. I think I remember who that is.
But why do you want to find him?”
“Can you just find his current whereabouts without knowing the reason?”
“…Well, that won't be difficult.
Should I bring him here?”
I'll go there myself.”
As they chatted, Jo Gyu-Min couldn't help but feel that Kang Jin-Ho's expression was far graver than before.
Then, a little while later…
Jo Gyu-Min broke the news.
“I found him, Mr.
“Where is he?” Kang Jin-Ho asked immediately.
“It's not too far from here.
It seems that Choi Myeong-Gil and his grandson couldn't just abandon the hometown they had lived in for their whole lives.”
“Can you take me there?”
“I certainly can.
Allow me to guide you.”
The two men rode in Jo Gyu-Min's car to head to Choi Yeong-Su's current home.
They tracked the address down and eventually reached a slum on a hill so steep that cars couldn't even drive up.
Jo Gyu-Min looked through the windshield and muttered, “According to the address, it's supposed to be somewhere on this hill.
Looks like we'll have to walk from here, Mr.
“Let's do that, then,” Kang Jin-Ho replied while climbing out of the car.
He silently scanned the slum and saw small, rundown shacks densely doting the side of the steep hill.
The Seongsim Orphanage used to be located in an area similar to this one, didn't it?
Kang Jin-Ho turned to ask Jo Gyu-Min, “Are there many slums like this in Seoul?”
Seoul is a city with two faces, after all.
Wealthy people can enjoy untold luxury, but there are also plenty of poor people going through hard times.
But that's pretty much the same in any large city.”
“I see.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded, then quietly followed behind Jo Gyu-Min as they began walking up the hill.
After walking for a while, they finally discovered the address.
Jo Gyu-Min pointed at a creaky door.
“I think we're here.”
“Alright.” Kang Jin-Ho pushed the door open and entered.
The front door's hinges let out an abrasive metallic noise.
“W-who's there?! Cough!” An old man's decaying voice came from inside the house.
Kang Jin-Ho didn't even bother to reply and stepped further in.
“Who…” An old man who was obviously having trouble walking came out to meet the visitors, only for his eyes to open wide in panic.
Kang Jin-Ho silently studied the old man.
It was the former chief director of the Dongmyeong Foundation, Choi Myeong-Gil.
After getting kicked out of his position, he became just another powerless old man.
“K-Kang Jin-Ho!” Choi Myeong-Gil cried out in shock.
Jo Gyu-Min quickly stepped in front of Kang Jin-Ho to shield him.
He believed that the old man would go berserk and charge straight at Kang Jin-Ho.
However, Choi Myeong-Gil's response completely betrayed Jo Gyu-Min's expectations.
The old man stumbled back in pure terror.
“W-w-why are you here! Why?!”
His voice was loud, but it was not threatening at all.
It actually sounded more like a desperate plea to alert the surroundings to the incoming danger.
Kang Jin-Ho apathetically muttered, “I came to find Choi Yeong-Su.”
“What do you want with my grandson?! Can't you, can't you just leave my boy be! He became sick in his head because of you! Isn't it fine to forgive him already?!”
Kang Jin-Ho ignored the old man and scanned the interior of this 'house.’ He could hear the soft breathing of another person coming from somewhere.
Choi Myeong-Gil's fear-filled eyes noticed that his grandson's nemesis had discovered the boy's location.
He urgently charged at Kang Jin-Ho and clung on, but Kang Jin-Ho easily pried the old man off.
Despite all the bad things he had done, Choi Myeong-Gil's love for his grandson still deserved high praise.
Kang Jin-Ho pushed the door of one of the rooms and stepped inside, and this musty stench immediately assaulted him.
He then noticed a young man sleeping by the corner of the room.
His face was obscured by long and messy tangled-up hair.
“N-no! He barely fell asleep with a sedative just now! Before that, he was suffering from yet another psychotic episode, so please don't wake him up! Y-yes, it's all my fault! I was in the wrong! T-that's why, just, just let that child be!” Choi Myeong-Gil desperately cried out.
Unfortunately for him, his agitated voice woke up Choi Yeong-Su from his drug-induced sleep.
The boy slowly turned his head to look and discovered Kang Jin-Ho standing by the doorway.
“Hiiiiiiieeeek?!” Choi Yeong-Su freaked out and hurriedly scrambled further away into the corner as if Kang Jin-Ho was a grim reaper who had come here to take his soul.
Jo Gyu-Min watching this scene began feeling a pang of pity for this kid.
“K-Kang Jin-Ho! Kang Jin-Ho!!! Uwaaaaahk!” Choi Yeong-Su screamed like a madman.
Kang Jin-Ho quietly observed this spectacle.
He remembered that this kid used to be quite handsome only about a year ago.
Despite his twisted personality, anyone with eyes would agree that Choi Yeong-Su certainly had the looks to spare.
But now, no one would associate this version of Choi Yeong-Su with his past self.
His transformation was just too drastic for that—his face had become covered in the bushy, dirty beard while his oily, unkempt hair was so long and tangled up that he looked like a homeless man.
His unfocused eyes were constantly shifting around in anxiety, while his pitifully-trembling body visible through the gaps of dirty clothes was all skins and bones.
Jo Gyu-Min had to ask to make sure, “Mr.
Jin-Ho, is this…
really Choi Yeong-Su?”
Kang Jin-Ho didn't reply.
He walked closer in large strides and grabbed Choi Yeong-Su's head.
“Y-you bastard!” Choi Myeong-Gil cried out and tried to charge forward again, but Jo Gyu-Min held him back.
While pulling the old man back, Jo Gyu-Min made sure to keep an eye on Kang Jin-Ho's actions.
After all, he would have to intervene if something bad was to happen to Choi Yeong-Su.
Kang Jin-Ho slowly spoke, “Look at me.”
Kang Jin-Ho's hand gripping Choi Yeong-Su's head tightened even more.
“I said, look at me, Choi Yeong-Su.
Who am I?”
Who am I?”
Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
It's me, Choi Yeong-Su.
I am Kang Jin-Ho.”
The internal energy trickling out of Kang Jin-Ho's hand began correcting the messy meridians and blood flow in Choi Yeong-Su's head.
The latter finally regained some of his wits, and his expression became crumpled in fear.
Kang Jin-Ho asked while looking deep into Choi Yeong-Su's eyes, “What do you see?”
“Tell me, what have you been seeing?”
Choi Yeong-Su replied while his arms convulsed, “It…
It was Hell…”
A meaningful grin formed on Kang Jin-Ho's lips.
I did warn you that you'll experience a living hell.”
Choi Yeong-Su's lips parted to say something, but Kang Jin-Ho shook his head and cut him off.
“No need to shiver like that.
I have never come to visit you until today, you see.
What you've been seeing all along was an imaginary me your mind has created.
The truth is, I haven't even lifted a finger against you.”
Choi Yeong-Su's tremors gradually calmed down.
He was still minutely trembling in fear, but at least he was no longer screaming like before.
“Can you see?” Kang Jin-Ho turned Choi Yeong-Su's head and showed him the surroundings.
“This is your current reality.”
“Don't try to run away.
This is not a dream.
Indeed, it's you who had been dreaming all along to escape your reality.
And look what happened,” Kang Jin-Ho spoke in an eerily-chilly voice.
That bone-shuddering voice dug deep into Choi Yeong-Su's ears.
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