3 Part 2
‘Can I raise them well?’
I can feed, clothe, and let them sleep. I was confident and responsible enough. I would feed them even if I had to steal. However, what about others?
I did not have the experience of how a father should act or what a good father should do, since my father had died too soon. The only thing I knew is how to kill people.
‘Can I raise them well?’
I resented her for leaving me like this. How could I do this alone? I would not have to think things like this if she were here. I would have only needed to earn money and spend time with the kids. How could I do this?
I shook my head to erase such thoughts. Do not forget, Noh Gajang, that you are the head of a family now. Your children depend on you, and they will grow weaker if you do. That was true. I will not fear this day. I will feed and raise them with everything I had, no matter what the cost. I had to do it. I can do this without experience, as long as I can provide a better environment than the one I had; since I somehow managed to grow up.
I needed to earn money, love the children, and raise them so they will grow to be decent people. Do not fear, Noh Gajang, from this day on!
- Heavenly Dragon Association First Rate Warrior
-What explanation do you need?
The front gates of the Heavenly Dragon Association were huge. I was bigger than other men, but twelve of me could pass in a line, and the pillars were tall enough that three of me could stand in a vertical line. I was a gatekeeper of such gates.
Heavenly Dragon Association graded warriors from First to Fourth rates, and four First Rate Warriors protected the front gates.
“When will I get a different position?”
“Maybe in half a year.”
My co-workers called Lee and Park were talking to each other.
“What do we do in this trivial position? I might have some hope if I went in the Five Troops of the Heavenly Dragon.”
“The competition is high there. I would be satisfied with being in the Troop of the Earth Dragon…”
I was satisfied with my assignment since I would just need to stand, talk, eat, arrive and leave at fixed times for day and night shifts. However, other First Rate co-workers hated this job. They were bored and could not find any merit. I did not know why they would complain when we were paid to work, but they did not concern me.
“Isn’t it time to eat?”
They smirked at my words. The other guards would find me petty, since I had asked my direct superior, the Second Troop Leader, to let me stay as a guard for over three years. Since they thought only the weak came to this trivial spot, I would really be nothing to them.
“Our meals will come soon. I hope that there will be better grub. I think cold noodles would be nice in this stuffy hot weather.”
The only person who answered me was Jung Jiho, a First Rate Warrior I was on friendly terms with enough to call him by name.
While I had been in the Heavenly Dragon Association for over eight years, I only had a handful of such friends.
“How can you get full with cold noodles? They are a snack. I want a whole chicken.”
“Meat again? Don’t you get tired of eating it every day?”
“That’s talking high and mighty. Meat is the truth.”
“That’s when you eat an appropriate amount of it. The most powerful executives do not touch meat as their diet is focused on a diet of yin and yang. Come to think of it, the masters of the Shaolin Temple don’t even touch the stuff, and ascetics of other clans only eat a small amount.”
“Are you planning on becoming a monk or an ascetic? Eating what you want until you’re full is the best.”
There was one thing I disliked about this guard duty, and it was that I had little opportunity to move my body.
Since I only needed to make rounds around the castle walls once every two hours, I felt itchy during shifts.
“You only want meat at night when we have a drink. You’re going to be ill if you keep eating one-sidedly like that.”
“I’m healthy like this after eating only meat for twenty years. Can’t you see this?”
Lee laughed at me when I showed my large arms.
“Is a First Rate Warrior showing off his muscles? You only need to train your body and outer strength just enough to adjust to your inner strength.”
“I’m better than a skinny guy like you. It takes years of training to get muscles like this.”
“Outer strength will lose to inner strength. I don’t know where you learned to fight, but I wonder how you became a First Rate Warrior like us.”
“Is that so?”
I heard people talk about fighting in the resting area exclusively for First Rate Warriors. While they talked about this and that about outer and inner strengths, I thought everything was nonsense.
A clean hit will kill you no matter which strength you trained in, and you also died if a metal weapon got you in a soft spot. One should think about getting a good hit in and not get hurt, and a man who thought like that was just a mediocre First Rate Warrior.
“Then, how about a round so we can decide whether your training is stronger than my muscles?”
Lee looked aggravated at my serious face.
“What are you talking about? You’re comrades.”
“Yes, other rated officers might belittle you.”
While Park and Jung Jiho tried to stop me, I could not forgive a comrade who looked down at me. I could make Lee shut up with a punch, and I would have done so if Jung Jiho had not spoken.
“Your salary might be cut as a light punishment, and you can even be chased out if you fight with another co-worker. Let’s be careful.”
He was right.
Proofread by Drewjn