“Min-seo, eat your food.”
Even though it was already nighttime, Min-seo didn’t come out of her room even though she was surely hungry. Se-Kwon, who would usually scold her sharply, just left her alone today. He wondered if Min-seo would be even more upset, but he didn’t say anything.
Hyun-Seok stood in front of Min-seo’s door and knocked on it.
“Min-seo, it’s me. Can you please open the door?”
Min-seo didn’t answer. After more than an hour of struggling, the door opened just a little bit. Min-seo seemed to have turned off the lights in her room, so it was dark inside. The fluorescent light shone straight through the crack in the door. As the door opened, the light spread wider, and Hyun-Seok’s shadow grew longer. Min-seo was sitting at the end of the bed, with her head buried in her knees.
“Let’s talk, Min-seo.”
“No, I don’t want to listen. Go away.”
If she wanted him to go away, she shouldn’t have opened the door in the first place. However, Hyun-seok was very familiar with this kind of situation. Dealing with women was very easy for him. He had once thought that “women were like complex machines,” but ultimately, they all reacted the same way through one mechanism, so he had learned to understand women’s psychology. In any case, Min-seo was also a woman, and Hyun-seok was confident in understanding her emotions.
“Get out of here!”
Hyun-Seok closed the door carefully and slowly walked toward Min-seo. He sat down on the bed and stared at her without saying a word for about three minutes. After three minutes, Min-seo raised her head slightly and looked at Hyun-Seok. Only then did Hyun-Seok speak.
“I know everything that makes you upset about me.”
There are several formulaic things to soothe a woman. The most important thing is empathy.
“Min-seo, you awakened as a slayer, and that must have been really exciting for you. It’s a happy event, and you were the first one to tell me. I was really grateful for that. I also know that you’ll be upset if I get angry or don’t understand your feelings.”
Min-seo raised her head a little more.
“In fact, I wanted to be happy with you too. I’m really happy that something you likes has happened. It’s a really good thing. But I know it’s frustrating for you that I said not to get angry. I honestly wanted to congratulate you too.”
“Then just congratulate me.”
Her voice still trembled. But that day, it was filled with tears.
“But what I want to congratulate you for isn’t for becoming a Slayer. I’m just happy that you’re happy.”
After empathizing with her emotions, the next step is to describe his own state. This could be an excuse or an apology, but after empathy, such an explanation can be very effective in calming a woman down. At least that’s what Hyun-seok thought, and it was a pretty effective strategy. It was more of a personality trait or a habit than a strategy, but it worked.
Hyun-seok moved a little. He leaned closer to Min-seo, put his right arm around her, and gently stroked her head. He could feel her sobbing.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t congratulate you for becoming a Slayer. But you know how much I cherish you, right? Can’t you think about why I’m opposing this so much? Please listen to me.”
“I know you’re upset, but the danger is just too much.”
“Even if it’s obvious to you, it’s not obvious to me. You can call it overprotection or interference, but I’ll protect you and interfere. I’m your brother, and you know how important this period is for you.”
After empathizing with her emotions and describing his own state, a clear promise not to repeat the same action is needed. However, this is a general case, and what Hyun-seok aims for is not an apology but a direction. No matter how stubborn Min-seo is, he intends to oppose her. He just had to appeal to the fact that he was opposing it because he loves and cherishes her. It was also an honest feeling.
The next morning, Hyun-seok was able to receive a handwritten letter from Min-seo.
“Don’t read it here because it’s embarrassing.”
Hyun-seok pretended to open the letter playfully, but then laughed and put it in his pocket after Min-seo shouted at him not to read it.
A few days later, Hyun-seok called Min-seo.
“I understand your intentions. I’m studying hard for now. After getting good grades, I’ll come up to Seoul during the vacation. I’ll tell my mom and dad myself.”
Both Hyun-seok and Min-seo compromised with each other. Min-seo’s letter was as long as 7 pages, and summarizing the contents, it included:
First, “Thank you, oppa. I love you, oppa.” and other expressions of affection.
Second, a promise to study hard and be among the top 10 in the class for the final exams, as Hyun-seok suggested.
Third, a proposal to try being a Slayer during the vacation if she makes it to the top 10. (As a supporting Slayer, she could join any regular guild as long as she wanted.)
Fourth, Min-seo had this kind of idea.
The other contents were relatively less important. But the fourth content was a bit of a shock to Hyun-seok.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what you’ll think, oppa, but I’ve always wanted to be like you since I was young. I wanted to study well, exercise well, please Mom and Dad, and just be like you in everything. But in the process, I kept comparing myself with you. I know it’s not good to do that, but I kept comparing myself with you. Actually, I don’t have anything to boast about being better than you. I know it’s bad to think like this, but I keep having these thoughts. When I think about you, I feel grateful and happy, and respectful, but sometimes I get depressed and sad for no reason. Am I really stupid? But then I found something that I can do better than you. So I wanted to do more. If I can’t even do this, I’ll be too sad and depressed. I’ll listen to you, oppa. I’ll study hard. So can you let me do this just once?”
Hyun-seok got lost in thought.
“I’ve been comparing myself to my past self in my memories… It’s not even a difficult fight to win.”
There is a high probability that in Min-seo’s memory, Hyun-seok would have been portrayed as someone like Superman or a superhero, much better than he actually was. If she compared herself to that self-made image, it was only natural that she would feel insignificant. The problem was that the more she did so, the more the imaginary image in her mind became greater, and the more she became insignificant.
“I really… have something to ask Jong-won again.”
Suddenly, his strange friend who had flown to the United States to become a doctor and then came back after two years to become a slayer came to mind.
“I don’t know for sure, but Min-seo will definitely be in the top 10. And she’s still a kid.”
So he had to take responsibility for what happened after that. She wanted to try slaying for a while during the vacation. He had agreed to allow it, but safety was paramount. And there was someone next to him who could almost certainly guarantee safety: Jong-won from I’UET.
Hyun-seok picked up his phone. He got lost in thought for a moment when he heard the dial tone.
“I need to get more used to this power by then. I should try slaying.”
Hyun-seok undoubtedly had stats beyond the Easy Mode specification. He thought that if he used them properly, he could be of great help to Min-seo. At the very least, he would be able to help her when she was in danger. Then he had to get used to this power not only in daily life but also in real combat. At least until Min-seo entered winter vacation.
Jong-won answered the phone.
“What’s up? You call me first.”
“Let’s have a drink of soju.”
Jong-won didn’t even ask why.
“Sure. I happen to be near your place, so I’ll head over there.”
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