Chapter 9

 


Locked in Dawn

 

Raen:

     As the sun descended further along the horizon, I carefully matched the other’s gaze, looking into the light green eyes.
The deep, red light that shone within the other’s pupils disappeared instantly.
Someone else might have mistaken it for a reflection of the sun’s light.
Well… if that were the case, I’d be glad.
But, if I saw correctly…

     No–this isn’t the time to think about that right now.

     I told Leader-Hyung and Min Joohyuk about Sun Yihan’s mana–the strange flow of blue light that enveloped his body.
I couldn’t even be sure that thing was mana at all.

     As I continued explaining, Leader Hyung’s expression became even more grave.
Min Joo Hyuk listened quietly by our side.

     “I see.
Let’s talk about this with Yihan-ie later.
No need to rush,” Park Yul said.

     “Understood, Leader Hyung.”

     Park Yul Hyung smiled softly and tapped his lips a couple of times with his fingertips, “You don’t need to be so hard on yourself, Raen-ah.”

     I stopped biting my lips–I didn’t even know when I started.
Leader Hyung nodded and continued to speak, lowering his voice.
“Then, shall we leave? Yihan-ie is sleeping; we should let him rest quietly.” Then, he tucked the young man from the temple in once more and moved toward the door.

     “Raen Hyung-nim, I hope you won’t worry yourself too much.
He’s asleep now and will wake soon after his rest,” Min Joohyuk said.

     “…Alright.”

     “Thanks for all your hard work on the investigation before coming here.” Min Joohyuk smiled lightly at me, bent down, and carefully swept away Sun Yihan’s black hair.
Then, he began to move.

     After hearing the door close, the room became silent.
Only the sound of Sun Yihan’s light breathing could be heard from underneath the covers.
I reached out and placed my hand on Sun Yihan’s forehead.

     Even though his white skin seemed flushed a healthy tint from the sunset, the young man felt cool and clammy to the touch.
He seemed to be covered in a sheen of cold sweat.

     I looked at the glow that covered Sun Yihan’s face and walked closer to the window.
Now, the sun was quickly disappearing.

     Quietly, I closed the curtains.
I perched on the window frame and floated a small piece of paper on the table into the air.
I figured this amount of magic was fine–I was barely using any mana after all.
Simultaneously, my magic floated the quill pen and a black ink bottle.
The white paper slowly filled with letters; the tip of the pen scratched paper.
Soft scritching sounds filled the room.

     After the last period was dotted, I spread the paper aesthetically atop the bedside table.
Sun Yihan seemed to have fallen deep asleep and did not stir.

     I gently swept Sun Yihan’s bangs off his forehead, bent down, and placed my forehead to his.
Unlike before, his skin felt neither hot nor cold.
I felt a little relieved by the lukewarm temperature.

Click–

     The soft sounds of footsteps plodding away from the bed and, soon after, the click of the door closing could be heard.
The room was plunged into silence.

 


◇~◇~◇~◇~◇

 

Sun Yihan:

     It was the middle of the night.

     I opened my eyes.
They glittered in the dark room.

     ‘No–wait a minute.
It’s already night?’

     It was completely dark around me–how unbelievable.
I couldn’t believe time passed me by like this again.
I quickly propped myself up in bed.
I saw an upside-down glass with a small piece of paper placed underneath.

     I pieced up the paper and read its contents.
Raen had written it.
He apologized and informed me, ‘I’ll be right next door, so please call for me when you wake up.’

     ‘Honestly, he didn’t need to be this apologetic.’ To be frank, I felt a bit embarrassed.
I didn’t faint because of Raen; I wasn’t particularly sick either.
There really was no particular reason to call for him just because I woke up.

     Well, I suppose, looking at this from Raen’s perspective, he must have been flustered.
Who wouldn’t be alarmed when a person suddenly collapses before their eyes while in the middle of a conversation? I’ll be sure to explain this all later…telling him that my fainting spell was nothing big.

     I lifted the kettle on the table and poured water into the previously overturned glass.
Perhaps he had cast a spell onto it, the glass was still warm.

     A vague herb scent wafted up from the water; after a sip, warm energy spread throughout me.
My whole body languidly relaxed.

     I turned my body to the side and leaned against the headboard.
The window was right before my eyes, and the moonlight leaked in through the closed curtains.

     I walked forward and drew the curtains; the gargantuan, round moon shone in the void of the night sky.

Standing in front of that scenery, I stared blankly up at the moon.
Though the moon had waned a tiny sliver from when I had first left the temple, it was still quite round.

    Glancing to the side, I peeked at the dreaded quest window.

 

  ‘Raen–Please Don’t Doubt me!’ II

Time Limit: 10 minutes 33 seconds

 

     Time must have continued to pass while I was asleep.

     Of course, it was natural that the time limit would not wait for any person.
However, if the quest had a time limit, shouldn’t the system wait and confirm that the person in question was awake?

     ‘It said I’d faint for three minutes.
But then the system let me continue to sleep afterwards.’

     Though there was no mention of waking me up after the penalty was lifted, that was simply common sense.

     ….No.
Perhaps I was at fault for desiring common sense from the system.

     I sighed deeply.
When I turned around and sat on the window frame, the cold glass touched my back.

     ‘Ah, that’s right.
My clothes…’

     Come to think of it, hadn’t I only slept for a few days without washing up? Oh my god.
I just realized.

     I hurried, looking around and checking my clothes.
Fortunately the clean, white clothes–the ones I wore ever since I first left–were still maintained.
The cloth even felt soft to the touch.

