Drawing bits of Cheol's past that Mrs. Han had shared, Flynn felt a familiar recognition stir within him. Cheol's father matched the same flaws that had plagued Flynn's parents—an abusive and reckless figure who had squandered his life away in the clutches of liquor. The news was no surprise to Flynn, enhancing his empathy towards Mrs. Han and the shared burden they would endure.
"It will be okay, Mom. We will be okay. We don't need someone like him in our lives," Flynn gently observed, his voice colored with rage and exasperation. Deep down, he knew that their family was better off without the toxic presence that Cheol's father represented.
"Actually, he left because he borrowed money he couldn't repay. Loan sharks have been searching for him relentlessly but to no avail." Mrs. Han sighed loudly, the weight of their family's financial woes evident in the wrinkles on her weary face.
"They even came to our home once, those debt collectors. Unable to find your father, they've been pestering me all day," she confessed, her voice tinged with a tint of anguish that echoed the depths of their problems.
Cheol's hands clenched, fury rushing through him like a relentless river. How could his father be so irresponsible and selfish as to forsake his family without offering any support? Not even a semblance of responsibility or concern. Now, his father's actions had left them burdened with a staggering amount of debt, a burden that threatened to smother their hopes.
"How much is the debt?" Flynn queried, his brain racing, assessing their choices. He knew that, at the moment, he had no means to make an enormous sum of money. However, knowing the degree of their financial burden was critical; any crucial piece of information could guide their way forward.
"100 million won," Mrs. Han stated, recalling the staggering amount they owed. It was a sum that appeared impossible, a daunting quantity that placed a cloud over their existence. Selling everything they own looked to be the only conceivable solution—a terrible prospect that would shatter their lives and leave them searching for stability anew. Flynn's thoughts whirled, his mind seeking possibilities. In his prior existence, he would have traversed perilous adventures, fought formidable creatures, and braved innumerable difficulties to acquire such a significant quantity of money.
"Don't worry, Mom. I'll help shoulder the burden of the debt," Flynn pledged, his voice unwavering and full of purpose and responsibility.
A small laugh escaped Mrs. Han's lips, a delicate sound she swiftly buried behind her hands, unwilling to undermine her child's resolve. Her face shone with a mixture of excitement and the warmth that comes from unconditional love.
"I'm sorry for laughing, but there's no need for you to go to such lengths. I forgave you a long time ago, even before you offered your apology," Mrs. Han remarked, her voice soothing and filled with sympathy. "Let's discuss this matter later. It's not the appropriate time or place for such conversations."
"Yes, Mom," Flynn said, his voice carrying a hint of comfort, grateful for her understanding.
Silently, they packed their possessions, and the air around them permeated with a sense of serenity, interrupted only by the occasional hum that escaped Mrs. Han's lips. Flynn chose not to break the enchanting melody, seeking consolation in its harmonious cadence.
As they proceeded back home, Flynn couldn't help but be taken aback by the sight that unfolded before him. Despite his fragmented memories and the month-long process of adapting to this new environment, the sheer scale of the towering structures and the endless traffic flow on the highways astounded him. It was a monument to the grandeur of the human mind—the ability to create wonders without magic.
The trip was not without bumps, but after an hour of travel, the car stopped in front of a modest-looking house. It stood tall on two levels, with the lowest level as a semi-basement.
"We rent the floor below. The one above belongs to Madam Kim. We'll greet her on a later date since she's working at the restaurant right now," Mrs. Han remarked, her voice laced with a hint of exhaustion.
As the door swung wide, the reality of the Han family's living conditions unfolded. Though everything was kept neat and orderly, the slight traces of flaking paint on the ceiling and the mold stains on the roof screamed a tale of struggle and difficulties.
Mrs. Han couldn't help but notice the shock lingering in her son's eyes. A twinge of shame coursed through her—the weight of her perceived failure to provide a more comfortable home for her child. She wished to explain and disclose the reasons behind their situation, but a mother's intuition reminded her that burdening her kid with such worries would only dampen their spirits.
"It's okay, Mom. You don't have to tell me. Aren't we the perfect example that material comforts don't solely determine true happiness? This house is more than enough, and we can create beautiful memories here." Flynn soothed her; his voice filled with sincerity and a newfound understanding.
"Thank you, my dear son. Your presence is already giving me the best happiness I could achieve," Mrs. Han said.
She busied herself unloading their goods, which seemed to amount to more than what could fit in the house. Flynn volunteered to help, but his mom shooed him away, telling the boy that he should rest comfortably.
With nothing else to do but watch Mrs. Han do her thing, Flynn roamed the house, his eyes searching for something to help him recover some of Cheol's memories. The house isn't huge and seems very old, yet this would still be a better dwelling place than the dilapidated homes in the Goldenleaf slums. And due to the nature of his job, Flynn had become accustomed to living anywhere without risk, even without the comfort of a roof.
The house, covering an estimated 40 square meters, consisted of two modest rooms, a bathroom, a cramped kitchen, and a spacious open area that served as a dining place and a living room. Stepping into one of the rooms, Flynn couldn't help but observe its emptiness. It was equipped with a small cabinet, a few articles of clothing hanging on a rack, and a modest table ornamented with a family photograph.
Drawn by the charm of the picture, Flynn gently picked it up. His eyes were attracted by the harmony it emanated. The concept of a photograph was still unfamiliar to him—a medium that preserved moments in time. He had learned about it through Mrs. Han's efforts to help him restore his lost memories when she had given him a book filled with photos.
