Chapter 17

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She spoke clearly so Lee Chan could understand her.

 

“I was here before the bomb exploded, but I didn’t see Yu Gyeom. He hasn’t left yet.”

 

It was obvious that she would be questioned later about how she knew, so she made up the best plausible reason she could right now.

 

“You must have missed him. That bastard would be the first one to get out.”

 

Lee Chan brushed his sweat-soaked hair. It seemed like he wouldn’t believe that Yu Gyeom couldn’t escape even if he died.

 

“…”

 

She pushed the curse down that rose up from her throat.

 

She knew in her head that this was reckless, foolish, and crazy.

 

But she knew too much about Yu Gyeom to turn away just for her own safety.

 

His unhappiness and his aspirations that festered within himself.

 

Until the end of his life.

 

Because everything about him was so heavy that it took her breath away. That weight kept her tied down.

 

“Hey, Lee Chan.”

 

After making a short and bold decision, she smiled at Lee Chan with the bloodiest smile she could muster. She hoped it was a smile that would haunt him even in his dreams.

 

“You just wait here. If I die, I’ll become a ghost and haunt you…”

 

“… What?”

 

“I’m just a little sorry about this.”

 

And then she bit down on Lee Chan’s hand that was holding her arm.

 

Lee Chan was so shocked that he lost sight of her. It was rewarding to sink her teeth into him though.

 

She quickly ran inside and lifted the jacket back over her mouth before he could return to his senses and grab her again.

 

“Yu Gyeom!”

 

Fortunately, the fire has not spread enough yet. She was thankful that killing everyone wasn’t the purpose of this attack.

 

She didn’t know if Yu Hwa knew about Yu Gyeom’s trauma.

 

She guessed Yu Hwa thought that if she got lucky and he died, it would be good. But even if he didn’t die, she could still tie his feet.

 

It would have been possible to suppress the fire early enough, but everyone seemed to have rushed out thinking it was a terrorist attack.

 

“Yu Gyeom! If you can hear me, answer me!”

 

She read it in the original story.

 

With the sound of an explosion and fierce fire surrounding him, Yu Gyeom collapsed.

 

At that time, Baek Hawon saved him as he was struggling in the swamp of his past.

 

As she got deeper, it became more difficult to maintain visibility.

 

As breathing became harder, her mind became filled with more thoughts.

 

‘If you are Romeo. After you died, you met God, and he sent you back to a time before you met Juliet.’

 

Memories that were not hers were vividly playing back as if they were unfolding before her eyes.

 

The sunlight was dazzling and it was even more unfamiliar at this moment.

 

She clutched the wooden block in her hand as if it were her pounding heart.

 

‘But the ending is the same sad ending. It’s a deal that won’t change no matter what you do. What are you going to do then? Will you still love Juliet?’

 

She deliberately created a light, playful tone.

 

In her head, she thought she should ask another question, but she felt like she could never ask it if she didn’t do it now.

 

Do you regret your ending? If you went back, would you make a different choice?

 

Under the pouring sunlight, Yu Gyeom’s eyes glowed a brighter and softer color.

 

As she looked into those eyes, she had to focus to ignore the anxiety gnawing at her.

 

Yu Gyeom didn’t think long. He answered in a whisper, as if the answer had been decided from the beginning.

 

‘How could you not love her?’

 

As soon as she heard the answer, she regretted it.

 

Don’t ask. She shouldn’t have asked.

 

‘What if you go back and Juliet dies in the same way?’

 

A slim hope urgently emerged.

 

But Yu Gyeom dashed that hope with a light laugh.

 

‘I am confident that I will follow her.’

 

She was speechless and had no idea what to do.

 

Because it was not an unfounded belief, but a fact.

 

Yu Gyeom died in Baek Hawon’s place, but Baek Hawon did not die after him.

 

It wasn’t because the love wasn’t as desperate as Romeo and Juliet.

 

Yu Gyeom made it impossible for him to die.

 

So that you don’t even know when it started, and you can never find out in advance. But more persistent than a swamp. That’s how Baek Hawon lived.

 

So she couldn’t stop.

 

I know your end, how can I help you?

 

“…!”

 

As soon as she took a step forward, the silhouette of a man lying in the corner next to the table caught her eye.

 

It was like that night they first met. Her nerves were tense and her heart reacted first. She denied it then, but this time she believed it.

 

She ran straight to him.

 

His hair was black, probably because of a wig. When she took off his white mask, the tension on the face that filled her field of vision was relieved.

 

But the relief was short-lived.

 

The face with the smile seemed empty inside. The unfocused eyes reached nowhere.

 

Her heart tightened painfully as she followed the gaze that did not reach her.

 

As soon as he released his hand that was holding on to the table, his body lost balance and leaned towards her.

