Chapter 4 - A Rather Undesired Meeting. Continuation. (1)

I was a son who got compared to my father in every way. Not only that, but I also couldn't even compare to the tip of my father's toes. But… How was it my problem?

Chefs who spent all their life cooking fall into despair when they encounter my father; Martial artists who spent all their life training fall into despair when they see my father's techniques; Writers who devoted their lives to writing literally fall into despair when they see my father's writings, and musicians who devoted their life to music forget to even breathe at the tunes of my father's instruments playing skills. I wasn't the one who was lacking. He was just exceedingly outstanding.

'Yes, perhaps… It can be interpreted like that.'

That was right. I might have embraced the facts. If he had only been a stranger.

-Hmm… Your grades aren't as good as I thought. But it seems like you did your best.

I had always been compared.

-Ah! So you are his son!

-Oh, but… you aren't as handsome.

-Hey, what are you saying in front of a kid!

It happened from when I was young.

-Oh, uh… so you aren't good at sports. That's unexpected…

-Mmm… you don't even have an artistic side…

My friends. My teacher. Even those who came to see my father and left in despair had to compare me with him.

'You are his son. Not a stranger but his actual son, so why is there such a huge difference? You don't resemble him a bit!'

That was right. That was the problem. 

If I had been someone else, people would have treated me as another human being, but unfortunately(?), he was my actual father. Getting compared was inevitable. I might have even done the same. Those who knew my father and I couldn't help but wonder how that superior DNA gave birth to such a common specimen (It's not correct to call me that because I developed a strange ability). And the people who were interested in me eventually came to the conclusion that I was a quick-witted boy. They judged that I would never be better than him in any way because I hadn't been able to inherit my father's talents.

But in fact, there was one thing I was better at than my father.

You win. Perfect.

"Woooow! Awesome! 32 wins in a row!"

"What's with this guy?! No, in the first place, can such a winning streak come out from a fighting game? Those guys aren't even beginners either."

"Damn it. How am I supposed to win when he blocks everything as if he's able to see the future? I'm also good at this game, but I’ve already lost 8 matches!"

People around me were shocked but I felt a sense of shame rather than being happy.

"Being good at this…"

Yes. I'm good at playing games. I'm playing a fighting game right now. However, I'm good at all kinds of games regardless of their category.

'No, I'm not that good at board games so should I say that I'm only good at computer games?'

In the case of strategy simulation games, my win rate was over 98%, and frankly, I had never lost in a fighting game unless I had decided to lose. It was to the point that I had to visit Daerim-dong[1] just because I wanted to lose. I also had a strong win rate even in FPS or MOBA games, which required some sort of team members luck, so it was not wrong to think that… whatever games I play, I would be able to enter the professional arena.

Huh? How was I so sure about that?

'Well, that's because I beat my father in it.'

At first, I won five games out of five. After a week, I won four out of five and then, a week later, I won three games and lost two and I wasn't going to play again out of fear of losing (don't tell me I'm despicable. To be honest, it's because I feel like I would lose all hope to keep on living), so anyway, I had won all the games until now!

But of course, if I said something like 'I beat my father in the game so I'll be able to enter the professional arena, alright?', it would result in people treating me like an idiot, but people who knew my father would think otherwise.

"Ah, I lost."

"Pant pant… I, I won!!"

"Ohhh!!"

I was defeated in the end and stood up from my seat. Of course, I had let him win. To be honest, it would be never-ending unless I let them win. I thought it would be weird if I lost simply, so I lost to the best player, giving the impression that he could beat me.

Actually, fighting games aren't games where I could bring out 100% of my abilities every time, so depending on every opponent, the synergy could be bad and the game could get dragged on if I made a poor judgement. Even experts don't always win, so there shouldn't be anyone thinking that I've lost on purpose.

"Ohh. You didn't get rusty at all, huh? How impressive."

"What use is there with being impressive at this?"

I snuck away from the crowd. I attracted a lot of attention, but it wasn't so bad because the winner remained there.

"By the way, this arcade is great. The facilities are clean and it feels like it's cutting edge overall."

"Do you think I brought you here for nothing? The scale is big, and the latest games and popular classic games are well-established, so they are quite popular these days. Besides, they have quite a number of high-tech games."

"True, the arcade has been quite empty for a while, but it's really crowded now."

Students crowding the arcades after school was a story from the past.

Honestly, how many people go to arcades these days? If they went, they'd choose to go to the PC room or Playstation Room. Arcades were disappearing. Of course, that might not necessarily be the case, but anyone would have to admit that they weren't as good as it used to be.

"Well, frankly, it seems a bit of a risk to me. It must have cost a lot of money to decorate the arcade into this. Well, it's not something I should worry about. Oh, drink this."

"Thank you."

I caught the orange juice he threw towards me and looked at the surroundings while drinking it in gulps.

It was a considerable size. There were about 200 arcade machines and not just the type where you sit down to play but there were also shooting games, archery games, and I had no idea what was the name of it, but it was something similar to a billiard table where you had to hit a small disk towards the opponent's side. There were also the basketball machines, betting games for practice, and even some throwing games.

