are here again, I see.”
Kang Jin-Ho replied with a determined face, “Of course.”
“To retake the test, I presume?”
“I wouldn't have come otherwise.”
“Do you think you can pass this time?”
Kang Jin-Ho hmphed.
The one talking to Kang Jin-Ho, the unfortunate police officer from three days ago, could only sit there with a pale face.
Then again, the race car driver from Hell had returned, so his reaction was understandable.
He had been ardently praying for his shift to end before Kang Jin-Ho showed up, but…
The officer asked in a trembling voice, “H-have you been practicing, Mr.
“With someone as your passenger?”
“By any chance, is that person still alive?” the officer asked super-cautiously.
“…I'm not sure what you mean by that, sir.”
'How can you even say that with a straight face, you heartless punk!'
The police officer squeezed his eyes shut.
He sighed, then got up.
No matter how much he didn't want to do this, he simply had to.
The test application had been accepted, so he had no other choice! Normal driving tests should be a walk in the park for examiners, but with Kang Jin-Ho's appearance in the test venue…
The simple driving test had now devolved into a life-threatening task requiring hazard pay.
Other examiners began crowding the poor police officer and the test applicant he was in charge of today.
Their curiosity had been piqued after hearing about all the rumors in the last few days.
As soon as they settled down in the test vehicle, the police officer pleaded with Kang Jin-Ho.
“I beg of you…
Please, please drive slowly and carefully, okay?”
“I will.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded, then put the handbrake down before depressing the accelerator.
“…Oh?” The officer tilted his head when the vehicle set off much slower than the previous tests.
He realized that they weren't even traveling anywhere near the speed limit, too.
The current speed was around 20kph or so? Maybe? The car drove forward so slowly that it might have been faster to simply walk.
“Yes? Is there something wrong?”
“N-no, not at all.” The police officer smiled as colors returned to his face.
Finally, finally! This young man must have learned something 'sensible' in the past three days.
The concepts of safe and defensive driving must have been instilled properly in him now!
The police officer cautiously asked once again.
“Are you going to keep driving at this speed?”
“…Is there something wrong with how I'm driving?”
“No, well…” The officer glanced outside the car.
They were currently traveling down a four-lane street.
Other vehicles were barreling past at around 80kph, the speed limit for this section of the road.
And in the middle of the road was the car driven by Kang Jin-Ho, strictly sticking to the initial speed of 20kph.
“Excuse me, Mr.
Kang Jin-Ho, this is a bit too…”
A car driving at 20kph in the middle of a four-lane road would obviously drive other motorists insane.
It would be no different from a car in the distance suddenly appearing right in front of you while you were driving down the road, minding your own business.
Pretty soon, many cars began urgently swerving out of the way to avoid ramming into the back of the Kang Jin-Ho-piloted vehicle.
“H-how about going a little faster, Mr.
Kang Jin-Ho's head snapped towards the officer in the passenger seat.
“Can I speed up?”
“…!” Before the police officer could answer, though, the memories from the past tests flitted past his eyes.
Let's just stick to our current speed.”
The officer told himself that this was for the best.
At the very least, he was now no longer threatened with a heart attack via the nerve-shredding tension resulting from Kang Jin-Ho’s driving.
Rather than trusting Kang Jin-Ho, the officer figured that his mental health would be left in a better shape by believing in the reflexes of the motorists coming up behind them.
The officer glanced to his side and saw Kang Jin-Ho focusing on his driving with a slightly cramped expression.
Judging from this young man's performance during the past tests, he must be swimming in the sheer frustration of going so slowly right now.
The officer cautiously asked another question, “Mr.
Kang Jin-Ho, who told you to drive this way?”
“The acquaintance who instructed me yesterday.”
“What did that person tell you?”
Kang Jin-Ho flatly replied, “He said that I should just drive at this speed all the time.”
The officer slowly nodded.
He could oh-so clearly sense the pain of that unknown acquaintance responsible for that wise advice.
The test car safely negotiated through the test route and eventually returned to the test venue.
They were stopped by a patrol car in the middle of the test, and all sorts of insults fueled by road rage had been poured in their way, but it was more important that they made it back home.
The officer offered a heartfelt thanks to the gods above for his safe return.
“…Sir, have I failed this time as well?” Kang Jin-Ho asked after getting out of the car, sounding as if failing was par for the course for him these days.
“What will you do if you fail this time, Mr.
Kang Jin-Ho slowly rubbed his chin.
