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“What is it?”
I say first.
To show I am not cowering, I come out strong but in reality I am not fearful.
The men come closer to me but I don’t bat an eye. If I wanted, I have the means to kill them without a trace.
And practically speaking, there’s no chance of just brazenly committing a crime in the middle of the street.
Among the men, a sharp-looking middle aged man walks out as the representative and bows his head to me.
“Hello. I apologize for coming around unannounced.”
“Are you from the research center?”
The middle-aged man hands me his business card.
Jin-seong Electronics, 3rd Chief Presidential Secretary, Lee Jung-shik.
I’m completely surprised.
Jin-seong Electronics is a leading conglomerate in Korean with the highest sales of the country’s businesses.
“I assume you’ve come knowing who I am?”
“Did you get my details from the research center? That’s a bit off putting.”
“I do apologize for that. But this isn’t something that is all that bad for you so I hope you are not too offended by it.”
“I’ll decide whether I get offended or not, but first, tell me what it is you want.”
“Could you come with us, please?”
“Tell me what it is first.”
“I think that’s best if you heard it directly from the chairman.
Does he mean, no way, the head of Jin-seong Group, Chairman Park Jin-seong?
What would this country’s greatest millionaire want with me?
Even though I am an examinee, it’s not like there’s only one or two of us in the country. And amongst them, I am only a third exam rookie.
This only grows my suspicions of these men even stronger. I feel tense, thinking maybe they are lying.
“I don’t want to have a conversation after getting dragged somewhere in the middle of the night like this. That’s too one sided.”
“But the chairman is calling.”
“You’re not talking about the chairman Park Jin-seong of the Jin-seong group, are you?”
“That is him.”
I’m at a loss for words.
‘That man is calling on me?’
It makes no sense.
I’m really feeling uneasy about who these guys are now. It might be a sinister organization that plans on using me, an examinee, by luring me into a trap.
Who is to know that they won’t kidnap me, then threaten my life in exchange for me bringing them back majeong from Arena?
When I am called into the Arena and doing my exam, my body in real life is asleep.
If in the real world, my life is being threatened, there is no choice but to do as they want.
“This doesn’t seem appropriate. I would like to meet in the bright of day in a location I am familiar with. I am suspicious of you saying you are from Jin-seong Group, and it’s so unbelievable that Chairman Park Jin-seong would want to meet me that this all almost seems ridiculous.”
“If you would come with us, you’d see. We are in a position where we have to follow the chairman’s orders as well, so please understand.”
“Sorry about that, but that is your position.”
“If you come out like this, it complicates matters.”
Chief secretary Yoo Jung-shik’s voice turns a little domineering.
I follow his lead and fiercely stare back.
“So what? You’ll kidnap me?”
“… well, of course not.”
“And? What, if someone calls, I just have to go?”
“Do you not know who I am? Don’t you know what an examinee is?”
“I am well aware.”
“So what are you relying on in behaving like this? You want to get killed without a sound?”
“I apologize for offending you so. We have been polite and respectful…”
Yoo Jung-shik returns to his former demeanor.
“Then politely screw off. Well then.”
I quickly turn home.
But as I do, the other men stand and block my way. Like professional instinct (like they’ve done it before, its part of their job).
And I instinctively punch.
One of the guys grabs his chin and falls down.
I kick the other guy in the shin and he stumbles.
The shin-kicked guy loses his balance and falls down too.
I’m surprised at myself.
My fist and foot naturally extended themselves. I felt no awkwardness in my movements when I attacked the two men.
‘The effect of reflexes!’
Its proof of the effects of the reflexes I gained from the skill synthesis.
I casually make my way through the both of them.
Then, I hear the hasty voice of Yoo Jun-shik behind my back.
“Then when should we return for you?”
“Tell the punk to come himself!”
I yell rudely and return home.
There is a reason I came off like that.
‘Because the other side was on the offense too.’
If they know where I live, they must know my contact information. Even so, they didn’t contact me first and just showed up out the blue. Then they say I have to go with them. That was their plan all along to have me just go along with it.
That’s why I roughly refused and when they blocked my way, as if I was waiting for it, beat them and came out on top. It should be enough of a warning to them that I cannot be had so easily.
Yoo Min-jeong was hiding in the side of the street with just her head poking out, watching the whole thing.
In one hand, Min-jeong was holding a smartphone with the number 112* already up on her screen, ready to press call at any moment.
(TN: Number for the police in Korea)
He is her best friend’s real oppa and not knowing what might happen to him, it turns out she wasn’t so disloyal as to abandon him and save herself.
But watching it all in secret, an unbelievable scene unfolds itself and Min-jeong’s face is in a daze.
‘Jin-seong Group? Chairman?’
People that say they are from Jin-seong Electronics.
But really, their neat clothes and shoes and hair, the men look elite, not like some good-for-nothings.
People like that came to respectfully escort Kim Hyun-ho.
Saying that the chairman is calling. There is no doubt that that chairman means chairman Park Jin-seong.
