Life, Once Again! - Chapter 104
Byungsoo’s jaws hurt like hell . He thought back to the boxing trainer who punched him with incredible strength with those mitts . The old man had so much strength behind him, despite having such a beer belly .
‘This pain will help though, I’m sure . ’
It really did feel like he was starting to gain confidence . Right then, he thought of something that the trainer told him, which made him grin like a kid .
[You know those chairs in class? If things go badly for you, just grab one of those . Don’t actually swing it, obviously . If you actually hit someone with that thing, things might actually get fucked for you . Just grab it and glare, it should work about once . Also, start exercising from now on . The confidence of a man scales directly with his muscle mass . Throw those computer game things out for a while . If you have the time to move that mouse of yours, you have time to lift dumbbells instead . Exercise only gives back to those who really try hard . ]
Byungsoo turned off the computer and started doing pushups, his arms started trembling after he did just five . Even so, he gritted his teeth and did one more . The feeling of satisfaction started spreading in his chest .
* * *
“That fucker’s been glaring every once a while . ”
Changhu licked his lips, thinking of the idiot he’s been bullying recently . In the grand scheme of things, nothing changed . The idiot still gave him money when he asked for it, but something was off . The idiot has started talking back to him .
Stuff like ‘when will you pay me back?’ or ‘can you stop already?’ Even when Changhu beat the kid up, the idiot kept parroting the words at him .
“His defense points probably went up after getting beat up so much, hah!”
“Haha, is this a video game or something?”
Changhu laughed his worries away just like that, these idiots couldn’t do anything to him anyway . The best they could do was to tell the teacher, but Changhu was long prepared for that outcome .
‘I’ve been acting pretty well all this time . ’
He didn’t do anything that would lower the teachers’ opinion of him . He never got caught smoking, he had never been caught beating someone up, he would always greet his teachers, and he took good care of his grades . On the outside, he was a perfect student . If an issue occurred about him in the future, he should just be able to pass it off as a simple misunderstanding . All of this was something he learned from his senior that went to a different engineering school .
According to his senior, the man earned himself around eight million won just by beating kids . He graduated safely despite that and is currently going to a college inside Seoul . Changhu looked up to that senior as his role model .
Right then, one of his friends ran into the class with a surprised expression . Changhu greeted him with a smile .
“What, you got caught doing something bad again?”
“N-No! It’s not that!”
This friend of his liked to overreact a lot, so Changhu didn’t pay much attention to it . But his friend’s face only got paler by the second, only then did he realize something was wrong .
“What? What happened?”
“Jungsoo got called away . ”
“Yeah . So?”
There were a lot of students who got dragged away to the faculty offices . Jungsoo was one of the stupider kids, so he got dragged away to the faculty office every other day . The fact that the kid got dragged away wasn’t even news .
“He didn’t get called for just a beating!”
“They’re opening some mitige- mitiga- some big meeting . Everyone’s getting taken away!”
“ . . . What?”
Right then, their homeroom teacher burst in through the door . The man literally punched the door open hard enough to make it creak a little bit as he walked in .
“You! You! You! And you! Follow me!”
The man’s cue stick was pointed at Changhu, Changhu finally clued in on was happening . He didn’t know what this meeting thing was about, but it looked like the idiots finally told on him . The homeroom teacher walked out with a frown . Taking that as a sign, Changhu walked right up to Gijung .
“Was it you?”
“ . . . . . ”
No response . That in itself was good enough as an answer, this kid was the culprit . Changhu raised his hand, and punched the back of the boy’s head . The entire class quieted down, but Changhu didn’t care about that right now .
“I asked you a question, you fuck . ”
“God fucking damn, did you really?”
His friends came over to surround Gijung as well . Changhu thought he’s been taking good care of this idiot recently, to think he would get blindsided like this… he could only laugh .
“So an idiot manages to get a hit on me, finally . But oh dear, I’ll probably get away scott-free anyway . ”
Changhu grabbed Gijung by the collars and lifted the boy up .
“Good job for mustering courage, idiot . We’ll be having a private meeting after this, though . ”
Changhu threw Gijung back on the chair, which made the boy fall back loudly .
“You can’t even fight back, so how dare you backstab me like this? I’ll show you that little bit of courage you showed was a mistake . ”
Changhu could only laugh . These were all trash in the end who couldn’t even fight him, they should’ve just focused on their studies instead . Then again, what could he even expect from these insects? They couldn’t even play, nor could they even study . They all had a reason for being bullied, really . That’s all they were good for in the end .
“ . . . Yeah, I’ll see you later . ”
He heard that voice come from behind him just as he was about to go outside . Changhu thought he heard wrong, but the voice was much too clear to just be a figment of his imagination . Behind him, Gijung was getting back up with a frown . There wasn’t any fighting spirit in the boy’s eyes, but there wasn’t fear, either .
