Becoming Rich (4)
The shop owner stared alternatingly between Kang Jin-Ho and the bicycle for a while before finally muttering, “A...
Kang Jin-Ho replied in a matter-of-factly way.
“You want two people to ride this bike”
“Why Is there a problem” Kang Jin-Ho asked flatly.
‘Did this kid ask me why just now’
The bike shop uncle's face turned even redder.
“Let me ask you something.
What do you think this bicycle is”
Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
"This bicycle is like a thoroughbred sports car that has been lightened to increase its speed on the road! It's an amalgamation of all the bicycle-related technology you can think of in the pursuit of pure speed, rider safety, and ergonomic efficiency! In that case, it'll be akin to a Formula One race car! Yet, yet...! You want to do what to this bike! Two people will ride on it!"
Kang Jin-Ho nonchalantly nodded.
“Yes, that's what I want.”
The shop owner uncle's voice got even louder.
"Not just that, but you want to destroy its beauty by attaching an unsightly luggage rack over the rear wheel, too!"
Foam was about to gush out of the shop uncle's mouth by now.
“I won't do it! I will not do something that sacrilegious!”
"Really" Kang Jin-Ho shrugged his shoulders and nonchalantly turned around to leave.
This wasn't the only bicycle shop in town, after all.
No skin off his back if this shop didn't want to do it.
"Let's go somewhere else, Yu-Min."
The owner hurriedly stopped Kang Jin-Ho.
“W-wait a minute!”
“What is it”
“Are you serious about that saddle”
Kang Jin-Ho sighed and replied, "That's what I've been saying, uncle."
Kang Jin-Ho couldn't be bothered to reply anymore, so he tugged his bicycle out of the store, but the shop owner hurriedly grabbed his arm.
The latter groaned.
“...This is crazy, you know that”
He grumbled, but judging from his expression, he seemed to have resigned himself to the inescapable fate.
“Okay, you two.
Wait for a little while.” The owner groaned again and stepped inside the store.
He emerged a little later with a saddle and luggage rack.
Even though he continued to mutter to himself, he began attaching the rack to the back of the bike.
His expression remained gloomy throughout the process, though.
Park Yu-Min learned for the first time today that the sound of someone tightening screws could actually be so sorrowful.
The shop owner uncle turned his soulless and hollow eyes at Kang Jin-Ho.
“How much do I owe you”
The shop owner didn't reply but chose to stare at the luggage rack on top of Bianchi's rear wheel one more time.
His shoulders visibly slumped even lower in dejection.
How should one go about describing this scene Would it be like...
Someone had the poor taste of attaching a teardrop-shaped caravan to a red Italian mid-engined supercar
That wasn’t entirely accurate—the feeling the shop owner felt in his heart right now should be similar to when someone saw a top-of-the-line hypercar towing a handcart.
The shop owner uncle groaned weakly.
"Getting paid for this monstrosity I can't do that in my good conscience.
Doing that will tear my heart apart, kid."
“Even then, I should still...”
I only did this because you might go to some amateur and get the frame scratched to hell or something.
I made sure to attach the rack in a way that wouldn’t damage the frame, so promise me this! Be super careful when you're riding it, okay!"
The bicycle shop owner's nagging didn't end there, though.
He even ordered Kang Jin-Ho.
"Always come here to have your bike lubricated! Never do it by yourself!" Afterward, he also gave the latter bicycle maintenance-related tips for free.
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled slightly at this somewhat over-the-top zeal of the uncle.
He seemed really passionate about bikes, at the least.
Understood.” Kang Jin-Ho bade goodbye and left the shop with his bicycle.
The owner could only watch and lament sorrowfully in his heart.
Why did the heavens have to be so cruel! To grant such a gorgeous work of art to some oblivious fool who couldn't even appreciate it! This was clearly an insult to all things bicycle-related.
However, Kang Jin-Ho couldn't care less and rapidly disappeared from the shop owner's view.
He went around the corner of the alleyway, then said to Park Yu-Min.
"Ng Wait, was that all for me" Park Yu-Min blinked in surprise.
“Who else could it be other than you”
Park Yu-Min chuckled sheepishly.
"It kinda feels like I owe the shop uncle an apology."
“You think so” Kang Jin-Ho replied disinterestedly while thinking…
‘If you feel sorry for something like this, you'll get hurt by lots of things in the future, Yu-Min.’
The two of them got on the bicycle and headed to the orphanage up on the hill.
Unfortunately, Kang Jin-Ho had overlooked something important—no matter how wonderful the frame was, its pedals were not all that different from his previous bicycles.
Jo Gyu-Min replacing Bianchi's original road racing-purpose cleats with conventional bicycle pedals was a mistake.
The way Kang Jin-Ho pushed down the pedals with some force as he reached the hill caused those pedals to break off without putting up that much of a resistance, and Kang Jin-Ho could only hold his head in despair.
The next day...
