This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, Fei, Grisia, Lastear, Lei, and ThunderHamster.
As soon as Lee Hyun took off the veil, the customers rushed into the tent bar.
“It’s time to start business, right?”
“The bar is open, yeah?”
They asked the customers who were waiting in line to wait for 10 minutes. Since there was no news after waiting 15 minutes, the customers started to push their way in.
Seoyoon was a celebrity that no one in Korea University did not know.
“Your order, please.”
The female students in charge of serving were running around in dresses.
“Customer, please order!”
“Are you not going to order?”
Even after being pressed to order food, the customers were only captivated by Seoyoon and were just staring.
The visual shock from the stunning beauty!
When the female students brought the menus to them and urged them to order, they were once again surprised by what they saw.
“Live Sea Eel, Wild Sea Bass, Steamed Crab, Roasted Eel, Seafood Black Bean Noodles… Is this a real menu? It says spicy stew will be added when Sea Bass is ordered…”
“Yes. Today’s menu is primarily centered on seafood. The main menu changes daily throughout the festival. However, items like fruit appetizers, Korean omelette rolls, and vegetable pancakes can be ordered at any time.”
[T/N: Korean omelette roll is basically the Korean equivalent of tamagoyaki, the Japanese rolled omelette.]
“For now, please give us 3 servings of Live Sea Eel.”
“3 servings of Live Sea Eel here!”
A burner and grill were quickly set on the customer’s table. Then, the live sea eels were cooked along with seasoning. Every time the eels squirmed, they mixed with the seasoning. Once they were cooked, the nutritious and perfect sea eels were eaten piece by piece.
If they were going to do a bar, Lee Hyun wanted to make profit and bring out the quality of the food.
“Even though it’s a festival bar, it can’t be done half-heartedly!”
It was food customers would pay money to eat.
It couldn’t be made artlessly. It was a job that could only be done if he took responsibility for ensuring taste and nutrition.
Since no one but Lee Hyun could carve the sushi off the sea bass, he was the busiest one.
He was slicing things on the cutting board so artistically!
The sea bass that had its meat deboned flickered its eyes, still alive. It was skillfully cut so as to avoid damaging the nerves.
Today, the wild sea bass, snow crabs, and sea eels were delivered from market merchants with whom he was normally acquainted with. The freshness of the ingredients was guaranteed, and he could obtain reliable wares at a bargain price.
“You were really a college student?”
“Anyway, advertise us to the students. I mean, tell them to buy products from the market.”
Thanks to their generosity, he could use quality ingredients. But since it was a school bar, the prices couldn’t be expensive.
In Royal Road, everyone could make money by hunting, so it didn’t matter much even if you ripped people off. However, asking students to pay expensive prices was a problem of conscience.
In the end, he reduced the servings moderately and adjusted the prices so they weren’t too high.
Nevertheless, the customers were satisfied.
“Here you go.”
“Please go and take their order at table 9.”
Seoyoon also went around taking orders in her dress.
The force of a Goddess gushed out, even when she was simply walking around!
There were many cases where customers spilled their food while staring blankly. It was a frequent occurrence for them to just stare at Seoyoon for several minutes as they drank their alcohol.
Every time Seoyoon walked by, she left behind a sweet lemon scent.
She only applied a light toner and some lotion for makeup. Nevertheless, she was still overwhelming with just a bare face, but today, she had especially sprayed on some perfume.
Seoyoon held out the menu for the customers.
She stood still and waited for their order.
She was embarrassed by the gazes of the customers surrounding her, but she endured.
“Please give us a fruit appetizer.”
Seoyoon lightly nodded and turned around.
Even customers who had a considerable amount of appetizers on their table were scrambling to make a new order. It was attributed to their greed to try to speak to Seoyoon once.
“The customers have been waiting for 30 minutes.”
“Chef, when will the steamed crab be ready?”
“It will be out shortly!”
Only Lee Hyun was being worked to the point of death. Because of the other students whose cooking speeds were so slow, he had to do 2 times, no 3 times the work.
