurt even more than when he got struck by the killer whale monster!!

How could this be a normal human being’s power!!!!!

“You defeated monsters?! Monsters!! Have you lost your damn mind??” (mom)

“Mom!! Why?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“What will you do if you get hurt!! Did I tell you to go and make money?! How dare you treat your precious life so recklessly like this?!?!” (mom)

“No, no, no, wait, it’s not like that…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Be quiet!!” (mom)

….Only after enduring the mountain of pain burning across his back for a long, long time, did Yi Ji-Hyuk be able to escape from mom’s wrath.

 

*

 

“Sit down.” (mom)

“Y, yes, mom.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

After Yi Ji-Hyuk knelt down in seiza, mom began pouring out her scolding words on him nonstop.

“Who will end up bearing responsibility when you get hurt?!” (mom)

“I am terribly sorry.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Did you really think that your own mother would be happy to spend the money her son earned while getting seriously injured? Ah? Does your mother look like such a person to you?!” (mom)

“No, mom.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“So, why did you do something no one asked you to do in the first place!! Why!!” (mom)

“No, well, you….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

He was about to say something as a defense of sorts, but when he saw the swollen and reddened corners of mom’s eyes, he shut his mouth up and hung his head in silence.

He realised that he shouldn’t say anything.

“Don’t ever do this again!! Got that?!” (mom)

“Yes, mom.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Right. There, there, my son…” (mom)

Park Seon-Duk hugged her son tightly.

‘Huh. What is this, I wonder.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but feel a bit lost when he sensed something unknown tug ever so slightly at the forgotten corner of his heart.

This feeling, this emotion, it felt quite odd to him…

“You’re not hurt anywhere, are you?” (mom)

“Ng, mom. Look at me. I’m fine.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“There, there. It’s good that you’re not hurt…” (mom)

Listening to her, he realised that he should keep the visit to the hospital to himself for now. Maybe forever.

He was okay with the mountain of pain burning up his back, but his intuition warned of dire consequences if he mentioned that small matter to her.

“Don’t ever do that again, okay?” (mom)

“S, sure, mom…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but scratch the back of his head.

He wasn’t searching for a nice little atmosphere like this one.

Although this feeling of wriggling emotion felt nice and all, his personality was at odds with it.

“Mom, mom! That’s that, but well, did you take a look? I’ve this much money now!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk smiled brightly and pushed the phone towards mom.

“Uh-whew. It is unrealistic, that’s for sure. Just how much is this, really?” (mom)

“With this amount, dad won’t have to go to prison now, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Hmm…..”

What the, mom…?!

Why are you deliberating on this?

You aren’t supposed to think about this, you know!!

Sob, my poor, poor dear ol’ dad…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Okay, let’s forget about that for a moment…. Son, this money – is it really from you catching monsters?” (mom)

“Yes, I’m telling you the truth.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You see, I’ve never heard of something like this happening before.” (mom)

“Oh, the thing is, I strung along a couple of idiots, you see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Idiots?” (mom)

“Yeah, you know. Those KSF people.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Hearing that, mom’s expression became confused.

The KSF? Wasn’t that another name for SARD?

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And he was calling SARD agents idiots?

Just what on earth was her child saying here?

Park Seon-Duk stared at her son, her expression showing how befuddled she was right now.

Although she was indeed this man’s biological parent, more often than not, she felt flabbergasted by the things her son did.

Seriously, from the outside he kind of looked like a bum with no prospects whatsoever. Yet, those KSF people came personally to plead with him, begging him to work for them, which could only mean that her child wasn’t a bum after all.

“They gave you so much for catching a few monsters?” (mom)

“Actually, it was more, but I discounted it for them, you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s shoulders straightened once more, his chest jutting out proudly.

And so, Park Seon-Duk looked at her son with an unsure expression on her face.

She could see that Yi Ji-Hyuk wanted to be praised, but seeing his triumphant expression, thoughts of doing that fled from her mind quite quickly.

However, it was one point four billion.

1.4 billion Won!

Indeed, the ‘1.4 billion’ was good enough for….

“…Well, son. Is there something you’d like to eat?” (mom)

Mom’s voice became much softer than before. Her hand reached out automatically to pat his head.

However… why did her own flesh and blood flinch in fear just now?

This unfilial son of hers!

Her feelings naturally had taken a knock, seeing him flinch and tremble like a newborn chick as she continued to pat him on the head.

After all, she knew she hadn’t done anything bad, so why!

“Oh, uh, mom. By the way….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Ng?” (mom)

“Maybe we should postpone eating and stuff for later.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Why?” (mom)

“You see, there are lots of Gates opening up right outside. Like, right now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Mmmmm?!” (mom)

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“Yeah, so, like, we gotta evacuate from here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression bloomed into a radiant smile.

Mom’s face also carried a radiant smile, as she began shouting at him.

“Why are you telling me this only now, you dumba*s?!?!” (mom)

Weeell, he didn’t expressly ask for a nicer treatment just because he brought in some dough, so….

 

*

 

Of course, chaos unfolded at home shortly afterwards.

As mom urgently searched every nook and cranny of the house with the intention of packing up the most important articles, outside the house was getting rather raucous as well.

All understandable, really – it wasn’t just one Gate that had shown up, after all. Hell, there were nearly ten that could be seen at a glance so, how could things not be chaotic?

Every house in the vicinity had their lights turned on, and the streets outside were filled with the noise pollution of the wailing police sirens and diesel hums of the military vehicles.

“Where is the nearest shelter from here? Where are we supposed to go in an emergency like this?” (mom)

Mom hurriedly searched for the location of shelters through her phone.

