Time Moves On (7)
The next day...
"What are you looking at" Kang Jin-Ho stepped inside his classroom and asked Jeong In-Gyu, who was staring intently at his phone.
Jeong In-Gyu replied proudly, "Information on cram schools for students repeating a year."
"After I was done with the exams yesterday, something felt just a bit, you know, not satisfying It's like...
If I had studied a little more, the exams might have worked out fine.
I walked away with this feeling of something being not quite right, know what I mean If I study for one more year, I think I will get a desirable result for myself.
Wasting a year in my prime seems, well, like a waste, but if my future can be improved by that sacrifice...
It's a totally reasonable challenge!" Jeong In-Gyu said some inspirational words.
Too bad, Kang Jin-Ho's evaluation was as cold-hearted as usual.
"If only you felt this way two months ago."
"...It's better late than never, right"
"I wonder if that 'studying a little' will help you later down the line, though."
Kang Jin-Ho spoke in an assured tone, "Even if you do repeat a year, time will fly away in a blink while you frequent PC Rooms and pool halls."
Jeong In-Gyu suspiciously stared at his friend.
you sound like you have experience in this sort of thing"
"I just heard it in passing from someone."
"Some other dude.
He was always rushing to meet deadlines."
Kang Jin-Ho stared into the distance as he replied, "He repeated his senior year while having the same sentiment as you.
But the result of all his troubles was his entrance exam scores actually getting worse."
"...Wow, what a loser."
'But, that's you in the future, In-Gyu.'
Kang Jin-Ho thought while abstaining from saying it out loud.
He still remembered in detail what happened to Jeong In-Gyu after he chose to repeat his senior year.
During his first life, Kang Jin-Ho resented his so-called friends for no longer paying him a visit and obsessively stayed up-to-date with all the news related to them.
Park Yu-Min walked up to them and asked, "How did your exams go"
"You first," said Kang Jin-Ho as he put his school bag down.
"I think I did my best."
"Mmhm. My sincerest condolences."
Park Yu-Min was flustered by that response.
"H-hold on, I really did my best, you know"
"Is this when I'm supposed to get angry" Park Yu-Min began pondering deeply, but Kang Jin-Ho didn't mind that and settled down at his desk.
A high school student who had just finished their entrance exams had nothing to do other than wait nervously for their report card to come out.
"Hey, Kang Jin-Ho!" The classroom door slid open, and Han Se-Yeon rushed inside.
Kang Jin-Ho tutted, "Did someone die or something Why are you in such a hurry"
"What score did you get for the exams"
He replied with a shrug of his shoulders, "How should I know when we haven't gotten the results yet"
"Didn't you grade yourself after the exams"
"How can I do that when I don't remember anything"
Han Se-Yeon looked at him weirdly.
"They didn't write it for you at the back of your test identification slip"
"Mm Am I supposed to get something like that"
"...Jin-Ho, you're really dumb, aren't you"
Kang Jin-Ho frowned slightly.
"Did you come here to pick a fight"
"No, well, not really, but...
All I'm saying is, you are..." Han Se-Yeon pouted unhappily and shot a glare at Kang Jin-Ho before turning around to leave.
"So you’re picking a fight with me!"
Han Se-Yeon poked her tongue at him before asking, "By the way, did you get enough credits for your mandatory community service"
Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
"What is that"
"...Are you sure you're a high school student Maybe you came from outer space"
"You're too late with that quip, Se-Yeon.
Someone else had used that on me already," Kang Jin-Ho replied triumphantly.
"Some little girl you don't know about."
Han Se-Yeon took a step back with a look of disgust.
"Wait a minute.
Do you like little..."
"You're getting the wrong idea."
"What a relief, then.
I was so scared that a criminal was among the circle of my acquaintances, you see.
Clink, clink~!" 
Kang Jin-Ho groaned, "Anyway, tell me more about this mandatory community service thing."
"You gotta get enough credits for performing community service, or your grades will get deducted."
"What It's supposed to be a community service, yet I'll be scored for it"
"Well, it's 'credit,’ but actually, it's about how much time you've spent doing community service.
You just head to somewhere like an orphanage, do some service there and fill your quota.
That's about it."
"Oh, I see." Kang Jin-Ho nodded while rubbing his chin.
Han Se-Yeon nodded.
"You just have to get a minimum of sixty hours in total for three years in high school."
Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow.