On the first day of the festival, he couldn’t sightsee the fireworks or the student’s songs, and wasn’t even been able leave the bar at all.
On the next day, even more customers pressed in early on.
“Please take our order!”
“We’re ready to order here!”
Although the kitchen and tables were still busy, they had more time to spare compared to the first day.
The cooking had already been finished ahead of time, and plenty of side dishes had also been prepared. The alcohol was stacked up by the box and the tent had also been expanded.
Since the department sent around 10 people as reinforcements to do jobs like washing the dishes and cleaning the tables, the workload had decreased.
Lee Hyun felt the work’s worth through the fun of making money.
‘The first day’s profit amounted to 700 thousand won (~$700). Even after deducting the rental fees of the bowls, etc., for five days, this much is left.’
The business right now was all experience for the future!
He knew plenty about how to treat customers and cook from his part-time jobs, but self-employment wasn’t something to be taken lightly.
‘If I can’t make a crazy success in special situations such as this, I won’t be able to consider any sort of career in business from on!’
On the day of the festival when everyone else was enjoying themselves and playing, he took responsibility of the bar with resolute determination.
They made a large profit on the second day as well, and, from the third day, at no time was a seat at a table empty. Even on the fourth day of the festival, it was impossible for Lee Hyun to sightsee the festival.
The sight of him must’ve been pitiful because his seniors grabbed the kitchen knife in his stead.
“Lee Hyun, we’ll take care of this place so you should also go have some fun.”
“But I have been entrusted with this place.”
“Is this the Silla Dynasty or what, that you’re displaying such a ‘show no retreat’ mindset? The festival isn’t some kind of battleground either, so go have fun. The other kids are playing like they’ve lost their senses, so you should also enjoy the festival.”
Lee Hyun took off the apron and straightened his back.
‘The festival… there’s probably a need to see what kinds of business the other departments are doing. Even restaurants need a lot of know-hows. The more diverse the information I have, the better.’
“Then I will leave briefly and return.”
“Just rest up today. It’s already 6 in the evening. Since the bar is only set to go until 10 o’clock, we’ll try and do the rest on our own.”
In order to avoid straining the festival’s energy too much, the bars closed at 10 o’clock.
Lee Hyun looked around the tent bar.
The tables were full of customers, and the students were hectically taking orders.
For the last three days, Seoyoon’s popularity was definitely at its peak.
All the customers wanted to order from her. Due to that, the hardworking Seoyoon had received a break today and didn’t come out to the bar.
“Even if I’m not there, I’m sure it’ll run well on its own.”
As soon as Lee Hyun left the tent bar, he was swept along in the festival’s crowd— people who came with their families, students from other schools, and Korean University students who dressed up and were wandering around.
The campus that had been quiet was now clamorous. It was a place where the excitement of youth could be felt!
As if to breathe in that excitement, Lee Hyun took in a deep breath.
“Ah, how nice. The air is filled with the scent of money!”
A stage had been set up in the grass plaza where he had always unpacked his lunch, and bands were performing there.
Multiple teams from the Virtual Reality Department participated in the athletic meet, song festival, and play.
The results were disastrous!
They were eliminated in the preliminaries in the athletic meet, it was impossible for them to sing high notes in their performance for the song festival, and they said an audience of only a few elementary school kids had come for the play.
“Seems like those noonas didn’t practice.”
[T/N: Noona is a friendly, casual term for ‘older sister.’ Like hyung and oppa, it can be used for a non-family member.]
An elementary school kid wearing glasses with a sharp gaze even said something like this. “How sloppy.”
It was a play criticized by even elementary school kids!
That was the conclusive trigger that sent all the Virtual Reality Department’s support towards the bar.
* * *
It appeared that the other departments had done a lot of preparation in advance, as they were hosting a variety of events.
The Department of Veterinary Medicine brought the characteristics of their department to life and were selling beef.
In the Department of Social Welfare, the students were pushing the wheelchairs of the disabled and elderly as they guided them. It was said that the department accommodated them in a nearby hotel or in their own houses as they personally gave them a bath and performed a meaningful deed that gave the people a gift.
