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Half the day went by and it started to get dark and we succeed at hunting. When the German shepherd shot forward and bit and held on, chairman Park Jin-seong shot it.
I chuck the elk over my shoulder and head back towards the vacation home and on our way, chairman Park Jin-seong is grinning ear to ear.
“Starting tomorrow, come to work at this location.”
“It’s nice here. There are no people so it’s easy to practice your skills, the air is good, and there’s a person here who will feed you.”
At those words, I have no response. I’m supposed to come to work here in this mountainside every day?”
“Doesn’t Jinseong Group have a location set aside for examinees?”
“We only have a center where we gather information on the Arena. We don’t manage examinees like that.”
“No matter how much we analyze at the research center, how could we know any better than examinees themselves? The job that Jinseong Group does is give out salaries, gather majeong, and share information we get from other agencies. Proactive things like practicing skills should be done by examinees.”
“Then what about things like a practice facility?”
“I’ve been told training facilities are all useless. You’ve been to the Korean Arena Research Center? Were there any people in the training rooms?”
Now that I think about it, there was no one in the training floors at the research center. But the facilities were great.
“Just leaving it up the examinee himself is what’s best. Having someone who has never been to the Arena tell you how to do this or that is only a distraction. Also, the examinees I have are usually past their 10th turn.”
Everything he’s saying makes a lot of sense.
“It’s not that far from your house to here. Start coming here to work from tomorrow.”
“But I don’t have a car…”
Chairman Park Jin-seong randomly takes out a set of car keys from his pocket. It’s a response as if he was waiting for my answer.
But it’s not a normal car key.
“What is this?”
“I used to drive it out for hunting and now it’s yours.”
“You’re giving me a car?”
“It’s a 3-year-old model. You get it now.”
“This. This logo looks like a Porsche?”
The item that chairman Park Jin-seong just casually threw me is a special and luxurious Porsche car.
“Don’t use domestic cars. The airbags don’t go off.”
Hmm, an automobile CEO might grab his collar for that.
“I, um, I don’t know how to drive…”
“Don’t you have a license?”
How did he know I have a license? What does he take private information for?
“I did but I got it 6 years ago.”
Chairman Park Jin-seong yells in frustration.
“My goodness, lad, is there nothing you know how to do at the age of 30? Why is a young person like you living like this?”
He blatantly attacks me and it gets me fired up!
“That’s true, since I can’t do anything right except for saving your life, I guess my life really amounts to failure. Damn, why am I so incapable!”
“Ah, well, it happens.”
Chairman Park Jin-seong quickly returns to his former state.
“Anyway, I’ll leave a person here to teach you how to drive. Learn and drive here tomorrow.”
“I’m going to come here every morning for exercise. I have to eat the flame and anyway, the business stuff gets taken care of by my children now.”
On recent news or newspapers, there are articles ‘Chairman Park Jin-seong’s health declining’ and ‘start of new management’ are circulating.
People probably think that chairman Park Jin-seong is at the hospital or at home pondering if today or tomorrow is the day.
But the truth is he is energetic and out hunting with me.
I get bored and jokingly ask.
“So I heard that lately Jinseong Group is gyro dropping?”
Chairman Park Jin-seong’s face becomes gloomy. Haha, there is probably only me that can make a joke like this with the legendary chairman Park Jin-seong. I really have some nerve.
“I’m sure it’s because the people are surprised. My sons don’t have a lot of experience either.”
Chairman Park Jin-seong smirks.
“The stock will recover as soon as I’m back.”
“I’m sure it will.”
“I will live no matter what and return. It’s not time for me to die yet.”
I can sense his strong will. I get a lump in my chest.
In the Arena, I have to fight for my life. To live…A thing that sure is not a for sure thing for me.
Yet there is a person who is not an examinee with the same strong will to survive and working as hard to do it. Seeing others with terminal illnesses not giving up and trying to overcome it gives me courage.
We return to the vacation house and hand the elk to the old man.
The old man deals with the elk and puts it in the freezer and grills the boar we caught yesterday. This time not with red wine but with rice wine.
Chairman Park Jin-seong, unlike a sickly old man, scarfs down a serving of the meat and drink. Seeing this, the old groundskeeper smiles in satisfaction.
‘There is definitely an effect from the flame of life.’
I feel a little regret. If I could make a lot, I would give my mom some. Hmm, she’d be alarmed and ask what is this flame. I guess I could secretly put it in her mouth while she’s sleeping?
After our meal, I see the two cars parked behind the vacation house.
One is the Benz that chairman Park Jin-seong rides around in, and another, black with sleek and elegant lines, a gorgeous SUV. And the Porsche logo right there in the front is a lasting impression.
“Is this a Porsche Cayenne?”
“It is, it’s three years old but she’s not bad.”
She’s not bad at all. I’m not sure but it’s about a $100,000 SUV.
“You’re really giving me this?”
“You said you have no car. I don’t ride it anyway.”
“Thank you so much.”
