Chapter 1. Prologue
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Do-joon fastened his seat belt as he got into the car parked in the basement. Siewellin boarded the passenger seat.
Siewellin tapped Do-joon’s shoulder. She followed him when he asked her to come along, but she hadn’t heard of what was going on.
“It seems that Da-jeong saw So-eun bring out the sacred object. So, she was mistaken for awakening.”
Then Siewellin opened her eyes wide and blinked. She seemed surprised.
“Why are you so surprised?”
「”Uh, I didn’t teach her how to take it out.”」
“Don’t you just bring it out by drawing a circle in the air?”
That’s definitely how Siewellin used to bring it up. When she handed it to So-eun, she held So-eun’s hand and took it out exactly like that.
Siewellin shook her head.
「”No way! It’s an object that can only be handled if you understand the divine power in your body.”」
Do-joon’s expression hardened.
“Does it mean my daughter is a genius?”
Do-joon spoke with a very serious tone. It’s a thought that every parent has at least once when raising a child.
If there was a third person next to him, he would have said something like that, but Siewellin nodded with the same expression as Do-joon.
While Do-joon was busy in the labyrinth, she often went to see So-eun by herself.
With only two people visiting without stopping for too long, the misunderstandings were endless. It was a blind spot that could not be passed over simply by misunderstanding.
“Let’s go for now.”
Siewellin also fastened her seat belt. Do-joon put the gear in and started the car.
When he arrived at the hospital, he was able to meet Jeong Da-jeong, who waited for them.
She greeted them with the same fuss as on the phone. In this day and age, awakening was similar to winning the lottery. It was definitely something that deserved to be congratulated on.
If only that it was a true awakening…
“Oh, yes. Thank you.”
I couldn’t even tell her the truth, so Do-joon replied with a shiver.
In Jeong Da-jeong’s eyes, it looked as if he was still puzzled by the sudden news.
Of course, Do-joon’s real thoughts were vastly different.
‘I didn’t mean to make it look like an awakened case.’
In the first place, it wasn’t even a real awakening and unless one becomes a hunter, there is no particular support for it.
Rather, it could receive unwanted attention, and young awakeners have the disadvantage of not being able to enter general schools or kindergartens.
It was clear that the control of the force would be immature, so they could accidentally hurt another child.
In fact, there are not many such incidents, but the possibility alone was enough to cause a surge of complaints.
‘I can’t help it.’
Well, as long as this happened, there was nothing he could do about it. Even if it can’t be a regular school, he can send it to the academy’s attached kindergarten or elementary school.
It would cost a little, but it was a price that Do-joon could pay. Rather, it would be better since security and safety alone could not be compared to that of general educational facilities.
When he arrived at the hospital room, he could see So-eun sitting in bed.
So-eun ran out immediately and rushed to Do-joon as always.
Do-joon leaned down and hugged the child.
“So-eun, how are you doing today?”
Do-joon smiled at the child, who was nodding vigorously, and examined her condition. So-eun had a good complexion, bright eyes, and no signs of coughing.
If it wasn’t for the patient’s clothes she wore, no one would think that she was a patient at a hospital.
“Da-jeong, can I see the doctor now?”
“Yes. I was told to bring you to him anyway. Follow me.”
Do-joon told So-eun, remembering Jeong Da-jeong’s words.
“So-eun, I’ll talk to the doctor about your discharge, so hang out with your sister for a while.”
“Uh? Are you going to the doctor now? Are we going to dad’s house?”
“It’s not just your dad’s house. It’s our house.”
So-eun was delighted as she rubbed her head into Do-joon’s arms. Do-joon gently stroked the child’s head with a relaxed expression.
After leaving her to Siewellin, he went on his way to meet Kwon Sung-joo, the doctor .
“It’s your doctor’s will and So-eun’s condition is not that bad, so I think it’ll be okay for her to be discharged from the hospital. We have taken the necessary steps, and Nurse Jeong will give you the details of the rest of the procedure.”
“What I’m going to talk about today is about future outpatients. As I told you, she will have to come back to the hospital from time to time.”
Kwon Sung-joo said in the counseling office.
Now, she can leave the hospital, and not just somewhere nearby. In the past, he could never even imagine her being discharged from the hospital.
Do-joon left the counseling office after hearing details about his future treatment plan and points to be aware of.
Next, it was time to hear an explanation from Jeong Da-jeong about the discharge procedure.
Most of the procedures were about processing costs. Although, since he had plenty of extra money lying around, he was able to handle everything on the spot.
Finally, when he returned to the hospital room, he saw So-eun and Siewellin packing excitedly.
He didn’t know if he heard it on TV, but So-eun hummed a familiar tune while quickly packing her luggage.
A large suitcase was stuffed with dolls, children’s books, and clothes placed in the hospital room. Siewellin neatly organized and put what So-eun had placed next to her.
“You must be happy to live with your dad now.”
Kwon Sung-joo and Jeong Da-jeong came into the hospital room, and stood next to them.
“Oh, yes. Good for you, So-eun. Now go home.”
Then Jeong Da-jeong teased with a sad look on her face..
