The coffee shop’s door opened, and a youth walked in. After looking around the place carefully, he spotted a young woman sitting by the window. She was in a semiformal attire rather than her usual grey business suit, but her neatly tied ponytail was a definite trademark of Kim Hannah.
The youth walked up to her stiffly, but Kim Hannah showed zero reactions. She had her arms folded and her legs crossed, staring in front of her with an expressionless face.
Like a criminal with clear evidence against him, Seol Jihu hesitantly sat down on the seat across from her.
He called her quietly, but Kim Hannah wasn’t even staring at him. He couldn’t be sure whether she was zoned out or just ignoring him, but her eyes were staring at the empty air.
A heavy silence filled the atmosphere. Seol Jihu looked down somewhat in shame. The awkward atmosphere was hard to bear. He would have much preferred Kim Hannah to spit out curses as he expected her to, but she had a different air about her.
‘This can’t be good.’
He schemed to look for the right opportunity to gloss over the subject, but that thought vanished completely. No matter how mischievous and immature he was, he knew when and when not to joke with someone.
Just as he was starting to get worried that his pounding heart might pop out of his chest…
“I’ve thought a lot about it.”
Kim Hannah finally began.
“You might have thought… that I was being overprotective of you. Of course, I don’t agree with that at all, but I understand if that’s what you thought.”
She continued in a quiet voice.
“I thought doing so was best for you, but I guess what’s important in the end is how you perceived it. And putting it that way, giving you the communication crystal was careless of me. Using my status as your protector to interfere in your life or to get you to do what I want, you might have thought about me that way.”
Kim Hannah sounded serious. Seol Jihu was just about to say, “No, I’ve never about you that way,” but when he saw Kim Hannah taking out a white envelope from her purse, he flinched.
She put the envelope on the table and placed her hand on top of it. Her hand trembled as if she was about to push it forward.
“If you really want….”
Seol Jihu replied as his instincts told him to.
Kim Hannah sounded like a well-sharpened blade.
“I don’t think of you that way. Not now.”
Seol Jihu shook his head. When he activated Nine Eyes, the envelope changed color. Kim Hannah was gold just like before, but the envelope had a murky yellow color.
This was the first time Seol Jihu was seeing the Golden Commandment with the Attention Required.
“I’m being honest.”
Seol Jihu quickly added. He didn’t know what was inside the envelope, but he had a strong feeling he must never receive it. The moment he did, he felt like Kim Hannah would disappear from his life.
“You don’t think of me that way, yet….”
Kim Hannah’s eyebrows perked up. For the first time since Seol Jihu entered the coffee shop, she met his eyes.
“You acted that way?”
When he saw her icy gaze, he shrunk back like a frog in front of a snake. One thing he could be glad about was that her hand holding the yellow envelope went loose. However, she still had her hand on it.
Tap, tap, tap- Kim Hannah rapidly tapped on the envelope with her index finger before opening her mouth.
“How was it?”
“Those eight days. It couldn’t have been just once or twice that your life was at risk…. It was fun, right? Hovering over the boundary of life and death, weren’t those moments electrifying? Ah, you even had a beautiful princess by your side, so it must have been exhilarating.”
“Don’t say it like that.”
Seol Jihu smiled bitterly.
“Am I wrong? If it looked like it wouldn’t work out, it would have been as simple as committing suicide before getting caught.”
“Kim Hannah, I know you’re angry and I can understand why. Since I didn’t keep the promise I made, it’s my fault 100 percent. But… I’m not the type to enjoy trouble. No, it’s not even right to call that incident ‘trouble’. I’m not a psychopath who enjoys death.”
Seol Jihu’s serious tone put a frown on Kim Hannah’s face.
“That experience… was a nightmare. It was like I was standing before a huge wall with nowhere to go. I was starving, my throat was parched, my body screamed in pain, and I couldn’t even sleep properly because of the constant pursuit from the enemies…. What happened was my fault, but it wasn’t just once or twice that I wanted to kill myself in despair. Right, those eight days were a nightmare, one that I never want to experience again.”
Tap, tap- Kim Hannah’s index finger became slower. She furrowed her brows.
“So you weren’t enjoying yourself? Think about it carefully. Of course, it might have been hard for you at the time, but now that everything’s gone and passed, don’t you think about it this way?”
“You know, content, satisfying, even something along the lines of, ‘I knew I could do it’ or ‘It was a good experience’.”
“That makes no sense.”
Seol Jihu chuckled as if he waved his hand around.
“I don’t even think that way about my time in the military. Plus, I already told you how I felt. I won’t think about it that way even in ten years.”
“Really? You really don’t think this way?”
