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    Loves Error

    3. Zero Gravity (2)

    Beresht raised his index finger with a sharp nail embedded in it and tapped its own ear. Yeonsoo blinked his eyes, wondering if he was seeing things. It tapped its ear again. The action felt like it was sending some kind of signal.

    Unknowingly, Yeonsoo followed its actions. When he tapped his ear with his finger, he felt a hard object at the tip of his finger. It was the earpiece that blocked Beresht’s sound waves. Suddenly, he felt a chill run down his spine.

    “Are you talking about the earpiece? You want me to take it off?”

    Beresht lowered his hand. He placed his arms on the ground and rested his chin on top, staring at Yeonsoo intently with a distant gaze.

    Yeonsoo interpreted that gaze as a sign of affirmation. He scooted backward on the floor, hesitant and uneasy.

    “Do you even know what this is? Do you have any idea what you’re asking me to do right now…?”

    At that moment, a sudden headache struck him, causing his face to contort. It was a severe pain, as if his brain was being pierced by a sharp object. Yeonsoo grabbed his head and collapsed to the ground.

    “Ah, ugh…”

    The intensity of the pain quickly surged. He thrashed about like a fish thrown out of water.

    “Ah, ugh, it hurts, it hurts so much.”

    A piercing ringing sound echoed in his ears. Starting as a faint noise, the ringing grew louder and began to resonate as if it would burst his head. It was unbearable.

    Ah, it hurts. Stop, it hurts so much.

    Yeonsoo weakly covered his ears with both hands. He couldn’t tell if the headache was causing the ringing or if the ringing was making the headache worse.

    He needed help. Desperately, he searched through his coat to find his phone. It wasn’t in his pocket. As he lifted his upper body to check the floor, he paused for a moment.

    Beresht’s eyes had grown even darker. His gaze, indifferent to his writhing in pain, was pitch black.

    Trembling, Yeonsoo opened his quivering lips.

    “…Is it you? Are you the one hurting me? Ugh.”

    Despite having no evidence, his intuition told him so. That beautiful and cruel creature, with a face so indifferent it seemed almost innocent, was torturing him.

    “Ugh. It hurts. It hurts too much. Please stop. Please, I beg you.”

    He pleaded, writhing on the floor like a crushed bug. Saliva dripped from his open mouth. The pain was so unbearable that he felt like he was losing his mind.

    Splash, the sound of water. Beresht disappeared beneath the surface. At the same time, as if a lie, the pain also subsided. Yeonsoo gasped for breath as he stared at the spot where it had vanished.

    ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖ ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖

    He showered with cold water in the center’s communal bathroom. He had no choice because his whole body was drenched in sweat.

    Looking at his pale face reflected in the bathroom mirror, Yeonsoo let out a dry sigh. The excruciating pain that felt like it was devouring every nerve in his brain came to mind.

    He knew. It was highly likely that everything was just a coincidence. It was a headache he had never experienced before in his life, but it could happen at that time, in that place, with that presence.

    There was no rational reason to think that it was Beresht’s doing. It was a situation that couldn’t be attributed to the influence of sound waves. After all, the earpiece was securely in place.

    Yet, he couldn’t understand why he was convinced that this terrible pain originated from that moment. Perhaps, because Beresht was a predator that was capable of harming humans so effortlessly, he involuntarily sought the cause of his pain right in front of him.

    An existence that gives off a sensation so intensely sweet and languid that it induces dizziness. However, it is a dangerous and cruel existence to approach. Yeonsoo kept feeling tormented. Thinking about its duality made his skin crawl with fear, yet his heart raced as if it were inevitable.

    Ah, I must be going crazy.

    He put on the clothes he had taken off and returned to the office feeling somewhat uneasy. As soon as he stepped through the entrance, his expression hardened.

    An uninvited guest was sitting in his empty chair. A huge man with his feet on someone else’s desk, in a relaxed posture. Thanks to his broad shoulders that exceeded the width of the backrest, the office chair looked like a child’s chair. It seemed like it could collapse and give in to his weight at any moment.

    “You’re here?”

    It was a line that seemed like welcoming a guest in his own place. Yeonsoo stared at Kang Ki-joon without hiding his displeasure.

    If it were up to him, he wanted to kick the chair away and take his place, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Just thinking that the lingering scent of Kang Ki-joon’s perfume would remain in the room for a long time after he left made him feel dizzy and nauseous.

    “Where did everyone go?”

    “Well, it looks like everyone’s busy.”

    What do you mean busy? They must have wanted to avoid the dirty work. Yeonsoo grumbled inwardly.

