Episode 111

An Unexpected Guest
1 week ago
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Since I couldn’t leave her outside in the middle of the night, I initially brought her to our house.

“Didn’t you say you were going to a hotel?”

Then Mei Ling, sitting in front of the living room table, broke her silence and spoke.

“…I lost my wallet.”

“How did that happen?”

“I think I might have dropped it while getting out of the taxi.”

“You should be more careful.”

So she walked all the way here?

“Fortunately, I still have my passport and phone, but I don’t have any cash…”

Mei Ling said that while nervously rubbing her shoulders, and then she looked at me.

“Could you possibly let me stay for a few days?”

“Goodbye.”

I immediately grabbed the handle of her suitcase, which was beside her.

Mei Ling, startled, reached out her hand.

“Wait! Just a moment! If you let me stay for a few days, I will make it up to you!”

I hesitated for a moment at the mention of compensation.

“How exactly?”

“Well… I’ve already applied for a reissue of my card, so I should receive it in a few days. I recently received prize money, so I have plenty of cash, and I will pay you generously for lodging.”

“It’s tempting, but still, it seems difficult.”

Even though her situation was pitiable, it didn’t seem right to let her stay just for money.

Especially since we didn’t have enough rooms in our house.

I already occupied most of my room with exercise equipment and slept in the living room. How could I accommodate someone else?

But she seemed desperate in her own way and pleaded with me.

“Please, I beg you! I don’t know anyone in Japan, and without help, I’ll end up sleeping on the streets!”

“Wait! My pants are falling down!”

I struggled to hold up my training pants, which kept sliding down due to her forceful grip.

It was then…

Thud!

“Son~ Mom and Dad are home~”

“Oh.”

My parents chose that unbelievable timing to open the front door and come in.

And what they saw was the Chinese girl, who had come for lunch today, clinging to their only son’s leg and pleading.

After a long silence, as if finally understanding the situation, Mrs. Imija hesitantly spoke.

“That… son? No matter how urgent, doing this at home is…”

“It’s a misunderstanding!”

I felt genuinely wronged.


“So, this Chinese girl lost her wallet on her way to the hotel?”

“Yes.”

Eventually, my parents, Mei Ling, and I gathered around the living room table for a three-way conversation.

In reality, since my parents owned the house, they were the ones she truly needed to get permission from.

After hearing everything, Mrs. Imija, after much consideration, came to a conclusion.

“It can’t be helped. There’s a saying that even a passing encounter is a form of fate, so stay for just a few days.”

Then Mei Ling, with great joy, bowed deeply to my parents.

“Thank you! Thank you!” (In Chinese)

The words she spoke were lines I had often heard in Chinese movies when I was younger.

Indeed, the native pronunciation seemed different.

Then, Mei Ling, raising her head, spoke with a touched expression,

“Thank you.”

Her pronunciation was awkward, as typical of a foreigner, but the meaning was clearly conveyed, so my usually gruff father spoke in a kind voice.

“We have the bathwater ready, so go ahead and wash up first. Have you had dinner?”

Mei Ling blushed and shook her head timidly.

“No.”

“Then we’ll prepare a simple meal for you.”

“Thank you! Generous person! I will never forget this kindness!”

Saying this, Mei Ling assumed a bowing posture.

She looked like she might hit her head on the floor if left alone, so I couldn’t help but be startled by her sudden action.

Regardless, Mrs. Imija calmly requested,

“Yu-seong, please show her to the bathroom.”

“…Yes.”

Without any say in the matter, I obediently followed my parents’ instructions.


I personally led her to the bathroom.

“Do you have clothes to change into?”

Mei Ling, losing her earlier confidence, hunched her shoulders and answered in a small voice,

“…They’re outside.”

“What? What did you say?”

When I asked again, she blushed and said,

“I only have my underwear.”

Ah, I see. Alright.

“I’ll bring you some of my old clothes. They might be a bit big, but would that be okay?”

“…If you lend them to me, I would be grateful to wear them.”

After agreeing, I opened the bathroom door.

