Chapter 19

* * *   

Her mind was clear until Yu Gyeom and Lee Chan left the room.

 

She only opened her eyes after hearing the door close and it was silent for a while.

 

“Please tell me I heard wrong…”

 

She sighed and buried her face in her hands.

 

She thought she could change it.

 

It was a romance for the main characters, but for the rest of them it was just a bloody noir.

 

‘Everything about Cha Yeon-byeol.’

 

‘Cha Yeon-byeol’ the moment Yu Gyeom said her name out loud for the first time, rather than his joke title. She felt sobered, as if cold water had been poured over her.

 

She had to run away.

 

She had a very complacent plan to stop Yu Gyeom from killing her with sweet words, so she could return to Baekcheon with Baek Hawon the day he comes to Utopia.

 

The first meeting between Yu Gyeom and Baek Hawon went wrong, so could she be sure that Baek Hawon will come on the last day of the festival?

 

Either she gets caught before she gets out, or she gets out and freezes to death.

 

‘Either we kill her quietly. Or you can tell your father right now, and hand her over to the old man.’

 

She couldn’t stay in this room any longer.

 

She picked up the shirt Lee Chan gave her and put it on, then walked with still shaky legs to open the closet.

 

It would have been nice if she could wear pants, but it was obvious that the ones here wouldn’t fit. As if that wasn’t enough, she took out a black jacket and put it on, even putting on a black ballcap.

 

“I haven’t seen anything like this for three months. I haven’t seen anyone entering or leaving, I’m sure of it. There must be a connection with Baekcheon. They didn’t just take things away.”

 

They said they never saw her enter or leave.

 

That means there was another exit, and there was only one place that exit could be.

 

She carefully traced the picture she threw the book at with her fingertips.

 

She felt a square groove near the center. When she pressed it, the white wall spun like a revolving door.

 

As she was rushing to enter the wall, something caught her eye that she could not just pass by.

 

A cell phone.

 

Why is that there?

 

There had never been anything useful before, but it was just lying on the table as if it were being shown off.

 

She was skeptical, but put the phone in her jacket pocket as she went inside the wall.

 

She vaguely remembered Baek Hawon’s phone number, which she had tried to memorize just in case.

 

“Think. Let’s think about this.”

 

She pushed the walls back to its original state and searched the room, nothing had changed from what she last remembered.

 

Her eyes followed Yu Gyeom’s traces without wandering.

 

There was a wisp of yellow light on the white bed she first opened her eyes on.

 

The desk across from the bed was neat but still had marks on it. It was not difficult to think of Yu Gyeom sitting there.

 

Following her gaze, she reached a small window.

 

“…”

 

At that moment, a sharpness passed through her mind like a foreign feeling.

 

The sky beyond the window was clearly the same as what she had seen outside.

 

But the location wasn’t right.

 

Now the external structure she could picture even with her eyes closed was misaligned.

 

Even though she couldn’t believe it, she was already moving without hesitation.

 

When she touched it, it felt no different from a glass window. She stretched out her hand and carefully traced the window frame.

 

At the tip of her finger was a small square-shaped groove like the one in the picture.

 

When she pressed down on it, the window was gently pushed aside and a black space was revealed beyond the wall.

 

There was a long wire running beyond the hole. She thought it was a window, but it seemed more like a monitor.

 

She looked blankly at the square hole that was large enough to pass through, and then burst into laughter.

 

It was fake.

 

The light that bloomed on her face and the eyes that smiled at her. Even the sound of fireworks that made her heart flutter.

 

Everything.

 

* * *

 

The space beyond the hole was too tight to be considered a room.

 

There were several large monitors and speakers hanging on the walls that looked painted. There were no lights on, but the one active monitor was enough.

 

There were two doors, but she didn’t worry about them.

 

In any case, she wouldn’t have placed a door in a place where there was a risk of being caught by someone else if they opened it.

 

Crash.

 

She chose the door on the right. As soon as she turned the doorknob, a strange smell hit her.

 

The first thing that came into view was the bloody, wet floor.

 

She couldn’t even take a single step into the room.

 

The man, with his arms tied to ropes hanging from the ceiling, appeared to be unconscious. There was a bluish bruise and the skin had lost its natural color due to the wound, but she recognized him right away.

 

The man who was with Yu Hwa.

 

He probably stole Yu Gyeom’s information and passed it on to Yu Hwa.

 

She took a step back, covering her mouth with her hand.

 

Before she could even close the door, she opened the other door as if running away.

 

Fortunately, beyond that door was an ordinary warehouse.

 

Her legs felt weak, but instead of sitting down, she ran straight ahead and opened the door on the other side.

 

“Ha…”

 

As soon as she entered the hallway, she leaned her back against the door and took a deep breath.

