Magician City - Chapter 9

Published at 25th of September 2017 06:09:06 AM

Chapter 9

Chapter 9 . School (2)

She waited a while before she got off the line . No matter how long she waited for the phone to stop ringing, it kept going . Nobody answered . Not even Yu-ye himself .

Maybe it was the wrong time to call . Yunhwa then tried morning, day, and night to call, using all the spare time she had, but still, nobody answered .

It was strange . She checked Yu-ye’s information . When she looked at the family relations page, the space under father was empty . No brother . No sister . Just a grandmother and a mother was his family . To make things worse, where they lived was the Moon Village, a town infamous for its poverty-stricken people . His mother must have been at work night and day, and Yu-ye must have grown alone in the hands of his grandmother .

Yunhwa couldn’t help but be shocked at his records .

It had been two years since she started to teach already . She felt ashamed to have been confident that she knew her students front to back . She was arrogant when she didn’t even know the family situations of the students she cared so much for . She was surprised by Yu-ye’s family .

‘Yu-ye grew up with a broken family?’

It wasn’t the first time Yunhwa met kids with the same situations . She had 2 or 3 students with the same type of family as Yu-ye but to think Yu-ye was raised by a single-mother! That was truly a surprise .

Even without his intellect, the aura he had was never the unconfident victimized one that other single-parent kids seemed to have .


He was a little odd, but when she looked at his usual way of behavior, she couldn’t help but to think he was raised between responsible, stern parents . He was calm, quiet, and never quick to judge . He was never easily provoked and never intimidated, almost as if he was somewhat royal or from a very wealthy, high class family .

Yunhwa was certain now .

Yu-ye really is a genius . The word ‘genius’ wasn’t enough to define how much of one he was . She truly believed, when a child like this grows up, he could bring about a great change in the world . A sensation worth turning the world upside down . Maybe enough to be in every textbook around the world . Yunhwa couldn’t let go of her cell phone all day now as a sign of desperation .

But the result was always the same .


She called and called again . No answer . She sent letter after letter to the same address . Nothing . Was the number wrong? She asked Yu-ye about the number . The only answer she got was that it was right .

Only one solution was left .

If she wants it, she had to come and get it .

It was after school . Everyone went home as Yunhwa quickly changed after clocking out . She tried the number one last time before making her way . As always, no answer . Someone had to be at his house, but they never seemed to pick up the phone .

“How weird . ”

Yunhwa started to find her way through the streets . She had the address written down, but the infamous town was hard to find as she had never been there before . Yunhwa then remembered, after walking around aimlessly, that her cell phone had a navigation . She made her way past the old, run down houses only to stop in front of a long, steep, mountainous road . If she were to fall, she felt she would die instantly .


Her journey began there .


She hoped that his house was at the bottom of the hill .

The more she went, she hoped that the house would be where she was . Yunhwa’s hope stopped at the tip-top of that hill .

She felt emotional that her hopes were mercilessly crushed .

Trying to think only happy thoughts, she knocked on Yu-ye’s front door .

“Hello? Yu-ye? It’s your teacher Ms . Jung!”

One would think this would be the end to her problems . That she would meet Yu-ye and have a nice talk with his family . But the world was a much crueler place than Yunhwa thought . She kept banging his door, yelling that she came to see Yu-ye, but nobody came to greet her .

Was the address wrong this time? But the worn-out paint on the front door signaled that it was the right house .

Tired but unwilling to go so soon, she decided to wait .

If she thought of how much time and effort she put into meeting him and climbing this monstrous hill, she couldn’t give up now .

She stood there thinking if anyone passes by, she would ask about Yu-ye . Yunhwa played her cell phone games even after the sunset . Not one person came by . Not even an animal or an ant .

“What’s up with today… Everything is not going as planned…… . ”

Becoming teary-eyed, Yunhwa tried, once again, banging the door calling Yu-ye’s name . Then she was done . She forcefully pushed open his front door, then went inside .

The paint on the steel door was worn out as it made an eerie screech .

“Is anybody there?”

Yunhwa raised her voice as she looked around . She walked across his muddy front yard . It must not have dried from the rain a couple days ago . On the porch, she found two silhouettes of people and walked closer to discover a young middle school girl, and Yu-ye in her arms .

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Finally discovering her target, she cleared her throat in hopes that they would wake up to greet her . But even when her throat started to hurt, they didn’t wake up .

Yunhwa had no choice . She shook the middle school girl .

“Uugh…Who is it…… . ”

Yunyoung waved her arms as if there was an annoying fly, then continued to sleep . Yunyoung was persistent, but Yunhwa was too . She sat there shaking Yunyoung for quite some time when Yunyoung finally opened her eyes slowly . Yunhwa, suddenly feeling awkward, waved her hands in front of the girl’s face .

“Who are you . . ?”

Yunyoung opened her eyes wide to see a woman in her mid-20s in a suit waving her hands in front of her face . It was a strange sight . Yunyoung looked at her in intimidation .

“Ah, Hello! I’m Yu-ye’s homeroom teacher……Do you have an adult with you by any chance? I need to have an important conversation about Yu-ye . ”

Yunyoung, who was in the midst of a yawn, rubbing her eyes, suddenly sat upright and dusted off her clothes to look proper . The way she suddenly changed made Yunhwa think of a parent counseling with a teacher for the first time .

“Oh, I see! Hello . ”

Yunyoung got up and gave Yunhwa a 90 degree bow as a sign of respect .  Yunhwa mimicked Yunyoung’s bow out of surprise .

