Chapter 1152

[Chewing gently, one can tell the meat and savory fat has been aged exquisitely. The sweet and salty seasoning blends with the subtle taste of the meat, so one won’t get tired of eating it. The nutty flavour lingering in the mouth adds interest.]

This was from the Michelin Guide.

The 60-year-old dish called ‘Blue Ceramic Tile Seasoned Pork Ribs [1]’ had long been praised by gourmets. Even before it received three stars in the Michelin Guide, it was considered as a must-visit place for overseas political figures visiting South Korea. 

“H-Hyesu.”

Kim Wuseok was over 70 years old this year, and he was a living historian of the Blue Ceramic Tile Seasoned Pork Ribs. During the time when the Blue Ceramic Tile Seasoned Pork Ribs was still small and unknown, Kim Wuseok worked as a chef and developed the ribs’ secret seasoning with his former president. He also found the ideal conditions for cooking meat and made a great contribution to the development of the seasoned ribs.

Then once the former president passed away and his son became the new president, Kim Wuseok was reduced to being a cloth bag. It was because the new president was uncomfortable with Kim Wuseok in many ways and planned to kick him out.

Originally, the secret seasoning recipe and aging conditions should only be shared between Kim Wuseok, the president, and his successor. Yet the new president taught his wife and children and drove Kim Wuseok out of the kitchen, having him manage the charcoal fire and iron plates instead. Carrying hot charcoal to the guest tables and wiping heavy iron plates hundreds of times a day was hard even for young people in their 20s, so the new president thought Kim Wuseok would quit soon.

However, unlike the new president’s expectations, Kim Wuseok persevered. He was grateful for a role in the workplace where he dedicated his youth and worked silently without complaining. Of course, it was an untold secret to his children. Once his children knew about it, their eyes would roll, and they would come to the restaurant to make a point.

Kim Wuseok—who wanted to retire quietly—stayed silent, and this was the problem.

“Grandfather, why are you doing that?”

Kim Wuseok was sitting at the back of the restaurant and wiping an iron plate when he encountered his granddaughter Hyesu, who was hurt by the sight.

“Grandfather, why are you wiping the iron plate instead of cooking?”

Hyesu had entered high school not long ago and wanted to show off her grandfather to her new friends. Her grandfather was the one who made the present the Blue Ceramic Tile Seasoned Pork Ribs. She would walk through the hallway where he had taken photos with past presidents and then meet her grandfather cooking in the kitchen of the restaurant. 

Hyesu had bragged to her friends and secretly visited the restaurant to please her grandfather. Then she witnessed the present situation. It was the worst incident for Kim Wuseok and Hyesu.

“Didn’t you say he was a chef?”

“I heard he was invited to the Blue House...”

Kim Wuseok had a face blackened with charcoal and was dressed in shabby clothes. Hyesu’s friends looked at Kim Wuseok who was sweating profusely while wiping the iron plates. Young children who had just entered high school didn’t have the ability to glimpse the behind-the-scenes of the situation, so they treated Hyesu as a liar.

Then it happened when Hyesu’s eyes were turning red.

“Elder, I’m sorry to visit without telling you. I would like you to start the charcoal fire yourself.” A strong-looking man appeared and greeted Kim Wuseok with a 90-degree bow. His face couldn’t be seen, but his voice was strangely familiar. The eyes of the confused teenagers soon widened.

“Mister Youngwoo,” Kim Wuseok welcomed the man with a name that the teenagers knew well.

“You often wash the dishes because of your physical fitness, but it isn’t good for your health.” The man who was still bowing shook hands with Kim Wuseok. Kim Wuseok smiled awkwardly as he shook hands with the man. He was grateful for the man’s care.

“Wow!”

“It really is Grid!”

The boys and girls were excited when the man standing next to Kim Wuseok was illuminated. The disbelief that was in their eyes as they gazed at Hyesu had completely vanished.

