In the winter morning, everything in the world had shrunk away from the cold.
However, Shinhae was up early. The unending energy of a child wasn't something that adults could comprehend.
Like all children, Shinhae refused to get up from bed when it was time to go to kindergarten, and instead, always woke up early during the weekend and breaks.
Today was the same. Cold winds swept across the world outside, but the heat had been cranked up inside the house, and the atmosphere was quite cozy.
Yet, Shinhae felt a strong temptation to stay in the bed. In the end, she overcame the temptation and squirmed out of her blanket.
She got out of her bed and opened the door. It was still a little dark outside, but the lights in the kitchen and the living room were on.
Smelling something delicious, Shinhae wiggled her nose and silently headed toward the kitchen. She saw a woman with an apron preparing food.
The electric rice cooker placed on the induction cooktop was cooking a spicy kimchi jjigae.
Shinhae quietly approached the woman from the back. Then she raised her hands and opened her mouth to yell.
However, the woman was the one who yelled and turned around. Shinhae’s eyes went round as she fell on her butt.
“Hue hue hue! You have a long way to go before you can surprise me.”
The woman placed her hands on her hips and spoke in a triumphant manner. Shinhae gazed at the woman with a vacant look.
She started to hiccup. Seeing Shinhae act like that, Jimin teased her.
“Were you that surprised?”
She then squatted and grabbed Shinhae’s shoulders. Shinhae finally got a hold of her surprised heart.
“You shocked me!"
“Your reaction is really delayed.”
Jimin playfully pinched Shinhae’s nose and went back to preparing breakfast.
Shinhae had failed in her dastardly plan to surprise Jimin. With a pout on her face, she sat down on the living room sofa and turned on the TV. Her favorite show was on. Soon Shinhae started to dance along with the characters on the screen.
Jimin was almost done with making breakfast, so she picked up her phone to film Shinhae.
The electric rice cooker beeped. The rice was done, and the jjigae was boiling.
After Shinhae finished her satisfying workout, she washed her hands and sat down in front of the dining table.
“What about Dad?”
Shinhae asked as she glanced at the largest room where Sungyoon was sleeping. A while ago, it used to be the room where Shinhae and Sungyoon would sleep together.
“Your dad worked all night, so he’ll sleep for a bit longer.”
Jimin placed a steaming bowl of rice in front of Shinhae, and Shinhae picked up her spoon.
“You should eat a lot.”
Jimin sat in front of Shinhae and spoke with a bright expression on her face. Shinhae stabbed her spoon deep into the bowl and replied in an energetic voice.
“Yes! Thank you for the food! Mom!”
Sungyoon woke up around one o'clock in the afternoon. He had lived like a vampire for the past two months, but his body felt fine.
As he stretched his sluggish body, his eyes swept the bed. This was a place where he had always slept with Shinhae in his arms, but another woman had occupied the space next to him now.
She wasn't in the room, yet Sungyoon could smell his wife's sweet scent. He got up from his bed and exited his room. When he entered the living room, his eyes fell on Jimin.
Today was an off day for Jungbum, yet Jimin was sitting alongside many documents spread across the table. As she flipped through the screen on her tablet, she sensed his presence. Her head raised, and a small smile appeared on her lips.
“Are you awake?”
The way he spoke to her was still awkward and distant, but Jimin could fix that slowly over time.
“Gone to play with her friends.”
“Is that so?”
Sungyoon sat next to Jimin, and she turned to look at him.
“I wanted to talk about your mothers...”
Sungyoon stopped speaking and licked his lips. When he realized Jimin looked entertained by his words, he scratched the back of his head.
“I think it's time for me to go greet my mothers-in-law.”
“That’s great. My mothers contacted me. Woosang and Woosung are on Earth too for standby duty. They want to have dinner with everyone present.”
Hahn Woosang and Hahn Woosung. It had been a while since Sungyoon heard those names. They were Jimin’s half-brothers, and Sungyoon remembered Jimin being fond of them.
Jimin tapped his arm to stop him from speaking and corrected him.
“He’s your first brother-in-law.”