“Don’t stand there . Please come inside . Although the house is a mess…… . Hey! Yu-ye! Get up . Your homeroom teacher is here!”

Yunyoung lightly kicked Yu-ye’s legs as she guided Yunhwa in the house . However, Yu-ye’s response was the same as Yunyoung’s before she woke up . He slightly opened his eyes as he sat up, but soon fell over sleeping . This time, he was even drooling .

“This little…!”

Annoyed at Yu-ye who seemed lazy even when his teacher paid a visit, Yunyoung started to pull his cheeks mercilessly . It was enough for a normal person to wake up in pain, but Yu-ye stayed limp, letting out a lengthy groan . “Aaaaaah… . ” He was still sleepy .

“Oh, no . It really became a habit now . Well, this boy won’t get up anytime soon, so let me prepare you some warm tea . Please come inside . ”

Seeing the image of a stern mother in Yunyoung as she violently tried to wake Yu-ye, Yunhwa replied politely, using honorifics .

“Ah, yes . Please”

“Huh? No, that’s okay ma’am . You don’t have to use honorifics! Please call me casually . ”

Yunyoung gave a slight smile as she went into the kitchen .


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While Yunyoung got the tea ready, Yunhwa took a look around Yu-ye’s house . Well, the house was too small to even look around . It consisted of a porch, a washroom, and one room . Inside the room, it had an old closet, a dusty, aged TV, a fridge, and a foldable table . All of it was worn down and crumbly, but the house was clean . No mold was found on the walls even through the humid summer days, and no remains were left of the tearing wallpapers . It was spotless . Then through the corner of her eye, she spotted a telephone .


It looked as old as any other furniture in the house but looked clean as if nobody had used it for a long time . It looked like it worked fine, but when she held it in her hand and called the number with her own cellphone, only the screen flashed on and off . No sound, no vibration . This meant someone had to look at the phone the whole day to answer a call . She finally understood .

From every corner of the house, she could smell and feel the poverty . She had heard the stories about the Moon Village, but didn’t know its severity . Common storybooks, toys and other necessities as a child were nowhere to be seen . Yunhwa guessed that it was probably the same ever since he was born .


She stared at Yu-ye sleeping on the porch .

It was the look of a sweet child, innocently sleeping . Tears started to well up in Yunhwa’s eyes as she thought of Yu-ye’s harsh reality . Then she realized that he was an even greater being than she had ever imagined before . It was a miracle how well he did in school, and how well he learned .

“Sorry, all we have is an instant coffee mix . ”

Yunyoung handed Yunhwa the cup of coffee .

“That’s quite all right . Thank you . I really appreciate it . ”

“You’re using honorifics to me again . It’s okay . ”

Yunyoung smiled, and Yunhwa smiled back, pleased .

Yunhwa expected Yunyoung to be Yu-ye’s blood related sister . They didn’t look anything alike, but they shared the same kind of aura . They were both calm, but a little odd . She could never read what move they would do next .

Why was it that he name was out of the family information sheet?

Yunhwa asked Yunyoung directly .

“Yunyoung . Are you Yu-ye’s real sister?”

“No, I just happen to live next door . ”

At her response, Yunhwa glanced at Yu-ye .

He was deep in sleep, hugging the thin blanket as if it was Yunyoung . After confirming that Yu-ye was still dreaming, she asked, carefully and quietly .

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“Then, where would Yu-ye’s parents be…?”

“He has a grandmother . She goes to work in the morning . ”

“Is that so? What about his mother? Does she have a different job?”

“His mother? I’m afraid I’ve never seen her myself……”

Yunhwa replied without thought .

“She comes home that late huh…”

Yunhwa saw the spotlessly clean, well-organized room . There was no way Yu-ye didn’t have a mother . It was a skill equal to that of a long, trained housewife . One that Yunhwa herself couldn’t do . However, her thoughts were far from right .

“Hm? No, there is no way . I eat dinner with Yu-ye . I even sleep here sometimes, but I’ve never seen her . ”

“Then who did all the cleaning? His grandmother?”

“That was me of course . ”

“I…I see . ”

It had only been a couple of years since Yunyoung started her household chores, but it was flawless . It had to be . She did them for two houses every day .


Maybe it was because both Yunyoung and Yunhwa were girls, or because they both cared about Yu-ye a lot, their talk went smoothly for the rest of the night . Although the talk made Yunhwa more depressed and suffocated . It was truly a relief that a good girl like Yunyoung was there to take care of Yu-ye every day, but she still felt something tugging at her heart . It didn’t matter if a child liked his parents or not . The kid needed to be with the parents to be raised right . Judging from Yunyoung’s words, his mother didn’t seem to be living in the same house .


In the end, even until she left, Yunhwa couldn’t bring herself to ask about the genius test . Nobody was there to approve of it, but more than that, her heart kept her from doing so . His family situation was horrible, and she felt sorry for him . She questioned her self-worth as she walked down the mountain . She felt horrible . While Yu-ye was struggling to survive, and eat every day, she was trying to sell him off to better herself . How pathetic .


Yunyoung saw off as she started to walk, but the mountain downhill was even more terrifying than climbing up hill . She felt weak in her knees . It was because she didn’t have any strength left over from walking, but also because of the miserable feeling she couldn’t shake off after visiting Yu-ye’s house . She was sure something wasn’t right about how he lived, but she couldn’t do anything about it .


Yunhwa kept thinking to herself of the possible things she could do to help Yu-ye as she made it out of the Moon Village . Maybe it was a shame to Yu-ye that she went back without mentioning the genius test, but one’s future cannot be foreseen . Would Yunhwa’s actions benefit Yu-ye?