The Korean national holiday, Chuseok, had arrived.
Although it was Chuseok, Jae Woo didn't particularly have anywhere to go.
His grandparents had passed away and his uncle, along with his other relatives, lived in the U.S.
On the other hand, Jae Woo's relationship with his mother's side of the family was worse than strangers.
Whatever the case, he was relieved that he wouldn't have to deal with any traffic resulting from a trip.
"I’m glad that I don't have to waste time in traffic," Jae Woo muttered.
Time was precious after all.
"What did you say?"
Yura, who was beside him, glanced over at him.
"I was just talking to myself."
"Big Brother, when's your show?" Yura asked, and Kang Oh checked the wall clock.
"It'll start in 10 minutes."
'The Man Who Conquers Dungeons' would air on GBS soon.
Jae Woo had upgraded his TV plan, so they could watch GBS now.
"We still have some time left. Should we watch the news?" Yura asked.
Other female high schoolers seemed to enjoy dramas, music programs, or talent programs, but strangely, Yura seemed to enjoy the news the most.
"If you want."
Once he gave her permission, Yura changed the channel.
The announcer was giving a report on recent news.
"There was a fire in Bongcheon-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul yesterday at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. One person was seriously injured and the residents in the neighborhood were evacuated."
The announcer momentarily regained their breath and posture, and then continued with their report.
"The president of a game workshop, Mr. Kim Sang Gu, left the scene of the fire and was seriously injured. Mr. Kim Sang Gu was sent to a nearby hospital and is currently undergoing treatment. The police and the fire department are currently investigating the cause of the fire..."
Yura, who was watching the news, sported a disappointed expression.
"It's a holiday too... What a shame."
Jae Woo was also disheartened by the news of another's misfortune.
Once the report was over, the news pivoted to holiday stress.
They reported that there was an increasing trend in stress for women over the holidays and suggested ways of dealing with said stress.
After that, they reported on a variety of other topics.
Once the 10 minutes had passed, Yura, who looked at the clock, changed the channel to GBS.
It showed the opening to Dungeon Conquering Man, accompanied by exciting music.
"What about Mina?" Jae Woo asked, suddenly realizing that Mina was missing.
"She left to visit a friend."
"She ate lunch and left after you logged into your game."
Jae Woo took out his phone and sent Mina a text.
- Be home by 7.
He got a reply back immediately.
- I don't want to.
Jae Woo responded back with an 'angry emote', an emote raising a club and with a vein popping out of its forehead.
In response, Mina sent him a picture of her flipping him off.
Kang Oh clicked his tongue and threw his phone into the corner.
He then focused on the Dungeon Conquering Man broadcast.
"Is that you?"
Yura pointed at the helmet wearing Kang Oh.
"The helmet's cool."
Yura glanced at Jae Woo's face and added, 'It looks better than without.'.
"The main producer provided it for me. Apparently, he found it in the prop room."
The two quit their chit-chat and focused on the TV program.
It showed Jae Woo being picked by Soo Ah, picking the Maumbharat Palace as their dungeon, as well as Seol Hee announcing Kang Oh's punishment: revealing his identity.
Then, it showed an interview with Seol Hee regarding her bet with Jae Woo. After that, they finally got to the footage of Kang Oh and Soo Ah conquering the dungeon.
"Big Brother, did that really happen?" Yura asked when she saw Kang Oh hugging Asu.
The scene was accompanied by music fit for a romantic drama, and special effects (pollen flying around) were added in as well.
"Ah, I just did that to calm her down."
'I didn't have any ulterior motives at all.' or so Kang Oh's expression seemed to say.
Yura, of course, didn't trust him at all.
"Yes, yes. That's exactly why you did it."
He could see a bit of Mina in Yura's teasing. It was usually hard to tell that they were even sisters, but at times like this, they were like carbon copies of each other.
"I'm serious. When you were young, you would get afraid whenever lightning struck. Back then, I would calm you down just like that."
"Yeah, I did."
"But the editing doesn't match what you're saying."
Yura was right. Apparently, the broadcasting station wanted to make it look as though they were a couple.
