However, his mother seemed very unhappy with how things were going.
As a show of support, Kang Jin-Ho forced himself to drink several 'trial run' products brewed by Kang Yu-Hwan, and that was how he developed an appreciation for the taste of coffee.
At least, drinking coffee from other cafes continued to remind him of those times.

Park Yu-Min took a sip of his drink before asking, “Did you prepare everything you might need?”

“I'm enlisting, so what preparation can there be?” Kang Jin-Ho replied with a shrug of his shoulders.

“Well, if you put it that way…” Park Yu-Min quietly observed his friend for a little while.
Most people who were about to enlist would suffer from anxiety whether they were aware of it or not.
But Kang Jin-Ho didn't display any signs of it.
Were his nerves woven out of Grade-A steel wires or something? Seriously now, high schoolers preparing for a school trip might be more anxious than him!

Park Yu-Min quietly asked, “Aren't you scared?”

“Scared? Why?”

“I mean…
Aren't you, like, nervous about joining the army and stuff?”

“I don't get it.
Why would I?”

“Never mind.
I was worried for nothing.” Park Yu-Min internally groaned.
Kang Jin-Ho's current attitude was just like him, but it flabbergasted Park Yu-Min somewhat.
No matter how tough one's mentality was, one was bound to feel some level of anxiety in a situation like this.

Kang Jin-Ho faintly grinned while observing Park Yu-Min's reaction.

'What a nice world it has become…'

If you asked any Zhongyuan citizens if they were interested in the chance to enlist in South Korea's army, you would get an acceptance rate shooting past 1000 to 1.
There was no need to even bring the demon cult into this discussion, either.
Even the renowned righteous clans and sects back then were rife with cruel, torturous training regimes and strict, no-nonsense atmosphere the likes of the South Korean military couldn't even compare to.

Even then, hopefuls wanting to join those sects during recruitment events would form long queues outside the gates which would even snake around mountains.

Were they hoping to become an expert? No.
Not necessarily.
Most of the applicants were satisfied by the prospect of not going to bed hungry every day.

The phenomenon of enough food to feed most people began only around a century ago, maybe even less.
For humans living before that era, their priority lay in not starving to death.
Stuff like human rights or whatever was not even a concept in their minds.

Kang Jin-Ho's starting situation in Zhongyuan was like that, so why would he be worried about the Korean military life? Considering all the jealousy and wariness he had been subjected to when he first joined the demon cult, Kang Jin-Ho was certain that the South Korean military would be like going to a kindergarten.

Park Yu-Min, oblivious to his friend's inner thoughts, asked once more, “What about your parents? What did they say?”

Kang Jin-Ho replied flatly, “Father told me to enjoy the experience, while Mother was disappointed.”

“Disappointed? How come?”

“Because I enlisted without telling her…”

Park Yu-Min was slightly taken aback.
“Wait, you didn't even tell your own mother?”

“It slipped out of my mind.” Kang Jin-Ho shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly.

“Isn't that worthy of your mother hitting you on the back until your back caught fire or something?”

“No, she didn't hit me…”

“Urgh…” Park Yu-Min helplessly shook his head.
It was so difficult to figure out what his indifferent friend was thinking about sometimes.
What about your sister?”

“Eun-Yeong? Why do you ask?”

“She's your sister, right?”

“Mm? I haven't told her yet, since she doesn't come home often lately.”

“Huh? You're enlisting tomorrow, yet you haven't told your own sister until now?”

Kang Jin-Ho tutted.
“I'm the one enlisting, so what's the point of telling her?”

Park Yu-Min suddenly broke out in a bright smile.
“Jin-Ho, you're utterly hopeless.”

“…?” Kang Jin-Ho was left speechless at Park Yu-Min's unfaltering attitude.
He could only quietly sip on the rest of his Americano.
But all of a sudden, he recalled something.
“Ah. By the way…”


“It's about my car.
I wasn't sure what to do with it while I'm in the army.”

Park Yu-Min's eyes gradually narrowed.

“I asked my father if he wanted to drive it around, but he refused.
He said it's too noisy.
My mother doesn't have a license, while Eun-Yeong doesn't need a car since the agency sends chauffeurs to pick her up, anyway.”

At this point, Park Yu-Min's back was already soaked in a cold sweat.

Kang Jin-Ho got to the main point.
“That's why, how about you drive my…”

“Hell no!”

It was Kang Jin-Ho's turn to be taken aback.
“Huh? Why not?”

“Everyone looks at you whenever you open the door of that car! No way.
I'm not driving that thing.”

“It's tolerable if you pretend that you haven’t noticed—”

“It's still a no! The thing is, people have started recognizing me, you know…
My salary is pretty obvious, so if someone takes a picture of me in that kind of car, I'll get accused of being too full of myself.
Actually, it'll be a relief if the rumors stop there.
In the worst-case scenario, people might accuse me of match-fixing to enrich myself.
So, it's a definite no.”

“Is that right?” Kang Jin-Ho sighed ruefully.
There didn't seem like any other choice left besides ordering Jo Gyu-Min to return the car to the factory or something.

“Oh, right.
What about your Golden Elephant?” Park Yu-Min suddenly asked.

“My father will take care of it, I guess.”

“Don't worry.
I'll visit your place every now and then to take good care of it.”

Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow in a questioning manner.
“Hmm? You seem to care more about my Golden Elephant than the car?”

“Well, I don't have any history with your car.
But your bicycle has given me plenty of rides during my high school days, so yeah, I've got to express my gratitude somehow.”

“Hah. You're weird.” Kang Jin-Ho chuckled faintly.

This was why he enjoyed hanging out with Park Yu-Min.
The start of their friendship was as simple as Kang Jin-Ho giving the boy a ride because he noticed him limping.
But now, their friendship had reached the point where he was having fun just by hanging out with him like this.

Park Yu-Min lightly hit his own forehead.
“Ah, I almost forgot…”


“I told the orphanage director about you enlisting.
She got really mad at you.
She said, how could you not stop by once before going away? That wasn't like a nun at all, you know?”

“Wait, the director got angry? Even though she's an angelic nun?”

“Yeah, that's what I'm telling you.
It was my first time seeing her like that, too.”

Kang Jin-Ho shuddered slightly.
That kind-hearted nun got angry? He couldn't even imagine it.
“L-Let's go.”


“If I don't want a trip to Hell during my vacation, I must go pay a visit right now.”

“That's a wise decision.” Park Yu-Min smirked while getting up.
“By the way, where are you going to get assigned in your enlistment? Nonsan?”[1]

Kang Jin-Ho shook his head.
“No, it'll be the 102nd Replacement Battalion.”

“I heard they were closing down, though?”

“Apparently, my turn will come before that.”

“Nonsan's popular, so why did you apply to the 102nd?”

“Because it's nearby,” Kang Jin-Ho replied in a matter-of-factly way.

“Oh…” Park Yu-Min didn't say anything else and nodded.
What a Kang Jin-Ho-like thought process that was.
It was very Kang Jin-Ho-like that Park Yu-Min could only laugh as he left the cafe.

Kang Jin-Ho continued to sip his Americano while following behind his friend.

'I guess today will be the last time for a while?'

Indeed, this might be the last time he would get to drink Americano for some time.
He made sure to drink every drop of coffee in the cup.
The bitter taste lingered in his mouth for some time.

The city of Nonsan has a famous army basic training center in South Korea ☜

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