“He knows Grid! To think that your grandfather is so great?!”

“I’m envious~”

Grid, or Shin Youngwoo, was one of the most famous and influential people in the world. In terms of fame, he was the idol of young people and had a status equal to the S.AGroup’s Lim Cheolho or the president of the United States. Such a great man had personally come to pay his respects to Hyesu’s grandfather, so her friends were happy and proud. They were proud to be Hyesu’s friends.

“It is hard to go to Gangnam every time I want to eat your ribs. Can’t you open your own restaurant in my building?”

Huhu... This young friend is very resourceful, but I’m sorry. This old man had to raise his children and help pay for their weddings, so I don’t have enough money to open a store.”

“Elder, if you want to open a store, how can I accept money from you? I will pay for all the construction costs, so please consider it carefully.”

“You...” Kim Wuseok’s face was stiff.

Shin Youngwoo’s favor in this shameful situation came across as pity. It was honestly very unpleasant when a young man the same age as his eldest grandson spoke such pitying words to him.

However, Youngwoo was sincere. “It is my parents’ wish.”

“......”

It had happened when Youngwoo was in elementary school. Youngwoo’s parents, who grew and sold cabbages, had experienced a big crisis. Existing customers had slashed the transaction price of the cabbages by using the excuse of a good harvest. Youngwoo’s parents then became unable to avoid going into the red. Yet when there had been only darkness in front of them, Kim Wuseok held out a helping hand.

“Elder, didn’t you bestow a great grace to our family once? Think of it as one more favor and consider it carefully.” 

Youngwoo indirectly nailed the main point. He wanted to distribute the profits fairly, rather than invest business funds. Therefore, he used the word ‘favor.’ 

Kim Wuseok was troubled but eventually nodded. “We will talk about it later. I have to cook some meat for my pretty granddaughter and her friends.”

“This beautiful friend is your granddaughter?”

“No, the child isn’t really that pretty... Whoops.

Ah... I’m sor...”


***


“You meddled.”

It was after stopping Kim Wuseok’s moment of disgrace. There was a woman waiting for Youngwoo as he paid for the meat that Kim Wuseok’s granddaughter ate while the president stood uncomfortably by the checkout counter. The beautiful woman in a biker’s jacket and jeans was Jishuka.

Youngwoo shook his head. “It isn’t meddling. I was paying off a small kindness. It is also beneficial for me.”

“The meat was very tasty. I would be very happy to have a store like this in my neighborhood.”

Jishuka wasn’t wearing an interpreter. It had been a year since she moved to South Korea, so it was possible for her to have everyday conversations. The high rankers generally seemed to be geniuses.

‘Of course, there are many idiots like me.’

Shin Youngwoo remembered the faces of the other high rankers and shook his head before opening the passenger side door. Then he doubled-checked with Jishuka after she got on. “By the way, were you serious?”

“Am I someone who speaks nonsense?”

Hrmm...

The moment that Shin Youngwoo sat in the driver’s seat and turned on the ignition, his car Thirteen let out a roaring exhaust sound. He looked at the side mirror and saw Kim Wuseok’s granddaughter and her friends rush out and cheer. Rather than being enthusiastic about the car, they were excited by the sight of Jishuka and Youngwoo eating together and then getting into the car.

After allowing them to take a photo to show off on social media, the sweating Youngwoo started driving with a look of tiredness. His experience with controlling his clones and the God Hands in Satisfy meant that Youngwoo’s driving skills were almost at the level of a professional race car driver’s. 

“Giving one of the gold medal rewards to me...”

Today’s date had been Jishuka’s suggestion. Then during the meal, Jishuka brought up an unexpected story. She said that one of the gold medal rewards she would obtain from the National Competition would be given to Youngwoo. There was a justification for it. She said she would repay him for gracing her with the Red Phoenix Bow. Jishuka had already paid him enough money, so she wasn’t in debt. Still, she was obsessed to the end.

