SPACE 5. Hospital Incident
A middle aged man’s leg shook and trembled. He pinched his collar, twisted his plastic cup, pinched his collar, stood up while grabbing his hair, sigh and sat back down, bit his lips, twisted his plastic cup…..
“Ah? Uh? Me? Why? What?”
The middle age main raised his head like a surprised chicken and restlessly looked around
“Please sit down politely. Why are you so anxious? Please take a deep breath and calm down. Does Father also need to be examined? Calm your spirit.”
“What are you saying?”
The middle aged man snapped angrily. He snorted and hit his thick chest with his fist.
“Don’t you know me? I am Gwon Hwa-rang who was called invincible in the Gangnam area. My mind, body and indomitable spirit makes me healthier than anyone else.”
“The Gangnam area? Doesn’t that mean you’re not invincible in other areas? And if you lose your healthy body then you’ll be a corpse.”
“Why is my child questioning me so closely? The main point is that I’m healthy.”
“You look excessively healthy.”
Hyun-woo laughed and muttered. Anyone who say the man would think he wasn’t excessively healthy. His arms, chest and leg muscles were bulging through his jacket and jeans. His darkly tanned exposed skin really seemed like iron. With the exception of his face, it was hard to imagine looking at his body that he was 50 years old. The middle aged man was Gwon Hwa-rang.
This was a brief biography of Gwon Hwa-rang…..he graduated from the police academy with honours and became a greatly admired hot blooded detective until he retired due to a gun accident. Many years were spent in a gloomy mood until he married Hyun-woo’s mother! Now he was Hyun-woo’s stepfather. After spending so long in the hospital, Hyun-woo’s mother and Gwon Hwa-rang became interested in social movements and spend half a year helping in places like South Africa That’s why Gwon Hwa-rang’s skin was darkened.
The reason Gwon Hwa-rang was acting so strange was due to Hyun-woo’s mother. Hyun-woo had actually opposed his mother’s overseas relief efforts. He like helping people in difficult situations. Hyun-woo also experienced difficulties times so he made donations when he could. But the problem was his mother’s help. His mother had spent several years living in hospital so he was still worried about her health. However, his mother was very stubborn and he was forced to give in with some conditions. She had to come back at least 2 times a year to receive a comprehensive examination. That was the reason Gwon Hwa-rang and his mother returned home after 5 months. Then……
“Will it be okay? Huh? Hyun-woo, it’s not a big deal right?”
“I mean…..if something was wrong with Park So-mi…..really…..?”
“It’s going to be fine. Mother isn’t as weak as Father thinks. She had such a big accident where even the doctors gave up but his efforts helped her recover.”
“Yes, that’s right. She is strong. Park So-mi is strong. Yes, really.”
Gwon Hwa-rang nodded at his words. His mother had been burning up when Hyun-woo met them at Incheon Airport. And she had collapsed at the airport. This was the reason for Gwon Hwa-rang’s crazy actions. In fact, this was the good part. Hyun-woo had fallen into a state of panic when rushing to the hospital in the emergency vehicle. Then Hyun-woo realized something again.
‘Now I’m not the only one worrying about my mother……’
He felt like it was truly fortunate but he also somehow felt lonely. She was his mother but Hyun-woo felt like a father sending off his daughter.
‘But this isn’t what I’m talking about.’
Hyun-woo soothed Gwon Hwa-rang who had started crying.
‘It’s a fact that he is my father but this is the first time I truly felt it!’
That’s why he was able to appear calm. Hyun-woo’s thoughts were then interrupted.
“The family of patient Park So-mi, please come in.”
“Yes! We’re here!”
Hyun-woo and Gwon Hwa-rang jumped up. They felt anxious as the doctor kept on looking at a chart on the computer. After a moment the doctor smiled and began to talk.
“You don’t need to be worried.”
“S-she is okay? Are there any big problems?”
“Yes, the check-up revealed that there wasn’t any special problem.”
“Then why all of a sudden ….”
“The cause is due to fatigue. Her fatigue has accumulated. And she seems to have received a lot of stress recently. Her built up stress and fatigue made her temporarily collapse but she should feel better after some rest.”
A sigh naturally emerged from Hyun-woo’s mouth. He could guess why his mother was so stressed. In all likelihood, it was 100% due to the real estate slump of the Taek Mountains property. Hyun-woo had received a shock when he heard that the price had fallen to 1/10th of the original. It was natural since his money was invested in that land. But he was more worried about his mother’s health. The person who bought the real estate through Yoo An-gook was his mother. His mother was thinking that she wasted the money her son had earned and the mistake had been eating at her. His mother would naturally feel a sense of responsibility so he was worried it would harm her health. The money was fine. Hyun-woo had gone through some ups and downs and now he was living well. However, he wouldn’t be able to bear it if his mother was back in the hospital. It wasn’t surprising that he was anxious after her collapse.
