I was currently at the car center. Due to my racer’s instincts, White experienced involuntary congestion so he was being subjected to a medical examination here. The lucky thing was that I was close to my house.
Suddenly, time passed and it was almost evening.
Ddi ring ring!
...Damn. It was Muyeol.
-Are you ready?
“Um, that...” I scratched my cheek with embarrassment.
-Why? Did something happen?
...It was too embarrassing.
“Yes. My engine stopped working.”
-Kuhaha! I thought so. I told you to buy a new car yet you’re still been driving around in that old car?
“Uhuh, this person. He has been with me for half my life. I can’t throw him away.”
-This person is really... Keke. Where are you? I’ll come pick you up.
What was the name of this place? I asked the repairman next to me for the name.
“It is called the Holy Spirit Car Center.”
-Um, I know it. I think I will take 30 minutes.
-No. I’m going.
After a while, I met Park Muyeol. He was a tall person with a bear-like figure. His hair was combed back from his forehead and the scar over his right eye showed the life he had lived.
...This guy. I hadn’t seen him for a long time and he had become scarier. My friend was someone who gave off a really scary impression. If there was a reversal, it was his soft heart. By the way, this guy’s hobby was flower arrangements.
“It has been a while. Have you been well?” Park Muyeol asked for a handshake and I came over.
“Yes, you look good.”
“Haha. Let’s go. It is almost time for the reservation.”
“Reservation? Did you reserve another expensive place? You are truly a friend who doesn’t listen.”
“Haha. A good thing is good. Now now, don’t do this and get in the car. Come on.”
He pushed me into the car. Park Muyeol and I left leisurely.
* * *
“Chuntaek, I don’t know how long it has been since I drank with you like this.”
I was exchanging cups with Park Muyeol in a room of a Japanese restaurant filled with many delicacies.
“Haha. The spicy fish stew here is very good. Try it.”
“Yes, yes. We are going to have more alcohol today. Drink more.”
We touched our cups together once again, drinking the soju and letting out exclamations at the same time.
The drinking continued and I asked him, “Is Seongchan well these days?”
“Seongchan? He has been well. That guy is like me. He is sweeping through the kendo competitions. Kuhahahaha.”
Park Muyeol laughed with his head tilted back, seemingly feeling good.
Park Seongchan—my best friend’s only blood. In the past, he had lost his only son and daughter-in-law due to an unfortunate accident. Fortunately, his grandson Seongchan had survived the accident. Muyeol had burst into tears when he learnt about it.
Park Muyeol told me, “If he was taught by you and me, then he would be chewing through the competition.”
“Seongchan will probably surpass me soon. He isn’t my grandson but he is very talented.”
I remembered a time when I had ruled the world with him. It was a time when we were unstoppable and fearless. He was once my strong right arm. In particular, his skill at wielding the wooden stick was enough to take me on.
“I think of the old days. Muyeol, what was your nickname?”
“Um, it is fuzzy because it was a long time ago. Was it Supreme Bamboo?”
Supreme Bamboo. Yes, I remembered. He was called ‘Supreme Bamboo’ by his enemies. Once upon a time, he had fallen into a trap and had to deal with 20 people in a narrow room. He beat all the people present with a short piece of wood. Since then, he earned the nickname ‘Supreme Bamboo’ and his enemies fled in terror at the sight of his wooden stick.
“It was amazing at the time.” I was sincere. The Park Muyeol of that time had no enemies except for me.
“You are the only one. This friend.”
He smiled slightly and filled his cup with more alcohol.
Park Muyeol spoke, “You were my idol. No?”
I laughed at the word idol. “It is just an old thing.”
“No, you were awesome at the time. You really had the best kicks. I can still see it today.” He looked at the glass with wet eyes while recalling old matters. “Sometimes I think about it. What would I be doing now if you hadn’t retired at that time?”
“What do you think you would be doing?”
He touched his beard at my question. “Um... I’d probably be by your side.”
“In fact, I initially hated you when you left. Then as I got older, I understood why you made that choice.”
“Do you miss that time?”
“It is more regret than missing that time. If I could go back to that time, I might’ve made a better choice...” Park Muyeol’s face, illuminated by the light, was filled with regret.
“By the way, why talk about this now? My body is already rotting... kukuk.”
He smiled bitterly and filled his cup again. I listened to him and was deeply troubled. Maybe Gaia, whose face was unknown, wanted to give me a new opportunity. I had such a thought.
