Chapter 27: What’s Your Father’s Name?
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TL: FoodieMonster007; ED: TheGreatT20 If you see this, you are at the wrong site!
Ak Yeon-Ho’s eyes widened. “I know about it, but won’t the details only be released a day before the practical test itself?”
With a knowing grin on his face, Myeong Il-Oh said, “Technically, yes, but this is hardly the first time the Azure Dragon Academy is hiring new instructors. I came early and did some research…”
From Myeong Il-Oh’s explanation, we could tell how meticulously he prepared for the practical test which would be held after the interview. However, no normal person would freely share their hard-earned information without asking for anything in return.
Frowning, I asked him, “Why are you telling us this much? We’re your competitors.”
Myeong Il-Oh beamed. “Haha, anyone can find out this much as long as they put in a little effort. Besides, if I fail the test, it’ll be my own fault for not being good enough, and I can always try again next year. However…” Myeong Il-Oh winked at us, then earnestly continued, “This is my only chance to make two new friends, right?”
Is he trying to suck up to us? Nah, his main target should be Ak Yeon-Ho, but he isn’t excluding me, either. What a calculating guy. Still, I don’t hate quick-witted, sociable people like that.
I grinned and replied, “Alright, but in return for your information, how about you leave paying for the drinks to Ak Yeon-Ho instead?”
“…Why is it that you get to make the decisions, while I have to fork out the money?”
Just as we were happily engrossed in our conversation and making our way out of the Azure Dragon Academy, the Headmaster, who was standing in the yard, stood in our way and interrupted, “…Could you spare me a moment?”
From the way the Headmaster’s scorching gaze was fixated on me, that question was directed at me. Confused, I tilted my head to the side and asked back, “Is there a problem…”
“It’ll only take a moment. I want to talk to you in private.”
The Headmaster’s tone was polite, but I could tell he wouldn’t accept “No” for an answer.
I thought about it for a moment, then told Ak Yeon-Ho, “Go ahead to the restaurant without me. I’ll meet you there later.”
After that, I followed the Headmaster to a secluded corner behind one of the school buildings, leaving behind Ak Yeon-Ho and Myeong Il-Oh who kept glancing at me behind them.
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“…I just want to know one thing.” The gray-haired old Headmaster leaned over, stared closely at my face, and asked in a slightly trembling voice, “What is your father’s name?”
“What has my father got to do with…”
The words that Dad told me as I left the Baek Academy flashed in my mind like a lightning bolt.
“If you go to the Azure Dragon Academy…you’ll probably run into your maternal grandfather.”
Why do I only remember this now?
“Also…that man is the Headmaster of the Azure Dragon Academy.”
Recollections of Dad’s increasingly absurd statements popped up in my head one after another.
“Look, I don’t know what Father-in-law will think of you. He might like you because of your resemblance to Yak-Bing, or…”
“Would your father’s name…just so happen to be Baek. Mu. Heun?” My maternal grandfather asked, his eyes flashing like razor-sharp daggers.
“…He might try to kill you because you look like me.”
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I gulped nervously as my eyes involuntarily fell upon the sword strapped to Grandfather’s waist.
“Why aren’t you answering me? You can’t possibly not know your own father’s name, right…?” The Headmaster’s white eyebrows twitched. On his old face wrinkled by the ravages of time, I could sense a determined and stubborn will.
I recalled the old man’s name: Mae Geuk-Lyom (梅極廉).1 A man who served as an instructor at the Azure Dragon Academy for decades, even longer than the Principal Noh Gun-Sang, and is now the Headmaster in charge of student discipline. A man who was basically a living historical relic of the Azure Dragon Academy.
And…such a man was my grandfather.
“I’ll ask you again. Is your father’s name Baek. Mu. Heun? Well…?”
…Dad, what on earth did you do to your father-in-law? He can’t even say your name without struggling to spit out each syllable!
Mae Geuk-Lyom’s rage was boiling over, and his aura was like that of a sword.
Eh? This old man…is incredible! Even in the midst of this terrible predicament, I couldn’t help but admire the warrior in front of me. Despite his aging body, his muscles were trained to perfection and his qi output was stable, demonstrating his excellent self-control. Although it was impossible to compare them without a duel, I was sure he was at least as strong as the Vice Principal, the “Blazing Blade” Kwak Cheol-Woo.
