Chapter 2. Finally Seoul (2)
The bullies coughed several times. They stealthily got up, then they hurriedly ran away after surveying the situation. Woojin thought about chasing after them. However, he didn’t have any reasons to do so, therefore he left them alone.
“Th..thank you very much.”
As Do-jaemin approached him, he bowed his head. This strange person was wearing weird clothes, but he had helped Jaemin.
“Ah, it is nothing. However, let me ask you a question.”
Jaemin had started to come up with a story when he heard Woojin’s words. Since he had rescued a kid from being beaten by bullies, he thought he would ask a question like ‘Why were they hitting you?’.
Of course, this was assuming he was a normal adult.
“What’s today’s date?”
“I’m asking for today’s date.”
“Ah, it is November, 10th.”
“What year is it?”
“It is 2015.”
Kim-woojin was so surprised that he didn’t speak for a long time. He had been ‘summoned’ to the other world on the year 2010. He was in his 3rd year of high school.
“Ha. What is happening?”
He had spent twenty years over there, but only five years had passed on earth. Woojin pressed his hand against his temple as he ordered his thoughts.
“Maybe this is better for me?”
He thought that twenty years had passed here and would never suspected otherwise. This was why he thought it would be impossible for him to find his family again. However, if it had only been five years, then they might be living in the same house.
Once he thought about it, it wasn’t a bad situation.
He looked for a mirror in his surrounding but couldn’t find one. Woojin’s eyes once again looked towards Jaemin.
“Hey, how old do I look?”
Should the idiom, ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’, be used in this situation? He had escaped the bullies, yet he might have been caught by a crazy person now.
Jaemin thought about what to say, but he decided to speak as he saw it.
“Is that so?”
‘Did my body get younger? Did I find my youth after I lost all my magic? Or, was my body restructured?’
He would gradually puzzle over it, but Woojin had to resolve some urgent business first.
He had returned after twenty years, but only five years had passed.
His most urgent priority was to find his family. He couldn’t remember his home phone number, and of course, he didn’t remember his family’s phone numbers. Fortunately, he was at the high school he had attended so he remembered how to find his way back home to his family.
If they hadn’t moved away, he would be able to have a reunion with his family today.
The problem was, how would he get home?
It was a distance that he couldn’t just walk. The distance was equivalent to taking a subway through seven stations. Woojin’s eyes were uncertain.
“Let me borrow some money.”
“Let me borrow some transportation fee.”
Jaemin regretted not running away with the bullies. He didn’t dare to refuse him. He had taken out the bullies with one blow, so if Jaemin refused, his fists wouldn’t forgive Jaemin.
Jaemin turned out his pocket, then he pushed forward all his money.
He had 7300 won.
“Thank you. I promise I’ll pay you back.”
“N..no. You don’t have to.”
“Uh-huh. Do you see me as someone, who would extort from a kid? I’ll pay you back.”
Woojin rooted through his pocket, then he spoke as if he had forgotten something.
“Oh yeah. I don’t have a hand phone. Write your phone number on a paper for me.”
Jaemin followed Woojin’s words, and he took out a notebook from his backpack. He ripped the corner of the notebook, then he wrote his phone number. He thought over dozens of times whether he should write his phone number or if he should write a fake number.
‘Eh-it. He won’t be able to tell.’
Jaemin purposefully wrote down a fake phone number. He didn’t want to be called out, and be extorted again. He wanted to get out of here as fast as he can before the man could harass him.
“All right. Big brother will contact you, and I’ll pay back the money.”
“Yes. Have a nice day.”
Even if the man doesn’t pay him back, Jaemin wanted to quickly vacate this place, and he never wanted to see the man again. Woojin was alone again. He left the incineration plant then he walked around the school.
“Ha. The memories keeps popping up into my head.”
Only five years had passed, but it had been twenty years since he visited his school.
“I’m 24 years old? Mother and father should be over 50 years old now.”
When he thought about his family, his heart was deeply moved again. He had endured the hellish time, as he wished for the day he would once again return to his family’s embrace.
“I wonder if Sooah grew a lot?”
His youngest sibling, Sooah, was 2 years old when he left, so she should already be 7 years old now. Woonjin’s steps quickened as he thought about his family.
When he walked on the side-walks after exiting the school, every person he met whispered behind his back. It was understandable since Woojin’s clothes was in rough shape.
Maybe it was the effect of the Dimensional Travel, but his equipment had evaporated. Woojin looked like a mess. Even the shoes he wore were leather shoes, so he would look strange in the eyes of the people.
He was unnecessarily embarrassed, but it couldn’t curb Woojin’s spirit. Woojin’s mental state had transcended the point where he wouldn’t lower his head, because of his clothes.
It’ll only be embarrassing until he had reached his house.
Woojin tried hard to ignore the whispers emanating from the people, and he found the subway station.
“Huh? Why is the military troops here? Was there an accident?”
Soldiers were clustered around the entrance to the subway station. It didn’t seem like a training exercise. They even put up a steel fence, and they had guards posted.
“Jeez. What is this?”
Woo-jiin tried to talk to a pedestrian passing by at that moment.
“Excuse me. I would like to ask you a question.”
“Ah, I don’t believe in it.”
An older woman in her 40s replied in annoyance as if she had seen some kind of insect. She hurriedly moved her feet, and she disappeared in haste.
What is this? It felt weird.
He quickly stopped two female students, who seemed to be high school students.
“Ah, let go of me. I don’t know anything about religion.”
Woojin became angry at the irritated response, but he tried hard to calm him heart.
“I’m not here to ask you to believe in a religion. What are those soldiers doing over there? Are they training?”
“Of course, the soldiers are guarding the dungeon entrance. Ah, let me go. I have to go to my tutoring school.”
The female student broke free from Woojin’s grasp. She started walking away, while she rubbed her arm as if his touch was unclean.
“Ha, how rude.”
He guessed people referred to the subway station as dungeons. He thought the five years was a short time, but apparently it wasn’t.
“I guess it is a popular slang used by the kids.”
Well, he did the same thing when he was in school.
Short-handed words and slangs changed incredibly fast with the development of the internet. It wouldn’t be surprising if someone like Woojin from 5 years ago would not know these terms.
“Huh? There are no soldiers over there.”
After confirming no one was present at the entrance of the subway station across the street, he crossed the street. When he descended the stairway of the subway entrance, he saw iron bars and a steel door like one would see in a prison.
“What the heck? Why did they block this place off?”
No wonder no one was here. They had shut this place down. Woojin looked across the steel bars, and he saw light coming from the subway tunnel.
The steel door was locked with a sturdy lock. He looked around his surrounding and he saw a small booth like the apartment guard booths. He looked around inside, and he saw a bundle of keys. He took it and he tried to open the lock.
“What is this? Did the subway workers go on a strike?”
He returned the bundle of keys to the booth, then he headed toward the other side of the steel door. There were no one underneath the blinking florescent lights, and the atmosphere was quite creepy.
“They might have shut down the station instead of going on a strike.”
If the station was shut down then there was no chance they would operate the subway train.
Woojin was about to turn around when it happened.
“Huh. What is this?”