“I was thinking of taking it easy during the next test.”
“Taking it easy? What do you mean?”
“Driving the way I usually do seems like a better idea to me.
If going this far still wasn't enough to pass the test, that is…”
'He's threatening me?!'
The officer inwardly gasped.
That had to be a barely-disguised threat—It must be! If the officer failed him again, then Kang Jin-Ho was threatening to show him what real Hell looked like during the next test!
“N-no, you pass.”
The police officer urgently nodded.
“Yes, really! You have passed, Mr.
Kang Jin-Ho! Congratulations.
And never come back here, please.”
The corners of Kang Jin-Ho's lips curled up.
“Thank you, sir.”
I should thank you for finally passing this time.” The officer hurriedly grabbed Kang Jin-Ho's hands, looking like he was barely holding back a flood of tears.
“Do not! Ever! Drink and drive!”
“Do not break the speed limit, and do not accrue points on your license.
Please! Do not ever get your license revoked, and most definitely, do not ever come back here to get it re-issued, please!” The officer ardently cried out.
Kang Jin-Ho's cheeks began twitching ever so slightly.
“Let us never see each other again.
Please, I beg of you.”
“…Mmhm.” Kang Jin-Ho stared at the police officer with a weird gaze before turning around to leave.
The officer behind him punched the air in jubilation as tears of emotion flooded down his face.
He was finally free! He was finally released from Kang Jin-Ho's tyranny!
At the same time…
A certain man was staring nervously at the screen of his phone.
His hand was constantly trembling.
His complexion was wane and sickly, his eyes lacked focus.
He continued to scan his surroundings as if anxiety didn't want to let him go.
The way he fidgeted about and couldn't sit still totally resembled a junkie going through withdrawal.
“N-no, he must've…”
The man chewed on his fingernails.
His eyes darted here and there, looking for things to stare at before eventually settling on his phone once more.
The phone began ringing, prompting the man's trembling to stop.
On the other hand, his expression gradually filled with horror as if he was facing a wild tiger.
“Urgh…” He groaned, before slowly reaching out toward his phone.
The first thing he said after answering the call was…
“H-hello? And the result is?”
– He passed, Mr.
Warm tears of relief began trickling down the man's face.
“Oh, thank you, Lord.
– However, why do you need to confirm that young man's license test results? Just what is going on, Mr.
“N-no, it's nothing.
Don't worry about it.
Thank you for your hard work.
This man was, of course, Jo Gyu-Min.
The nightmare plaguing him had kept him awake through the night, but now, he could go to bed, knowing that his ordeal was over.
A smile of happiness bloomed on his face as if he now possessed everything he ever wanted in this world.
“You want me to come and hang out?” Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head while answering the phone.
– You know, the usual place.
“But at this hour?”
Park Yu-Min could be heard chuckling over the line.
– Don't you know what today is?
“It's December 31st.”
– That's right.
Shouldn't we hang out with friends for one last time this year?
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled slightly after listening to Park Yu-Min's reasoning.
Since when did this kid learn how to say things like that? Wasn't he the shy, retiring type not too long ago? “Very well.
What about the others, though?”
– Tae-Ho, In-Gyu, and Min-Jae said they'll be here.
Oh, and Se-Yeon said she'll join us, too.
– I guess she has no one to hang around with.
In any case, hurry up.
“Got it.” Kang Jin-Ho ended the call and began typing on the keyboard.
=Looks like I'll have to go.
=Heol?! I still have a base left, tho?
=I have RL things to do.
=A free win for me, then.
I'm not complaining.
=In any case, later.
Kang Jin-Ho logged out of the game without any hesitation.
He was on the brink of another victory, but it was just a computer game at the end of the day, and he had no plans to prioritize it over his friends.
After all, playing games was just a fun distraction, nothing more.
Living life was far more important to him.
He changed his clothes and got ready to leave the house.
His mother called out when she saw him by the exit.
“Where are you going, Jin-Ho?”
“My friends wanted to hang out with me, so…”
“Jin-Ho, are you telling me that you don't want to spend new year's eve with your family but with your friends?”
Kang Jin-Ho stumbled and hesitated at his mother's pointed question.
He realized that a rather sensitive issue had been raised here.
Go and have fun, honey.”
“Ah, actually, this is good.
There's a place your father and I wanted to go, you see.”
“Where would that be, Mother…?”
His mother smiled brightly.
“None of your business, hehe.