‘Fortunately there isn’t any big problem but……’
Once again anger welled up at Korea’s politicians. He hadn’t told Yoo An-gook, the rehabilitation hyung-nims, Gwon Hwa-rang or his mother but Hyun-woo already guessed the culprit of the real estate slump. It was probably Lucifer. It was highly possible that Lucifer was controlling the nuclear power plant near the Taek Mountains. He felt angry but he couldn’t blame the people selling the real estate. It was directed at the politicians who knew the information in advance. The politicians were the ones talking about being devoted to the common people while making their lives harder. But now wasn’t the time to think about that.
“What should we do now?”
“Stability is important for the moment. There are still a few tests left so she should stay in the hospital for a few days. And she needs some nutrients. Her age doesn’t mean she’ll have trouble in the early stages of pregnancy but it is better to be careful.”
Gwon Hwa-rang sighed with relief and nodded. And he blinked a few times before stuttering.
“Early stages of pregnancy…..what did you say?”
“Didn’t you know?”
“No, that…..pregnant….I mean…..a baby is going to be born?”
“You should know what the word pregnancy means.”
The doctor said with a smile.
Gwon Hwa-rang turned around and stared at Hyun-woo. But Hyun-woo’s spirit had already flown away to Andromeda.
‘Mother is pregnant? Pregnant? Then I’ll have a younger sibling? Sibling? Sibling? Sibling! Ohhh! A boy! No, a girl! Eh, I don’t know! Anyway, a young sibling! A younger sibling!’
Hyun-woo who had fallen into a state of panic shouted back at Gwon Hwa-rang.
“Father, I’m going to be an older brother!”
“Yes, Hyun-woo! I’m going to be a father!”
“Damn, I’m also your son!”
“What are you saying? Don’t worry! I’ll raise you both with no discrimination!”
“What? Of course you have to discriminate! This is my younger sibling!”
“Ohhh! Life is good! Hyun-woo!”
Hyun-woo and Gwon Hwa-rang yelled and embraced each other. The doctor and nurses stared as Hyun-woo and a 180 cm tall Gwon Hwa-rang embraced while crying.
“I understand your feelings but please calm down. If you do this here then it can cause problems.”
How could they calm down when they suddenly heard such news?
The two men’s excitement didn’t subside so the doctor scratched his head and continued talking.
“Park So-mi has been moved to the hospital room. If her husband and son don’t know then it is likely that Park So-mi is also unaware of her pregnancy. She already has experience giving birth but I’ll have a nurse instruct her about what to do during early pregnancy. I’ll also prescribe some nutrient supplements that will be helpful in early pregnancy.”
Hyun-woo grabbed the doctor’s hand and said.
“Will it be a younger brother or a younger sister?”
“No, the pregnancy is still too early to tell……”
“I don’t care if it is a boy or girl but please make sure my younger sibling is born healthy. My mother too! Mother has to be healthy as well! Yes, please give her the best nutrients! It doesn’t matter how much it costs!”
“No, expensive nutrients aren’t necessarily better……”
“Hey, you fool!”
Gwon Hwa-rang hit the back of Hyun-woo’s head and shouted. He pushed Hyun-woo away and grabbed the doctor’s hand. “Is it one shot? Please give her shots with the best stuff!”
“No, that is…..”
The doctor muttered with an awkward expression. Then the nurse next to them burst out laughing and said.
“They are happy. Park So-mi ssi will be glad. The two men can barely stand it.”
“It is like that…..”
The two men were shocked by the pregnancy news and were excited for a while. But they made ignorant noises about giving the most expensive supplements or shots. Meanwhile So-mi just stroked her stomach and smiled when she heard the news. Her calm attitude had a sedative effect on the two men. It was quite fortunate from the hospital’s viewpoint.
“My body felt different these days but I never thought I would be pregnant.”
“You mean, this body……”
Gwon Hwa-rang tried to say something but closed his mouth. He grasped Mother’s hand and cried out.
“You’re worried about being a burden for no reason.”
