Chapter 61: Choice (1)
Slowly but surely, time passed on and on despite all troubles, and soon enough, Lucid reached his fourth autumn in this world. Though many things happened, all things considered, his third year of elementary school had been quite peaceful. By the beginning of the second semester, all the third year students seemed to have adjusted well to the new curriculum, so different from what they had grown used to during first and second grade.
“This way! Get her!”
Usually, when thinking of elementary school dodgeball, it was easy to imagine that the girls stood in the back while the boys gathered to the front, aggressively shooting the ball at each other. However, things were a bit different for Class 3-2. Reaching 150cm (4’11”) at such a young age, Hyejin was the giant of her class.
“Hyejin, take it!”
Hyejin Jang stood a good head taller than most of her classmates, and she easily grabbed the ball from midair. As athletic as she was tall, her reflexes were quite well developed, and even the boys had trouble hitting her with the ball.
“Haha, got you! You’re out!”
No matter how hard one of the boys had tried to dodge the ball, twisting this way and that across the floor, the ball Hyejin threw still managed to hit him square on the side, and he left the court pouting. Lucid had been eliminated quite early on in the game, and he was now standing at the side, catching the ball so it wouldn’t go out of bounds and passing it to his teammates. As he watched the match proceed, the ball Hyejin had thrown bounced off another disqualified student and rolled towards Lucid’s feet, which he promptly picked up and threw back into the court. Hyejin swiftly caught it in her hands and wondered where to throw it next. Even just by pretending to throw it, the opposite team flinched visibly, scurrying here and there like a school of sardines, struggling to remain in the game for as long as possible. And if during this escape, one of the opponents happened to tire out, Hyejin immediately launched the ball towards them.
“She got him, she got him!”
“Byeong-woo, you’re out! Get out of there!”
One shot, one kill. Hyejin’s team rejoiced while the opposing team sighed in frustration. But just as Byeong-woo was about to leave the court to stand at the side, another student picked up the ball, fast as lightning, and this was enough to uplift the opposing team’s whole morale. This student, who brought hope into her teammates’ hearts just by holding the ball, was Yurim Seo, another pillar of Class 3-2.
Interestingly enough, two of the tallest students were both girls. Though Hyejin was the tallest of the two, Yurim wasn’t that much shorter, and she was also just as athletic. This led to gym classes always being split into Team Hyejin and Team Yurim. With both girls being able to catch the ball, no matter how hard it was thrown, as easily as catching a falling fruit, they fell into a natural state of rivalry.
“Get her, Yurim!”
“Hyejin, watch out!”
“Kill! Kill! Kill!”
Though the students’ cheers were rather belligerent (if not outright savage), none of them actually considered this dodgeball match to be so serious. Rather, they all watched on as the two rivals played fiercely, almost as if enjoying a sports match on television. For them, this really was just fun and games.
Even Lucid watched the match with growing interest. Both girls were very competitive, so much so that none of the boys even dared to intrude in their stand off. They only acknowledged each other and gave it their all to win against the other. This held true for other classes as well, not just for gyn class. If one of the girls raised her hand in class to answer a question, the other would immediately shoot her hand up in the air, even if she didn’t know the answer, simply because she didn’t want to lose.
Thinking of it, Lucid lacked this sort of competitiveness, and he especially didn’t want to stand out in gym class. He had had enough of standing out during first and second grades, and this experience had taught him that drawing too much attention to himself only resulted in fatigue. He felt no pride, no sense of accomplishment from showing others his superiority. On the contrary, he felt more annoyed and frustrated if anything, since he had been dragged all over the place because of it (from the chairman’s office to the headmaster’s office to a studio). It was nothing but a waste of time.
This was why in gym class, he only pretended to try to catch the ball, reaching towards it with his hands and getting hit in the process. This allowed him to stand out on the sidelines, retrieving the ball and throwing it back to his teammates so that they could continue their attack. It looked rather suspicious, since he never failed to catch a ball thrown his way when he was on the sides, but always slipped up when he was in the court. Still, no one doubted anything. Rather, they didn’t care enough to even notice. All they cared about were the two Amazons and their intense battle.
The ball passed between the two teams for a while, when Yurim successfully dodged Hyejin’s attack. Having missed its target, the ball flew through the air straight towards Lucid. It was a rather high ball, flying well over Lucid’s own height, but he simply cast magic to increase friction. This allowed him to catch any ball, no matter how fast or how hard it was thrown, with ease. He returned the ball to Hyejin and smiled to himself, content with the fact that the two girls had completely taken all the attention away from him.
At least, that’s what he believed. In truth, the school parents’ group chats were still filled with news about him, especially now that exam results were out. Lucid had received the highest score of Class 3-2, and this was today’s hot topic for all the parents.
– Have you heard? He’s first again.
– I thought he was bad at English. How can he get a perfect score, then?
– Apparently he can write in English. It’s just speaking and listening that he has trouble with.
– I asked my son, and apparently he has amazing concentration. He doesn’t get up at all.
– I stopped by the classroom once, and he was at his seat just reading! Even though it was recess!
– What was he reading?
– I didn’t see it, but my daughter said that he reads textbooks. So I tried to get her to review like him, but she didn’t even last 10 minutes.
– My son’s the same. I wish he was half as diligent as that boy.
– Oh, but Yeong-su’s doing just well, isn’t he? He’s always at least second or third in his class. My daughter can barely make it to the top 10.
And parents’ whose children were not even close to the top 10 simply sat there reading the messages, unable to say anything in the chatroom. They silently cursed to themselves, annoyed at all these mothers’ attempt to disguise gloating as concern. Then, their annoyance quickly turned to their children.
Children who, at the moment, were having the time of their lives running around the gym, and who were wholly oblivious to the scolding they would receive later.
