Chapter 28: Chapter 28

Translated by: ShawnSuh

Edited by: SootyOwl

Despite the hour-and-a-half long car ride, there was not a trace of fatigue on Min Sung’s face. In fact, he was filled with excitement, anxious for a new culinary experience. As the car came to a stop, Min Sung, Ho Sung, and Bowl got out of it. The weather was perfect, and the sunlight sparkled brightly on the ocean.

“Is it here?” the champion asked, looking toward a run-down restaurant,

“Yes, sir.”

[Dong Dae Sashimi]

There was nothing special or unique about the exterior, aside from the fact that it was noticeably more run down than the surrounding stores and restaurants, that is. The restaurant’s appearance was as humble as its name. However, it exuded tradition, the power of which Min Sung was well aware by that point. Flavor and atmosphere were some of the most crucial components of a restaurant, and it was tradition that shaped them.

“Do we even have fishing rods?” Min Sung asked Ho Sung, who smiled and replied, “Don’t worry. We can always rent them. You know what the best part is though? The owner probably won’t even charge us for it. He has a good opinion of hunters and he always rents out fishing rods for free of charge.”

“Seems like you’re a regular here.”

“Yes. It’s my hometown, and it just so happens that I’m into fishing.”

“I see. Let’s go inside,” Min Sung said nonchalantly, and Ho Sung followed, furrowing his brow. Upon entering, they were greeted by a skinny man who seemed to be in his fifties.

“Oh! Ho Sung! It’s been ages! Where have you been!?”

“Oh, you know, life can be hectic sometimes,” Ho Sung replied, smiling bitterly. Laughing heartily, the owner patted him on the shoulder and said, “I understand. A man’s gotta eat! So, is it just you and your friend here?”

“That’s right. Oh, I need a couple of fishing rods, please.”

“You know where to find them, right? Help yourselves.”

After catching up with the owner briefly, Ho Sung picked a couple of high-quality fishing rods and other necessary equipment and made his way to his usual spot at the breakwater with the champion.

“Have you fished before?” Ho Sung asked as he situated himself.

“No, I have not,” the champion replied, staring at the refreshing ocean view stretching into the endless horizon.

“Not a problem. I’ll explain everything you need to know.”

“Go ahead.”

“I’m sure you’ve noticed that we’re on a breakwater. What makes breakwater fishing unique is that it’s relatively safer because you have plenty of room around you, and you can catch fish of different sizes, from black sea bream to opaleye.”

“I see.”

“Now, I’ll explain how to use the fishing rod and the other equipment.”

Along with brief explanations on the various fishing equipment, Ho Sung taught the champion the process of fishing. After putting the bait on the hook, the champion cast it in a manner much more experienced than Ho Sung. All there was left to do was wait.

Although having just started, the champion found fishing to be much more enjoyable than he had expected. The thought of eating his own catch made his mouth water, and the hope to catch a big fish made his heart beat with excitement.

“It might take a while before they start biting, but you still have to make sure to replace your bait often,” Ho Sung said, and the champion nodded quietly. However, unlike the others around him, who were starting to reel in their catch, Min Sung wasn’t getting a bite despite having replaced his bait a number of times.

“Sir? Do you see the direction of the current? If I were to let you in on a tip, try putting your bait to the left of the dobber,” Ho Sung said. Min Sung, nodding quietly, fixed his eyes on the water and followed Ho Sung’s advice. However, nothing happened, and the champion’s fishing rod remained completely still.

“Uh… sir? Another thing. Fish are pretty sensitive. If hunters don’t hide their presence, they’ll scare the fish away.”

“I see.”

Only then, was the champion able to make sense of why he couldn’t catch any fish. After suppressing his presence, he cast his bait on more time, and sure enough, his fishing rod started to vibrate almost immediately, just like Ho Sung had said.

‘This is it!’ Min Sung thought as he reeled in the line in a hurry. However, to his disappointment, he was left with a void at his fingertips as the fish had run off with the bait. Provoked, the champion cast his bait once again.

‘Man, this guy can’t fish to save his life,’ Ho Sung thought, glancing at the champion while breaking into cold sweats. Although there was a much easier alternative, which involved the champion getting in the water himself, it wasn’t in line with the purpose of their activity. At the moment, they were fishing for fun. However, seeing as though Min Sung had no talent for fishing, Ho Sung became anxious about the possibility of the champion exploding and letting his anger and frustration out on him.

‘Remember, Ho Sung Lee. This guy’s a miscellaneous type, and he’s a cold-blooded killer,’ Ho Sung thought, fearing for his life. At that moment, he sensed somebody getting situated next to him. Upon getting a closer look at the stranger wearing a hat, he realized that it was beautiful, voluptuous woman sporting a tight white T-shirt, hot pants, and sneakers. Her skin was white, and her hair blond, which gave her a somewhat exotic look.

‘Well, hello there!’ Ho Sung thought, glancing at her setting up her fishing equipment. At that moment, Min Sung dropped his head in disappointment.

“… Another one?” Ho Sung asked, studying the champion’s expression.

“This is harder than it looks,” the champion replied, smiling bitterly.

“…”

Shortly after, Min Sung, looking like he had figured out the meaning of life, tilted his head in an awkward direction and stared into the horizon. It was clear that he was infuriated.

