Chapter 25 - Day 7, Family
"Ah ~ I want to take a leave of absence.” Su-yeon came out after the test and stretched. Was it better than the ‘I want to commit suicide’ they’d muttered when studying for the test?
Dong-wook looked around at all of us and said meaningfully, "Everybody has suffered, so let’s meet again for the re-test.”
“Don’t say such unlucky things!” Su-yeon huffed angrily and Dong-wook just chuckled before looking at me.
"But Hee-chul, did you solve the problems?”
"I saw you during the middle of the test. You were leaning back in your chair and turning your pen.”
Ah, that. "I have a lot to think about these days.”
"You were thinking during the test?” The gazes of the two people turned towards me.
Whoops. I added an excuse. "But I was checking over the problems. There was still time left after.”
“...” Their expressions became more pronounced.
"I just want to say that Oppa is like a character who appeared from a drama.”
"A very unfortunate guy. I feel like you are the type of snobby person who will raise your index finger to fix your glasses.” Dong-wook assisted Su-yeon in teasing me and he hit my shoulder while laughing.
"Your attempt wasn’t bad, but you should put more effort into acting. Hey. It is creepy, not funny.” I couldn’t help but laugh and then stayed silent while Su-yeon and Dong-wook talked about the test.
"But it was really difficult. Today’s test.”
"Well. Let’s see... I don’t know if there will be anybody who exceeds 40 points. I skipped problem number seven.”
"I missed seven and nine...” I was satisfied with the result. I hadn’t realized it was difficult at all. As I told Dong-wook, I finished the test with approximately 1/3rd of the time left. Concentration helped, but the biggest factor was Mental Image.
Drawing out notes in my brain was faster than using my hands and I could see it clearly. Thanks to that, I was able to sort out my thoughts several times faster than usual. "Anyway, now the hard work is over so we should party. Shall we go to P-X?”
“Let’s do it!”
"I already have a prior engagement.” I pointed to the student cafeteria. "I’m eating lunch with someone.”
I thought for a moment before picking the appropriate answer. "Just a friend I know.”
Just a friend I know. She was easy to find, and I couldn’t help but laugh as soon as I saw her.
She was occupying a place in the crowded student cafeteria without a plate in front of her. The people around her were glaring, but she couldn’t see because her head was bowed. It was more like she had no idea rather than being shameless.
"Let’s go outside. We shouldn’t interfere with the people wanting to sit.”
“...Ah.” I took her to a corner of the campus. It was a cafe in a graduate school research centre. There was no one eating lunch here.
“Now, tell me.”
"I-I can give you money.”
“And?” I raised an eyebrow. Was that all? Of course, the easiest method of give and take was through money. "How much and in what manner will you give it to me?”
“...” Had she not thought about this? Of course, I didn’t intend to receive just a few pennies.
It wouldn’t be an issue if it was just lending money between friends. Frankly, I didn’t know a lot about huge donations. I lived alone and never received any unearned income. I knew that ordinary people like me were scared to receive large amounts of money without any cost. However, that answer was taken care of when the other person was the child of a big company.
"Can’t you just blindly give me money? First of all, can I get 100 million in cash now?”
“N-Not right now...” I stood up. Indeed, I was also naive. Was it due to the fantasy of a chaebol? (chaebol= type of family run business conglomerate)
The rumours about Yoon Ji-hee weren’t that good. Her skills weren’t good enough to go to the best university in Korea or to study overseas-- so she bought her way into our private university through the method known as ‘rich selection.’
Still, I thought she would study and have a certain amount of intelligence. I didn’t think she would be this stupid. "I’ll see you at midnight.” It wasn’t a threat, it was just an end to the conversation. I would take it as she had no influence within her family.
Her answer was quick. "W-wait a minute."
Yoon Ji-hee’s hand grabbed my wrist, though without much force. We were currently in reality, not the dungeon. I no longer had any business with her here. "I need to talk to my mother.”
“...” She still listened to her mother?
"Are you one of those people whose mother checks on them every night?”
"My mother knows. And Grandfather...” I turned back to Yoon Ji-hee.
"Are they also inside the dungeon?”
"Nope. That isn’t it... Yesterday, my grandfather called all his grandchildren together...” Someone who had reached the 5th day in the dungeon had reported all of it to her grandfather. It wasn’t difficult to prove it. They had held on for five days, so they would either have an item or an excellent talent.
Yoon Sang-gyu, the currently head of the UZ Group, collected all his grandchildren and their parents, and gave them the edict: ‘It doesn’t matter what you do in there. The next leader of the UZ Group will be handed over to the last person who remains.’
“So, how many people are there?”
"Five people including me...”
“Will you take out the other four to become chairman of the group?”
"I-I hadn’t thought about it specifically. But... It doesn’t seem to be a big deal since they won’t die... So my mother..." No, I guessed that it was already a big deal in her house. My mind was reeling the moment I heard the situation.
I thought I had caught a tuna with my fishing rod, only to find a whale underneath. The scale was much larger than I thought. Instead of leaving the cafe, I ordered a sandwich from the counter.
"I'll buy it for you...”