Wait, don't tell me that you've never done it before"
don't recall." Kang Jin-Ho began sweating a little.
Han Se-Yeon tried to reassure him.
"N-no, there's no way.
If you were coming up short, your teacher would've reminded you or something by now."
Just confirm what your credit looks like, and if you're short, you can always go and do the community service to meet the quota."
What you're saying is, I can meet this quota by working in an orphanage or a care home"
"Yeah..." Han Se-Yeon nodded.
Kang Jin-Ho turned to look at Park Yu-Min.
"That's what she said."
An evil-looking grin suddenly floated up on Park Yu-Min's face.
"Finally, the time to show my true worth has come."
"Eh" Han Se-Yeon tilted her head and stared at Park Yu-Min in confusion.
"Alright, so..." However, the pro gamer boy's face had already changed back to one full of friendly smiles.
"How many hours do you need"
Han Se-Yeon's eyes opened wider.
"What Yu-Min really lives here"
Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
"Yu Min, I didn't know you were an orphan," she looked at Park Yu-Min and said in surprise.
"Most people don't openly reveal such information about themselves, after all," said Kang Jin-Ho with a tut.
Han Se-Yeon realized her blunder and quickly covered her mouth.
"Ah! Sorry, Yu-Min."
Park Yu-Min grinned ruefully.
"Don't sweat it.
It's the truth, anyway."
Kang Jin-Ho asked his friend, "What about the others"
"In-Gyu has already met his quota a while ago.
Tae-Ho and Min-Jae only need a couple more hours, and they promised to come around another time."
Han Se-Yeon pouted.
"Wow, that's so sneaky! Why couldn't they do it together with us"
Park Yu-Min chuckled and said something rather unwise just then, "Well, they were smart enough to work toward meeting their quotas during their summer vacations, after all."
"Are you implying that I'm dumb!" Han Se-Yeon glared at him.
"Sounds like you're itching for a fight, Yu-Min," Kang Jin-Ho also began growling.
Park Yu-Min stumbled back at their combination attack.
"N-no, that's not, uh, that’s not what I meant..."
Kang Jin-Ho ignored him and strode unhesitantly toward Seongsim Orphanage.
"Let's just go inside already."
Han Se-Yeon tilted her head a little while watching him.
"He acts like this is his house or something."
Park Yu-Min chuckled again.
"He comes here often, that's why."
"Truth is, Jin-Ho doesn't have to do any community service.
He has already met his quota a long time ago if we calculate all the time he spent working here."
"Really Why did he come here today then"
Park Yu-Min grinned and didn't say anything while staring at Han Se-Yeon.
She snapped her fingers as if an idea had popped up in her head.
"Wait a minute, is it because he thinks me working alone is uncool"
It's just that he himself isn't aware that he has already met the quota.
If he knew, he would have asked me to take care of the credits," Park Yu-Min replied in an unimpressed voice.
"Se-Yeon, you really do love getting ahead of yourself, don't you"
"Hey, Park Yu-Min."
Han Se-Yeon narrowed her eyes.
"How can you get more hateful with every passing day"
"That's right! You were so much nicer in the past!" Han Se-Yeon spun on her heels fast enough to start galeforce winds and chased after Kang Jin-Ho.
Park Yu-Min watched and could only chuckle.
"Why is she taking her frustration out on me"
Performing community service in an orphanage wasn't as easy as it sounded.
Dealing with young children was already difficult, and when those children were also disabled in some way, it would be easy to imagine how severe the difficulty would be.
However, it was not much of a problem for Kang Jin-Ho.
"You, come with me."
"We're heading to the bathroom.
The orphanage children acted like soldiers obeying commands and following Kang Jin-Ho’s every word.
That level of skill was something not even Park Yu-Min could dream of matching, even though he had been living with these kids for well over a decade now.
"W-what the heck is up with that!" Han Se-Yeon freaked out a little as she watched Kang Jin-Ho's antics.
Park Yu-Min sighed, "Not sure.
But for some reason, the kids here all behave so obediently toward Jin-Ho."
"Does that look like 'obedience' to you!"
Han Se-Yeon was about to throw her hands up in disbelief.
"Those kids look like cows getting dragged to a slaughterhouse!"
"...N-now that you mentioned it, well, uh..."
"Wait, wouldn't Jin-Ho do the same to his own kids in the future"
"I guess he might"
"That's no good! Don't you know how sensitive and impressionable young children are!" Han Se-Yeon began freaking out again.
