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    Loves Error

    ⚠️Trigger Warning: This novel contains sensitive content related to self-harm and su1cide. Readers may encounter graphic descriptions and themes that can be distressing or triggering. If you or someone you know is struggling with these issues, please consider seeking support from a mental health professional or a trusted individual. Reader discretion is advised.

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    2. Shadow 2 (Part 3)

    “Manager, are you awake?”

    Moon Sunhyuk called out to Cheon Sejoo in a cautious voice. Lying on the sofa with his eyes closed, Sejoo responded without moving.

    “Yeah,” he replied shortly, as Sunhyuk turned on the living room lights and stepped out of the room.

    On the 10th floor of the same apartment building, Cheon Sejoo was staying for the second day in the apartment where the disposal team members lived. He insisted on sleeping on the sofa, refusing to use anyone else’s bed, leaving the team wondering why he was here instead of at his own place was fine and why he seemed to be in such a foul mood.

    “Shall I prepare a meal?”

    However, Moon Sunhyuk remained the same as always. He was the kind of man who would do anything for Sejoo, even cut his own throat if ordered, so he simply willingly played the role of his servant, thinking about how to accommodate Sejoo properly who had come to their apartment.

    “Is it Tuesday today?”

    “Yes.”

    Sunhyuk turned on the kitchen light in response to the casual question. Cheon Sejoo, who had been observing him quietly while he washes the rice and prepare the rice cooker, got up from his seat after checking the clock that was approaching 6 a.m. He had somewhere to go during Tuesdays. He got up from his seat, went to the bathroom adjacent to the living room, washed his face, brushed his teeth, and came out.

    “I’ll be going to the gym. You eat first.”

    “Yes, please go ahead.”

    Wearing a pink floral apron, Sunhyuk nodded vigorously. Sejoo chuckled and ruffled Sunhyuk’s hair, which was a good handspan higher than his own, before heading to the front door.

    He stuffed his socks-less feet into his sneakers and left the front door, opening the door that led to the emergency stairs instead of the elevator. He went down the stairs, skipping five or six at a time, and stopped on the seventh floor.

    Click, he opened the fire door and entered the lobby, where he saw the man guarding apartment 701. As soon as he saw Cheon Sejoo, he bowed to him and greeted him.

    “You have arrived, sir.”

    “The president?”

    “He’s inside.”

    Sejoo stepped into apartment 701 through the door the man held open. Noting the two pairs of shoes in the entrance, he placed his sneakers neatly on the opposite side. Rotating his stiff shoulders, he walked inside to see the brightly lit interior.

    This luxury apartment complex, constructed by DG Construction, was designed for the convenience of the organization even from the beginning.

    On the 7th floor, there were fitness facilities and a gym used by his superior, Shin Gyoyeon, and below were physical training rooms for the organization members. To protect Shin Gyoyeon’s residence on the 43rd floor, the organization’s members were scattered throughout the building. And on the penthouse floor, there were secret passages connecting each one. This was a fact that only a very small number of people, including Shin Gyoyeon, Chae Beomjun, and Cheon Sejoo, knew.

    Shin Gyoyeon sparred with Sejoo two to three times a week in the 7th-floor gym. The two men, who had learned all sorts of martial arts, including jiu-jitsu and Krav Maga, were fierce to watch, and they often used weapons like fake knives or model guns that could retract into the handle when a certain amount of force was applied.

    Thus, apartment 701 was far from an ordinary home. The spacious interior, with walls removed between the living room and the inner room, featured a large ring near the window, cabinets for storing belongings, and a sofa. On the opposite side, there was a well-equipped athletic training room, shower room, and dressing room. There were no bedrooms or kitchens necessary for living.

    “Sir.”

    A man in a black T-shirt and training pants stood smoking a cigarette by the window next to the cabinet. He was Shin Gyoyeon, the successor to DG and the man who held Cheon Sejoo’s life in his hands. Next to him was his chief secretary, Chae Beomjun, who was checking a fake knife.

    “You’ve arrived.”

    As Sejoo bowed his head in greeting, the expressionless eyes of Shin Gyoyeon glanced at him briefly before returning to their original position. Cheon Sejoo paid no attention to whether Shin Gyoyeon acknowledged his greeting or not, instead going to his cabinet to wrap his hands in protective gear. It was a necessary step to protect his palms due to the intensity of their sparring sessions.

    “Ready.”

    Amidst this, the voice of Chae Beomjun, who had finished checking the knife, was heard. Cheon Sejoo glanced toward the direction of the sound and noticed Chae Beomjun, who winked subtly with a slight smile at him.

    Is he crazy? Taken aback by the sudden wink, Cheon Sejoo turned away.

    Standing in front of the mirror, Sejoo pulled up his loose pants around his hips and tied the drawstring tightly into a knot. He rotated his wrists to loosen his muscles, ready to spring into action.

    Shin Gyoyeon was already on the mat, holding a knife. Sejoo extended his left hand sideways, and Chae Beomjun placed a knife in his palm. As if he would die if he pretended to be pure even for a day, Chae Beomjun did not forget to touch Cheon Sejoo’s fingers as he grasped the knife amidst the squirming motion, causing Sejoo to sigh and brushed his hand off at the sticky contact.

