Chapter 2


The funeral was quiet.  It was the first day of sending out obituaries, but it was no more crowded than any other funeral home. 

Seolhwa stared at her father’s smiling mugshot.  He had died three days after she returned to Korea.   Nothing could ease the pain of losing the most important person in the world.

However, I decided to stay strong by fulfilling my dad’s wishes to protect my mom.

Unlike her mother, who shed tears all day long, Seol-hwa kept her grief to herself by pressing her lips together.   

She was afraid that some people would criticize her father’s business failure.  She could hear people’s voices in her ears.

-Oh, my God, what’s going on? Are you sure she’s dead? 

-Oh, my God. So he’s been waiting for his daughter all this time? 

-Mr. Seo loved his only daughter, and he was very protective of her. …….

I heard the doctor say it was a miracle, but the cancer had already spread. 

-It’s a shame. I guess I’ll have to take over Harim Beer now. It would be a shame to let that talent go to waste. 

-Mr. Seo founded the company, and he wants to see it through to the end. He’s been broken since he was a kid, so he doesn’t need to be a singer. 

-She doesn’t cry, so she’s a good, upstanding young lady…   

They were people you saw once or twice growing up. Dad had made a name for himself as an upstanding businessman, but few businessmen came to visit failures.   

The only people who came were those who knew him personally.   

Seolhwa looked worriedly at her mother, who looked as if she was about to collapse.   

“Mom, you need to rest.”

“No. Your father is on his last leg, and I want to be there for him.”

“……Then eat.” 

“It’s okay, you eat first. You haven’t eaten since yesterday.”

“I don’t have an appetite.”   

There was no way there was rice in there. I felt like I was going to die, let alone eat, let alone take a sip of water. I was sad. Just then, one of the mourners quietly said,

“We have visitors.” 

“Oh, yes.”

I sat up straight. It was just my mom and Seolhwa. Since the family was small, they couldn’t take turns welcoming guests, so it was just the two of them.   

Men in black suits rushed in, burned incense, and bowed.   

“May the deceased rest in peace.” 

“Thank you. I’m sure Dad would be pleased that you remembered him like this.”

Employees of Harim Beer came to visit after hearing the news of his death. I saw some familiar faces. They were the ones who would lead the company with Seolhwa in the future.   

I chatted briefly with the employees I hadn’t seen in a while. I escorted the guests to their seats and glanced at them. I checked the time.   

“Who are you looking for?”

“…… should have gotten an obituary, but he didn’t show up.” 

“Who? Are you looking for Kang Young Woo? If he’s here, he’s already here. There’s no way he wouldn’t come to visit.”

“……I know, but there’s something I need to check with him.”   

After returning to Korea, Seolhwa analyzed the reasons for her father’s bankruptcy. Something was off.

Young-woo had left the company and his father’s business had started to go south. Young was worried.   

He was dating Seol-hwa, so his dad took extra care of him. It was no exaggeration to say that he treated him like a son-in-law.   

He even said that if he had to leave the company to his son-in-law because he didn’t have a son, he would leave it to him.

If he was such a trustworthy man, wouldn’t he know something about the new technology he was working on in secret?   

“It’s all in the past, get over it.”

“It’s …….”

It was over, but it had to be said. She bit her lip and thought of Young Woo floating around in her head like a residue.   

She loved him fiercely. He was her first love, and she poured her heart into him.

But there was an unavoidable event that happened to them. She chose to pursue her dreams and eventually moved away from him to study abroad, and in due course, they broke up.   

Once she tasted the pain of separation, love was like bitter chocolate to her. Sweet at the beginning, bitter at the end, such a chocolate….   

After thinking about him for a while, the entrance was crowded again. The first thing that came in was great harmony.

It was so big that it took two people to lift it.   People’s eyes were naturally drawn to it. It wasn’t just one harmony, it was another, and it was so big it could have been a presidential funeral.

She stared at the entrance, dumbfounded, as a man in a black suit and black tie walked in. Seolhwa’s eyes widened. Her jaw dropped in surprise.   

“Why is he here?!   

She recognized the man from the plane. My heart thudded in my chest. As the secretary handed out the envelope, he glanced over at Seolhwa. Their eyes met in midair. 

“What’s going on? Who is he? That man…!”

The deserted funeral home was instantly brightened by his arrival.

Even though the man himself was glowing, people stared at him in wonder.   

-Who is he? Is he a model or not? Is he a movie star?

How can he be so handsome? Here and there, there were breathless admirers of his looks. But the stories made my heart race in a different way.

It was as if they were dying to know who he was. He approached the altar, lit some incense, offered it carefully, stepped away, and bowed.   

There was dignity in the way he bowed. It was very reverent, unlike the lecherous words he used to spit.

After the last bow, he turned to the bereaved family members.   

“I’m here on behalf of Mr. Song Myung-in, the chairman of Myung Sung Group. I’m sorry for your loss. I sincerely hope that the bereaved family will be able to put away their sadness as

soon as possible.” 

“Myung, Myung-sung Group…!”

someone gasped. It wasn’t just the guests who were surprised.

The Myungsung Group was a major conglomerate.  It was nothing compared to her father’s small business.

