Chapter 20 - A Secret Requestor
Two days later…
Yiyoung got ready early for school, just like always. She skipped down the narrow stairs leading to the entrance and left the house before walking toward an alley.
Suddenly, a voice called out from behind, “Wow, Yoon Yiyoung. You’re all grown up now!”
Yiyoung immediately stepped back in fear. The man in front of her had short hair, and his shoulders and hands were bulging with muscles. His eyes were so scarily calm.
The man scratched his head awkwardly at Yiyoung’s reaction. “It’s sad that you don’t recognize me. I used to take care of you a lot, you know? I spoke to your father recently. Did he not tell you anything yet?”
Yiyoung narrowed her eyes. “You’re Uncle Sangsu?”
She didn’t remember him. Well, of course she wouldn’t be able to recognize someone she had met when she was just two years old, still…
“Yeah, you punk! It’s Uncle Sangsu! You’ve grown up a lot…” the man said excitedly.
But the man seemed friendly enough. She relaxed as she observed his affectionate behavior, she even felt sorry for being scared of him.
“How could I remember whom I met when I was only two?” Yiyoung trailed off.
“Ah, you’re right,” the man muttered, “Are you headed to your school?”
The man lifted his hand and pointed toward a row of houses. “I live there.”
Yiyoung followed his finger. It was hard to figure out which house he was pointing at, there were just so many of them. But his eyes scared her so much that she didn’t ask him to specify.
“You’re all grown up now,” the man repeated, “If you need any help, let me know, okay? I might not be as helpful as your father, but I can take care of you.”
Just like her father had said, the man looked like a criminal. She had never seen such violence in someone’s eyes, just his aura would be enough to make people flee.
“Then, I’ll get going,” Yiyoung said politely.
“Have fun at school.” The man waved.
“I will,” she replied just before she disappeared from his sight.
The man pulled out his phone and sent a text as soon as Yiyoung left. “I just met her. She was on her way to school. It didn’t seem like she believed what Mr. Yoon told her, but there’s nothing to worry about. I’ll keep an eye on her.”
He received a response right away. “I’ll take care of everything when it’s over. Just make sure to keep her safe.”
“Yes, I’ll ensure her safety,” the man replied.
Sangsu was actually the owner of a personal security guard company, and one of the jobs his company often received was following victims of bullying by pretending to be their relatives and protecting them.
The previous night, Sangsu had received a request to protect Yiyoung, and the person behind it had asked the company for their best service. So Sangsu himself took up the case. His facial features were scary, so he was the best option to handle a case like this. The requestor had even paid more than the necessary amount, so Sangsu saw no reason to deny the request.
‘Well then, should I start now?’ Sangsu thought as he geared himself for work.
* * *
Muyeol took his phone and carelessly grabbed the school jacket. Like he always did, he took one last look at his bedroom, making sure to remember where and how each thing was placed. He had done it so many times that it took him no effort to remember it now. After a seemingly casual glance, Muyeol locked the room and went down the stairs.
With each step he descended, Muyeol recalled the abusive words that were thrown at the night before.
Mr. Cha had suddenly summoned Muyeol in the middle of the night. Madam Choi dropped him off at Mr. Cha’s house, but she couldn’t help him any more than that, simply because Muyeol refused her support.
Madam Choi had sighed then. “What should I do with that jerk! Why can’t he just leave the child alone!”
Muyeol had only wordlessly blocked Madam Choi from angrily entering the house and shut the door behind him. Her heart was not in a good condition, and entering Mr. Cha’s house would only make her feel worse. He didn’t want to lose. She was the only one on his side, and he wanted her to stay with him forever.
Madam Choi decided not to return home and chose to wait outside for Muyeol. And it was a good thing, too. Because when Muyeol came back outside, he had no strength left in him. The endless verbal and physical abuse had knocked him down. And the only reason he could come back home yesterday was that Madam Choi was there to help him.
Muyeol bent down to wear his shoes, the thoughts about last night fading away when Madam Choi appeared behind him.
“Can’t you just stay home today?” she asked.
Muyeol shook his head. The image of Shitty Yoon’s hideously bruised face to his mind. He needed to take care of something.
Madam Choi straightened the wrinkle in his clothes. “You really are something else. I told you not to get involved with Jaeho. Just ignore him. You don’t want to become like him.”
‘Ignore him? I don’t want to. That won’t change anything. Why do I have to live as the victim? No, I need to become stronger so they can’t do anything,’ Muyeol said to himself as he looked Madam Choi in the eye.
Madam Choi was startled when Muyeol faced her. The expression on his face was so different. Usually, his face would be impassive, but today, he was smiling at her! The sight was so sweet it made her tear up.
Muyeol nodded and left the house, his legs stumbling over themselves as he walked. He felt dizzy, and his head spun. It looked like he had a fever. The stress had gotten to him again. And the abuse he had endured last night only made it worse.
There was no strength left in his body. The painkillers wouldn’t work on him; he had long since become immune to them. All he could do now was wait for the fever to break on its own.
Muyeol sneered, feeling bitter inside. ‘Damn it.’
He didn’t know why, but his gut told him that today would be a nightmare. But then he heard Yiyoung’s voice and immediately felt better. His lips curled up again, but this time into a soft smile.
“Hi, guys,” Shitty Yoon said when she entered the class.
Muyeol looked at her cheeks. Her skin was bruised, but it looked relatively fine. That relieved him. She didn’t seem athletic, but it looked like she had avoided Jaeho’s punch.
He had purchased topical medications for her. So when Yiyoung left her seat, he secretly put them in her desk drawer.
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