Daemyung was in thought throughout the entire class - Is Geunseok really the culprit? If so, what was the reason behind it? If it wasn’t him, then who else could have done such a thing?
‘But no matter how hard I think about it, I can’t think of anyone else that might do that.’
He felt sorry the moment he suspected Geunseok, but no matter how hard he thought about it, he couldn’t think of anyone other than Geunseok that might do such a thing. There were a lot of teachers that did not view the acting club in a good light, but there was no way those people would do such a thing while risking their jobs. This meant that the culprit had to be a student. If someone went as far as to endure the stench and the risk of putting paint on their clothes, it meant that that someone had animosity towards the acting club, and the only one Daemyung could think of that fit all the criteria was Geunseok.
‘That’s not right.’
In the school violence incident from a while back, not a small number of students were expelled or transferred away. He didn’t know the exact circumstances, but he had the feeling that Maru was involved in it as well. Since he was seen conversing with a group of people that were bullied in their respective classes, he shouldn’t be totally unrelated.
‘Perhaps some of those that got punished back then were….’
Not all of them transferred schools or were expelled. Some of them received punishment to do work within the school. Some of those people may have heard about the person that got them into trouble. What if those people decided to take revenge on Maru?
Haaa, Daemyung sighed. Suspecting someone and coming up with countermeasures wasn’t his thing. He wondered why such a thing happened.
‘If I just had locked the door!’
A sense of guilt welled up inside him once again. Maru told him that he wasn’t at fault, but when he thought about it, none of this would have happened if he had locked up properly.
‘I should take responsibility, right?’
This happened just as they were about to start proper practice with all the props. He felt sorry for the first years that just got into acting. He ended up getting them involved in this bad incident. He was reminded of Jiyoon and Aram looking guilty and that made him feel even more sorry for them. They had done nothing wrong.
Ding dong, suddenly the bell signalling the end of the lesson rang out. Daemyung was surprised by it and raised his head. He saw that the teacher was leaving the classroom. 50 minutes had already passed.
He hurriedly turned around to look behind him. He saw Maru standing up without saying a word. He looked just as usual. It was as though he was just going to visit the bathroom.
“Maru, are you going?”
“I am. I’ll have to check the color at least. Whether it’s white, pink or green.”
Maru then walked out of the classroom with his hands inside his pockets. Dowook also stood up and followed him out. Daemyung felt like there would be a fight and followed the two out as well. Slowly walking towards the design department class, Maru entered the classroom without hesitation. Daemyung gulped and took a step inside as well. Although no one in the class seemed to care about him, he felt as though his face was being pricked.
Maru walked up towards Geunseok who was chatting with his classmates. Although he was just staring at him, the mood around him was serious. The design class classmates also took steps back and started scanning Maru from top to bottom.
“What is it?” Geunseok spoke first.
“Geunseok. Since lesson break is short, I’ll get straight to the point. The container, did you do it?”
Daemyung, who was looking at Maru from the back, widened his mouth in shock. He did not imagine that Maru would ask that so directly. He had thought that Maru would ask roundabout questions and eventually induce Geunseok to reveal his shoes or his slippers, but Maru ended up asking the question up front.
“What’s this bullshit about?”
“It’s not bullshit. We found our container in a mess, so I’m asking if you are the one that did it.”
“Damned fucker. Why are you asking me that?”
“You didn’t do it?”
“Fuck, are you kidding me?”
“Don’t get too excited, prick. I’m just asking, why are you so frightened? You’re making me suspect you.”
Daemyung saw that Geunseok’s expression was crumpling slightly when Maru said those words. Maru put his hands on Geunseok’s desk and leaned forward. Their heads were now only inches away from each other’s. At that moment, people around started whispering amongst themselves. Daemyung became very uneasy when he saw that some people with strong impressions were approaching the two. He felt that a fight would break out at any moment. He had seen others get into a fight once when he was in his first year, and it was a violent one where chairs were flung across the air and mop handles were broken to be used as rods. He had learned later that some of them had broken teeth while some had broken noses. It was that moment when he realized that he was in an engineering high school and that he had to stay obedient.
But right now, one of his closest friends was about to get into a fight. Daemyung felt his heart race as he looked around. He was planning to get rid of any dangerous objects first if things got out of hand.
Daemyung thought that Geunseok would try to punch Maru first. The atmosphere was that tense. However, Geunseok unexpectedly did not attack at all. No, in fact, he was even looking away from Maru’s eyes. He had a bigger build than Maru, so he shouldn’t lose out when it came to a fight. Daemyung thought that perhaps Geunseok was frightened because he was laughing awkwardly and was fidgeting. Perhaps it was because of last time? Or perhaps he got into a fight with Maru even before that?
The atmosphere became tense. Daemyung felt as though his face was being ripped apart. He felt as though the students from the design department were surrounding them. No, it wasn’t just his feelings. They were indeed gathering around them.
Just what was he up to? At that moment, Maru smiled while looking at Geunseok straight in the face.
“You didn’t do it?”
“Fuck, how many times do I have to tell you?”
“Then can I have a look? I’m a very doubtful guy, you know.”