Seol-Hwa didn’t know what to say, but her mom answered.   

“Ah…. It’s so nice of you to come and visit us.” 

“I heard that you and Mr. Seo have exchanged greetings many times at business gatherings, so I think it’s only polite to pay you a visit.”   

He was the most polite man in the world. I was confused about how polite he was in front of my mom and whether I was seeing the same person now.

“Thank you. Yes, Seolhwa, I’ll say hello.”   

I snapped back to reality. Seolhwa bowed her head gravely to him.   

“…… and… thank you.”

He bowed lightly, too, and somehow she could feel his breath. It was like he was whispering lustful words in her ear, like a lie.

[Hearing that voice again made me stand on end.]

It was so wet and erotic that it stuck in my head. She hid her trembling hands behind her back, his scent making her dizzy as if she were going to suffocate.

“Well, I’m going to have to get busy now.” 


He hadn’t come to say goodbye, but he turned right around, his broad, lanky stature quickly disappearing from view as he strode away.

I turned to call out to him, but he was already out of sight.   

“Hey. I’m supposed to know your name, or are you just going to walk away without it this time?”

She went out into the hallway and looked for him, but he was nowhere to be seen. He was nowhere to be found, so she ran out into the hallway, curious.   

“Do you still not know who he is?”


“Yeah. I didn’t hear that they had a son, so I’m guessing it’s someone from the prestige group?”

“…… Is it?”

Seolhwa’s gaze drifted to the hallway, and she scratched her head at the amount of harmony that had filled the once-empty hallway.   

“When did so many harmonies come here?”

“Really? I don’t know, but this place has nothing to do with your business….”   

Harmony’s business name was a bit of a misnomer. SD Finance, JT Money, MI Savings Bank, Hanju Capital.

Other than that, the so-called tertiary financial sector was dominant.   

“By any chance, did you use your dad’s bonds?”

“No way! No way. He filed for bankruptcy and wiped out most of them.”

“…… That’s right, isn’t it?”

Seol-hwa shook his head, but something was strange: all the other names had names, but only one of them did not.

“If it’s SD Financial, isn’t it a really big bank?”

“Is that a mistake?”

“What’s the name of the CEO? Oh, I’ll look it up.”   

Seol-hwa immediately pulled her phone out of her pocket. She searched for the company’s name, and the company profile popped up.

The company profile didn’t show the CEO’s face, but it did show his name.   

“……Song Mu-hyuk…….”

The man’s name rolled around in her mouth.   

“Ah, now I remember. Mr. Song Mu-hyuk. He had the title of managing director back then. When did he become the CEO?”

The old man seemed to remember, and then he scratched his head.   

“Other businessmen have a representative face, but I guess we don’t because we’re in the private financial sector.” 

“Sure. But why? Do you want to know?”

“Nah. Just curious.” 

“Well, they’re probably related somehow. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.”

“Yeah. I don’t know about anything else, but I hope you didn’t take out a loan.” 

“He wouldn’t do that.”

Seol-hwa thought about the name Song Mu-hyuk. She’d heard it somewhere, but she couldn’t remember where.

She stared at Cho and her phone for a long moment before looking at him.   

“I think we should drop the business name.” 

“That would be a good idea.”

She and a few other people removed the business name from the harmony, leaving only the name, but it wouldn’t be misunderstood as a loan shark.   

Suddenly, Seolhwa’s gaze fell on a wreath with nothing but a ribbon on it, a wreath that was strangely disturbing, a wreath that smelled strongly of flowers.   

“Don’t worry about it. Seeing that guy again makes me feel weird.”

“Uh, Seolhwa, hey. Isn’t that Kang Young-woo?”


He looked at the man coming down from the second floor. It was Kang Young-woo! It was him. His first love, the man he loved, had appeared.   

“It’s been a long time.”


It had been five years since he had seen him. He had changed a lot since then, but his face was still the same.   

It was the same as when he asked me out in college, regardless of my age. My heart ached. It felt like an open wound.   

“I got an obituary, and I thought it would be rude not to show up.”

He seemed to have succeeded. To see him dressed up like this when he had to worry about paying the rent every month in college…….   

At that moment, Mr. Uncle scolded Young-woo.   

“Politeness? Ha, you haven’t shown your nose all this time, and now you’re looking for it?”

“It’s still the same, Secretary Park.”

“Secretary Park…. Secretary Park? Did you just call me Secretary Park?”

He sounded like he wanted to punch Young-woo in the face at any moment.

Of course, I felt bad for Youngwoo, but this was a funeral home.   

“Uncle. We can talk later, today is my dad’s funeral, right?”

“Ha, I have a lot of things to say to you right now, but for today, I’m holding back.”

“You don’t have to hold back.” 

“What are you, you asshole…….”   

Uncle grabbed his fist, but Seolhwa forcibly pulled it away from his middle. He’d always had a bad feeling about Youngwoo.   

“Stop, say hello to your dad.”   

* * * * * * * *

Youngwoo paid his respects briefly, then headed straight for the parking lot. His mom didn’t feel very good about him either, so it was best to avoid him.