“W-what nonsense are you saying? A burden? I have to say, I…..so far I’ve been living alone. During the days I was fighting against criminals, there were times I thought I wouldn’t come back alive. I had no family. This might sound weird but I made a son. I was already full of happiness from that. Now that happiness has increased. I…..I really am happy……”
Tears started to flow down Gwon Hwa-rang’s face. Then he buried his face in the bed and started crying.
“Now now, I understand. I don’t want to hear a sound like that so calm down.”
His mother laughed softly and stroked Gwon Hwa-rang’s back. She looked up at Hyun-woo and asked.
“Are you okay?”
She was asking if he wanted to be an older brother. It was an absurd question. Wasn’t it impossible for him to not like it? It was an amazing situation.
“Do you want me to cry too?”
“Please don’t. Having two grown men cry like babies will be embarrassing.”
“Am I embarrassing?”
Gwon Hwa-rang pouted with face soaked with tears.
“By the way, why are you acting like a kid? Soon you’re going to be the dad of two people.”
“Yes yes. Now I’m the dad of two people. Hyun-woo. You may call my Father as well.”
Gwon Hwa-rang wiped away his tears and laughed. Hyun-woo was really worried about leaving his mother and younger sibling to this person. When thinking of the future, he had help raise them. Just as Hyun-woo was thinking this. His mother sighed with a depressed expression.
“By the way I’m really sorry.”
Hyun-woo interrupted his mother’s words.
“Don’t talk like that. This isn’t something for Mother to be concerned about. I’ve been talking on the phone with An-gook hyung and he says the drop is temporary. So you don’t have to worry and just continue recovering.”
“Would I lie to Mother?”
“I remember so many instances that I can’t count.”
“T-that…..this time I really am telling the truth. Do you want to call An-gook hyung and ask him?”
“I believe that your words are true.”
“It is true so don’t look at me like that. So Mother doesn’t need to worry anymore. Mother is pregnant now. The doctor said you have to be careful during the early stages of pregnancy so please relax. That will help me and Father.”
“I can’t do that.”
“In fact, I actually returned this time because of you.”
“Aren’t you getting older now? I told you many times but a man needs a home to become a dignified adult.”
“I’m only 26.”
“Age is not important. If you have the ability to be responsible for a home then you’re of marriageable age. Aren’t you the director of a large enterprise? It is ridiculous for someone like you to be alone. Father and I will often be abroad in the future so the fact that you’re alone is weighing on my mind. However I came into contact with an old friend not long ago who told me about a good girl.”
“Are you really trying to find someone for me to marry?”
“What’s wrong with that? A lot of people do blind dates these days.”
“Mother’s only request is that you meet a good person. If you meet a good person then I can concentrate on giving birth.”
Gwon Hwa-rang suddenly raised his head. He grabbed Hyun-woo’s shoulder and shouted.
“Don’t be a troublemaker and get married like Mother said! Otherwise Mother can’t confidently give birth to her child! So get married! Go meet the woman Mother is introducing you to and get married!”
“You, why are you joking about marriage?”
“…..Do I sound like I’m joking?”
Gwon Hwa-rang stared at him with roaring eyes.
“If something happens to my child because of this then I will burn out your eyeballs!”
Hyun-woo had nothing to say after seeing that.
“I understand. I’ll think about it seriously.”
“Good. If he marries the woman you introduce him to then you can concentrate on managing your health.”
“What marriage? I said I would think about meeting her!”
Hyun-woo shouted at Gwon Hwa-rang. His mother laughed and nodded.
“Yes honey. Now I’m relieved.”
His mother and Gwon Hwa-rang seemed intent on pushing him. Anyway, his mother was fatigued and soon fell asleep. Hyun-woo and Gwon Hwa-rang exited after confirming that Mother was deeply asleep. Hyun-woo and Gwon Hwa-rang sat down in front of a coffee vending machine.
“Are you going back to South Africa?”
“Well I should go. There is still a lot of work left to do.”
Gwon Hwa-rang nodded and replied.
“But Park So-mi is pregnant so we should stay here for a bit. Fortunately we don’t have to return for a couple of months.
“Honestly I’m slightly worried. Based on the news, the situation there doesn’t seem good these days…..of course I don’t object to the idea of you helping refugees. But even if you’re doing something good, it’s still dangerous. I see on the news that some kids are even carrying guns around…..it didn’t matter before but now Mother is pregnant……”
“It’s not like that.”
Gwon Hwa-rang stared bitterly at a coffee cup.
“In fact, I’m not the one who wanted to go in the first place. I just followed Park So-mi. But now it is different. My outlook on life has changed. In that place there are people who can’t even buy a cup of coffee. Someone has to help them. Your mother is helping people like that. I’m proud that someone like that is my wife.”
