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Trap City. (2/4)
After the discussion ended, An-Hyun led me to An-Sol to checked on her status. Gazing at the sleeping figure lying on the bed, I felt like an intruder. Laying my hand on her forehead, her state was expected, An-Sol’s magic was depleted. She would be back to normal before long, but I decided to help her out.
“I think it there should at least be one person looking over An-Sol till morning.”
“I will do that.”
An-Hyun obviously volunteered for the role and I nodded in agreement. Looking outside the window, darkness had descended completely. An-Hyun’s eyes were already red from fatigue. He must be spent both emotionally and physically. He was hanging in there, but any more would be thrown over the edge and would become troublesome tomorrow.
“You look tired. Just go and sleep for a bit. I will look after her.”
“Hyung. Aren’t you tired?”
“Later. Let the ladies have a deep rest today, the two of us can set up a rotation for An-Sol. I will wake you up after you slept enough, we can change shift then.”
“Ah. Rotation. We can do that. Then Hyung, I leave my sister in your care.”
I nodded silently. An-Hyun staggered out of the room and closed the door on his way out. There was still things that I wanted to ask him but seeing how fatigued An-Hyun was, I thought it better to ask him the next time we were free. My mind was a mess thinking about Trap Point and with the party’s current attitude, I need some time to sort it out. But before that, I needed to do what I came here for.
Checking that the door was closed properly, I calmly activated my magic. Like a ripple on a still water, a faint red light swirled from my right hand. Slowly laying my hand on the middle of her chest, I began to transfer magic inside her. Seeing as I was healing her already, I decided to throw her a freebie.
If magic flowed in a counter direction, or when the magic circuit following the vascular system got twisted, it was usually most troublesome to fix. However, settling a simple Overdrive and straightening out some tangled circuits were an easy thing to do. An-Sols body twitched as my pure fire attribute magic flowed into her.
Magical attribute changed depending on the person’s alignment. The magic I could feel from An-Sol was vivid like a clear white light. At the first touch of my overwhelming magic, Sol’s magic acted skittishly and was uncomfortable with it. To avoid a backlash I made my magic as soft as possible and gently embraced her magic. It’s fine, It’s fine, It’s here to help you. Isn’t it friendly? Just stay calm. With a constant soothing feel, my magic kept on caring for Sol’s magic. As if Sol’s magic realised the assistance, it rushed towards to where my magic was.
To prevent her from reacting badly I nursed her magic as delicately as possible. Feeling her magic wiggling back and fro as if it wanted to be petted, I thought that was quite cute. Inspecting once more, I calmed the traumatised parts and relaxed the tangled places. By the time the process was about to reach its end, her pale face recovered some of her healthy red glow and she looked comfortable. Perhaps she is having a sweet dream?
Only one issue was left. After my final inspection and as I was trying to withdraw my magic, An-Sol’s magic seems to have attached to mine. When I tried to take my hand off her, her internal magic pulled onto me, tell me not to go and pet her more. I barely shook it off and panted from the exertion.
Treating her took about an hour. A usually quick process took longer than expected, as I performed a thorough inspection and took to revitalising as well. Nothing came to my sense outside the room. It seems like everyone was in deep sleep. Giving both my arms a stretch I slumped to the floor, nothing needed my attention right now so it would be good to close my eyes for a bit.
How long has it been? Hearing someone entering the room, I opened my eyes. The room was pitch-black. Turning my head I caught sight of a dark outline peeking from the door. Seeing Lee Yu-Jung had a bob cut and Kim Han-Byeol’s hair was shoulder length. The outline had neither of such hair style, so it must be An-Hyun.
“You must be tired today. Go back to sleep.”
I greeted him with a calm voice but he didn’t reply for a while. I could see him staring blankly at me. About a minute later An-Hyun slowly moved his lips.
“No, it’s fine. I was so worried I couldn’t sleep. Hyung. How is Sol?”
“She seems a lot better. I think by tomorrow she will wake up. So don’t worry so much.”
“Really? That’s a relief. Then Hyung, …..”
An-Hyun was fidgeting. I waited calmly, presenting him with the opportunity to speak. I didn’t know why but it felt like this was the correct move.
“Hyung. There is something I want to speak to you about. But this isn’t the place for it.”
“Sure. Should we go to the rooftop?”
An-Hyun didn’t look like he slept much. Probably worried about An-Sol and everything else that had happened. From the seriousness in his voice, I got up immediately.
