Descent of the Demon Master
Park Yu-Min quickly changed his attitude after remembering the terror of riding in a car driven by Kang Jin-Ho.
“Stop being silly, will you?” Kang Jin-Ho chuckled while undoing the lock on his bicycle, then got on the saddle.
Park Yu-Min performed a quick sign of the cross, then climbed up on the back of the bicycle, a look of resignation on his face.
He gripped the handle tightly and muttered, “If I get into an accident, please remember that there’ll be no one left to look after the kids, Jin-Ho.”
“Accident?” Kang Jin-Ho frowned deeply as if his pride was wounded.
“Whenever I give you a ride, I go at half my usual pace to make sure we don't get into one.”
That was half of his usual pace?! Park Yu-Min had learned something new today.
That insane speed…
was Kang Jin-Ho holding back.
Park Yu-Min gulped and cautiously asked, “Can you, uh, go at one-quarter of your usual pace?”
“…Hold on tight.”
Park Yu-Min gave up and gripped the Golden Elephant's handle as hard as possible.
His hearing was bombarded by the noise of bicycle pedals being abused.
If one were to keep their eyes closed, they might be fooled into thinking that the sound was coming from a V12 engine or something similar.
Kang Jin-Ho asked without glancing back, “Where are we going?”
“…For now, keep going straight!”
But tell me the destination.”
Kang Jin-Ho tutted unhappily.
“I'm telling you, you won't get into an accident.”
“That's not it…
The hospital is our destination!” Park Yu-Min shouted against the rushing winds, thinking that he might really have to get admitted there as a patient instead of as a visitor if they kept traveling at this pace.
“…Blergh!” Park Yu-Min stumbled off the Golden Elephant and began retching while leaning over a wall.
Kang Jin-Ho tutted loudly.
“Looks like your constitution has gotten weaker.”
“…Just what have I been riding around in the past?!” Park Yu-Min gasped breathlessly while wiping his mouth.
He had realized how dumb and immature his past self had been for traveling to and from school on that deadly bicycle while being blissfully unaware of all the dangers.
“It's a miracle that I'm still alive…”
“N-no, it's nothing.” Park Yu-Min shook his head.
He had a feeling that Kang Jin-Ho wouldn't understand even if the truth was laid bare in front of his eyes.
As for Kang Jin-Ho, he switched his attention away from the still-recovering Park Yu-Min to the humongous modern building looming over him.
His first impression of the modern hospital wasn't so great, and he still felt that way.
One of the biggest differences between modern humans and their ancient counterparts was undoubtedly their longer lifespan brought on by advancements in medicine.
Kang Jin-Ho agreed with that and knew that hospitals played a vital role.
However, something about this place made him less than willing to come.
Of course, not many people would want to visit a hospital for fun unless they were sick, so maybe, he wasn't so different from the others in that regard.
Park Yu-Min finally recovered his bearings and stood straight.
“Let's go inside.”
“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded and followed his friend leading the way, even though it felt like his legs weren't so keen on the idea.
They walked past the busy lobby and entered an elevator.
It went up for a surprisingly long time to reach the ward.
Kang Jin-Ho wasn't exactly what people called 'directionally challenged'—except for that one time—but a hospital's various wards seemed rather perfect for trapping someone for many days if they weren't careful.
“It's this way.
Hurry.” Park Yu-Min walking ahead urged his slower-than-usual friend.
“…Okay.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded and followed him until they arrived at a hospital room.
“We're here,” said Park Yu-Min.
Kang Jin-Ho silently stared at the doorway, unmoving.
“…Let's go inside, Jin-Ho.”
Park Yu-Min pushed the door and stepped inside first.
Kang Jin-Ho sighed under his breath and followed his friend.
“It's me, Director,” said Park Yu-Min in a warm voice.
The kind-faced orphanage director lying on the hospital bed turned her head.
“Oh, and I brought Jin-Ho with me.
He finally got his vacation, you see.”
“Oh…” The director nodded as a small smile formed on her lips.
Kang Jin-Ho bowed his head at the orphanage's director lying on the bed closest to the window.
“It has been a while, ma'am.”
“Jin-Ho, you look more manly with your shorter hair.
And how was the army? Was it difficult?”
It's something most people have to do, after all,” Kang Jin-Ho replied smartly, but his focus was on the nun's figure hidden under the blanket.
“Let me take a closer look at you, Jin-Ho.” The nun's thin, bony hand slipped out from underneath the blanket.
Kang Jin-Ho was left speechless at how frail her hand looked.
Seeing that hand caused something within him to swell up.
The orphanage's director had always been a thin person, but this…
She had become so gaunt that it felt like she had become basically nothing but skin and bones.
Kang Jin-Ho slowly reached out and held the nun's extended hand.
She smiled gently at him.
“It must have been hard on you.”
“No, not at all, ma'am.”
“Whether it's you or Yu-Min…
You must've gone through so much.
And Yu-Min can't even practice because of me…”
“Eii~. Please don't say that.” Park Yu-Min waved his hands.
“That's not important, you know.
What's important is that you quickly recover your strength and get back on your feet, ma'am.”
“Yes, of course.” Another gentle smile spread on her lips.
“How are the children doing? Are they well?”
I should bring them here at least once, but…
With how many kids there are, I thought it might inconvenience other patients in the hospital, so…”
“No, you made the right choice, Yu-Min.
Besides, I would not like the children to see me in this state, either.”
“Cheol-Jung and Su-Yeon said they will bring the older kids here later, ma'am.
But they can only come during the visiting hours, so I think it'll have to be on the weekend.”
“Tell them it's okay—that they don't have to come.
They must be so busy with their studies, after all…”
Park Yu-Min began tidying up the bed.
“Have you been eating as the doctors recommended, ma'am?”
“I know I need to eat and regain my strength, but…
It's not as easy, Yu-Min.”
“Still, you shouldn't give up, ma'am.”
I must get better soon.”
While Park Yu-Min and the orphanage's director were giggling and chatting away, Kang Jin-Ho took a seat by one of the chairs in the corner and kept his mouth shut.
He just sat there, quietly observing their interaction.
After a while, the time to leave had come.
Park Yu-Min got up first.
“I'm sorry, but I have to get going now, ma'am.
I'd like to stay for a bit longer, but I'm also worried about the kids back home.”
The director slowly nodded.
“Yes, I feel the same way about them.
You should hurry on home, Yu-Min.”
“I'll come to visit again soon.”
And Jin-Ho? You enjoy your vacation, too.”
“Yes, ma'am.” Kang Jin-Ho bowed his head.
As the orphanage’s director waved goodbye, the two exited the hospital room and wordlessly headed to the elevator.
Park Yu-Min said nothing, so Kang Jin-Ho followed suit and remained silent as the elevator took them down to the lobby.
The first place Park Yu-Min searched for after exiting the hospital's lobby was an outdoor smoking area.
He wordlessly plopped down on a bench, his complexion ashen.
Kang Jin-Ho stared at his friend for a long time before finally breaking the heavy silence.
“What's going on, Yu-Min?”
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