1. A butterfly in a vase (Part 1)

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Early dawn, when the darkness had not yet cleared, the small pond, which was secretly embraced by the quiet manor, contained a subtle shining round moon. Captured by the deep moonlight that fell, the clouds stopped for a while.

 

On the wooden-floored wooden porch of the elegant annex lit by the two moons, a large wolf with coveted white fur sat motionless like a sculpture. Sometimes the wind blew and the scenery under the eaves dangled. The mountain bird that went the wrong way was very scared and chirped loudly, but the wolf, who was focusing only on the old silver mirror at his feet, never shook his head all night.

 

“Sorang.”

 

It was around the time when a familiar voice was heard that the cold blue sky began to turn crimson little by little. The wolf didn’t look back at the sound of calling him, but he roughly wagged his tail to the person who provided him with daily food indicating that he heard her. He knew that it was time for Hee-Joo, who was getting impatient, to call her in.

 

“The CEO hasn’t come back?”

 

“Not yet.”

 

When the wolf, who still did not take his eyes off the silver mirror and answered briefly, the face of a decent looking woman dressed in a neat daily Hanbok* full of anxiety appeared behind him. Hee-joo, who has faithfully managed the day to day work of the CEO of Jungcheon for more than 40 years, was the least able to understand Gaon’s starvation or sleeplessness.

 

[T/N: Hanbok (한복) is Korean traditional dress.]

 

“If she wants to get some sleep, she should come back quickly… At this rate, she won’t be able to sleep a wink and have to get on the plane.”

 

“She needs to find a strategy while considering even the smallest details to keep the profit line stable.”

 

“Of course it is true, but…. It’s been hours already. She didn’t even have dinner last night.”

 

“Because it’s been 15 days. I don’t know why crazy things are even more ghastly when the full moon rises, 21st century is troublesome.”

 

As soon as a slight tremor was sensed at the surface of the silver mirror, the woman in Hanbok jumped up in surprise and quickly retreated. At the same time, a strong light emanated from the small mirror the size of a palm, and a somewhat tired-looking Gaon slowly walked out of the light.

 

“The CEO is back.”

 

Gaon nodded lightly to Hee-Joo, who greeted politely and stroked Sorang’s head a couple of times with a sorry face. She knew she had been in Jungcheon for quite a while, but she didn’t know that so much time had passed. She had no time to be bored even though she was tired from working all night, but it would not have been easy for Sorang, who had been guarding her way back in one place all night, and endured the boredom.

 

She was so happy to have him, but because of her, he’s having a hard time. She should have let him run through the field and kill the boredom. When Gaon’s face showed signs of regret again, the wolf, who turned his head as if he didn’t want to see it, tapped the floor with his paws and opened his mouth bluntly. He didn’t want to say anything because his mouth hurts from telling her that he had never regretted his decision of being intertwined with the CEO of Jungcheon.

 

“Don’t think about useless things, go eat and get some sleep. I heard you’re going on a business trip today.”

 

“Oh, a business trip… Mrs. Kwon, was that today?”

 

“Yes, Sir. The flight is at 2 p.m. First, eat as Sorang said. Are you hungry?”

 

“…a little bit.”

 

Oh, my. You’re saying you’re hungry now? I couldn’t eat a single snack all night and I am starving. Tsk, it’s because the person is so clueless about her health even at this age…. He may have been chosen as her familiar because she has no flexibility at all.

 

The wolf, who was shaking his head with a deeply disapproving look, entered the manor. Anyway, Gaon came back safely, so he’ll catch up on sleeping. Gaon, who was watching the back of the Sorang disappear like the wind for a while, entered the main house. She was in a hurry to sleep right away, because she had a long flight ahead. She had to refill her energy to some extent to stay in shape.

 

Gaon, who was silently walking down the long hallway connected to the main house, stopped walking due to the fragrant smell of flowers riding on the wind, and looked around the garden that had become surprisingly bright. When you live with little awareness of when the seasons change, you can’t grasp how time passes. But when you see a flower tree that blooms lightly every once in a while, you still realize that time is passing.

 

“Is it already time for the peach blossoms to bloom?”

 

When Gaon murmured in a faint voice, Hee-Joo, who was quietly following behind, widened the distance a few steps further without saying anything. Gaon, who is living a life of work surrounding her without entertainment even though she has the power to wield the world, was able to enjoy the scenery for the first time in a long time. So she thought she should never disturbed her. Gaon’s appearance in front of the fluffy flower branches was as beautiful as ever, and just as miserable as that.

 

Wiiiing. Wiiiing.

 

However, the momentary play, which was like a dream, ended with the senseless vibration of the cell phone. Don’t tell me it’s from the company again. Hee-Joo, who had a sad face when she saw Gaon, who took her eyes off the flower tree without regret and started walking again, opened her eyes a little wide after checking the caller. It was the Chief of Security, so Hee-Joo picked it up.

 

“What’s going on at this hour?”

 

[… Sister.]

 

When she answered the phone in a hurry, the voice she had never heard before scratched her ears. Hee-Joo was genuinely surprised by her brother’s voice, which had completely changed overnight.

 

“What’s wrong with your voice? Are you sick?”

 

[Cough. It’s the flu.]

 

Hee-Joo, who was blinking her eyes in surprise at the unexpected situation, slowly wrinkled her forehead. Oh, my God, he never caught a cold in the middle of winter even if he was wearing rags…. No matter how long he stays in the cold outside….

 

“Did you take your medicine? How can you be so stupid in the blooming spring of March…. Anyway, don’t go anywhere near the CEO for the time being…, Wait. Then how would you go on a business trip today? Where is the Chief of Securiy, huh?!”