Lee Yu-Jung was sleeping in the lounge, hugging the blanket tightly to her. Kim Han-Byeol wasn’t here, it seems she was sleeping in a different room. I unlocked the door softly, trying not to wake her, and walked to the rooftop with An-Hyun.
My head felt clearer after breathing in the cold night air on the rooftop. We were silent as we stared at the pitch-black city in front of us. An-Hyun spoke first.
“Hyung. This city is too quiet.”
“It is, it’s suspiciously quiet. We can’t let our guard down.”
I could see a forlorn An-Hyun making a self-depreciating smile. From his expression, I could guess the topic he wanted to breech. I waited as this was something he had let out first.
“Hyung, I think you are amazing.”
“Nah. I’m as human as you, that’s neither here nor there..”
“No, not that. What I wanted to say wasn’t about that.”
An-Hyun shook his head three times in rebuttal. Dissent was evident on his face, with a glimpse of powerlessness underneath. It’s not like I couldn’t understand his feelings but his intention was still vague that I decided to quietly wait for him continue.
“When Hyung left today I thought about a lot of things. When Hyung was still around I felt we got along well. Even without Hyung, I thought if the five of us worked together we could escape.”
“I thought so too.”
“Yes, but that didn’t happen. Hyung entrusted me to look after the others. But I couldn’t lead them very well. I collapsed after meeting those strange beasts and Sol was hurt because of it. And I am sure you felt the tension between Yu-Jung and Han-Byeol. Those two fought, to go save Hyung, or to stay put.”
An-Hyung spoke at length looking wretched. But he didn’t stop.
“And the thing I hated the most… was that I couldn’t do anything back then. I couldn’t even stop those two from fighting. The best I could force out was that, I will go. I couldn’t do anything and all I could do was volunteer. I felt so frustrated.”
“If Hyung wasn’t here I would still be thinking in the same vein. What to do tomorrow. Would I lead well? I just wanted to die rather than struggle with this burden.”
I tried to stop the outpour of emotion from An-Hyun but he quickly shook his head no. He still had more to get off his chest.
“But at that moment Hyung appeared. Like a miracle. When I saw Hyung do you know what I felt? Thanks? No. Apologetic? No. I felt relief. If it was Hyung he could do it. With Hyung, we had something to believe in. It’s like magic, as soon as Hyung came back the tension subsided and Sol’s condition improved. Hyung is always calm and resolute. Like something unshakable? You feel different from us. I don’t know what it is but there is definitely something different.”
My stomach clenched as An-Hyun finished his monologue but I had managed to look unruffled. An-Hyun relaxed as he emptied all his worries, I replied with a quiet voice.
“Then can I say something as well. It won’t be as long.”
“It’s fine to be long. I will listen.”
Seeing him reply with a hollow voice, I smiled and placed my hand on top of his head. Shocked he looked up and faced me.
“Your doubts and burdens, it’s fine to feel like that. Rather, I think it’s fortunate you have these feelings.”
“Look back, think what it was like in the forest. You didn’t try to be the centre of attention like that trouble maker, or try to suppress others. When you gave a simple opinion, Yu-Jung and Han-Byeol thought over it and commented about it. You and I thought over all the different opinions and chose the best methods.”
“We all got your back. We all have a burden, but it doesn’t mean you need to carry all of them alone. Even if things go wrong, the blame lies with all of us, not you alone.”
An-Hyun tried to respond but I raised my hand and stopped him. Catching my signal, An-Hyun closed his lips.
“You see me as someone amazing but I also think you are amazing. Getting your fear prone sister all the way here and stepping in when necessary. Just like how An-Sol depends on you, you also want to depend on. I, Yu-Jung and Han-Byeol also have something we depend on you for. With the five of us here, we can escape this place. Isn’t that what you first told me? But what you said after was quite contrary to the first message. Is it really wrong to depend on each other?”
I tried to keep it short but saying this and that made it quite long. However, I couldn’t stop and had to finish what I started.
“This burden, we will all carry it with you. So do what you can do, and that will be enough.”
“Do what I can do…”
“Yes. What you can do, so don’t worry about everything else. We will take care of the rest.”
I faced the night air as An-Hyun slowly digested my words. The cool night air today felt itchy. After An-Hyun spent enough time to drink a cup of tea, he lifted his face to look at the surrounding.
He had troubled eyes when he came up to the rooftop but now it was like the first time I had seen him, dark and rugged. He looked relieved as if a few of his burdens were lifted from him.
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