His Descent (3)
Kang Jin-Ho's parents stepped inside the student guidance office. Kang Jin-Ho stiffened when they arrived because he realized that these so-called teachers had summoned his parents without informing him.
The principal spoke first with a stiff expression.
“Your son assaulted a fellow student.
The victim is currently in a hospital!”
“We're so sorry.” Kang Jin-Ho's mother bowed her head over and over again.
Kang Jin-Ho's expression hardened even further at this sight.
He wanted to stop her, but his father acted first and grabbed his wife’s shoulder.
“Stop that for now, dear.”
“But they said our son…”
“I told you to stop for now!” Kang Jin-Ho's father spoke in an unusually firm voice.
It was as if he had become a completely different man at the moment.
He then turned to look at his son.
“Are you at fault for this matter?”
Kang Jin-Ho shook his head.
“No, I am not.”
“Then, it's fine.” Kang Jin-Ho's father, Kang Yu-Hwan, addressed the teachers present in the office with an unfazed voice, “I'd like to find out the details of this incident first.
Although I can't confidently say our son has been educated well, we certainly did not raise him to go around and randomly hurt people. Apologizing first without understanding the situation is doing our child wrong.”
Kang Jin-Ho faintly grinned at his father's declaration.
His father was usually barely noticeable at home.
His mother often poured heaps of insults on Kang Yu-Hwan for coming home late utterly drunk.
The poor man couldn't even stand tall in his own house, yet in the current situation, he was like a towering skyscraper, totally unfazed and bolder than anyone else.
'Is this what fathers are really like?'
Kang Jin-Ho wondered and his expression grew a bit sheepish at this strange feeling in his heart.
Kang Yu-Hwan addressed his son next, “Tell me the truth, son.
Did you really hit the other kid?”
“Why did you do it?”
Kang Jin-Ho truthfully replied, “He was bullying another student.”
“That's why you hit him?”
“I was initially trying to talk him down, but he started attacking first, Father.”
Kang Yu-Hwan nodded with an expression of 'I knew it' written on his face.
“That's my son's testimony.”
“He's lying!” The dean of students, Bloody Mop, yelled.
“His fellow students have already testified that Kang Jin-Ho suddenly attacked Choi Yeong-Su without a reason!”
“Silence! No need to raise a ruckus, gentlemen.
I shall be discussing the way forward with Student Kang Jin-Ho's parents, so stay out of it for now,” the chief director spoke in a stern voice, prompting all the teachers to shut their mouths up.
He quietly observed Kang Yu-Hwan for a little while, then cracked a faint smile.
“If what your son said is true, then it seems I owe you an apology.”
Kang Yu-Hwan tried to sound polite in his reply.
My son is still at fault for hitting someone.”
“As long as what he said is true, of course…”
The chief director shifted his gaze to the principal.
“What did you say the name of the alleged bullying victim was?”
“It's Park Yu-Min, sir.”
“Go and bring him here.”
“I said, bring the boy here, now,” the chief director growled, forcing the principal to hurriedly bow his head and leave the office.
The old man turned his head back to Kang Yu-Hwan.
“Let us find out what really happened.
If the bullying really happened, allow me to apologize.”
“Of course…” Kang Yu-Hwan nodded.
Not too long afterward, the principal returned to the office with a boy in tow.
The principal introduced the boy to the chief director.
“This is Park Yu-Min, sir.”
Park Yu-Min looked around the office with a bewildered look on his face.
“Are you Park Yu-Min, boy?” the chief director asked.
“I, I'm sorry?” Park Yu-Min stuttered out a reply.
The principal muttered to the boy next, “That's the school's chief director you're speaking to.”
“Ah! Y-yes, I am, sir!” Park Yu-Min deeply bowed his head in a hurry.
The chief director didn't waste any time and started his questioning.
“I want to ask you about something.
Is it true that my Yeong-Su bullied you? And that's the reason why this student here, Kang Jin-Ho, assaulted my grandson?”
“No need to be apprehensive about me, boy.
As a matter of fact, don't worry about it and be honest with us.
Is it true or not?” The chief director stared straight at Park Yu-Min.
Park Yu-Min sheepishly alternated his gaze between the chief director and Kang Jin-Ho before a trembling voice left his lips.
Kang Jin-Ho noticed something 'off' at that exact moment.
He noticed that Park Yu-Min had surreptitiously glanced at him and that the boy's expression was one of guilt.
“…It's not true.”
Choi Yeong-Su growled softly while relaxing on a hospital bed, “That motherf*cker dared to hit me?”
He had already finished discussing this matter with his grandfather.
Dragging that punk, Kang Jin-Ho, somewhere dark and beating the daylights out of him would be too gentle of a payback.
Doing that would never give Choi Yeong-Su the satisfaction he craved; no, making that bastard taste incomparable despair and misery was the only ticket to vent his frustration for even just a little bit.