    “What brings you here?”

    Ki-joon was someone who would summon anyone to the center director’s office, and if possible, he wouldn’t even bother going himself. It was a situation where he couldn’t understand why he came all the way here and stuck to his own seat.

    “Ahh. What was it again? Some writers said that ‘The person waiting for their lover at 4 p.m. starts feeling happy from 3 p.m.’ Was it something like that?”


    “Sometimes, I want to come unexpectedly like this and wait.”

    Ki-joon chuckled, revealing his dazzlingly white teeth.

    Is he crazy? Has he really lost it now? Yeonsoo’s expression became disgusted.

    “Really. I waited here for one hour.”

    Ugh. Yeonsoo covered his eyes with his palm and bowed his head.

    Please leave me alone. He was already at his physical and mental limit.

    “What’s wrong?”

    The voice sounded too close. When he raised his head, Kang Ki-joon was standing nearby. It was his habit to suddenly narrow their distance like this. Yeonsoo didn’t like everything about Ki-joon, but this kind of behavior was especially terrible.

    “You look pale.”

    Ki-joon’s large hand covered one side of his cheek. He even added words of concern that sounded quite sincere.

    He gently brushed his under-eye with his finger. Normally, he would have brushed it off as if a bug had landed, but he was too tired to do that, so Yeonsoo just closed his eyes tightly and opened them again.

    “I’m really not feeling well today. If you have something to say, could you please say it quickly?”

    Hmm. Ki-joon snorted and looked down at Yeonsoo in front of him. Yeonsoo didn’t realize that his naturally expressive face had momentarily stiffened and then returned to normal.

    Ki-joon turned back to Yeonsoo’s desk without any regrets.

    “Ah, Dr. Did Dr. Han do this?”

    He lazily pointed to a corner of the desk with his finger. There was a vibrant sunflower blooming where his finger pointed. More precisely, it was a jigsaw puzzle of Van Gogh’s sunflowers that Yeonsoo had completed and left without framing.

    “Romantic. Do you like Van Gogh?”

    “Not particularly. I just bought it because it caught my eye.”

    “Ah, I see.”

    Kang Ki-joon tapped the puzzle with his finger. Yeonsoo’s eyes narrowed.

    It was not a five hundred-piece puzzle, but a thousand pieces. How dare he touch it so casually, considering how meticulously it was assembled.

    “Come to the director’s office once a week.”

    Ki-joon said nonchalantly.

    “Come and report. Everything you’ve seen, heard, felt here, don’t miss anything.”

    What? Yeonsoo, who was looking at puzzle pieces with a face filled with fatigue and irritation, suddenly raised his head.

    “Pay attention to Kei and investigate thoroughly. There’s something suspicious about him.”

    “What are you talking about? Are you telling me to spy on him?”

    A sharp, unfiltered voice burst out. It was so unpleasant she couldn’t hold back.

    “I can’t. I don’t want to. That’s just not my thing.”

    He blurted out the words, staring directly at Ki-joon. He met his gaze with an indifferent expression, offering no particular reaction. For a moment, they exchanged looks.

    Ki-joon was the first to break into a faint smile, relaxing his expression.

    He then approached Yeonsoo once again. He opened the lapel of his jacket and rummaged inside, pulling out a gleaming item. It was a portable knife that could be folded in half for storage. Yeonsoo’s eyes slightly widened.

    “They say Van Gogh cut off his ear and gave it as a gift to the woman he loved.”

    Uttering incomprehensible words, he lightly shook the silver object. With a clinking sound, the folded blade sprang out.

    “But the truth is, it wasn’t actually his lover, but a prostitute from a brothel. She had severely damaged skin from being bitten by a dog, and Van Gogh supposedly wished to attach her damaged skin to his own ear.”

    Yeonsoo involuntarily shuddered. The chilling sensation from the blade spread on his ears.

    “Truly an epitome of romantic, isn’t he?”

    Ki-joon chuckled. The blade grazed perilously close to his skin as he traced along the curve of his ear. The sensation of the blade was strange. Yeonsu involuntarily swallowed dryly.

    “Dr. Han. I’m not asking for anything grand, am I? Can’t you even do that much?”


    “Such a shame. If I wanted love, I would have cut off these pretty ears.”

    It was a threat, implying that if he didn’t do as he said, he would even cut off his ears. Yeonsoo glared at Ki-joon with bloodshot eyes. Ki-joon calmly met his gaze and smiled, his eyes narrowing in amusement.

