Descent of the Demon Master
“Urgh. I won't have to eat for the next three days now…”
Kang Jin-Ho glanced at the kids and slowly nodded.
It seemed that he had succeeded in sating the voracious appetites of these gluttons.
It had surely been a difficult mission, but nothing was out of reach with the power of money.
Park Yu-Min glared at the kids.
“You lot, you're all thinking of skipping dinner, aren't you?!”
“Nope, definitely not.”
“I can still eat more, you know?”
“…Huh.” Park Yu-Min groaned at length.
He spotted the youngest child unable to sit properly due to their bulging tummy and picked the child up into an embrace.
Everyone, don't forget to say thanks to Jin-Ho hyung.”
“Thank you, Jin-Ho hyung!”
“Hyung, we really had a feast today! Thanks!”
“Oppa, you're the best!”
Kang Jin-Ho raised his hand, his expression stiff and stoic.
A raucous round of applause exploded from his audience right away.
His stiff expression gave way and transformed into a faint little smirk.
Park Yu-Min’s eyes were narrowed in dissatisfaction as he finally unleashed his cantankerous streak.
“Hey, you lot! Hurry and tidy up the table already!”
“Stop nagging us, hyung!”
Park Yu-Min and Kang Jin-Ho stepped outside the building after leaving the clean-up to the kids.
Kang Jin-Ho glanced back.
“Is it fine to let them be?”
“Well, I have 'nannies' today, so it should be okay.
They usually hang out with their friends during weekends, but…
They decided to stay home to give me a break today.”
“Hmm. I see…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded contemplatively.
He had been wondering why the middle and high-schoolers were staying at home on Saturday.
As it turned out, it was for a good reason.
“How kind of them.”
They are angels, alright,” replied Park Yu-Min with a warm smile.
“Do you guys always eat later than usual during weekends?”
“It's not actually allowed, but I sometimes let them have a late breakfast.
I mean, I'm sure the older kids want to sleep in for a bit on their off day and all.”
“Does that mean you guys usually wake up early in the morning?”
Since they need to go to school, everyone's up before seven and finishes their breakfast soon afterward.
Then, those who have to go to school will leave first, and the remaining kids will play with the nursery teachers, but…
After the director was admitted to the hospital, all the teachers quit, and…”
“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
In the current situation, Park Yu-Min was taking on two difficult tasks at the same time.
“What about cleaning? The orphanage's premises, I mean.
Isn't it challenging?”
“The kids deal with that, actually.
However, those attending high school are excused sometimes.
They are busy with studying, after all.”
“Wait, you let the little kids do chores like that?”
You gotta instill the habit of taking care of one's duties from early on their lives, you know? No one will look after them once they become members of society, after all.
Kids around elementary school-ages are taught to take care of washing up themselves and keeping their things neat and clean.
We encourage them to do their chores even if they have mobility issues.”
“Mm? When they are old enough for elementary school, is it?”
Funny enough, the younger kids are more obedient than their older siblings, you know? The older kids escape when it's cleaning time and play hooky somewhere.
It's a big problem, I tell you.”
That revelation left a sense of powerful disharmony in Kang Jin-Ho's mind just then.
The more he listened, the more this arrangement sounded like the one in the military.
Since the army and this orphanage were technically groups of people coming together to live under one roof, some things were bound to be similar, but this kind of feeling was…
Kang Jin-Ho coughed to clear his throat, then asked once more, “Have you talked to your team about your return?”
“Yeah, although I didn't tell them the exact date because I also don't know that.
It was more like me giving them a heads-up.”
“What did they say?”
“The director wanted me back as soon as possible before my game sense gets worse.
He said that the sooner I'm back, the sooner I'll regain my game sense and catch up to the current trends.”
“Mmhm…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded in agreement.
A pro gamer's career was pretty short.
Unlike most jobs where getting hired meant you would now have a way to survive for a long while, a pro gamer's peak period wouldn’t even last two years.
Maybe, Park Yu-Min's prime had already passed while he had to deal with the orphanage's issues.
Kang Jin-Ho said in a low voice, “You need to think about your future, too.”
“If it's only that easy…” Park Yu-Min grumbled helplessly.