“Okay. If you feel comfortable with it, I have no reason to refuse,” Youngwoo said with a nod. 

Jishuka’s face brightened. “Good decision.”

‘Are you watching, Yura? This is what I’m doing.’ 

Jishuka was shrugging and smiling when Youngwoo’s words entered her ears. “I’m not even participating in the National Competition yet I will receive two rewards.”

“Two?”

“Yura said she would give me a reward.”

“What?” Jishuka’s eyes narrowed. The strong impression she gave off increased her appeal. “Yura said she would give you a reward? That... Why? For what reason?”

“If she wins three gold medals, she will give me one reward, and I’ll have to use the remaining two rewards to make items for her.”

Of course, he had refused. Youngwoo was willing to make items for free at any time as long as his colleagues obtained the materials. In particular, the gold medal material rewards were superior, and it was an opportunity to gain valuable experience. Thus, it was a benefit to him to make the items free of charge. However, Yura said she didn’t want the burden and offered to pay for them. Consequently, Youngwoo couldn’t refuse anymore.

“In the end, I decided to get a reward in return for always making Yura’s items free of charge.”

“I’ll give you all three.”

“...What?”

“I’m going to win three gold medals. I’ll give you the rewards, so keep making my items in the future.”

“No, it’s enough to give me one...”

“It is a reward for the Red Phoenix Kingdom.”

“The Red Phoenix Bow.”

“Y-Yes, Red Phoenix Kkuk!” [2] 

‘She still has some difficulty with the mispronunciation.’ Youngwoo thought Jishuka was cute when she blushed.

Seeing her small fists tremble, he patted the back of one of her hands. “I’m really fine. One is enough. I’m very grateful. Thank you for your heart.”

“G-Grid...”

“If you really think of me as a friend, don’t be burdened. Oof!

Shin Youngwoo hastily switched the driving mode to autonomous driving mode. He had to be careful with skinship and word choices. Thirteen let out loud rumbles as it drove along the road.

Youngwoo returned home exhausted and connected to Satisfy, where he received whispers from his peers. Peak Sword, Chris, Vantner, Pon, and the rest of the 10 meritorious retainers, as well as Coke, Zednos, Laella, and Toon...

All of the Overgeared members scheduled to participate in the National Competition expressed the same wishes as Yura and Jishuka. They didn’t seem to have discussed this with each other. Everyone was just concerned about Grid in the same way. They found it a pity that Grid would be absent from the National Competition due to his busy schedule and miss out on the rewards. Thus, the Overgeared members wanted to be even a small help to Grid.

It was useless no matter how much Grid refused. Everyone in the Overgeared Guild was stubborn. In the end, Grid put forward conditions. “First, I will pick from those with three gold medals. Anyone with two or less gold medals will keep their rewards.”

In fact, it was hard for even an Overgeared member to win three gold medals. The National Competition was growing every year, but only a few dozen people won a gold medal. How difficult would it be to break through hundreds of competitors? It wasn’t uncommon for the Overgeared members to compete with each other, and there were many strong people in the world who weren’t part of the Overgeared Guild. Considering that gold medals could be won in team events, there would not be many Overgeared members who could obtain three gold medals.

‘This condition is enough.’

Grid sighed. However, he overlooked one fact. The reason why the Overgeared members had a low winning rate for gold medals was their competitive spirit.

That’s right. So far, most of them had participated in so-called magic events such as PvP or target processing. They had competed against each other or met monsters like Kraugel and Zibal. Then what if they blatantly only aimed for gold? The Overgeared members’ winning rate for gold medals would soar to at least twice their previous rate.


[1] Blue ceramic tiles have been a sign of wealth since the old days of South Korea. These tiles signified power and wealth, and became the traditional roof tiles that were used in Korean palaces

[2] Jishuka keeps mispronouncing ‘Bow’

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Translator: Rainbow Turtle

Editor: LD

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