    “Get in here.”

    As he was about to curse, Shin Gyoyeon, who was standing on the mat, called out to him. Feeling a chill in Shin Gyoyeon’s calm but emotionless voice, Cheon Sejoo jumped onto the ring.

    Sejoo had been training for five years, but Shin Gyoyeon, being raised as the organization’s successor, had been learning martial arts for nearly twenty years ever since he was young. Despite this vast experience gap, Sejoo didn’t lag behind. Over time, he had gone from losing daily to winning frequently. In the past year, neither of them had won more than two consecutive matches.

    Despite receiving numerous offers to go pro in his youth, Sejoo had never realized he was so naturally adept at physical combat. According to his Krav Maga instructor, Sejoo had a natural talent for killing people.

    “Here I come.”

    There was no warm-up. The sound of bare feet on the rubber mat was accompanied by the swift slash of knives through the air. The best defense is a good offense—both Sejoo and Shin Gyoyeon aimed for vital points as if trying to kill each other. The intense exchange began.

    The blunt knife grazed Sejoo’s neck. He ducked and deliberately collapsed, maneuvering between Shin Gyoyeon’s legs to evade the persistent blade following him and moving behind him.

    Shin Gyoyeon kicked like he was ridding himself of a rat. Cheon Sejoo stretched out his hand and caught his ankle and disrupted his balance. With a thud, Shin Gyoyeon’s large body hit the mat, and Sejoo stabbed downward. The knife slipped after hitting Shin Gyoyeon’s shoulder and was deeply embedded in the mat.

    During the sparring, actual strikes were rare. As a result, both men’s attention was focused in one direction.

    “…”

    A smile curved on Shin Gyoyeon’s lips. Although it was a fake knife, a significant pressure was needed to make the blade retract, causing considerable pain. Despite the expected pain, Shin Gyoyeon simply grinned as he jabbed Cheon Sejoo’s side with the knife he held in his hand.

    “Ugh!”

    Shin Gyoyeon showed no mercy. While Cheon Sejoo, due to psychological reasons, couldn’t feel pain well, the pressure that made it hard to breathe was still vivid.

    Son of a b*tch. Cheon Sejoo cursed inwardly as he grabbed Shin Gyoyeon’s arm holding the knife with one hand. Then, he punched his shoulder with his fist, the same spot where the knife had struck earlier. He wanted to strike his jaw, however, he opted for the shoulder as a safer alternative.

    Observing Shin Gyoyeon’s eyes slightly twitching, Cheon Sejoo stepped back. Shin Gyoyeon’s knife sliced through the air menacingly as Cheon Sejoo leaned back to avoid it. If he hadn’t dodged, the knife would have struck his cheek.

    Cheon Sejoo, who burst with anger, scrunched up his face and kicked the man’s groin. Though his bare feet didn’t deal much damage, the location made it a significant blow. The match descended into chaos.

    In a real fight, things would be even messier. All sorts of tricks and maneuvers were exchanged to aim for each other’s throats. However, seeing two men with their limbs intact writhing around and swinging their swords was honestly a sight that couldn’t be missed.

    Usually, their sparring ended with minimal contact, but today was unusually intense. Chae Beomjun watched the scene leisurely from the window, smoking a cigarette. Then, after 20 minutes, the bell next to him rang loudly, signaling the end of the sparring session. It was a device that was put in place because if there was no time limit, there would be no choice but to see bloodshed.

    “Time’s up.”

    As soon as he finished speaking, a knife suddenly struck in Cheon Sejoo’s chest. The impact was overwhelming. He cursed under his breath and coughed. Sitting on the mat, he gasped for air, rubbing his sore chest.

    “You’ve work hard.”

    With a blank face, Shin Gyoyeon wiped the sweat dripping from his eyes as he spoke.

    “Likewise,” Cheon Sejoo returned the greeting, lifting his shirt to wipe his face. He then heard the sound of his sweaty feet stuck off the mat and pull off. Feeling Shin Gyoyeon moving away, Sejoo collapsed onto the mat.

    “Haa, haa, d*mn it…”

    His heart pounded as if it would burst. Amidst the pounding in his ears, Sejoo struggled to catch his breath. He hadn’t been awake long, but exhaustion hit him hard. He felt like sleeping right then and there. He closed his eyes and let his mind wander, but at some point, he came to his senses to the smell of perfume wafting from nearby. Opening his eyes, he saw a familiar face looking down at him.

    “Do you know them?”

    Suddenly, Beomjun asked an offhand question. Seeing Beomjun’s eyes drift down toward his abdomen, Sejoo frowned and pulled down his shirt to cover his stomach. Looking up at him without moving, Sejoo asked back.

    “Who?”

    “Kwon Sejin. Why are you suddenly playing nanny?”

    He only mentioned Ehwagak, so how did he find out about that?

    Did he ask Kim Donggil?

    Cheon Sejoo looked at Beomjun’s sly face before speaking bluntly.