In the Clothing Design Department, clothes they had made themselves were sold cheaply.
The music students were on the side of always having high popularity. Since the pretty female students were performing, there was a swarm of male spectators and they were a big hit.
Stages were set up here and there, and even the small events were unceasing.
Even a flea market that sold off unused products was lively.
It was when Lee Hyun’s steps took him towards the flea market behind the main stage, someone beside him grabbed his arm and dragged him.
“Look, it seems like 1 more volunteer has appeared.”
An announcer was in the middle of conducting Slave Dating on the stage.
The event crew had been choosing Slave Dating participants from the audience, but Lee Hyun had pushed through the crowd and barged in.
A total of 30 male students were participating in the Slave Dating!
The announcer pulled the mic close and shouted.
“It’s time for them to show off their respective honed skills in the talent show. Your master can change depending on how cool a talent you show, so slaves, you should do your very best! Then let’s start with participant number 1.”
Lee Hyun received number 23.
He tried to resist and not go up on the stage, but because of the crowd’s jeers, he inevitably went up.
‘A fricking talent show, my luck today is the worst.’
What the hell was there that he was good at!
Well, the only thing he knew how to do was martial arts.
Lee Hyun’s face hardened more and more whenever the other participants showed off their singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, magic shows, or comedy skits.
He was scared of the frosty look in the audience’s eyes!
He wasn’t a person with an extroverted personality, and he didn’t have any individual skill, so his anxiety increased even more.
Stage fright. Since students from the same school were watching, it was more repulsive.
‘Let’s dance. Should I do the national gymnastics, at least?’
Participant number 6 did the national gymnastics first.
“Boring! Throw him off!”
Lee Hyun was relieved.
‘It’s lucky I didn’t do the national gymnastics. Then should I sing a song? Seems like the classic ‹ I will love you until the end › would be good.’
Participant number 14 sang that song first.
I remembered your laugh each time, so I couldn’t even cry~
Since if I’m sad, you might be pained~
Although Lee Hyun thought the participant had an outstanding singing ability, he wasn’t able to get a high score.
Now the problem wasn’t getting a good score. He just needed to pass this situation somehow.
“Now we’ll watch participant number 23’s talent show.”
Suddenly it was time for Lee Hyun’s turn. Since it was a short talent show, there wasn’t time for him to think leisurely.
“Get me a knife…”
“I will show you apple peeling.”
“An apple. Is there an apple prepared? Yes, they’re saying they can get one with a knife prepared for you shortly. Participant number 23’s talent show is apple peeling. Everyone, please enjoy.”
The nicely ripening apple and fruit knife the event crew gave him!
Lee Hyun rubbed the apple as he turned it around and around. Then, in a single moment—
In a single breath the knife cut the apple and the peel slipped off.
When the blade grazed by, the apple peel fell, as if taking off its skin. There was no break in between or any residue left behind.
“Did you peel it already?”
“You peeled it really quickly. In any case, we’ve seen a nice trick!”
The announcer praised him to drum up the amusement. It was because of the thought of seeing a new trick after only watching commonplace talent shows of songs or dance.
The audience also applauded moderately.
‘Phew. Looks like I was able to pass.’
7 more people did their talent shows after Lee Hyun, and then it was time to set the prices of the slaves.
The announcer lined up the slaves.
“Good looking people in the back! For those of you who think they look ordinary, please stand in the front!”
In accordance to the announcer’s words, Lee Hyun moved to stand in the front.
‘It’s probably better to be sold first.’
But other slaves had bounded up first, filling up the front.
A slave could be purchased by only one person from the audience!
The people with friends to purchase them already had prearranged the selection, so they went to stand in the front.
The people who’d come on their own were only Lee Hyun and a few others.
“Sold for 30 thousand won (~$30) .”
“Sold for 15 thousand won (~$15) .”
“The slave this time is quite valuable. 48,000 won (~$48)! As for words for the purchaser, today you can really work them and get your money’s worth!”
