There was an uproar in Satisfy.
Famous guilds were in motion to find the mysterious blacksmith. In various media and the Internet, the epic-rated arrows appeared as a hot issue. Who was the craftsman with great skills and potential but lacking experience and reputation?
Many people were searching for the blacksmith’s whereabouts.
‘It is a harder path than others. I always did my best. Nonetheless, there is a better blacksmith than me?’
Panmir had only experienced making an epic-rated item twice. He had the title of the first epic-rated item maker. However, there was no mention of ‘craftsman’ in his epic item description. Who was the person given the title of craftsman, which wasn’t even allowed for the number one ranking blacksmith?
Panmir was spurred by a sense of competitiveness towards the unknown blacksmith.
Meanwhile, Shin Youngwoo, the person who was receiving everyone’s attention, was eating cup noodles at a convenience store before going to work.
“What a jerk, charging 1,000 won for a cup of noodles? Does he want people like me to starve to death? Sigh, people really can’t live without acting dirty.”
I grumbled as I ate.
* * *
It might be Sunday, but the office of labor was always busy. The days when students came on a daily basis to find work had disappeared. These days, young people turned away from labor jobs! Foreign workers had long taken over, making the future of South Korea seem bleak.
‘I have a headache.’
I still hadn’t adapted to the smell of cigarettes and alcohol early in the morning.
‘I want to finish the work quickly so I can go home and rest.’
As I sat there, a young man in a construction worker’s uniform cried out.
“Looking for four workers for the Shinwoo Building’s construction site!”
Construction site workers did things like clean, move bricks and wood, and shovel sand. The physical labor was harsh, and I would eat a lot of dirt, but I had done it often. Therefore, I didn’t hesitate to raise my hand.
“Here! Over here… cough!”
An alcohol drinker or heavy smoker punched me in the belly! I was pushed into a corner and missed the chance to be employed by the construction site.
“Those guys are heartless! You should send the pitiful young people first!”
While I was complaining with irritation, a middle-aged man in a short-sleeved shirt spoke, “I need three tilers with strength. You should have experience.”
A tiles assistant would follow the main tiler and assist in the transfer of materials such as tiles, cement, and sand. It was annoying to carry the tiles if I met a bad tiler and I had to be careful not to break the tiles, but it was decent work.
I raised my hand. “Here! I have carried tiles more than 10 times… Ugh!”
I was once again pushed back into a corner by the older men and lost the chance to be hired because there were three people more experienced than me.
“Here! I do… Ack!”
There were several companies looking for laborers, but I wasn’t hired due to the continuous interference.
“Ah, you! You will regret not seeing my value!”
The older men in the workforce were hindering me. It seemed that they didn’t like me snatching away their spots.
“Who could come here because they like it? Don’t you think I want to work part-time like other young people? I’m making a living just like you! Let me get something as well!”
The mere sight of them was enough to make me angry, like seeing a barking dog. However, my opponents were adults. So, I couldn’t say anything bad and sat down again.
“Kukuk.” The chief, who had been reading his newspaper on his desk, looked at me.
Was he around his early 30s? He was a person who inherited this office from his father. For every 10 times I came here looking for a job, I’d gone home three times in vain. The chief was watching me when another person arrived.
“Who can do electric pulling work? No experience is needed. I will pay 110,000 won a day, so come quickly.”
It was 20,000 won more than the usual pay. However, I didn’t move. Of course, there was a reason for offering more money.
‘I can’t forget how awful it was.’
I’d tried electrical cable pulling only once.
It was just pulling a huge electrical cable, so it was a very simple task. However, it consumed a tremendous amount of stamina. I couldn’t let the cable hit my wrist. Moreover, the cables were very thick and the weight was heavy.
It was just pulling, but… I would get blisters on my hands even while wearing gloves, and I would suffer from muscle aches for at least two days.
‘It was an oasis in winter…’
I still remembered the nightmare from last winter. The other men present looked into the distance, whistled or went out to smoke.
“No one?” The man asked again with an awkward expression.
Then one of the middle-aged men pointed towards me. “This young man can do it very well.”
“Really. He is very active and has amazing stamina.”
“Hasn’t he done a lot of electrical cable pulling? An expert, expert.”
‘These insane humans!’
I glared at them to stop, but the other men continued to recommend me. Then the person offering the job pointed to me. “Excuse me, young man. Shall we go together? You look very good.”
If I followed the atmosphere, today I would enter hell. I glanced towards the chief, but he just smiled. In the end, I raise my phone to my ear, like I had received an incoming call.
“Yes, this is Shin Youngwoo. Ah, there was a spot? Yes, right away…”
Ddiririring ~ ddiririring~
The default S Corporation’s ringtone was heard from the phone at my ear. In the end, the other workers there laughed until tears emerged from their eyes. The employer also laughed. “Then let’s go.”