“It costs an arm and a leg, yet it’s still no better than trash!” Jo Gyu-Min's heart was cruelly stepped on by Kang Jin-Ho's merciless critique.
He immediately commissioned a set of pedals that would never, ever break.
After doing that, Jo Gyu-Min seemed to have realized that the task of supporting Kang Jin-Ho was a lot harder than he thought.
Baek Hyeon-Jeong cried out.
"An apartment is better!"
Kang Yu-Hwan cried right back at her.
"What are you talking about, dear! A private property with a nice garden is infinitely better!"
“My dear husband, who will be responsible for maintaining the so-called nice garden”
"Me, of course!" Kang Yu-Hwan confidently replied.
"Oooh Sure, dear.
I'm sure you'll do a very good job! Out of everything you said you'd do, what have you actually done to deserve such confidence, my dear husband!”
“I'm telling you, I'm being serious this time!”
"You're being noisy! We! Are! Moving! To an apartment where maintaining it is easier!"
Baek Hyeon-Jeong shot back with unyielding resolve!
In any other circumstances, Kang Yu-Hwan would have pretended to lose to her and humor her whims.
However, he simply couldn't do that this time.
He gnashed his teeth and tried to fight back.
"Dear, don't you yearn for a verdant lawn covering your yard Imagine having a beautiful lawn surrounding our home, and me washing my car on the said lawn!"
“Dear, parking a car on the lawn will kill the grass.”
“You're too pragmatic, dear…”
Baek Hyeon-Jeong sharply narrowed her eyes.
"That was a praise, I hope"
The minor squabble between the married couple continued this morning as well.
This scene had become a bit of a fixture in the Kang family for some time now.
Kang Jin-Ho ignored his parents and exited the house to go to school.
"I'm off now."
“Wait, Jin-Ho! Which one do you prefer A house or an apartment” Kwang Yu-Hwan, steadily losing his ground in the argument, desperately sought out his son's assistance.
Unfortunately for him, though, Kang Jin-Ho already knew that he could say only one thing in this situation.
"I'm fine with whatever, Father."
"You heartless kid! You're definitely your mother's son!"
“Is that a praise, Father”
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled and closed the door behind him.
He then put the Golden Elephant down from his shoulder.
“It's a nice bike, but...”
He was still having a hard time with the idea of storing it indoors.
Kang Jin-Ho wanted to leave it outside when he was home, but his father's power of discernment was surprisingly high.
He freaked out after spotting the bike and hurriedly brought it inside the house.
Even Baek Hyeon-Jeong, who was initially unhappy about bike tires dirtying the floors, stopped shouting and quietly pointed out a suitable spot to store the bike after listening to how expensive it was.
"Wait, Oppa! Let me go with you!" Kang Eun-Yeong rushed outside the home just then.
"Isn't this a little earlier than usual for you" Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
"I have something to do at school, you see."
“Is that so” Kang Jin-Ho nodded, then pointed at the rack attached to the bicycle.
“Want a ride, then”
She silently stared at the bike before nodding gravely in determination.
Kang Jin-Ho felt a bit unhappy about her solemn attitude, though.
He wasn't like some runaway train or something—was her determined face really necessary
Kang Eun-Yeong warned him in a quiet voice.
"You better be slower this time, okay"
“If you go crazy like last time, I'm gonna pull out all of your hair.”
“I said, I got it.”
Out of curiosity, Kang Eun-Yeong asked for a ride on her older brother's bicycle sometime ago.
Unsurprisingly, the crazy speed ended up giving her a mental trauma.
She screamed at the top of her lungs to make Kang Jin-Ho stop the bike, then plopped down on the ground to wail like a baby.
He could still vividly recall all the unprintable curse words she hurled in their way back then.
Even so, how commendable was she for tackling the challenge of riding Kang Jin-Ho's bike once more despite her trauma!
As a sign of respect for the girl's courage, Kang Jin-Ho was very gentle with propelling the bike today.
Of course, his definition of gentle was still a bit out of whack.
Something suddenly grabbed the back of his hair.
Then, a chilly voice followed soon afterwards.
"I told you to go slower, didn't I!"
going very slowly, though”
"As you wish," said Kang Jin-Ho, then slowed his bicycle down to a crawling pace.
'At this speed, I must be going slower than other bicycles...'
He should have ignored his sister and just headed to school by himself, but he just had to ask her if she wanted a ride, didn't he
They eventually arrived at Dongmyeong Middle School at a speed slow enough to make him yawn.
Kang Eun-Yeong climbed off and declared in a voice filled with playful haughtiness.
“Good work, Chauffeur Kang.”
And my fare”
I hope you trip and fall flat on your face soon, dear customer." Kang Jin-Ho chuckled.
He oriented his bicycle, then rode away at a speed so much faster than when he was carrying his sister with him on the bike.
Kang Eun-Yeong watched him disappear while waiting for her friends to join her.
