Chapter 9

* * *

No noise came out of her mouth.


She writhed in pain, as if something had caught fire and was burning, but the red snake entangling her body made her wriggle like a bug on the floor.


The snake lashed out with its black tongue at her.


The pain that was gnawing at her body was so terrible that she could no longer struggle and could only scream internally.


At that time, she saw a familiar face in her shaking vision.


‘Huh… Baek Hawon! Baek Hawon! I…!’


She screamed with all her might, but the tape covering her mouth stopped her. All she could do was shake while feeling like she was going to explode inside.


‘I didn’t know that the leader of Baekcheon would come in person.’


A languid voice was heard while brightly shining hair fluttered in the red flames.


That too was a face she knew.


‘The name,’




‘Was it Yu Gyeom?’


Baek Hawon, who twisted the corner of his mouth and brushed off the blood from the gun, gazed clearly at Yu Gyeom.


It was at that moment, his always blank eyes were filled with Yu Gyeom.


A cold hand grabbed her collar, lifting her up as she fell limp. Yu Gyeom looked between her and Baek Hawon alternately, then burst into laughter.


‘It was quite difficult to find us, but fortunately you came.’


Yu Gyeom’s fingers ran down her cheek and grabbed her chin, forcing her head to turn towards Baek Hawon.


A moan escaped from between her lips at the strong touch.


‘You don’t look alike at all. Isn’t the princess too pretty?’


Yu Gyeom’s soft and sweet voice, the melting smile on his face, took her breath away.


She had to run away.


But contrary to what she wanted, her body did not move.


Like a puppet with cut strings, there was nothing she could do.


‘Do you think I came here to get something back?’


Her heart sank as his words mixed with crooked laughter.


‘That’s just one thing.’


They say people know when it was their time to die.


‘I came to show you what happens if you touch anything of mine.’




The hem of her dress was caught by the tips of her outstretched fingers, an action that stole her breath away.


As she pulled on it with all her might, she was momentarily dazed by the face that came into view.




why are you


“… Cha Yeon-byeol.”


Why you?


She wanted to say something, but she couldn’t get the words out as he called her name and smiled creepily and wide.




It was a dark battle.


* * *




She screamed and jumped up.


She was breathing heavily and wiped her hair, wet from her sweat. But before she could feel relieved that it was a dream, she felt a cold sense of discomfort.


Soon the surrounding scenery came into view and a real memory came to mind.


‘Come with me.’




‘To my hell.’


 … crazy.


It was all things she was seeing for the first time.


The moderately sized room was surprisingly empty. There wasn’t much else except the bed she was lying on, a desk, and bookshelves that filled the walls.


Besides, everything was blocked except for one small window, so she felt like she was already suffocating.


She swallowed her shaky breath and got off the bed, heading to the window.


“I’m really going crazy.”


Densely lined up buildings and twinkling city lights were beneath her feet.


Utopia’s headquarters was a 66-story building in the middle of the city, perhaps because they wanted to create a structure the opposite of Baekcheon.


She remembered her fear of heights, which had blissfully left her until now, and felt sick before she took a step back. Because of her fear of heights, she had not even been to the 63 Building[1] in her 25 years of living in Seoul.

[ A skyscraper in Seoul overlooking the Han river, one of the tallest skyscrapers in Korea at 249 metres tall]


The room looked like it had been used before, the furniture was old and had signs of wear and tear. Looking at the accumulated dust, it seemed like there wasn’t much maintenance or cleaning done though.


She looked around the room some more, but didn’t see what she wanted.




There was no door.


She expected a locked door, but one didn’t even exist here.


Walls and books everywhere. Usually in rooms like this, if you touch the thickest book, there is a room beyond the bookshelf.


She walked while sweeping the books with her hand. Most of the books on the bookshelf reaching up to the high ceiling were full of things she couldn’t read or understand.


She went around in a circle, but no door magically opened.


Is a slight touch not enough?


Thinking like that, this time she was taking them out and putting them back in, one by one. Then, a soft voice came from behind her, with a sound similar to what she expected.


“What are you doing?”


When she turned around, she saw Yu Gyeom leaning crookedly against the wall and smiling.


Yu Gyeom moved his languid gaze to her hand touching the bookshelf and let out a windy laugh.


“Isn’t the secret door being behind the bookshelf a bit too predictable?”


Embarrassed when she saw the wall rotating like a revolving door behind him, she quickly removed her hands from the books.


Seeing her dumbfounded he rolled his eyes, Yu Gyeom burst into laughter again and tapped on the wall.


“You can’t open this from the inside.”




That’s right. I had just been kidnapped.


Once again, she started to face the reality she was facing.


And then her bloody dream came to mind.


Was that dream created by a tangle of her subconscious recalling the contents of the novel, or was it a glimpse into Cha Yeon-byeol’s original fate? The thought that it could be her future gave her goosebumps.


Only then did she notice the white string in Yu Gyeom’s hand.


Trying to tie me up?!


Every time Yu Gyeom moved slightly, an ominous image was added to the sight of the string dangling.


