“I’m really sorry. It would have been better if I hadn’t asked to bring Mumu along.”
Shortly after leaving the manor, Oh Ji-kang apologized.
Because it felt like it was all his fault.
At that, Yu Yeop-kyung shook his head.
“No. If we want to find out who is at fault, then it will be my first son who graduated from the academy.”
Yu Yeop-kyung didn’t think much about what happened.
What was happening had to happen.
It wasn’t like he would get a chance to redo things because he regretted it, so dwelling on it didn’t seem good.
Still, Oh Ji-kang spoke.
“Still, since the lord said that he would support the second son and Mumu’s education, it doesn’t seem like a bad condition.”
“Yes, but I wonder if Mumu is okay with it.”
He was concerned.
A child who lived alone with him in exile.
What happened inside the manor was because of his immature son, and he was worried whether or not Mumu, who hadn’t interacted with a lot of people, would be able to adapt in the academy or not.
“Don’t worry too much. Isn’t Mumu the most innocent and kind kid?”
“He’s kind, but he’s also stubborn.”
He was sure of that.
Mumu was training his body in secret.
When he looked at Mumu, Mumu looked elsewhere.
‘… this kid.’
He was grown and a smart one.
Seeing Yu Yeop-kyung become a little annoyed, Oh Ji-kang said.
“Actually, what happened was wrong and unintentional, but I don’t think it’s bad for Mumu to enter the academy.”
“What do you mean?”
“Isn’t Mumu seventeen now? After a while, he will be a man and it will be impossible for him to grow up in your arms forever.”
Mumu pouted at those words.
“I can live with my father for the rest of my life.”
“Ah, this kid really…”
The kid really seemed to like his father a lot.
At that, Oh Ji-kang stroked Mumu’s head and said.
“I think going to the academy is a good opportunity for Mumu as well. You will be able to see things you haven’t, interact with your peers, and learn social skills.”
All those words were correct.
In order to fill what was lacking, Mumu had to enter.
And to learn stuff, an academy was the best place for Mumu
“But the Heavenly Martial Arts Academy is for Murim warriors.”
“What about it?”
“What about it? How can he even get into that place when he never learned martial arts or anything related to it?”
At Yu Yeop-kyung’s words, Oh Ji-kang frowned while looking at Mumu and said,
“In the past, I would have thought so too. However, after seeing Mumu deal with that child and the escort warrior, if this kid doesn’t meet the qualifications of the academy then who can?”
“Even the lord seems to have high hopes for Mumu.”
At those words, Yu Yeop-kyung touched his forehead.
He was sure that the man in his dream told him to not let Mumu become any stronger, but why was the kid getting stronger and stronger?
Was it really a body naturally born with talent?
But the man in the dream asked him to raise the child in a normal way.
‘I don’t know what is right. And if I had to, I’d rather send him to a regular school… ah…’
He thought that it would be better to send Mumu to a regular school, but when he thought about it, despite the pardon, he couldn’t get back to his normal life.
‘It was a mistake.’
He should have just refused as he was an adopted son.
Then he would have been able to send him to a general school.
Even if he was an adopted son, the only way for an adopted son to get accepted by the academy is if they were registered in the family register.
‘The adoption of… no, Mumu doesn’t have to be bound by those chains.’
Yu Yeop-kyung shook his head.
Not because the child was adopted, but because Mumu had been by his side all this time, so he wanted the child to live his life in freedom.
“You can live your life the way you want to. If you don’t want to go to the Heavenly Martial Arts Academy then you don’t have to.”
“I will go.”
“If you’re saying that for the sake of your father…”
“I heard that it’s a place which teaches one to train their body. So I will go.”
“… do you mean it?”
“Yes. And I’m curious about that friend thing too.”
At Mumu’s words Yu Yeop-kyung had a sad expression.
Right. If that was the reason, he couldn’t say no.
If one day he was to grow old and turn into a handful of dirt, he wanted someone to be beside Mumu.
In the end, Yu Yeop-kyung accepted it.
That was when Mumu asked.
“What do I call my father’s family when we get home?”
The topic suddenly changed.
Yu Yeop-kyung frowned at Mumu’s question and then answered.
“You will call mother as mother and brother as brother… ah, Jin-hyuk is a bit tough. Since the both of you are the same age, you can be friends.”