Lee Hyun’s turn rolled around.
The announcer looked over Lee Hyun and sighed deeply as if depressed. Then he said into the microphone.
“If I were to tell you able the slave this time… It looks like he has good strength. I give up on a price. We’ll start from 10 won (~1 cent).”
A slave priced at 10 won!
Although the other slaves had started at a few hundred or even thousands of won, at least… Even though he knew it was a joke, Lee Hyun felt miserable.
But even at 10 won, no one was raising their hand.
“Here. 20 won!”
A middle aged woman with a child on her back within the audience must’ve felt sorry for him, because she raised her hand.
Then a hand from another side went up.
“I’ve got 20 won and another 10 won more!”
When he looked at the place where the shout had come from, it was his little sister Lee Hye Yeon.
To call out 30 won with such emotion, all for the sake of family!
The announcer shouted, “Now, it is up to 30 won. Does anyone want to go for 40 won?”
Since it was cheap, more people started calling out prices.
“390 won! If there isn’t anyone who’ll bid more than 390 won, then the winning bid will be awarded as it is. I’ll count from nine. Nine. Eight… Seven…”
A miserable price of 390 won!
As no one who would call out a higher price appeared, the announcer was going to award the winning bid.
It was when the countdown had gone down to two—
A girl in jeans, baseball jacket, and a hat jammed on, raised her hand.
“2 million won (~$2,000)!”
“2 million won! I heard 2 million won. Did I really hear someone say 2 million won?” The announcer shouted excitedly.
The crowd’s eyes also moved as one towards that girl. They thought it was really definitely a joke.
However, when that girl took off the baseball jacket and sunglasses, sounds of wonder emerged.
“It’s Jung Hyo Rin!”
“Jung Hyo Rin came to our school festival.”
She, who sang on world-renowned stages and was called a fairy, Jung Hyo Rin, had called 2 million won in the Slave Dating. Lee Hyun was sold to Jung Hyo Rin like that.
* * *
“Slave, your arm!”
Lee Hyun hurriedly locked arms with Jung Hyo Rin.
They were so close that he could smell an alluring fragrance. They locked arms and cleared the crowd as they headed toward another location
There were constantly people trying to ogle at Jung Hyo Rin, and the attention was focused on them.
Jung Hyo Rin couldn’t stop smiling.
“Hey, you’ll show me through the festival, right?”
“But I don’t know it well either…”
“It’s fine. The fun part is trying this and that while wandering around together. Although I’m a college student too, I haven’t been able to come to school much. You see, it’s my first time sightseeing a festival, though there have been many times when I sang at a festival.”
“Why don’t you just go around with someone else. Since I’m a busy person…”
“Slave, shall I return you?”
An explicit threat to return him!
For the slave, there was no freedom of choice. He couldn’t get onto the stage again or return the 2 million won, either.
“I’ll show you around the festival.”
“You should have said that earlier.”
Jung Hyo Rin understood Lee Hyun well and had gotten used to the way to handle him.
‘A threat is the most effective!’
Jung Hyo Rin clung onto Lee Hyun’s arm tightly. Lee Hyun could feel her body every time he walked. Her body which possessed not a shred of fat and her cushiony chest kept bumping into his arm.
“Hey, Master. Is it alright to do this, even though you’re a celebrity?”
“If we go around holding arms, it could create a misunderstanding.”
“What kind of misunderstanding?”
“In general, if you see a guy and a girl and attached like this…”
He heard people’s voices.
“Jung Hyo Rin-ssi, she’s really nice.”
“They say she donated 2 million won to the charity event Slave Dating.”
All the proceeds from the Slave Dating were to be used as charity donations.
“Just look at them holding arms.”
“Shhh! It’s fanservice. Fanservice.”
“Since it’s the kind Jung Hyo Rin, she’s treating him well like a boyfriend even though it’s a guy like him.”
“A newb slave that wasn’t even getting sold has completely grabbed a golden chance, jeez.”
Although there were reporters at the Korea University festival, they passed by them easily.