It had been a long time since they’d walked shoulder to shoulder late at night. I had missed him once, but to meet him so casually like this. The human heart was a mysterious thing.   

“We broke up, but I don’t see why you had to quit your job.”

“I only joined Harriman Electronics to gain experience anyway.”

“But I thought you’d do me one last favor.”

On the day she left him like she was running away, she asked him to keep the two of them separate.

Although their love was cracked, I didn’t want to lose a smart person in my breakup.   

“What kind of man would do a favor for an ex?” he snorted.   

“I thought you still had feelings for me. It wasn’t like you were completely over, was it?”

“You’re the one who asked me to break up with you.”

“How will you explain what you did wrong?”

“It was a mistake, I just got drunk and slept with her once.”

He cheated. After a long and passionate love affair with Seolhwa, he slept with another woman.   

“Once? Ha, are you still saying that? I heard you say with my ears that it wasn’t just once, but many times, so how can you still use that excuse.”

He lied. She had heard with her ears that he had slept with other women many times and that he had met several women, just like Yang Darina. He was a philanderer.   

“Bring ten men and ask them. What man wouldn’t do that when a woman strips off her clothes and pounces on him? And you weren’t going to believe me anyway, so that’s why you ran away and studied abroad.”

He kept saying it wasn’t my fault. My stomach churned.

“You think I need time to think about whether I should forgive you or forget you?”

“Yes. That’s why I gave you a year, a lot of time, and you were so busy chasing your dreams that you didn’t care about me.”

“You can’t wait a year to make me feel better?”

It was ridiculous. The hurt of being betrayed by him, even in a love that was already over, clawed at Seolhwa’s heart.   

“Uh, I can’t wait. I’m not a monk and I’m physically fit, but if I wait a year without a lover, isn’t that a long time to wait?”

“What, you think……. love is so short-lived?”

He must have been like that, but I didn’t know him too well.

“When the body grows distant, the mind naturally grows distant, and the same goes for love. When you open your eyes to a new love, it naturally withers away.”

“After all, that’s what it was. I’m just a passing girl to you.”

Seolhwa hated this moment when she had to bring up the past.   

“……You have plenty of men to live without me, don’t you, Soprano Folklore, the voice of the gods. Isn’t it more important to have all those eyes and expectations cheering you on behind you?” she said.

I’m the one who’s being accused, he said, and it’s not fair. In other words, he didn’t believe in me either.   

“I believed in my lover as much as I believed in my dreams, and you’re the one who broke that belief.”

“Enough, enough. There’s no point in bringing it up now when it’s already been done, and you don’t look good like this.

You look like you desperately need someone like you’re a burden.”

“…… Do I look like I’m clinging to you right now? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a woman who looks at one man like a fool. The reason I’m disappointed in you is because you abandoned the project we were working on together and quit the company.”

Seolhwa shook her head.   

“The research was doomed to fail, so there was no point in continuing.”

“But you could have waited a little longer?”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t afford to waste time on research that’s doomed to fail.”


Snowflake’s eyes widened.

“Think about it. If you collaborate on research and fail, you’ll be held for ransom until the day you die.”

“Oh no. My dad thought of you like a son-in-law… How could you say that?”

I couldn’t believe it, did I love a man who was so selfish?

“This is life, don’t make me the bad guy. You’re free to leave.”

“Do you think it makes sense that a doctor would be afraid of failing in his research?”

Seolhwa’s voice grew stronger.   

“Uh, I don’t like to fail, and I don’t know if you were born a gold digger, but dirt diggers are very desperate to succeed.”

“I see… That’s what you were like.”

 Seolhwa’s chest tightened. She felt so ashamed to have once loved a man like this.

“I haven’t changed. I haven’t lost my integrity.”

“Still… your research was the foundation of your success, so how can you not be the least bit grateful?”

“My success? That’s me. I worked for it,”

he smirked. Seolhwa glared at him fiercely.   

“I don’t know much about IT, but I do know that all technology works the same way. You’ve created a new technology similar to the one you’ve been working on, and you’ve succeeded. How do you explain that?”

She looked at him suspiciously. It was true that he was nervous.   

“Now, are you doubting me?”

“I just need confirmation.”

“Holy…. You did a lot of research, and all you did was sing, and you didn’t seem interested.”

Then he laughed, haha. Then he gave me a cold look. My blood seemed to freeze.   

“My dad went bankrupt,” I said,

“And you think I didn’t do some basic research?”

“Well, keep digging. I don’t have a shred of shame.”

He spat out the words coldly. It felt like my heart was breaking.   

“I didn’t believe you, but now I understand. Why, you never came to visit him… I shouldn’t have listened to you long ago….”

Seol-hwa didn’t want to show her pain. Instead, she glared at him.   

“I didn’t want to come here either. This is the last time. I came here to tell you not to tell anyone that I’m related to you and your family.”

“Who am I to tell anyone?”

“Just in case.”

“What are you afraid of?”

“Me? I’m not afraid, just cautious. I’m about to get engaged.”

“……about… engaged?”

He lifted his hand and showed me the ring. The diamond sparkled in the night. Seolhwa’s legs trembled uncontrollably.   

