I will be releasing 4 chapters at once for novels that qualify eg Past Life Returner and Green Skin moving forward. This way readers can binge on stories. Cheers!
Our family had a small crisis the next day, as Mother found a small tattoo on Father’s chest after he came out of the shower. He said that he didn’t know anything about this and called those he drank with as he tried to piece together the night before.
Mother almost cried, saying that her husband was having an affair, and I did not know what to do. After Father managed to go to work, I made an effort to console her. We went to Myeong-dong at lunchtime, and while we did not talk much, her face became happier just by walking arm in arm with me among the crowds. (EN: Bustling Myeong-dong is a shopping area packed with international fashion brands, luxury department stores and homegrown cosmetics shops.)
I bought her a hairpin when she stopped by a street seller selling accessories, and it was a red butterfly shape. I said that I had some allowance saved, and she spoke as she touched the hairpin.
“Thank you, son. I’ll treasure it. This reminds me of old times since we haven’t spent much time together after you went to middle school. We were always together until last year. Don’t you remember?”
“Do you feel better?”
“Don’t say it. I can’t talk about this anymore because I’m so embarrassed.”
“Father…can make a mistake. Just let it go this once.”
“Why did he do such a thing?”
“It’s a small one and won’t be noticed at work.”
“Your father may be respected by those who work with him, but he’s still a cheapskate. That’s why he chose such a small size tattoo even when he was intoxicated.”
Mother laughed as she remembered the insignia she had seen in the morning.
“Do you know how much tattoos cost? It seems expensive. Actually, ignore that. You shouldn’t know such things.”
I must have smiled at imagining the price on a Revival insignia, as Mother seemed surprised.
“I’m happy to spend some time outside with you like this.”
“Isn’t working at the curtain store difficult?”
“I’m just playing with nearby housewives. Your father is late every night and you are off playing on your own, so I need some time like that.”
“Please tell me if you’re tired.”
“Why, are you going to support me?”
“I don’t know how I gave birth to such a good son. I don’t need to go through that again.”
“You don’t need to worry about such things. Your father has a stable job and works hard. You may know Jeonil, where your father works.”
“I know it since Father works there.”
“It’s said to be the best in Korea, and if not, we could always open a grocery store.”
Mother looked up at me like she was observing me.
“You’ve grown so much…hey!”
“Have you gained some friends at the bible school?”
“You’re telling the truth, right?”
It is true, but just that they are all foreigners who I could not introduce to her.
“Bring them home one day with your school friends.”
I made myself smile and nod.
As I have mentioned before, I had made an imaginary friend for my mother’s peace of mind, and I needed my dungeons to be like that, something that exists only for me but doesn’t endanger the world. I decided to hide the dungeon in the mountain as a mental hospital, and while a religious cult seemed better at keeping people away, the consequences would be severe if there was a problem.
In the future, the government had not needed to care about such things, as dungeons were like nuclear bombs about to blow up to civilians. They just needed to post a sign that said a dungeon had appeared, and civilians would run for the hills before the Awakened and the military came.
However, things were different now, and I needed to set up the mental hospital and after doing so, establish the relevant corporations and select a person to be a puppet administrator. I also needed to think about the safety of nearby civilians and follow construction codes, enough to pass inspections.
However, the walls were a must even if the enclosed area was smaller, as monsters escaping was something too terrible for words.
As a result, I gave up on the wall that would surround the mountain, and the wall circling just the facility was modified to be as tall as possible, within the relevant building codes. As for the puppet administrator…
I needed someone with a medical license, and the individual’s family members also had to be greedy for the corporate funds. Money was not a problem but keeping things secret was. While brokers could give me a list, I could not trust the broker. Actually, with the exception of a very few people, I didn’t trust anyone.
Betrayal was something that happened every day when money was involved, and those who seemed the most harmless would sell someone out for a few hundred thousand Won. It had been common in these hard times for people to betray others for a pittance and risk their lives for the same pitiful sums.
It was the same risk here, and there were things I needed to keep secret, which meant those tasks that were relevant to dungeons were done by me. Also, I had to keep files on the involved parties in case a problem came up.
Choi had been one, and this alcoholic in front of me was another.
The man’s face was filled with traces of having wasted his life, and he smelled of alcohol at noon.