The bathtub, already filled with water, came into view.

Unlike in Korea, where showers were more common at home, in Japan, it was more common to fill the bathtub and take a bath.

My parents, having lived in Japan for a long time, enjoyed bathing at home, and in such cases, the whole family would reuse the same bathwater.

Usually, being the lowest in the household hierarchy, I would bathe last, but in her case, being a guest, my father had given up his turn for her.

I crouched down and explained everything to her, one by one.

“This is shampoo, this is conditioner, and this is body wash. The bath soak is already in, so you just need to get into the tub. I’ll put some clothes for you to change into in front of the bathroom.”

“Thanks for explaining.”

“It’s nothing, really. Go ahead and take your shower.”

Saying that, I shrugged my shoulders, closed the bathroom door, and left.


After Kim Yu-seong, whom she had fought with today, closed the bathroom door and left, Mei Ling let out a belated sigh of relief.

“Sigh…”

It was terrifying to even imagine what would have happened if he and his parents hadn’t kindly helped her.

‘Losing my wallet, of all things.’

In contrast to China, where electronic currency was prevalent, Japan was mostly a cash-only culture.

They did accept credit cards, but mostly only at large hotels or franchise stores; most places were cash-only.

When she realized she had suddenly lost her wallet in such a country, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that everything went dark before her eyes.

Because she had no immediate way to get money.

She untied the long hair she had up, took off her clothes, and put them in the basket.

In an instant, she was wearing nothing but her underwear.

She stood in front of the mirror, looking at her well-trained body.

Her body was muscular, with large and small scars.

The marks of the harsh training she’d been through since childhood were like medals to her, but there were times she envied the body of an ordinary girl.

But now, it was of no use.

She took off her plain sports bra and panties, put them in the basket, and entered the bathroom in her natural state.

Steam rose from the hot tub.

She wanted to soak her tired body immediately, but remembering she had been walking all day and was likely covered in dust, she decided to take a quick shower first.

The sound of the shower.

The cool stream of water pouring over her head.

Feeling her fatigue wash away, she lathered her body with the body wash.

She wasn’t sure what the scent was, but it was a nice-smelling foam. After cleaning her body with it, she carefully stepped into the bathtub.

“Phew.”

A satisfied sigh naturally escaped.

She closed her eyes as if meditating and began counting numbers, a habit from her childhood.


Mei Ling emerged from the bath about 30 minutes later.

“I washed up well.”

Dressed in the black T-shirt and shorts I laid out, with a towel around her neck, she said that to me as I sat in the living room.

“That was quick.”

“…I can’t stay in hot water for too long.”

If that was the case, it couldn’t be helped.

Then I said to my father, who was busily preparing food in the kitchen.

“Dad! The bath is free now!”

Then my father said okay and went into the bedroom.

It seemed like he was going to get clothes to change into.

She looked at the futon laid out in the living room and asked.

“Do I sleep here?”

“No, I’ll sleep here, and you can sleep in that room over there.”

I pointed to my room, which I had hurriedly tidied up.

It might still be cramped for someone my size, but for her, who was smaller than me, there was enough space to sleep comfortably.

She nodded and sat down in front of me.

In the process, her oversized T-shirt gaped open, almost revealing her fair skin, but it was quickly concealed.

Perhaps because she was wearing clothes not her own, making her feel relatively unprotected, she looked at me with a serious expression and said,

“Kim Yu-seong, I am greatly indebted to you and your parents. So, is there anything you would like to ask of me?”

“Excuse me? A favor?”

“In China, there’s a saying that one should repay a favor threefold. I’ve already agreed to pay for my stay, but I feel that’s not enough. So, I will grant you one favor.”

To me, it was a somewhat unexpected offer.

I couldn’t think of anything specific to ask for.

So, as I was pondering how to decline her offer, something suddenly came to mind.

“Could you teach me the technique called ‘Fierce Tiger Piercing Spear’ that you demonstrated during the sparring earlier?”

Hearing my request, Mei Ling looked surprised for a moment, but then she chuckled and nodded.

“Of course.”

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