“Hey, Choi Hyun-Woo! Are you going to keep bothering Ji-Hyuk!”
At Han Soo-young's cry, Choi Hyun-Woo flinched and trembled.
He immediately waved his hand as if he had no such intention.
“No, it's not like that.
That well, in order to measure each other's skills, to reach a higher level than each other, and to learn from each other, we should...
He was making excuses, and when Han Soo-Young silently stared at him with sharp eyes, he quietly closed his mouth.
Han Soo-Young crossed her arms as if she didn't like it, and moved her fingers in a tapping manner.
You want to have a sword fight with Ji-Hyuk”
"No! Soo-Young, what are you talking about It's not a sword fight...
The overly depressed Choi Hyun-Woo looked so pitiful that the onlookers naturally felt sorry for him.
I wondered if it was for that reason that I unknowingly uttered words in his defense.
Hyun-Woo probably didn't mean it that way.
You also know very well what kind of person Hyun-Woo is...
Han Soo-Young sighed and looked at me.
“Again, you're doing it again.
Even though I said that, you're again thinking about others first, not your own position.”
Listening to her, I was able to realize once again for sure that she sees me as a very mature and nice person.
What kind of person am I in Han Soo-Young's mind that she could say those words without hesitation
Perhaps she would understand even if I had committed a serious sin, thinking there must be a reason why I couldn't say anything.
“It’s okay, I'll take care of it.
Honestly, aren't you really tired right now There's no way you're not tired after such a fierce fight just now.
But you even forced yourself to come with us to keep your promise....”
Han Soo-Young, who had been muttering while looking at me as if she felt sorry for me, turned her head.
Faced with her glaring eyes, Choi Hyun-Woo tried to avoid her gaze in fright.
“You watched all of that right beside me, yet you ask such a guy to fight with you Hyun-Woo, are you really a child”
“Yeah, I guess I was wrong… .”
At Han Soo-Young's pressing, Choi Hyun-Woo eventually raised the white flag.
He looked so pitiful that I wondered for no reason if I should've accepted his request.
I kept my mouth shut, knowing that trying to defend him for nothing would be like pouring oil on the fire.
Eventually, after suffering from her for a good while, his appearance became haggard, and he got up from his seat, saying he would bring the drink we had ordered.
As I stared pityingly at his back as he walked with staggering steps, Han Soo-Young tapped and touched the back of my hand with her finger.
“… you have to look at me, why are you looking at Hyun-Woo”
Muttering in a sullen voice, she pouted as if she didn't like it.
I don't know why, but the sight made me laugh out loud.
When I started laughing, she gave me an angry look.
“What, why are you laughing Is this funny now”
"No, it's just."
Because you're pretty.
Han Soo-Young immediately shut her mouth at my tossing words.
Then she turned her head to look at Choi Hyun-Woo's back just like I did before, and opened her mouth.
“Well, rather than that, do you know why Hyun-Woo is asking everyone he meets these days to fight like that”
I knew he's been training like crazy since the beginning.
Why, did something happen”
“Yeah, it seems he has been properly inspired by a certain older sister he met at the party before.
Ji-Hyuk, I think you remember her too, right"
Han Soo-Young continued talking, still looking in the direction where Choi Hyun-Woo had disappeared.
I nodded silently as I saw that her ears were as red as her hair, which suddenly appeared through her red hair.
“Um, you know.
She was a very pretty sister with silver hair.
I have never seen such a pretty sister in my life.”
Does she know that person is actually her Master, Nam Hyun-Hwa
There was nothing I could say, so I just listened to her.
"And what should I say… well… .”
“Actually, when I first saw that sister, I felt the same way as when I first saw you, Ji-Hyuk, you know”
“When you first met me At the archives”
Then she muttered quietly, recalling the memories of that time without difficulty.
"What's really strange is that… It was definitely our first time meeting each other, but it felt like we had known each other for a long time.”
She shook her head slightly, as if she didn't understand.
"I'm telling you this now, but I felt a great sense of déjà vu from you and that sister.
So you don't know, but as soon as I first saw you, I was very wary of you and watched you very carefully.”
She nodded and glanced at me.
I could see that her gaze was on the part of my face, or more precisely on the scar, which had now faded quite a lot.
yes, I did."
Nodding while muttering something to herself, she shouted, 'Anyway!', and changed the topic.
“That sister was really, really strong.
At the party...
she was swinging a sword, and even for someone like me, who really don't know anything, I thought she was amazing."
“And Hyun-Woo asked that sister to have a fight with him once, but she refused, because she had something urgent to do, so he told her to call him later whenever she was comfortable, but she refused.
And then, when the disturbance died down, she disappeared without a trace.”
Han Soo-Young let out a small giggle.
"He was always the one who rejected, but this was probably the first time he had ever been rejected."
Then I suddenly noticed that her eyes were very sunken.
She looked quite exhausted.
“You look very tired.”
At my words, Han Soo-Young was startled for a moment and then smiled faintly.
"What… was it too obvious I didn't mean to make you worry about me...
She shrugged as if it were nothing, and soon began to stretch with a yawn.
Sneakily, her hem rose to reveal her navel, and I quickly put the cardigan she had taken off over it.
"Huh Come on, that's fine.
You're the only one around here to watch anyway.”
She and Choi Hyun-Woo had purposely sat in a place that was so dark.
Perhaps that's why, as she said, there was no one around but us.
“Just, Master gave something to me and Hyun-Woo.
