Hyeonu’s life was now more relaxed. He slept two hours earlier and had regular meals. Naturally, the number of times he went to do PT in the gym also increased. As such, his body improved faster.
Hyeonu was currently standing in front of the mirror and tidying his hair for the outing. He wasn’t particularly adept with his hands, so it wasn’t that great. However, his appearance meant he looked nice even just by roughly touching his head, almost as if he had gone to a beauty salon to get it styled.
“Gang Hyeonu, has your face blossomed? Did you eat chicken breast for a week and see a good effect take place?” Yeongchan was jealous and stared at Hyeonu with burning eyes.
There had been a great change in Hyeonu. It was like he had taken a step forward.
‘It is like there is a light on his face...’ Yeongchan thought.
Perhaps it was because Hyeonu smiled more often lately. There had been a smile on his face for some time now. It wasn’t that he didn’t smile originally but that the frequency had definitely increased.
‘Does he have a girlfriend?’ Yeongchan wondered. In his experience, guys usually only showed such an appearance when there was a woman involved.
“Girl... By the way, where are you going today?” Yeongchan suppressed the words in his throat and said something else.
“I’m going to meet my Hyung-nim. Do you want to go too? I’ll introduce you. He is a good hyung,” Hyeonu suggested in reverse.
Yeongchan shook his head at Hyeonu’s suggestion and said, “Later... There are unavoidable circumstances later, so I think we can meet then.”
“Isn’t this gender discrimination? Hey, you can’t do this.”
Hyeonu understood the meaning behind Yeongchan’s words: ‘He doesn’t want to go because it is a man.’
Yeongchan had been strange these days. The number of his outings had sharply decreased, and he didn’t leave the house at all unless he had something scheduled. There was only one reason that explained Yeongchan’s situation.
“Hey, were you dumped again? Why haven’t you been leaving the house recently? Stop getting dumped. Why do you get dumped over and over again? Weren’t you running out a lot?” Hyeonu smiled as he stabbed a dagger in Yeongchan’s chest.
It wasn’t just one. He stabbed deeply several times.
“Hey! Gang Hyeonu, you bast...”
Hyeonu left Yeongchan behind and quickly escaped the house with smooth movements.
“Just rot at home, Yeongchan!”
In Itaewon, the red Panamera was eye-catching at the place where Hyeonu arrived.
‘Why did he ask to meet here?’
It was a place that didn’t match the image of Kim Seokjung and Gang Junggu. Those two...
They were more suitable for luxury hotels, rather than Itaewon. The two of them were older, so it was inevitable that Hyeonu felt this way.
‘I’m sorry... but it’s true.’
Hyeonu left his car in the underground parking lot of Hamilton Hotel next to Itaewon Station and took to the streets. Itaewon on a Saturday night was gorgeous. People were gathered in groups of three or five, chattering and enjoying Itaewon together. Waking amidst them, Hyeonu stood out. He turned his head left and right like he was looking for someone, attracting the attention of others like a magnet.
‘Where are they?’
They definitely promised to meet at the subway exit. Yet no matter where he looked, he couldn’t see Gang Junggu and Kim Seokjung at all. Just then, a luxurious blue convertible appeared with a heavy exhaust sound, and a silver goddess showed her face shyly on the bonnet of the car.
Kim Seokjung, who wore black sunglasses, waved to Hyeonu and shouted, “Hey! Dongsaeng! Get in!”
The eyes of the crowd once again focused on Hyeonu.
“How did you get a car? How long have you been in South Korea…?” Hyeonu asked.
He knew about the car Kim Seokjung was in. Although he didn’t know the precise model, he knew its emblem well. It was a car that couldn’t be purchased with money alone.
“He brought over an old car he used to drive. I only knew about it at the airport parking lot. I should’ve noticed based on the way he was walking so confidently...” Gang Junggu replied from the driver’s seat.
The back seat where Hyeonu now sat was full of beer. It wasn’t just stacked on the seats but also under his feet. As Hyeonu didn’t know anything about it, he asked, “Why is there so much beer?”
Hyeonu really didn’t know anything because Kim Seokjung hadn’t told him anything. He just knew they were going to be eating and drinking.
“We just stopped by Itaewon to buy beer. As you can see... I like it.” Kim Seokjung pointed to the pile of beer. Looking closely, there were many types of beer that Hyeonu was seeing for the first time. There wasn’t a single bottle of common domestic beer. All of them were unfamiliar imported and bottled beers.
“I also called the chicken restaurant. Let’s grab it and go to Han River. Chicken and beer is fashionable these days, chicken and beer!” Kim Seokjung exclaimed cheerfully.
The place that Kim Seokjung arrived at with his bottled beer and chicken didn’t match the luxurious car at all. It was Banpo Hangang Park. They parked in the parking lot and moved to the park with their hands full of beer and chicken. After placing down the bag of beer and chicken onto the grass of the park, Hyeonu opened up the blanket that had been tucked under his armpits.
“Please sit here.”
The moment Hyeonu’s words were over, Kim Seokjung and Gang Junggu put down their bags and sat down. Kim Seokjung quickly opened the box of chicken the moment he sat down. He took a big bite of a golden chicken drumstick and marveled, “Kuek... As expected, South Korea is about chicken... Delicious!”
The combination of crispy texture and perfect amount of seasoning was amazing. Sure enough, Korean fried chicken was worthy of its reputation.
“It would be icing on the cake to drink beer with this,” Kim Seokjung said. Then he put down the chicken leg, grabbed the beer bottle, and raised it directly to his mouth.
“By the way, has something good happened these days? Your face is a lot better than when you came to America,” Gang Junggu asked as he watched Hyeonu diligently eating chicken.
Hyeonu hadn’t properly heard Gang Junggu’s words and asked, “Huh?”