                                                                          ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖ ⊹˚. ♡.𖥔 ݁ ˖

    After Kang Ki-joon left, people returned to the office. Afternoon work resumed.

    Whenever Yeonsoo thought about what Ki-joon had done, a sense of anger and discomfort boiled up inside him, but he knew well that there was nothing he could do.

    There was no choice but to just brush it off.

    Ignoring that lunatic was the best course of action, he thought as he sorted through his inbox.

    It seemed that the emails exchanged with Tamar Shelvey had piled up quite a bit. The email conversation started with a discussion about the government’s irresponsible marine development, but it gradually expanded to various other topics of interest. As a result, they naturally became closer, and now they even exchanged casual conversations.

    He clicked to open the latest email he received from Tamar.

    Regarding Whale Carcasses and Deep-Sea Creatures

    From: Tamar Shelvey <[email protected]>
    To: Han Yeonsoo <[email protected]>
    Date: Mar 4, 20XX, 10:05 AM
    Dear Yeonsoo,

    A long time ago, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in the United States conducted a six-year study using remotely operated submarines to observe five whale carcasses that were sunk to a depth of 3,000 meters in the deep sea. At that time, it was discovered that the dead whale carcasses provided habitats for various deep-sea organisms.1

    When a whale carcass sinks to the deep sea, initially scavengers such as deep-sea sharks, hagfish, and crabs gather to feed on the flesh. Then, various deep-sea animals and microorganisms gather to feed on the bones and remaining scraps. It is said that it takes over a hundred years for a whale carcass to completely disappear. Isn’t it amazing? To continue supporting other organisms even after death. I believe there is no other creature as beneficial, dedicated, and beautiful as whales. I am glad to have a friend who shares my love for marine organisms and can have interesting conversations.

    With heartfelt regards,
    Tamar Shelvey  
    Tamar Shelvey, Ph.D.
    The International Association of Oceanography
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: +1 XXX XXX XXXX

    [A/N: 1) Referring to an article titled “The Power of Whale Carcasses Preventing Extinction of Deep-Sea Creatures” published in the Hankyoreh newspaper on February 1, 2013.]

    Recently, they have been discussing about marine organisms. It’s natural since he has written numerous papers on the subject, but he truly loved marine creatures. Thanks to that, they had endless conversations about interesting stories about various species, including rare deep-sea creatures.

    As they talked more, his personal fondness for him grew deeper. He felt that they got along well in many ways. He really wanted to meet him in person someday.

    “You said you met Dr. Shelvey online, right? How was it? I’m curious about what kind of person he is outside of academia.”

    He asked Alex, who was nearby.

    “He is competent and knowledgeable.”

    Alex responded as she ignored Kei’s nagging and was engrossed in a game while sprawled In her chair. She was excited since morning because today was the day a special item would be released.

    “He’s not exactly talkative. It seems like he doesn’t have many close relationships in academia. He’s a bit mysterious, you could say. That’s why Kei doesn’t like him. But I get along well with him though.”

    It was unexpected. Being immersed in research and not meeting many people, it was hard to imagine how well she got along with the elderly scholar, who had an eccentric reputation. However, considering that they both had eccentric sides, perhaps they surprisingly got along well.

    As if she roughly read his thoughts, Alex added an explanation.

    “As you know, I have a hobby of swimming with sharks. That person also had a similar hobby. Except, he swims with mammals instead of fish.”


    “Yes. Whale. Shelvey really loves whales.”

    Yeonsoo nodded in agreement.

    So, was that why they were talking about whale carcasses?

    “Have you met in person?”

    “No. Neither I nor anyone else has ever seen his face, I bet?”

    She continued the conversation while focusing on the game.

    “It’s a rumor, but in academia, he’s called a vampire. He published his first paper in the 1970s. If that’s the case, he would be at least 90 years old, but I don’t feel any experience from him at all. How should I say… Doesn’t he exude the atmosphere of a young person in his twenties? When I talk to him, I get a very strange feeling, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is.”

    At least 90 years old. he had roughly anticipated it, but when he heard his estimated age, it was shocking. He had never felt the generation gap while conversing with him. His ability to maintain scholarly passion even at such an old age made him like him even more.

    He was curious how he would react when he found out that he was participating in the Beresht Project. He wanted to ask him various questions and have conversations about Beresht.

    Yeonsoo hoped that he too would soon have the opportunity to have an online meeting with him as well.

    T/N: I feel like this Dr. Shelvey might be one of the main characters, he’s always mysterious…
    Btw, sorry for the delayed update T-T I will try to update much more as soon as my classes end~

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