“Yes. I have a woman to marry, and it’s over.”

“That’s all I’m saying. Don’t tell her where you met me.”

“Even if you’re about to die, it’s a big deal. Ha….”

That was all Young-woo wanted to do: settle the story and the relationship once and for all.   

He’d used his father’s obituary as an excuse to come and check it out, just in case he had any regrets.   

He got into his car and drove out of the parking lot without looking back.   

Seol-hwa didn’t look back at him the whole way. Tears streamed down her face. She sucked in a breath, not wanting her to see that she was crying.   

“Asshole…. Asshole…. Bastard……. Bastard…. I shouldn’t be crying, I shouldn’t be weak…. He’s an asshole to the end….”   

* * * * * * * *

A man was watching from the car as Seolhwa cried, her eyes cold as if trapped in ice.   

“What should I do?”

“Leave it.”   

Mu-hyuk answered the secretary’s question coldly, but his gaze never left Seol-hwa. Only the secretary was unable to control the chilly atmosphere for a moment.

Soon after, a twisted voice came out of Mu Hyuk’s mouth.   

“What a funny turn of events. It’s fun to watch from the sidelines, and there’s nothing like stabbing a lady in the back.”

He seemed to say that it didn’t matter to him, but he didn’t stop staring at Seolhwa.   

As a secretary, I found my boss strange. Even after I asked myself what she was thinking, she remained seated and didn’t move. I glanced in the rearview mirror again.   

“Where do you want me to take you?”

“I just want to hang out for a while. If you want to go home, you can take a cab.”

“Oh, no, thank you, I’m fine.”

“You’ve got a fox wife and a rabbit child waiting for you, don’t you? Even a private equity firm has to follow labor laws.”  

He hesitated for a moment, but in the current atmosphere, it seemed best to avoid him. The secretary turned to him with his keys in hand.   

“This is ………. Well, call me if you need anything. I’m going to leave now.”   

Mu-hyuk closed his eyes, not even glancing at the secretary. He cried in front of his car, but only after he entered the building again.   

When the secretary left, Mu-hyuk fumbled in his arms for his cigarettes. He popped one into his mouth, chewed hard but didn’t light it, then put it in his hand and held it.

The cigarette was crushed in his hand.   

“Folklore, you’re destined to meet scum. There’s worse trash than that here. A mad dog that doesn’t deserve to be disposed of…….”   

* * * * * * * *

I studied abroad during my sophomore year of college, but when my Korean classmates heard about it, they rushed to help me.   

I was especially grateful to my senior classmate. We emailed occasionally while I was studying abroad, and he introduced me to a funeral company that helped me find a sunny spot.   

After I returned from burying my father, I found him first.   

“It’s been a long time since he’s been buried, so it’s okay.”

“I thought I had to do it,” I said,

“Thank you for helping me bury my dad in a warm place.” 

“You’re a senior, of course, you should help. I was so proud of you….”

He majored in voice but went on to become a businessman. As the only son of a businessman, he chose the path of management over his major, and I hoped that Seolhwa would do well instead of me.

“I’m a little embarrassed about the past. If I knew I would drop out like this, I should have studied abroad without making a big deal about it…. I’m also embarrassed for my classmates because I fell short of their expectations.”

The day she received her acceptance letter, the entire class was buzzing. The entire school was talking about her.   

But she couldn’t sing in front of people anymore. She couldn’t hit the high notes anymore.   

“It was an accident that wasn’t your fault, wasn’t it? I’m sorry for all the hard work you’ve put in, but you need to move on with your life.

I’m quite content without singing. By the way, I heard you’ve become a representative of Harim Brewery. Twenty-seven years old. …….

“With the same passion you put into singing, you’re sure to make it big no matter what you do.”

“No, I don’t think so. I’m just a young president… I just took over my dad’s business, and I have no idea how to get started.” 

“It can’t be easy running a company, that’s why I brought you here.”

I met him at a gallery-style club with a deejay box in a gallery dotted with artwork, which didn’t seem quite right.  Three or four people were drinking in a modestly lit area.

“I’ve never been to a place like this before…….”

This was a club frequented by the top 5% of young South Koreans.   

There were tons of expensive decorations that turned heads as they catered to the most affluent clientele.

There was also a large grand piano on the stage in front.   

“I need to get my face painted often because I get a lot of information here.”

“I guess this is the social circle I’ve been hearing about. I thought it was something from the Middle Ages.”

…. Thank you, you’re the reason I’m here.

” My eyes widened. My dad owned a small business, but I’d never heard of a party like this.  I mean, it was a small company that didn’t even make the top 100 in Korea…. Before it became a publicly traded company, my dad went bankrupt, so HaeRim Electronics didn’t have much name recognition.”

“Well, I’m sure the other seniors feel the same way about helping you out, you’ve been a credit to our school. Don’t feel pressured, and if you ever need anything, just call me.”

“Thank you.”   

Music played, a fast beat suitable for a younger crowd. Even though there was no hall, some people got up from their seats and danced. Seolhwa looked around curiously.   

It seemed that the first floor was a banquet-style club, with rooms from the second floor up, but everyone came down to the first floor to enjoy themselves.