Hyun-woo also felt proud as well. However, his pride was separate from his worry about his mother. Hyun-woo made a sombre expression and Gwon Hwa-rang knocked him on the shoulder before smiling.
“Don’t worry. I told you, the place where Park So-mi is helping isn’t as dangerous as you think. Actually, I was visiting a refugee camp last time and I met an officer of the government. I was invited by the FBI to become a martial arts teacher. There are several conveniences and no danger.”
Gwon Hwa-rang casually talked about something that would appear in a movie. Gwon Hwa-rang was a special human. There was no criminal gangs who didn’t know Gwon Hwa-rang’s name. His power was the reason the rehabilitation members submitted to Gwon Hwa-rang. But Gwon Hwa-rang had no interest in his fame. When Gwon Hwa-rang moved in with his mother. Hyun-woo helped move his luggage and found a thick pile of paper in a corner. Various certificates of appreciation and commendations for catching criminals were piled up like a thick encyclopaedia. Gwon Hwa-rang casually replied after Hyun-woo asked him about it.
–Ah, just put it with the recyclable waste.
All the awards that would’ve normally be hanging up ended up in the trash. But Gwon Hwa-rang treasured the letters of thanks sent by people he helped. This was a person who couldn’t even put on his socks correctly. He was such a man. He was an honourable existence to Hyun-woo and his mother. Thus he had been able to let his mother go in peace to South Africa.
“But what happens if she gives birth to the child? You can’t bring up a newborn baby in a place like that.”
“Well…. Anyway, the doctor said that stability is important right now so we don’t need to worry about that for a while. I will discuss the matter with Mother. You just worry about Mother’s wish for you to get married.”
“Is Father really acting like this? You expect me to get married alone? There needs to be a partner.”
“Then go on the blind date. If you go on the blind date then won’t Mother stop complaining for a bit?Anyway, have you decided yet?”
Gwon Hwa-rang said before standing up from his seat.
“I have to go back to the airport. Park So-mi collapsed so our luggage is still at the airport. I’ll move the luggage to the house and come back in the evening. Will you be in the hospital until then?”
“I should be.”
“Okay then I’ll see you soon, son.”
Gwon Hwa-rang laughed before leaving the hospital. He stayed at the hospital but his mother was asleep so there wasn’t a lot of things left to do.
‘Should I start my hacking practice?’
Hyun-woo sat down in front of the hospital room and took out his phone. Hyun-woo’s hacking skill was very important in Galaxian. The way to use this skill was to clear mini games. Fortunately he had been familiar with the games so it hadn’t been difficult so far but that would change in the future. So Hyun-woo sometimes used his phone to train his hacking skill.
Pico pico! Byong byong! Ddiridiri! Byong byong!
Hyun-woo was immersed in his games.
“Nurse, nurse, please come here!”
A desperate voice was heard near him. The nurses and doctor ran towards the room of the person making a fuss. Hyun-woo wondered what was going on but he wasn’t going to join the crowd swarming the hospital room. When his mother was in the ICU, Hyun-woo had also called for the nurses in desperate voices a few times. And each time people flocked to the hospital room.
Some were curious while others were worried. But Hyun-woo just felt like they wanted to watch other people’s misfortunes. No patient or family would welcome the attention. Hyun-woo recalled that memory.
“Like I said before, even if the patient is unconscious their reflexes means their fingers or toes sometimes move. I checked and it seems to be the case this time. But don’t be too disappointed. The results have improved since the previous check-ups. If you spot a change then call a nurse.”
‘The unconscious patient is just like my mother.’
Hyun-woo sighed and turned away. At that moment, Hyun-woo felt his heart drop.
“Yes, thank you.”
A young woman appeared at the hospital room door and bowed. Surprisingly she was someone Hyun-woo knew. She was dressed in baggy clothes unlike the last time but he could recognize her face immediately.
Irina who he saw at the charity party! In the game she was the officer in charge of the prisoner’s supplies on Beltana.
‘What? Irina also know someone in this hospital? This is……’
The last time Hyun-woo saw Irina was shortly after his return to Nephalim. At that time, Hyun-woo heard that Irina had helped him while he was imprisoned and jumped to the conclusion that she had a crush. But they had no time to talk and he forgot about her. He never thought he would see her again in a place like this. Hyun-woo couldn’t concentrate on the game anymore. He got up and stealthily sneaked behind the people around the room. He looked through the crack in the door and saw a room full of medical equipment. She was sitting down in the same place Hyun-woo always sat. She also had the same expression as she held the patient’s hand…..