     ‘Perhaps the others used Clean Magic–like back then.’

     I immediately recalled the magic that Min Joohyuk had used in the carriage.
Only now did I feel relieved.
I loathed becoming an utter mess simply because I slept like the dead.

      Leaning against the glass, I pulled up my knees and wrapped my arms around them.
The air was quite chilly, perhaps because night had fallen.

     ‘I’ll need to check the ‘foreseen future events.”

    I’d have to read the explanation to learn exactly what kind of ability that was, but I was too tired.
I wanted to rest.
Not physically, of course.
Mentally.
I’ve slept enough, now.
Rather, I’ve slept too much.

     Somehow, I felt as if I’d only been fainting and sleeping ever since I left the temple.
Furthermore, the passage of time became strange–I was unable to determine the hour as I slept.

    ‘Let’s check on the….’foreseen future events’ later.’

    It wasn’t that I was putting it off–honestly.
I was just…taking a short break.
Totally different.
The former would be procrastinating something that needed to be done; the latter was simply leaving a task for a brief moment and pausing.

     I was doing the latter; that was the right choice.
After a break and organizing my thoughts….Then, I could go through my task list step by step.

     I shifted my gaze to the shiny blue status window.
During this brief pause, the time limit had flowed forward a few more seconds.
The penalty was a high fever, right? I didn’t believe I’d feel any pain, but I was sure to feel limp–all the other side-effects.

     Just as I thought that, a new quest window materialized.

 

‘Raen–Don’t Doubt me!’ II Failed!

The penalty, ‘a high fever,’ will last for 3 hours.

 

    Seriously–I guess I just dithered all by myself.
The system didn’t really give me any time to complete the quest, though.

     Immediately afterwards, a new window popped up.

 

  ‘Raen–Don’t Doubt Me!’ III

On Success: Acquire Raen’s Trust
On Failure: 3 Days of Nausea

Time limit: 3 days

 

     With a beep, the time limit began to count down.

     Just when would the questline end?! At this rate, I was going to have a quest that lasted for 3 years!

     Soon, it felt like my head was heating up; my eye sockets felt warm and tingly.
I leaned gently against the window frame.
I felt slightly cool before, but now I felt chilly.
I suppose this was what it meant to be human–we all willfully interpret the world based on our very subjective perceptions.

     Just as I began to ruminate on my displeasure, I heard a small sound from the other side of the door.

     The sound of someone limping.
That sound began to slowly creep closer.

    Soon, the doorknob turned.

Creak–

    The door gradually opened.
Behind the opening, I saw a single man.

     He was tall and wore a white shirt and black pants.
His monocle glistened in the moonlight; loosely-tied, long hair was brought over one shoulder.

    He stumbled into the room, bracing himself against the walls.

    “Oh.” Then, his eyes met mine.
He stopped in his tracks and slowly blinked his purple eyes.  “Ah….” Then, it seemed as if he recalled something; he nodded towards me.
His dark purple hair, tied to one side, swayed slightly.
Some of the buttons on his shirt were undone.

    He slowly moved to the small drawer next to the desk.
For some reason, all his movements looked strained, as if he were struggling.

    ‘Song Ha-gyeon?’ After all, I was supposed to share a bedroom with someone named Song Ha-geyon; that man was probably him.
Should I greet him properly? However, the timing felt all wrong.

    Song Ha-gyeon knelt down and hurriedly opened a drawer, searching for something inside.
The dull sounds of things clattering and bumping about echoed throughout the still room.

     It seemed as if he were searching for something.
Perhaps he couldn’t find his target; eventually, he took out all the drawer’s contents and placed them on the floor.
His movements were urgent; the objects were nearly thrown down.

     ‘Should I help him find whatever it may be?’

     However, I needed more information to help him.
He looked so busy; I didn’t want to get in his way by simply dithering about.

Still, I felt uncomfortable just sitting here and observing his struggles.
The cold air transmitted to my back by the window seemed to push me towards him.

     Perhaps due to the penalty, it felt like I was wading about within a dream.
My slightly vacant mind quickly came to a decision.

     ‘That’s right, staying still would be more helpful right now.’

    Despite wracking my head, there was little I could do.
I raised my hand slightly and opened the curtains wider.
Wouldn’t it be easier to search for something if the room was a little brighter?

    The moonlight leaking into the room tinted the room blue.

     It felt like we were submerged in the deep sea–like we were locked in the darkness of dawn.
For some reason, my breath was caught in my throat.
I wouldn’t be able to endure this sort of darkness if I were alone.

     The thin rays of moonlight penetrated through, as if to create breathing holes within the dark void.
The dust wafting in the room sparkled like air bubbles.

     ‘Am I sinking in this darkness or am I floating to the surface?’

     “..Ngh.”

     I heard a suppressed groan and returned to my senses.
Song Ha-gyeon’s rummaging suddenly stopped.

     Song Ha-gyeon slowly raised his right hand and placed it in the vicinity of his left shoulder–his hand couldn’t reach all the way and simply hovered in the air.

     “Ugh…Hnngh…” Quiet moans slipped out.
Song Ha-gyeon bent his upper torso while slowly sitting on the ground; his pallid skin reflected the moonlight.
He trembled very slightly.

      As soon as I saw that, I rose up from my seat on the frame.
I rushed down to the floor; the frigid air fell out of contact with my back.

     I couldn’t sit still in this situation.

 

 

TL: I’ve recently adopted a cat (see the disc for pictures) so I’m so sleep-deprived and tired this entire week! There may be more typos than usual.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like