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    “Why isn’t he coming out?”

    Jae-seung tapped his foot impatiently, leaning against the wall. He hoped Shin-woo wasn’t inside beating someone with a hockey stick just because it was his last day. Today’s shame quota was already filled by the hockey fight. The idea of a big guy like him getting publicly overprotected was ridiculous. Even when told to take it easy, Shin-woo never listened.


    “Fvck even those idiots…”

    Jae-seung swallowed a sigh and leaned the back of his head against the wall. It irked him that he was stuck waiting for Shin-woo amid all this. While he did suffer from separation anxiety severe enough to cause breathlessness at night, he tried to keep some distance during the day when he was relatively okay. But it wasn’t easy to follow through.

    Everyone called Shin-woo a suspect in the incident. It was inevitable that following him around made Jae-seung look foolish. The fact that Shin-woo, who stood out everywhere he went, didn’t try to tone down his presence was another problem. Today, that lunatic had beaten an opposing player to a pulp with his stick.

    Jae-seung closed his eyes tightly and replayed Shin-woo’s inscrutable face in his mind.

    Coming from the streets with no roots, there were few known facts about him. He was a Beta from Mangwol District. Liked the ice cream shop in front of the school. Obsessed with money. First to throw punches in a fight. Had a barcode tattoo on his neck.

    A sign that he worked under his father.

    Jae-seung wasn’t foolish enough to not realize Shin-woo was the suspect in his father’s case. However, unless Shin-woo had run off with money, his current actions didn’t quite add up to those of a murderer.

    Since his father was a businessman, he must have incurred resentment from many people. He couldn’t rule out the possibility that one of them harbored a grudge and hired an assassin. For now, he planned to identify the people who hated his father enough to want him dead.

    “Ma Jae-seung.”

    Lost in thought, a gentle voice called his name. Was it a hallucination? There was no one who would call him so familiarly. As he opened his eyes, he met a pair of bright blue eyes. A brown-haired man he hadn’t noticed before was looking up at him.

    A student journalist? It was unusual for peers to approach him, so suspicion arose naturally. Ready for interrogation at any moment, Jae-seung pursed his lips and asked,


    “Where’s your bodyguard?”

    Now that he looked, the man was too nervous to be a journalist. His eyes darted around constantly, overflowing with anxiety, and he kept swallowing nervously. Jae-seung tensed up, narrowing his eyes. If it was about a bodyguard, it meant Shin-woo.

    “What’s with him?”

    “It’s best to stay away from that guy. You have no idea. He’s… extremely dangerous.”

    After confirming no one else was around, the man’s face hardened as he whispered. What was he saying? That Shin-woo was dangerous was as blatantly obvious as the ice rink being slippery. Jae-seung irritably brushed back his fringe.

    “I will take care of it.”

    “You’re gravely mistaken if you trust him.”

    “I’m not ‘mistaken’.”

    Jae-seung responded coldly to the man who kept making arrogant remarks. It had already been five months since he came of age and could make his own judgments and decisions – he wouldn’t accept being treated like an incompetent. The pity and advice were really getting on his nerves.


    Jae-seung suddenly noticed something strange and tilted his head crookedly. Come to think of it, this man was an Omega. What business would he have at a school for Alphas? Did he come to see Jae-seung? To warn him?

    The man, seemingly reading Jae-seung’s suspicion, quickly added,

    “I’m not a student here.”

    After hesitating for a moment, he stretched out his small hand and gently grasped Jae-seung’s fingertips. The soft touch was imbued with the presence of an Omega. Unlike body temperature, it instantly invaded deep inside and made his whole body lukewarm.

    Flustered, Jae-seung took a step back. It was his first contact with an Omega, and his body instinctively reacted before his mind could process it. He looked up with a flustered expression and immediately locked eyes with the blushing man.

    Was he judging him too harshly? He might have meant well with his advice. After all, a small guy like him approached first, trying to help. Jae-seung looked down at the hand holding his.


    The man let out a gasp, noticing something over Jae-seung’s shoulder. Even without turning around, Jae-seung could tell who was behind him. That fleeting realization alone was enough to steady his anxiously racing heartbeat.

    Jae-seung shifted his gaze towards the presence. Shin-woo had just rounded the corner, a bag slung over each shoulder, coming into view.

    “Here’s my number. Contact me.”

    With a pale face as if he had seen a ghost, the man put a small folded note in Jae-seung’s hand and ran away.

    It was no wonder he ran. Jae-seung smiled as he watched Shin-woo getting closer.

    Until the distance closed enough to make out every detail of his features, Shin-woo’s eyes never left Jae-seung’s face.

    Jae-seung didn’t dislike that insistent gaze.

    Jae-seung heard that Shin-woo came to the mansion when he was twelve. Over those seven long years, what had transpired between them? Had he been tamed by Shin-woo to the point he couldn’t even breathe properly without him? Endless doubts floated through his mind, sprouting suspicion. Next would come anger – a pattern he was all too familiar with.