Park Yu-Min tilted his head.
"Why are you worried about how Jin-Ho will treat his kids in the future, though"
"You were so much nicer in the past."
"I think you need to be bullied a little so your old nicer self comes back."
"T-thanks, I guess..."
Despite her threats, Han Se-Yeon didn't resort to violence.
She focused on calming the children and looking after them instead.
She was patient and never lost her cool once while bathing the children and playing along with them.
Even Park Yu-Min was impressed by what he saw from her.
Kang Jin-Ho was also suitably impressed.
"She really does look kind and gentle, doesn't she"
Park Yu-Min chuckled at that.
"Se-Yeon has always been kind, you know."
"That has to be a lie..."
Think back to a year ago.
She was never this talkative and was always reserved around everyone."
"Really Then why did she change so much lately"
"That's not it, either.
She only behaves like that with you."
Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow.
"Huh How come"
Park Yu-Min was taken aback.
"Can't you tell"
"I wouldn't have asked you if I could."
you really don't know"
Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes and spoke in a grave-sounding voice, "Maybe she has a grudge against me Did I do something wrong to her"
Park Yu-Min made a fed-up face, then shook his head.
"No, hold on.
You need to tell me."
"...Nah, it's not my place, and besides, I'm not sure either."
"Well, that's lame..."
Park Yu-Min shook his head some more at Kang Jin-Ho.
This was on the level of mental illness already—a very serious one at that!
The community service wasn't easy, but time still flew, and the quota of one hour was eventually reached.
The orphanage's director thanked Han Se-Yeon.
"Thank you for all your hard work, Miss Han."
It wasn't much, ma'am."
The director grinned warmly.
"This is the second time Yu-Min brought his friend here, besides Jin-Ho, of course.
You two must be close, then"
I'm close to Yu-Min." Han Se-Yeon smiled.
But Park Yu-Min butted in.
"Nope, she's friends with Jin-Ho, ma'am."
"...Well, uh, it's something like that," Han Se-Yeon quickly averted her gaze.
The orphanage director smiled after figuring out what was going on.
"I'll send your confirmation letters through Yu-Min later.
There's the issue with the date, after all."
We'll leave it up to you, ma'am."
The director sighed ruefully, "If only you came here sooner, the kids would've had so much fun.
Unlike our old premises, this new facility offers better washrooms and general ease of daily operations, you see.
If you had come here a year ago, you would have experienced what real community service is like."
"In that case, I should come back again later, ma'am.
And as often, too."
"Not many people who said that stuck to their promises, Miss Han."
"Don't worry, ma'am.
I'm not that kind of a person."
"I hope so." The orphanage director smiled gently, then patted Han Se-Yeon on the shoulder.
"Thank you for your hard work.
You are always welcome here.
Not just to do community service, of course."
"I understand, ma'am."
Afterward, the director whispered into Han Se-Yeon's ear, "Jin-Ho stops by often during the weekends as well."
Han Se-Yeon blushed a little.
The director turned her attention over to Kang Jin-Ho.
"Thank you for today as well, Jin-Ho."
"No problem, ma'am."
"And please, do me a favor.
Jin-Ho, you need to be more communicative."
"I'm trying, ma'am."
"I can see that you've improved a lot since your first time here. Oh, and I have another favor to ask.
Please be more sensitive toward your surroundings."
"I don't follow" Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
The director sighed and stared at him with pity in her eyes.
Park Yu-Min could barely hold back his laughter.
Meanwhile, Han Se-Yeon was stomping the floor in frustration yet again.
Take care." Kang Jin-Ho bade goodbye and stepped outside the orphanage.
"Ahhh, that was so fulfilling," said Han Se-Yeon while stretching her limbs.
"In that case, go home." Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes at her.
"Hey, shouldn't you be offering to take me home"
"Even though we go in two completely opposite directions"
"You can see the sun setting, right It's getting dark, so if something happens to me while I'm walking home alone, do you really think that you can sleep peacefully at night"
"I'm gonna haunt you in your dreams, then!"
Kang Jin-Ho groaned, then presented the rear of Golden Elephant to Han Se-Yeon.
"Here, get on."
You want to give me a ride instead"
"Nope." Han Se-Yeon climbed on the bicycle's rack over the rear wheel, then wrapped her arms tightly around Kang Jin-Ho's waist.
"We're setting off."
