< Perfect Caregiver >
“…I am in my thirties, no my twenties, though.”
I said blankly. Grandfather… To think that I would hear that it was a grandfather who was brought to mind when he looked at me. My hair was still black, though. And my skin didn’t have a single wrinkle and was smooth. Just how did my appearance bring to mind his grandfather?
[I know. But yesterday, I saw my grandfather in your drunken figure. Grandfather would also say ‘I love you’ quite often when he was drunk.]
“Ah, that’s why…”
Even if you said so, it was still definitely weird! I mean, if a girl you’re having a fling with got drunk and said ‘I love you’, even then would you be like ‘grandfather!’? Or grandmother?
“Still, I’m not drunk now and there wouldn’t be a reason for me to get drunk, so wouldn’t there be no reason I would bring to mind your grandfather?”
Especially since I had no intention of saying something crazy like ‘I love you’ a second time. …I felt like I had already done that enough for a lifetime, shit.
[……That, would be correct.]
Kim Sunghan’s voice was unbecomingly full of regret.
[Even so, Yoojin-ssi still feels like my grandfather.]
“I mean, even if you say so…”
[Is that not okay?]
[I won’t say nonsense in front of other people. Simply just calling to say hello and sometimes meeting up would be enough. At any rate, we are in the same Guild, so it wouldn’t be inconvenient either.]
……Was he asking me to play the role of his grandfather? I mean, I really didn’t understand. Did something go wrong with the alcohol that was drunk yesterday? Exactly how was his head structured that when he heard a drunk person say ‘I love you’, he would think of the grandfather who raised… hi……
‘…Wait. If it’s the grandfather who raised him.’
I told the ‘I love you’ keyword to Kim Sunghan when I was drunk.
Kim Sunghan heard the keyword and thought of his grandfather.
Not his parents or friends, or even a lover, but the person who cared for him.
And then, he saw that caregiver and me superimposed.
The pieces of the puzzle slotted into place one by one.
As weird as it was, I thought of Yerim who looked at me with a sense of closeness. And I thought of Yoo Myeongwoo who kept on clinging.
And the attitude of the dongsaeng who excessively tried to protect me, starting from the moment the skill was applied…
‘……Crazy, what is this.’
The puzzle was put together but my head became even more dizzy.
It fit together too well to deny it by saying it didn’t make sense. From Yoohyun to Kim Sunghan, the weirdly changed attitudes were all explained.
The Perfect Caregiver title’s, or the My Brat skill’s, hidden effect. Making influenced people regard me as the worthiest caregiver they knew, if it was that kind of crazy thing.
[Han Yoojin-ssi? If you happen to dislike it…]
“N-no. It’s alright.”
I gripped my head that was heating up and spoke vaguely.
“I still have a hangover left, so… I’m going to go wash my face.”
[Is your condition very bad? You should go get an IV at least.]
“No, I’m fine. I just have to splash myself with some cold water.”
[The day is hot, but still, cold water is-.]
“I’m fine. I’m really fine. I’m still in my twenties. Then I’ll hang up now.”
I forcefully ended the call with Kim Sunghan, who kept on worrying over me as if faced with an elder over seventy years old.
In the silence that fell, I kept on tugging on my bangs.
First of all… let’s organize things.
‘……What kind of crazy guy was the bastard who made the system?!’
If this was really a game, fuck, all the platforms and communities would leave one star and write harsh reviews that were twenty pages of A4 paper in length.
I didn’t know if it was a skill effect or a title effect. Looking at the keyword application, it seemed like skill, but the effect fit the Perfect Caregiver title to a T.
Ah, I don’t know. Anyways, so what.
I let out a couple sighs and settled my heart.
‘First of all… when the keyword is applied, thinking of me as the person who was the caregiver…… that’s what it seems like, right?’
Kim Sunghan, like I just heard, thought of the grandfather who raised him, because of me.
For Yoohyun’s case, I was already his caregiver, so it seemed like his feelings about me became even more agitated. If you say the worry and uneasiness doubled, it would be enough to try confining me abruptly.
No, it was too well behaved of a reaction for double. And he loosened up a little now. Since it was the same person, it wasn’t as much as double, but maybe it was 0.5 added?
‘I thought the kid suddenly became weird.’
So it was because of my skill, or my title. I’m sorry I misunderstood you, Yoohyun.
Yoo Myeongwoo… openly clinging was probably like a hyung. His attitude was definitely not like treating a parent.
And finally, Yerim.
‘……Is it dad?’
The possibility of it being dad was the highest. …I wanted to think it was the highest.
But usually kids… especially girls……
No, there were daughters who were close to their dads. Yerim’s father alone could have been family-oriented. It could have been that her mother was the sole breadwinner and she was raised by her dad. It must have been like that. It had to have been like that.
