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    Loves Error

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    Once again, I was inside the cafe.

    In a half-dazed state, I looked around and checked the time, confirming that it was 19:21. Suddenly feeling an itch in my eyes, I wiped them with the back of my hand and felt moisture. Realizing that I was crying, I was overwhelmed by feelings that were hard to describe. I spent the remaining two minutes before the first manifestation, where the woman bit the part-time worker’s throat, staring at Yoo Min-ho’s face on the phone.

    Only then did I seem to understand the significance of 20:04. Yoo Min-ho was killed by the high school student zombie in front of the convenience store every time at 20:04. But in the previous round, since I went out to save him, it didn’t reset at 20:04. It seemed fitting that time would reset only after Yoo Min-ho, who acted as bait in my place, was killed, considering the circumstances.

    Back to square one if I die. And it would be back to square one if Yoo Min-ho dies. There was a possibility that the remaining protagonist, Do Ji-hyuk, might be the same. So, there was only one place for me to go.

    As the manifested woman was about to bite the part-time worker’s throat, I quickly escaped from the cafe. I ran through the long corridor without stopping and opened the glass door labeled ‘Heavenly Sky Real Estate.’ There I saw a familiar scene that I had seen before.

    Naturally, Yoo Min-ho was perfectly fine without a scratch. His neck, which was oozing with blood when it was torn by the zombies, and his cheek, which was stained with blood, disappeared as if it was a lie, revealing his composed face. I stared at his face, which was starting to annoy me. Yoo Min-ho was alive. …Yoo Min-ho was alive….

    I couldn’t understand why this fact felt so emotionally moving.

    At the same time, cold words poured out of his mouth when he noticed me.

    “…The fuck, what are you doing here, Lee Chae-eun? How did you know I was here and follow me?”

    Seeing him utter the same words we exchanged at our first meeting, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disappointment. Perhaps there was a glimmer of hope that he might remember the situation before the reset due to a protagonist buff. It seemed I harbored a tiny hope that he might remember the previous round. But it’s not like we had a very strong bond in the previous round.

    …It seemed that I couldn’t deny that we had both tried to save each other’s lives.

    “…Do you know this person?”

    “Do I look like I know? I didn’t expect the stalker brat to follow me all the way here. Annoying bastard.”

    “No matter how big of a mistake he’s made, isn’t it rude to speak like that in front of someone?” 

    “What the hell does it have to do with you? I stamped the contract, so now you know where to go, right?” 

    I looked at the two men who repeated the same lines as if it were scripted. After all, this was a world within a movie. A place where you could die and come back to life, where time reset and repeated from the beginning—far from a normal place.

    So, there was no need to waste emotions over someone’s death. Even if that someone was the protagonist of this movie, and even if he had died trying to save me by sacrificing himself. For now, I needed to find a way to escape while taking care not to let the two main characters die. It would be even better if I could remember the intention behind writing this story in the first place.

    “Hey, Lee Chae-eun! Answer me! Why did you lock the door as soon as you came in? What are you trying to pull this time?”

    Yoo Min-ho, who had come up close to me, shoved my shoulder as he spoke. He was pointing out my actions of locking the door as soon as I entered the real estate.

    Do Ji-hyuk, who had come closer by now, stepped between Yoo Min-ho and me, as if to mediate the situation. It was a relief to have at least one calm character. In the latter part of the movie, Yoo Min-ho would turn into a killer, and the original Lee Chae-eun was also quite the lunatic. Among the protagonists, Do Ji-hyuk could be considered the only character with morals.

    In any case, I felt the need to somehow keep the two men inside the real estate to prevent a reset. I licked my lips once and calmly lied.

    “…There’s a crazy killer roaming outside right now.”

    As those words were spoken, a cold silence settled over the room. Well, it wasn’t completely false. He was crazy, and a killer. It’s just that it was not one killer but multiple, but to maintain credibility, I had to simplify it in my explanation.

    However, despite my efforts, none of them believed me at all. After all, how could they trust a completely unknown person who suddenly appeared and claimed that a killer was on the loose? Even to Yoo Min-ho, I was just a mere stalker. It was difficult to trust someone no matter what was said. I continued to speak with a serious expression on my face.

    “…The entire building is closed off right now.”

    “What?”

    Finally sensing that something was amiss, Do Ji-hyuk approached the entrance and raised the blinds. He then asked the realtor with a serious expression, “Miss Agent, why are the shutters down? What’s the situation right now?” 

    “…What? That can’t be. The shutters can only be lowered from the outside.” 

    “Not only the shutters, but also the cell phone communication inside the building is completely cut off.”

    To emphasize the seriousness of the situation, I quickly added a follow-up to my statement, and the faces of the three froze as they checked their phones.

    Even though the phones were dead, there were many people trapped inside the building. I thought that among those people, there would surely be at least one person who would realize that the current situation was strange and report it. For now, the best possible scenario I could think of was for the two main characters to stay quietly inside the real estate until they were rescued from this damn building. That’s why I lied about a killer roaming around to emphasize the severity of the situation.

    However, as always, life has never followed my wishes.

    “Wait, you can’t go out right now!”

    The licensed real estate agent, after checking her phone, suddenly turned pale and tried to leave the real estate. Startled, I quickly approached her and moved to the back door to block her. The situation was uncertain, and there was a possibility of the cafe’s glass wall shattering, and zombies could swarm in at any moment. I couldn’t let this place turn into chaos again.

    “I don’t know who you are, but step aside. My son…. I need to make sure he’s okay.”

    “…Your son?”

    Naturally, the licensed real estate agent was not an important figure in the movie, and I was unaware of the existence of her son.

    “If what you’re saying about a killer being on the loose in this building is true, what’s the point of me making a multi-billion contract here right now? My son might be in danger.”

    “…..”

    “Step aside. He works part-time at the convenience store in this building, so I’ll go quickly and bring him back.”

    I was at a loss for words. I didn’t know how to convince a parent who wanted to go to check on their child’s safety. Moreover, he worked as a part-time worker at the convenience store. I already knew his face. While I didn’t hold any grudges, in this urgent moment, how could I forget the face of the man who had locked the convenience store door right in front of me?

    “I can bring him back here in about 5 minutes.”

    As the licensed real estate agent said that, she was about to unlock the lock. Suddenly, Do Ji-hyuk, who stood behind her, approached and blocked her, saying, “Wait. Let’s go out together. If what this man says about a killer lurking in this building is true… it’s too dangerous to go out alone, and if it’s a lie, we don’t need to be stuck inside. Let’s go together to check on your son and then finish the contract.”

    “I want to go, too. I don’t want to stay alone with this stalker guy. Honestly, I can’t trust this guy’s words.”

    Even Yoo Min-ho, who had been silently listening, stepped in and intervened. …The situation was completely out of control. Once the real estate agent mentioned her son, I no longer had any justification to stop her. It seemed like the most sensible choice was to stay inside the real estate alone and wait for the reset. However, I stood there blocking the back door without moving an inch, even as Do Ji-hyuk politely asked me to step aside.

    …It was clear that if they went out, all three of them would die. The real estate agent, Do Ji-hyuk, and… even Yoo Min-ho.

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