Descent of the Demon Master
Going on a Trip (3)
“You… faked it?”
Director Baek Yeong-Gi stared in flabbergast, forcing Jo Gyu-Min to hurriedly defend himself as his voice cracked a little.
“O-of course, I wasn't lying when I applied for a job in the corporation, sir! H-however, it has been so many years since then.
I've already forgotten most of, uh, what I learned all those years ago…”
“Okay, so…” Baek Yeong-Gi groaned while tapping his forehead.
“…You did possess Chinese language skills, but not using them for many years while working for the Office of Secretaries made you forget them…
Is that basically what you're saying to me, Gyu-Min?”
You hit the nail on the head.”
“In that case, well, it's not a problem, isn't it?”
Baek Yeong-Gi slyly smiled.
“No reason why you can't regain what you once had, right? All you gotta do is recover your original skills before the departure date.”
“…Sir, when is that date?”
“The day after tomorrow.”
Jo Gyu-Min's eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets.
Baek Yeong-Gi yelled, “You have three days to make it right! And do it properly this time!”
Not knowing that he had shoved Jo Gyu-Min into hell, Kang Jin-Ho was currently stuck in a dilemma as well.
This might be a serious problem…'
Not being able to overcome the language barrier was a massive handicap, indeed.
Especially so when considering what he wanted to do in China.
Not being able to communicate could cause a serious hassle down the line.
An interpreter was supposed to come with Kang Jin-Ho, but someone used to translating ordinary conversations wouldn't be able to do a good job in what was about to come.
This unexpected hurdle forced Kang Jin-Ho to earnestly ponder his options.
As he sat on the living room couch and was thinking about what to do, the front door was suddenly shoved open.
“Aigoo…” Kang Eun-Yeong and her exhausted face trudged through the doorway.
“You're late, Eun-Yeong,” said Kang Jin-Ho as he glanced at his sister.
Kang Eun-Yeong made a face of a wrongfully convicted person.
“I'm not late because I was fooling around, you know?”
Kang Jin-Ho's eyes narrowed.
“Were you at work until now?”
“Of course, I was…”
“Hmm. It seems your schedule is rather punishing, doesn't it?”
That was when Kang Eun-Yeong's expression stiffened just a little.
She had come to learn that whenever her dear older brother said things like that, something bad happening to her career would inevitably follow!
She hurriedly waved her hands.
“N-no, hang on, Oppa! I'm not that busy, you know?”
“Mm? But, can't you see the time?”
Kang Eun-Yeong's hand waving picked up even more speed.
“No, I'm being serious! Honestly, it wasn’t work that kept me this late, you see! Well, technically, you could call it my work's fault, but it's not because of my schedule, Oppa!”
“Mm? Then, what happened?” Kang Jin-Ho's eyes narrowed even more.
Kang Eun-Yeong looked like she had stepped on a landmine as she hurriedly explained herself, “I was in a cram school, you see.”
“Cram school?” Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
What cram school was Kang Eun-Yeong even talking about?
Wasn't she a publicly-acknowledged dropout? No, make that national college entrance exam dropout! In that case, going to a cram school now wouldn't change her situation much, so why was she attending one?
Kang Jin-Ho's expression hardened from his determination.
“Eun-Yeong, if you wish to challenge the entrance exams, let me help you.”
“No matter how omnipotent you are, dear orabeoni, I must inform you that the task of cramming knowledge into this brain of mine and sending me off to a university is too unrealistic even for you.”
“…I agree with that statement wholeheartedly.” Kang Jin-Ho ruefully nodded.
Every person had their uses.
As for Kang Eun-Yeong…
Simply put, making her study was just a waste of time.
“Well, I'm not saying there's no point in you attempting the entrance exams.
It's just that…
Let's just say you're walking on a more efficient path for yourself.”
“I didn't ask you for your analysis, dear orabeoni.
And why does that sound like I'm a hopeless moron?”
Kang Jin-Ho exercised his right to remain silent just then.
“…Oppa, I heard you got worse scores than me before high school! But your grades got better while in high school, didn't they? Which means, I just need to study for a bit, and my own grades will get better.
‘Why don't you try cultivating, then?’
Kang Jin-Ho inwardly tutted, then decided to steer their chat away from this topic.
He went straight to the point.
“What cram school is it, then? Since it's not about entrance exams?”
“It's a foreign language school.”
“Huh?” Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow in confusion.
