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    Jeong Noah, drying his hair with a towel, furrowed his brow. He was thinking that the pale woman he had seen a couple of times a few days ago snooping around in front of the dorm was a stalker targeting him.

    “Anyway, my charm is…”

    Going up to the mirror, Jeong Noah let out a sigh full of self-admiration while looking at his clean, glistening face and body after the shower.

    On the other hand, Jae-chan’s expression turned sour. Seeing the guy arching his chin and flexing his muscles instinctively disgusted him despite his age.

    Nevertheless, he was quite peculiar. Was it really okay for him to be nonchalant about being stalked again even though a year had passed? A gentle voice naturally came out of Jae-chan’s mouth.

    “Going to the urology department must have left good memories.”

    “Oh come on, it’s a woman this time!”

    Jeong Noah vehemently protested that it was completely different. To this, Jae-chan dropped his gloomy look and sincerely added.

    “A stalker is a stalker regardless of gender. They can’t even come out in front of you properly. 

    And what if the other person is a cross-dresser? Will you report it then?”

    Seon Jae-chan remembered his roommate had run away to the American Union before. No matter how big of an ordeal one had overcome, he wished Jeong Noah wouldn’t take it lightly and be serious about it.

    “…”

    Rendered speechless, Jeong Noah muttered “shit” while looking at the ceiling, then grabbed his wallet and left the room.

    Well. At least his changed expression seemed to be a good sign.

    That’s when Jae-chan thought so. He unconsciously checked the email notification on his phone and beamed. It was an email from Han Ji-hoon.

    *

    The news that arrived was very brief.

    [I have approached the target.]

    In summary, that was all. After skimming over the perfunctory phrase regretting the slow progress at the end, Jae-chan promptly sent a reply of gratitude. Han Ji-hoon would likely be out of contact for a few more weeks anyway.

    In the following days, the ‘gifted rich kids’ case involving Seon Eun-soo and Jeong Yeon-oh’s group continued to rage on, burning its last flames.

    However, as Seon Eun-soo was deported privately and the remaining trio faced the cameras, people’s interest was bound to gradually subside. Between guiding missions and counterterrorism training, Jae-chan discussed with the United Freedom Alliance on how to meaningfully lead the prolonged trial with endless appeals.

    What was surprising was the message from Woo-jin regarding the incident.

    [Are you okay?]

    As the new news about Seon Eun-soo and Jeong Yeon-oh disappeared, Jae-chan was facing some lingering sparks.

    [What do you think about suing for spreading false information?]

    Woo-jin proposed seriously. Jae-chan himself didn’t even bother to look for the hostile public opinion, but Woo-jin seemed to care.

    ‘Well, it’s only natural for him. We are now…’

    …dating. Wow, I’m so happy!

    Unable to contain the sudden flaring flames, Jae-chan ran out of the Center.

    Running at full speed to quickly extinguish the internal heat, Jae-chan resolved to pay more attention to his reputation in the future. Now that he wasn’t alone anymore, he felt the need to tidy up a bit to put Woo-jin’s mind at ease.

    Seon Jae-chan started work right away that day. He sent an email to YouTubers who specialized in cyber wreckers that he found out through Kim Geun-won.

    For the same reason, when Woo-jin suddenly came to Jae-chan’s dormitory on the same weekend, the public opinion about Jae-chan had quieted down a bit.

    “Woo-jin…? What about your mission?”

    Jae-chan asked, surprised by Woo-jin who suddenly appeared. The dispatch mission was supposed to last at least three weeks. At this point, it had only been 9 days since they confessed their feelings.

    “I need to rest on the weekend.”

    Woo-jin, who took off his military uniform and came dressed in light civilian clothes, answered. Since there was already a permanent esper unit stationed in Zone Z, the additional deployment team didn’t have much to do. The assigned mission itself was more of a symbolic show, heavily conscious of the American Union, so it didn’t really matter whether they did it or not.

    In other words, if other team members wanted to travel over the weekend, they could do so. However, because the distance from District 1 was too far, the majority of people chose to stay in the area rather than bear the travel time and cost.

    “What about your roommate?”

    Woo-jin asked, gesturing at the messy desk of Jae-chan’s roommate.

    “Oh him? He never comes in except to shower and sleep. -What’s this?”

    Jae-chan accepted the shopping bag that looked even smaller in Woo-jin’s extended hand. Woo-jin answered,

    “I thought you’d have used up all the candles.”

    What Woo-jin had bought was a palm-sized mood lamp with flickering flames. He had spotted it displayed at a novelty shop while passing through the town streets. The moment he saw the vividly wavering flames, he thought of Jae-chan.

    “Do you like it?”

    “Very much.”