Well, I guess people who want to recognize faces and socialize won’t go into the rooms for envy…   

Suddenly, the fast music stopped and the hall was brightly lit. A side door opened and a group of musicians in dresses and tuxedos rushed in, each carrying an instrument and a chair.   

“What. What’s that? Musicians….”

“Ha, I guess that guy is coming again today.”

“……What do you mean, that guy?”

“Yeah, some crazy dog. You don’t even want to talk to him, he’s so eccentric, you never know where he’s going to go.”

“What?” Seol-hwa shook her head. He said he was a mad dog, but for some reason, I remembered a man. The man who had spat obscenities in front of me.   

“Look over there. The other girls’ faces are already getting nervous. For some reason, they seem to be paying more attention to their clothes today… “

“Clubs and orchestras don’t seem to go together. Who the heck is this….!”

The next person in the crowd caught her eye. She was stunned. It was him.

Why is he here again?

“Here he is. Mu-hyuk Song of SD Finance.”

“He’s the head of SD Finance?”

“Uh, he’s Won Top, the crazy guy in this neighborhood. Remember his face. He’s been spreading some really bad rumors.”

Seol-hwa was sitting in a corner seat, so I could only see the side of him. The light was bright enough to see his high nostrils.

The way he smiled was so charming that it sent chills down my spine. I broke out in a cold sweat.   

My heart pounded and I ducked for cover. Then I spotted a familiar face. A well-dressed woman walked out and stood in front of the microphone.   

“……Heh, that’s ….”

She was a senior in the voice department, one of the most popular when Seolhwa went to study abroad.   

“That’s his crazy hobby, listening to vocal music in clubs. I don’t understand why he does it.”


“It’s not appropriate, right? It’s not a garden party, it’s in front of a bunch of drunk people in front of colorful lights, and what’s even funnier is that you can’t blame them. It’s going to hurt their egos, but they want to be on the stage that Song Mu-hyuk has set up for them.”

“Because …… are the businessmen who are leading the future of Korea, right?”

He seems to do this every time, and the singers on stage actually like it.

“It’s not only business people who come here, but also political and artistic figures. You know, you want to be on that floor wherever you can showcase your talent.”

Few majors survive. Not everyone who majors in voice succeeds, so he wanted to make a living somehow.   

“That asshole’s already drunk, I don’t know if he’s doing that shit again.”

“Is that ……?”

“Look at him. Look what he’s doing.”


Before the singer could finish the song, Mu-hyuk scrambled to his feet and walked up to the stage.

He was handed an instrument by a musician. It was a violin. The ear-splitting sound of the violin rang out, and the corners of her eyes twitched.   

“Awww! I’m tempted to snap his fingers off, you crazy bastard. He’s going to rip my ears off. I hope that asshole finishes this thing off with a bang.”


The violin squeaked incessantly. The sound was more of a noise, as there were no notes to match, but Mu-hyuk smiled and played with the violin nonetheless.

Eventually, he had to cover his ears with his hands. The others were laughing and enjoying themselves.   

“Just so you know, if he approaches you, you should ignore him. There’s no point in getting involved.”

“…… Him. Really?”

“Uh, he’s got a very bad reputation, like he’s some kind of spawn of a prestige group.”

“A prestige group? Prestige Group? Is he a Prestige Group kid?”

“Uh, SD Financial is one of the Prestige Group companies, don’t you know? It’s embarrassing for a major corporation to have a loan shark past. I don’t know if he’s connected to Prestige Group or not. He’s so shrouded in mystery, that I don’t know exactly who he is. Maybe he’s Chairman Song’s nephew or a relative? Anyway, with the last name Song, I’d say he’s got family blood in his veins. Plus, the fact that he’s constantly causing trouble and it doesn’t get written up means he must be trusted, because he’s gotten into a few fights here and they’ve all gone down quietly.”

“Oh…. I see.”

He seemed to be a famous guy in social circles. Of course, I mean that in a bad way, not a good way, and I couldn’t understand why such a perfect guy would be running around with such rumors, but it certainly didn’t seem normal.

The friends who came with him whistled. He was ruining the concert, but it seemed odd that he seemed to get pleasure out of it, and so did the people mingling with him.

Seolhwa kept looking at him, and then she scratched her head:

“His posture is perfect……. As a vocalist, Seolhwa was often near performers, so she naturally had the opportunity to observe their instruments.

Somehow, they seemed to be broken.   

‘That’s a weird guy…….’

Seol-Hwa stared at him, and the senior in front of him slapped him. Only then did he come to his senses.

“Do you have any interest in mad dogs? Only women cry when they’re mauled in the face.”

“Oh, no, I don’t, but why do you call them mad dogs?”

“Because they never let go of anything they bite, whether it’s a business or a person.”

I suddenly got goosebumps. Senior gritted his teeth.   

“So be careful not to get bitten.”

“……. I will.” 

“Let’s drink.”


Seolhwa looked away from Mu-hyuk. She clinked glasses with her senior and drank. The violin that had been tinkling in his ears had finally died down.   

He returned to his seat and began chatting and drinking with his friends.