‘It wasn’t really… like treating me like a mom, right?’
That’s right, if she thought of me as her mom, when Yoo Myeongwoo was clinging, she wouldn’t have ended it with ‘it’s disgusting’ and would have notified the police. It was because it was dad, that she finished it with ‘it’s disgusting’. It had to be.
I sighed deeply and turned on the My Brat is the Best skill window. And then carefully searched it.
[※Inapplicable while the target is aware of the effect of the keyword]
What caught me was this sentence.
Before, I passed it over without thinking about it much, but knowing the new effect, it felt completely different.
‘Did ‘aware of the effect of the keyword’ mean ‘the other person notices the reason they think of me as their caregiver’?’
If I confessed ‘actually your feelings are brainwashing by my skill~’ to someone who regarded me as something like a parent, then they would definitely feel betrayed. If I lost their trust, then I would lose the qualification to be a perfect caregiver – was it something like that?
‘If I was caught by Yoohyun, it would be okay, and if you think of the things I’ve done for Yoo Myeongwoo, then it might go over reasonably well.’
Bak Yerim and Kim Sunghan were the problems.
Of course, if I wasn’t caught, then that was that. It was as much as an L-Rank title and a L-Rank skill. To feel something wrong, you had to have a Mental stat of about SSS-Rank. So, if I was careful with what I said, the possibility of the influenced targets realizing the keyword’s effect was nonexistent.
…And getting drunk, definitely wouldn’t happen. Should I gag myself when I sleep? So I don’t sleep talk.
‘Maybe I really should use it only for monsters and not people. If we couldn’t communicate, wouldn’t it be safe?’
Saying ‘I love you’ was scary. From now on I wouldn’t be able to confes…… huh?
W-wait. If I happened to find a woman I really love, what would happen?
‘The moment I confess, oppa becomes dad…?’
On top of that, I could become mom.
Right when I say ‘I sincerely love you’, the other person’s cheeks blush and ‘yeah, I love mom too~’ kind of crazycrazycrazyreallyfuckingcrazy what is this!!!
‘I-it’s okay. I just have to not say ‘I love you’.’
For my whole life. As a mistake, while asleep, even carelessly I couldn’t.
Carelessly loosen my tongue just once, and one morning while living together all lovey dovey, my wife is like ‘mom, sorry. But mom is mom’ and leave the house and meet a new man – that kind of terrible situation could happen.
And then come to greet me with the groom-to-be. And ask to sit at the family seats at the wedding hall? And light the candle? And the husband of the woman who was my wife bows like he’s my son-in-law or something? Huh?
This kind of story wouldn’t even appear in a shitty drama.
Cold sweat kept on flowing so much that it felt like it might even come from my eyes.
‘If I really find someone I want to be with for the rest of my life, let’s just cut off my tongue.’
I would unhesitatingly cut it, damn. Just say that there was an accident when I went into a dungeon. …What if Yoohyun brings over a healer. Regrowing a tongue, even an A-Rank could probably do. Did I have to become a crazy guy who refuses treatment?
……Ah I don’t know, I really don’t know. Anyways for 5 year from now on my dating luck was zero. Let’s not think about it.
‘Low ranking skills didn’t have these many things added…’
Then again, even A-Ranks had effects with no explanations, so an L-Rank would probably have more. Still, it wasn’t like looking for a landmine. It was to the effect of being scared to use the skill.
‘Shouldn’t you explain these important effects? You just had to add just one more line. Even something brief like ‘the other person starts to regard the skill user as a caregiver’.’
Perfect Caregiver, My Brat, growth buff, I love you, influence. It gave a hint in its own way, but how could you expect me to deduce with just that? I’m not some Sherlock Holmes.
Seeing your blue tie, this morning you ate bean soup and recently broke up with your lover and just quit smoking and are left-handed wow!
Let’s just raise magic beasts. It’s safe and peaceful.
I organized my thoughts and got up from my bed. Wait, it felt like I forgot something.
I sent Kim Sunghan a text to please come see me once just prior to going into a dungeon. Since the skill was applied, I should promote his growth at least. And… there was nothing besides that, right?
My hangover had disappeared but my head hurt dully. I had to get the novice Hunter training so I should get ready to wash and go out. What time was it? It was definitely 10 in the morni… ack I was late!
“It was changed to 2 in the afternoon.”
When I hurriedly kicked my room door open and went out, Yoo Myeongwoo poked his head out the kitchen and spoke.
“Before that, that cat was restless starting from last night-.”
“When you came back to the house, you were unconscious and had to be carried in. So I think he was alarmed.”
Oh dear. Then again, you couldn’t communicate with him so you couldn’t explain that I was slightly dazed because I was drunk.