“Ohh! Is the doctor lonely? Thinking that he is breaking up with So-eun.”
“I’m sad, too. I can’t believe I won’t be seeing So-eun anymore.”
Jeong Da-jeong was the one who used to look after her and stay by her side the most. Looking at the two alternately, So-eun became more and more teary.
She was happy that she was going home with no worries, but now she realized that she was breaking up with her hospital family.
“Uh…Uh…Uh… Can’t you and the doctor come home together with me?”
“The doctor should go to the doctor’s house.”
“I have someone to marry, so a man with a child is a little… … .”
Jeong Da-jeong threw jokes that So-eun will never understand.
However, So-eun started to cry as she knew it couldn’t be done, and eventually tears began to fall.
“Euaang~… … . I don’t want to not be able to see my sister and my doctor.”
Having been together for years, it was natural that she didn’t want to fall.
Jeong Da-jeong hugged the crying So-eun and patted her back. Her touch to deal with a child was quite skillful.
“It’s okay, it’s okay. So-eun has to come to the hospital tomorrow or the day after, right? You can see us then.”
“Of course. And I’ll go and play with So-eun when I have time. Do you want me to make a promise?”
So-eun spread her little pinky and hung it on Jeong Da-jeong’s finger. So-eun slowly stopped crying as she comforts her.
Siewellin took So-eun from her and wiped away the tears with a tissue.
As Do-joon watched the two, he turned his head toward Kwon Seong-joo and Jeong Da-jeong.
“Thank you so much.”
Then, with all seriousness, he bowed deeply and said his goodbyes.
To Kwon Sung-joo, who worked everyday in treating the child far more carefully than anyone else who has treated the disease. To Jeong Da-jeong, who connected with So-eun, a kid with no mother or friends of her age, as a mother and friend.
The two were truly blessed with indescribable blessings.
“What’s wrong with your father? It’s not like we’re breaking up at all.”
“I’m going to see you again tomorrow. I might feel embarrassed.”
“But I still wanted to say goodbye. Seeing you again tomorrow doesn’t mean that this feeling will be clouded.”
“Oh my, you’re a good speaker.”
Kwon Sung-joo scratching his cheek, and Jeong Da-jeong smiling while covering her mouth.
After his farewells to the two once again, Do-joon and his family left the hospital.
Only a disorganized blanket and silence remained in the room where the three left.
Jeong Da-jeong muttered with an empty expression. Wind blew into the room from an open window and the curtains fluttered about.
The two of them felt colder than usual in the empty hospital room.
“Okay! Nurse Jeong, stop shivering so pathetically and get to work.”
Soon Kwon Sung-joo left the hospital room, and Jeong Da-jeong started cleaning the room alone.
* * *
“Should we eat something before we go?”
Do-joon’s voice echoed in the car. Unlike before, So-eun was in the passenger seat, and Siewellin was in the back seat.
“Umm… I want to eat something sweet.”
As So-eun spoke, a card suddenly popped out from the back seat. He grabbed it, and it read.
「”Let’s go eat Bingsoo!”」
There was a request from Siewellin.
Her handwriting, which was more tightly pressed than usual, seemed to express her earnestness even more.
“How about Bingsoo?”
(T/N: Bingsoo or Bingsu is Korean shaved ice.)
“I love Bingsoo!”
So-eun’s confirmation also fell. As such, Do-joon’s car turned to the nearby dessert store.
On that day, he had to order as many as three bingsoo.
Two for Siewellin, one for Do-joon and So-eun.
After eating bingsoo and walking down the street, the three of them came home.
“Wow, I’m home! Home!”
While So-eun was running about, Do-joon unpacked her luggage in the room.
There was only one room that was attached to the store, which was originally used by Do-joon, but now Siewellin was using it. Do-joon just slept in the living room and kitchen.
“You can sleep here with your sister.”
“Am I sharing a room with my sister?”
“Huh, why? Do you want to use it alone?”
“No! I love you two!”
So-eun shook her head. As if she dreaded the idea of sleeping alone.
When he unpacked all her luggage and took out the blankets he had prepared for this day, he felt quite human.
The only problem was that it became a little cramped.
Although the size of the room alone was big, it was a small room attached to the store in the first place, so it was too small for three people to live in.
‘I should hurry up and find a house nearby.’
It was no problem when Do-joon lived alone. It wasn’t that urgent when he was just with Siewellin. However, when So-eun came, he felt the need for a proper house.
While Do-joon was lost in his thoughts, So-eun paced back and forth between the room and the store and looked around every corner.
Not only that, she went outside and ran around her new home for a while before coming back. Of course, Siewellin made sure to follow her around.
And that night.
“Let’s sleep together, dad! I don’t want to sleep alone!”
Somehow, the three of us ended up lying side by side in the shape of a river stream.
So-eun in the middle chatted for a long time to see who was most happy to be next to her. She glanced at Do-joon and then she turned around and looked at Siewellin before just talking.….
Then So-eun closes her eyes to see if she was falling asleep. She could see vaguely Siewellin pulling up and patting the blanket.
In the gloomy darkness.. Do-joon felt that something was interesting.