Changhu realized something very quickly . This kid… wasn’t looking away from him .
“Hah, that fuck . He’s very funny . ”
“Yeah, is he crazy, or what?”
His friends were all laughing, but Changhu wasn’t . He had a very bad feeling about all of this . The fact that the kid was different from before meant that the kid had someone to rely on . There was no reason for someone like that to change otherwise . Changhu knew very well that people didn’t change unless they were put in a corner, he knew this well from years of experience as a delinquent . After all, he didn’t really want to drive a person to suicide, either . That’d leave a bad taste in his mouth .
In that sense, Gijung was like all of the other idiots . The type that would go back to normal once he left the boy alone for a bit . But those eyes from before weren’t like the usual, the boy was clearly looking for a fight . He could see Gijung get back to his seat with a calm expression . Changhu thought about beating the boy up on the spot again, but gave up . Something was very wrong right now .
“Let’s go . ”
“Yeah . ”
Changhu, after walking outside into the hallway, looked into the class through the windows . He could see Gijung trembling inside, the boy was scared of him for sure . So where did that boy’s confidence come from, just now?
Right then, he noticed Gijung looking to the back of the class . Changhu turned to look at where the boy was looking . And there… He could see Maru yawning .
‘Could it be?’
“Changhu, let’s go . We don’t want the teacher getting mad at us even more . ”
For now, Changhu decided to go up to the faculty office . He did wonder, though . Did Maru get involved with this somehow? No, the boy had no reason to . Was it because of the money?
‘No, no way . I’m just assuming things too much . This is just going to be another one of those small things . ’
But when Changhu entered the faculty office, he realized that this wasn’t going to be like “another one of those small things” . Especially with that amount of paperwork he saw on the table .
“You motherfuckers . ”
That was the first thing that came out of the teacher’s mouth .
* * *
“It starts today . ”
The kids all nodded at Maru’s words . Byungsoo could feel his heart beat . It’s finally begun . They couldn’t take any of this back now . They drew their swords, and someone was going to go down, no matter who it was . Now, it was time for them to lay low, and make sure they wouldn’t get hurt themselves .
“You guys probably met one on one with the teachers at this point . Like I said before, you guys should just say the stuff that’s happened to you without any exaggeration . Even if the teacher keeps telling you that you’re just making stuff up, you have to keep denying them . Just keep parroting the truth . The disciplinary teacher’s also gotten selected to be in the mitigation meeting . The board members for this one are going to be chosen by the principal, so I can’t do anything here . You guys are on your own from here . ”
“I did exactly what you said . ”
“Me too . ”
“The disciplinary teacher kept trying to scare me, but thanks to the boxing trainer, he wasn’t scary at all . ”
Byungsoo noticed small smiles appearing on his friends’ expressions . He could feel a deep sense of gratitude flowing up towards the trainer on the inside, their trainer was trying to help all of them earnestly . Thanks to that, Byungsoo got pretty bad muscle aches, but he did attain confidence through it .
“I’d look pretty pathetic for being proud of this, but I managed to talk back at Changhu today,” a boy named Gijung spoke up .
Everyone in the room gave the boy a thumbs up, this was definitely an improvement for all of them .
“They got the complaints from the victims, so they’ll hear the story from the bullies’ side of things . You saw them getting dragged away, didn’t you? After that, they’ll set up a meeting for both sides, and then they’ll come up with a punishment for the bullies . ”
“By a meeting… you mean we’ll have to be in the same room as them?” one of the kids asked .
Maru shook his head .
“It’s normal to call both sides one by one . If they put all of you in the same room, just complain right there and then . This is your right . ”
“Y-yeah . ”
“And like I said in the beginning, I can’t help you anymore from here . I can always talk to you, but I’m not going to reveal that I’m connected to this at all . You should all know the reason why at this point, right?”
“We’re happy with all you’ve done for us already . ”
“Yeah . ”
“We’ll… take it from here . ”
Maru nodded . He’s already explained to the group about the reputation of the acting club . Byungsoo understood as well . If Maru were to be found out for helping them, the acting club might end up getting in trouble . Honestly, the boy’s already done more than enough for the group .
“Focus . All the way up until the meeting ends . ”
“Okay . ”
“Your classmates will start treating you differently from now as well, I hope you can take care of that as well . Remember what the trainer said?”
“People don’t hit sandbags that can fight back,” Byungsoo said .
It was something that the trainer liked to always talk about .
[You guys are sandbags . You can’t just turn into someone who’s good at fighting overnight . But! You can turn into thorny sandbags at the very least . That’s where we’ll start . ]
“You guys worked hard . But it’s still not over yet, so don’t let your guard down . ”
Maru extended his hand forward . The others all put their hands over his and said a quiet “fighting” under their breaths .