Chapter 23:

The One With The Other 30

Corruptions Are Best Exposed In The Autumn!

Before I could answer Eleanor’s proposal with a defeated sigh, a slight tug on my shirt from behind caused me to stop.

Huh?! What’s this pulling sensation I’m feeling?

Swinging my head back to see who it was, I was left more confused than ever as no one was in sight from behind except the sight of Febai Park, the various honking vehicles on the road, and rain-filled potholes.

“Hmm?” Eleanor tilted her head sideways. “What are you doing, Kai? There’s nothing behind you.”

“R-Right…” I mumbled, but that shirt-pulling sensation certainly brought fond memories from almost a year back when Rin and I were still seeing each other. I could still recollect her words of admiration like they were spoken yesterday:

“Kai, I admire how strong-willed you are. Even with the world against your back, you’re still able to keep trudging along. It makes someone like me want to stick to your side.”

Rin… I guess I gotta live up to expectations, don’t I?

I unclenched my teeth and turned back around away from her, gulping my temptations down. Perhaps it was her strength, even if we aren't together anymore, that held me back just one more time.

“I’m sorry, Eleanor. I must still refuse that offer. If you’ll excuse me, I have a bus to catch!”

Without batting an eye, I dashed past her to the bus stop just down the block while the rain continued pouring over me. Another bus had just pulled up next to the stop near the park, and I had to run like my life depended on it to catch it. Thanks to my waving, the driver saw me in his mirror before taking off, and I hopped on at the last minute.


Thanks to the wind blasting against my face earlier, not a single inch of sweat covered it. I grasped my knees next to the bus driver, trying to catch my breath.

Jeez, I’m so bad at rejecting people…

I pulled my red scarf over my mouth to hide my face. Even though it’s been about a year since my father was arrested, I still caught occasional glares in public. The bus ride, as always, was bumpy and slow, and my hand grasped the handrail as if my life depended on it. Crowds of people were hitching a ride home from work, and the bus driver had to begin shooing away folks in the bus stops ahead of us. Every time a pothole made the vehicle bounce, everyone slammed into one another like a pack of bowling pins; it was an absolute shitshow.

Soon, it was my turn to bump into someone standing behind me. Their hood was up, but there was barely any room to turn around and apologize formally.

“Whoops, sorry!” I blurted out.


Removing her hood slightly was all it took for me to recognize that burgundy hair and those chestnut eyes, along with her silky-smooth skin.


Of all the people I could’ve bumped into, it was the girl whom I momentarily just had her voice in my mind. She still wore that large brown coat while carrying a backpack from behind. I tried pivoting around to face her, but to my surprise -

“Please excuse me!”

The ride was so loud that I could barely hear her response. Without batting an eye, Rin snuck her way to the door, just when the bus slowed down at its next stop. I looked on with my mouth half open but with a million questions screaming within my head.

Why is she avoiding me…?

“Wait!” I cried, but it was no use - Rin Miya hopped off the bus before I could even get a step closer to the door. All I could do afterward was sulk with my back hunched over and count the number of stops left until it was my turn to leave. I glanced up at the transit map which was stitched at the top of the wall next to the advertisements, pretending to read it to distract my mind.

Does Rin hate me that much?

More people flocked in and out of the bus as we hopped from one stop to another, and I constantly found myself sandwiched between the loud crowds. I couldn’t help but just look down at my feet with a pinch in my chest without stopping my sighing. Not everyone in the world gets to be rejected twice.

“I guess she wasn’t the one who returned my scarf earlier…” I murmured and shook my head to clean out my depression. Waiting to finally hop out of the bus has never been so agonizing.


Finally, my stop!

I pumped my fist as if I had won the lottery and slithered around the remaining passengers before finally leaping off.

Phew! I wiped my head, which was drenched in sweat from the heat of the bus. The rain had finally stopped, but the chilly wind continued which helped cool me down. My eyes darted around the large brick-shaped building which laid in front: it was covered in a pure matte black, with layers of fences that were topped with barbed wires. A shiver ran down my spine from just the mere sight of it.

If I were to hesitate more, there’s a chance I wouldn’t continue my visit. Thus, I sauntered into the building entrance without thinking, keeping my fists in my pocket and my arms tight to my body.

“Hello, I came to visit Kevin Darak.”

Arriving at the front desk for visitors, I bit my lips after greeting the officer, embracing any retaliation for my request.

“You are… Kai, correct?”

My eyes widened, and my jaw dropped slightly. He had recognized me before I even pulled out any ID.