“You probably don’t understand. Returning alive, eating, drinking, sleeping on a bed, and even talking with you here, everything feels like a dream to me. I’m happy, but sometimes, I’m worried I would close my eyes and open them, only to find myself in that situation again.”
Tap, tap- Kim Hannah’s tapping sped down noticeably. She studied Seol Jihu as if she was trying to sniff out a secret. Her expression was clearly one of confusion. Her eyes narrowed, and as if to give up, she bit down on her lips.
“Then what is it?”
“If it’s not that, then why did you go? Money? No, if you cared about money so much, you wouldn’t have rejected me previously. Is it honor, then? No, the Seol Jihu I know isn’t someone who’s obsessed about honor.”
“So if it’s not money or honor, what is it? I just can’t understand. Whatever, fine, if you’re telling me the truth, prove it to me, right now.”
Thunk. Kim Hannah kicked the table and asked in a forceful tone.
“If something similar happens in the future, what will you do? Since you know it’s tough enough to make you want to kill yourself, you won’t go again, right?”
“No, that might not be the case.”
“I’m saying it depends on the people involved.”
Seol Jihu replied firmly.
“If it’s for a complete stranger, I won’t go. It’s not like I’m some altruistic saint. But….”
He paused momentarily and stared at Kim Hannah.
“If it’s you who I need to save, then I’ll go. No matter what I have to do.”
Kim Hannah looked as if she had just heard the most absurd pickup line.
“Am I supposed to be touched?”
“I didn’t mean it that way.”
“Then tell me. I’ve been asking you for a while now. Why?”
“I’m not your family member or your girlfriend. I’m just one of your acquaintances.”
It was clear to anyone listening in that Kim Hannah still couldn’t understand.
“So why are you saying you’d save me? What’s the reason?”
“The Golden Rule.”
Tap. The tapping stopped. Seeing Kim Hannah’s frozen index finger, Seol Jihu smiled gently.
“Because you are my Golden Commandment.”
Kim Hannah stared at him in a daze.
“I, I don’t understand what that means.”
She shook her head as she muttered in a raspy voice. Seol Jihu suddenly opened his mouth.
“Do you remember the first time we met?”
“What are you on about now?”
“You told me to reveal my secrets in exchange for the Invitation.”
Kim Hannah’s eyes widened and her mouth opened slightly.
“Let’s say it’s a part of that.”
“Hey, you better not be trying to gloss over this with some random bullshit. You’re saying you can’t tell me because you don’t trust me.”
“Don’t say it like that. In the first place, you’re the one who approached me to use me.”
Seol Jihu said curtly.
“I had no intention of revealing my secrets. Not to you or anyone else.”
Since you’re the one who made me fall into a pit of despair in my dream. He swallowed this line down.
“But after seeing how you were treating me, I changed my mind. It’s still changing. I’m debating whether to tell you everything or not. I feel like I can trust you, but I can’t be sure. I’m in a constant struggle.”
Kim Hannah tilted her head. She looked up at the ceiling with a puzzled look.
“I’m not sure what…. Haa.”
In the end, she turned her gaze back down and massaged her temples with her hands.
Seol Jihu continued to talk.
“We established a new relationship back when we last met, and it’s true that I’m the one who broke our promise. I have nothing to say other than sorry.”
A long sigh rang out along with the murmuring, ‘Golden Rule… Golden Rule….’
“…Okay, I think I get it.”
“Shut up for a bit. I’m still organizing my thoughts. So what you’re saying is that you’re justified in participating in that mission and that you’re not addicted. Okay, fine, I get all that.”
Kim Hannah muttered in a somewhat feeble voice, then….
“But you need to know this.”
She locked her fingers together and stared straight at him.
“There is no incident without a problem. But not only are you actively looking for incidents, but you’re also walking into them with your own two feet.”
“Quiet. Do you know what I went through a few days ago? You and I are bound by a contract. Your actions have consequences that directly affect me. Whether those consequences are good or bad doesn’t matter. I prefer not to be swept into things I can’t handle any more than this.”
“I promise. Something like this won’t happen ever again.”
“Well, we’ll see about that. I’m not the type of person who thinks people can be changed to my liking.”
Kim Hannah told him flat out but revealed a hesitant expression.
“But… looking at you, I’m starting to change my mind. At the very least, the Seol Jihu that’s in front of me isn’t the gambling addict I know. Right?”
“But you still broke our promise twice. I hate people who habitually break promises more than gambling addicts.”
Kim Hannah leaned forward.
She grabbed Seol Jihu’s hands and held them tightly.
“Don’t disappoint me any more than this.”