‘Never mind….’   

* * * * * * * *

 One of the men in Muhyuk’s group was in a frenzy of excitement.

“Hey, do you know who I saw on my way to the bathroom? I saw  Seol Hwa! Seol Hwa.”

At the mention of her name, Mu Hyuk, who had been drinking, was stunned, and his smooth forehead wrinkled.   

“Who is  Seol-hwa?” the man asked.

“Don’t you know? Five years ago, she was quite famous for her vocal performance at S University. She was praised as having a voice from the gods, right?”

“Vocal performance? I’m far from vocal performance.”

The man, seemingly uninterested, cupped his partner’s chest.  Then his hand slipped into her skirt.

The woman let out an ah… His fingers fumbled eagerly in her skirt.   

“Aish, why don’t you know? I still remember it like it was yesterday. Ah, you. Mu-hyuk knows you, didn’t we go to the same school?”

“I don’t know, was there ever a girl like that?”

“Uh, I saw her singing on the podium when I went to your school’s field trip, and wow, she’s so hot. Her voice just makes me want to stand on end.”

“Oh? Just her voice?”

The man who was touching the woman’s p*ssy looked interested.   

“Yeah, it makes me want to lay you down on the table and penetrate you right now. Ah, it’s so fucking hot to see her again.”

“ When did you get back from studying abroad?”

He grabbed the woman he’d brought as a partner and pinned her to the table, then slammed into her like he was doing a junior position, and she let out a yelp.   

She was already a tired girl, but she cried like a kitten in front of a man who was doing a pseudo-sexual impersonation behind her.   

“Hmph. That’s great. Cry. Cry like a baby. Oh, I’ve got to stick that down here. That’s a fucking tight bite. Mmm, that’s good!”

“Hahaha, you crazy asshole. You like that?”

“Ouch. Turn, turn, turn, turn, turn,”

The men laughed and chattered. The more they laughed and chattered, the more Muhyuk’s face hardened.   

It was then. Suddenly, a shot glass flew into the face of a man who was miming sex.  Luckily, the man dodged, but the music cut off with a loud crash.

The man’s body shrank back in fear at Muhyuk’s frightening gaze.   

“Shut your mouth. Before I tear that snout off.”   

* * * * * *

 Seolhwa continued to drink.   

“You’ve learned to drink a lot in your time, have you counted?”

“Oh, yeah… My German friends drink hard.”   

It was true that his German friends were strong drinkers, but he was lying when he said they were good drinkers.

For some reason, I couldn’t stop drinking, and I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that Seolhwa’s face was being watched by a gaze from nowhere.   

“Come on, what does it matter if he’s here or not?”

Just then, I heard the sound of wudangtang and looked away. Suddenly, there was a roar, a shouting match, tables knocked over, and plates shattered.   

A fight broke out.  Mu-hyuk and his friend said,

“If we knew that bastard was coming, we would have waited until the next day, but a madman never passes a day quietly.”

“…… Ah.”

Seol-hwa’s eyes widened. The place was quiet after a while.

Mu-hyuk stood up and ran a hand through his disheveled hair. Their eyes met in midair, and she craned her neck to look away. Did he see her?

Did you see it? No. You couldn’t have seen it. It’s a long way between the tables here…

No way, I couldn’t have seen it. Sullivan held his breath and calmed his pounding heart. The commotion soon stopped and the music resumed.   

“Hey, what’s up, It’s a decent end to the day, Is the sun upside down?”

“Hey, I’m gonna go wash my hands for a minute.” 

“Uh, okay.”   

She felt feverish inside, not because she drank on an empty stomach. Seolhwa walked quickly.

She didn’t know why she was so conscious of Muhyuk when there was no relationship between them; she just didn’t want to run into him again. Thump, thump, her heart raced.   

“Ah……. I feel weird.”

She washed her hands and walked out, but she didn’t want to go to the hall with Muhyuk again.

Seolhwa’s steps took her to the second floor, not the hall. Again, the room was empty. Here and there, she peeked through open doors, but no one was there.   

She walked through the same door, along the same patterned wall, and ended up in the same spot again.

“This is complicated, where did I come from?”

She wondered if she had suddenly become a stray. Just as she was about to turn around, she saw Muhyuk’s figure.

Startled, I hid in an empty room.  It was the largest room in the club, more like a hall, filled with large tables and chairs.  

When a woman walked in behind Muhyuk, Seolhwa looked at them.

“I don’t want to eavesdrop, but……. I don’t know what to do. It’s weird to leave here.”

It was dark without lights, but his figure was brightly visible. Mu-hyuk, who was handsome enough to hit an actor’s cheeks, seemed to glow even without the lights.

She frowned.   

-I thought I answered non-maritalism. 

-I don’t understand why you don’t want to get married sooner rather than later.

-A legacy, yes, a legacy is good, but I’ve got enough money already. I don’t see the point of marriage.

 Marriage? Are you two getting married?

He turned to the woman. She was covered from head to toe in earrings.   

From the way she’d come to this gathering, she must be one of the wealthiest five percent.    -Isn’t that what she deserves? I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be yours. 

-That’s for me to worry about. Tsk, tsk, tsk, the tone was very rude.   