Kang Eun-Yeong groaned deeply and explained further, “I'm seriously considering expanding to Chinese and Japanese markets, you see? Nowadays, it's normal for an idol to tour overseas if they gain some traction locally.”
“Well, the markets there dwarf Korea's, after all.
I was getting ready for my own overseas tour, you know? But then, if I go there, I should at least be able to say something in their native language, right? I can't keep saying 'Aishiteru~' or 'Wo Ai Ni~' all the time, right? Right?”
“That's why I've been trying to learn as quickly as possible.
There's a famous lecturer in this field, you see? Many idols wanting to expand overseas go and learn from this lecturer.
It costs a lot, but overseas fans will think we have been doing our best when we show up there speaking their language.
Agencies also usually ask us to learn, and they foot the bill in most cases.”
Kang Jin-Ho's eyes suddenly gleamed.
“How good is this lecturer you're talking about?”
“Honestly? I can't tell whether the lessons are good or not.
This is my first time learning other languages, after all.
But other students in my class say my lecturer is the best in the country for learning as much as I can—as fast as possible.”
“Is that right?” Kang Jin-Ho smiled strangely.
“Can you tell me where that cram school is?”
“Eh?” Kang Eun-Yeong looked back at her older brother in a daze.
The next morning…
Kang Jin-Ho grinned deeply while staring at the cram school building before his eyes.
'If there's a language problem, all I have to do is learn it myself!'
Indeed, learning through a crash course should take care of the pesky problem that no interpreter could deal with.
This idea would never work on other people, but Kang Jin-Ho wasn't trying to learn a brand-new language here.
Rather, he only had to discover how much the language he already knew had changed in the modern era.
Essentially, it would be the same as a Joseon-era person using Hunminjeongeum to learn about the modern-day Hangeul.
So, it should be far easier than mastering a completely new language.
With Kang Jin-Ho's cultivation-enhanced concentration thrown into the mix, he should be able to improve his Chinese to the point of holding a passable conversation with the native Chinese before his departure date.
Even though the cost sounded exorbitant, such a thing wasn't enough to financially pressure Kang Jin-Ho.
Most people would gasp in shock at the amount of money being deposited regularly into the bank account created by Hwang Jeong-Hu for Kang Jin-Ho's use.
Considering Kang Jin-Ho's spending habits, that bank account wouldn't run out of funds for the rest of his life, at the very least.
As such, he could afford to splurge on a 'luxury' like this.
Besides, he didn't even really have to rely on the money from Hwang Jeong-Hu either.
Kang Yu-Hwan's cafe was doing quite well after word-of-mouth had worked its magic.
It was successful enough that a large corporation had recently offered a franchise deal, meaning the cafe should be doing even better than Kang Jin-Ho thought.
The matter of Kang Eun-Yeong's earnings should be considered as well.
As she was still a minor, her earnings were being managed by Baek Hyeon-Jeong right now.
It seemed Korean idols made a ton of money since even Baek Hyeon-Jeong admitted to being scared by the accumulating wealth in her daughter's bank account.
Kang Jin-Ho leisurely stepped toward the cram school building.
He wouldn't call himself a scholarly type that enjoyed studying, but he was also not the type to avoid learning things that had to be learned.
Just as he reached out to the handle of the front entrance, however, another man also reached out at the same time.
Two people reaching out to a door handle simultaneously wasn’t the most unusual thing in this world.
Although rare, it did happen occasionally, after all.
However, the unusual part about this situation was that they were acquaintances.
And, what if the level of familiarity was beyond 'mere acquaintances' and had gone into 'seeing each other often' territory? This occasion would take on a new meaning, then.
“…Mister Jin-Ho?” Jo Gyu-Min blinked his eyes in shock while staring at Kang Jin-Ho.
Kang Jin-Ho also had to tilt his head in confusion.
“Why are you here, Mister Gyu-Min?”
“Well…” Jo Gyu-Min couldn't say anything else for a little while and simply groaned several times.
“…And so, that's why I'm here,” said Jo Gyu-Min.
So, that's what happened…” Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
While waiting for a consultant to show up in the reception room, Kang Jin-Ho listened to Jo Gyu-Min's current circumstances.
“Mister Jin-Ho, when society tells us what to do, we don't have a choice but to do it.
And that's especially true in one's workplace.
I'm sure you've experienced it in the military already.
In a way, the enlistment is like a tutorial for your life…” Jo Gyu-Min muttered in a tired voice.
Kang Jin-Ho nodded in silence.