Kang Jin-Ho shook his head and handed over his card.
“Eh?” Park Yu-Min's eyes opened wide before he hurriedly backed away.
“Jin-Ho?! Are you trying to imply that I have financial issues and that I can't even feed the kids?! I do have enough money, you know!”
“That's not what I'm saying at all.
I just want you to buy dinner for the kids today.”
“Don't worry; I'll take it back later.”
Kang Jin-Ho smirked faintly at that.
Yes, Park Yu-Min might have started earning some money, but it hadn't been all that long since his debut as a pro gamer.
He did renegotiate his wages at the beginning of the year, but with him being inactive for quite some time now, he most likely hadn't received a paycheck due to his inactivity.
As for the money he had gotten last year? There was no need to mention it today.
Even the prize money from his previous victories had probably already run out while Park Yu-Min was trying to put out the fires.
Kang Jin-Ho had to remind himself once more that a pro gamer's career was really short.
A pro gamer had to earn as much money as possible in the brief window of time they were active to prepare for the inevitable fall in their skill level.
If they didn't do that, they would end up penniless upon their retirement.
Judging from Park Yu-Min's personality and lack of oratory skills, Kang Jin-Ho didn't think his friend would qualify as either a commentator or a team coach.
Kang Jin-Ho stretched his limbs.
I guess I should get going now.”
“Where are you going?”
“To meet up with Se-Yeon.”
Park Yu-Min's expression stiffened a little while staring at his friend.
Kang Jin-Ho stared at him and cocked an eyebrow.
“What? You want to come along?”
I shouldn't butt in.
Did you actually speak to her?”
Kang Jin-Ho replied nonchalantly, “This morning, on the phone.”
Park Yu-Min immediately spat out a lengthy groan.
“Treat her well when you meet her, okay?”
“What are you even on about?” Kang Jin-Ho chuckled while bringing out his trusty Golden Elephant from its parking spot.
He climbed up on the saddle.
“Mister Gyu-Min said they’ll find nursing teachers soon, so hold on for just a bit longer.
Things will normalize soon enough.”
“I'm telling you, it's not that easy, Jin-Ho.”
“I also have something else to talk to you about that, but it'll have to wait until next time.”
“Mmhm…” Park Yu-Min nodded slowly without saying anything else.
He felt a little lost as everything seemed to progress at a breakneck pace.
However, the 'Kang Jin-Ho' he knew had always managed to pull through in the end.
Park Yu-Min's trust in his friend was absolute.
Since Kang Jin-Ho had decided to step up, he would surely deal with the matter regardless of what it was.
“By the way, Jin-Ho? I don't think ordering more takeaways for dinner is a good idea.
It won't be good for the kids' health, you know.
They will get fat if they eat too much junk food.”
Kang Jin-Ho shrugged his shoulders.
“Buy meat, then.”
“Go to a butcher and buy a ton of meat.
Even if your cooking skill is terrible, you should still be able to salt some meat and roast them, right?”
“Y-you really are painting me as useless trash, aren't you?!”
“The curry you made was an insult to other curries in the world, Yu-Min.
How did you actually manage to cook something even worse than military food? Anyway, see ya later.” Kang Jin-Ho briefly waved his hand before riding away on his bicycle.
Park Yu-Min could only smack his lips ruefully.
“I'm sure he'll do fine…”
The matter between Han Se-Yeon and Kang Jin-Ho was for them to resolve.
Park Yu-Min had no place to intervene.
Still, he couldn't help but hold onto the hope that the two friends with whom he had spent so much time side by side could end up as a couple and stay together for a bit longer.
“I don't know anymore…” Park Yu-Min slowly shook his head before returning inside the orphanage.
“Anyway, I'm gonna show you what a real curry dish is like!”
His terrifying yet naive belief that top-quality ingredients would improve his cooking resulted in his younger siblings experiencing yet another painful dinner that evening.
'Jokbal' is Korean-style braised pig's trotters. ☜
“Bossam” is a Korean dish consisting of thinly-sliced pork shoulder meat boiled in spices, served with various side dishes and condiments. ☜
“Tangsuyuk” is a Korean Chinese dish made with a sweet and sour sauce featuring either pork or beef. ☜
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