Oh, isn’t it Hu Dae-Ho?” Soo-Hae said and pointed in the boy’s direction before pushing up her glasses, which Ji-Seong noticed were bigger every day. The pair she wore literally swallowed her face.
Ji-Seong turned; he had not crossed his savior since the semester’s debut. The occasion to thank him for his sacrifice had come; Ji-Seong got up, “I’m coming back, guys.”
The student ran to catch up with the boy who was leaving the study hall.
“Hu Dae Ho”
The boy stopped and turned, “annyeonghaseyo, Chae Ji-Seong Ssi.”
“Annyeonghaseyo, eh, I didn’t get to thank you forー.”
“Aniyo, it’s nothing. I was quite relieved to leave. I felt oppressed by Lee Seongsaengnim. Thus I didn’t want to hold the spot for more worthy students.”
Ji-Seong gave a weak smile, “I see; I really appreciate what you did back there. If there’s anything I can do for you.”
The boy pucked in his lips before saying, “to be honest, Jae hyeongnimi [ my older brother] has been an intern Innovatics for two years now, andー.”
Hu Dae-Ho didn’t need to pursue; Ji Seong knew what he wanted. Give and take, a fundamental law in Korea and something Ji-Seong hated.
Ji-Seong grabbed his phone from his back pocket and dialed.
“Ah annyeonghaseyo, Wang piseo [secretary Wang], I wanted to know if you’ve selected the full-time employees for-.” Ji-Seong looked at Hu Dae-Ho.
“The marketing department...you have...who is it?”
“I see, has it been announced?...No, then is it possible to change...yes, then I change for...”
Again he glanced at Hu Dae-Ho.
“Hu Byun-Ho Ssi, nae....감사합니다 kamsahamnida [Thank you].
수고하셨습니다 [work well].”
“감사합니다, 감사합니다, 감사합니다 [thank you 3X],” Hu Dae Ho said, bowing once the call was over.
“Ani, it’s nothing,” Ji-Seong was dejected by what he had just done. In an instant, he verified everything Lee seongsaeng said. Generosity was a concept, and the boss was right, even when wrong. He had just stricken out someone who probably deserved a spot in Innovatics. He tried to convince himself the person dismissed was well off enough and could easily find a backup plan.
“Thank you, can I call you hyeongnim?”
“We’re the same age.”
“I respect you so much for what you just did. Please let me call you hyeongnim,” insisted Hu Dae-Ho, eyes inclined as the rest of his upper body, which kept bowing.
“Call me whatever. I’ve got to go back, see you around,” Ji-Seong said, embarrassed.
“Thank you again, hyeongnim,” [older brother or honorific for a man you respect], Hu Dae Ho waved him goodbye.
“What took you so long?” Soo-Hae said as she blew away a strand of hair blocking her view when Ji-Seong returned.
“What’s wrong with you? Is he your husband?” Gong-Won eyes glared at his sister as he gestured an I’ll-hit-you-motion.
Gong-Won disliked Ji-Seong. The memory of the humiliation at l’hexagon was still vivid. Seeing his sister lower herself to the level of a Persian rug for Ji-Seong’s unhooded eyes irritated him even more. Also, their presence in this school with Lee Seongsaengnim felt like a fateful reunion.
Gong-Won saw the twitches on Ji-Seong’s face when they talked about Lee Seongsaeng. The professor was the woman they saw that night. There was no doubt about it.
The Chaebol was a player who knew full well that in a game of rivals and nerfs, what mattered was what happened in the long run.
After half an hour, Ji-Seong got up.
“Where are you going?”
“-Eh, I still have some decoding to do.”
“Ah, you mean the hieroglyphs?”
“Yep, see you later, guys,” Ji-Seong said. He zipped his backpack and left.
Soo Hae sighed while looking longingly at the direction he took, “Ouch, Oppa.”
“Hagimasheyo [don’t do this] Soo-Hae, jebal, not this guy.”
“Are you jealous because he’s richer and more handsome than you?”
“We all know what his father does to have so much money,” Gong-Won said.
“What does his father do?” Dae-Jung asked; being from Pusan, he did not update himself on the Seoul version of Dallas, the bold and ruthless.
“His father was the former defense minister andー.”
“Aigoo, tchin-cha, I didn’t know you were a gossip boy. I wish you focused on your lessons as much as you do in people’s life. This is so embarrassing, Dae-Jung, don’t listen to my brother. Aish, you are soーish.”
“Look who is talking. The girl is connected 24/7 on her phone,” Gong-Won retorted.
“You two are cute.”
“Mwo,” the siblings said in unison.
“I’m cute; he’s an obnoxious chaebol,” Soo-Hae glared at Gong-Won. She didn’t understand why he hated Ji-Seong so much.
“She’s a weirdo. There something wrong in her brain,” Gong-Won said, twirling a finger on the side of his head to show she was crazy.
With this remark, Soo-Hae packed her things and left.
Gong Won smirked, “she’s touchy.”
“It’s probably that time of the month.”
Gong Won kicked Dae-Jung’s chair, “Hey, that’s my sister. Don’t talk about her like that.
While Gong Won played the bully, Ji-Seong arrived in Sa-rang’s office, where he found her assistant.
“Ah, doctor Gi.”
“Ji-Seong, I’m glad you are here.”
The office was a mess.
“Does she find anything here?”
“She doesn’t need to. We’re here to find and do anything which the professor finds a nuisance.”
“How do you cope?”
“Easy, I shut my mouth and say nae seongsaengnim to everything she says.
“What if she’s wrong?”
“Don’t even dare pronounce it, pride and prejudice, gyosunim have the pride, and we submit ourselves to the prejudice which is the fate of almost all employees and when our turn will come we will continue the tradition.
Listening to Lee Seongsaengnim’s assistant speak, Ji-Seong finally understood how the assistant managed to remain by the professor’s side.
Mi cheo sseo.
Doctor Gi was as crazy as the professor. Ji-Seong wondered if it was contagious.
Would he wilt and yield to the same delirium?