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Above all, the unwillingness of Ji-Won to never meet with his relatives again was so firm.
“My aunt is the only one in my family. I don’t think of others as my family. I’ll never think of them that way in the future, so don’t be brazen and think of yourself as my family. The reason is…, you guys know it well.”
As soon as the lawsuit was over, Ji-Won, who packed everything he had and could get, followed Lisa to New York. It was a little awkward for the two to live together at first because they didn’t spend much time together before, but it didn’t take long to accept each other as a true family.
What would have happened if she didn’t get the call then? Lisa couldn’t help but think. The phone rang five minutes before an important meeting was about to begin. She would have ignored the call even if she knew it was important because of the meeting. If the timing was a little off, she might never have met Ji-Won ever again. If they had ripped the door open and pulled the kid out…. It’s terrifying to think that the people you think of as your family still make you sweat cold on your back.
Yeah, considering that, it’s something to be thankful for seeing him growing so big without anything happening. But she’s becoming so greedy. Seeing that he had grown up to be such a wonderful man, she hopes he will fill up the place next to him….
“Do you meet any girls? How come you didn’t bring any girl with you to your parents’ death anniversary even at the age of 30? What a waste of a face, really.”
“I told you. I did like a few girls but it cooled down as soon as I saw them drooling over my money.”
“You have to put up with that to some extent. Who doesn’t want money? If that bothers you, meet a woman with more money than you.”
“Oh, Mrs. Lisa is still so naive. In Korea, if I want to marry someone who has more money than me at my age, they have to be a daughter of a big company, but in such a family, they are treated like a baby and spoiled rotten. I don’t like that type of girls. It’s not my style to win love through all kinds of hardships and obstacles. I will lose interest soon.”
Ji-Won smiled and responded slyly, but suddenly, a slow tempo but strangely tense melody was heard. Oh, this is a call from Zanice…. Ji-Won frowned as he checked the caller as naturally as possible.
Yeon Hae-Soo… Why does this guy always pick and call me when I’m off duty? When he first started working in Zanice, Yeon Hae-Soo was like a wild dog wandering around him. There’s no one who could give him a hard time because he grew up being charming and had a bit of a cold personality. His school juniors and military juniors couldn’t even talk to him, but why doesn’t he know that? Ha, he shouldn’t have given him room to stick in the first place. But he’s afraid that if he (Ji-Won) forcefully pushed his (Yeon Hae-Soo) sorry ass away, he will be sad….
“Can I call you Big Brother?”
After only drinking a glass of beer, his eyes became teary like a puppy, so he (Yeon Hae-Soo) thought of him (Ji-Won) as the older brother who died in an accident when he was young. The cause of the trouble was that Cha Ji-Won, who was like a cold wind, was not able to deal with his puppy dog eyes, so he (Ji-Won) told him (Yeon Hae-Soo) to call him as he pleased. It turned out that he’s so cheerful all the time that it wasn’t noticeable. But when he drank alcohol, his pair of round eyes became moist as if he had embraced all the world’s sorrow.
“Auntie, wait a minute.”
For now, Ji-Won, who calmly asked for understanding, began to walk leisurely, trying not to show surprise on his face. The phone stopped ringing while he was walking away from Lisa so that she couldn’t hear the conversation, and then rang again in less than three seconds. Hey, what’s the rush? I’m picking it up. Yeon Hae-Soo always calls him when he needs help in certain business, so Ji-Won had no choice but to answer unless he turned off the power of the phone.
[Brother! Are you busy?]
“I’m not busy, but I don’t have time to play with you. I’m on vacation for ten days from today.”
It was his first vacation in half a year since he started working as a guide. Due to the nature of the job, there were no set working hours, and most of them were solved in the line of general guides, so work was not every day. However, if there is a situation in which a senior guide as much as Ji-Won or Hae-Soo must come forward, it would not be sorted out within an hour or two. In some cases, they had a scuffle with the deceased for several days, and sometimes three senior guides had to be stuck together at the same time to capture the deceased.
It was never easy, but it wasn’t physically overwhelming. The emotional fatigue was greater than that. The deceased, who struggled to remain in this world, generally had many stories and limitations. Although Ji-Won did not pay any attention to the circumstances of those who had nothing to do with him, he unintentionally learned about the very inside of the individual and sometimes became involved.
Ji-Won was someone who was rarely swayed by other people’s emotions, but it was somewhat exhausting to continue to encounter gloomy and dark situations. Judging that regular breaks were needed to continue this work as recommended by the Management Department, Ji-Won immediately submitted an application for a vacation home. Today is the first day of his precious vacation. So today, no matter what sugar coated words Hae-Soo says, he will not listen.
[Yes, I know that. I swear I didn’t mean to bother you but…. I’m in a bit of trouble right now. And I know Brother Ji-Won is nearby.]
Ji-Won, who was rubbing his neck with a cold face, raised his eyebrows at the moment. What kind of creep is he talking about?
“What do you mean? Did you track my location?”
[Oh, no. This kind of disgusting thing…. I heard today is your parents’ anniversary, so you’re in Yongin* right now. I happen to be in Yongin. So please come and help me, okay?]
[T/N: Yongin (Korean pronunciation: [joŋ.in]) is a city in the Seoul Capital Area, the largest in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. With a population over 1 million, the city has developed rapidly since the 21st century, recording the highest population growth of any city in the country. For more information, click here.]
“I don’t want to.”
[Oh, no! I’m going to miss the dead man I’ve been chasing for 14 hours!]
