“For the time being, let me accompany you back to your home.”
Yu Jin-Ho left the hospital room of his father, Chairman Yu, with Secretary Kim a little while later.
But, just before the door to this special hospital room closed shut, a portion of the shadow beneath Yu Jin-Ho’s feet separated away and slipped inside the room. No one witnessed this strange phenomenon happen.
The door closed shut and the light within the room automatically switched off. And time continued to tick by like this.
When the hour became late and no more people came around to visit this room, a ‘shadow’ sneaked out from underneath Chairman Yu’s bed.
Then, an ant soldier emerged from this shadow. He quietly looked around the room and discovered the sleeping Chairman Yu.
What sort of delicious open buffet was this?
The ant soldier fixed his gaze on the Chairman Yu and began drooling avariciously, but too bad for him, he got rapidly sucked into the shadow and was replaced by Jin-Woo.
That was the effect of the skill ‘Shadow Exchange’.
Jin-Woo already had cloaked himself with ‘Stealth’ even before activating the exchange. Now that he was here, he took a careful look around the hospital room.
There was no source of light to be found inside and, as a result, it was completely dark in the room, but with his Perception Stat having reached such an extreme peak, he could see just fine as if this was in the middle of the day.
Jin-Woo’s eyes gleamed coldly in the darkness as he finished searching for the presence of security cameras in the room.
‘Looks like it’s clean.’
The only people nearby were four guards manning the door from the outside.
As long as there was no event of Chairman Yu Myung-Han suddenly waking up and start yelling at the top of his lungs, Jin-Woo’s presence wouldn’t be detected at all.
Feeling sure of this conclusion, he undid his ‘Stealth’.
His once-transparent body revealed its faint outer line before gradually regaining its original colour.
There was a reason why Jin-Woo was being doubly, triply cautious like this. Because he should not carelessly reveal the existence of the item called ‘Divine Water of Life’ to anyone. That’s what he thought.
Not too long ago, Chairman Yu presented him with a blank cheque. That was not all. He even promised to fulfil whatever Jin-Woo wished for as long as it was within his powers.
Did he offer all those juicy terms because he was a kind-hearted gentleman? Of course not.
No way such a thing was true.
He was a man who stood at the apex of the cutthroat corporate world where one could only survive by coldly calculating their gains and losses.
He was also a naturally-gifted businessman who even managed to turn a small corporation he inherited from his parents into one of the biggest conglomerates in the entire world.
He should be fully aware of the true worth of something that ‘can heal the illness he’s suffering from’. And that was his reason for offering up everything he could realistically put on the table.
However, not everyone in this world was as gentlemanly in conduct as Chairman Yu. Desperation could sometimes become a motive that caused one to make rash decisions.
Meaning, it was for the best not to create a potential source of trouble.
That was Jin-Woo’s reason for concealing the existence of the ‘Divine Water of Life’ to the best of his abilities.
Even if he was the father of the kid he thought of as his little brother, Jin-Woo wasn’t naïve enough to risk unknown dangers that may or may not occur in the future for the sake of Chairman Yu, someone whom he didn’t know all that well, to begin with.
‘Well, there wouldn’t be that many naïve fools out there who bring out an item like ‘Divine Water of Life’ just because someone asked them to….’
So, he waited quietly for the best timing to make his move, and finally, that moment had arrived.
It wasn’t as if Chairman Yu’s life would negatively be affected or he’d suffer from some after-effects just because the treatment came about a little later.
If Jin-Woo were to think about those who might be getting a raw deal out of this, then it’d only be the shareholders who quickly got rid of all their shares related with Yujin Corporation after hearing about Chairman Yu’s collapse.
‘Is this why people say investing in stock markets is pretty much the case of ‘all or nothing’?’
Jin-Woo smirked to himself and accessed his Inventory to retrieve one of the five remaining bottles of the ‘Divine Water of Life’.
With the usage of this one bottle, he’d had four more left.
He knew exactly what it was like to lose one’s parent through this illness. So, he felt that using this bottle for Yu Jin-Ho’s sake was not a loss to him in the slightest.
‘That kid, why did have to he go and cry like that? Making me feel all bad and stuff.’
Jin-Woo carefully raised the upper torso of Chairman Yu Myung-Han, opened his lips, and slowly poured in the ‘Divine Water of Life’.
Very slowly, and only a small amount at a time.
However, Chairman Yu must’ve known that this item was the sole lifeline capable of saving him, because he gulped the Water down rather commendably well.