Dirty tricks like that were his grandfather's specialty.
The hospital he was in right now also happened to have been recommended by his grandfather since the hospital's director was an old acquaintance.
Choi Yeong-Su cackled insidiously.
“Get rekt, as*hole.”
“It's not true,” said Park Yu-Min.
Kang Jin-Ho's eyes narrowed to slits at that reply.
On the other hand, the homeroom teacher Kim Seong-Ju's eyes opened wide.
“I, I've never been bullied before.
has never tormented me, too.”
“What are you doing, Yu-Min?!”
“It's the truth,” Park Yu-Min replied in a faltering voice.
The homeroom teacher quietly glared at the boy.
“Wait, could it be…”
It's not what you think…”
The chief director listening in turned his head and addressed Kang Yu-Hwan, “So, then.
You heard him, yes?”
Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly glared at the chief director and Park Yu-Min.
He wasn’t sure what exactly had happened, but one thing was for certain: this boy and the chief director must have had a little chat before coming here. But it was too late to argue that Park Yu-Min was lying—that wouldn't get Kang Jin-Ho anywhere at this stage.
“Park Yu-Min!” the homeroom teacher cried out.
However, the principal quickly shot him down.
“Teacher Kim, please pipe down for a minute!”
“But, sir! This is…”
“Oh? Then, are you willing to shoulder all the responsibility?”
“Let's say that Yeong-Su really has been bullying Yu-Min until now.
Why weren't you aware of it before? Or could it be that even though you knew a student in your class was getting bullied, you haven’t done anything?”
The homeroom teacher faltered.
“It's a no? Then, what is it?”
nothing.” The homeroom teacher, Kim Seong-Ju, could only dejectedly lower his head.
The principal was correct.
He was a failure as a teacher for not being aware of the instances of bullying in his own classroom.
A failure like him certainly didn't have a right to raise his voice.
Saying that he was aware of the truth at this stage would only paint him as a teacher that had abandoned a student in distress.
But saying he wasn't aware would make him seem incompetent instead.
How should we handle this, then?” the chief director spoke in a snide tone.
Kang Yu-Hwan's expression hardened, then he took a step forward.
Kang Jin-Ho tried to say something, “Father…”
Kang Yu-Hwan slowly bowed his head as the sound of Kang Jin-Ho’s chattering teeth echoed whilst he gnashed his teeth.
His father apologized.
“We are sincerely sorry.”
The chief director smirked.
“No need for an apology.
I didn't come here for that in the first place.
We shall simply deal with this matter according to regulations.
Dean of the students?”
“Yes, Chief Director.
“What does the school regulation say in cases like ours?”
We're dealing with a student assaulting another student.
The punishment for it can range from up to seven days of community service in the school premises or even outright expulsion, sir.”
“Is that right?”
“Alright, then what about this particular case?”
“Although it's a pretty rare case…” the dean of the student seemed to ponder something before replying, “It should be around seven days of suspension, sir.”
“Suspension, is it…” the chief director revealed an unconvinced look.
However, Kim Seong-Ju didn't seem to share the same opinion as he shot up to his feet and cried out in alarm, “Excuse me, Dean!”
“What's the matter, Teacher Kim?”
“Don't you think that's going too far?! It's not like they had been in a gang fight.
It's just bickering between two students!”
Gong Ik-Hyeon's voice grew louder.
“How can you view this as simple bickering, Teacher Kim?! Student Kang Jin-Ho assaulted a fellow student who was minding his own business and sent him to a hospital!”
Kim Seong-Ju glared sharply at the dean.
“Mister Gong, are you really going to be like this?”
Gong Ik-Hyeon was finally furious and he yelled, “What was that, Mister Gong? Mind your manners, Teacher Kim!”
Kang Yu-Hwan quickly reached out and wordlessly pulled the homeroom teacher back.
“But Mister Kang, sir!” Kim Seong-Ju cried out, seemingly begging Kang Jin-Ho's father to stop dissuading him.
But that only made Kang Yu-Hwan’s hold onto his son's homeroom teacher even tighter.
He turned to the chief director and company before bowing his head deeply.
“We're truly sorry.”
While apologizing, Kang Yu-Hwan shot a look at the homeroom teacher, strongly urging the latter to step back.
Since Kim Seong-Ju knew the intent behind that look, all he could do was sigh and back off.
“Yes, of course.”
The chief director maintained a deeply-dissatisfied expression while glaring at Kang Yu-Hwan as the latter bowed his head once more.
“If our son is indeed at fault, we'll gladly accept his punishment, sir.
We sincerely apologize.”
Watching this spectacle almost made Kang Jin-Ho break out in hollow laughter.
He had experienced many instances of unfairness before in his life, and that was why he could say that this little farce wasn't even bad enough to qualify as one of those instances.