Once again, he realized that his life had changed a lot.
In the past, he had fallen asleep alone in this store. Every day he went to sleep staring at the dimmed fluorescent lights on the ceiling.
The room, which was enough to be used alone, became so full that it felt cramped. However, strangely being stuffed like sardines wasn’t unpleasant.
Do-joon closed his eyes with a very sentimental mood, perhaps to the time of dawn.
‘But I still need to find a house.’
However, it was he who did not forget the realistic resolution.
* * *
The room was bright as the morning sun rose.
There was something he had to do first today. It was So-eun’s Awakening registration.
“So-eun, that mirror.”
“Uhm? This one?”
“How did you take it out?”
So-eun tilted her head and answered.
“Uh… … . I just did it and it worked…….”
Do-joon nodded with an expression that basically read, “As expected.” He just couldn’t believe it was the stereotypical reply of a genius.
“Sywe… Sia, I’m going to visit the association for a while. Please take care of the store.”
“Unni, I’ll be right back.”
(T/N: Unni means older sister in korean.)
「”Have a safe trip~”」
Do-joon arrived at the association building with So-eun.
First, he looked for Lee Ji-ah, but she said she was out for a while because of work.
‘It should not be that difficult to register an awakening.’
Hunter licenses were subjected to extensive testing, but Awakening registration did not. All he had to do was prove that a skill existed.
“Please wait here~”
After being ushered into a room by another staff member, they entered a waiting room. There were a few more people inside.
“When you go in, you just have to show the man how you take out the mirror. Easy, right?
“When we’re done, we’ll go buy something to eat. For Sia Unni too.”
So-eun, sat in a chair, shaking her legs while imagining what to eat. Smiling at the cute appearance, Do-joon calmly waited for his turn.
“Oh, did you come here because your daughter has awakened too?”
A middle-aged woman sitting in the next seat spoke to him.
It was a woman with extremely thick makeup. Next to her, a boy of So-eun’s age was sitting with his face buried in the woman’s arm.
Was this child like that too? Do-joon nodded and answered.
“Wow, you must be happy. But your job…….”
“I’m a Hunter.”
“I see! No wonder the atmosphere was somehow different~ Actually, my husband is also a hunter. We seem to be about the same age, could it be a coincidence?”
“I don’t think so. I just got my license last quarter.”
Then, in an instant, a gloomy atmosphere passed over her face. Soon she talked as if she had lost interest.
“Oh, I see~ Work hard.”
After that, the woman didn’t speak with Do-joon at all. However, he glanced sideways and heard her whispering to her own child.
She said that he has to pass the high school course, right? In order to not to be like him. Well, that pretty much was what it was.
She might have thought that he wouldn’t be able to hear her speaking, but Do-joon’s Sense stat was over 40 levels. He couldn’t help but hear it.
“Next. Park Se-ho and his guardian, please come in.”
“Oh, it’s our turn. Se-ho, let’s go.”
The woman and her son got up and entered the examination room. As her son got up from his seat, they saw Do-joon glaring at them.
“Dad, I want ice cream!”
At that time, So-eun pulled Do-joon’s clothes and said, Do-joon looked at the child and asked.
“The bingsoo you had yesterday. Are you sure that you want ice cream again?”
“Ice cream and shaved ice are different~”
Is that so?
Well, if she wants it, he’ll buy it for her.
“Okay. Let’s buy ice cream later.”
‘Oh my! Good job, good job, my son!’
Then a voice came through the door. Regardless of one’s sensory stat, this could be heard because the woman’s voice was ridiculously loud.
You can’t see it, but the little kid seemed to be using his abilities well.
Some children who have awakened, especially those who have just awakened, may not be able to properly grasp the sense of activating the skill. So there are times when registration gets delayed, but maybe that was not the case with that child.
“Se-ho! Oh my! What should I do? Excuse me! Hurry up and do something! Don’t you have a medical team!?’
There was a commotion inside the room, and the door slammed open. Naturally, the eyes of the people in the waiting room became focused on it.
Looking through the door, he saw a crying child with severe burns on his arm. It seemed that his control was wrong while using the skill.
Usually, children have weak skills, so it was not easy to become like that, but this awakening skill seems to be very powerful.
“Don’t you have a medical team? Hurry up and come here! Hurry up!”
The middle-aged woman stamped her feet and shouted. An employee of the association, who had been waiting nearby, had left in a hurry. And said, It would arrive in less than a minute.
At that time, So-eun jumped up and approached the child.
Then she pulled out the mirror in front of him.
That white mirror, the sacred object of the saint.
“Fly away everything that hurts~”
Then, a warm energy began to circle around So-eun. An energy resembling the sunlight of a lazy spring day.
The boy opened his eyes wide and stopped crying.
Everything that really hurt flew away. The arm which suffered from burns, had subsided.
“It doesn’t hurt anymore, does it?”
“Uhm! Thank you, Nuna!”
(T/N: Nuna or Noona also means older sister in Korean.)
A very heartwarming scene.
The warm energy that filled the room as well as the waiting room left the examiner and middle-aged women speechless.