“We thought she had nothing to do with university festivals ever since she debuted and soared up from her first album, but for Jung Hyo Rin-ssi to be in a place like this… it’s surprising.”
“The fairy known worldwide is truly kind.”
She radiated plenty of dazzling charm.
Lee Hyun, who had left after working at the bar, didn’t just not suit her, but he really didn’t suit her.
It wasn’t possible to think otherwise, all the more because there had been times when she had brushed off proposals from Hollywood’s famous male actors. It was Jung Hyo Rin, who’d been far too clean when it came to scandals or things to do with men.
It was she who only loved songs.
“After holding arms with a guy once, it’s a little thrilling. I wonder if everyone holds arms for this kind of feeling…”
“I am just talking to myself.”
Lee Hyun had heard what she had said.
‘Although it’s my first time holding arms with a girl too…’
As he passed over twenty-two years of age, his contact with women was solely with his little sister.
The life that had come in contact with women only in the faint age when he’d carried her around on his back when she was a baby, changed her diapers, and given her baths!
“Shall we play human whack-a-mole?”
“I don’t want to…”
“It’s 2000 won (~$2).”
Two crumpled sheets of bills emerged from Lee Hyun’s pocket.
‘So a date with a woman costs money after all.’
For him to use 2,000 won, it seemed like this would be a day he wouldn’t be able to forget for the rest of his life.
It might even be something that could resurface in his moments of death in old age.
Jung Hyo Rin raised the plastic mallet without releasing his arm.
Lee Hyun tried to stand by and watch, but as he kept seeing her plastic mallet only missing, he couldn’t help himself from focusing on it.
“A little more to the left.”
“Now they’re about to come from the right!”
“The second from the left! It’s not going in right now. Catch it quickly!”
“I said I’m going to do it on my own!”
The competitive spirit of the two was raging up.
“Dang, I missed 12 of them.”
“You should have moved quicker.”
“I’m saying it was like that cause you kept making me talk on the side. If you just hadn’t made me talk, I wouldn’t have missed.”
“Try it again.”
“I’m really going to catch them all.”
Even though Jung Hyo Rin was swinging the plastic mallet even more fiercely than before, she didn’t release his arm.
As he was trying to remove his arm because he thought it might be uncomfortable, Lee Hyun’s hand grazed her hand slightly. Then, Jung Hyo Rin grabbed Lee Hyun’s hand tightly.
It was something that happened so naturally and intimately.
“Che! I missed three of them.”
“You did well though.”
“What do you want to play next?”
The couple that had grown friendly while catching moles!
Perhaps because Lee Hyun also felt comfortable, he suggested, “Wanna get some plushies by shooting BB-pistols?”
300 won (~30 cents) per shot!
Lee Hyun checked the prices and chose the cheapest game.
“Mister, please load ten bullets for each of us.”
This time, Jung Hyo Rin took out her own wallet and paid. It was an action that struck Lee Hyun deeply.
‘So she’s a nice girl…’
Jung Hyo Rin raised her pistol with one hand.
“I will shoot first.”
The bullets Jung Hyo Rin shot missed the plushies exquisitely. Even when they hit a plushie by some chance, it didn’t fall over.
This game was originally like this.
It was a war between the owner and the customers who were recklessly coveting the plushies!
After Jung Hyo Rin’s failure, Lee Hyun didn’t aim for the big plushies.
‘A medium-sized plushie was roughly 780 grams (~1.72 lbs). It’s a weight I’ve felt countless times whenever I sewed eyes onto plushies. It won’t be easy to take it down precisely with a BB-pellet.’
Even if it hit the center of the plushie, the force was not enough.
It was only possible by shooting a barrage.
Since he was throwing away 300 won per shot, Lee Hyun aimed carefully at a small sparrow plushie and knocked it down.
Lee Hyun planned to give the sparrow plushie to his little sister.
‘Looks like I can brush off this year’s birthday present with this.’
But Jung Hyo Rin snatched the plushie.
“Are you giving this to me?”
