Chapter 12

‘It can’t be.’

There was no way Sungyoon’s heart would not be beating right now. If his heart wasn’t beating, how was he alive?

He tried to come up with another explanation.

‘Maybe my heart is beating very slowly?’

If that was true, it made sense as to why he couldn’t hear his heartbeats.

“Whew~!”

Sungyoon let out a big sigh. It felt as if his heart was turning black, and he wanted to shout at the top of his lung. It was said that misfortune tends to come all at once.

‘I didn’t want that to happen to me.’

It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that the heart was the engine of a human’s body. If his heart was weak, he wanted his body to be strong at the very least. However, his body had also considerably weakened than how it had been before, and he thought his body would deteriorate even further now. And since he had to make his living with his body, it was a fatal blow to him.

He was haemorrhaging money, yet his inflow of money was drying up. It felt as if he was drowning in quicksand.

Knock! Knock!

Someone knocked at his door. It seemed either a doctor or a nurse had come.

‘I can’t run away anymore.’

“Yes. Please come in.”

Sungyoon frowned as he raised his voice a little bit towards the person who had knocked on the door.

Woosh!

The door opened, and a group of people filed in. They were all wearing the white coat worn by doctors. He was a bit suspicious of doctors, but the ones in front of him all looked intelligent. 

“You are awake.”

The oldest one among them stepped forward. It seemed he was the doctor in charge of his care. Everyone else looked quite young, so they might be interns learning under this man.

“My name is Kim Leemin. I am in charge of taking care of you, Mr. Sungyoon.”

“… my name is Woo Sungyoon.”

The two of them greeted each other. Since Leemin already knew Sungyoon’s name, it seemed the hospital already had his info. They had probably tried to contact his next of kin, so it made sense.

The old doctor observed Sungyoon for a brief moment.

‘He is a somber person and seems weak at heart.’

This was his first impression of Sungyoon. He looked handsome, but he didn’t seem to be outgoing.

“How’s my body?”

Sungyoon sounded a bit desperate as he asked the question. He had already given up on the idea of running away from the hospital. There was no point to it as the hospital already had a good amount of information in regard to him.

‘I’m already being sued because of my debt.’

He already had half given up on paying back his debt. Since things had turned out like this, he wanted to know what was wrong with his heart.

However, Sungyoon had been worried for nothing. Leemin let out a broad smile as he reassured him.

“Did you think you had a fatal disease? No, your body is healthy. In fact, your body might be several times healthier than a normal person.”

“… what?”

Recently, his heart had been continuously causing him pain, and in the end, he had fallen unconscious and had to be transported to the hospital. What the hell was this guy talking about? Sungyoon was full of questions. He asked with a bit of hope in his voice.

“My heart was causing pain. I even fell unconscious, so I came here. However, you are telling me that I am healthy. I don’t know what you are trying to say.”

He sounded flustered, yet his voice was also a bit accusatory. But Leemin didn’t look offended at all. He had been a doctor for a very long time. He wouldn’t have lasted so long as a doctor if he could not cope with such a degree of pushback from his patient.

“Did you perhaps check your pulse?”

“Yes. I couldn’t feel my pulse. I think my heart is beating too slowly.”

If he was obese, he might have blamed his fat for not being able to feel his pulse. However, Sungyoon was skinny and couldn’t use that excuse.

“That is understandable.”

Leemin grabbed Sungyoon’s arm and placed his fingers on his wrist. As expected, he didn’t feel any pulse. He knew what to expect, yet as a doctor, it was an amazing phenomenon to witness.

“Your heart no longer beats, Mr. Woo Sungyoon.”

“… can you repeat that again?”

Sungyoon turned his dumbfounded gaze on Leemin.

“I said your heart has stopped beating.”

“You aren’t making any sense.”

Sungyoon thought the doctor was playing a prank, or maybe he was a terrible doctor. However, he didn’t get angry. He was just sad at his own situation, where someone had the audacity to play such a prank on him. However, neither was Leemin a terrible doctor, nor did he have any plans to make fun of his patient.

“Do you know what a Connector is?”

“Connector?”

Sungyoon sounded a bit uncertain, so he repeated Leemin’s words. He was startled into touching his chest again, but it was still quiet.

If this doctor was right, his heart wasn’t beating right now. It wasn’t beating, but it didn’t mean his heart wasn’t doing its job. His heart was performing its duty to its fullest.

“My heart became a Gate?”

“Ah, you already know about it. That’ll make this conversation go fast.”

Leemin sounded delighted.

“Yes, it is as you’ve said. Your heart has been replaced by what is referred to as the ‘Moon’s Heart’. Your heart won’t beat now, but it’ll continue to do its original job. It’ll also take on the functions that come with being a ‘Moon’s Heart’.”

Leemin let out a bright smile as he spoke those words.

“Congratulations, Mr. Sungyoon. You’ve become a 1st Gen Connector.”

Those words signaled the beginning of a new life for Sungyoon.

Sungyoon trembled a little bit. In other words, his life would get better. Of course, he couldn’t compare himself to the 2nd and 3rd Gen Connectors, but at the very least, he’d be able to pay off his debt. Moreover, he would have enough money to be able to live with Shinhae.

However, it didn’t feel real at all. It was like someone was congratulating him on winning the lottery when he had never bought a ticket in the first place.

