Chapter 10.1

In the sprawling expanse of S University Hospital, a sanctuary for the privileged, there lay an exclusive ward on the 47th floor that was the epitome of opulence. Here, a single night’s stay would cost a fortune, surpassing millions of won. With only five rooms in total, gaining entry to this prestigious haven was a feat even for the wealthiest.

The allure of these lavish chambers was undeniable. Captains of industry and tycoons vied for the chance to reserve a spot, knowing that within these walls, their privacy and comfort would be safeguarded at any cost. Money was of little concern to them; prestige and seclusion were what truly mattered.

Among those fortunate enough to occupy one of these VIP rooms was Yoon Min-sik, the esteemed CEO of Yoon & Kang. For an entire month, he had basked in the lap of luxury, although even for a man of his means, the expense was exorbitant—a luxury most could only dream of. Yet, Min-sik’s wife, In-hwa, was resolute in her decision to have him stay here. To her, as the representative of one of South Korea’s premier law firms, such dignified treatment was well-deserved.

As Hyun-seong made his way to the VIP floor, he swiped his precious access card. The 47th floor was a realm reserved for the elite; only a select few had the privilege of coming and going from this sanctuary. The magnates and moguls were determined to shield their ailments from the prying eyes of the public, and their influence ensured that their wishes were adhered to.

The VIP ward operated under tight security, with personnel stationed at every corner to ensure utmost protection. Its pristine corridors seemed untouched by the slightest disturbance, creating an aura of exclusivity. Hyun-seong, wearing an aloof expression, turned the knob of the innermost room, where his father now resided.

Ever since Min-sik fell into unconsciousness, Hyun-seong made it a point to visit the hospital once a week. But his motivations went beyond mere filial duty.

The sliding door glided open noiselessly, revealing a scene different from what he had anticipated. “Vice President,” he addressed the man standing by the bedside, surprise evident in his voice. “What brings you here?”

The figure by the bed was Kang Seok-ho, a man in his mid-forties, his hair sprinkled with distinguished wisps of white. As the deputy representative lawyer of Yoon & Kang, he had taken on the role of interim representative during Min-sik’s absence. Hyun-seong approached him, his right eyebrow subtly raised inquisitively.

Seok-ho carried an amiable air about him, the kind that could put anyone at ease. He exuded the charm of an ordinary, approachable middle-aged man, the type you’d run into in any friendly neighborhood. People adored him for his light-hearted banter and genuine care for those around him.

Within the confines of Yoon & Kang, Seok-ho held a highly favorable position. In stark contrast to the stern and rigid Min-sik, he was known for his considerate and compassionate treatment of his colleagues, earning him a well-deserved reputation as an affable leader. Thus, it was no surprise that whispers of his popularity echoed through the firm.

“I came to check on the President’s condition. Did the doctors provide any specific updates? When do they anticipate him waking up?” Seok-ho inquired.

“He’s still unconscious. His liver function is showing concerning levels,” Hyun-seong replied.

Seok-ho sighed heavily, his hand gently touching his wrinkled eyes, reflecting deep concern and sorrow. Beneath that amiable facade, Hyun-seong saw a different side of Seok-ho, one not readily apparent to others. He knew that while Kang Seok-ho might not be a malicious person, he wasn’t as virtuous as many believed. There seemed to be something concealed behind that friendly exterior.

Seok-ho hadn’t risen to the position of vice president solely due to his open-hearted nature. Hyun-seong couldn’t ignore the fact that there might be more to Seok-ho than meets the eye. He couldn’t afford to underestimate him.

Above all, Seok-ho’s presence loomed ominously, casting a shadow of uncertainty in the face of the President’s precarious position. Wasn’t the strategic engagement designed to keep him in check? Retrieving his phone from the inner pocket of his jacket, Seok-ho muttered to himself in a soft, introspective tone.

“How time flies. I ended up reminiscing with the President, and the hours slipped away. I’ll be on my way, Hyun-seong. Stay with your father.”

“Of course. Take care as you leave.”

“Sure, sure. Our Hyun-seong is truly devoted, unlike our own son. I envy the bond between you and the President. Let’s catch up at the company later.”

With a gentle pat on Hyun-seong’s shoulder, Seok-ho closed the door behind him, leaving the hospital room in a newfound calmness.

Hyun-seong’s eyes fixated on Min-sik, who struggled to breathe with the assistance of a respirator. His gaze delved deep into his father’s eyes, contemplating the concept of filial piety.

To think there was any reason to envy the relationship between Min-sik and himself seemed absurd, almost hypocritical. Seok-ho, a witness to their dynamic for over three decades, knew this truth all too well.

How could Hyun-seong revere and love the man lying before him? His emotions toward Min-sik were complex, and affection did not find a place among them.

“You’ve weakened. You were once so strong,” he uttered softly.

The imposing figure of his once fearsome and stern father seemed to have vanished entirely. In his place lay a vulnerable middle-aged man, dependent on a ventilator for life. Hyun-seong pulled a chair close and settled by the bedside.

In an instant, a flood of memories from over a decade ago rushed through his mind, painting a vivid panorama of haunting scenes. But now, it was time to let go of those dreadful nightmares.



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