y anything for a long time, then reached out to hold Hwang Jeong-Hu's hand.

“Chairman…” Baek Yeong-Gi spoke.
The trembling of his voice had become noticeable by now. “For what reason have we been running so hard all these years, sir? All we have to show for our efforts are the things that had been taken from us and scars disguised as worthless glory.
Do you still remember what you told me, sir? You said the day we get to prove the world wrong would come as long as we survive the perilous days under the military regime.
You were right, sir.
But now…
It's a dream that we can never fulfill.”


“But, Chairman.
I do not regret anything.
When I look back at all those days of ripping our hair in worry and working our butts off deep into the night…
I was really happy back then, sir.” Tears slowly traveled down Baek Yeong-Gi's face as he spoke, “Chairman, please stand up, sir.”

Hwang Jeong-Su still didn't say anything.

“What happens to the company no longer matters, sir.
I'm sure nature will take its course now.
Even then…
Please rise up one more time and show the world your old, healthy self, sir.
If I can see you do that, I'll have no more regrets left in this life.”

Hwang Jeong-Hu's hollow eyes slowly shifted over to Baek Yeong-Gi.
His lips barely parted again and again, but it was impossible to figure out what he wanted to say.

Baek Yeong-Gi muttered, “Chairman…”

The caregiver quietly watching from the side softly called out to him just then, “Director, sir…”

Agitating a patient on a sickbed was obviously frowned upon.
Today's report alone should be more than enough to torment Hwang Jeong-Hu to no end.
That was why any further agitation had to be stopped.

Baek Yeong-Gi knew that as well.
He had resolved himself not to behave pathetically in front of his boss before stepping inside the room, but…

He closed his eyes as a shudder ran through his body.
He got up and bowed deeply.
“Chairman, I'll be on my way now, sir.
If I don't leave now, they might end up kicking me out instead, sir.
I certainly cannot show you such a disgraceful sight, now can I? Be well, sir.
I swear to serve you in the afterlife as well.”

Baek Yeong-Gi left while wiping away the corners of his eyes.
However, Hwang Jeong-Su's dried eyes were simply staring at the ceiling.
Not even a hint of tears could be seen on his face.


Later that night, as the dawn's darkness enveloped the hospital room…

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Hwang Jeong-Hu was still staring at the darkened ceiling.
His eyes were hollow, slack—but unwavering.


Soon, the man clad in black from yesterday re-emerged from the darkness and entered the old man's vision.
The man, Kang Jin-Ho, wordlessly stared at Hwang Jeong-Hu before approaching the bed.
“Have you been waiting for me?”

Hwang Jeong-Hu silently stared at Kang Jin-Ho as the latter pressed his palm down on the old man's abdomen.
Intense heat spread from the contact point to the rest of Hwang Jeong-Hu's body, but he didn't lose consciousness this time.
The pain was just as bad as yesterday, but a little more clarity had returned to his eyes now.

“Why didn't you say anything?” Kang Jin-Ho asked.

Hwang Jeong-Hu's mouth slowly opened, and shockingly enough, a turbid voice leaked out of his dried, cracked lips.
it was…
a dream…”


speak and can move…
my body…
I thought it was a dream.
This is a dream… That I was merely dreaming…”

“Still think that way?”

already knew…
that this wasn't a dream.
But I didn't forget.
It'll only last half a day…
A futile…
dream lasting only half a day.”

Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head slightly.
“Is that why you didn't move? To not get your hopes up?”

Hwang Jeong-Hu's head slowly shook to say that wasn't his reason.
can't afford to…
miss this chance.”

Kang Jin-Ho spied determination on Hwang Jeong-Hu's face at that exact moment.
The aging lion was still aiming for something despite his current condition.

“My life's…
final chance.
I can't miss it.
I can't make a careless move and…
throw my chance…
If I say something…
foolish and anger you some…
This last chance might slip…
out of my grasp.”

Kang Jin-Ho deeply grinned.
He wasn't planning to come back here if Hwang Jeong-Hu began jumping around in shock after realizing that he could move again.
Such behavior would have indicated that he was a careless old man and lacked the qualifications to enter a contract with Kang Jin-Ho.

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The reason why Kang Jin-Ho slipped inside the hospital room in the middle of the night was to avoid being seen and to keep his identity hidden.
Hwang Jeong-Hu had accurately figured out the truth and decided to stay quiet throughout the day.

Kang Jin-Ho had thought of several contingency plans just in case, but Hwang Jeong-Hu went ahead and easily exceeded all his expectations with the best possible response.
In that case, it was time to reward the old man.

Kang Jin-Ho asked quietly, “And so, tell me what you want.”

“What I…
want from the agreement?”

“That's right.”

Hwang Jeong-Hu stared at Kang Jin-Ho, the light in the old man's eyes danced and billowed like a blazing inferno.

“Three days…” Hwang Jeong-Hu spoke with some difficulty. “Help me speak…
and walk on my own strength…
for the next three days…
There is something…
I must do.
If I fail to do it, then I…
I will never find peace, even after I die.”

Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
“Then, what will you do for me in return?”

Hwang Jeong-Hu stared at the man clad in black as warm tears trickled down his face.
“Did you…
ask me what I'll do for you?”

“That I did.” Kang Jin-Ho also stared right back at the old man.
He could already tell that this old lion was getting ready to roar at the world one last time.

The stares of the two men collided in mid-air, seemingly creating a heated storm.

Hwang Jeong-Hu gasped out.
“If you…
help me correct all the things that have gone wrong, then I…
I'm prepared to offer you my actual beating heart if that's what you want! I will never regret…
this choice even if I'm fated to burn in the flames of Hell for eternity!”

A deep grin formed on Kang Jin-Ho's lips.
“With this, our contract has been established.”

This was the moment when the abandoned and forgotten old lion rose up to thunderously roar at the world one more time.

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