To be honest, the relationship between Ahn Do-Hoon and me was so poor that it was embarrassing to even call it a bad relationship.
That's because he and I have only been involved a handful of times, and not even directly.
In the past, once for the Na Il-Jun incident, and at the time of the guild invitational when he had designated me, but it had been withdrawn after the attack.
That was only twice.
Since then, there had been nothing special to face each other and nothing to get involved with.
If I had to pick one person who has been involved with Ahn Do-Hoon the most, it would be Choi Hyun-Woo.
However, since they were rival gimmicks in the original story, they have been steadily building a relationship of confrontation and competition.
In fact, Choi Hyun-Woo was the one who competed with Ahn Do-Hoon the most.
Why the hell are you asking me to fight you out of the blue like this
"I'm telling you just in case, but I'm not doing it with a strange intention.
I really just want to fight with you purely.”
Ahn Do-Hoon was still looking at me with a cautious attitude as if he had guessed my thoughts.
"Can I ask you why first"
“Because you are stronger than Choi Hyun-Woo.”
For a moment, I wondered what nonsense he was talking about.
When I turned to took at Choi Hyun-Woo as if to ask what nonsense is this guy talking about right now, to my surprise, he had a look on his face that said it was obvious.
And when I stared at him, he looked at me as if to say, what's the problem
"Why It's true.”
“… Don't tell me you said that"
"Huh Oh, yes.
I was asked out of the blue.
Truth be told, Ji-Hyuk, you said you were stronger than me.”
As I was staring at him at a loss for words, Ahn Do-Hoon fixed the lance with a rattling sound.
Then he said to me as if he already knew.
“… I'm well aware that you're lagging behind Choi Hyun-Woo in close combat.
Naturally, you will be pushed by me as well.
I'll be the worst match for you, wearing armor."
“You know well.
If I fight with you, I will lose 100% of the time, so do I really need to fight you What, are you trying to humiliate me"
"It's not because of such a poor reason."
Ahn Do-Hoon showed a fierce momentum for a moment as if he had been insulted.
“But Choi Hyun-Woo, he assured me that you are stronger than him…… I just thought that if a guy, who I've now admitted is stronger than me, would go so far as to say so, then surely I could learn something from him.
There is no other meaning."
Ahn Do-Hoon said so and fixed the lance once more.
It was as Choi Hyun Woo had said, he's definitely changed from before.
His eyes showed a pure fighting spirit, not to mock and trample someone as he once showed.
Did the continued confrontation and competition with Choi Hyun-Woo bring something out of him
I don't know exactly what it was, but at least I knew it was leading him in the right direction.
And his growth was also what I wanted.
It was when I tried to get into position because I thought I couldn't help it.
"Wait a minute."
Jin Ye-Seul gently slipped her body in front of me.
And she moved her body as if blocking me and tilted her head toward Ahn Do-Hoon.
“I going to do it with Ji-Hyuk first, okay You have to keep the order."
“… You haven't done it yet.
And since you're in the same class, you'll have more chances than me.
Could you give me the chance this time”
At Ahn Do-hoon's request, Jin Ye-Seul pretended to be thinking for a while and replied.
“Well, I don't want to”
Saying so, she gently raised her one-handed sword.
“If you want to decide, try defeating me first.”
“There’s not much time left for class now, so I don't think I'll have enough time to compete with you."
Then, Jin Ye-Seul smiled brightly at him.
“If you don't like it, go away.”
Ahn Do-Hoon let out a small sigh.
Anyone could see that it was a sigh of barely holding in his anger.
I carefully grabbed Jin Ye-Seul's shoulder.
“It's okay, move out.
I'll do it with you later whenever you want."
“No, it’s okay.
I'll finish it soon."
“No, I’m fine.”
Even when I said that, Jin Ye-Seul remained the same.
In the meantime, the wound on the back of my neck was tingling.
I let out a small sigh, and I felt annoyance creeping up in me.
I was just beginning to feel that I needed to make a change in my relationship with her.
If I just go haphazardly like this, maybe really...… .
As I called her name in her low voice, she shivered and trembled.
