Chapter 18

* * *   

“Uh, yeah. No? Damn, you almost got in trouble with me and Yugyeom, right?”

 

She suddenly woke up to a voice full of anger.

 

When she barely opened her eyes, she felt relieved because the only thing she could see was the ceiling she knew. Yu Gyeom’s room, just a white ceiling with nothing on it.

 

Even when she was lying still, her whole body hurt.

 

The blanket on her back was obviously soft, but her body was hard and heavy. As if every bone had hardened into stone.

 

“Ugh!”

 

All she did was toss and turn a little, but she let out a moan from the pain that spread throughout her body.

 

She could hardly move a finger and could barely breathe.

 

“Cha Yeon-byeol! Are you okay?”

 

“… No.”

 

“What? Are you okay?”

 

“You’re spinning, ugh…”

 

She was so upset that she forgot about the pain and immediately sat up, then her eyes started spinning. It seemed like a few stars were visible.

 

Why does my body hurt so much?

 

“You didn’t hit me because I was unconscious, right?”

 

She stiffly moved her arms and looked at Lee Chan with suspicious eyes. Lee Chan burst out laughing with a bewildered expression on his face.

 

“If you lie down for a while and then suddenly move too much, it can strain your body. You’ve been sleeping for two days.”

 

The heat she felt on her skin was still vivid, but as she got closer to the end of the memory, reality began to fade away.

 

Except for the muscle pain, she would believe it was all a dream now.

 

I’m really dying.

 

Sighing, she threw off the blanket and sat down with her legs hanging over the side of the bed.

 

Looking at Lee Chan’s gaze, she realized the state of her clothes was as tattered as her arms and legs.

 

Of course, it would have been difficult for her to have been changed without her knowledge, but this miserable appearance was not great either.

 

“You didn’t change my clothes, right?”

 

Lee Chan shrugged his shoulders and turned around to open the closet.

 

After rummaging for a while as if he couldn’t find anything worth wearing, he handed her a white shirt and cotton pants on a hanger.

 

“I’m not sure if the pants will fit. The shirt will come down to your knees anyway, so why not just wear that first. I’ll get it later.”

 

A well-ironed shirt without a single wrinkle was gently placed in her hands. There was a strong scent of perfume that would waft from Yu Gyeom.

 

It was difficult to pinpoint what the scent was, but it was a scent that remained as an afterimage in her memory.

 

“Yu Gyeom brought me out, right?”

 

The tears in her dry eyes still seemed to sparkle.

 

The solid mask was removed, and the inside was exposed, struggling vigorously to survive like the heart of a newborn baby.

 

The movement was hotter than flames, so it couldn’t have been just a dream.

 

Lee Chan looked at her with his mouth closed for a moment, then pulled a chair in front of her and sat down.

 

“Okay. But who are you?”

 

His eyes were uncharacteristically serious. She almost averted her eyes.

 

“What?”

 

“Why are you jumping into the fire because of Yu Gyeom? And to bite me like this?!”

 

Lee Chan waved the back of his hand, which still had clear tooth marks.

 

She barely managed to keep a level and concentrate all her attention on managing her facial expressions.

 

“You don’t want to hear that I risked my life to save Yu Gyeom because I was worried he was going to die, right?”

 

She spoke briefly and smiled calmly. If you talk too long, you might end up getting stepped on.

 

Lee Chan was unable to answer right away, as if there were no facts he could be certain about.

 

“In the end, Yu Gyeom saved my life.”

 

Unlike the corners of her mouth that were leisurely pulled up, her insides were black as she searched her memories.

 

The tear-filled eyes looking down at her from above were vivid.

 

As if by a miracle, did he come to his senses at that very moment?

 

“I waited and he didn’t come out, so I called someone and went in, but Yu Gyeom came out holding you. As soon as I picked him up, Yu Gyeom fainted.”

 

Lee Chan frowned a little and added.

 

“You knew, right?”

 

Her heart sank. She clenched her fists under the blanket, trying hard not to show it.

 

“If he got caught in the fire, he would panic.”

 

The disturbing truth was brought out.

 

Yu Gyeom must have been convinced that she knew about him in that fire and told Lee Chan about it.

 

“No? How would I know that?”

 

Still, Lee Chan couldn’t be sure. Because it makes no sense for Baekcheon to know something that even he didn’t know either.

 

“You went in to save Yu Gyeom because you were sure he wouldn’t get out.”

 

“I was outside of the room even before the bomb exploded. I didn’t see Yu Gyeom among those who escaped.”

 

“Most of the people were wearing masks and wigs, and it made no sense to be able to find someone among so many people.”

 

She was almost speechless for a moment. She held her breath and continued speaking, barely noticeable.

 

“From the way you appear, it seems like you’re unaware of it as well, but do you think it makes sense for me to know something you’re in the dark about?”

 

Instead of answering, Lee Chan sighed and roughly rubbed his face with his hand. His eyes looked tired.

 

She was tense and preparing for what to say next when the bell rang and the door opened.

 

Aside from Yu Gyeom, it was the first time anyone else had entered this room.

 

A woman in a black suit with cute light pink short hair that didn’t reach her shoulders whispered something to Lee Chan.

 

Even at a glance, the gaze that glazed over her was not pretty.

 

After hearing the woman’s words, Lee Chan immediately stood up while muttering a curse.

 

“Take a shower and change your clothes. When you’re hungry, take something out of the fridge and eat it.”