Who would call me this early in the morning? Moreover, I barely ever received phone calls. So, how did I receive a call at this exact timing? Then I belatedly saw the caller ID and hurriedly picked up the phone. It was an unforgettable voice.
(Hello~ This is Mother’s Heart is Happy Financial Services. Customer Shin Youngwoo, you do know that the deadline is tomorrow right?)
(If you have forgotten, does that mean there is no money?)
“O-Of course not. Yes, I understand. I will have the amount ready for tomorrow.”
(Thank you, Debt… no, Customer. Have a happy day. Mother’s Heart is Happy hopes you will smile today~)
The call ended.
I’d played games and ignored reality, forgetting that I was a debtor. I had to work hard to pay off the interest. It would be hard work, not easy work, that would get me out of this position.
“Excuse me… Will you really pay 110,000 won?”
“Is it really true?”
“Of course! You will never go hungry when working for me!”
I eventually left towards hell. That evening…
“O-Oppa?” Se-hee stammered when she saw my exhausted self return home. I couldn’t even take my shoes off before collapsing.
“Shit… The words were true, but… doing all that labor only to receive cream bread…? There wasn’t even milk…! What type of people would give cream bread and no milkkkkkk?!!! U-Ughhh… I have to play the game… Arrows… sold…”
I couldn’t remember anything after that. It was because I fell asleep.
* * *
When I woke up, I felt like I had been crushed by steel. My body was throbbing all over, and I barely managed to check the time. It was 5.20 a.m.
This was serious. It was late when I took into consideration the distance between my house and the labor office. I hurried to change into my work clothes while worrying about getting a good job. If I arrived late, then something like yesterday might happen again.
“Ack~! I’m going.”
After I paid the interest for the loan, I would only have 9,220 won in my hands. I needed to make money to pay the fee for the game in a week. As I put on my shoes without washing up, my mother approached and patted my shoulder. “Come eat breakfast.”
“I can’t. I’m already late,” I replied hurriedly.
“Youngwoo,” my mother suddenly said my name in a serious voice. I cowered reflexively. It was obvious that her nagging would begin. My mother knew about my debts. She wondered why I was addicted to games and was saddened by my absence from school. She mourned that I had debts and was living in this situation.
However, when I looked back, my mother’s eyes were calm and welcoming.
“Come eat,” she said.
“W-why? I have to go to the office quickly.”
At that moment, the door opened, and my father appeared. My father sat at the table, opened the newspaper and said quietly, “Take a break today.”
“A break? What are you saying.”
“Cough, cough.” My father just coughed and looked at the newspapers.
My mother whispered in my ears, “You came back really exhausted yesterday. Your father was worried since he carried you to your bedroom~”
“We are your mother and father. We don’t want to see our son suffer. Didn’t you suffer yesterday? You should rest for today.”
“M-Mother…” I was touched by the fact that my parents were still looking after me, despite all the disappointment I’d caused them in the past year.
At that time, Sehee exited her room with a yawn and handed me something. It was a pain relief patch.
“Paste it on. Didn’t you go through a lot of trouble yesterday?”
‘Ahh! What a beautiful family!’
I cried out as I embraced my mother and Sehee.
I’d thought I was alone in this difficult world, but I had such warm family beside me. My family members were like angels to their disappointing son and brother. I was truly grateful to have this family.
“W-What? Who are you hugging? O-Oppa’s hug is good… Ah, no. Isn’t it bad?” Sehee grumbled quietly as she hugged me back, while my mother quietly stroked my head. After that, I took off my work clothes and sat at the table, feeling the taste of beef rib soup for the first time in months.
“Father, then can you pay off my debt?”
Beeok! My father, who was eating quietly, gazed at me and threw his spoon. I shrieked as it hit me in the forehead, while my mother clicked her tongue and handed my father a new spoon.
“Haven’t I already told you? We want you to be self-reliant. You are already 26 years old. You should be responsible for your own actions.”
The atmosphere had been so full of harmony that I never imagined a spoon would fly over. As I rubbed my forehead, my father handed me an envelope.
He said, “I will give you an allowance for today. You are resting today because of us, so I can’t let you make a loss.”
“Father…” I was touched. My usually blunt father was taking care of me today. I would gladly accept the allowance.
I grasped the number of bills in the envelope with my sharp fingertips, but the number seemed a little small? When I looked inside the envelope, I saw seven bills. Feeling disappointed, I spoke carefully, “Father, the minimum payment for labor these days is at least 9…”
My father looked at me regretfully. “Huh, really? I’m sorry, but that is all the cash I have on me right now. Be satisfied with that.”
He was telling me not to ask for the missing amount later. I had forgotten, but my father was quite restrained when it came to spending money. If he bought a chicken, he thought that the family should eat it over three meals.
I was forced to surrender at receiving an allowance of 70,000 won.
‘At least he gave it in the first place.’