She turned around, squirming, and then looked at me with trembling eyes for some reason.
"Uh, yes… ”
“I said I was fine.”
th, that...… .”
Looking aggressively at her, who was flustered, I just gestured to her with my chin.
"Move out now."
"Uh, yes……Sorry…… .”
Jin Ye-Seul hurriedly moved out of the front of me and ran to Choi Hyun-Woo's side.
Then, she let out a small breath.
She looked at me with a somewhat restless look and mumbled something.
… For some reason, Jin Ye-Seul's face seemed a little red, but I wanted to believe that it was just my imagination.
“Thank you for accepting the request.”
Ahn Do-hoon looked at me standing in front of him and bowed his head briefly.
Then he lowered his body while holding the lance and looked at me, taking a typical posture.
I could at least tell that it was not an assault, but a posture to check the skill of the opponent.
“Go easy on me, easy, okay.
Because I'm a piece of glass in close combat.”
As I said so, I carefully gripped my two daggers.
As she said, the match between him and me was terrible.
If so, the first thing I had to do was to find the opponent's gap.
The first move is the winner.
I was the one who rushed in first.
Seeing that, Ahn Do-Hoon eyes tit up a little and he gently swung his lance.
I avoided that by the thinnest of margins, as if I was performing a stunt, and seeing that Ahn Do-Hoon looked surprised for a moment.
Immediately after, he smiled a very belligerent smile.
* * *
“I'm, I’m sorry! Did it hurt a lot"
Jin Ye-Seul asked me, more surprised than usual, as she applied paste to my back.
I gestured that I was fine and began to button up the clothes I had half taken off.
“That's why I said that…… .”
Jin Ye-Seul muttered as if upset.
The match against Ahn Do-hoon ended more easily than expected.
It was good until I exploited his gaps and managed to hit him a few times with my attacks, but there was no way I could pierce his armor without even using mana on my supply dagger with the protector.
And knowing this, Ahn Do-Hoon did not panic, calmly and skillfully checked me, and gave effective hits several times.
It was time for the two of us to get entangled and exchange blows.
As long as I can narrow the distance once, I'll be at an advantage.
And it was a fact that both of us knew well.
So, in order to increase the distance between us, Ahn Do-Hoon threw his lance at me and my body flew away.
That in itself was not a problem.
The problem was that someone had accidentally bumped into me as I was holding my posture in the air.
A student who had been competing in another area had accidentally moved into our area.
Thanks to that, I couldn't properly hold my posture in the air and fell straight down on my back and shoulders.
It wasn't a big wound, but I couldn't help but feel a bitter taste in my mouth.
Ahn Do-Hoon and Choi Hyeon-Woo took me to the infirmary together, and left to take classes again after hearing that it was not a big wound.
‘Thank you for today.
And that…… I'd appreciate it if we could do it again next time.'
Ahn Do-Hoon said it as if he were throwing it and left after saying, take care of yourself.
And in the meantime, the way he naturally talked to Choi Hyun-Woo, I just felt that he had really changed a lot.
And Jin Ye-Seul, for some reason, said and pretended to be sick and stayed in the infirmary with me.
When they left the large infirmary room and we were alone, she quietly approached me.
“Uh, I've prepared almost everything you asked for.”
To be honest, I couldn't help but be surprised by that.
As I looked at her with surprised eyes, she gave me an easy smile.
“Tha, honestly, I'm still choosing someone, but I got all the rest.
Do you want me to send you to your room later”
"I'd appreciate it if you did.
But you already got them in a day Aren't you pushing yourself too hard"
“Ah, it’s not like that…… .”
She muttered in a shy voice, as if embarrassed.
“I've spent a little bit of my pocket money, but I’ve saved up a lot so it’s okay.”
“… Well, of course, I was going to pay for it.”
Jin Ye-Seul hesitated for a moment, and then came a little closer to me.
When I flinched at her, she shook her head slightly and whispered.
“I won’t do that anymore.”
Then she whispered in my ear how much it had cost, and when I heard the amount, I had no choice but to freak out.
