HEART LIES

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MONSTER

Ji-Seong didn’t know what to think of the proposal, decided to play bluff.

“Sure, what is it? Do you want me to work on marketing?” Ji-Seong asked naively.

Hyeon-Ju giggled, “marketing you will do, don’t worry. No, but seriously, the company is called Silent Knight. I hire men between 21 and over. You accompany-.”

“Wait a minute; you want me to be an escort?”

“No, I want you to be a knight in shining armor.” Changing the tone, Hyeon-Ju continued, “listen, Ji-Seong, you owe me money which I doubt you can give me without your abeoji [father] finding out. You’ve got a serious problem with gambling, which I’m sure tabloids or web threads like NETIZEN would be glad to eat. As we speak, I’ve got a guard with a broken nose, another with a sprained wrist, and a casino ready for an extreme makeover. So stop the crap. We’re in a give-and-take situation. I gave, and you took. Now it’s your turn to give back.”

“Okay, okay, what do I have to do?”

“Come here tomorrow; you’ll undergo physical and psychological tests. Once those are done, and you sign your contract, which will state in the long lines that you’ll work for me till you reimburse my 198 917 451 won [150 000 euros, 184 667dollars] with 10% interest. Don’t worry if you are popular you can be free quicker than you expect. You see, I need a mascot, someone who will represent Silent Knight’s excellence, and I believe you’re the one.”

“What if someone finds out?”

“Boy, do you have an idea of the people who work for me and the tabs I have on the influential people of Seoul? Don’t worry, even after this, you won’t be as tinted as the rest of them,” Hyeon-Ju said with a smirk.

“What if it’s you who sells me out?” Ji-Seong asked.

“I won’t; you hold me too. Thank you for being my son’s friend,” Hyeon-Ju said in a grateful tone that caught Ji-Seong off the guard.

“Your son, who?”

“Jae.”

The shocked expression of Ji-Seong pushed the woman to pursue.

“Jae is my son. I know he says I’m dead. Jae says that since his paternal family took him in as the sole heir of Artemis. I mean, who would proudly present me as their mother?”

“So, he doesn’t know what you do?” Ji-Seong asked.

“No, Jae thinks I do business with my little fishing enterprise in Gunsan, and I want it to stay that way.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

Hyeon-Ju walked to her bar and poured herself a glass of Cognac, “do you want-.”

“No, thank you,” Ji-Seong replied. It wasn’t the moment for a drink.

“I’m telling you this to establish mutual trust; I’ll have your back as long as you have mine. Santé,” Hyeon-Ju said, gulping down all of her cognacs.

“Maybe we can make a simpler deal; perhaps I can pay you in nature right now. I remember how you used to look at me.”

Hyeon-Ju unleashed a jackal’s chuckle, “I just told you I have a son your age, and you want to pay me with your body; I knew you were a devil. Come back tomorrow at 6 pm to the address I’ll give you. I’ll have your contract ready, and I’ll explain the rules in full. Hyung.”

The door opened, and a colossal gladiator-type guy entered.

“Madame.”

“Throw him out.”

A few minutes later, Ji-Seong was on the street. Hyung slipped something in his pocket before going back inside, only saying, “wet it.”

Ji-Seong took out the small rectangular card, which resembled a name card. There was nothing written on it. He walked back to his car, grabbed a small bottle of water he had, opened it, and sprinkled a few drops. An address appeared.

“Igeat mwoya? Is the woman a spy,” Ji-Seong said as he looked at the address. A few minutes later, the card was pitch black again.

Ji-Seong wanted to flee, the woman was crazy, and her request was insane, yet a part of him, the monster within, desired otherwise.

On the next day, Ji-Seong went to the address the building appeared to be under construction. Ji-Seong would have left if he did not recognize the man called Hyung sitting in front of it.

Ji-Seong followed the man, and they climbed the stairs to enter a space where Hyeon-Ju sat waiting.

As soon as Ji-Seong faced her, a man came in with a man with a suitcase.”

“Get undressed,” Hyeon-Ju ordered.

“What?”

“I said, take your clothes off.”

“You mean here, now in front of,” Ji-Seong turned to see the man who threw him out of the club, and the guy with the suitcase remained expressionless.

“Yes, hurry, we haven’t got all day.”

Ji-Seong didn’t know if it was a joke or not, but Hyeon-Ju’s stare answered his question.

He took off his clothes in front of Hyeon-Ju, who stared at him as if she was looking at wallpaper. Ji-Seong felt little under her gaze.

“Oh, and keep your underwear,” Hyeon-Ju said as she saw him grip the hem of the waistline of his pants.

The man with the bag approached, holding a stethoscope; he took Ji-Seong’s heartbeat and blood pressure.

He then proceeded to take samples of blood.

“What’s this for?” Ji-Seong asked in a panic.

“It’s routine; I have all knights have a total check-up for my client’s safety and their own.

It made sense but seemed so improper.

After the doctor checked him and Ji-Seong went through as promised, other tests with two other experts and Hyeon-Ju presented the contract.

“As you can see, you’ll work for me till you pay me back. The more popular you are, the quicker you’ll be free.”

“How does it work?”

“You wait for messages. First, you receive the questionnaire on your schedule, you reply, and state: Pass or place.”

“If placed, you receive the client’s profile and all the indications you need for the rendezvous.”

“There are no rules except those you receive. As for the rest, you are free to weave whatever lie you want about who you are and your life. As I said, a client who exposes you exposes themselves.

“You can only meet the person three times as a knight; there is never a 4th to matter how much money they offer.”

“Why?”

“This means the client has feelings for the knight, and I can’t go out of business because the sugars moms want my boys for themselves.

“Also, we never give information about other knights, and you’ll probably never meet another. You already know sex can be involved; again, it’s something you deal with; you will never get an instruction to sleep with someone even if you receive the sex preferences with the client’s profile.”

Hyeon-Ju was smart; no one could accuse her of pushing them to do it without precise instruction.

“As I told you, Jae doesn’t know, and I want to stay that way, so what do you say?”

Ji-Seong read, flicked the pages, and flicked back, “Afterwards, I’m free, right?”

Hyeon Ju smiled, “totally, we delete your record, and all of this becomes a vague souvenir of youth.”

Ji-Seong’s eye locked on Hyeon-Ju’s in a battle of nerves none wanted to lose.

Hyeon-Ju broke the silence first,” yesterday, you said I used to look at you. I was waiting for what I always saw to come out.”

“And what was that?”

“Your monster.”

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