 

“When are you coming back?”

 

When she grabbed the end of Lee Chan’s jacket as he turned around, Lee Chan looked at her with a puzzled look in his eyes. “Oops,” he added in a fearful voice.

 

“What if that person comes again?”

 

“She’s not coming.”

 

The answer was decisive. Lee Chan looked at her with a strange expression and called the woman ahead of him to stop.

 

“Sena, bring back the doctor. Tell him to give her some tranquilizers or sleeping pills.”

 

She made eye contact with the woman.

 

The way she looked at her was so sharp that it stung where her gaze landed. It was clear that that woman really hated her.

 

“I don’t need that.”

 

“Why don’t you try getting up?”

 

At Lee Chan’s unexpected words, she completely threw off the blanket and stood up.

 

The moment she let go of the bed, her legs lost strength in a comical degree and her body fell forward.

 

As if Lee Chan had expected this, he lightly stretched out his hand and supported her body.

 

“What?”

 

“I heard you’re not feeling well. I heard it’s probably due to stress combined with a lack of sleep.”

 

She felt a little tired because she couldn’t sleep, but was it to the point where it was too much?

 

It certainly seemed like Cha Yeon-byeol’s body was weak. At first glance, her skin was as white as a vampire’s and looked painful.

 

Moreover, considering the things she experienced after entering Cha Yeon-byeol’s body were more dynamic than her entire 25 years of her life combined…

 

“It’s okay. You just need to sleep.”

 

Even though it was just an IV, she quickly got under the blanket in anticipation of it.

 

She didn’t like sleeping pills or anything like that because she felt like she couldn’t control her body.

 

He motioned for her to move her hand out from under the blanket pulled up to her neck.

 

“Lee. go.”

 

When she spoke with a bright smile, Lee Chan shook his head.

 

* * *

 

When she opened her eyes, she was standing in a hot fire.

 

Another nightmare.

 

It was so boring that it was easy to become numb, but it was still painful enough to take her breath away.

 

‘No. I don’t want to die.’

 

When she turned her head, wiping away her tears, he was standing there, as always.

 

‘Princess.’

 

He smiled brightly and pointed the gun at her.

 

The moment she was about to run away, a red snake climbed up her legs and sank its fangs into her thigh. A gunshot rang out along with a scream.

 

Bang!

 

The end of the dreams never changed.

 

* * *

 

With the dizzying sensation of falling, her eyes opened and reality poured back in.

 

She couldn’t breathe and just blinked. The dizzying pain penetrating her heart was vivid.

 

She thought she was falling asleep easier, but it was another nightmare.

 

She finally got her arm out from under the blanket and brushed her sweaty hair. When she turned her head, she saw Yu Gyeom’s back in her field of vision.

 

Next to him was Lee Chan, and it was almost impossible to hear their conversation.

 

She rolled her body to the side to listen more closely to their voices, but Yu Gyeom turned towards her.

 

Without realizing it, she closed her eyes tightly before their eyes could meet.

 

“Every day that passes by, our kids are coming back dead. Arms and legs, and sometimes just the head.”

 

It sounds serious. What do you mean?

 

She relaxed her body and breathed naturally. The footsteps got closer and closer.

 

“I thought wrong. I thought he was going to offer a deal, but that lunatic is just giving warnings. They are confident. I wouldn’t be surprised if they invaded soon.”

 

A shadow appeared over her closed eyelids, and then a cold finger touched her cheek.

 

She was so startled that she almost opened her eyes again.

 

“The situation is not good for Yu Hwa either. I got greedy for no reason and ended up losing everything. At least getting caught for bringing Cha Yeon-byeol. Father will destroy us first.”

 

“So. What should we do?”

 

Cool fingers ran through her hair.


She had to concentrate on Lee Chan’s words, but following his touch, all her nerves were on edge.

 

“Either we kill her quietly.”

 

She stopped breathing for a moment. But soon she started breathing naturally again and clenched her fists in the blanket.

 

“Or you can tell your father, that old man, right now, and hand her over.”

 

Either way, it was the same ending. If that happens, Cha Yeon-byeol dies as her original fate.

 

Her heart was pounding like it was going to explode. She was afraid that Yu Gyeom would hear it.

 

I was too complacent.

 

There is no way such a peaceful transaction would have been possible in this crazy noir.

 

Like a nightmare that always repeats, does nothing change the ending?

 

“But Chan.”

 

Yu Gyeom’s fingers left her cheek and this time touched her neck.

 

It was a gentle touch, as if touching something that would break if you hit it. It gave her goosebumps.

 

It was a scratch from Yu Gyeom’s knife that didn’t even look like it was fully healed.

 

The chill touch to her neck reminded her of the pain from that time. It was the moment she no longer had the confidence to avoid being caught not sleeping.

 

“I need to know.”

 

A low voice that sounded like a sandstorm rang out.

 

She couldn’t stand it. The thought of opening her eyes and seeing Yu Gyeom’s face arose with great intensity.

 

But she stopped thinking about it.

 

It was because the eyes looking down at her from the flames were still stuck in her head.

 

“Everything about Cha Yeon-byeol.”

 

The name Yu Gyeom called out was as familiar as the tears flowing down her face.

 

Her instincts worked faster than her brain as she made the right decision.

 

She has to run away. From fate.

 

And from Yu Gyeom.

——♦ ⋄· 🜲· ⋄ ♦——

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