In her head, countless novels about kidnapping and confinement that she had once read passed by her memory while she suffered in silence.


If this continues, I’ll die!


If things go as they did in the novel, the day Baek Hawon comes to Utopia under the pretext of saving her is the day she will die.


Her fate was in the hands of the person smiling beautifully in front of her.


“If you did, you would try to runaway.”


Although quite a few things have already gone wrong, the fundamental incident has occurred, and the first meeting between Yu Gyeom and Baek Ha-won has already passed.


No matter how brutal it looked from the outside, you never know.


Without realising it, they keep thinking of each other and are attracted to each other, so they may still end up falling in love.


“Is there anything you want to say? I’m curious.”


Yu Gyeom sat down on the bed I was just lying on and gritted his teeth as if he was holding back a groan.


He seemed to be aware of her gaze but continued speaking, grabbing the blanket discreetly with the hand that was moving towards his side where he had been shot.


“I think you have a lot of questions.”


He was smiling like always, to the point where she wondered if something was wrong with her vision, but she remembered the mess he had been in the last time she saw him.


“Is your injury okay?”


Yu Gyeom’s eyes widened slightly at her question.


His reaction wasn’t that surprising.


She knew that he was a person who had never received this kind of attention, so she asked that intentionally. 


‘I said I liked you.’


‘But this is too much.’


Because she remembered the words she said.


‘I heard you like me.’


‘Even if I kill you as a hostage, I have to hear the reason before I kill you.’


And even Yu Gyeom’s cruel words.


Even if she wasn’t in front of Yu Gyeom, she felt like tearing her hair out.


If I tell you now that I’m lying, you’ll really kill me, right?


To be honest, she didn’t want to get involved with Baek Hawon or Yu Gyeom if possible.


She supported their love. But more than anything, even though Cha Yeon-byeol was attractive, she wasn’t confident she could compete with either of them and win.


But the issue of likes and dislikes has already become irrelevant.


Because she didn’t want to die like Cha Yeon-byeol in the book.


“You were seriously injured.”


She looked at him, clasped her hands behind her back.


The only way to survive here was to make Yu Gyeom unable to kill her.


She gave up on winning Baek Hawon’s favour, but Yu Gyeom was not a choice, it was the only path before her.


“I was wondering if you had received treatment.”


Okay, just close your eyes.


Let’s tease it a little bit.


Just slightly. It’s a bit pitiful to kill, isn’t it? Just enough to think about it.


A wave appeared in his pale pupils. After looking at her for a moment, Yu Gyeom got up from the bed with a smile.


“You’re worried about me in this situation?”


“I’m not stupid enough to worry about my kidnapper.”


“Unless you’re an idiot, you should just say ‘yes’ in times like this.”


She realised what she said after hearing Yu Gyeom’s words, so she kept her mouth shut.


She immediately regretted it, but she couldn’t take back what she already said.


So she decided to be shameless.


“You lied, you said you were the best at it.”


“Yes, that’s right.”


“So I’m not going to lie. Because I don’t want to get caught.”


At her words, Yu Gyeom smiled brightly, like a child receiving a new toy.






“Are you really not going to lie?”


Yu Gyeom approached her step by step, narrowing the distance.


Every time that happened, the dangling string in his hand felt like an unspoken threat, so she unknowingly took a step back, avoiding his gaze.


When she took one step back, Yu Gyeom took two steps forward.


She was unable to pay attention to other important things and was only focused on avoiding him.




It wasn’t until the moment her back touched the wall that she noticed Yu Gyeom had come too close that she could barely breathe.


Yu Gyeom looked down at her with his hands on the wall.


“Then don’t lie and respond honestly.”


The tilted wall moved little by little under his weight.


What are you trying to ask?


I said I wouldn’t lie, but I wasn’t sure if I could. In the first place, isn’t everything I’m saying already a lie?


The moment she was about to feel nervous due to his deepening gaze, she became even more anxious due to the playfulness that came to mind.


“Why do you like me?”




Why do my ominous premonitions always turn out to be wrong? When asked the question I wanted to avoid the most, I suddenly screamed and covered my mouth with my hand in surprise.


Crazy, you’re crazy, Cha Yeon-byeol.


“ah… No, no.”


Yu Gyeom’s head tilted as she muttered, still covering her mouth.


“What is it?”




She glanced at the soft fabric brushing against her and saw that his hands were so close to him that she moved her hands away from her mouth and hid them behind her back.


At that moment, her gaze that had fallen to the floor was lifted.


By a hand gently grasping her chin.


“Looks like this is your preference.”


His eyes, which should have been a warm colour, were somehow cold and dark.


Yu Gyeom grabbed her wrist with the hand holding the string and pulled her forward.


His eyes had been scanning her face so intently, then he reached towards her wrist and she held her breath at the chilling feeling.


Her eyes returned and focused tenaciously, then the languid voice tickled her ears.






The door that he said didn’t open from the inside was closed.

——♦ ⋄· 🜲· ⋄ ♦——

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