"By the way, did you really call me here to play games?"

"Well, what else is there?"

"Hmm, I think there's something else."

Jae-seok turned his head and ignored me when I looked at him with sharp eyes. But as I kept staring at him regardless of his action, cold sweat started to flow down his forehead.

"…Damn bastard. You really are a ghost when catching up on things. A ghost."

Of course, he didn't give off a strange vibe at all. His acting skills, coupled with his wicked heart and crafty personality, were almost at the boundary of completion to the point where if he were to become an actor, he would be able to become a world-class actor.

"…"

But unfortunately, that didn't work on me. It was because the title 'Has something to ask of you, Bae Jae-seok' was still floating above his head. If his intention was merely to come to the arcade, his title would have changed the moment we arrived.

"So what's the matter…"

"Ah, did you hear about that? About the freshmen?"

It felt like he was hurriedly changing the subject but there was no need to drive him to a corner with a pointless thing so I answered him.

"No, I haven't heard anything related to freshmen."

"So you haven't. I know that you aren't interested, but it has made quite a ruckus."

"A ruckus?" I tilted my head. A ruckus? Was there a fight?

"Don't be surprised. You know the Twin Roses in our school, right? It's now the Triple Roses."

"…"

I waited for his next words, but he said nothing else.

"…"

"…"

"…"

There was only awkward silence between the two of us for the moment.

"…What? Was that what you wanted to ask me?"

"Hey, you bastard! You should be surprised! It's Triple Roses now! Triple! There are now three celebrity-like beauties in our school when other schools don't even have one!!"

I got flustered at him getting angry.

No, what about it? What has that got to do with me?

It was childish, but there was something called 'Twin Roses' in our school.

Oh, that's a really cringe-worthy title.

Was the world a land of martial arts to be giving them nicknames? And now that there were three of them, it had become 'Triple Roses'? Well, anyway, one of them was the Human Slayer, Kyung-eun, who was now in the same class as me, and the other was Han Min-kyung, the current student president, a senior. If Kyung-eun was a lively and active beauty, then Han Min-kyung, or Han Min-kyung sunbae[2] was a calm and cold ice princess. No, the word "ice princess" would be wrong. Rumor had it that she was more of an ice queen than an ice princess. She was often called the black rose, but it wasn't because she exercised any form of violence, but because of the aura around her.

"So what is it after all?"

"Excuse me, are you done talking?"

A female student wearing our school uniform approached us with a careful voice from one side. She had wavy permed hair that stretched to her shoulders and a small stature. It was… What should I say? Right, a real beauty.

Actually, it was better to label Kyung-eun and Min-kyung sunbae as beautiful women rather than beautiful girls. The female student had a startling cuteness that the two beauties didn't have.

'Ah, my standards will get higher if I get accustomed to these looks.'

For me, who wanted some peace, a woman who was such an outstanding beauty was considered a minus point. Even in this situation, she wasn't that far away from that fact as people in our surroundings mumbled.

"Haha, hello."

Bae Jae-seok raised his hand and acted like he knew her, and at that moment I had an ominous feeling. There was no way he would know a new freshman who just started school today. If that bum had known that beauty in advance, there was no way I wouldn't have known it until now.

But she bowed her head when she saw Jae-seok.

"Yes, sunbae-nim. Ah, is this sunbae here really the son of teacher Kwan Il-han?"

I flinched at those words and then looked at Jae-seok with cold eyes.

"Did you…"

Did you just sell me out? Bae Jae-seok just shrugged his shoulders when I looked at him with eyes that implied that.

"Sorry."

"Ugh, really."

This guy already knows how much I'm suffering due to this!

However, I couldn't let the 'problem' standing behind me discover that I was feeling annoyed so I just shot him a look that spoke 'let's talk later' and turned around.

"What is it… ah, I can speak without honorifics, right?"

"Of course. You are my sunbae."

"Thanks. So what's your business? For your information, wanting to meet my father is a no go."

"Eh, ah, I can't?"

So it really is because of that.

Jae-seok, who was next to me, acted restlessly when I let out a sigh.

"Hey hey, just do it for me."

"My father personally went around the fan clubs and said that they can't."

"But she doesn't even belong to any fan club. Besides, she said that she is acquainted with your father."

"Really?"

As far as I remembered, anyone who had a personal acquaintance with my father had never been ordinary. In a broader sense, wasn't the President of the United States one of them?

"Oh, to be exact, I'm not acquainted, but my sister worked with him. She asked me to deliver something to him, and I want to take the chance to ask him something as well."

She was a good-natured woman, smiling and giving an explanation, but I didn't care and looked over her head. I could see for sure whether her words were true or not just by checking on her title. I wasn't called a 'Lie Detector' for nothing.

But I was greeted with an unexpected result.

Supreme Magic Tower, Protection Barrier Class

Magician Girl, Kang Bo-ram 

"…"

Please don't do this.


1. Daerim-dong is the unofficial Chinatown in Korea.

2. Sunbae is the Korean word for Senior. It's usually added to someone in the same school or field with more experience to show respect.

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