He couldn’t bear to refuse the sparkling eyes and beautiful expression that was asking him to give it to her.
“Y-you can have it.”
Jung Hyo Rin embraced the plushie preciously.
The two of them also rode the merry-go-round and watched a play by college students.
On the roof of Korea University’s main building they had the opportunity to see the night view of the city and the festival.
Even when the fireworks were embellishing the sky, Jung Hyo Rin didn’t let go of Lee Hyun’s hand. She didn’t confess her feeling for him; this was her way of conveying what she felt.
Lee Hyun thought, ‘She must really like holding hands.’
* * *
Jung Hyo Rin went up onto a small stage by the lakeside.
It was a shabby stage without much of an audience. There was only one master piano as an instrument.
“Shall we sing a song?” Jung Hyo Rin asked after sitting on the piano’s bench.
Since they were still holding hands, Lee Hyun also sat next to her.
“Any song… please tell me what piece you want. Any song is fine, but a happy piece would be nice. I feel so happy right now, I’m in a good mood.”
Jung Hyo Rin had toured around the world for concerts. With her magical voice, she made 60 thousand people go wild in her concert, and in some socialist countries, crowds of hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the plaza and fully enjoyed the freedom of music.
Although she was charming and shone incomparably bright when she was singing her song, once she left the stage, she went to sleep alone in her lonely hotel room.
Music was her only friend, a means to soothe her emptiness and loneliness. She sang of happiness, but she was actually very lonely after she sang.
She had the feeling that she would be able to sincerely sing happily if she was with Lee Hyun.
“Will you let me hear ‹ Dialogue of Eyes ›?”
Jung Hyo Rin’s debut song was ‹ Dialogue of Eyes ›.
It was also the song Lee Hyun’s little sister liked the most.
It was released when Jung Hyo Rin was still a sixteen-year old high school student, this song became a worldwide hit and she became a star.
Although her subsequent songs received even more love from the public, there were many people who couldn’t forget the ‹ Dialogue of Eyes › a youthful lady had sung.
“I’ll sing it for you. In return… I’ll play with only one hand.”
There are no words in this world.
Just us repeating the meaningless murmurs.
Please say what you want to say.
Since I cannot listen.
Jung Hyo Rin’s voice spread out like magic, amply rich and beautiful as it was enveloped in the melody of the slightly lacking piano which she played with one hand.
Dialogues does not exist.
Connections made by the glint of the eyes.
Please show me the light of your eyes.
Earnestness, pain, despair, anger, regret, desire, intimacy, love
Please express all these feelings through your eyes.
A crowd, drawn by the music, walked towards the stage.
They found a place to sit quietly in order to avoid making even a slight disturbance.
Then they pulled out their cellphones and sent texts to their friends.
‘Jung Hyo Rin’s singing on the lake concert stage. Come quickly!’
Please tell me if you’ve eaten well, and where we must go with your eyes.
If we look into each other’s eyes, we can read our feelings.
A world without misunderstandings and distortions.
So I can understand you, your feelings while looking into your eyes, we must make an effort.
Even so, we can never truly understand each other’s thoughts.
Even if you see an action you cannot understand, I can accept it.
Because I may also do the same.
Looking at the light of your eyes is an uncertain vagueness.
They aren’t words without feeling, please illuminate my happiness.
So that I can see myself in your eyes.
Even for just a short while, don’t divert your eyes from my face.
One heart in one glance.
Please illuminate my heart.
The closer your shining eyes are, the better.
As ever, she sang with a magical voice.
She wasn’t the youthful high school student she had been, but a woman who was now learning to truly love.
The magical voice did not convey sadness and grief, but was weeping to be taught about love.
Then, I want to speak with the light of my eyes.
Hear the sound of your eye’s voice.
Because it will furrow far more deeply into your heart.
I will be able to convey what words cannot.
Speak with your eyes.
I want to see the light in your eyes.
Jung Hyo Rin did not look at the piano.
She looked at the Lee Hyun who was sitting right next to her, as she sang with her sparkling obsidian eyes.