“Damn prick. What do you want to see, huh?”
“A few things.”
“What if you don’t find anything?”
“If I don’t find anything, I will have to apologize, obviously. You did nothing wrong, right? Just consider me trash and bear with me for a while.”
Those words were quite strange. Daemyung realized that Maru had Geunseok playing on top of his palms. Although it felt as though a fight was about to break out at any moment until just moments ago, and it still felt tense, Geunseok now had no choice but to abide to Maru’s words now. If he denied Maru, then everyone would become suspicious of him.
Geunseok did not get flustered at all and took off his top.
“Here, have a look, fucker,” Geunseok said as he threw it towards Maru. Daemyung felt that this was better instead. It would be easier to find something if Geunseok was compliant. Just as he thought of that, he felt something strange.
“Why are you giving me your clothes?”
Maru’s words contained a prankful tone. At that moment, Daemyung realized what was going on and looked at Geunseok with widened eyes. Geunseok also had a face of having just committed a mistake. Though, he soon came back to normal before speaking,
“I thought you wanted it.”
“Ah, yeah. I didn’t know that you and I got along so well with each other. Did my telepathy telling you to give me your top get through to you?”
Daemyung saw that Geunseok’s mouth was twitching. It was a clear sign of dissatisfaction, and on one hand, it seemed to be a sign of unease as well.
“Don’t bullshit me. Just do what you came to do.”
Maru didn’t even give a glance at Geunseok’s top and just folded it neatly before placing it on his desk. Geunseok frowned and looked at Maru.
“But I want to look at this place instead.”
Maru slowly sat down and grabbed Geunseok’s slippers. It was at that moment that the calm-looking Geunseok was shocked out of his wits and moved his feet back. He gulped as though he realized that he had overreacted.
“What is it? It’s not like you can’t show me.”
“What the fuck are you doing?”
“That’s strange. Didn’t we come to an agreement? That you’d show me? Or was it just me that came to that conclusion?”
Maru shrugged his shoulders. Daemyung was flabbergasted by Maru’s actions. Now, he had the opponent playing on top of his palms. As he had been staying calm this whole time, there was no reason for Geunseok to get violent either. No, even before that, Geunseok didn’t look like he wanted to get violent with Maru at all. Was he always so patient? No. Geunseok was the type of person that would easily get excited. The fact that he was just swearing meant that something had happened between him and Maru before.
“If there’s nothing wrong with it, I’ll kneel down and apologize to you as a service. It’s hard to see things like that these days, you know?”
Maru grabbed Geunseok’s slippers with a smile. Geunseok gnashed his teeth and took another step back. The expression he had at that moment was not a sense of loss but suspicion as well as a little bit of worry. Perhaps he had not checked the sole of his slippers. If Geunseok was really the culprit, he would have checked his clothes for paint.
That was the reason why he threw his top with so much confidence.
That was practically the proof that Geunseok was indeed the culprit. He showed Maru the ‘evidence’ because he was so confident, even though Maru hadn’t said anything yet. That was why Maru focused more on his shoes. Perhaps….
Daemyung tensed his eyes. He saw. There was a slight green on the rims of Geunseok’s left slipper. Maru should have seen it as well since he was close. That was probably why he went for the shoes first. Maru wasn’t the type to make a move if he wasn’t entirely certain, so he probably caught that way before Daemyung did.
Maru took the slippers off Geunseok’s feet and checked the soles. Indeed, there was green paint on it. Although it was a small amount, it was discernible to the naked eye.
Maru wordlessly showed Geunseok his findings. Geunseok’s expression did not change, but his clenched fist seemed to convey his feelings.
‘He did it.’
All that was left was interrogation.
However, at that moment, Maru nodded his head once before taking his own slippers and giving them to Geunseok.
“You can use these. I’ll take these for a while.”
“Because it’s dirty. I’ll give them back to you after I wash them. Very cleanly, that is.”
Maru turned around. That was it. Daemyung had a bad taste in his mouth. They drove Geunseok into a corner, but now they were just leaving. At that moment, Geunseok stood up from his seat and spoke.
“That wasn’t my doing. I don’t know what you’re on about but it wasn’t me!”
“I know it wasn’t you. So don’t get excited. Did I say something?”
Maru signalled with his eyes to his two friends to go. Daemyung glanced at the puzzled design department students and followed Maru out.
“Is that it? I think that prick did it,” Dowook said as he frowned. Maru did not say anything and just spun the slipper on his fingers. Daemyung turned around to glance at the design department. Geunseok was glaring at them. He looked as though he was about to charge at them at any moment and take back the slipper. However, he eventually smirked and returned to his class.
“Uhm, Maru. What are you going to do if he pretends that he didn’t do it?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“I said it doesn’t matter. I’m just going to make a report.”
“A report… you say? To the teachers?”
Maru whistled as he sat down. Daemyung was unable to understand what Maru was thinking.
 Due to influence from traditional confucianist culture, those that don’t intend to get into universities usually go to ‘engineering schools’ to get jobs right after high school. So these schools tend to have more people that are ‘delinquents’ (since the fact that they came to this school means they have no intentions of studying)