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The morning light that peeped through my curtains woke me up. Behind my back, I could feel a familiar warmth and touch.
I wonder when she got back.
Min-jeong was holding me tight from behind and was asleep.
It seems that as soon as she got her wits about her when she woke up at Hyun-ji’s, she quickly returned.
I approve of that kind of behavior and it got rid of some of the anger from last night.
But I can’t just let this go because of that.
I carefully loosened myself from her and got up. I got out the bedroom and tried to sleep some more in the guest room bed.
But then a while later,
In that gap, Min-jeong woke up and came in and quietly laid down next to me.
Without saying anything, she inserted herself into my arms. I’ve done wrong, please forgive me, an expression full of aegyo.
We didn’t say anything.
I couldn’t quite grasp the words I was supposed to say.
The slightly heartless decisions I had been thinking of won’t come out of my mouth.
Then Min-jeong says something.
“I messed up.”
Min-jeong struck first.
“But please listen to my side. It’s not an excuse. I really am sorry. But please listen.”
“That guy last night is 20 year old Kim Min-suk.”
“He’s young. Are you gonna to say you had no idea that a guy like that has a mad crush on you?”
Just you try and say you didn’t know. A girl with noonchi as keen as you would never not know.*
(TN: Used in an earlier chapter. Noonchi is the idea that you can read the mood. I don’t know that there is an English word that is equivalent to it. In Western terms, I guess it can be called emotional intelligence or considered something you would see in a high context culture.)
“I did know. I pretended not to.”
“I pretended not to know but my cooking school friends kept trying to hook me up with him as a joke. They kept saying things like ‘I think he likes you, try calling him,’ stuff like that.”
“That’s what I’m saying. Last night’s drinking party, they brought him to it without me knowing. I was flustered but that’s no excuse to just up and leave either so I just forced myself to stay.”
“Is that why you drank until you blacked out at a place where there was a guy that had crush on you was?”
“I’m sorry, oppa. It was the first time drinking in a while and I couldn’t gauge the amount I could drink. I won’t ever put it to my lips again.”
Min-jeong was asking for forgiveness for all the parts she had done wrong.
“But those girls just left you alone with him and took off?”
“I’m sure they did it all just for fun. I deleted all their numbers. I won’t ever hang out with them again.”
“Why on earth did they do that?”
“They’re probably jealous.”
“Last time when you came to pick me up, they were all really jealous. Not only that but Min-suk is really popular at the school too and he likes me so they probably chalked it up as a joke and did it.”
“Sounds about right.”
Just because they were jealous, they were going to break up another couple and call it a joke?
“Girls are just like that. Ji-hyun and Hyun-ji aren’t like that which is why we they are close friends.”
Now that I hear it, it wasn’t wrong that Min-jeong felt resentful and like she was wrongfully accused about this.
She had always tried to keep her distance with Kim min-suk and that melted my anger.
Aside from Min-jeong’s heavy drinking last night, there wasn’t really anything she did wrong.
‘Yeah, from her perspective, I can see how I made a big deal and got angry over a small issue.’
I had come back after an entire year.
I had been fighting for my life during that long period of time. And to come back and see everything that happened last night just infuriated me.
But for Min-jeong, we went from doing great all this time and suddenly our relationship was on the rocks in just a day.
“Do you think we just don’t mesh?”
At that, Min-jeong must have gotten nervous because she started hugging me tighter.
“I know you are trying hard to accommodate me and to match my preferences. How could I not know? But I can’t give you that same amount of attention.”
“That’s not true, oppa.”
“I can’t say but there are times now and again when I will have to leave for work. It is such hard work that I have to give it my all. That’s why……”
“So when I am back here, when I am with my girl, I just want to be happy and comfortable. I don’t want to worry and I don’t want to stress. I guess this makes me insincere and inconsiderate.”
“Don’t say that.”
“I feel you have to go through hardship because you have to match a person like me and I’m sorry.”
“I’m not suffering or anything like that. I have never felt disappointed in you, oppa.”
Min-jeong wiggled over onto my other side and looked at me straight on.
“I won’t want for more. I’ll be happy just spending this time like we are. I’ll try harder. So that you’ll be more comfortable.”
That instant, Min-jeong’s eyes could not have looked prettier.
I met my lips to hers.
Upper lip, bottom lip, we kissed softly and I pulled her close. A soft touch.
“Yesterday, you said anything……I was so excited from looking forward to it.”
I exploded in laughter.
I laid her down and got on top of her.
“Do you know what my wish is?”
“What is it?”
Min-jeong’s face grew a bright red. We kissed again and I took off her shirt.
“Until I am satisfied, I won’t stop for anything.”
“Do what you want oppa.”
Min-jeong’s eyes lit up as she hugged my neck.
I don’t know how long it was.
The curtains were closed and there was no clock, so I couldn’t tell where the sun was.
For that long while, so much so that even I felt tired, we made love.
She must have been exhausted because Min-jeong, who had fallen asleep on my arm, woke up from the text alarm.
It must be a girl’s instinct.
