Chapter 14.1

Korea University, the premier national institution in South Korea, boasted a prestigious Law School that was the ultimate aspiration for any aspiring legal professional. Unlike other universities, they maintained an impartial admissions process, avoiding favoritism towards their own alumni, making entry into the law school even challenging for Korea University graduates.

The campus was abuzz with some of the brightest and most ambitious future lawyers, who had gathered for a lively end-of-semester celebration. They had reserved an entire classic bar, where the festivities carried on from evening till dawn with non-stop revelry and drinks.

Amidst the pulsating music and the sea of bottles, creating a club-like ambiance, someone in the crowd suggested a toast. The atmosphere was electric as friends cheered and exchanged bomb shots, albeit with a few cautious voices reminding everyone to handle the drinks carefully.

In the midst of this exuberance, Yi-soo observed the scene, shaking her head at the excessive drinking. As a first-year student, she rarely indulged in such gatherings. Ever since that one time she got drunk during her initial days at law school, she had opted to steer clear of such activities.

In the hustle and bustle of weeknights spent juggling part-time jobs and packed weekends filled with three tutoring sessions, Yi-soo barely had time to rest. She squeezed in just three hours of sleep each night, trying to keep up with the overwhelming workload she faced.

While her classmates enjoyed a more comfortable life, Yi-soo’s reality was different. Despite her tireless efforts, the weight of tuition fees and rent left her with no money to spare. Three years ago, her foster father In-seong, who had become her legal guardian, offered to cover her education expenses, but she declined his generous gesture. It wasn’t about feeling burdened; she yearned to take full responsibility for her own life.

Amidst the raucous celebration, led by Park Seong-cheol, a spirited third-year student, Yi-soo struggled to keep her composure. Many of her fellow students were already passed out from the copious bomb shots they had downed. Occasionally, she pretended to drink, but the alcohol was beginning to take its toll, leaving her feeling dizzy.

In the midst of the revelry, Park Seong-cheol called out to Min-seo, “Choi Min-seo, are you there?”

Min-seo groaned, “Ugh… I want to sleep… I can’t drink anymore…”

Yi-soo, sitting beside Min-seo, cautiously nudged her, trying to be helpful. But Min-seo was already inebriated, shaking her head as if to signal Yi-soo not to wake her.

Yi-soo’s throat was parched, but all she saw around her were bottles of alcohol and plain water. Water wouldn’t quench her thirst; what she really craved was a refreshing ionized drink. Feeling unnoticed in the midst of the revelry, Yi-soo discreetly rose from her seat, unnoticed by the engrossed crowd.

A sigh escaped her lips, not surprising given her unremarkable past as a student. Short hair, thick glasses, and always wearing a low-capped hat, she never cared much for dressing up or expanding her social circle. Life didn’t afford her such luxuries. Her focus was solely on graduating from law school and earning money without a moment’s rest.

The heavy bar door creaked as Yi-soo stepped outside, unzipping her padded jacket. The winter wind brushed against her pale cheeks, and she exhaled a cloud of cold air. She vaguely recalled passing a convenience store on her way there, struggling to piece together hazy memories due to the alcohol’s effects. Without hesitation, she headed to her right.

“Oh, there it is…”

Soon, the convenience store’s bright lights greeted her. Yi-soo decided to grab some ionized drinks and hangover remedies. Min-seo, who had earlier proclaimed not to worry about a thing, now found herself defenseless against the aftermath of her binge-drinking.

The biting cold seemed to seep through Yi-soo’s clothes, chilling her to the bone. Her earlobes felt frozen and stiff, aching from the frigid temperature.

“It’s so cold…” She murmured to herself, taking hesitant steps to warm up. Suddenly, someone silently grabbed her arm, their touch rough and inconsiderate. Startled, she turned around to see who it was.

“Senior Sang-min…!” Yi-soo recognized his senior. With his protruding belly, he held onto her arm with an unsettling smile. She tried to hide her surprise and glanced around nervously.



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