“It’s done. Just eat.” I filled my empty stomach and continued to question her. "How many of them didn’t enter the dungeon?”
“Just one. He was born late so he is only five years old...” A chaebol was definitely different. Five of the six grandchildren had entered the dungeon. From one perspective, the UZ Group wasn’t a big deal. The fact that Yoon Ji-hee was in front of me proved that.
Of course, if one of them completed the dungeon then the next UZ chairman would be a superhuman. But what if they didn’t clear it? Except for the five year old who wasn’t grown yet, the next chairman might be someone with no desires.
"If I go to Mother then she might do something. I don’t know... The way that my uncle is treating the others...”
“Ah... I met my cousin on the fifth floor. I heard that he recruited real people in reality.” No, this story was none of my business. Yoon Ji-hee was obviously used as a bait on the 6th floor.
"I-I hadn’t thought about it until the fifth floor. My other cousins are also meeting and gathering people in real life.”
"I couldn’t trust them so I went down to the 6th floor alone. Then I met you and... You said I would die if I lied...”
“...” Looking at this, who would believe that she was a chaebol? I drank the soda that came with the sandwich. It was a cup full of carbonated juice, but I was still thirsty. Yang Su-jin’s words were correct--this was ‘real.’ She was just an ordinary girl, not a member of a chaebol.
She was someone whose siblings and cousins wouldn’t have wanted on the same team. Still, the chaebols had taken advantage of their power.
I had received one unwelcome piece of information: there was a combination of top players in the dungeon. At least four of them were tied together by money and power in reality.
The UZ Group wasn’t the only chaebol. Also, chaebols weren’t the only ones who could mobilize money and power. I rubbed my temples with both hands. I couldn’t say anything else as Yoon Ji-hee stared at me with a worried expression.
Then the cafe door opened and I heard a shaky sound. Hup. Yoon Ji-hee sucked in her breath. Many footsteps entered the cafe, and the voice of a female was heard. “Unni! You were here!”
“Sang-ah...” I didn’t turn around. The amazed expression on Yoon Ji-hee’s face told me roughly who the owners of the footsteps behind me were. “S-Sang-min oppa... What brings you here...?”
“Didn’t Grandfather say that we didn’t need to go to school or work for a while? I was just going for a long drive. Then I saw Unni here.” This wasn’t a crowded place--it was a cafe on a corner of the campus. It was impossible to just ‘pass by’ the building.
They must have followed Yoon Ji-hee here, or perhaps they were using direct surveillance. It was only natural to keep an eye on their competitors. “Who is this? Can we join you?”
"That... Right now, we are having an important discussion...”
“Ah! Someone you met in the dungeon?” The female clapped her hands. The male, Sang-min, still hadn’t talked. I just chewed on the rest of my sandwich.
"Unni is trying to make a contract... But what are you going to offer for the contract? I heard that you don’t have a lot of money these days. Grandfather also won’t give you any.”
The voice was sufficient to determine that Yoon Ji-hee was the female’s meal. "Well, I am going first. I’ll see you later.” I said to Yoon Ji-hee and got up. As I turned around, I saw the faces of a male and female.
Yoon Sang-ah was approximately 20 years old. Yoon Sang-min was a man in his late 20’s. I could tell they were siblings with one glance. Behind them, there were people glancing this way.
They didn’t seem to be bodyguards. They were all wearing plain clothes. There was a variety of men and women of different ages. I memorized those faces. It was unlikely that I would only see them again in reality.
"Hello!" Yoon Sang-ah bowed and greeted me. “Are you a student of this school? What is your name?”
"It is a little difficult to tell you.” I spoke as politely as possible. Even if they didn’t follow me after this, it was hard to confront a chaebol. Instead, I tried to go straight to the exit.
"If you haven’t formed an agreement yet, come here. I can offer you 100% more than what Unni did.”
“I will think about it.”
"Is there any need to think? You won’t receive this offer again.” Yoon Sang-ah blocked my path.
"We have a company. It is like an affiliate. If you accept then I can hire you within an hour. You will receive a ‘salary’ without needing to go to work.” Certainly, it was 100 times better than her cousin’s offer. "You don’t have to do a lot. When you go to the next floor, just take Ji-hee unni out.”
"W-What does that mean?!” Yoon Ji-hee exclaimed but Yoon Sang-ah just laughed.
“Why? Isn’t it an efficient method? Unni tried to buy this person so the answer is simple.” Her expression changed with the next words. "Unni is already stupid, so is it a bad thing?”
“Euh...” Well. This was one thing I agreed with, so I had nothing to say. I raised my hand and brought it to Yoon Sang-ah’s shoulder. "If you are finished, then please let me pass. This is the testing period.”
“... Didn’t you understand my offer? I can repeat it again.”
"No. I understood.”
She didn’t seem to care about how much Yoon Sang-ah ‘offered.’ I raised one finger. “One billion.”
"By today. Can you ensure that I receive one billion won legally and without looking suspicious?” I could tell just by looking at her facial expression-- she looked at me like I was crazy. The problem wasn’t just the amount.
It didn’t matter. "It is no use if you can’t afford that.” I slowly pushed Yoon Sang-ah out of the way.
“There is nothing to talk about.”