‘Shit! I didn’t think he’d be this bad. I guess being a miscellaneous type has nothing to do with fishing,’ Ho Sung thought apprehensively, fearing that the champion would blame him.

Staring into the water absent-mindedly, Min Sung closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and shook his head violently. Then, just as he was about to resume with a fresh perspective, a troubled look appeared on his face. Realizing that he had used up his bait, the stress he had suppressed returned. At that moment…

“Here you go,” the blonde woman next to him said, offering her bucket of bait. However, after glancing at her, Min Sung looked away and to the water. It seemed like she had plenty of bait to share. After contemplating it briefly, Min Sung reached for the bucket, saying, “Thanks,” and the woman gave him a quick nod in response. Putting the bait on the hook, the champion focused his mind and cast it, wondering, ‘When was I ever this nervous?’

While the champion was enjoying the challenge of facing his first obstacle since returning to Earth on one hand, he was also compelled to win against the fish on the other. Soon, his fishing rod started to vibrate. At which point, the champion’s eyes beamed with determination. ‘You’re not getting away this time,’ he thought, reeling it in the line in a hurry.

“You might wanna tire the fish out before you reel it in,” the blonde woman said. At that, Min Sung exhaled slowly and pulled the fishing rod toward him. Although it felt somewhat awkward, the vibration was noticeably different.

“That should do it,” the blonde woman said. With intense concentration, Min Sung reeled in his catch, and noticing that the champion had caught something, Ho Sung handed him a net. The fish felt quite hefty. Then, just as he was about to pull the fish out of the water with the net, the hook came shooting out of the water and up to the sky.

‘Finally!’ Min Sung thought. However…

“Wait a minute…” Ho Sung let out, looking at the fish and swallowing nervously as Min Sung stared at his catch with a flabbergasted look on his face. It was a minnow about the size of a pinky finger.

“…”

Quietly, the champion threw the fish back into the water. Then, while he was preparing to cast his bait again, he heard a suppressed laughter. His brow furrowed as he looked toward it.

“Puahahaha!” the blonde woman burst into laughter.

“Kind of rude, don’t you think?” Min Sung said.

“I’m sorry, I just… couldn’t help myself. I apologize,” the woman replied, wiping her tears. With a dark expression on his face, the champion stared into the horizon, thinking, ‘This is… not easy at all.’ Then, he looked toward Ho Sung, whose bucket was filled to the brim with fish. Noticing the champion looking at him, Ho Sung looked away and into the distance. At that moment…

“That’s a bite!” the woman said, springing up from her seat and reeling in her catch with excitement. However, to her dismay, she found a minnow at the end of her hook.

“Aw!” she let out, her face flushed bright red. Looking toward her, Min Sung let out a suppressed chuckle as she coughed and threw the fish back into the water.

“This is not a good spot,” she said awkwardly, casting another bait and adding, “Why don’t we call it even?” Without taking his eyes off of the water, Min Sung nodded and said, “Agreed.”

With that, the air fell into a brief silence.

“I’m Ji Yoo Kim. I’ve shared my bait with you and I even introduced myself, so I think it’s fair to exchange names at this point,” the woman said, breaking the silence. Looking toward her nonchalantly, Min Sung turned his eyes toward the ocean and replied, “Min Sung Kang.”

At that, the woman removed her hat and said, “Good name.” Although she was wearing light makeup, her striking beauty almost rendered additional makeup unnecessary. Meanwhile, staring at her intently over the champion’s shoulder, Ho Sung’s jaw dropped open as he thought, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so pretty.’

Then, dusting off her buttocks, the woman said, “Well, I think I’ll call it a day.”

“Giving up already? You’re not the patient type, are you?” Min Sung said sarcastically. To which, she smiled and said, “I came here to meet someone. Now that I know what that person looks like, I don’t have a reason to stay here any longer.”

The champion looked at her quietly.

“Well, it’s been a pleasure. Let’s not pretend to be strangers if we run into each other in the future, yeah?” the woman said, strapping on her bag. Turning his eyes toward the ocean, the champion said, “Thanks for the bait.”

“Wow, did I just get friendzoned? I thought I wasn’t that bad looking. Or, maybe you’re just not into ladies. Are you two together?” she asked.

“No, but it seems more convincing that you overestimate your looks, don’t you think?” Min Sung replied. At that moment, with a vein popping out on her forehead, Ji Yoo put on a forced smile and said, “You can pay me back later for the bait.” At the same time, the champion’s fishing pole started to vibrate. With sparkling eyes, Min Sung sprung up and started to reel in his line. Soon, a large fish splashing about the surface of the water came into view.

‘Stay calm. Don’t get excited. Concentrate,’ Min Sung said to himself, and Ho Sung waited anxiously with the net in his hands. Then, when the fish was within reach, Ho Sung handed the net to the champion and said, “Now!” Taking the net from him, Min Sung picked up the fish. Sparkling in the Sun, the fish flapped about vigorously.

“Whoa! That’s the red sea bream! It’s a big one too! Congratulations, sir!” Ho Sung said, and Min Sung, catching his breath, put the fish in his bucket and started putting his fishing equipment away. Although he still enjoyed fishing, he was way too hungry to keep going.

“Let’s stop here,” the champion said.