Kang Jin-Ho slowly pedaled forward as Han Se-Yeon buried her face in his broad back.
The much-anticipated day had arrived.
The day of the results announcement, that was.
The homeroom teacher of Kang Jin-Ho's class, Kim Seong-Ju, stood in front of the classroom and began calling out the students' names.
"You're repeating a year, right"
"You will repeat your third year, yes"
Sorrow quickly filled up Jeong In-Gyu's expression.
Kim Jeong-Su continued.
"You must repeat it.
You simply have to."
"...Yes, sir." Jeong In-Gyu received his report card, looked at it once, then groaned.
Kang Jin-Ho tried to comfort him.
"This was the result you wanted, so congratulations."
Jeong In-Gyu shot him a reproachful glare.
"I really want to kill you right now."
Kim Seong-Ju continued.
"Next, Park Yu-Min."
"Yes, I'm here!"
"Well, Yu-Min, grades aren't really that important to you, so this much is fine."
The classroom erupted into brief but raucous laughter.
Park Yu-Min got the report card from his teacher and bowed his head.
"Thank you, sir."
"Don't feel down about your results, Yu-Min.
It's still way better than In-Gyu's."
Jeong In-Gyu slammed his forehead into his desk for a second time as if he had died the second time.
Kim Seong-Ju turned his head and called the next name out.
The homeroom teacher stared alternatingly between Kang Jin-Ho's face and the report card in his hand.
"Jin-Ho, was your condition during the exams not good"
It was acceptable."
"Then, what's up with this result"
Kim Seong-Ju made a grave face and stared at Kang Jin-Ho, before handing out the report card.
"If your condition was acceptable, then why did you get three questions wrong Reflect on yourself!"
"Whooooooa!" Impressed exclamations rose up from the students in the class.
Kang Jin-Ho took a look at his report card to confirm the exam score.
With a stiff expression, he looked back at Kim Seong-Ju.
"I'll reflect on myself, sir."
"Next time, get full marks, okay"
"But sir, doing this again is a bit..."
Kim Seong-Ju chuckled, then proudly patted his student on the back.
As Kang Jin-Ho returned to his desk, the other students expressed their jealousy and awe.
"Holy cow, dude! Did you really get only three answers wrong!"
"Did Jin-Ho go berserk or something Is this the fluke of the century!"
Kang Jin-Ho replied to them in an unconcerned manner, "My bad.
Looks like my condition wasn't so good that day, after all.
I got three answers wrong and all."
"Hey, kill him! Let’s kill that bastard and close his coffin lid today for good!"
The other students charged straight at him and began smacking him.
Kang Jin-Ho almost instinctively counterattacked but he managed to hold himself back and let them smack him around for a bit.
They weren't being serious, after all.
He finally got to his desk, only for the classroom door to open, and then...
Kang Jin-Ho could tell who it was without looking.
"It's you again"
Han Se-Yeon quickly got next to him and asked, "What's your score What did you get, Jin-Ho"
"Here, take a look for yourself." Kang Jin-Ho handed his report card over to Han Se-Yeon.
She stared intensely at the card before looking straight into Kang Jin-Ho's eyes.
He frowned slightly.
"Are you going to say something strange again"
For some reason, though, Han Se-Yeon didn't say anything and simply lowered her head.
Kang Jin-Ho was left confused even further.
"Who's crying here, you dummy!"
"Then, what's wrong"
Han Se-Yeon muttered under her breath, "It's just that...
I'm so pathetic, aren't I"
"What are you even talking about"
"You got a better score than me, that's what! It feels like I should just kill myself right now."
"You don’t have to worry about that then since I'll do that for you!"
Han Se-Yeon quickly escaped from the angry-faced Kang Jin-Ho and ran back to her classroom.
However, her eyes did have traces of tears in them.
As she got to her desk, she sighed and thought to herself.
'I'm so relieved...'
Yet another peaceful day in Dongmyeong High School was drawing to a close.
And some people were observing this peaceful scene from afar.
A middle-aged man asked his companion, "...That's him"
Indeed, he's not your usual riffraff.
Even though he's still young, to think that he could make me tense up this much! This is simply impossible! If the other party’s a normal person, that is." The middle-aged man emitting an ominous dark aura slowly bared his fangs as he stared at Kang Jin-Ho in the distance.
"I welcome you to our midst, oh the new returner to the modern era."
Han Se-Yeon is making the sounds of handcuffs, FYI. ☜