“So, how much is it?”
“I will pay you four million won per month.”
“Isn’t that too cheap when you’re using a doctor’s license?”
“Can’t I speak directly to Dr. Yang? I want to talk with him.”
“I said you can talk to me. I’m his son. The old man cannot talk or act on his own. That price is too low. No way, [email protected]”
“Mr. Inho Yang, we’ve just met for the first time and we’re already negotiating?” (EN: In Korean etiquette, there should be at least a pro-forma pleasantries before getting down to business)
“You’re too young to talk like that to me. How much can you give me?”
I did not even need to raise my voice as I spoke.
“Don’t talk to me like that.”
He narrowed his eyes like he thought he had heard wrong, but he discovered something in my gaze. His eyes shook, and the air froze for a moment. We looked at each other for a second, and he drank water with an irritated expression. He then wiped his mouth with a dirty sleeve and stared at me again.
“I’m just saying that you could at least pay for the old man’s diapers.”
“Five million. No deal if you open your mouth again.”
“Five is not nearly enough!”
I thought he would be like this, and I bent forward across the table. I pulled his collar toward me, and glared at his ugly face close up. I did not care about his odor, but he should not look at me like someone intimidated by his blustering. I didn’t care if he thought that I belonged to a gang or was doing something for them.
I just wanted him to not look for me again after today, even though he will not be able to find me anyway.
I clenched his collar with my fist and pulled his head to me. His face turned blue at once, and the café owner just blinked at us from the counter. I let go of the man and pushed him back.
He bounced on the sofa and coughed as he touched his neck, and I waved at the owner to say that everything was all right.
The man was still sitting on the sofa even though he had been handled roughly, as he was used to such treatment as this was appropriate for dealing with someone who was basically a coward.
An old doctor suffering from dementia and his worthless son. They were each other’s only family, as the doctor’s wife had died a long time ago, and the son had not married even though he was turning fifty. I would not be able to find such people again.
“When will…you give me the five million?” (EN: $7577.61)
He asked after getting back some air while avoiding my gaze.
“From tomorrow until Dr. Yang dies. So don’t waste it on drinking and use some to take care of your father’s health, as you will want the money for a long time.”
“That, I will…”
“Do as I require, and I will not see you again. If we meet again, Mr. Yang…”
The man was looking at my hands on the table.
“We will not be meeting for a good reason.”
I took out a pen from my pocket and threw it at him.
“Write down what I say. Prepare your and Dr. Yang’s documents. Twenty copies of the family registry, twenty copies of his and your Identity Card with Citizen Registration Number, twenty Certificates of Seal Impression, Registered Seal Impressions, twenty ID pictures, twenty copies of his and your driver license, bankbooks, passports…”
(EN: The purpose of the Korean family registry was to provide for national control of the identity of citizens of the country, to permit clear identification of each citizen as a part of a specific family unit under the control of a specified male family head who had clear authority over and responsibility for all listed family.)
(EN: In the Republic of Korea, a resident registration number (RRN) is a 13-digit number issued to all residents of South Korea regardless of nationality. Similar to national identification numbers in other countries, it was used to identify people in various private transactions such as banking and employment.)
(EN: In Korea, a registered seal impression and Certificate of Seal Impression are necessary to carry out financial transactions (sales of real estate, bank loan, etc.) )
The man did not know why I was also asking for his documentation as well as Dr. Yang’s, and a week after our meeting, a small article appeared in the regional newspaper.
[A mental hospital being built in Hwasung – A neuropsychiatric hospital specializing in patients without significant family, who suffer from mental illnesses is being built in Hwasung. The hospital is five floors and can take in up to two hundred patients and provide in-house care for those who suffer from neurosis and mental illnesses.
Dr. Yang of the New Hope Medical Foundation has said that while the hospital will be closed to the public, the hospital’s treatment system specializes in accommodating patients according to their specific needs.
Establishing mental hospitals has been called necessary due to the number of patients increasing and the decrease in treatment facilities due to low profit, but this has been delayed due to vocal opposition from the medical field.
The medical experts who oppose such plans worry about mental hospitals becoming asylums, and a dumping ground for marginalized citizens…]
Edited by Userunfriendly