“It seems you are having a hard time getting excited by this news. I understand. I heard it is like this for some people. Still, you’ve just awakened as a Connector. You are healthy, but I would like to run more tests. Please consider staying at the hospital a little bit longer.”

“… I’m sorry, but I can’t stay in this hospital any longer. I don’t have any money.”

Sungyoon calmly spoke. He was as broke as he could get. His pride was useless, and he wasn’t embarrassed admitting his lack of funds. However, he did feel sorry about it.

“Don’t worry about it. The government fully funds the tests that occur when a new Connector is found. However, you’ll have to pay if you come here next time.”

“Is that so?”

Fortunate. 

That was the first thought he had. He was happy that his hospital fee would be free. This made him happier than the fact that his heart was healthy and that he was a Connector.

‘It seems he is really short on money.’

Leemin had observed Sungyoon for a short time. In the few words they exchanged with each other, Leemin knew that Sungyoon had low self-esteem and he was in a state of unhappiness. He wondered if poverty had caused this mindset.

‘It is none of my business.’

He lived the life of a doctor. Moreover, he worked at a large general hospital and had met all kinds of people during his career. If he worried about the emotional well being of all his patients, his mind and body wouldn’t have lasted this long. In his eyes, a patient was merely a patient. 

“Please rest for the day.”

Leemin uttered these words and exited the hospital room.

Tuhl-suhk!

Sungyoon fell back into the bed. The inside of his head was a mess. Too many events had occurred all at once.

‘Still, this isn’t the worst-case scenario.’

In fact, this situation was really good for him in many ways. He had assumed his heart problem was a symptom of a disease, but that wasn’t the case. Moreover, he had been given a lifeline. It shone a ray of light into his dark future.

However, he wasn’t as happy as he thought he would be. He didn’t have the energy to be happy.

‘Let’s sleep for now.’

He decided to rest for now. When he closed his eyes, he could feel himself starting to fall asleep.

‘Still, I can rest without worry now.’

He still had the worry about his massive debt, but the fear of dying at any moment had dissipated. This single development allowed Sungyoon to comfortably sleep.

Soon, Sungyoon fell asleep. 

Was it a hallucination? But the only sound within the room was the hum of the refrigerator. There were no other sounds. Not even Sungyoon’s breathing…

* * *

Sungyoon was able to rest to his heart’s content after he was hospitalized. It had been a long time since he had been presented with such an opportunity. He had been mindful of his money, so he had been eating ramen every day. Now he was eating nutritious hospital food. He was able to eat three meals a day. Before, when cold winds blew, he didn’t dare turn on the heater because he was worried about the heating bill. Now he could turn on the heater to his heart’s content. Even if it was a little cold, he could still turn it on.

It had been a while since he was able to live decently.

It was time for his tests today, so he walked out into the corridor with his hospital gown on. He suddenly felt a lot of gazes on him. He turned his head, and several nurses quickly turned their heads away. He could hear them quietly scream out ‘Kyaa! Kyaa!’ to each other.

Sungyoon walked further down the corridor to stand in front of a large mirror. He once again became surprised when he saw his own reflection in the mirror.

‘I know this is real, but....’

Sungyoon once again looked over his face. He wasn’t a young man, so some might say it was kind of weird for him to look at his own appearance like this. However, it all made sense if one saw the face reflected in the mirror. It was that surprising. The person would retract such a statement. 

Until not too long ago, he had deep-set eyes and gaunt cheeks. He had a skinny body. There were traces of his handsome self left, but he looked like an ahjussi in his late-30s. That Sungyoon no longer existed.

The face reflected in the mirror was someone that had lived a good life. His skin was smooth, and there was a healthy color to his face. It was the face of a handsome man. The wrinkles caused by age and hardship were all gone. In terms of outer appearance, Sungyoon looked to be in his mid-20s or early-30s. He looked to be in the prime of his life, and this rejuvenation process was still in progress.

If someone that knew Sungyoon saw him right now, that person would have argued that Sungyoon had gotten botox and plastic surgery. However, no knife had touched Sungyoon’s face. He could swear as god as his witness. It was a natural process that had occurred in the past couple of days.

‘I’ve heard about this, but it is amazing to experience it.’

He once again looked over his face. His age, frequent alcohol use, and hardship had made his skin look rough, but now, his skin had returned to its former state unlike the bumpy appearance resembling the surface of the Moon that it had been before. His skin might be better than his skin in his early-20s.

It was most definitely a positive development. Many people wanted to return to being young, and they would be jealous of him.

But even though the fact that he looked like a younger version of himself made him very curious, he didn’t feel any other emotions. In truth, he wasn’t really fond of it.

‘It doesn’t matter since I’m not going to pick up women anymore.’

He no longer cared about the gazes of others, and he also had no plans on dating any more women. He had met a bomb named Miyun. One was enough for a lifetime. He could no longer trust the members of the opposite sex.

Sungyoon once again started walking down the hospital’s corridor, and he arrived at his destination. 

It was where Leemin was conducting his tests. Sungyoon lightly knocked on the door.

Knock! Knock!

“Please come in.”

He could hear the doctor's voice on the other side and opened the door.

When he entered, he saw Leemin and a female nurse standing near him.

“Welcome, Mr. Sungyoon.”

Leemin greeted him. The nurse guided Sungyoon towards the chair in front of the doctor.

Sungyoon took the invitation and sat.

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