14 hours… Ji-Won, who was briefly shaken by Hae-Soo’s plea, soon became firm. If Hae-soo, who is much younger than him but has a much longer career, is chasing a dead man who he couldn’t catch for 14 hours, it was likely he was struggling. But no matter how confident he was in his physical strength, he wanted to refrain from working all night because he had to travel long distance.
“That’s your problem. I have to rest early because I have to take a plane tomorrow. Call Seo Dok-Yeom.”
[I called him, but he didn’t pick up. I’m in a hurry. The deceased is right in front of me, but I can’t shoot it right now, because…. I think it’s some sort of firearms control period going around. Placards are posted here and there, and armed policemen are all over the mountain. If there’s gunfire, won’t I be taken to prison?]
Of course it’s annoying to handle the police, but…. Ji-Won, who checked where Lisa stood with a side glance, slightly covered his mouth and lowered his voice a little more. So far, Lisa has not shown much interest in the call, but it wouldn’t end with only a few harmless slaps on the back if she learned about the conversation.
“It doesn’t matter because it’s a BB* gun anyway. It’s not like you’re shooting at a person.”
[T/N: A long, light gun that uses air power to fire small round metal balls. BB guns are usually the first guns given to older children when they are learning to shoot. They use them to fire at targets (= objects fired at for practice) and to shoot small animals.]
Ji-Won’s smooth forehead was crumpled as Hae-Soo, who blurred the end of his speech, showed signs of embarrassment in a clear voice. At that moment, an unknown ominousness swept through Ji-Won’s spine coolly.
“Why, what! What have you done again! Did you come out with live ammunition?”
[No! It’s not like that……, The weight of the bullet is very low to violate the Firearms Act….]
“Hey, you crazy! Are you out of your mind?”
[It weighs a bit more than 0.05g. The 0.02g one is too light and I can’t aim well with it. What should I do?]
Ji-Won, who swept his dry face roughly, let out a sigh. Of course, a 0.05g difference is not enough to distinguish with the naked eye, and even if he’s caught, it is unlikely that he will be sentenced to prison. However, the job of Hae-Soo and his are different from others. In this day and age with eyes and mouths all over the world, if the national shooter didn’t do anything but got fined for violating the Firearms Act…. Just imagining it made him dizzy.
The problem is that Yeon Hae-Soo, who is persistent in his missions, is someone who can shoot without thinking back and forth if there’s a chance that he will miss the deceased. He hasn’t tasted the bitter taste of the world yet. That’s why he (Ji-Won) shouldn’t have indulged him (Hae-Soo). There’s nothing that he (Hae-Soo) fears.
In front of his aunt, Ji-Won, who was forced to take a step away so that the harsh swear words that could not be uttered, said coldly.
“Send me the GPS coordinate, punk.”
[Really? You’re really coming, right? I love you!]
“Shut up. Hang up.”
Ji-Won, who closed his eyes tightly with his molars clenched, opened his eyes and approached Lisa with a quick step. He made a troubled expression. It was fortunate that he didn’t have to pretend to be sorry because he was feeling sorry.
“Auntie, what should I do? I think I have to go because something urgent came up. I can’t have dinner with you. I will go to the hotel early tomorrow morning.”
“What’s so urgent? Is this your gallery thing?”
“No, something else.”
Lisa, who was tilting her head with a questionable face, suddenly raised her eyes fiercely. Why on earth does the child who has a fortune on his own be working somewhere else?
“Is it another job? Why did you get another job? Or are you into gambling?”
“Ha, why would I be in gambling?”
“Then why do you have to leave so urgently? Unless you have to meet a private lender because of gambling debts?”
“I’m not into any kind of gambling. It’s kind of like donating my talent….”
Lisa, who narrowed her eyes to Ji-Won’s unclear answer, looked even more suspicious. Ji-Won was not a person who personally helps someone in exchange for anything. As much as possible, he likes to stay away from others’ business. He hated it when someone bothered him, but he would still help them if it wasn’t something hard and wouldn’t harm others. The same goes for having a favour, and he was even more reluctant to receive it. So she couldn’t believe he was doing someone a favour by lending his talent. It was as incongruous as a lion declaring himself to be a vegetarian.
Wiiiing. Ji-Won, who checked the message while avoiding the suspicious look on Lisa’s face, briefly kicked his tongue. That Yeon Hae-Soo is really close to him. Maybe it would be faster to just go over the mountain than to go back by car? Damn, climbing in Berluti*. I have to do this sort of thing because of this pet peeve. I waited 4 months to get the vacation, but it’s going to be ruined. Alas… does he have any idea how much these shoes cost?
[T/N: Berluti is an expensive brand that designs and sells clothes, shoes, sunglasses etc.]
“Auntie. I’m really in a hurry….”
“Okay, go then, and explain it properly later.”
“I’m so sorry, Auntie. You can take the car. I’ll call you.”
Lisa, who unexpectedly received the key thrown by Ji-Won, was shocked to see Ji-Won jumping toward the thick grass over the fence without any hesitation.
“Hey, Cha Ji-Won! Where are you…. What the hell are you doing running into a mountain road? Are you a deer or something?”
Ji-Won, who heard his aunt shouting behind, took a breath for a while and confirmed that there was a long scratch on the smooth skin of the calf and grinded his teeth. I think the location is about here…. When he turned his head reflexively at the rustling sound, he saw a familiar round head behind a large tree.
“Bro! How can you be so quick…. Ouch!”
Ji-Won, who graciously hit the back of the approaching Hae-Soo’s head, asked about urgent matters.
“Talk later after the job is done. Where’s the deceased?”
“Over there in the tree. Can you see his face?”
Ji-Won, who stared sharply at where Hae-Soo was pointing, answered briefly.
“I can see it.”
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