“Wait, what…… Did it cost that much”
“Yeah, apparently it's hard to get someone.…… and it's not something you can get just because you thoughtlessly want it."
It was an amount beyond imagination.
It was when I was dazed at the amount that was not enough to just say a thank you.
“Well, I won’t tell you to pay me back, so you don’t have to worry.”
“No, it’s not an amount that can be passed on like that.”
Jin Ye-Seul's eyes lit up slightly.
“In return, what about…… You tell me one of your secrets, Ji-Hyuk"
Jin Ye-Seul nodded.
As I was naturally wary of the word secret, she shook her head as if it wasn't such a grandiose thing.
"Anything is fine.
Just tell me one secret that only you know and no one else knows."
After staring at her for a moment, I told her one thing that happened in the original world.
“Do you know when I'm under a lot of stress, I eat ice cream I would walk around the room with it and eat a whole box by myself."
Jin Ye-Seul nodded curiously at those words.
“No one knows about that, right”
Because even my sister didn't know.
As I thought so, Ji Ye-Seul looked genuinely satisfied.
Then, as if she had forgotten, she took a candy out of her pocket and showed it to me.
She grabbed the candy with both hands.
After a while, she closed her eyes and when she opened her eyes and took her hands away, to my surprise, there were two candies.
I knew exactly what this was.
A skill that can be obtained with Mirage Gloves.
It was a simple yet highly useful skill that could replicate things semi-permanently.
“I’ve been working all night.”
Jin Ye-Seul said so and she handed me one of the candies.
She looked at me as if she was expecting a compliment, and I nodded as if she had done well.
… After all, trusting you was the right answer.”
When I unwrapped the candy with the words, Jin Ye-Seul suddenly opened her mouth with an ah.
As I looked at her wondering what she was doing, Jin Ye-Seul plumply touched her lips with her fingers.
I tried to pretend I didn't know, but when I saw the veins in Jin Ye-Seul's eyes, I let out a small sigh.
After hearing that, her face was somehow more dry than usual, and she definitely looked tired.
Without saying anything, when I put the candy in her mouth, she looked blank, as if she didn't expect me to actually do it.
“Ah, no…… .”
She covered her cheeks with both hands with a sound like the wind blowing out.
Then she began to squirm and carefully lick the candy, and when I saw it, I thought this was the time, so I took the pendant out of the shadow.
“Can you replicate this too”
Jin Ye-Seul, who was carefully licking the candy, accepted the pendant I showed her.
Then she grabbed it with both hands as if she was going to try, and closed her eyes.
I could even see the mana rising around Jin Ye-Seul, who grabbed it without saying a word.
At some point, Jin Ye-Seul, who was sweating in a cold sweat, opened her mouth and a weak moan came out.
“Oh, uh-oh…… Ma, Mana...… .”
With the words, she stumbled as it was and collapsed helplessly to the floor.
I reflexively reached out and managed to catch Jin Ye-Seul, who was about to slam her head into the floor.
Are you okay"
“Th, the mana…… A little…… .”
Jin Ye-Seul struggled to speak, but I wondered if this was the mana exhaustion I had only heard of.
In the midst of supporting her, I found that only a fraction of the pendant had been replicated.
… I know that the amount of mana required for each item to be replicated is different, but I didn't realize that it to such extent that even after Jin Ye-Seul poured all her mana to the point of exhaustion, only this much would be replicated.
The first thing I did was to lay the exhausted and limp Jin Ye-Seul on the bed.
In that brief moment, her body was drenched in a cold sweat, and even her lips were pale.
I was so taken aback that I said without realizing it.
"No, you can stop on the way.
How could you pour out your mana until you're exhausted"
"That's not it…… .”
Jin Ye-Seul mumbled as if making an excuse.
"Ji-Hyuk, you asked me to do it…… .”
Then she immediately began to sniffle and cry.
I thought I should wipe her sweat off her forehead first, and I was about to go to find a towel.
“My candyyy……uaaaaaaa...… .”
When I turned my head and looked at the floor, a candy was rolling around on the floor as if she had unintentionally spit it out earlier.
Even fed me...… .”
