Chapter 1 - I Am Kwan Dae-ha (1)

Do you know the movie The Matrix?

Neo, the protagonist of The Matrix, was on the search for Morpheus, the legendary hacker. Upon meeting a mysterious force, he realized that the world he was living in wasn't real and was actually a virtual reality created by machines.

A fake world created to control and rule over humans.

In fact, The Matrix is just one of many examples that everyone would have pondered over at least once.

Is this world real?

Do 'I' really exist?

Was it possible that the world was the result of someone's program and our memories part of a scenario?

Is there any guarantee that the world was not created just a day, an hour, or even three seconds ago?

Wasn't it under such doubts that philosopher R. Descartes arrived at the first principle of philosophy - 'I think, therefore I am'?

------------------

Of course, questions like these have no meaning. There will be no end to it if you start to doubt reality.

If you doubt the world in itself, any evidence or theories derived from within it would therefore be meaningless as well.

On the other hand, if there are no other external factors beyond this world, there is nothing that could prove these suspicions, so this idea is merely a fallacy.

Therefore, it is alright to have such thoughts at least once, but they will swiftly fade away.

Survival in this world was already tough enough without worrying over such unwholesome conspiracy theories.

But regardless…

"Is this world truly real?"

I had always been giving serious thought to this. This concern started when I was in middle school and had always been at the back of my mind up till now when I entered my second year in high school.

Casanova Bae Jae-seok, Grades deteriorated, Kim Wan-rae, Hasn't slept a wink, Lee Hyung-wook, Struggling with a hangover, Park Jung-shik...

All sorts of titles were written on the heads of the people passing by outside the window.

This is my ability.

I can figure out their Affiliation, characteristics, current state and name just by looking at them.

The important thing is that this is all there is to it.

"This is such a peaceful superpower."

I don’t have the ability to fly around using psychokinesis, create flames or teleport.

My ability is thoroughly non-combative. In addition, I know nothing about the principle or theory behind this ability at all.

I mean, leaving all of that aside, isn't this a strange ability?

I'm not joking; it's to the point where I don't think it is wrong for me to doubt reality every single day.

I have done a lot of research on anything and everything I could find on this ability that I’ve had since I was young.

If I was able to create a spark, I would have thought I was a pyrokineticist. If I could draw out energy from my dantian to strengthen my body, I would have assumed that I had cultivated internal energy.

But what is this? Seeing words above people's heads?

From any point of view, this was an ability that was incomprehensible.

In the end, the only explanation left was…

"This world is fake."

It's lucky that I didn't suffer from depression. If I weren't a naturally optimistic and self-centered person, I would have become quite despondent.

"Huh?"

As I looked out of the window, I suddenly saw a bag of trash leaning against the wall. It wasn't the standard plastic bag, neither was the contents sorted for recycling; everything was just bundled together and thrown there.

Ah, damn. Who was this inconsiderate person? It was even written on the wall that rubbish shouldn't be thrown here and they still left it right under the sign!

I stared at the trash bag and the words Casually discarded, Trash were written above it.

"It's not as if I am going to impose any disciplinary action on the person… but let's find out who threw it."

Concentrate.

Yes, not only can I see titles on people's head, I can also see them above animals, bugs, and even inanimate objects.

This wasn't the case since the very beginning. Initially, I could only see the titles above people's heads.

However, it was a pity to let such a strange ability just rot away, so after some training and practice, I could see titles on everything excluding minute things like dust or grains of sand.

I concentrated as I stared at the title Casually discarded, Trash and initiated 'Classification'.

It was a simple process. It's similar to opening a folder on a computer. You just have to further specify the simple title, just like how you open the folder Animal, followed by its subfolder Birds and then open the subfolder Goose.

"Disposed from Daehyun Apartments, trash... that's too vague. A little more..."

Classify.

Further Specification.

There is a wide selection of choices. The title can be further classified by the time, place, subject and more.

If I spent more time, I could know who threw the trash, when it was thrown and the reason behind the action (Of course, you don't really need a grand reason to throw trash).

Well, I wasn't curious to that extent right now, anyway.

Thrown by Mrs. Shim Moon-soon of Daehyun Apartments, Trash

"Ah, it's that auntie again."

And that was my findings.

The title was much longer than what could usually be seen as I had channeled my mental energy for specification.

Well, the longer you want a title to be, the longer it will be. I tried once as an experiment and the longest title I got was three lines.

"Well, it’s not as if I will do anything about it."

I just probed further into it because I was bored. However, I was slightly bitter that the findings were as expected.

Anyway, it doesn't matter because it isn't our wall. It just bothered me somewhat that I could see it from the window.

"I should head to school."

I shook my head to clear it of the complicated thoughts and changed my clothes.

I should hurry. Though it's only 6 A.M., considering that we have Zero Period [1] and the time it would take for me to reach school, I didn't have time to waste.

Click.

I opened the wardrobe and took out a black uniform.

Hmm... I have a lot to complain about our school but there was just one thing I like - the school uniform design. In fact, the cool school uniform was one of the reasons why I applied to this school.

"Ah, Dae-ha, you are awake?"

"Yes, Dad. Where's Hyung?"

"He's coming down."

My dad replied calmly; he had an apron hung around his neck.

The kitchen was filled with an appetizing aroma that not even a person who had just woken up and had no appetite could resist wanting to eat.

"What did you make?"

"Yuxiang Rou Si(鱼香肉丝). Also known as Yuxiang Shredded Pork.[2]"

"You have been cooking French cuisine for a month and now you are switching to Chinese cuisine?"

"I have nothing else to make besides bizarre dishes. But Chinese cuisine is fine as well. There are many varieties and the difficulty is just right."