"Triple Lower's Soo Ah is really popular. It's a relief that your face was covered, isn't it?"
Yura smiled impishly.
If Soo Ah's male fans saw this, then he could see them saying something like 'Damn him!'.
"It's just a hug. You're blowing it way out of proportion. Otherwise, if people saw actors kiss in a drama, then there'd be a murder case soon after."
"But you're not an actor. And that's not acting either."
Yura continued to smile and pick holes in his argument.
"Let's stop talking about this and just watch the rest of the show."
Kang Oh watched the TV with his arms crossed.
He saw footage of the other participants of Dungeon Conquering Man, other than him and Soo Ah, struggling to clear their respective dungeons.
Whereas Jae Woo and Soo Ah conquered the dungeon so easily it was as if they had taken a stroll through an amusement park.
Plus, the program showed Jae Woo kindly and patiently teaching Soo Ah; however, the program had edited the scenes so that it looked like something that would come out of a romantic drama.
"Ah, why did they have to edit it like this?" Kang Oh complained, yet watched these close interactions with Soo Ah with delight.
The program was already almost over.
Jae Woo and Soo Ah's fight against the Maumbharat Palace's boss monster, Sharobea, was quite dynamic.
"This is the climax," Jae Woo said.
This was after the couple who'd failed the dungeon conquest had received their punishment.
Now it was time for Jae Woo to give Kang Seol Hee her punishment.
Kang Seol Hee shook in front of him like a mouse before a cat, and Kang Oh painted her face as he pleased!
"Then, Ms. Seol Hee, please turn around."
Jeon Seong Gook had said, and in response, Kang Seol Hee had turned around, but her face...!
Jae Woo had drawn 'L' shaped sideburns, a full beard and mustache, spots next to her nose, as well as a unibrow.
She smiled widely, revealing her checkered teeth!
"Ah, what the heck is that!"
Yura burst into laughter.
"Big Brother, that was too much."
Yura glanced at him.
"I let her off the hook you know."
"That's letting her off the hook?"
"I was supposed to shave her eyebrows."
"That's way too much!"
"Like I said, I let her off the hook."
Next, the program showed Jae Woo winning a microwave for his successful dungeon conquest.
That microwave was now on one side of the kitchen.
Kang Seol Hee gave a closing statement whilst sporting the 'Dirty Old Man' look.
"I hope this becomes a regular program. Do you think it can?"
"Haha. Absolutely. Something as fun as this?" Jeon Seong Gook stared at her face and replied.
"Then I hope to see all of you again next time."
That concluded the broadcast.
"I wonder how high the viewership will be?"
It had to pass 5% no matter what. Only then would he get the additional incentives.
"It was fun, so it should pass 5%."
Yura rated it positively.
Jae Woo picked up the phone he'd thrown across the room whilst grinning. Then, he sent a text to Jin Cheol.
The text read as follows:
- Mr. Producer. I enjoyed watching the Dungeon Conquering Man. It was entertaining. And I've recently shot some good footage, so if you're not too busy, I'd like for us to meet.
* * *
The door to the cafe opened and Park Jin Cheol walked through.
Jae Woo, who had come earlier, waved his hand.
Jin Cheol and Jae Woo shook hands.
"Would you like something to drink?" Jin Cheol asked.
"I'll drink the most expensive thing here. You're buying, right?"
Jae Woo grinned. Jin Cheol followed suit and nodded his head.
"I'll take an Americano."
Jin Cheol passed him his card.
Jae Woo ordered their drinks, and the two sat down at a table.
"It's Chuseok weekend, yet you haven't gone anywhere."
Once Jae Woo sent Jin Cheol the request to meet, Jin Cheol immediately replied back with 'Alright.', despite it being Chuseok weekend.
That's why they were able to meet so suddenly.
"There're no holidays for someone who works in broadcasting."
"But once you're a producer, shouldn't you be able to take a break?"
"That's why I go home once every 3 years."
"Where is your hometown?"
"That's quite close."
Daejeon was 10 minutes from Seoul by high-speed train.
"You can go anywhere nowadays. The reason we don't is because we don't have the time."
Their drinks came just in time.