I quickly ran to the living room. I saw the figure of a small animal curled right next to the glass door instead of in his comfortable sleeping place.
-Kooeueung, keueung! Keeang!
As soon as he saw me, Peace scratched the glass and whined plaintively. There, there. Our baby. You must have worried a lot.
I quickly opened the door and embraced the clinging Peace.
“You were really alarmed, right? It’s okay, I’m sorry. Things like that won’t happen from now on.”
“Right, right. Our Peace.”
If I get plastered again, I’m a dog, a dog.
Yoo Myeongwoo came over with a tray with cups. But why were there four cups? The colors of the drinks were slightly different too.
“What is it, that?”
“Hangover cure drinks. They were bought by, from the most lefthand side, your dongsaeng, Kim Sunghan-ssi, Bak Yerim-yang, and me.”
My heart was thankful but I didn’t need them.
“As you see, I’m fine, so I don’t need to drink.”
“They said they would check that you drank, though.”
“All three of them.”
I mean, why would they check even this… Alright, as the one who used his skill while not knowing it well, it was my fault. It wasn’t something difficult and I just had to drink, so I was reaching out my hand when I stopped.
“You’re not going to tell which one I drank first, right?”
“If they ask, I think I’d have to tell them though…”
Yoo Myeongwoo said unconfidently. Then again, what strength did you have that you would refuse?
Let’s see, Kim Sunghan would be fine. But that dongsaeng and Yerim were the problem. They’d already gone one round.
I did think that they probably wouldn’t fight again over this, but just in case.
After a short consideration, I held up the drink that Yoohyun sent first. In these cases, it was best to side with the strongest guy.
“But anyways, do you have a hyung that you’re close to?”
I asked, emptying the last glass. I was still half guessing about the skill effect, so I had to check for certain.
“Hyung? I don’t? I only have noonas who are a lot older than me.”
…It wouldn’t be noona, right? Seeing him cling, it seemed like it might. It was better than mom, but I hated noona too.
“Were you close… to your noonas?”
“No, not at all.”
Whew, that was a relief.
“Then, with your parents?”
Yoo Myeongwoo smiled bitterly and shook his head.
“If I did, I wouldn’t have had any need to stamp a slave contract. I did get a lot of allowance when I was young. Back then, the conditions in the house was good. Still, both my parents worked so it was hard to even see my parents’ faces, and my noonas would leave me out and then later treat me like a servant. It’s been a long time since they all married so we aren’t in contact.”
If it wasn’t family, then just who did he think of me as? Relatives? Teacher? Some adult neighbor?
“Um, by any chance is there anyone who you think of when you see me?”
I just asked openly. Myeongwoo put on a puzzled expression.
There wasn’t? What, did I happen to guess wrong?
“By any chance, during your life, was there someone who gave you the most help or was the only one you could depend on? There should have been at least one.”
“Of course there is.”
Yoo Myeongwoo continued, a little bashfully.
“It’s you, Yoojin.”
“That’s right. Of course, you. Who else would there be besides you? Putting aside the matter at the Association, coming to save someone from where thugs were gathered, even their flesh and blood would probably hesitate? As for my family, they definitely would have pretended they didn’t know.”
Hearing that, it was correct at least.
But, saving Yoo Myeongwoo was after the keyword was applied, and before that I had just spoken a few words to him. It definitely wasn’t at the level of being treated like a caregiver.
Was it that if there wasn’t a proper caregiver, the effect application also didn’t work?
‘If I think about it, I also don’t have someone I could call a caregiver.’
Of course it wasn’t that there weren’t any who had looked after me. But unlike Yoohyun and Kim Sunghan, there weren’t any who I had placed my affections and who I could think of and was thankful to.
No matter how impressive of a L-Rank skill, title it was, it couldn’t forcefully make something that didn’t exist and display the effect. So Yoo Myeonwoo genuinely liked me and clung…
“Why did you suddenly draw back? Do you still have a hangover?”
“Huh? Yeah, a little…”
I wanted to maintain an appropriate distance for my privacy and mental health.
‘Then in the end, there’s just Yerim left.’
For Yoohyun, it was just that the extent got more severe, and he was still treating me as his hyung so checking was impossible, so only Yerim was left.
…Dad, please dad. I believe in you, Yerim. I believe in you, who definitely must have been family-oriented, Yerim’s father.
 since ‘oppa’ is what girls call older boys they are close to, it’s a sign of closeness (if you’re not related) and so a lot of girls call their boyfriends ‘oppa’. Also, dad (‘appa’) sounds close to ‘oppa’
 lit. ‘move tongue wrongly’
 lighting the candles in a wedding is usually done by the parents, esp mothers, of the couple being wedded
 where you kneel down and bow as a sign of respect. Often in in specific traditional ceremonies, including weddings.