    “You should donate your hockey stick too, young master. I hope the next club you join has cheaper equipment.”

    To Jae-seung, who had more money than he knew what to do with, Shin-woo threw out the nonchalant remark with a smile, clearly trying to provoke him. Jae-seung shot him a piercing gaze before abruptly turning away.

    They left the building and headed to the parking lot. No one was parking around the shiny car that Shin-woo was driving, so it was empty. Jae-seung found the car at a glance and snorted without realizing it.

    “I told you to use my car to come to school.”

    “Don’t you like my car? It’s pretty good.”

    Shin-woo feigned incomprehension, blinking widely at the implication behind Jae-seung’s words. No chauffeur drove their own car while ferrying their employer. Yet Shin-woo had Jae-seung ride in the expensive vehicle registered under his name, acting as if he were Jae-seung’s guardian.

    Jae-seung’s temper flared. The nerve of him, a mere servant, acting so high and mighty. His already short temper was stretched thin. Jae-seung’s sneer froze when he noticed several members of the opposing team approaching behind Shin-woo.


    The blonde in the lead shouted. He was quickly approaching with a hockey stick in his hand.

    “One of our players was hospitalized because of you! How are you going to take responsibility?”

    Shin-woo didn’t look back even though his words were clearly directed at him. The eyes that consistently looked up at Jae-seung were unusually pale under the sunlight.

    “Please excuse me just for today. I was in such a rush to avoid being late for morning class.”

    It was only natural that Shin-woo’s nonchalant smile provoked the opposing players. The blond blocked Shin-woo’s path, shoving his face so close their noses nearly touched as he glared. The players, who had appeared flustered during the game, now all wore expressions of anger. Having witnessed Shin-woo’s dirty play for the first time, they seemed enraged after reflecting on the match.

    Jae-seung took a step back, standing askance. Sensing Jae-seung’s lack of intent to intervene, the hesitant players soon focused their full attention on Shin-woo.


    Surprisingly, Shin-woo apologized right away. Without a hint of sarcasm, he looked genuinely sorry. The unexpected apology made the other players burst into laughter. The blond player, however, became even angrier and cursed through clenched teeth.

    “Ha, fvck. That’s it? That player’s entire career could be over and that’s all you have to say?”

    “I’ll quit too. I promise I’ll never hang around the rink again.”

    It was a rather brazen response, given he had already handed over his hockey stick with the intention to quit anyway.  Even though they may not have known the situation, they did not back down. They had come determined to teach him a lesson, regardless of his response.

    Jae-seung breathed in the tense atmosphere. Then the blond slapped Shin-woo’s cheek with a resounding smack. The surrounding players let out low “oooh” sounds. Shin-woo staggered slightly but quickly regained his balance.

    Even though his lips were red and bleeding, Shin-woo didn’t seem very shaken. He didn’t seem very angry or in pain. Jae-seung narrowed his eyebrows, feeling a strange sense of déjà vu. As if in slow motion, Shin-woo shifted his weight from his left foot to his right, then quickly ducked low.

    There were five men in total. At first, only the blond threw punches, but after Shin-woo deftly evaded them, all five rushed him at once. Fists and kicks came flying from all sides. However, Shin-woo moved so nimbly, weaving through the openings, that the men ended up clashing and scratching each other amidst the commotion. His agility was staggering for someone of his stature.

    At some point, Shin-woo’s previously placid eyes turned chillingly cold. As soon as Jae-seung realized it, someone screamed. It was the blond player, clutching his twisted fingers and rolling on the ground.

    “Ah, ahhh! My fingers!”

    As he writhed and scraped the floor, dust rose up. The flustered men froze one by one, the surrounding air falling eerily silent as if doused with cold water. They watched dumbly as their ace player writhed in agony, cradling his broken fingers.

    “Ugh… Fvck you, you son of a b1tch!”

    “I guess you should rest for a while.”

    Shin-woo muttered in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear. Though he could have easily kicked or punched him, he deliberately broke the player’s fingers instead, undermining the will of those who loved sports by reminding them of the risk of injury. His methods were efficient and ruthless, an underhanded tactics of someone who survived the Gwangwol District.

    The same goes for arson and beheading.

    A wave of searing heat washed over Jae-seung. His heart pounded fiercely with anxiety and rage until he felt nauseous. When Jae-seung came to his senses, he broke through the men surrounding him and stood facing Shin-woo.

    Shin-woo looked slightly disheveled, hair tousled and face smeared with blood and dirt. Yet his upward gaze remained unchanged – soft, playful, and persistent.

    Jae-seung grabbed Shin-woo’s shoulder with his large hand and made eye contact. Then he smiled as he commanded:

    “How about you just take a few hits and we call it a day?”

    He didn’t bother adding anything else, curious if Shin-woo would meekly obey. He inwardly wondered what Shin-woo would do if he defied the order and revealed hints of resentment – say something to shed light on the nature of their relationship. He yearned for Shin-woo to let slip even the slightest clue, anything.

    To his disappointment, Shin-woo obediently dropped his hands down.

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