The pressure coming from her palms seemed to say, ‘There won’t be a third time.’
“Please, knowing how special you think of me… I don’t want to be a fox to you too.”
Kim Hannah’s alias was Miss Foxy. Hugo even said she was one of the Six Crazies. Now that he was looking at her like this, he didn’t feel like Hugo was joking. He slowly nodded his head, and only then did Kim Hannah let go of his hands.
She glanced at the white envelope on the table.
After a moment of hesitation, she carefully picked it up. Seol Jihu swallowed hard, watching the envelope disappear into Kim Hannah’s purse.
‘So this is the Golden Commandment?’
Treat others how you wanted to be treated. Seol Jihu trembled as he remembered these words. Until now, he only saw the ‘Golden Commandment’ in a positive way.
Treat others like gold and you will receive gold. So what will happen if you treat others like trash?
‘A double-edged blade.’
He felt like he was beginning to understand the concept of the Nine Eyes’ right side. Having finished organizing her purse, Kim Hannah asked.
“Have you had breakfast?”
The air suddenly cooled down. Seol Jihu subconsciously let out the breath he had been holding in. He scratched his head and replied.
After leaving the coffee shop, the duo headed to a restaurant. Kim Hannah introduced him to a high-class ginseng chicken soup place called ‘Chicken Cloud Palace’ and ended up watching Seol Jihu eat with a shocked expression.
Slurp, slurp, slurrrrp!
He picked the chicken up whole and picked it apart piece by piece. Kim Hannah had never seen someone eat ginseng chicken soup as if it was a bowl of noodles.
“Eat slower. You’re going to have problems digesting all that.”
When she filled his empty cup with water, Seol Jihu paused for a moment and gulped it down in one shot. Kim Hannah shook her head, perhaps feeling bad about making him check for her reactions constantly.
“I won’t say anything, so just eat. Eat to your heart’s content.”
Rather than going back to stuffing his face with chicken, Seol Jihu grabbed a napkin and wiped his mouth.
“I have a question.”
“Did something happen?”
“…Why do you think something happened?”
“Today, you were a bit more hysterical than usual.”
“Hys… What did you say?”
Kim Hannah eyes turned into daggers. Seol Jihu quickly changed the topic.
“I mean, you said so before. That you went through something a few days ago.”
Hearing this, Kim Hannah’s glaring eyes loosened and was replaced by bitterness.
“It’s not something to talk about while eating.”
“Don’t worry, it won’t ruin my appetite.”
Kim Hannah smacked her lips.
“It’s just that… I met someone.”
“The First Lady.”
Seol Jihu was about to take another bite out of the chicken but paused midway.
“By First Lady, you mean….”
“Who do you think? She’s Yun Seora’s older sister.”
“Her? What, did she beat you up or something?”
“She’s not like that.”
Kim Hannah chuckled and took out a document the size of an A4 paper from her purse.
“Here, it’s 252.5 million won. I sold it for 500 silver coins.”
“The ornament you gave me, stupid.”
Seol Jihu dropped the chicken.
“Yep. I already converted it to Earth’s currency. You understand why, right?”
Seol Jihu was about to shout, ‘Of course, I do! It’s not like I’m short on money in Paradise!’ but he didn’t and fell into deep thought. It didn’t look like Kim Hannah was all that happy about it.
“Did someone steal the money?”
“I would have preferred that, actually. That way, I would have something over them.”
What was that supposed to mean? Seol Jihu couldn’t quite understand what she was talking about, so he decided to just listen for now.
“This problem actually started from you spending the 100 million won I gave you.”
Seol Jihu immediately coughed, and Kim Hannah burst into laughter.
“Anyways, I planned to give this money to you over the course of three years.”
“Yeah. Like a salary, I planned to give you 4 million every month and give out the rest through various bonuses and benefits.”
Seol Jihu blinked repeatedly before going, “Ah!”
“You were trying to make it look like I got a job! Like Sinyoung’s system.”
That was good news for him. When he visited his parents before, he told them he got a job. But the reality was that he would be at a loss for words if they started asking him about it.
Once they began asking questions like ‘what company do you work for?’, ‘let me see your contract’, or ‘let me see your bank account’, they would discover the truth in no time.
But with a fake job, everything would be resolved. Given Kim Hannah’s skills, she would have undoubtedly come up with a legit source for the 100 million won she gave him.
“You’re really smart when it comes to things like this.”
Kim Hannah snorted at Seol Jihu’s compliment and continued.
“Right, I wanted to arrange a secure source of money for you and give you a secure environment so that you wouldn’t have to worry about life on this side. So I wanted to push you into a foreign company I trust, but….’Previous Chapter Next Chapter