“Mom, does this mean I don’t have to go to school?” (Ye-Won)

Meanwhile, Yi Ye-Won asked mom. Naturally, mom could only spat out long, long sighs.

“When will you grow up, I wonder? Can’t you see what’s going on right now?” (mom)

“But, I was just asking….” (Ye-Won)

“Just help me pack, will you?!” (mom)

*SFX for the doorbell ringing*

It was then, the sound of the doorbell could be heard.

“Who could it be?” (mom)

Mom picked up the intercom’s receiver and tried to confirm the visitor’s identity.

“Hello, who is this?” (mom)

– “Hello, mother. It is us again. It’s Seo Ah-Young from the KSF. Do you still remember me?”

“Ah. The lady from that time.” (mom)

Park Seon-Duk frowned deeply.

“Didn’t I tell you to not visit us anymore?” (mom)

– “We need to visit each civilian residence to help facilitate evacuation since it’s emergency. Can you open the door, please?”

“Hmm…” (mom)

Park Seon-Duk stared at the face of Seo Ah-Young through the intercom monitor with a slightly unhappy expression, before opening the front door.

As soon as the door opened wide, Seo Ah-Young smiled brightly and greeted Park Seon-Duk.

“We meet again, mother.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“….Please, come in.” (mom)

After confirming Park Seon-Duk’s moods quickly, Seo Ah-Young spotted Yi Ji-Hyuk and smiled brightly at him, too.

“And we meet again, too.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Why don’t we try not meeting, then? How about that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

And well, he was still full of sarcasm as usual.

Seo Ah-Young did her absolute best to ignore him and followed Park Seon-Duk to the couch.

“Ji-Hyuk-ah, go and get our guest something to drink.” (mom)

“Why? Mom, just finish up quickly with her so you can send her on her way. She doesn’t need a drink.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Wanna get beaten up?” (mom)

“This son shall bring forth the required refreshment, mother.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

While seeing the dejected and pouting Yi Ji-Hyuk slink off to the kitchen, Seo Ah-Young was inwardly clicking her tongue.

So what if he possessed earth-shattering powers? He was still a mama’s boy.

He was indeed a unique character, that’s for sure.

“And so, what brings you here today?” (mom)

“Well, mother, as you might have suspected… an evacuation order has been issued. All civilians must leave this area within the next five hours. I’m sure you’re aware of this.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Yes, I am aware. But, you didn’t come here to tell me that.” (mom)

“Normally, residents of this district are supposed to evacuate to the shelter number 16 as per the guidelines, but I was thinking of taking your family to elsewhere.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“Somewhere else?” (mom)

“Yes, mother. That place has been constructed by the government recently. It’s designed to provide the permanent accommodation to the immediate family members of the ability users, who are currently working for the government. Which means, it’s very safe and really comfortable place to stay.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“And why would you take us there?” (mom)

As if she had been expecting that, Seo Ah-Young looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“It’s all thanks to your son.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“But my son isn’t working for the government.” (mom)

“True. But, please. Think of this offer as the demonstration of just how badly we’d like to work with your son.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“No, as I’ve said during our last meeting….” (mom)

“Mom, hold up.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Mm?” (mom)

Yi Ji-Hyuk cut his mom off abruptly, and after thinking hard about something for a moment or two, he asked Seo Ah-Young while tilting his head slightly.

“That place you’re talking about, is it really safe there?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Of course. After all, that’s where you’ll find the highest concentration of ability users in our country.” (Seo Ah-Young)

“It doesn’t matter even if all those small fries are gathered in one place….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….But, it’d certainly be better than not having one.

Now that he was convinced of the Gates popping out wherever he went, securing the safety of his family had become the no.1 priority for him.

Since the situation was advancing pretty quickly now, if he didn’t make sure his family was secure and out of harm’s way, it might end up limiting his actions later on.

“It’s not a bad proposal. Not bad at all….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Even he was aware that the good days full of video games and snacks was coming to an end, which was rather unfortunate. So, he needed to make sure he’d be able to move as freely and unchecked as possible from now on.

“Okay. We will go there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, son!” (mom)

“Mm… Mom, being safe is the best for us. I mean, you need to be safe and in one piece if you want to spend the money and enjoy a comfy lifestyle and all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I’m against it.” (mom)

“Mom, please.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Do you think I’m willing to enjoy the safety, and live happily ever after by throwing my son into danger?!” (mom)

“………”

“There’s no way!! Don’t you even dream about it!!” (mom)

And, as if she had been waiting for it, even Yi Ye-Won jumped out of her room and shouted out.

“I also don’t wanna!!” (Ye-Won)

“And what don’t you want now, you stupid girl?!” (mom)

“If we go there, we have to move, right? I told you, I don’t want to transfer to another school!!” (Ye-Won)

“Uh-whew.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his gaze over to Seo Ah-Young, asking her with his eyes to do something about this mess, but all she could do was to shake her head helplessly as well.

‘So useless!’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

She couldn’t even resolve something this small, yet she was trying to pull him in until now?! Pah!

However!!

Everyone there in the living room could hear the doorbell ring out without a warning.

While wondering who it could be, Yi Ji-Hyuk opened the door and found a certain someone there.

“Hello there.”

He had a neatly-combed hair.

His height was unexpectedly tall.

He was wearing a stylish business suit that seemed to ever so slightly cling to his figure.

And the expression on his face was of an unmistakable facade of slick perfection.

Choi Jung-Hoon stepped into the house as if he was surrounded by the halo of bright light coming from behind him.

It was like he had finally met his saviour, because Yi Ji-Hyuk began trembling from the excitement right then.

 

< 46. Can a high school dropout get a job there? -1 > Fin.

- my thoughts:
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