If that’s the case, then why is he only the Headmaster?2 I wondered about Mae Geuk-Lyom’s unusual circumstances for a moment, but he didn’t give me the time to really think about it.
“Are you not going to answer me? Or did you suddenly go mute?” he pressured.
Wow, for someone that angry, he’s patient. In my experience, people usually start swinging their fists long before they get to this point.
“If you keep insisting on staying quiet…” Mae Geuk-Lyom moved a hand toward his sword, and the glint in his eyes sharpened.
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Well, even the most patient person in the world had a limit to their tolerance.
He’ll probably notice if I lied to him, so I might as well just… I quickly organized my thoughts and confessed, “You’re right, my dad’s name is Baek Mu-Heun.”
“I knew it… It was that bastard Baek Mu-Heun…” Mae Geuk-Lyom scowled, and his face flushed like he was transforming into a red oni.3
My face is too similar to Dad’s…
Mae Geuk-Lyom trembled with rage, growling, “How…How dare that man…”
I started to worry for my own safety.
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“Baek Mu-Heun, that son of a bitch…”
…Dad, I really wonder what your school life was like. I sighed and, in the sweetest voice I could muster, said, “Grandpa~”
“Gah! Who’s your grandfather?”
The next thing I knew, Mae Geuk-Lyom’s sword was pointed at my neck, and all the hairs on my body were standing on end from the old man’s dense killing intent.
He spat out between clenched teeth, “If you call me that one more time…I’ll cut off your tongue.”
I had no idea what happened thirty years ago except that Mom and Dad met here at the Azure Dragon Academy, fell in love, and then eloped when Mae Geuk-Lyom opposed their marriage. During that process, Mae Geuk-Lyom disowned Mom, his only daughter, and they never met again, not while she was alive, and not even at her funeral.
He seems to be a prideful lone wolf… The type that can’t even forgive his own daughter for disobeying him. Warriors like that would rather break than bend.
However, time seems to have taken its toll on him. Even the most heartless person will eventually begin to regret the mistakes of their past…and his drastic comeback to me calling him “Grandpa” is the best evidence of that. If he truly hated me, he wouldn’t have reacted so emotionally. He would have coldly kicked me out of the Academy.
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“You…” I started, but Mae Geuk-Lyom shut me up with a fierce glare.
With that, I was certain. This old man had no idea how to deal with family he hadn’t seen in thirty years. I recalled that of the four masters who taught me martial arts, there was one old man who was very similar to him.
Although the Sword Saint Moyong Hon was once the world’s greatest swordsman, he was always plagued by the biggest regret of his life: his only son. The Blood Cult took advantage of that weakness by kidnapping his son and using him as a hostage to force Moyong Hon into giving himself up.
However, in the end, the Blood Cult killed his son.
“Is my son…really dead?”
The Sword Saint only found out the truth the day we escaped from the dungeons. I could still clearly remember the hopeful look on his face turning into abject despair as he confirmed it with me.
“Did you…already know that?”
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That was a lie. The Demonic Strategist never told me what had happened to the Sword Saint’s son.
Even after finding out the truth though, the Sword Saint still couldn’t bring himself to accept it.
“As long as you can prove that my son is alive, as long as you can bring him to me, I’ll forgive everything that you’ve done to us and leave quietly. However, if that child is dead, then…”
On that day, among the four masters, the Sword Saint was the one who inflicted the greatest damage on the Blood Cult.
“Why did you have to show yourself in front of me after all this time…” Mae Geuk-Lyom mumbled.
For a moment, Mae Geuk-Lyom and Master Moyong’s faces overlapped. At the same time, I could tell that for him, it was mine and Baek Mu-Heun’s faces that overlapped.
This is all Dad’s fault. Why do I have to suffer because of him…
“Shut up! Didn’t I just warn you…”
With a sigh, I looked straight into his eyes and firmly said, “Your daughter, Mae Yak-Bing, is my mother. Cutting off my tongue won’t change that fact.”
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“……” The tip of Mae Geuk-Lyom’s sword wobbled, causing small beads of blood to appear on my neck.