“… I think it won’t be a problem with the first brother-in-law, but I think it’ll be tough convincing the second one.”
Sungyoon recalled how Woosung had been openly hostile toward him in their first meeting. Woosung had thought of Sungyoon as someone who would stab Jimin in the back like Jimin's two previous contracted Connectors had done.
Jimin calmly replied to Sungyoon.
“Why do we have to convince him?”
Right now, she wasn't speaking as the president of Jungbum, nor was she speaking as Sungyoon’s wife or Shinhae’s mother. These words were coming out of the mouth of an older sister.
“If he opposes my wishes, I’ll just hit him.”
A playful smile appeared on Jimin's face as she winked at Sungyoon.
She had spoken about it in a playful manner, but it became reality soon.
“I’m against it!”
The sharp toe box of Jimin's stiletto hit Woosung in his shin. His face distorted from pain, but he held himself back from becoming violent.
“Try saying it again.”
However, the only thing he could do was withstand the physical violence.
Jimin gave him an angry look. Woosung had a sturdy body, and he could persevere through pain, but it was all useless against his sister. He couldn’t defend against her mental attack.
“That's why you had him lure the kid away. I wondered about that.”
After dinner had finished, Shinhae had gone to a playroom attached to the restaurant because Woosang kept sweet-talking her to go play in the playroom. He had mentioned all the fun playground equipment the restaurant had. It seemed Woosang had done it so that Woosung could speak this rubbish.
“You sent the kid away before you spoke. You’ve matured a little bit.”
Aiin ruffled Woosung’s hair.
Woosung felt relieved. If he had spoken his mind in Shinhae's presence, his sister’s high heel would have moved once again. Besides that, his mother’s sharp hands would have slapped him on the back of his head instead of ruffling his hair.
It would have been more of a problem, because Hweeyoung, who was more like a birth mother to him than Aiin, wouldn’t have protected him from the assault.
“Anyway, I’m against it.”
“You should stay out of this.”
Aiin moved in an elegant manner. She stuffed a piece of meat into her son's mouth. Woosung looked as if he were chewing on concrete, and not meat.
Hweeyoung, Woosang’s mother, carefully looked over Sungyoon.
“Jimin has a man now. It's something worth celebrating. However, I'm surprised you want to marry so soon.”
Sungyoon was the world-famous Knight. However, fame was low on the totem pole of what made a good husband in their eyes. Sungyoon felt that Hweeyoung and Aiin were dissecting him with their eyes. He opened his mouth to speak up, but then realized he didn't have to.
“Well, it doesn’t matter if Jimin is happy.”
“She really picked the right one.”
Sungyoon, who had been very nervous about their answers, felt a bit anticlimactic when they spoke in such an accepting manner.
“I told you to call me by mother.”
Woosung sounded apoplectic as he shouted, but Hweeyoung interrupted him. However, Woosung wasn’t the only one to make his complaint known this time. Woosang, who had been quietly monitoring the situation, spoke up.
“It isn't something we should take so lightly. We are talking about Noona’s marriage.”
“Who’s taking it lightly? Who?”
Hweeyoung reacted in an exaggerated manner as if she had heard something very unexpected.
“He's a divorced man with a child! It would be a waste for her to marry that man!”
Jimin kept kicking his shin with her high heel, but Woosung remained firm against her torture. He looked like an independence fighter trying to make his point.
However, the reaction of his mothers was unexpected. They ridiculed him.
“What about us? We married a man who already had a daughter and raised all of you. Are we idiots for doing so? In fact, your father also divorced his first wife.”
“Aren’t you dating a couple of women? I’m assuming you’ll be faithful and marry only one of them?”
“What? He’s already dating women?”
When Aiin heard that her birth son was secretly dating behind her back, her eyes rose in anger. An 'I want to die' expression appeared on Woosung's face.
“H-how did you know?”
“You should do a better job of hiding your love letters. I found them while cleaning your room.”
Hweeyoung spoke in a playful manner. Woosung couldn’t even put up a fight anymore.
“I’ll talk to you later.”
Aiin threatened him in a low voice, and it was the final blow that shut Woosung's mouth.
