Your eyes. The emotion that your eyes portray, the little gestures that you make without knowing, all of those betray you. When you think that the situation is under control, that moment when you doubt yourself, that’s when everything crumbles before your very eyes. So, tell me, do you think you can lie without having a second where your body betrays you?
That second, when the cold glare of Yeong-hwan’s expression turned into a glimpse of fear, that’s the moment Hyun-woo understood. After all those years, not even for a moment, his friend never forgot. The pain that the both of them shared, the pain that strengthened their friendship, that was also the source of the greatest pain the both of them felt.
‘Why can’t you let go, Yeong-hwan? Why do you have to keep this? What good can such a room bring to you? Everything here can cost your life, so tell me, is it worth it?’ his voice was trembling as he tried so hard to control his emotions. ‘You have to stay alive. No. You need to stay alive. Those who died won’t be happy if you join them, so, please, stay with me.’
‘Then can you forget everything about Ji-woo, too? Can you erase her existence? We’re not childrens anymore! Our actions can change the course of history! The ones that died can’t be brought back, but we can change this world. So that no one has to die like them. Wasn’t that our promise? Ji-woo is one of the many people that deserve to get their revenge. For those who failed to live in a peaceful world, we have to try.’
Pouring their heart out with the emotions that they bottled inside of them, it seemed like they had finally cleared the misunderstanding between them.
Hyun-woo turned his back to his friend as tears covered his face. He bit his lip until he felt the metallic taste of blood. He had to be strong, but the memories betrayed him. He remembered the years that he dreamed of going back to. The ones where he was yet a small boy, the moments when he was truly happy. Embracing a loved one that he lost, seeing her smile as their eyes met. Those little memories that brought happiness to him, to those moments he wanted to return.
Now, he wasn’t able to do it. His sorrow that seemed to sadden him was all he had left.
‘Can you truly trust that the girl won’t betray you? I’m worried that you’ll be blinded by the feelings that you seem to be developing for her and end up in a darker place than you were before.’ to his words, Yeong-hwan blushed, as he never put into words the feelings that he had for some time
‘I trust her. That’s all you need to know. I’ve known a lot of people and read them. I’ve befriended the devils only to stay safe. After all the time I’ve spent learning who truly was safe to keep around, I can say that she isn’t someone to be feared. Here, there are many people that are more dangerous than you may think. People that you would never doubt.’ in his answer, Yeong-hwan seemed confident.
Hyun-woo took a look at one of the books that were hard to see if you were to enter for the first time there. All of them had the same inscription on the cover as the writing on the wall: ‘S.MIN.’
‘I see that you finally found another book. How many years did it take to find it?’ asked Hyun-woo, without looking at his friend.
‘Two years for this one. I found it not too long ago.’
‘I understand. Then… how many are there left? Until you have all the pieces you need?’
‘There has to be at least one or two more. For those I’m not sure. It will take a long time before I get to understand the code behind this one.’ replied Yeong-hwan
To those words, Hyun-woo approved. As he was about to open the door to leave the room, he told him one more word.
‘If that’s the solution you’ve found, then I’ll follow your lead.’ and so, he left the room.
Yeong-hwan remained there, alone. He took the book that they talked about and started to read from it. He tried to understand what was the message behind this book, and he never left the room until the morning arrived. He went to check on Yu Na, who seemed to have a nightmare. As he put his hand on her forehead, he noticed that she had a fever.
Not until he tried to cool her down for more than an hour that her fever cooled down. He noticed that tears were running down her face, and he gently put his hand on her cheeks.
Yet the silence of the morning didn’t last long. Soon, when people woke up, the horror of seeing the aftermath of the night before didn’t give them any moment to rest. In the screams of the people. Yu Na woke up, scared. Hyun-woo barged in the room without knocking.
‘You have to see this. Now.’ yelled as he left in a hurry.
Both Yu Na and Yeong-hwan stood up immediately. As Yeong-hwan tried to advise Yu Na to stay here, she wasn’t going to obey.
‘I need to see that, too. By what I am hearing, it’s something bad.’
And, their fears seemed to be true. Not long after they were outside, they saw what scared everybody. A group of lifeless bodies that were tied together and had a bag over their head were found in the middle of the village, near the place where announcements were put. On that board, something was written in blood.
‘You, the sinners of this world, need to pay for what you have done, and repent for the next life that you’ll get.’ read out the words Yu Na. ‘What does that mean, Yeong-hwan?’ asked with a trembling voice the girl.