Just don't forget to have fun.”
With that, Kang Jin-Ho had no choice but to leave.
While making a slightly pouty face, he stepped outside the house and into the wintry afternoon.
He headed to the bicycle shed erected next to the garage at the strong insistence of his father.
His favorite ride, Golden Elephant, was resting silently inside the shed.
“Alright, time to go,” Kang Jin-Ho muttered while climbing on Golden Elephant.
The chains noisily spun around the cogs as he leisurely pedaled outside the front gate.
The air rushing past Kang Jin-Ho's face felt cold.
Compared to the winds of the northern sea, though, this level of coldness was nothing much.
Even so, the changes to the environment brought on by different seasons held their own unique charms.
Of course, Kang Jin-Ho was currently the only person that could appreciate such charms.
“Uwaahk?! What the hell was that!” A driver of a fancy car cried out in alarm.
His passenger, a pretty girl, was taken aback.
“Didn't you see that bicycle shooting past us just now?”
“A bicycle? When?”
“You didn't see that bicycle traveling in front of us?! It overtook us too, you know!”
“You must be hallucinating, Oppa! We're in a car, right? And we're doing sixty right now, so how can a bicycle overtake us?”
“Y-you think so?”
“Oppa, you've been feeling tired lately, haven't you?”
“Yeah, you must be right, with me seeing things and all.
I should talk to my doctor later or something.”
“Right, you should take care of yourself more, Oppa.”
The occupants of the cars Kang Jin-Ho flew past all had similar reactions, but he remained utterly oblivious to them.
As a matter of fact, his bicycle was practically overtaking everything on the road despite him taking it easy.
“It's here!” A person riding in one of the cars Kang Jin-Ho flew past almost jumped out of their seat.
“What? What's here?”
“Camera! Where's my camera! N-no, my phone!”
“You're driving right now, dude.”
“Oh, no! Damn it!” The man swore, then finally located his own phone.
He urgently yanked it out and began snapping photos of Kang Jin-Ho's distant back.
He didn't stop there, though, and immediately uploaded all the photos he had taken online.
[The monster has been sighted!]
[Current position, on Hanguk Bridge.
My car, traveling at 60kph.
But then, the fabled monster shot right past us, dropped us like dirty rags, and disappeared.
My guess is that his speed was over 80.
Traffic is too heavy to chase after him.
If you're driving or staying near Hanguk Bridge, I request a speedy pursuit of the monster!]
The chatroom exploded in an instant.
=Rottung: Is it the monster on the Bianchi?
=RunawayBike: It’s a Bianchi.
But 80? Seriously?
=azurebicycle: It's the monster.
80 sounds reasonable.
All the sightings so far confirm that he's traveling between 70 to 80.
=RunawayBike: 80? You sure? Even a pro can only reach 60, maybe 70 at a push, no?
=Speedracer: nonono, that's not human.
=wannabeabeastman: maybe he got NOS and stuff.
No bicycle can go that fast.
=Rottung: Isn't getting NOS for your bike illegal in Korea?
=hanriverBIKERgang: Any tip-off on where he goes to will be appreciated.
=died_going_uphill: what are you talking about? Who's the monster?
=Rottung: no way! You dunno who the monster is?
=azurebicycle: There's this guy on a Bianchi.
He shows up once every while.
He's so fast that no one can catch up to him.
=died_going_uphill: how fast is he?
=Pinarello: I ran into him some time ago and tried to catch up to him but failed in the end.
=died_going_uphill: OMG! Are you really Pinarello, the overall winner of the last tour race?!
=Pinarello: me winning isn't important, cuz that guy was hella fast.
The chatroom belonging to the country's top road racers club was practically blowing up right now.
Someone among the posters even volunteered to jump in their car to pursue the mysterious Bianchi rider and began asking for any leads.
=Pinarello: We still don't know who he is?
=azurebicycle: ya, still no clue.
Other than he's a high school student.
=Pinarello: There can't be that many higher-spec Bianchis in the country, tho.
Maybe we can back-trace his bicycle? Don't you know any middlemen uncles that can help?
=azurebicycle: someone tried that, but the frame must have been a direct import.
Importers didn't even know it was in the country.
Kang Jin-Ho remained utterly oblivious to the turmoil he had caused and continued to pedal away at his usual pace.
The chains creaked and groaned as if they would snap at any given moment, but the bicycle still shot forward like a bullet.
His destination was gradually closing in.
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