Min-jeong reflexively grabbed the smartphone by her head.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Hyun-ji. She’s worried about me.”
“Tell her you’re okay.”
I don’t know what Min-jeong found to be so funny because she smiled giddily as she sent the text.
I peeked over at it.
[I lost my mind twice today heehee <3]
“Hold on, halt thy fingers!”
“I said halt!”*
(TN: He was using old Korean and talking like a king would when giving orders)
But a girl’s fingers are like bolts of lightning. The message got sent.
“If, if you send a text like that……!”
A moment later, I got a text from Hyun-ji.
[Hyun-ji: Woah, you’re a genius]
“YAHH! Yoo Min-jeong! Come here!”
“Gyak, I’m sorry!”
“Is saying sorry just a habit for you?! The person on the other end is my baby sister! Are you two crazy! Are you!”
And like that, we bickered back and forth for a while.
And that’s how the eventful 6th turn break started.
I decided to quit the violin lessons.
The teacher said I had talent and tried to convince me to not quit. But trying to raise my reflex skill with this would be impossible so I quit.
‘I should find a different method now.’
Should I try the piano?
I shook my head.
I’m done with the music now.
Seeing a note on a piece of paper just disgusts me. Music was never my style.
More than that, practicing martial arts that I can actually use seems like a better idea.
‘Hold on, why didn’t I think of this before?’
I suddenly thought of something.
‘I wonder if I can take guns like a rifle or grenade in the spacial storage.’
But the ingredients I used to create the storage space was teleport and the item bag.
If I could carry weapons like that in the item bag, the research center should have given me a grenade from the get go.”
“But the item bag and storage space are different skills. Should I try it?’
First, I called to Odin. He too should be back from the Arena by now.
-Mr. Kim Hyun-ho. How did you exam go?
Odin answered welcomingly.
“I cleared it perfectly.”
-Perfectly…you say. Seeing how you led the elves to victory, you must have received a grand prize.
“Yes, thanks to you.”
-That is a good thing. But what is it you have called about?
“I was wondering if you can put weapons like grenades into an item bag.”
-That is impossible.
“…… Is that so?”
-If that was possible, don’t you think I would have put this and that away in the item bag since the beginning? Weapons and electronics can be stored in the item bag, but you cannot take them out in the Arena.”
“Do you think it’s not allowed because it’s cheating?”
-I don’t think that we are allowed to break the order of civilization in the Arena by bringing in technology like that. Before, America tried to make a generator for the sun in the Arena and even though it was built there correctly, it did not work.
Such a thing happened?
It’s impressive that America even attempted such a feat.
“But it would be possible if I use karma to itemize it?”
-That would probably word but how much karma do you think it would take to itemize all the parts for a solar generator?
“Haha, I guess you’re right.”
Just imagining it made me cringe with how much karma that would cost.
If you could store it but that stuff could not be taken out in the Arena, then the storage space was probably not be able to be used that way either.
‘Loopholes definitely don’t work.’
There is no way around it. So it can’t be used with weapons, I have to make myself stronger.
-Sounds like you have lots to think about.
“Yes. I have to become stronger, no matter what.”
-You want to be stronger……
I got the feeling Odin was mulling something over.
-You really want to be stronger?
-Do you remember that when I first decided to help you, I received money?
-But I wasn’t able to help you and in payment for that, I said pick an item that costed 1000 karma.
-Why do you think the number was 1000 karma?
I got a strange feeling.
When I think about what he just said, I do feel like I almost remembered something.
“Is there, perhaps, an examinee that sells karma for money?”
That’s what Odin meant.
The reason that it was 1000 karma!
That was the price of karma for 10M USD.
You can buy karma with money!
I had not thought of that before.
“Some may like money but still, there is an examinee that sells karma for money?”
-There is. But I didn’t tell you this information. Same for Chairman Park Jin-seong. Why do you think that is?
“Why is that?”
-Examinees that sell their karma for money, those are people crazy only for money. Who do you think are people like that?
Something crossed my mind.
I remembered when Odin cursed them with a loud voice.
“The Chinese examinees?”
-You do remember. You are absolutely right. In their efforts to collect majeong, which is worth money, they are crazy people who even kill people in the Arena. Karma transactions usually have to be done with them. That is why I didn’t mention it.
-I didn’t want you to have to interact with such poor characters.
-But if you really want to work with them, I will arrange a meeting for you.
“You, Odin, personally?”
-If I am on the other side of the table, they won’t dare to try anything. Also, I don’t want to divulge your identity to those Chinese bastards.
“The flames of life?”
-Yes. That is what I am most worried about. A skill that can save a person’s life can make a lot of money. There is no way they wouldn’t make a play for you.
Odin was right.
If they are crazy people that kill humans to collect majeong, they are more than capable of such crimes.
-I am worried nonetheless. It is oddly widely known in the Arena community that Chairman Park Jin-seong searched high and low for a cure for his disease. And now Chairman Park Jin-seong has publicly made a full recovery. So what do you think everyone that knows about that is thinking?
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