The bottle became empty in no time at all.
Jin-Woo lowered Chairman Yu’s upper torso back on the bed and returned the empty bottle to his Inventory.
Just like how he remembered with his mother’s case, the colour of vitality returned to Chairman Yu’s complexion very quickly. Even his faint, weakly-beating heart gradually picked up pace, as well.
Jin-Woo nodded his head in satisfaction.
The medicine was working perfectly.
The only remaining thing would be to escape from this room before Chairman Yu Myung-Han wakes up and leave not one trace of himself behind. Jin-Woo reactivated ‘Stealth’ and stood before the room’s door.
The door could only be opened by pressing an electronic button either on the outside or inside, yet it automatically opened up by itself, so the guards quickly fell into a state of panic.
Before long, though, they spotted Chairman Yu through the glass wall.
An event dozens of times – no, make that hundreds and thousands of times – more shocking than the door opening up was unfolding inside the hospital room.
The guards all discovered Chairman Yu sitting upright on the bed and their eyes almost popped out of their sockets.
“C-Chairman has… woken up?!”
Guards stood there completely frozen as if they had seen a ghost, before one of them regained his wits and loudly yelled out, veins on his neck visibly bulging in the process.
“Doctor!! Where is a doctorrrrr!!”
Excluding one guard who ran to elsewhere in search of a doctor, the rest quickly rushed inside the hospital room.
“Are you alright?”
Yu Myung-Han formed a refreshed expression of someone just waking up from a good, long rest and took a look at the guards.
“Why are you people raising such a fuss here? Besides all that, who are you people, anyway?”
Yu Myung-Han cut into the guard’s reply, and took a good look around his surroundings first. And he found himself in the VIP hospital room designed to accommodate a victim of the Eternal Sleep.
He easily recognised this place, because it was he who had prepared this room soon after learning of his own terminal condition.
‘Which means, I….’
Could he really have?
“….Did I collapse, but somehow woke up again?”
Chairman Yu Myung-Han’s head quickly swivelled in the direction of that sound. He watched through the glass wall the electronic door slowly closing shut by itself.
The elevator’s door slid open.
Jin-Woo wordlessly stared at the cordon of doctors rushing in from the other end of the corridor as if they were gathering storm clouds before climbing into the empty elevator.
Now that he thought about it, wasn’t Yu Jin-Ho’s birthday at the end of this month?
‘I know it’s a bit early, but well, happy birthday, Jin-Ho.’
His father’s full recovery – Jin-Woo thought that it might prove to be the best birthday gift for Yu Jin-Ho as he pressed the button for the ground floor.
An ahjussi belatedly climbed into the elevator and was about to press the same button as well, but he stopped after seeing the light come on all by itself.
“What the…? That’s spooky.”
Jin-Woo was still cloaked with ‘Stealth’ so the interior of the elevator looked empty. The ahjussi gruntled out ‘Urgh, dang it’ after taking a look around and quickly left the elevator altogether.
‘My bad, ahjussi.’
Jin-Woo apologised from deep within his heart and pressed the ‘close door’ button.
As the elevator began climbing down, he confirmed his skill window.
[Skill: Shadow Exchange Lv.2]
Mana required to activate: None.
The summoner can switch locations with the designated Shadow Soldier.
Once activated, you must wait two hours of ‘cooldown’ time before being able to use the skill again. The ‘cooldown’ period will change according to the Skill’s level.
Remaining cooldown time: 01:54:11
‘Still one hour and 54 minutes left….’
Even if he disregarded the 11 seconds, he still had roughly two hours left to kill.
He hadn’t finished with the task of extracting shadows yet. Meaning, he still needed to go back to Japan one more time if he were to seek out the remaining dead Giants and turn them into Shadow Soldiers.
He did leave a shadow on standby there, so the issue of travelling back would be resolved as soon as Shadow Exchange’s cooldown time had elapsed. But his current problem would be with how he’d go about spending the next two hours of waiting.
‘Going home…. is out of the question.’
Her son came back home after over a week spent in another country, so what kind of expression would his mom make if he had to leave again only a couple of hours later?
He didn’t have to be there to know.
The elevator stopped on the ground floor and opened its door.
Even as he stepped out of the Seoul Ilsin Hospital’s front entrance, Jin-Woo continued to agonise over what he should next, but then, a rather nice idea popped up in his head.
‘Okay, should I search for an ownerless dungeon or something?’
Jin-Woo undid ‘Stealth’ and greatly extended out his sensory perception.