“If you’re thankful, drive it well. And don’t die in a car accident or anything.”
“I won’t die so pathetically, don’t worry.”
“Don’t die heroically either, you. Live no matter what. Isn’t that how I’ll keep living?”
“I’m going to go now, learn to drive.”
Chairman Park Jin-seong pats me on my shoulder and then gets into the Benz. His entourage escort him and only one guy stays behind.
“I received an order to teach you how to drive.”
“Okay, let’s start.”
I let out a sigh and begin practicing how to drive. I find it interesting that the key box is on the left side, but I turn on the knob and vroom- a smooth engine sound emanates.
From the engine sound to the leather against my back to the interior design, it is all a work of art.
‘Is this really my car?’
In excited glee, I learn to drive.
When I was getting my license, I remember failing the driver’s test three times. I really have no skill with driving. But oddly enough, this time, I pick it up right away.
“You are doing really well.”
I even get a compliment.
How is this possible? Do I actually have driving skill?
No way. I know. I’m a terrible driver.
‘It’s the reflexes skill!’
I know the secret.
Its thanks to the reflexes synthesis skill. Because of the reflexes, I get how to use the handle and brake and they are more familiar to my body.
As I get the handle of it, and to experience road driving, I drive through the south main road all the way to Cheonan. Then we arrive at my apartment at Cheonan and I practice parking, easily.
“Maybe because you already have your license, but you learned very quickly.”
“It’s all thanks to your good teaching.”
“No, no. Anyhow, you have definitely learned so I’ll be on my way now.”
“Okay, got it.”
I send the man away and stay awhile inside the Porsche, taking it all in. This is my car!
A foreign car isn’t the issue.
$100,000 a day!
That is the amount I get from chairman Park Jin-seong.
If only I can survive.
4th, 5th, 6th… if only I can survive the upcoming exams! If I can, I can live without want for anything.
My will to live grows stronger.
It may be that chairman Park Jin-seong’s will to live is like this too. The more you have, the harder it is to leave it all behind.
‘I don’t want to die!’
Is this what you guys would have felt?
If you were all alive, you might have had the same opportunity as me. If only you were alive!
“Hu hu hu…”
I laugh. But tears come out.
I’m really sorry. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t save any of you.
I sob in the parking lot.
I don’t exactly tell my family that I have come to possess a Porsche Cayenne.
But later that night, I get caught.
Hyun-ji had walked into my room with coffee and snacks to bribe me with when she saw the Porsche keys on my desk.
“Huh? Oppa! This is a Porsche key!”
“Where did you get it? Huh? Hmm? Where? Is this yours?”
“Kyak! Mom! Sis! Look at this!”
Hyun-ji takes the car keys and goes to the hallway. How rude, if you asked me questions at least give me the time to respond!
Mom and noona storm into my room and interrogate me.
Eventually, I spit out some weird story about how the director member I rescued from the mountain not only gave me a job but also this Porsche as a gift.”
“Really? And you didn’t sign some sort of odd contract when you received this?
Noona asks in disbelief and I say no. In the end I end up telling her I’ll show her my contract as proof. I should tell the chairman about that.
“How is this possible?”
Mom inspects the car keys suspiciously, touching it and mumbling.
What a house steeped in mistrust. Just let it go already!
Only Hyun-ji is excited and prancing about.
“Oppa! Drop me off at school tomorrow! In the Porsche! Porsche!”
My head feels tense.
Then the next morning.
As arranged, I am getting ready to go to work at the mountain home when suddenly, Hyun-ji is ready to go to school and quickly rushes out of her room.
“Oppa~ You have to go with Hyun-ji. You have to take your cute baby sister to school.”
“Take the train.”
“Aw, the subway is scary. There are too many perverts.”
“What pervs. Go on! Tsk.”
Hyun-ji latches on and complains. She sticks like glue to me and when we get to the parking lot and she sees the black Porsche Cayenne, she screams and heads for it.
As if she had turned into a racing model, she crosses her legs atop the hood and takes a multitude of selfies.
I push the switch and open the car doors and Hyun-ji hurriedly gets into the passenger seat and takes more selfies. I slowly start to worry if my baby sister is in her right mind.
I turn the car on and drive and next to me, Hyun-ji’s phone keeps going off. She must’ve have uploaded the pictures to her social media accounts already.
Hyun-ji is excitedly exchanging text messages.
Then she giggles and speaks to me.
“Oppa, Min-jeong said she loves you. But she said you rejected her?”
“She said she’s being honest. She won’t give up. Haha! I told you, she’s not in her right mind.”
Cause she’s your friend.
Hyun-ji’s school is in Cheonan and we get there quickly. We enter the very lax university that Hyun-ji was able to be accepted into. Her and I quickly draw the attention of many students.
“Oppa, thank you! I love you! Have a good day at work. I’ll make a tasty dinner!”
Being cute to the end. As soon as she gets out the car, her friends crowd her and start to ask if I really am her oppa.
I click my tongue and back out of the school.
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