A bitter voice was heard through the door. A drop of water fell down her chin as the woman lowered her head. Long forgotten feelings surged through Hyun-woo as he saw the tear. He forgot the pain and desperation.
And he forgot……
A dark room was filled with cigarette smoke. 10 people were sitting around with heavy looks. One of them was the owner of the building. Several members were frowning and the room had a heavy atmosphere. The 10 men gathered in the room while smoking. Suddenly a guy jumped up. He broke the serious atmosphere as he bowed and shouted.
“Hyung-nim, I committed a sin! Please kill me!”
The middle age man frowned and declared sharply.
“What is this about killing? Are we gangsters? I’m 50 and enjoying my honeymoon yet you want me to kill you? And what is with this atmosphere? Has a raccoon been caught? Why are you smoking in such excessive amounts? Are you trying to commit suicide? Get it together. You’re going to live a long time. Because soon I’ll be a baby daddy!”
“Huh? A-A baby daddy?”
“Heok! T-then Hyung-nim…..”
“Yes that’s right. This hyung-nim is going to be a dad.”
“Sister-in-law is pregnant?”
“Then? Do I look like I’m pregnant?”
The man rolled his eyes as he replied. Then the crowd cheered with joy and started making noises.
“Wow! Hyung-nim, you succeeded!”
“I never would’ve expected it from someone who a bachelor just recently!”
“A man is still a man. “It is wonderful!”
“You really are having a child….no, that’s it. Anyway, we have to live a long time! Turn on the lights. We’ll now live slightly brighter. Huh? Brighter.”
Someone else quickly turned on the lights and opened the window. The middle aged man’s face was revealed as Gwon Hwa-rang. The remaining people were the rehabilitation members. Hae Gyeol-sa was the one who turned on the lights and Ma Chorung said after studying Gwon Hwa-rang’s face.
“Hyung-nim, did you come find us to inform us about sister-in-law being pregnant?”
“No that’s not it. Haven’t you heard? A pregnant woman shouldn’t worry. Don’t you know what she’ll be like is you shoulder the responsibility?”
“That would be a problem.”
“You understand me.”
Gwon Hwa-rang’s expression tightened.
“That is the reason but……”
Gwon Hwa-rang stared at Yoo An-gook and said.
“Park So-mi is worried about the Taek Mountains real estate issue. The accumulated stress caused her to collapse at the airport. That’s why I decided to visit you. I don’t feel good not seeing you guys before departing but it also reminded me of the real estate problem.”
The rehabilitation members scowled at Yoo An-gook. Yoo An-gook’s image had changed because of this problem. But Gwon Hwa-rang shook his head and said.
“That’s it. This isn’t An-gook’s fault. You don’t have to act like he committed a sin. But didn’t you call Hyun-woo and say that the real estate problem was solved?”
“No. I never…..”
“I can guess. That brat, he wants to take care of everything.”
Gwon Hwa-rang grunted with a faint smile on his face. But he soon scratched his head with an irritated expression and said.
“Anyway, that means there is still no way to fix this. Is that right?”
“Yes, so far…..”
“So? Do you know the reason behind the real estates’ price plunge? Why did people who bought the land at an expensive price rush to sell it so suddenly?”
“I don’t know. The value of the land originally rose because the government announced they were building a major building there. I assumed the value dropped because the people heard that plan was cancelled. But my sources told me the government hasn’t made any decision yet.”
“So you still haven’t figured out the case?”
Yoo An-gook hung his head and replied. Then Gwon Hwa-rang spoke in an unconcerned voice.
“Is that why you’re all gathered here looking so worried? The solution to the problem is simple. If you’re not sure why then ask.”
“Huh? W-who do I ask?”
“Didn’t you get the names of the owners when trading with them? Then look for the original owners.”
“Many of the real estate transactions involve politicians.”
“What about it? Are you joking?”
“No, that’s not it…..”
“Do I look like I’m laughing now?”
Gwon Hwa-rang interrupted the rehabilitation members’ words. And he muttered in a low voice.
“Just ask them why they sold the land. If they don’t answer then something is suspicious. In other words…..my Park So-mi would’ve received stress because of something they did. My woman! My wife who is having a child! Now, I’ll ask again. Do I look like I’m laughing?”
“I told you many times.”
Gwon Hwa-rang spoke with eyes gleaming like a wild beast.
“Justice will always win. I’ve proved that to be true. This is for my child.”
He was filled with a wild, vibrant streak.