I picked up the candy that had fallen out of her pocket, who seemed really sad and was crying, and tore the wrapping paper.
As I waved in front of her eyes full of tears, Jin Ye-Seul immediately stopped crying and looked at it.
“Come on, open your mouth.
“Uaaaa, aah…… .”
Jin Ye-Seul did as she was told and opened her mouth again and took it with a bite.
Then she mumbled, licking the candy in her mouth and sobbing.
“There was no case of temporary infantile regression among the symptoms of mana exhaustion…… .”
I muttered as if it was absurd, but for now, I carefully wiped her forehead with a towel because it was because of me.
Then, with a thud, the door to the infirmary opened.
“Ji-Hyuk, I heard you got hurt… ”
Han Soo-Young, who was panting and catching her breath as if she had run her without a break, tilted her head when she saw us.
“… Why are you nursing her”
“I want to ask that to myself.”
Han Soo-Young took a few breaths and came over here.
On the way she came next to me, stopped for a moment in the middle, sniffed her own clothes, and then turned around and went to her.
“You look really sick”
Han Soo-Young, who looked at Jin Ye-Seul, muttered as if it was surprising.
Then she looked a little more and tilted her head.
“Is it mana exhaustion”
At my answer, Han Soo-Young reached out her hand and carefully placed it on Jin Ye-Seul's heart.
And after a while, her hands began to glow brightly, and Jin Ye-Seul's complexion began to soften little by little.
Han Soo-Young, who simply did what was known as advanced art, nodded.
"Okay…… That should do it, for now.
But why were you guys the only ones here"
“She isn't here from the beginning.”
Han Soo-Young nodded and she held out her hand to me.
“I’ll take care of Ye-Seul.
So you can go now.”
“Oh, I’m fine.
Aren't you the one who's busy"
It's hard to go back to class anyway."
Saying that, Han Soo-Young slightly narrowed her eyes and looked at me.
“I need to wipe Ye-Seul's body, are you going to do it for her”
I raised my hands as if I understood and walked up to her and handed her the towel.
Then, instead of taking the towel, Han Soo-Young reached out and carefully grabbed my wrist.
“… Did something happen"
“You're not going to do something alone, are you"
Han Soo-Young said so and looked at me worriedly.
“Don't forget your promise.”
Saying that, I handed her the towel and withdrew my hand.
I thought I couldn't tell her anything else, not this time.
Meanwhile, Jin Ye-Seul, who was lying on the bed, muttered quietly.
“What are you two doing…… Euup!”
“Oh my, Ye-Seul.
What did you say"
Jin Ye-Seul was about to say something, but Han Soo-Young covered her mouth with the towel.
I stood up as I saw her holding her flailing body.
I'll get going now.”
“Yeah, bye, Ji-Hyuk.”
“… And don't bother her too much.
Since she's a patient.”
The way Han Soo-Young sent mana to Jin Ye-Seul earlier.
And as I pondered how she could constantly supply Jin Ye-Seul with her mana, I opened the door and went out.
* * *
As Yoo Ji-Hyuk closed the door and left, Jin Ye-Seul, who was struggling, and Han Soo-Young, who was holding her down, stopped moving almost at the same time,s if they had agreed before.
“Can you put this away I'm suffocating."
When Jin Ye-Seul asked in a calm voice, Han Soo-Young nodded as if she understood and lifted the towel.
It was true that Jin Ye-Seul was exhausted due to mana exhaustion, but it wasn't to the extent she would lose all her strength.
However, it was true that she was drowsy, so she looked at Han Soo-Young lying down without raising herself.
“Can I ask you something”
"What is it"
At Han Soo-Young's question, Jin Ye-Seul tilted her head.
"Ji-Hyuk, what happened”
In response to her confident question, Jin Ye-Seul rolled the candy in her mouth with her tongue without saying a word.
There was a rattling sound, as her teeth and the candy collided.
Jin Ye-Seul smiled slightly, showed her the candy held tightly in her teeth, and said.
In the meantime, she leaned forward and the necklace around her neck glittered in the light.
“I don’t know”
Han Soo-Young just smiled at those words.