A quick conclusion.
At that, Mumu exhaled and said.
“I saw it in a book that illegitimate or adopted children are hated by their step mothers and are not treated as siblings, so they say to not expect any kind of familial love.”
Yu Yeop-kyung was speechless.
Which book said that?
It was absurd so he looked at Oh Ji-kang who was avoiding his gaze.
‘… it was you.’
The culprit was caught.
Giving such a strange book to a child and causing stress.
He was afraid that Mumu was bored in exile so as a nice man, he would occasionally give him books.
On the other hand, however, it was true.
Will his wife and sons treat Mumu well without prejudice?
The home of Yu Yeop-kyung.
There, a few people were busy preparing something.
The delicious smell which tickled noses was everywhere.
In the yard, a middle-aged woman was leading the preparations, she was Yu Yeop-kyung’s wife, Jang Yeon-hye.
She couldn’t hide her joy at the return of her husband 17 years later.
She wanted to give him a nice welcome home, so she bought a hen and beef to cook for him.
“Now now. The master is coming soon, so let’s hurry up.”
“Yes. My lady.”
There was a boy who was looking at her.
The boy looked like a younger version of Yu Yeop-kyung.
It was the second child, Yu Jin-hyuk.
He hadn’t seen his mother act like this in a long time.
The first time he saw her like this was when his brother got second position in the academy, and the second time was when he cleared his father’s name.
And this was the third time.
He didn’t dislike the constant laughter.
‘I don’t feel good for some reason.’
He was just an infant when his father was sent into exile.
So he didn’t even know his face.
He wondered if they would bond when he met his father, whose face he didn’t know.
‘How will I feel when we meet?’
At the same time, he was curious.
Before his brother removed his father’s bad name, he hated the one called his father.
He cursed him every night, wondering what he had done to leave the family and go into exile and for the family to be called a sinner’s family.
But, that was because he was too young.
Now that his older brother cleared his father’s name, he was able to understand things a little.
[Your father is a truly wonderful man.]
[When you meet your father, you will like him too.]
His mother and brother would say such things.
But they couldn’t say what his good points were.
They would speak abstractly, like he was a caring husband and a good father.
‘So a caring husband leaves their home and abandons his children for someone else’s, is that what a good father is?’
No matter how he thought about it, his father looked like a flawed person.
It was then, his mother approached him.
“What is with that face?”
She saw her son who seemed quieter than usual, she knew how he felt.
To her, Yu Jin-hyuk said,
“I don’t know if I should rejoice or not.”
“Again with that? He’s your father.”
“… yes. I know.”
‘It doesn’t make sense to say that to me when I don’t even remember his face.’
But he didn’t say that out loud.
His mother, who understood what was going on, hugged her son and said.
“When you see your father, you will fall in love with him. So, don’t complicate your thoughts with this and that.”
“Then what about the adopted one?”
Lady Jang’s expression slightly changed at the mention of the adopted one.
She too, was upset to hear that her husband had taken up a child.
There was no woman who wouldn’t find it strange that their exiled husband suddenly started raising a child.
At first, she had all sorts of thoughts.
‘Maybe out of sympathy?’
Since then, all kinds of doubts have arisen.
But they never last long.
She knew that her husband wasn’t the kind to do the things she was thinking about.
She thought that he took the child out of pity.
“Behave. If it’s true, then that person is this mother’s child and your brother.”
Yu Jin-hyuk sighed at those words.
His mother was a soft person when it came to his father.
Despite being strict about her kids’ education.
“This mother will try to do her best. So Jin-hyuk, can you do your best too?”
“… I don’t know. What if that son treats you like a step mother and then treats me harshly because I’m the biological child?”
“What? Jin-hyuk. How can you think so negatively when nothing has happened at all?”
“… adopted or illegitimate children are always greedy, so it’s said that they need to be strictly educated from the beginning so they don’t look down on us. I’m afraid that my mother will be hurt because of your nature.”
At those words, Lady Jang asked.
“Where the hell did you hear that from?”
“It was written in a book.”
At those words, she rubbed her forehead.
She wondered where her son had gotten such a book.
And now it was clear.
That was when an old man at the entrance ran towards her.
“L-Lady! The master is back!”
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