-It’s not uncommon for people to live as window-dressers in arranged marriages, isn’t it?

-I’m not a snitch, and I don’t want to be a window dresser. I want a woman who’s at least good enough to be a sex partner. 

-…You’re telling me I’m not even that unattractive? She bit her lip and glared at him, but he draped her arm across the back of the couch at an angle and looked her up and down.

A smirk escaped her lips. It was an obvious sneer.   

-Not ugly. Not at all. There are plenty of women who can strip naked in front of me and still not stand up. 

-Ha…. I don’t know about your taste. I can’t compare to the group you’re in, but I could help you achieve your goals. I’m a little surprised you’re turning me down. 

-Goals? What goals are you talking about? I’ve always had a reputation for being a goalless scumbag, or are you pretending not to know that. He laughed again. I could see his gap-toothed smile through his long, curved lips.   

-It doesn’t look that way to me, does it?

-I don’t care which way you look at it, and I don’t want to care, so don’t try to poke the old man through your parents anymore.

I’m not interested in marriage or anything like that. The woman’s expression turned even more bitter.   

-Ha, this is the first time I’ve ever been rejected to my face. 

-There are plenty of men who would gasp if you asked them to marry you, so why not pick a crazy one? There’s got to be a truckload of them over there. 

-Something to say, too… 

-I’m the kind of guy I am, so don’t regret it later. It’s best to avoid mad dogs.

The woman waved her hand in the air, turned around, and left the room.

The bang of the door closing was very loud. Snowflake covered her ears.   

She waited for a few moments to pass, then strained her ears to listen for other noises. She heard a door open and close. The soft closing sound was as quiet as a gentle breeze. Seolhwa sat upright.

‘Oh, you’ve been drinking a lot, I’m still drunk. You should be home by now, right? My legs hurt….’

Her legs tingled like they were being squeezed. Seol-hwa wobbled as she stood up. At the same time, someone suddenly grabbed her waist from behind and spun her around.

It felt like the world was turning upside down.   


A soft voice poured into her ear, followed by a firm chest pressed against her back.   

“……Min Seolhwa.”   

Muhyuk’s elongated hand came into view, and at the same time, his arm tightly wrapped around her waist.   

“Ah, hey, hey, let go of this.”   

Surprised, Seolhwa tried to pull away, but each time his body stuck close.   

“This should be enough, right?”

“What, what?”

“A woman ugly enough to make my cock stand up,”

he said, his voice damp with moisture, sounding erotic. My thighs tensed.   

“Pfft! Gee, do you know what you’re talking about…….”   

Suddenly, I felt a slap between my buttocks. Seolhwa’s eyes widened in horror.   

The lump was changing shape, and it was now fully formed and hard.   

“You don’t know what I’m talking about, do you want me to explain it to you in a nice way?

A voice that makes your cock drip? I’m saying you have that voice.”


Seol-hwa was stunned, not surprised by the man’s lewd comments from the start, but not surprised either.

“Are you here for a one-night stand? If you’re looking for a mate, I’m asking you how I look, and with a face like this, aren’t you good enough for a one-night stand?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”   

I didn’t understand the sudden talk of one-night stands. She’d tried to get him to back off, but each time he’d closed the distance.   

“You came here as a partner of some guy. Didn’t you know that’s what it means to be a sex partner?”

Seolhwa’s face turned pale. 

“What? What….? What? He’s not like you! He’s a senior in school!”

“Are you a senior?”

“Yes, I am.”

I don’t know why I have to speak for the senior who came with him, but his voice was very high-pressure, and I felt like if I didn’t say it right now, right here, right now, I would go to the senior and ask him.

Was it a mad dog? I was freaking out. The tone of voice and physical changes, especially the sexualized ones, were enough to mislead, but the story was confusing in another way.

The scent of his cologne wafted to my nostrils. Could this be a drunken man? His voice was unbroken.   

Seolhwa’s heart thudded in her chest.  At the same time, she winced at his p*nis, which was growing harder by the second.

He gently grabbed her chin and turned her to face him.   

“Here’s your chance to avoid being bitten by a mad dog. You’re going to pick up your bag and get out of here, and you’re not going to show up in front of me anymore.

Go, go, go, and don’t look back.”   

Despite his excitement, he meekly pulled his hand away.   


and gave her a chance to run away.   

“Go, go, Folktale! Don’t show up in front of me again. The next time we meet, I’ll bite you and I won’t let you go!”

When he let go of her hand, Snow White ran like crazy. Behind her back, he shouted. Never look back, he warned her, and the day we meet again, you’ll never be able to escape.   

* * * * * * * *

 Seolhwa frantically ran back to her seat and grabbed her bag. The senior looked at her strangely.   

“What’s wrong, what’s wrong?”

“Sin, I’m sorry, senior, I’m going to leave for the day.” 

“Is it a story?”

“Why, didn’t you tell me that the person who came to this party as your partner is on a one-night stand?”

The senior was surprised.

“Oh, no, it’s not like that.”

“I know, I know that you didn’t feel that way about me. But I’m not sure I want to go to a party like this, so I’ll see you next time.” 