When Woosung became quiet, Hweeyoung spoke once again.
“Of course, we have thought this over too. Aside from everything, Mr. Sungyoon is raiding the Great Labyrinth in order to find traces of your father.”
“That’s part of my contract.”
“I know that. However, you're talented enough that you can break such a contract. You have more right to do so compared to the two before you who broke theirs after receiving all the perks. You kept your promise even at the risk of your own life. Moreover, that promise is to find the traces of our husband. That's enough for me to find you trustworthy.”
Aiin nodded and looked at Jimin with a kind smile on her lips.
“You couldn’t let go of his death, so you never married. I worried you would live out your days alone and lonely. However, you found a good mate for yourself. I wish you happiness.”
Jimin let out a bright smile in response.
“Still, I had hoped you wouldn’t marry a Connector.”
Connectors had a very dangerous occupation. Aiin had lost her husband, who was a Connector, so she had felt the pain deep within her bones. With a sigh, she spoke again.
“Please do not die before Jimin. Can you promise me that?”
“I’ll try my best.”
“He won’t give an absolute answer. All Connectors are like this.”
Her husband used to give the same answer to her too.
Hweeyoung, who had posed the question, pouted. However, she moved on from that topic soon.
“When are you going to have your wedding?”
“It isn’t decided yet. I have future standby missions in Korea, and I need to fulfill my obligations to guard Armstrong. Aside from that, I have to go acquire moonstones. We’ll have to move the date of the wedding a bit farther out into the future.”
They were his mothers-in-law now, so Sungyoon spoke respectfully.
“I wonder if everyone is pushing too many responsibilities onto the Connectors.”
Hweeyoung complained. Her sons and her newly-acquired son-in-law were prisoners to their duties.
“Please smile. It's a happy day.”
“I know. We can think about the unpleasant things later.”
When Aiin scolded her, Hweeyoung massaged her face to change her expression.
“Along with a husband, our daughter brought us a cute granddaughter too.”
Hweeyoung was a bit shocked at the realization that she was a grandmother now. However, she had taken a liking to Shinhae from the first time she had met her, so she easily accepted it.
When the girl acted cute as she had called her grandma, Hweeyoung fell head over heels for Shinhae. Aiin was the same. Sungyoon had relaxed when he saw that both his mothers-in-law liked Shinhae.
As Sungyoon drank his cup of coffee, Aiin suddenly asked a question.
“Are there any other wife candidates?”
He almost spat out his coffee. This wasn’t an appropriate topic to bring up when he and Jimin were getting ready to marry. For normal people, it would be a quick way to get the wedding called off, but Connectors were anything but normal.
“There’s around four.”
Jimin counted the candidates using her fingers.
Sungyoon instantly wanted to deny it, and he looked at Jimin with a shocked expression in his eyes. However, Jimin remained calm.
“Look! This is what I’m talking about! He just gained a bride, yet he has other women! He’s going to push Noona aside! Four! There are four other!”
Jimin's words had given a lifeline to the quiet Woosung, and he used it to shout.
Sungyoon didn’t plan on accepting any more wives, so he felt very aggrieved. However, Aiin once again shut down her son.
“Shut up! Your father was the same. He had two wives. If you count the one he divorced, that's three. This won’t change anything.”
“You never know. He might have more women hidden behind our back.”
Hweeyoung placed her chin on one hand, and swirled the coffee that she had ordered as a dessert with the other. With a big grin on her lips, she continued.
“He might even have another child.”
[The Knight, Woo Sungyoon, is heading back to the Moon. After doing a fantastic job for the past four months in defending his country, he is done with his duties on Earth. Now, he plans on heading into the Great Labyrinth to acquire moonstones. For those who don't know, Mr. Woo Sungyoon became a worldwide hero when he defeated the Behemoth in London...]
As the screen showed a closeup of a spaceship flying toward space with bright flames trailing behind it, the TV was switched off.
The six pairs of eyes staring at the TV twinkled.
Aruwen commanded in a voice filled with killing intent.Previous Chapter Next Chapter