“Um, yes.”

“Great! Please follow me, I’ll take you to his room.”

The officer picked up a file from a nearby cabinet under his desk, glanced at the papers, and then gestured for me to follow him down the hallway. Every interior of the building was made of concrete, and as we approached further down the hall, it got colder and darker.

“We usually don’t keep inmates in here,” the officer explained. “But your father is a rare case. He did not commit any premeditated murders or other things of similar offence, but his own crimes were still deserving of some jail time, so he’s being kept here for now.”

“I-I see.”

We then stopped at a door on the side, and I gulped. The officer opened the door slowly, prompting me to follow suit.

Holy shit…

And there he was: seated with his back straight against an old chair, my father was dressed head to toe in a black-and-white striped uniform. His black hair was cut short (he used to have long, wavy hair), and wrinkles emerged around his eyes. Thankfully, besides the hair and the wrinkles, his appearance looked the same as before.

I walked up to the chair which the officer prepared. It was about two meters away from the cell my father was staying in, facing him directly.

With one more attempt to look him in the eyes, I finally managed to mumble: “H-Hello, father…”

“Kai, sit down, let’s have a chat.”

All he did was produce a beaming smile.


My legs couldn’t stop shaking as I sat down in the wooden chair in front of his cell. The metal bars between us were almost as thick as the goal posts at Febai College. Their black color emitted a subtle coldness that made me shiver even more.

“I heard you’ve been doing a lot of good work,” he began while not letting go of that grin. His hands were gently placed on his laps.

“Y-Yes,” I replied, still full of sweat and goosebumps. My heartbeat trumped the sound of my voice. “I help manage a café which-”

Muller’s Blend, right?” he interrupted, causing me to freeze. “I used to go there a lot, actually. Their coffee is amazing, and I always made sure to tip hefty amounts to Julian and Lora.”

I jumped up from my seat, as if forgetting I was nervous.

“Wait, you know them?! How do you know I work there?!”

My father laughed. “I had a phone call with Thomas earlier today, he told me you would show up.”

“Thomas? You mean Thomas Meyer?”

“Yup. But anyways, I’m glad you’re doing well and are staying healthy. You must’ve received a good raise when you became café manager.”

“Yeah…” my cheeks probably blushed as he said that, and I scratched my nape in embarrassment. “Mr. Meyer told me that he wanted me to help out with his academy soon, this time as a paid employee as well.”

“That’s great to hear. I’m so glad Mr. Meyer was able to get back on his feet after what I had done to his business.”

Tears began forming around his eyes, and his mouth visibly trembled.

“Huh?” my eyes widened. “F-Father?”

He dug his eyes into his forearm, rubbing them until they were dry again.

“You seem to have changed a lot, ever since that incident back in high school.”

I clenched my fists while they rested on my lap. First it was Gio who mentioned it, then it was Mila, and now my own old man. I softly whispered back: “Yeah.”

“Well, keep up the good work, Kai.”

Wait a moment!

Without sitting back down, I leaned in with a question that’s been boggling my head for ages.

“Wait father, this debt that we both owe… what are we going to do about it?! It’s thirty million don for damn sakes!” I gritted my teeth, knowing the change in topic may have startled him. Instead, all my father did was stick out his tongue, close one eye, and…

“Ahaha, whoops, sorry about that!”

- bonked his own head with a fist, displaying a goofy face.

“What?!” I couldn’t believe his reaction; it was as if this was all just a joke to him. “What do you mean?!”

“That debt is real, and you’ll have to help me pay it off.”

Containing my anger, I bit my lips so hard that I thought they would bleed. Since I was already standing, it was time for me to take my leave. Before turning my back against him, I asked him one more question:

“Are you really going to leave this debt for your son to handle?!”

My father didn’t move an inch, nor did he flinch from my sharpened glare. All he did was respond: “Yes.”

That was the tipping point. I grabbed my black coat and red scarf from the chair and headed to the door.

“Good God, so you really are just a useless man-”


I froze before taking the final step out of the room. My feet were caught in the air, and I turned around one last time.

“W-What is it?”

My father produced one more smile, this time without the goofiness. “You’ll figure things out, I know you will.”

For a moment while I looked back at him, time had frozen - his gentle eyes, which screamed no menace but only honesty, were truly telling me that he cared. Without responding this time, I turned around to leave through the door, but raised an arm up to say goodbye. Just when I was out of his view, he shouted out one last bizarre suggestion:

“And it will also help if you get married! You can share the debt together!”

What the fuck is this old man saying?!