    “That’s none of your concern.”

    “I’m curious. I was wondering if even the moral Manager Cheon is picking up anything now.”

    With that, Chae Beomjun stretched out his hand in front of Cheon Sejoo, as if to pull him up. There was no chance of that happening. Cheon Sejoo knocked Beomjun’s hand away with the back of his own and got up, placing his hand on the floor for support. Then, staring directly into Beomjun’s eyes, which were half a foot higher than his own, he replied.

    “Stop talking nonsense. She’s just a child. A girl.”

    “…A girl?”

    Beomjun’s brow furrowed. He crossed his arms and, with his neatly presenter-like face, soon burst into a frivolous laugh. Ignoring the sound of his laughter, Cheon Sejoo turned his body and descended the ring.

    “Crazy people do laugh a lot,” Sejoo thought to himself, observing Beomjun’s continuous laughter until Sejoo had moved to the gym.

    “Is he out of his mind this morning?”

    The sound of laughter was extremely irritating. Entering the gym through the transparent glass door, Cheon Sejoo flicked his middle finger toward Chae Beomjun, who was standing in the distance. Beomjun responded with the same gesture, still wearing a smiling face.

    Chae Beomjun and Cheon Sejoo had known each other for five years. They first met when Beomjun, at the age of 26, had proposed to Sejoo, who was then imprisoned, to come and work under Shin Gyoyeon. Since then, Sejoo had encountered Beomjun more frequently than the man he was supposed to serve, and before long, they were clashing almost daily.

    Their relationship was comprised of comradeship, contempt, hatred, and a hint of admiration. To Cheon Sejoo, Chae Beomjun was like a brother, yet merely making eye contact with him was enough to sour his mood.

    Entering the gym, Cheon Sejoo ran on the treadmill until he was out of breath. His legs moved non-stop until the overwhelming thoughts in his head were wiped clean.

    By the time he finished working out and stepped outside, both Shin Gyoyeon and Chae Beomjun were gone. Deciding to wash off his sweaty body, Cheon Sejoo headed for the elevator, intending to change clothes at home.

    It was 8:40 AM, a time when Kwon Sejin would have already left for school. Feeling cowardly, Cheon Sejoo decided to take advantage of this opportunity.

    ‘What right do you have to ask me such things?’

    Kwon Sejin’s questions from last Sunday had stirred guilt and self-loathing deeply buried within Cheon Sejoo’s heart. Recognizing these feelings made it impossible to face Sejin, so Sejoo immediately fled to the tenth floor.

    As Sejin had pointed out, Cheon Sejoo had no right to worry about his living situation. The organization Sejoo belonged to was responsible for Sejin’s circumstances, therefore he was the last person who should be worrying about and taking care of him. In a brief moment, he had forgotten this, indulging in the rare role of an older brother.

    After realizing this, he resolved to send Sejin away as soon as possible. After visiting Ehwagak tomorrow, he planned to call the orphanage’s head nun in the afternoon to arrange for Sejin to be taken there.

    However, that thought disappeared the moment he saw the old worn shoes in the hallway. Cheon Sejoo frowned as he looked down at the unfamiliar sneakers.

    Didn’t he go to school?

    Sejoo blinked blankly and walked to the intercom The intercom, equipped with various functions, allowed him to check various information. Manipulating the panel, he displayed the entry and exit records of the main door on the screen. However, no matter how many times he looked, the main door had only been opened twice from Sunday until today. Both times, the traces left were by Cheon Sejoo himself.

    The moment he realized that a cold air enveloped through his body. Turning his body, Cheon Sejoo went to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, and counted the number of sandwiches and lunch boxes inside. A total of nine. Not a single one had been touched since Sunday.

    “Ah…”

    His expressionless face crumpled. His dark pupils dimmed, and the image of Kwon Sejin crouching in the hallway overlapped with the last sight of his younger sister, Cheon Hye-in, as he saw through the surveillance footage.

    Hye-in had waited for him in the dark hallway before throwing herself off the apartment building. It was suic1de.

    Recalling her last moments, Cheon Sejoo’s head turned toward Kwon Sejin’s room he had given him. For a moment, he stood there as if he was stuck in place, but he started to walk as if he was running. He ran to the room where Se-jin was, and without hesitation, he grabbed the doorknob and turned it.

    The door opened without a knock, revealing the bed first. The neatly made blanket and the pillow on top of it made his heart sink. Fortunately, the window was tightly closed, but there was no trace of anyone in the room. Biting his lip, Sejoo turned his head.

    The lights in the dressing room leading to the bathroom were off. Striding forward, Sejoo confirmed that the wardrobe was empty. There was no sign of Sejin anywhere in the house. It was as if he had tidied everything up before leaving.

    However, the front door of this house had never been opened. In that moment, Cheon Sejoo silently cursed at the horrific scene that flashed before his eyes. He then grasped the doorknob of the final door he hadn’t checked and turned it.

    Swoosh—the sound of the shower pierced through his dull ears.

    Was he taking a shower? By the time this thought occurred, it was already too late.

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