He had been too focused on eating the chicken and couldn’t figure out what the other two were saying.
“What is the reason for the oil flowing on your face? Is it this?” Kim Seokjung rubbed his thumb and index finger together with a sly smile.
It was the common Korean heart symbol. Hyeonu saw Kim Seokjung’s disgusting gesture and shook his head. He explained, “It isn’t like that. Things are just working out well. Personally, there have been many tough issues... But everything is going well now.”
There was no such reason at all. There wasn’t even the common ambiguous relationship, let alone love.
‘Is there a woman I met recently?’
Looking back, there were some women. His blood mother, Yuri who was like a relative, Sunny who was his teammate, and Reina—there were only these four people at most. He couldn’t think of anyone else.
“Why are you living so hard when you’re young...?” Gang Junggu looked at Kim Seokjung’s heart gesture and clicked his tongue.
Gang Junggu could barely understand Hyeonu, who had a tall height and handsome face as well as a lot of money. He simply couldn’t understand why a person who didn’t lack anything was living such an ascetic life.
‘He should enjoy it while it is good,’ Gang Junggu thought.
After all, there were many things you couldn’t do once you got older.
He went on to say, “Arena is good, but why not enjoy life? If you work too hard now, you will regret it later. Look carefully at me. I spent my youth following Hyung-nim, and now what? You will regret it when you get older. Don’t you think so? I’m telling you this clearly.”
Hearing Gang Junggu’s sincere advice, Hyeonu’s expression stiffened. It was something he had never thought of before. The bankruptcy of his family, the army, and then his current self...
Due to the successive events, there had been no room for relaxation. It was only recently that his father’s condition improved and he had some economic leeway.
“I still think it is too early. I still have a situation to deal with.” Hyeonu smiled bitterly.
Seeing this scene, Kim Seokjung struck Gang Junggu on the back, and an intense sound rang through the park.
Kim Seokjung said, “Don’t be like this. Moreover, you’re saying it’s because you followed me? That’s only because your popularity has decreased.”
Stars momentarily appeared in front of Gang Junggu’s eyes, and it definitely wasn’t just one but several.
“Ah! Hyung-nim!” Gang Junggu cried out.
The atmosphere that could’ve become stiff was lightened due to Kim Seokjung’s wit.
“Our dongsaeng still has that thing—Pro League.” Kim Seokjung took a sip of beer and shook the beer bottle.
There was a strange sense of reluctance from the way his eyes curved. Hyeonu didn’t know Kim Seokjung’s intentions and responded with a nod: “Yes, there isn’t much time left. A month? Well... it might be postponed a bit because of the territory. Regardless, I will still debut around that time.”
“How about consolidating teamwuk? Isn’t it okay?”
“Team-wu-k. Team-wu-k. Teamwuk.”
Pfft. The beer spilled from Hyeonu’s mouth. He barely suppressed the laughter that wanted to burst out.
“Yes, teamwork. It is good to build it up. But why are you suddenly mentioning it...?” Hyeonu asked while wiping the beer with a paper towel.
“Why not? I want to go to a nice place with you. Hyung-nim is okay with it. I will handle everything,” Kim Seokjung said while pounding on his chest.
‘A trip...’ Hyeonu thought it was a good idea. In any case, his schedule had room for a trip that would last one night and two days.
‘There is still a lot of time left with the quest anyway.’
“I think it should be fine next week. I don't know about after that.” Hyeonu gave a positive answer.
It was due to the emotions he felt after hearing Gang Junggu’s previous advice.
‘I should relax and enjoy myself while I have spare time.’
In this way, he could recharge and become more passionate about Arena. It was a adjustment of his priorities.
“Good, good. I’ll go to the bathroom for a bit, so you finish up the details.”
“I understand, Hyung-nim.”
Kim Seokjung rose from his seat after hearing Gang Junggu’s answer and started to walk. He quickly disappeared from Hyeonu’s view.
“Then let’s set it for next week.” Gang Junggu clapped his hands, causing fried chicken skin crumbs to fall from his hands.
“Is there a place you have in mind? You can just decide casually...”
“The place is obvious. It’s near Australia. There is an island owned by Seokjung Hyung-nim. It’s on the Tuvalu side.”
Hyeonu’s eyes widened and became so large they couldn’t enlarge any further. He asked, “It’s Hyung-nim’s island?”
“Yes, his own island. He bought it a few years ago. It cost him some money... Well... it’s a place only we can use. To tell you the truth, if Seokjung Hyung-nim wants to buy it, who can stop him?”
Hearing Gang Junggu’s words, Hyeonu nodded. It was indeed like that. Who could overturn Kim Seokjung’s decisions?
‘It would be great not to get hit.’
“That’s true. It feels like something big would’ve happened if you stopped him.”
Just then, Kim Seokjung appeared like a ghost and shoved his head beside Hyeonu’s.
“Something big? What would’ve happened? What is it? Tell me quickly,” Kim Seokjung said.
It was like the whisper of a messenger of the underworld. Hyeonu couldn’t answer, and his lips pressed together tightly. It was Gang Junggu who saved Hyeonu. Gang Junggu naturally spoke to Kim Seokjung, “Hyeonu will go next week. We have to take him at any cost.”
“Really? What? Aren’t you grabbing the bottle? One shot, one shot!” Kim Seokjung smiled brightly and raised his beer bottle high into the sky. He opened the bottle at once. Soon after, he was placing down the emptied bottle and turning to look at Hyeonu.
“Now, I have to listen to your love history... Junggu has said it before, but you are too rigid,” Kim Seokjung stated. He opened a new beer bottle and continued, “Don’t be too serious about everything. It is about focusing lightly on the moment. Don’t be too tangled up in worries.”