I ignored it and continued, “This unfilial grandson Baek Su-Ryong greets his grandfather. Will you forgive me for the late introduction?”
The sword against my neck stopped wavering.
I took several steps back and bowed deeply in the highest show of respect, saying, “Please accept my bow.”
Mae Geuk-Lyom slowly lowered his sword. He clenched his teeth, but couldn’t stop his eyes from reddening. “…You look a lot like her. You have her eyes, hands, and on closer inspection, even her lips… Why didn’t you say anything when we met?” he choked, seeing my mother in me.
Because I forgot.
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Nope, no way I could say that.
I pretended to agonize for a moment and blurted, “…I didn’t want to let you know about it until after I passed the instructor’s exam.”
Well, for a hasty excuse, that wasn’t too bad.
I couldn’t be sure if he was convinced, but Mae Geuk-Lyom immediately snorted, “Hmph, did you think it was easy to pass the Azure Dragon Academy instructor’s exam? Were you just going to return home quietly if you failed?”
The open hostility from before was gone, replaced by a nagging voice.
I grinned confidently at him and declared, “I know that I’m going to pass.”
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Contrary to my expectations, Mae Geuk-Lyom’s face suddenly hardened like a block of ice. “…You’re pissing me off.”
“That boundless confidence of yours… It’s exactly the same as that asshole…”
The gentle old man transformed into a monstrous yaksha in a heartbeat! What is he, bipolar? I hastily tried to explain myself, stuttering, “I-I heard that Mom was a very confident person, too.”
“You’re right, but I can’t stand the fact that you look just like Him when you smile…”
I instantly wiped the grin off my face.
Mae Geuk-Lyom took a deep breath and nodded, warning, “…Don’t ever smile like you just did in front of me.”
Dear Grandpa, are you okay? I suspect you have a severe anger management problem.
Regardless, it seemed that Mae Geuk-Lyom alternated between associating me with his beloved daughter and the son-in-law he absolutely loathed.
“So, you’re my grandson… Your mother’s precious last gift before she left this world… Your father, though…”
“Please don’t mind that guy. We don’t even look alike. Now that I’ve met you, I can definitely see that I take after you more.” For the sake of my own survival, I sold out Dad without hesitation.
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Mae Geuk-Lyom furrowed his brows and mumbled, “Don’t say that. No matter what, he’s still your father.”
“Of course, that doesn’t mean that he’s not the world’s worst fucking son of a bitch.”
“……” How on earth am I supposed to respond to that?
Anyway, Mae Geuk-Lyom appeared to have finally calmed down.
“How was the interview?”
“It went pretty well. I think I’m going to pass.”
“That remains to be seen… By the way, where are you staying now?”
It was a busy day for him, and we couldn’t talk for long today. Since he probably wanted to visit me later, I told him the name of the inn I was staying at, and he nodded, saying, “Oh, I know where that is. You should go now, I need to get back to my work, too.”
“I’ll visit you often from now on.”
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“Hmph, you don’t have to do that, that’s just annoying.” Mae Geuk-Lyom snorted, but he didn’t appear upset.
I spun around and strode off, only looking over my shoulder just before passing through the main gates of the Azure Dragon Academy. Mae Geuk-Lyom was still staring at me, but the instant our eyes met, he abruptly turned away.
“Aren’t you too timid for an old man?” I muttered to myself, smirking.
That day, I walked out of the Azure Dragon Academy with a spring in my step. In this school filled with enemies, I think I’ll have at least one reliable ally from now on.
Translator’s Note: TSUNDERE GRANDPA IS HERE! Our Master Baek, who was an orphan in his previous life, will slowly learn about what it means to have family…
Also, SIMB now has a CHARACTER PAGE! You can access it from the SIMB main page. I think we all need a log to keep track of things when almost every named character is a main character of their own story.
Mae Geuk-Lyom (梅極廉): Geuk-Lyom meaning “Extremely Upright”, a fitting name for the man in charge of student discipline. ↩
Headmaster: Basically the Head Teacher, ranks below the Principal, Vice-Principal, and Star Instructor (Korean term for a celebrity teacher, teachers who get paid millions by the super-rich to teach their kids or give lectures to tens of thousands of students at once). ↩
Red Oni: ↩
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