 

The body leaning on her shoulder was trembling. He groaned softly.

 

When she slightly pushed Yu Gyeom away, he obediently fell. Trying to make eye contact with his dry eyes, she grabbed his shoulder and shook him.

 

“Yu Gyeom. Yu Gyeom! Can you hear me? We have to get out of here!”

 

However his body, as heavy as wet cotton, kept tilting helplessly.

 

What did Baek Hawon do? I think he just carried the unconscious Yu Gyeom in a princess carry. I can’t pick up Yu Gyeom and carry him out.

 

She quickly gave up on trying to wake Yu Gyeom up and let him walk on his own.

 

Not only did she not have time or confidence, but she was also afraid that what she did might have accidentally hurt his wounds.

 

She put Yu Gyeom’s arm around her shoulder and stood up, taking a deep breath.

 

Even though she tried with all her might, her bent legs were still shaking. If she falls, it would become harder to get back up again.

 

Although she managed to grit her teeth and stand, it was more difficult to take a step.

 

“Huh, huh…”

 

With each step she took, she quickly became short of breath.

 

That was when she lifted her head up, giving strength to her hand holding Yu Gyeom’s arm.

 

The lights hanging from the ceiling seemed to shake violently. And the surrounding area was twisted like a rock thrown onto the surface of still water, drawing ripples.

 

“…!”

 

The sparkling afterimage spread wider and wider, closer and closer to her pupils.

 

She collapsed, feeling like her head was spinning.

 

“Agh…”

 

When she rolled on the floor with Yu Gyeom on her back, the shock was doubled.

 

She was in a daze. 

 

It’s already been a while since the fire was noticed, but why is no one coming? Did Yu Hwa’s influence reach that far? Lee Chan, what are you doing you son of a b*tch?

 

She let out a rough breath and rolled her body to the side to see Yu Gyeom lying next to her.

 

‘How could you not love her?’

 

That short answer was like a thorn stuck in her chest, and even though she tried to forget that, it stings painfully every time she takes a deep breath.

 

“… I hope I don’t die here.”

 

As she fell her eyes blurred, as if what she was barely able to hold on to was broken.

 

Still, she was confident that she wouldn’t die here, so she jumped in. But it was ridiculous that she couldn’t get out of this situation.

 

She really felt like she was going crazy and risking her life.

 

To put it bluntly, it wasn’t that bad. I just decided to save him because I could.

 

It was always her belief that she should never start playing Russian roulette, which risks her life, in the first place.

 

At the end of that thought, she opened her eyes as they were about to close.

 

I guess it won’t work. I can’t lie here like this.

 

It’s okay if I protect my beliefs myself.

 

“You won’t die here.”

 

She mumbled as if she was making a promise and got up from the floor. She almost hit her head on the floor, but she barely held on.

 

She crawled closer to Yu Gyeom, who couldn’t stand no matter what she did.

 

She supported Yu Gyeom’s body with her hands and made him lean against the wall. And then she took her jacket and covered their heads.

 

The darkness between their faces was so close that her breath could touch his.

 

“… Yu Gyeom…”

 

When she called that name clearly one more time, his closed eyelids fluttered.

 

Yu Gyeom took a deep breath and covered his face with trembling hands.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

Those dry eyes somehow looked like they were crying.

 

She felt like she could hear him crying too.

 

Even she was overcome with emotion. He was trembling as he breathed out harshly and it looked so painful that she wanted to cry for him.

 

She stretched out both her hands and cupped Yu Gyeom’s cheeks and looked him straight in the eye.

 

“This is just a nightmare.”

 

“…”

 

“It will all be over when you wake up. I’ll help you.”

 

He did not loosen his tightly entangled gaze.

 

They just looked at each other for a few seconds.

 

Seconds that felt like an eternity passed, and it seemed like cracks appeared in those dry eyes.

 

Crack!!

 

There was a sound of something falling and breaking. She was startled, took off the jacket and turned her head towards the sound.

 

A tall display case filled with liquor bottles and glasses was tilting from afar.

 

Like dominoes, they fell quickly and reached the display case right next to them.

 

Her body didn’t move. The display case came out of nowhere without any time to react and tilted towards Yu Gyeom.

 

It was the moment when she felt the pain and closed her eyes tightly, clutching whatever she could get her hands on.

 

She felt strong arms wrapping around her waist and hugging her.

 

The feeling of the world falling apart at that moment was so fleeting that she didn’t recognize what caused it.

 

Was it because of the shower of glass shards, or because she was desperately hugging him and rolling on the floor?

 

However, there was just one thing that was too clear to deny.

 

“…”

 

When she opened her eyes again, instead of the ceiling, his gaze filled her field of vision.

 

Those tear-soaked eyes shone brighter than the flames.

——♦ ⋄· 🜲· ⋄ ♦——

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