In stark contrast to the current circumstances of the Han family, the photograph painted a picture of a different reality. A younger version of Mrs. Han, accompanied by someone whom Flynn thought to be her husband, stood at the rear. In front of them, two children gripped their adult hands, their features displaying a mix of irritation and sibling rivalry.
"That photo was taken 14 years ago," Mrs. Han murmured from behind, her voice tinged with nostalgia as she carefully reached for the picture, lightly brushing away the tiny coating of dust on its glass surface.
"Your dad and I took you and Hyun to a theme park on your brother's birthday. This was captured right after you two had a fight, when you accidentally broke the new toy we had gifted Hyun," Mrs. Han explained, chuckling at the sweet recollection.
Flynn simulated a bittersweet smile as if pining for a distant recollection. "I must have been difficult to deal with."
"No, dear. You were the sweetest child there was. It was just one of those accidental mishaps that happen between siblings." Mrs. Han soothed him, her voice filled with care and warmth.
"There's not much to see in this room. Why don't you check your own room instead? I've placed all your belongings there. I'm not sure which ones will be useful to you, so I gathered everything from your dorm," Mrs. Han advised, her eyes conveying concern and optimism.
"My dorm? Did I not live with you before?" Flynn questioned, a flash of doubt crossing his features.
"Well, if you'd like, I can share some details from your past. I didn't want to tell you while you were in the hospital, in fear of burdening you," Mrs. Han stated, her voice filled with uncertainty and anxiety.
Flynn's eyes sparked with purpose as he grabbed Mrs. Han's hands. "Don't worry, Mom. No matter what past I may have, it can't be more important than our lives. We already have enough burdens to carry on our own," he told her, his hold tight and solid. "So please tell me everything I need to know."
Mrs. Han let out a worry-filled sigh, preparing herself to recount the story of Cheol's life—a tale of humble beginnings, a meteoric rise, and a tragic downfall. They moved to the living room, facing one another, ready to embark on this journey of revelations.
Mrs. Han narrated the narrative for about an hour, and Flynn absorbed every detail from her lips. Throughout the retelling, Flynn endured a rollercoaster of emotions—anger, fear, sadness, and betrayal—each leaving its mark on his expressive face.
The narrative began five years ago when Cheol was a young man with a promising future. While he didn't excel academically, his true talent lay in the realm of gaming. Shortly after graduating from high school, Flynn was scouted by Divine Phoenix, a newly created eSports team that would subsequently lead South Korea to unprecedented success in the global arena.
Flynn's skills were tremendous as a newbie, gaining attention from prestigious organizations worldwide. Alongside his six teammates, he battled and conquered the strongest competitors in South Korea, earning them a coveted position in the World Championship held overseas. This achievement had never been accomplished before and had never been replicated.
Divine Phoenix exhibited their power on the worldwide scene, their name ringing across Korean media channels with the eyes of the world fixated upon them.
However, in the finals, they faced a Chinese team labeled the tournament's underdogs—a team that had climbed from the qualifiers, defeating every favored opponent they met. The start of the battle seemed promising, with Flynn guiding his team to a shocking 2-0 lead. But from the third round onward, Divine Phoenix's performance waned, with each player confronting unforeseen hurdles. Ultimately, the South Korean team suffered a humiliating 2-3 reverse sweep against the Chinese nationals.
While this achievement would have been impressive for a newbie club without a famous past, the heated rivalry between South Korea and China further aggravated the attention and backlash received by Divine Phoenix. Unforgiving media outlets mercilessly slandered their performance.
Amidst these challenging circumstances, a piece of news came to light, further fueling the public's fury. The information alleged that Cheol, as the leader of Divine Phoenix, had accepted a massive sum of money in exchange for purposefully allowing their Chinese opponents to win.
The entire team became the subject of public hostility, but most of the blame fell on Cheol. His teammates, seeing an opportunity to shift blame away from themselves, failed to disprove the charges and even blatantly contributed fuel to the fire.
Ultimately, Cheol Han was ostracized from the professional gaming world. Feeling lost and overwhelmed by the world's unfairness, he turned to vices as a tool to escape his anguish. He engaged in street fights, dabbled in smoking, and violated laws that led to his expulsion from professional gaming. Then, in the second year following his debut, Cheol tragically took his own life.
WHOA! That's so sad! But I can see the challenge ahead for Flynn/Cheol and it's a good one. I also like how Cheol is renewing the relationship between his "mom". And I enjoyed the photographs and how they're living in that run-down apartment. This, in truth, is enjoyable.
In the Goldenleaf Kingdom, Flynn Nightwalker, the renowned and formidable assassin, meets a tragic end at the hands of his treacherous comrades. In a twist of fate, Flynn's spirit inhabits the comatose body of Han Cheol, a former famous Esports player who had fallen into despair and thus attempted ending his own life. Determined to seize his second chance, Flynn vows never to blindly pledge his loyalty or trust to anyone again. However, he also carries the burden of fulfilling Han Cheol's long-held dream: to become the greatest gamer of all time as well as earn enough money to rescue his family from the clutches of overwhelming debt.
Guided by his assassin instincts and honed skills, Flynn embarks on a journey to conquer the world of gaming. With each step, he faces formidable opponents, intricate gaming challenges, and the need to navigate the complexities of the eSports industry. Along the way, Han Cheol's experiences as an assassin begin to merge with his gaming prowess, granting him an unconventional advantage.
As he strives to achieve greatness, Flynn must confront his past, reconcile his conflicting identities, and uncover the truth behind his reincarnation. Will he succeed in becoming the unrivaled gaming legend he aspires to be, or will the shadows of his assassin past consume him once again?