Both of them took a sip of their drinks and then Jin Cheol said, "Shall we get on to business?"
"You said you had some footage you'd like to show me?"
Jin Cheol's voice was full of anticipation. It was only natural.
After all, Kang Oh had brought him footage of him clearing the Fight Against 100 Men before.
"Please give me your tablet."
Jin Cheol took the tablet out of his bag and passed it over to him.
Jae Woo inserted a black chip into the tablet, opened the file, and turned on the recording of his fight against Caraco.
Jae Woo held out the tablet and Jin Cheol began watching intently.
Jin Cheol marveled at the sight of Kang Oh's demon form.
A black demon!
It made him recall his favorite childhood hero: Batman. Of course, Kang Oh looked completely different from him.
Jin Cheol focused on the recording.
He couldn't pry his eyes off the footage.
Ultimately, the recording ended with Kang Oh's victory over Caraco, and Jin Cheol let loose the breath he had been holding.
"Was it alright?"
"It's not just 'alright', it's amazing. I thought only the Numbers could fight raid bosses one-on-one... As expected of the Human Dragon!"
Jin Cheol gave him a thumbs up.
The second half of Kang Oh's desperate fight with Caraco was especially memorable.
"And I have another video for you, but it's not as good as the earlier one."
Jae Woo touched the tablet and turned on the video of him annihilating the Death Potion guild.
In the video, Kang Oh swept through the graverobbers like an irresistible force, endured the Arumode Poison, and defeated Malcolm.
The video ended with Arumode's defeat.
"This is the Death Potion guild."
Jin Cheol furrowed his brow.
"Yes. Is that an issue?" Kang Oh asked, catching a hint from Jin Cheol's expression.
"Hoo, I don't think we can show this on TV."
Jin Cheol sighed.
What the hell was he talking about?
"A game workshop in Bongcheon-dong caught on fire," Jin Cheol said.
"Ah, I saw that on the news too. But what does that have to do with this?"
Jae Woo had watched the report on the fire with Yura.
"The reporter who covered that article is someone I know. He told me this. That the workshop that caught fire was the Death Potion guild's workshop. And the workshop's president, the Death Potion's guildmaster, escaped the fire and was then seriously injured."
"Hoo. I see."
"Yes. That's why we can't show this footage on TV."
Someone was seriously injured. Though it was a game, there was no way they could show footage of an injured man getting beaten.
"You're right. We can't show this."
Jae Woo understood the situation as well.
"Instead, we'll cut the part where you fight the Death Potion guild and only show your fight against Arumode. We'll combine that with your fight against Caraco and show them together," Jin Cheol said.
There was no problem with them showing his fight against Arumode since it was just him beating a monster.
"I understand. How much are you willing to pay for it?" Jae Woo asked.
"I'll pay you 5 million won ($5,000 USD) and 2 million ($2,000 USD) more if viewership passes 5%. How about 500 thousand won ($500 USD) for the Arumode footage?" Jin Cheol suggested.
Jae Woo's face showed his discontent.
"As you may know, I always offer my best."
Jin Cheol's voice was firm and filled with pride.
"I know. But don't you owe me a favor for what happened with Ms. Kang Seol Hee?"
Jae Woo was essentially saying, 'So give me more!'. However, Jin Cheol wasn't someone to take lightly.
"I'll eventually pay you back for that."
Jin Cheol emphasized the 'eventually' part, which meant that he had no intention of paying him back right this instant.
"If you pay me back later, then the eventual interest might be more than the principal."
"Then that only works in your favor, doesn't it, Mr. Jae Woo?" Jin Cheol grinned and said.
"Alright. Let's sign a contract."
"You made the right choice."
Jin Cheol and Jae Woo decided to meet up again next time to sign the finalized contract and parted ways.
On his way back home, Jae Woo looked up at the sky.
"Dad. I'm finally paying back all of our debt."
Their remaining debt: 30 million won ($30,000 USD)!
With the gold from Baramut and Caraco, as well as his appearances on TV, he had more than 30 million won.
So it was time to settle his family's debt once and for all.Previous Chapter Next Chapter