    Jae-chan promptly lit it with a delighted expression. Capturing the flickering flames in his eyes, he suddenly raised his palm up. Woo-jin smiled and gave him a high-five.

    It wasn’t just the pretty lamp that made Jae-chan happy. Five minutes later, Jae-chan found himself speaking louder.

    “Auntie’s going to be a probationary Esper evaluation examiner?”

    “Yeah. You won’t see her until the exam day.”

    It was because Jae-chan heard that his aunt had been selected as a member of the examination committee for the Esper apprenticeship evaluation written exam.

    Although Esperas were rare compared to Guides, their popular workplaces were limited, so they also had to take the test. Jae-chan understood why he had been unable to contact his aunt. The tensed shoulder muscles he didn’t even realize gradually loosened completely.

    After that, Jae-chan spent a cozy time with Woo-jin with a brighter smile. Since Jae-chan had lunch, he ordered chicken for Woo-jin. After eating a bite or two of grilled chicken instead of frying it like usual, it was time to solve and reply to the problems sent by the apprentices through the messenger app.

    Jae-chan glanced at the tablet that Woo-jin was looking at next to him and found a familiar screen. He tapped Woo-jin, who was wearing wireless earphones.

    “See? It’s clean now, right?”

    He gestured to the screen Woo-jin was viewing. The following subtitles were displayed in the video that was playing alone.

    -Unlike Esper Seon Eun-soo, who has actively communicated with the public through Social Media management and such, Seon Min-yeol’s second son, known to be a guide, has never been exposed to the media. In fact, we frequently heard about him at one point!

    A large yellow question mark pulsated as if flickering over the black human silhouette representing Jae-chan’s existence. Then, the color of the subtitles was reversed, and pictures of the panoramic view of the Jeongle Family Attraction Theater, the collapsed wall during the hostage situation, and photos of the Black Wing Group in black masks rapidly flashed one after another.

    -He’s the guide Seon Jae-chan who was taken hostage in place of a child during the Universal Park incident!

    Jae-chan had already seen the reaction to the hundreds of comments under the video. Woo-jin asked, taking off his earphones.

    “You did it?”

    “Yeah. It seemed like you cared, so I cared too.”

    Of course, the selfish behavior that Seon Jae-chan committed before his regression did not disappear, but at least it had the effect of saying, ‘This guy doesn’t seem to be a very bad guy, so we’ll wait and see.’

    Meanwhile, Woo-jin’s heart swelled after hearing Jae-chan’s words.

    ‘Not just empty words… I’ll really try too. I like you too, after all.’

    It seemed like Jae-chan really kept his promise. Although it wasn’t really for his own benefit, it seemed like it was a measure taken with this in mind… Anyway, it was a positive change.

    Afterwards, the deeply moved Go Woo-jin and the simply pleased Jae-chan exchanged all sorts of conversation snuggled on the bed, only to hastily separate at the sound of the front door opening.

    Then, under Jeong Noah’s sullen gaze like the previous week, they headed to Woo-jin’s place. It was Jae-chan’s second visit. Seon Jae-chan spent time doing various naughty things with Go Woo-jin and suddenly came to a pleasant realization.

    ‘Now we’re meeting at his house, not a hotel.’

    Of course, a hotel would have been fine together with Woo-jin, but he much preferred Woo-jin’s home with its lived-in feel. Just looking at the indoor slippers made his heart flutter, wondering why Woo-jin had bought the seagull-patterned ones.

    ‘Why didn’t he bring me before?’

    Was it because they weren’t dating? The question that Jae-chan had lightly recalled and forgotten was answered the very next week.

    *

    This time, as planned, it was a day when Jae-chan went all the way to District 3 with Woo-jin, who had appeared again on the weekend. Jae-chan, who was spending time at Woo-jin’s house and was in a state of great exaltation after the heart-warming skydiving, suddenly headed to the room at the end of the hallway.

    It was a place he had never been to during his previous visits. Jae-chan glanced towards the shower room in the living room, where Woo-jin had not yet come out, and adjusted his robe. He opened the tightly closed door.

    The place appeared to be a study.

    Relying on the hallway light to survey the dim interior, Jae-chan soon suppressed a smile. It was because a CD storage rack distinctly occupied space near the bookshelf covering one wall.

    Woo-jin greatly enjoyed listening to music. So that’s why there weren’t many CDs in the living room rack – he seemed to only take out the ones he listens to frequently while keeping most here.

    While looking at the CDs displayed side by side, Jae-chan’s eyes met the black jaguar album art in the case placed right in front.

    There was even a strap decoration on top as if it were a cherished CD. Behind it, a jaguar pendant necklace playfully winked at him as if part of a set, but Jae-chan failed to notice and immediately shifted his attention to the English magazines displayed on the adjacent bookshelf.

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