After all, people with power in gangho all thought that it was okay to do whatever they pleased.
And after Kang Jin-Ho entered the Demon Cult…
He had lived for decades in a world where cruelty unleashed by those with power upon those without was indescribably worse than what the modern era had to offer.
Hence, this level of humiliation should be easy enough to swallow.
Yes, that should have been the case.
Kang Jin-Ho was more furious than ever.
Back then, he no longer had a father.
He didn't have anyone to lower their head and apologize on his behalf.
Kang Jin-Ho's eyes grew cold and withdrawn.
Unfortunately, this event wasn’t over yet.
The door to the guidance office opened, and two men kitted out in familiar uniforms stepped inside.
Kim Seong-Ju dazedly stared at them, unable to process what was happening.
“Why are you two…?”
Just as he tried to say something, the two new entrants to the office introduced themselves.
“We're from the police, everyone.
We received a complaint regarding assault and came here to investigate.”
Kang Jin-Ho shifted his cold glare to the chief director.
The old man was making an oily grin as he disdainfully stared at Kang Yu-Hwan and Kang Jin-Ho.
The cop growled unhappily.
“Stop beating the bush, and tell me straight, will ya?”
“I didn't do it,” Kang Jin-Ho flatly replied.
Do you know how many eyewitnesses there were? And the kid you assaulted got a prognosis of six weeks of recuperation.
You think you'll be off the hook just because you keep saying you're innocent?”
“I didn't do it.”
“What the hell, you are a dumba*s, ain'tcha? Or are you deaf?”
Kang Jin-Ho sighed softly and glanced outside the window.
He spotted Kang Yu-Hwan and his homeroom teacher, Kim Seong-Ju, looking back inside the office with nervous faces.
Kim Seong-Ju furiously argued that a fight between two high schoolers was maybe worthy of a summon but not a full-on arrest.
However, he still failed to prevent his student from getting dragged away to a police station.
And it led to Kang Jin-Ho experiencing something as incredible as getting a ride in the back of a cop car.
As a matter of fact, the experience was so incredible that every student in the school came outside to personally witness it.
The cop continued with his grilling.
“Stop messing around, boy.
You hit that kid, right?”
“Yes, I did,” Kang Jin-Ho replied flatly.
“And that kid wasn't doing anything, just minding his own business, right?”
“No, he wasn't…”
“Aaargh, this kid…! I told you to stop messing around, you punk!”
Just as the cop raised his voice, Kim Seong-Ju hurriedly rushed inside the office and cried out, “Stop raising your voice at one of my students, officer!”
“What the hell? Who the hell are you?!”
“I'm his homeroom teacher! More importantly, you're a policeman, so how dare you speak so rudely to tax-paying citizens like this?! And you haven't even established this child's guilt, so how dare you threaten him! Keep this up, and I'll lodge a civil complaint to the National Police Agency! Do you hear me?!”
Kim Seong-Ju's unyielding rebuke forced the cop to flinch a little and lick his lips.
“Sorry about that.”
“Dammit!” Kim Seong-Ju mouthed a cigarette and he looked as if he was about to explode in fury.
The cop stuttered his objection, “E-excuse me, this is a non-smoking a…”
“How much is the fine, then?!”
“Sir, you're supposed to be a teacher, so why are you behaving this way? Please go outside and smoke.”
Kim Seong-Ju looked incensed enough to start an arguing match with the cop right there and then.
“Excuse me, Teacher Kim.” Kang Yu-Hwan stepped in the nick of time to intervene.
“Yes, Mister Kang.”
“Let's step outside for a bit to cool our heads.
We are making the investigation more complicated than necessary.”
Kim Seong-Ju was indeed furious but he couldn't voice his displeasure after seeing the student's father holding himself back despite being the angriest person in this office.
Once Kang Yu-Hwan led Kim Seong-Ju outside, the cop making a pained face shifted his attention back to Kang Jin-Ho.
“Kid, just what are you?”
Of course, Kang Jin-Ho didn't feel like replying.
The cop continued.
“You know what, don't answer me.
Just keep quiet like that.
I'll just write up this statement exactly as you said, so why don't you repeat yourself in front of a judge, okay? See for yourself what the judge will retort you with.”
“Bloomin' hell, my luck is really sh*tty today…
Hey, are you still insisting on your version?”
Kang Jin-Ho still maintained his silence.
“Why aren't you answering me, punk?!”
The cop yelled, but that only got himself another loud yell thrown back at his face, this time coming from another policeman walking into the office.
“Hey, man! What's with all the ruckus?!”
“Ah, my bad, sir.
I'm trying to talk to this kid, but he's just too damn stubborn, so…”
“Come on, man.
Boys his age are all like that.
That's why you gotta… Hmm?” The senior cop walking into the office tilted his head after recognizing Kang Jin-Ho's face.
“Wait, aren't you Jin-Ho?”
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