I called out to Park Muyeol, “Muyeol.”
“Do you want to play a game with me?”
* * *
“I really enjoyed meeting you today. I will think about your suggestion. It is just hard right now.”
Park Muyeol wore a brown fedora and showed an old smile. In front of the building, Chuntaek smiled broadly.
“Yes. In fact, I started it without thinking much but it is more fun than I expected. Keke.”
“Haha. It must be if you are doing it. Oh, a taxi is coming.”
Chuntaek turned his head and saw a taxi coming in the distance with the headlights on. “Then I’m going.”
“I’ll go with this person. Don’t worry about me.”
“Yes. I’ll see you again. Contact me.”
“I understand, this person.”
Chuntaek took the taxi and quickly left.
Park Muyeol waited until he couldn’t see the taxi before turning his head to look at his driver, Kim Gitae. “Yes, that guy Seokdu wanted to see me...?”
“Stop calling me Chairman. I'm an old man in the backroom now.”
“Yes, Honorary Chairman-nim.”
“You are too simple-minded. Yes, why does Seokdu want to see me?”
“He wants to propose a business on the side of the Fire Dragon Group.”
“What? What crap are you saying? He is proposing a business?”
“It is unbelievable but true.”
"What is that lizard’s ulterior motive... groan, I know. Let’s go.”
Kim Gitae opened the door and Park Muyeol got into the backseat. The handsome Equus started smoothly. 30 minutes passed before snow fell from the sky.
“It seems to be snowing, Chairman-nim.”
He had napped for a short while due to the alcohol. Now he looked out the window and saw snow. He looked at the snow and thought of someone. Park Muyeol turned his head to hide his red eyes.
Then a voice was heard. “Excuse me... Chairman-nim.”
“Cough, yes. What’s the matter?”
Park Muyeol looked at Kim Gitae with a sore nose.
“I have a question.”
“Huh? What is it? Tell me.”
“That old man I just saw.”
“Chuntaek? What about that friend?” Park Muyeol looked surprised by the unexpected words that came out of Kim Gitae’s mouth.
“I’ve been with you for 10 years but I’ve never seen you show such a bright smile.”
“Yes, the chairman I know has always been cold and composed. Of course, it is different with your grandson.”
“Yes, it might look like that to you.”
“I have never seen you lose your dignity to anyone. Yet today, I saw respect and longing in your eyes as you looked at him.”
Park Muyeol turned his head and looked out the window. His eyes were filled with nostalgia. He closed his eyes and seemed to be lost in past memories for a while.
Park Muyeol opened his eyes and opened his mouth, “Yes, it is natural for me...”
Kim Gitae had question marks as Park Muyeol let out words full of regret.
“Do you know what the sign of our organization is?”
“Of course. A bird without legs... isn’t it?”
“Yes. A bird without legs... the hanja together states a bird with no legs.”
“Yes. I’m aware of that. I am also part of the organization. However, what does that have to do with the elderly man...?”
“It has everything to do with him. It is because he is the legless bird.”
“Choi Chuntaek. A legendary fighter with the nickname of ‘Legless Bird,’ he was one of the three people to create our organization with me. He is the first founder of our group.”
* * *
The next day.
I struggled with a hangover and was asleep all morning. I tossed around in the quilt and was suddenly woken up by the sound of my phone.
Ddi ring ring!
Ddi ring ring!
Oh, it was painful. The sound of the phone disturbing my sleep was too annoying. I grabbed the phone with shaking hands and checked the caller.
Was it a greeting call? I tried to ignore it but didn’t like the ringing, so I just accepted.
“Cough, yes. Sujeong. It’s me.”
-Father, have you seen the news?
Question marks were raised by her words.
-If you haven’t seen it, you should turn on Channel 117 right now.
I went straight to the living room and snatched the remote control from Jeongdo as he lay idly.
“Ah, Grandfather! I’m watching my favorite girl group right now!”
“Shut up. This guy! It is only for a short time.”
I ignored him and turned to Channel 117. This channel was a professional broadcasting channel for Arkstar. I remembered watching the siege with my grandchildren the other day. By the way, what was this...?
My eyes unknowingly shook. On the screen, many people were gathering to hammer at something huge.
It was a somewhat familiar place. I knew the location well.
-A huge statue is now being built here in Mulan!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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