“Seolhwa! Seolhwa!”

She could hear his voice, but she wanted to get out of there. Her breath caught in her throat.    His scent, thick enough to suffocate, hit her nostrils.   

* * * * * * * *

 As soon as she got home, she collapsed and fell asleep. I slept without washing up. When I woke up, my eyes were stiff.   

I’m tired. It’s been a month since I returned to Korea, and I haven’t slept much. She hadn’t had enough time to figure out her dad’s death and funeral and the business she was going to build “Seolhwa, are you awake?”

her mom asked, her face disheveled.   

“I must have had too much to drink last night, I’m sorry I’m late.” 

“I’m going to organize your dad’s stuff today…….”

“Yes, I will, and I’ll organize his study.”

Today I was going to start by organizing my dad’s things. Then someone rang the doorbell. I looked at my watch and saw that it was 7:00 a.m.

I wondered who was ringing so early in the morning.   

“I’ll go out.”   

She went to the front door and opened it, and saw several men in suits.   

“Who are you?”

“We’re from the court, and we’re going to start enforcing Mr. Seo’s property.” 

“What? He…. What’s that….”

The bailiffs from the court rushed in.  My mom freaked out. She was white as a sheet as she watched the men stomping around the house on their heels, slapping auction tickets on every corner.   

The story burned in her mouth. Heat boiled up from the far end of the abyss. The sound of their hooves was loud enough to squeeze and twist his eardrums.

Her fingertips grew icy cold. She kept her eyes on them as they trudged through the memorable apartment.   

Before she could take over, there was the crisis of the auction, and she worried that she would go into debt as a manager, let alone a buyer.   

By the time the men had returned from their rampage, Park’s secretary had arrived, equally surprised.   

“A lawyer will be here soon to tell me what… happened….”

He was Dad’s secretary, but he didn’t know everything. Unexpectedly, the truth came out of his mom’s mouth.   

“I saw it coming, your father’s debts. I just didn’t think it would end in bankruptcy. I was hoping it would just end with this house……….”


Mom sounded distressed. Secretary Park bit her lip hard and ran a hand through her hair. Somehow, her business seemed to have fallen flat.

“It’s okay, just say it.”   

I wasn’t surprised anymore. If I was going to blow up, I might as well blow up all at once.   

“The bank called and said they can’t extend the loan.”

“What…. What?”

“We’re about to go under, even Harim Beer.”

“Oh……. “

Well, I didn’t get involved in your private banking, but now that you’re going bankrupt, the banks are turning their backs on you.”

“Oh, no……. Damn, bastards…. I paid off all the debts that Hae Rim Electronics owed me, but I didn’t think they would stab me in the back like this.”   

It was a crisis, a total predicament.   

“How much money do you need right now?”

“Eight billion to repay the loan.”

“Eight billion…….”

“That’s a year’s worth of Harim’s beer production and operating revenue last year. We’re backward now, selling only where alcohol is sold, but it’s not hopeless.”

“Equity debt is approaching 30%.”

Although the company’s debt was not small, he could not give up.   

“Of course, at first, I drew on the capital of Harim Beer, but I kept paying it back with the profits of Harim Electronics, but the new technology failed again and again, and the sales decreased rapidly.

It’s a shame that I haven’t invested in this business, but with some marketing, I’m sure I can regain my former fame.   

“Let’s put out the fire first, I’ll go see the bank president right away.”   

* * * * * * * *

 Seol-hwa went to see the secretary and the bank manager, but the manager refused to meet with Seol-hwa.

The corporate loan officer spoke to me instead and repeated that they could no longer extend the deadline.

I’ll never forget the sneer in the loan officer’s eyes. It was clear he was making fun of me for running a liquor company. I was upset. 

I was angry that I was being judged on my gender and age without being given a chance.   

I visited several other banks and got the same answer: the same look, the same disdain, the same discrimination, and I was furious.   

“What am I going to do now?”

“……I’m going to stop them at all costs. My dad has one company left….”

“No way. You’re not going to go to the third tier, are you?”

“……What we need now is time. Harim Beer’s real equity far outweighs its debt. It’s not like we don’t have a chance, because we’ll surely regain the market share we lost to the big guys.” 

“Yeah, it can’t be taken away like this.”

“I’ll have to think about it, but first I need to sort through my dad’s things.”   

Running a company would mean dealing with people other than banks, and she was already exhausted.   

Seolhwa needed a break. Secretary Park offered to help, but she told her she’d see her at work tomorrow and headed home.   

She looked at her mom, who was stuck with a foreclosure ticket and unable to do anything. Tears welled up in her eyes. She looked at her mom and tried to be brave.   

“Snow White….”

“Mom, that’s a good story. Don’t worry too much, we’ll get the house back before it goes to auction. I’ll go get Dad’s stuff organized.” 


It was urgent to comfort my mom. I was worried that she would follow him down the road. She reassured her mom and walked into her dad’s study.

Her legs gave out and she slid down the stairs. She buried her face between her knees and thought about it.

‘Ha…. You said that, but what gives you the confidence to borrow 8 billion right now when you’ve been treated with such disdain by bankers?


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