And an even more surprising scene followed.
Kim Hyun-ho fell them down like a bolt of lightning.
Then he called the legendary chairman Park Jin-seong ‘that punk’ and left and the other men couldn’t stop him.
‘What kind of man is Hyun-ho oppa really?’
Min-jeong was suspicious.
From what she heard from Hyun-ji, he is a pitiful man whose life revolved around the civil exam and belatedly returned home.
But when she really saw him in person at the club, he was unlike what she had pictured him to be, bold and confident and it was refreshing to see.
But this Hyun-ho she just saw is shocking.
What kind of person is he that people from Jin-seong Group had difficulty dealing with him, and chairman Park Jin-seong is calling him?
‘What the hell? Who is Hyun-ho oppa?’
The inside of Min-jeong’s head was full of Kim Hyun-ho.
An important man that the Jin-seong Group is looking for.
A bold attitude with no fear.
With a strong body he suppressed two men in the blink of an eye.
Min-jeong felt her heart pounding. She’s seen more than a fair share of men saying they’re the best, but she’s never met a guy like Kim Hyun-ho.
Min-jeong stares at her smartphone.
She cancelled the 112 dial screen and instead, opened up the messaging screen.
“Why are you coming back so late?”
I come home and Hyun-ji stares at me coldly and fiercely.
“Why do you think?”
“Eek! What? What did you do?”
“Spring has come for your oppa!”
“You wanna die? Didn’t I say Min-jeong is off limits?!”
“La la la~ what an enjoyable life~”
“Kyak! I can’t take it! Don’t you know what kind of girl she is, get your head on straight!”
After teasing Hyun-ji plenty, I go into my room.
My smartphone vibrates. It’s probably a text from Min-jeong. But of course.
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: Oppa, did you get home safe?]
[Me: Yep^^ Did you worry about me?]
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: Of course I did. I hesitated so long about whether to call the police or not ㅠㅠ]*
(TN: A crying face. T_T is another way of doing it)
I felt good hearing that she worried about me. There’s no way to not feel good that a pretty girl was worried about me.
[Me: Haha I told you it wouldn’t be anything.]
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: Who were those people?]
[Me: I don’t know. They came looking for the wrong person. We just parted way uneventfully.]
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: That’s such a relief ㅠㅠ I was so anxious worrying about you]
[Me: Thanks for worrying about me^^]
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: Oppa, what are you doing tomorrow?]
[Me: Tomorrow I have a meeting with a friend. Why?]
Those people may come back for me tomorrow so I reply like this.
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: I said I’d treat you to a meal. Do you have time Friday evening?]
No matter how I look at it, this is a date.
I didn’t know she would actually ask me out and not just poke as a joke.
‘What do I do?’
[Me: Friday evening?]
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: Yea]
[Me: Sorry. I don’t know what is happening that day.]
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: Oh…]
[Me: I’ll let you know when will work.]
[Yoo Min-jeong^^*: Okay^^]
I’m sure she got it.
I put down my smartphone and collapse into bed.
I was somewhat interested in Min-jeong but it was nothing sincere.
She is Hyun-ji’s best friend and it would be uncomfortable to casually go about it.
More than that, I am not in the mindset for it.
Joon-ho, Hye-su, Kang Chun-seong…
I sacrificed three people and returned home alone.
How could I return to reality and think to meet a woman and live and enjoy a sweet life.
At this time, won’t Jun-ho and Hye-su’s families be sobbing at the random tragedy that has struck them?
I bury my body in my blankets and close my eyes.
I have decided to test out my new skills at night on the mountain but I don’t have the will. I think I’ll just rest tonight.
The next morning, I quickly wash up as soon as I wake up and go on a hike. I jog at a quick pace up the longest hiking course.
Currently with the physical buffer entry level 5 at the limits of human physicality, this kind of exercise actually does nothing. But I do it to keep myself from growing idle.
I only pause for a moment at the top of the hike and immediately turn around and come back down.
But when I get to the start of the hiking trail, there are people waiting for me.
A black Benz* is parked far away and the men in black suits from yesterday are waiting for me.
(TN: A Mercedes Benz is very rare in Korea. It shows just how incredibly rich he is.)
And a familiar looking old man from the news is slowly coming towards me.
The old man looks like a good person and smiles at me.
I begrudgingly reply. I’m completely taken by surprise.
‘For real, its Chairman Park Jin-seong?!’
I for sure had yelled ‘tell the punk to come himself’ last night.
So he really came?!
Chairman park Jin-seong smiles as he talks.
“I apologize for yesterday. That was not my intention.”
“That is alright. My behavior wasn’t good either. It was just so unbelievable…”
“Can you believe it now?”
Chairman Park Jin-seong has come himself, how could I not believe it.
“What about breakfast?”
“Oh good. Let’s go together.”
I get into the backseat of the Benz with chairman Park Jin-seong.
With a smooth engine sound, we depart together.
Chairman Park Jin-seong is next to me, wearing a leisurely expression.
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