One of her friends spoke in an excited voice, "Hey, your oppa is really hot, isn't he"
Kang Eun-Yeong snorted and said, “I had no idea your standard was that low, you know”
"What do you mean Your oppa is pretty hot, isn't he"
“In what way Because he's got two eyes, one nose, and a mouth”
Her friends burst into raucous laughter.
"You're so funny, Eun-Yeong! It's you who's not seeing it, though! Oh, hey! Can you, like, introduce us to your oppa"
Kang Eun-Yeong dismissively waved her hand.
"Because you're too good for him.
My oppa is totally unsalvageable.
Do you have any idea how weird he is at home"
“Oh, come on! It's fine, really! So like, just introduce us already!”
“I'm telling you, no! Hey, stop clinging on to me!”
“Why are you getting so pissy, Eun-Yeong!”
“I said no! End of! Got it!” Kang Eun-Yeong yelled at the top of her lungs, then turned around with a huff.
'How dare an ugly hag like you lust after my oppa!'
She glanced at Kang Jin-Ho riding the bicycle in the distance.
From the way his hair danced in the breeze and how sleek and athletic his figure was, even Kang Eun-Yeong had to admit that her oppa cut quite a stylish figure these days.
'That's right, he has become a bit of a heartthrob lately, hasn't he'
Unfortunately, though, the improvement in her dear brother's looks had the side effect of attracting annoying insects.
'I'll never let that happen even if it kills me!'
Kang Eun-Yeong's fighting spirit fiercely burned.
Kang Jin-Ho picked up his bicycle and headed to the chief director's office.
'Shouldn’t I stop doing this already'
Since this whole routine was annoying and too eye-catching, he tried to leave his bicycle at the school's bike storage not too long ago.
However, when he got there after the classes ended for the day, the bicycle had been magically transported to the chief director's office somehow.
After that incident, Kang Jin-Ho decided that it was better to just carry the damned bicycle to the office himself instead of making someone else sweat for no good reason.
He opened the office door and stepped inside.
Jo Gyu-Min was already in the office and in the middle of brewing coffee.
“Here's your coffee, Mr.
“Coffee What for”
“Drinking coffee in the morning is the way it's meant to be, Mr.
"I just finished my morning exercise, yet you want me to drink hot coffee"
Jo Gyu-Min grinned.
“Don't worry about that.
I've prepared iced americano just in case.”
“You're pretty thorough, Mr.
“Thank you for your kind words.”
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled and put Golden Elephant down before settling down on the office couch with the iced coffee in his hand.
Initially, frequenting the chief director's office day in and day out felt quite weird as he was still a student of this institution.
However, that awkwardness gradually went away after repeating the routine for a while.
Kang Jin-Ho downed the entire cup of coffee in one go.
Jo Gyu-Min sighed.
Jin-Ho, you should take your time enjoying the aroma of...”
“Thanks for the coffee,” said Kang Jin-Ho and exited the office without hesitation.
Jo Gyu-Min chuckled helplessly while thinking that his young boss had always been doing things at his own pace.
Kang Jin-Ho discovered someone was waiting for him in front of his class.
It was none other than Han Se-Yeon.
“I was waiting for you, Jin-Ho.”
Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head, wondering what she wanted from him so early in the morning.
Han Se-Yeon grumbled in a slightly annoyed voice.
"You're supposed to say hello first, you know"
“Right back at you.”
“You just don't wanna lose at all, do you”
What do you want, though"
Han Se-Yeon grinned meaningfully.
“You know what day is today, don't you”
He shrugged his shoulders.
It's mock exams today."
“Let's have a wager, shall we”
Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes.
“You said you can beat me, right That will be our wager.
How about it”
“A wager with you” Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
It was his code to always accept all types of challenges regardless of his situation.
“Sure, I accept.”
“A wager requires stakes, though.
What will be yours”
“Hmmm, not sure.”
Han Se-Yeon's grin deepened just then.
"If I win...
How about you listen to one of my wishes"
“What if you ask for something impossible”
"Don't worry, I'll only ask for something realistic.
And if it's still too much for you, you can always chicken out."
"Fine, I accept your terms," said Kang Jin-Ho with a firm nod.
“What about you, though”
“My demand is the same as yours.”
“Got it! Don't forget, okay! The loser must do as the winner says!” Han Se-Yeon grinned, then walked toward her classroom.
"Hmm..." Kang Jin-Ho also grinned faintly and entered his own class.
She was in for a rude surprise if she thought he was still the same as he had been a few weeks ago.
Having realized the importance of studying, Kang Jin-Ho had been focusing a lot on improving his grades lately by relying on his brain, which had become several times sharper and more energized than before.
This was why he felt quietly confident about improving his performance this time around.
'Being too outstanding is not good, but still...
I should at least get back to my old grades.'
Kang Jin-Ho leisurely settled down at his desk.
Soon, the exams began and he confidently picked up his pen.
Unfortunately for him, though...
It didn't take too long for him to realize that this world wasn't as easy as he thought.