Pandora's Box

[WARNING: SOME CHAPTERS CONSIST OF GRAPHIC VIOLENCE] Jihun is an outsider and silent master in martial arts. He was supposed to lead a boring and normal life, but one day he meets some man called Elder Park, who made quite strange proposal, not to reject. Jihun couldn’t refuse, because life of his only family member would be threatened. But that deal wasn’t the worst. Soon Jihun meets another person, who will be either an ally or a threat... WARNING: action and sweetness overload!

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1. Men in black

Elder Park was sitting in his favorite armchair, smoking a cigar. He had good reputation around his surroundings and people like him – in other words, around those, who belonged to mafia. Times changed, now mafia lived in the shadow. Only few families remained, where old traditions were respected. Elder Park respected them till his wife’s death ten years ago. Since then he was trying to change a little, but it wasn’t easy in this environment. If he couldn’t change people in his generation, he decided to pass this mission to his sons.

But a tragedy happened three days ago. His oldest son – Shimin – died in an accident. His only rightful heir. His second son didn’t fit for this role. That’s why Elder Park was looking for the third son.

“Master.”

Butler Han entered the room. He was an elder man too, with glasses and neatly cut beard. Every day he was wearing smoking, although Elder Park said he should wear casual, comfortable clothes.

“Do you have it?” Elder Park asked, observing the new construction site behind the window.

“Yes. Would you like to hear the details?”

“Of course.”

Butler Han cleared his throat and began the talk, glancing at his notes from time to time.

“His full name is Kim Jihun. He has poor background and currently is living only with his sickly grandmother. According to one of the sources, his parents died seven years ago at the sea. They were fishermen. Kim Jihun will be twenty two next month. He’s exemplary student and master in martial arts, but his personality is a problem. He’s an outsider. He hates people and being in a crowd. He even goes to school on foot, just to avoid contact with people. He becomes aggressive, when someone touches him without his permission. But he also hates violence against weaker and uses martial arts to self-defense. That’s because he’s been bullied in elementary school, due to his background. He’s doing currently two part-time jobs: in pizza delivery and at the market, selling fish. But still he has not enough money to pay for his grandmother medicaments and hospital bills.” Butler Han looked at Elder Park with consternated face. “However, from what I observed for one week, he not even once looked depressed. Although he smiles rarely, he seems very determined, regardless of the situation’s difficulty.”

Elder Park nodded slowly, as if he was analyzing every word he heard.

“Does he have only grandmother?” he made sure.

“Yes.”

“No siblings? Distant relatives?”

“Not whom I heard of.”

Then Elder Park smiled lightly and threw away the cigar. Butler Han frowned.

“Excellent,” Elder Park said. “Let’s begin our plan.”

“Master, are you sure? You’ve seen him only once –”

“And that’s enough for me,” Elder Park interrupted calmly. “When I was going to the dinner by my car, I saw his skills. And now I’m hearing about his good personality.”

“He’s sometimes aggressive though.”

“As every human being, dear friend. But I see in him a potential! That potential.”

 

A week earlier.

Kim Jihun was silent and on first sight unfriendly person. He hated crowds, but dreamed of close friends. Unfortunately since elementary school every kid has been mocking Jihun about his poor background and weird hobbies. Why weird, Jihun always thought. He liked playing games, reading, learning new things... what is weird? Ah, maybe this is.

Since childhood he trained martial arts. He was doing it by himself, at home. His deceased parents were fishermen, so they didn’t have money for professional trainers. Jihun was training from books and the Internet. In high school he joined taekwondo club. But it lasted only for a few months (because of some ‘mop accident’) and Jihun had to return to previous sources. However, he didn’t practice it so he could beat someone to a pulp, but for self-defense. He was one of the most bullied students in the school (because of his good grades and poor communicative abilities), that was why he had to do something about that. After a while he still was regarded as an outsider, but someday he earned a nickname ‘Bruce Lee Outsider’ or just ‘Bruce Lee’. He hated it. It gave him the unwanted attention.

One day he was returning from a collage around 6 p.m., when he heard strange noises, coming from the nearest alley. He sneaked up there and saw three tall musclemen, who were picking on a guy, whom Jihun knew from the art class. He really wanted to ignore it and walk away, but anger squeezed his heart. Before he could think about it a little longer, he burst into the alley and knocked out one of the bully.

“Who the hell are you!?” the other one shrieked, smacking the air above Jihun’s head.

“I’m just passing by,” Jihun answered calmly. He stopped bully’s fist, twisting his little pinky. Muscleman squeaked and yanked his hand from Jihun’s grip. “By the way,” he added, glancing at guy from the collage. “How long are you gonna sit there?”

“H-Huh?” the guy stammered. “Why... ?”

“I can walk away anytime.”

“I-I’m going now! T-Thanks!” And he successfully escaped.

Now I can deal with them without any witnesses, Jihun thought, straightening fingers. However, when he finished and bullies ran away, he could have sworn he saw a car leaving the alley. Eventually he shrugged and returned home.

 

A week later he was walking the same path to the school, when someone blocked his way. Bullies from that time came to get revenge. Jihun rolled up his sleeves, ready to fight, when he saw that they brought friends.

“Damn,” Jihun commented shortly and started to run.

He didn’t make it. Pursuers got him in the next alley. He was kicked in the ribs and punched in the face twice, before he heard a screech sound of sudden braking of the car. Bullies were blinded by lights and in a second knocked down by five men in black suits.

Jihun looked up at these men, who now surrounded him. He was sure that if he moves an inch, they’ll beat him up. That was the good scenario though...

“Kim Jihun,” one of men in black said suddenly. “You’ll come with us.”

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