 

The source of the flu is believed to be the meeting where both secretaries and security office executives gathered to check Gaon’s business trip schedule. In other words, the closest group that moves like Gaon’s hands and feet was disbanded. As Hee-Joo’s voice rose, Gaon, who had been walking ahead for a long time, finally looked back.

 

“Is it Manager Kwon?”

 

“Yes, Sir. But…. I think we’ve got some problems.”

 

Gaon, who immediately reached out her hand and received her cell phone, listened silently to the Chief of Security’s report. Her forehead wrinkled a bit, but there was no sign of agitation on her calm face as usual.

 

 

***

 

 

On the gentle hillside where a good amount of sunlight shone, various trees of different sizes and types were lined up at regular intervals. In the meantime, the two people who were slowly walking up stopped in front of a fairly strong cherry tree.

 

“Sister, we’re here.”

 

It’s been a while, right? How have you been? I heard it snowed a lot last winter, wasn’t it cold? Ji-Won glanced at Lisa, who was whispering to the blooming tree, and put down a bouquet of lilies he was holding under the tree without saying a word. Then he glanced down the cherry tree with slightly irritated eyes. Again this year, the flowers fell and only the flowers that had not yet fallen apart were hanging in a cluttered manner, but the untidy appearance stimulated Ji-Won’s aesthetic with great discomfort.

 

If he knew this would happen, he would have planted a tree that blooms later. What is this every time he comes? But he can’t pull out the trees that are already in place. It’s like digging your own grave. Ji-Won, who was kicking his tongue disapprovingly, felt Lisa’s gaze staring at him and smiled hurriedly.

 

“Cha Ji-Won, aren’t you going to greet your mom?”

 

“My mother isn’t even here, so what do you mean by greeting?”

 

Not only my parents, but there are not even ghosts of them in this whole park. As soon as his car came into the parking lot, it was already revealed to him. Both of them passed the Reincarnation Door a long time ago. Even though he knows that clearly, the reason he comes here every year on time is to make his aunt feel comfortable.

 

“He’s a cold-hearted fellow anyway.”

 

But it’s better than when he was young. Lisa, who had been staring at her nephew, who was grown up enough for her to look up, became a little serious at the thought that suddenly came to mind. It was something that could have been ignored, but it bothered her that Ji-Won’s tone was strangely confident.

 

“Ji-Won, do you still see ghosts?”

 

Ji-Won, who flinched at his aunt’s worried voice, raised the corners of his mouth with a calm face. It would be devastating to say that he made it his job to catch ghosts, not just sees ghosts.

 

“Sometimes.”

 

‘Sorry, auntie. Actually, I see them often. I was used to just seeing the ghosts, but now I even hunt them down.’

 

“Should I call some exorcist?”

 

“Hahaha. That’s enough.”

 

Ji-Won, who immediately shook his hand, burst into laughter, but Lisa’s expression did not brighten easily. He was laughing but she couldn’t. Remembering the people who tried to put her healthy nephew in a mental hospital, it was enough for Lisa to jump out of bed as if seeing a nightmare.

 

“Auntie, can’t you come back from America? If my aunt is legally my guardian, they wouldn’t come over to bother me and we can live on our own. You can kick my Uncles away! I have to kick them out of my house as soon as possible! They are saying I’m crazy! They want to kick me out!”

 

Sixteen years ago, the persuasion of the young nephew that had been heard over the phone is still vivid in her ears. The police were not helpful because public power was not deeply involved in family affairs, and it has been a long time since she left Seoul, so there was no other place to reach out. The 14 hours of flying on a hectic plane to Korea were as long as eternity. Holding a cell phone tightly in her hand that did not ring again, Lisa had already begged her sister, who was not in the world, for help more than tens of thousands of times.

 

Her brother-in-law’s family, who reassured her at the sudden funeral of her sister and her husband, said, “Don’t worry, we’ll take good care of the child,” showed their true colours by coveting their young nephew’s property less than a month later. Lisa, who was settled in New York, did not know that her brother-in-law became a self-made businessman and had a huge wealth. He was exhausted from helping his brothers who were constantly opening their hands to beg money from him, and eventually completely cut off their relationship.

 

When Ji-Won was very young, his uncles agreed together to send Ji-Won to a mental hospital who remembered saying he could see ghosts. They would have judged that there would be no need to argue for a guardian position because his mother’s only relative was his unmarried aunt.

 

Ji-Won, who had barely escaped to the basement while locking the front door with his cell phone in hand, could not let go of the golf stick for nearly 20 hours until Lisa arrived in Seoul. Ji-Won, once talented in golf to the extent that he dreamed of becoming a professional, has never held a golf stick again since then.

 

“No! Do you think I’m making things up? He said he really saw her late grandmother! He even drew the face of a person who had just died…. Hey, you saw it then, right? If he’s not crazy, he couldn’t do that. That’s why we’re trying to cure him. Shouldn’t a sick child be treated? Isn’t it a guardian’s duty to raise him healthy?”

 

Lisa will probably not forget the terrible sight of Ji-Won, whose veins burst and his eyes turned red, falling down as soon as he saw her face, until she dies. Fortunately, the lawsuit for changing guardianship was not difficult. Lisa immediately filed a lawsuit with the best law firm in Korea, and Ji-Won’s uncles, who had little enough time to turn their eyes on their young nephew’s property, naturally failed to defend properly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

T/N: The month of Ramadan is here so I’ll be pretty busy. As I’ve said before, updates will be irregular until the end of next month. Till then, stay safe and healthy.

 

 

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