Accompanying his words, the sliced pork in the dish he served was thinner than thread.

I mean, how in the world are you supposed to slice the pork meat to achieve that?

It's a given that Yuxiang Shredded Pork is a dish where the meat is sliced thin and then stir fried. However, there are not many in the world who can cut the meat that thinly.

Theoretically speaking, the meat had to be cut as thin as a thread, but that was only in theory. It is difficult to achieve that in application.

At best, some places could slice the meat to be the thickness of a finger, so what was this? And it was even done with a knife!

"Did you sleep well?"

My brother yelled energetically and entered the kitchen. With a considerably short height of 171cm and a kind looking countenance, he looked cute (even though he's my elder brother). He received the bowl of rice from Dad and placed it on the table.

"Why are you in such high spirits despite having just woken up?"

"I can only enjoy myself! Isn't this world such a fun and happy place? Hahaha!"

"What?"

This is absurd. Why is this human like this?

But I didn't want to shoot him down when he seemed so happy, so I started eating my food obediently.

"Thanks for the meal."

"Alright. But these are experimental dishes so give me some feedback."

"I'm sorry but I have never eaten any food you’ve made that was bad."

Even the head chef of a 7-star hotel would not be able to match up to my father's cooking skills.

It wasn't a sentimental comment like "My dad's cooking is the best!" or anything of the sort, but I really wonder if there was any dude on Earth who cooks better than this human.

In fact, there was a chef who ate my dad's food and followed him for about a month, asking him to take him in as a disciple.

"Oh man, I won't improve if you say such things."

"How much more do you want to improve?"

"I'm not really saying that I want to improve. I'm just treating this as a hobby."

"That's a statement that killed chefs all over the world twice."

"Haha."

The man who shrugged his shoulders before me was my father.

In Korean, it's 아버지 [3], and in Japanese, おとうさん.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Nothing."

He is 36 this year. I'm 18 years old so that dude had me when he was exactly my current age.

In fact, just this fast-tracked event was enough of a shock, but what's more frightening is that my father looks as though he is in his mid-20s or at most late 20s.

Frankly speaking, he looked more like my brother than my father.

What does he look like? There are already three official fan clubs of this human in my school. (I don't know how many unofficial fan clubs there are.)

Even when they know that my father is a married man! They even know that I'm his son!!!

It's not just that.

In order to make this human a singer or an actor, the number of talent scouts who had come looking had already surpassed three digits.

He has a neat bob cut (In fact, there are few in this world that can pull off such a hairstyle)[4], manly facial features, calm eyes and a muscular body.

Also, he has that unique Aura that envelopes his entire body.

My father had such charisma that just by standing there without saying anything, he could easily seize the attention of those within a 30 meters radius.

"So what are you looking at?"

"Nothing, really. Just thinking that you are handsome."

"Haha. Thank you, but it's useless. It's not as if there's anyone to look at me."

'There are already many people doing so...!!'

Though it might be hard to believe, this man had learned as many as 17 languages as a 'hobby' (and there's a high chance that it has already surpassed 17). And whenever he had time, NASA would come to him seeking advice on space physics.

He's even learned all sorts of martial arts and attained such expert mastery in all of them that even normal people with a machine gun wouldn't stand a chance against him. Also, the book he published under a pseudonym was a bestseller worldwide and had great influence.

If he entered the stock market with a hundred thousand won [5], he could roll it into a hundred million won[6] within a month (Luckily, he doesn't do it frequently as he said that it's gambling with money). On my 15th birthday, he created a game all by himself and gave it to me as my present (but the quality was amazing. He even self-made the graphics and audio. As expected of him.)

-----------------

Yeap. This fraudulent character is my father.

Seemingly having rolled a million dice that decided his stats and getting 6's every time, this man is currently 'jobless.' In simple terms, he's unemployed.

But my father's situation was totally different from an average unemployed person.

He lived a leisurely and carefree life even though all the conglomerates and national organizations had done everything they could to have him join them.

"Thanks for the meal! Father's cooking is always the best!"

"Right, thanks. Ah, I prepared your lunch boxes and they are by the front door. Don't forget to take them."

"Got it~!"

As per what I mentioned before, this brother of mine is always so energetic. In an instant, he had finished his meal, took his backpack and left his seat. He has a peaceful countenance, and the attitude to match.

However, the title he held was far from 'peaceful'.

Blue Dragon Team

Ghost Blade, Kwan Yeong-Min

What the hell is this nonsense? Blue Dragon Team? And what Ghost Blade?

I have never seen my brother use a knife. He has never even grabbed a kitchen knife because he doesn't cook. So what's with this wuxia-sounding title, Ghost Blade?

Such bizarre titles are rare, considering all the titles I have seen.

"Thanks for the food too."

"Okay. Have a nice day at school."

All of a sudden, I saw my father's face as he replied in a soft voice while taking a book out from the bookshelf.

"What now?"

"... Nothing. I'm heading to school now."

"We are leaving now!"

As I opened the door with my brother and exited, I thought, "Right, if this dude's title is considered strange, then that man's title doesn't fall short either."

Father's title is also unique; it's unlike anyone else.

And that title is…

"Hmph, yes, so he’s good at everything, huh?"

"What?"

"Nothing."

"…?"

I overtook my brother with a perplexed look on his face and headed towards school.

Though it wasn't considered late, I would have to hurry up since I'm on duty today.


1. A high school class that is early in the morning, before the scheduled start of the school day.

3. The original text wrote, "In English, it's Father", but since it's an English translation, I switched it so that you guys will get to know/learn the Korean characters for it

5. around 84 USD

6. around 84,000 USD

Previous Chapter Next Chapter