Because I've been studying and researching it, I've been going to bed late at night lately."
She came here a few days ago, gave us a book each, said she wouldn't be able to contact us for a while, that she had some business to take care of, and left."
Han Soo-Young murmured with a look that seemed to be dripping with worry.
"I'm worried if she's doing well.”
“… I'm sure she's doing well.”
I couldn't tell her that she had met her a few days ago, so I had nothing else to say but this.
But as if that was enough, Han Soo-Young looked at me with a small smile.
"Thanks for worrying.
…but Ji-Hyuk, I don't think you're in a position to talk about other people either, right"
She naturally reached out and stroked my cheek with her finger.
It was so natural that I couldn't react.
“Look, it’s crumbly.
Ji-Hyuk, did something happen to you, too”
I blurred the end of my words, not denying her words.
Because, as she said, it was right that I hadn't slept in a while.
She, Choi Hyun-Woo, and Jin Ye-Seul.
Is it really right to tell the truth to these three people
How will they take my words
Wouldn't they be angry at me for deceiving them, wouldn't they despise me
Even though it was something I had to take responsibility for, I couldn't help but feel a sense of fear.
Such worries come one after another, and before I know it, the day dawns.
Do you want to see this"
As I fell silent, she glanced at me and pulled out something.
Ironically, the letter never came to me, but I knew what it was.
"I didn't expect it would also come to you."
It was a letter from Urea.
The content, like Cass Lyle's, was a long, politely worded, and tightly-written offer to come as an exchange student.
“So did I.
… I really didn't expect it would come."
For some reason, Han Soo-Young looked at it with a gaze that seemed to dissect every inch of it.
Then she put the letter in her hand on the table as if throwing it out.
“I have no intention of going.”
“It could be a good opportunity, why”
“… are you serious about that Do you want me to leave far away”
Han Soo-Young looked at me with an expression that said she was hurt inside.
I panicked at her unexpected reaction, and she immediately grinned at me.
“What am I going to do by going to a place where you and Hyun-Woo aren't there I'm better off spending time with you two, laughing and chatting.”
She added quietly.
“And also someone I can trust asked me never to go to Urea.”
"Really Did your master say that”
Han Soo-Young shook her head.
She remained silent for a while, seemingly choosing what to say.
“… just someone I can trust.
Someone who would never say anything that would harm me, and they told me never to go to Urea."
“And like I said before, I have no intention of going anywhere alone, leaving the two of you.”
I mean, like this.
Han Soo-Young started tearing up the letter with those words.
Considering that there are students who work their entire lives to receive that letter, it was never an action to be taken lightly.
… I've thought about it before, but once she made a decision, she tended to jump on it without measuring back and forth, like when she burned the book on necromancy.
“I brought the drinks.
What the hell, what are you doing now”
Choi Hyun-Woo, who returned with a tray containing ordered drinks, tilted his head as he saw Han Soo-Young tearing something into small pieces.
Han Soo-Young, who flicked her finger and lit it on fire to get rid of even the traces in an instant, pouted and stuck out her tongue at him.
“I won’t tell you.”
"What, you're not even a child… .”
Choi Hyun-Woo sat next to me, muttering like that.
As always, there was an iced Americano in front of him, a not-so-sweet tea in front of Han Soo-Young, and a tongue-numbingly sweet coffee in front of me.
"What Hyun-Woo, do you want to die My birthday is earlier than yours, you know Who is the child”
“But it's only a week, right Frankly, if you ask others, they'll all say I look older."
At the words of Choi Hyun-Woo, who snorted as if it were ridiculous, Han Soo-Young frowned.
Then he quickly turned his head and looked at me.
“Ji-Hyuk, who do you think is older of the two of us”
"What's there to ask Ji-Hyuk probably thinks I'm more mature.”
“You be quiet!”
Seeing the two bickering, I let out a small laugh.
Because I knew very well why those two were doing this.
“Thank you both.”
Looking at the two people pretending not to know, I said clearly.
“You’re doing this to relieve my tension.
Even bickering, which doesn't suit you.”
They shut up as if my words had hit the mark.
Not having the courage to look at those two, I took a sip of the coffee.
When I put down the coffee, it shook and surged.
My hands seemed to be shaking.
I had prepared myself many times, but when it finally came to me, I was terrified.
Is it really the right thing to say, can't I just pretend nothing happened even now....
Leaving all those miscellaneous thoughts behind, I looked at both of them.
"What I have to tell you is… .”
"Wait a minute."
Han Soo-Young, who stopped me, closed her eyes and started muttering something.
As soon as she moved her hand as if scattering something around her, something like a blurry membrane enveloping us appeared and rocked.
Now no one can hear or see us.”
I thanked her by bowing my head slightly.
Choi Hyun-Woo and Han Soo-Young.
The two were looking at me with serious expressions on their faces.
It felt as if their gazes were somehow reproaching me, and my breathing gradually got rough.
Seeing me like that, Choi Hyun-Woo quietly opened his mouth.
He nodded as if it was really okay.
Han Soo-Young also said with a small smile.
"It'll be fine.”
Can it really be
I closed my eyes.
"What I was going to say is… .”
I took a small breath.
The two were still looking at me without saying anything, as if they wanted me to tell them whenever I felt comfortable.
“I actually am.”
Not of this world.
At these words, the expressions on the faces of the two changed completely.
I quietly waited for the two of them to respond to my words.
The wait didn't last long.