You would get discharged from the military sooner or later even if you were wasting time as a good-for-nothing, but doing the same in a workplace would get you fired.
Jo Gyu-Min continued with his whining, “That's why I'm here to do as told, but this is really unreasonable, Mister Jin-Ho.
Kang Jin-Ho failed to suppress his loud laughter this time.
It had already been a good few years since they knew each other, and today had to be Kang Jin-Ho's first time seeing Jo Gyu-Min looking and behaving like this.
Considering how expertly Jo Gyu-Min had been taking care of all the tasks thrown in his way without any complaints so far, his current behavior was a good indicator of the intense pressure he had to be feeling.
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled.
“You don't have to be so concerned, Mister Gyu-Min.”
“What do you mean?”
“I can communicate to a degree, and an interpreter isn't really necessary during my trip, anyway.
Since you've been working hard until now, you should think of this trip to China as an opportunity to kick back and take it easy.”
“…Mister Jin-Ho!” Jo Gyu-Min's eyes gradually teared up.
Just when did the little kid who used to ask for help with his math grow up into a splendid adult capable of offering comforting words to Jo Gyu-Min? Something about this situation made him rather emotional.
'He has changed a lot, personality-wise, hasn't he?'
Kang Jin-Ho had never come across as an immature student even in the past, as he often displayed his strong individualistic tendencies.
The past him wouldn't have tried to comfort Jo Gyu-Min this way.
“I see, Mister Jin-Ho.
If you can do that for me, I'll give you my undying loyalty!”
“…You don't have to go that far, Mister Gyu-Min.” Kang Jin-Ho coughed to clear his throat.
Jo Gyu-Min snapped his fingers.
“Ah! Does that mean I don't have to participate in this language crash course?”
“Well, you can do whatever you want.” Kang Jin-Ho shrugged his shoulders.
A bright grin formed on Jo Gyu-Min's face as he got up to leave.
He bade goodbye and was about to exit the reception room, only for the door to the school director's office to open, and the director walked out.
Jo Gyu-Min's eyes shook powerfully just then.
The director smiled brightly and greeted them first.
“Good day to you two.
My name is Yu Mi-So, the director of this school.
Nice to meet you.”
Jo Gyu-Min's jaw slowly dropped while Kang Jin-Ho slightly tilted his head in surprise.
'The director was a woman?'
Kang Jin-Ho assumed the director to be a man since, well, the person was the director of a learning institution and an expert in the field.
So, this revelation had taken him by surprise.
Then again, he shouldn't have assumed anything since Kang Eun-Yeong hadn't mentioned the director’s gender.
The director being a woman was unusual, but what was even more unusual was her age and looks.
'Well, it doesn't matter.'
A cat only had to be good at catching mice.
In that case, the cat being black or white didn't even matter.
Likewise, a teacher only had to be good at teaching, nothing more.
Yu Mi-So continued, “I hear both of you wish to learn as quickly as possible.
But what should we do? We only have enough opening in the schedule for one student, you see.”
Kang Jin-Ho replied to her.
“That will be fine.
This gentleman here was on his way home, actually.
I'll be the only one going through your course, ma'am.”
As soon as his explanation was over, though, Jo Gyu-Min hurriedly intervened.
“Mister Kang Jin-Ho?!”
“I've given this matter some more thought, and it's not right to burden you like this.
Besides, I have never ever dumped my responsibility on another person's shoulders in my whole life.”
“Not to mention, shirking from my responsibility will reflect badly on Jaegyeong's honor as well! So, please don't worry about a thing and go home, Mister Jin-Ho.
Before our departure, I promise I'll become as good as a native speaker!”
“Well, then, zaijian!” Jo Gyu-Min energetically waved goodbye to Kang Jin-Ho, then strode over to Yu Mi-So like a man with purpose and offered his hand for a shake.
“Miss Yu, my name is Jo Gyu-Min.
It's my pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
Kang Jin-Ho spectating this scene could only groan under his breath.
Even he could guess why the previously-unenthusiastic Jo Gyu-Min had such a quick change of heart.
How could he not, when Jo Gyu-Min's usually sharp countenance had become noticeably mushy, as it contained a dumb-looking grin?
It seemed spring had come to the old bachelor Jo Gyu-Min.
This is a politer, more formal version of oppa. ☜
Aishiteru (Japanese) and Wo Ai Ni (simplified Chinese) both mean “I love you.” ☜
Hunminjeongeum, or the Correct/Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People, is a document describing an entirely new native script for the Korean language, published on October 9, 1446. ☜
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