There weren’t many students left to ride on the institute’s pickup van. Whereas two years ago, there were 7 rowdy children to fill the car with laughter and chatter, now there were only three: Lucid, Myeong-su, and Cheol-yong. Following his admission to middle school, Hyung-geun had changed, preferring to spend his time at the library, like Lucid, rather than outside playing ball as he had always done. The institute staff praised him for finally growing up.
As for Dayoung, after Somi’s departure from the institute, had begun to exhibit symptoms of depression for quite some time. Only after beginning middle school did she brighten up again, little by little, as she started to make new friends there. Though she had always been on the chubbier side, her depression had caused her to lose weight, and she went from being cute to being pretty. As such, many of the school’s boys had developed an interest towards her.
All things considered, however, the van was just as rowdy with three childred as it had been with seven, especially since Myeong-su was as energetic as ever. Cheol-yong was also cheerful and loved to play around, so there really was no way for the car to ever enjoy some silence. Adding to the ruckus inside of the car, there was also commotion outside today.
“Teacher, teacher! What is that?” Myeong-su asked as he pointed to a man standing outside, shouting something or other that they couldn’t quite hear from inside the car.
“It’s a voting campaign,” the teacher answered, glancing at the man for a moment before focusing back on the road.
“Didnt’ we just have one, though?” Cheol-yong added.
Indeed, there had been an election just last April, and it had been so chaotic that Cheol-yong couldn’t help but remember. The candidates had all stopped by the institute to promote their philanthropism, and their cameracrew had stuck their gear into everyone’s faces all day long. None of the residents could forget even if they wanted to.
“Some things came up, so they have to do it again.”
“What kinds of things?” Myeong-su asked again. This time, the teacher looked visibly uncomfortable. How could he explain by-elections to an elementary schooler? He wasn’t sure if he was wholly knowledgeable enough to dumb it down for them.
“The person who got elected before couldn’t work there anymore, so they need to have elections again to fill his place,” he started to explain, but after a bried pause, he decided it wasn’t enough and added on, “For example, we have a lot of teachers at the institute, right? Imagine one of them gets sick and can’t work anymore. We’d have to hire a new teacher to their place. It’s the same thing here. Since the previous person left, and there’s no one else to do their job, we need to elect someone else.”
That was the best he could do to explain, and he was quite proud of himself for simplifying it so well.
“Why can’t the rest of the people work together to get the job done?” asked the clever Myeong-su. This truly took the teacher aback, as he didn’t quite know how to answer that.
“You know how we have a director of administration at the institute?” the teacher said at last, “If he were to get sick and quit his job, who could possibly take his place?”
Although he had taken the example of the director, the teacher himself was quite proud of his work and confident in his abilities. Still, he thought that the director of administration would be the most adequate example to give, since his job required professional knowledge and skills that not many could attempt to take on.
“Couldn’t you do it?” Cheol-yong asked.
Regardless of the professionalism required for the job, in the eyes of the residing students, the director of administration was no different from any other teacher or counselor who worked at the institute. If anything, they thought of him as nothing more than an old man who was hard to come by. The teacher sighed, frustrated at the children’s inability to understand. Given how much time they spent in the courtyard playing ball, he wondered whether they really were more brawn than brains.
“The director’s job is very difficult, so it’s not easy for someone else to take over. It’s a special job that requires more in-depth studies on the matter.”
“Didn’t you study, though? Or did you prefer to play?”
This really hit a nerve with the teacher, and he gripped the steering wheel tighter in an attempt to keep his temper in check. Lucid assessed the situation briefly, and finally opened his mouth.
“It’s like in Spongebob. If Spongebob gets sick and quits his job, it’s not like Squidward can just become the frycook. They’d have to hire a new one. That’s what they’re trying to do.”
“Ohh, okay. That makes sense.”
Myeong-su and Cheol-yong nodded in understanding, and the teacher’s hands turned white from the exertion on the steering wheel.
“Esteemed citizens of Inpyeong! I, Jeongho Ju, am still lacking in many areas, but I am ever grateful to have gotten the chance to stand here and speak to you all. Thank you for your faith in me! I promise you, right here and now, that I will stand up for justice in our city and dedicate my life to serving you all, intelligent citizens who are right of mind. I promise that I will work to make our city a better place to live. Esteemed citizens, I implore you to not listen to those insidious lies about me, and remember me, Jeongho Ju, Inpyeong candidate No.1! I have lived my life diligently until now, and I will continue to live diligently so that I can stand before you all with no shame! Inpyeong candidate No.1! I am Jeongho Ju! Please remember me!”
When the candidate’s speech ended, cheers erupted from the crowd, chanting his name over and over again. However, a bit off in the distance, some people began whispering among each other.
“I’ve heard terrible things about him.”
“So what? Just rumors, that’s all. What matters is that he can get the job done.”
“Really? But what if he does get elected and just ends up like the last guy? We’re gonna have to do this all over again. What a mess.”
“What are the chances of that, though?”
“It’s not about chances! It’s not like we knew the other guy would be like that. He was all “pick me, trust me!” and he didn’t even last six months!”
Still, some people had high hopes.Read latest Chapters at Wuxia World.Site Only
“At least Candidate Ju’s lived here all his life. No matter what he does, won’t he still care about the city first and foremost?”
“He worked 20 years as a public officer and apparently he’s embezzled some money. He smells fishy, that’s for sure.”
“But didn’t he say that was fake news?”
“Well of course he’s going to say that! What’s he gonna do, admit to it all?”
“Still, his party is pretty big, isn’t it? If he gets elected and his party helps him out, isn’t that good for us?”
And so, with the citizen’s hopes and suspicions rising to the top, Inpyeong’s by-elections began.
<Choice (1)> End.