Chapter 44 - Sine Qua Non
Naturally, the events of the past few months flashed in Yoonshin’s head.
Once he connected his sister’s and his situation these days, everything seemed to fall in place. All his questions seemed to be answered.
One needed to be prepared to give up much more than what they wished to take away from others. There was no way his sister didn’t know that. Moreover, her target was the second son of one of the top 10 conglomerates in the country. She had to place Yoonshin in a safe zone before her fight truly started.
“That’s why you sent me to Doguk, to shield me? Selling our father’s name?”
“If you had continued to do free legal work at Jaeya, that man would have tried to mess with you first. He knows that I care for you deeply. If you care for me at all, make a place for yourself at the firm and pretend that I’m dead to you for a few years. After that, go study overseas. That’s how you and I will survive. Learn well from Attorney Kang and take what you can from him. His mind is a treasure trove that you can’t buy with money. He also knows more of Soohan’s secrets than anyone else.”
“That’s why you chose Senior Attorney Kang?”
“Even that aside, Sehun Kang is the best person to protect you.”
If that was the reason, Yoonshin couldn’t comprehend her thought process. “Why would that person protect me?! There’s nothing to call a relationship between us. There’s no way that would happen.”
“Of course he wouldn’t actively try to protect you! But you know, Yoonshin, nobody does that. Even so, Sehun Kang will not dismiss you or put you at a disadvantage because of a third party’s opinion. He’ll simply act according to his standards. And in my judgment, he’s the only person in the practice who can do that. You’re good at what you do. Just prove that you’re worth it. No, I hope you truly do, for my sake.”
There was nothing he could say in reply to her words. Her judgment of Sehun was the same as his.
Sehun wouldn’t try to protect Yoonshin. He had no reason to. However, he was very competitive and had strong self-assurance—so when external pressures started to mount, he could be the only person who could throw a wrench in those efforts. Yoonshin pleaded in a trembling voice, “Ikyung, I’ll help you. I’m a lawyer. If you can’t settle, go through mediation—I can get you a lot of alimony if he’s a spouse at fault. You don’t need to go as far as litigation. I can prepare well for you.”
“The opponent is Soohan. Do you know how many employees are in their legal department? They’re all former judges and prosecutors, and each individual’s experience is more than a decade. Plus, their network is wide. Whatever judge sits at my divorce hearing, they will have a colleague at Soohan. What can you do against those people? It’s a piece of cake for Soohan to crush a baby lawyer like you. I lived as a part of Soohan for 10 years, so I know this the best. Don’t you get how I feel?”
“Then what about you?!”
“This is my problem. I got married, and this matter is about my family. You have no say in this. Got it?”
His sister drew the line, yet he couldn’t protest, which pained him. She knowingly added, “Just live your life. Live comfortably doing something academic in your later years. I’m thinking of asking for a professor position for you at your alma mater as one of my conditions of alimony.”
“I don’t need any of that! I just want you to be safe. Physical abuse only gets worse. This isn’t my opinion but statistics. You have to end it quickly when he’s willing to settle, all right? Please?”
Despite his pleas, Ikyung was firm. “I need to do this. I’m saying this again—don’t try to butt in. This isn’t a warning; it’s a declaration. If you interfere by doing something useless, I won’t see you ever again. I have to protect my children, but if I also have to protect you, my fight will become more difficult. Please don’t make my situation worse.”
“Don’t say a word to anyone. Got it? Yoonshin, whatever I do, you know nothing about it. This is solely my business, and you have nothing to do with it. You should listen to your sister. You’ll do that for me, right? Please, I’m asking you.”
He didn’t need to ask why she never told him in the first place. However, Ikyung’s considerate thoughts hurt Yoonshin even more.
In a way, Sehun’s philosophy was correct. The more one had to protect, the more disadvantages they had on the battlefield—just like his sister now. While doing more than she needed to protect Yoonshin and her kids, she considered all her possibilities and chose the path to take.
Yoonshin’s face was dark with chaos and denial. Ikyung examined his face with heartbroken eyes and hugged her brother’s thin frame. They exchanged warmth to comfort each other’s anxious hearts for a few moments.
His sister spoke up first to mark the end of the silence. “Don’t worry too much. I’m our father’s daughter. I will win. It’ll just take a bit of time.”
“I’ll be off now.”
“Ikyung, don’t go.” Yoonshin held onto her hand as she pushed his shoulders away, but that was all. Ikyung patted his arm and got back in the car. The car quietly went on its way and slowly disappeared from his sight. Yoonshin stood vacantly where he was left behind. Glancing between the empty spot where his sister stood and the position where he stood, he let out a very deep and heavy sigh.
You are required to login first