 

But she immediately tensed and pulled her hat on tighter. She could hear her pounding heartbeat in her ears.

 

Please don’t get caught by anyone.

 

The sky was the color of red paint poured onto a blue canvas. She walked along the hallway filled with orange light.

 

“… Where am I?”

 

As she walked, she got lost.

 

She was planning to take the elevator or the stairs down to the first floor like last time, but this was a place she had never seen before.

 

At the end of the hallway was a bridge that seemed to lead to another building.

 

When she looked at the bridge, a scene came to mind. It was the background to a fairly important scene in the novel.

 

‘Don’t go…’

 

Yu Gyeom held onto Baek Hawon with a desperate voice as if he would never leave again.

 

As if he would collapse at any moment.

 

Maybe he was already collapsing.

 

It was one of her favorite scenes.

 

This is the scene where Yu Gyeom, who was just trying to take advantage of Hawon’s feelings for him, realized his own feelings for him.

 

‘…’

 

She stopped at the end of the hallway.

 

The bridge, dyed red by the increasingly darker sunset, seemed to be warning her not to approach.

 

But while she was equally scared by and attracted to it, she couldn’t refuse it.

 

Finally, she took a step forward towards the bridge.

 

The bridge was made entirely of glass, making it a dizzying sight underfoot.

 

When the bridge ended, a fairly large circular space appeared, a tall tower-like structure built in the center of a wide dome-shaped training ground.

 

It seemed to be a place created so that members could observe training.

 

A long, narrow spiral staircase led down.

 

Wouldn’t it be better to go this way?

 

Since it was a place where only executives can enter, she may not encounter anyone while going down the stairs.

 

There was a high chance that no one would see her because they were busy training.

 

Whatever it was, it seemed better than going through the first floor lobby, which would be crowded with people and security guards.

 

If she was lucky, she might even be able to get a gun.

 

She slowly went down the stairs, listening carefully so that she could jump back if she had to.

 

Then, not long after, it stopped.

 

Puck!

 

A sound from down the stairs sharply broke the silence. She lifted her head and looked, but it was so dark she couldn’t see clearly.

 

When she was ready to put aside my pointless curiosity and give up on this path.

 

“Gyeom-a. My dear little brother.”

 

Puck-! Puck!

 

“Gyeom-a. Yu Gyeom. Yu Gyeom!!”

 

A familiar voice was layered over the sound of a person being beaten. She had a unique way of speaking, so she remembered it right away.

 

Yu Hwa was below.

 

And probably Yu Gyeom too.

 

Yu Gyeom’s upper body full of scars came to mind.

 

The fact that not even a single moan was heard despite the continued beatings made her heart tighten.

 

Even though her head told her to leave, she went down a few more steps.

 

When she stopped at the edge of the dark shadows, she could see Yu Hwa’s face dimly in the light of the lamp.

 

“You should have been killed along with your mother back then.”

 

Yu Hwa grabbed Yu Gyeom by the collar and pushed him hard against the railing.

 

“It’s so disgusting that letting you survive just to bully you is starting to become boring.”

 

A creepy laugh burst out above the suppressed anger in her voice.

 

The tendons on the forearm clutching Yu Gyeom’s collar were sticking out roughly.

 

She couldn’t see Yu Gyeom’s face from where she was standing, so she couldn’t tell what kind of expression he had, yet he seemed out of breath and wasn’t breaking.

 

“Ah, yes. I’ve heard of it. It was quite well known that Baek Hyun-Woo went crazy and brought in a woman and girl who looked like his dead wife and daughter.”

 

Yu Hwa leaned towards Yu Gyeom.

 

“That woman died the same day as Baek Hyun-woo…”

 

“…”

 

“You have her, right?”

 

Then, laughing as if she was dying of joy, she twisted his head and whispered in Yu Gyeom’s ear.

 

“Her daughter.”

 

Her shoulders stiffened reflexively.

 

At the same time, Yu Hwa’s gaze turned upwards.

 

She hastily stepped back. She held her breath and waited for Yu Hwa to leave the darkness.

 

It was then.

 

Yu Gyeom leaned over to her and whispered in her ear, just like Yu Hwa did to him.

 

“But what should I do, sister?”

 

There was a smile in his soft voice.

 

She tilted her body and twisted her head to a different angle, so she could see Yu Gyeom’s face.

 

“I went through all this trouble for my sister to live like this-”

 

Yu Gyeom laughed. It was the face she saw in her dream.

 

The inside of the pale eyes were muddier than a swamp and blacker than a pit.

 

“It’s so fun to see how enthusiastic my sister is about this..”

 

His eyes turned to her.

 

Without any sign of surprise, as if he had been looking at Cha Yeon-byeol for a while.

——♦ ⋄· 🜲· ⋄ ♦——

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