His senses picked up four or five Gates near his location. He pulled out his Hunter-issued smartphone and accessed the Association’s app to confirm the details on those Gates.
Jin-Woo found out that two of those Gates weren’t reported to the Association yet. A meaningful smile formed on Jin-Woo’s face right away.
“Miss. We’ve arrived.”
“Thank you, driver.”
Chairman Yu Myung-Han’s eldest daughter, Yu Jin-Hui, was returning to the hospital after escorting her nearly-fainted mother back home. She stepped out from the chauffeur-driven car’s back seat.
She felt as if the heavens were crashing down on her the day she learned of her father slowly dying from that illness.
Even then, she unreservedly believed her father’s words.
[“I’m still searching through all avenues for a cure. I seemed to have found a strand of hope, so do not worry about me too much.”]
If someone else declared oh-so-proudly that he’d cure this incurable illness, Yu Jin-Hui would flat out not believe that man.
However, just who was her father?
Was he not the one and only Chairman Yu Myung-Han, the man who could legitimately be called the top dog in South Korea’s financial world?
That was why she held on to that slim strand of hope, but in the end, things had become like this. If only she knew things would end up this way. She’d have thrown away all notions of studying abroad and spent more time with her father, instead.
She recalled him doing his best to hide his loneliness when she told him about her plans to study abroad and quietly wiped her tears away.
It was around then.
As she raised her head, her eyes briefly caught the sight of a rather familiar face walking past her.
‘…Uh? This man….’
Hadn’t she seen that face often before?
As she began wondering where she had seen him, the man also must’ve sensed her gaze, because he pulled the hood down even further and rapidly distanced himself from her.
She stared at the man’s back and tilted her head just a little, before resuming her walk. The identity of that man was not an important issue to her, anyway.
Yu Jin-Hui anxiously waited for the elevator’s door to open up. But then, her phone suddenly issued out loud ringtones.
With the hour being so late already, the corridors of the hospital were mostly empty now and the ringtone sounded especially loud to her ears.
She didn’t recognise the number shown on the screen. She usually wouldn’t answer a call from an unfamiliar number like this, but now….
‘Who could this be….?’
Perhaps because she had been experiencing a storm of events for the whole day, she got this feeling that she should answer this call no matter what.
Yu Jin-Hui tapped the ‘Answer’ icon and pressed the phone to her ear.
– “Yes, hello. I’m calling from Seoul Ilsin Hospital, miss. I couldn’t get in touch with your mother and had no choice but to contact you first.”
Her mother had taken a shot of sedative and had fallen asleep at home, so she wouldn’t be able to wake up and answer the phone now.
But, why was the hospital calling her like this? Yu Jin-Hui instantly became scared by this call made by the doctor in charge.
That was why she was extra cautious when asking back.
“Did something happen?”
– “Actually, Chairman Yu Myung-Han has….”
As she heard the ensuing explanation, her eyes grew as large and round as a rabbit’s.
This had to be a lie.
‘You, you expect me to believe that?!’
Her eyes were getting wetter and wetter but she still managed to ask that one last question.
“You… are you telling me the truth??”
– “We also would not have believed it’s real if it weren’t for confirming the fact with our own eyes. It’s pretty much impossible to find any patient waking up from the ‘final sleep’ state, you see. In any case, please hurry and come to the hospital, miss. We do not know when the Chairman might fall back asleep again.”
“H-hang on! I’m already there!”
With excellent timing, the elevator opened its door and Yu Jin-Hui practically threw herself inside.
Oh my god.
These few minutes the elevator took to climb up felt like the longest moments in her entire life so far.
The moment the door opened, she rushed out and entered the hospital room – and was greeted by the sight of her father’s face shifting towards her.
From the top of his head right down to the tip of his toes, he was definitely her father and there was no need to even suspect otherwise.
Yu Myung-Han, currently surrounded by a cordon of doctors, turned his head towards his little girl.
She jumped into his embrace and as Yu Myung-Han gently patted her back, he finally realised that he had returned from death’s doorstep somehow.
However, could he really describe this as a coincidence?
While the cordon of doctors in charge responded with whispers of “It’s a miracle”, and with his daughter sobbing her eyes out as she clung to her dad, Yu Myung-Han began focusing on the sounds of his own beating heart.
‘B-but…. How could this be??’
Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump!!
He was already well past his fifties, yet his heart was pounding away vigorously as if he was still in his twenties, instead.
< Chapter 180 > Fin.